2011 Egyptian Revolution: Analysis

Topic: Government
Words: 4462 Pages: 16


The Arabs Uprising that began in Tunisia in December 2010 significantly reshaped the whole history of the Middle East. Though the wave of the uprising started in Tunisia, it swiftly spread to most Arab countries in a few months. As a result, the socio-political structures of these Arab countries, therefore, began to change, influencing international associations. Due to the Arabs uprising, Tunisia’s Ben Ali, Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, and Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi were all overthrown. Moreover, other Arabs countries that felt the impact of this wave upraising, including Syria and Yemen, were immersed in deadly civil wars demanding change in political and governance systems to nurture democracy. This fallout in Arabs countries persisted, and the occupied countries like Egypt went through several transformations and changes that were meant to stabilize and bring democracy. The 2011 unrest nurtured grounds for more civil wars, and the Gulf States anticipated eruptions as Islamic states were on a steady rise. Egypt was considered a regional power and was an icon for regional stability. Therefore, the Middle East largely depended on Egypt’s outcome in its search for peace and democracy.

Understanding the destabilization and political hurdles of the Middle East, it is, therefore, essential to examine changes that occur in Egypt due to the 2011 revolution. These include the overthrowing of Egypt’s democratically elected president by the military and the resignation of Mubarak in 2011. Egypt, for example, has gone through a series of transitions following the Arab uprising. First, Mubarak was forced to resign and forcefully moved out of office by the military. Moreover, the Islamic rule in Egypt resulted in a mass demonstration against Mohamed Morsi, and the result was his removal from his presidential seat in 2013.

The military rule in Egypt produced a new style of governance that majored in tight control over critical, independent bodies, including the executive, legislature, and judiciary. The military rule, therefore, thwarted Egypt’s move toward attaining democracy. This research, therefore, tries to find out why the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 turned into Military rule and failed to initiate and implement the anticipated changes in political, economic, and social institutions. Moreover, this research builds on the argument that the 2011 Egypt Revolution failed and did not initiate and implement qualitative changes that were thought to improve Egypt’s political, economic, and social systems as it was anticipated. The revolution is somehow seen to have taken the authoritarian and dictatorship leadership that existed before 2011. The only change that characterized the 2011 revolution in Egypt was overthrowing the president, who exemplified the government. In a real sense, military rule and other afterward governance propagated domestic instability, promoting Egypt’s volatility. Therefore, it can be said that the rebellion against President Mubarak did not reshape the political and social structures from what was experienced before.

This research argues that the 2011 revolutions in Egypt failed to initiate successful changes that the Mubarak regime had put in place and affected Egypt’s vast population. According to Barrons (2012), the Mubarak government consisted of powerful elites who exploited the state and were against proposed democratic changes. Again, the Mubarak foundation, such as the army, was made up of the central Egyptian political and economic leaders affiliating with the regime. Therefore, it was difficult to initiate change because the president and the forces spoke in one voice. Joya (2018) further stated that the existing international support during Mubarak’s reign supported the regime’s transformation by backing the military. The research also pointed out that there was no unity among the revolutionary forces that started the uprising. It is also important to note that the revolutionaries’ lack of coordination, inability, and unpreparedness to sustain the transformation process extensively thwarted the anticipated changes that the 2011 revolutions ought to have brought in Egypt.

Through analysis of the uprising in Egypt and Tunisia, this research hopefully will conclude that the 2011 revolution in Egypt was a complete fail. The conclusion will be arrived at through the analysis of the military role after the Mubarak resigned from the pre-2011 regime. However, both Tunisia and Egypt felt the effect of Arabs’ upraising. The results in their respective countries were different due to the various roles played by the military (Joya, 2018). Several analyses of the 2011 revolution in Egypt reveal that the movement did not lead to a significant change in its political systems compared to Mubarak’s reign in pre-2011. The 2011 Egypt revolt started in January when large masses of protesters were on their feet at Tahrir Square (Joya, 2011). The eruption was due to several factors that faced Egypt, including denied freedom and a low standard of living. Among these factors that need to be changed include unequal distribution of resources, corruption in the government systems, rampant unemployment facing youths, and authoritarian governance.

