'No Movement' On Talks In Egypt

TV/Radio Broadcast NPR
Summary
The protesters in Egypt must look beyond the issue of whether and when President Mubarak will step down and begin to consider what it will take to engage in an orderly transition to democracy in Egypt.
Related Topics
Related Media and Tools
 

ROBERT SIEGEL, host: Amr Hamzawy is an Egyptian political scientist, research director and senior associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, Lebanon. His bio on the Website of the Carnegie Endowment for Peace lists his areas of expertise: Democracy, Islamism, social unrest, political reform, Middle East, Egypt. With that portfolio, he is not surprisingly in the thick of things in Cairo right now.

He's one of the so-called wise men who were talking with both protesters and the government and he joins us by phone from Egypt. Welcome to the program.

Mr. AMR HAMZAWY (Senior Associate, Carnegie Middle East Center): Thank you very much, Robert.

SIEGEL: It appears to us from afar that there's now a complete stalemate on the question of whether Hosni Mubarak should leave office at once or whether he should remain in office through some transition period. Is there any movement at all on that score?

Mr. HAMZAWY: No, unfortunately there is no movement up until today. The president and the establishment remain committed to keeping him in office until September, continue to reject our suggestion to call on the president to negate his presidential powers to the vice president to manage the transitional period to we are still stuck (unintelligible) like last week. And I see the (unintelligible). We really have to work beyond that question and see what it takes to define an orderly transition to democracy in Egypt.

SIEGEL: Well, that's a description of the intransigents you've discovered at the government. Among protesters it doesn't seem that handing off power to Vice President Suleiman would be satisfactory either. Or do you think they would accept that?

Mr. HAMZAWY: They would accept it. I mean, of course I have been with different protest movements and networks in Tahrir, in Cairo and elsewhere since January 25. And I am certain that if we reach a formula which really takes Mubarak out of the Egyptian critical theme, de facto taking him out, people will be satisfied. Rather than in the background, there's not only a sort of - not wishing to having Mubarak any longer, which I do understand. But it's really the growing mistrust in what he is capable to do in terms of suppressing the legitimate democracy aspirations in Egypt.

SIEGEL: Well, when his now chosen vice president, Suleiman, speaks of Egypt not being ready for democracy, do you get the impression that they're talking about the need for some relatively brief period of constitutional changes and preparations for an election? Or do they mean a multi-year extension of the current regime minus Hosni Mubarak?

Mr. HAMZAWY: You know, it's exactly where our fears are as of now. I mean, what I am seeing from an analytical point of view is more of a consolidation of authoritarianist(ph) pattern and much, much less a democratization pattern. I mean the response of the ruling establishment to the legitimate demands of a growing segment of the Egyptian public opinion and of the international community has been limited, has not really added up to a real reform package.

We are being offered some constitution amendments. We are being offered a possibility of lifting the emergency law, pending the security situation in the country. And so, in total, it does not really add up to a new reform package. So I'm seeing more of a consolidation concept, consolidation attempt. But that attempt to divide up the demands, the legitimate demands of the (unintelligible) by taking parties aside and offering a couple of seats when the elections get repeated.

So it's the same tactics, divide and rule authoritarian tactics which we have been knowing from Egypt from the last decade.

SIEGEL: So, what you're describing there is the regime being prepared to make some quantitative adjustments to its power, but not the qualitative one, not the one that says it's time for a new order in Egypt.

Mr. HAMZAWY: Exactly. They have yet to realize the change which really happened on January 25, at the latest on January 28th, which is the fact that citizens have recaptured the streets. We have yet to realize it and to reengineer the system to avert it. So we are trying to suppress it and I'm afraid we are going to be into a protracted crisis of sorts.

SIEGEL: Political scientist Amr Hamzawy of the Carnegie Middle East Center. Thanks for talking to us from Cairo.

Mr. HAMZAWY: My pleasure, Robert.

End of document
Source http://carnegie-mec.org/2011/02/09/no-movement-on-talks-in-egypt/azmv

More from The Global Think Tank

In Fact

 

45%

of the Chinese general public

believe their country should share a global leadership role.

30%

of Indian parliamentarians

have criminal cases pending against them.

140

charter schools in the United States

are linked to Turkey’s Gülen movement.

2.5–5

thousand tons of chemical weapons

are in North Korea’s possession.

92%

of import tariffs

among Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru have been eliminated.

$2.34

trillion a year

is unaccounted for in official Chinese income statistics.

37%

of GDP in oil-exporting Arab countries

comes from the mining sector.

72%

of Europeans and Turks

are opposed to intervention in Syria.

90%

of Russian exports to China

are hydrocarbons; machinery accounts for less than 1%.

13%

of undiscovered oil

is in the Arctic.

17

U.S. government shutdowns

occurred between 1976 and 1996.

40%

of Ukrainians

want an “international economic union” with the EU.

120

million electric bicycles

are used in Chinese cities.

60–70%

of the world’s energy supply

is consumed by cities.

58%

of today’s oils

require unconventional extraction techniques.

67%

of the world's population

will reside in cities by 2050.

50%

of Syria’s population

is expected to be displaced by the end of 2013.

18%

of the U.S. economy

is consumed by healthcare.

81%

of Brazilian protesters

learned about a massive rally via Facebook or Twitter.

32

million cases pending

in India’s judicial system.

1 in 3

Syrians

now needs urgent assistance.

370

political parties

contested India’s last national elections.

70%

of Egypt's labor force

works in the private sector.

70%

of oil consumed in the United States

is for the transportation sector.

20%

of Chechnya’s pre-1994 population

has fled to different parts of the world.

58%

of oil consumed in China

was from foreign sources in 2012.

$536

billion in goods and services

traded between the United States and China in 2012.

$100

billion in foreign investment and oil revenue

have been lost by Iran because of its nuclear program.

4700%

increase in China’s GDP per capita

between 1972 and today.

$11

billion have been spent

to complete the Bushehr nuclear reactor in Iran.

2%

of Iran’s electricity needs

is all the Bushehr nuclear reactor provides.

78

journalists

were imprisoned in Turkey as of August 2012 according to the OSCE.

Stay in the Know

Enter your email address in the field below to receive the latest Carnegie analysis in your inbox!

Personal Information
 
 
Carnegie Middle East Center
 
Emir Bechir Street, Lazarieh Tower Bldg. No. 2026 1210, 5th flr. Downtown Beirut, P.O.Box 11-1061 Riad El Solh, Lebanon
Phone: +961 1 99 12 91 Fax: +961 1 99 15 91
Please note...

You are leaving the Carnegie–Tsinghua Center for Global Policy's website and entering another Carnegie global site.

请注意...

你将离开清华—卡内基中心网站,进入卡内基其他全球中心的网站。