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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

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.

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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

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Also available in العربية

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