Stability is Not Peace: Egypt, Military Partnerships, and Corruption

Page Contents

When: 30 November, 3:00-4:30pm GMT – Find Your Local Time

Where: Zoom – Register via Zoom here


In October, the eyes of the world once again turned to the Middle East and the horrific violence that has been unfolding in Israel-Palestine, including the Israeli military’s relentless assault on Gaza. For years “stability” had been misrepresented especially in the West as “peace” – not only in Israel-Palestine but also in neighbouring Egypt. The United States and other Western governments are supporting “stable” authoritarian regimes in the region, and trading “arms for peace”, often at great cost to local populations. While almost 68 million Egyptians were living on just USD 5.50 a day in 2020, President El-Sisi’s government was spending 4.0 billion USD on defence and national security. Since his coup in 2013, President Sisi has ruled the country in an increasingly repressive fashion, while also receiving over USD 1 billion in military aid each year. Meanwhile, a key US senator was recently indicted on corruption charges relating to Egypt. As Egyptians are taking to the polls for their presidential election in December, come join us to discuss: What is the wider context of harm caused by military partnerships with Egypt and other countries in the region? What does military corruption mean to Egyptian activists and how can we build better relationships based on solidarity with the Egyptian people? 


Nancy Okail is President and CEO of the Center for International Policy. Dr. Okail is a leading scholar, policy analyst, and advocate with more than 20 years of experience working on issues of human rights, democracy, and security in the Middle East and North Africa region.

Shana Marshall is Associate Director of the Institute for Middle East Studies and Assistant Research Professor. Her dissertation, “The New Politics of Patronage: The Arms Trade and Clientelism in the Arab World” examined how Middle East governments use arms sales agreements to channel financial resources and economic privileges to pro-regime elites. 

Her current research focuses on patterns of military entrepreneurship in Egypt, Jordan, and the UAE.

Mohamed Mandour holds a master’s degree in human rights with a minor in law and a concentration in national security and accountability from the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School. Mandour previously worked as a Bassem Sabry research fellow at the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy, where his article on Egyptian exile activism ranked among the top 10 articles of 2022. 

His academic article on the criminalization of minority free speech received an honorable mention for the 2022 Graduate Student Paper Award from the American Sociological Association’s Human Rights Section. Mandour has been recognized as an emerging expert by the Forum on the Arms Trade, focusing on U.S. military assistance to the MENA region and arms and emerging technology trade policies. His research interests include exile activism, transnational repression, and digital repression in the MENA region.

Amira El-Sayed is a former Tahrir Square activist who has worked in NGOs and philanthropy in Europe and the Middle East. She used to work at Transparency International – Defence & Security where she focused on reducing corruption and increasing accountability in defence and security sectors world-wide.