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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

Resolution Opportunity

Tensions with Turkey grew, and President Sisi continued to tighten his grip on media, while Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan made progress in talks to resolve dispute over Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on River Nile opening opportunity to strike comprehensive deal in Feb. Govt 2 Jan condemned Turkey’s decision to send troops and weapons to support Libyan militias loyal to UN-backed Govt of National Accord against Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar’s forces backed by Cairo, and National Security Council convened same day in Cairo to identify measures to address potential threat to national security. FMs of Egypt, Greece, Cyprus and France met in Cairo 8 Jan and jointly condemned Turkey’s move. Govt 10 Jan said armed forces were conducting military exercises in country’s strategic areas and along coasts of Red Sea and Mediterranean Sea to show “strength and readiness of the armed forces to protect the capabilities and wealth of the country”. Police 14 Jan raided Cairo office of Turkish state-owned Anadolu news agency and detained      four      staff, including Turkish national, on grounds of having links to banned Muslim Brotherhood group; authorities released them 16-19 Jan. Govt 8 Jan approved new media policies after Sisi late Dec reinstated information ministry abolished in 2014 and said authorities had to block websites to protect country. In Washington DC 13-15 Jan, representatives of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan signed six-point preliminary agreement on filling of reservoir and operation of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on River Nile; met again in Washington DC 28-29 Jan in attempt to finalise agreement and resolve dispute, but extended talks due to deadlock over agreement details; 31 Jan said in joint statement they had reached agreement and would sign deal by end of Feb. During meeting with Sisi 19 Jan, U.S. Sec State Pompeo expressed outrage at death of U.S. citizen Moustafa Kassem in prison 13 Jan. Court in Cairo 27 Jan sentenced 37 people to jail terms, including eight to life in prison, for joining Islamic State (ISIS)-Sinai Province.

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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

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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

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.