Egypt: Three Years after the Coup

On the third anniversary of the Egyptian military’s overthrow of the country’s first democratically-elected government, POMED is publishing two new resources that demonstrate the extent of Egypt’s current dangerous trajectory.

On July 3, 2013, following the June 30 mass demonstrations backed by the army, the police, and other state agencies, the Egyptian military ousted President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, arrested him and other Brotherhood leaders, and announced a new government. Then-defense minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who became president in 2014, proclaimed a “roadmap” for “a strong and coherent Egyptian society that does not exclude any of its members and trends, and that ends the state of conflict and division.”

The U.S. administration, seeking to avoid a rupture with the Egyptian military, declined to explicitly acknowledge that a coup had occurred, although the White House did call on the military “to return full authority back to a democratically elected civilian government as soon as possible through an inclusive and transparent process.” In August 2013, Secretary of State John Kerry inexplicably asserted that “the military did not take over…in effect, they were restoring democracy.” President Sisi often touts Egypt’s progress toward a “democratic civil state” and security and stability.

Unfortunately, three years after Morsi’s ouster, the facts tell a very different story. Egypt is once again a military-backed authoritarian state. Repression and human rights violations are at unprecedented levels, with mass imprisonment of suspected Brotherhood supporters, and a harsh crackdown on many others who criticize the new political order. Civil liberties have been rolled back and intolerance is rising. The security environment has worsened, and the economy continues to deteriorate despite infusions of billions of dollars in Gulf aid. The United States and other Western countries occasionally offer mild criticism of human rights abuses. But as security interests again dominate diplomacy, Egyptians’ democratic hopes seem forgotten.

We hope you find these two documents to be useful resources, and we will update them regularly to reflect the latest developments.