This Week in Egypt: Week 32 ( August 6-12)

Top Headlines

  • Egypt’s security forces thwarted a suicide bomb attack on a church outside Cairo
  • Egypt’s Sisi receives Abu_Dhabi Crown Prince in Cairo
  • Egypt rated ‘B’ by global credit agency, with ‘positive outlook’
  • Egypt’s annual core inflation down to 8.5%
  • Egypt’s Suez Canal revenues hit $15.8 billion in past 3 years
  • Disgraced monk confesses to murder of Egyptian Bishop Epiphanius
  • UAE’s Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed briefly visited Cairo

 

Main Headlines

Monday

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Sunday

Good Reports

Good Read

From Twitter

Sports

Plus

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Twitter Thread: The Crisis within Egypt’s Coptic Church

In the light of last week’s sad murder of Coptic Bishop Epiphanius, here is a fascinating collection of tweets discussing the delicate crisis within Egypt’s Coptic Church, mainly by Samual Taros, Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institute, with contribution from Maged Atiya (@salamamoussa).

 

 

 

 

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Twitter Thread: The Farcical Al-Jazeera Report on Egypt’s Counter-terrorism Operation in Sinai

This is an excellent thread on Al-Jazeera Arabic TV’s  farcical report  on Egypt’s ’s anti-terrorism operation in .

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This Week in Egypt: Week 31 (July 30- Aug 5)

Top Headlines 

  • Sudan frees 5 Egyptian troops captured by Libyans
  • 52 alleged militants killed in past month in extensive operation “Sinai 2018”
  • Egypt’s FM Shoukry heads to Washingtonto meet with Pompeo, Bolton
  • Egypt to conclude economic reform program by 2019: IMF official
  • Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church defrocks a monk after mysterious death of bishop
  • Egypt’s President Sisi jokes about Kiki challenge by asking Minister of Petroleum to raise fuel prices
  • Italy released Egyptian Islamist opposition demanded by Egypt 

 Main Headlines

 Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

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Sunday

 Good Reports

Good Read

From Twitter

Plus

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This Week n Egypt: Week 30 ( July 23 -29)

Top Headlines

  • US releases $195M in military aid to Egypt that was previously withheld
  • Tweets scorn Egypt’s Sisi in renewed online criticism
  • Egypt seeks 75 death sentences over 2013 sit-in
  • U.N. award-winning photographer awaits verdict in Egypt terrorism trial
  • Egypt’s budget deficit falls to less than 10 percent for the first time since 2011
  • Cairo zoo denies painting a donkey and passing it off as a zebra
  • Egyptian authority investigates Coptic Church Bishop found dead in a monastery

 Main Headlines

 Monday

Tuesday

  • Siemens hails electricity project in Egypt, says it’s “never been done before”
  • Egypt’s Mohamed Salah is shortlistedfor ‘the best’ FIFA player award
  • Egypt’s Prisons Authority on Monday released 683 prisoners after the Tahya Misr Fund helped clear their debts

Wednesday

Thursday 

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

Good Reports

Good Read

  • Samuel Tadros’s testimony in US’s Foreign Affair Committee on Egypt

Interview

From Twitter

Plus

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This Week in Egypt: Week 29-2018 ( July 16-23)

Top Headlines 

  • Islamic State announces death of one of its Egypt branch leaders
  • Egypt’s Sisi says false rumours  are the main threat to Arab countries
  • Egypt parliament passes a bill giving immunity to security commanders during 30 June revolution
  • Egypt increases natural gas prices by up to 75 percent
  • Egyptian parliament approves granting nationality to foreign residents  for LE7 million deposit
  • Egypt passes bill to block popular social media accounts that publish “fake news”
  • Egypt”s Sisi concludes two-day visit to Sudan
  • Egypt has mediated a ceasefire deal between Israel and Hamas 

 

Sisi Bashir

 

Main Headlines

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Good Reports

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From Twitter

Sisi Bashir

Q&A

 Plus

  • Egypt’s historic Al-Alamein Hotelreopens after EGP 1.5 billion renovation
  • Mo Salahis sole sportsman featured on Forbes “Top Arab Stars On The Global Stage” list
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The Arab audience that claps with one hand for Erdogan

 

Erdogan

 

You have a big heart, you shower us with your blessing and kindness. In your wisdom we are in awe, as you mirror our civilization.

