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Egypt 2014 – 2016
Written by Diana Thebaud Nicholson // April 10, 2017 // Egypt // 1 Comment
Copts in Egypt: Attacked again
(The Economist) Yesterday at least 45 people died and dozens more were injured in attacks on two Coptic churches in Egypt. Islamic State claimed responsibility. The blasts come at a bad time for the president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who will host Pope Francis later this month in a bid to show progress in the relationship between Christians and Muslims. Instead, the attacks show that Christians are increasingly targeted, writes our Middle East correspondent
Egypt Declares State of Emergency, as Attacks Undercut Promise of Security
(NYT) Rattling a country already wrestling with a faltering economy and deepening political malaise, two suicide bombings that killed 44 people at Coptic churches in Egypt on Palm Sunday raised the specter of increased sectarian bloodshed led by Islamic State militants.
The attacks constituted one of the deadliest days of violence against Christians in Egypt in decades and presented a challenge to the authority of the country’s leader, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who promptly declared a three-month state of emergency.
Security is the central promise of Mr. Sisi, a strongman leader who returned on Friday from a triumphant visit to the United States, where President Trump hailed him as a bulwark against Islamist violence.
Trump Shifts Course on Egypt, Praising Its Authoritarian Leader
(NYT) Ever since he seized power in a military takeover nearly four years ago, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt has been barred from the White House. But President Trump made clear on Monday that the period of ostracism was over as he hosted Mr. Sisi and pledged unstinting support for the autocratic ruler.
“We agree on so many things,” Mr. Trump said as he sat beside Mr. Sisi in the Oval Office. “I just want to let everybody know in case there was any doubt that we are very much behind President el-Sisi. He’s done a fantastic job in a very difficult situation. We are very much behind Egypt and the people of Egypt. The United States has, believe me, backing, and we have strong backing.”
In that one moment, Mr. Trump underscored a fundamental shift in American foreign policy since he took office.
How Sisi is destabilising Egypt
Egypt’s new authoritarianism has exacerbated societal divisions by systematically propagating alternative facts.
(Al Jazeera) Since 2013, Egypt’s new authoritarian government has systematically widened its repression of the opposition to targets beyond the Islamist spectrum.
Voices of dissent have been targeted, including businessmen whose refusal to provide financial support to the government’s mega construction projects has led to the confiscation of their assets.
And journalists like Ismail al-Iskandarani, whose independent reporting has resulted in accusations of terrorist affiliations and mock trials.
Student protests on university campuses and labour protests in industrial facilities have been met with excessive force, while public demonstrations have been subjected to various kinds of state-sponsored violence, including long provisional detention, dismissal from universities, and hefty prison sentences. In the case of labour activists, these include military trials along with disciplinary sanctions.
In order to disguise its human rights abuses as justifiable actions against “enemies of the nation”, the government has systematically propagated alternative facts.
Hosni Mubarak: Egypt’s toppled dictator freed after six years in custody
Ex-president acquitted this month on all charges of murdering protesters before he was ousted in Arab spring uprising in 2011
Mubarak, 88, was acquitted by Egypt’s highest appeals court on 2 March of conspiring to kill protesters in the final verdict in a long-running case that originally resulted in him being sentenced to life in prison in 2012 over the deaths of 239 people in Arab spring protests against his rule. A separate corruption charge was overturned in January 2015.
ISIS Targets Egypt
Why the Group Set its Sights on the Sinai
(Foreign Affairs) Earlier this month, the Islamic State (ISIS) launched a massive media campaign in support of the insurgency in Sinai. Officials from 14 of its so-called provinces in Iraq, Libya, and Syria released videos promoting an Egyptian affiliate group, Sinai Province.
In addition to criticizing the Egyptian government, the latest videos dub Sinai the “gateway to Palestine,” from which ISIS will “liberate” Jerusalem and its iconic al-Aqsa Mosque. The videos show Egyptian leaders and military officials meeting Israeli counterparts, and call Israel’s Jews “victims in waiting,” whom ISIS will deal with after the Egyptian “apostates.”
