Historically, the idea of the deep state is described in the Turkish political structure where a powerful military would intervene in matters of a democratic government. In fact, the military served as an oversight for the government because it would take control, in its view, when the leaders overstretched their mandate on issues of Islam. The same concept of deep state is evident in the modern Egypt where the military rules indirectly through the influence it has over the elected leadership. In essence, Egypt’s deep state is characterized with a dominating military supported by other branches such as the police, the judiciary, and the state media and the intelligence services. The judiciary comprises of many judges who were there since the time of Mubarak. While the intelligence has a responsibility of working closely with the government to achieve political control, the police serve as the public agents of the deep state. The state media and the judiciary take a toll in maintaining a compact support of the institution of the military through facilitating and airing patriotic videos and music. The main function of the deep state idea was to improve stability and maintain order or the status quo in Egypt.
The former president, Hosni Mubarak, started the introduction of the deep state ideology in Egypt. The president empowered the military in an attempt to control the political leadership of the country through establish structures that ensured that it was almost impossible for any political revolution. While Mubarak thought that he would become powerful, the military institution made every effort to ensure that its influence in the governance of the country went beyond the powers of any president. For many people, for example, it was shocking to realize that on January 2011, President Mubarak was overthrown by the same military he worked hard to strengthen- this was utter betrayal. Since ouster, it is interesting to note that the military has strategically maneuvered to tighten its grip on all aspects of the Egyptian bureaucracy including the state-run media and the powerful presidency.
Typically, the Egyptian government has operated in a manner that portrays at as a distinct state in another state. Essentially, this is because the military owns businesses that provide revenue for funding the armed forces to ensure they remain on course. At the commencement of 1950, the military personnel initiated efforts to strengthen the national economy, which also has led to the establishment of a huge military economy over the years. Interestingly, the military as an important entity in the deep state of Egypt is one of the top business and landowners in the Middle Eastern state.
The government policy that advocates for the young Egyptian men to serve in the military has contributed to profit maximization through reduction in operational costs. The Egyptian youths provide free labor in the military enterprises that include bakeries, hotels, restaurants and factories that manufacture bottled water. In addition to the aforementioned businesses, the military generates revenue from the olive oil, cement, gasoline and construction companies under its ownership. While it may be hard to determine how much of the economy the military controls in Egypt, estimates show that its share in the $189 billion national economy averages at 25% to 40%.
Going by Mubarak’s decision to open up the economy for private investment, the military was forced to cut links with the president because such strategy was not good for the sustained control of the military in political leadership. Initially, Mubarak was ambitious to increase the political mileage for his son, Gamal in order to prepare grounds for him to become his successor. Because Gamal did not grow within the ranks of the military, it was expected that the military would not have supported his political career. Tactfully, the military managed to escape Mubarak’s scheme of bolstering the private businesses in order to counter the influence of the military.
The military funding in Egypt is not restricted to the local budget but also receives foreign aid especially from the American government. Precisely, the United States donates approximately $ 1.3billion each year in the form of military aid to Egypt. Moreover, in the recent times the military has increased calls for a raise. In fact, there have been claims that Egypt is the second largest beneficiary of the United States’ foreign aid.
The operation of the deep state in the Egyptian perspective has long been in the background. Expectations that Mohammed Morsi would be elected as president in Egypt led to the intervention of the deep state, which seemed to work in unison in an attempt to lock out the Muslim brotherhood member from power.
Notably, the military has shown massive commitment towards achievement and maintenance of a secular state similar to the situation during the reign of President Mubarak. In this system, all Egyptian men serve as transcripts. Moreover, the individuals with extreme political or religious claims are prevented from ascending in the military ranks. Under the reign of Mubarak, members of the Muslim brotherhood were in most cases jailed, tortured and marginalized
After the reign of Mubarak, the marginalized Muslim brotherhood were on the verge of ascending to power.in a previous election, the Islamic groups had won most of the parliamentary seats. Even before the presidential runoff, the military shut down the parliament following the declaration of the constitutional court that the parliamentary elections were invalid. Controversially, the next day Morsi won the election and ascended into the presidency- an office that had little powers by the time.
The reign of Morsi was short-lived because he wanted to shut a well-established military in an attempt to gain more power. Following the withdrawal of Morsi from power, Adly Mansour, the chief justice of the constitutional court was elected as interim president. In addition, the state media throw an overwhelming support behind the presidency of Mansour. Following the house arrest of Morsi, the military extended its influence and seeks to guide the country to elections that are more democratic.
The end game of the deep state in Egypt is a matter of time. In fact, it is not clear what will be the next strategy for the military. However, the military has previously claimed that its agenda is to maintain political order in the country. Of course, the military, in addition, wants to maintain its economic influence as many analysts argue. The assertion that the military still may be interested in ruling the country are not by all means disputable but face the test of time.
In conclusion, the deep state introduced in Egypt by former president Mubarak is real at the present. The establishment of a strong military economy that can sustain itself for years to come is an indication that the country has tougher years ahead. In addition, the political leadership of the country will remain submerged under the wavy influence of the military, which has its interests in governance of the country. Therefore, there is yet another need for a more balanced revolution that will best serve the interests of the ordinary citizens.
Bauer, Patricia. "The Transition of Egypt in 2011: A New Springtime for the European Neighbourhood Policy?" Perspectives on European Politics and Society (2011): n. pag. Print.
The book talks about the political revolution, which led to the withdrawal of President Mubarak. The author criticizes the role of developed countries in extending political instabilities in the developing world. In her analysis, the author faults the developed nations for giving military grants to countries that are not politically responsible. This source is useful in providing a bigger picture of the origins of political revolution in Egypt.
Bingen, Jean, and Roger S. Bagnall. Hellenistic Egypt: Monarchy, Society, Economy, Culture. Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 2007. Print.
El-Hashash, Mahmoud, and Ahmed Abdelal. "The Facebook Generation: Understanding the Social and Political Realities of Modern Egypt." (2011): Print.
The co-authored journal outlines the recent political events in the Egyptian perspective. The authors summarize the influence of Islamic movements in the stability of the Egyptian government. By citing the political developments of January 2011, the authors manage to reveal the reality in the severe power wrangles among the political and social classes. This source is useful in providing information about the end of Mubarak’s political career.
Farag, Mona. "Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood and the January 25 Revolution: new political party, new circumstances." Contemporary Arab Affairs (2012): n. pag. Print.
Freeman, Charles. Egypt, Greece, and Rome: Civilizations of the Ancient Mediterranean. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1996. Print.
Gat, Azar, and Alexander Yakobson. Nations: The Long History and Deep Roots of Political Ethnicity and Nationalism. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2012. Print.
Korany, Bahgat, and Rabab El-Mahdi. Arab Spring in Egypt: Revolution and Beyond. Cairo: The American U in Cairo P, 2012. Print.
McMurray, David A, and Amanda Ufheil-Somers. The Arab Revolts: Dispatches on Militant Democracy in the Middle East. Bloomington: Indiana Univ Press, 2013. Print.
Podeh, Elie, and Onn Winckler. Rethinking Nasserism: Revolution and Historical Memory in Modern Egypt. Gainesville: UP of Florida, 2004. Print.