Friday, September 30, 2011

The role of the army in Egypt's new politics

Egypt's army played a vital part in ousting Mubarak, but in the landscape now emerging, their role is more complex.

Soumaya Ghannoushi

"Had the Egyptian army not pulled the rug from under Mubarak's feet, siding with protesters in Tahrir Square, the story of its revolution may have more closely resembled the uprisings of Syria, Yemen, and perhaps even Libya. The bitter confrontation that would have erupted would have cost hundreds - if not thousands - of lives, and, at the very least, prolonged the conflict, significantly delaying the old president's fall. The chant that reverberated around Egypt's squares in the early days of the post-Mubarak era, as euphoric Egyptians jumped atop tanks and embraced soldiers, was "The people and the army are one hand". The army had a claim in the revolution's inheritance. This was not only the people's revolution, but its revolution too. But as weeks and months have elapsed, it is becoming increasingly clear that the army does not only perceive itself as a partner in the revolution, but as its representative, guardian, and the sole bearer of its legitimacy......"

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