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.
Egypt and Ethiopia are exchanging harsh words over the dam the latter is building on the Blue Nile. At issue is how fast the Horn nation will fill its reservoir once construction is complete. The two countries’ leaders should cool the rhetoric and seek compromise.
After authorities cracked down on late Sept protests against President Sisi’s rule, govt took economic measures to relieve pressure on citizens. Authorities 1 Oct said they had put nearly 1.8mn people back onto food subsidy program and 4 Oct reduced fuel prices; measures reversed key austerity policies introduced in agreement with International Monetary Fund. Security forces 12 Oct arrested prominent pro-democracy activist Esraa Abdel-Fattah; prosecutor next day jailed her for fifteen days pending investigation on charges of collusion with terrorist organisation and spreading false news; she said she was tortured by police. Insecurity persisted in North Sinai. Bomb hit truck in Bir al-Abd 12 Oct killing at least nine civilians. Security forces 10 Oct reportedly killed militant who tried to blow himself up near al-Arish city. Shells hit two houses in Sheikh Zuweid 19 Oct, killing at least four civilians; media said army carried out strikes. Suspected Islamic State (ISIS) combatants 28 Oct killed policeman in Sheikh Zuweid. Police 29 Oct killed thirteen suspected militants in al-Arish city. Sisi 26 Oct extended nationwide state of emergency by three months. Tensions rose between Egypt and Ethiopia over latter’s construction of its Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on Nile River; Egypt fears project will curtail its share of river water. After tripartite talks with Ethiopia and Sudan 4-5 Oct, Egyptian officials 5 Oct said negotiations had reached “deadlock” and 20 Oct said Ethiopia should agree to involvement of external mediator. Govt 22 Oct said it had accepted U.S. invitation to Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan to meet in Washington. Sisi met Ethiopian PM Abiy in Russia during Africa-Russia summit 23-24 Oct and agreed to resume talks.
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.
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.
[In Egypt, anti-government] protests have now pierced the ‘wall of fear’ and are a major source of concern for the regime.
For [the Egyptian government], development and economic growth come after the ISIS problem is resolved, and that is taking much longer than they anticipated.
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.
What you are seeing [among the nations along the Nile] is a proxy conflict of who should be the regional hegemon, Egypt or Ethiopia.
[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 dispute about future management of the Nile] is a proxy conflict over who should be the regional hegemon, Egypt or Ethiopia.
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.
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.