What do Egypt’s Generals Want?

One year after Egypt's revolution began, the country's Praetorian rulers are eager for a system in which they maintain their vast economic holdings, legal immunity, and a final say over high politics. But the generals must contend with Islamists in Parliament and pressure from the street, suggesting that a more democratic system is possible.

CAIRO – “Whatever the majority in the People’s Assembly, they are very welcome, because they won’t have the ability to impose anything that the people don’t want.” Thus declared General Mukhtar al-Mulla, a member of Egypt’s ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF).

Al-Mulla’s message was that the Islamists’ victory in Egypt’s recent election gives them neither executive power nor control of the framing of a new constitution. But General Sami Anan, Chief of Staff and the SCAF’s deputy head, quickly countered that al-Mulla’s statement does not necessarily represent the official views of the Council.

So, one year after the revolution that overthrew Hosni Mubarak, who, exactly, will set Egypt’s political direction?

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