Egyptian Politics Upended

by Mona El-Ghobashy | published August 20, 2012

When he took office on June 30, President Muhammad Mursi of Egypt looked to have been handed a poisoned chalice. The ruling generals of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) had tolerated a clean presidential election but then had hollowed out the presidency, saddling Mursi with an executive’s accountability but little of the corresponding authority. The country resigned itself to the grim reality of dual government, with an elected civilian underdog toiling in the shadow of mighty military overlords. Then, just over a month later, Mursi turned the tables, dismissing Egypt’s top generals and taking back the powers they had usurped. The power play crystallizes the new dynamic of Egyptian politics: the onset of open contestation for the Egyptian state.

For 60 years, an exclusive military-bureaucratic caste ran the state, beating back ambitious counter-elites, Islamist or otherwise. Politics became a scramble for small advantages, gained by petitioning the state, seeking its largesse or striving for representation in an ornamental legislature. The January 25, 2011 uprising changed all that, prying open the jealously guarded institution at the summit of it all: the imperial presidency. When, in 1952, Col. Gamal Abdel Nasser and his co-conspirators carried out their coup and abolished the British-backed monarchy, Nasser acquired some of the most heavily concentrated power in the world. His super-presidency neutered all other state institutions, subordinating even the military from which he came to his writ. The state machine became a formidable instrument of executive dispatch, alternately incorporating and repressing Egypt’s contentious social groups. Anwar al-Sadat and Husni Mubarak, though both weaker than Nasser, were able to rule for ten years and 30 years, respectively, thanks to Nasser’s legacy.

If the genius of Egyptian authoritarianism was its remarkable adaptability, the genius of the uprising was its targeting of the institution that held it all together. The people’s revolt defeated a presidency that had seemed unassailable, surviving three regional wars and manifold domestic threats. The presidency, it was clear, could no longer be reserved for the elite caste’s appointee. In danger, moreover, was the entire system of controls developed to keep the people from populating the state. But without a vanguard or a militia, those at the helm of the uprising were unable to seize the commanding heights and turn their revolt into a revolution. What they were able to do was upend the rules of Egyptian politics, transferring political struggle from the distant margins of the state into its core.

Mursi’s recovery of presidential power capped more than a year of intrigue. After coordinating with the Muslim Brothers on the shape of the presidential election, the generals ended up openly vying with the Islamist group for the position they both had intended to share. The project of the negotiated presidency failed; the generals lost the election and gutted the presidency; and in July the SCAF was all set to write military tutelage of civilian government into the constitution. But then Mursi struck. In the aftermath, the military appears poised to quit formal politics, auguring a new political setup about which only one thing is certain: The Egyptian state is no longer off limits to the Egyptian people.

Pact in the Making

When the uprising jettisoned Mubarak, the SCAF had no master plan for keeping the presidency in military hands. Only in retrospect does it appear that the generals carefully plotted a Bonapartist scheme, finally outfoxing their potential rivals with the June 2012 decree trimming presidential prerogatives. On the morrow of the 18-day revolt, the generals’ immediate, pressing concern was to catch the cascade of popular mobilization that followed. As a SCAF member told the Washington Post, “The ceiling of the demands is endless.” [1] The generals realized they needed a revised ruling formula to accommodate the new ferment, but they were unsure how to combine the procedures of democracy with the practices of oligarchy.

Bowing to the revolutionary zeitgeist, the SCAF committed to a six-month transition during which it would oversee direct elections for the presidency and Parliament, and the election by Parliament of a 100-member constitution-drafting assembly. The plan was ratified by 77 percent of voters in the March 19, 2011 referendum, an outcome celebrated by the SCAF as a vote of confidence in the military. What the SCAF did not foresee was the destabilizing implications of elections for three major institutions: Parliament, presidency and constitution.

As a strategy of containment, the generals reached out to Egypt’s largest and most electorally effective political organization, the Muslim Brothers. If Mubarak’s obtuse repression were lifted, the military wagered, the Islamists would lose their mystique. As SCAF general Muhammad Sa‘id al-‘Assar (now promoted to deputy defense minister) told a Washington audience in 2011, “The measures of the last regime with the Muslim Brothers gave them more credibility than they deserved.” [2] The emergent arrangement was that the Brothers would be left to dominate Parliament, while the SCAF would bargain with the Brothers to identify a mutually acceptable presidential candidate. By allying with a conservative party that could command the most votes, the military elite could secure the victory of their presidential choice over unpredictable outsiders. The presidency could thus be opened up to popular election without the attendant risks.

