The implications of the Egyptian Military coup of 2013 in post-revolution Egypt: A Background PaperBy Yousef Mahmoud, edited by Janvi WadhawanAbstractThis paper will be discussing the situation in Egypt after 2011 revolution and the 2013 coup whilst considering the reasons leading up to each. It will outline the series of events leading up to the coup, the changes to the economic and political climate in Egypt in the Sisi regime, and the effects of the situation in Egypt on the rest of the Middle East.Description and Definition of the IssueFollowing the January 2011 revolution which saw the end to the 30-year rule of Mubarak, Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood was elected as president in 2012. After a series of frustrating decisions which led to political and economic turmoil, a grassroots movement Tamarod (which literally translates to rebellion) hoping to overthrow Morsi in the same manner that Mubarak was gathered in excess of 20 million signatories.
The movement also called for a series of anti-Morsi and anti-Muslim Brotherhood demonstrations on 30 June 2013 which saw a turnout of over 15 million people in Tahrir Square alone (reported to be the one of the largest turnouts for a protest in world history). Morsi supporters gathered in much smaller numbers in Rabaa Al-adawiya square.In response, General Abdelfattah El-Sisi (Head of the Egyptian Armed Forces) issued a televised statement at 16:35 on July 1 2013 giving President Mohamed Morsi and his government a 48-hour ultimatum to meet the demands of the people (immediate resignation). In the statement he also announced the formation of a front including several political, religious, national and youth icons representing all parties. The following evening, Morsi issued a statement rejecting the ultimatum and so, the night after he was overthrown in a televised statement with President of the Supreme Constitutional court Adly Mansour to act as interim president.In the immediate aftermath, Morsi and several head figures of the Muslim Brotherhood were detained and charged with several lawsuits. The Muslim Brotherhood was also listed as a terrorist organization. In April 2014, El-Sisi announced resignation from the Armed Forces to run for president as a civilian in the June 2014 elections, in which he won 96.
9% of the votes. Since then, countries such as Kuwait, Bahrain, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Russia have all fully backed El-Sisi whilst being condemned by Qatar and Turkey for ‘staging a coup which undermining democracy and human rights’.During his first term, El-Sisi launched a number of programs aiming for political and economic reform.
El-Sisi and his government have since built an extension to the Suez Canal, planned for a new administrative capital city, and started a number of agricultural projects in hope for an improvement in the economic situation. A war on terrorism has also been regarded as one of his achievements by supporters.However, his failures have come in the form of price inflation, letting go of Tiran and Sanafir islands to Saudi Arabia and the manner in which he has dealt with the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. This could mean a significant drop in the water level of the Nile which would lead to serious problems for many families and industries. More importantly, El-Sisi has come under scrutiny on several occasions for human rights violations and oppression through silencing several media outlets and imprisoning several figures associated with or showing support for the Muslim Brotherhood.
As a result, many attacks have been launched by terrorist groups which have publicly declared their support for the brotherhood on mosques, churches and most significantly, police stations and army troop locations in Sinai.Since 2014, El-Sisi’s approval ratings have significantly dropped and with a presidential election upcoming with no clear or powerful candidate to challenge El-Sisi for his seat as of yet, it looks like El-Sisi will get a second term. However, with Egypt’s stability being critical to the stability of the Middle East yet El-Sisi having the full support of other pivotal countries in the region including Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the results of the upcoming elections are bound to have significant effects on the security and economy of Egypt as well as the rest of the region.
Glossary of the Issue2011 January Revolution – the 18-day revolution which started on January 25 and resulted in Hosni Mubarak resigning from his position whilst appointing Head of the Supreme Council of Armed Forces Mohammed Hussain Tantawi as interim president.Revolution – a change in political power and the organisations which run a country as a result of significant revolt/objection by the populationCoup d’etat – a type of revolution which involves a sudden, violent and illegal seizure of the state by the militaryMuslim Brotherhood – an international Islamist organisation formed in Egypt in 1928 by Islamic Scholar Hassan Al-Banna. It was formed as a religious movement hoping to spread the message of Islam and instil it into the constitution. However, in recent times, several government crackdowns have been launched against the organisations and as of 2015, after the ousting of Mohamed Morsi, it was declared a terrorist organisation by Egypt, Bahrain, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Russia. Many of its leaders have been imprisoned by Egyptian authorities and are currently under trial for several cases including terrorist activity and treason.
