Share on Facebook

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Egypt's Interim Government Declares State of Emergency.


IN BRIEF: At the turning point: Egypt still has a chance at a democracy; or the army's removal of the Morsi government and suspension of democracy will amount to a coup d'etat by General Sisi in the tradition of strongmen Nasser, Sadat and Mubarak and the states of emergency which characterized much of their rule.



        The 'Pharaohs"
-by 1979, President Anwar Sadat's peace treaty with Israel had brought about increased protest from the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups. His crackdown on Islamist religious parties brought about his assassination in 1981. In 1993, Sadat's successor, Hosni Mubarak won his second election to the presidency. However he faced increasing opposition form the Muslim Brotherhood and Gamat al Islamiya. Over the following years his escalating repression of Islamist organizations, with no regard for human rights, caused the increasing concern of the Clinton administration in Washington.

           The Muslim Brotherhood
-the Islamic social and political organization, the Muslim Brotherhood (MBH) was founded in 1928, just as Egyptian nationalist movements like the Wafd began to rise against British rule n Egypt. The Brotherhood's purpose was to feed, educate and protect millions of Egypt's poor and disenfanchized who lived under a string of secular tyrannies.

-the MBH gained strength as a political movement by supporting the 1939 Arab uprising against the British in Palestine and in the 1948 Palestine War against the newly created state of Israel.

-after independence in 1952, President Abdul Nasser's secular Arab Nationalism ran contrary to the Islamic ideals of MBH and it was outlawed by Nasser in 1954.

-aware of the scale of its growth, Nasser tried without success to draw the MBH over to Arab Socialism. In the end, he had its leadership along with its president and ideologist Sayyyid Qutb executed.

-Nasser and secular Egypt's defeat in the 1967 War with Israel only increased the MBH's popularity.

-Nasser's successor, Anwar Sadat had no more success with the MBH and banned them from elections.

-Sadat's 1979 peace treaty with Israel only served to increase the Brotherhood's power and popularity.

-Sadat's assassination by radical Islamist army officers, however, brought about the iron fist authoritarianism of Sadat;s successor, Hosni Mubarak.

-now, political secularism in Egypt would take two forms, pro-government authoritarian or democratic.

-meanwhile, Mubarak's police state banned, tortured and imprisoned thousands of members of the MBH.

-the MBH evaded Mubarak, occasionally winning seats in parliament by joining other parties.

-severe repression of the MBH began in 1993 and gained momentum in 2005.

-in 2006, secular democracy protests began to take centre stage. In one month that summer, a record of 75 people were executed.

-the MBH, performing poorly in elections joined democracy activists and protestors in charging the Mubarak was blatantly rigging votes.

-after the Arab Spring of 2011 sweeps Egypt, Mubarak is forced from power.

-the loose, disorganized alliance of secular parties ad democracy activists proves ineffectual and in 2012 the

MBH and other Islamist parties sweep the parliamentary elections.

-with the election of MBH candidate Mohammed Morsi as President of Egypt, the courts declare the parliamentary elections invalid.

-with opposition divided and chaotic in the streets, Morsi seized more power by banning the army from politics and ignoring all court decision not in favour of his personal rule or the Islamist policies of the MBH.

-at the end of 2012, Morsi, attempts to bar the judiciary from any influence on the writing of a new constitution by an Islamist and MBH controlled Constituent Assembly.

-nothing less than a final provocation, Morsi's seizure of power from the courts gives rise to an organized secular democratic opposition, The National Salvation Front.

-in 2013 as protesters return to Tahrir Square, where Egypt's revolution had begun in 2011, the Morsi government uses police repression and the protests turn violent.

-the court upholds an order for the suspension of parliamentary elections- against Morsi's wishes.
-Morsi's appointment this month of Islamist governors in the provinces may have proven to be the last straw. 

1879- Egyptians revolt against the Grand Khedive, Viceroy for the Ottomans,
1882- Britain intervenes in the Egyptian revolt, occupies Egypt.

