Dr H.A. Hellyer

39 Articles

Dr H A Hellyer, a non-resident fellow at the Brookings Institution, is a Cairo-based specialist on Arab affairs, and relations between the Muslim world and the west. Fellow at ISPU, he was previously senior practice consultant at Gallup, and senior research fellow at Warwick University. Find him online @hahellyer and www.hahellyer.com .

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Latest by Dr H.A. Hellyer


Dr. H.A. Hellyer

My Friend, Bassem Sabry: One of the good people

“Why is it that all the good people die in this country?” (Bassem Sabry, 24 March 2013)   I saw a couple of friends recently – both of them had been reasons I loved the “City Victorious”, but who had lately moved away from Cairo. We hadn’t met up together in a very long time, …

Dr H.A. Hellyer

Dr. H.A. Hellyer

Ukraine is Egypt – well, not really

Egyptians know now what it was like to watch the Tahrir Square uprising in 2011 from outside of the country – because the same kind of media attention was recently projected on Ukraine. This country, which hasn’t been the subject of monthly breaking news for a while – let alone daily breaking news – has …

Dr H.A. Hellyer

Dr. H.A. Hellyer

Preventing terror is a job for all

Earlier this week, a bomb attack on an Egyptian tourist bus took place in Sinai, taking the lives of three South Korean tourists, and one Egyptian driver. More were wounded in the attack, which was claimed the following day by the Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis (ABM) group as part of an “economic war” against Egypt’s military-backed …

Dr H.A. Hellyer

Dr. H.A. Hellyer

I’m not a journalist – but the least I can do is salute them

“One of the objects of a newspaper is to understand the popular feelings and give expression to it; another is to arouse among the people certain desirable elements; and the third is fearlessly to expose popular defects.” Mahatma Ghandi I’m not a journalist. My father was a journalist, on and off, for around two decades. …

Dr H.A. Hellyer

Dr. H.A. Hellyer

Dogged determination – a more sober Jan25

Three years ago, as a friend of mine puts it, everything seemed possible. The 25th of January uprising gave birth to a revolution, and the sky was the limit. Today, as the third anniversary draws close, the promises of Tahrir Square seem distant. Optimism over opportunities is replaced with incredulousness over madness, the inclusive nature of the …

Dr H.A. Hellyer

Dr. H.A. Hellyer

The New Year

On New Year’s Day, the Dar al-Ifta’ al-Misriyyah declared that 13 January would be the anniversary of the Prophet’s birthday in Egypt. It seems awfully fitting that at the dawn of 2014, this official government body would be in the fortuitous position of making that declaration – particularly as it means that the Prophet’s birthday …

Dr H.A. Hellyer

Dr. H.A. Hellyer

Egypt has to learn the lesson

It’s almost boring. Earlier this week, Ahmed Maher, Ahmed Douma and Mohammed Adel, three veteran activists, were each sentenced to three years in jail and fined EGP 50,000. Two thoughts occurred to me: one, if the fine was multiplied by 10,000, then that would be the only way such sentences could possibly have any sort …

Dr H.A. Hellyer

Dr. H.A. Hellyer

The Egyptian lobbies

Since the military ouster of Mohammed Morsi, different Egyptian groups have lobbied the international community more than ever since the revolution began in 2011. The diversity of the lobby is more than probably ever before – and the intensity of those efforts is perhaps unmatched as well. The irony is – none of those lobbying …

Dr H.A. Hellyer

Dr. H.A. Hellyer

How many times does Egypt have to do this to get it right?

Three years is not a particularly long time. In fact, in the history of nations, it’s not more than a blip on the timeline. Yet, in three years, Egyptians have seen events repeat themselves again, and again. They’re about to see it happen again with this forthcoming constitutional referendum – a recurrence of a bad …

Dr H.A. Hellyer

Dr. H.A. Hellyer

Let’s kill them all

This time last year, Egyptians were a week away from the disastrous extra-judicial decree of then president, Mohamed Morsi. Everyone knew, however, even without that decree, that the Muslim Brotherhood-led government had not the faintest idea (or perhaps intention) on how to govern inclusively. In a country that desperately needed consensus in order to simply …

Dr H.A. Hellyer

Dr. H.A. Hellyer

Crosses flanked by Crescents won’t cut it

Christmas Eve. New Year’s Eve mass. A wedding. None of these should turn into a funeral – but that is exactly what has happened in Egypt. The most recent round of violence, the targeting of a Coptic wedding procession in Giza, left four people dead and around a dozen wounded. The response is likely to …

Dr H.A. Hellyer

Dr. H.A. Hellyer

The politics of remembering death

A group of peaceful protesters marched, and were set upon by official state forces – at the end of the violence, 28 people were dead, and more than 200 people were injured. At the time, human rights activists insisted that not only should an investigation take place into the killings: but that it should be …

Dr H.A. Hellyer

Dr. H.A. Hellyer

Where are they?

