This paper attempts to provide a conceptualization of Egypt’s current predicaments by process-tracing historical critical junctures and sequences of causal mechanisms that contributed to bringing about the January 2011 events. Focusing on the period between the July 1952 Revolution led by Gamal Abdel Nasser and the events of 2011, it traces the developments and changing political and strategic trajectories of the three presidents Nasser, Anwar Sadat and Hosni Mubarak. The case of Egypt is examined here as ‘an instance of a class of events’ focusing on phenomena related to the tracing of causal factors or critical junctures, and mechanisms leading to a particular outcome on 25 January 2011. It further links the uprising to that country’s 1979 ‘Peace Treaty’ with Israel. This treaty ‘de-securitized’ the latter, allowing it significant regional freedom of action. This had a causal effect on challenging Egypt’s identity-motivated action, contributing, in the process, to undermining its identity structure. An increasing awareness among many Egyptians of the link between the treaty and their identity formation is one of the main reasons for summoning the legacy of Nasser’s leadership as a source of ‘ontological security’.

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