World War One: Britain Strengthens it Grip
1879- Egyptians revolt against their ruler the Grand Khedive
1882- Britain intervenes in the Egyptian revolt, occupies Egypt.
1914- Britain declares Egypt to be under occupation.
- While the Wafd Pary, led by Prime Minister Nahas Pasha in 1927, becomes the prime mover for independence, a conservative, nationalist wing develops with King Fuad's dismissal of Pasha and suspension of the constitution.
-The Muslim Brotherhood is founded the following year, in 1928, by Hassan al Banna- for moral and social reform.
- The Anglo-Egyptian treaty OF 1936  further defines Egyptian independence by dropping the provisions for protecting minorities and foreign interests while insisting on British occupation of the Canal Zone and her right to assume full military defecne of Egypt in time of war.
1939- The Muslim brother hood becomes a political movement in response to the Arab uprising against the British in Palestine (1936) and Egyptian protest against the the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty (1936). The brotherhood declares that the Quran and the Hadith are sufficient as a social political code for any time and place.

RELEVANT DATES for August 14, 2013-- Egyptian Police clear out Muslim Brotherhood Protest Camps, killing 300.

                      EGYPT UNDER BRITISH RULE

The Muslim Brotherhood.

1928- Muslim Brotherhood founded by Hassan al Banna in Egypt for moral and social reform.
1939- Muslim brother hood becomes a political movement in response to the Arab uprising against the British in Palestine (1936) and Egyptian protest against the the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty (1936). The brotherhood declares that the Quran and the Hadith are sufficient as a social political code for any time and place.

1940- the Muslim brotherhood has 500 branches each with a mosque and social services.
1948- Qutb is sent to university in Colorado, USA by his ministry. He is appalled at what he sees as America's decadence and depravity.

The Palestine War.

1948-49- members of the Muslim Brotherhood fight in the Palestine War, recruiting Egyptian officers and gaining military experience. The Brotherhood turns against Egypt which is blames for the

1948- Egypt declares martial law and bans the Brotherhood.

-Egyptian premier, Fahmi Nokrashi Pasha, is assassinated by the Brotherhood.

1949- Hassan a Banna, leader of the Egyptian Brotherhood is assassinated.

1950- with the lifting of martial law, the Brotherhood enters mainstream Egyptian politics.

Sayyid Qutb

1951- Sayyid Qutb returns to Egypt but his anti-American views get him expelled from the education ministry. He joins the Muslim Brootherhood. In his writings he says that America should be placed under a sentence of death.

                                NASSER AND INDEPENDENCE.
Nasser and Officers Overthrow King Faruq, ban Wafd.
1952  July -the charismatic Col. Abdul Nasser and Gen. Muhammed Neguib leading the Free Officers overthrow King Faruq and exile him to Italy. The new Revolutionary Command Council (RCC) is led by Neguib. Neguib, as president and premier, favours parliamentary system but Nasser, at head of the Free Officers, overrules him.

1952- the Brotherhood supports Egypt in rejecting the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty and participates in the Cairo riots.

1952- the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC) overthrows the regime in Egypt.

Egypt bans the Muslim Brotherhood.

1954- Egypt's RCC bans the Muslim Brotherhood. Qutb and other members are held in a concentration camp. He writes his defining work, Maalim Fi Al Tariq- "Signposts on the Road"- which divides all social systems into "The Order of Islam" and "The Order of Ignorance." The book remains a text book for radical Islam.

23rd Oct.- after Brotherhood members attempt to assassinate President Nasser, the plotters are hanged, many are imprisoned or driven into exile in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

                                 QUTB LEADS MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD

Qutb Becomes Leader of the Muslim Brotherhood.

1964- Qutb and cohorts are released from detainment in Egypt. "Signposts on the Road" is smuggled out of Egypt. Though he is non-violent, the Muslim Brotherhood promotes him into the leadership to avenge their persecution in Egypt.

-Nasser tries to include the Muslim Brotherhood in the Arab Socialist Union to combat Communism.

-repeated attempts by the Brotherhood to assassinate Nasser.

1966-Sayyid Muhammed Qutb is put on trial in Egypt. He states that the nations of the Middle East are a western fabrication and that actually Islam has no nations, only a Community of Believers.

-Sayyid Muhammed Qutb and other Brotherhood leaders are executed.

                                     THE BROTHERHOOD AND ISRAEL.

Muslim brotherhood gains from 1967 War with Israel.

1967- Egypt decisively defeated in war with Israel.

1968- popular feeling that Egypt had received divine retribution for Arab Socialism causes Nasser to grant a general amnesty to the Muslim Brotherhood.