Egypt’s history records that the 2011 revolution’s purpose ultimately shifted to removing the president from his office. Mubarak had been the president of Egypt for two decades, and he was not willing to retire from politics. Eventually, the first uprising succeeded in overthrowing the democratically elected president out of office, and military officers then ruled Egypt. The military organized a democratic election that handed power to Islamists in late 2012 (Armbrust, 2017). The Islamist rule never lasted, and eruption and unrest engulfed Egypt. The army retook control and organized a new democratic election, handing power to Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. The 2011 revolution in Egypt did not result in any different systems because President Mubarak’s regime systems, institutions, and elites groups in the previous government were not dismantled but formed the basis after the 2011 revolution.

Definition and Cause of Revolution

Revolutionary movements are behind correcting a specific community or country’s problems that affect peaceful human existence. Not all revolutionary movements and attempts succeed; the question here is to determine the practicability of revolutions and the necessary plans and resources needed for a successful revolutionary change. Moreover, research on revolutions has increased people’s knowledge and provided answers pertaining to what causes revolutions and the regimes that are more susceptible to attack by activists. Bush (2007) outlines conditions under which an administration could face public protest led by a courageous activist. Among these reasons are state structures that face increasing pressures, the regime’s inability to accommodate contention due to its adopted nature, and lastly, when many coalitions of revolutionary movements back the argument.

The Arabs uprising is considered one of the major revolutions that have been recognized in the 21st century affecting most Arab countries both in the Middle East and North Africa. According to Bush (2007), poverty, unequal distribution of resources, anarchy, tyranny, unemployment, and dictatorships, among other injustices, marked the Mubarak regime and initiated the 2011 Egypt revolutions to restructure the various institutions in Egypt. Therefore, the activists mobilize millions of citizens to go on the streets to show their frustrations with Mubarak’s regime. The main aim of the 2011 Egypt Revolution was to fight the injustices that were posed to Egypt citizens by their president and affiliated police and army officers. The need for democratic systems and institutions was the leading reason used by activists to mobilize citizens to fight the Mubarak regime to do away with corrupt governments and institutions. The revolution also wanted to stop Mubarak’s long reign and give other potential democratic rulers a chance rather than one family ruling Egypt forever. Therefore, assessing the immediate and long-term outcomes of the 2011 revolution in Egypt tells whether it brought changes to the purported government systems and other political systems such as policing.

Framing the Egyptian Uprising

The main reason for Arabs uprising in Egypt was to earn democracy for the citizens. However, the event barely brought fulfillment as political, economic, and social structures in Egypt were concerned. Indeed the event led to the resignation of Egypt’s authoritarian President Mubarak, and the event brought nearly no qualitative changes in the country. According to Boduszyński (2019), the 2011 revolution in Egypt had nothing to do with reforms but change with the ruling personnel who picked from Mubarak’s authoritative style of governance. This report presents that president Mubarak was deposed by its military, who were part of his rule and propagated its leadership style. Saidin (2018) further comments and suggests that it could have been better if the revolution had dismantled the previous Mubarak regime with its affiliates to restructure the political systems, among other vital institutions, efficiently. According to Saidin (2018), the government remained intact despite Mubarak’s resignation. This is explained by Stramer-Smith and Hartshorn (2020) because the political and socio-economic institutions founded by Mubarak’s government were intact and operational. Due to this fact, the 2011 revolution in Egypt faced challenges from the exited political structures that were adamant about embracing change.

Previous researches on this matter also agree that most elite groups that had closed affiliation with the deposed president were still in offices propagating the leadership style culminated by their master. Other research has recommended that for a successful revolution in today’s world, the current regimes or the ruling must be appropriately dismantled, especially the core apparatus. For example, the military and the police institution must be properly dealt with because they play essential roles in the country. According to Holmes and Koehler (2018), both the army and the lack of a large coalition of revolutionary masses led to the failure of the 2011 revolution in Egypt. This research acknowledges the reluctance of the military and other elites to change the existing structure in Egypt and eventually thwarting the revolution’s success.

Although Mubarak was deposed, his products which were the political affiliates, remained in power and hence propagated his style of ruling, hindering the success of the 2011 revolution. The result of the 2011 revolutions after Mubarak’s resignation was thus a weak state with weakened security apparatus (Holmes & Koehler, 2018). Other previous studies on the African political economy linked the failure of the 2011 revolution in Egypt to the solid political elites that have been in place for over 30 years of President Mubarak’s reign. Over the 30 years, the president did not consider forming his government with the regime challengers (Holmes & Koehler, 2018). The president was keen on preserving its political systems and institutions, and after his ouster, his political institutions were intact and functional.

