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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

President Sisi 20 June threatened to intervene militarily in neighbouring Libya, while talks on Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) project suffered new setback. As UN-recognised Govt of National Accord (GNA)-aligned forces made gains against Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar’s Arab Libyan Armed Forces (ALAF) in Libyan capital Tripoli, Sisi 6 June proposed roadmap for political settlement between Libya’s rival factions, including UN-supervised elections, withdrawal of foreign forces and adherence to arms embargoes. Turkey and GNA immediately rejected initiative as pro-Haftar and signalled that they would continue offensive into central and eastern Libya. In televised speech 20 June, Sisi warned that advances by Turkey-backed GNA-aligned forces on strategic city of Sirte were “red line” and would prompt Egypt to intervene militarily in Libya, citing threat to national security. Technical negotiations on GERD between Cairo, Addis Ababa and Khartoum resumed 9 June but broke down 17 June due to disagreements over drought mitigation, arbitration mechanism and legal status of final agreement (see Nile Waters). International Monetary Fund 5 June announced one-year $5.2bn financial package to support Egyptian economy on top of already-agreed $2.8bn fund. Court in capital Cairo 21 June sentenced 13 to life imprisonment and three others to 15 years in prison for alleged membership with Syrian jihadist group Al-Nusra Front.

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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

Video / Africa

Reducing tensions as Ethiopia Moves to Fill its Blue Nile Dam

With rains swelling the Blue Nile, Ethiopia is just weeks away from beginning to fill the massive dam it is building. Egypt and Sudan demand that it not do so without an agreement. All three countries urgently need to make concessions for a deal.

Report / Africa

Bridging the Gap in the Nile Waters Dispute

Ethiopia is building a mighty dam on the Blue Nile, promising economic benefits for both itself and Sudan. But Egypt fears for its freshwater supply. The parties should agree on how fast to fill the dam’s reservoir and how to share river waters going forward.

Also available in العربية

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

Egypt’s Expanding Jihadist Threat

Egypt’s security suffered serious setbacks in 2017 with local jihadist attacks killing hundreds of people. In this excerpt from our Watch List 2018, Crisis Group recommends that the EU and its member states urge the Egyptian government to change its approach to counter-terrorism and improve the security for minority groups.

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.