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The Middle East has traditionally been important for the world economy. The Middle East situation today has an impact on all aspects of life in America and much of the world.

Only by understanding the motivations of the various factions in the Middle East can we hope to understand how to promote peace and national security for Middle Eastern nations, Europe, and the United States.

Apr 7, 2011

The Role of The Egyptian Military Forces

The Egyptian military establishment has played a very positive role in the success of the 25th of January Revolution, as was reflected in the following: first, the military refused to turn their arms against the Egyptian protesters. Second, they protected the protestors and this influenced the peaceful outcome of the revolution. Third, they assumed the role of authority after the collapse of Hosni Mubarak’s regime. In addition, they were also a major source of power, pressuring him to surrender his authority. Fourth, Supreme Council of the Armed Forces( SCAF) arraigned for a transitional government to run the country’s affairs until elections take place in September 2011.

Nevertheless, there are some puzzling questions being asked by the Egyptian public about the vague or hidden strategy of SCAF. The Egyptian people’s revolution from day one demanded the removal of Hosni Mubarak and his entire corrupt regime, including all high officials connected or related to them.

The SCAF responded by dissolving the parliament and Majlis il-Shura, but they kept the Egyptian National Democratic party that was headed by the previous president in tact. Even the headquarters of the party which was the property of the government was burned by the protestors.

The party that used to nominate more than 90% of members of parliaments in addition to all members of the cabinet, turned out to be the most corrupt segment of the Egyptian government still functioning. Why has this party not been dissolved?

The only two parties that have the organized political structure to run for a quick election are the Muslim Brotherhood and the Egyptian National Democratic party. The ruling party of the previous regime should have been dissolved. If the election proceeds according to the timetable set, both parties will be the major winners in the upcoming election. Furthermore, a negative point is that the governorates council, which was elected during the previous regime and was part of it, is still in power and has not been dissolved.

It seems that those who have started the revolution have been marginalized. They were not given enough time to organize and develop their own political party structure in order to participate effectively in the upcoming election. Six months is not enough time to prepare. At least SCAF should have extended the period to one year so the young people would be ready for such a political task.

The age limits that the SCAF has set were unfair and it excluded potential qualified young people from running for political office. For example, the minimum age for president should have been 35 years old instead of 40. Also, the age for members of parliament should have been 25 years old instead of 30. The more critical qualification to run for any of these public offices is college education. In the previous governments, some people were nominated who were hardly able to read and write.

The SCAF so far did not expedite the trial of Mubarak and his family for all sorts of acts of corruption. Since he was the head of the previous regime, he should have been investigated first. However, the investigations of previous members of government took priority, which led some of the public to raise some questions as to why Mubarak and his family are still free. He was the main symbol of the previous regime and his trial should have taken priority over others. For that reason and others, the protestors during their gatherings in Tahrir Square (April 1, 2011) held a prompt trial for Mubarak and condemned him to death. The appointed prosecutor of the people issued a statement saying that he will announce his verdict on April 8th at the protest site in Tahrir Square.

The Supreme Council of the Military Forces should expedite Mubarak and his family’s trial and dissolve the National Democratic Party in order to avoid further negative speculation by the Egyptian public.

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