“Where are they? Where have they all gone? Where are all those young activists from the 25 January revolution?” It is a question that I get asked almost every time I engage with non-Egyptians; those based in Egypt or those who live in other capitals. The cynical among them reckon those activists ‘sold out’, and …

Dr H.A. Hellyer

Dr. H.A. Hellyer

State of the union

As President Morsi walked into Al-Azhar conference hall on the “Night of Power” in Ramadan of 2013, the room rose. The last time he had spoken on such an occasion, General Sisi had replaced Field Marshal Tantawi, and Mr. Morsi had taken full control of the presidential office. Tonight was different, however; he addressed not …

Dr H.A. Hellyer

Dr. H.A. Hellyer

Syria

It could be that by the time this article goes to press, a strike has already taken place on Syria by a conglomerate of forces, led mostly by the US and France. It could be that it has not. The decision to do it, one way or the other, is beyond the purview of the …

Dr H.A. Hellyer

Dr. H.A. Hellyer

Choices

Things in Egypt are moving quite quickly. It has gotten to the point where if one stops keeping up to date for an hour, one finds that a fundamental shift has just taken place – again. With that in mind, I am keenly aware that in the space of time it takes for me to …

Dr H.A. Hellyer

Dr. H.A. Hellyer

Days of impunity

On 2 February 2011, I was in Tahrir Square and I left in the early afternoon to go home. Within a half hour of my leaving, camels, horses and thugs attacked Tahrir Square, resulting in more than a dozen deaths and hundreds wounded. That day is now etched into Egyptian revolutionary history as the Battle …

Dr H.A. Hellyer

Dr H.A. Hellyer

Morsi’s best contribution to Egypt would be to make peace

“Help us make sense of this?” That is usually the question an analyst gets asked. The good ones tend to try their best, with as many qualifications as possible, knowing that they cannot possibly account for all the variables. They also know who else to direct people to, in order to get a wider, more …

Dr H.A. Hellyer

Dr. H.A. Hellyer

Day of reckoning: 30 June or later

It feels like a day of reckoning for a reason, because it is one. As 30 June 2013 draws nearer, it does not feel at all like a repeat of 25 January 2011. Instead, it appears to be a repeat of 28 January 2011, combined with the protests of early December 2012 outside the presidential …

Dr H.A. Hellyer

Dr. H.A. Hellyer

A Farce

A farce. That is all I can say about the NGO trial verdict that was delivered on 4 June in post-Mubarak, present-Morsi, still-not-revolutionary Egypt. Here is the verdict, plain and simple. Guilty. Didn’t hear that right? Guilty. Every single defendant on trial in the NGO court case that has been dragging on for more than …

Dr H.A. Hellyer

Dr. H.A. Hellyer

Nationally, regionally and internationally, government’s time is running out

The Egyptian government recently assembled a new cabinet in order to deliver on the promises of the “Renaissance Project” (mashru’ al-nahda). It comes not a moment too soon, as the national, regional and international scenes are growing increasingly impatient with the government’s inability to deliver. Yet, it does not seem particularly likely this new cabinet …

Dr H.A. Hellyer

Dr. H.A. Hellyer

It’s the people, not the paper

In another country, at another time, writing about the Egypt Independent might be considered writing about the competition. After all, there are only a few English-language dailies in Egypt – and fewer that are not reliant on state funding. But writing about the Egypt Independent is not writing about a competitor – it’s writing about …

Dr H.A. Hellyer

Dr. H.A. Hellyer

The responsibility of opposition

For months, from these pages and elsewhere, I have written a rather large number of articles criticising the conduct and performance of Egypt’s post-uprising political forces. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which resumed power after Hosni Mubarak, gave a good deal of material for me to work with. I knew at the …

Dr H.A. Hellyer

Hellyar said Egypt’s NSF had not provided leadership or a plan to help the Egyptians move forwardPhoto: Dr H.A. Hellyer

J’accuse

Was the issuing of an arrest warrant for Bassem Youssef meant to be an April Fools’ joke? If so, the joke ended up not being on the political satirist, but on the Egyptian authorities. Bassem Youssef’s case rests on three points: that he insulted the Egyptian president, insulted Islam, and spread false news that was …

Dr H.A. Hellyer

Dr H.A. Hellyer

Military intervention and Egypt’s future

The military may be coming – and it seems like everyone knows and is waiting for it, except the Muslim Brotherhood. The irony is: they are the ones who have the most to lose. A new intervention into governance by the Egyptian armed forces is something that many in the political, social and economic elite …

Dr H.A. Hellyer

Dr H.A. Hellyer

“The Revolution continues”: No longer a slogan

When the crowds swelled in the Square of Liberation in January 2011, the chant of al-sha’ab yurid isqat al-nidham (‘the people demand the fall of the regime’) was a pithy slogan. By the time Hosni Mubarak was pushed out of power eighteen days later, Tahrir Square had become much more than simply a place where …

Dr H.A. Hellyer

Hesham Hellyer

Egypt is not Somalia (it isn’t Switzerland, either)

The last two weeks were not a huge surprise. For some, it seems that the last couple of weeks were the result of a strategy by forces opposed to the presidency of Mohamed Morsi—that the violence was planned, arranged, and implemented. There is a corresponding logic to that line of thought—that had the violence not …

Dr H.A. Hellyer