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Egypt's Military Chief of Staff Returns to Cairo Teaser: Days after unrest erupted in the streets of Egypt, the

country's chief of staff of the armed forces is returning to Cairo from meetings in Washington. Mubarak is meanwhile nowhere to be seen. Egypt's chief of staff of the armed forces, t. !en. Sami "nnan, intends to return to Cairo on #an. $%, according to &.S. 'ice Chairman of the #oint Chiefs of Staff !en. #ames Cart(right. "nnan has )een in the &.S. capital since #an. $*, (here he had led a military delegation for pre+ planned meetings (ith ,entagon officials on a multi-day visit. With Egypt in a state of crisis, STR"T-.R found it peculiar that "nnan stayed in Washington for as long as he did. /is meetings may ha0e )een pre+planned, )ut the )uildup to the #an. $% 1Day of Rage1 protests normally (ould ha0e necessitated the immediate return of the army's chief of staff. 2et (hile "nnan has )een in0ol0ed in a num)er of high+le0el meetings (ith &.S. officials in Washington, Egyptian ,resident /osni Mu)ara3 ++ (ho (as e4pected to ma3e a speech hours ago ++ has remained a)sent from the pu)lic eye throughout the crisis. 5n fact, &.S. ,ress Secretary Ro)ert !i))s at #an. $% press conference made a point of saying that &.S. ,resident 6arac3 .)ama has not spo3en (ith Mu)ara3. These de0elopments point to a de0eloping trend in (hich the Egyptian military appears to )e directly inter0ening in the state's political affairs. "nnan, along (ith Defense Minister -ield Marshal Mohammed Tanta(i 7who controls the Presidential Guard) are t(o 3ey indi0iduals to (atch (ithin the armed forces as the military asserts itself. Former air force chief and current minister for civil aviation Ahmed Shafiq has also been rumored as a compromise successor in place of aging intelligence chief Omar Suleiman. This trend of the army assertion in Egyptian go0ernance is not particularly ne( ++ a crisis o0er Egypt's succession has )een intensifying o0er the past se0eral months, (ith mem)ers of the old guard, li3e "nnan and Tanta(i, demanding that Mu)ara3 scrap his plans to ha0e his son, !amal, ta3e the reins. With protests in Egypt s(elling to unprecedented le0els and Egypt's internal security forces apparently in retreat, the military no( appears to )e managing the country. The military+enforced curfe(, currently focused on Cairo, "le4andria and Sues, translates into e4panded military control o0er the state. Mean(hile, the military chiefs calling the shots might consider the Mu)ara3 name too great a lia)ility to attempt to sustain as they try to preser0e the o0erall regime. Though the &nited States has a need to issue pu)lic statements calling on the Egyptian state security apparatus to e4ercise restraint against protesters and to respect human rights, Washington's core strategic concern is to pre0ent a massi0e desta)ili8ation in Egypt that could gi0e (ay to undesired sources of political influence, particularly the Muslim 6rotherhood. This (as the topic of discussion )et(een "nnan and his counterparts, and no( he appears ready to

ta3e a message )ac3 to Cairo. Mean(hile, Mu)ara3 remains no(here to )e seen. "nd the &nited States does not appear to )e concerned (ith that detail.