Egyptian general-turned-president Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi would likely be the first to admit that an iron fist is no guarantee for retaining power. Not because of the fate of the country’s longest ruling autocrat, Hosni Mubarak, who was toppled in 2011 by a popular revolt. But because Mr. Al-Sisi’s iron fist has not squashed resistance, nor has it enabled him to properly deliver badly needed public goods and services.
The Egyptian regime’s attempt to expand the presidential term to six years is another move to consolidate the power of the presidency.
Tensions between Egypt’s religious leadership and its political leadership—represented by the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, Ahmed el-Tayeb, and Egypt’s President respectively—have reached a point where they can no longer be concealed. The underlying disagreement has become public, and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has raised this issue in his public speeches, the most recent of which dealt with verbal divorce, to the point where Sisi told el-Tayeb, “you’ve exhausted me, honorable Imam.” The Council of Senior Scholars, which is headed by the Sheikh of al-Azhar, rejected Sisi’s call for divorce to be documented in order for it to be recognized….
Billed as a bid to stimulate inter-faith dialogue, Pope Francis, on a visit to Egypt, is tiptoeing through a religious and geopolitical minefield.
Egypt’s government, under the leadership of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, is firmly wedged between a rock and a hard place – on the one hand the danger of economic collapse; on the other simmering popular discontent, which could descend into open revolt, at the steps being taken to relieve the problem.
British author Robert Fisk has criticized Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s declaration of a state of emergency even without returning to his government, as his predecessors Sadat and Mubarak have done, stressing that this state of emergency will last for at least a year, not three months as Al-Sisi claims. In his article published in the British newspaper The Independent, Fisk saw that the army and police in Egypt failed to keep ISIS organization inside Sinai. The organization is now in Cairo, Alexandria, and perhaps in all poor cities along the Nile Valley. Fisk predicted that we will see more…
It’s a mass grave that we don’t need the United Nations to verify. Every day an average of 14 migrants, the vast majority from countries in sub-Saharan Africa, die crossing the Mediterranean. Many more see their European dream turn into a nightmare long before they’re corralled on to flimsy rubber dinghies on Libya’s beaches. They’re the victims of a silent massacre in the Sahara desert – a journey more deadly than the crossing from the coast, according to the International Organisation for Migration.
Recent calls by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to reduce Egypt’s escalating divorce rate by ending verbal divorce have been met with resistance from Al-Azhar, feeding into an ongoing standoff between the state and the country’s largest Islamic institution.
*This memo was originally drafted as a part of the Islam, Islamists, and the Media in a Changing Middle East workshop held at George Washington University on October 28, 2016. In the mid-1990s, satellite television and the Internet began to spread in the Middle East, permanently altering the previous hierarchy of political and religious authority. While longstanding institutions were not necessarily irrelevant if they used their financial might to acquire a high-tech bully pulpit, they were joined by a broad array of individuals and organizations that carried distinct religious messages and spoke to a mass audience. In tandem, these masses now challenged…
Faced with a drop in popularity, intermittent protests against rising prices, and calls for a mass anti-government demonstration, Egyptian general-turned-president Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, is seeking to appease the country’s youth, soccer fans and activists with promises of change.