Egypt -- Military Dictatorship Or True Democracy?

While a spirit of jubilation continues to permeate throughout Egypt at this current time as a result of the departure of long-time dictator, Mohammed Hosni Mubarak, which was brought about an eighteen-day peaceful uprising by Egypt's youth -- now being called the January 25th Revolution -- serious thinkers have already begun to realize that while one danger has passed -- the potential for a serious government crackdown in which the military would have fired upon the protesters -- another danger still remains. That danger is that the Egyptian people may have cast off one form of tyranny, only to be oppressed by another; that is, a military dictatorship.

Let there be no misunderstanding. It is quite possible that the Egyptian military may be playing a very shrewd game, even as the occupants of Tahrir Square, and all Egyptians, experience their first taste of political freedom in more than thirty years. While the dictator is gone, we must remember that he in fact ruled by the consent of, and with the support of, the Egyptian military, the very people who now have control of the government. Hosni Mubarak was in fact one of their own who rose up through the ranks, and became the new "president" following the assassination of Anwar al-Sadat in 1981 by radical military officers who may have been aligned with the Egyptian Islamic Jihad. Mubarak was Vice President at the time.

If recent Egyptian history is any indication, then it may very well be that the Egyptian military will not be satisfied with anything less than filling the vacancy that has been left by Hosni Mubarak, with a new leader who is likewise one of their own.

Who might that be?

Well, it seems that exactly how much and how far true democracy will take root in Egypt now appears to depend on the inclinations of two men: the Egyptian defense minister, Field Marshall Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, and Lt. General Sami Hafez Enan, who is the chief of staff of the armed forces.

The former, a 75-year-old hardened military man who has been closely allied with Mubarak, has shown little inclination towards accepting true democracy in Egypt. Tantawi is totally beholden to the very same mantra as Hosni Mubarak; that being security and stability. In short, Tantawi's motivation is to maintain the status quo at all cost.

Several decades younger than Tantawi, Lt. General Sami Hafez Enan is viewed by those in-the-know as being somewhat more progressive than Tantawi. However, Enan is still a part of the very same military establishment which did nothing to take down Hosni Mubarak until now, so his hands are not exactly clean either.

On a positive note, during the past eighteen days, in several telephone calls, Lt. General Enan assured the U.S. Government that his troops would not fire upon the protesters in Tahrir Square; and apparently, he did keep his promise. Yet still, even that could have been a calculated move to maintain popularity with the masses, while the events of the past eighteen days unfolded.

In short, the fate of true democracy in Egypt may rest upon one central factor; and that is who will prevail in Egypt: Tantawi or Enan; or will it yet be the people? While one important battle has been won, there are yet many more complicated political battles to follow; and they may indeed turn out to be extremely messy. Just look at the current political state in Iraq if you have any doubts concerning this point.

Having said all of the above, I would again encourage my readers to keep a close eye on developments in the Middle East, because that is where the action is, and will be, according to God's Word. Regardless of which way the tide turns in Egypt, the effects of those events will continue to reverberate throughout the lands of the Middle East. There is a hard wind of change blowing, and only God knows what will eventually result from it.

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