Is Egypt's revolution over?
Tahrir Square is filling again today, but it no longer holds the symbolic power for Egyptians that it did in early 2011. Now it's more of a democracy ghetto.
(Page 3 of 3)
At stake: military’s vast assets, US aid
The Egyptian military has amassed a vast array of businesses in recent decades, thanks to access to free land for development and an ability to cut through the red tape that freezes less-connected businessmen out of the market.
Shana Marshall, a research fellow at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass., has found the military has interests in more than 60 joint ventures with foreign firms in the country, producing everything from refrigerators to bottled water to refined petroleum products. The military has never had to provide a public statement of its accounts and would like to keep it that way.
Where is the United States in all this? On the sidelines. Events since February 2011 have moved fast, and probably beyond the reach of any US policy to make much of an impact.
In Pictures Turmoil in Egypt
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
The Obama administration has been reluctant to press hard for more democracy, because in many ways it is far more comfortable with the Egyptian military (which backs the peace made with Israel in 1978) than with Islamist civilians who are far more hostile to the Jewish state in public comments.
The US government has rattled its financial saber but is unlikely to turn off the $1.3 billion annual spigot, since the US-Egypt relationship has been built largely on military ties.
Earlier this year, the Obama administration argued that aid should keep flowing to Egypt’s military, even as a group of Americans – including the son of President Obama’s Transportation secretary, Ray LaHood – was being held in the country on politically motivated charges. If Mr. Obama wasn’t willing to make waves when US nationals were hiding out at the US Embassy in Cairo, it seems unlikely that he’d make a move now.
Various sources have claimed that Mubarak is ailing and near death in recent days. Others insist he had a fall at Tora prison, where thousands of political prisoners were incarcerated during his reign, and is recovering. But his fate is now largely largely irrelevant. Egypt has already moved far beyond him. Now it’s the generals, the Islamists, and the secular revolutionary groups that are contesting power.
Tahrir Square is filling again. As it does, it is with far more rage than joy. The military is in the protesters’ sights. Egypt's senior officers may have helped push out Mubarak when it looked like he'd lost the country. They are giving every sign of not being willing to depose themselves.
Kristen Chick contributed reporting from Cairo.