-new Egyptian president, Anwar Sadat, attempts to integrate the Brotherhood into the mainstrem.

1975 (circa) Saalafis active in Kuwait where they want a republican, democratic regime.

Egypt's Sadat Bans the Muslim Brotherhood causing it to Radicalize.

1976- fearing the expanding power of the Brotherhood, President Sadat bans it from Egyptian elections. 15 Brotherhood members are elected as members of other parties causing a radical wing to split off in protest.

-the Muslim Brotherhood radicalizes and turns against Sadat's modernization and pro-Israel and pro-West policies.
1979- Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Begin sign the Egyptian-Istaeli peace Treaty. But his new peace costs Egypt membership in the Arab League.

-due to the unpopularity of the treaty at home, Sadat becomes increasingly autocratic.

Sadat Assassinated by Islamist Officers. Succeeded by Mubarak.

1981- Sadat is assassinated by Islamist officers during a military review.

-Sadat is succeeded by Hosni Mubarak, whose conciliatory approach to the Arab world wins him backing at home and Egypt readmittance to the Arab League.

                                       PRESIDENT HOSNI MUBARAK
1984- Egyptian President Mubarak maintains elections ban on Muslim Brotherhood. Muslim Brotherhood members get elected as members of the Neo-Wafd party.

-the Muslim Brotherhood, uses highy educated members to dominate syndicates of lawyers, doctors, journalists and engineers.
 1987- The Muslim Brotherhood gains singificant power in the Egyptian parliament by allying itself with socialist parties. Brotherhood deputies demand an end to the Israeli-Egyptian treaty, to all ties with the United States and the application of Sharia law.

Mubarak Begins Repression of Islamists.
1993- Mubarak wins his second election to the presidency. However he faces increasing opposition form the Muslim Brotherhood and Gamat al Islamiya. Over the following years his escalating repression of Islamist organizations, with no regard for human rights, causes the increasing concern of the Clinton administration in Washington

Broadening Opposition to Mubarak.
2005 February-April - Pro-reform and opposition activists including Muslim Brotherhood mount anti-government demonstrations.
May 4- thousands in Muslim Brotherhood protest in Cairo and across the Egypt demaind political reform.
2005 December - Parliamentary polls end with clashes between police and supporters of the opposition Muslim Brotherhood. The National Democratic Party and its allies retain their large parliamentary majority. Muslim Brotherhood supporters, elected as independents, win a record 20% of seats.

                                        MUBARAK'S FULL-SCALE REPRESSION
Mubarak's Crackdown
2006- March- crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood begins.
June 19- March to June crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood reaches 700 detained.
2006 November - Upsurge in arrests of Muslim Brotherhood members.
March 18- 100 mainly Islamist MPs walk out of parliament in protest against constitutional amendments which strengthen the regime's grip on power.
2007 April - Amnesty International criticizes Egypt's record on torture and illegal detention.
More than 30 members of the Muslim Brotherhood go on trial, the first time in seven years that members of the group have been tried under military jurisdiction.
2008 April - Military courts sentence 25 leading Muslim Brotherhood members to jail terms in crackdown targeting the organisation's funding. More than 800 arrested over a month. Brotherhood boycotted municipal elections after only 20 candidates allowed to stand.

Obama`s Cairo Speech.
2009 June - US President Barack Obama makes key speech in Cairo calling for a new beginning between the United States and the Muslim world.
-75 people sentenced to death in June- a record for one month- compared to 86 for all of 2008.
Jan. 16- Muslim Brotherhood`s new leader is appointed- Mohammed Badie, from a the Brotherhood`s conservative wing.\
2010 June - Muslim Brotherhood fails to win any seats in elections to the Shura consultative upper house of parliament; alleges vote was rigged. Vote suffers from boycott and apathy as ruling party wins massive `majority`.

Crackdown ahead of November 2010 Elections
Oct 5, 12- journalists and the Muslim Brotherhood accuse the government lof cracking down ahead of parliamentary election.

                                   THE ARAB SPRING
Huge Anti-Mubarak Demonstrations inspired by Tunisian Revolt.
2011- Jan 24-30- massive demomstrations in Cairo and all over Egypt set off by the revolution in Tunisia. The police pull back and army intervention is minimal as millions call for Mubarak`s resignation. ElBaradei is put forward as interim leader of an entirely new and democratic government.
Feb 11- Mubarak Steps down. Vice President Suleiman announces a transition of power to the military, headed by General Tantawi. The military promises that it will hold power termporarily until free and fair elections can be held.

National Unity Government Takes Office. Islamists Take Parliament.
2011 December - National unity government headed by new Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri takes office.
2012 January - Islamist parties emerge as victors of drawn-out parliamentary elections
Muslim Brotherhood's Morsi ahead in Presidential Polls over Mohammed Shafiq.
2012 May - Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi tops the first round of voting in first free presidential elections, narrowly ahead of Mubarak-era prime minister Ahmed Shafiq. Official media put turnout at a low 43%.

Morsi Wins Presidential Elections; Mubarak Sentenced to Life In Prision.
2012 June - Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi narrowly wins presidential election.
Court sentences ex-President Mubarak to life in prison for complicity in the killing of protesters during the 2011 uprising. 

Supreme Court Declares Previous Parliamentary Elections Invalid.
2012 July - President Morsi submits to a Supreme Court ruling that the parliamentary elections were invalid, after initially ordering parliament to meet in defiance of a military decree dissolving it in June.

                               MORSI SIDELINES THE MIITARY
Morsi Strips Military of Top Generals and any say in Politics
President Morsi dismisses Defence Minister Tantawi and Chief of Staff Sami Annan and strips military of say in legislation and drafting the new constitution.

                                THE NATIONAL SALVATION FRONT.
2012- November 22- Morsi issued a declaration purporting to protect the work of the Constituent Assmebly drafting the new constitution from judicial interference. In effect, this declaration immunises his actions from any legal challenge. The decree states that it only applies until a new constitution is ratified.
 2012-November- 24- The National Front for Salvation of the Revolution is formed in response to Morsi's placing himsefl above the law. A number of political parties and leading figures formed a coalition to force the president to rescind his decree; form a new, more representative constituent assembly; and issue a transitional justice law that guaranteed fair retrials for those responsible for the deaths of protesters during the uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak.  The NSF includes a wide range of liberal, secular and leftist groups, such as the Egyptian Popular Current, al-Dustour, al-Tajammu, Free Egyptians, New Wafd, Democratic Front, the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, Nasserist Democratic Party and the Conference Party.
Its three most prominent leaders are Mohammed ElBaradei, the former head of the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); Amr Moussa, the former secretary general of the Arab League; and Hamdeen Sabahi, a Nasserist politician who came third in the presidential election.
The NSF  has more than 35 groups involved overall. Observers are concerned that the NSF will not be able to become a coherent political force though. The different groups mainly agree on opposing Morsi but only on few topics going beyond that.
2012- Nov. 30- There was further outrage on 30 November, when the constituent assembly approved a rushed version of the draft constitution to avoid dissolution by the SCC, despite a boycott by Christian, liberal and secularist representatives. Mr Morsi subsequently called a referendum for 15 December.
The NSF said the president was "trying to impose a constitution monopolised by one trend and is the furthest from national consensus, produced in a farcical way". Its leaders called for the referendum to be postponed and said they would consider a boycott if it was not.
2012- Dec. 5- There were deadly clashes on 5 December when opposition demonstrators were confronted by Muslim Brotherhood supporters outside the presidential palace.
In a televised speech the next day, Mr Morsi called for a "national dialogue" to resolve the crisis, but insisted that he would not rescind his decree and that the referendum could not be delayed.
The NSF rejected the invitation to talks with the president and reiterated its demands to begin an overhaul of the constituent assembly. "He has to take these steps, and I hope that he listens to us," Mr ElBaradei said.
On 8 December, the president bowed to the pressure and rescinded most of his 22 November decree. He did not, however, agree to the opposition's demand that he postpone the referendum.
The NSF swiftly rejected the concession and suggested it was planning to boycott the referendum. Spokesman Sameh Ashour warned that organising such a vote "in a state of seething and chaos" amounted to a "reckless and flagrant absence of responsibility, risking driving the country into violent confrontations that endanger its national security".
The coalition has vowed to stage more mass protests in the coming days

                                  ISLAMIST CONSTITUTION
Islamists Approve Draft Constitution Increasing Power of Islam and Restricting Freedoms.
2012 December - Islamist-dominated constituent assembly approves draft constitution that boosts the role of Islam and restricts freedom of speech and assembly. Public approve it in a referendum, prompting extensive protest by secular opposition leaders, Christians and women's groups.

