Egyptian military handing over power - 3 questions

[li]If the US does decide to withhold $1.3 billion, will it have any effect?[/li][li]Would we be the only country to take a concrete step to show our disapproval, or are any other countries making similar threats?[/li][li]If the pressure works on the Supreme Council, how much power will be they be willing to turn over?[/li][/ol]

My guess on the third one is that they will hand over as little power as possible to get everybody off of their backs. They will probably hand over budget control, for example, but still keep civilian oversight off the table.

Huh, 219 views and no replies. With this and my last OP sinking like a stone I guess I don’t know how to do proper OPs. Anybody have a class on how to start threads that get answered?

The U.S. has trained most of the higher ranking military officials.

The U.S. has imo the following priorities:

  1. Safety of Israel
  2. transition of Egypt to a full democracy following the Turkish model where in the beginning the army “moderates” the young democrats, in this case the Muslim brotherhood.

1)The $1.3 billion are an important tool for the U.S. to make sure the generals keep listening to advice occasionally
2) because of the main U.S. interest in protecting the peacedeal between Egypt and Israel they will not try to minimize the influence of the military on the contrary.
3) There will be free elections in the future but the military will have a veto on everything they deem important to national security aka pretty much everything

I agree with the above poster with the caveat that the US is much much weaker now than say 10 years ago and therefore US influence might not be as effective as it once was.

It’s not just Israel’s safety (in fact, Israel has doesn’t doubt it can beat Egypt in a conventional war), it’s the safety of the entire Middle East. The Camp David Accords are the cornerstone of U.S. policy in the region. A full-scale war between Israel and Egypt will not contain itself to the two countries, but will most likely expand to encompass the entire Middle East; and no that nukes are part of the mix, things would get amazingly volatile.

Unless it’s an empty threat and just rhetoric, the Obama administration is at least claiming it wants full civilian control.

So the money is more like a bribe, and not really needed by Egypt? (I’m not challenging you, I’m sincerely asking if that’s what you’re saying.)

That’s not what the revolution was about, and if the Supreme Council keeps control, I wonder if the Egyptians will have it in them for a second revolution.

I am sure he does as long as those pesky civilians do not cancel the peace treaty with Israel or give military support to the Palestinians etc. :wink: With the generals the U.S. has the option to limit these kind of adventures. It should be said that the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood Mohammed Mursi already states that is not his goal to do any of this. But we have to be realistic, especially under Nasser the Muslim brotherhood was persecuted by the army. They are not friends. So distrust will remain on both sides and the military will not be willing to give up power to them. And the U.S. will not be willing to push their “allies” to do so imo.

Egypt has lots of problems and could use the money, but traditionally it had been used to fill the coffers of the army and their power base. How in the future these funds will be used will depend on Congress and their assessment of the political development in Egypt.

Indeed many of the early protesters were quite more liberal than the Muslim brotherhood. But the voters in Egypt did not trust their westernized brethren either.
But all sides are aware that in a civil war things could go from bad to worse. Sectarian and religious divisions could lead to a catastrophe like we saw developing in Syria.

It seems the Muslim brotherhood is aware that another revolution would mean that the army and their more liberal supporters would choose to fight. The best case scenario imo is to copy the Turkish development of a Muslim democracy were the military initially had a veto option while the civilian government ran most of the day to day business except for military and foreign policy affairs. Its not perfect but from the perspective of the brotherhood quite better than the old status quo.

If it’s anything like the support given Israel (and I’m pretty sure it is), the money can only be used by the military, and only for purchasing U.S.-manufactured equipment. The U.S. isn’t pumping money into Egyptian economy, it’s pumping money into the *American *economy.

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If there’s some way to guaranty, for example it’s laid out in the constitution, that as time went on the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces would gradually hand over power, then it might work, but if all the Egyptians, and everybody else, has to go on is their word, then I’m not so sure they’ll honor it.

How’s it pumping money into our economy? It seems like you’re saying we’re just passing the money around. We give it to Israel and Egypt, for example, they buy our stuff with it and the money comes back to us. Unless I’m missing something.


Well the Egyptian army like those guys in Iran have created their own alternative military economy, were Generals and their clan run vast economic empire build on their good connections with the West and their option to eliminate competition through homecooked laws.

Usually these kind of compromises are not fixed on paper but depend on verbal agreements between the two parties. For example over time in Turkey the influence of the elected politicians increased and that of the general decreased. But there were periods of setbacks were military coups would take out civilian governments when the became too “Islamic”.

Both sides have power, the military has the guns and security forces, the Muslim brotherhood has the majority of the population behind them. Both sides have a lot to loose. There will be episodes of political gamesmanship, and like in Turkey the influence of the United States could determine the balance of power.

Pretty much. It’s a subsidy for the U.S. defense industry.

Makes perfect sense when you put it like that.

As I understand it (and this is as of a few years ago), Israel has a relatively sweetheart deal on their aid - most countries’ aid comes with considerably more strings attached (and virtually all has to go back to US defense contractors).

This is the dirty secret of virtually all foreign aid (military or civilian) - almost all of it has to be used to buy products/pay contractors from the providing country; and the Europeans, Japanese, and other countries are just as bad about this as the US is.

There’s a school of thought here in Israel that withdrawing U.S. support would actually help the Israeli economy - it will force the Israeli military to buy more domestic weapon systems, which will strengthen the local defense industry, and increase exports. After all, Israel is already one of the world’s largest military exporters, and more domestic orders will expand its product base. I don’t know how the numbers check out, though.

Egypt, OTOH, has no real weapons manufacturing abilities, so cutting off U.S. support would be a net loss.