Chapter 10: Leadership in Egypt
Gillian Rice INTRODUCTION The importance of Egypt in the Middle East and in the world has been much analysed in the aftermath of the unrest and revolutions which spread through the region and led Hosni Mubarak to step down on 11 February 2011. The nature of leadership in Egypt has also been scrutinized as never before. The strong man has been toppled by the unempowered, the old guard by the young, the traditionalist by the technologically aware. In all this the army was almost a spectator, stepping in after Mubarak’s departure to take control with a commitment to oversee a transition to free and fair elections: there is something appealingly symbolic about a revolution organized through social networks and taking place in full view not only of the world’s media, but also in sight of the Cairo museum, repository of 5000 years of Egyptian history. Whatever the future of national leadership in Egypt, the repercussions for the future role of the army, of the young, of communications technology and of external powers, remains to be seen – as do the implications for other states now troubled with violence, including Algeria, Bahrain, Iran, Jordan and Libya. Egypt has long held a central position in the Middle East. The fact that it is home to the League of Arab States gives Egypt considerable political influence. Egypt also exerts cultural influence over the region in at least three ways: first, through its historically strong publishing and film industries; second, through its status as an...
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