Mubarak’s political system and economic institution in Egypt were resilient and were quite strong despite the resignation of the president. As such, the revolution led to the removal of President Mubarak, but its influence was still propagated through the systems he built during his 30 years of reign. Holmes and Koehler (2018) attribute the failure of the 2011 revolution in Egypt to unconsolidated revolutionary masses that failed to push qualitative changes after they had forced President Mubarak to resign. Moreover, De Smet (2020) further reports that the military became the most robust barrier to regime change since they took over power after the president was deposed. Therefore, Egypt’s military is claimed to be the biggest obstacle that led to the ultimate failure of the 2011 revolution. Hence, in understanding the revolution’s collapse, it is necessary to examine the military’s role after the president’s resignation.

Military Role During the Egyptian Uprising and Transition Period

The Egypt military units significantly contributed to the failure of the 2011 revolution. Understanding Egypt’s uprising calls for understanding the military roles during the period. Moreover, it is also necessary to trace the Egyptian military’s role in society and other political and economic institutions. According to Pratt and Rezk (2019), Egypt’s military units have a lot to do with many occurrences in Egypt. For example, the military was involved in the coup d’état in 2013. Without military involvement, this could not have been recorded in history. Generally, the army influences and are responsible for prominent roles in both political and economic system not only in Arabs states but also in other countries of the world. According to El Shehaby et al. (2018), military roles in various countries of the world are what make them successful—as such, having well-organized army structures are suitable for a country. In simpler words, the political performance of individual countries depends on the army that it nurtures.

One function of the army during the 2011 revolution and the transition period was a source of Egypt’s primary cohesive force. Egypt’s army had been used before to change the colonial regime in most Arab inhabited countries, including Syria, Yemen, and Tunisia (Boduszyński, 2019). Moreover, the army could also be used as a strong opposition force against the government in cases when opposition parties lack the courage and power to criticize the current regime’s governance systems. This mainly happened in the 1950s when the army officers removed King Farooq from his seat in 1952 (El shehaby et al., 2018). Australian National University (2020) further reinstated that the military can seize power from the sitting president through a coup. Therefore, during the 2011 confrontation in Egypt, the fate of the land lay in the hands of military men who were to make decisions after the president had resigned from his office since they took over the governmental functions. Therefore, the selection of military men is vital because all political systems and other institutions in a country solely depend on the military units to complete the assigned task, such as safeguarding and overseeing the country’s boundaries against invasion.

The military also acts as a watchtower on the president’s governance on behalf of the citizens. For example, El shehaby et al. (2018) argues that the army toppled King Farooq in 1952 not because they were hungry for power, nor did they have any experience in governing the empires. They only overthrew the king because they wanted to be free of colonial rule and terminate the notorious corrupt monarchical regimes. The military coup typically comes with reforms that address public concerns and quick delivery of what the masses demand. Therefore, the deposition of President Mubarak by the military in 2013 was not the first ouster done by Egypt’s military unit because the unit had done so in 1952 (El shehaby et al., 2018). As noted in the other research works, the coup of 1952 resulted in agrarian reforms that were the core issue causing the confrontation. Therefore, the coup of 1952 formed the basis of military function and shaped the military’s role in present-day Egypt.

However, for the presidents to maintain civil-military balance, the five presidents of Egypt must have had to deal with the army. According to Badran (2014), controlling the military units gives the presidents an easy time avoiding unnecessary coups. Many presidents and commander in chief of most military soldiers appoints the most trusted and competent commandos for their military. This is critical because the military can organize coups against the sitting president as long as they all speak in one voice. Therefore, it could be argued that the army formed a massive barrier to the success of the 2011 revolution in Egypt.

Generally, a country’s military also plays a crucial role as the economy is concerned. In this line, the Egyptian army had an essential role in the economy of Egypt during the movement of 2011. According to Allinson (2019), the military defines all economic well-being of a country because it can confront the government when its actions are not applicable. In the case of Egypt, the previous reports say the military was involved in crony capitalist engagement. Armbrust (2017) further found that the Egypt military formation was full of economist elites whose main interest was protected by businesses. Therefore, the military in Egypt had established a business empire that was responsible for about 15-35 percent of Egypt’s gross domestic income (Armbrust, 2017). Hence, deposing the President Mubarak without making substantial changes in the military was just a mere joke that could not enhance the quality of Egypt’s political and economic systems. This research found that over the last 20 years, Egypt’s military has been inactively involved in economic influence and has ventured into critical sectors like the energy and heavy machinery manufacturing fields.

During the transitional period, the military in Egypt expanded the country’s economy by launching various joint ventures. For example, De Smet (2020) acknowledged the move of Egypt’s military heads in partnering with transnational companies that were the key makers in the Egyptian economy. Hence, Egypt’s military formed the largest stakeholder as Egypt’s economy was concerned. Thus, bringing changes in political and economic systems in Egypt was a nightmare for the protester because the military was part and parcel of the ruling regime. Pratt and Rezk (2019) further reports that in the last reign of President Mubarak, Ahmed Nazif and the prime minister by then launched privatization, and the military thwarted the move. Therefore, the military plays a significant role in changing a country’s political and economic system.

The Military Role in the 2011 Uprising and After Mubarak’s Resignation

Egypt’s military had roles to play after President Mubarak had been forced to resign from office by angry millions of protesters. The current regime in Egypt dates back to Nasser’s, which has been proved to be stable and viable in modern Egypt (Pratt & Rezk, 2019). As history records, the 2011 revolution in Egypt did not interfere with President Mubarak’s political and economic systems despite his ouster. However, the military of Egypt did not participate in President Mubarak’s deposition. The whole process was conducted by Egypt activists who could mobilize the citizens to express their frustration with the government and other institutions (Saidin, 2018). After the president was forced to resign, the council of armed forces (CAF) of Egypt had the chance to seize power and take charge of Egypt. According to El shehaby et al. (2018), the main aim and purpose of CAF in Egypt during the political crisis was to oversee the transition and ensure a free and fair election. In other words, it was the responsibility of the military to initiate a move toward creating a democratic nation.

During the 2011 revolution, Egypt was in a political predicament as well as other Arabs states countries like Libya and Sudan. During 2011 and after the president’s resignation, the CAF found it unworthy to grant civilian power as they anticipated chaos but held power to themselves (Joya, 2011). Stramer-Smith and Hartshorn (2020) further report that the military viewed Egypt’s political parties as self-centered and could transform the devastated country into a more significant turmoil that was unnecessary during the political crisis. However, the Muslim Brotherhood was the only political force trusted by the military during this time of political turmoil. According to Holmes and Koehler (2018), the Egypt military was afraid of the Islamic states and could not grant them power. However, the military took responsibility for all country’s political and economic institutions, making it difficult for the 2011 revolution to initiate qualitative changes. Therefore, the roles assumed by the military during the political crisis significantly led to the failure of the 2011 revolution in Egypt.

Although the CAF was viewed as the protector of Egypt’s revolution, it was somehow the counter forces to the revolution. In 2012, the CAF seized power from President Mohamed Morsi amid another eruption of protesters against Morsi’s regime (Pratt & Rezk, 2019). According to De Smet (2020), the CAF assumed all power positions for more than one year after the 2011 uprising movement. The military was able to contain the countries despite the looming unrest. However, other accusations exist that the CAF delayed in handing power to a civilian government and, in the process, discouraged the ongoing demonstration against military rule through brutal acts. This was contrary to what was expected by the activists who organized and mobilized the masses to fight for their rights and to end dictatorship in the country.

After the resignation of President Mubarak, the military rules marked another season of unrest in Egypt. According to Boduszyński (2019), military power fitted Mubarak’s leadership style. Instead of changing the political and economic structures in the country, the military just changed the leadership personnel without achieving democracy which was the main aim of the 2011 revolution. Hence, the revolution failed because the country’s problems had not been resolved despite President Mubarak’s resignation. The Muslim Brotherhood rule, which the military trusted again, was not welcome by the activists. Furthermore, the masses were on the street, showing their frustration with the regime’s political systems. With President Morsi’s attempt to change the military structure in his favor, the army joined hands with the public and overthrew Morsi (Nugent & Berman, 2018). Therefore, Egypt’s military is responsible for everything that occurred in Egypt during this crisis, and the failure to successfully secure qualitative changes in political systems is partly their contribution.

Roadblocks to Democratic Transition in Egypt

The eruption of Arabs uprising in the Middle East and other Arabs countries was mainly triggered by the need to acquire democratic systems. According to Sprengel (2019), the Middle East and other Arabs countries are for a long time known to exhibit authoritarian governments. Ketterer (2022) further found that most Arab countries did not follow the path to democratization between 1980 and the 1990s after the disbanding of the Soviet Union. Therefore, it was believed that the Arabs uprising would give way to democratization. However, it is recorded that the first uprising in Tunisia dragged the country into turbulence and political instability leading to the deaths of many citizens. Eom (2020) acknowledged that moving from an authoritarian to a democratic government is difficult and complicated. The previous research on revolutions indicated that a solid and coherent state apparatus is the main roadblock to regime structures change. Therefore, the 2011 revolutions failed in Egypt because the military was an essential part of Mubarak’s regime. It guaranteed security and stability in the country, and after the president’s resignation, the military took over power and held it for some time.

