By Ramy Raoof. CC BY 2.0. via Wikimedia Commons.
As part of the Middle East Forum debates, participants raised the question of the Egyptian military’s role in the economy.
During the discussion session, participants epressed the belief that even if Egypt’s current president was deposed and elections were to take place, nothing would really change. Removing or changing figureheads will not change these deeply rooted structures of power.
“Follow the money trail. At the end of the day, it’s those at the helm controlling these flows that are creating all kinds of distractions for the people (sectarian, gendered, etc…)...”
The question that always arises is whether those in power actually want the people to lead economically viable lives to avoid dissent.
“If the military wants to stay in power, why aren't they trying to solve the economic crises. They couldn't sabotage it any more than they are now. Why are they importing all these weapons when there is no direct threat?”
The example of Turkey was raised in light of the attempted coup on July 15, 2016 as a useful comparison. Turkey is a prime example for examining the role of the military in a democracy and how a military coup fits into a democratic setting.
“The Egyptian military either wants to take advantage of every segment of the economy before it collapses altogether or they want to apply an extreme form of capitalism.”
Participants agreed that “a democratic process does not ‘allow’ for military intervention in any shape or form.” Nevertheless, a point was raised regarding the way in which Recep Tayyip Erdogan reacted to the coup attempt and its perpetrators and how that reaction relates to democratic processes.
As Egypt’s economy slumps further into crisis, the military continues to slowly but surely expand its empire across all segments of the economy, be it education, medicine, staple foods, and others.
“Sisi is working only on loans. He is pushing towards a fiscal crises we have never seen before. There is no economic policy.”
What role does the military industrial complex play in Egyptian politics and economy?
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Read more about this discussion in this piece by Hesham Shafick