Zahar: Can the Egyptian revolution be counted a success while the Armed Forces remain in power?
No. In the euphoria following the fall of Hosni Mubarak, many analysts made the mistake of speaking about the fall of the regime. The Egyptian regime came to power in 1952 when the Free Officers deposed king Farouk. Since then, military men have served as Presidents. Beyond all differences in style and policies, that is what united Nasser, Sadat and Mubarak. Since then as well, the army has been involved in politics and given preferential treatment in accessing lucrative opportunities. Today, the army is a key actor in Egypt’s economy. When the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces moved to take over from Mubarak and spearhead the ‘transition’, protecting the army’s role and interests in Egyptian society were foremost in their minds. While what happened in Egypt is indeed a revolution and while it has changed the rules of the game in the country, nevertheless, as long as the principle of civilian control of the military is not enshrined in theory and in practice, it would be a mistake to glibly speak about the events of 2011 as a success.