Friday, July 19, 2013

Military-Business Alliances in Egypt Before and After 30 June: Interview with Wael Gamal

by Bassam Haddad

"I had the pleasure of conducting this interview with Wael Gamal, one of the more reliable and informed journalists who addresses critically political-economic variables in Egypt. In this interview, Wael addresses the less discussed dire social and economic situation that spurred the 30 June protests and the immediate aftermath, first under the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood and recently under an anti-Brotherhood loose coalition that is unfolding at the moment. Paramount in this interview is the role of military-business relations and prospects for change in social and economic policies in light of seemingly increasing influence of big capital.
The caveat that Wael repeatedly refers to involves the wider opportunity now available for various social forces to exert pressure on government and confront elitist economic policies. Yet, it is not a struggle whose outcome can be determined in advance. Wael addresses a number of indicators to watch for as the new government is formed, and as the battle for guiding Egypt's political economy unfolds in relation to economic policies, IMF loans and "packages," and the management of subsidies.
Wael recounts significant factors that augmented resentment against the Brotherhood during the two years after the ousting of Mubarak, and treats this resentment and opposition as a force that is likely to pressure whatever current government and alliances are formed in the direction of asserting the demands for social and economic rights for wide sectors of the population. He identifies significant and strategic relations between the military and big business in current potential ruling formulas, but does not discount the ability of the non-fuloul segments of the protest movement to push forth with its basic demands.

Wael Gamal is an Egyptian journalist at al-Shurouq newspaper in Cairo. He has written extensively on Egypt's politics and society, with an emphasis on political economy."

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