Egypt’s End of the Beginning
James Carafano /
At 11:34 EST, Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman announced, “In these grave circumstances that the country is passing through, President Hosni Mubarak has decided to leave his position as president of the republic.”
The departure of Mubarak has long been considered a prerequisite for transformation of the government. His departure, however, hardly means the crisis is at an end. The military has been prominent in guiding the government response, and now with Mubarak’s departure, the armed forces—one of the few government institutions widely respected in the country—will bear the responsibility for guiding the transition process.
The Egyptian military faces many challenges: restoring order, cracking down on violence, ensuring that the economy does not collapse, and guiding a political process that will allow time and space for the voices of the Egyptian people to be heard. Egypt’s most pressing need is economic reforms that will improve the livelihoods of its citizens and create a platform that will allow civil society to flourish. If either the Muslim Brotherhood or the country’s “old guard” is permitted to hijack the revolution, the needs and aspirations of the people will never be satisfied, and the country could lapse into an authoritarian state even less desirable than that of the Mubarak regime. (more…)