Revolutions are difficult to understand and almost impossible to predict. Egypt’s 2011 revolt was no exception. The military’s abandonment of Mubarak—a turning point for the revolt—confounded many observers, who assumed that the leader and the generals stood or fell together. The officers, it was thought, ruled from behind the scenes and simply swapped the figures in the spotlight to preserve the status quo.
In a challenge to this conventional view, Hazem Kandil presents the revolution as the latest episode in an ongoing power struggle between the three components of Egypt’s authoritarian regime: the military, the security services, and the political apparatus. A detailed study of the interactions within this invidious triangle over six decades of war, conspiracy, and sociopolitical transformation, Soldiers, Spies, and Statesmen is the first systematic analysis of how Egypt metamorphosed from a military into a police state—and what that means for the future of its revolution.
Hardback, 312 pages
$26.95 / £16.99 / $28.50CAN
If 2011 saw a monumental change in the governments of the Middle East, 2012 has demonstrated that revolution takes some time, that conflict is sustained and that some of the same challenges are not consigned to history.
Protests continue in Egypt’s capital Cairo, as over one hundred thousand demonstrators have recently taken to the streets and gathered once again in Tahrir Square in opposition to dictatorial decrees by President Mohammed Morsi. With only one hundred days in power, Morsi’s fledgling tenure as president has resulted in examples of sweeping authority, transferring all executive and legislative powers from the military council to his offices.
Such actions are reminiscent of the power exercised by former President Hosni Mubarak. The on-going distrust of Morsi’s presidency returns the chant of the 2011 revolution: "The people want to bring down the regime".
These are Verso’s key titles on the challenges facing Egypt and the Middle East, where uprising continues from the hopefulness of the Arab Spring to the challenges ahead.
Kandil’s analysis of post-revolt politics here is grounded in the feeling that “it is clear that the uprising fell short of its declared goal of overthrowing the regime.” The deeply entrenched tripartite alliance between the military, security, and political institutions held a strong preventive grip on revolutionary movements before the revolt, and they remained in place in the post-revolt police state. Kandil then hones in on the various ways Egypt is witnessing a “moment that is neither a relapse to politics as usual nor the emergence of a new regime, but rather the reconstitution of the power balance within the ruling bloc.”
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