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Military Asserts itself in Egypt

Via the BBC:  Egypt’s army gives parties 48 hours to resolve crisis

Egypt’s army has given the country’s rival parties 48 hours to resolve a deadly political crisis.

It would offer its own "road map" for peace if Islamist President Mohammed Morsi and his opponents failed to heed "the will of the people", it said.

The statement came after anti-government protesters stormed the Cairo headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood.

At a minimum this a coup threat.  I have already seen one political scientist that I know who studies coups call this an attempted coup in a Facebook post.

This situation does underscore what I have been noting for over a year:  the ultimate political power in Egypt still resides with the military.  The question becomes, however, in the face of the current crisis as to whether that power is sufficient to subdue the situation should that power be deployed.

Another major issue here:  Egypt’s economy is heavily dependent on tourism.  However, tourism cannot function in the context of all of this chaos (and, indeed, has suffered substantially since the start of the uprisings).  This creates a serious and self-reinforcing cycle because as the protestors object to the poor state of the economy, the economy is further worsened.

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About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor and Chair of Political Science at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. He is the author of Voting Amid Violence: Electoral Democracy in Colombia and is currently working on a comparative study of the US to 29 other democracies. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging at PoliBlog since 2003. Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Let’s start a pool: How long before McCain starts calling for arming the anti-Morsi protesters?

    I got 5 bucks on Aug 13.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  2. Neil Hudelson says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    All the way to August?

    It could be as early as this week, if he uses a facile argument comparing the state of Egyptian affairs to what led to the 4th of July.

    My money is on July 22nd. The protests will have been less than a month old, keeping it a fresh story, and it will be on a Monday in order to give him the news cycle for the week.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  3. stonetools says:

    Future McCain: “We are all Egyptians now.”
    I think that the best hope for Egypt now is for new elections. Dunno if there is a procedure for a vote of no-confidence or some such procedure.
    The Obama Administration policy should be to press for new elections. Also too, to press for some form of economic relief so as to give the government some time to enact reforms.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  4. TastyBits says:

    @stonetools:

    Egyptians want affordable food and fuel. This has been a problem for several years. The increase price in oil caused both to increase. Mubarak’s government subsidized these, and some of the money was from the US. These tensions started under Mubarak because there was not enough money to increase the supply of either food or fuel. I have not followed Egypt for some years, and I do not know what is the existing US aid to Egypt.

    The Egyptian “Arab Spring” had been expected for some time, but it was more about food and fuel than freedom.

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  5. Dave Schuler says:

    Ahmed Shafik, the last prime minister appointed by Mubarak, came in second in the presidential runoff election with 48.3% of the vote. In essence a vote for Shafik was a vote for the military.

    Another election might be Egypt’s best hope but even that hope is none too good. I think the greatest likelihood is for civil war in Egypt without real objectives, just a spasm of dissatisfaction with things as they are.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. Moosebreath says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    “It could be as early as this week, if he uses a facile argument comparing the state of Egyptian affairs to what led to the 4th of July.”

    I doubt McCain will hold out beyond the end of this week.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. rudderpedals says:

    Professor T., do you see a risk of Egypt falling into a repeating election-coup-election cycle a la Pakistan or not too long ago Turkey?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  8. stonetools says:

    Most likely result: Morsi steps down, and a new coalition government forms.

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