Over a year ago, I wrote an article where I warned of the "Somalisation of Egypt" and how this outcome is no longer merely a possibility but a blatant reality, especially in the Sinai, which when compared to Somalia makes the latter look like a stable state. Tribal conflicts have erupted in Aswan, Ismailia and Suez, and even in some neighbourhoods in Cairo. In some areas these conflicts have been transformed into an open war. Prior to these developments, the army has been transformed into a militia, and the state into a gang and the judiciary into a mafia. The end of the story is known.
I came to the conclusion of my analyses at several international conferences, in which many leading countries participated. I have expressed my belief that Western countries are playing a role in contributing to this rapid collapse because they deal with Egypt and other countries in similar situations as if they are short-term matters. For this reason, the global community ignores the early onset of such disasters. Action is taken much later, when the cost is much higher.
Let us take, for example, Syria, where it was necessary for us to intervene at the very beginning of the conflict in order to prevent Bashar Al-Assad from destroying his country and displacing nearly half of its population. What is even worse is all that has taken place in Iraq, with the siege that has lasted nearly two decades at this point. Iraq has since been transformed from one of the Arab world's richest countries – one that was attractive to many of the region's exiles and asylum seekers – to the one with the most refugees. Imagine what will happen when a country like Egypt is destroyed, with its population of nearly 100 million people? How many millions of people will flock to Europe? When will decision-makers take action? More than likely when it is too late, as usual.
What has taken place and continues to take place in Egypt has exceeded our darkest expectations: it's a state that is immersed in a process of self-destruction like those found in a Greek tragedy where the hero achieves a sort of prophetic mortality. Such was the case in Ethiopia and Somalia before, when opponents were dealt with by creating militias, thus polarising the country and dividing the population in both cases.
The factors that will lead to a resolution of the Egyptian conflict are no longer in the hands of the regime and its allies but in the hands of the opposition. The regime will meet its inevitable collapse due to the destructive policies that it implements in an effort to deal with internal unrest. Egypt is currently living off of a feeding tube sponsored by the Gulf States, which is not sustainable. These states will eventually lead the Egyptians into the abyss. A strategy implemented by the opposition is the only thing that will resolve the issue.
After the 2013 coup I encouraged the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt to avoid being dragged into a confrontation with the new regime and to withdraw temporarily from Tahrir Square in order to think clearly about the factors that led to the military takeover in the first place. One cannot blame those who stand against democracy when it comes to the crunch if those who are dedicated to democracy are unable to protect it. He who cannot protect democracy when he is inside the presidential palace will find it even harder to do so from within a prison cell.
The Egyptian regime has taken it upon itself to absorb the people's frustration in the same manner that the Mubarak regime did in the past, by lying to them and even committing crimes and atrocities to cover up for the truth. However, it is neither wise nor responsible to go about things like that; trying to save Egypt in such a way will actually destroy the country.
It has also become clear that a strategy of non-violent resistance is no longer a sustainable option because it is incompatible with a fascist regime that knows no limits and places fear in the hearts of the Egyptian people simply so that it can stay in power. Such is the case in Syria. Thus, peaceful protests and nonviolent resistance will do very little when facing such a regime. Either choose an opposition that is willing to engage in an open war or withdraw forces from the country's squares in order to be able to reconsider strategies that will allow the opposition to revive democracy rather than Morsi's "legitimacy".
The opposition, and especially the Brotherhood, must help the regime suffocate itself by escalating the conflict. This outcome is most likely what will end up happening because all that has occurred up until this point has truly poisoned the atmosphere within the country. Many cities and towns in Egypt are functioning independently. Al-Sisi will soon find himself, therefore, in a position very similar to that of Assad, where he is only in control of a very small area near the presidential palace.
However, it is wise to avoid the escalation of such a scenario because it will lead to an even longer journey to the revival of democracy and many will have to give up their sacrifices. It begins with the opposition's declaration that it is willing to work towards restoring democracy without restoring Morsi's position so long as the youth are able to navigate the process as they did during the 25th January Revolution.
What we have not discussed is that Egypt is establishing its new identity in a very violent way under a fascist and oppressive regime. However, as is the case in all the dreams affiliated with the human side of this story, the Egyptian individual is able, if he or she is willing, to change the end result of the destruction that is currently unfolding. A practical political analyst would tell you that a miracle is needed to change the status quo. What the history of the past few decades tells us is that Egypt has truly fallen, at least as a state. We pray to God that he gives strength to the good people left in Egyptian society and enable them to make the necessary changes.
Translated from Al Quds Al Arabi, 2 July, 2015.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.