These events are profoundly sad. On the second anniversary of the empowering uprising that took place in Egypt, we are now witnessing the tragic dispersal of the political and social forces that brought about a significant outcome, namely the removal of an authoritarian and corrupt regime that had lasted many decades in Egypt. The promise that this revolution brought to Egypt two years ago is now on the threshold of bringing about a profound disappointment — nay, disillusionment — as the people of Egypt witness not only the divisiveness within the regime of President Mohammed Morsi, but also the dispersal of those forces and groups which could not bring themselves to transcend their narrow loyalties and restore the unity that inspired the people of Egypt and also animated the potentialities of the Arab Spring.
The National Salvation Front with Mohamed El-Baradei, Amr Moussa and Hamdeen Sabahi had a press conference on Jan 28 in which they declined the dialogue proposed by the resident. This situation suggests that the opposition — in the light of what has taken place in the last few days, especially in Port Said, Ismailai and Suez — are seeking to determine terms of reference and to agree on a credible outcome before envisioning a dialogue.
In other words, a dangerous polarization in Egypt’s political and popular scene has taken place. The crisis between the presidency of Egypt and the National Salvation Front is an attempt by the Front to de-legitimize the Morsi regime while acquiescing to its legality. This situation is dangerous because it carries within it the potential for civil strife. Restructuring a purposeful dialogue and the terms of reference is a collective responsibility which urgently requires action by both the president and the National Salvation Front and the opposition in general. Dialogue must be consequential.
Once again, it is sad to witness the events of the last few days — both the citizens that have been killed and President Morsi's resorting to the use of curfews and the license to arrest and detain at will — as if the inspiring event of two years ago never happened. Egypt is crucial for the success of the Arabs and in many ways, the international community. This crisis should be promptly resolved for the sake of Egyptians and for the sake of the Arabs' collective future.
Clovis Maksoud is a former ambassador and permanent observer of the League of Arab States at the United Nations and its chief representative in the United States for more than 10 years.