From Apparatus State to War State

On July 7, 2014, following the government’s announcement of its plan to reduce the fuel subsidy, President Abd al Fattah al Sisi stated that “Egypt is in a state of war, many are hostile to it within and outside the country who do not want this country to be saved.”

He did not mean the war on terrorism or the war with Israel but rather the war on the budget deficit. For Dina El Khawaga, some will think that the source of his war analogy is the president’s military background, but most people believe that it was more than merely a military expression. It had the characteristic of defining more strongly the basis for legitimacy for the new regime: making war upon 40 years of decline. This new basis for legitimacy is intended as a substitute for the basis of legitimacy, dominant the previous year, of recovering the Egyptian state apparatus from the grip and “plots” of the Muslim Brotherhood and gathering the population behind the alliance that ended the rule of Muhammad Morsi.

The views represented in this paper are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Arab Reform Initiative, its staff, or its board.