Read this in August/September but really a great, comprehensive overview 
Full article available here or here

1.  Hopes to create a system that’ll preserve its power by reducing chances any single political group rises & is using its mythic status & public fear of instability. (Also using single-member seats, farmers/workers provision, governor placement and using the media.)

2.  Don’t fear Iranian-style coup as much as MB growing into a political force like the AKP in Turkey which can gradually wrest power from the army. 

Even more dangerous, perhaps, is the new electoral law put in place by the SCAF that maintains a system of single-member districts for half the seats in the lower house of Egypt's parliament with the other half to be chosen based on a party-list system (I think this has been changed to 75% list based since publication). Although it may seem like a minor technicality, this law is harmful to Egyptian democracy. For one, it will aid local power brokers. These officials typically ran as independents under the prior regime, only to join the NDP after the election to secure patronage for their districts. A system of single-member districts will cement this kind of pattern by reducing campaigns to competitions over which candidate can best win resources for his region. The military prefers this to proportional representation, which would foster party identification by allowing voters to choose between parties campaigning on national platforms. It would also introduce Egyptians to new political forces that might challenge the SCAF's authority, particularly in less developed areas of the country where local power brokers still rule.

The military is also working to secure its influence over parliament by maintaining a provision that reserves half the seats in the lower house of parliament for what the electoral law calls "farmers" and "workers." First adopted by former Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser as a means of empowering the masses, the provision eventually came to be used by retired military officers and internal security personnel as a way to enter government, by qualifying as farmers or workers. Indeed, Amr Moussa, a presidential candidate who has served as Egypt's foreign minister and as secretary-general of the Arab League, has conceded that "in reality 90 percent of the ‘farmers'" are former military officers. On taking office, these legislators typically joined the parliament's Defense and National Security Committee, the only body in the Egyptian government that even nominally supervises the military, further diluting what little civilian oversight there was.

Since the revolution, the generals have sought to maintain control over key instruments of power, especially provincial governorships, to complement their top-down control. Governors are appointed by the regime and oversee all local development projects, making them central players when it comes to distributing patronage. In the Mubarak era, roughly three-quarters of the governors came from the military or the internal security and intelligence services. After the revolution, many expected the SCAF to increase the number of civilian governors. Yet just the opposite has occurred. In April, the transitional government actually increased the number of posts held by former military or security officers. In the face of popular criticism, the military is now considering allowing governors to be directly elected, but it has yet to make a final decision. (Has this been decided? Haven't heard anything.)The military has also found willing allies among parts of the media, which have questioned whether the "shaky hands" of civilian leaders can impose law and order in such unstable times. Although some of these security concerns are legitimate, this coverage has conditioned the public to believe that handing power to civilian leaders risks destabilizing the country.

Above all, the generals are determined to preserve stability and protect their privileged position.   They recognize that ruling the country directly threatens their position by potentially provoking instability, exposing them to public criticism, and dividing their ranks. And they want to avoid being blamed for Egypt's growing economic and social problems, such as double-digit inflation and unemployment, continued labor unrest, and a rise in crime. As a result, the SCAF is eager to hand power over to an elected government — but only to preserve its power and perks, not out of some deep-seated belief in democracy.The generals, then, seem to be seeking not a genuinely open and representative political system for Egypt but rather one that will allow them to retain the final say over the country's foreign policy and avoid civilian oversight. The elected government, in their vision, would carry the burden of day-to-day rule — and bear the brunt of any public displeasure.Although the military did not to seek to overthrow Mubarak, this year's demonstrations gave it an opportunity to restore its central position. Since ousting Mubarak and ascending to power, the SCAF has deftly channeled lingering public outrage over corruption toward those who have threatened its own power, such as Mubarak's business cronies and members of his formerly ruling National Democratic Party (NDP).The generals now hope to create a system of carefully shaped democratic institutions that will preserve their power and reduce the chances that any single political group can challenge them. The SCAF's decision to legalize banned political parties and allow the formation of new ones can, to some extent, be understood in this light. Although the move did represent a concession to popular demands, it also diffused political power — something that clearly benefits the military.The generals understand, of course, that they cannot operate as if the revolution never happened, and they realize that they risk further unrest if they fail to meet some of the protesters' demands. Thus, the SCAF has instituted presidential terms limits, strengthened judicial oversight of elections, and created a more transparent process for the registration of political parties. It has also promised not to run one of its own in the country's presidential race and to maintain the long-standing policy whereby military and internal security personnel — up to 1.5 million people — abstain from voting. Yet the military ultimately wants an Egyptian government that does not threaten its position. It is attempting to build a system more democratic than Mubarak's but still beholden to its interests, betting that in a desire for stability, many Egyptians will accept this compromise.The SCAF has carefully directed the course of Egypt's transition by empowering political forces that do not oppose its dominance or are too vulnerable to try. It has courted two main partners: the established opposition parties, such as the Wafd Party, which have criticized the military on certain policies but have demonstrated loyalty by not questioning its right to rule, and, more important, the Islamists, including the Muslim Brotherhood, who share the SCAF's desire to limit the growth of liberal forces (albeit for different reasons) and have considerable power to mobilize the street.

