The Vantage Point

It is really Good to put what Mona Eltahawy and Nezaar Alsayyad note on the awakening movement and the role of army in Egypt. Nezaar in his famous quote "Military, Money, and Motives in Egypt" shows certain doubts on the amenable treatment of the army toward the so called revolution! Mona even more strongly supports the idea that at the end of the day it is "shoot or not to shoot" by the army that determines the demise or success of the revolutions!

right or wrong, the role of the armed forces in social movements and political outcomes is undeniable. even in countries known for their liberal aspirations the army has many political or at least economical involvements in the national scale. their decision affect many people in the society as in US from movie directors to News Networks. It seems that the power institution established by the army which in under developed counties and some developing countries on its extremes is shown through severe political coup d'etat (as in Iran during the Shah, in Pakistan , Turkey, ...) in more developed countries exhibits more sophisticated behavior. probably this the main concern and distress by the intellectuals that the army in Egypt probably outsmarts the last not very bright Dictator Mubarak and their relative tolerance comparing to others (like Libya, Bahrain) is in fact a cover to maintain their more subtle influence on the sate of affairs in Egypt.
Back in 1979 during the Islamic revolution in Iran, Shah who similarly even more than Mubarak was saved and counting on the armed forces and their loyalty had the same issues. finally a few weeks before fleeing the country while some army Generals burst into tears he was counting on the army to be able to make him back again directly or indirectly and save his leftovers. the army did their best in cracking down the protests and even to bomb the leader back then the Leader of Iran residence a few night before the revolution.
However Khomeini's stance toward the army has always been of trying to imbed them into the nation rather than isolate them as an independent force. his efforts not only in the theoretical levels but in practice made the army no to tolerate but even to cooperate and the people who had strong disbelief in army and formerly were armed by invading barracks did trust the leader to return the weaponry to the army. this mutual trust of nation and the army on the leader at the time did prevent many civic wars and clashes!
another noticeable strategic modality by the leader was to create parallel military forces. the so called revolutionary Guards and later on the Basij (voluntary defense forces) came across with the army which again criticized by some as an inefficient policy an indeed it made the armed forces of Iran to suffer during the imposed war by Iraq due to lack of coordination but it had its rewards too!

Today though the role of para-military is criticized by many as a new form of political power but still the efficacy of the implemented ideas at the time, are of more or less considered positive. 


I can not agree more army is very very important in revolution. Wheter a army loyal to people or government really counts. Although in revolution, a government will eager to say they are representative of people and the protesters are against people.
However a turly independent army should be have its own decision during the revolution.
That problem happened in China as well, for the head of army is also the head of Party, then the army will always be loyal to Party. That is a reason why Tiananmen revolution is deemed to fail.


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