So what is it that made the Egyptian army different? Though not as tied into the state apparatus as the IRC is in Iran, it certainly was known as relatively loyal to President Mubarak. Enter a really interesting argument by Mark Thompson:
Ever since the Camp David peace accords between Egypt and Israel, promising Egyptian military officers have come to U.S. military schools, including the Army War College in Carlisle, Penn., the Army’s Command General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., and the National Defense University in Washington, D.C. Inculcated there with U.S. ideals on lawful civilian control of military, such an education has helped act as a “safety” on the firepower of the Egyptian streets now massing in Cairo and in other cities.
“This new generation of Egyptian officers has been exposed to the American military and has had a very favorable impression of not just the way we fight our wars but also about the relationship between the military and society,” says Robert Scales, a retired Army major general who served as commandant of the Army War College where he launched the international fellows program. “One of the reasons for the army’s reluctance to follow Mubarak’s intent and squeeze the population in Cairo has to do with the Egyptian military’s exposure to the U.S. military.”
A little self-serving, perhaps -- particularly given the less than stellar record regarding human rights such interchange programs have assembled in the not-so-distant past. Nonetheless, there is some broader empirical research finding such a liberalizing effect correlated to U.S. military-to-military contacts. So it certainly isn't out of the question.
Definitely an interesting dynamic, if true. H/T: LGM.