Baudouin Long


De 2001 à 2006, l’Egypte a été soumise à des pressions considérables par les Etats-Unis dans le cadre de la politique de « transformational diplomacy » mise en place par l’administration Bush. Cependant, le régime égyptien a réussi à se maintenir sans se réformer véritablement. Les protestations du régime face à l’ingérence américaine ont rapidement été suivies par la mise en place d’un agenda de réformes en Egypte ainsi que dans le monde arabe. Moubarak a essayé de rassembler les Etats arabes autour de projets communs pour encourager une démocratisation de l’intérieur et non imposée par les Etats-Unis. En dépit des déclarations de Moubarak les réformes n’ont été qu’un faux-semblant et le régime a manipulé l’ouverture pour envoyer un message aux Etats-Unis : « si ce n’est pas nous, ce seront les islamistes ».


From 2001 to 2006, Egypt had undergone strong pressure from the US in the framework of the “transformational diplomacy” set up by the Bush Administration. Nonetheless, the Mubarak regime managed to maintain with little genuine change. Mubarak’s dismissal of US interference in Arab affairs had rapidly been followed by Egyptian endeavours to promote a reform agenda in Egypt as well as in the Arab world. Mubarak tried to gather the Arab states around common projects designed to prompt democracy from within. Notwithstanding Mubarak’s declarations, reforms have not been genuine and the regime manipulated the overture to send a signal to the West: “if not us, the Islamists”.


« The great and proud nation of Egypt has shown the way toward peace in the Middle East, and now should show the way toward democracy in the Middle East »[*]

« Our people, whose civilization is 7,000 years old, does not expect and does not need to expect, others to give it lessons in democracy or in anything else. Therefore, attempts to impose democracy from outside will fail »[**]

In the wake of the September 11th 2001 terrorist attacks, Bush’s administration radically changed its agenda in the Middle East and launched a ‘transformational diplomacy’ designed to set up democratic governments in the Middle East[1]. Thomas Carother, studying US democracy promotion, affirmed that Egypt had been the main target of this policy among the United States’ Arab allies[2].

However, almost a decade after 9/11, nothing has really changed under Mubarak’s rule. This raises the question of his regime’s reaction to US pressures for democratization. How did a regime whose leader stood in power for 20 years react to such a policy change ?

First of all, it is important to briefly focus on the new American foreign policy towards the Middle East brought about by 9/11 and to understand why Egypt had been under particular pressure. On the one hand, Egypt answered this tension by an active and vocal diplomacy, dismissing US calls for democratisation, denouncing interference in its internal affairs. On the other hand, Egypt also sought to convince the US that it was a primary ally for the US in the Middle East and seemed to yield to US pressure by launching its own programme of reform. Nevertheless, reforms had not been genuine and aimed principally at waning US strain.

9/11 and the new American approach towards Egypt

When he was elected, Georges W. Bush’s line in foreign policy matters was non-interventionist as it was defined by Colin Powell: « The United States stands ready to assist, not to insist »[3]. The attacks perpetrated by Al-Qaeda on September 11th, 2001 entailed a radical change in strategy and the neoconservative views became pre-eminent in Washington. According to Gilles Kepel, they considered, long before 9/11, that the US must use its position of sole superpower to ‘radically transform the new world order'[4] in order to expand ‘the American democratic model into the Middle East'[5]. 9/11 was to give them the opportunity to implement their views. Up to the 2000s, as noted by Henry Laurens, the US had turned a blind eye to the lack of democracy of their Arab allies regimes, mainly Egypt and Saudi Arabia. In exchange for non-interference in their internal affairs, these states had backed US interests in the region (oil, Israel’s security, counter-terrorism)[6].

Rapidly after 9/11, links between the rise of radical Islamism, the lack of democracy and individual freedom in the Arab world had been underlined[7]:

‘Islamism is a reaction to the denial of the right to self determination. The lack of democratic institutions and the absence of governments that operate under the law and for the well-being of the people in the region are identified as major causes of backwardness.'[8]

In the years following 9/11, the features of a new democracy promotion policy rapidly took shape. This new policy which put democratisation at its heart is clearly illustrated by several speeches given by the American president. Thus, on February 26, 2003, he declared to the American Enterprise Institute, a neoconservative think tank, that

‘The world has a clear interest in the spread of democratic values, because stable and free nations do not breed the ideologies of murder. (…) the Arab states will be expected to meet their responsibilities to oppose terrorism, to support the emergence of a peaceful and democratic Palestine (…)'[9]

Later on, in a major speech to the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), Bush made clear this new policy:

‘Sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe (…) Therefore, the United States has adopted a new policy, a forward strategy of freedom in the Middle East.'[10]

This last speech has been considered by some scholars to be the starting point of this policy. At this time, Daniel Pipes wrote that the ‘Presidential oratory is the appropriate place to start [a new foreign policy]'[11]. Naturally, it was not the first time that the Bush administration called upon democracy enhancement but it marked a start in further endeavours to promote democracy in the Middle East and especially in Egypt.[12]

In this context, Egypt has been immediately under scrutiny. Since 9/11, it has been made clear that Egypt was indeed one of the main sources of radical Islamism and that many terrorists of Al-Qaeda were Egyptian as well as its main ideologue, Ayman Al-Zawihri. On  September 20, 2001 President Bush stated to the Congress that Al-Qaeda was ‘linked to many other organizations in different countries, including the Egyptian Islamic Jihad'[13]. It was also noted that Mubarak’s violent crushing of the Islamists and the 20 years of governing with emergency laws had bolstered radicalism[14].

By and large the US ‘strategy of freedom in the Middle East’ has not been more than talk with the noticeable exception of Egypt[15]. But there were particular reasons for focusing on Egypt. From the time when Sadat chose to conclude peace with Israel until the 1990s, Egypt had been the major Arab ally of the US[16]. The US had massively funded Egyptian government to encourage peace. In 2005, the amount of the sole US direct assistance since the 1970s had reached $60 billion[17]. This assistance was the guarantee that Egypt would respect the Peace treaty. Such alliance was crucial for the US until the collapse of the USSR. Yet, since the 1990s, the Arab world started to follow Egypt in the path for peace and the US increased its relations with other Arab states like Morocco, Qatar and Jordan. In addition, Egypt’s support for peace negotiations weakened after the second intifada. Therefore, the Egyptian alliance had progressively lost its precedence in American eyes and it was even perceived as a burden rather than a useful partnership[18].

The US used several tools to put pressure on Egypt. The Bush administration first adopted a public line encouraging democratisation in the Middle East and they ‘believe that this public line both creates pro-democratic pressure on governments in the region and encourages or even inspires ordinary citizens to push for positive political change'[19]. Thus, Bush called several times, in official addresses, for Egypt to accept a reform agenda and follow the way of democracy. In his 2003 speech to the NED, he declared that ‘The great and proud nation of Egypt has shown the way toward peace in the Middle East, and now should show the way toward democracy in the Middle East'[20]. He made a similar call in his speech on the State of Union in February 2005.[21] In addition to direct pressures, Bush’s Administration established pro-reform aid programmes, such as the Middle East Partnership Initiative in 2002 or the G8 Greater Middle East initiative in 2004.[22] They were supposed to foster and financially support democratic reforms.

From then on, the question we raise is not how the Egyptian government managed to force the US to abandon their project. In fact, Egyptian deeds are not the sole reason for US dereliction of the democracy requirement at the end of 2006, but how did Mubarak react to this pressure and which strategy did he develop to maintain power facing American democratisation policies ?

Egypt rebuffed US policy

Egyptian denunciation of US internal interference

As a rule, Egyptian officials remained wary in their statements vis-à-vis US policy for democratisation. Mubarak often adopted a moderate stance, justifying US global war on terror (GWOT) and assessing positively US endeavours to ‘activate the peace process in the Middle East’, at least in 2001 and 2002[23]. Nevertheless, as the pressures became more intense, the Egyptian regime began denouncing US democracy promotion. Even if the tone was still diplomatic, American will to impose democracy from without was condemned without ambiguity. Thus, the Egyptian regime affirmed on several occasions that any plan of reform should be agreed by the Arabs first. It also used the situation in Iraq and Palestine to redirect criticisms towards the US.

At the eve of the operation Iraqi freedom (March 2003), Mubarak’s close advisor on Egyptian national security, Osama el-Baz, in an address to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), expressed clearly Egyptian reluctance to US ‘dictates’:

‘Ultimately, democratization cannot be imposed from outside the region. It cannot be obtained with a prescription from eight thousand miles away (…) Democracy, like any other viable form of government, must be the result of internal evolution, not external dictates’.

Even if he was speaking about Iraq, he barely veiled that his rejection concerned also ‘many other Arab countries’. He also called the US to be involved further in the Israeli-Arab peace process: ‘the United States must make a firm commitment to stand with Egypt and other nations that are engaged in the peace effort'[24].

Indeed, one of the most frequent objections raised by Egyptian officials to US efforts to promote democracy had been the Palestinian issue. The US had been accused of supporting Ariel Sharon and abandoning the Palestinians. In an open letter to President Bush, a member of the Egyptian parliament thus affirmed: ‘How do you imagine, Mr. President, that your unmasked bias to the most extremist forces in Israel will help democracy in the Middle East and the Arab world ?'[25].

In June 2005, Condoleezza Rice gave a speech in Cairo in which she clearly defined US exigencies towards Egypt’s reforms[26]. This sharp speech had been dismissed by Egyptian officials and Egypt’s foreign Minister answered by pointing out the scandals of prisoners in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay[27].

Democracy promotion and Egyptian cooperation in the Middle East

Even if Egypt’s role in the Global War On Terror (GWOT) is unclear, it is arguable that Egypt displayed its strategic importance to reduce US strain on the reform issue. Jon Alterman, for example argued that the US administration faced a dilemma as it needed Egyptian support to the GWOT and the peace process but was also concerned with the reforms getting bogged down[28].

Egypt was indeed an asset for the US in its global war on terrorism because of its long experience of fighting Islamic radicalism since the assassination of Anwar al Sadat, in 1981, by the radical group Al-Jihad. During the 1990s Egypt had faced a surge of violence from the Islamist movements and crushed them successfully[29]. The US benefited from Egyptian experience and intelligence[30]. Consequently, hundreds of Islamist militants had been arrested throughout the Middle East thanks to Egyptian help[31]. Moreover, US intelligence services also had the opportunity to transfer prisoners to Egypt and use Egyptian jails to interrogate them[32].

Mubarak spared no effort to remind the US of this experience and to affirm he was standing with them against terrorism. In a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in December 2002, he notably stated: ‘We will join hands in fighting terrorism, wherever it may be and whatever its forms'[33].

Regarding the Israeli-Palestinian issue, Egypt intensified its efforts to consolidate its role of mediator. In 2004, Denis Ross assessed in an article for the Washington Post the ‘new’ and ‘unprecedented’ role of Egypt in the peace process. Following Sharon’s decision to withdraw from the Gaza Strip, Egyptians have indeed offered to assume the training and reorganisation of Palestinian security forces[34]. Mubarak also nominated one of his close and influential advisors, General Omar Suleiman to resume the mediation between Israel and the Palestinians. For Jon Alterman, this involvement in Palestinian politics was an attempt to convince the US that Egypt was an essential partner[35].

Window dressing reforms

Arab reform vs. US democracy promotion

Mubarak’s regime went further than denouncing US interference in its internal affairs. Under pressure, Mubarak adopted a compliant tone and grasped the theme of political reform but he adopted his own agenda. Therefore, he rapidly launched an active diplomacy in Egypt and in the region, showing his attentiveness to the implementation of democratic and economic reform, without giving up his condemnation of US interference[36].

The speech he made to the CFR hints at his desire to show his good will regarding US demands:

‘We chose to build an economy that is open, market-based and driven by the private sector. (…) Democracy in Egypt is an ever evolving goal, constantly growing, taking root in our midst, building on a growing maturity and society that, today, knows how to prosper.'[37]

The issue of democracy and reform came out more and more regularly and firmly in Mubarak’s discourses by 2002. At the end of 2002, in a speech at the inauguration of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina he affirmed:

‘our responsibilities as leaders of political, intellectual and scientific work should urge us to promote the values of justice and equality among our people. We should maintain the concepts of democracy, freedom and respect of other people’s opinions.'[38]

Nevertheless, the Bush administration intensified pressure by promoting concrete plans. Mubarak rebuffed them and preferred to advance his own agenda for reforms. In 2004, the US and its European partners set up a new plan to promote democracy, the ‘G8 « Greater Middle East » plan’ of which a copy had been leaked to the press in February 2003. Initially this plan was to be presented in June 2004 at the G8 summit. It was designed to promote free elections (technical assistance) and freedom of the media, but also to fund NGOs, promote economic development and the status of women in society[39]. Mubarak’s immediate reaction had been to reject implicitly this plan. In a statement to the Egyptian press, he declared that ‘anybody believing that the peoples of the region would accept ideas imposed on them from the outside would be just deluding himself'[40].

Nevertheless, the Egyptian president went beyond talks and tried to undermine Bush’s projects by promoting an alternative model for the promotion of democracy in the Middle East. According to Sophie Pommier, he wanted to appear as the leader of Arab reform[41]. Thus, in March 2004, he hosted a conference in Alexandria gathering members of the civil society from 18 Arab countries entitled « Arab Reform Issues: Vision and Implementation ». Mubarak’s inaugural speech was clearly rejecting any interference in Arab affairs while promoting a self-made agenda that should suit the US:

‘All governments and peoples of the Arab region have agreed that our strategy to achieve a better future is based on two main axes: to push forward efforts for modernization and development based on the self-made vision of our Arab societies as well as on the harmony and cohesion between Arab governments and their peoples.(…)'[42]

It is interesting to note that the governmental newspaper Al-Ahram, published an article in April 2004 on « Egyptian vision » that illustrates perfectly Mubarak’s views on reform. The article was published in the English version of Al-Ahram and written by a prominent journalist, Ibrahim Nafie, the former chairman and editor-in-chief of Al-Ahram. Thus, it can be deemed as a ‘subliminal’ message. In this article, Ibrahim Nafie wrote:

‘There is no dispute on reform as a principle, but on its limits, dimensions and pace, as well as on the need to take the particularities of Arab societies into account. The United States should recognise Arab concerns and the fact that reform has to come through inner dialogue. A vision of reform as something that could be « dictated » could only backfire.'[43]

Thereafter, Mubarak brought the reform issue to the Arab League. He failed to obtain the approval of the Arab states to his proposal for the creation of a ‘unified Arab front on the issue of reform'[44]. Nevertheless, following his initiative, the Tunis Summit of the Arab League was held in May 2004 and the Arab states pledged:

‘to pursue reform and modernization in our countries, and to keep pace with the rapid world changes, by consolidating the democratic practice, by enlarging participation in political and public life, by fostering the role of all components of the civil society, including NGOs, in conceiving of the guidelines of the society of tomorrow, by widening women’s participation in the political, economic, social, cultural and educational fields and reinforcing their rights and status in society, and by pursuing the promotion of the family and the protection of Arab youth.'[45]

After the Tunis Summit, Mubarak declared that the G8 draft had not been elaborated in concert with the Arab states and he turned down the invitation to the G8 summit of June 2004.[46]

In addition, Mubarak spared no effort to deny that his endeavour for democracy was a response to US plans. In an interview to the Washington Post in April 2004, he stated that:

‘President Bush’s initiative was not mentioned in Tunis. We heard about it. But we in Egypt made an initiative and put it before the Arab League. Other countries made initiatives of their own (…) Egypt had started its reform some time before President Bush made his initiative. We started maybe seven or eight years ago, (…). Maybe other Arab League members are not so strong, but we have to accept them’.[47]

Later on, in the wake of the constitutional reforms launched in 2005, he repeated his independence vis-à-vis the US and denied again that reforms in Egypt were implemented under US pressure:

‘It is a big mistake to think that the decision was made under a US pressure. The decision was under study for two years and it was supposed to be announced in February last year but was postponed for reasons connected with the country’s economic reforms.'[48]

Organising internal reforms

Furthermore, Mubarak launched several internal reform projects. They were not only prompted by US policy but they were also the consequence of claims from Egyptian society. Nonetheless, it appears that these reforms had not been genuine and a few years later, the Egyptian regime is still far from accepting democratic rules.

Since 2002, the National Democratic Party (NDP, Mubarak’s party) began working on political reforms on various points such as the emergency laws, the introduction of proportional representation or multi-candidate elections[49]. During the Party Congress in 2002, of which the slogan was ‘a new line of thought’, Mubarak stressed the importance of pursuing democracy, although economic reform was still the top priority[50].

In 2005, Mubarak promised to abrogate the Emergency laws that were enforced since 1981. These laws were restricting considerably the basic rights and liberties of the Egyptian people. They allowed the authorities to jail, without charge or warrant, thousands of suspects, to hold special trials that cannot be appealed, to limit speeches and associations. In fact it had become an instrument for cracking down on the opposition[51]. In spite of his pledge, Mubarak extended the emergency law by two more years in April 2006. The pretext he gave was the government needed two years to formulate the new anti-terrorist law that should replace the Emergency law[52]. Nonetheless, in 2008 and 2010, the emergency laws were renewed for two years[53].

Regarding the freedom of the press, Mubarak also committed himself to widen the liberty of expression. In 2004, he promised to put an end to imprisonment of journalists for publishing offences. Two years later, in July 2006, some articles were abrogated, but it was considered as a minor change[54]. However, the « Ibrahim Issa affair » in September 2007 verified that this freedom remained limited. The journalist was condemned to two months in prison in appeal (the initial sentence was 6 months) for having spread rumours regarding the alleged worsening health of the President. Even if he finally benefited from the presidential pardon, this affair demonstrates the difficulties still endured by the Egyptian press[55].

Sophie Pommier analyses that Mubarak became a master in using, ad nauseam, the theme of reforms. Yet, beyond announcements, very few have been made[56]. The only reforms that have been implemented were the economic ones. They started at the end of 2003, following the Egyptian economic crisis[57] and were intensified in June 2004 with the newly appointed Prime Minister, Ahmed Nazif, who set up a government composed of a new guard of reformers. The World Bank has assessed Egypt as being among the 10 best reformers each year from 2006 and ‘the top reformer in the region and worldwide in 2006/2007′[58]. Egypt therefore became an attractive place to invest[59].

However, the major reform was the reform of presidential elections. On February 26, 2005, Mubarak announced the amendment of article 76 of the constitution that would allow a multicandidate presidential election. Even if the conditions to be allowed to participate in the presidential run were extremely restrictive, it was a major change which created a general surprise[60]. The extent of the reform is debated. While it was generally considered as insufficient to favour a real change-over, some believed it would provoke long-term democratisation[61]. Nevertheless, the conditions for participating were so restrictive that it prevented any real competition. Consequently, the opposition reacted strongly against the new constitutional framework[62].

Moreover, in the months following, the NDP voted several laws that disadvantaged seriously the opposition parties by increasing the power of the Political Parties Committee – an organ dependent on the executive power – over the parties. In fact the spate of measures enhanced NDP’s power. For the International Crisis Group (ICG), there was no real will to pursue political reforms contrarily to economic and educational reform. The report argued that the fact that the opposition had not been involved in the reform by the ruling party was a proof that external pressure from the US played a bigger part in Mubarak’s decision to reform than internal pressure[63].

When he announced his candidacy to the 2005 elections, Mubarak declared he intends to go further in political reforms, and to replace the emergency laws. This time, the ICG assesses that it was more a strategy to calm people’s resentment[64]. It was no surprise that the elections held on September 7, 2005 offered a large victory to Mubarak with more than 88% of the votes[65].

We must note that reforms were not only the consequence of US pressure. Joel Benin points out the role of Egyptian ‘burgeoning movements’ that pressured the regime and forced Mubarak to launch reforms. Political change had been claimed essentially by two political groups, Kifaya (Enough) formed in December 2004 and the Ghad party (tomorrow) founded in 2004 by Ayman Nur, which criticised harshly the president and his son. Joel Benin affirms that ‘Since 1952, no Egyptian head of state has been targeted directly in this manner. A taboo has been broken…’. In addition, the regime had to face several demonstrations and strikes from workers protesting against privatization and the economic reforms[66]. It is worth underlining that social discontent in Egyptian society was mainly due to Egyptian economic needs and not so much to its aspiration to democracy[67]. The role of US pressures on the emergence of this civil society is debated. Some argue that US policy prompted popular reaction to the Egyptian regime[68]. Sophie Pommier prefers to remain wary and underlines that opposition and NGOs have always existed in Egypt, she considers that the emergence of civil society is part of Western idealization[69].

In fact, the 2005 reform served Mubarak’s regime in several ways. It was first an alleged proof of its willingness to improve democracy in the region. On the other hand, the 2005 legislative elections (November-December 2005) that followed the presidential elections helped Mubarak to revive an old pretext to hinder democratic reforms : Islamic threat.

Legislative elections were for long open to multiple candidates, but they were rarely fair and free as severe irregularities had always been noticed. The regime pursued such practices and the 2005 legislative elections went with violence, pressures and corruption[70]. But the main upheaval of these elections had been the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB).

Mubarak’s strategy during the campaign had been to crack down on the liberal opposition and to allow an unprecedented freedom to the MB before the elections. Therefore, MB activists had been released before the elections, and the movement had the opportunity to access the state media[71]. The MB, which fielded several candidates as independents, won more than 20% of the vote in the first round.

Nevertheless, such a score was not endangering Mubarak. It rather served him as Khairi Abaza argued: ‘The Mubarak regime could rely on international support against the Islamists, but it could not count on support against a strong pro-democracy opposition'[72]. Moreover, the MB, as it fielded independent candidates, has not the constitutional right to run for the presidency[73]. For the regime, these elections were the opportunity to flourish the 20 years-old pretext to hinder political reforms: « if not us, then the Islamists will rule Egypt ».[74]


By 2006, as the situation in the Middle East was worsening, Bush relived the pressure on Egypt. Indeed, the Islamist surge in Lebanon and Palestine, the growing influence of Iran in the region and the deterioration of the Iraqi situation prompted the US to seek for bringing together its Arab allies although they did not achieve much on democracy.[75]

During the nearly five years of pressure exerted by Bush’s administration, Mubarak had held down his regime with little genuine change. He maintained his ties with the US by blowing hot and cold. While he was denouncing US interference in Egyptian internal affairs, he was wary at being not too forceful with the US. He rather encouraged Bush’s administration to be more involved in Palestine before promoting democracy. He also cleverly used the media and Egypt’s geopolitical assets to pressure the US in its turn. Moreover, Mubarak committed himself, especially since 2004, to an active diplomacy promoting democratic reforms in the Arab World. He denied US pressure and claimed untiringly that his reform agenda was genuine and that Egypt was following its own plan for reforms, independently from US interference. However, almost a decade after 9/11, the situation in Egypt has not changed noticeably, except for the economic side. Mubarak has changed the constitution but did not end the repressive practices against the opposition. He also opened the door to the Muslim Brotherhood at the legislative elections of 2005 and used their victory (88 seats at the Parliament) to revive the fear of an Islamic state in Egypt, demonstrating that the sole credible opposition facing the current regime was an Islamic movement.

[*] ‘Remarks by President George W. Bush at the 20th Anniversary of the National Endowment for Democracy’, 6 November 2003;

[**]  Al-Ahram, 10 November 2003, as quoted in: « Reactions in the Arab Press to President Bush’s Address on Democracy in the Middle East », MEMRI, Special Dispatch No.615, November 25, 2003,

[1] Marina Ottaway, « Les Etats-Unis et le Moyen-Orient pendant les années Bush: le rêve d’un ordre nouveau et le lutte contre l’ordre ancient », in Daniel Van EEuwen and Isabelle Vagnoux (dir.), Les Etats-Unis et le Monde aujourd’hui, Editions de l’Aube, 2008, 208p. ; p. 70

[2] Thomas Carothers, « U.S. Democracy Promotion During and After Bush », Carnegie Endowment Report, September 2007, 42p. ; pp. 5-6

[3] Gilles Kepel, The War for Muslim Minds, Islam and the West, AUC Press, 2006, 327p.; p. 47

[4] Ibidem, p. 48

[5] Ibidem, p. 63

[6] Henry Laurens, L’Orient arabe à l’heure américaine, de la guerre du Golfe à la guerre d’Irak, Paris, Armand Colin, 2004, 453 p., 2e éd. 2005 ; p. 358

[7] This analysis is widely shared and has not been made by the sole neoconservatives. François Burgat clearly linked the raise of the emergence of Islamic violence in Egypt to the repression to which Islamic groups were subjected and he also denounced the western laxity vis-à-vis the ‘Arab Pinochet’. (see: François Burgat, L’Islamisme en Face, La Découverte, 2007, 312 p. ; p. xvii, p.148)

[8] Yvonne Yazbeck Haddad, « Islamist perception of U.S. Policy in the Middle-East », in David W Lesh (ed.), The Middle East and the United States, A Historical and Political Reassessment, Westview Press, 2003, 518p., pp. 469-70

[9] ‘George Bush’s speech to the American Enterprise Institute’, February 26, 2003;

[10] ‘Remarks by President George W. Bush at the 20th Anniversary of the National Endowment for Democracy’, op.cit.

[11] Daniel Pipes, ‘Bush the radical’, Jerusalem Post, 12 November 2003,

[12] Jeremy M. Sharp, « The Broader Middle East and North Africa Initiative: An Overview », CRS Report for Congress, 15 February 2005, 6p.;  pp. 1-2

[13] ‘Transcript of President Bush’s address to a joint session of Congress on Thursday night, September 20, 2001.’,

[14] Reuven Paz, ‘The Global Jihad Brotherhood: Egyptian Islamic Jihad and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan’, Winep, 24 septembre 2001;

[15] Thomas Carothers draws up the conclusion of this policy and affirms that it has not really been implemented even if the discourse was stronger than it was at the time of Bush’s predecessors. He also makes the point that the exception to this rule had been Egypt. (See: Thomas Carothers, « U.S. Democracy Promotion During and After Bush », op.cit.; p. 6)

[16] In 1977 Sadat had changed abruptly Egyptian regional policy by deciding unilaterally to go to Jerusalem in order to seek for a peace solution. The peace treaty was signed two years later, on 26 March 1979 in Washington despite Arab world’s condemnation of a separate peace process.

[17] Jon B. Alterman, « Dynamics Without Drama : New Options and Old Compromises in Egypt’s foreign Policy », Cambridge Review of International Affairs, Volume 18, Number 3, October 2005, p. 357-369 ; p. 362

[18] Jon Alterman, « Egypte – Etats-Unis : Des intérêts stratégiques croisés », p. 59-64, in Égypte un pays sous tensions, Géopolitique n°92, Revue de l’Institut International de Géopolitique, PUF, février 2006, pp. 59-64 ; pp. 59-61

[19] Thomas Carothers, op.cit., p. 4

[20] Remarks by President George W. Bush at the 20th Anniversary of the National Endowment for Democracy, op. cit.

[21] ‘The great and proud nation of Egypt, which showed the way toward peace in the Middle East, can now show the way toward democracy in the Middle East.’  See: ‘President Bush’s State of the Union Address’, 3 February 2005;

[22] Thomas Carothers, op.cit., pp.4-7 and Jeremy M. Sharp, « The Broader Middle East and North Africa Initiative… op.cit., p. 2

[23] « President Mubarak’s statements in all-encompassing interview with Editor-in-Chief of « al-Gomhuria » », 16 December 2001,

[24] Osama el-Baz, « Iraq and the Middle East: A View from Cairo », Winep Policy Watch, no711, 13 February 2003;

[25] Osama El-Ghazali Harb, ‘Open letter to President Bush’, Al-Ahram weekly n°687, 22-28 April 2004;

[26] « Condoleezza Rice’s Remarks from her Cairo Speech at AUC », 20 June 2005;

[27] Jeffrey Donovan, « Middle East: Reactions Mixed On Rice’s Democracy Message », Radio free Europe Radio Liberty, June 21, 2005;

[28] Jon Alterman, « Egypte – Etats-Unis »… op.cit., p. 62

[29] Gilles Kepel, Jihad, Expension et déclin de l’Islamisme, Gallimard, 2003, 751p. ; p. 420-453

[30] In an interview to the Washington Post in 2001, Mubarak said that in the area of intelligence the US and Egypt were ‘exchanging information almost on a daily basis’ ( ‘Mubarak to the Washington Post‘, 21 October 2001; )

[31] Jon Alterman, « Egypte – Etats-Unis »… op.cit., p. 61-62

[32] Ibidem and see in ‘USA: Off the Record. U.S. Responsibility for Enforced Disappearances in the War on Terror‘, Amnesty International, 7 June 2007;

[33] « Remarks of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to the Council on Foreign Relations », 5 March 2002,

[34] Denis Ross, ‘Egypt’s new role’, The Washington Post, 2 July 2004;

[35] Jon Alterman, « Egypte – Etats-Unis »… op.cit., p. 62

[36] For the neo-conservatives, building up democracy was a political and an economic process. The establishment of a democratic structure had to be combined with the adoption of the rules of globalization and free market (see Gilles Kepel, The War for Muslim minds…op.cit., p. 64)

[37] « Remarks of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to the Council on Foreign Relations », op.cit.

