Abd al‐Fattah al‐Sisi is the fourth military president of post‐colonial Egypt, and before his rise to power his fellow officers accumulated exceptional political and economic privileges. The paper argues that the Egyptian military managed to weather many fundamental transformations in the country, including socialism, neo‐liberalism, and recently mass uprisings, and successfully adapted to change in order to amass power and expand its profitable business enterprises. In order to reach such hegemonic status, the “adaptable officers” switched alliances between various socioeconomic groups, and deployed a nationalistic rhetoric. The paper poses questions about al‐Sisi’s ability to maintain the alliances that he has formed with the business elite, workers, and middle‐class women in order to win the presidential elections, and the military’s power to survive change amidst continuous discontent.
Zeinab Abul‐Magd is an Associate Professor of modern Middle Eastern history at the Oberlin College, Ohio, USA