For an entire year now, since he ousted Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, we have been receiving the strongest hints that General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (who in the meantime has procured himself the rank of field marshal) will be Egypt's next president.
In the allegedly unofficial campaign, taking place under his supervision, al-Sisi took off his khaki uniform for a moment and presented the "road map of democracy" and economic plans aimed at "upgrading Egypt."
Under a pretence of democracy, so as not to irritate Obama, al-Sisi is hunting high and low for candidates who will run to the presidential palace against him. There were five, and they all dropped out. The last name mentioned, General Mourad Mouwafi, the dismissed director of the Egyptian intelligence agency, announced that he would join the race only if al-Sisi, which has yet to officially announce his candidacy, would quit the race.
On Wednesday or Friday, al-Sisi is expected to address the Egyptian nation and announce that he is resigning from all his posts: Deputy prime minister, minister of defense and commander-in-chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces. On the same occasion, he will also reveal the identity of his replacement. Al-Sisi will not organize support rallies and will not launch campaigns to recruit votes across Egypt. Due to the lack of competition, he doesn't have to. His sweeping victory is a given fact.
Egypt's population officially numbers 94 million residents. They have to be fed and dressed, provided with health and welfare services and given jobs. In scarred Egypt, after three years of protests and violent incidents, al-Sisi needs a miracle to get the foreign investors and tourists back and make the wilderness blossom. Otherwise, the Islamist camp will recruit Allah again. If al-Sisi fails, no one can guarantee that he will not end up like his two predecessors, Mubarak and Morsi.
A moment before he announces his candidacy and uncovers the "rebuilding Egypt" campaign, al-Sisi must clear the internal resistance. The 529 men sentenced to death on Monday and more than 600 others who are expected to get serious punishments are making Obama's blood boil, as well as irritating the European Union and human rights organizations. Neither can we forget the fact that five journalists, including an Australian and Canadian, are sitting in prison because they worked for al-Jazeera. Political satirist Bassem Youssef is also in jail, and every time he lashes out against the government they make sure to shut his mouth.
Al-Sisi has already proved that he is not the heart's desire of human rights and democracy supporters. And yet, we in Israel should also keep our fingers crossed for his success, in his own way. If he fails, it will be our problem too.