Civil & Military Relations

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Snapshot,
Paul D. Miller

Due in large part to the massive investment of U.S. time, money, and resources in the Afghan military since 2001, and to Washington’s relative neglect of the civilian government, Afghanistan is facing a very real risk of military coup. There is still time to forestall that outcome. But if it happens, no policymaker should be surprised.

Snapshot,
Jeff Martini

A return to military dictatorship in Egypt seems all but certain. But two things could undermine the generals. First, as the threat of the Muslim Brotherhood recedes, it will become difficult for them to hold together a governing coalition of leftists, liberals, and Salafists that is built solely on its members’ shared antipathy for the Islamist group. Second, the new regime might overreach in its suppression of the opposition, inviting a backlash.

Snapshot,
Mara Revkin

When Egypt’s 31-year-old emergency law finally expired in May 2012, Egyptians hoped that the days of arbitrary arrests and crackdowns on dissent in the name of national security were over. But thanks to an unprecedented counterterrorism clause in Egypt's new constitution, those days are here to stay.

Snapshot,
Michael J. Koplow

Egypt's generals promise democracy once they deal with the Islamist threat -- and the secular camp has cheered them on. But as Tunisia's experience 25 years ago shows, it's hard to put the authoritarian genie back in the bottle once it has been let out. In other words, the liberals are next.

Snapshot,
Heraldo Muñoz

Today, former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf was indicted in the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. The UN official who conducted the special investigation into her death recounts his own search for answers -- and why, he believes, most everyone is guilty.

Snapshot,
Roger Owen

The generals who now run Egypt are not the first Arab rulers to fear the power of those seeking to use open spaces to demand change -- and they know how to stop them. But this time around, the Muslim Brotherhood is prepared.

Snapshot,
Michael J. Koplow

It might be tempting to latch onto the idea that Turkey -- a democratic country with a history of military interventions against Islamist-leaning governments -- could be a good model for Egypt. But Egypt, which is already experiencing violence along ideological and factional lines, looks very little like Turkey. And Turkey did not get where it is today because of its military but, rather, in spite of it.

Snapshot,
C. Christine Fair

This week, the Pakistani government is set to dissolve the National Assembly and call for new elections. The outgoing administration made more progress toward institutionalizing democracy than many expected. Even so, the army is not ready to go quietly and is crafting its own plans for the country's future.

Review Essay, Mar/Apr 2013
Aluf Benn

Two new books lament the outsized role of the military in Israeli national security decisionmaking, blaming the generals for favoring force over diplomacy. But the military has sometimes been a force for peace and moderation, and in truth the persistence of the Arab-Israeli conflict is the result of far more than just Israel's bureaucratic politics.

Snapshot,
Jahanzeb Aslam

In the run up to elections this spring, the complicated power struggle between Pakistan's politicians, judiciary, and military has erupted, resulting in the judiciary issuing an arrest warrant for the prime minister and the military perhaps backing a huge protest demanding the government's dissolution. If Pakistan's elected government weathers the storm, it will become the country's first to complete a full term in office -- a feat that might not be as impossible as it seems.

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