Six years after protests toppled Husni Mubarak, Egypt is still struggling with the aftermath of the “Arab Spring” and the chaos it unleashed. The removal of the Muslim Brotherhood from power in 2013 and Abd al-Fatah al-Sisi’s ascension to the presidency is sometimes seen as returning Egypt to its pre-2011 political landscape. Egypt is continually wrestling with how to deal with the past as well as trying to cultivate stronger ties abroad. This includes strengthening work with the new U.S. administration under Trump, securing Sinai with Israel’s cooperation, and walking a fine line on Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria, and Russian influence in the region. This article, based on a research trip to Egypt and discussions and interviews with Egyptian insiders from various fields, provides an overview of the challenges facing Cairo and how its elites hope to meet them.
Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry was busy in February 2017. After a visit to the United Arab Emirates on February 7, he was in Amman to meet with Jordanian officials, discussing security and preparations for an Arab summit in March 2017. According to a spokesman for the foreign ministry, “Egyptian-Jordanian relations represent the main fulcrum in the Arab region.” On February 19, Shoukry was in Tunisia to discuss a trilateral summit. On February 25, the UK Foreign Secretary arrived in Cairo to meet Shoukry to discuss issues related to the economy and security. Two days later, he left for a series of meetings in Washington, including with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
A chart of Shoukry’s meetings would reveal that he has been visiting all of Egypt’s Arab strategic partners in the region to discuss two main issues: shoring up the economy and security. With regard to security, Syria, Libya, and the Yemen crises have all been on the agenda, according to reports. The threat of the Islamic State (IS) in Sinai, and closer cooperation with Western countries as well as closer multi-lateral work between regional powers is a key concern of Egypt.
Egypt’s role in the region is particularly important at this juncture because the conflict in Syria is winding down and IS is on the verge of defeat in Iraq. Threats to Cairo are increasingly connected because IS and other Islamist groups exist on both sides of Egypt and within. Egypt is working with the few remaining stable countries. It also bridges the issues affecting North Africa and the rest of the Middle East as well as having a complex relationship with Damascus, Tehran, and Riyadh.
Egypt’s main struggle is internal. The tourism sector, that once accounted for some 11 percent of the economy and employed millions, has suffered an extreme decline since 2011. Even in 2016, it was down more than 40 percent from 2015. Chinese tourists have picked up some of the slack, with signs now in Chinese at the pyramids. Egyptian inflation has risen to 30 percent since a currency float in 2016. The Central Bank governor said on February 24, 2017, that it had reached a peak. The crises affected the 48th annual Cairo Book Fair, the largest in the region. Unless the economy can be tamed, Egypt will suffer instability again. It should be recalled that the initial spark for the Arab Spring in Tunisia in 2011 was due to the economic situation. With almost 100 million people, Egypt’s demographics are constantly growing; managing this is as important as security.
SIX YEARS SINCE MUBARAK
In the twentieth century, Egypt was a center of Arab culture and politics in the region. Gamal Abdel Nasser transformed Egypt into a major military power and inspired a generation, upsetting politics in Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, Yemen, across North Africa, and among the Palestinians. Egypt united with Syria from 1958 to 1961. Following the peace treaty with Israel in 1979 and the assassination of Anwar Sadat, the country stagnated amidst what was effectively one-party rule. Mubarak governed Egypt from 1981 to 2011, as head of the National Democratic Party. He won referendums in 1992 and 1999, but took only 88 percent of the vote after the country sought to liberalize its presidential election process in 2005. Egypt was affected by a push for democratization in the Arab world that would briefly bring Hamas to power in the Palestinian Authority and lead to Shi’i parties taking control in Baghdad following the 2003 U.S. invasion.
The Egyptian revolution that began on January 25, 2011, was a turning point in the Arab world and a turning point for Egypt. It began on “police day,” and after 18 days of protests and almost 1,000 deaths, resulted in the resignation of Husni Mubarak. The practical aftermath of Mubarak’s resignation is still being felt today, as his Chief of Staff Zakaria Azmi was acquitted of corruption in February 2017. His resignation also handed power to the military in the form of a Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which would provide the seeds of military intervention led by Abd al-Fatah al-Sisi in 2013.
