Mapping Egyptian Politics: Where Is Egypt Heading and What Does That Mean for the United States?

RAND Congressional Briefing Series

About the Program

Despite widespread unrest, continued wrangling over the election law, and threats of an opposition boycott, Egypt is scheduled to hold parliamentary elections in the coming months. Egypt's transition has already been punctuated by a series of Islamist victories at the polls. In this presentation, three Egypt experts will take a closer look at what past electoral performance and the current political context say about the Islamists' strength in Egypt and what it means for the United States.

Featured Speakers

Jeffrey Martini is a Middle East analyst at RAND who focuses on political and security challenges in the region. He has carried out extensive fieldwork in Egypt since the 2011 Revolution. Those efforts have culminated in reports on the evolution of Egypt's civil-military relations and the challenge of generational divides within the Muslim Brotherhood. In this session, Martini presents findings from a project on Voting Patterns in Post-Mubarak Egypt, which analyzed electoral returns from all four of the post-Mubarak elections in order to glean insights as to the levels of support for various parties across Egypt's regions.

Michele Dunne is director of the Atlantic Council's Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East. She has served in the White House on the National Security Council staff, on the State Department's Policy Planning Staff and in its Bureau of Intelligence and Research, and as a diplomat in Cairo and Jerusalem. Prior to joining the Atlantic Council, Dunne was a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where she edited the Arab Reform Bulletin and carried out research on Arab politics and U.S. policies. Her research interests include Arab politics, political transitions, economic reform, Egypt, Israeli-Palestinian issues, and U.S. and European policies in the Middle East. She co-chairs the Working Group on Egypt, a bipartisan group of experts established in February 2010 to mobilize U.S. government attention to the forces of change in that country.

Samer S. Shehata is an assistant professor of Arab politics at the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University. He teaches courses on Arab and Middle East politics, Islamist politics, Egyptian politics, U.S. foreign policy toward the Middle East, and other subjects. His first book, Shop Floor Culture and Politics in Egypt, was published by the State University of New York Press in 2009. The American University in Cairo Press published a Middle East edition of the book in 2010. Shehata is also the editor of Islamist Politics in the Middle East: Movements and Change (Routledge, 2012). He has been a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley's Center for Middle Eastern Studies and has received fellowships from the Social Science Research Council, the Ford Foundation, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. In 2009, he was selected as a Carnegie Scholar for his work on Islamist politics.

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