Revolutionary Risings in Egypt
In 2011 Egypt witnessed more protests than any other country in the world, kicking off a revolutionary process that would unfold in three waves of revolution, followed by two waves of counterrevolution. This chapter briefly contrasts the period of Gamal Abdel Nasser to the recent wave of upheaval. Nasser and the Free Officers implemented wide-ranging reforms by overthrowing the monarchy, declaring a republic, implementing land reform, expropriating the Suez Canal, expelling British troops from Egypt, and joining the nonaligned movement in efforts to move away from the colonial past. In so doing they turned a coup into a “revolution from above.” By contrast, President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has not implemented any major reforms. His actions have led to the reconstitution of the old Mubarak regime, but with even greater authoritarianism aimed to crush any entity that is seen as independent of the regime. Instead of setting Egypt on a path of greater economic independence, Egypt’s reliance on foreign donors has grown, with increased financial flows from the Gulf. As a crude form of “payback” for this financial support, Egypt handed over the Tiran and Sanafir islands to Saudi Arabia.
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