The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

More on Egypt's "Military Inc."

Great piece with more detail on the nature of the Egyptian military-industrial complex and its internationalization than I've seen anywhere: Egypt's Generals and Transnational Capital, by Josh Stacher and Shana Marshall. An excerpt but do read the whole thing for the details:

Much of the speculation over the Egyptian military’s role in the economy has been misleading. The generals’ antipathy for Gamal Mubarak led many to assume they also disdained all neoliberal projects. The guessing similarly obscured the fact that, in an era of transnational capital, the army’s footprint is found in many places outside the formally state-owned holding companies. The military has broadened its portfolio by launching joint ventures and executing share purchases in private operations, exploiting its monopoly over lucrative sectors and granting exclusive access to foreign companies in order to burnish its pro-business bona fides. While the SCAF’s lust for direct political power is in doubt, the centrality of military-run industries to Egypt’s economic future is not. The generals have had nearly 12 months in which to anchor their enterprises so firmly as to make them immovable.

From the moment of Mubarak’s resignation, it was apparent that the SCAF was no disinterested arbiter of the political transition. The furor over the obscene wealth of Mubarak’s private-sector cronies presented the military with a golden opportunity to eliminate rivals. The SCAF proceeded to shape the electoral field to advantage those politicians who would not infringe upon the military’s economic prerogatives. Chief among its tactics was a showy, but highly selective anti-corruption campaign. By jailing big businessmen like Ahmad ‘Izz, an intimate of Gamal’s, and unpopular officials like the former housing minister, Ibrahim Sulayman, the SCAF channeled the public’s demand for justice. Not surprisingly, civilian businessmen with strong links to military companies were passed over by prosecutors—another signal to politicians to accept the military’s role in the economy or be shut out altogether.