A new Cabinet and new clashes 
2013-  January 6- Morsi carries out his promised government shake up, and 10 new ministers are sworn in, including key posts at the interior ministry and in a number of financial ministries. Despite calls for a less partisan government, the new Cabinet includes eight members of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, compared to five before the reshuffle.
The ministerial reshuffle comes before talks with the IMF regarding the $4.8 billion loan. The new finance minister El-Morsi El-Sayed Hegazy is an Islamic finance expert.

                                          The National Salvation Front
2013- Jan 26 -The National Salvation Front puts forth several demands as conditions for national consensus, among them amending controversial articles in the constitution, forming a national unity government and sacking the prosecutor-general appointed via the November decree.

2013- January 28- Morsi holds a dialogue with mostly Islamist parties, including the Salafist Nour Party and its ally Al-Wasat Party, as well as the Strong Egypt Party headed by ex-Muslim Brotherhood leader and former presidential contender Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh.The main opposition alliance, the NSF, rejects dialogue with Morsi. While asserting that the group isn’t against talks per se, opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei says the NSF refuses to engage in a “fake” dialogue, citing Morsi’s dialogue with opposition leaders over the constitution which was followed by his November decree that protected the contentious Constituent Assembly.

2013 February 26- Morsi holds another national dialogue session to discuss upcoming parliamentary elections. The session is attended mainly by Islamist groups while the opposition National Salvation Front boycotts the meeting, holding to its demands of dismissing PM Hisham Qandil’s government and calling for the postponing of the elections.
                           MORSI TURNS AGAINST COURTS.
Court Stalls Morsi's Parliamentry Elections; Protests Spread Against Morsi Government
2013 March - A court halts President Morsi's plans to bring parliamentary elections forward to April, citing failure to refer the electoral law to the Constitutional Court. The main opposition National Salvation Front had announced a poll boycott earlier.

2013  Mar 22, Thousands of Egyptian protesters clashed with riot police and backers of the president's Muslim Brotherhood, ransacking several offices nationwide as anger over allegations of beatings and power-grabbing boiled over into the largest and most violent demonstrations yet on the doorstep of the powerful group.

Despite Morsi, Courts Succeed in Suspending Elections; Justice Minister Resigns.

2013  Apr 21, Egypt's state news agency says that a government legal agency representing President Mohammed Morsi has lost an appeal to reverse a court-ordered suspension of parliamentary elections. Justice Minister Ahmed Mekki submitted his resignation, in a move that signaled strong disapproval of the president's handling of a prolonged showdown with the country's judiciary.

Peaceful Protests Turn Violent.

2013  May 17, Egyptian security forces fired tear gas at protesters hurling firebombs at them in central Cairo, hours after hundreds of opponents of Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi rallied peacefully in the streets denouncing his rule and demanding early presidential elections.

2013 Jun 5, Egypt's state-run news agency said the state prosecutor has referred 12 activists including several prominent bloggers to trial on charges of instigating violence during a March demonstration at the headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist group from which the president hails. A signature drive, known as "Tamarod" or "Rebel" in Arabic, has reportedly collected some 7 million signatures calling for the removal of Egypt's Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.

Morsi Consolidates Power in the Provinces. 
2013  June - President Morsi appoints Islamist allies as regional governors, putting them in charge of 13 of Egypt's 27 governorships. Most controversially he appoints a member of the former armed group Gamaa Islamiya governor of Luxor, where Gamaa fighters killed about 60 tourists in a 1997 attack. This prompts protests in Luxor and the tourism minister threatens to resign.

EGYPT: 1882-1973
EGYPT: 1974-2011.
EGYPT: 2012--2012

EGYPT: 1882-1973


Britain, having taken control of Egypt in 1882, declares the country to be under military occupation in 1914, at the outbreak of World War I. At the close of the war in 1918, a lawyer, Saad Zaghloul leads a 'delegation' ('Wafd' in Arabic) to London to present the case for Egyptian independence. The denial of the Wafd's request results in periodic riots for Egyptian independence over the following  years. Zaghloul reorganizes the Wafd into a political movement in 1919 to work for  Egyptian independence. Britain edges toward granting nominal independence in 1922, reserving the right to safguard foreign interests and protect minorities. Britain formalizes the terms for independence in the constitution of 1923, the year in which the Wafd wins the legislative elections and Zaghloul becomes prime minister.


