Published online by Cambridge University Press: 06 May 2022
This chapter focuses on Egypt and Tunisia, as the two states experienced political revolutions after 2011. In Egypt, the brief political revolution was overturned by the counter-revolution of 2013, while in Tunisia an unsteady democratic transition was achieved at the cost of the social demands of the uprising. Using the framework of counter-revolution from above, below, and without, the chapter demonstrates how counter-revolutionaries in both states were able to rely on the inheritance of previous anti-colonial revolutions from above to build a base of support – one aided by the record of Islamist parties once in power. The greater independence of the organised working class in Tunisia hampered a more fully counter-revolutionary outcome: while the external influence of the EU was concerned with fostering political revolution against social revolution. In Egypt, by contrast, the military as the core of the state was supported by a coalition of Gulf states already financially well-embedded in the country’s ruling class and pursuing a policy of outright counter-revolution.