Monday, June 18, 2012

Mubarak's 300,000-strong army of thugs remains in business despite elections

The Long View: The military has played a shrewd game – insisting Mubarak go on trial while realigning supporters to preserve their privileges

By Robert Fisk

".....The association of corruption with the ancien regime has been a staple of all revolutions. Justice sounds good. And today's Egyptians still demand dignity. But surely Nasser got it right; better to chuck the old boy out of the country than to stage a distracting and time-consuming trial when the future of Egypt, the "other purposes of the revolution", should be debated. Today's military played an equally shrewd but different game: they insisted Mubarak go on trial – bread and circuses for the masses, dramatic sentences to keep their minds off the future – while realigning the old Mubarakites to preserve their own privileges.

The ex-elected head of the judges' club in Egypt, Zakaria Abdul-Aziz, has rightly pointed out that even if Mubarak was put on trial, the January-February 2011 killing went on for days, "and they [the generals] did not order anyone to stop it. The Ministry of Interior is not the only place that should be cleansed. The judiciary needs that."....

The belief among journalists and academics that Tahrir Square would fill once again with the young of last year's rebellion, that a new protest movement in its millions would end this state of affairs, has – so far – proved unrealistic. Over the weekend, Egyptians wanted to vote rather than demonstrate – even if the country's security apparatus would end up running the show as usual – and if this is democracy, then it's going to be of the Algerian rather than the Tunisian variety. Maybe I just don't like armies, while Egyptians do......"

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