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The Kefaya Movement

The Kefaya Movement: A Case Study of a Grassroots Reform Initiative

Nadia Oweidat
Cheryl Benard
Dale Stahl
Walid Kildani
Edward O'Connell
Audra K. Grant
Copyright Date: 2008
Edition: 1
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 80
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  • Book Info
    The Kefaya Movement
    Book Description:

    Kefaya was an indigenous movement for political reform organized in late2004 in opposition to the regime of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Thisexamination of Kefaya's birth, accomplishments, and decline is based on ananalysis of the work of Egyptian scholars and Arabic-language media reports(including online and new media), as well as structured interviews withpersons associated with and observers of Kefaya and the Muslim Brotherhood.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-4644-4
    Subjects: Law, Technology, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. Summary
    (pp. vii-xii)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-2)

    Much of the Middle East is governed by repressive regimes. Many of these autocratic regimes are consistently confronted by opposition movements that seek to bring about democratic reforms. These movements, however, operate under significant difficulties and assisting them in any tangible fashion is not easy.

    Opposition movements in the Middle East are regularly repressed, sometimes brutally. Many persons in these nations may be intimidated by or unaccustomed to political engagement, which, in such settings, is not a commonplace civic activity but a high-risk enterprise.

    Yet as a result of poverty, underdevelopment, and ineffective governance, much of the population needs social...

  7. CHAPTER TWO Kefaya’s Origins
    (pp. 3-16)

    The Kefaya movement began in the autumn of 2004, catapulting into Egyptian politics after launching what is considered the first major anti-Mubarak demonstration ever. The catalyst for the organization’s creation was the impending 2005 presidential elections in Egypt. At stake were issues related to the persistence of authoritarian rule and the inheritance of presidential power. Eventually, Kefaya’s platform expanded to include additional grievances from other quarters. Whether Kefaya was truly a new movement or an alternative mechanism for a collection of groups to air grievances is open to debate. Regardless, its unique characteristics, as noted, make it worth extensive analysis....

  8. CHAPTER THREE Kefaya’s Successes
    (pp. 17-26)

    The initial demonstrations held by Kefaya, with their message of “No to a fifth term and no to hereditary rule” and their implicit challenge to a sitting regime, was, as noted, unprecedented in Egyptian politics (El-Din, 2004). This direct challenge to a sitting ruler earned Kefaya praise from both the Arab and international presses.

    Many intellectuals viewed Kefaya as an example of what an Egyptian political party should be. One observer wrote,

    In its activities, Kefaya relies on openness, transparency and using peaceful means. It is democratic in its internal relations and is therefore different from the ideological parties which...

  9. CHAPTER FOUR Kefaya’s Decline
    (pp. 27-42)

    For some time after its creation, journalists marveled at Kefaya’s ability to withstand “ferocious attacks from the state” (El-Anani, 2005). Eventually, however, Kefaya succumbed to these blows and its successes for the most part withered away.

    The political and social dynamics that led to Kefaya’s decline can be grouped into four general categories: first, Kefaya’s struggle against the state over the misuse of power, the manipulation of laws, and the control of the media; second, Kefaya’s relationship with Islamists; third, the role of the ruling elite in propagating antidemocratic messages; and fourth, Kefaya’s own internal organizational problems.

    The general causes...

  10. CHAPTER FIVE Conclusions and Implications for U.S. Policy
    (pp. 43-54)

    While the Kefaya movement, like other pro-democracy movements in the region, did not last long or yield many long-lasting results, it nonetheless embodied the strong desire of many in the Middle East for democratic reform. As Rami Khouri (2007), a well-known Jordanian journalist and chief editor of the English-language Lebanese newspaperDaily Star, writes,

    The Arab region remains the world’s last collectively non-democratic region, having resisted repeated attempts by Arab democrats, liberals, human rights activists, Islamists and constitutionalists to bring their societies into the growing club of democracies around the world . . . Arabs remain eager to participate in...

  11. References
    (pp. 55-66)