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The Egyptian Crisis began with the Egyptian Revolution of 2011, when hundreds of thousands of Egyptians took to the streets in an ideologically and socially diverse mass protest movement that ultimately forced longtime president Hosni Mubarak from office.[1][2] A protracted political crisis ensued, with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces taking control of the country until a series of popular elections brought the Muslim Brotherhood to power.[3] However, disputes between elected Islamist president Mohamed Morsi and both the Egyptian military and secularists continued until Morsi's overthrow in 2013, in what has been variably described as a coup d'état or a second revolution.[4] Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the general who ousted Morsi, became the de facto and later the de jure leader of the country, winning election to the presidency in 2014 in a landslide victory criticized by international election observers as not "genuinely democratic".[5] Nonetheless, Sisi's election was widely recognized, and the political situation has largely stabilized since he officially took power; however, some protests have continued despite a government crackdown. The crisis has also spawned an ongoing insurgency in the Sinai peninsula, which became increasingly intertwined with the regional conflict against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant later in 2014.[6]



2011 revolution

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Top: Tahrir Square protestsers on February 9; Bottom: The main headquarters of the National Democratic Party on fire.

Unhappiness among many Egyptians with the autocratic rule of 30-year President Hosni Mubarak boiled over in late January 2011 amid the Arab Spring, a series of popular protests and uprisings across the region. Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians occupied several public places across Egypt, including Cairo's Tahrir Square, holding out despite efforts by Mubarak loyalists and police to dislodge them, most notably during the infamous "Battle of the Camel". In the beginning, tensions were high between the police and protesters with violence breaking out in Suez and Alexandria.[7][8] The government took a hard line, using riot-control tactics, and shutting down the internet and telecom networks. But by the 28th the protests were continuing and the police had retreated.[9] Mubarak offered some concessions, among them was appointing Omar Suleiman to the long-vacant office of vice president. He also announced that he would not seek re-election. None of this satisfied protesters, and under international pressure and lacking the support of Egypt's powerful military, Mubarak handed over power to Suleiman on 10 February 2011 and resigned as president the following day. The 18-day uprising left at least 846 civilians killed and more than 6,400 injured, according to a government fact-finding mission's report.[10]

The Muslim Brotherhood declared it would throw its support behind the protests two days after they began.[11] Authorities ordered an overnight crackdown on the group, and the following day, January 28, they rounded up several senior Brotherhood figures, among them was Mohamed Morsi who would later become the country's president in 2012.[12] Amid growing instability that day (the "Friday of Anger") as well as on January 29, a number of police officers and other security personnel were killed, mainly as part of the systematic torching of police stations and orchestrated attacks on prisons across the country, during which Morsi among other Muslim Brotherhood leaders were able to escape.[13][14][15]

The number of protesters overwhelmed the police. They were forced to retreat from several parts of Cairo, eventually losing their grip on the country. This was mostly due to the panic among police officers during the jailbreaks and the riots. Police brutality and the excessive use of force against demonstrators also contributed to the Interior Ministry's withdrawal.[13][16] Simultaneously, the government deployed the army in response to increasing lawlessness that day. The military, however, decided to remain neutral during the uprising despite a heavy presence of troops on the streets, especially in Cairo and Suez.[17]

2011–12 transition

After Hosni Mubarak's resignation on the night of 11 February 2011, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) under Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi assumed control of the country. This period was marked by major protests calling for the end of military rule and multiple tragedies, the worst being the Port Said stadium disaster. Despite the turbulence of the transitional period in Egypt, polls have shown that the SCAF has enjoyed wide legitimacy from the Egyptian people and general confidence in their ability to provide free elections. A poll in October 2011 showed that 91.7% of Egyptians have confidence in the SCAF to provide the conditions for free elections. The SCAF at that time had a general approval rating of 40.6%.[18] The parliamentary elections were held in the end of 2011 and was accepted widely as 1 of the very rare free and fair elections in modern Egyptian history. The Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) took 44% of the seats and the "salafist" Al-Noor Party took 25% of the seats, thus providing an "islamist" domination of more than 69% of the parliament.

Election of Mohamed Morsi

In June 2012, elections were held and Mohamed Morsi won 51.7% of the vote versus 48.3% for Ahmed Shafik. President Morsi, a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), resigned from both organizations and took office on 30 June 2012.[citation needed] This marked the end of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces transition period. Of note is that on the 14th of June 2012, just a 2 days before the second round of the presidential elections, the Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt, who was not changed since appointment by the Mubarak regime, issued a judgement to the dissolve the parliament that was elected after the revolution and ruled that the army-backed candidate could stay in the race, in what was widely seen as a double blow for the Muslim Brotherhood. The SCAF implemented this decision on the 16th of June 2012 and forbid members by force from entering the parliamentary building. The SCAF also produced a "constitutional declaration" that gave the army officials, who were also not changed since the Mubarak regime exclusive political powers.

