Egyptian protests: Mubarak's refusal to resign makes the army's decisions even more important.

Military analysis.
Feb. 10 2011 6:01 PM

Mubarak's Bombshell

The president refuses to step down. What's next for Egypt? A coup? A revolution? A crackdown?

(Continued from Page 2)

Some factions of the military may have their own material interests in mind when forcing Mubarak out. As in many undemocratic countries, the military is more than just the military. Egypt's officer corps is said to own or operate vast networks of commercial enterprises, including water, construction, cement, olive oil, the hotel and gasoline industries—in all, about one-third of the country's economy—as well as vast chunks of seaside property.

The protests and the chaos they have unleashed have caused grave economic damage—an estimated $315 million each day. These losses, much of them due to reduced tourism, will continue as long as the protests continue—and the protests will continue, it seems, for as long as Mubarak stays in power.

The army's material interests don't mesh so well with the premises of a thriving middle-class society. And the absence of such a society—the combination of large numbers of well-educated young people and few jobs to suit their talents—has no doubt fueled these last two weeks of protest.

That same WikiLeaks cable from the U.S. embassy in Cairo reported that the military views efforts at privatization "as a threat to its economic position, and therefore generally opposes economic reforms." To the extent the military does retain power in Egypt, the people's "rising expectations" may be frustrated, regardless of the outcome of this current clash. Whatever happens in the coming days and weeks, Egypt, once the emblem of Arab stability, might be locked in the dynamics of revolution for a long time to come.

Become a fan of Slate on Facebook. Follow Slate and the Slate Foreign Desk on Twitter.

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola

Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.

It’s Legal for Obama to Bomb Syria Because He Says It Is

Divestment Is Fine but Mostly Symbolic. There’s a Better Way for Universities to Fight Climate Change.

I Stand With Emma Watson on Women’s Rights

Even though I know I’m going to get flak for it.

It Is Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

Building a Better Workplace

In Defense of HR

Startups and small businesses shouldn’t skip over a human resources department.

Why Is This Mother in Prison for Helping Her Daughter Get an Abortion?

How Ted Cruz and Scott Brown Misunderstand What It Means to Be an American Citizen

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 23 2014 12:43 PM Occupy Wall Street How can Hillary Clinton be both a limousine liberal and a Saul Alinsky radical?
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 23 2014 2:08 PM Home Depot’s Former Head of Security Had a Legacy of Sabotage
  Life
Outward
Sept. 23 2014 1:57 PM Would a Second Sarkozy Presidency End Marriage Equality in France?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 23 2014 2:32 PM Politico Asks: Why Is Gabby Giffords So “Ruthless” on Gun Control?
  Slate Plus
Political Gabfest
Sept. 23 2014 3:04 PM Chicago Gabfest How to get your tickets before anyone else.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 23 2014 2:31 PM 3 Simpsons Showrunners Reflect on New Fans and the “Classic Era” Myth
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 23 2014 1:50 PM Oh, the Futility! Frogs Try to Catch Worms off of an iPhone Video.
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 23 2014 1:38 PM Why Is Fall Red in America but Yellow in Europe? A possible explanation, 35 million years in the making.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.