How should Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak respond to the massive protests plaguing his country? This in-class simulation requires students to adopt Egyptian and international actors' perspectives to aid President Mubarak's decision making.
This activity is a two-stage simulation where students use in-class and outside research to take on the interests of domestic and international actors. In the first stage, participants help Mubarak decide the rankings of various strategies available to restore order. In the second stage, international actors attempt to persuade Mubarak of particular strategies to deal with the protests. Students are assessed based on their participation and via a pre and post quiz.
Gov 90ps: The Police State – Power, Politics and Authority
Simulation One: Responding to the Egyptian Protests - January 2011
Purpose: What is the range of policy options available to Mubarak in light of the growing protests? How should the various policing strategies available be ranked, from least to most preferred? What is the most optimal strategy? What is the least optimal strategy?
You should think about optimality from the perspective of the actor you have been assigned, given your interests. You will need to identify your actor’s interests based on the assigned reading and outside research (searching news articles will be more than sufficient). Keep in mind, however, that you must justify your preferred strategy/strategies to Mubarak, who will make the final decision regarding which policing strategy to adopt. You will be assigned to a role with one other person. You should coordinate with your partner on who will actually be doing the speaking; both of you should, however, prepare your actor’s position together.
Date: 25 January 2011, "The Day of Revolt."
Context: Protests erupt in Egypt, with tens of thousands of protesters gathered in Cairo and thousands more in cities throughout Egypt. The protests target President Hosni Mubarak's government, and are mostly adhering to non-violence. Some claim that the protests in Tunisia triggered the movement in Egypt. Others argue that the protests began without a clear agenda, instigated mainly by high unemployment and a perception of government inaction. Regardless of the ‘causes’ of the protests, protesters focused quickly on the President of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, demanding he step down from office. There have been some reports of civilian and police casualties.
The extent of the protests is a surprise for the Egyptian government, though Egypt had been under state of emergency laws for almost thirty years prior to the demonstrations. According to a report from the U.S. Embassy in Egypt, police brutality has been common and widespread in Egypt. The deployment of paramilitary forces paid by Mubarak’s ruling coalition in government has been a hallmark of the Mubarak regime. The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights has documented 567 cases of torture, including 167 deaths (by police) that occurred between 1993 and 2007. Despite the centrality of coercive methods of policing to Egypt’s state apparatus and the fact that opposition groups had planned the demonstrations on the 25th of January, the Egyptian government is caught off guard by the severity and persistence of the demonstrators. Though the police did have time to put in place mechanisms to mitigate the subversive effects of the protests--for example, road blocks and restricted movement--it became increasingly difficult to control the vast crowds, as evidenced by reports of clashes between protesters and police.
Forums for the Simulation:
1) Domestic: Mubarak, Advisers and President's Cabinet
2) International: Unspecified closed-door UN forum
- Mubarak (President)
- Muslim Brotherhood (leadership) or Kamel El-Helbawy
- Omar Suleiman (Vice President)
- Mohamed Hussein Tantawi (Commander in Chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces)
- Habib Ibrahim el-Adly (Interior Minister of Egypt; responsible for law enforcement; directs the Central Security Forces)
- Benjamin Netanyahu (Israeli Prime Minister)
- Hillary Clinton (U.S. Secretary of State)
- Amr Mohammed Moussa (Secretary General of the League of Arab States)
- Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon
See more detailed instructions in the document below.