Cyana Chilton and Garrett Nada

Egypt’s uprising erupted on Jan. 25, 2011 when tens of thousands rallied to protest police abuse after months of growing unrest over the death in detention of young blogger and businessman Khaled Said. Unrest mounted daily at Cairo’s Tahrir Square and in other cities, eventually growing into a national demand for President Hosni Mubarak’s resignation. Mass arrests, censorship of the Internet and the deaths of hundreds in confrontations with security forces failed to qualm dissent.

On February 11, under pressure at home and the international community, Mubarak stepped down. He left a panel of generals in the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) in charge. Protests in Tahrir Square continued throughout the spring despite occasional violence, as the opposition called for the SCAF to cede power to elected officials. Lawsuits were brought against Mubarak, his sons, and various members of his regime. The SCAF slowly opened the political arena to opposition groups, including the formerly banned Muslim Brotherhood, which formed a political party.

Rise of Islamists

Two Islamist parties won over 70 percent in phased parliamentary elections held between November 2011 and January 2012. The Muslim Brotherhood won 47 percent of the seats; a Salafi party won another 25 percent. The SCAF had ordered the lower house of parliament to be dissolved on a technicality.

The Muslim Brotherhood candidate also won a two-stage presidential election held in May and June. In the final run-off, Mohammed Morsi narrowly beat Ahmed Shafiq, a former general and Mubarak’s final prime minister. After Sinai militants attacked a government outpost, killing 16 soldiers, Morsi fired key SCAF officials, including Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi and chief of staff Sami Enan.

On Sept. 11, 2012 thousands of Egyptians protested an anti-Islam film made in the United States and demonstrators breached the walls of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. President Obama expressed concern to President Morsi about Egypt’s slow response. Morsi then condemned the attack two days after the incident. Even after Morsi’s statement, protestors continued to surround the American compound and clashed with Egyptian police for two days.

Islamists Under Fire

After months of tension, Egypt’s political crisis imploded July 3 when the army ousted President Mohamed Morsi, the only civilian president ever democratically elected in the Arab world’s largest country. The coup marked one of the most troubling turning points in modern Egyptian history, deepening the political schism.

On July 26, millions of Egyptians took to the streets to give el Sisi and the army a mandate to crack down on what el Sisi calls violence and terrorism. Meanwhile, thousands of Morsi supports marched to Rabaa al Adayiwa square to join a sit-in against the coup. Tens were injured in clashes between el Sisi and Morsi supporters. On the same day, a court charged Morsi with espionage and unspecified “aggressive acts in the country,” including links to attacks on police and security force facilities.

On July 27, at least 74 pro-Morsi protestors were reportedly killed in clashes with security forces. Hundreds more were reportedly killed on August 14 as security forces stormed pro-Morsi protest camps across Cairo. Egypt declared a state of emergency and imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew. Some 40 Coptic churches were destroyed in a wave of attacks after the clashes. Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei resigned in protest of the harsh crackdown.

Security forces continued to crack down on Islamists through 2014. In September, the Egyptian army launched a major campaign against militants in northern Sinai. Government forces also recaptured a town in central Egypt that was taken by ultraconservative Islamists after Morsi’s ouster. On September 23, a court banned the Brotherhood and ordered the seizure of its assets.

On Nov. 24, 2013 the government issued a new law banning unauthorized public gatherings of more than ten people. But the Brotherhood continued to organize large-scale demonstrations across Egypt. Secular and human rights groups also criticized the new legislation.

On Nov. 30, 2013 the constituent assembly finished amending the suspended 2012 constitution. The new version enshrined the military’s prominent role in politics and prohibited the formation of political parties founded on “a religious basis.” The Salafi Nour Party supported the changes while the Brotherhood and several small Salafi parties rejected them.

On Dec. 25, 2013 the government designated the Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. Four days later, three al Jazeera journalists were arrested for allegedly reporting news that was “damaging to national security” and holding illegal meetings with Brotherhood members.

In January 2014, some 98 percent of Egyptian voters supported the new constitution in a referendum with a turnout of 38 percent. In February, the interim government headed by el Beblawi resigned in a surprise move.

