Answers to basic “who” questions about Egypt

Who is Hosni Mubarak? Who is Mohamed ElBaradei? And who are the Muslim Brotherhood?

Topics: Egyptian Protests, Africa, Middle East,

Answers to basic "who" questions about EgyptA woman carrying a placard referring to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak attends a demonstration by anti-government protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square, Egypt, Monday, Jan. 31, 2011. A coalition of opposition groups called for a million people to take to Cairo's streets Tuesday to demand the removal of Mubarak. AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)(Credit: AP)

The main characters involved implicated in the demostrations read like a who’s-who list of Egypt’s primary political factions.

President Hosni Mubarak: Now in his 30th year in office, Egypt’s fourth president so far has refused to surrender his office despite a unifed call from protestors for him to step down.

  • Mubarak is a “senile and paranoid” 82 year-old autocrat who has groomed his son to succeed him in office. (Foreign Policy, HuffPost)
  • Mubarak touts Egypt’s commitment to freedom of speech, but he’s arrested thousands under the country’s Emergency Law. (New Yorker)
  • Mubarak will hold on to power as long as possible. (Guardian)

Mohamed ElBaradei: Former chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, ElBaradei serves as somewhat of a exiled hero to Egypt’s opposition party. We profiled him recently. (He’s also pretty good on Twitter!)

  • ElBaradei is a well-educated, Egyptian-born recipient of the 2005 Nobel Peace prize. For 12 years he served as director general of the IAEA and has lived abroad for much of his adult life. (Nobel)
  • ElBaradei was a vocal opponent of the U.S. invasion of Iraq and has since encouraged diplomatic solutions to Iran’s nuclear policy. (New York Times)
  • ElBaradei became the face of the opposition movement as protests against President Mubarak escalated. (Guardian)


Muslim Brotherhood: The largest and oldest Islamic political group could lead the next regime in Egypt. We profiled them recently, too.

  • The Muslim Brotherhood is not a terrorist organization, though they have been connected to violence in the past. But it’s generally complicated as the group has many factions. (Foreign Policy)
  • The Muslim Brotherhood is built on the idea that Islam is not simply a religion but a way of life. (CNN)
  • The Muslim Brotherhood, as the largest Islamic group in the country, will become increasingly important as Egypt looks to build consensus. (New York Times)

Adam Clark Estes blogs the news for Salon. Email him at ace@salon.com and follow him on Twitter @adamclarkestes

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