The revolution in 2011 inspired many across the region, and Cairo became, for a brief period, a trend-setter as it had been in the past, harkening back to its role as a center of Arab nationalism in the 1950s. It also inspired many abroad who saw in it the hope for a new Arab region. Many commentators in the West welcomed the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamists as an example of democracy taking root. This is still the case today as evidenced by the New York Times printing an op-ed by Muslim Brotherhood member Gehad el-Hadad on February 22, 2017.
In a convoluted legislative election from November 2011 to January 2012, the Muslim Brotherhood and its leader Muhammad Mursi emerged victorious, with 37 percent of the vote, while the more extreme Islamist al-Nour party received 27 percent. The New Wafd, a historic opposition party, received only 10 percent of the vote. The National Democratic Party had been dissolved after the revolution. From the beginning, the new politics of Egypt drifted from crisis to crisis (i.e., a court ruled part of the elections unconstitutional in July 2012). In June 2012, Mursi was elected president with 51 percent of the vote. Ahmad Shafik, a former air force officer and prime minister from the previous regime received 48 percent.
SISI AND THE AMERICANS
When Sisi was appointed chief of staff and minister of defense and military production by Mursi in August of 2012, he was seen as the Brotherhood’s choice. There were rumors that he was deeply pious and his wife or daughter wore the niqab. However, Sisi had spent a year in the United States and along with the younger officers who rose with him in 2012; he was familiar with the American-Egyptian relationship, which includes $1.3 billion a year in military aid and has totaled $76 billion since 1948. It is Egypt’s main strategic-military and political partnership.
Information on Sisi’s decisive year, before he chose to send the army in to remove Mursi when protests broke out in 2013, can be gleaned from 50,000 pages of Hillary Clinton emails that the State Department released in 2016. Sisi’s name appears in 33 emails, which are very revealing. Sisi wanted assurances from Mursi that he would keep the army in its “special, privileged place” in Egyptian society (August 2012). He reveals a close working relationship with Israel in increasing Egypt’s military presence in Sinai to fight terror. This is an issue that still shadows Sisi. When he gave a speech on National Police Day in 2017, he compared the conflict in Sinai with IS-affiliate Wilayet Sinai with Egypt’s past wars. He was knowledgeable of the contacts between Hamas in Gaza and Bedouin smugglers in Sinai, particularly among the Sawarka tribe. While Sisi characterized Netanyahu as “unpredictable,” he saw Hamas as “fanatics” during the winter 2012 war between Israel and Hamas and cautioned Mursi not to drag Egypt into the issue.
Barack Obama had made Egypt a center of his policy in 2009 when he chose it as a venue to give his Cairo speech and when he attempted to reassure Egyptian protesters angered by an anti-Islam film on Youtube in 2012. Sisi sought to assure the Americans that his army would attempt to protect Western interests (September 2012) after the attack on the U.S. ambassador in Benghazi and protests in Cairo that targeted the U.S. embassy. He grew increasingly worried about Salafists and sought to “neutralize extreme Salafist paramilitary groups,” while keeping an eye on those who went to fight in Syria.
Sisi warned that Mursi’s increasingly authoritarian rulings would lead opponents to accuse him of creating a “dictatorship” under the Brotherhood (November 2012). “In the opinion of this individual, al-Sisi feels that he has cast his lot with Morsi and will continue to support him for the immediate future. But the General is concerned that while Morsi may indeed be acting in good faith at this time he will find absolute power intoxicating and will be reluctant to relinquish authority when the constitution is drafted and the national elections are held in mid-2013,” one email reads. By December 2012, he had grown increasingly concerned about the army’s role in supporting Mursi.
In early July 2013, protesters took to the streets to protest against Mursi. Today’s narrative in Egypt is that up to 30 million people protested, a claim repeated at Al-Ahram. In a country of some 90 million people, that would represent most of the demographic between ages 18-40. On July 1, 2013, military helicopters flew over the protesters in Tahrir square.
