'An Eye for an Eye, a Tooth for a Tooth': Political Violence and Counter-insurgency in Egypt

David Fielding, Anja Shortland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


The authors analyse newly collected time-series data measuring the dimensions of violent political conflict in Egypt. Attention is focused on the interaction between politically motivated attacks by Islamists and the counter-insurgency measures used by the Egyptian government. Both insurgency and counter-insurgency are multidimensional. Insurgency includes attacks on tourists, on Egyptian civilians and on security forces. Counter-insurgency includes arrests and attacks on militants. To some extent, the dynamics of insurgency and counter-insurgency can be described by two distinct cycles of violence: one related to highly politicized activities on both sides, and another related to less explicitly political activities. However, the two cycles are inter-related, leading to complex and asymmetric dynamics in the relationships between the different dimensions of the conflict. The authors find that the combination of political repression and military counter-insurgency measures employed by the Egyptian government has the potential to exacerbate rather than reduce political violence. On the other hand, the overall level of conflict intensity in Egypt can be mitigated by food subsidies. Finally, the existence of significant spillovers from upsurges in the Israeli—Palestinian conflict shows the regional importance of reaching a Middle East peace agreement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)433-447
Number of pages15
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2010


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