The revolution in Egypt
A reading guide


Protesters against Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi wave national flags in Tahrir Square in Cairo July 3, 2013.

Two and a half years after the first stirrings of the Arab Spring, Egypt is once again in the throes of a revolution. Mere days after long-simmering resentments about food shortages, long gas lines, and soaring unemployment fueled massive public protests against the ruling Muslim Brotherhood, the Egyptian military acted on its ultimatum to oust President Mohamed Morsi, suspend the constitution, and install an interim government. Although the outcome is far from clear, renewed upheaval in the world’s most populous Arab country is bound to have enormous consequences for the broader Middle East and for U.S. interests in the region.

To help you navigate the events unfolding in Egypt, we offer these selected readings and multimedia from AEI's Foreign and Defense Policy team:


The US should back the army, John R. Bolton, August 21, 2013

There are no certainties here, only odds. But this is a real decision point for the Obama administration, not a time for half-measures."

Why the Arab Spring hasn't failed in Egypt and Middle East, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, August 20, 2013

With Egypt back to 'temporary' martial law and turmoil riling the Middle East, the Arab Spring may appear to have failed. But the revolutionary story in the region is far from over."

As Egypt erupts, US dithers, John R. Bolton, August 15, 2013

Six weeks after the ouster of President Mohammed Morsi, Egypt remains deeply and violently divided — and American policy is confused and irresolute."

Cutting off aid to Egypt would be a mistake , John R. Bolton, July 11, 2013

What are America's leaders doing behind the scenes as the future of the most populous and influential Arab nation hangs in the balance?"

Obama blew it in Egypt — again, Marc A. Thiessen, July 8, 2013

There is a lesson in all this for the Obama administration: When 1.4 million Egyptians march to protest the Muslim Brotherhood and they ask America with whom America stands — the answer should not be the Muslim Brotherhood."

When coups advance democracy, Michael Rubin, July 7, 2013

Morsi's overthrow was a step forward for true representative government — one that the United States should praise"

6 questions (and some answers) about Egypt, Danielle Pletka, July 8, 2013

"When the military comes in, ousts the elected leader, takes out his political party, closes down its HQ, shuts down its media, and announces that it is in control, that’s what we call a coup, folks."

Where's America?, Thomas Donnelly, July 3, 2013

"For the second time in as many years, an Egyptian autocrat has been deposed. In Syria, another one hangs on. Across the Muslim world, the political future hangs in the balance."

What Obama should learn from Egypt's coup, Michael Rubin, July 3, 2013

"I never thought I would celebrate a coup, but the Egyptian military’s move against President Muhammad Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood regime is something the White House, State Department, and all Western liberals should celebrate."

Let Egypt fail, Michael Rubin, July 1, 2013

"Let the Muslim Brotherhood be discredited in the eyes not only of Egyptians, but all Arabs and Turks and, indeed, the world. Perhaps then the region can begin its long climb to recovery."

Egypt's 'moderate' despot, Jonah Goldberg, November 27, 2012

"The West has been in denial about President Mohamed Morsi, who has deftly built the apparatus of despotism to consolidate power."

Whitewashing Islamists , Michael Rubin, October 1, 2012

"Democracy is a noble goal, but too often its advocates prioritize the process of democracy rather than democracy as a verifiable result. The actions of the Muslim Brotherhood demonstrate that the two are often mutually exclusive. "

Egypt's un-revolution, Danielle Pletka, June 15, 2012

"Egypt must own its revolution. Things cannot go back, they must go forward. It's up to the Egyptian people to choose how."

Is Egypt the new Algeria?, Michael Rubin, June 14, 2012

"Egyptians will not allow [the military's] mantra of restoring law-and-order to replace genuine desire for reform."

Can the Muslim Brotherhood unite Egypt? It will be hard not to fail, Danielle Pletka, June 26, 2012

"Some will label the ascension of Mohamed Morsi to Egypt's presidency a victory — for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the cause of Islamism writ large and for the ballot box over terrorism. But if you think this round in the unruly Egyptian saga post-Mubarak was won by the Brotherhood, think again."

In Egypt, a rare second chance for US to support democracy, Michael Rubin, June 19, 2012

"Egypt is at a crossroads. One path leads to civil chaos and another leads to dictatorship."

Enterprise Symposium: Egyptian revolution, one year later January 25, 2012


Military matters in Cairo: An interview with Michael Rubin August 15, 2013

Event: Does it matter who rules Egypt? July 10, 2013

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About the Author



  • As a long-time Senate Committee on Foreign Relation senior professional staff member for the Near East and South Asia, Danielle Pletka was the point person on Middle East, Pakistan, India and Afghanistan issues. As the vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at AEI, Pletka writes on national security matters with a focus on Iran and weapons proliferation, the Middle East, Syria, Israel and the Arab Spring. She also studies and writes about South Asia: Pakistan, India and Afghanistan.

    Pletka is the co-editor of “Dissent and Reform in the Arab World: Empowering Democrats” (AEI Press, 2008) and the co-author of “Containing and Deterring a Nuclear Iran” (AEI Press, 2011) and “Iranian influence in the Levant, Egypt, Iraq, and Afghanistan” (AEI Press, 2012). Her most recent study, “America vs. Iran: The competition for the future of the Middle East,” was published in January 2014.


    Follow Danielle Pletka on Twitter.

  • Phone: 202-862-5943
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    Name: Alexandra Della Rocchetta
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  • Michael Rubin is a former Pentagon official whose major research areas are the Middle East, Turkey, Iran and diplomacy. Rubin instructs senior military officers deploying to the Middle East and Afghanistan on regional politics, and teaches classes regarding Iran, terrorism, and Arab politics on board deploying U.S. aircraft carriers. Rubin has lived in post-revolution Iran, Yemen, both pre- and post-war Iraq, and spent time with the Taliban before 9/11. His newest book, Dancing with the Devil: The Perils of Engagement examines a half century of U.S. diplomacy with rogue regimes and terrorist groups.

    Follow Michael Rubin on Twitter.

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    Name: Ahmad Majidyar
    Phone: 202-862-5845

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