Egypt In Turmoil: The Role of Military

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Context

03-07-2013_Egyptian MilitaryAfter days of turmoil, Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi was removed from power after having completed only a year. The Defense Minister and Army Chief General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi instead installed an interim government for an emergency period, before elections are held again.

No doubt, Egypt and the Arab world are going through a tumultuous period where the balance of conservative, nationalist, and liberal forces is swinging back and forth. PoliTact has been following the events of Egypt with special interest, as whatever happens there spreads. While the information is still pouring in, the take over by the military is hardly the end of the revolution that got initiated with the removal of Hosni Mubarak.

We have previously noted the causes for the fast moving change across the Muslim world, which includes incompetent leaders and the war against terror. As a result, the space for liberals to maneuver is consistently shrinking while nationalist and conservative forces are gaining. In this environment, the armed forces of Egypt, and for that matter Pakistan, are being seen as moderate and protectors of western interests.

This is indeed a volatile situation that could lead Egypt towards a civil war. The polarization that is reflected in the society will eventually creep in to the military, if it has not already, producing devastating consequences.

A lot will depend on how Muslim Brotherhood responds to be removed through a military coup. Western reaction to the forced dismissal of a democratically elected government, albeit an Islamist, will also set precedence.

While media attention has remained fixated on the domestic causes of unrest in Egypt, there are external factors to consider as well. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the situation of Syria should be kept in perspective. The question to ponder over includes; how does the removal of Mursi impact the situation of Syria, Gulf nations, and Israel’s threat perception. There is obviously a roaming fear of Islamist gaining influence throughout the region.

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