Samer Shehata Speaks About Egypt’s Future on C-SPAN

Samer Shehata, Assistant Professor of Arab Politics at CCAS, was a guest on the July 3rd edition of C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal.” Dr. Shehata began by addressing concerns about the future of Egypt’s revolution. He noted that although the recent referendum regarding constitutional amendments went “smoothly,” with “no charges of widespread or systematic electoral fraud,” the country is still very much “unsettled.” The vast majority of people, he continued, are unhappy with the pace at which they see reform taking place. Mubarak has not stood trial, the economy has suffered since the revolution, and many Egyptians doubt the commitment of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to democracy. Despite these challenges, Dr. Shehata remains confident that the Egyptian elections, if they are indeed held in September, will “at least mechanically…[have] more than a minimal amount of integrity.”

Dr. Shehata also addressed the West’s concern about the influence of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood in the country’s post-revolution government. Though the Muslim Brotherhood is, and has been for decades, the leading opposition group in Egypt, it has been fragmenting since the revolution, with internal debates causing some leaders to break away. Furthermore, though the Muslim Brotherhood shares some ideological goals with other Islamist groups, it has renounced violence as a means to achieve these goals. In Dr. Shehata’s view, the United States needs to have full and open contact not only with the Muslim Brotherhood, but with “all political forces in Egypt that are committed to peaceful participation.” He also noted that in the past, the United States has “supported regimes that are friendly to [our] interests regardless of what those regime’s human rights records are or whether or not those regimes are democratic.” In the future, he argued, we must create “policies that are more in line with our principles.”