The United States, which had supported the transition to democracy and broken with its long-time support for the Mubarak regime in 2011, did not approve of the military’s decision to remove Mursi. “The United States is monitoring the very fluid situation in Egypt, and we believe that ultimately the future of Egypt can only be determined by the Egyptian people. Nevertheless, we are deeply concerned by the decision of the Egyptian Armed Forces to remove President Mursi and suspend the Egyptian constitution,” a White House Statement read. In October 2013, the United States suspended military aid to Egypt, which would not be restored until March 2015.
This is the background against which many Egyptians today discuss the past. Those in power and Sisi supporters speak of two “revolutions,” the one that took place in 2011 and the one that took place in 2013. They blame many of their problems on this short era with other references to the long stagnation under Mubarak. They intimate that the current power structure borrows much from the old pre-2011 regime, but that it is preferable to have stability than have the chaos and the religious tensions of the Brotherhood interlude.
MESSAGE DISCIPLINE: BLAMING OBAMA AND THE BROTHERHOOD
In September of 2013, a court banned the Muslim Brotherhood and sought to seize its assets. Many of its members had been arrested and reports said more than 1,000 of its members had been killed. In August of 2014, an Egyptian court upheld the dissolution of the Freedom and Justice Party of the Brotherhood.
“Egypt’s identity was at risk,” is a common refrain among politicians and activists in Cairo when they describe the struggle with the Brotherhood. The narrative posits that the Brotherhood is “non-Egyptian” and seeks to erode the 6,000 year history of Egypt by imposing a primarily globalized Muslim identity, rather than a blended Muslim-Egyptian identity.
The narrative among Sisi supporters today is that if the army had not “stepped in” then there would have been civil war. This is part of a wider understanding that the Arab Spring was not trending toward democracy in the region but toward conflict. Egypt’s public and elites were cognizant of what was happening in Syria. They did not want the country to become a “swamp of blood.” The excuse for military intervention is seen as acceptable because the Brotherhood did not agree to a referendum. Foreign observers and critics, such as Michele Dunne, argue that the result has been a “sliding back into authoritarianism following a failed attempt at a democratic transition.”
In dozens of conversations with Egyptians from various walks of life, the United States is portrayed as supporting the Brotherhood, while the election of Donald Trump in 2016 is seen as a relatively positive turning point. There is a high level of message discipline in explaining the six years following the 2011 revolution in Egypt among those connected to power or supportive of the current reality. Elites saw the Obama administration as supportive of the Brotherhood and claim to foreigners, especially Americans, that it is inciting violence. The accusation that Obama supported the Brotherhood goes as far as to accuse the United States of financing the Brotherhood, attempting to impose a new regime on Egypt, impose its values, and encourage upheaval and disorder.
There is a general view that the West and America in particular does not understand Egyptians. “Western media says people revolted [in 2011] because they want food, but we were revolting against corruption. We thought it would be perfect after 2011,” says Dalia Ziada, executive director of the Liberal Democracy Institute and a youth activist. Inspired by Obama’s 2009 speech in Cairo, her views today represent a changing dynamic. She argues the Brotherhood “claimed they supported civil society, but didn’t.” She also accuses the Brothers of eroding Egypt’s identity. “Most Egyptians will not say they are Muslim or Christian first; they will say they are Egyptian first.”  Ziada argues that the change from the 2011 protests to 2013 was a change in relations between the protesters and police and the army. They “carried the police on their soldiers,” in from the President’s office, she recalls. “Those who supported and opposed Mubarak came together against the Brotherhood.”
Members of the Egyptian Council on Foreign Affairs provide a similar message. Founded in 1999, the organization brings together former diplomats, academics, and members of the business world. One senior official objects to the term “Arab spring,” labeling it a “term Americans invented” and asserting that the Brotherhood sought to “hijack and change this country” and bring instability. The path to instability begins with the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and Egyptian officials emphasize that they warned George W. Bush that the neo-conservative “theory of peace and democracy” was flawed. The fall of Iraq created a “domino affect” that led to the Syrian civil war nine years later. In this perspective, the rush to reform and democracy opened the door to the rise of religious and sectarian parties, whether in Iraq or Lebanon (after Syria’s 2005 withdrawal) or among Palestinians in the 2006 elections, and then in Tunisia and Egypt. Although monarchies such as Jordan or Morocco have religious parties, they remain sidelined and contained.
Andrea Zaki, head of the Protestant Churches of Egypt, described the 2011 revolution as one that was driven by young activists. Christians feared that it might not be an Egyptian revolution but “controlled by radical Islamists.” He says the religious tensions between Muslims and Christians were “unexpected” and that with the Brotherhood in power security was eroded and attacks on churches increased.
“Mursi issued statements that give him immunity against any decision he takes against parliament and the constitution; we heard about the possibility [they would give] Sinai to Hamas and Palestinians. We felt we lost our economy, peace, identity and lands.” Zaki argues that the 2013 protests were not a “coup” but a “people’s revolution requesting military assistance.” The result for Christians, he says, is that they feel more a part of Egypt than at any time since 1952. “There are still radicals in this country, but I personally believe that the radicals saw the relationship with Copts and the new regime and Sisi, so they try to create religious tensions every two weeks, then the relationship with the Copts will be damaged.”
Egypt seeks to work with the new U.S. administration. It wants to regain its role as a leader in the Arab world. Its former and current diplomats present it as a “force of stability” and an “anchor” in the region. The Middle East is encompassed by conflicts, “confusion,” and an “absence of leadership,” alongside “ungoverned territory” that stretches across the Sahar and Sahel all the way to Asia. In this “difficult phase,” Egypt seeks to be a leader with its U.S. partner.
Egypt presents itself as both an Islamic model based at Al-Azhar University and a model for the region in its treatment of minorities. The former model is based on Sisi’s speeches in several speeches given by Sisi between 2014 and 2016. The president has not always been successful in his prescriptions for reform, receiving pushback on such issues as divorce laws. This is unsurprising from an institution more than 1,000 years old that directly influences 500,000 students and issues thousands of fatwas (religious edicts) a day. However the general response has been cooperative.
On minorities, Sisi has had an easier time because he is directly in control of the military, which is a major pillar of Egyptian society. In rural Egypt there are still problems, Christian leaders say, but in general security is better in 2017 than before. St. Mark’s Coptic Cathedral was bombed in December 2016 by IS, killing 29, and threats in Sinai continue. An attack on a bus of Coptic pilgrims on the way to a monastery in Minya province in late May 2017 resulted in the deaths of two dozen people. Sisi responded by bombing Darna in Libya. At the Hanging Church in Old Cairo there is a plaque recognizing Sisi’s role and a series of photos that show Coptic popes with previous Egyptian leaders do not include Mursi. He has been removed from history. Sisi said in January 2017 he intends to build the largest church and mosque in Egypt in a new administrative capital being constructed.
Egypt is navigating a complex policy between Riyadh, Tehran, Ankara, and Damascus. Sisi has a moderate position on Syria’s Assad, unlike Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Qatar, and Al-Jazeera has described his position as “supporting” Syria’s military. The reality is more complex. Egypt fears the Islamic State and Assad is “the devil you know.” Egypt’s Mubarak met Assad in 2004 and 2006 at Sharm al-Shaykh. Although Mubarak called on Bashar al-Assad to step down in 2011, today, the position is different. Erosion of institutions such as the Syrian military is seen as leading to more chaos that threatens Egypt, much as the conflict in Libya has threatened Egypt. Egypt refused to condemn Russia at the UN Security council in October 2016, which Saudi Arabia called a “painful” decision. To assuage Saudi anger, Egypt sought to transfer islands to the kingdom in late 2016, an issue blocked by a court in January 2017.
Egypt has a nuanced view on Iran. Egyptian leaders are concerned about Iran’s role in Baghdad, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen. However, they see it as part of a regional security order that includes Turkey and Israel. While Iran presents a strategic threat, it is not on Egypt’s border, and Egypt views Iran through a civilizational lens of Egyptians and Persians, not Sunni and Shi’a, say diplomats. The Shah was married to an Egyptian. Egypt seeks to balance Iranian influence, but without conflict. The current reality is complex in this respect. Turkey’s ambassador was expelled by Egypt in 2013, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been a vociferous critic of Egypt, demanding Mursi’s release. Egypt was accused of supporting the 2016 coup in Ankara.
