Home > Uncategorized > Egyptian Military Steps Up

Egyptian Military Steps Up

As I’m sure we’re all aware of by now, the Egyptian military has begun running the nation.  They’ve become responsible for day-to-day security and organization, in addition to the defense of the country’s borders.  So far it’s only the beginning of this experiment in military rule, and it has been insisted that it will only be temporary, but things may not be as simple as they appear.

The Army, as I’ve mentioned before, is critically tied to the Egyptian people. In a future where protesters remain in the street and continue to assert their desire for democracy, the coming months likely hold a solution where the Army helps run a largely transparent election, or at least a much more transparent one than Egyptians are familiar with, before making a significant, if largely symbolic, step to the side.  Their undeniable influence and sway in Egypt will likely be paramount here for the foreseeable future, yet I believe it likely they will try to follow the will of the people, or at least appear to, in the long run.

Now, the considerable contingencies that remain are questions of who controls the military, I mean really controls it, and how the military will step up and handle the protesters who remain in Tahrir Square.  I’ve returned to an Egypt today that, in a sense, I don’t even recognize.  There is a certain indescribable energy in the air, and the city is as clean and organized as I’ve ever seen it.  In a very real sense, these protests seem to have been a revolution of thought and outlook for many Egyptians.  National pride is out in force on the street like I’ve never seen before and the Egyptian people, or at least the people of Cairo, seem to be riding the high of their recent success.

So, in this enthusiastic and triumphant environment, how will the military handle those thousands of protesters who remain in Tahrir today?  Things were largely peaceful earlier in the morning, but there were brief signs of tension (even the use of force) between soldiers and protesters determined to remain in Tahrir until new elections are held.  When push really came to shove trying to move the protesters from the square, word got out and thousands of Egyptian citizens flocked to the square as reinforcements.  Between the two issues I raised, this and who is really in control of the military, this is the more immediate concern.   Control of the military is probably slightly less pressing, but in the end likely more important as it will govern how the future progresses here.

As far as control of the military goes, there have been rumors throughout the past weeks (and even months to a certain extent) of a divide in the upper-echelons of the Egyptian military.  Allegations abound that Tantawi is largely out of touch with the younger officer class, and he is seen by many, if not all, to be intricately connected to the Mubarak Regime.  He’s also older than Mubarak’s 82 (I think he’s 87 maybe).  Whether or not he’s able to maintain a grip on the military will be part of the story to f0llow here.  If he does maintain that grip, how he relates to the policies of Mubarak’s (and largely his own) old regime will be of critical importance to realizing how much of a practical victory the Egyptian people really have won.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Aunt Judith
    February 13, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    Am not on Facebook so have not had access to some of your daily activities, except through Xuchi. So, when did you get back into Egypt? Will classes resume, when? Am beginning to share your blog with neighbors, who are interested in goings on.

    Stay well
    Aunt Judith

    • February 13, 2011 at 11:09 pm

      Hey Aunt Judy,

      Sorry, I was slightly remiss in updating the blog while I was in Paris. Back at it once again though. I decided a few days into my trip that things had taken a safer turn back in Egypt and wanted to return, but I already had a flight booked for Saturday so I decided to take advantage of some wonderful hospitality and see the City of Lights a bit. I got back here today, and classes begin in a week. There’s still a huge celebration going on in Tahrir Square, though I’m told it’s not as big as in the past few nights. Here’s hoping the celebration isn’t premature.

      I hope your neighbors enjoy reading, talk to you soon!


      • Aunt Judith
        February 14, 2011 at 4:00 pm

        You are our eyes on your part of the world. Your comments are truly sparking meaningful conversation in my area, maybe even the resurgence of outreach to our Arabian American community. We will see.

        Take very good care of yourself and I am glad classes are resuming. At least some phase of your life will have some continuity.

        lots of love
        Aunt Judith

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