January 20, 2014

FIRST DENAZIFICATION, THEN THE CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATS:

Egypt: return of the deep state (ECKART WOERTZ, 20 January 2014, OpenDemocracy)

If someone fell into a coma in 2011 before the Egyptian "revolution" and woke up today he or she would not notice many changes. Then as now a general ruled, the opposition was illegal or curtailed, elections were managed, the turnout was low, but results were stellar. With the 98 per cent approval of the new constitution by only 39 per cent of voters the deep state is back in Egypt. In a way it was never gone. When Mubarak became untenable the army let him fall in order to preserve its vested interests. During their short rein the Muslim Brotherhood and President Mohamed Morsi never managed to penetrate the pillars of the ancien regime, the Ministry of Interior, the judiciary and the military.

With the new constitution the latter has solidified its position. It appoints the Minister of Defense for the next eight years and retains extensive rights to charge critics in military courts. In the upcoming presidential elections next summer this process will likely come full circle; General Abdul Fatah al-Sisi has already said that he would stand ready if the people called him.

 The new constitution cements the privileges of the military, which presides over an array of economic interests ranging from bakeries to car factories and bowling alleys. The military is not only a state within a state it is also an economy within an economy, characterized by stasis and unfair advantages. Its shadowy networks of enterprise control between 8 and 30 percent of Egypt's GDP according to various estimates. It enjoys tax privileges and supply monopolies. Cheap labour in the form of recruits helps, too. Who would have thought that such benefits would be given up easily?
Posted by at January 20, 2014 7:30 PM
  
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