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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

Parliament 13 Oct extended for three months state of emergency imposed following 9 April bombings against Coptic Christian churches. Under expanded powers govt pursued crackdown on LGBT community begun in Sept; UN 13 Oct condemned crackdown. Militant group known as Hassm, reportedly Muslim Brotherhood offshoot, claimed responsibility for 30 Sept blast near Myanmar embassy in Cairo, reported in media as gas pipe explosion; blast was reportedly failed attack on EU ambassador’s residence. In N Sinai, militants killed six police in ambush near Arish 13 Oct claimed by Islamic State (ISIS). Over 100 militants launched coordinated attacks on five checkpoints in and around Sheikh Zuweid 15 Oct, also claimed by ISIS, killing at least nine security officers. Militants 16 Oct attacked security forces outside unused Coptic Church in Arish causing distraction from bank robbery nearby; robbers killed seven including child and stole EGP17mn (about $1mn). Militants 21 Oct attacked police in al-Wahat around 135km south west of Cairo reportedly killing at least 52 officers, interior ministry acknowledged sixteen fatalities. In reaction to attack, President Sisi 28 Oct instigated high-level security reshuffle, removing Armed Forces Chief of Staff Mahmoud Hegazy and several top interior ministry officials. Security forces 27 Oct killed at least thirteen militants at farm hideout in New Valley province around 400km south west of Cairo. Military 31 Oct said Air Force killed “large number” of militants in separate strike on hideout. Sisi 24 Oct made first visit to France since Macron became president; human rights groups called on France to end “indulgence” toward repression in Egypt.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

22 Oct 2017
[Terrorist] attack [in Egypt] places the Ministry of Interior under greater scrutiny, because it appears to have been caught off-guard by the abilities of the militants. The National

Issandr El Amrani

Project Director, North Africa
24 Aug 2017
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. Al Jazeera

Issandr El Amrani

Project Director, North Africa
3 Jul 2017
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. Al Jazeera

Issandr El Amrani

Project Director, North Africa
16 Feb 2017
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 New York Times

Issandr El Amrani

Project Director, North Africa
1 Nov 2016
The relationship [between Egypt and Saudi Arabia] is based on a kind of asymmetric, passive-aggressive, perpetual renegotiation. The New York Times

Issandr El Amrani

Project Director, North Africa
2 Aug 2016
Egypt is primarily seen in Washington as a problem and not as a source of solutions. The New York Times

Issandr El Amrani

Project Director, North Africa

Latest Updates

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.

Open Letter to Chancellor Merkel

Uncritical engagement with Egypt will not promote European interests, says European Working Group on Egypt ahead of Chancellor Merkel's visit to Cairo.