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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Srebrenica Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs countermeasure at UN More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prisoni
X
Heather Murdock
July 01, 2015 8:59 PM
As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs