Dig Deeper: More on Egypt’s Political Turmoil


September 17, 2013

Want to know more? We’ve rounded up the best reporting on a post-Mubarak Egypt, from the revolution to the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, and the nation’s new leader, Gen. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

Follow the developments in Egypt through our partners at GlobalPost.

The Revolution and Its Aftermath

There was something surreal about the tanks on the square. Few armies enjoy being sent to the streets to restore civil order, and the tanks were not accompanied by any infantry. I spoke to George Ishak, the head of the opposition movement Kefaya (the name means “enough”), who said, “I believe the military will protect us. We trust in our military a lot because we don’t have anyone else to trust.” He also wondered why the Army had not contained the protesters more effectively. “I don’t know why,” he said, “but they are a little soft—delicate.” He rubbed his finger and thumb together, as if feeling a piece of cloth. “They face people in a very gentle way.” He also said, “The military is a black box, and no one knows what happens inside.”

In the months before the military ousted President Mohammed Morsi, Egypt’s top generals met regularly with senior aides to opposition leaders, often at the Navy Officers’ Club nestled on the Nile.

The message: If the opposition could put enough protesters in the streets, the military would step in—and forcibly remove the president. “It was a simple question the opposition put to the military,” said Ahmed Samih, who is close to several opposition attendees. “Will you be with us again?” The military said it would.

The Revolution That Wasn’t
Hugh Roberts

Sept. 12, 2013
The London Review of Books

To think about the recent appalling turn of events in Egypt in terms of an original ‘revolution’, with 25 January 2011 as the start of Year One, is to amputate the drama of the last two and half years from its historical roots, the story of what the Egyptian state became during the later stages of Hosni Mubarak’s protracted presidency. This is not a simple affair. It is the story of what the Mubarak presidency signified for the Egyptian state, for its various components, especially the army, and for its form of government, but also of what it signified for the various types of opposition his rule provoked or allowed. All this combined in the gathering crisis of the state itself, a crisis that was building long before the revolution in Tunisia got underway.

The apparently miraculous end to the crippling energy shortages, and the re-emergence of the police, seems to show that the legions of personnel left in place after former President Hosni Mubarak was ousted in 2011 played a significant role — intentionally or not — in undermining the overall quality of life under the Islamist administration of Mr. Morsi.

Who Is el-Sisi?

“That Egypt has a new strongman is no longer in doubt. …But understanding al-Sisi is critical to understanding where Egypt is headed—especially after this week’s bloodletting, which has seen his soldiers crack down on pro–Muslim Brotherhood demonstrators. And one place to begin is in Cairo’s ancient Khan al-Khalili bazaar, in a shop called Al-Sisi, where finely crafted Egyptian boxes made of intricately inlaid mother-of-pearl grace the shelves.

“The conflicting perceptions of General Sisi — seasoned officer reluctantly answering a call to serve, ambitious man with a “sense of destiny,” as one person who knows him put it — leave much of Egypt wondering whether he intends to return the country to civilian rule, as he has repeatedly promised, or to capitalize on public support for him by seeking power, formally or informally, for himself.”

Sarah Childress

Sarah Childress, Series Senior Editor, FRONTLINE



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