Relations with Israel are considered some of the best in history on the practical security level. The “cold peace,” functions to both countries’ advantage. In December 2016, Egypt withdrew a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel’s settlements. However Egypt’s diplomatic elite still want to find a path to peace with the Palestinians, an issue they constantly stress. They bifurcate the security relations in Sinai with the overall Palestinian issue, which they see as paramount for the region, but one disconnected from practical security cooperation. They are concerned about the United States moving its embassy and the rise of the Israeli right that might “forget about peace” and annex the West Bank. “Peace is not hostage to the Palestinian [position], but we have a public opinion we have to care about.” Sisi has called on Israelis and Palestinians to take “historic steps” toward peace and supported Russian peace efforts. In early February 2017, Egypt demolished tunnels bordering Gaza. In late February, Egypt barred entry to Palestinian politician Jabril Rajoub, who was scheduled to take part in an Arab League conference in Cairo. Both show it continues to play a deep role in Palestinian politics.
The Russian connection is important to Egypt’s role in the region. The feeling of betrayal by the Obama administration led Egypt to seek closer ties, including military ties, to Russia. Although Russian tourism declined after a Russian plane blew up in Sinai, military ties have been positive. This dovetails with Egypt’s continued support of Russia at the Security Council during a Syria sanctions vote on February 28, 2017. Egypt abstained. It also dovetails with the Trump administration, which has been warmer to Russia than Obama.
At home, Egypt is depoliticized. The image of Sisi does not adorn streets and offices the way other Middle Eastern dictators have in the past or the way royal photos are common in Jordan and the Gulf. The hagiography is more softly sold, in photos of the president with soldiers or welcoming back players from the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Egypt came in second). Ziada asserts that “outsiders” should understand Egypt’s need for a cautious progress. “They cannot bring human rights; they should bring security through fighting terror, designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, invest in Egypt, improve the economy. Don’t impose a concept on the people; [instead] create the atmosphere for democracy to grow.”
The discussion about outsiders bringing human rights relates to a larger claim by the Egyptian government that foreign-funded NGOs meddle in Egypt’s civil society. The prosecution of NGO workers pre-dates the Sisi administration and dates from 2011. Under the Brotherhood, the Obama administration secured the release of NGO workers who had been charged with efforts to “destabilize the country.” In October 2016, an Egyptian court closed five human rights organizations and in February 2017, it closed the El Nadeem Center, which works with victims of torture. Human Rights Watch has argued the court rulings against NGOs risk “eradicating” human rights work.
While Egypt wants to retain its place as an anchor of the Arab world, it is outpaced by the Saudis. Saudi Arabia used its military alongside the Gulf in an intervention in Yemen and in February 2017, sent its foreign minister to Baghdad for the first time in decades. As opposed to bridging disputes over Syria, bringing together Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and others, Egypt often seems more the odd-man out. Its recent high-level diplomacy is an attempt to change that.
Egypt is a relatively poor society with major infrastructure and economic problems. A new $12 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan will only go a short way to fix that. With large demographic growth, it requires major agriculture innovations, but it is unclear where the investment will come from. Healing relations with the UAE can only bring so much, and Egypt demands no strings attached.
The Trump administration will not pressure Egypt on civil rights issues. After Trump’s Riyadh speech in May 2017, Sisi feels he has renewed support from Washington. While Cairo seems to have successfully clamped down on most major terror threats and instability, the next step for Sisi is unclear. Attacks on Egyptian soldiers in Sinai by Islamic State continue unabated, and terrorists continue to try to infiltrate from Libya, despite Sisi’s attempt to form close relations with eastern Libya strongman Khalifa Haftar. Sisi’s religious reforms can only go so far against an entrenched religious establishment. Youthful vigor released in 2011 has been relegated to second place as old elites returned to their offices after 2012. Cost of living increases and youth unemployment could lead to long-term problems. Egyptians are seeking to immigrate to Europe. There is little outlet for protest in a society that is a “managed democracy,” and the country as a whole seems one in waiting, unclear as to the future, but not wanting a return to the past.
