Egyptian army’s pledges of retreat could be an illusion: Analysts | Al Arabiya
Egypt’s ruling military has promised a return to the barracks once a new president is elected, but the army’s formidable political and economic weight means that such a withdrawal could be an illusion, analysts say.
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), in charge of the country since a popular uprising ousted longtime president Hosni Mubarak, has repeatedly pledged to hand over the keys of the country by the end of June after landmark presidential polls.
The power transfer will symbolize the end of a turbulent transition period marked by violent protests, with the army accused of orchestrating the violence, maintaining a repressive apparatus and holding on to its privileges.
But the powerful institution insists it has kept its promise to lead the country towards democratization, touting its ability to maintain a relative stability compared with other “Arab Spring” countries like Libya or Syria.
“The army is the only institution in the country that works. It still enjoys some popularity, it has real economic power while the police is unable to reorganize itself to maintain order,” said Tewfik Aclimandos, Egypt specialist at the University Paris I.
“It has the ability to remain an important political actor for many more years,” he said.
For Hassan Nafea, a leading Egyptian political columnist, “the role of the army will depend very much on the president to be elected.”
If he comes from the old regime such as the ex-foreign minister and former Arab League chief Amr Moussa, or Ahmed Shafiq, the last prime minister to serve under Mubarak, “the army will continue to play an important role, and there will be no reform regarding its role or its place.”