ANALYSIS-Egyptian army could hold key to Mubarak's fate

Fri Jan 28, 2011 1:22pm GMT

* Egypt's military aloof from protest drama so far

* Armed forces at heart of power for 60 years

* Military "ready to intervene" - security source

By Alistair Lyon, Special Correspondent

BEIRUT, Jan 28 (Reuters) - Egypt's military has kept out of this week's clashes between police and protesters demanding the ousting of 82-year-old President Hosni Mubarak, but it could eventually decide his fate, echoing events in Tunisia.

A Tunisian army general's refusal to back Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali's crackdown on protesters is widely regarded as a turning point that forced the former president to quit Tunisia on Jan. 14 after weeks of popular protests.

Egypt's military might not react in the same way, but after watching the interior ministry's police and security forces struggle to contain four days of unprecedented street protests, the generals may well be considering their options.

"Indicators confirmed the Egyptian armed forces are ready to intervene in Suez and other parts of Egypt if necessary," said a security source in Cairo on Thursday, refusing to be named.   Continued...

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