For the Brothers, the gains from incorporation were immense. They would finally be admitted into the corridors of power, a political promotion they had been denied for decades. For the Brothers’ influential business wing, here was the chance to extend its clout, gaining access to state resources and networking freely with international capital. The pact between Egypt’s two largest oligarchies, civilian and military, promised to be an effective reconfiguration of national politics, allowing more popular participation while keeping the most crucial state office safe from adventurers and other unpleasant sorts.

Collision Course

Yet the deal papered over a fundamental contradiction between the Brothers’ and the generals’ interests. For the Brothers, elections are a trademark, a means of demonstrating and thus reinforcing their political power. The SCAF’s interest in elections is situational and strategic: Ballot-box exercises can sometimes help to cement the executive’s rule, but are normally to be feared for their innate unpredictability. The generals and the Islamists saw eye to eye on the parliamentary contests, but they parted ways when the junta came to realize that the electoral route posed a danger to their project of capturing the constitution.

The SCAF’s interest in Egypt’s national charter developed gradually, after they felt the acute perplexity of steering a society in rebellion. Most challenging was the wave of post-revolutionary protest, especially within the bureaucracy, as irate civil servants and provincial residents rose in ministries and villages to topple their local “mini-Mubaraks.” [3] The generals realized that though they had generous, indulgent US support, they had no domestic constituency that could be counted on to protect their interests in the emerging political order. So they decided to count on themselves, by getting their hands on the document that would lock in a new balance of power in post-Mubarak Egypt. But the constitution was Parliament’s turf, and the SCAF’s encroachment set the junta on a collision course with the Islamists.

To firm up its grip on the constitution-making process, the SCAF embraced civilian enthusiasts of military guardianship, a group of prominent secular politicians and top jurists who hated or feared the Islamists. Egypt’s only female judge, Tahani al-Gibali, said that as early as May 2011 she began assisting the SCAF in drafting a set of “supra-constitutional principles” that protected civil liberties but also guaranteed the military immunity from oversight and a permanent veto over legislative decisions. [4] A fringe benefit for the SCAF of consorting with anti-Islamists was to drive deeper the historical wedge between the two factions of Egypt’s political class: Muslim Brothers and secularists. Taking a page from Mubarak’s divide-and-rule manual, the generals endeavored to ensure that, no matter their missteps, they would never face a unified civilian elite demanding their exit.

Pro-military politicians were useful for conveying the SCAF’s intentions to the public. In November, ‘Ali al-Salmi, appointed by the SCAF to the interim government as “minister of democratic transition” unveiled a document spelling out “constitutional principles” that gave the military broad powers to choose the constitution-drafting committee, christened the armed forces “the protector of constitutional legitimacy” and shielded the military budget from scrutiny. The maneuver sparked outrage among Islamists and opponents of military rule. Jurist Tariq al-Bishri, who headed the panel that drafted the transition plan approved in the March referendum, denounced the SCAF and its civilian boosters’ end run around popular participation in constitution making: “There are those who insist on removing the Egyptian people from any matter concerning the fate of this nation and the design of its political institutions.” [5]

On November 18, in their first such escalation since joining the January uprising, the Muslim Brothers led a massive protest against the Salmi document that overfilled Tahrir Square. The Islamists left the square by sundown to prepare for parliamentary elections, but revolutionary groups remained to denounce the brazen bid to prolong military rule. The army’s security forces attacked, leading to 40 deaths and the injury of 1,500. SCAF chief Husayn al-Tantawi was compelled to address the nation on state TV, pledging to hand over power to an elected president by July 1, 2012, backtracking on earlier hints of delay of the presidential race until 2013.

