Lee is an established editor who works for The Weekly Standard. His writing majors in politics, and his broad knowledge in political systems around the world has enabled him to collaborate with other like-minded journalists in forming The Middle East Quarterly. The publication focuses on the political occurrences in the Middle East. In this article, Smith consults political analysts from Washington.
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When the article was being drafted, the health condition of Egypt’s president, Husni Mubarak had deteriorated, and it was evident that he would not make it.
Mubarak has been in power for more than two decades, and thus it is anticipated that he will appoint his second son Gamal to rule the country after he passes on. However, this anticipation is far from truth because the supposed heir is not showing any interest in the throne.
Omar Suleiman is perceived to be another potential candidate for this position because of his exposure and experience while working with state security agencies. However, he has no links to any political party, and hence may opt to support Gamal’s campaigns.
Similarly, Mohamed Elbaradei poses a threat to the other two candidates, but the fact that he has not aligned himself with any political party is a reliever to the hopefuls. He opts to wait until the situation is favorable because he is certain that the elections will not be fair. His political ambition does not go down well with Washington because he is viewed as an ally of Iran.
Egypt needs a president who will help in safeguarding its interests by restoring its sovereignty in the Arab world. The throne will not be easy to manage because there are challenges, including the factions such as Muslim Brotherhood. The analysts are not sure whether the forthcoming leader will follow the legacy left by Husni Mubarak.
According to the author, Egypt is governed by a hereditary system. Since Mubarak is on the verge of passing on, his second son Gamal, is the ideal heir to the throne. Surprisingly, Mubarak has not made any statement regarding his succession as expected.
In fact, he is distancing himself from succession politics. However, his actions contradict his statements, especially when he attends public functions alongside Gamal. The international community prefers Gamal due to his exposure with the Western countries.
From their perspective, Gamal would strengthen the bondage between US and Egypt. However, there are critics who doubt whether Gamal has what it takes to assume the position. The critics argue that Gamal is only related with the military in business ventures (Smith 4).
Mubarak has not selected his predecessor or even a vice president who will act while elections are underway. It seems he wants to break the hereditary leadership system because has not even endorsed any candidate for the position.
This implies that the citizens will select the next president. Gamal has not demonstrated any interest in presidency because he has an established business empire that has turned the state economy around.
Moreover, it seems Gamal has weighed the risks that are associated with presidency against the benefits from his ventures, and the risks have outweighed the benefits. This is why he is reluctant to defend his father’s state because he knows leadership comes at a cost.
The costs entail meeting the needs of the military, Muslim Brotherhood, intelligence officials and regional bodies. Unless a leader has the backing of these players, then that leadership will not last for long. On the other hand, business ventures offer more opportunities because there are no sacrifices to be made.
The next president will require the backing of these agencies because without them he is bound to fail. Religion has a special place in Egypt, and thus religious leaders from Muslim Brotherhood have to be involved in national matters.
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Secondly, the military is needed to protect the presidency and his sovereignty. The task of maintaining strong ties with the agencies is an uphill task because there has to be a balance between the interests of the citizens and the agencies.
The fall of Mubarak is parallel to Egypt’s loss of sovereignty in the African continent and Arab world. Egypt is thought to have put more emphasis on its national issues, which has caused it to lag behind on regional issues.
The author remembers a few decades a go when the country was the most influential state in the region. The statement made by Elbaradei reveals that Mubarak has been abusing his office by manipulating the outcome of elections.
Currently, Egypt has strong ties with the US but Iran is also pursuing her for forming a team that will challenge US. The next leader has to make a strategic decision regarding this matter because there are no guarantees from either option.
The author’s article is very comprehensive which makes it very informative. On the other hand, the opinions presented by the author do not present the reality on the ground. This is because the contributors are not based in Egypt, and thus their opinion could be based on hearsay.
In conclusion, Mubarak does not want to influence the forthcoming elections, but even if he wanted to it is already too late. Gamal has the potential to lead the country but he is reluctant from declaring his stand. Perhaps if Mubarak had backed him he would have developed an interest in the seat.
Omar Suleiman needs to register with a political party to vie for presidency. Alternatively, he may choose to rally behind Gamal. However, the author has not elicited the relationship between the two. Elbaradei has what it takes, but he also needs to join a political party because is among the prerequisites.
Smith, Lee. “Egypt after Mubarak.” Middle East Quarterly Fall 2010: 79-83. Print.