In a surprise announcement, the President of Egypt removed the Chief and prominent members of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, annulled the constitutional declaration earlier issued by the latter, and asserted his own power, thereby moving from President with slightly limited powers to President with excess power, including the legislative authority.
Strangely enough, I predicted it would happen. Driven by that fact, I will make some more predictions. Instead of analyzing why things happened, claiming to know insider information, or possess exceptional predictive ability, I just decided to use some common sense in trying to figure out how things will work out. Having said that, I would gladly be proven wrong on most of them.
To me, the whole thing boils down to ability. That is where my prediction on the fading away of SCAF emanated from. Not because the people would bring them down, not because poetic justice would fall on them, but because, regardless of how many international PR agencies they may have hired, I simply do not think they had it in them to scheme and plot as well as we liked to believe.
I know I will strike some disagreement cord here, but let's face it:
Geriatrics aren't always outstanding candidates to cope with extremely volatile political environments, and even if driven by self preservation, they eventually become exhausted and not able to put up a fight. Keep in mind that this was not a state-of-the-art council in deciding all things relating to the army, and you will realize they would of course lose the will, and support from the lower ranks, to fight for their privileges.
So some inability or incompetence, coupled with lack of support for them because of that incompetence, and you get the picture. SCAF looks like it is shriveling in terms of political importance.
This time you would expect me not to talk about incompetence, because they have won the parliamentary and presidential election, have now apparently sidelined SCAF, and are increasing their grip on power day by day. Not so fast. At a highly turbulent time, with the economy practically in shambles, they still haven't done anything to show that they can help drive Egypt forward. No quick wins, and no long term strategy so far. I really hope I am very wrong, but there is that incompetence coupled with a grip on power, reminiscent of the old days, that doesn't give me the feeling that we are heading anywhere constructive.
Incompetence overshadowed by popular wins will keep them going for a while to come, but they will not be as powerful as they are now vis a vis the President.
The essence of incompetence and inability is housed under that dome. Particularly under the previous stellar group of members, the behaviour of the parliament has been extremely poor at best. Nevertheless it is the legislative body that the more liberal civil forces in Egypt should be interested in playing a part in.
But because of the lack of a better alternative, and because of the incompetence or inability of the secular forces alongside the incompetence of the Islamists, I see no reason that should indicate anything will change.
If anything will change, it is that Parliament may become even more dominated by Islamists.
I expect him to benefit from the incompetence of everyone around him. While everything around him is helping him become more confident, and street support for the Muslim Brotherhood automatically is channeled to him, it is only a matter of time until he realizes that he does not have to live subdued by the organization, but that he should get the place he deserves. We make pharaohs, and we make them fast, and he won't really be any exception.
While he has, together with the Muslim Brotherhood, sidelined SCAF (apparently), he will now more single-handedly sideline the Brotherhood.
Now how do you counter incompetence and inability? Through consistent, educated, and honest action. I don't have the answers, but I think it lies in a completely different work ethic (in the political, economic, and social arena) and a lot more discipline and thinking to overcome our modern heritage of incompetence. May be, just may be, after all the screaming, blaming, philosphizing, and whining is done we could start doing something for real.