* Dr. Seth J. Frantzman is a research associate at the Rubin Center for Research in International Affairs. He holds a Ph.D. from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. From 2010-2015, he was an assistant professor at Al-Quds University. Since 2011, his research and field work has focused on political, military, strategic changes in the region, with a focus on the war on Islamic State, the Kurdish region of Iraq, refugee crises in Jordan, and Turkey and Egypt’s role in the region. He has published widely in academic journals and has appeared in major media outlets, such as Middle Eastern Studies, Digest of Middle East Studies, Al-Jazeera, the Spectator, National Review, and more. He is also the Op-ed Editor of the Jerusalem Post.
 See British Embassy photo and tweet by Ambassador John Casson, https://twitter.com/FCOJohnCasson/status/835405705519771648. Also, Sarah el-Sheikh, “Shoukry to Meet British, US Counterparts,” February 25, 2017, http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/25/shoukry-meet-british-us-counterparts-one-week/.
 On February 27, 2017, he met with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and on February 28, he was in Washington meeting with National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster and Representatives Dave Trott and Kay Granger. The U.S. Department of State’s Twitter account showed footage of their meeting: https://twitter.com/search?q=Tillerson%20Shoukry&src=typd; for some background, see Seth J. Frantzman, “Egypt Looks for an Expanded Role in US Foreign Policy,” National Review, February 22, 2017, http://www.nationalreview.com/article/445125/egypt-abdel-fattah-al-sisi-united-states-foreign-policy-muslim-brotherhood-obama-trump.
 Ruth Michaelson, “Egypt’s Tourism Industry Is Still Reeling,” The Guardian, October 21, 2016, https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2016/oct/21/egypt-tourism-industry-plagued-by-lack-of-visitors.
 Author visit, February 7, 2017. More than 30 buses arrived by 10:00 a.m., almost all of them Chinese.
 “Egyptian Inflation Surges to Almost 30 Percent,” SkyNews Australia, February 25, 2017, http://www.skynews.com.au/business/business/world/2017/02/25/egypt-inflation-surges-to-almost-30-per-cent.html.
 “No Further Inflation Impact from Egypt’s Currency Float,” Reuters, February 25, 2017, http://in.reuters.com/article/egypt-cenbank-idINL8N1G96EZ.
“Cairo International Book Fair 2017,” Al-Ahram, January 24, 2017, http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContentP/18/256776/Books/Cairo-International-Book-Fair–opens-on-Thursday-w.aspx.
 There was also the short-lived “Damascus Spring” after Bashar al-Assad came to power in 2000.
 “Egyptian Court Acquits Mubarak’s Closest Aids,” Reuters, February 25, 2017, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-egypt-court-corruption-idUSKBN1640GT.
 Ahmed Feteha, May Alaa, and Randa Ali, “Thomas Friedman Talks Revolution, Islamism and Democracy in Cairo,” Al-Ahram, January 9, 2012, http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/31284/Egypt/Politics-/Thomas-Friedman-talks-revolution,-Islamism-and-dem.aspx. The rise of the AKP in Turkey was also portrayed as a positive “democratic” development in the United States.
 Gehad el-Hadad, “I Am a Member of the Muslim Brotherhood, and Not a Terrorist,” New York Times, February 22, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/22/opinion/i-am-a-member-of-the-muslim-brotherhood-not-a-terrorist.html?_r=0. At the same time, Washington is weighing designating it a terrorist organization. Peter Baker, “White House Weighs Terrorist designation for Muslim Brotherhood,” New York Times, February 7, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/07/world/middleeast/muslim-brotherhood-terrorism-trump.html?_r=0.
 Leela Jacinto, “Egypt’s Sisi: From ‘Morsi’s Man’ to People’s Chief of Staff,” France 24 March 26, 2014, http://www.france24.com/en/20130702-egypt-army-chief-sisi-profile-morsi-brotherhood-military.
 “Egypt’s New First Lady,” Al-Arabiya, February 18, 2014, http://english.alarabiya.net/en/life-style/2014/02/18/Egypt-army-chief-Sisi-s-wife-makes-first-public-appearance.html.