In March, a court sentenced 529 Morsi supporters for allegedly killing a police officer, trying to kill others and attacking a police station in August 2013. The case was reportedly the largest capital punishment case on record. But on April 28, a judge recommended the death penalty for 683 people, including Mohamed Badie, for involvement in an attack on a police station in Minya in 2013 that led to the death of a policeman. The judge, however, commuted 492 of the previous death sentences to life terms. Another court banned the activities of the left-leaning April 6 youth movement for working with foreign parties to tarnish the image of Egypt.

In late May, Egypt held presidential elections. On June 3, el Sisi was declared the winner with more than 96 percent of the vote. He took office less than week later.

In June, a court confirmed death sentences for 183 out of 683 initially sentenced to death. Another court sentenced al Jazeera journalists Peter Greste and Mohamed Fahmy to seven years in prison and Baher Mohamed to 10 years.

Unrest broke out in the Sinai again in October. Militants from Ansar Beit al Maqdis, the Sinai-based jihadist group, killed at least 31 soldiers in a car bomb attack and shooting at a checkpoint. In response, the army demolished hundreds of homes along the Sinai-Gaza border to create a buffer between Egypt and the Hamas-run territory to limit the transfer of weapons and militants across the border. In November, Ansar Beit al Maqdis reportedly pledged allegiance to ISIS.

Chronology 2011

Jan. 25 – Feb. 11: Organized on Facebook for a “Day of Revolution” on Jan. 25, tens of thousands of protesters nationwide call for President Hosni Mubarak’s resignation. The government shuts down the Internet and blocks cell phone networks. Police kill hundreds of protesters over the next few weeks.

Jan. 27:  Anti-government activist Mohamed ElBaradei returns to Egypt. He later announces he will run for president.

Jan. 28: Mubarak makes his first television appearance. He fires his government and promises reform but says he will not step down.

Feb. 1: Mubarak promises to step down when his term expires in September and offers to negotiate with protesters, but protesters reject his concessions and call for his immediate resignation.

Feb. 7: After being detained on Jan. 27, Wael Ghonim, a regional manager for Google, is released and gives an emotional interview to DreamTV, a national television network. His interview goes viral. The government meets for the first time with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Feb .11: Omar Suleiman, Mubarak’s intelligence chief and Vice President, announces that Mubarak is stepping down and imposes military rule that includes dissolving Parliament and suspending the constitution. Hundreds of thousands celebrate in Tahrir Square. The U.S. withdraws support from Mubarak’s regime.

Feb. 14: The ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) releases a six-month schedule to draft constitutional amendments and elect a new government.

Feb. 15: The Muslim Brotherhood announces it will form a political party, which it does on May 1.

Feb. 25 – 26: Protesters in Tahrir Square call for Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq’s resignation, Mubarak’s prosecution, and faster reform. Police beat and force them from the square. The SCAF later apologizes for the brutality.

March 1: The chief prosecutor prevents Mubarak and his family from leaving the country and seizes their assets.

March 4 – 6: Hundreds of protesters attack the State Security Investigations headquarters in various cities and look through documents.

March 23: A committee investigating violence during the revolution charges Mubarak and former Interior Minister Habib al Adli with culpability in the killing of protesters.

April 1 – 12: In Tahrir Square, thousands demonstrate to demand Mubarak’s prosecution and faster reform.

April 13: Mubarak is hospitalized after suffering a reported heart attack. He and his two sons are arrested on suspicion of corruption.

May 13: Former First Lady Suzanne Mubarak is detained on suspicion of illegally acquiring wealth. She later surrenders $4 million of her assets to the government and is released on bail.

May 2: A police officer is sentenced to death for killing unarmed protesters, the harshest sentence given thus far. After government officials promise to meet with them, Coptic Christians end a two-week sit-in in Cairo to protest sectarian violence.

May 24: The World Bank announces that it will provide up to $4.5 billion in aid to Egypt.

May 27: In Tahrir Square, 100,000 people protest on a “Second Day of Rage.” The new government allows the first free passage out of the Palestine Authority, a policy change from Mubarak’s administration.

June 6: SCAF announces that local councils, often Mubarak-affiliated, will be disbanded within two weeks. They are dissolved by a court on June 29.

June 20: Mubarak’s lawyer says that the former president has cancer.

June 26: Mohamed ElBaradei releases a potential bill of rights for the new constitution.

