Islamists and Secularists in Egypt
Opposition, Conflict & Cooperation
By Dina Shehata
Routledge – 2010 – 180 pages
In a detailed analysis of the continued survival of authoritarian governments in the Arab world, this book uses Egypt as a case study to address the timely and complex issue of democratization in the Middle East.
This book examines how relations between different actors in the Egyptian opposition have contributed to the endurance of authoritarianism in Egypt over the past three decades. The author argues that the longevity of the authoritarian government is not only a function of the strength and cohesion of the regime, but is also related to the weaknesses and divisions between opposition groupings, particularly between Islamists and non-Islamists. Looking at how such ideological differences and mobilizational asymmetries have impeded successful cooperation between different opposition groups, and how this allows the authoritarian regime to successfully ensure its continued hegemony, the author illustrates the extent to which opposition strategies profoundly affect successful transitions to democracy in the Arab world.
Highlighting the main obstacles to democratic political reform in the region, the author provides important insights for the promotion of democracy in the region which will be a valuable addition to the literature on Middle Eastern politics and government.
1. Introduction 2. The Egyptian Political System from Full Autocracy under Nasser to Liberalized Autocracy under Sadat and Mubarak 3. Islamists and Non-Islamists in the Egyptian Opposition 4. Alliance Building between Islamists and Non-Islamists In the Egyptian Opposition 5. Cycles of Conflict and Cooperation between Islamists and Non-Islamists In the Opposition 6. Opposition Cohesion in Comparative Perspective
Dina Shehata is a senior researcher at Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Cairo. She received her PhD in Comparative Politics from Georgetown University in 2008. Her research interests include issues of authoritarianism, political reform and liberalization in the Arab world.