A Tale of Two Revolutions: Egypt’s military coups revisited

Published July 22nd, 2013 - 11:03 GMT

A tale of Egypt's military coup d'etats, from 1952 to 2013.

The last half century plus has witnessed two political revolutions that took place in Egypt, both culminating in military coups d'etat that ousted heads of state from power.

Egypt at both ends of the time line has felt large scale political and social discontent brewing, whether in rejection of the decadence and corruption surrounding the British installed monarch, or in the face of the havoc and retrograde policies under the Islamist weak link.  1952's July Revolution saw the Egyptian King Farouk forcibly removed by a mutinous military led by the Free Officers Movement. 2013's 'July' coup also saw the first democratically elected president,  Mohamed Morsi, meet his military makers and lose his post. 

A glance through our gallery of coup d'etats moments, forces and factors brings some of the similarities and differences to the fore.

 

 

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King Farouk and Mohamed Morsi

Military spares neither King nor President: In 1952, the British installed King Farouk was given the coup treatment, ejected during a military campaign, led by Gamal Abdul Nasser and the Free Officers Movement. In 2013, Mohamed Morsi, the first elected president in Egypt’s history was ousted by the army following mass protests against him.

Abdul Fatah al-Sisi  and Abed Al-nasser

Whose coup is it anyway? The The Free Officers Movement, of junior ranking army officials, sought to remove the monarchy and cut off all ties with British colonialism. While in 2013, the army did the ousting, the impetus came from the Tamarod campaign or popular rebellion in opposition to Morsi, and the army brought the movement up the rear.

King Farouk Mohammed Badie leader of the Muslim Brotherhood

Why so unpopular? In 1952, the initial major objectives of the coup were to depose the King and his lavish trappings and to expel his meddling British advisors. By 2013 Morsi was deemed unsuitable for office by 22 million Egyptians due to a failing economy, social division and increasingly conservative tendencies under Brotherhood rule.

Suez canal: (al Ahram) the canal now has been nationalized and Egypt governs it

Egyptian pride regained: 1956 saw Egypt on its knees as the Suez canal was almost appropriated by an Anglo-French enterprise, only to make a swift recovery thanks to Nasser's move to nationalize it. As the Suez crisis put Egypt's economy at the mercy of the West, Morsi's IMF loan bid, if granted, might have deepened the nation's economic malaise.

egypt 1952: the political prisoners wish to face the english troops in battle  (Denver Post)

Foreign factors: King Farouk and his royal court were viewed as a corrupt colonial puppet of the British government, enjoying a decadent lifestyle that jarred with impoverished Egypt. In 2013, the Tamarod campaign avoided direct involvement with overseas agents but many Gulf states, including Saudi, gave aid in the aftermath of Morsi’s ouster.

Muslim Brotherhood pro Morsi clashes july 16, Cairo

Violent Egypt: Although Cairo was the epicenter of both historical and recent uprisings, the revolutionary fever, complete with death and destruction, swept the entire nation in both cases. In 2013, the crowds split into pro-Morsi and 'opposition' camps, and bloody clashes spread like wildfire across the country. (AFP PHOTO / MAHMUD KHALED)

Muhammad Naguib Abed al-nasser

Power vacuum: King Farouk was replaced by Muhammad Naguib, often forgotten by history, who became Egypt’s first president. Under the Free Officers Movement, the Egyptian government degenerated into a regime that did not support political parties and dismantled the pre-existing constitution. Naguib was shortly supplanted by Gammal Abdel Nasser.

mansour sisi

Morsi's Equalizer: General Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi On the back of mass protests, the army stepped in and ousted Morsi, sending him into custody. Defence minister General Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi suspended Egypt's constitution and called for new elections. Adly Mansour, the head of Egypt's Supreme Court, was sworn in as interim leader on 4 July.

egypt bread riots

What’s next for Egypt? With revelations that Morsi's government covered up a major wheat shortage and requested a $4.8 billion loan from the IMF that stipulated austerity measures, Egypt may be on the right path democratically but it won’t be smooth sailing as the country navigates its way through its most recent batch of political turmoil.

King Farouk and Mohamed Morsi
Abdul Fatah al-Sisi  and Abed Al-nasser
King Farouk Mohammed Badie leader of the Muslim Brotherhood
Suez canal: (al Ahram) the canal now has been nationalized and Egypt governs it
egypt 1952: the political prisoners wish to face the english troops in battle  (Denver Post)
Muslim Brotherhood pro Morsi clashes july 16, Cairo
Muhammad Naguib Abed al-nasser
mansour sisi
egypt bread riots
King Farouk and Mohamed Morsi
Military spares neither King nor President: In 1952, the British installed King Farouk was given the coup treatment, ejected during a military campaign, led by Gamal Abdul Nasser and the Free Officers Movement. In 2013, Mohamed Morsi, the first elected president in Egypt’s history was ousted by the army following mass protests against him.
Abdul Fatah al-Sisi  and Abed Al-nasser
Whose coup is it anyway? The The Free Officers Movement, of junior ranking army officials, sought to remove the monarchy and cut off all ties with British colonialism. While in 2013, the army did the ousting, the impetus came from the Tamarod campaign or popular rebellion in opposition to Morsi, and the army brought the movement up the rear.
King Farouk Mohammed Badie leader of the Muslim Brotherhood
Why so unpopular? In 1952, the initial major objectives of the coup were to depose the King and his lavish trappings and to expel his meddling British advisors. By 2013 Morsi was deemed unsuitable for office by 22 million Egyptians due to a failing economy, social division and increasingly conservative tendencies under Brotherhood rule.
Suez canal: (al Ahram) the canal now has been nationalized and Egypt governs it
Egyptian pride regained: 1956 saw Egypt on its knees as the Suez canal was almost appropriated by an Anglo-French enterprise, only to make a swift recovery thanks to Nasser's move to nationalize it. As the Suez crisis put Egypt's economy at the mercy of the West, Morsi's IMF loan bid, if granted, might have deepened the nation's economic malaise.
egypt 1952: the political prisoners wish to face the english troops in battle  (Denver Post)
Foreign factors: King Farouk and his royal court were viewed as a corrupt colonial puppet of the British government, enjoying a decadent lifestyle that jarred with impoverished Egypt. In 2013, the Tamarod campaign avoided direct involvement with overseas agents but many Gulf states, including Saudi, gave aid in the aftermath of Morsi’s ouster.
Muslim Brotherhood pro Morsi clashes july 16, Cairo
Violent Egypt: Although Cairo was the epicenter of both historical and recent uprisings, the revolutionary fever, complete with death and destruction, swept the entire nation in both cases. In 2013, the crowds split into pro-Morsi and 'opposition' camps, and bloody clashes spread like wildfire across the country. (AFP PHOTO / MAHMUD KHALED)
Muhammad Naguib Abed al-nasser
Power vacuum: King Farouk was replaced by Muhammad Naguib, often forgotten by history, who became Egypt’s first president. Under the Free Officers Movement, the Egyptian government degenerated into a regime that did not support political parties and dismantled the pre-existing constitution. Naguib was shortly supplanted by Gammal Abdel Nasser.
mansour sisi
Morsi's Equalizer: General Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi On the back of mass protests, the army stepped in and ousted Morsi, sending him into custody. Defence minister General Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi suspended Egypt's constitution and called for new elections. Adly Mansour, the head of Egypt's Supreme Court, was sworn in as interim leader on 4 July.
egypt bread riots
What’s next for Egypt? With revelations that Morsi's government covered up a major wheat shortage and requested a $4.8 billion loan from the IMF that stipulated austerity measures, Egypt may be on the right path democratically but it won’t be smooth sailing as the country navigates its way through its most recent batch of political turmoil.