Council on Foreign Relations Media Guide
Crisis in Egypt

August 20, 2013

The standoff between Egypt's military and supporters of ousted president Mohammed Morsi has left hundreds of people dead and thousands injured. The following resources provide analysis and background on Egypt's mounting political crisis.

Analysis from CFR Experts

U.S. Influence in Egypt Is Modest

Richard N. Haass

In a nonpolar world, one not dominated by only a few states or other actors, the ability of the United States to influence countries like Egypt has been diluted. Watch the Video »

Democracy Can Wait

Charles A. Kupchan

The United States should do what it can to shepherd the arrival of liberal democracy in Egypt and other parts of the Middle East. The best way to do that is to go slow and help the region's states build functioning and responsible governments. Read more »

Mubarak Still Rules

Steven A. Cook

The democratic aspirations and demands for the fall of the regime that were emblematic of Tahrir Square remain just thatseemingly distant ambitions that recent events have made unrealistic. Read more »

It's Time to Hold Our Nose and Back Egypt's Military

Leslie H. Gelb

The Obama team, on a private basis, has to help the military and the moderates frame a viable plan and process for establishing democracy in Egypt, and start implementing it as soon as possible. Read more »

Why Washington Should Suspend Aid

Isobel Coleman

The Egyptian military's crackdown has squandered any hope for national reconciliation, and the Obama administration should suspend assistance until Egypt's government demonstrates a return to a political process. Read more »

Morsi Holds Key to Egypt's Future

Ed Husain

If Morsi were to officially resign, the Muslim Brotherhood would no longer need to rally around an individual, one of their own, who has been humiliated and mistreated. Read more »

Waffle, Vacillate, Fail

Jonathan Tepperman

The Obama administration's response to human rights violators has been "mealy-mouthed and confusing." Read more »

The Struggle for Egypt

Steven A. Cook

In his award-winning book, Cook traces the "stirrings of Egyptian nationalism" back to the 1880s and culminates his narrative with the events in Tahrir Square in early 2011. He chronicles the end of the British occupation, the emergence of the Muslim Brotherhood, the rise of Nasser and his quest to become a pan-Arab leader in the 1960s, Egypt's decision to make peace with Israel and ally with the United States, the subsequent assassination of Sadat in 1981, and the revolution that overthrew Mubarak. Read more »


From the Pages of Foreign Affairs Magazine

Evolve or Expire

Tarek Osman

In the coming weeks and years, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood will likely undergo a painful internal struggle between those who want to give in to victimhood and respond to violence with violence and those who realize that it is time to move on. The result will almost certainly be the group's fragmentation. Read More on »

Controlling the Arab Street

Rodger Owen

The generals who now run Egypt are not the first Arab rulers to fear the power of those seeking to use open spaces to demand change—and they know how to stop them. This time around, though, the Muslim Brotherhood is prepared. Read More on »

Sisi's Islamist Agenda

Robert Springborg

Many Egyptians fear that Fattah al-Sisi wants to return Egypt to a familiar style of secular authoritarianism. His record suggests that he may have very different—but equally undemocratic—political intentions: a hybrid regime that would combine Islamism with militarism. Read More on »

For Further Reading

A Primer on the Muslim Brotherhood

Zachary Laub

The future of the Muslim Brotherhood, long Egypt's largest opposition movement and a standard-bearer for Islamist groups around the world, remains uncertain following Mohammed Morsi's fall from power. Read more »

Issue Guide: Egypt's Escalating Crisis editors compiled this must-read list of background and analysis from a variety of sources. Read more »

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