Published online by Cambridge University Press: 15 September 2020
In this chapter, I explore extensively the history of coup-proofing in Egypt beginning with the Free Officers regime in 1952. King Faruq (1936–1952) was already corrupting his generals prior to the Free Officers’ coup but Gamal ʿAbdul Nasser (1952–1970) surpassed by far whatever the monarchy did in this regard. Nasser also developed multiple security agencies charged with spying on the military, and one another. In Syria, too, corruption and counterbalancing were part of the coup-proofing panoply; and, in addition, identity politics. I show that minority reaction against Sunni hegemony in the military began in the 1960s – two decades after the French left. I trace the beginnings of Alawi ethnic stacking in the Syrian officer corps to the 1963 first Baʿathi coup. I maintain that 1963 proved to be a turning point because the Baʿathification of politics was concomitant with the progressive Alawitization of the officer corps.