How’s that “Arab Spring” working out, anyway?

Egypt’s Military Expands Power, Raising Alarms

Egypt’s military rulers are moving to assert and extend their own power so broadly that a growing number of lawyers and activists are questioning their willingness to ultimately submit to civilian authority.

Two members of the military council that took power after the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak said for the first time in interviews this week that they planned to retain full control of the Egyptian government even after the election of a new Parliament begins in November. The legislature will remain in a subordinate role similar to Mr. Mubarak’s former Parliament, they said, with the military council appointing the prime minister and cabinet.

“We will keep the power until we have a president,” Maj. Gen. Mahmoud Hegazy said. The military had pledged in formal communiqués last March to hold the presidential election by September. But the generals now say that will come only after the election of a Parliament, the formation of a constitutional assembly and the ratification of a new constitution — a process that could stretch into 2013 or longer.

A transition to civilian rule before and not after the drafting of a new constitution was also a core component of a national referendum on a “constitutional declaration” that passed in March as well. The declaration required that the military put in place democratic institutions and suspend a 30-year-old emergency law allowing arrests without trial before the drafting of the constitution to ensure a free debate. But by extending its mandate, the military will now preside over the constitutional process.

If you really want to know how things are going you should ask the Coptic Christians.

Not the model I want to follow.

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17 Responses to How’s that “Arab Spring” working out, anyway?

  1. OT: yet another war. Obama is sending 100’s of troops to central africa. More at 11… oh wait, we problem won’t hear more because of the convenient OWS noise.

  2. WMCB says:

    Predictable. You see it happen time and time agains, all over the world. You get a bunch of people, mostly the young, all fired up over (often genuine) injustice, and you stoke them to be vaguely angry at the current system. Feel the anger! Make your voice heard!

    You get them to believe that the only important thing is getting rid of that which is, and the fact that the mobs are composed of people with contradictory goals or no goals at all is not important.

    But it is important. Because as soon as you tear down the existing structure, those who do have very clear goals and aims and organization step right into that gap you just created for them in your ignorance.

    It happens like clockwork. A protest with no clear goals or clear leaders is not a “new and better way, it’s a mob to be exploited and a weapon to be used and discarded. Haven’t we learned this by now?

  3. HELENK says:

    backtrack now saying he will only leave enough troops to guard the embassy in Iraq next year

    • myiq2xu says:

      What about the mercs?

      • HELENK says:

        you notice it does not say bring the troops home. Just says he will only leave a force big enough to guard the embassy

      • DandyTiger says:

        They stay. And in fact, their numbers have increased. But at least that is Obama following a campaign promise to increase the usage of Blackwater. Funny how that’s fine with Obots and OWbots.

        • HELENK says:

          he U.S. Embassy in Baghdad is the largest in the world, and the State Department will have offices in Basra, Irbil and Kirkuk as well as other locations around the country where contractors will train Iraqi forces on U.S. military equipment they’re purchasing.

          About 5,000 security contractors and personnel will be tasked with helping protect American diplomats and facilities around the country, the State Department has said.

          The U.S. Embassy will still have a handful of U.S. Marines for protection and 157 U.S. military personnel in charge of facilitating weapons sales to Iraq. Those are standard functions at most American embassies around the world and would be considered part of the regular embassy staff.

          When the 2008 agreement requiring all U.S. forces leave Iraq was passed, many U.S. officials assumed it would inevitably be renegotiated so that American forces could stay longer.

          The U.S. said repeatedly this year it would entertain an offer from the Iraqis to have a small force stay behind, and the Iraqis said they would like American military help. But as the year wore on and the number of American troops that Washington was suggesting could stay behind dropped, it became increasingly clear that a U.S. troop presence was not a sure thing.

          The issue of legal protection for the Americans was the deal-breaker.

          Iraqis are still angry over incidents such as the Abu Ghraib prison scandal or Haditha, when U.S. troops killed Iraqi civilians in Anbar province, and want American troops subject to Iraqi law.

          American commanders don’t want to risk having their forces end up in an Iraqi courtroom if they’re forced to defend themselves in a still-hostile environment.

          It is highly unlikely that Iraqi lawmakers would have the time to approve a U.S. troop deal even if they wanted to. The parliament is in recess on its Hajj break until Nov. 20, leaving just a few weeks for legislative action before the end of year deadline.

          Going down to zero by the end of this year would allow both al-Maliki and President Barack Obama to claim victory. Obama will have fulfilled a key campaign promise to end the war and al-Maliki will have ended the American presence in Iraq and restored Iraqi sovereignty.

          The Iraqi prime minister was also under intense pressure from his anti-American allies, the Sadrists, to reject any American military presence.

          An advisor close to al-Maliki said the Americans suggested during negotiations that if no deal is reached in time, U.S. troops could be stationed in Kuwait.

          With the U.S. military presence in Iraq currently at about 41,000 and heading down to zero, almost all of those forces will be flowing out of Iraq into Kuwait and then home or other locations.

          A western expert in Iraq said it is conceivable that if the Iraqi government asks early next year for U.S. troops to return, there will be forces still in Kuwait able to come back and do the job.

          But he stressed that the core problems still remain on the Iraqi side about what types of legal immunity to give the American troops and whether parliament can pass it.

          Lara Jakes can be reached at

          Rebecca Santana can be reached at

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        • HELENK says:

          sorry did not mean for comment to be that long. only wanted to show where mercs would be used to train using American equiptment

      • WMCB says:

        The mercs stay, and their number grows, because using mercs (while more expensive) avoids all those pesky oversight issues.

        My husband and I joke all the time that since the military is one thing we do and produce really, really well, we ought to just own up and be proud and sell it like a product. Become worldwide mercenaries ourselves, and ask a pretty penny for it. Want the USA to come intervene in something for you? Sure. Talk to our lawyers, and we expect quarterly payments. Screw the politics, we work under contract. Make us an offer. We’re the best and we’re expensive.

        As much as it’s a black-humor joke, part of me admits that it feels oddly more clean and honest than what we are doing now. Like being an upfront well-paid whore rather than a backstabbing homewrecker.

  4. HELENK says:

    something to make you want to stand and cheer
    the Horse Soldiers of 9-11
    a little know story of the first soldiers into Afghanistan

    • WMCB says:

      I saw that. I loved when they talked about how a WOMAN was flying the plane that was kicking their asses, and that freaked out the Taliban.

  5. Catfish says:

    It always seemed to me that Egypt was basically a tacitly-Washington-approved military coup carried out (with a bit of winking “opposition” by D.C.) against a local flunky who had mostly outlived his usefulness, with the mass protests practically serving as elaborate window dressing to give the thing a certain populist flair. (Had Washington really been aghast at the direction Egypt was taking, Facebook and Twitter would most certainly not have been permitted to assist with the protests.)

    Mubarak just was not worth the hassle anymore, as Egypt’s days as an oil exporter were over. Look at Saudi and Bahrain to see what becomes of uprisings against useful despots.

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