"#Egypt problem is not #Mubarak, #MB or secular opposition. It's the 'deep state'; intelligence, military, security, judiciary, and mafia." -- Carol Malouf @carolmalouf
Malouf identifies a classic problem in revolutionary times, from the French Revolution to the Weimar Republic and beyond. The new leaders inherit the old bureaucracy, entrenched in its old ways. There is arrogance, corruption, incompetence and, more often than not, deliberate obstructionism. Yet the leaders can do nothing sudden, because they depend on these people. This also happens, as you no doubt know, within companies and all sorts of other institutions.
I have no idea if Egypt is on the brink of some disaster, but it is certainly a world of necessary make-believe. It's on political thin air. The legitimacy of the new order is constantly questioned, but on what basis? on the pretence that there are not only established but valid laws, procedures, ways of doing things. Trouble is, there aren't. Like it or not, the hundreds of thousands who risked their lives and the hundreds who died to overthrow Mubarak delegitimized, in the most decisive fashion, the whole of the old régime: its laws, its constitution, its judiciary, its procedures, its authorities.
In other words, if the impact of the revolution were clearly recognized, it would amount to acknowledging a state of anarchy. But it is not clearly recognized - not because people don't know perfectly well what's happened, but because they do. A society can't afford to be without laws, judges, police, army, bureaucracy. That's what gives Malouf's deep state its still substantial prestige and real-world authority.
So we have something like a make-believe state and government. It joins new elements to the old, but the new elements are fragile - a leader, assembly, and constitution, all thought to be born of illegality and fraud, all thought to rest on bogus expressions of popular will. By contrast, the old laws and institutions may start to look pretty good!
The dangers of this situation are as obvious as they are deliberately and understandably under-recognized. On the one hand, push come to shove, there is no government and there are no laws. What's more, the new leadership only pretends to have power. It suits the opposition, of course, to take this pretense as reality: they speak of Morsi's 'power grab', not admitting that is almost all grab and no power. At the same time, Morsi's own quite necessary and convenient pretense to run a government just as necessarily causes disappointment and frustration, especially among the less privileged classes. If he's got a government, why doesn't he deliver? What of his promises? When will what's broken be fixed? After all, people make revolutions because they want change, improvement. Yet Morsi cannot very well excuse himself on the grounds that his whole régime, except for the old régime elements, is pretty much an empty shell.
It could all work out. The make-believe state could gradually morph into a real state with real power. Morsi could forge a skillful, inclusive, effective administration. Or not. Perhaps, though, the prospects for a happy ending will be brighter if both his supporters and opponents are more ready to admit that, before anything good can happen, the deep state needs to be tamed.