Egypt's Fate Rests in Hands of Two Military Figures

Tantawi, Enan must figure out a way to share power with the people
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 12, 2011 5:35 PM CST
Egypt's Armed Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Sami Enan, second from right, in a file photo.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
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(Newser) – The fate of Egypt's transition to a civilian government largely rests in the hands of two leading military figures: Defense Minister Mohamed Hussein Tantawi and Lt. Gen. Sami Hafez Enan, chief of staff of the armed forces. Both raised their standing with protesters by meeting with them during the unrest and making clear the military would not move against them, but neither is seen as a particularly strong advocate of democracy, reports the New York Times. Their decision not to stand with Mubarak was likely more of a political calculation and a nod to reality. Protesters have made clear, however, that they will demand more than lip service in the weeks ahead.

  • Tantawi: At 75, he'd been in Mubarak's inner circle for decades and is known as a canny operator within the political system. WikiLeaks cables, however, portray him as resistant to change: "He and Mubarak are focused on regime stability and maintaining the status quo through the end of their time," read one US cable. "They simply do not have the energy, inclination or world view to do anything differently." The BBC has a profile.
  • Enan: Believed to be in his early 60s, he'd be more likely to take over the military top spot under a civilian regime. He's seen as "smart and innovative" by Americans he's dealt with, notes the Times, and has even won praise as incorruptible from the Muslim Brotherhood. Reuters has a profile.

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