While the Wafd, led by Prime Minister Nahas Pasha in 1927, becomes the prime mover for independence, a conservative, nationalist wing develops with King Fuad's dismissal of Pasha and suspension of the constitution. Italy's invasion of Eritrea in 1935 further strengthens Britain's hold over Egypt as the English determine the country's requirements in military equipment, training and communications and the right to build British air bases. The Anglo-Egyptian treaty OF 1936  further defines Egyptian independence by dropping the provisions for protecting minorities and foreign interests while insisting on British occupation of the Canal Zone and her right to assume full military defecne of Egypt in time of war.

In 1938, King Faruq, the young successor to King Fuad, follows his father's policies in attacking the Wafd head-on, dismissing Pasha once again and appointing his own man, Ali Mahir. Tensions reach a height when Italy enters the war in 1940, and King Faruq, bending to pro-Italian friends and advisers, holds on to his anti-British prime minister, Ali Mahir. The British surround the palace with tanks and demand that Faruq appoint Nahas Pasha on pain of dethronement. The king complies but his prestige among the Egyptian people plummets and he tried to restore his standing by dismissing Pasha and reappointing Mahir in 1944.


The breaking point for the Egyptian monarchy is the 1948 Palestine war for the state of Israel in which Egyptian troops perform so badly against the fledgling Jewish state that Egyptianh troops begin planning a coup. Faruq tries to placate the Wafd in 1950 by calling an election while the Wafd demands the evacuation of British troops. The British, however, refuse. In 1951, the Wafd abrogates the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty, declares the king sovereign of Egypt and Sudan and mounts guerilla attacks on the British. Rioting follows, the king dismisses the Wafd government in 1951 and  the Free Officers group, led by Col Abdul Nasser and Muhammed Neguib mount a coup, overthrowing the monarchy and exiling the king to Italy.  Neguib, at the head of the Revolutionary Ruling Council, is appointed President and Prime Minister and chooses a parliamentary system of government. Nasser, now head of the still-powerful RCC, opposes and overrules him.

Quickly going his own way, Nasser bans the Wafd and all other parties in 1953. Instead he brings out a single party, the Liberation Rally. He launches programs of industrialization and land reform and promotes Arab Socialism which gets him the backing of the Soviet Union. Without consulting Naguib, Nasser bans the Mislim Brotherhood in 1954. Naguib resigns in protest and after being dismissed from the presidency, turns to his own military forces, and the country nearly collapses into civil war before Nasser before Naguib is allowed to retain the presidency in a compromise and Nasser is appointed chairman of the RCC. Felling the directions things have taken, the British withdraw from Egypt.

Now an international figure, Nasser promotes Arab Nationalism. Facing opposition at home and abroad, he  moves further to the left. At the 1955 Bandung Conference, he manages to the stop the Baghdad Pact from  pulling more Arab coountries over to the West and draws inspiration from from the Non-aligned Movemenrt of India's Nehru and Yugoslavia's Tito. America's susequent refusal to sell arms to Egypt only pushes Nassar to buy weapons from Yugoslavia. In retaliation the US refuses aid for the Aswan Dam and persuades the World Bank to do the same. In turn, Nasser  natonalizes the Suez Canal and accepts aid from the Soviet Union.


Thus begins, in 1956, Nasser's period of Triumph with the Suez Crisis. A new constution gives him a six year turn and the the right to one consecutive term and pursues his non ideological Arab nationalism. Britain, France and Israel try, by military force, to seize the Suez Canal. Their failure to do so makes Nasser into a hero throughout the Arab World. Now begins his move further to the left.

Nasser's prestige is abruptly shaken in 1958 by his project to unite Syria and Egypt in a United Arab Republic intended gradually to absorb the whole Middle East under Nasser himself but it fails due to in-fighting and the secession of Syria in 1961. Meanwhile, Nasser visits Moscow as leader of the Non-Aligned Movement. Syria's attempt to outpace Egypt in the implementation of socialist policies causes Nasser to move even farther to the left in an attempt to remain effective leader of the Arab world. He extends his credentials by sending military support to a republican revolution in North Yemen and founding the Arab Socialist Union. He also makes a defence pact with Syria in order to share if not to claim Syria's support of the Palestinian movement against Israel. In 1967 Israel ridicules Nasser and dares him to support Palestinian designs. Nasser responds by closing the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping and forming an alliance with Jordan.


Thus begins the Six Day War in which Israel launches pre-emptive strikes against the air forces of Egypt, Jordan and Syria, decisve defeating them. Nasser's prestige irreversibly damaged, he resigns but is recalled by popular demand. In 1968, his political 'War of Attrition' prevents Israel from making any permanent gains of Egyptrian territory and he brokers peace between the PLO and Lebanon and the PLO and Jordan. Upon his death in 1970, Anwar Sadat succeeds him as president of Egypt.

EGYPT: 1973-2011.


In 1973, Sadat conspires with Syria in an attack on Israel and though Egypt scores initial success in the sky, it loses the Ypm Kippur War. In consequence, Sadat deserts the Soviet Union for the United States and signs a compromise treaty with Israel. He signs the Law of Political Pareties in 1977, legalizign the Wafd and other poltiical parties to participate in a parliamentary system with rigged elections and little democracy. In 1979, Sadat signs a peace treaty with Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin. As a result Egypt is expelled from the Arab League and virulent protest at the treaty causes him to crack down on ther opposition. Long simmering hatred among Islamists over the peace with Israel explodes when Sadat is assassinated in 1981 by Islamist army officers during a review. He is succeeded by Hosni Mubarak.



Mubarak immediately begins to mend relations with the Arab world, earning him considerable popularity at home and readmission to the Arab League in Egypt. However, he continues Sadat's tradition of rigging elections. After his re-election in 1993, Mubrarak faces increased oppostion from the Muslim Brotherhood and Gamat al Islamiya. His increased crackdowns, arrests, torture and general repression of Islamists begins to cause concern in the Clinton administration, not least because repressive Arab governments are only radicalizing the Islamists.

After Al  Qaeda's 9/11 attacks on New York, Mubarak cooperates with US president Bush's War on Terror. He recommends an international convention on terrorism but at the same time asks for a more even-handed approach to Palestine and Israel. In the end, he obtains neither. In February, 2003, in Milan, CIA agents kidnap Egyptian cleric and Islamist suspect Hassan Nasr and use the rendition program tlo fly him to Egypt where he is torutred and interrogated. But when Bush visits Cairo in June for a meeting of Arab leaders, they insist again that no peace intiative will be possible until Israel eases up on the West Bank.


After Mubarak's entire cabinet resigns in July, 2004, he replaces his prime minister with Atef Obeid, an outsider, and replaces half of Egypts 26 governors, further centralizing his power- despite increasing demands for reform. The timing seems strange when, after an October Al Qaeda bombings kills 34 at the Jewish resort of Sikkot on Egypt's Sinai peninsula, Mubarak has 200 Islamists released from prison at the end of Ramadan and in the same month the funeral of the Palestinain leader is held in Cairo. But that is the political tightrope Mubarak must walk between the West and militant Islam.  In February, 2005, as Mubarak asserts regional power by joining Libya's Gaddhafi in attempting to broker a peace between Darfur and Sudan, five hundred protest his intention to run for another term in office and have his son Gamal named as his successor.

Mubarak's initiative to reform electoral laws to include multiple candidates in the early spring of 2005, excite little trust as oppostion groups and the Muslim Brotherhood mount anti-government demonstrations for genuine political reform well into the spring. My May, despite ratification by parliament and an allleged referndum., thousands of protestors have rejected Mubarak's electoral reform as a sham. On June 30, the Muslim Brotherhood mounts forms an opposition alliance for the legal and constitutional removal of Mubarak and the boycott of September elections. July 23, witnesses terror attacks at the Red Sea resort of Sharm al-Sheikh

Mubarak's election to a fifth consecutive term in September 2005 is marred by blatant electoral fraud and minimal voter turnout. Meanwhile, thousands of Gazans pour into Egypt during a temproary opening of the border. December's parliamentary elections are marked by clashes between police and the Muslim Brotherhood. Mubarak's National Democratic Party wins its predictable majority while Brotherhood candidates, running as independents score a record 20% of seats.


