1. Interior ministry tear gas purchase
2. Defense articles and defense services licensed for export under 22 U.S.C. 2778 of the Arms Export Control Act
3. Training Spending and US Military Goals
4. Press releases from US Department of Defense
5. Other links
1. Interior ministry tear gas purchase
Interior Ministry Spokesman said on Saturday 23/2/2013 that the ministry ordered to import 140,000 US-sourced teargas canisters three months ago within its annual arming plan to protect State's vital facilities and private property.
Maj. Gen. Hani Abdul-Latif said that the cost of the deal reached 2.5 million dollars to protect these facilities. Link
2. Defense articles and defense services licensed for export under 22 U.S.C. 2778 of the Arms Export Control Act (table listing Egypt requests and PDF with details on categories)
3. Training Spending and US Military Goals
- Continue the vital U.S.-Egypt strategic relationship and ensure Egypt's continued commitment to peace with Israel
- Sustain and maintain U.S.-origin military equipment and systems to keep the Egyptian military modern and fully operational
- Enhance interoperability of the Egyptian military to enable participation in coalition operations and exercises
- Defeat terrorism through strengthened border security and tunnel detection capability
Search for Egypt in bottom two PDFs to get to the section (page 3 in the first PDF and page 4 in the second PDF)
Past years spending can be found here
4. Press releases from US Department of DefenseSearch this website with "Egypt" to scan through relevant press releases
Additionally, here are some "Excess Defense Spending" items granted to Egypt (last in 2009)
- Co-production of Abrams Tank (This has always been the big one for Egypt-US military spending, this document leads me to believe that almost all FMF goes to this specific endeavor given that we get around $1.3B annually and the size of this request)
- Skyguard AMOUN Solid-State Transmitters: The Egyptian Navy intends to purchase this equipment to improve the reliability and maintainability of the Skyguard air defense system. Egypt’s current transmitters are over 30 years old, obsolete, or nonfunctional.)
| |Report 1: Brutality unpunished and unchecked: Egypt’s military kills and torture protesters with impunity
highlights patterns of violations at three key demonstrations, and documents the brutal crackdown unleashed by the army during the 16-month rule by the SCAF.
It focuses on:
- The Maspero protests of October 2011, when 27 mainly Coptic Christian protesters were killed;
- Events outside the Cabinet Offices in December 2011, when 17 protesters died;
- The Abbaseya sit-in in May 2012, when up to 12 people were killed.
| |Report 2: Agents of repression: Egypt’s police and the case for reform
, outlines the total impunity enjoyed by the three main police forces in Egypt – the Central Security Forces (CSF), widely known as the riot police; the General Investigations Police, Egypt’s national police force; and the abolished State Security Investigation (SSI) service, highlighting the urgent need for sweeping reform of the police force.
The report focuses on three key events:
- Police violence during clashes with protesters at Mohamed Mahmoud Street near the Ministry of Interior in November 2011.
- Police abuses during protests in the same street following the killings of Al-Ahly football club supporters in February 2012.
- Police violence during clashes in front of Nile City Towers, in Cairo, in August 2012.
Report 1: Brutality unpunished and unchecked: Egypt’s military kills and torture protesters with impunity
Report 2: Agents of repression: Egypt’s police and the case for reform
So with all this presidential election business, in reality the past 24 hours or so seem to have been quite good for SCAF:
Plus via constitutional deceleration:
- SCAF appointed the president's chief staff including chief of staff (رئيسًا لديوان رئاسة الجمهورية)
- They decided that the "'new president is a transitional one, for few months only'"
- Authorization of military to arrest civilians (emergency law back again yaani, they put it to good use pretty quick, see #7 in list below... was a good two weeks though guys!)
- Formation of National Defense Council with, as of yet, unstated duties
- Full legislative powers until new parliament elected
- Right to create a constituent assembly if elected one fails to complete its work,
- Head of SCAF acts as commander in chief
- Veto power on president's ability to declare war
- Full control of army budget,
- Responsibility for appointment of commanders and extension of their tenure (i.e. they can give themselves contract extensions)
- If internal unrest occurs they have ability to veto presidential request to "maintain security and defend public properties"... Somewhat comically they go on to state that "current Egyptian law stipulates the powers of the armed forces and its authorities in cases where the military can use force, arrest or detain." (current in that they just allowed it for themselves a week ago)
- Ability to veto text within constitution that contradicts the "goals of the revolution and its basic principles" or "the principles mentioned in previous Egyptian constitutions" (nice side note to this also, keep in mind previous rulings of the HCC: "Should the constituent assembly object to revising the contentious article, the article will be referred to the High Constitutional Court (HCC) which will then be obliged to give its verdict within seven days. The HCC's decision is final and will be published in the official gazette within three days from the date of issuance.")
