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Mon, July 1, 2013 | RubinReports | By Barry Rubin

An Egyptian man carries his daughter as she holds a picture of army chief and Defense Minister Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. (Image source:


Rough quotes from the Army Ultimatum:

“Based on its history and national responsibilities, the Egyptian Army will be a major factor in any future when it comes to protecting the security of the nation.”

“The [Egyptian Army] will not be an agent of political bodies/organizations or branches government it will only answer to the genuine democratic will of the people.”

“The events taking place are an extreme threat to national security due to all of the events going on.”

“The Army…Presented a week-long deadline …However, the last week’s events proved otherwise…The actions have aroused domestic and international admiration and attention…Waiting longer will only bring more divisions.”

“If the will of the people is not answered, the Army will announce a new map for the future to fulfill their demands. [We] will put in place/oversee the involvement of all factions, including sincere youth [activists].”

Note: The statement “the will of the people” implies that this means bad news for the regime.

In contrast to what various media types are saying, it is important to remember that not many people in Egypt may have changed their minds. The regime supporters voted for the regime and the opposition voted against him.

A second translation:

Key excerpt (paragraphs 9 and 10 — i.e., two succeeding paragraphs near the end, each beginning with a dash, which follow a paragraph preceded by an asterisk), translated by Raymond Stock:

“The Armed Forces repeat and reiterate the call to comply with the demand of the people and give everyone 48 hours to bear the burden of the historic situation through which the nation is still passing, and which will not tolerate or forgive any power for falling short in shouldering its responsibility.”

“The Armed Forces warn everyone that if the demands of the people ares not met by the prescribed deadline, then they will be obliged, based upon their patriotic and historic responsibility and respecting the demand of the great people of Egypt, to proclaim a road map for the future and measures to implement it, with the participation of all sincere patriotic factions and trends, including the youth that are still erupting for the glorious revolution, without drawing toward and pulling away from anyone.”

These are speculations I’m thinking through but want to share them with you. Forgive me if I’m wrong:

  1. The opposition has no incentive to get off the street because they want a coup. Remember this looks like the army is coming to their rescue and the statement was friendly toward them more than the regime.
  2. The statement came from the army and not the government. So the army isn’t being the tool of the government here but an independent institution. In other words the government is just one of two factions for it.
  3. Is the army going to become permanently unpopular by shooting down people, which it refused to do for Mubarak two years ago?
  4. What will the government be? Probably either military or a cabinet of experts under an appointed technician. More daringly they could just pick someone they like and say he is a compromise president.
  5. It is hard to believe that some Islamists will not take up arms and there could be a civil war, knowing this the army will be cautious. It could be quite bloody even if the Brotherhood surrenders.
  6. Remember this is not utopia, the same old corrupt dictatorship will be in power but probably with more freedom.
  7. This doesn’t solve the country’s economic problems.
  8. The army would hope that the United States will give support. Probably U.S. statements would say they America would like the return of democracy as soon as possible. Under a realpolitik U.S. government, it would rush loans and aid to show favoritism for a renewed non-Islamist regime. This president could punish the military for daring to seize power from a democratically elected president.
  9. The army regime would not want international friction. It would be reasonable toward Israel, would not help Hamas, and would be tougher in fighting Syria and Iran. Beyond the past, if Islamists fight the army might be in a war with Hamas since it would support the Islamist rebels!
  10. The only alternative to the army taking power — directly or behind the scenes — is to force some changes on Mursi and make him broaden his coalition. This is hard to believe but might be possible. Remember the army does not want to take power and is still unhappy from last time it did so.
  11. A good way out for the army is to work with the anti-regime courts and get elections voided. The courts are already scheduled to rule on the validity of the elections.
  12. Supporters of the White House will soon start claiming that Obama planned this all deliberately. Let the Brotherhood get power and then let them fail and discredit themselves. Watch and see.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His next book, “Nazis, Islamists and the Making of the Modern Middle East,” written with Wolfgang G. Schwanitz, will be published by Yale University Press in January 2014. His latest book is “Israel: An Introduction,” also published by Yale. Thirteen of his books can be read and downloaded for free at the website of the GLORIA Center including “The Arab States and the Palestine Conflict,” “The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East” and “The Truth About Syria.” His blog is Rubin Reports. His original articles are published at PJMedia.

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