Top-Down or Grassroots in Egypt?

Two pieces this morning that explore how the U.S. can support political reform in Egypt:

First, a short essay by Mohamed Abdel Baky in Carnegie’s Arab Reform Bulletin which focuses on the 2011 presidential election. Baky says that the U.S. should push for fair and transparent elections without meddling in the sure-to-be restricted candidate list. Afterwards, it should encourage a two-term presidential limit. He argues that sustained U.S. pressure on Egypt to enact political reform will not undermine Egypt’s regional cooperation, nor bring about a Trojan horse electoral sweep for the Muslim Brotherhood.

Second, this long study by Rand on Egypt’s Kefaya Movement. The paper looks at the movement’s genesis, accomplisments, and reasons for its decline. It also draws lessons for U.S. policy on the challenges to grassroot attempts to bring about democratic reform both in Egypt and throughout the Arab world.