The Brotherhood helped build public support for the March referendum that mandated elections this fall and has reliably backed the SCAF in the months since. For example, when critics accused the military police of using live ammunition on April 8 to clear Tahrir Square of protesters pressing for a civilian-led transition, and the SCAF claimed that the bullets had come from counterrevolutionary snipers intent on driving a wedge between the people and the army, the Muslim Brotherhood's leader, Mohammed Badie, endorsed this conspiracy theory and condemned all attempts to "bring about division or subversion between the people and its army."Even when it did join protests against the generals in early July, the Brotherhood agreed to participate only after youth groups dropped their public demand for a faster transition to civilian control and agreed to focus instead on speedier trials for former officials and security personnel accused of killing protesters during the revolution. And when youth demonstrators chanted for the removal of Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, leader of the SCAF, the Brotherhood called on the protesters to "appreciate the role of the military in protecting the revolution rather than criticizing it."The SCAF views the Muslim Brotherhood as an attractive partner not because of any ideological affinity but because the party is both publicly popular and legally vulnerable.  The Brotherhood's leaders understand that to cement its place in Egyptian politics, they must convince the military that they pose no threat to the basic order, which makes them keen to demonstrate their loyalty.

Washington's most obvious leverage is the $1.3 billion in aid that the United States provides the Egyptian military each year, estimated to cover up to 80 percent of its procurement costs.  Even if the United States were to vigorously campaign for democracy, it would still have limited power to shape events on the ground given the weakness of liberal democratic parties in the country, the reverence for the military in Egyptian society, and popular distrust of U.S. intentions. Even the $1.3 billion in security assistance buys little clout, since the generals view it as a reward for maintaining peace with Israel, an attitude that the United States can do little to change.Since 1973, by carefully cultivating and protecting its own mythology, the Egyptian military has maintained unparalleled popularity, with public approval ratings hovering around 90 percent.But this steady diet of praise has made the generals hypersensitive to criticism. For example, when over 1,000 people died in a ferryboat accident in the Red Sea in 2006, critics accused the military of failing to deploy quickly enough to rescue them. Rather than submit itself to public examination, however, the military reportedly tampered with the parliamentary investigation that followed and made sure that it did not receive any of the blame. In the postrevolutionary era, the SCAF has demonstrated the same aversion to public criticism.The United States must also prevent the SCAF from hiding behind its relationship with Washington. For example, when General Shahin insisted that the military receive special protections under the new constitution, he justified his position by arguing that the U.S. military is given the same privileges under U.S. law — an obvious falsehood. The Obama administration should have publicly disputed Shahin's disingenuous comparison by noting that in the United States, unlike Egypt under current SCAF rule, military budgets are in the public domain, national security issues are subject to congressional oversight, and, most important, the military executes, rather than makes, national security policy.The military is gambling that its mythic status in Egypt and public fears of instability will allow it to create a political system to its liking.  

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