Chapter

Back on Horse? The Military between Two Revolutions

Hazem Kandil

in Arab Spring in Egypt

Published by American University in Cairo Press

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9789774165368
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9781617971365 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5743/cairo/9789774165368.003.0010
Back on Horse? The Military between Two Revolutions

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The military's abandonment of Mubarak's regime provided an opportunity for the January 25 Revolt to unseat the ruling elite. But while the position of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces was welcomed at first, the frustrations associated with the transitional period invited comparisons with the July 1952 coup, leading some to wonder if this popular revolt will reinstall officers on the political saddle. This claim is contested here through a historical institutional analysis of the changes that occurred within the military between 1952 and 2011, concluding that the crucial difference between the two ‘revolutions’ is that in 1952 a secret cabal of politicized officers rode the crest of military support to come to power, and consolidated its rule through firm control of the security apparatus, while in 2011 this same security apparatus had effectively sealed the army from politics, and became too entrenched for seizure from above. So despite appearances, the January uprising could not have reproduced military rule since officers had no recourse to an in-house political movement with the ambition and organization of the Free Officers, nor could they rein in Egypt's unruly security agencies and turn them to their purposes.

Keywords: Egypt; revolution; popular uprising; militarism; security

Chapter.  9332 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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