Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Political Science

Major Professor

Michael Gibbons, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Steven Tauber, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Festus Ohaegbulam, Ph.D.


Egyptian perceptions, Democratization, Political culture, Public opinion, U.S. foreign policy, Egypt, Middle east


This study examines the political attitudes of seven educated Egyptians from Alexandria, Egypt. It seeks to understand their interpretations of the U.S. democratization policy in the Middle East, the Greater Middle East Initiative. The goal is to understand if these Egyptians are receptive to the suggestion of democratic reforms and Egypt. Personal interviews with open-ended questions allowed for individual insights and rich depth of information.

Interviews were conducted in Alexandria, Egypt as a traditionally liberal city with a long history of exposure to Western ideas. The respondents are a part of a small elite subgroup of Egyptian society. As typically more liberal and open to Western ideas, educated members of Egyptian society have a distinct political culture and have been examined separately from the mass population.

Aside from one anti-Islamic respondent, the respondents express an overall negative view of the U.S. government, of which three cite positive feelings toward American people. Six of the seven respondents had very similar political attitudes including a belief that that the U.S. invaded Iraq as a quest for oil and to control of the Middle East, not for genuine democratic reforms. Every participant expressed considerable pessimism about the prospects for democratization in the region. The majority do not welcome America’s call for reform in Egypt because of mistrust of the U.S. or the belief that American values are illsuited for Egyptian society. The results show that the personal narratives of these seven Egyptian individuals are very similar to the perspectives found in public opinion surveys previously conducted among the masses in Egypt.

Qualitative interviewing showed their strong belief that there is an all-powerful U.S.-Jewish conspiracy that enacts policies to target the Arab world. This neo-colonial worldview interprets and perceives all negative political events as an example of the repeated injustices against Arabs and Muslims by Western powers.