The Middle East Channel

Egypt’s January 25 Redux

Egypt’s January 25 Redux

On January 25, 2011 on the Middle East Channel, Ashraf Khalil marveled from the streets of Cairo about "sheer size of the turnout, which was larger than anything I’ve seen in 13 years of covering Egyptian protests." From Washington, I pushed back against skeptics who doubted that Tunisia’s revolution would spread to Egypt, as I noted that, "the images and stories of protests today have been impressive, both in numbers and in energy and enthusiasm. The Egyptians are self-consciously emulating the Tunisian protests, seeking to capitalize on the new mood within the Arab world."

Over the following 18 days, the Middle East Channel published a remarkable range of analysis and commentary about the unfolding Egyptian revolution. It featured not only outstanding reporting from the ground but also incisive analysis from the Middle East Studies academic community — who stepped up in a big way to help inform public debate at a critical time. Nathan Brown, Shadi Hamid, Sherif Mansour, Emad Shahin and Daniel Brumberg assessed Washington’s response. Vickie Langhor called on the Obama administration to side with Egyptian democracy, as did Tarek Masoud, Ellen Lust and Amaney Jamal. Geneive Abdo pushed back against those who saw echoes of Tehran 1979. Helena Cobban talked to the Muslim Brotherhood, Ellis Goldberg checked in with the business community, while MEC co-editor Daniel Levy surveyed the implications for Israeli-Egyptian relations.

Nathan Brown laid out the Egyptian constitution’s rulebook for change, while Tamir Moustafa asked whether Egypt needed a new constitution to have a revolution. Michael Hanna laid out the reasons to doubt Mubarak’s intentions. Sheila Carapico shrewdly observed how al-Jazeera’s relentless focus on Tahrir framed understandings of the revolution. In one of Foreign Policy’s most widely read, and arguably prescient, early contributions, Robert Springborg warned that the military’s role in the transition meant that by February 2 the chance for democracy in Egypt had already been lost. Ambassador David Mack warned observers to curb their enthusiasm. I offered a stream of commentary from Washington. And all of this is only a small part of what appeared on Foreign Policy over those critical weeks. 

This week, the Middle East Channel is proud to offer a wide range of commentary looking at an Egypt one year after the outbreak of the revolution. Among the highlights, including a few from last month for perspective: 

More is coming over the course of the day, and I’ll update the post as those pieces go live.