An Egyptian court has ordered the release of former president Muhammad Hosni Mubarak, making him the only man who has seen his fate reversed among the leaders ousted in the Arab Spring. Though Mubarak still faces some allegations, his release has created a great sensation in the Arab world. It is difficult to compare the impact of this decision with that of his imprisonment more than two years ago.
Despite the common belief that Mubarak is unlikely to win back power, he is actually regaining his influence with the Egyptian military forces.
If Mubarak's release signals a new beginning in Egyptian politics, it will surely add to the already intense uncertainties in the Arab country.
In fact, the release of the toppled former president explicitly demonstrates the hesitation of Egyptians and the disorientation in society. The country has fallen apart amid revolutions and its people have been living in an abyss of suffering and frustration. Therefore, it is constantly wondering what to choose: democracy or social stability.
The nation has shown that it lacks the capability to possess both elements at the same time. Furthermore, Egyptians doubt that they can enjoy even one of them after the turmoil of the past two years.
Egypt's politics is lacking in firm supporting elements. Nothing has changed in the past two years, despite the corpses of protesters have piled up. Needed social reforms were not listed in the agenda of the former president's government during his stable reign and became impossible to implement amid the upheavals of the past two years.
The definition of democracy is a complicated political issue. Egypt is not necessarily destined not to have democracy, but serves as a tragic example of what happens when a nation simplifies its core values.
The release of Mubarak has embarrassed the US and some European countries that hailed "the end of the last pharaoh in Egypt," as well as several Arab nations that supported the Muslim Brotherhood. But it is the Egyptian people that must pay the tremendous price that has been incurred over the past two years.
Viewed as a reversal of the current historical trend, Mubarak's release has devastated the bottom line of Egypt's reforms.
It is predicted that either the army will entirely remove the Muslim Brotherhood and groups opposing military regimes, or the Brotherhood may bring an end to the army's powerful influence.
The Middle East situation plays a critical role in the political power distribution around the world, and thus Egypt's failure in achieving democracy will definitely draw international attention.
The US and Europe are expected to formulate new countermeasures to tackle the political challenge in this strategically important region.