if you read only one article on #egypt today…

Look at this one: Mubarak’s phantom presidency.

It goes a long, LONG way toward illuminating the at times bizarrely contradictory actions of the military, just for starters. Also, in listing the different groups of “police” who are very distinct, with different backgrounds and goals. For example:

Since 1977, the military has not been allowed to fight anyone. Instead, the generals have been given huge aid payoffs by the US. They have been granted concessions to run shopping malls in Egypt, develop gated cities in the desert and beach resorts on the coasts. And they are encouraged to sit around in cheap social clubs.

These buy-offs have shaped them into an incredibly organised interest group of nationalist businessmen. They are attracted to foreign investment, but their loyalties are economically and symbolically embedded in national territory. As we can see when examining any other case in the region (Pakistan, Iraq, the Gulf), US military-aid money does not buy loyalty to America; it just buys resentment. In recent years, the Egyptian military has felt collectively a growing sense of national duty, and has developed a sense of embittered shame for what it considers its “neutered masculinity”: its sense that it was not standing up for the nation’s people.

Go and read this — it’s absolutely essential background information in understanding Egypt’s #jan25 revolution and what happened (and continues to happen) during the days of protest.

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