A report issued by Strategic Forecasting, also known as Stratfor, claims Egypt's army was planning to oust former president Hosni Mubarak months before the start of popular protests in early 2011.
The report, “Contemporary Challenges: Life after Mubarak" was written by Stratfor researcher Maverick Fisher and published on 12 December 2011.
It states that "while popular will appears to be the only force that drove Mubarak out of power, it is important to examine the role the army played in achieving this goal."
Fisher starts with an overview of the military’s status since the eruption of the 23 July 1952 Revolution, in which the army toppled the monarchy.
"Egypt’s late president Gamal Abdel Nasser did everything in his capacity to make the military the vanguard of society,” Fisher writes..
This legacy, the report says, was then passed on to the two presidents that came after him: the late Anwar Sadat and former president Hosni Mubarak.
From the late 1970s till the mid 2000s, Fisher notes, the military remained the most powerful entity in Egypt and focused its effort on consolidating its power and benefiting from its privileged position.
“Rather than working to elevate Egypt economically, the military oligarchs mostly divvied up the local spoils and lived large,” Fischer wrote.
"This remained the case, “Fisher adds, "Until the bequest scenario came to being and Gamal Mubarak, the former president’s son, was being groomed to succeed his father."
"The economic plan Gamal and his cronies, mainly business tycoons, had in mind and which revolved around privatizing state assets, constituted a major threat to the military’s hegemony," it reads.
“This process was a direct threat to the military’s political and economic position at the top of Egyptian society.”
"For the military," Fisher points out, "Gamal was also not experienced enough to run a country like Egypt and to understand its complex security issues."
According to Fisher, army generals started putting a lot of pressure on Mubarak "months before" the eruption of the January 25 protests.
He points to the army warning the ailing Mubarak against trying to pass power to his son as the point where the decision was taken to end Gamal's dynasty, and vision of privatization.
"The revolution," adds Fisher, "offered the army the best opportunity to carry out their plan while not being directly involved."
"They made sure to give the impression that they were supporting popular demands and were protecting the revolutionaries, contrary to the brutal repression exercised by police forces, in order to make sure the desired result will be reached smoothly," he explains.
“The demonstrations provided the generals with the means to dismantle the Mubarak legacy, the biggest liability to their own livelihood, while maintaining the paramount role of the military.”
Fisher therefore argues that the January 25 uprising was a “palace coup” rather than a revolution.
He buttresses his assertion by pointing out that the total number of protestors calling for Mubarak’s ouster did not exceed 1 percent of the population, while the minimum threshold for success in most revolutions is generally 10 percent.
“By the most aggressive estimate only 750,000 people—less than 1 percent of the population of densely populated Egypt took to the streets. In true revolutions such as that which overthrew Communism in Central Europe or the shah in Iran, the proportion regularly breached 10 percent and on occasions even touched 50 percent.”
Fisher's report appeared on Monday in the independent Egyptian al-Masry al-Youm amid a rising controversy over the role of the Egyptian army in the Arab Spring.
Stratfor is a subscription-based global intelligence company founded in 1996 in Austin, Texas that primarily provides strategic intelligence to corporations with international holdings.