Political analyst H. A. Hellyer, author of “A Revolution Undone: Egypt’s Road Beyond Revolt” and non-resident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council, joins Center for Global Policy Senior Fellow Kamran Bokhari for a conversation about Egypt after the Arab Spring.
Hellyer says his book came about when he found that analysts outside the country who were reporting and analyzing Egypt’s political instability were missing some nuances. He says his book is not a definitive analysis but does describe how he saw events unfolding in Egypt from 2011 until about 2015. He explains that “revolution undone” means that there was an uprising, but the entire process of a revolution was not completed in Egypt and it remains unfinished. However, he notes that the common narrative — that the situation in Egypt is much as it was under Hosni Mubarak’s regime — is incorrect. The government in Egypt functions very differently from how it functioned in 2010, and relationships between the institutions in Egypt have changed. The situation is not necessarily better, but it is different.
In this podcast, Hellyer answers Bokhari’s questions about the different actors on Egypt’s political stage, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, the military, the judiciary and the president. He also describes Egypt’s current economic struggles and how the months of June, July and August could be difficult because of expenses associated with Ramadan and with electricity use during the hottest months of the year.
Hellyer also explains the apathy and exhaustion among the Egyptian population and the average voter’s concerns about creating more instability and opening up Egypt to a fate like Syria’s or Somalia’s — something Hellyer does not think is likely. The Islamic State will continue posing a security threat, and instability could spill over from Libya across the countries’ long and remote border, but Hellyer says Egypt does not appear to be vulnerable to many of the factors that could make it a failed state.
Also in this podcast, Hellyer and Bokhari discuss Islamists and non-Islamists in Egypt and the importance of the development of indigenous political responses in the post-colonial Arab world.