But now, things are finally getting back to normal.
Egypt’s new power dynamic, following the July 3 coup that ousted Morsi, is eerily familiar. Gone are the Islamist rulers from the once-banned Muslim Brotherhood. Back are the faces of the old guard, many closely linked to Mubarak’s reign or to the all-
powerful generals. And for a seemingly broad array of Egyptians, that’s exactly the way they want it.
The overthrow of Morsi has yielded a new appreciation for military rule in a country that so recently shunned it, and a striking return to the way things were before the 2011 revolution against a Mubarak regime that was widely considered irredeemably corrupt and exploitative.
Telltale signs of the old guard are cropping up in Egypt’s new cabinet, where Mubarak-era figures abound and Islamists are absent; in the halls of the nation’s justice system, where prosecutors are investigating the nation’s pre-coup leaders on charges of incitement; and in darkened jail cells, where prisoners are blindfolded, handcuffed and interrogated about their adherence to the Brotherhood.
Gen. Abdel Fatah al-Sissi, the man who delivered news of Morsi’s dismissal on national television, has now assumed the role of deputy prime minister in addition to his earlier titles of defense minister and commander of Egypt’s armed forces. Few observers doubt that he pulls the levers behind a facade of civilian rule.
In the state-run media, the old-guard rhetoric of Mubarak’s 30-year reign has made a full-throated return, with patriotic montages and copious praise for the armed forces. Private networks have gotten in on the act, too.
So far, aside from Brotherhood-led protests, there’s been little backlash against the return to the old ways. Egyptians who once demanded punishment for the “feloul” — the so-called remnants of Mubarak’s regime — say that a year of disastrous Brotherhood rule has put everything in perspective.
“I don’t care if they are feloul, as long as they fix what the Brotherhood did,” said Mohamed Mahmoud, a locksmith who voted for Morsi and later joined the protests to oust him.
Eleven out of 34 cabinet ministers are veterans of Mubarak’s regime. Two were members of Mubarak’s National Democratic Party, a group that was dissolved after his 2011 fall. Defenders of the old guard say it’s inevitable that the government will include Mubarak-era officials because they are the ones actually qualified to run the country.
“For over a year, the Muslim Brotherhood government proved to be incompetent. So we have to work with these experts from the old regime,” said Ahmed Sarhan, an aide to Ahmed Shafik, the retired air force commander who lost to Morsi by a slim margin in last year’s election.