This media blitz could mark a turning point in ISIS strategy. The group has lost territory in Iraq and Syria, and the videos could signal a reorientation toward North Africa. ISIS may also be trying to boost morale and recruit new members. Finally, the releases could portend ISIS’ growing interest in Israel, and might suggest that the country could be the caliphate’s next target.
… the organization may sense that Egyptians are ripe for recruitment, as the government’s economic failings and crackdown on dissent have eroded Sisi’s popularity. Moreover, the Brotherhood—once a formidable political force—has become a tainted brand. Its political party was only able to hold power for one year, and thousands of its members have since been jailed by the current regime. ISIS can take advantage of that vacuum by promoting Sinai Province, framing it as the most effective vehicle for Egyptians to undermine Sisi’s regime.
The videos’ emphasis on Sinai may also be setting the stage for a large-scale attack. Indeed, just a day after releasing the last of the videos, ISIS claimed responsibility for a shooting attack on the outskirts of Cairo. The assault killed eight plainclothes police officers, and was the deadliest terrorist incident in the capital since 2013. A dramatic attack against Israel may also be in the works: the Israeli military is reportedly preparing for a major strike from Sinai that could even include tanks or artillery.
On the other hand, the emphasis on Sinai may be an attempt to deflect attention from ISIS’ recent failures. Even as ISIS has suffered a string of territorial losses in Iraq and Syria this year, Sinai Province has been relatively effective. Over the last three years, the organization has cost Egypt dearly in lives and resources, killing hundreds of soldiers, police, and civilians in shootings, rocket and mortar attacks, and improvised explosives. (17 May 2016)
Terrorism suspected in EgyptAir crash, officials say
Search for missing plane continues in the Mediterranean Sea as family members wait for news of loved ones
(Bloomberg and Associated Press via Toronto Star) Civil Aviation Minister Sherif Fathi cautioned that the disaster was still under investigation but said the possibility it was a terror attack “is higher than the possibility of having a technical failure.” Flight MS804
(WorldPost weekend round-up) Writing from Cairo on the anniversary this week of the Egyptian uprising against then-President Hosni Mubarak, Walid Akef says his country today is like “hell” after the “paradise” of the Arab Spring. “I had a dream like any other Egyptian,” he writes. “I lived through the unforgettable moment when Mubarak was obliged to cede the throne. I was waiting for a new Egypt, for a different future to come. Now, we are living through the worst moments Egypt has ever lived. Yet even in this complex reality, we still have hope.” In an interview, Egyptian historian Khaled Fahmy recalls the excitement of the Tahrir Square protests and his support of, and then disillusionment with, the Muslim Brotherhood. His great regret, like so many others, is that “we didn’t transform this energy into something more durable.” World Social Media Editor Rowaida Abdelaziz talks to the Egyptian artist Ganzeer, whose street art murals and political posters exploded in popularity during the rebellion, about how the events changed him and his country. We also profile the ongoing theater activism of Sondos Shabayek, known for her “Tahrir Monologues,” as she stages performances confronting sex, violence and the daily lives of women in Egypt today. Additionally, we look at the stories of 12 activists and journalists who have been silenced by the Sisi regime.
Iyad El-Baghdadi, a prominent Arab Spring activist, senses insecurity on the part of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi during this week’s anniversary. Sisi’s “state is franticly trying to suppress a movement it claims to have already suppressed,” he writes. “Even as Egypt’s central security chief declared they ‘will not allow another revolution,’ the hashtag ‘the people demand the downfall of the regime’ quietly became the top trending topic in the Arab Twittersphere.” Menna Elnaka wonders now whether Egypt is really ready for democracy.
Mohamed Fahmy, Canadian journalist, pardoned by Egyptian president, released from prison
In August, Fahmy lost his second trial on widely denounced terrorism charges connected to his work for Al-Jazeera’s English network. He faced a three-year sentence after already having spent more than 400 days in prison.
But Wednesday, the warden told him to pack his belongings and police inexplicably dropped Fahmy off in a Cairo suburb still wearing his prison uniform.
