Egypt: the long shadow of Mubarak and the role of the US

“Long live Egypt’s Supreme Council” — With Mubarak out of power and SCAF taking the reigns, what’s next for the country?
 Joseph Massad
28 Jul 2011
Egyptians have been protesting against the country’s military rulers continuing Mubarak-esque policies [EPA]

Many Egyptians are expressing concerns about the deployment by the ruling Egyptian Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) of the very same political rhetoric previously employed by the Mubarak regime, despite the SCAF’s claim that it is maintaining “neutrality” between “popular” forces; a “neutrality” that it has failed to demonstrate on all fronts.

Indeed, Egyptians who want to transform their uprising into a veritable revolution have responded to the ruling SCAF by refining their definition of the identity of the armed forces. If the famous cry of the anti-Mubarak uprising enjoined the army to stand with the people against the regime, the current cry cleverly differentiates between the SCAF and the army, so that the army rank and file continue to be invoked by the revolutionaries as being on the side of the people – while the SCAF is presented as the political antagonist who seeks to maintain the Mubarak regime with some reforms, albeit without Mubarak.

The army and the revolution

Schisms between the “army” and the revolutionaries started even before the fall of Mubarak, when demonstrations were infiltrated by army soldiers who, we were told, were unknown people, most probably Mubarak state security goons, who allegedly “stole” and donned army uniforms. Evidence of military arrests and torture of demonstrators, including reported stories of “virginity” tests performed on arrested women demonstrators, were later confirmed by military officers. Moreover, Egyptian demonstrators are demanding that all people arrested since the uprising be tried in civilian rather than military courts – and that the continued use of torture by the army be immediately stopped. Continue reading