Egyptian Crisis (2011–14)
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The Egyptian Crisis began with the Egyptian Revolution of 2011, when hundreds of thousands of Egyptians took to the streets in an ideologically and socially diverse mass protest movement that ultimately forced longtime president Hosni Mubarak from office. A protracted political crisis ensued, with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces taking control of the country until a series of popular elections brought the Muslim Brotherhood to power. However, disputes between elected Islamist president Mohamed Morsi and both the Egyptian military and secularists continued until Morsi's overthrow in 2013, in what has been variably described as a coup d'état or a second revolution. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the general who ousted Morsi, became the de facto and later the de jure leader of the country, winning election to the presidency in 2014 in a landslide victory criticized by international election observers as not "genuinely democratic". Nonetheless, Sisi's election was widely recognized, and the political situation has largely stabilized since he officially took power; however, some protests have continued despite a government crackdown. The crisis has also spawned an ongoing insurgency in the Sinai peninsula, which became increasingly intertwined with the regional conflict against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant later in 2014.
- 1 Background
- 2 Events
- 3 Impact
- 4 See also
- 5 References
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Unhappiness among many Egyptians with the autocratic rule of 30-year President Hosni Mubarak boiled over in late January 2011 amid the Arab Spring, a series of popular protests and uprisings across the region. Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians occupied several public places across Egypt, including Cairo's Tahrir Square, holding out despite efforts by Mubarak loyalists and police to dislodge them, most notably during the infamous "Battle of the Camel". In the beginning, tensions were high between the police and protesters with violence breaking out in Suez and Alexandria. The government took a hard line, using riot-control tactics, and shutting down the internet and telecom networks. But by the 28th the protests were continuing and the police had retreated. Mubarak offered some concessions, among them was appointing Omar Suleiman to the long-vacant office of vice president. He also announced that he would not seek re-election. None of this satisfied protesters, and under international pressure and lacking the support of Egypt's powerful military, Mubarak handed over power to Suleiman on 10 February 2011 and resigned as president the following day. The 18-day uprising left at least 846 civilians killed and more than 6,400 injured, according to a government fact-finding mission's report.
The Muslim Brotherhood declared it would throw its support behind the protests two days after they began. Authorities ordered an overnight crackdown on the group, and the following day, January 28, they rounded up several senior Brotherhood figures, among them was Mohamed Morsi who would later become the country's president in 2012. Amid growing instability that day (the "Friday of Anger") as well as on January 29, a number of police officers and other security personnel were killed, mainly as part of the systematic torching of police stations and orchestrated attacks on prisons across the country, during which Morsi among other Muslim Brotherhood leaders were able to escape.
The number of protesters overwhelmed the police. They were forced to retreat from several parts of Cairo, eventually losing their grip on the country. This was mostly due to the panic among police officers during the jailbreaks and the riots. Police brutality and the excessive use of force against demonstrators also contributed to the Interior Ministry's withdrawal. Simultaneously, the government deployed the army in response to increasing lawlessness that day. The military, however, decided to remain neutral during the uprising despite a heavy presence of troops on the streets, especially in Cairo and Suez.
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After Hosni Mubarak's resignation on the night of 11 February 2011, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) under Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi assumed control of the country. This period was marked by major protests calling for the end of military rule and multiple tragedies, the worst being the Port Said stadium disaster. Despite the turbulence of the transitional period in Egypt, polls have shown that the SCAF has enjoyed wide legitimacy from the Egyptian people and general confidence in their ability to provide free elections. A poll in October 2011 showed that 91.7% of Egyptians have confidence in the SCAF to provide the conditions for free elections. The SCAF at that time had a general approval rating of 40.6%.
Election of Mohamed Morsi
In June 2012, elections were held and Mohamed Morsi won 51.7% of the vote versus 48.3% for Ahmed Shafik. President Morsi, a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), resigned from both organizations and took office on 30 June 2012. This marked the end of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces transition period.
2012–13 presidency of Mohamed Morsi
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On 22 November 2012, after granting himself unlimited powers to "protect" the nation, and the power to legislate without judicial oversight or review of his acts, Mohamed Morsi followed his decrees by making an effort to push through a referendum on an Islamist-supported draft constitution.
The move had been criticized by Mohamed ElBaradei who stated "Morsi today usurped all state powers & appointed himself Egypt's new pharaoh" on his Twitter feed. The move led to massive protests and violent action throughout the country.
2013 mass protests and coup d'état
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A youth group known as Tamarod, Arabic for "Rebel", collected 22 million signatures calling for Morsi to step down. By 30 June, on the first anniversary of the election of Morsi, millions of Egyptians flooded the streets of Cairo with thousands of protesters surrounding the presidential palace in the Heliopolis suburb demanding the resignation of Morsi. A military source claimed that the number of protestors reached as many as 30 million making it the largest in Egypt's history.The events escalated forcing the military to announce that it would intervene on behalf of the protesters.
On 3 July, Egyptian armed forces headed by Abdul Fatah al-Sisi acted on its 48 hours ultimatum to intervene "on behalf of the people", ousting President Mohamed Morsi, suspending the constitution, appoints head of constitutional court as interim leader and calls for early elections.
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Violent clashes, erupted in the aftermath of the 2013 Egyptian coup d'état (referred to by some media outlets as the Egyptian crisis) following the 3 July 2013 removal of President Mohamed Morsi of Egypt by the Egyptian Armed Forces amid popular demonstrations against Morsi's rule. In the immediate aftermath of Morsi's ouster, many protesters amassed near the Rabia Al-Adawiya Mosque to call for Morsi's return to power and condemn the military, while others demonstrated in support of the military and interim government. Deadly clashes erupted on several days, with two particularly bloody incidents being described by Muslim Brotherhood officials as "massacres" perpetrated by security forces.
In mid-August, the violence between Islamists and the Army took a more critical spiral, leading to the Rabaa massacre, where at least 638 civilians were killed, and the government declaring a month-long nighttime curfew.
On 24 March 2014, an Egyptian court sentenced 529 members of the Muslim Brotherhood to death. By May 2014, approximately 16,000 people (and as high as more than 40,000 by one independent count), mostly Brotherhood members or supporters, have been imprisoned since the coup.
Election of Abdul Fatah al-Sisi
General Abdul Fatah al-Sisi emerged as a massively popular figure in post-coup Egypt, and he eventually declared his candidacy for president in the 2014 elections. According to results from the Egyptian elections authority, he won 96.9% of the vote, rivaling numbers reported for Hosni Mubarak in periodic elections and referendums during his reign as president. Nonetheless, al-Sisi's election was widely recognized internationally.
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An increase in militant activity by Islamists initiating as a fallout of the 2011 Egyptian revolution drew a harsh response from interim Egyptian government in mid-2011 known as Operation Eagle. However, attacks against government and foreign facilities in the area have continued by mid-2012, resulting in a massive crackdown by the new Egyptian government nicknamed Operation Sinai.
At least 5,540 people have died during the crisis.
- 2011 revolution: 846
- Transition: 300+
- Sinai insurgency: 1,627
- 2012–13 Egyptian protests: 127+
- Post-coup unrest in Egypt (2013–14): 3,143+
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Egyptian economy is still suffering from a severe downturn following the 2011 revolution and the government faces numerous challenges as to how to restore growth, market and investor confidence. Political and institutional uncertainty, a perception of rising insecurity and sporadic unrest continue to negatively affect economic growth.
Real GDP growth slowed to just 2.2 percent year on year in October–December 2012/13 and investments declined to 13 percent of GDP in July–December 2012. The economic slowdown contributed to a rise in unemployment, which stood at 13 percent at end-December 2012, with 3.5 million people out of work.
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