The parliamentary election results sharpened the SCAF’s covetousness of the constitution. The Muslim Brothers won 47 percent of the seats, but this result was less of a surprise than the elections’ real upset: the rise of salafis as a new political force, with 24 percent of the seats and a robust claim to represent millions of disadvantaged citizens whom even the Muslim Brothers, many of them merchants and professionals, had neglected. The prospect was frightening: an Islamist super-majority in the first representative parliament in decades tasked to elect 100 constitution writers, with no constraints on who the 100 would be or what they would decide. So, even before the elections concluded, SCAF general Mukhtar al-Mulla rounded up foreign correspondents to relay the following message: “Whatever the majority in the People’s Assembly, they are very welcome, because they won’t have the ability to impose anything that the people don’t want…. The majority of the People’s Assembly will not be the only one represented in the constituent assembly.” [6]

Open Battle

At the start of 2012, the generals and the Brothers faced each other warily. Flushed from their parliamentary victory, the Brothers finally had a foothold within the state from which to confront the SCAF in the looming battle over the constitution. The SCAF began the year with its standing in tatters after firing on protesters during bloody clashes in November and thus provoking a renewed public surge against military rule. At the huge demonstrations on January 25, 2012, the uprising’s one-year anniversary, the master chant was “Yasqut, yasqut hukm al-‘askar (Down, down with military rule).” Already highly anticipated, the presidential election assumed a heightened resonance. It was to be the crucial final test of the fraying pact between Mubarak’s generals and the Muslim Brothers.

In February, news circulated of an imminent “consensus candidate” for president, a compromise man palatable to the SCAF, backed by the Brothers and, according to some stories, even vetted by the Americans. The name floated was Arab League chief Nabil al-‘Arabi, a career diplomat who was popular with revolutionary groups and had served briefly as foreign minister after Mubarak’s ouster. When al-‘Arabi announced that he had no intention of running for president, eyes fell on Mansour Hasan, an elderly Sadat-era minister and head of the SCAF’s “consultative council,” a handpicked panel of civilian politicians that was to be the military’s vehicle in the political arena after the November street fighting. Sensing Hasan’s rise, the Wafd Party rushed to endorse him as a presidential candidate. But the Brothers’ leadership was skeptical, worried that the has-been would be a tough sell to their rank and file. [7] Then Hasan abruptly withdrew from the race, stalemating the presidential pact.

By that point, in any case, the presidential contest had taken on a life of its own. A dozen contenders criss-crossed the country on energetic campaigns, their rallies drawing thousands of curious and engaged citizens enlivened by the prospect of choosing a national leader. All of the aspirants rubbished the venture of the consensus candidate, lambasting its circumvention of the popular will. Mubarak’s last prime minister, Ahmad Shafiq, whose chances were then widely thought to be extremely weak, vowed, “The president of Egypt will not be chosen behind closed doors.” [8] At his weekly Saturday sermon in a Duqqi mosque, the hugely popular salafi preacher and presidential hopeful Hazim Salah Abu Isma‘il mocked the Brothers’ deal with the ruling junta, calling out their collusion on a “conspiratorial candidate.” [9]

With their presidential pact disintegrating and the race slipping from under their thumbs, the Brothers and the SCAF let their conflict spill out into the open. In a tempestuous spring, Egypt was privy to an unusual spectacle: two tenacious adversaries engaging in brinkmanship from their respective perches within the state. The Brothers claimed the popular legitimacy of Parliament, and the junta proclaimed itself to be guardian of the state and the constitutional order. The prize was the constitution. The wild competition for this trophy accelerated the unintended breakdown of the presidential pact, and led to the first real contest for the presidency since 1952.

In March, in a panic to preempt the SCAF’s grab for the constitution, Muslim Brother legislators and their salafi junior partners overreached, voting for a constituent assembly composed of 65 percent Islamist deputies and public figures. The assembly included only six women and six Coptic Christians, prompting angry walkouts by secular legislators and a sharp plunge in the Brothers’ public standing. In the few weeks since the parliamentary elections, the Brothers and their peers had morphed from triumphant tribunes of the people into bearded bullies intent on hijacking the constitution. A court ruling invalidating the elected assembly tilted the balance of favor back to the SCAF.

Simultaneously, a battle raged over the SCAF-appointed cabinet. Muslim Brother deputies created an incendiary row in Parliament, demanding that the Brothers’ majority party, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), form a government to replace the SCAF’s caretaker cabinet headed by Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri. The SCAF refused, pointing out that the March 30, 2011 constitutional declaration did not empower the legislature to appoint the cabinet. Brother legislators escalated the fight, threatening to lift the lid on administrative corruption and unilaterally to amend the law on the state budget. [10] Matters came to a head when Speaker of Parliament and Muslim Brother Saad al-Katatni dramatically proclaimed a one-week shuttering of the legislature until the SCAF acceded to the Brothers’ demand to form a new government. By turning Parliament into a weapon in its skirmish with the SCAF, the Brothers alienated even their Islamist junior partners. A furious 175 non-Brother legislators (including 80 salafis) refused to leave the chamber, demanding that Katatni reverse his decision and bruiting a motion of no confidence in the speaker. [11]

