• Democracy
  • September 21, 2010
  • 13 minutes read

US scholar David Ottoway writes on: Egypt at the tipping point

US scholar David Ottoway writes on: Egypt at the tipping point

“Egypt at the tipping point” was the title of David Ottoway’s newest study at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The paper comes in a series of published articles in the Wilson Center Middle East Program’s summer 2010 Occasional Paper.
Ottaway discussed his hand on experiences and some remarkable political events comparing Middle East countries‘ domestic, social and economic situations in flash back style. Egypt in particular was discussed as Ottoway compares Mubarak’s transition of power following Sadat’s death to his ending of his political career. He writes
“The question naturally arises whether Egypt might follow the “Turkish model” of a peaceful transition from secular military to Muslim civilian rule”.
Outlined is series of questions that he sought to answer in his paper. He discusses issues ranging from Mubarak’s successor, nature of regime changing, possibility of Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei becoming president and other concepts including human rights, and the economy social and political trends in Egypt . Ottoway questioned the possibility of Turkey ‘s politics and Turkey ‘s AKP wondering if it would affect the future of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egyptian politics. He writes on the Brotherhood;

“One of the hottest issues Egyptians, foreign residents and diplomats are all debating today is how the government should deal with the Muslim Brotherhood, which shocked the country by capturing 88 seats—20 percent of all elected deputies—in the 2005 parliamentary elections to establish itself as the main opposition bloc. The Brotherhood is the oldest Islamic political movement not only in Egypt but the entire Arab world, founded by the Egyptian scholar Hassan al-Banna in 1928. Its primary goal has long been to establish an Islamic state”.


 He commends the MB ascertaining that


” Whatever Egyptians think of the Brethren, almost all agree they have had great success in progressively imposing their values on society over the past three decades.”


In short he contended that the MB was a positive force to be reckoned with indicating that:


The other view of the Brotherhood is that this fount of Islamic conservative activism has mellowed considerably and progressively come to accept the rules of engagement in a multi-party democracy.


‘Since they form the country’s largest organized political constituency, only by incorporating Islamists into the political system can Egypt ever hope to become truly democratic.

Ottaway discussed other several findings where he commented on the Egyptian citizen’s willingness to endure highly difficult social and economic conditions.
“The government has installed just enough safety valves to keep the pot from exploding.”
According to Ottoway, journalists are given just enough media freedom, workers are given just high enough wages, and the Muslim Brotherhood is allowed just enough influence in domestic affairs to keep Egyptians satisfied.