The power and responsibility for clearing and cleaning up the mess created by over nearly 4 decades of pro-US regimes of Anwar al Sadat and since 1981 of the just forced out dictator Hosni Mubarak, himself an air force general, has fallen into the lap of Egyptian armed forces. Mubarak fled from the presidential palace on 11 February.
On Sunday, 13 February, 2011, Egypt's military disbanded the country's parliament and suspended the constitution and proclaimed that it will rule for six months or until presidential and parliamentary elections are held, according to a statement by the military council read on state television. The anti-government protesters had been demanding since 25 January Mubarak’s resignation and even a trial; and the dissolution of the parliament and constitutional reforms.
The military seems to have left in place the Cabinet of ministers for day to day running of the country.
On Sunday, the army also began clearing the Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the protests thus making clear the military's determination to restore normalcy in Cairo, Egypt’s capital.
The popular uprising had shut down Egypt's economy, sparked clashes and frozen activity in downtown Cairo, home to the government and major businesses.
"We don't want to leave," said one protester in Tahrir square. "They'll never give up the emergency laws. And they'll use them to put people in jail." Said another protester, "We are taking our freedom,” If the army didn't keep its word, "the people will come back," he added.
Before going away on 11 February to attend a clutch of marriages, I had circulated the following note to some friends
“The army is the most well organized force in Egypt.
There would be a clash between older military fat cats and younger officer’s. The military is composed of conscripts.
Possible sequences of events are Iran after the Shah fled Tehran, but Muslim Brotherhood (MB) is not that well organized as the Clerics were in Iran. Also there has been little bloodshed so far in Egypt. In Sunni Islam there is no old tradition of martyrdom unlike among Iran's Shias. MB would like to enter into power like Islamist AKP of Turkey, slowly step by step. Riyadh which finances AKP would be happy to do that in Egypt too.
Washington which grants military aid worth $1.5 billion to Egypt has good connections with Egypt’s military will not be unhappy with military takeover and try to influence its policies.
But watch out for Saudi Arabia. I have written since 3 years that unless the Saud Dynasty disappears and its symbiotic alliance with Wahabbis vanishes, there is little hope for Muslims, since Saudis like Muslims to remain backwards and beholden to Riyadh for money for Qurans, Mosques and Jihadi activities.
Indonesia is another example, with military still sharing power. Egypt is too homogeneous unlike Pakistan which it sixes and sevens.
So a colonel's take over like that of Abdul Gamal Nasser in 1952 cannot be ruled out.”