Three Perspectives on Egypt
We are pleased to present three diverse perspectives on the historic events in Egypt. What happened – a coup, a corrective revolution, or something else? What’s ahead for Egypt? And what should the US do? Essays by Ann M. Lesch, Samuel Tadros, and Raymond Stock are presented below. In addition, we offer links to related essays published by FPRI Trustees Ahmed Charai (“Egypt and North Africa’s Religious Tumult,” The National Interest, July 9, 2013) and Dov Zakheim (“The People’s Coup,” Shadow Government, July 6, 2013):
A Second, Corrective Revolution?
Ann M. Lesch
Twenty-nine months ago Egyptians rose up against the corrupt, autocratic and aging dictator Hosni Mubarak. They poured into the streets from crowded working class districts and from upscale neighborhoods, demanding karama (dignity) and hurriyah (freedom), and held fast to the city squares throughout eighteen tumultuous days. They had had enough of military/security rule, imposed through a coup in 1952. They had had enough of the crony capitalism encouraged by the president, his wife and his sons, and were appalled by the ever-deepening poverty, the lack of jobs for young people, farmers and workers, and the deterioration in public housing, education, health, and social welfare. Rigged elections and police repression held the system in place, and the ruling clique assumed the system would continue once Gamal Mubarak would succeed his father in pseudo-elections in 2011. Read more...
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Egypt's Counter Revolution
As news agencies and politicians around the world debate how best to describe Egypt recent upheaval, Egyptian non-Islamists, much to the amazement of everyone else, continue to insist it was they who removed President Morsi from power – not the military. Terminology of course is no small matter, for upon it hinges both U.S. aid to Egypt and, more importantly, the Egyptian people’s self-perception and pride. A “people’s coup” has now become the preferred term by non-Islamists infuriated by the failure of the world to see events from their own eyes. While there is no denying that it was indeed a military coup that toppled Egypt’s President, perhaps a more accurate description that captures the entire picture would be that of a counter-revolution. Read more...
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Complete the Islamists' Defeat
On July 8, the Obama administration finally did the right thing in Egypt—by not calling what Mohamed Mursi’s historically huge opposition rightly hails as its “corrective revolution” a coup. Thus it prevented the automatic cutoff of America’s $1.6 billion of mostly military aid, without which our connection to the largest Arab state (and perhaps the Suez Canal) would be lost. But it would be a grave mistake if the U.S. should insist that the aid would continue only if everyone –the deposed Muslim Brotherhood (and other Islamists) among them—is included in the now-rebooted “transition to democracy.” Nor should the Egyptians want to go to this route. Such would be an historic error that will sabotage whatever good might come from the already diminished influence which that aid buys – as well as from the heroic actions of the Egyptians themselves. Read more...