Into the Fray

Bereft of public support and hemmed in by the SCAF, on March 31, the Brothers dropped their bombshell, announcing that they would contest the presidency with Khayrat al-Shatir, the organization’s financier and strategist. The risky decision passed by a very narrow margin in the group’s internal election, since it reversed decades of political practice for the Brothers. They had always rigorously abstained from competition for executive leadership of the professional associations, the sub-national arenas where they honed their legendary electoral skills by competing for seats on governing boards. They did so to quell others’ anxiety about Muslim Brother “takeover,” the bugbear conjured over and over by the Nasserist state to sow public distrust of the Islamists. Sure enough, the decision to compete for the presidency was taken as proof positive of the group’s habitual mendacity and dastardly plot to “take over” the Egyptian state. But it was a defensive maneuver.

Three stimuli jolted the Brothers into entering the presidential fray. First was their gnawing feeling that the SCAF had lured them into a trap, burdening them with parliamentary responsibility minus the power to solve citizens’ problems. Worse, there was talk that Parliament would be dissolved, robbing them of their one institutional gain after the uprising. Speaker al-Katatni reported that in a meeting with SCAF general Sami ‘Inan and Prime Minister al-Ganzouri, the premier told him, “The Supreme Constitutional Court ruling dissolving Parliament is ready and can be handed down at any time.” [12]

Second was the competitive momentum of the presidential campaign, which was shaping up to be a two-horse race between establishment diplomat Amr Moussa and Muslim Brother renegade and Khayrat al-Shatir nemesis ‘Abd al-Mun‘im Abu al-Fotouh. It was no secret that Abu al-Fotouh was highly popular with the Brothers’ rank and file, threatening to pull the rug out from under the group’s leadership if they failed to cover the presidential ground. An additional unexpected challenge emerged on the Brothers’ rightward flank. The parvenu salafi preacher Hazim Salah Abu Isma‘il had become a presidential phenomenon, taking Egypt by storm and promising to woo away more Muslim Brother supporters than he had already if the organization did not field its own viable candidate. Fearful of losing Parliament and then being eclipsed by salafis, the Brothers calculated that entering the race was necessary to maintain their hard-won status as uncontested leaders of Egyptian Islamism.

The third stimulus was an opportunity rather than a threat. Since the uprising, warming relations with the United States had signaled to the Brothers a new climate of international accommodation of rising Islamists. On a February visit to Egypt with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said, “I was very apprehensive when I heard the [parliamentary] election results. But after visiting and talking with the Muslim Brotherhood I am hopeful that…we can have a relationship with Egypt where the Muslim Brotherhood is a strong political voice.” [13] The Brothers’ assessment of the opportunity proved correct. After the announcement of Shatir’s candidacy, State Department officials, alarmed by the rise of the salafi Abu Isma‘il, “were untroubled and even optimistic about the Brotherhood’s reversal of its pledge not to seek the presidency,” reported the New York Times. [14] Days later, members of the Brothers flew to Washington for a week-long meet-and-greet with American officials and media, to reassure them that the Brothers would not unsettle Egyptian-American and Egyptian-Israeli relations.

Two Warring Elephants

The project of the negotiated presidency now officially kaput, the Brothers and the generals pulled out all the stops to keep one another from winning the office. In an elaborate gambit, the SCAF used its influence over the Presidential Election Commission (PEC) to eliminate Shatir from the running. The generals wheeled out Mubarak’s special operations man, the late ‘Umar Sulayman, and inserted him into the presidential race at the eleventh hour. In his first public appearance since announcing Mubarak’s departure on February 11, 2011, Sulayman submitted his candidacy papers to the PEC, protected by dozens of armed guards and the personal presence of Gen. Hamdi Badin, head of military police.

Just as quickly as he had resurfaced, however, Sulayman vanished. The PEC disqualified him for the perfunctory reason that he had not met the threshold of signatures required to enter the race. Simultaneously, it disqualified Khayrat al-Shatir and Hazim Abu Isma‘il for legally sound but politically motivated reasons. Shatir was excluded for a past criminal conviction trumped up under Mubarak, and Abu Isma‘il was disqualified for his mother’s American citizenship (the election law requires that presidential candidates’ parents and spouse hold only Egyptian citizenship). With one masterstroke, the SCAF got rid of the Brothers’ serious contender and the salafi upstart who had amassed an enthusiastic national following, while taking care to lend these moves an appearance of fairness by also nixing Sulayman.