 Jeremy M. Sharp, “Egypt: Background and U.S. Relations,” Congressional Research Service, February 25, 2016. Prepared for members and committees of Congress, https://fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/RL33003.pdf.
 These were written by longtime friend of the Clintons, Sidney Blumenthal. Although he had no official position in the State Department under Clinton, he shared intelligence information with her, which she passed on to others, judging it legitimate. “Search Hilary Clinton’s Emails,” The Wall Street Journal, March 1, 2016, http://graphics.wsj.com/hillary-clinton-email-documents/.
 Blumenthal to Clinton, declassified email, Wikileaks, August 14, 2012, https://wikileaks.org/clinton-emails/emailid/12154.
 Blumenthal to Clinton, declassified email, Wikileaks, November 15, 2012, https://wikileaks.org/clinton-emails/emailid/12112.
 Blumenthal to Clinton, declassified email, Wikileaks, November 19, 2012, https://wikileaks.org/clinton-emails/emailid/12110.
 “Egypt Protestors Attack U.S. Embassy in Cairo,” Huffington Post, September 11, 2012, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/11/egypt-protesters-us-embassy_n_1874247.html.
 Blumenthal to Clinton, declassified email, Wikileaks, September 14, 2012, https://wikileaks.org/clinton-emails/emailid/12128.
 Blumenthal to Clinton, December 10, 2012, declassified email, Wikileaks, https://wikileaks.org/clinton-emails/emailid/12102.
 Blumenthal to Clinton, declassified email, Wikileaks, November 26, 2012, https://wikileaks.org/clinton-emails/emailid/12108.
 Blumenthal to Clinton, December 21, 2012, Wikileaks, https://wikileaks.org/clinton-emails/emailid/12103.
 Interviewees in Egypt on February 7-9, 2017, including Andrea Zaki, the head of the Protestant Churches; Dalia Ziada, a youth activist; and others all sought to stress to the author that the protests were not only large but represented the will of and the majority of Egyptians.
 “One Million Pro-Morsi Protesters, 30 Million Opponents in 1432 July: Democracy index,” August 1, 2013, Al-Ahram, http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/77962/Egypt/Politics-/One-million-proMorsi-protesters,–million-opponent.aspx.
 “Egypt Demographic Profile 2016,” October 8, 2016 http://www.indexmundi.com/egypt/demographics_profile.html.
 “Will Egypt’s Army Stage a Coup,” Public Radio International, July 1, 2013, https://www.pri.org/stories/2013-07-01/will-egypts-army-stage-another-coup-protests-against-morsi-intensify.
 Brett LoGiurato, “Obama: I’m ‘Deeply Concerned’ by the Egyptian Military’s Takeover,” Business Insider, July 3, 2013, http://www.businessinsider.com/obama-statement-egypt-morsi-takeover-mohamed-coup-aid-2013-7.
Elise Labott, “U.S. Suspends Significant Military Aid to Egypt,” CNN, October 9, 2013, http://edition.cnn.com/2013/10/09/world/meast/us-egypt-aid/.
 “Muslim Brotherhood Banned by Egyptian Court,” The Guardian, September 23, 2013, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/23/muslim-brotherhood-egyptian-court.
 “Egypt Court Bans Muslim Brotherhood’s Political Wing,” August 9, 2014, BBC, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-28722935.
 Muhammad Anwar al-Sadat, February 7, 2017, in a talk given at the Mena House in Cairo. Sadat is a member of parliament and nephew of former President Anwar Sadat.
 A term employed by the Egyptian press in 2013, according to a U.S. diplomatic source who spoke to the author on February 8, 2017.
 Michele Dunne, “A U.S. Strategy Toward Egypt Under Sisi,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, June 5, 2014, http://carnegieendowment.org/2014/06/05/u.s.-strategy-toward-egypt-under-sisi-pub-55812.
 Yasser Reda, Egyptian ambassador to the United States, wrote in 2016 in The Wall Street Journal that Yusuf Qaradawi was a “pontiff of terror.” See, Yasser Reda, “Countering the Pontiff of Terror,” The Wall Street Journal, August 23, 2016, https://www.wsj.com/articles/countering-the-pontiff-of-terror-1471992002.