Please let me know if I missed anything... (If interested, all SCAF related blog posts can be found here and SCAF's dedicated page can be found here) Wi Allaho Al Mowafaq Al Mosta3an
The addition brings the current number of active SCAF members to TWENTY-THREE (23)
The addition is General Adel Morsy - actually a very important SCAF member as he is the " head of the judicial military authority". A full list of SCAF members - current and former - can be found at (http://www.ducoht.org/scaf.html) Military Justice under SCAF: Overview and Links
Cases of children known to have faced investigation, prosecution, or sentencing before military courts (link)
- In a September 5 news conference Gen. Adel Morsy of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) said that between January 28 and August 29, military tribunals tried 11,879 civilians. The tribunals convicted 8,071, including 1,836 suspended sentences; a further 1,225 convictions are awaiting ratification by the military. (link)
- Military courts have acquitted only 795 of the nearly 12,000 cases they have tried, a conviction rate of 93 percent, Human Rights Watch said. . (link)
- Those sentenced included a 16-year-old child, Islam Harby Raga, currently in Tora prison serving a seven-year sentence after a military trial in February in which he was convicted on charges of assaulting a public official. (link)
- According to a statement by General Adel Morsy, head of the military court, around November 2011 - 18 people have been sentenced to death so far. (link)
- On 1 April, the SCAF announced that it would permit the death penalty for convicted rapists if the victim was under 18. The law would apply to minors under 18 as well. Both Egyptian and international law prohibit the death penalty for minors. (link)
- This was applied to a minor (under 18), along with three other individuals, for the rape of a 17-year old girl. The minor was Ahmed Marous Ibrahim, the other three individuals were: Tarek Ragheb, 33, Karim Dahrouj Ahmed el-Sawy, 28, and Mahmoud Ramadan Abdul Hussein, 21 (link)
- Around January 25, 2012 the military announced the release of 1,955 prisoners tried under military court. (link) However, they gave no indication to how many remained in prison through military court convictions.
Egypt’s military courts have investigated or tried at least 43 children over the past year, Human Rights Watch said in March 2012,including the pending trial of 16-year-old Ahmed Hamdy Abdel Aziz in connection with the Port Said football riots
A blog post documenting sourcing behind the other 22 member names can be found hereSee full list of current and former SCAF members HERE (http://www.ducoht.org/scaf.html)
- Islam Harby, 15, arrested on March 23, 2011, and sentenced to seven years, currently detained in Tora maximum-security prison.
- Mohammed Ehab Sayyed Morsi, 17, arrested on March 9, 2011, and sentenced to 15 years, currently detained in Tora maximum-security prison. (Interview with his mother and detailed discussion of his case can be found here)
- Mohammed Abdul Hadi, 16, arrested on March 9, 2011, and sentenced to three years, released on May 21, 2011, after a two-month campaign along with the rest of the group of 122 protesters.
- Mustafa Gamal Edin, 15, arrested on March 9, 2011, sentenced to one year, released after three weeks detention. According to lawyers involved with his case, he was arrested along with 15 other children, whom military courts sentenced to one year in a social welfare institution. The decision was subsequently commuted and the group was released on April 8, 2011.
- Ahmed Hassan Mohamed, 17, arrested in March 2011, sentenced and released in January 2012.
- Nine children arrested on May 15, 2011, investigated by military prosecution, released after approximately one month, according to lawyers involved in the case.
- Mohamed Mahmoud El Khodary Sherif, 17, arrested on July 29, 2011, from Arish, held for 15 days in military investigative detention, then cleared of charges and released.
- Nine children arrested September 9-10, 2011, during protests outside the Israeli embassy, tried and sentenced by a military court to suspended sentences. They were released on November 1, 2011, according to lawyers handling their cases.
- Saif Sadek, a 15-year-old boy, arrested September 30, 2011, during a demonstration at the Ministry of Defense, acquitted and released on November 13, 2011.
- Three children arrested during Maspero demonstrations, on October 9, 2011, investigated by the military prosecutor and released on November 23, 2011, according to their lawyers.
Click on image below for larger version
I see this directly tied to their control of the economy… Without having oversight via an independent, non-military governor there is no way that military influence is checked. Rather, these governors facilitate the expansion of the military’s economic reach on a local level, which is compounded by their (hopefully previous) unchecked influence on the executive branch.
From January to August 2011 (appointments by Mubarak during uprising to appease demands of protesters) there were 20 military governors – constituting 74% of the total governors. From September 2011 through today, there are 14 military governors*, constituting 54% of the total positions. Some additional notes/caveats:
* Cairo and Alexandria, while they have non-military governors, they do have deputy governors that are military - thus, I have counted them as military governorates as I find it hard to believe that the doctors would trump the say of the military. I could be wrong but that is my assumption for now which is reinforced by the alleged influence General Sayed El-Barie had when he was secretary general of Giza (superseding the governor himself on a decision.
Story worth reading just to see who exactly is being appointed to these positions: When Aswan’s Sayed El-Barie was also Secretary General of Giza – and there is testimony from people at the time that he would only let projects be given to “select” companies - http://today.almasryalyoum.com/article2.aspx?ArticleID=48491&IssueID=588
The list in "previous governorates" column is nowhere near complete. I was just curious as to whether there would be any cross-over from one appointment to the next and, not surprisingly, there is – and quite a bit of it at that. The governors with previous roles written next to them are simply spot checks, I would guess that all the others have had “civilian” leadership roles in one way or another (deputy governors, secretary generals, etc.)
The New Valley governorate takes up approximately 50% (44% to be exact) of Egypt's landmass - that one is not only headed by a general, but by a (former) member of SCAF
| || |
Guns from Shootout with Tarek El Mahdy
So apparently – amongst the wide variety of consumer and military goods produced (literally almost anything you can imagine) - we manufacture/produce our own tear gas, of the CS variety!
This is from Section C of the Technical Annex in “Crowd Control Technologies : An Assessment Of Crowd Control Technology Options For The European Union” – which was published in May 2000. So potentially could have stopped production but feel like that would have been counter to the regime’s mindset – obviously, they don’t have moral qualms against using it but potentially may have been discontinued due to other reasons (although hard to think of some given that profitability is not an important criteria and neither is actually selling it...)
Given that we manufacture this stuff, then at least use your domestic supplies and don’t make us go in debt to teargas ourselves! I suppose it is similar to the dynamic of bread/basic foods in Egypt – the demand far outstrips domestic supply...
On a more serious note though, potentially there was some foresight that the US/EU would eventually cut/decrease shipments so domestic production has been stockpiled until they go through the new 21-tonne US resupply from November).
Anyway – document is below!
Factory 10 (the one producing the tear gas) is located in Alexandria and its military products include small arms and ammunition; while civilian products include shotgun cartridges, semi-automatic bakery lines, food cans, aerosol containers, aluminum containers.
Also apparently companies called “Egypt & Middle East Co” and “Perfect Security Systems” manufacture batons and water cannons, respectively. I will bet both of these are owned by former army generals. Unfortunately only name I could find for latter company is Eng. Mahmoud Kamal (too generic) and the first company name is too generic to quickly identify people. Alternatively, name is “Perfect for Security Systems” (PO Box 136, Mohandeseen, Giza).
And sure enough, a little more digging and clearly it is a military company – nobody else produces for the military sector (god forbid competitive bidding) and especially telecom equipment sensitivity. They turned up on US government website, although they caveat it quite a bit http://export.gov/egypt/businessserviceproviders/index.asp?bsp_cat=80141700
(“The BSP directory is intended to provide an additional resource to U.S. exporters doing business in this geographic area. The BSP directory is not comprehensive. Inclusion does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by the U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service.”)
Perfect Security Systems
Contact: Eng. Mahmoud Kamal, General Manager
54 Syria St., Mohandessin, Giza, Egypt.
Phone: +20(2) 336-7270; +20(2) 338-5695; +20(2) 336-7271
Fax: +20(2) 336-7271
(website not working)"We specialize in importing if fire alarm, fighting and security safety systems, anti-intruder alarm, C.C.T.V, surveillance systems, electronic components and telecommunication for civilian and military sectors. "
Going through that website it seems at first glance that there are a substantial number of military related/linked companies (e.g. “Arab Engineering & Distribution Company (AEDCO) is a Joint Stock Company, organized and existing under the laws of the Arab Republic of Egypt,” “Caesar Service operates in the field of security and guarding services under scientific basis that have been well developed in order to suit the working conditions in the Arab Republic of Egypt. Caesar’s professional team, which consists of ex-military and police officers, has enabled the company to become a pioneer in this field.,” and another http://www.remage-egypt.com/about.html
Still trying to pour through the crazy amount of information regarding Egypt military-industrial complex but it is really overwhelming – every company you discover brings about 4 more military companies and a new general manager to dig into!
On the left is a table extracting chemical irritants by type.
For more info, check out this great post by @FouadMD from a while back covering tear gas types, treatments, effects, etc. (http://ow.ly/950q8)
PLEASE SEE HERE FOR LATEST VERSION - THIS IS OUTDATED!
Ok – so this is in reverse chronological order (latest addition at top) with the first, original 14-body group identification from the government at bottom of post…
Video from first SCAF communique that is most comprehensive video of members I have seen: http://ow.ly/8P87V Current Count: 22 (assuming Etman still a member) Department of Defense and Daily News Egypt
Must have missed this SCAF member - Staff Major General Ibrahim Al-Noshy!
haven't seen his name elsewhere but while reading a department of defense communique highlighting US-Egyptian military meetings over recent days they were listing people that US personnel met with and there was a name I hadn't seen before – commenting that he was “chief of the Egyptian Army’s training authority”. After a bit of searching, found this article http://ow.ly/91dbP that lists him as a SCAF member and in charge of Sinai affairs.
This brings me to a total of 22! (Although, as a reader pointed out a few weeks back THIS (http://ow.ly/91diF) Economist article had the number at 24 but listed no names so unclear who.) From Carnegie Endowment (Jan 5th, 2012): http://ow.ly/8vqJm
"A list of the nineteen members of the SCAF is provided below, with the first eight being the most outspoken:"
Major General Mukhtar al-Mulla: Assistant defense minister
Major General Adel Amara: Assistant defense minister (he was only highlighted as an advisor before but Carnegie puts him as a proper member)
Also had different names for the commanders of regional armies (Western, Northern and Eastern)
For a total of 21! From 12/19 Press Conference about Parliament Building
"But only advisors apparently"
"Kato" (hitler oven dude - old video of him: http://www.almasryalyoum.com/en/node/332949
) Wikipedia (says they are 18)
A total of 18 members including Six other military commanders (possibly including the four chiefs of staff of the four branches of the Egyptian Armed Forces).
Major General Mohamed Saber Attia - Chief of Operations for the Armed Forces
For a total of 19.! Has names for the regional military zone commanders: Major General Hassan Mohammed Ahmed - Commander of the Northern Military Zone Major General Mohsen El-Shazly - Commander of the Southern Military Zone Major General Mahmoud Ibrahim Hegazy - Commander of the Western Military Zone Foreign Affairs magazine, September/October 2011, "Commanding Democracy in Egypt"
In May, General Mamdouh Shahin, a member of the SCAF (legal affairs)
For a total of 18! Youm7 (http://allafrica.com/stories/201112050301.html)
Adds Maj. Gen. Mamdouh Abdul Haq, a member of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) said in a meeting at "90 minutes TV program" on 3/12/2011
For a total of 17! Amnesty International Report (http://goo.gl/e1qvO)
Major-General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Head of Military Intelligence
Mohammed Said al-Assar, Assistant Defence Minster
For a total of 16!
Egyptian State Information Services Website from 2/18/2011: (total of 14)
Field Marshal Mohamed Tantawi, former Minister of Defence and Military Production
Lt. General Sami Annan, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces
Admiral Mohab Memish, the Commander of the Maritime Force
Air Marshal Reda Hafez, the Commander of the Air Force
Lt. General Abdel Aziz Seif, the Commander of the Air Defense Forces
General Hassan al-Rwini, the Commander of the Military Central Zone
Staff General Ismail Othman, the Director of the Morale Affairs Department
General Mohsen al-Fanagry, the Assistant Defense Minister
Staff General Mohammed Abdel Nabi, the Commander of the Border Guard
Staff General Mohammed Hegazy, the Commander of the Third Field Army
Staff General Sobhy Sedky, the Commander of the Second Field Army
The commanders of the northern, southern and western zones (3 additional) [Birth Years: Tantawi (1935), Annan (1948), Hafez (1952), Seifeddin (1949)]
While there is much stirring in congress about the NGO crackdown in Egypt, it seems pretty clear to me that the Pentagon/Department of Defense/US military and SCAF are re-iterating their importance to each other (Link 1 below) - apparently the US-military leaders Egyptian cooking and music based on his generosity! On the next level, the State Department continues to re-iterate their belief in SCAF but still pressing on the NGO issue (Link 2 below). Congress seem to be the only ones too concnerned with punishing Egypt for NGO business - bloody elected bodies represeingting the masses always a thorn! (Search congress, NGO Egypt on Google to find many articles with various senator quotes - including John Kerry, Patrick Leahy, etc.).
Interestingly, since 2007, the US government apparently believes that this type of anti-American sentiment was likely to arise regardless of who was to come to power (Link 3).1. Defense.gov News Article: Dempsey Discusses Issues With Egypt’s Defense Leaders
http://ow.ly/91cTM (some of the random detail – e.g. musician coins, chef handshake, are amusing – especially in light of no details regarding discussions)
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff met here today with Egypt’s top defense officials to discuss a wide range of issues related to the long-standing security relationship between the two countries, said Marine Corps Col. Dave Lapan, the chairman’s spokesman.
Discussions included Egypt’s investigation into the allegedly illegal foreign funding of pro-democracy nongovernmental organizations by more than 40 Egyptian and American activists, including 19 U.S. citizens.
Lapan, declined to give details of Dempsey’s “private” discussions with Egyptian defense officials.
Later, after a wild motorcade ride through the Saturday streets of Cairo, Dempsey arrived at the Ministry of Defense with Patterson. There he met with Enan and Tantawi.
He also met with Maj. Gen. Mohamed el-Assar, assistant minister of defense and a member of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces; Maj. Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, director of military intelligence; Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Mohamed Noshy, chief of the Egyptian Army’s training authority; and others.
During a seven-course official lunch with the Egyptian military leadership, Dempsey sat between Enan and el-Assar at the head table. During lunch he asked to thank the chef, who came out of the kitchen for a handshake and a coin from the chairman. Dempsey also thanked and gave coins to a group of local musicians who played during the meal. 2. State Department on Egypt: SCAF may not be behind NGO raids | The Cable http://ow.ly/91cTf
a top State Department official has been sending the message that the Egyptian military leadership is not behind the recent raids on NGO organizations
Part of Burns's message has been that the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which took executive power last February after ousting President Hosni Mubarak, may not ultimately be behind the raids or necessarily in favor of the prosecutions that resulted.
"There is a vacuum of authority. We have been directly pressing the authorities in Cairo, including the SCAF, although they may not be the driving force behind this."
American Embassy in Cairo has claimed in similar discussions that the SCAF was surprised by the Dec. 29 raids on several NGOs
The Obama administration has an interest in drawing a distinction between the actions of the SCAF… and other parts of the Egyptian government, including the judiciary and the Ministry of International Cooperation, run by Fayza Abul-Naga
He told the Egyptian media during that trip, "The administration has continued to make a very strong case for our assistance to Egypt."
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Jake Walles led a classified briefing for lawmakers on Capitol Hill Tuesday, after which senators who participated complained that they had heard no real plan to end the crisis. Those same lawmakers said the administration was working valiantly on the issue, but with no measurable success.
"We have a real interest in having good relations with Egypt because they have a central role in the region. On the other hand we can't just sit back and let them do what they're doing with the NGOs."
"Congressional support for Egypt -- including continued financial assistance -- is in jeopardy,"
warrant punitive actions against certain Egyptian officials
“Continuing down this path will make it increasingly difficult for Congress to provide military and economic assistance to Egypt and for the Administration to certify legal requirements necessary for aid to move forward,
"Egypt will apply the law... in the case of NGOs and will not back down because of aid or other reasons," he said. (Ganzouri)
If the State Department truly believes that the judiciary and international cooperation ministries are solely to blame for the NGO crisis in Egypt, it's possible U.S. diplomats got that information directly from the Egyptian government.
At last weekend's meeting of the 2012 Munich Security Conference, Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammed Amr professed that the executive branch in Egypt had no role and no influence over the NGO cases. "We are doing our best to contain this but…we cannot actually exercise any influence on the investigating judges right now when it comes to the investigation," he said, eliciting scoffs of disbelief from the audience. 3. http://ow.ly/91cSY Wikileaks excerpt from 2007 regarding US opinion on post-succession dynamic (also some info regarding expectations/views on potential presidential candidates – pretty apt given it was five years ago)
"Among [the new leader's] first priorities will be to cement his position and build popular support. We can thus anticipate that the new president may sound an initial anti-American tone in his public rhetoric, in an effort to prove his nationalist bona fides to the Egyptian street, and distance himself from Mubarak's policies."
Debating the merits of a sustained boycott of SCAF products/companies versus a general strike
I have begun pouring over army company information and compiling a page here (http://ow.ly/8WsUQ
) and @AalamWassef provided this great overview (http://ow.ly/8ZiNM
- download the PDF, great trove of information) documenting military owned companies and assets - all part of the massive interweb of people, companies, products and services that they use to finance their privileges, benefits, etc. (plan on trying to document those soon as well but these include all those properties on Salah Salem with fancy military gates inside - I have been inside a few of them and they are far nicer than you would expect...)
I believe the only thing that will make SCAF change planned course of action is fear of losing those benefits... So the question is what SCAF needs to maintain its privileges/benefits. I think we can agree that it is generally easier to stay "rich" when you have the support of the West (i.e. despite being horrible dictators across their reign compared Saddam and Qaddafi's life pre/post US-isolation - circa pre1991 and pre1984/post2002, respectively for each...
Therefore, the end extremely worrying situation for #SCAF would be that the US/West flips on them the same way they did when Saddam invaded Kuwait and Qaddafi's Lockerbie, nuclear weapons, etc.! In that regard, Israel is our Kuwait/Lockerbie/Nuclear Weapons... The most apt analogy is the nuclear weapon one since, just the ability to break out, is considered leverage. By the same token, Egypt's ability to wage war (at most) or facilitate proliferation of extremism or turn a blind eye to their development in Sinai (at minimum) can be seen as its "nuclear weapon".
At this point, it turns into an exercise in game theory... When looking at the defense establishments of both countries, at the end of the day neither Egypt wants to go to war with Israel nor does the United States want to cut its military aid to Egypt - which both sides know. The question that the US needs to answer is whether Egypt can go to war with Israel? (Which my complete, unsubstantiated guess would be no). The next question is how far SCAF is willing to deteriorate the country to hold onto their own benefits? Historically, leaders have been willing to undergo a spectrum of isolation but we can make some educated guesses.
The fundamental premise is that #SCAF might not mind seeing Egypt turn to shit as long as they retain some benefits (i.e. pretty sure Pakistani army officers live a pleasant life despite state of their country)!
The most extreme example that comes to mind is North Korea's Kim regime which has no problem starving the whole country and living as global pariahs as long as the core power base is satisfied in Pyong Yang. However, that regime was bred out of isolation and has become accustomed to living locally luxurious but globally isolated. The leaders of North Korea cannot go shopping in Paris or take family trips to New York - something I suspect our general have become quite accustomed to. (According to the New York Times American handlers ensure that a day per visit is carved out for Sami Anan, his wife and three kids to go shopping in Tyson’s Corner with an affinity for electronics and jeans. Additionally, his occasional drinking probably makes him weary of Saudi love)
However, beyond North Korea there are a variety of regimes from Pakistan to Mozambique to Cuba to Iran. (Which, when looking at this list – and North Korea – there is a strong similarity: the regime has been in power for decades and has yet to show palpable signs of weakness – although take into account, by definition we are filtering out all the failed ones so the above list in and upon itself cannot lead one to conclude that the best path to regime longevity is authoritarianism at all costs.)
Now – in my mind – the only situation that SCAF would be OK with is a Pakistan type situation. My knowledge on Pakistan is pretty limited but from what I do know there is a deep military/intelligence state (let’s not forget Head of Intelligence Omar Suleiman has been untouched during revolution and, by many unconfirmed accounts, continues to be part of the state security system with privileges and access).
As a result, I think that confrontation with the military is useful in letting them know we are not going away – however, in reality, they have the guns, tanks, planes, weapons, etc. and – with Maspero and Ahram printing press under their control – they likely will have a sizeable portion of public opinion in the short/medium turn. Therefore, what we need to address is the specific privileges that they are fighting to protect.
While civil disobedience does have its merits, it is also akin to using a sword to perform a surgery – even if it does succeed in cutting off the correct limb; it will likely take a few with it. The collateral damage will not be felt by most people on Facebook/Twitter but for the 40% living day to day it is not sustainable – they will feel the pain before the military does. At that point, the HOPE would be that they realize the army is responsible for the dire circumstances and, in one swift swoop the public would realize the countless army transgressions and see the benefits of a truly civilian state! Unfortunately, not too optimistic that is how it would play out (i.e. far more likely that they would leverage Maspero and Ahram printing press to ensure their message is heard). In short, I worry they will turn the civil disobedience to their advantage and use it to consolidate their support - i.e. an us against them discourse (with "them" being protesters who will be presented at destabilizing Egypt). Moreover, plays very well into anyone who will say "Look at these well off protesters, they can go on strike and not feel the pain whereas #SCAF - and MB for that matter - understand your difficulties and work with us to help you solve them).
Further adding to my belief in the discord between protesters calling for civil disobedience and the general public comes from the polls that have been released over the past year (see an attempt to capture them here (http://ow.ly/8Zlju
). In Q4 2011 a poll released showed that " • 65% of the Egyptian either agrees or strongly agrees that protesters should be prevented from using the Tahrir Square." In essence civil disobedience is a large, nationwide strike. In addition, it explicitly demands things protestors and revolutionaries used to have to defend throughout protesting (i.e. protesters in tahrir are stopping traffic, 3agalit el entag, mayroo7a yishoofo li nafsohom shoghlana , etc.). While one poll may be flawed, these tendencies came out consistenly in other polls as well. Specifically on the civil disobedience, this stood out ": Only 1% of people participating in "workers strikes" while 25% of people participated in street protests " (25% seems high but its polls, self reported). Another poll showed that only 34% of Egyptians feel strongly about the need for civil law. Coupled with the fact that, when asked about reasons for protesting, Egyptians cited low Living Standard/Lack of Jobs" 64% of the time with lack of Democracy/reform coming in at 19% "
The army obviously doesn’t care about the welfare of the people, only raising a concern about that when there is the potential of the sha3b blaming them (i.e. the whole point of a pseudo-civilian government to take the blame – the lovely game of “fire the cabinet, hire the cabinet, repeat). ALthough some report it cares about its image, its fine as long as no threat of revolt.
Unfortunately, I do not see general strike / civil disobedience as fitting into those criteria. The army will simply say “Look, there are foreign forces trying to destabilize and they are getting revenge because we attacked their American financiers.” Today, SCAF’s official Facebook accused AUC students of causing discord (http://ow.ly/8Zf4e
) and conspiring against the state. Fortunately, most people who look at Facebook can search the internet for reports on reality – however, when Maspero is pushing this message there is little that can be done to counter it (although much respect for @3askarkazeboon and @mosireen for their persistent efforts to show the people the truth). Also, let’s not forget Al-Ahram publishing reach – which, again given its importance, controls around 90% of press printing and 85% of distribution...
I think the only thing that will hurt is fear of losing economic privileges – which we cannot expect the US to willingly do. Given their ownership of 40% of the economy through consumer facing brands, the focus should be on choking those companies! That way, SCAF cannot say we are trying to destabilize Egypt – bil 3aks – these are companies that do not pay taxes, use Egyptian employees for free, etc. – we are simply supporting the average Egyptian’s claim on his money and due payment for his efforts.
Public campaign: anytime you see someone drinking Safi water explain how the military benefits from this and pays no taxes - they are literally stealing from you every time you purchase a bottle of Safi water! (In addition to them using your brother's free labor to keep lining their pockets...
Think a sustained boycott of military products would be great - with more impact and less downside on average person than a general strike. If it were targeted on Army companies and a long-term sustained campaign! Not only when they cede to civilian power but as a principle - INDIVIDUALS in the military should not be profiting on our backs...
Also, it is a little more palpable for a nation of 85M to request them to use ALTERNATE products (e.g. buy Baraka instead of Safi) but, given day to day salaries of majority of population, staying at home is expensive!
The above is just thinking out loud - I am by no means particularly knowledgeable of civil disobedience or boycotts but I think history is a useful guide and civil rights in the US would be a successful example of the former and South Africa and/or Israeli boycott an example of the latter...