Gillian Kennedy: Reaction to Egypt Coup

Gillian Kennedy, PhD candidate in Middle Eastern Studies at King’s College, London, analyzes Egypt’s precarious situation after a military coup toppled the country’s first democratically elected president on July 3, 2013.

coup-egyptThe chaos and instability in Egypt following a coup by the military has resulted in street fighting in Cairo and Alexandria. The coup and subsequent violence poses a direct challenge to the security and legitimacy of the Egyptian state. The situation on the ground has spiraled out of control, and greater violence can be expected. As many key Muslim Brotherhood officials have been arrested, it may be surmised that Islamists will seek to regroup, consolidate their power and challenge the military.

The more fundamentalist Salafist parties including Hizb al-Nour (Party of the Light), which have sympathy and support in Upper Egypt, may exploit this power vacuum by arguing that Islam and democracy do not work. These types of declarations and protests could trigger further unrest.

Three scenarios exist in response to Egypt’s coup: a return to military rule like when President Gamal Abdel Nasser launched a coup in the early 1950s and targeted the Muslim Brotherhood; snap elections to achieve a peaceful diplomatic solution which could help end this crisis; and the possibility of civil war.

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Gillian Kennedy graduated from University College Dublin with a BA (Hon) in History and Politics, and later completed an MA in International Relations at Dublin City University. Having had a successful post as a Press Officer for the Tamer Institute for Community Education in Ramallah, Palestine last year, Gillian is now a PhD candidate in Middle Eastern Studies at King’s College London. Her PhD examines coercive and consensual counter-hegemonic strategies within the Egyptian Islamist movement from Egypt’s independence from colonial rule up until the dramatic demise Hosni Mubarak’s authoritarian regime. For more information, visit Gillian’s website. Read other articles by Gillian.

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