Supporters of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Tahrir Square in Cairo, January 25, 2014.
Mohamed Abd El Ghany / Courtesy Reuters

Anyone who claims to possess full political power in post-Mubarak Egypt is lying. That might be hard to believe, given how large the military looms these days. But the vision of an almighty military -- propagated by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), its supporters, and those desperate for stability -- is a mirage. Soon enough, it will dissipate, revealing deep tensions in Egypt and dwindling options for what is often assumed to be Egypt’s strongest institution.

On Monday, SCAF, the governing body of the Egyptian military, unanimously gave Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the military’s commander in chief and Egypt’s current defense minister, its blessing to run for president. (Indeed, it considers his nomination a “mandate and an obligation.”) Sisi, whom the interim president promoted to the rank of field marshal the same day, has yet to announce his candidacy. Still, most everyone has accepted it

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  • JOSHUA STACHER is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Kent State University and the author of Adaptable Autocrats: Regime Power in Egypt and Syria.
  • More By Joshua Stacher