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Egypt: Jihadist Movements during January Revolution

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Egypt: Jihadist Movements during January Revolution

The jihadist stream returned to prominence in the Egyptian scene after its members were released from prison after the January Revolution (2011), who resumed operations following escalation of crackdowns in the wake of the military coup in July 2013.

This paper addresses the Egyptian jihadist stream from the January Revolution until mid-2018.

To understand the Egyptian jihadist movement during the January Revolution (2011) and in the aftermath, it is necessary to address the background of the emergence, roots, intellectual foundations, organizational structures, and its transformative project of the movement, as well as its successes and failures before the January Revolution.

The paper is divided into three parts:

Part I addresses the jihadist movement in Egypt from its early commencement until January Revolution (2011).

Part II addresses the jihadist movement in Egypt from January Revolution (2011) to the military coup in July 2013.

Part III addresses the jihadist movement from the military coup in 2013 until mid-2018.

Part I:

The first part of this paper addresses the organizational development of the jihadist movement in Egypt starting from the (scattered) jihadist groups to the establishment of the Jihad Group during the period from 1966 to 1988. It then briefly reviews the experience of the Egyptian Jihad Group from its inception up to the stumbling of its ‘change project’ inside Egypt, its integration with al-Qaeda, and the repercussions of this on the group’s presence in the Egyptian scene.

Given that the Egyptian Islamic Group represented the second tributary of the Egyptian jihadist stream during both Sadat’s and Mubarak’s reigns, part I also addresses the experience of the Islamic Group by tracing its early emergence as a student movement in the early seventies, and then its politicization over time and becoming a movement with that has defined framework, through entering into a clash with the ruling regime at the time, up to adoption of intellectual reviews that have completely changed the course of the group.

This part also briefly addresses some of the jihadist groups that emerged after the 9/11 events, as being influenced by the ideas of the al-Qaeda organization, such as the Shubra organization, and the Tawhid and Jihad group in Sinai.

Finally, the first part concludes with providing an analysis of the first jihadist experience in Egypt from its inception until the outbreak of the January 25 revolution (2011).

Part II:

The second part reviews the situation of the Egyptian jihadist movement at the moment of the outbreak of January Revolution, describing it as suffering from clinical death at the time, especially that the Egyptian Islamic Group had renounced its previous ideas, presenting new conceptualization that rejects armed action inside the country. Meanwhile, the Egyptian Jihadist Group outside Egypt faded away after its leader Ayman al-Zawahiri and a number of his comrades had integrated with al-Qaeda, and the group’s organizational links of its members completely disintegrated inside Egyptian prisons.

However, with the outbreak of the January Revolution in 2011, the jihadist movement flourished again, but no groups affiliated with it engaged in any armed action except on a limited scale in the Sinai Peninsula.

Then, the paper reviews the jihadist activity during the tenure of President Mohamed Morsi, a period that witnessed a number of events, especially in the Sinai Peninsula, but thanks to mediation efforts by veteran jihadists, there was an atmosphere of relative calm that spread there at the time, which immediately dissipated after the military coup in 2013.

Part III:

The third part of the study addresses the factors that led to escalation of the jihadist tide after the military coup against President Mohamed Morsi in July 201. It briefly reviews the experiences of the most prominent jihadist organizations that have emerged since then, such as Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, Ajnad Misr, the Furqan Brigades, Ansar al-Sharia Brigades, the Sinai Province (Wilayat Sinai), Al-Murabitun, Ansar al-Islam, and Jund al-Islam.

In the third part, the researcher analyzes the second jihadist experience in Egypt which has started since the military coup in 2013 until mid-2018, comparing it with the first jihadist experience in terms of the societal situation, the legitimacy of the regime, the geographical scope, and the regional and international situation.

At the end of the third part, the researcher provides an outlook for the future of the Egyptian jihadist movement in light of the successive political developments.

Finally, the paper concludes by presenting its findings along with some recommendations.

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