After Mubarak The Politics of Modern Military Pharaohs

"In recent weeks Egypt has seen perhaps the greatest destabilisation of its political, economic, and social order since the end of the Muhammad Ali Dynasty in 1952. The ouster of President Hosni Mubarak came after an eighteen-day public protest in Cairo’s Tahrir Square that garnered the world’s attention. Some observers have gone so far as to proclaim the fall of Mubarak as a revolution brought on by public consensus and made possible by social-media technology. This Policy Brief does not discount the influences of public protest and social-media in building the momentum that forced Mubarak out of Kuba Palace. It does, however, press a more traditional approach to viewing what the post-Mubarak era may hold for Egypt. In so doing, the emphasis is on understanding the centrality of the military in modern Egyptian politics. The overall argument is that, through the duration of four presidencies, the military has always sought to consolidate its position of power and privilege in Egypt. In effect, the military is the most powerful political and economic sector of Egypt. The post-Mubarak era will not be any more likely to engage in democratic reforms because the military is unlikely to give up its monopoly of power and privilege. South Africa and its allies must, therefore, act multilaterally to force the military’s hand towards democratic reform. Such action will necessarily require drawing together continental and international governments, including the United States (US), to pressure the military towards reform."