These actions were denounced as a coup by opposition leaders of all kinds and many within the Brotherhood, who feared that they will lose much of the political ground they have gained since Hosni Mubarak was ousted 16 months before.

2012–13 presidency of Mohamed Morsi

On 22 November 2012, after granting himself the powers to "protect" the constitution-writing committee from dissolution by the court, and the power to legislate without judicial oversight or review of his acts until a new parliament is elected.[19] Mohamed Morsi followed his decrees by making an effort to push through a referendum on an Islamist-supported draft constitution, that was drafted by the constitution-writing committee that was elected by the post-revolution parliament.[20]

The move had been criticized by Mohamed ElBaradei who stated "Morsi today usurped all state powers & appointed himself Egypt's new pharaoh" on his Twitter feed. The move led to massive protests and violent action throughout the country.[21]

2013 mass protests and coup d'état

A youth group known as Tamarod, Arabic for "Rebel", collected 22 million signatures calling for Morsi to step down.[22] By 30 June, on the first anniversary of the election of Morsi, millions of Egyptians flooded the streets of Cairo with thousands of protesters surrounding the presidential palace in the Heliopolis suburb demanding the resignation of Morsi. A military source claimed that the number of protestors reached as many as 33 million[23] making it the largest in Egypt's history.The events escalated forcing the military to announce that it would intervene on behalf of the protesters.

On 3 July, Egyptian armed forces headed by Abdul Fatah al-Sisi acted on its 48 hours ultimatum to intervene "on behalf of the people", ousting President Mohamed Morsi,[24] suspending the constitution, appoints head of constitutional court as interim leader and calls for early elections.[24]

2013–15 transition

Left: Rabaa al-Adaweya Square packed with Muslim Brotherhood supporters.

Violent clashes, erupted in the aftermath of the 2013 Egyptian coup d'état (referred to by some media outlets as the Egyptian crisis[25][26]) following the 3 July 2013 removal of President Mohamed Morsi of Egypt by the Egyptian Armed Forces amid popular demonstrations against Morsi's rule. In the immediate aftermath of Morsi's ouster, many protesters amassed near the Rabia Al-Adawiya Mosque to call for Morsi's return to power and condemn the military, while others demonstrated in support of the military and interim government. Deadly clashes erupted on several days, with two particularly bloody incidents being described by Muslim Brotherhood officials as "massacres" perpetrated by security forces.[27][28]
In mid-August, the violence between Islamists and the Army took a more critical spiral, leading to the Rabaa massacre, where at least 638 civilians were killed,[29][30][31] and the government declaring a month-long nighttime curfew.[32]

On 24 March 2014, an Egyptian court sentenced 529 members of the Muslim Brotherhood to death.[33] By May 2014, approximately 16,000 people (and as high as more than 40,000 by one independent count),[34] mostly Brotherhood members or supporters, have been imprisoned since the coup.[35]

Until 2015, attacks and bombings against police by unidentified armed groups and members of Muslim Brotherhood continued, as well as police operations, with more than 300 victims.

Election of Abdul Fatah al-Sisi

General Abdul Fatah al-Sisi emerged as a massively popular figure in post-coup Egypt,[36] and he eventually declared his candidacy for president in the 2014 elections. According to results from the Egyptian elections authority, he won 96.9% of the vote, rivaling numbers reported for Hosni Mubarak in periodic elections and referendums during his reign as president. Nonetheless, al-Sisi's election was widely recognized internationally.


Sinai insurgency

An increase in militant activity by Islamists initiating as a fallout of the 2011 Egyptian revolution drew a harsh response from interim Egyptian government in mid-2011 known as Operation Eagle. However, attacks against government and foreign facilities in the area have continued by mid-2012, resulting in a massive crackdown by the new Egyptian government nicknamed Operation Sinai.


At least 5,540 people have died during the crisis.


Egyptian economy is still suffering from a severe downturn following the 2011 revolution and the government faces numerous challenges as to how to restore growth, market and investor confidence. Political and institutional uncertainty, a perception of rising insecurity and sporadic unrest continue to negatively affect economic growth.[40]

Real GDP growth slowed to just 2.2 percent year on year in October–December 2012/13 and investments declined to 13 percent of GDP in July–December 2012. The economic slowdown contributed to a rise in unemployment, which stood at 13 percent at end-December 2012, with 3.5 million people out of work.[40]

