Soft Security Crises in Egyptian Foreign Policy

  • Aida Abd El Rehim

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This thesis is an exploration of soft security crises in Egyptian foreign policy. The time frame for this dissertation is between 2011 until 2018. The argument through this dissertation is that soft security issues, such as water and migrants’ problems, can indirectly lead to overthrowing leaders and to regime change. Thus, in order to establish their rule during transitional times, leaders frame crises in soft security domains that they then resolve to further consolidate their power. The two cases used illustrate how rational leaders take on such a risk (generating a soft security crisis) to gain further support for their rule. These two cases have been under-researched in Egypt post the Arab Spring. Therefore, the main research question is: How does Egypt manage and resolve its soft security crises? In addition, sub-questions include: how soft security crises are constructed/interpreted? Which actors are involved in addressing soft security crises? What are the intersections between domestic and foreign policies in addressing soft security crises? What impact does soft security have? In order to answer these questions, I use the Securitisation Theory (ST) alongside the Foreign Policy Decision-Making (FPDM) approach centred on the presidential leadership style. I argue that, as Securitisation Theory helps us understand the process, it does not always explain leader’s underlying motivations behind the process or the behaviour of different administrations facing the same situations. On the other hand, FPDM, when centred on leaders, can explain the decision-making processes and actions. However, FPDM does not explain how issues become constructed as threats in the first place nor why they were accepted as such. Hence, I parallel the application of both ST with FDPM to give an answer to the thesis question as two distinct theories. The methodology used in this dissertation is document analysis extracted from both local and international newspapers to analyse officials’ speeches. Reference and analysis are also made with reports published by international organisations. This is in addition to investigating the Egyptian presidents’ and key officials’ speeches and interviews available on YouTube. Besides conducting interviews with Syrian refugees and migrants in Egypt, in addition to MPs and lawyers. The thesis is divided into six chapters and a conclusion. In the conclusion, the argument is made that soft security threats can be abused by policymakers in transitional times to frame crises while these policymakers act as the same key players in resolving the same crises in order to establish and solidify their rule. The findings show that decision-makers use both soft and hard measures to manage and resolve these crises and show that the FPDM explains the leadership style in Egypt.
Date of Award2023
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorScott Brown (Supervisor), Mark Cutler (Supervisor) & Kurt Mills (Supervisor)


  • Soft security threats
  • water
  • refugees
  • migrants
  • securitisation
  • de-securitisation

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