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The Demilitarization of the Egyptian Cabinet

  • Mark N. Cooper (a1)

One way that social scientists categorize and describe political regimes is to analyze the nature of the executive branch of government, particularly the makeup of cabinets. The assumption is that the structure of the cabinet and the class background, and the educational or occupational training of ministers reflect the nature of the regime. Those at the top of the state may represent certain groups in society or be particularly responsive to the demands of the social groups from which they come. Background characteristics may also be a good indicator of the style of rule. Education, training, age, occupational career, all indicate how decision-makers think, how they organize to approach problems, how they issue orders and use subordinates. The institutional background of ministers may reflect the importance of various institutions in society, for the connection of institutions through individuals at the top of the state may be a good indication of which specialized constituencies must be consulted, which command power and which control political, economic, and social resources.

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1 In Egypt the cabinet studies include: Dekmejian, Richard, Egypt under Nasir (New York: State University Press, 1971);Akhavi, Shahrough, “Egypt, Neo-Patrimonial Elite,” in Political Elites in the Middle East, Tachau, F., ed. (Cambridge: Shenkman, 1975).

2 Marx, Karl, The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (New York: International Publishers, 1969), pp. 6162.

3 Malek, Anwar Abdel, Egypt, Military Society (New York: Random House, 1968).

4 Ibid., p. 41.

5 Hussein, Mahmud, Class Conflict in Egypt, 1945–1970 (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1973);Vatikiotis, P. J., The Egyptian Army in Politics (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1961).

6 Ayubi, Nazih, “Bureaucratic Evolution and Political Development, Egypt 1952–1970,” Ph.D. diss., St. Antony's College, Oxford, 1975

7 Vatikiotis, P. J., “Some Political Consequences of the 1952 Revolution in Egypt,” in Egypt since the Revolution, Vatikiotis, P. J., ed. (London: Allen and Unwin, 1969).

8 See Dekmejian, Akhavi, and Malek.

9 Dekmejian, ; Binder, Leonard, In a Moment of Enthusiasm (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1978).

10 Two important documents would be the October Working Paper and The Paper for the Development of the Arab Socialist Union (both, Cairo: Information Ministry).

11 Dahl, Robert, Polyarchy (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1971), pp. 220221.

12 My interpretation of this period differs considerably from the standard. This alternative has been articulated in a series of works, See Cooper, Mark, “Egyptian State Capitalism in Crisis: Economic Policy and Political Interests, 1967–1971,” International Journal of Middle East Studies, 10, 4 (1979), 481516;“State Capitalism and Class Structure in the Third World: The Case of Egypt,” paper delivered at the 49th Annual Meeting of the Eastern Sociological Society, New York, 03, 1979;“The Structure of Semi-legal Revolutions: Mediterranean and Western European Patterns,” paper presented at the 9th World Congress of the International Sociological Society, Uppsala, Sweden, 1978.

13 The periodization presented by Malek is quite similar, For a more detailed discussion of the earlier period see Cooper, Mark, The Transformation of Egypt: State and State Capitalism in Crisis, 1967–1977 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1982).

14 Heikal, Mohammed, The Road to Ramadan (New York: New York Times, 1975).

15 Hansen, Bent and Nashishibi, K., Egypt: Foreign Trade Regimes and Economic Development (New York: Columbia University Press, 1976).

16 The methodology used in counting ministers is such that neither of these individuals appears in the flow of ministers. This is the case because Ministers of State are not included if there was a minister occupying an office with a similar title, or if they had no substantive title. The logic is that if the ordinary minister conducts the activities of the office, rather than the minister of state, then a minister of state without a substantive title has little to do. Thus, Boutras Ghali was entitled Minister of State and does not enter the flow. Mahmoud Riyadh was Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, but Ismaʿil Fahmy was minister of Foreign Affairs. Therefore, he does not enter the flow. In contrast to these cases where a Minister of State holds the only portfolio in the area, he is counted in the flow. For example, Albert Barsum Salamah held the portfolio of Minister of State for People's Assembly Affairs in 1974 but there was no Minister for People's Assembly Affairs. Therefore, he enters the flow of ministers.

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International Journal of Middle East Studies
  • ISSN: 0020-7438
  • EISSN: 1471-6380
  • URL: /core/journals/international-journal-of-middle-east-studies
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