June 26 – 29: After the trial of the former interior minister is postponed, police and thousands of protesters clash in Tahrir Square, the most intense violence since the initial uprising. The army intervenes on June 29.

July 1: Protesters call for faster reforms in Tahrir Square on a “Friday of Retribution.”

July 8: Dozens of Mubarak-era officials are charged with murder for their role in the January protests.

July 8 – August 1: Tens of thousands protest in Tahrir Square against the SCAF. The army forcibly clears the square on August 1.

July 13: The government fires almost 700 police officers for their role in the protests.

July 20: SCAF says that foreigners will not be permitted to monitor the parliamentary elections, and lowers the minimum candidate age to 25. It outlines the seat allocation system for parliamentary elections: some seats for individuals, others based on party lists.

July 24: The Salafis and the Gamaa al Islamiya reverse course and form political parties for the parliamentary elections, after initially announcing they would not participate.

Aug. 3: Mubarak’s trial begins.

Aug. 4: The Muslim Brotherhood holds the first public elections for its governing Guidance Bureau.

Aug. 5: The government dismantles a powerful trade union used by the Mubarak regime to quell labor activism.

Sept. 9 – Oct. 28: Protests against the SCAF take place each Friday for several weeks in Tahrir Square.

Sept. 13: The military council reactivates an emergency law formerly used to stifle media dissent.

Sept. 16: Prime Minister Sharaf says Egypt’s peace deal with Israel is not “sacred.” The Egyptian ambassador is subsequently called to the Israeli foreign ministry to discuss Sharaf’s comments.

Sept. 26: SCAF announces amendments to electoral law, reserving two-thirds of parliamentary seats for candidates from party seats and one-third for individual candidates. Critics charge the move will ensure the military retains control over legislation. The Muslim Brotherhood threatens to boycott the elections.

Oct. 2: The military council agrees to permit foreign election observers and postpones the presidential election to the spring of 2012.

Oct. 27: Former PM Shafiq, a close Mubarak associate, says he will run for president.

Oct. 31: Prominent activist Alaa Abd al Fattah is arrested and charged with inciting violence against the military. Thousands in Tahrir Square protest his arrest.

Nov. 2: After a letter from imprisoned activist Alaa Abd al Fattah is published, the government announces the release of 334 political prisoners.

Nov. 18 – 29: Tens of thousands of Islamists and liberals protest draft “supra-constitutional principles” that would protect the military from parliamentary oversight in Tahrir Square.

Nov. 28: Phased parliamentary elections begin.


Jan. 27: Calling for the transition of power from SCAF to a civilian government, tens of thousands rally in Tahrir Square. After the final round of elections in January, the Muslim Brotherhood wins 47 percent of parliamentary seats and Salafi Islamist parties take 27 percent of seats.

March 25: Liberal and leftist parties refuse to join a constitutional drafting group, fearing Islamist dominance. Coptic Christian representatives withdraw from the drafting group on April 2. A court later dissolves the group, questioning its legitimacy.

March 31: The Muslim Brotherhood nominates Khairat al Shater, its deputy leader, as a presidential candidate, after months of insisting it would not participate in the election. On April 6, Omar Suleiman, Mubarak’s intelligence chief and vice president, announces his presidential candidacy. In all, 13 candidates vie for the presidency.

April 12: Parliament passes a bill to bar former top Mubarak officials from running for office for ten years. The next day, tens of thousands of Islamists protest against the candidacies of Mubarak-era officials. The election commission bars candidates Suleiman, the Muslim Brotherhood’s al Shater, and Salafist candidate Hazem Abu Ismail from running for president on legal technicalities.

May 23 – 24: The top two winners in the first round of presidential election are Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood and former Mubarak-era prime minister Ahmed Shafiq.

June 14: The Supreme Court decrees that the parliamentary election was unconstitutional. The SCAF then issues a decree dissolving parliament.

June 16: Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood candidate, wins a presidential runoff.

July 8: President Morsi orders the dissolved parliament to reconvene. The SCAF and Supreme Court dismiss his order. Two days later, Parliament briefly convenes.

Aug. 8: President Morsi fires intelligence chief Murad Muwafi, and asks Field Marshal Tantawi to dismiss other top security officers after Sinai militants storm an army post and kill 16 soldiers.

Aug. 12: President Morsi dismisses SCAF head Field Marshal Tantawi and SCAF chief of staff Sami Enan.

Aug. 23: President Morsi passes a law banning the pre-trial detention of journalists.

Sept. 10: Over 100 American business leaders tour Cairo as part of an Obama administration effort to spur investment in Egypt.

Sept. 11: Thousands of Egyptians protest against an anti-Islam film and some breach the walls of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. They destroy an American flag.

Sept. 12 – 13: President Obama expresses concern over the Egyptian government’s response to the situation in Cairo in a phone call with President Morsi. The following day Morsi explicitly denounces violent demonstrations and pledges to protect American citizens and property.

Sept. 14-15: Clashes around the U.S. Embassy break out between security forces and protestors after Friday prayers. Over 200 are injured and authorities arrest hundreds the following day.

Sept. 26: President Morsi addresses the U.N. General Assembly and calls for an end to fighting in Syria. He also discusses the Palestinian issue, nuclear proliferation, the anti-Islam film and the international financial system. 

Oct. 9: President Morsi issues a general pardon for political activists jailed since the 2011 revolution.

Oct. 11: The constitutional assembly unveils a new draft constitution that gives religion a more prominent role in the legislative and judicial process. Liberal and secular groups protest the insertion of Islam. Some ultraconservative Salafis also reject the document, arguing that it does not adequately enshrine Islamic law.

Nov. 5: Bishop Tawadros is chosen as the first new Coptic Christian pope. The previous pope, Shenouda III, had passed away in March 2012 after holding the position for 40 years.  

Nov. 15 – 21: President Morsi succeeds in negotiating a ceasefire between Israel and Gaza, following more than a week of fighting that left some 160 dead. The United States lauds Morsi’s efforts.

Nov. 22: President Morsi issues a controversial decree exempting himself from judicial supervision, and shielding the Constituent Assembly and Shura Council from dissolution by court order. The opposition condemns the moves and organizes protests. Several of Morsi’s 21 advisors resign.

Dec. 9: President Morsi issues a new constitutional declaration canceling his immunity from judicial oversight. But the Constituent Assembly and Shura Council remain safe from dissolution by court order. The opposition calls for a new round of protests as Morsi pushes forward the referendum on the draft constitution.

Dec. 5-26: Protests continue in opposition of the new draft constitution. Egypt holds a referendum on December 15 and 22. Nearly 64 percent of voters endorse the constitution. Morsi implements it on December 26 just hours after the results are announced. 


Early January: Senior leaders of the Nour Party lead a mass defection to form the Watan (Homeland) Party. The new Salafi party pledges to be less partisan and more inclusive than the Nour Party had been.

Jan. 24 – 28: A Cairo court issues death sentences for 21 individuals involved in the February 2012 Port Said football riot that left 74 dead. The verdict sparks clashes between relatives of the convicted and security forces, leaving some 28 dead and 300 wounded.

March 6: Egypt’s top court cancels parliamentary elections that had been scheduled for as early as April. It refers the election law to the Supreme Constitution Court.

April 15: Mubarak briefly appears in court for the first time since his June 2012 conviction. The court rules that he can no longer be imprisoned for complicity in the killing of some 900 protestors during the 2011 revolution. But Mubarak remains in custody pending an investigation into corruption charges.

April 19 – 22: Thousands of Morsi supporters protest on April 19, calling for the ouster of Mubarak-era officials from judicial posts. Justice Minister Ahmed Mekki resigns ahead of a cabinet reshuffle. He had reportedly threatened to quit in November 2012 after Morsi adopted expansive powers. 

April 28: The Tamarod, or “Rebel,” opposition movement calls for early presidential elections. It organizes a grassroots campaign to collect 15 million signatures for a petition withdrawing confidence from President Morsi by June 30 — his one-year anniversary in office.

May 7: President Morsi gives three ministerial posts to Muslim Brotherhood members, bringing the total number of Brotherhood ministers to 11 out of 35. 

May 16-22: President Morsi sends dozens of tanks and hundreds of soldiers to the Sinai on May 21 after seven security officers were kidnapped. The seven were released by their Islamist militant captors the following day.  

