While the Egyptian army has sought to stop lawlessness, there is no sign it is willing to drive the protesters off the street.
For now, its apparent restraint is being applauded by Egypt’s biggest Western ally, the US.
Washington’s yearly billion-euro aid package to Egypt’s military could so easily dry up if soldiers were seen to continue last week’s harsh police-led crackdown.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said:
“Right now, from everything we know, the army has taken up positions, they are responding positively thus far to the peaceful protests, but at the same time we have alot of reports of looting and criminal activity.”
Despite President Hosni Mubarak’s appointment of two military men as his vice president and prime minister his position appears increasingly untenable. As pressure from the people and abroad mounts for him to go, its the armed forces which hold his future in their hands.