Egypt’s Inbetweeners

Steven A. Cook offers the pros and cons of the new interim government:

There are reasons to like the transition that [interim President Adly] Mansour and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) have set up, notably its sequence. The generals have put constitutional revisions before parliamentary and presidential elections, which will avoid the destabilizing politics that occurred during the transition from Mubarak to Morsi, when Egyptians voted for a parliament and a president whose responsibilities had yet to be enumerated. Once elected, politicians sought to maximize their powers and, in turn, enshrine their prerogative in a new constitution. Even so, there is an undeniable flaw at the heart of the new process — it does not match the politics of the moment.

Egypt’s new cabinet is an emblem of that problem. It is a transitional body intended to guide Egypt for a mere nine months, yet it took two weeks of navigating a thicket of competing personalities, with axes to grind and conflicting worldviews, to put together. The result is far from stellar. It is basically a collection of retreads with backgrounds in the transitional cabinets of Essam Sharaf (prime minister between March and November 2011) and Kemal Ganzouri (prime minister between December 2011 and August 2012), as well as a group of second-rung Mubarak officials. This means that, collectively, Egypt’s new leaders have nothing to show in the way of accomplishments during their previous stints of service.

Recent Dish on Egypt here and here.