I will make four main arguments here. First, theÂ levelÂ of repression under President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi surpasses that of PresidentÂ Hosni Mubarak and even his predecessors, in terms of the number of Egyptians killed, wounded, detained, and â€œdisappearedâ€ since theÂ military coup of July 3, 2013. Meanwhile, theÂ natureÂ of repression is more dangerous â€“ and therefore of greater concern for U.S.Â policymakers â€“ because it enjoys a significant degree of popular support, drawing on media and mass hysteria, cult of personality, and theÂ dehumanization of political opponents. Second, Sissiâ€™s heavy-handed approach to Sinai security has fueled the extremist insurgencyÂ there, calling into question Egyptâ€™s role as a reliable counterterrorism partner. Third, state institutions that were previously seen asÂ â€œnationalâ€ organizations â€“ namely the military, judiciary, and religious establishment â€“ have, for the first time in decades, become partisansÂ in a bloody civil conflict. This has led the Muslim Brotherhood, other Islamist activists, as well as secular revolutionaries to gradually shiftÂ their perception of the Egyptian from a problem to be reformed to an enemy to be undermined and even destroyed. With the thoroughÂ politicization of state institutions, there are no longer any domestic actors which can play the crucial role of third party guarantor during anyÂ future national reconciliation process. This means that regional and international actors, including the United States and the EuropeanÂ Union, will need to play a more active role in laying the groundwork for future dialogue.
With this in mind, I conclude with specific recommendations for the United States in the short, medium, and long-term and argue for aÂ rethinking of some of the core elements of the bilateral relationship.”