Notes on Compulsory Army Service in Egypt

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Many countries have some form of compulsory Army service for a certain period, including Netherlands, Israel, Turkey, Egypt and others. In Egypt, service in the army was compulsory for most of the 20th century. It is restricted to males 18 years to 35 years who do have another male brother, and is physically and mentally fit. Those who study can have a temporary reprieve until they finish their study, to a maximum of 24 or so. The duration of the service varies from 1 year (plus 3 months training) for university graduates, to 3 years for those with only elementary education. Before 1952, service could be avoided if one paid a large sum of money to the government. After 1952, and in the name of equality, this practice was abolished, and every eligible person had to serve. On the face of it, service in the army makes a young youth ready for combat if need be, teaches him to be adaptable, resourceful and tough. Reality is much different though. The army in Egypt, just like many other countries, is the culmination of bureaucracy, favoritism, nepotism, cronyism, corruption. All of these are rampant in the government, but more so in the army.The reasons for this are plenty. Those who serve in the army are two types: the recruits forced to serve before they can hold a job, or  travel abroad, and career staff. The career staff are two classes, the higher rank army officers (Second Lieutenant to General), and the lower rank (Private, Sargeant, ...etc.). The officers are either from a technical background (medicine, engineering, ...etc.) graduating from normal technical colleges, or of military disciplines, graduating from specialized military academies. Most join the army because it is a guaranteed government job that pays a relatively good salary and pension, and comes with many perks, such as use of army clubs, percieved social status, ...etc.. The lower rank officers are mostly people from lower social levels who have no education and join the Army because it is the only hope they have for a paying job. This is true in most armies of the world, including Canada, UK, USA and others. These lower rank officers can later go up to the first few ranks of officers, but are often derogatorily called ضابط مخلة (Dufflebag Officer), because they joined the armies as private rank soldiers.Many of the permanent  staff, specially the lower rank ones, disdain the temporary recruits, envying them for having education and better job prospects. They therefore use all the tricks to make their life miserable for the duration they are in the army. Some get the sick feeling of pleasure from the misery of others. Some feel satisfaction from being able to humilate a medical doctor or an engineer. Most of this is allowed in the name of teaching discipline and absolute obedience. Others use their position and influence as a secondary source of income. For example, they would agree to give recruits extra vacation days in return for a bribe. Some of these recruits, most likely farmers with no education at all, need the vacations because they have married early and have a family to support, so they need the vacation to work.Those lucky recruits with connections can practically spend the whole duration at home, with all the paper work arranged to make them look like they have been "sent on a mission" or "on loan" to some other unit. This is reminiscent of George W Bush national guard service during the Vietnam War era, but on a larger scale.Those with no connections, and no money for bribes can only watch how cruel real life is  ... So, the army is mostly a demoralizing experience for those forced to do the compulsory service. Some reverse wisdom can be seen in proverbs and saying that are famous in the army such as:

  • "Injustice to all is justice!" الظلم لما يعم يبقى عدل This is told by officers when recruits complain of some situation. The response is to apply injustice to everyone, then it becomes justice. Of course, not even this twisted logic is true, given the bribes and favoritism that are widely practiced.
  • "In the army, you have to find a way"الجيش قال لك اتصرف. This used to mean resourcefulness, and making do with what you have. However it gradually evolved into "the ends justify the means", such as bribes.
  • "Talk only about yourself" اتكلم عن نفسك بس. A rebellion in the army is a big disaster to the chain of command. A mutiny used to be punishable by death (e.g. Fletcher Christian and the Mutiny on the Bounty). Hence, the army always do not want any kind of groups forming under any circumstances.

Of course, the Egyptian army is up to the challenge in the battlefield, no doubts about that. However, the compulsory draft system is absolutely useless, and is a remnant from another age.

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Comments

????

Does anyone every reply to these postings...?????? Is this website still operating?????

My way...

Im not sure if my answer can help you. My husband thought it was absurd at first, and it was my suggestion, and has thus far worked. My husband relocated, we are not serving 3 years... He's no longer has the embassy of Egypt no longer has to follow those rules. We even changed his embassy to the other country where he is at the moment, our case number got adjusted, and now I've just paid for his IV package, and will send it in. It wasn't as easy as it seems, but its not that hard also. If you get in touch I may be able to share more with you, and hopefully help out a little.
onlybenevolent@gmail.com
Be well... Hope it turns out for the best.

so just fyi...my husband

so just fyi...my husband recieved a letter from the military office stating he can fly out of the country; he will be arriving to US next week:) Good luck to everyone..."Where there is a will there is a way"!

What is the status after lifting the emergency law?

I hope if anyone can feed us on the status on the obligatory service after the lift of emergency law, what will happen to the ppl who didnt serve in the army due to relocation and they r not yet 30?

Thanks

Al salam alaikom!,hi there

Al salam alaikom!,hi there please i am legally married for 8 years in my country with an egyptian guy and we have a baby;but unfortunately he did not finish his military yet he has in the college when came to Brazil,now we came back to his country to try solve the problem of his military service,we will translate our marriage paper also our baby birth certificate to show hes married with a foreigner and made a family! could it help for he do not serve or shall i make other papers like a letter from my embassy to help?I heard who is married with a foreigner and make family can not serve as the policy of the country.I really appreciate any answer.
Thanks in advance

Passport renewal

Dear Khalid,
My Egyptian boyfriend want to renew his passport but in consulate in Australia refused to do that because he didn't do the military service. I manage to find out that if he will get married to foreigner he will be exempted from army.
my question is: if we will get married will they give him new passport? and what we have to do to exempt him from army?
Thank you for answer in advance

Please help...

Hi, my English friend who has been working in Egypt for the last 3 years has returned home, leaving behind her fiancee while he is in the process of sorting out a visa. He has recently contacted her saying that he has to serve in the army for 3years. He's told her that during that time he won't be able to contact her at all and the only way out of it is to pay a £450.... (he doesn't have this money and expects my friend to get it for him)
Does any of this sound legit? Is it true that if he pays that amount then he'll be exempt? And if he was to serve is it true that he wouldn't be able to contact her?
I would appreciate any help on this matter....
Thank you

Scam!

She is being scammed, both emotionally and financially.

This guy is a liar, and probably does this to 5 other women at the same time.

She should severe all ties with him immediately.

Ask her to read the horror stories here: Warning to female tourists thinking of marrying Egyptians.

The price keeps going up!

This is a scam - she will never see her Egyptian man or the money again. How convenient - send me loads of money and I won't contact you again ....... Tell your friend to run and as fast as she can!

My friend is so besotted with

My friend is so besotted with this guy that she wont listen to a word that I say. Shes's already helped him 'pay off' the army and they still talk regularly, with him claiming that he is now exempt. Im so confused by all of this???
Is he stringing her on or is there any truth in any of this?

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