Rafik Hariri Center Nonresident Fellow Mohamed El Dahshan writes for Foreign Policy on the Egyptian government’s decision to cancel its planned official commemoration of the January 25 Revolution in 2011:
Egypt’s government has cancelled its planned official commemoration of the January 25th Revolution in 2011. The reason: the seven-day mourning period announced after the death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia on Friday. The timing of the Saudi monarch’s demise can be seen as an ironic favor for the pro-revolutionary camp, since it thwarts President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s efforts to appropriate the legacy of the revolution to his own ends. In life, of course, King Abdullah was actually a great proponent of the pre-revolutionary status quo, and systematically sought to undermine the Arab Spring movements. He gave a home to Tunisia’s deposed dictator, actively supported Bahrain’s crackdown on its own protest movement, and bankrolled General Sisi’s brutal and reactionary administration from its first day.
The Sisi administration has always had a conflicted relationship to January 25th. Sisi wouldn’t be where is today without the Tahrir Square uprising that overthrew Mubarak four years ago, and he claims much of his legitimacy from the revolution — despite the fact that new Egyptian president has restored quasi-military rule and many aspects of Mubarak-era autocracy. His alleged loyalty to the revolution is a crucial plank in his argument against those who see his accession to power as a coup. While Jan. 25, 2011, is hailed by many around the world as the end of a despot, Sisi’s supporters see June 30, 2013 — the day the general overthrew the government of Mohamed Morsi — as its logical extension.