Egyptian army planned Mubarak ouster before the revolution: Stratfor report
Amidst ongoing controversy about the role of the Egyptian army in the revolution and concerns over the military council’s attempts to clamp down on revolutionaries, a report issued by Strategic Forecasting, also known as Stratfor, revealed that the army was planning to oust former president Hosni Mubarak a while before the start of popular protests.
According to a report written by Stratfor researcher Maverick Fisher, a copy of which the Egyptian daily independent al-Masry al-Youm obtained from WikiLeaks, understanding the January 25 Revolution, which toppled Mubarak’s regime, requires an understanding of the circumstances in which it took place.
The report, published on December 12, 2011 under the title “Contemporary Challenges: Life after Mubarak,” states that while popular will appears to be the only force that drove Mubarak out of power, it is important to examine the role the army played in achieving this goal.
Fisher starts with an overview of the military’s status since the eruption of the July 23, 1952 Revolution, in which the army toppled the monarchy.
Egypt’s late president Gamal Abdel Nasser, writes Fisher, did everything in his capacity to make the military “the vanguard of society” and succeeded in doing so. This legacy was passed on to the two presidents that came after him: the late Anwar Sadat and the former Hosni Mubarak.
From the late 1970s till the mid 2000s, Fisher notes, the military had been the most powerful entity in Egypt but instead of achieving what was originally expected from it as far as economic reform is concerned, it focused on consolidating its power and benefiting from its privileged position.
“Rather than working to elevate Egypt economically, the military oligarchs mostly divvied up the local spoils and lived large.”
This remained the case, Fisher adds, until the bequest scenario came to being and Gamal Mubarak, the former president’s son, was being groomed to succeed his father. The economic plan Gamal and his cronies, mainly business tycoons, had in mind and which revolved around privatizing state assets, constituted a major threat to the military’s hegemony.
“This process was a direct threat to the military’s political and economic position at the top of Egyptian society.”
For the military, Fisher points out, Gamal was also not experienced enough to run a country like Egypt and to understand its complex security issues.
According to Fisher, army generals started putting a lot of pressure on Mubarak months before the eruption of the January 25 protests. While warning him of having any hopes of passing power to his son, they were looking into the possibility of ousting him altogether.
The revolution, adds Fisher, offered the army the best opportunity to carry out their plan while not being directly involved. They made sure to give the impression that they were supporting popular demands and were protecting the revolutionaries, contrary to the brutal repression exercised by police forces, in order to make sure the desired result will be reached smoothly.
“The demonstrations provided the generals with the means to dismantle the Mubarak legacy, the biggest liability to their own livelihood, while maintaining the paramount role of the military.”
That is why Fisher argues that the January 25 uprising was a “palace coup” rather than a revolution and he supports his argument by pointing out that the total number of protestors calling for Mubarak’s ouster did not exceed 1 percent of the population while the minimum percentage in most revolutions is usually 10 percent.
“By the most aggressive estimate only 750,000 people—less than 1 percent of the population of densely populated Egypt took to the streets. In true revolutions such as that which overthrew Communism in Central Europe or the shah in Iran, the proportion regularly breached 10 percent and on occasions even touched 50 percent.”
(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid)