They just got a different tool to use than we do: They kill innocent lives to achieve objectives. That's what they do. And they're good. They get on the TV screens and they get people to ask questions about, well, you know, this, that or the other. I mean, they're able to kind of say to people: Don't come and bother us, because we will kill you. Bush - Joint News Conference with Blair - 28 July '06

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Egypt's Military - Make Money, not War

What is Egypt's military for? It's a fair question and the best person to answer it might by Abdul Fattah al-Sisi. Egypt's Pharaoh-in-waiting. One can only speculate what his answer might be. Perhaps he would allude to the dangers of Islamic fundamentalism, terrorism, or indeed the Muslim Brotherhood. Not sure a force of 500,000 with its significant air and amored capability is the correct approach. Maybe Turkey's Erdogan gives him sleepless nights, or could it be the Israelis? Doubtful.

Professor Robert Springborg - visiting professor on war studies at Kings College London and foremost expert on the Egyptian military - gave a recent talk at the Ronald Tutor Campus Center at the USC recently where he had a stab at answering the above question. Sadly there doesn't appear to be a video of the event available. But there is a few titbits in this article (see some below).
“You have a large army for show so that you can justify having a large officer corps that you enrich and are loyal to you, and that helps protect the presidency,” he said. “It’s highly stratified [and] inward-looking — it’s not focused on fighting, but on enriching itself"

The talk then shifted to the internal politics of the military, and the restructuring that took place during the revolution. The professor referenced incidents of corruption and cronyism within the military. He spoke in particular about Field Marshal Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, a presidential candidate in Egypt who previously controlled the Ministry of Defense. Springborg said al-Sisi has consolidated power by placing supporters in key government positions.

 “It is the first time in the history of the republic of Egypt that a single figure is going to control the presidency, the ministry of defense, and the ministry of the interior,” he said.- See more at: