February 13, 2011

Not Yet Time to Celebrate, cont'd

LA Times (h/t Antiwar.com)

[A]nalysts in Cairo, Washington and Tel Aviv say the situation remains too volatile to be sure that the military council will ultimately permit free elections, accede to civilian control and allow transparency.

No popular civilian leaders or independent political parties were allowed to emerge during Mubarak's long tenure. His departure has left a political void, and some analysts fear that the generals may seek to stifle any threat to the status quo…

Post-Mubarak Egypt could follow the path of Turkey and Indonesia, Muslim nations where the army remains strong but democratic reforms have flourished. Or it could go the way of Pakistan, where military and intelligence services hold the levers of power…

U.S. officials say the Egyptian military is avidly interested in ensuring no reduction in the aid Egypt has gotten annually from the United States since it signed the peace treaty with Israel, and has bitterly fought any effort in Congress to withhold the money or place conditions on it.  [And the US government isn’t exactly known for bribing armies to do the right thing.  Sorry all you brave protestors in Egypt, sorry all you suffering souls in Gaza, Uncle Sam is probably conspiring against you right now.]


In hindsight it appears that the military top brass very cleverly choreographed Mubarak's removal in order to achieve two ends. First, by distancing itself from the crumbling authority of the president it aimed to demonstrate to the protestors that the military was not opposed to their demands and aspirations. Second, by permitting a certain amount of anarchy in Cairo and elsewhere it intended to create enough fear of chaos among the general public that the latter would come to appreciate the army's role as the keeper of order in the last resort…

Despite the conciliatory rhetoric emanating from the military brass, the officer corps as an institution continues to have a vested interest in the political and economic power structure created and preserved by the regime under Sadat and Mubarak. To expect the military to relinquish its corporate interests for the sake of popular welfare is likely to turn out to be delusion…

One should not underestimate either the staying power of the military or its capacity to seek revenge on those who attempt to force it out of the political arena. It took Turkey sixty years, from 1950 to 2010 - from the first democratic elections to the Ergenekon affair - to impose a respectable amount of civilian control over the military…

Democracy in the true sense of the term will remain a mirage as long as the military is seen as the guarantor of law and order and/or as the agent for political transition. The only transition that the military brass likes is the transition of power to itself. The democracy activists in Egypt must learn this lesson quickly otherwise the gains they have made will soon be frittered away. The tyrant may be dead but tyranny is lurking around the corner.

No comments: