Egypt’s Army Problem

Andrew Sullivan —  Jan 3 2012 @ 5:52pm

Issandr El Amrani unpacks it:

The turbulence that has hit Egypt since mid-November seems, at first glance, mostly a testament to the poor performance of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) in handling the transition away from the rule of Husni Mubarak. Having assumed power on February 10, the SCAF moved quickly to attain the stamp of popular legitimacy through a March 19 referendum on constitutional amendments. Since then, however, the conclave of generals has stumbled over the flawed logic of its own plan for the transition, as well as ad hoc decision making and a high-handed, dismissive attitude toward the new politics of the country. The SCAF’s plan, in brief, was to engineer a restoration of civilian rule that shielded the army’s political and economic prerogatives from civilian oversight, and perhaps bolstered those roles, yielding a system not unlike the “deep state” that prevailed for decades in Turkey. Such was the system in Egypt, in fact, under Mubarak. As a return to civilian government looms, with Parliament set to reopen and presidential elections scheduled for no later than July 2012, the SCAF is no closer to securing such behind-the-scenes dominance for the military and is much further from winning popular consent to that arrangement.

Relatedly, Malou Innocent calls for the end of US aid to Egypt.