Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Will President Sisi Bring Stability to Egypt?

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Will President Sisi Bring Stability to Egypt?

Article excerpt

Michele Dunne, senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, opened her July 1 talk on "Will President Sisi Bring Stability to Egypt?" at the Women's Foreign Policy Group in Washington, DC with a recollection from the previous year. Following massive demonstrations opposing Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi, on July 3 Gen. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi issued the democratically elected president an ultimatum to step down and suspended the constitution and parliament. "When I saw that, I said to myself, 'That's it. A military coup is underway. Egypt's democratic opening might very well be over.'" A year later, el-Sisi himself was sworn in as Egypt's president with an overwhelming 96 percent of the votes.

Examining the current atmosphere in Egypt, Dunne warned, "The grievances that caused the 2011 uprising [against Mubarak] are still present. The lack of opportunities, the bad treatment from the government, the bad services, human rights abuse...All of these are still there, even worse than before," she argued.

Often asked if the Egyptian people would choose stability over democracy, Dunne argued that the real question should be whether this option is actually on the table.

"In terms of stability, I don't think the prospect for things to quiet down is very likely," Dunne said, answering her own question. She described the past year as so turbulent it doesn't allow much room for hope, citing the worst record of human rights abuses in Egypt's modern history, up to 40,000 political prisoners, 3,000 casualties in anti-military protests, over-populated prisons, mass trials, a "draconian" anti-protest law, and a wave of domestic terrorism that leftmore than 400 police and army officers killed. …

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