Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Nathan Brown on MoMo

When judicial independence in Egypt was a developing issue in 2005, I had just arrived in Cairo, and was trying to understand the intricacies of working on a US government-funded project to improve court operations that would go nowhere near judicial independence. I read Nathan Brown's Book, The Rule of Law in the Arab WorldCourts in Egypt and the Gulf, and Professor Brown was kind enough to respond to a couple of emails I sent him asking for further information.

He's got an article in the New Republic trying to make sense out of the current imbroglio involving the president, the judiciary and the constitution. He thinks, and this is consistent with what I saw time and again in Egypt, that the President and the Brotherhood did not accurately predict the consequences of their actions, and that the resulting chaos is ever deepening:
The problems do not lie so much in the content of the constitution, which is filled more with missed opportunities than egregious authoritarianism. But that document, if it passes, will have to operate in a very difficult atmosphere. Rival camps have now formed and are preparing to face off in every arena: not merely at the polls but in the press, the courts, and and the streets. Only a continued aversion to violence and a fear that civil disorder could drag the army back are preventing more violent struggle.
Whatever togetherness that existed in the rush to oust Mubarak seems gone, and, were I inclined toward prediction, I would venture to say that things will not be settling down in Egypt anytime soon. But, as Yogi Berra is reputed to have said: "I never make predictions about the future, and I never will."

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