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Egypt satser på at landet er så viktig at verden, les: USA og IMF, ikke har råd til å la det gå konkurs. Men faktum er at Egypt er for stort til å reddes, skriver Mahmoud Salem, kjent som bloggeren sandmonkey.

Washington fokuserer ensidig på økonomien, og forstår ikke at så lenge Morsi og Brorskapet styrer som de gjør, vil det fortsette å rakne.

 

If the ruling Islamist party does not change its approach, the economy will not improve, and the state will move closer to collapse.

Egypt har siden Morsi ble valgt oppvist flere av kriteriene på en failed state: sammenbrudd av lov og rett, kollaps i energiforsyning, tjenster som søppeltømming. I sum angir de en tendens, en nedadgående spiral, og i stedet for å søke etter kompromiss, gjør Morsi det motsatte: han tillater at hans egen pøbel kan angripe opposisjonen.

 

Inconsistent and selective application of law. On March 27, an Egyptian court overturned President Muhammad Morsi’s November 2012 decision to replace the sitting prosecutor-general with Talaat Abdullah, a crony who has since focused investigations solely on the MB’s political opponents. The ruling renders all of Abdullah’s investigations illegal. By ignoring the verdict and going after activists even more aggressively, the state — personified in the president, his government, and the prosecutor-general — has shown its willingness to undermine rule of law.

Deterioration of services. Basic public services such as electricity and gas are falling apart, with most Egyptians experiencing daily power cuts.

Unaccountable security apparatus. The interior minister, a Brotherhood loyalist, deploys the police to clash with opposition protesters while protecting the MB thugs who beat and torture demonstrators.

Delegitimization of the state. Due to a legally faulty election law issued by the Morsi-appointed upper house of parliament, the legislative elections originally slated for this month have been delayed until November. Meanwhile, the opposition is now refusing to participate in elections because Egyptian institutions cannot guarantee the fairness of the process. When Secretary of State John Kerry tried to mediate last month, the MB undercut his efforts by publicly calling for elections without any of the promised changes to the electoral law, which were the basis of his mediation. The situation is pushing Egypt toward failure, and the MB government shows no sign of seeking a solution.

Den politiske situasjonen har innvirkning på den økonomiske: turismen – som pleide å stå for 20 % av BNP er død. Det egyptiske pundet faller, og synkende tillit til egen valuta betyr inflasjon.

 

The political crisis has contributed to the country’s rapid economic deterioration. Unemployment has risen sharply, and tourism — which traditionally comprised around 20 percent of gross domestic product — is virtually nonexistent, with hotels experiencing occupancy rates of 10 percent on average. The dearth of dollars from tourism and foreign investment has left foreign reserves at a record low. Foreign currency is scarce, forcing many to turn to the black market at exorbitant exchange rates. Devaluation of the Egyptian pound has exacerbated the rising price of goods, and inflation is expected to worsen once the government implements the austerity measures mandated by the International Monetary Fund.

Egypt har ført langvarige forhandlinger med IMF. IMF forlanger nedskjæringer, bla. i subsidiering av energi og mel. Egypterne står foran noen harde år, og jo dypere de graver seg ned, jo hardere blir kuren. Da Brorskapet annonserte nedskjæringer i desember sist år, fikk de så hard motbør at de snudde. De ville ikke ta støyten ved de forestående valgene. Men de gikk med på at lånet skulle godkjennes av en ny folkevalgt forsamling, som de var sikre på ville være på plass i juni.

Men så grep domstolene inn og fant den nye valgloven for grunnlovsstridig og dermed forskjøv skjemaet seg. Nå kan det tidligst bli valg i oktober, og en godkjening av IMF-lånet kan neppe skje før i desember. Det er et halvt år etter at innstrammingene har slått inn. Forstår Brorskapet alvoret i situasjonen? Det virker ikke slik.

 

With the loan that far off, the economy will face grave challenges this summer. The government will struggle to cover pensions, salaries, and remaining subsidies, and any number of nightmares could materialize: prices of consumer goods succumbing to hyperinflation; the U.S. dollar vanishing from banks and exchange offices; bank runs leading to bankruptcy; unprecedented losses on the stock exchange; lack of liquidity for new or existing projects; a lower credit rating that further drives away foreign investors; a drastic increase in petty crime; increasing layoffs; and the ever-looming prospect of a hunger revolution. Indeed, at the rate Egypt’s economy is deteriorating, the much-debated IMF loan would likely keep the country afloat for only a few more months at most — it is by no means clear that the money would catalyze much greater foreign assistance as Cairo expects.

Morsi og Brorskapet viser ikke tegn til å forstå at deres politiske lederstil er en vesentlig del av forklaringen på krisen. Man tror attpåtil at man skal kunne presse Washington og IMF til ikke å la Egypt gå over ende. Men hverken USA eller EU har ressurser til å redde Egypt. Landet er too big to save.

 

This heightened potential for failure has not led the Brotherhood to the logical solution of finding political compromise or implementing much-needed economic and security reforms. In fact, the Morsi government shows no sign of changing the very methods that fueled the crisis, and its negotiating pitch has effectively been reduced to a threat: «Egypt is too big and too important for the United States to allow it to fail. Enough talk of reforms — give us the money now without preconditions or risk the country failing on your watch.» In short, the MB is holding Egypt for ransom, leaving Washington with a handful of dangerous options.

USAs interesser er først og fremst knyttet til Suez-kanalen og fredsavtalen med Egypt,  og foreløpig tar den egyptiske hæren seg av disse.

Egypt Is Too Big to Save

By Mahmoud Salem

 

Mahmoud Salem, a.k.a. @Sandmonkey, is a blogger and columnist for Daily News Egypt. In 2011, he was a candidate for parliament with the Free Egyptians Party.