The Brotherhood however is supported by Qatar and Turkey which has led to the diplomatic crisis between Egypt and the aforementioned nations.Tamarod – an Egyptian grassroots movement which called for the 30 June Revolution by gathering signatures on a petition which demanded the immediate resignation of Mohammed Morsi.Rabaa Protests – pro-Morsi protests which occurred in Rabaa Al-adawiya square which saw a much smaller turnout than those against him. Mainly attended by Morsi supporters and then expanded to include those whom opposed the way in which he was removedAugust 2013 Rabaa Massacre – On August 14 two squares (Al-Nahda and Rabaa Al-adawiya) which were occupied for weeks by pro-Morsi supporters and Muslim Brotherhood members was raided by Egyptian security forces on command from El-Sisi to remove the sit-ins. Forces claim to have only used water hoses, however, footage shows buildings on fire and excessive force including gunfire being used by the police.
Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam – a dam being built by Ethiopia (60% construction completed) set to reduce water levels significantly in EgyptFloating exchange rate – an economic reform put into place by El-Sisi in hope of reducing the dealing on foreign currency in the black market. It works by allowing the exchange rate to be determined by supply and demand rather than a fixed rate being determined by the government. This however resulted in a severe drop in the value of the Egyptian Pound.2011 constitution vote – a referendum that was used to vote on whether the constitution should remain or not in 2011 with the majority voting “yes”. The main article in question was the one determining whether Islamic Sharia was the main source of ruling in the country.
History of the IssueJanuary 25 2011 – Protests on National Police Day call for Mubarak to resign after 30 years in office led by Wael Ghoneim and Mohamed El-Baradei.January 28 2011 – “The Friday of Anger” protests result in a lot of chaos which included the opening of prisons allowing inmates to escape in large numbers. Many inmates were those of the Muslim Brotherhood which had been locked up by Mubarak after the assassination of ex-President El-Sadat.
A state of emergency is declared with curfews imposed.February 2 2011 – During protests, many hooligans are seen riding camels whilst holding sticks and swords into the crowds which resulted in several deaths and injuries.February 11 2011 – VP Omar Suleiman announces Mubarak’s resignation and the decision to appoint Head of the Supreme Council of Armed Forces Mohammed Tantawi as interim president.
March 2011 – Many figures from Mubarak’s regime either flea the country or are arrested and charged with several lawsuits.19 March 2011 – After the constitution had been suspended, 77.2% of the population voted YES on a new constitution 23 March 2011 – the organization of protests is criminalized and a 500000 EGP fine is imposed.May – July 2011 – many protests are organized during these months, particularly on Fridays calling for quicker transition in power to a new democratically elected president, the restoration of the old constitution and for members of the old regime to stand trial. May – June 2012 – Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood wins the second round of the presidential election after beating ex-military General Ahmed Shafik. Also, Mubarak and some of his regime are sentenced to life in prison for killing protestors. Protests are also held to go against the dissolution of the elected Islamist parliament.22 November 2012 – Morsi issues a decree which gives him an extreme degree of power.
The decree effectively immunizes his decisions from challenge and they would not be subject to approval of the parliament whom were at the time redrafting the constitution. This effectively meant that Morsi could take any decision he sees fit and no one would be able to refute them. Following his announcement, liberal and secular MPs stormed out of the assembly fearing extremist Islamic laws and decisions being put into place as the decree meant the only party with a say would be Morsi’s (the Muslim Brotherhood).27 November 2012 – Protestors gather in Tahrir and Mostafa Mahmoud square to oppose Morsi’s decree and many were killed or injured in clashes with the police forces.June 2013 – Tamarod begin gathering signatures and calling for a second revolution.30 June 2013 – Protestors gather in many governorates around Egypt calling for Morsi’s immediate resignation.1 July 2013 – Morsi and his government are given a 48-hour ultimatum to meet the people’s demands and immediately resigning from office.2 July 2013 – Morsi gives a televised statement in which he rejects the ultimatum and declares himself as the rightfully elected president, repeating the word “rightfully elected” over 38 times in the span of 10 minutes.
3 July 2013 – At 6:30 pm, El-Sisi gives a televised statement surrounded by leaders of many political and religious front. He declares that Morsi has been overthrown and Adly Mansour will act as interim president with immediate effect until a presidential election is organized. The announcement is met with celebration from many, however, some see the way in which Morsi was overthrown as a coup staged by the military. It was a move supported by countries including Jordan, Kuwait, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and other Arab nations but condemned strongly by Qatar, Turkey, the US, members of the EU and many others.July 2013 – in the aftermath, Morsi supporters vow to reinstate him as president and cause a lot of violence around Egypt. A large portion of their attacks were directed at Coptic Christians which make up 6-12% of the population. Militant gunmen suspected to belong to the MB also launched several attacks on security forces in Suez and North Sinai.14 August 2013 –Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood supporters protesting in Rabaa Al-adawiya and Alnahda square are raided by police officers and over 1500 are killed.