Although several researchers consider the 2011 revolution in Egypt as failed movement, the revolution brought some significant changes as Egypt’s political history is concerned. Before the revolution, Egypt struggled under the long reign of President Mubarak, who had authority over the country for 30 years. The end of this reign is attributed to the 2011 revolution organized by activists and angry citizens who went on the street presenting their frustration with Mubarak’s regime. Due to escalated protests in Tahrir Square in Cairo, the president was forced to resign to contain the uncontrollable civilians. Moreover, the 2011 revolution also led to resignation of the prime minister, a close affiliate of the president. Another important achievement of the 2011 revolution was introducing a multiparty system. During the Mubarak’s reign, the ruling party, the National Democratic Party (NDP), was the only party to alleviate competition during elections. With the revolution of 2011, the party was dissolved and gave birth to a multiparty political system.

2011 revolution in Egypt also is the mother of democracy that Egyptians enjoy today. According to Sprengel (2019), the corrupt systems and government officials, including the prime ministers and Mubarak’s family members, were arrested and prosecuted. This act can be attributed to the modern democracy witnessed in Egypt today. Furthermore, a democratic election after the revolution was adopted in Egypt for the first time where the presidents and other officials were elected, and the people’s will was respected. The 2011 revolution also redefined the role of both police and army forces. During the Mubarak’s reign, the two forces were used to suppress the current regime’s challengers and competitors. After the revolution, the police and the army were expected to reinforce law and order and deal with criminal activities besides protecting Egypt’s boundaries from external attacks.

Moreover, the 2011 revolution was also concerned about electoral fraud that existed in Egypt. Over the 30 years, elections were not held fairly and were manipulated in favor of the President Mubarak. Therefore, 2011 demanded changes in laws to govern the electoral process and to end the single-party system that Mubarak’s regime established. At the end of the 2011 revolution, Egypt held a democratic election that placed President Morsi as the head of state (Sprengel, 2019). Therefore, since the 2011 revolution is considered to have failed, the movement brought slight changes in Egypt’s political systems that are still seen in the government today.


The 2011 revolution in Egypt, to a greater extent, is considered a failed mission. Several types of research provide vital insights and information that conclude that the revolution ultimately failed. The first reason to prove the research findings is that those actively involved in this movement could not secure government positions and power. The main aim of the 2011 revolution in Egypt was to initiate qualitative changes in political and economic systems structures that Mubarak’s regime had built to pave the way for democracy. The anticipated changes were not fulfilled at the end of this movement, hence a failed revolution. Although the revolution aided the president’s deposing from his office, several political systems and institutions remained intact, hindering the revolution’s success. Moreover, after the president’s resignation, the country had several protests opposing the Islamic and military rule, clearly showing that the revolution did not achieve its objectives despite forcing the Mubarak out of office. This research paper has scrutinized and analyzed several articles concerning the 2011 revolution in Egypt, and the finding proves that the revolution was a failed one.

Several factors have also been found to have influenced the success of the 2011 revolution in Egypt. Previous research on the revolutions first gives the reasons for the 2011 revolution. This, according to the research findings, show that Egypt was under authoritarian leadership under President Mubarak for 30 years. The rules adopted by Mubarak killed all democratic movements by the activists. The president brutalized the citizens through police excessive use of force, among other atrocities. Other factors that led to the 2011 revolution in Egypt were the high cost of living, poverty and unequal distribution of resources, unemployment, and lack of freedom of speech. The research also investigated the role of the Egyptian military during and after the 2011 revolution. The finding reveals that the army was the most significant barrier to revolution success because the president used the military to suppress the protesters. Moreover, after the resignation of Mubarak, the military held power and ruled Egypt for some time until another protest came in against the military rule.

This research on the 2011 revolution in Egypt has found that the movement failed to secure the anticipated qualitative changes in the political systems and economic institutions. Moreover, though the protesters managed to force President Mubarak from the office, they lacked the momentum to steer on and push for changes in the core government apparatus, which was responsible for their failure. However, the revolution brought some minute differences in Egypt, including a multiparty system, election laws and the end of monarchical leadership.


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