On June 30 the Egyptian masses were back at Tahrir and Morsi became history. In the January 25, 2011 uprising, millions took to the streets and martyrs fell to rid Egypt of Mubarak. However, the Muslim Brothers ultimately took over and Morsi was elected president. The Islamists of all stripes appeared to have won the day. The goals of the January uprising, which have been severely diluted in the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces period, were headed for extinction in measured doses under Morsi. The Islamization of the state had begun. But at each juncture the mass opposition had been heavy. The continuing revolutionary process finally yielded results. First, some of the loosely held anti-Islamist/secular coalitions matured in their political outlook and organization, reflecting the realization that, once a political line is set, organization becomes most critical in determining the outcome. Those enamored of a leaderless «revolution” and presumably democratic decision-making, witnessed the rise of the Islamists in the aftermath of the January uprising. Second, the mass political movement has doubled in size to reach approximately 30 million people. Third, the nationalist and leftist organizations currently dominate the political space. However, the enemies of the Egyptian people are mobilizing in the squares. They are using deadly force and fighting the Egyptian military in the Sinai. The US tries to work through the Egyptian (neo) liberal elite and the military to protect its political and economic interests. Those counterrevolutionaries threaten to derail the June 30 uprising and work to dismantle the Egyptian state and disintegrate society. Multiple contradictory political pressures exerted on the military have produced an extremely complicated situation. However, national security is the military’s first concern. Main threats that Egypt currently faces emanate from Israel, the Islamists, Ethiopia (the Nahdha Dam that will impinge upon Egypt’s share of the Nile waters), and Saudi Arabia, orchestrated by the US. Those threats reflect the international dimensions of the ongoing Egyptian security crisis. In the scheme of things, Egypt’s security depends upon regional security. As a state institution, the military is subject to the laws of social motion. A majority of the Egyptian masses has been fighting for a secular state and a political economy capable of providing a decent life for them. It would be difficult, therefore, to imagine the military moving to eradicate a formidable revolutionary movement in size and political consciousness. In fact, the military has appealed to the movement for support against existential threats. In any other scenario the potential of the military disintegrating would be quite likely.
The stance that the Tahrir revolutionaries have taken from events in Syria and Lebanon (not to mention Libya, Iraq, Palestine and Turkey since Taksim), constitutes a critical change in consciousness. The enormity of the Western politico-military offensive against both Syria and Lebanon has become clear toTahrir. Egyptians in their overwhelming majority now see clearly as never before the danger to Egypt from the Zionist role in the continuing ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, the fascist Jewish fundamentalist offensive on al-Aqsa Mosque and the attempts to inflame sectarian and religious sensitivities in the respective Middle Eastern societies. Tahrir perceives the role of regional powers as part of the Western offensive against the peoples of the region. Egyptians have come to realize that the Turkish protests that Taksim and Gezi represent are integral to the popular mass uprisings sweeping the region.
Mass actions have their own developmental logic. Their significance needs to be analyzed within the context that generated them. The revolutionary process of which they are a part determines the direction, goals and speed that the popular movement takes at any given moment.
January 25, 2011 and June 30, 2013 have in common the intervention of the military in the uprisings. It is evident, however, that those two uprisings do not share anything else of significance.
Events currently unfolding in Egypt (and the entire region) cannot be characterized as going back to square one as history does not repeat itself. Instead, the revolutionary process continues, the stakes are high for all the Egyptian political (and regional) forces, regional states and imperial powers. Undoubtedly, the situation has rapidly become a fight to the finish.