WASHINGTON – While the military has shown low visibility in the most recent constitutional crisis in Muslim Brotherhood-back Muhamed Morsi’s attempt to impose absolute power over the judiciary, it can at any time rise up and control events, according to a report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
The question is, will it?
While Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood backers seek to gain power over the military in Egypt, it still doesn’t control it, according to regional analysts.
“Morsi cannot simply control the military,” according to a report of the open intelligence group Stratfor. “He must bargain with it. The military’s strength resides in its historical role in domestic intervention.”
The report pointed out that in Egypt’s case, political crisis can “beget” political gridlock.
“The military can break that gridlock, but the decision of whether it chooses to do so lies with the senior military leadership,” the report added. “The military acted only when it wanted to.”
The military eventually brought out the tanks to protect the presidential palace and ordered the increasingly violent crowd to disperse after a certain time, underscoring the fact that they acted when they wanted to.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s only response to any military opposition is its ability to call upon the masses to hit the streets – reminiscent of the persistent demonstrations that eventually toppled the previous regime of President Hosni Mubarak.
“The Brotherhood simply is not in a position to command the military,” according to the Stratfor report.
In spite of initially having fired the top military echelon upon becoming president, Morsi and the Brotherhood still have not brought the military under civilian control.
This has been demonstrated in recent days by the military’s Egyptian Republican Guard removing barbed wire surrounding the presidential palace to allow protesters to get closer to it, even though the crowds and demonstrations outside the palace increase each day as the nation prepares for a public referendum on the Islamic-backed constitution on Dec. 15.
In referring to the demonstrations, the Stratfor report said that the military “allowed the situation to evolve,” forcing Morsi to seek negotiations with its leadership.
“A bargain may be forthcoming, but ultimately the deal they make matters less than the balance of power,” the report said.
As a result, the military has allowed the crisis situation to evolve until Morsi decided to negotiate with the Egyptian military.
“The fact that Morsi had no choice but to ask for the military’s help – and the fact that the military did not act before negotiations – confirms that Morsi does not control the military,” the report added.
All of this reflects a diminishing of power for Morsi, with the military, in effect, telegraphing to the public that it, not the civilian government of Morsi, has the main power. The military wants to keep it that way, using Morsi as the civilian showpiece while it continues to pull the strings, ensuring that the Brotherhood, in the end, doesn’t become all powerful.
This calculated approach by the military leadership will help it to retain its independence, even though the Brotherhood will continue trying to consolidate its hold on power while the opposition continues to oppose it.
This may help to explain why the United States will continue providing economic and military assistance to Egypt, knowing that the Brotherhood will not be in a position to retain absolute power, as much as Morsi wants it with his recent decree.
With the military in a position to be independent, as opposed to succumbing to civilian leadership, it may help ensure that the 1979 peace treaty with Israel and the general security arrangements in the region will remain in place, for now.
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