Modern Egypt: What Everyone Needs to Know(r)
With almost every news broadcast, we are reminded of the continuing instability of the Middle East. State collapse, civil wars, and terrorism have combined to produce a region in deep turmoil. If the Middle East is to achieve a more stable and prosperous future, Egypt has to play a central role. It has the Arab world's largest population, largest army, and third-largest economy. It also commands a strategic location at the geographic heart of the Arab world and controls the Suez Canal, one of the region's most important waterways. The country also exerts substantial soft power. Its renowned Al-Azhar University is the premier center of Islamic study and teaching in the Sunni world. Its political and legal institutions have been emulated to varying degrees in Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Iraq, and Syria. Its prolific artists, musicians, and writers influence the culture of the region at all levels, from pop music and soap operas to abstract art. All of these factors make Egypt a pivotal state in the Middle East. Bruce K. Rutherford and Jeannie Sowers' Egypt: What Everyone Needs to Know (R) introduces the non-specialist to this important and influential country. It begins by discussing the historic uprising that captured the world's attention in January/February 2011 before moving to a discussion of Egyptian history and geography. The bulk of the book, however, focuses on contemporary Egypt. After covering its economic and social challenges, including population growth, a weak education system, high unemployment, and environmental problems, they turn to its people, including its numerous religious communities. Rutherford and Sowers then shift toward the country's foreign policy, looking at its relationship with the US, Israel, Arab states, and other world powers. They conclude with an assessment of the country's current and future challenges and its strategies for addressing them. The volume provides the background needed to understand this fascinating country and its central role in the future of the Middle East.