Naturally, the Brothers knew the SCAF would do everything to keep Shatir away from the presidency, so they had prepared a backup plan, in the person of FJP chief Muhammad Mursi. Lacking Shatir’s wealth and force of personality, Mursi was thought to be a loser as a presidential contender, especially when stacked up against the charismatic Abu al-Fotouh or Amr Moussa, with his statesman-like airs. The Brothers did not stop at fielding a spare candidate, however. They pursued retaliation against the SCAF by leveraging their legislative perch to disqualify Ahmad Shafiq. The once-marginal candidate now appeared to be the torchbearer for “the party of the Egyptian state,” the ambient phrase referring to the cross-class base of support for the pre-revolutionary status quo nurtured by the SCAF. Islamist MP ‘Isam Sultan led a campaign to pass a political disenfranchisement law through Parliament targeting Shafiq, banning those who had served in top positions under Mubarak from running for public office in the new political order. The SCAF even signed off on the law and the PEC disqualified Shafiq, but his lawyers appealed and the law ended up on the docket of the Supreme Constitutional Court. The Court was now set to determine whether Parliament was properly elected and whether Shafiq would remain in the presidential race.

In May, with the start of voting days away and so much still uncertain, the two warring elephants of Egyptian politics rammed their tusked heads together once more. To guard against a Muslim Brother win in the event of Shafiq’s disqualification, the SCAF accelerated work on a constitutional decree clipping presidential powers, once again sending out its civilian jurists to convince the public that a SCAF decree was necessary to “define presidential powers” so that the incoming president would have a clear job description. [15] Convinced that the junta was gearing up to rig the election by fudging the vote count, Islamist legislators passed amendments to the presidential election law to guarantee the transparency of the process. Notably, the changes allowed individual polling stations to announce their results before the PEC announced aggregate results, and required that poll officials give candidates’ representatives signed and stamped copies of the tallies. [16] It was these amendments that empowered the Muslim Brothers and independent monitors to keep the balloting honest, effectively deterring the SCAF from engaging in dirty tricks.

The first-round results, whereby Mursi and Shafiq emerged as the top two vote getters, were read as a unnerving throwback to the Mubarak era, pitting the party of the state against the party of the Islamists. But the final result of Mursi’s victory demonstrates that no one got what they wanted. The pro-SCAF candidate lost, the Muslim Brothers could not run their first choice and won by an unexpectedly slim margin (Mursi secured 51.7 percent of the vote and Shafiq 48.2 percent), and revolutionary forces could not garner the presidency for their men, though their two top candidates together captured an impressive 37 percent of the vote in the first round. The final result demonstrates neither the power of the SCAF nor the power of the Brothers, but the interplay of several political wills, none strong enough to impose its preferred outcome. Revolutionary activist Nawwara Nagm nicely summarized the concatenation with her tweet: “He ran against his will, we voted for him against our will and he won against their will.”

Conceding its failure to contain elections as feeders of undesirable candidates into the peak state institution, the SCAF shifted its focus to hamstringing the institution itself. It abandoned the project of the presidency as a reserved position and instead turned to carving out military reserve domains. On June 17, minutes after polls closed in the runoff voting, the SCAF issued the constitutional decree it had hinted at a month earlier. The decree eliminated the president’s war powers and control over the military, giving it to the SCAF; arrogated to the SCAF legislative powers and the power to appoint a constitution-drafting committee; and enshrined the junta as the guardian of public order. Ellis Goldberg caught the irony: “The military has now accomplished what the Muslim Brothers could not have imagined: limiting the power of the presidency.” [17]

The Uprising’s Lasting Challenge

After the election, observers of various persuasions agreed on one thing: It would take years to unfasten the SCAF’s lock on Egyptian politics. But the August 5 attacks in the Sinai, where assailants presumed to be Islamist radicals fell upon an Egyptian border post and killed 16 soldiers in an attempt to enter Israel, were an exogenous shock that sped up matters considerably. Seizing the opening, Mursi sacked top security chiefs, including military police head Gen. Badin, and then rode the momentum and eased out the SCAF’s top generals, replacing them with others who seemed more committed to military disengagement from politics. Overnight, the mighty senior generals were reduced to tame figures who silently accepted the Islamist president’s decisions and posed smilingly for photos as he decorated them with high state honors. No one could have predicted such a denouement for the struggle to control Egyptian executive power.