“They literally put us in a truck and took us to this location and left us on the street with no money, no mobile phones,” he told CBC News. “We were told that [we] can now go home … It was unbelievable.”
It Is Time For Sisi To Set Al Jazeera Journalist Mohamed Fahmy Free
The unfairness of the original trial is well-documented. The retrial has been no fairer
By Amal Clooney. Counsel for Mohamed Fahmy
(World Post) Mohamed Fahmy, the Canadian journalist who worked with Al Jazeera, must wait another excruciating month to find out if he faces a new prison term in Cairo. The verdict in the Al Jazeera retrial has been postponed twice this week, most recently this morning until Aug. 29. It has not escaped observers that this new date falls after the visit of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, as well as the planned celebrations of the new Suez Canal waterway scheduled for Aug. 6, with various world leaders in attendance. The verdict may be coming later; but the world will still be watching
The long-awaited verdict on Aug. 29 will reveal whether the new panel of judges is independent and fair. In a case where even Egypt’s Supreme Court (and the Supreme Court prosecutor) have admitted that there is no evidence to support the charges, the only just conclusion that can be reached by the judges is a full acquittal. But if the judges fail to acquit, President Sisi must promptly intervene to rectify this injustice. Sisi has previously distanced himself from the case, and promised to pardon the journalists if they are re-convicted. He rejected calls to intervene while the retrial was pending, but it will be over when the verdict is announced.
According to Reporters Without Borders, Egypt had the fourth highest number of journalists imprisoned worldwide in 2014, the country’s worst record since reporting began in 1990. This show trial is a simple example of political score-settling between Egypt and Qatar, which funds Al Jazeera, at the journalists’ expense. Other journalists in Egypt have been given life sentences or held for years in prison without charge. President Sisi should know that the world will be watching the court’s verdict on Aug. 29, and his government’s response to it. Media freedom in the region is at stake. And, as the Council of Europe has put it, “it will be the commitment shown to free speech which determines whether or not Egypt grows — or shrinks [–] in the eyes of the world.”
Robert Fisk: What a choice for Egypt – a megalomaniac president or the madness of Isis
Egypt is following the path of so many other countries that are being torn apart. If you torture your people enough, Isis will germinate in their wounds
Indeed, we in the West are now encouraging a very familiar “new” state in Egypt: paternalistic, dictatorial, haunted by “foreign” enemies – it’s only a matter of time before the Egyptian government declares Isis an arm of Mossad – in which an ocean of poverty is regarded as the very reason why ever more draconian laws must be used against free speech. The people want bread, we are told, not freedom; security rather than “terrorism”.
… while the biggest battle is fought in Sinai since the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, we psychologically smother this conflict with our fears about Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen. So relieved are we in the West that a secular general has replaced the first democratically elected president of Egypt that we now support Sisi’s leadership as benevolently as we once supported that of Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Americans have resumed arms supplies to Egypt – and why not when Sisi’s men are fighting the apocalyptic Isis?
To Egyptians, though, it all looks a bit different. They are being treated to Sisi’s almost Saddam-like mega-mind. This includes his grotesque ambitions for a new super-capital to replace poor old Cairo, to be completed in a maximum of seven years, not far from the new two-lane Suez canal which must be finished – and those who know Egypt will literally gasp here – in a maximum of 12 months. The “new” Cairo is going to be 700sqkm in size and will cost £30bn. The unveiling of this preposterous project a few weeks ago was accompanied by none other than our own Tony Blair, who used to be a British prime minister but is now (among other burdensome chores) advising the Egyptian president through a UAE-backed consultancy.
Egyptian judges shot dead in Sinai hours after Mohamed Morsi sentenced to death
It is unclear whether the attack was linked to anger over the death sentence passed for Mr Morsi in Cairo but the Egyptian government has blamed Muslim Brotherhood supporters for violence in Sinai in the past.
Mohammed Morsi, Egypt’s ex-leader, sentenced to death
(BBC) An Egyptian court has pronounced death sentences on ousted president Mohammed Morsi and more than 100 other people over a mass prison break in 2011.
