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Egypt

Since a July 2013 military coup, Egypt has sought to reassert state authority undermined by the 2011 uprising at the expense of political inclusion, especially of the Muslim Brotherhood. The resulting polarisation has encouraged mounting political violence from the Islamic State (ISIS) and other violent groups, particularly in the Sinai Peninsula where a low-level insurgency has raged. In the Nile Valley, in 2017, ISIS has targeted the Coptic Christian minority, while al-Qaeda affiliates and other groups tied to the Brotherhood have targeted security forces. Crisis Group is urging the government to be more inclusive and address widespread violations of human and political rights, especially ahead of presidential elections scheduled for May 2018, to better address security and economic challenges.

CrisisWatch Egypt

Unchanged Situation

Low-intensity jihadist violence persisted in North Sinai, and group of Western countries, including U.S., condemned crackdown on dissent. In North Sinai, Islamic State (ISIS) affiliate Sinai Province 4 and 11 March reportedly killed eight including at least two civilians; mid-March detonated IED near army armoured vehicle in Sheikh Zuweid area, killing several soldiers. Bedouin tribal force and security forces mid-March killed Salim Salma Said al-Hamadin, senior ISIS commander in Rafah and Sheikh Zuweid areas, south of Rafah town. NGO Human Rights Watch 17 March said demolition of buildings and forced evictions of residents as part of govt’s counter-insurgency policy in Sinai “likely amount to war crimes”. U.S. 12 March joined group of 30 UN Human Rights Council member states to condemn “restrictions on freedom of expression and the right to peaceful assembly” and “application of terrorism legislation against peaceful critics” in first such statement since 2014; govt immediately rejected “reckless” accusations. Amid growing convergence between Egypt and Sudan notably on Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam dispute with Ethiopia (see Nile Waters entry), both countries 2 March signed military cooperation agreement; in following days, President Sisi 6 March visited Sudan’s capital Khartoum for first time since 2019 overthrow of Sudan’s former President al-Bashir, while Sudan’s PM Hamdok 11 March travelled to capital Cairo. Turkish FM Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu 12 March reported first diplomatic contacts with Cairo since 2013 coup in Egypt. Egyptian FM Sameh Shoukry 14 March confirmed diplomatic contacts with Ankara but said dialogue was limited and Turkey’s actions must “show alignment with Egyptian principles and goals” for relations to return to normal, in possible allusion to presence of Egyptian opposition leaders in Turkey; partial rapprochement could pave way for understanding on Eastern Mediterranean dispute.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

23 Sep 2019
[In Egypt, anti-government] protests have now pierced the ‘wall of fear’ and are a major source of concern for the regime. Twitter

Riccardo Fabiani

Project Director, North Africa
25 Mar 2018
For [the Egyptian government], development and economic growth come after the ISIS problem is resolved, and that is taking much longer than they anticipated. Al Jazeera

Issandr El Amrani

Former Project Director, North Africa
8 Mar 2018
While [Sudan] wants to show [its] independence from Egypt on the diplomatic front, [it] can’t afford to have a more powerful enemy, such as Egypt, that can affect [its] relationship with the Gulf states. MadaMasr

Magnus Taylor

Former Analyst, Horn of Africa
26 Feb 2018
What you are seeing [among the nations along the Nile] is a proxy conflict of who should be the regional hegemon, Egypt or Ethiopia. The Daily Free Press

Rashid Abdi

Former Project Director, Horn of Africa
3 Feb 2018
[Egypt's President] Sisi's appointment as minister of defence in 2012 was partly predicated on a move to sideline [Retired Egyptian General Sami Hafez]. The Sydney Morning Herald

Issandr El Amrani

Former Project Director, North Africa
19 Jan 2018
[The dispute about future management of the Nile] is a proxy conflict over who should be the regional hegemon, Egypt or Ethiopia. World Politics Review

Rashid Abdi

Former Project Director, Horn of Africa

Latest Updates

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Report / Africa

Bridging the Gap in the Nile Waters Dispute

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