PM Sherif Ismail 14 Feb announced he had changed heads of nine ministries including investment and international cooperation (now merged), supply and international trade, legal and parliamentary affairs, planning, and agriculture. Govt 9 Feb shut down prominent NGO Nadeem Centre for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence and Torture for allegedly violating NGO law and its licence; centre filed lawsuit. In central Sinai, army 6 Feb killed fourteen suspected militants of Islamic State (IS)-affiliate Sinai Province (SP) and arrested ten others. IS reportedly claimed responsibility for firing rockets from Sinai into Israel 8 Feb; Israel’s missile defence system intercepted three and at least one landed in open area, causing no damage. Two other rockets fired from Egypt into southern Israel 20 Feb, no casualties reported. Israel 14 Feb said it had withdrawn its ambassador to Egypt several weeks previously out of safety concerns. IS (apparently central command rather than SP) 19 Feb released video vowing to target Coptic Christians. Security officials said suspected IS militants 22 Feb killed two Christians in N Sinai. Suspected Islamist militants 23 Feb gunned down Coptic Christian inside his home in al-Arish. Govt 26 Feb said it rehoused in four governorates 118 Coptic families who fled N Sinai after spate of killings there. Parliament 27 Feb stripped MP and Reform and Development Party chair Mohamed Anwar Sadat of parliamentary membership following investigations into accusations that he leaked confidential documents and forged MPs’ signatures. Pro-regime politicians 4 Feb initiated hostile takeover of second largest party in parliament Free Egyptians Party; party leader Essam Khalil unilaterally dissolved board of trustees, ousting party’s founder, telecom mogul Naguib Sawiris and expelling dozens of party members.
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.
Uncritical engagement with Egypt will not promote European interests, says European Working Group on Egypt ahead of Chancellor Merkel's visit to Cairo.
Originally published in News1
Originally published in Council on Foreign Relations