Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain are apparently on their way to resolving their dispute with Qatar over its backing for the Muslim Brotherhood. A foreign ministers’ meeting was convened in Riyadh on Thursday, leading to a statement issued later in the evening. Continue reading The Riyadh Document: What could it mean?
During the First World War the British government used a highly effective and innovative series of propaganda posters in which Secretary of State for War Lord Kitchener pointed at the viewer declaring “Your country needs you” or variations on that phrase. Almost a year after declaring that there was no personal ambition in his decision to oust the elected Islamist president Mohammed Morsi, General Abdelfattah al-Sisi has finally declared he will run for the presidency in a propaganda declaration that heavily played on the theme that “Egypt needs you”. Continue reading ECFR: The Military Republic Wants You
CAIRO – Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is assured of winning Egypt’s forthcoming presidential vote but at the cost of reviving the era of strongman rule as he faces a dilapidated economy and rising militancy.
Analysts say Field Marshal Sisi, who on Wednesday announced he was quitting the army to run for president, was certain to continue the crackdown on Islamists that started when he overthrew elected president Mohamed Morsi in July. Continue reading AFP: Sisi may revive strongman era to quell Egypt unrest: analysts
(Originally published in Politico)
Time was, American presidents had Egyptian leaders at their beck and call. Hosni Mubarak was once obliged to get up at the crack of dawn for a photo op with President Bill Clinton, scheduled with U.S. prime-time TV in mind. But if there’s one thing the “Arab Spring”—if we can still use that term with a straight face—has proved, it’s that those days are gone. Ever since Feb. 2, 2011, when President Obama pulled the plug on Mubarak in a hasty speech calling on the longtime Egyptian strongman to leave “now,” the United States has gone from bankrolling a friendly dictator to bankrolling an unfriendly dictatorship—while fast estranging itself from all sides of the political spectrum. Continue reading POLITICO: The Revolutionary Police State
(This was first published by the European Council on Foreign Relations on its website)
The Egyptian authorities hoped that the constitutional referendum would draw a line under the question of the legitimacy of the July 3 regime and they are showing all the signs of believing that the 98 percent ‘Yes’ vote means they have achieved that. Less than 40 percent of eligible voters took the opportunity to use their vote, but only around 41 percent voted in the first constitutional amendment vote in March 2011, and even less voted for the constitution put together under the watch of ousted Islamist president Mohammed Morsi. Continue reading After Egypt’s Referendum: What Lies Ahead?
If Sisi gives in to temptation and runs for president, the July 3 regime may not last. If he does not, he gives it a chance. If he runs, the July 3 regime continues to define itself as a new beginning, undermining the transformative power of January 25, and in the process dooms itself to failure, but if he does not run it will have a chance to become another chapter in the long process of reconstituting Egyptian politics and society begun on Jan 25. Continue reading If Sisi runs, and if he does not
Hundreds of thousands were out in Tahrir Square and hundreds of thousands more, perhaps millions, were in the streets by the presidential palace. State television played rousing patriotic music. Military aircraft hovered above, in protective fatherly fashion, as protesters playfully flickered their green lasers in the sky. Huge Egyptian flags were strung out over ecstatic protesters’ heads for maybe 20 metres or more. Hawkers displayed a range of trinkets and souvenirs bearing the soft-features of charismatic army leader and saviour of the republic Abdulfattah al-Sisi. Continue reading ‘Corrective Revolution’ Descends Into Bloodshed
A forewarning about the extent of Idolization of Field Marshal Abdulfattah al-Sisi came to me on Wednesday night, after the Egyptian defence minister and supreme commander of Egypt’s armed forces issued his call for mass protests to give the military a mandate to confront violence on the streets of Egypt. A friend messaged me: “I’m in love with Sisi. What a strong guy! Eh dah! Finally someone I respect.” Continue reading Sisi – Too sexy for his military fatigues (Get that man a presidency)