June 17 – 23: President Morsi appoints 17 new provincial governors, including seven Islamists. The most controversial appointee is the governor of Luxor, Adel al Khayat. He is a former member of the Islamist group Gamaa Islamiya, which claimed responsibility for killing 62 people, mostly foreign tourists, in 1997. The appointments lead to protests in several governorates clashes between Brotherhood supporters and opponents. Al Khayat announced his resignation on June 23.

June 27: President Morsi marks one year in office by admitting mistakes and promising “radical and quick” reforms in a televised address. He also blames unnamed “enemies of Egypt” for trying to sabotage democracy. Morsi calls on his opponents to enter elections instead of imposing their will through protests.

June 30: Morsi rejects opposition calls for early presidential elections and his resignation, as millions take to the streets nationwide in rival demonstrations either demanding Morsi’s resignation or supporting him. Eight people are killed in clashes between the two groups outside Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in Cairo.

July 1: The Tamarod (Rebel) movement issues a statement giving Morsi until 5 p.m. the following day to resign or risk facing “complete civil disobedience.” Before the June 30 protests, Tamarod had reportedly collected up to 22 million signatures for its petition demanding early elections. Several ministers resign as demonstrations continue nationwide. General el Sisi callsthe Morsi government to resolve the political crisis within 48 hours or face military intervention. The Salafi al Nour Party calls for early elections.

July 2: Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Mohamed al Beltagui calls on Morsi’s supporters to oppose military action. President Barack Obama phones Morsi and urges him to listen to all Egyptians, including the demonstrators. Morsi refuses to step down in a late-night speech. He pounds on the podium while accusing Mubarak loyalists of trying to thwart democracy.

July 3: After a delay of several hours, Army chief el Sisi announces Morsi’s ouster and the appointment of Supreme Constitutional Court Chief Justice Adly Mansour as interim president. El Sisi also suspends the constitution and says new elections would be held.

Morsi’s official Facebook page angrily denounced the coup. More than 14 people are killed in clashes between pro-government and anti-Morsi protestors after the army’s announcement. Top officials from Morsi’s Freedom and Justice Party are also arrested. Some 300 arrest warrants are reportedly issued for Brotherhood members.

President Obama issues a statement expressing deep concern over the army removing Morsi and suspending the constitution. “I now call on the Egyptian military to move quickly and responsibly to return full authority back to a democratically elected civilian government as soon as possible through an inclusive and transparent process, and to avoid any arbitrary arrests of President Morsy and his supporters,” he says.

July 4:  Chief Justice Mansour was sworn in as interim president. He applauded youth for mobilizing the June 30 protests, calling them the embodiment of Egypt’s “conscience, its ambitions and hopes.”

July 5: Muslim Brotherhood supporters held “Day of Rejection” protests in major cities, as Mansour dissolved the upper house of parliament, the last legislative body.

July 6:  Political divisions emerge among the opposition over a new government, particularly the acceptability of Mohamed ElBaradei as interim prime minister. The ultraconservative Salafi al Nour Party emerges as the political kingmaker.

U.S. Secretary of State Kerry condemns the violence in Egypt in a statement. “The only solution to the current impasse is for all parties to work together peacefully to address the many legitimate concerns and needs of the people,” he says.

July 8: At least 51 Morsi supporters are killed and more than 300 are wounded outside of the Republican Guard compound where Morsi was rumored to be held. Brotherhood spokesman Gehad al Haddad claimed that security forces opened fire while demonstrators were at pre-dawn prayers during a peaceful sit-in. The Brotherhood’s political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party, calls for an uprising to protest the “massacre.” The army claims a “terrorist group” tried to storm the building.

July 9: Interim President Mansour appoints former Finance Minister Hazem el Beblawi interim prime minister and names ElBaradei vice president. The Brotherhood rejects Mansour's six-month timetable for amending the constitution and holding parliamentary elections. 

July 24: El Sisi calls on “honest and trustworthy Egyptians” to rally in the streets on Friday to give him a mandate for confronting “violence and political terrorism.” The army commander makes the appeal just hours after an explosion outside a police building in Mansoura killed one police conscript and injured 19 officers and civilians.

July 26: Millions of Egyptians take to the streets to give el Sisi and the armed forces a mandate to crack down on what they consider violence and terrorism.

Meanwhile, thousands of Morsi supporters march to Rabaa al Adawiya square to join the sit-in against the military coup. Tens are injured in clashes between el Sisi and Morsi supporters.