[38] « Address of President Mubarak on the occasion of the inauguration of Bibliotheca Alexandria », 17 October 2002,

[39] Jeremy M. Sharp, « The Broader Middle East and North Africa Initiative: op.cit., pp. 1-2

[40] ‘Mubarak in statements to chief editors: Egyptian, Saudi Arabian and Syrian initiative to reform Arab League’, 26 February 2004;

[41] Sophie Pommier, Égypte, L’envers du Décor, Paris, La Découverte, 2008, 298 p. ;  p 104

[42] ‘Speech by President Mubarak to the conference of Arab Reform Issue: Vision and Implementation’, 12 March 2004,

[43] Ibrahim Nafie, « Egyptian vision », Al-Ahram Weekly, n° 685, 8-14 April 2004;

[44] « Egypt declines G8 summit invite », BBC News, 24 May 2004;

[45] « Tunis Declaration », 16th Session of the Arab Summit, Tunis, 22-23 May 2004;

[46] « Mubarak Turns Down G-8 Summit Invitation », Arab News, 25 May 2004;

[47] « Mubarak to Washington Times: Egypt started reform eight years ago », 15 April 2004;

[48] « Mubarak to Le Figaro: Reforms started in Egypt 20 years ago », 25  March 2005;

[49] Jeremy M. Sharp, « Egypt-United States Relations », CRS Issue Brief for Congress, 15 June 2005

[50] « President Mubarak speech at the inauguration of the National Democratic Party’s (NDP) 8th General congress », 15 September 2002;

[51] Freedom House, Freedom in the World 2009 – Egypt, 16 July 2009;

[52] Daniel Williams, « Egypt Extends 25-Year-Old Emergency Law », The Washington Post, 1 May  2006;

[53] « Egypt renews emergency law powers « , BBC news, 26 May 2006; ; « Egypt renews tough emergency laws », BBC News, 12 May 2010,

[54] Amira Abdel Fattah Hussein, Press Freedom in Egypt, Thesis at the American University in Cairo, June 2008;

[55] « Editor gets two months in prison », Reporters without Borders, 30 September 2008;

[56] Sophie Pommier, op.cit.; pp. 104-105

[57] Henry Laurens, L’Orient arabe à l’heure américaine, op.cit. ; p. 376

[58] « Top 10 Reformers from Doing Business 2010« , « Top 10 Reformers from Doing Business 2009 » and  « Top 10 Reformers from Doing Business 2008« ;

[59] « Egypte : fiche signalétique », MINEFI – DGTPE – Mission Economique le Caire, April 2008

[60] « Reforming Egypt: In Search of a Strategy », ICG Middle East/North Africa Report, N°46, 4 October 2005, 38p.; p. 1

[61] Such as Diaa Rashwan who was an analyst at the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies and a founder member of Kifaya (see: ICG Middle East/North Africa Report, N°46, op. cit., p. 2).

[62] « Reforming Egypt: In Search of a Strategy », ICG… op.cit., p. 6

[63] Ibidem, pp. 4-8

[64] Ibidem, pp. 8-9

[65] ‘Egypt’, CIA World Factbook,

[66] Joel Benin, ‘Popular Social Movements and the Future of Egyptian Politics’, MERIP, March 10, 2005;

[67] Interview with an Egyptian intellectual in Cairo, December 2007

[68] Israel Elad-Altman, for example, assesses that the emergence of opposition groups is the result of US policy. (Israel Elad-Altman, ‘Democracy, Elections and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’,  Current Trends in Islamist Ideology, Hudson Institute Vol. 3, February 2006)

[69] Sophie Pommier, op.cit., p. 157

[70] Khairi Abaza, ‘Political Islam and Regime Survival in Egypt’, WINEP Policy Focus, no51, January 2006, 36p., p. 12

[71] Ibidem, p. 12-13

[72] Ibidem, p. 13

[73] Among the criteria to be authorised to run for presidency in Egypt, the candidate has to be member of a party holding more than 5% of the Parliament seats.

[74] Khairi Abaza, op.cit., p. 14

[75] Thomas Caroter, op.cit. pp. 6-7

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