“How repression is undermining Egyptian stability”

Don’t miss the analysis made by Dr Shadi Hamid at the Brookings Institution.


I will make four main arguments here. First, the level of repression under President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi surpasses that of President Hosni Mubarak and even his predecessors, in terms of the number of Egyptians killed, wounded, detained, and “disappeared” since the military coup of July 3, 2013. Meanwhile, the nature of repression is more dangerous – and therefore of greater concern for U.S. policymakers – because it enjoys a significant degree of popular support, drawing on media and mass hysteria, cult of personality, and the dehumanization of political opponents. Second, Sissi’s heavy-handed approach to Sinai security has fueled the extremist insurgency there, calling into question Egypt’s role as a reliable counterterrorism partner. Third, state institutions that were previously seen as “national” organizations – namely the military, judiciary, and religious establishment – have, for the first time in decades, become partisans in a bloody civil conflict. This has led the Muslim Brotherhood, other Islamist activists, as well as secular revolutionaries to gradually shift their perception of the Egyptian from a problem to be reformed to an enemy to be undermined and even destroyed. With the thorough politicization of state institutions, there are no longer any domestic actors which can play the crucial role of third party guarantor during any future national reconciliation process. This means that regional and international actors, including the United States and the European Union, will need to play a more active role in laying the groundwork for future dialogue.

With this in mind, I conclude with specific recommendations for the United States in the short, medium, and long-term and argue for a rethinking of some of the core elements of the bilateral relationship.”