Egyptian analyst confident that country will transition to successful democracy
As Egypt tries to adjust to and finish its transition to democracy, the country is struggling with outbursts and anger. But Farouk El-Baz, a former adviser to the former Egyptian leader Anwar Sadat, and a professor at Boston University, says the country is just experiencing normal, post-revolution shockwaves.
Thousands of Egyptians rallied in Port Said on Friday, trying to make clear that local residents had nothing to do with the deadly soccer riot there earlier this month.
There's also a great deal of tension in Egypt with the United States, over the country's prosecution of nonprofits that have been funded by international sources. At least 16 Americans have been charged in connection with the investigation and are barred from leaving the country. Some have taken refuge in the U.S. embassy.
And as America threatens to withhold more than $1 billion in aid to Egypt until that situation reaches a satisfactory conclusion, Egyptian politicians are saying such an action could lead them to re-evaluate their 1979 peace treaty with Israel.
Farouk El-Baz, professor of Geology at Boston University and an adviser to former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, said all of this should be viewed as political gesturing.
"They're saying that only for public consumption," El-Baz said. "In real life, the emphasis should have been placed on that these groups did not get the approval."
El-Baz, who himself is seeking a license to operate an NGO in Egypt, said the employees of the NGO are at fault for not securing a license before operating there.
"When you're going to a foreign country and going to do some activities, you better figure out what is it that is necessary to do that within the existing laws," he said.
More broadly, though, El-Baz said Egypt is making progress to democratic rule. People in Egypt, he said, even secular ones, aren't overly concerned about the large number of Islamists who won power in the most recent elections.
"When they assume power, they will have to deal with problems. They have to deal with the economy. You can't deal with the economy by saying that women cannot work," El-Baz said. "They will be moderated. There's no questions about that."
He said that while some Islamists are making outrageous statements, seeking attention, they're already being moderated and shouted down by their own party members.
"I really think they will settle into ruling the country," he said, "and I really think in the next election, the Islamists aren't going to get as many votes."
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