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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

After bombing targeted tourists near pyramids, authorities launched crackdown on suspected Islamist militants. Roadside bombing near Giza pyramids 19 May injured seventeen people. Next day security forces killed twelve suspected Islamist militants in two raids in Cairo. Authorities accused Hasm group, alleged wing of Muslim Brotherhood, of “planning chaos”, but did not say that raids were linked to Giza bombing. In Sinai, military 16 May reported 47 Islamic State (ISIS) fighters and five soldiers killed, without saying when or where; in El Arish city, police 20 May stormed ISIS hideouts, killing sixteen militants. NGO Human Rights Watch 28 May published report on military operations in Sinai since 2011, highlighting systematic war crimes and abuses by security forces; same day accused govt of coordinating smear campaign and issuing threats on staff. Marking Ramadan, President Sisi 16 May pardoned 560 prisoners, including suspected supporters of Muslim Brotherhood and journalist Abdel Halim Qandil. Top prosecutor 21 May ordered release of five opposition figures on human rights grounds, including former ambassador Masoum Marzouq held in solitary confinement since Aug 2018. Following 23 May court release order, authorities 29 May returned Al Jazeera journalist Mahmoud Hussein to prison and announced opening of new investigation.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

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
14 Jan 2018
Egyptian-Israeli relations are today at their highest level in history. Al Bawaba

Nathan Thrall

Project Director, Arab-Israeli Conflict

Latest Updates

Tackling the MENA Region’s Intersecting Conflicts

How can the dizzying changes, intersecting crises and multiplying conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa since the 2011 Arab uprisings be best understood, let alone responded to? This long-form commentary by MENA Program Director Joost Hiltermann and our team steps back for a better look and proposes new approaches.

Also available in العربية

Keeping Egypt’s Politics on the Agenda

Still grappling with its post-2011 turbulence, Egypt's economy and politics require urgent stabilisation. In this excerpt from the Watch List 2017 – First Update early-warning report for European policy makers, Crisis Group urges the European Union and its member states to balance support for Egypt's economic reform with a strategy that seeks to fix the country's broken political system.

Open Letter to Chancellor Merkel

Uncritical engagement with Egypt will not promote European interests, says European Working Group on Egypt ahead of Chancellor Merkel's visit to Cairo.