Monday, September 3, 2012

(Opinion) Egypt military reshuffle: Way to go?

While most leaders (in the west especially) go out their way to accommodate the military from generously funded weapons programs and research to praise of dead and living soldiers , in the Middle East of late, the opposite seems to be happening. The Egyptian government is outwardly dismissing and retiring army chiefs left and right underlined by the news that 70 generals are set to be retired[1]. This announcement comes after recently elected president Mohammed Mursi was quick to get rid of top military personnel such as General Mohammed Hussein Tantawi and his chief of staff[2].
The current trend is strong in turkey as the Turkish government has recently prosecuted more than three hundred current and retired military personnel for allegedly planning a coup against the government[3] and have retired “dozens of generals and admirals”[4]. Civilian rule in Turkey have become more assertive in the last decade since Tayyip Erdogan came to power who has successfully sought to dominate a military that has had a ”dominant role” to play in Turkish politics[5].
The similarities between the Egyptian and turkey governments are striking as both leaders have a pro Islamic platform and are part of parties that have traditionally been marginalized by secular parties in power. This trend represents a step in the right direction as the military in many Middle East have had dominant role to play in civilian rule outwardly dominating the political class. Such a set up is clear in countries such as Pakistan where the military and judiciary are aligned against politicians who hold an almost a platonic view of politicians and democracy.
However there is another perspective from which this trend can be viewed.  Such a trend can be viewed as a step backward in the secularization of Middle East countries as two major countries in Middle East are now run by pro-Islamic leaders. The military has had a large part to play in the secularization these countries with the military producing leaders hostile to Islamic organizations and, especially in Attaturk Turkey, to Islamic culture.
While this perspective has some validity, the trend of assertion by civilian rule over the military is a step in the right direction as the military organization skills are efficient, it is limited as the military is built to deal with rigours and challenges of warfare not the governance of a nation.
In sum, the assertion of civilian rule in the Middle East has a step in the right direction after so many years of military dominance. Egypt, after so many years have full control of their destiny as they can hold their leader accountable as he is no longer owes his position to the military but to the Egyptian people.

[1] BCC News, 2012, Egypt retires 70 army generals,
[2] Ibid
[3] E.Toksabay, 2012, Turkish military coup trial nears verdict,
[4] AFP, 2012, Turkey military ‘coup suspects’ forced to retire,
[5] Ibid

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...