The armed forces have been a central political player and the real locus of power in Algeria, Egypt, Libya, and Sudan for the past 60 years.
The Carnegie Middle East Center held a panel discussion that examined the likely trajectory of military politics in these four countries and the implications for genuine political transition. Will the scale of social crisis and structural economic challenges prompt the armed forces to seek an exit from governing?
In Egypt, few political or social interlocutors remain with whom a military withdrawal can be negotiated, limiting the scope for orderly transition. Libya faces the return of strongman rule by another general. In Algeria and Sudan, conversely, political parties and civil society organizations are pivotal actors, but are they capable of preventing yet another restoration of military rule, whether direct or indirect?
Younes Abouyoub is the head of governance and state building at the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) and is an expert on Libya. He has formerly served as political adviser to the UN special representative of the secretary-general.
Dalia Ghanem is a resident scholar and expert on Algeria at the Carnegie Middle East Center.
Yezid Sayigh is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Middle East Center, where he leads the program on Civil-Military Relations in Arab States (CMRAS).
Mohanad Hage Ali is a fellow and the director of communications at the Carnegie Middle East Center.