See also


  1. "Violent Clashes Mark Protests Against Mubarak’s Rule". 25 January 2011. Retrieved 8 January 2015. 
  2. "Hosni Mubarak resigns as president". 11 February 2011. Retrieved 8 January 2015. 
  3. "Egypt told to give military leaders 'safe exit' by western governments". 27 March 2012. Retrieved 8 January 2015. 
  4. "Is what happened in Egypt a coup or a revolution? It’s both.". 3 July 2013. Retrieved 8 January 2015. 
  5. "International Observers Find Egypt’s Presidential Election Fell Short of Standards". 29 May 2014. Retrieved 8 January 2015. 
  6. "Sinai Insurgency Shows Signs of Spreading after ISIS-Linked Militants Say They Killed U.S. Engineer". 1 December 2014. Retrieved 9 January 2015. 
  7. "Egypt protests: Three killed in 'day of revolt'". BBC. 26 January 2011. Retrieved 8 March 2015. 
  8. Al-A’asar, Marwa (27 January 2011). "Violent clashes in Suez, police station set on fire". Daily News Egypt. Retrieved 8 March 2015. 
  9. Maher, Hatem; Eskandar, Wael (24 January 2012). "Timeline: Egypt's year of revolution". Al-Ahram. Retrieved 8 March 2015. 
  10. "Egypt unrest: 846 killed in protests - official toll". BBC. 19 April 2011. Retrieved 9 January 2015. 
  11. "Nobel Peace Winner Returns to Egypt to Lead Anti-Government Protest Movement". Fox News. 27 January 2011. Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  12. "Muslim Brotherhood Arrests Reported As Egypt Protests Continue". Reuters. Huffington Post. Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 "Special Report: The real force behind Egypt's 'revolution of the state'". Reuters. 10 October 2013. Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  14. Hendawi, Hamza (11 July 2013). "Egyptian prosecutors to investigate if Hamas helped Mohammed Morsi escape from prison during 2011 revolution". National Post. Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  15. Hendawi, Hamza (23 May 2013). "2011 jail breaks become political issue in Egypt". Associated Press. Retrieved 29 June 2014. 
  16. "Egypt police struggle to crush protests against Mubarak rule". Agence France-Presse. Daily Nation. 28 January 2011. Retrieved 29 June 2014. 
  17. "Key members of Egypt's ruling party resign". CNN. 5 February 2011. Retrieved 29 June 2014. 
  18. Raman, Suby. "Poll- Do the Egyptians really want to overthrow the military government?". Tabeer. [dead link]
  19. Kirkpatrick, David. "Citing Deadlock, Egypt’s Leader Seizes New Power and Plans Mubarak Retrial". The New york Times. 
  20. Beaumont, Peter. "Mohamed Morsi signs Egypt's new constitution into law". theguardian. Retrieved 26 September 2014. 
  21. "Story of the Egyptian Revolution 2011-2013" (in English, Arabic). Internet Archive. 15 November 2013. 
  22. Handawi, Hamza. "Egypt group: 22 million signatures against Morsi". Retrieved 26 September 2014. 
  23. Saleh, Yasmine; Fayed, Shaimaa. "Millions flood Egypt's streets to demand Mursi quit". Reuters. Retrieved 26 September 2014. 
  24. 24.0 24.1 "President Morsi overthrown in Egypt". Retrieved 25 June 2015. 
  25. Sommerville, Quentin (1970-01-01). "BBC News - Egypt crisis: 'Scores killed' at Cairo protest". Retrieved 2013-07-29. 
  26. Metro UK (2013-07-10). "Egypt crisis: Hundreds killed in violent Cairo clashes". Retrieved 2013-07-29. 
  27. "Cairo death toll rises after clash at Republican Guard headquarters | African News". BDlive. Retrieved 2013-07-28. 
  28. "Egypt: More than 100 killed in Cairo massacre". 27 July 2013. Retrieved 27 July 2013. 
  29. McElroy, Damien; Loveluck, Louisa. "Egypt crisis: Cairo death toll 'could rise significantly'". The Telegraph. Retrieved 26 September 2014. 
  30. Mohsen, Manar (16 August 2013). "Health Ministry raises death toll of Wednesday's clashes to 638". Archived from the original on 19 August 2013. Retrieved 19 August 2013. 
  31. "Death toll from Egypt violence rises to 638: Health ministry". Ahram Online. Retrieved 26 September 2014. 
  32. "International News | World News - ABC News". Retrieved 2013-10-02. 
  33. "Egyptian Court ordered Death sentence to 529 Members". 24 March 2014. Retrieved 24 March 2014. 
  34. A coronation flop: President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi fails to bring enough voters to the ballot box,
  35. "Egypt sentences to death 529 supporters of Mohamed Morsi". The Guardian. 24 March 2014.
  36. "How Egypt’s Gen. al-Sisi Won TIME’s Person of the Year Poll". 6 December 2013. Retrieved 4 June 2014. 
  37. "846 killed in Egypt uprising". 20 April 2011. Archived from the original on 20 April 2011. Retrieved 20 April 2011. 
  38. "924 killed in Egyptian Revolution". 31 December 2011. Archived from the original on 2012-01-06. Retrieved 31 December 2011. 
  39. "Activists on Facebook: the military killed 99 and wounded 2702 in 10 months". 30 December 2011. Retrieved 6 January 2012. 
  40. 40.0 40.1 Egypt Overview, April 2013

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