A court reportedly charges former President Morsi with espionage and unspecified “aggressive acts in the country,” including links to attacks on police and security force facilities. The Egyptian press reports that the court ordered Morsi’s detention for 15 days pending an investigation. Morsi’s detention period is later extended for 30 days on August 15.

July 27: At least 74 pro-Morsi protestors are reportedly killed in clashes with security forces. “They are not shooting to wound, they are shooting to kill,” Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Gehad el Haddad tells the press.

Aug. 14: Hundreds are killed as security forces storm pro-Morsi protest camps in Cairo. Official sources claim that 578 are left dead. The Brotherhood claims that 2,200 are killed and 10,000 are injured. Egyptian authorities impose a dusk-to-dawn curfew and declare a state of emergency. Some 40 Coptic churches are destroyed in a wave of attacks in the following days. Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei resigns in protest of the crackdown on Morsi’s supporters and warns that extremist groups would benefit from the killings.

Aug. 16-17: The Brotherhood calls for a “march of anger” to protest the military coup and crackdowns on sit-ins. Hundreds of Morsi supporters gather at a mosque in Cairo’s Ramses square after Friday prayers. Clashes with security forces and armed local residents leave at least 173 dead — including eight police officers. More than 1,300 are reportedly injured. Protestors barricade themselves in al Fath mosque. The next day, security forces clear people out after gunmen reportedly shot down at them from a minaret.

Aug. 18: Thirty-seven pro-Morsi demonstrators arrested in and around the Rabaa camp suffocate to death in police custody. The interior ministry claims teargas was used during an attempted escape. But the Committee to Monitor Human Rights Violations notes conflicting reports from authorities about the incident and calls for an independent investigation.

Aug. 20: Egypt state media announces that Brotherhood spiritual guide Mohamed Badie had been arrested. He is accused of inciting violence. The trial of Badie and two of his deputies opens on August 25 but is adjourned until October 29 for security reasons.

Sept. 5: Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim survives a car bomb attack on his convey in Cairo that wounds 22 people.

Sept. 7: Egypt’s army reports that it has killed 30 militants in an assault on 12 villages in the Sinai. It is part of a major campaign against militants in northern Sinai.

Sept. 16: Egyptian forces recapture Delga, a town in central Egypt that was taken over by ultra-conservative supporters of ousted President Morsi. The Islamists had burned three of five churches in the town and terrorized the Christian population, prompting up to 100 families to flee between July and September.

Sept. 23: An Egyptian court bans the Brotherhood and orders the seizure of the movement’s assets. The ruling is later upheld on November 5 despite a Brotherhood appeal. The court alleges that the movement used Islam “as a cover” while it “violated citizen’s rights” under Morsi’s presidency. On December 26, the Justice Ministry freezes the assets of 132 Brotherhood leaders. 

Oct.  6: At least 53 people are killed and 200 are injured in clashes between Morsi supporters and security forces on the 40th anniversary of the Egypt’s surprise attack against Israel in 1973. Authorities detain more than 400 people reportedly involved in the violence.

Nov. 24: The government issues a new law banning unauthorized public gatherings of more than ten people. Demonstrators would risk spending seven years in prison for using violence or one year for covering their faces or protesting outside of a place of worship. Participants would be fined up to $1,500 dollars. The Freedom and Justice Party condemns the new law. The Brotherhood continues to organize large anti-coup demonstrations across Egypt.

Secular groups like the April 6 Youth Movement and human rights groups also criticize the new law.

Nov. 30: Egypt’s Constituent Assembly finishes amending the suspended 2012 constitution. The amendments enshrine the military’s prominent role in politics and prohibit the formation of political parties founded on “a religious basis.” The “principles of Sharia” remain “the main source of legislation.” But the Supreme Constitutional Court regains the ability to decide if legislation conforms to Islamic law. The 2012 constitution had transferred that power to al Azhar’s clerics.

The Salafi Nour Party, which backed the military coup, announces its support of the constitution despite the amendments. But the National Alliance for Supporting Legitimacy, made up of the Brotherhood and several small Salafi parties, rejects the amendment procedures as illegitimate.

Dec. 25: Egypt’s military-backed government designates the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. The decree criminalizes the activities and finances of Egypt’s largest Islamist movement. Under Egypt’s penal code, members of terrorist organizations could face five years in prison.

