1952-1967-1973-2011

The Egyptian Army needs to be rescued from the incompetence of its generals.

The year 2011 will be a seminal and clarifying date for the Egyptian Army. If 1952 marked the rise of the Army as a quasi-monarchical ultimate source of power and legitimacy, then 1967 is the year the Army was laid low by the incompetence of its leadership, chosen more for loyalty than capability. The summer of 1967 is when officers could not wear their uniforms in public. The Army purged its leadership of Nasser’s hacks and redeemed itself, in a limited way, in the 1973 war. 2011 is the year the Army will choose the fork in the road : rule Egypt openly or retreat from politics entirely. The possibility that the Army will have invisible power is made remote by incompetence of SCAF in managing the post-Mubarak transition. 2011 is 1967 replayed, not on the battlefield but on the streets.

It should be emphasized : the generals are not helping the Army as an institution nor the lower rank-and-file officers. To place the Army in the street with no clear objective or strategy beyond just showing up and engaging in a give-and-take with an unruly bunch of civilians is extraordinarily negligent. It is a level of negligence that recalls the strategy of Abdel Hakim Amer who packed most of Egypt’s Army along the border with Israel without so much as a half-baked plan.

The Egyptian Army needs to be rescued from the incompetence of its generals. It is up to the Egyptians to do that. It is time to stop going after the poor conscript in the street and target peacefully  his superior who left him there without adequate orders.



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