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.

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CrisisWatch Egypt

Unchanged Situation

Amid Gaza war, tensions between Egypt and Israel continued to rise; IMF held talks with Cairo to expand $3bn loan and potentially soften reform program. 

War in Gaza continued to strain Egypt-Israel relations. Israel’s request to occupy fourteen-kilometre-long buffer zone on Egypt’s border with Gaza, known as Philadephi Corridor, with a view to halting weapons smuggling route from Egypt into Gaza, ratcheted up tensions. Cairo, which currently patrols area, 22 Jan issued warning to Israel, saying any move to control Philadelphi Corridor would pose serious threat to bilateral relations. Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) director Ronen Bar 29 Jan met with head of Egypt’s General Intelligence Directorate Abbas Kamel in Cairo to discuss tensions over control of Philadelphi Corridor. Meanwhile, security situation remained precarious along border with Gaza and Israel. Egyptian forces reported preventing drug smuggling attempt 15 Jan on Egyptian-Israeli border near Awja crossing, with six suspected smugglers arrested; Israeli army reported one soldier wounded same day in exchange of fire with armed individuals near Awja. Anonymous military source quoted next day by The New Arab website said they were not smugglers, but pro-Hamas militants attempting to infiltrate Gaza.

IMF showed readiness to expand loan amid economic impact of Gaza war. Insecurity in Red Sea impacted shipping traffic through Suez Canal. Osama Rabie, chairman of Suez Canal Authority, 11 Jan said traffic since 1 Jan had dropped by 40% compared to a year prior, inflicting damage to key source of foreign reserves. Drop in Suez Canal traffic also contributed to further weakening of Egyptian pound on black market. Egyptian media outlet Al Ahram 14 Jan reported exchange rate on black market had shot up to record high level of close to 60 pounds to the dollar. International Monetary Fund (IMF) confirmed readiness to help Cairo. Financial institution 11 Jan said increasing size of IMF loan to Egypt was “critical”, and delegation led by IMF Egypt Mission Chief Vladkova Hollar mid Jan travelled to Cairo to discuss $3bn loan and reform program.

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In The News

17 sty 2024
[Egypt] cannot live with the permanent displacement of Palestinians into the Sinai Peninsula, the Gaza war’s crippling economic effects and risks of regional war. Bloomberg

Riccardo Fabiani

Project Director, North Africa
15 sty 2024
Things have been very tense [on Gaza's border with Egypt], but there are limits to how far these tensions can go on a strategic level. The National

Michael Wahid Hanna

Program Director, U.S.
7 gru 2023
If the war goes the way it’s been going, the border between Egypt and Gaza will come under immense pressure. Reality might have a say then. The National

Michael Wahid Hanna

Program Director, U.S.

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Michael Wahid Hanna

Program Director, U.S.
Michael Wahid Hanna

Riccardo Fabiani

Project Director, North Africa
Riccardo Fabiani

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