A posting on the Brotherhood’s English-language Twitter account calls the move a “worthless decision from an illegal gov’t without any evidence and will not change anything in reality.”

Dec. 29: Three al Jazeera journalists are arrested and charged for reporting news that is “damaging to national security” and holding illegal meetings with Brotherhood members. The detained include Peter Gresete, an Australian citizen, Mohamed Fahmy, a Canadian citizen, and Baher Mohamed, an Egyptian citizen.


Jan. 14-15: Some 98 percent of Egyptians vote ‘yes’ in a referendum on a new constitution that includes a law banning parties based on religion. The turnout is about 38 percent, higher than the 33 percent who voted in a referendum held during President Morsi’s tenure.

Feb. 12: The press reports that Ahmed Alaiba, an Egyptian employee of the U.S. Embassy who worked as a liaison to the Muslim Brotherhood, has been held without charges since January 25 by security forces.

Feb. 24: The interim government headed by Prime Minister Hazem el Beblawi resigns in a surprise move widely viewed as an opening that could allow el Sisi to run for president.

March 24: A court sentences 529 alleged Morsi supporters to death after convicting them of killing a police officer, trying to murder to others and attacking a police station in Minya in August 2013. Sixteen are acquitted but the case is reportedly the largest capital punishment case on record.

April 1: British Prime Minister David Cameron orders an inquiry into Muslim Brotherhood activities to determine if the organization is using London as a base for planning attacks following the army crackdown in Egypt.

April 28: A judge recommends the death penalty for 683 people, including Mohamed Badie, the spiritual leader of the Brotherhood, for involvement in an attack on a police station in Minya in 2013 that led to the death of a policeman. But the judge also commutes 492 death sentences laid down in March to life terms.

A court in Cairo bans the activities of the April 6 youth movement based on a complaint that the left-leaning group was “tarnishing the image off Egypt” while working with foreign parties.

May 26-28: Egypt holds presidential elections, which are extended for an extra day amid concern about a low turnout.

June 3: Results of the presidential election, which had a turnout of about 47 percent, are announced. El Sisi is declared the winner with more than 96 percent of the vote, while Hamdeen Sabahi receives a little more than 3 percent of the vote.

June 8: El Sisi is inaugurated as Egypt’s eighth president.

June 21: A court confirms death sentences for 183 alleged Morsi supporters, including Brotherhood spiritual leader Mohamed Badie. The Minya city court had initially sentenced 683 people to death.

June 23: A court sentences al Jazeera journalists Peter Greste and Mohamed Fahmy to seven years in prison and Baher Mohamed to 10 years. Mohamed receives additional years for keeping a bullet casing at his home as a souvenir. Secretary of State John Kerry refers to the move as “chilling and draconian.” Two other al Jazeera journalists, Dominic Kane and Sue Turton, are tried in absentia and also sentenced to 10 years.

Aug. 7: A court asks Egypt’s top religious authority, Grand Mufti Shawqi Allam, to rethink his rejection of a death sentence proposed for Mohamed Badie, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Oct. 24: Jihadists kill at least 31 soldiers in a car bomb attack and shooting at a checkpoint in Sinai. Ansar Beit al Maqdis later claims responsibility for the attack in November.

Oct. 29: The government begins demolishing hundreds of homes along the border with the Gaza strip to create a buffer zone between Egypt and the Hamas-run territory to reign in the transfer of weapons and militants across the border.

Nov. 10: The Sinai-based jihadist group, Ansar Beit al Maqdis, pledges allegiance to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi and ISIS.

Nov. 20: Police arrest Mohamed Ali Bishr, one of the few senior Brotherhood leaders who evaded capture by security forces after Morsi’s ouster in 2013. Bishr is accused of inciting violence and trying to overthrow the government after he called for nation-wide protests on November 28.

Oula Alrifai, Avideh Mayville and Helia Ighani contributed to these chronologies.


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The Islamists Are Coming is the first book to survey the rise of Islamist groups in the wake of the Arab Spring.  Often lumped together, the more than 50 Islamist parties with millions of followers now constitute a whole new spectrum—separate from either militants or secular parties.  They will shape the new order in the world’s most volatile region more than any other political bloc. Yet they have diverse goals and different constituencies. Sometimes they are even rivals.

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