The Arab Spring has been an interesting phenomenon over the last few years. Public feeling and dissent has put pressure on a number of ruling groups of middle eastern countries and in some cases it has focused to become so powerful that it has actually caused regime change. Egypt has been a particular example where popular opinion forced the resignation of the long-serving leader Hosni Mubarak in February 2011. The first democratic elections were won by the Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Morsi, but parliament was dissolved and Morsi was deposed as a result of mass demonstrations and military intervention. The country is deeply divided between Islamist and secular groups, and the Egyptian military remains the country’s chief political broker and decision-maker. Regime change has been extremely difficult and many question Egypt’s suitability for democratic institutions.
There is, however, a template for successful regime change in Egypt, going back 60 years to the overthrow of King Farouk and the installation of President Nasser.
King Farouk took over the Egyptian throne in 1937, his reign began with a sense of promise and hope but ended in scandal, corruption and indolence. Farouk seemed to have nationalist sympathies at a time when the British occupied Egypt. Anti British feeling was strong in Egypt and mass demonstrations and riots forced the withdrawal of their troops from Alexandria. Farouk was weak in dealing with the British and signed a treaty which gave their forces the right to remain in the Suez Canal Zone while apparently ending the British occupation of Egypt. He soon lost interest in politics and focused on cars, women and food all of which he indulged in to excess.
Farouk had the Sun in Aquarius in the 4th house, a natural placing for someone who would have strong ideals and a new vision ( Aquarius ) for his homeland ( 4th house ). Jupiter is in the 10th house, which would elevate him to high position, so the Sun opposite Jupiter here would show the great sense of promise and expectation of someone who would lead his country to independence. Jupiter is conjunct Neptune, however, and Neptune’s effect in political affairs is usually undermining, it often acts to dissolve things that had appeared to be sound and it usually weakens one’s hold on power.
The Sun opposite Jupiter is also known for excess and indulgence, doing everything in an extravagant way and having large physical appetites. This is compounded by the fact that the opposition focuses onto a T Square to the Moon in Scorpio in the 1st house. The Moon rules one’s habits and Scorpio always does everything in great depth, this combination in the 1st house of immediate personal concerns, points to all of the idealistic optimism of the Sun in Aquarius in the 4th house being siphoned off into an excess of personal indulgence. By the end of his reign, Farouk was obese and debauched. The Sun and Moon are in exact square aspect and this usually means that the individual is not supported by his environment and the people around him. It also means that a Pluto transit would hit both at the same time and have a massive impact on the person’s life.
King Farouk ascended to the throne of Egypt with Pluto conjunct his Midheaven ( the height of one’s career ) in 1937. After the failure of the Arab invasion of Israel a group of idealistic young Egyptian officers were to emerge as leaders of a revolution which would alter the course of modern Arab history. In 1952, with Farouk regarded as a corrupt playboy, an army coup led by Gamal Abdal Nasser forced him to abdicate. In 1953, the Egyptian Arab Republic was declared and Farouk fled abroad. Pluto was opposite Farouk’s Sun and square his Moon in 1952 – 3.
Abdal Nasser was the second President of Egypt, serving from 1956 until his death in 1970. He planned the 1952 overthrow of the monarchy, and was deputy prime minister in the new government. In 1953, Nasser introduced far-reaching land reforms. Following a 1954 Muslim Brotherhood-led attempt on his life, he ordered a crackdown on the organization, put President Muhammad Naguib under house arrest, and assumed executive office. A June 1956 public referendum approved both the new constitution and Nasser’s nomination for presidency.
Nasser’s chart is a very interesting combination and a perfect match for a successful politician. He has the authority of a Capricorn Sun. Capricorns are very pragmatic and practical people who are good at planning for the long term. They are personally ambitious but it’s the ideal Sun sign for someone starting to lead a country into new political territory and to give it stability and continuity. As a rule, Capricorns are quite conventional but Nasser has the Moon conjunct Venus and Uranus in Aquarius. For Nasser, the Moon rules his political instincts and in Aquarius gives the ability to relate to the common people, Venus is the planet of personal magnetism and the ability to attract others to one’s cause, Uranus is the planet of the rebellious and unconventional so here we see the popular leader of a revolutionary coup.
His coming to power by overthrowing the monarch through a military coup is shown by the extremely close conjunction of Mars ( the military ) to the Midheaven ( the career peak of the Presidency ). This conjunction is the apex of a T Square involving the opposition of Mercury and Pluto. This shows that he was propelled into power ( Midheaven ) by an ideological ( Mercury ) revolution ( Pluto ) led by the military ( Mars ). In some ways a coup led by someone with this combination would be worrying as the likely result would be a new dictatorship, but this is avoided by the fact that Mars is in Libra, the sign of balance, equality and fairness.
Nasser’s Moon / Venus / Uranus conjunction is itself conjunct King Farouk’s Sun, which very neatly shows the takeover of Nasser’s popularly inspired ( Moon / Venus in Aquarius ) revolution ( Uranus ) from Farouk’s rulership ( Sun ). Nasser’s conjunction is also aspected to Farouk’s whole T Square, showing that he would be the ideal symbolic leader to take over from the king’s weak and indulgent reign.
Just as Pluto caused the overthrow of Farouk, it brought about the elevation of Nasser. Pluto was opposite Nasser’s Moon, Venus, Uranus conjunction from 1952 to 1957, showing his leadership of the revolutionary coup as it aspected the Moon and Uranus from 1952-5 and his popular support in the Presidential elections of 1956 through the aspect to Venus from 1955 – 7.
In some ways the situation in Egypt the 50s was similar to the current one that the country finds itself in. After the overthrow of King Farouk, General Naguib became the country’s first President. In late 1953, however, Nasser accused Naguib of supporting the recently outlawed Muslim Brotherhood and managed to force Naguib to resign from the presidency of Egypt in November 1954. The answer to Egypt’s current problems is unlikely to be so simple, however, and there is no current sign of a personality with the force of an Abdal Nasser to come in and give stability to the country. Pluto, however, does deal in the unexpected as it did with the regime change in 1952.