News / Middle East

Egyptians Look to Military as Bulwark to Chaos

Many Egyptians Count on Army to Keep Nation from Potential of Failed Statehoodi
X
April 17, 2013 4:48 PM
As Egyptians face a crumbling economy, a rise in crime and decline in basic services, many count on one sector of society to keep the nation from the potential of failed statehood. VOA's Elizabeth Arrott has more on the role of Egypt's military during the transition.
Many Egyptians Count on Army to Keep Nation from Potential of Failed Statehood
Elizabeth Arrott
As Egyptians face a crumbling economy, a rise in crime and decline in basic services, many count on one sector of society to keep the nation from the potential of failed statehood: the military which has long been seen as a force for stability. 

Every day, Egyptians seem to face a new crisis: gas shortages, power outages, rising prices.

Publisher and political analyst Hisham Kassem blamed the deterioration on the Islamist-led government.

"I won’t be surprised if we wake up soon and there is no power or bread in Cairo, and then there will be a disaster.  If things get to that point, the military will have to intervene and push them out of power," he said.

It is a scenario some Egyptians might not mind. The military has long been seen as a force for stability.  During the revolution, protesters cheered when the armed forces took charge, chanting "the people and the army are one."

The image has been tarnished since then. Many people feel the generals overstayed their welcome as interim leaders.  Leaks from a recent government report implicate them in violence during the uprising.

Activist and filmmaker Hala Galal says the army is likely to stay out of politics.

"I don't think the army might come back because I believe they left with a contract between them and the Muslim Brotherhood," said Galal.

Deal or not, it is a delicate balance.  President Mohamed Morsi sidelined top generals shortly after taking office. But he came to the military's defense about documents leaked from his office.

Clear dividing lines

Ziad Akl, of the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, believes the army and the Islamist leaders have drawn clear lines.

"I'm sure that was in the agreement between the Brotherhood and the army before - that you don’t mess with regional order, don’t mess with fundamental interests, don’t mess with strategic allies and that’s exactly what they've been delivering so far," said Akl.

Whether that extends to internal collapse is anyone's guess.

Although the possibility that the military could intervene is a source of comfort for some. Political analyst Akl sees that "safety net in a different light.

"Every Egyptian has this vision: in the end it’s the army that saves the day.  There is always a very sick attachment to authority that Egyptian people have. The absolute lack of authority is something that is very socially uncomfortable for Egyptians," said Akl.

Filmmaker Galal disagrees.

"This country lived one year and a half without a parliament, without a president or without anything.  And, the people they created this organization, what we call officially the civil society exists. It isn't proper [but] it exists," said Galal. "The people they really, when everything collapses, they support each other."

Whether some pin their hopes on fledgling civic institutions and others on the long-established military, the fear of collapse is one thing many Egyptians seem to share.

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid