There are truly only two paths at the moment. Yes, there are many possible decisions, yet each decision falls on one of two paths that each major faction of the political environment in Egypt may take.
Amidst the honeymoon that was the first 18 days of the revolution, it was beyond our thoughts that our ‘comrades’ in the revolution would, at some point along the path, focus all their attention against us. We all stood together in the same squares, marched together through the same streets, bled together in the same battles, and waited together through the harshest moments of those 18 days. We had one goal, one enemy, and a belief that if either of us takes a step back, we would both fail and lose.
What each of us failed to take into consideration was the other’s rock-solid belief in his ideology and political thought. The liberal, the leftist, and the secularist believed that some separation between faith and state must exist, while the Islamist believed that it is impossible to accept a state that has no links or ties to Islam.
Through every referendum and election, the Islamists managed to make it to the presidential palace, and form a constitution (albeit with a number of compromises).
Through losses at the polls, the liberals, leftists, and seculars ended up being the opposition, failing to dissuade the population from a yes vote in the first referendum, failing to persuade the population to elect a majority in both lower and upper houses of the parliament, failing to persuade the population to vote for their presidential candidates, and failing to dissuade the population from a yes vote in the final constitutional referendum.
The opposition has also attempted to take to the streets and try to force its demands through protests, with little, if any success.
With the emergence of the anarchist group, the ‘Black Bloc,’ here in Egypt, the opposition’s recent protests to mark the second anniversary of the January 25th revolution have turned violent, with clashes in many provinces (with the exception of Upper Egypt, where almost no protests were made) and attempts (both failed and successful) at breaking into and looting governmental and private property.
In the meantime, Islamist groups enjoy a strong ground support, at the ready to take to the streets at any moment, organized, mobile, and widespread, with a heavy presence in Upper Egypt, western Egypt (mainly Marsa Matruh), and Sinai. And the Islamist youth are impatient as they watch headquarters from their parties being ransacked, and the elected present under threat.
Both the Islamists and the opposition have 2 paths to choose from.
The opposition may either decide to give up on the ballots all together, and take on to the streets to force whatever change they would like, and enjoy the militant support of the Black Bloc in the face of any security personnel.
Or, on the other hand, they may give up on the protests, take to the streets in a different fashion, by helping rebuild the society and win hearts and minds, and try to persuade people to vote for them at the ballot, though it will definitely take a very long time to reap the harvest of their efforts.
The Islamists may decide to stand their ground, remain patient amid the insults and injuries, and either wait out the storm, or watch as the system collapses under the hands of the Black Bloc and the opposition forces, and sustain pressure from the youth to counter the opposition on the streets.
Or, on the other hand, they may take to the streets as they did at the Ettihadiya Palace weeks ago, clash with the opposition and the Black Bloc, and either force the opposition out of politics, or reach a violent stalemate that will end up in a civil war.
Either way, one thing is certain, the results of the clashes between opposition rioters and security forces will definitely play a major role in both factions’ decisions.