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

Preparations for national dialogue among country’s political forces dragged on, jihadists launched rare attack west of Suez Canal in mainland Egypt, and govt secured IMF rescue package.

President Sisi-sponsored national dialogue initiative remained stalled. No date in sight for official launch of national dialogue among political forces more than eight months after Sisi announced initiative in April. Opposition Civil Democratic Movement 3 Dec conditioned participation in dialogue to release of 1,074 political prisoners.

Police suffered rare Sinai Province attack in mainland Egypt. Security forces early Dec reinforced checkpoints along Suez Canal, conducting night patrols and reconnaissance flights in area to prevent attacks by Islamic State-affiliated Sinai Province (SP). SP militants 30 Dec however attacked police checkpoint in Ismailia city, located on west bank of Suez Canal in mainland Egypt, killing at least three police officers.

Cairo secured external support amid financial crisis. International Monetary Fund 16 Dec approved 46-month $3bn bailout package, while govt 23 Dec announced World Bank approved $500mn support for social protection programs. Meanwhile, Cairo continued to diversify partnerships. Sisi 8 Dec attended China-Arab summit in Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh, met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Reports in following days emerged of Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund eyeing $600mn purchase of Egypt’s state-owned United Bank and of China preparing $500mn in financing for Egypt. Sisi 13 Dec attended U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in U.S. capital, Washington DC, met with U.S. Sec State Antony Blinken.

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In The News

31 May 2022
[The war in Ukraine] has exposed once again the fragility of Egypt’s political and economic model. Bloomberg

Riccardo Fabiani

Project Director, North Africa
10 May 2022
Egypt is something of a special case vis-a-vis the West because of both its robust relations with Russia and being a key US partner in the Middle East. The National

Michael Wahid Hanna

Program Director, U.S.
12 Jul 2021
Egypt’s more constructive and pragmatic regional role in recent months has produced good will and breathing space for Cairo, but at root this approach to regional affairs... Politico

Michael Wahid Hanna

Program Director, U.S.
26 Jun 2021
Cairo has been trying to mobilize support for its position on the GERD with the Nile Basin countries for years [...] to exert as much diplomatic pressure as possible on E... Al Monitor

Riccardo Fabiani

Project Director, North Africa
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

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