The Arab Spring of 2011 swept Hosni Mubarak from power in Egypt. The military took control of the country until elections could be held and a constitution ratified.
On 15 April 2013, the Cairo Criminal Court ruled in favor of Mubarak’s appeal of charges for killing protesters in January 2011 (Nouran, 27 April 2013). He obtained a release order because he had been detained for longer than the legal duration of two years for preventive custody. However, he continued to be held on charges of financial corruption, having amassed a fortune exceeding the capabilities of his legitimate earnings.
Mohamed Morsi was inaugurated as president on 30 June 2012 in what was widely regarded as Egypt’s first democratic election. One year later, millions of protesters demanded Morsi’s resignation(Kingsley, 30 June 2013).On 3 July 2013 the army removed him from power (Fleishman and Hassieb, 3 July 2013).
Morsi’s removal was followed by counterprotests and violence, as Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood party clashed with his opponents and the police and army (Michael et al., 5 July 2013; Tait, 5 July 2013).On 8 July 2013, over 50 pro-Morsi protesters were killed, as were 3 members of security forces (Solovieva, 9 July 2013).
There has been much debate, inside and outside Egypt, on whether Morsi’s ouster should be considered a coup or a revolution (e.g.; Farwell and Arakelian, 16 July 2013). Clearly it was both. The Obama Administration in the USA has avoided calling it a coup, because using that term would make it illegal to continue to provide military aid to Egypt’s army (Democracy Now!, 16 July 2013).
The primary strategic interest that western powers have in Egyptian politics is the preservation of Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel (Farwell and Arakelian, 16 July 2013). Because most of the USA’s aid for Egypt goes directly to the military (Democracy Now!, 16 July 2013), the military will continue to be able to operate independently from civilian government and will continue to be the true seat of power.Any election can be followed by a coup, with or without popular support. Democracy in Egypt will not be possible with this degree of foreign intervention.
Democracy Now! 16 July 2013. “The jailers should be jailed”: Sharif Abdel Kouddous on the embrace of Egypt’s military post-Morsi. Democracy Now! http://www.democracynow.org/2013/7/16/the_jailers_should_be_jailed_sharif, accessed 16 July 2013.
El-Behairy, Nouran. 27 April 2013. Court accepts Mubarak’s appeal, Daily News Egypt, http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2013/04/27/court-accepts-mubaraks-appeal/, accessed 28 April 2013.
Farwell, James; and Darby Arakelian. 16 July 2013. Mohamed Morsi Coup: Ditching Morsi was a choice, not a coup. Policymic, http://www.policymic.com/articles/54805/mohamed-morsi-coup-ditching-morsi-was-a-choice-not-a-coup, accessed 16 July 2013.
Fleishman, Jeffrey; and Ingy Hassieb. 3 July 2013. Egyptian army ousts President Mohamed Morsi, Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/middleeast/la-fg-egypt-morsi-20130704,0,5033651.story, accessed 4 July 2013.
Kingsley, Patrick. 30 June 2013. Protesters across Egypt call for Mohamed Morsi to go. The Guardian, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/30/mohamed-morsi-egypt-protests, accessed 1 July 2013.
Michael, Maggie; Sarah El Deeb; and Lee Keath. 5 July 2013. Clashes erupt in major pushback by Egypt Islamists, Associated Press, accessed on 5 July 2013 at http://news.yahoo.com/clashes-erupt-major-pushback-egypt-islamists-192005534.html.
Solovieva, Daria. 9 July 2013. How Mohammed Morsi’s ouster in Egypt may help radicalize Islamists. International Business Times, http://www.ibtimes.com/how-mohammed-morsis-ouster-egypt-may-help-radicalize-islamists-1337341, accessed 9 July 2013.
Tait, Robert. 5 July 2013. Egypt crisis: Mohamed Morsi supporters shot dead as they march on military barracks, The Telegraph, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/egypt/10162440/Egypt-crisis-Mohamed-Morsi-supporters-shot-dead-as-they-march-on-military-barracks.html, accessed 7 July 2013.