This Adelphi volume brings together senior scholars as well as rising analysts of Egypt to examine the tumultuous period from the January 2011 uprising against Hosni Mubarak, via the election and ouster of Muhammad Morsi, to the consolidation of presidential power under Abdel Fattah Al‑Sisi by late 2015.

Adelphi 453 Egypt After the Spring

This Adelphi volume brings together senior scholars as well as rising analysts of Egypt to examine the tumultuous period from the January 2011 uprising against Hosni Mubarak, via the election and ouster of Muhammad Morsi, to the consolidation of presidential power under Abdel Fattah Al‑Sisi by late 2015. The nine authors provide a sober, in-depth look at the country’s contested politics, institutional and political players, struggling economy, constant foreign policy and evolving security challenges.

The nine chapters are written by Professor Nathan J. Brown, Professor Ellis Goldberg, Dr Zeinab Abul-Magd, Yasser El-Shimy, Michael Wahid Hanna, Dr H.A. Hellyer, Gamal Hassan, Hebatalla Taha and Mohamed El Dahshan.

‘A well-written and incisive account of an exceptionally turbulent period.’  
James Watt, UK Ambassador to Egypt (2011–2014)

‘This timely and knowledgeable analysis of Egypt’s actors and factors – from the military and civil society to the present state of the economy and foreign policy – could help us understand not only where this country is heading, but the Middle East too.’
Bahgat Korany, Professor of International Relations and Political Economy, The American University in Cairo (AUC)

‘This welcome volume is a one-stop shop for understanding Egypt at a particularly turbulent period in its history. Authored by a group of the most authoritative scholars in the field, its broad range of articles illuminates the key players in Egypt’s drama, explains their motivations and details the events that have carried the most populous Arab country from revolution to counter-revolution.’
Max Rodenbeck, Middle East Bureau Chief, Economist

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  • Introduction

    The revolution in Egypt in 2011 opened an exceptionally tumultuous and contentious chapter of the country’s history. Where the journey towards democracy and dignity – the apparent aspirations of Egyptians who participated in the uprising – went awry is difficult to pin down. Indeed, what followed the stunning resignation of Hosni Mubarak in February of that year remains unclear and is disputed by many, even as President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi...
  • Chapter 1: The transition: from Mubarak’s fall to the 2014 presidential election

    The forced departure of Egypt’s long-time president, Hosni Mubarak, on 11 February 2011 was widely hailed as a popular revolution, not only in Egypt, but worldwide. And in many respects it was: a cascading series of demonstrations suddenly rendered the country ungovernable by a president whose tenure had extended almost three decades and who appeared to be slowly arranging his own succession. But the legal form his deposition took was...
  • Chapter 2: Courts and police in revolution

    Hosni Mubarak resigned as president on 11 February 2011 in the wake of unexpected and massive demonstrations, strikes and attacks on institutions of public order. The police vanished from the streets and in some places units of the armed forces replaced them; the legislature, under attack following what was widely seen as a fraudulent election several months earlier, was paralysed. Surprisingly, the judiciary, some of whose members had fought a...
  • Chapter 3: The military

    Less than one month after electing a new president in summer 2014, Egyptians awoke to dreadful news that the government had significantly reduced food and gas subsidies, leading to sudden increases in the prices of basic goods. Due to an acute budget deficit, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, the former defence minister who had just swept elections, called on the nation to adopt austerity measures. To make things worse, he refused...
  • Chapter 4: The Muslim Brotherhood

    The Muslim Brotherhood has undergone a series of dizzying gyrations over the past three years that have offered it a historic opportunity to rule Egypt and posed a threat to its very existence. In a matter of months, it was transformed from a socio-religious group with a political wing into a political organisation with a socio-religious character. The movement jettisoned its long history of risk aversion, diving from one confrontation...
  • Chapter 5: Egypt’s non-Islamist parties

    For many Western observers of the Egyptian uprising, Tahrir Square and the 25 January movement came to be associated with, and defined by, the telegenic faces of the young activists who captured international attention during the uprising’s heady early days. This was a function of the disproportionate role these activists played in the early stages of an unexpected mass mobilisation that led to the fall of the regime of long-time...
  • Chapter 6: Civil society

    Prior to the 2011 uprising, there was considerable scepticism about the state of Egypt’s civil society and therefore the wisdom of any disruption of its political system. Civil society was viewed as lethargic at best, or even nearly extinct, following its repression under the regime of Hosni Mubarak. Consequently, a revolution was seen as potentially exposing this gaping hole, causing instability and costing Egyptian society dearly. Despite tremendous restrictions, a...
  • Chapter 7: A revolution without a revolutionary foreign policy

    Egypt’s foreign policy faced enormous challenges as a result of the Arab Spring and the toppling of President Hosni Mubarak, in February 2011. It had to adapt to an unprecedented domestic convulsion and a rapidly changing regional landscape. This chapter seeks to explain how Egypt responded to these challenges, arguing that elements of continuity were far more powerful than propensities for change. Post-revolutionary actors, namely the Supreme Council of the...
  • Chapter 8: Militarisation and security challenges in Egypt

    Egypt faces intensifying security challenges on three different ‘fronts’: a full-blown war between the army and insurgent takfiri1 groups in North Sinai; an escalating Islamist insurgency across the rest of the country that has increasingly affected urban areas; and the threat of spillover from the civil war in Libya, where Egyptian forces have undertaken unilateral military action. While these challenges have affected stability and the standing of the government, and...
  • Chapter 9: The Egyptian economy

    Two out of the three demands of the slogan of Egypt’s 2011 revolution – ‘Bread, freedom, and social justice’ – were fundamentally economic. Although triggered by political events, the revolution reflected the collapse of the implicit social contract between the state and its citizens, in which people had traded political rights for a basic livelihood. The government relied on economic devices, including subsidised energy, transportation and essential foodstuffs, to walk...

Emile Hokayem is Senior Fellow for Middle East Security at the IISS.

Nathan J. Brown is Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at George Washington University and non-resident senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Ellis Goldberg is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Washington in Seattle. He has published numerous articles and books on the political economy of twentieth-century Egypt.

Dr Zeinab Abul-Magd is Associate Professor of Middle Eastern History at Oberlin College, US.

Yasser El-Shimy is a doctoral candidate at Boston University’s Department of Political Science. He worked as the International Crisis Group’s Egypt analyst (2011–2013), and as a Middle East research fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Middle East Initiative (2014–2015).

Michael Wahid Hanna is a senior fellow at the Century Foundation and an adjunct senior fellow at the Center on Law and Security at New York University School of Law.

Dr H.A. Hellyer is a non-resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, and an Associate Fellow in International Security Studies at the Royal United Services Institute in London.

Gamal Hassan is an independent Egyptian author who specialises in Middle East politics and Egypt’s foreign policy.

Hebatalla Taha is a research analyst at the International Institute for Strategic Studies and a D.Phil candidate at St Antony’s College, University of Oxford.

Mohamed El Dahshan is a development economist, working with governments and international organisations to advise on sectoral growth policies. He is also the founder of Heliopolis Consulting, and a Fellow with the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy.

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