Morsi is already serving a 20-year prison term for ordering the arrest and torture of protesters while in power.
Egypt’s religious authorities will now have to give their opinion before the sentence can be carried out.
Morsi’s supporters from his Muslim Brotherhood movement have described the charges against him as “farcical”.
He was deposed by the military in July 2013 following mass street protests against his rule.
Since then, the authorities have banned the Muslim Brotherhood and arrested thousands of his supporters.
Mohamed Fahmy sues employer Al-Jazeera for $100M
Former Cairo bureau chief says network’s negligence, ‘reprehensible’ conduct led to arrests in 2013
(CBC) Mohamed Fahmy, an Egyptian-Canadian journalist on trial in Cairo, has filed a lawsuit against employer Al-Jazeera in a Canadian court, saying the network’s negligence led to his arrest and demanding $100 million in compensation.
Government to issue Canadian passport to Mohamed Fahmy
(Globe & Mail) A Canadian journalist facing widely denounced terror charges in Egypt expressed jubilation Monday after the federal government announced it will issue him a passport – reversing an earlier decision that angered many of his supporters.
“It’s a victory,” Mohamed Fahmy said from Cairo. “You have no idea how safe you feel when you have your passport in the back pocket of your jeans.”
Mr. Fahmy – who spent more than a year in an Egyptian prison – had been trying to get a new passport ever since his release on bail in February, claiming the lack of official documentation placed him in a precarious position.
His original passport was seized upon his arrest in December, 2013, while he was working for satellite news broadcaster Al Jazeera English. Despite filling out the necessary paperwork, the Canadian government had refused to issue him a new passport, citing his bail conditions.
Egypt unveils plans to build new capital east of Cairo
(BBC) Housing Minister Mostafa Madbouly said the project would cost $45bn (£30bn) and take five to seven years to complete.
He said the aim was to ease congestion and overpopulation in Cairo over the next 40 years.
The announcement was made at an investment conference that aims to revive the Egyptian economy. The gathering, in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, has attracted pledges worth $12bn (£8bn) in aid and investment from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. (Haaretz) Egypt planning new capital city east of Cairo — Administrative and business capital to house some five million people.
The Mohamed Fahmy Story : 400 Days
(The Fifth Estate) Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy never expected he would go to jail just for doing his job. But in his first ever television interview since release, Fahmy describes 400 days of utter hell, some of which he spent locked up with hardened prisoners and violent jihadists. This week he sat down with the fifth estate’s Gillian Findlay in Cairo and told his whole story – from the horror of conviction, to his disappointment in Canada’s prime minister, to what he thinks will happen when his new trial starts Monday.
Robert Fisk: As Mohamed Morsi goes to trial, General Sisi should remember –Egypt is a dangerous place to rule
(The Independent) The erstwhile President appears in court at a tense time even by Egypt’s standards
Being an Egyptian leader, however – and if we get to see the man today, Mr Morsi will surely say he still is the president of Egypt – is a rather dodgy profession. King Farouk got deposed in 1952, but he was allowed to sail away on his royal yacht to Italy. General Mohamed Neguib was put under house arrest by Gamal Abdul Nasser and then Nasser died of a heart attack in 1970, three years after he lost his air force, his armies and the Sinai desert to Israel. Then one of his lesser officers, Anwar Sadat, won back part of the Sinai, visited Jerusalem and was shot dead by one of his own soldiers for making peace with Israel. His air force buddy Hosni Mubarak took over and ended up on trial following the 2011 Arab Spring uprising. Gen Mubarak is now at the appeal stage, and today, his successor will also goes on trial. 4 November 2013
I was arrested for chatting in a Cairo cafe
French journalist Alain Gresh describes his detention in Egypt’s capital and wonders what it says about the country.
(Al Jazeera) This incident raises three important questions. The most serious issue at stake is obviously not the arrest itself, but the fact that we have been denounced by a “good citizen”. This move reflects the dominating atmosphere in the country and to which most of the media, including the privately-owned ones, are contributing.
