What Maspero Taught SCAFPosted: June 15, 2012
The best militaries promote leaders who are adaptable and quick learners. Egypt’s military is far from the best, but it seems that at least SCAF is adaptable and quick to learn. A seminal lesson for SCAF was the killing of Copts at Maspero last October. In hindsight it now seems that those events were very instructive for SCAF. Exactly what did they learn?
1- The army can kill its citizens. That was an open question since February, but Maspero settled that.
2- The state media is still effective. If they can convince the broad Egyptian public that Copts (Yes, the Cowardly Copts!) are shooting at the army, then they can convince them of anything.
3- The MB is still atavistic and not a force for national reconciliation. Their reaction to the killings indicated that they never made the jump from a narrow religious organization to a broad political force. They can be drawn out, shown to be narrow, and then marginalized or suppressed. No one will stick their neck out to defend them. Their hunger for power is stronger than any moral core they might have once had. That is a good opponent to have.
4- The revolutionaries are hollow. If they did not protest strongly, except for a few brave and decent souls, then their moral claim is vacuous and can be easily impugned.
5- The Copts are rational and fearful actors. Even when the army killed scores of them, the Pope took a moderate tone, fearing the Islamists as future killers more than the current killers. In the months between February and October the revolution ceased to be theirs, it lost their trust. The romantic Copts who kicked the Church for its support of Mubarak now became hard-edged realists. This will be useful in future campaigns.
6- The world does not care. No significant cry from the US or Europe. They have other fish to fry. SCAF has a free hand in Egypt.
Do these lessons seem applicable today, a few days away from the presidential elections?