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Murphy's Law: Storm Troopers Are Not A Luxury
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February 16, 2011: A major reason for the inability of the recently deposed Egyptian dictatorship to suppress anti-government demonstrations was the lack of a large, loyal and reliable security force. Not having such a force handy was unthinkable for any security conscious dictator. For example, in Iraq, Saddam Hussein had his Republican Guard, a force that was filled with well paid, well armed men who were, above all, loyal to Saddam. All other successful dictatorships have similar forces. Russia had the KGB, which not only employed spies, but also several divisions of troops trained and equipped to deal with rebellions by the population, or the armed forces. Iran has a similar force, the Revolutionary Guard, that serves a similar role as the old KGB. During World War II, Adolf Hitler had the SS, Gestapo and his private army, the Waffen SS, all of which kept Germany fighting until the very end.

Former Egyptian ruler Hosni Mubarak got lazy and greedy by filling his "regime maintenance" forces with conscripts (as troops) and recent college graduates (as officers). These security forces, like the 325,000 paramilitary police in the Central Security Services (belonging to the Interior Ministry, nor the Defense Ministry), were more loyal to the people than to the small group of corrupt politicians running the country. Things had gotten so bad that the small secret police force had taken to hiring criminal gangs to harass or intimidate visible opponents of the government. These thugs fled if faced with serious opposition. And that's what they got during February, 2011.

The only people who were loyal to Mubarak were the most senior officers (active or retired) who were allowed a share of the national wealth being stolen by Mubarak, his family and key allies in the business world. By not spreading the largess around, Mubarak insured that he would be unprotected when a popular uprising got started.

Dictators everywhere are noting what happened in Tunisia and Egypt, and what did not happen in other nations undergoing popular uprisings. Expect to see some reorganizations, and more attention being paid to having a reliable KGB, Republican Guard, Waffen SS or Revolutionary Guard when you really need it.

 

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