Stephen Zunes : The Lookout (Yahoo News Blog)

Interview: All eyes on Egypt’s military: How will it respond?
31 January 2011

LOOKOUT: What role has the military played in Egyptian society during Mubarak’s regime? How is it viewed by ordinary Egyptians?

SZ: Egypt has essentially been under military rule since the revolution that overthrew the monarchy in 1952. Mubarak, for example, was the commander of the Egyptian air force prior to Sadat (also a career military officer) naming him as vice-president in 1975. In recent years, the military hierarchy appeared to oppose Mubarak’s intention of naming his son Gamal as his successor. With the naming of military intelligence chief Suleiman as vice president, the military hierarchy is reasserting its political leadership.

LOOKOUT: Now that the army has been called out into the streets in certain areas to confront protesters, are Egyptian soldiers expected to remain loyal to Mubarak? Would that still likely be the case if they were ordered to fire on Egyptian citizens?