Five years since the uprisings in Tahrir Square, Egypt has seemingly come full circle. With the Muslim Brotherhood crushed, the non-Islamist opposition shattered, civic groups demoralized, and a new military regime that enjoys significant popular support, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s rule appears secure. But how secure is Egypt?
Beneath the facade of stability lies a far more challenging reality. With a population of over 90 million, the country is facing systemic political and economic problems. Frustrations are growing with the government’s lack of vision, while the Islamic State and other radical groups are actively seeking to exploit social and political tensions. Meanwhile, the U.S. assessment of Egypt’s strategic importance is starting to change. Once a key pillar of America’s regional security alliances, today the country’s power and influence is greatly diminished. Given the new threats posed by sub-state groups to the security of the Egyptian public and homeland, the annual U.S. transfers of $1.5 billion to Egypt’s military seem woefully anachronistic.
With a potential new crisis looming, what are America’s best options to help Egypt secure itself in this new era? On February 23, Hudson Institute convened a lunchtime panel with top Egypt analysts Samuel Tadros, Michael Wahid Hanna, Amy Hawthorne, and Mokhtar Awad. Hudson Senior Fellow Eric Brown moderated the discussion.