16 Feb 2011
Egypt has essentially been a military dictatorship since 1952, argues Gilbert Achcar professor of development studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. His most recent book is the Arabs and the holocaust: The Arab-Israeli War of Narratives.
The backbone of the political system has been and continues to be the army that seized power after a civil uprising against the British-backed monarchy that coincidentally erupted on 26 January 1952, almost exactly 59 years to the day the most recent wave of Egyptian protests were launched on the 25th of January 2011, leading to the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak and the installation once again of the Egyptian army, which has dissolved the country's constitution and declared that it will rule by military decree.
Looking back at the history of the military's role in Egyptian politics, after the monarchy was ousted in 1952, the military regime substituted itself to the former ruling class and whichever class was economically dominant.
In recent years the political leadership of Egypt has presented a civilian front, but in essence the military always maintained its control in the political and economic sphere of the country.
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