The Sorrows of Egypt: A Tale of Two Men
Back to the Bazaar
Freedom and Justice in the Modern Middle East
Adrift on the Nile
The Limits of the Opposition in Egypt
Is El Baradei Egypt's Hero?
Mohamed El Baradei and the Chance for Reform
Morning in Tunisia
The Frustrations of the Arab World Boil Over
Letter From Cairo
The People's Military in Egypt?
The U.S.-Egyptian Breakup
Washington's Limited Options in Cairo
The Muslim Brotherhood After Mubarak
What the Brotherhood Is and How it Will Shape the Future
Egypt's Democratic Mirage
How Cairo’s Authoritarian Regime Is Adapting to Preserve Itself
Overcoming Fear and Anxiety in Tel Aviv
How Israel Can Turn Egypt's Unrest Into an Opportunity
Mubarakism Without Mubarak
Why Egypt’s Military Will Not Embrace Democracy
Postcolonial Time Disorder
Egypt and the Middle East, Stuck in the Past
Egypt's Constitutional Ghosts
Deciding the Terms of Cairo’s Democratic Transition
A Tunisian Solution for Egypt’s Military
Why Egypt's Military Will Not Be Able to Govern
The Fall of the Pharaoh
How Hosni Mubarak’s Reign Came to an End
The Black Swan of Cairo
How Suppressing Volatility Makes the World Less Predictable and More Dangerous
Green Movement 2.0?
How U.S. Support Could Lead the Opposition to Victory
Letter From Sana’a
Saleh on the Edge
Bahrain’s Shia Question
What the United States Gets Wrong About Sectarianism
Rage Comes to Baghdad
Will Iraq's Recent Protests Lead to Revolt?
The Sturdy House That Assad Built
Why Damascus Is Not Cairo
Rageless in Riyadh
Why the Al Saud Dynasty Will Remain
Syria's Assad No Longer in Vogue
What Everyone Got Wrong About Bashar al-Assad
Meanwhile in the Maghreb
Have Algeria and Morocco Avoided North Africa’s Unrest?
Bahrain's Base Politics
The Arab Spring and America’s Military Bases
Let Them Eat Bread
How Food Subsidies Prevent (and Provoke) Revolutions in the Middle East
Libya's Terra Incognita
Who and What Will Follow Qaddafi?
What Intervention Looks Like
How the West Can Aid the Libyan Rebels
The Folly of Protection
Is Intervention Against Qaddafi’s Regime Legal and Legitimate?
To the Shores of Tripoli
Why Operation Odyssey Dawn Should Not Stop At Benghazi
A New Lease on Life for Humanitarianism
How Operation Odyssey Dawn Will Revive RtoP
The Mythology of Intervention
Debating the Lessons of History in Libya
Flight of the Valkyries?
What Gender Does and Doesn’t Tell Us About Operation Odyssey Dawn
Winning Ugly in Libya
What the United States Should Learn From Its War in Kosovo
Demystifying the Arab Spring
Parsing the Differences Between Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya
Understanding the Revolutions of 2011
Weakness and Resilience in Middle Eastern Autocracies
The Heirs of Nasser
Who Will Benefit From the Second Arab Revolution?
The Rise of the Islamists
How Islamists Will Change Politics, and Vice Versa
Terrorism After the Revolutions
How Secular Uprisings Could Help (or Hurt) Jihadists
For a moment on Saturday afternoon, it seemed as though Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak had been ousted in a military coup. At approximately 1:30 PM, Al-Arabiya reported that a rift was developing between Defense Minister Mohammed Hussein Tantawi and Mubarak, and many speculated that Tantawi had refused the president's orders for the military to fire at protesters in downtown Cairo's Tahrir Square.
Then, 40 minutes later, the crowd hoisted a uniformed colonel on its shoulders and started cheering, carrying him all the way to a tank stationed in front of the Egyptian Museum. The people started chanting, "Al-shaab wal-gaysh eed wahdah" -- "The people and the army are one hand" -- and some wiped away tears of joy. Soaking up the adulation, the colonel mounted the tank and raised his arms victoriously.
The protesters cheered ecstatically. Like excited tourists, they began climbing tanks, posing for pictures, and hugging soldiers. One couple handed over their infant, and the soldier responded like a seasoned politician, cradling the baby in his arms and kissing it on the cheek as cameras kept flashing. Before long, practically every tank in downtown Cairo had become a platform for protesters, and they stood, perhaps 20 at a time, on top of the tanks, holding posters and screaming anti-regime slogans. The soldiers, meanwhile, smiled but said little -- a brilliant move, since the crowds took it as proof that the army was on their side against Mubarak.
To be sure, there was, in fact, no coup -- the army was following Mubarak's orders. And if any rift between the military and Mubarak had emerged earlier in the day, Mubarak took important steps toward mending it when he appointed Omar Suleiman, a former general and security chief, as his vice president, and Ahmed Shafik, a former air chief of staff, as his prime minister. Yet many protesters still hoped that the military, seeing its immense popularity, would seize the moment, break with the regime, and oversee a political transition toward democracy.
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