Islamic State (ISIS) stepped up attacks, particularly against Coptic Christians, and May could see further attacks on churches and heightened insecurity as govt implements state of emergency. Suicide bombers 9 April detonated explosives in church in Tanta, Gharbeya governorate some 100km north of Cairo and outside church in Alexandria, killing 48 people; ISIS claimed responsibility without specifying which branch. Police same day dismantled two explosive devices at mosque in Tanta. President Sisi immediately sacked Gharbeya governorate security chief and declared three-month state of emergency. Govt 11 April said security forces killed seven alleged ISIS sympathisers suspected of planning attacks against Coptic Christians in Assiut and Sohag provinces in south, and against police and courts. ISIS militants 18 April attacked security forces around St. Catherine’s monastery in S Sinai, killing police officer; military responded with airstrikes in N Sinai, killing two suspected militants. Army 20 April said airstrikes killed nineteen ISIS militants in N Sinai, including three leaders. ISIS militant 25 April killed at least 40 army-allied tribesmen in suicide attack in al-Barth village in N Sinai; tribesmen subsequently reportedly burned alive suspected ISIS militant. Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated TV channel 20 April broadcast video allegedly showing extrajudicial killings by military in Sinai Peninsula. Sisi in Washington DC 3-7 April met U.S. President Trump, cabinet and lawmakers; discussions focused on Sinai security, economy, foreign aid and terrorism. Cairo court 30 April sentenced Muslim Brotherhood leader and radical preacher Wagdy Ghoneim to death in absentia, with two others in detention, for allegedly setting up terror group after 2013 overthrow of former President Morsi; five others sentenced to life, including two in absentia.
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.
Egypt's first multi-candidate presidential election, a response to U.S. pressure, was a false start for reform. Formal pluralism has never seriously limited the dominance of President Mubarak's National Democratic Party (NDP); extension to the presidential level is a token so long as the opposition is too weak to produce plausible candidates.
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 relationship [between Egypt and Saudi Arabia] is based on a kind of asymmetric, passive-aggressive, perpetual renegotiation.
Egypt is primarily seen in Washington as a problem and not as a source of solutions.
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.
Originally published in News1