Two weeks ago, shortly after the protests in Egypt started, the Israelis allowed some 800 Egyptian soldiers into the Sinai. They went to Sharm el-Sheik down on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula on the Red Sea where the Israelis said they may be based. While the Israelis had allowed Egyptian police and security into the Sinai, this is the first time in thirty years that a contingent of the Egyptian army had been allowed in.
Two weeks later, Mubarak is ousted from power and he leaves Cairo and heads off, not overseas into exile as one might expect of a ruthless dictator ousted by popular revolution, but to Sharm el-Sheik – where the 800 Egyptian troops are now based.
While Mubarak has handed over power to the chiefs of the army ostensibly to oversee the transition to a democratic civilian government, one cannot blame the Egyptian people being more that bit wary of what is actually going on and maintaining their vigil in Tahrir Square.
The simple reality is this; apart from getting Mubarak to step down, nothing at all has really changed for the Egyptian people. They are no better off today in terms of having power for themselves than they were the before Mubarak left. All the people have are promises. Nothing else.
Before the protests, Mubarak the military man ran things. Now military men that worked for Mubarak – and are now, it seems, protecting him at his retreat at Sharm el-Sheik – are running things.
Given that Egyptian troops went to the Sinai right at the beginning of the protests and long before Mubarak left Cairo himself to go to the Sinai, one has to wonder if there was some collusion going on between the Israelis and the Egyptian government whereby the aging Mubarak at the first signs of serious discontent among the people would be eased out into comfortable retirement to live out his days at Sharm el-Sheik.
If that was the case, one then needs to ask; what were the contingency plans for the transition of power from the militarist president to the military and, far more importantly, what are the military’s plans for the future?