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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

Following late Sept anti-regime protests, govt continued to take measures to ease economic pressure on citizens, jihadist insurgency continued in Sinai, and govt committed to further talks with Ethiopia and Sudan over Nile waters. Govt 16 Nov announced further cuts to prices of certain foods effective from 1 Dec. Cabinet 13 Nov approved amnesty for unspecified number of prisoners effective 25 Jan. Police 23 Nov arrested senior editor of independent news outlet Mada Masr in Cairo after it published report on President Sisi’s son; 24 Nov raided Mada Masr’s Cairo HQ, arrested three journalists; all four journalists reportedly released 24 Nov. Police 26 Nov arrested three more journalists in Cairo. In Sinai, jihadist attacks and counter-terrorism operations continued. Islamic State (ISIS)-Sinai Province 2 Nov pledged allegiance to new ISIS leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Quraishi. ISIS claimed roadside bomb that hit army vehicle 20 Nov in Sheikh Zuweid, one officer killed. Military 4 Nov said they had killed 83 suspected militants in north and central Sinai in Oct. Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu met Sisi in Cairo 12 Nov to discuss Egypt’s possible purchase of Russian fighter jets. U.S. 18 Nov warned govt that buying Russian fighter jets could lead to U.S. sanctions, including ban on future purchases of American weapons. After U.S. hosted talks between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan over Ethiopia’s construction of its Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on River Nile, parties agreed to hold four meetings among water ministers in bid to resolve dispute by 15 Jan.

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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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