Egypt's Transition under Nasser

by Joel Beinin , Ellis Goldberg
published in MER107

Mahmoud Abdel-Fadil, The Political Economy of Nasserism: A Study in Employment and Income Distribution Policies in Urban Egypt, 1952-1972 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1980).

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Sadat's Moment, Egypt's History

by Judith Tucker
published in MER107

David Hirst and Irene Beeson, Sadat (London: Faber and Faber, 1981).

Ghali Shoukri, Egypte, la contre-revolution (Paris: Editions Le Sycomore, 1979).

These two assessments of the past decade in Egypt pose the question of approach: Can we most conveniently comprehend the period by studying the role Anwar al-Sadat played in it? Do this one man’s thoughts and deeds provide the lens for viewing the post-Nasser era as a whole? The two books give vastly different answers, reflecting the varying backgrounds of the authors no less than their own senses of purpose.

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Sadat's Alter Ego

by Mohamed Sid-Ahmed
published in MER107

Osman Ahmed Osman, Egypt’s entrepreneurial tycoon, enjoyed a privileged status that cannot be attributed solely to his role as Sadat’s closest confidant, or even to his kinship by marriage with the president. Many Egyptians came to see him as Sadat’s alter ego, minus the latter’s presidential immunity.

Until shortly before his death, Sadat had denounced every attack on Osman as being directed at him personally, but the uproar occasioned by Osman’s recently published autobiography, My Experience, made this full endorsement no longer possible. Sadat had to accept Osman’s resignation as deputy prime minister.

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Foreign Investment in Egypt

by James Paul
published in MER107

According to data gathered by the UN Center on Transnational Corporations, the overwhelming majority of foreign investment in Egypt has been from the United States, with the exception of the banking sector. There has been very little European investment, and virtually no Japanese presence. The UN data, covering the period from 1978 through early 1982, is incomplete, as it relies on public sources. It reflects mainly Western corporate investments and understates Arab investment concentrated in tourism and real estate. It does not provide the sums invested, but does break down the investments by parent company, country of origin, and line of business.

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Egypt's Military

by Joe Stork
published in MER107

Egypt’s armed forces number well over 300,000 men, the largest in the Arab world or in Africa. Some two thirds are in the army, and most of the rest in the air force. Since 1952, the top political leadership has been drawn from the armed forces. Since 1968, there has been a “demilitarization” of the top political structures. A recent study calculates that the proportion of cabinet posts held by military officers declined from 35 percent under Nasser to 15 percent under Sadat.

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Egypt's Debt Problem

by Joe Stork
published in MER107

Egypt’s external debt—the sums owed to other governments, private multinational banks and multilateral agencies like the World Bank—increased on an average of 28 percent per year under Anwar al-Sadat, compared to 13 percent over the previous ten years. Sadat’s decade also witnessed important shifts in the origin and structure of this debt, in a manner that paralleled—and to a large extent financed—Egypt’s political reorientation.

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Your Tax Dollars Enable Police Brutality Abroad

by Chris Toensing | published March 9, 2016

Ever since the Black Lives Matter movement exploded into the headlines, violence by American police officers has come under fire from activists and ordinary citizens alike. Less discussed, however, is how the US government winks at the police brutality of its client states abroad.

The military government in Egypt, for example, is cracking down hard on its restive citizenry—harder than any time in memory. And the United States, which sends the country over a $1 billion a year in security aid, is looking the other way.

The cops on the beat in Egyptian cities are a menace. They demand bribes from motorists on any pretense and mete out lethal violence on a whim.

Egypt Running on Empty

by Joshua Stacher | published March 8, 2016

An authoritarian regime may be unpopular, even loathed, but at least it has rules. The rules may bear little resemblance to the law, but relations between state officials and society come to have a predictable rhythm. People understand where the red lines are, and they can choose to stay within them or to step across. Egypt does not work this way under the field marshal who became president, ‘Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi.

Defending Academic Freedom

by Laurie A. Brand | published February 23, 2016 - 11:56am

Constraints on academic freedom or violations of it are not new in the Middle East and North Africa. Indeed, while there is certainly variation among the countries of the region, regime attempts to control what is studied, how it is studied, and what faculty and students may do and say both on and off campus have a long history.

From the Archive: Egypt

by The Editors | published February 17, 2016 - 8:24pm

Last week marked the passage of five years since Husni Mubarak was compelled to resign as president of Egypt by the enormous uprising centered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. Around the anniversary, we asked some friends and colleagues who have written on Egypt to list their favorite MERIP articles about that country. Not surprisingly, the lists are skewed toward coverage from 2011 to the present, but there are some older items as well. We offer these samples from our archive in hopes of shedding light on the historical roots of the uprising, the subsequent retrenchment of the authoritarian state and the popular struggles for “bread, freedom and social justice” that continue to this day.