Al-Jazeera Journalists Sentenced By Egyptian Court To At Least 7 Years In Prison
The trial has been widely seen as political, part of a fight between the government and the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera network, which authorities accuse of bias toward the Muslim Brotherhood and Morsi.
(AP via HuffPost) — An Egyptian court convicted three Al-Jazeera journalists and sentenced them to seven years in prison each on terrorism-related charges in a verdict Monday that stunned their families and raised international outrage, with a chorus of voices denouncing the ruling as a blow to freedom of expression.
The verdicts against Australian Peter Greste, Canadian-Egyptian Mohamed Fahmy and Egyptian Baher Mohammed came after a 5-month trial that Amnesty International described as a “sham.” The group called Monday’s rulings “a dark day for media freedom in Egypt.”
Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi is sworn in as Egypt’s new president
(PBS) The 59-year-old leader said he will pursue regional security and stability during his time in office.
“It is time for us to build a future that is more stable and pen a new reality for the future of this nation,” he said, urging Egyptians to work hard in order to develop and grow their rights and freedoms.
Acting president Adly Mansour who was installed after Morsi’s overthrow will return to being the Supreme Constitutional Court’s chief justice.
Sisi elected Egypt president by landslide
Former army chief wins presidential vote with an overwhelming 93 percent, as opposition candidate concedes defeat.
(Al Jazeera) Egypt’s presidential election was to be held over two days but was extended by another day amid concerns over low voter turnout. The poor turnout cast doubts about the level of public support for Sisi, who deposed the country’s first elected president, Mohamed Morsi, in a coup last year.
Interim President Adly Mansour, installed by Sisi last July, said turnout was 46 percent, proclaiming it showed “a broad consensus”. A European Union team that observed the election said on Thursday that the vote was conducted “in line with the law,” but regretted the lack of participation of some “stakeholders,” a likely reference to Morsi’s banned Muslim Brotherhood and youth dissident groups.
Egypt’s revolution won’t be undone: the people still have the will
The old regime has morphed into a new form under Sisi, yet our young activists know the rot that lies at its heart
(The Guardian) After the presidential elections there’s a subdued air about Cairo. Flag-sellers wave their leftovers at passing traffic: half-price flags, but nobody stops. In the Tahrir wilderness, unrecognisable now from the swirling, buzzing, gallant place it was three years ago, a man stands alone at the edge of the central island. He is old and silent, and he carries a banner with a picture of the new president and the legend: “Congratulations Egypt!”
Like a sci-fi monster, the blocks of the old regime break and dissolve only to rise again in a new configuration. In the later Mubarak years, the president held the balance and the peace between his family and their capitalist cronies on the one side, and the military on the other. The security establishment served the president and his friends, with no love lost between them and the military. As the government abandoned its responsibilities in education, health and social services, the Muslim Brotherhood picked up the slack. It built up its own web of patronage, never challenging the government enough to scupper the deals over seats in parliament and opportunities to make money.
Now the building blocks are morphing into a new arrangement. The military have been voted into the presidential palace. They are trying to build bridges with the security establishment; they need them to quell dissent. They’ve made themselves the channel through which Gulf money will come into the country, and they’ll use it to establish a network of business cronies. The Brotherhood is out in the cold, ousted last July and declared a terrorist organisation, but it would probably be allowed back in if it settled for its old, compromised opposition role.
Increased Instability Predicted for Egypt
(IPS) – International human rights groups have strongly denounced Monday’s sentencing by an Egyptian court of 529 Islamists to death for a riot in which one policeman was killed.
Egypt specialists here say the sentences, which are widely seen as the latest in a series of steps taken by the authorities to crush the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as other dissident forces opposed to the military-backed government, are certain to fuel increased radicalisation in the Arab world’s most populous nation.
What all this repression creates is a very deep well of anger,” said Michelle Dunne, an Egypt specialist at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and co-chair of the Working Group on Egypt, a coalition of neo-conservative and liberal internationalist Middle East analysts who have informally advised the administration of President Barack Obama since the dawn of the Arab spring in late 2010.
