EGYPT/ The military is the real master of the situation
Copts in Egypt (Infophoto)
“Power in Egypt is ever more firmly in the hands of the military, and for the military, which has controlled the country in various forms since the 50s, the Copts are just a pawn in the sectarian game used to distract people from real problems.” This is the statement of Professor Marco Hamam of the University of Sassari and expert on the Middle East for the Italian geopolitical magazine Limes. Pending the outcome of the Egyptian presidential election, which will be announced tomorrow, June 21, the Military Council adopted amendments to the Constitution that dangerously extend the political powers of the Army. Many analysts have talked about the risks of a coup but Hamam insists that “the coup already happened a year and a half ago, but no one ever noticed.”
Professor Hamam, what do you mean, the coup has already happened?
The coup in Egypt took shape when the revolutionaries of Tahrir Square, which symbolized the people taking to the streets in many cities across the country, handed over the protection of the revolution to the Army. The military were in favor of this popular upheaval, and thus at the beginning, they took position in favor of the square and the demands it made. It soon became clear, however, that the military had long frowned on the son of Nasser, Gamal Mubarak’s rise to power, and that is why they advocated a revolt in the streets. Eventually they rode the wave, carrying out a very soft and elegant coup that continues today.
What is the scenario we are facing at the moment?
We are facing a “Pakistanization” of Egypt, in the sense that the political situation in Cairo will become increasingly similar to that of Islamabad. The Muslim Brotherhood is left with the square and some apparatus of the country, emptied of their meaning, like the Parliament and the President of the Republic, who however, does not command the armed forces. The military nestle themselves in a state within a state and have become the supreme power that ultimately decides everything.
Do you believe that, in the future, the military will allow for democratic change?
This year and a half has clearly shown that the Army is doing everything possible to bring forward a plan that is not revolutionary. Some have justified the errors of the military with their political inexperience. In actuality, the armed forces understand Egyptian policy more than everyone else, and were able to act before anyone else. If they really wanted democracy, they would have made sure that movements, political parties, organizations would have come out from the youth of the revolution. Instead, the liberals were not able to obtain any position of power.
What are the risks of a violent confrontation between soldiers and the Muslim Brotherhood?