Reverting to one of Mubarak’s favorite tactics, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) is trying to delegitimize the demands of street protesters by claiming that the crowd in Tahrir Square is an unruly collection of hooligans, radical soccer fans and religious zealots who do not represent Egyptian public opinion. On November 21, SCAF member General Mohsen al-Fangary tried to argue that the thousands of protesters in Tahrir Square don’t speak for all Egyptians. However, a timely new poll jointly produced jointly by Brookings and Zogby International suggests that anti-military sentiment in Egypt is far more widespread than the SCAF would like to believe.
The 2011 Arab Public Opinion Poll, released on November 21, surveyed 3,000 people in Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Lebanon, and the United Arab Emirates. Based on interviews conducted with Egyptians in October 2011, the poll concluded the following:
- A plurality of Egyptians, 43 percent, believe that the military rulers are working to slow or reverse the gains of the revolution.
- Only 21 percent of Egyptians believe that the military is working to advance the revolution’s gains, and 14 percent believe that the military authorities are indifferent.
Anti-military sentiment has clearly reached its high-water mark since this survey data was collected, and the SCAF can no longer credibly dismiss its critics in Tahrir Square as an unrepresentative sample.
Photo Credit: Lilian Wagdy