Has“Arab spring” skipped summer and fall and headed into winter?
Probably. I assume, to some (and they will know who they are) this will come as an “unexpected” turn of events:
Six months after young, liberal activists helped lead the popular movement that ousted President Hosni Mubarak, the hard core of these protesters was forcibly dispersed by the troops. Some Egyptians lined the street to applaud the army. Others ganged up on the activists as they retreated from the square that has come to symbolize the Arab Spring.
Squeezed between an assertive military and the country’s resurgent Islamist movement, many Internet-savvy, pro-democracy activists are finding it increasingly hard to remain relevant in a post-revolutionary Egypt that is struggling to overcome an economic crisis and restore law and order.
"The liberal and leftist groups that were at the forefront of the revolution have lost touch with the Egyptian people," says Shadi Hamid, director of research at the Brookings Institution’s Doha Center. "These protesters have alienated much of Egypt. For some time they’ve been deceiving themselves by saying that the silent majority is on their side—but all evidence points to the contrary, and Monday’s events confirm that."
Rather predictable, at least among those who objectively observe how the world usually works. As I said early on, the most ruthless and best organized will win this little bout and it was obvious it was the army and the Muslim Brotherhood that shared those attributes. They also came to an early agreement/alliance between themselves. At that point, you knew the movement started by the “young, liberal activists” variously described as “Arab Spring” and the “Twitter Revolution” was doomed.
The backlash among rank-and-file Egyptians became evident on July 23, when a march by revolutionary activists heading to the defense ministry was assaulted by residents of Cairo’s Abassiya neighborhood. More than a hundred people were injured.
Egypt’s secular and liberal activists have been campaigning for postponing parliamentary elections, initially planned for as early as June, so that they could better organize themselves and compete against the more established Islamists.
Elections have been pushed to November, but the liberals and the secularists appear not to have taken advantage of the delay. Instead of organizing themselves into a coherent bloc, they have set up minuscule rival parties and feuded among themselves, say analysts and diplomats.
"There is a power game going on—and the liberals and the entire secular movement are the weaker element, while the Islamists and the army are strong," said Laila Soueif, a liberal activist and human-rights campaigner who teaches at Cairo University.
The secular and liberal activists let the revolution pass them by while they feuded and fought among themselves. Meanwhile the army and Brotherhood took advantage of the situation and are now poised to take control of the country – “democratically” of course. And they’re certainly not going to agree to a delay in elections to allow their rivals for power any chance of better organizing themselves.
I think it is probably pretty clear what the outcome of elections will be and who will end up being squeezed out. The secular and liberal activists have missed their moment. Meet the new boss – same as the old boss.