Yet rather than establishing full civilian control over the military, Mursi’s move looks to be a recipe for cohabitation. The new SCAF leadership agrees to give up the right to rule in exchange for protection of the military’s privileges and personnel from democratic scrutiny. In effect, the military stays out of politics and politics stays away from the military’s enclave within the state. With this new deal, elected and unelected institutions can thus coexist in cordial harmony, and the SCAF can live with a presidency now open to civilian politicians. The key will be to inscribe the deal into the constitution, in case future elections bring to power a president who challenges the settlement. Most likely, constitutional protection will not be achieved through the retired generals’ unseemly grabs of the past year, but through the smoother tactic of the new civilian politician allies themselves doing the work.

It is tempting to read this new elite pact as a masterful authoritarian solution to the quandary created by the uprising: how to accommodate popular recruitment into high state office without letting the people overrun the state and overturn all its fiefdoms. Mursi’s civil-military cohabitation seems a far more effective setup than what the dismissed SCAF generals tried and failed to achieve: Turkish-style military supervision of the nation’s political transactions, with the SCAF as veto-wielding umpire. As an added benefit, the new compromise treats the root cause of Egyptian autocratic instability, ending the exclusion of Islamists and incorporating them into the ruling coalition, thus reestablishing elite dominion on far firmer ground.

This interpretation holds only under the assumption that elite machinations are the only game in town. To be sure, the SCAF and the Brothers are the two largest forces in the Egyptian political arena, but if there is one takeaway from the maiden presidential election of 2012, it is that the best-laid plans have a tendency to unravel. The deals struck between the military and various factions of the political class were repeatedly thwarted or altered by the dynamism of the emergent political space, echoing with unrepresented voices clamoring for their hour at the podium. Unrelenting street action by aggrieved citizens will continue to present a grave problem for Egypt’s ruling coalition, defying the exertions of the forces of order to bring it to heel. Mursi’s highly publicized law-and-order campaign, led by his blustering new police chief Ahmad Gamal al-Din (a loyal Mubarak functionary), targets residents who blockade highways and railways to protest power cuts, bread and water shortages, and police brutality. The police are arresting and prosecuting the “instigating elements.” [18] This crackdown is likely to go the way of the SCAF’s March 2011 decree criminalizing worker strikes, a black-letter law but a dead letter as a means of intimidation.

Until the people attain a reliable voice within the state, the logic of popular politics will continue to disturb the designs of elites. The uprising was the booming opening salvo in this engagement, putting paid to Mubarak’s hereditary succession scheme. The next casualty was the Brothers’ short-lived plan to share the presidency with the SCAF, undone by the conflicting interests of the principals and the rise of maverick outsiders like Sabbahi and Abu al-Fotouh who captured the people’s imagination and a considerable share of their votes. Future presidential elections will be similarly charged episodes of real competition, with insiders seeking to regain their hold on executive power, outsiders rattling at the gates and Egyptian voters as the arbiters.

Endnotes

[1] Washington Post, May 18, 2011.
[2] See the general’s remarks at the US Institute of Peace, July 25, 2011, recorded and posted at: http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/EgyptsP.
[3] Wall Street Journal, March 10, 2011.
[4] New York Times, July 3, 2012.
[5] Al-Shorouq, November 11, 2011.
[6] New York Times, December 7, 2011.
[7] Amr Abdulrahman, “The Scenario of Egypt’s Consensus President,” Egypt Independent, March 19, 2012.
[8] Al-Ahram, February 19, 2012.
[9] Video of Abu Isma‘il’s sermon can be found at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fHAjlMCKUw.
[10] Al-Misri al-Yawm, April 29, 2012.
[11] Al-Ahram Weekly, May 17-23, 2012.
[12] Al-Misri al-Yawm, April 25, 2012.
[13] Wall Street Journal, February 21, 2012.
[14] New York Times, April 1, 2012.
[15] Al-Ahram, May 21, 2012.
[16] Al-Misri al-Yawm, May 7, 2012.
[17] Ellis Goldberg, “The Egyptian Military on the Offensive,” Nisr al-Nasr, June 18, 2012: http://nisralnasr.blogspot.com/2012/06/egyptian-military-on-offensive.html.
[18] Al-Shorouq, August 15, 2012.

Filed under: