THE EGYPT POLICY PLAYBOOK
Volume 2 in the Policy Playbook series by The Intelligence Community, LLC
Actuated by activists in Tunisia, who successfully brought about the fall of the corrupt dictatorship of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Egyptians of all classes and confessions turned out to protest the corrupt and authoritarian regime of Hosni Mubarak. After 18 days of sustained protests, and despite efforts to deploy the coercive apparatus of the state to crush the opposition, Mubarak was forced to step down as president. Undoubtedly the rapidity of the Egyptian Revolution has shaped subsequent events. Although Mubarak was ousted, the remnants or feloul of the regime remained relatively intact. The presence and organizational capacities of the feloul represents a counter-revolutionary block that has severely circumscribed the revolutionary potential of Egypt’s Lotus Revolution. Furthermore, very success of the protests meant that revolutionary unity could not be maintained after the fall of Mubarak. The post-revolutionary period failed to provide increased physical and economic security. Despite holding its first free and fair elections and the assumption of power by the Muslim Brotherhood, stability failed to return to Egypt. The ineptitude of the Muslim Brotherhood along with the recalcitrance of the feloul precipitated a coup d’état and a return to military rule. Today’s violence and instability is in large part due to the failure of the Egyptian Revolution to effect structural changes or ameliorate long-standing tensions within Egyptian society.
The rapidly changing political landscape has confounded regional experts and precluded the implementation of coherent policy. This volume aims not only to clearly elucidate many of the pertinent issues, but also to provide possible suggestions to US policy makers. Jenrette Nowaczynski discusses Egypt’s newly crafted Constitution and its implications on US foreign policy. Nowaczynski examines the rather limited US policy options to ensure that the new Constitution enshrines democratic rights for all Egyptian citizens. In a similar vein, Gregory Robins explores the political and moral difficulties that the Egyptian Revolution and subsequent military coup d’état have presented the US foreign policy establishment. Often ignored by experts and policy makers alike, Evan Procknow investigates the fate of the Egyptian Coptic Christian population in the wake of the revolution. Procknow asserts that the fate of Egypt’s Copts is an indicator of the inclusivity (or lack thereof) of Egypt’s democratic system. The second half of book discusses the rapidly evolving security situation in Egypt. Joe Soriero’s contribution explores terrorism in the Sinai Peninsula and the capabilities of its principal terrorist group, Ansar Beit al-Maqdis. Soriero’s article cautions against the adoption of an overly violent approach to Sinai terrorism as it only serves to radicalize jihadists and ostracize the local population. Brendan McNamara’s chapter discusses an important, yet neglected regional issue, the water rights of the Nile, and its potential security implications. Irrespective of the government in power, disputes over the Nile River have the potential to further contribute to not only to instability in Egypt but also on a regional level. Lastly, Nico Fiorentino explores the Muslim Brotherhood in light of the military’s decision to declare it a terrorist organization. Employing an historical analytical approach, Fiorentino’s article examines its potential to transform into a terrorist organization.
We hope that this diverse set of articles explicates the complex and rapidly changing state of the political and security affairs as they pertain to Egypt. Additionally, this collection aims to outline the potential options available for policy makers with respect to US-Egyptian relations. Lastly, we, as editors, would like to thank all the contributing authors for their patience throughout this entire process. None of this would be possible without their hard work and dedication.