This is met with severe condemnation by the Human Rights Watch and the UNHRC. Footage later shows that police only started using excessive force and gunfire once the protestors had begun launching Molotov bombs as well as using knives, swords and guns against the officers.September 2013 – March 2014 – crime rates rise in Egypt with the main culprits found to be members or supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood which was later listed as a terrorist organization. Many are killed and wounded in clashes between mobs, youth, police and other parties. On some occasions, these attacks are launched at prominent figures including the Minister of Interior. Tourists were also greatly affected by some of these attacks which saw a sharp decline in the tourism industry in Egypt which was seen as one of its main sources of income.January 2014 – On the 3rd anniversary of the January 2011 revolution many gather in Tahrir Square to celebrate.
However, protestors opposing the military gathered elsewhere were met with violence by the police and some were killed/wounded by gunshots. Just a day before, however, 4 bomb blast hit Cairo at a metro station, a museum and the Cairo police headquarters.April 2014 – El-Sisi resigns from the military and announces candidacy for the 2014 presidential election.June 2014 – El-Sisi wins 96.
9% of the votes in the election and is sworn into office on June 8th. June 2014 – June 2015 – many are killed or wounded in protests against president Sisi. After that, a law against protests is put into place and protests have significantly decreased since.
This crackdown on supporters of the MB was condemned by Amnesty International UK.Janaury 2015 – El-Sisi chooses to suspend a successful political satire show and ever since there have been crackdowns on people who post content supporting the Brotherhood on social media which has led to a lot of outrage.August 2015 – An extension to the Suez Canal is completed in exactly a year.November 2015 – Italian political science student Guilio Regeni is found dead and the Egyptian authorities are charged with killing him.
2015 – present – El-Sisi launches a war on terror with Sinai turning into a serious combat field between militant groups and the Egyptian military. Has also supported Saudi Arabia and UAE in their fight against the Houthi Rebels in Yemen.November 2016 – El-Sisi announces that the exchange rate in Egypt is to be floated which resulted in one of the worst devaluations of a currency in modern history seeing its value go down by over 150%.2016 – present – Ethiopia begin the construction of a dam which would see Egypt lose a significant of its water share from the river and would also see Egypt’s hydropower dams affected. This was a project planned since Mubarak’s era but Mubarak had always stopped it from happening. The construction of this dam has also led to diplomatic tensions between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia. In late 2017, Turkey (a country opposing Egypt and the Sisi regime) was seen to be meddling as President Erdogan visited Sudan and obtained Sukain Island and is predicted to build a military base.
This heightened problems between Egypt and both Turkey and Sudan and is feared to lead to more significant issues involving more countries.June 2017 – Egypt also chooses to cut diplomatic ties with Qatar along with Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain.November 2017 – A mosque in Sinai is subject to attack seeing over 400 killed which is the worst causality rate in Egypt’s modern history.December 2017 – Ahmed Shafik returns to Egypt for the first time since losing to Morsi in 2012 and announces his intention to run for president. Two weeks later, he releases a statement in which he pulls out and declares himself “unfit to run the country in its current situation”.January 2018 – El-Sisi announces that he will be running for a second term in the elections to be held in March 2018.Current StatusEgypt has always been and continues to be a country with an important role, if not the most important, in the Middle East. Since 2013, an estimated 2600 have died as a result of police brutality during protests and an even larger number have died due to terrorist attacks launched by Islamic groups including ISIS, Hamas, Ansar Bait Al-maqdis etc.
Currently, within Egypt, El-Sisi’s approval ratings are dropping and with the 2018 presidential election approaching, many of the candidates announcing their intention to run against El-Sisi have had charges pressed against them. Those remaining are seen to be incapable of gathering more votes than El-Sisi and a popular opinion is that many projects started by El-Sisi which money has been deeply invested in could come to a halt if someone else were to take over now. Despite recent attacks, Egypt has definitely become safer wiand less prone to attacks by mobs/hooligans than in the Morsi era which has resulted in tourists flowing back into Egypt, and travel warnings issued by the UK, US and Russia to be lifted. This is seen as one of El-Sisi’s main achievements.Conclusion With El-Sisi’s approval ratings suffering a severe drop due to poor economic decisions, undermining democracy and an increase in terrorist attacks in launched against mosques, churches and army officers in Sinai, it seems like a new civilian president with a campaign promising significant political and economic reform would be the solution.
However, the issue becomes more complex when it is realized that Egypt’s stability is integral to the stability of the region. A move against El-Sisi is likely to be condemned by leaders of other powerful nations in the region such as UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain and Kuwait and therefore, the re-election of El-Sisi for a second term might not be the best solution for Egypt in terms of economy and democracy, however, for the safety and security of the Egypt and the rest of the region this could prove beneficial.Works Cited:”2013 Egyptian Coup D’état.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 18 Jan. 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2013_Egyptian_coup_d%27%C3%A9tat.”Post-Coup Unrest in Egypt (2013–2014).
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