by Hesham Shafick
Hesham Shafick is a teaching fellow at Queen Mary University of London.
Recent contentious events in Egypt have invited debates over the resilience/fragility of the Egyptian regime. While the ‘regime resilience’ thesis remains the most persistent, the fall of Mubarak’s regime so easily in 2011 gave rise to theories tending towards the other extreme of ‘regime fragility’, with the return of authoritarian rule in 2013 bringing the issue of resilience back to the fore. This article reviews two recent monographs that transform this binary deadlock, Sara Salem’s Anticolonial afterlives in Egypt and Amy Austin Holmes’ Coups and revolutions. These works argue that the authoritarian regime of contemporary Egypt is simultaneously fragile and resilient since it relies on financial rather than political networks to consolidate its power. The lack of a political base renders the regime fragile, while the financial networks that it serves sustain its resilience. Viewed from this perspective, the revolution of 2011 and the coup of 2013 are reconceived as manifestations of the same financial politics that constituted the historical bloc.
The article can be found in The Review of African Political Economy at https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/03056244.2021.1862557