Saturday, January 29, 2011

Another take on the military's role

Conveniently, Egypt's military Chief of Staff just happened to be in DC last week

From "Will the Chief of Staff of the Egyptian military play a new role for the United States?"

by Marwan Bishara, Al-Jazeera's "senior military analyst":

The Obama administration has probably put the Egyptian military chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Sami Hafez Anan, on notice before he left the US capital on Friday, and explained what it can, could not or would not stand for in terms of the military's response to the revolt.

Washington has been a major backer of the Egyptian military over the last three decades, supplying the country with around $2bn in annual aid mostly for military purposes. When the uprising broke out, Anan was in Washington as part of their annual strategising sessions.

Clearly caught by surprise, the US has been a mere spectator over the last several weeks, as people took to the streets in Tunisia or Egypt.

The Obama administration continued its predecessor's policy of nurturing contacts and consultation with various Egyptian opposition groups in addition to the military.

It understands all too well that the response of the Egyptian military will have far reaching influence, not only on the situation in Egypt, but also on other countries in the region, no less on its future relationship with Israel.

For the military to be the guardian of the state's sovereignty and stability, it must be the protector of Egypt's future politics, not its permanent leader.

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