In March, 2006, Egyptian judges protest the judiciary's lack of independence while in May, judges demonstrating against electoral fraud are beaten by police. In April, meanwhile, Egypt has been rocked by rioting between Muslims and Christains in Alexandria.  In May, the US gets a clear message that reform will come no time soon as Mubarak's son Gamal, his designated successor, is introduced at the White House and US and Egyptian officials meet as Egyopt hosts the World Economic Forum.

In June 2006, the Muslim Brotherhood is subjected to a crackdown and arrests and in November Mubaralk once again promises political reform in an address to parliament. The crackdown on the Brotherhood continues in November. Instead of the promised reform, constituional amendments strengthen Mubarak's grip on power as 100 MPs walk out in protest in March, 2007. A referendum consenting to the amendments is widely known to be rigged. In June, police bar voters from polling stations as the government claims another victory in parliamentary elections. In October there follows a crackdown on the press.
Mubarak places his son Gamal in a high government post, a moce seen to assure his succession to the presidency.


In the spring of 2008, Egyptians protest high food prices with protests, looting and the burning of shops, while sentencing and mass arrests of the Muslim Brotherbood coontinue. In a desperate move, perhaps, to quell popular unrest, Mubarak announces finanacial reforms, action against poverty and the distribution of shares in privatized state enterprises in November. In February 2009 an Islamist bomb attack kills 25 in a tourist area of Cairo. The spring sees Mubarak hosting Sudan's Al Bashir despite international censure of Bashir over atrocities in Darfur.

The Government attempts reforms in fall and winter of 2009, with action against poverty and free shares in government corporations for Egyptians while tje government holds majority shares in all basic industries from iron to tourism. Security forces deal with Beduin smuggling in the Gaza strip as well as a deadly  Islamist bombing, apparently the work of Al Qaeda.  In the spring,  in a presage of things to come, Islamists and pro democracy groups demonstrate against the the government.

Obama delivers his Cairo speech in June, 2009, admitting US errors in Middle Eastern policy and promising a new beginning in Middle-East-US relations. In the summer, the security forces and the courts take action again militants from A Qaeda and Hezbolla for planning terror attacks in Egypt. In December, a deadly riot explodes when Muslims attack a Copt Chrisitan funeral.


The first half of 2010 is marked by the return of elder statesman and opposition figure Mohammed ElBaradei. Demanding widespread reform, ElBaradei defies a ban on  public gatherings and leads demonstrations demanding widespread government reform. Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood fails to win any seats in the upper house, the Shura, and claims the elections are rigged.

At the end of 2010, the Government cracks down and curtails the media  ahead of the parliamentary elections. When the vote comes, protestors and  the Muslim Brotherhood, having won no seats, accuse the government of rigging elections.

Egypt: 2011-2013


In early 2011, the scene couldn't better set for inspiration by the recent revolution in Tunisia. El Baradei is proposed for interim leader as millions converge on Tahrir Square to demand the resignation of President Mubarak and the institution democratic government. By mid-Febuary, Mubarak has resigned. Throughout the spring, constitutional reforms pave the way for a new administration. mass demonstrations continue, protesting the slow pace of change. In summer, Mubarak goes on trial for having ordered the killing of demonstrators. Protestors now accuse the military or hanging on to power.

In the winter of 2011-2102, an interim government takes office. Parliamentary elections begin in January. Islamist parties win most of the seats. Organized fotball fans aligned with the revolution are set up and massacred by police during a Port Said football riot. 74 of the fans die.


In May, Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood gains the lead in polls for president. In summer Morsi is elected president and Mubarak is sentenced to life in prison. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court declares the parliamentary vote invalid and Morsi is left with a new interim government made up of old regime technocrats and Islamists. Morsi then strips the army of all political authority and retires army chief Tantawi. In November, Morsi strips the judiciary of the right to rescind his decisions but he is forced to back down in the face of public protests.At the end of the year the Islamist parliament pushes through an Islamist constitution and curtails free speech. The constitution is barely passed by referendum and in the face up much opposition.


2013 opens with mass demonstrations against President Morsi's power grab. Fifty are killed by police. The army warns of general collapse. Morsi calls general elections for April but the Constitutional court blocks him, citing a violation of the electoral law. The loose opposition alliance, the National Salvation Front says it will boycott the elections.

Post a Comment