Re Mubarak’s acquittal: Although the military has trumped all of its other opponents and is in a more or less secure position, this might be a gamble too far for the military. In taking this move which is the final reversal of#Jan25 they are essentially hedging their bets that the masses have been made completely docile at this point in time and will not react (Mubarak being acquitted by contrast would have been an unimaginable scenario in 2012). Furthermore it removes any pretence – weak and ‘kidding yourself’ as it may be, but still nominally ‘claimable’ in many people’s minds – that the military is separate from Mubarak’s regime, or that Sisi represents a system that is distinct from Mubarak.
For by being not the Defence Minister – holding all the de facto power but hiding behind a nominally higher government and president in name (as Sisi was between 2013-2014); being able to claim that he is ‘merely a minister amongst many’ – but the President himself, Sisi has now associated himself directly with Mubarak, something the military has avoided doing (explicitly) for the last three years, even though it was clearly the case to the majority of people by 2012. Mubarak was not released during Tantawi’s time, he was not released duing Morsi’s time, he was not released duing Mansour’s time but he (will be) released during Sisi’s time.
Meanwhile it poses an opportunity to finally get the answer to the question a lot of us have torturously wondered about for the for the last year or so since the military came in to remove Morsi; whether the masses still have any revolutionary fervour dormant deep inside or whether they have even a small residue of belief still in #Jan25 (those who haven’t been killed or are in jail that is). This is actually the ultimate test as so far its been a game of psychological speculation (according to one’s analysis of the quite confusing, regularly contradictory and often surprising Egyptian psyche). However, that’s not to say that if a reaction comes it will necessarily be immediate; it might very well be in the later future (if it comes at all). It will all depend on the economy. If no reaction occurs even if the economy hasn’t improved; stayed the same or even slightly deteriorated then that means that the military was able to successfully achieve its aim of pacifying the masses by making the economic and security situation since Jan25 so bad that people won’t ever risk provoking that again in the foreseeable future.
Alternatively, it could also be the case that people’s expectations are higher than this and that if the economy continues to steadily deteriorate, or even stay the same, it is not unlikely for something to occur in the foreseeable future, as it’s very unlikely the economy recovers anytime soon but is likely to continue deteriorating. Of course, such a reaction might merely be the optimism in me but I have a feeling that it’s more than that.
The scenario however which I feel most confident to predict about is if if the economy slumps *significantly* more, I think in that case it’s very likely to expect something to happen and that the threshold to surpass any mental restraints of the fear of doing something due to the experience post #Jan25 will have been passed, as it will be seen that the country was already in decline, that it was better if still bad under the early years after the revolution (specifically under Morsi for example) meaning that perhaps it was going to turn around, and that the military, with all the insult, unpleasantries and blood that came with it, not only failed to reverse the decline or steady it but made it significantly worse. Meaning in other words that the revolution was not to blame, for the military came in but was not able to fix it and yet they were the antidote to the revolution. In this case you have nothing to lose. And this is why it was perhaps better for the military and Sisi to stay in the background, they took a gamble out of their increased confidence and put themselves at the forefront and into the firing line, when they might not have needed to do so.