Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Post-revolutionary Egypt: What’s next? Part 3

One thing worth noting, the Egyptian military is everything but a defense body preoccupied with the nations’ security and protection. The Supreme council of the armed forces is operating not only as a nation’s arms bearer, but indulges in day to day operations related to real estate, tourism, business transactions and political follies.

"It's a business conglomerate, like General Electric," said Robert Springborg, professor of national security affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, referring to the Egyptian military. "It's represented in virtually every sector of the economy."[1]

In a country where a transition from military to civilian rule has just taken place, the nostalgia for power remains a driving force for decrees, actions and conspiracies led by the SCAF generals. What one ought to understand is that non-confrontational diplomacy is not enough in the case of Egypt, alienating the SCAF the way the Turkish Islamists alienated the Ataturk military officials is the only way to regain control over state affairs and domestic legislations.

It is important and crucial for president Mursi to realize the necessity to station the military back into their right position, and failing to do so will have deep impacts on the national security of the nation and on its economic performances. On one hand, the military in Egypt, as asserted by the Global Research Center for Research on Globalization, have been a staunch adversary of free market and liberal transactions. With a tight grip on different industrial sectors, the Scaf advocate and advance state ownership over the private sector in order to secure the privileges and interests they cultivate through state owned corporations. It goes without mentioning that without liberal policies and a more market oriented economic strategy, the Egyptian economy will suffocate under the pressure of foreign competitiveness and services.

On the other hand, the current conditions of the military are worrying. The weaponry and logistical acquisitions are in a poor condition, and the readiness of the Egyptian troops is far from meeting the necessary requirements in case of conflict escalation. The recent incidents spanning along the Egyptian border have pinpointed to a lack of management of the territorial security, and recurrent breaches by smugglers, fighters or immigrants could jeopardize the safety of Egypt, especially in instances of attacks against Zionist troops or rocket firings which would ultimately lead to a retaliation Egypt is far from being able to support and legitimize.

Looking back at a neighboring country, Turkey, one can draw lessons on how to assert civilian state leadership and overturn military arrogance and inference in domestic legislations: Sledgehammer!
Sledgehammer conspiracy was the widely mediatized set of trials that involved top Turkish military, with the majority of the chief secular generals convicted for attempts to lead a military coup and seize power from the AK civilian government. Whether real or simply an Islamist masterminded scheme to get rid of the trouble makers who opposed the non-secular civilian leadership, the AK party managed to drag top officials to the courts and induced many to resign promptly from their functions.

A similar Sledgehammer scenario could easily be implemented in the current conditions, and a quick look at the charges held against the Turkish military allows us to draw clear similarities:

“It reportedly involved plans to bomb mosques and provoke tensions with Greece, in order to spark political chaos and justify a military takeover[2]

In a country where the shadowy decades of military rule still resonates in people’s minds, and where the Supreme Council of Armed Forces is widely pointed as culpable and accomplice in the mass unrest unraveling in Egypt, holding formal accusations against the military will not only prove to be legally founded, but will as well secure the approval of the public opinion.

The military establishment in Egypt is corrupt on different levels, and a massive rehabilitation of the institutions is a prerogative the new Egyptian government ought to prioritize. A top down cleansing of the military should set the priorities of the presidential agenda since the political motives in the military are comprised to the leading elite.

It is time to ensure the safety of the nation both domestically and abroad through a strong military institution, independent and non-aligned with national political currents, a military transparent and sophisticated with high levels of alertness and readiness at all times. Partnerships ought to be explored with regional allies, and Turkey is a well-developed nation with highly skilled and well equipped army contingents.

An important notion in the military institution is armament. Armament sets forth two important aspects: technology advance and price competitiveness. These two attributes are well covered by the Turkish state. As a leading arm exporter (leading armament manufacturers corporations ASELSAN, Mechanical and Chemical Industry Corporation MKEK, Turkish Aerospace Industries TAI), a world top military spender (15th),a NATO member and a roaming economy with budget surpluses, Turkey is the perfect ally to seek in Egypt’s military restructuration. It goes without saying that the political and ideological likeliness of the two governments will furthermore facilitate any potential alliance and military collaboration between the two states.

To be continued...
Next: Political and Religious course of action

[2] Turkey: Military chiefs resign en masse, BBC website,

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