“Where these kinds of actions are taking Egypt is very worrisome. …We now have an ally that might be headed toward serious and persistent instability,” according to Dunne, who noted that another court sentenced a group of 17 university students for rioting just a few days ago. Although no one was killed or seriously injured in that incident, each of the students received 14 years in prison. …
Saudi Arabia, with which Obama hopes to patch up relations badly strained by his failure both to support former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak at the outset of the Arab Spring and to intervene more aggressively on the side of rebels in Syria when he visits Riyadh later this week, has strongly backed the military’s crackdown against the Brotherhood and are expected to press their guest to do likewise.
The Saudis have not only provided billions of dollars in budgetary support for the regime; they have also offered to make up for any weapons withheld by Washington by buying comparable systems from other arms suppliers, including Russia, on Egypt’s behalf.
“The U.S. and Saudi Arabia have a basic disagreement about what’s going on in Egypt,” according to Dunne. “The Saudis would say whatever heavy-handed measures the authorities are taking is necessary to defeat terrorism. Most U.S. officials says these tactics are causing terrorism and potentially driving Egypt toward persistent instability.”
Muslim Brotherhood Trial: Egypt Court Sentences 529 Morsi Supporters To Death
(Reuters) – An Egyptian court sentenced 529 members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood to death on Monday on charges including murder, a defence lawyer said, in a sharp escalation of a crackdown on the movement.
Most were arrested during clashes which erupted in the southern province of Minya after the forced dispersal of two Muslim Brotherhood protest camps in Cairo on August 14.
“The court has decided to sentence to death 529 defendants, and 16 were acquitted,” lawyer Ahmed al-Sharif told Reuters. The ruling can be appealed.
The charges against the group, on trial in Minya since Saturday, include violence, inciting murder, storming a police station, attacking persons and damaging public and private property.
Only 123 of the defendants were present. The rest were either released, out on bail or on the run.
Egypt Gets Muscular Over Nile Dam
(IPS) – When Egypt’s then-president Mohamed Morsi said in June 2013 that “all options” including military intervention, were on the table if Ethiopia continued to develop dams on the Nile River, many dismissed it as posturing. But experts claim Cairo is deadly serious about defending its historic water allotment, and if Ethiopia proceeds with construction of what is set to become Africa’s largest hydroelectric dam, a military strike is not out of the question.
Relations between Egypt and Ethiopia have soured since Ethiopia began construction on the 4.2 billion dollar Grand Renaissance Dam in 2011.
Egypt fears the new dam, slated to begin operation in 2017, will reduce the downstream flow of the Nile, which 85 million Egyptians rely on for almost all of their water needs. Officials in the Ministry of Irrigation claim Egypt will lose 20 to 30 percent of its share of Nile water and nearly a third of the electricity generated by its Aswan High Dam.
Vladimir Putin pre-empts presidency bid by Egypt’s military chief
Russian leader backs Abdel Fatah al-Sisi before candidacy announced as Moscow rattles US Middle East alliances
(The Guardian) Without naming the United States, the Kremlin used Field Marshal Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s visit to Russia to criticise what it regards as American interference in the internal affairs of other countries. Russia’s ties with the US have been badly strained by disputes ranging from Syria’s civil war, to missile defence plans in Europe, to Moscow’s human rights record.
Putin’s public endorsement of Sisi is unlikely to cause a stir in Egypt, where an announcement by the field marshal that he is running in the election is a matter of when, not if.
“I know that you have made a decision to run for president,” Putin said at the start of his meeting with Sisi. “That’s a very responsible decision: to undertake such a mission for the fate of the Egyptian people. On my own part, and on behalf of the Russian people, I wish you success.”
Minister and Consoler: The Man Who Wants to Fix Egyptian Society
(Spiegel) Mohammed el-Mahdi is Egypt’s new minister for reconciliation. He’s fighting to create a new country, even as society fragments. It’s an uphill task in a land where the military is expanding its power and younger generations are digging their heels in for a fight.
El-Mahdi is Egypt’s minister for reconciliation. Earlier, he served as a justice on Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court. He was also a judge at the International Criminal Court in The Hague for four years and had a stint as a legal advisor at the United Nations in Geneva. His job today is to bring peace to Egypt, a country still teetering on the brink.
