Insurgency intensified in al-Arish area in N Sinai: Islamic State (IS) claimed attack on police station 9 Jan that killed at least seven police and one civilian; insurgents same day detonated lorry bomb at checkpoint killing at least seven police and one civilian, security forces killed five militants in ensuing gunfight; security forces 13 Jan reportedly killed at least ten IS-linked militants in raids; army 28 Jan said four soldiers and twenty insurgents allegedly linked to IS killed in five-day operation. Gunmen 22 Jan ambushed army convoy in Sinai, killing five soldiers. In al-Wadi al-Jadid governorate in south, gunmen 16 Jan killed eight police in attack on checkpoint, two attackers killed. In Abshway, 120km south of Cairo, gunmen 3 Jan killed policeman. Supreme Administrative Court 16 Jan denied President Sisi authority to hand over two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia.
Nearly two-and-half years after Hosni Mubarak’s overthrow, Egypt is embarking on a transition in many ways disturbingly like the one it just experienced, only with different actors at the helm and far more fraught and violent.
With Egypt’s presidential election having become a free-for-all, zero-sum game, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) should take a step back and, with the full range of political actors, agree on principles for a genuine and safe political transition.
If Egypt’s popular uprising is to achieve its aspirations for a truly democratic society, street activism will need to be converted into inclusive, institutional politics.
The Society of Muslim Brothers’ success in the November-December 2005 elections for the People’s Assembly sent shockwaves through Egypt’s political system.
Terrorism returned to Egypt in 2004 after an absence of seven years with successive attacks and the emergence of a heretofore unknown movement in Sinai. The government’s reaction essentially has been confined to the security sphere: tracking down and eliminating the terrorists.
Egypt's first multi-candidate presidential election, a response to U.S. pressure, was a false start for reform. Formal pluralism has never seriously limited the dominance of President Mubarak's National Democratic Party (NDP); extension to the presidential level is a token so long as the opposition is too weak to produce plausible candidates.
The deep state is not official institutions rebelling [but] shadowy networks within those institutions, and within business, who are conspiring together and forming parallel state institutions.
The relationship [between Egypt and Saudi Arabia] is based on a kind of asymmetric, passive-aggressive, perpetual renegotiation.
Egypt is primarily seen in Washington as a problem and not as a source of solutions.
Originally published in News1
Originally published in Council on Foreign Relations
Originally published in Orient XXI