The Egyptian Army’s Attitude Towards Mubarak

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on January 31, 2011

Not quite a foe, but not quite a friend either:

The White House said Obama spoke to the British, Israeli, Turkish and Saudi leaders, allies in a U.S. strategy for the oil-rich Middle East which has been plunged into uncertainty.

It said: “The president reiterated his focus on opposing violence and calling for restraint; supporting universal rights, including the right to peaceful assembly, association, and speech; and supporting an orderly transition to a government that is responsive to the aspirations of the Egyptian people.”

Making good on such a transformation would spell the end for Mubarak and, potentially, for the military establishment which has run post-colonial Egypt since the 1950s. Many now see it as just a matter of time before the president steps down.

“The army is in a tight spot and they are deciding what to do about the president,” said Exclusive Analysis’s Faysal Itani. “The army may see Mubarak as a liability. But they won’t want to see him flee with his tail between his legs like Ben Ali. I think they would like to see him go but in an orderly fashion.”

Which may well mean that the army will do nothing to try to stifle the protesters. The army’s relationship with the protesters seems to be summed up pretty well with the following excerpt from the story:

Soldiers stood by tanks covered in graffiti: “Down with Mubarak. Down with the despot. Down with the traitor.” Asked how they could let people scrawl such anti-government slogans on their mostly American-made vehicles, one soldier said: “These are written by the people. It’s the views of the people.”

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