 Dalia Ziada in a discussion with Middle East Political and Information Network (MEPIN) at the Mena House Hotel on February 7, 2017.
 Mahmoud al-Said, senior advisor to the Minister of Local Development in comments to MEPIN, February 8, 2016.
 Andrea Zaki meeting with the author, February 9, 2017, Heliopolis office.
 Zaki to author.
 Ibid. In February 2017, after attacks on Copts in Sinai, reports emerged that many have fled El-Arish. “Egypt’s Copts Flee Sinai After Attacks,” BBC, February 25, 2017, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-39085285.
 Ambassador Mahmoud al-Said, Senior Advisor Turkish President E TO:KEY, AND SYRIA?, AND DAMASCUS? to the Minister of Local Development, in a speech to MEPIN in Cairo on February 8, 2017.
 Discussion with MEPIN at the Egyptian Council on Foreign Affairs, February 8, 2017.
 Dr. Ibrahim Negm, Advisor to the Grand Mufti of Egypt, to the author, February 8, 2017.
 “Egyptian President al-Sisi at Al-Azhar: We Must Revolutionize Our Religion,” Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), December 31, 2014, https://www.memri.org/tv/egyptian-president-al-sisi-al-azhar-we-must-revolutionize-our-religion.
“Sisi Calls for Religious Reforms Against ‘Extremists,’” June 29, 2016, Al-Jazeera, http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/06/sisi-calls-religious-reforms-extremists-160629181523576.html.
 Sarah al-Shalakany, “Sisi’s Call to Annul Verbal Divorce Sparks Controversy,” February 20, 2017, al-Monitor, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/02/egypt-sisi-call-law-annul-verbal-divorce.html.
 Negm to author, February 8, 2017.
 “Egypt’s Largest Church and Mosque to Be Built in New Capital: Sisi,” al-Ahram, January 6, 2017, http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/254601/Egypt/Politics-/Egypts-largest-church-and-mosque-to-be-built-at-ne.aspx.
 “Egypt’s Sisi Expresses Support for Syria’s Military,” November 23, 2016, Al-Jazeera, http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/11/egypt-sisi-expresses-support-syria-military-161123150315176.html.
 “Saudi: Egypt Stance on Syria Resolution ‘Painful,’” Al-Arabiya, October 9, 2016, http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2016/10/09/Saudi-Egypt-s-stance-on-UN-Syrian-resolution-painful-.html.
 Liam Stack, “Egypt’s Leaders Quietly Cheered Turkish Coup Plotters,” New York Times, July 18, 2016, https://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/19/world/middleeast/egypt-turkey-erdogan-coup.html.
 Shehab Khan, “Egypt Reveals Why UN Vote on Israeli Settlements Was Postponed,” The Independent, December 23, 2016, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/israel-un-resolution-settlements-vote-veto-egypt-a7494411.html.
 Discussions at Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs (ECFA), February 8, 2017.
 Tovah Lazarrof, Dana Somberg, “Egyptian President Calls on Israelis and Palestinians to Take Historic Steps to Peace,” The Jerusalem Post, May 17, 2017, http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Egypts-Sisi-There-is-trust-and-confidence-between-me-and-the-Israelis-454188.
 Yaroslav Trofimov, “Egypt Juggles Its Friendships As Russian Influence Surges,” The Wall Street Journal, October 13, 2016, https://www.wsj.com/articles/egypt-juggles-its-friendships-as-russian-influence-surges-1476366166.
 Eric Trager, Arab Fall: How the Muslim Brotherhood Won and Lost Egypt 891 Days (Washington: Georgetown University Press, 2016), pp. 120-21.
 Darah Najjar, “Egypt’s NGO Law Aims to ‘Erase Civil Society,’” February 16, 2017, Al-Jazeera, http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2017/02/egypt-ngo-law-aims-erase-civil-society-170215121321442.html.
 “Ruling Risks Eradicating Human Rights Work,” September 20, 2016, Human Rights Watch, https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/09/20/egypt-ruling-risks-eradicating-human-rights-work.
 It has a higher GDP per capita than Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and the Palestinian territories.