‘Egypt First-ism’ turns its guns on Islamists

One of the key themes the coup regime has developed in Egypt against its Islamist opponents is a rehashed version of the chauvinistic nationalism of the Mubarak regime. This involved an ‘Egypt First-ism’ vis-a-vis the Arab-Israeli conflict that gave a veneer of respectability for security paranioa over Palestinians that verged on racial hatred. The redux of this fascistic nationalism has anti-Syrian racism thrown in for extra. This nationalism emerged specifically in an Arab nationalist context, as a response to the Nasserist years with its failures. It was traditionally challenged by leftists and Arab nationalists, and lately among the youth activists behind the Jan 25 uprising. Continue reading ‘Egypt First-ism’ turns its guns on Islamists

Egypt: Sisi’s Staying Power and Revolution, Regime-Style

If there is any lesson to be drawn from the movement of uprisings unleashed in December 2010 it is that nothing is predictable. The Brotherhood is in a bad way, but neither it nor “political Islam” are spent forces (whether it’s in analysts’ and academics’ interests or not); Sisi and the military who continue to form the backbone of the Egyptian republic have won for now, but his continued domination is hardly set in stone. When Mubarak stepped down, the army behaved as saviours and guardians of the people’s will, but some six months later revolutionaries were insulting them on the streets and things just went downhill from there. Continue reading Egypt: Sisi’s Staying Power and Revolution, Regime-Style

Redemption of a Fallen Ministry

The rehabilitation of Egypt’s police apparatus continues. The interior ministry and its numerous security and intelligence agencies were the backbone of Mubarak’s corrupt police state. But they suffered a severe blow during the uprising against Mubarak two years ago, and the story of their fall from grace and subsequent refusal to properly police the country – the real job of policing, that is, like dealing with crime, traffic and neighbourhood security, as opposed to torturing people – is in many ways the story of Egypt’s descent into chaos since the revolution. Continue reading Redemption of a Fallen Ministry

Outside Rabaa: A morning of tear gas and live fire

The Rabaa al-Adawiya protest in Cairo was pretty festive this week, despite a government threat on Monday to clear it and the smaller one at Nahda square near Cairo University. Nobody there believed that the security forces – who were authorized by the interim government which was authorized by the army – were really going to do anything, not least since a mandated 24 hours had passed without incident. Continue reading Outside Rabaa: A morning of tear gas and live fire

‘Corrective Revolution’ Descends Into Bloodshed

Hundreds of thousands were out in Tahrir Square and hundreds of thousands more, perhaps millions, were in the streets by the presidential palace. State television played rousing patriotic music. Military aircraft hovered above, in protective fatherly fashion, as protesters playfully flickered their green lasers in the sky. Huge Egyptian flags were strung out over ecstatic protesters’ heads for maybe 20 metres or more. Hawkers displayed a range of trinkets and souvenirs bearing the soft-features of charismatic army leader and saviour of the republic Abdulfattah al-Sisi. Continue reading ‘Corrective Revolution’ Descends Into Bloodshed

Sisi – Too sexy for his military fatigues (Get that man a presidency)

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A forewarning about the extent of Idolization of Field Marshal Abdulfattah al-Sisi came to me on Wednesday night, after the Egyptian defence minister and supreme commander of Egypt’s armed forces issued his call for mass protests to give the military a mandate to confront violence on the streets of Egypt. A friend messaged me: “I’m in love with Sisi. What a strong guy! Eh dah! Finally someone I respect.” Continue reading Sisi – Too sexy for his military fatigues (Get that man a presidency)

Egypt’s Military State – Democracy in Stages

In 1952 the Egyptian military decided they had had enough of the monarchy and they quickly concluded they had had enough of party politics too. Mohammed Naguib became first president in 1953 after the monarchy was formally abolished and a republic declared, and the next year he was deposed by Nasser over his desire for the military to return to the barracks and return the country to civilian rule. Continue reading Egypt’s Military State – Democracy in Stages