Saturday, February 26, 2011
Frequently Asked Questions about the Military
A guide to understanding the Egyptian Military’s decisions in the past and over the next few weeks.
Is the military with Mubarak?
They’re not, in any case, the Egyptians will never take Mubarak back no matter what, something new has to be provided.
Is the military with the people?
They’re not. All evidence so far point to the idea that the military is playing a different game.
What does the military want?
The military wants to remain in power long enough to be able to determine Egypt’s fate. They want to determine the next parliament and the next president. The political scene must not be decided through democracy; there must be approval by the military.
But how would they do that?
Through sustaining a sense of insecurity and by keeping protests weak. Very little efforts will be done to avoid incidents that cause threat to Egyptians such as priest killings, house burnings and other small incidents. They will sustain a sense of instability by not eliminating the threats that are identifiable by people.
They will also hold the reigns of all political powers that shape the country and will not allow free thinkers in the loop of this transitional period.
What is your evidence for that?
The military insists on maintaining control of everything. They know what people want but they’re not doing it. They are doing the bare necessities. The actions taken by the army are enough to split people’s loyalties and cause them to put some form of trust in the military; enough to clear Tahrir square, but not enough to bring down the regime. By keeping people hopeful of changes in the future, they are hoping to quell the revolution.
Note that the military has systematically attacked monasteries and aims to sustain an air of tension. It has not touched the ministry of interior and it has not brought to justice its security arm. The police remain corrupt. The military hopes to restore enough trust in the police and use them when the time comes. None of the police have been held accountable to date, and there is pressure applied on the martyrs’ families to drop charges.
Corrupt businessmen that have worked in the shadows are still on the loose, and they still maintain power. Some influential names are Safwat El Sherif and Fathy Serour. Mubarak has already been scapegoated. Political control now is through the military and its ally Ahmed Shafik.
Note also that when doubts escalated, the military compensated by appearing on television and insisting that they had little time and only discussed things already promised. When they were asked about Ahmed Shafik, they evaded the question and pointed out that it was their decision not the people’s.
Speaking of which, why hasn’t Shafik been sacked?
The military must ensure that it has the right people in the right places. The right people are those who are willing to sell their soul to anyone for the right price. This includes several ministers and persons in key positions and businessmen. One of these people is Ahmed Shafik who the military insists on keeping despite opposition. They have not made it clear why, which means that they are not with the people. Shafik has been part of the system and while he may not be corrupt to the bone, he will do whatever political maneuvers to survive. He is a survivor first and foremost and has no qualms with the old regime polices.
The military is funded by the US. The US has not reduced any of the aid provided to Egypt. The decision to oust Mubarak was strongly supported by the US. In exchange, the military is to retain control on the political front, not aggravating the people enough for another uprising but at the same time maintaining a level of threat that justifies their control until the parliament and the elections. The parliament is important for the military to assert complete control. That is why the military insists on having the parliamentary elections before presidential elections.
Any more evidence?
Inconsistency of their position. Why is the military allowing the police to operate in a manner similar to that before January 25? Why is it tearing down monastery walls? Why are government mouthpieces still spreading their venomous lies? Why did the military not explain the attacks on the monasteries? Why did the military reclaim land just outside monasteries instead of much more land suitable for agriculture taken over by others? The military has authority to change laws and yet uses the excuse of laws that shouldn’t exist to justify the ineffectiveness of its actions. Furthermore, military propaganda is a lot like state TV, they never admit to doing anything incorrectly and the language of flattery to the Egyptian people is in my opinion patronizing.
(More recently, the use of force by the military against protesters to clear the square and the use of batons, taser guns and masked men support these answers)*
I don’t believe you
This is not a question, but an expected attitude. How can we accept that all the government has conspired against us? I share the same sentiments and have struggled to accept these conclusions. I do not want to believe that our last hope in establishments might let us down. Much to my own dismay all logic and reasoning point to this direction. The truth is that we cannot trust anyone but ourselves.
*These answers were written before any of the events that took place on Friday 25 February. These FAQs were written in attempt to provide a key to understanding the army’s motivations and the events to come.