The world doesn’t have many government officials with El-Mahdi’s job title, but a reconciliation minister is a position Egypt truly does need. As an equitable man with a liberal face to the world, he’s invaluable to the government in Cairo. He knows it, too. If he thinks the government is using him, he doesn’t let on. After all, he also has his own causes and goals. He wants to bring various conflicting — and often hate-filled — segments of society back together and to reconcile generations that have become divided.
OP-ED: Egypt’s Revolution Teeters as Sisi Seeks the Presidency
(IPS) – Abdul Fattah al-Sisi is set to run for president and is expected to win handily. The ruling junta and the interim government have taken several steps to make this happen.
Interim President Adly Mansour recently promoted Sisi to Field Marshal, the highest rank in the Egyptian military, despite his lack of military combat. Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) followed Mansour’s action by giving the newly minted Field Marshal a “mandate” to run for president in response to the “desire of the masses.” Sisi’s response: It was his “duty” and an “obligation” to do so.
Sisi’s high stakes political game comes barely 18 months after former President Morsi appointed him minister of defence and despite his previous statements that the military should shun politics and return to the barracks. While he was publicly declaring allegiance to Morsi and civilian control, he proceeded to conspire against the freely elected leadership and torpedo civilian rule.
Once Sisi “retires” from the military and the cabinet, he would be free to seek the presidency as a “civilian” person. He would then present himself to the Egyptian masses as the “Savior” and “Indispensable Man”—much like other military-turned-civilian dictators who preceded him. He seems to forget that shedding the military uniform and donning a business suit just doesn’t cut it anymore. The era of military dictatorships has passed.
Twenty-nine dead in clashes on anniversary of Egypt uprising
(Reuters) – Twenty-nine people were killed during anti-government marches on Saturday while thousands rallied in support of the army-led authorities, underlining Egypt’s volatile political fissures three years after the fall of autocrat President Hosni Mubarak. … But the growing violence has not dented the popularity of General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, whose ouster of Islamist Mohamed Mursi, Egypt’s first freely-elected president, plunged the country into turmoil. Instead of commemorating Mubarak’s overthrow, tens of thousands of Egyptians gathered in Tahrir to pledge their support for Sisi in an event stage-managed by the state.
Egypt poll sparks protests and celebrations
Pro-military and anti-coup protesters rally in Cairo and other cities during second day of voting on new referendum.
Military Launches a Democratic Missile
(IPS) – As Egyptians head for a referendum Tuesday and Wednesday this week, the fate of the Muslim Brotherhood, which was swept into government in the last election, hangs in the balance.
The ruling military junta has been targeting the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) continuously since it seized power last year. Following a Dec. 23 suicide attack which targeted a police station in the city of Mansoura north of Cairo, in which 16 people were killed and dozens wounded, the Egyptian government formally designated the MB a terrorist organisation.
The government accused it of carrying out the suicide attack even though a Sinai-based militant group, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, claimed responsibility.
One Comment on "Egypt 2014 – 2016"
We never know what links to history may be lurking in the biographies of Friends of Wednesday Night.
In the 70′s I was holidaying in Egypt and was also invited to watch a military exercise near the Suez Canal. A young intelligence officer named Ahmed al-Sisi was put at my disposal.
On our way to the operations theatre we passed a number of trucks standing by the road-side with their hoods up soldiers loitering around, These popped up at regular intervals. The Captain (Major?) explained to me that they were waiting for repair-men to arrive.
When we reached the site of the exercise my guide was provided with a map. He struggled with it for some time, after which I suggested that he turn it the other way around and it would be easier decipher. He did and gave the map to me after which I proceeded to explain to him what was going on. I was not too impressed with the Egyptian armed forces. He told me that he was going abroad shortly for studies and I assured him that it was an excellent idea.
I have a creeping suspicion that this military genius is the same chap now aspiring to became the military dictator of Egypt with ardent support from Saudi-Arabia and Russia (another unholy alliance!).