Since Mubarak buzzed off, conspiracy theories have been as abundant as billboards of him once were. Almost everyone has their own little “sophisticated insight” about just what’s going on behind the scenes, who’s really controlling the situation, and what dodgy alliances are being forged and broken.
While the myriad nuances of these theories vary from one “theorist” to the next, they can all be generally sieved down to four lines of thought. Here they are:
Foreign pressure is running the show
Specifically the US. Backers of this theory will point to the $1.3 billion pumped into the military by the US and the close ties between top generals in the Supreme Council of Armed Forces and US officials. Some will argue that the referendum on constitutional amendments was a US-imposed test, the aim being so that the US can make a risk-free assessment of who exactly has the biggest voice in a free election in Egypt – i.e. how big the Muslim Brotherhood really is and how much weight people like ElBaradei and Amr Mousa really have.
Proponents of this view may point to incidents like the release of Mohamed Al-Zawahiri (the brother of Al-Qaeda’s number 2 man) from prison followed by his seemingly random re-arrest shortly after. Surely this was due to a phone call from the US, they argue.
This view is often expanded further to include pressure from Gulf states. A Kuwaiti newspaper (Al-Dar) recently reported that authorities in Egypt are under immense pressure from the Gulf (and especially Saudi) not to put Mubarak on trial, with threats of cutting financial assistance and possibly relations.
The more cynical takers of this theory will say this all comes down to Israel: Zionism cannot afford to have a democratic Egypt that’s independent of US aid and free to lift the Gaza siege and face Israel head on. Hence Israel is pushing its US lobby to force the Obama administration into supporting some kind of counter-revolution here.
The long-winded counter-revolution
This theory holds that the Muslim brotherhood, military and NDP have come together in a bizarre and once believed impossible alliance. The aim of this alliance (which ultimately only really includes the NDP and military) is to prop up the Muslim Brotherhood, give it a voice, and let it win large portions of the parliament. At this point, once the MB starts dictating a new and presumably medieval constitution after having scared off most foreign investments and tourists, there will be sufficient popular outrage for the military to step in and basically restore the old system back into place (with a good excuse this time).
The three stooges
This variant of the above theory holds that the as yet untouched axis of evil from the old NDP – i.e. Safwat El-Sherif, Zakaria Azmi, and Fathy Sorour – are still running the show, possibility even at the behest of the Sharm El Sheikh-bound Mubarak. They too are running a long-winded counter-revolution, and its core mission is to create a sustained sense of chaos and fear.
It’s unclear what the personal objectives of these three are at this point, seeing as their political lives are undoubtedly over, but some will say their motive is plain old revenge: A “we’ll show the bastards what life’s like without us” kind of thing. And this was indeed what was attempted in the 10 days prior to Mubarak’s departure.
To do this, so the theory goes, these three are exploiting two prime tools: the media and thugs. The former – whose heads are still very much in place despite being Mubarak ass kissers – are happy to oblige, flaring up and seemingly encouraging the “Islamist whirlwind” of the past three weeks in order to whip up nostalgia for the old days when Islamists were kept quiet, while continuing their war against true threats to despotism like ElBaradei.
The latter (that is, thugs, which may also include disgruntled State Security scumbags) continue to be a menace to normal life and are presumably to blame for the recent attacks on Christians. Backers of this theory will also point to the still less than normal levels of police presence, noting that too many officers remain loyal to the old guard, which is embodied at this point by these three douches.
The incompetent army
This is not a conspiracy theory at all as it basically holds that all the madness and bedlam of the past weeks are due to little more than how rubbish the military is at making good decisions – i.e. there is no dirty, ulterior motive, just a deep lack of competence.
The army isn’t making it difficult to disagree with this opinion: from slow decision-making, to confusion about the consequences of the referendum, to random military trails and pardons, to zero transparency, and most crucially, some seriously bad PR skills.
More likely, however …
Is that an amalgam of these forces is at play: serious foreign pressures, attempts to reinstate a fallen system, Islamist opportunists, old farts trying to impose their dying legacy, and, of course, a group of old fossils dressed in military clothes that doesn’t know which of these pressures it should yield to, if any.