An Analysis of the Role of Egyptian Military during the Arab Uprisings in terms of Civil-Military Relations

Gümüş A.

3rd Annual International Conference on Social Sciences (AICSS), İstanbul, Turkey, 26 - 27 October 2017

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Unpublished
  • City: İstanbul
  • Country: Turkey
  • Yıldız Technical University Affiliated: Yes


The fall of Mubarak in Egypt was interpreted as “breaking the fear barrier” for the protestors in Egypt and it played a key role for the spread of mass protests to the other parts of the Middle East. The Egyptian military, which was considered as the traditional ally of the Mubarak regime in the former period, did not prefer to back the regime and decided to take side with the protestors after a particular period of hesitation and cost-benefit analysis. Thus, the military played a decisive role for the resignation of Mubarak and possible transformation in Egypt. While the Egyptian military facilitated the change and transformation in Egypt in the first phase of the Arab Uprisings, it also prevented the continuation of the process in Egypt. Analyzing and understanding the Egyptian context will be meaningful to make inferences about the destiny of the Arab Uprisings in general.

            Our main research question can be formulated as follows: How can we explain the last decisions or policies of the Egyptian military during the Arab Uprisings? Is there a conflict between taking side with the protestors in the beginning and overthrowing the elected leader through military intervention? Before focusing on the details of the Egyptian case, it will be better for us to deal with broader questions about the civil-military relations: Under what conditions militaries are more likely to intervene and what are the roles of civilian or military actors in that process? Initially, it is necessary to explain the exact role of military in the political affairs. Then, it will be possible to understand the internal or external factors leading to changes in the dynamics about the civil-military relations. This research can be helpful for understanding the civil-military relations in other regions having similar dynamics.