The Regime Reconstitutes Itself?


by Patrick Appel

A report from an Al Jazerra web producer:

I saw one wounded protester being treated by doctors and then taken away to the ambulances. The doctor who had been working on him told me that the man had been shot in the head but still had a pulse and might survive. There was a puddle of blood on the concrete beneath the man. The doctor said the gunfire came from pro-Mubarak protesters, not from army. I saw second wounded protester also being treated for a gunshot wound, he looked unresponsive. One protester told me six people had died today, however another doctor in the square told me four had died.

Michael Martinez reports on the military's idleness:

"The military's refusal to act is a highly political act which shows that it is allowing the Egyptian regime to reconstitute itself at the top and is highly, utterly against the protesters," said Joshua Stacher, assistant professor of political science at Kent State University and an expert on Egypt. 

Robert Springborg argues along similar lines:

The threat to the military's control of the Egyptian political system is passing. Millions of demonstrators in the street have not broken the chain of command over which President Mubarak presides. Paradoxically the popular uprising has even ensured that the presidential succession will not only be engineered by the military, but that an officer will succeed Mubarak. The only possible civilian candidate, Gamal Mubarak, has been chased into exile, thereby clearing the path for the new vice president, Gen. Omar Suleiman. The military high command, which under no circumstances would submit to rule by civilians rooted in a representative system, can now breathe much more easily than a few days ago. It can neutralize any further political pressure from below by organizing Hosni Mubarak's exile, but that may well be unnecessary. 

The president and the military, have, in sum, outsmarted the opposition and, for that matter, the Obama administration. They skillfully retained the acceptability and even popularity of the Army, while instilling widespread fear and anxiety in the population and an accompanying longing for a return to normalcy. 

(Photo: Anti-government demonstrators hide behind makeshift shields as Molotof cocktails are lobbed by supporters of Egyptian President Honsi Mubarak early on February 3, 2011 in Cairo, Egypt. The two groups skirmished throughout the night. By John Moore/Getty Images)