Audio

Egypt's New Dawn

13/07/2012 10:48 am

Dr Harry Hagopian, the Bishops' Consultant on the Middle East

When examining whether last month's presidential elections in Egypt that saw Mohammed Morsi sworn in might represent a fresh start for Egyptians, the Bishops' Consultant on the Middle East North Africa region, Dr Harry Hagopian has offered his analysis of the situation in our latest Middle East Analysis podcast. He pinpoints the tensions in the country:

"You have a parliament that is pretty much in limbo, you have a strong presence of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist parties, you've got an army that holds quite a lot of sway, you've got a restless public and an economic crisis. At the end of the day I believe the economy will drive the political imperatives in Egypt."

There has been much written and spoken about the new president asserting himself in the face of the country's powerful military council - even briefly reconvening parliament after the council had previously dissolved it. How will this power struggle play out?

Dr Hagopian draws comparisons with key moments in history in the region like Iran in 1979 at the time of the Islamic Revolution, Algeria in 1991, Pakistan in 1999, Turkey before Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan - even Egypt itself in 1954. What do these historical events have in common and will there be a similar outcome in Egypt?

"These are examples when a country - Pakistan, Turkey, Algeria, Egypt - was fractured and the military came in to reclaim power in the name of stability. One fear in the country among people who want a democracy for Egypt's future is that these clashes will lead to the military taking over again. I would beg to differ. We're past the stage where the military could carry out coups as they have done in the past."

A key question as far as the Christian communities are concerned is what role they will have in Egypt's new dawn. Will they be free to play a full and fair part in society?

"Christian Copts - be they Orthodox in the large majority, but also Catholic Copts as well as Evangelical Copts - should always remember that they are citizens of Egypt and that their rights and responsibilities are the same as everybody else's and therefore what happens to everybody else will happen to them. The very clear proviso is that they are treated fairly and given their due rights."

It's very much a case of time will tell for Dr Hagopian when it comes to Egypt. We will bring you Harry's take on all things Middle East North Africa in Middle East Analysis.

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You can listen to an extract from Middle East Analysis discussing Egypt by using the player in the top right-hand corner of this page or click on the link below the player to download.

Duration: 2m 19s

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Audio

Egypt - July 2012

Bishops' Consultant on the Middle East North Africa region, Dr Harry Hagopian, sums up the state of play in July 2012 after Mohamed Morsi won the country's first free presidential elections in 40 years.   egypt-post-election-120712.mp3 3.21 MB