What to Make of the Military, Part 2

There has been a lot of speculation about the role of the military in Egypt and what those now in charge are planning to do. Last time the military took control was in 1952 and 60 years later we know how that turned out. The military has close links with the United States and Israel (Egypt’s new leader, Muhammed Hussein Tantawi, has already spoken with Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak) and profited handsomely from Mubarak’s rule. On the positive side, the army has already dissolved parliament, suspended the constitution (which has been suspended under emergency law for sometime) and called for elections within six months. Yet there is concern about the intentions of Egypt’s most esteemed institution, with many protesters desiring to stay in Tahrir Square to ensure that power is transferred to some civilian authority.

In response, the army has started arresting protest organizers and attempting to clear the square. From Jonathon Wright:

But in the early hours of Saturday soldiers and military policemen arrived at their encampment and started to evict them, saying they wanted to clear the square so that life in Cairo could return to normal. At about the same time the army was detaining some 40 of the protest organisers, all of whom were still missing two hours ago. So far one could give the army the benefit of the doubt and trust in its good intentions. After all, the army is not accustomed to dealing with large numbers of civilians, especially in a crowded urban context. Maybe the order came down the chain of command that they should clear the square, without specifying how they should go about the task or suggesting that the best way might be to negotiate some compromise arrangement with the organisers…

Photo from Stamford Advocate

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