Egypt’s Revolutionary Coup

The Arab Spring was never expected to be a linear process, or a Middle Eastern version of Central Europe’s non-violent democratic revolutions in 1989. Egypt, where the military's hijacking of the revolution has reignited mass protest, is a case in point.

MADRID – How revolutions unfold depends on many factors, including a country’s socio-economic structure, its particular historical traditions, and sometimes the role of foreign powers. So the Arab Spring was never expected to be a linear process, or a Middle Eastern version of Central Europe’s non-violent democratic revolutions of 1989. Egypt is a case in point.

The structure of revolutions in non-industrialized societies has almost invariably comprised a succession of revolutionary and counter-revolutionary waves. The toppling of the old regime under the weight of a popular upsurge is usually only the beginning of a struggle for control of the revolution’s direction.

The leaderless movement of angry young Egyptians that occupied Tahrir Square in February 2011 was motivated by two major grievances: decades of humiliation under autocratic rule, and a general impatience with the promise of a “democratic transition” based on a tortuous process of reform that never affected the underlying power structure.

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