President Sisi 7 Aug signed law creating National Electoral Commission to oversee presidential elections scheduled for May 2018; some pro-Sisi MPs 9 Aug revived calls to postpone elections due to political and security situation, extend Sisi’s current four-year term by two years and remove term limit restricting him to one re-election. Security forces clashed with suspected Islamist militants in Luxor in south 7 Aug, one civilian and one police officer killed. Three suspected Islamist militants and policeman killed in police raid in Abu Tisht, Qena governorate in south 8 Aug. Islamist militants and security forces continued to clash in Sinai. Islamic State (ISIS) claimed attack that killed four police in N Sinai 9 Aug. Gunmen killed two police in two separate attacks in al-Arish city, N Sinai 15 Aug. Military raid 16 Aug on trucks carrying alleged Islamist militants in N Sinai killed two. Army 19 Aug said they had arrested three alleged Islamist militants in counter-terrorism operations in Sinai. Army vehicle 20 Aug hit roadside bomb and came under fire in Rafah, N Sinai on border with Gaza, one soldier killed. Suspected ISIS sniper same day killed policeman in al-Arish city. Army 25 Aug killed six suspected Islamist militants in N Sinai near border with Gaza. U.S. 22 Aug denied Egypt $96mn in aid and delayed $195mn in military funding citing concerns over human rights record and govt’s relationship with North Korea; govt said cuts may have “negative consequences for the realisation of common U.S.-Egyptian interests”. Govt committee 21 Aug seized funds of multiple businesses, including English-language daily newspaper and Radioshack franchise, alleging ties to banned Muslim Brotherhood, as well as assets of family of prominent pro-Brotherhood Qatar-based preacher Youssef al-Qaradawy.
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.
If [the U.S. decision to suspend economic and military aid to Egypt is] intended as a signal to Sisi's regime, it will have limited impact on [his] behaviour.
The [Egyptian] government has faced a serious terrorist threat and received some criticism for its handling of it. The country is clearly less secure, but this is also a result of regional trends.
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.
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.
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