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Egypt: Status Report

April 8, 2011

  • A new constitution?
  • A return of the NDP?
  • The rise of the Muslim Brotherhood?
  • A military government?

All the possible outcomes discussed in my earlier posts are revisited in a very thoughtful article entitled “Egypt Without Mubarak” by political scientist Joshua Stracher in the latest issue of Middle East Report On-line.

Many Egyptians have begun to grumble about the military’s increasingly prominent role. A well-attended April 1 protest in Tahrir Square called upon Field Marshal Husayn Tantawi, Mubarak’s minster of defense, to resign from the Supreme Council and for swifter action toward putting the men of the deposed regime on trial for corruption and other offenses. On April 6, Tantawi appeared to respond to one of these demands, announcing formation of a committee to investigate Mubarak himself. Nobel laureate Mohamed ElBaradei and other politicians associated with the revolution applauded the committee as a positive step. But Mubarak was already sacrificed to the crowds; the real test of the army’s commitment to democracy lies ahead. The March 19 referendum may have led the army to bank on a silent majority of Egyptians who will cling to the institution they have known for the past 60 years in place of the Brothers or protesters who call for further mobilization and disruption to normal life. Discontent with the military is growing, and one can expect more popular mobilizations to safeguard the revolutionary process Egyptians began by heroically overthrowing their dictator of 30 years. Yet the linchpin of the Supreme Council’s strategy seems predicated on the calculations that the center of Egyptian politics is fairly unquestioning support for the army around the country and that this center will hold.

I remember Josh–he got his MA at AUC in 2002, the last year I was teaching there. Now he is an assistant professor at Kent State and a prolific and insightful politicl commentator. How can so much time be passing?

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