January 27, 2011 Galant Appointment Probably On Hold, Demonstation in Egypt

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A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman

January 27, 2011 Galant Appointment Probably On Hold, Demonstation in Egypt

The nomination of General Galant to be the next IDF Chief of Staff hit, what will most likely be, a permanent road block today. The State Controller issued a blistering initial report, stating that Gallant repeatedly lied on issues relating to the extension of the land he owns on his Moshav, including lying under oath in a related court case. Under the circumstances, no matter much Barak wants Galant to replace the current Chief of Staff, Gabi Ashkenazi, it is very unlikely to happen. Ashkenazi was set to retire in two weeks, certainly not enough time to choose a new Chief of Staff, and certainly not enough time to implement the steps needed, with the proper vetting.

The Galant affair has brought to light a couple of unsettling lessons. The first, is the Ehud Barak's questionable decision-making processes. Barak insisted nearly six months ago that the Gallant appointment had to be made immediately. He also fingered Gallant as his pick at least 3 months before the choice needed to be made public. The whole system of appointments in Israel is backward and is in need of a complete overhaul. The second lesson, is the nature Galant himself. Galant reflects a whole generation of top ranking people, who believe that everything in life will work out for them. As one keen Israeli observer said today, instead of thinking "I want to the Chief of Staff one day, thus I will make sure I do everything in the most proper way, Gallant believed it made no difference if he cut some corners."  I have been reluctant to write these last two days about event in Egypt. After being a graduate student when the regimes of Eastern Europe came down, and taking courses that were given by the greatest “experts” on Eastern Europe at the time, I watched them week by week, say "this may have happened, but this will never happen, and week by week be proved wrong. So what's going to happen in Egypt and elsewhere in the Arab world? I do not know. I can say that most Israeli observers believe the Egyptian government has control of the situation. That may be true, but it also may be a bit too much wishful thinking.

The history of revolution teaches that they succeed when the army is unwilling to fire on the demonstrators. This principle has been successfully applied to revolutions all the way back to the Russian Revolution of 1917. As long as the troops of a dictator are willing to fire on demonstrators and kill them, the regime will survive. If the troops are not willing to shoot citizens, then the regime falls. What will happen in Egypt? The officers might remain loyal to the regime, but what about the regular soldiers? Only time will tell. My fear, of course, is that if the regime of Mubarak falls it will not be replaced by a new democracy in Egypt, but by a government controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood

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