I could not help but remember these lines from the classic Egyptian adaptation of the British musical play “My Fair Lady” whenever I read amusingly passionate praise from Arab fans for Turkish President Recep Erdogan. To them, he has been like a prophet, a unique leader, and a good father. They prayed relentlessly for his victory, saw him in their dreams and always celebrated his political victories. Ironically, the story of Erdogan and his Arabs fits well with the old Egyptian play, which was not just a romantic adaptation of a Western story, but a satire against Ottoman rule and our “Efandina the Khedive).”

Initially, the fascination with Turkey was understandable, particularly at the peak of the Arab Spring, when Turkey, as a modern Muslim nation, led by the charismatic and successful Erdogan, looked like the ideal “model.” Many Arabs, regardless of their ideological and political affiliation, were appropriately impressed by Erdogan’s political and economic achievements.

Later, however, many non-Islamist Arabs became less impressed with Erdogan’s wild and overt support for the Muslim Brotherhood, and his limited understanding of the dynamics in Arab countries, particularly Egypt. Islamist Arabs, on the other hand, have become increasingly dogmatic and loyal to the Turkish leader, as that country has become a mecca for them. They have romanticised Turkey, despite their beloved leader’s clear drift towards authoritarianism.

Since the failed coup attempt in Turkey in 2016, hundreds of thousandsof people have been jailed, intimidated, and sacked, labelled as traitors, and declared enemies of the state. Turkey now has the unenviable reputation of being the world’s worst jailer of journalists. Even the judiciary has become politicised, and jailed pro-Kurdish leader Selahattin Demirtas has pointed out that fair trial is impossiblein Erdogan’s Turkey. In 2017, Human Rights Watchdescribed the constitutional changes in Turkey towards the executive presidency as “a huge threat to human rights, the rule of law and the country’s democratic future.”

Moreover, Erdogan’s foreign policy in the Arab world, particularly in Syria and Iraq has been troubling to say the least. In Syria, following an initial ultimatum to Assad, Erdogan softened his approach, and signed the Aleppo dealwith the Russians that paved the way for the Assad regime to regain control of the city. President Erdogan also sanctioned the invasion of the Syrian city of Afrin, where armed groups working with Turkish forces looted and destroyed properties,quietly orchestrating a demographic shiftthat aimed to change the balance of Afrin’s population from predominantly Kurdish to majority Arab. On a different front, Turkey started filling its Ilisu Dam earlier than promised, threatening Iraq with a water shortage.

All the above, should be logical enough to convince Erdogan’s Arab fans that he is not the Messiah they have been dreaming about. But logic alone has proven to be futile against ideological emotionalism. To understand the reasons, it is important to distinguish two types of Erdogan’s Arab supporters:

First, is the Hard-core Islamists: In Kuwait, for example, some celebrated his victory with a giant cake, adorned with the Turkish flag and that of the original Ottoman Kayi tribe. This a group that seeks an Islamist caliphate, regardless of its democratic values, and see Erdogan as the only available leader with the power, intention, and the ability to transform the region into an Islamic State. The rest, for them, is gibberish. They believe a bad caliph is better than any non-Islamist leader. Erdogan’s quasi-totalitarian behaviour does not bother them, and they are willing to repeat his propaganda, describing his opponents as traitors. They are also content to frame all Kurds as terrorists and cheer Erdogan’s Syrian adventures as a nucleus for a future caliphate.

The soft-core Islamists, on the other hand, consider themselves “revolutionary”, and feel the need to be perceived as pro-democracy. They are happy to blur the differences between imperfect democracy and an autocracy delivered through ballot boxes, such as Erdogan’s Turkey, in order to justify their farcical moral high ground. They insist Erdogan’s rule is much better than Arab regimes. Such a claim may have had a grain of truth a few years ago, but now, after Erdogan’s new executive presidency, in which he controls every pillar of the Turkish state, it is just a farce.

Arab Islamists, regardless of their shades and differences, have never been democrats. Their relationship with Erdogan is based on mutual exploitation. Erdogan needs them to prove his popularity in the Arab world, while they need his success as proof of the soundness of their political stances. That is why even if Erdogan is not perfect; they will portray him as perfect.

This is an English version of my original Arabic piece published in Al-Hurra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This Week in Egypt: Week 28-2018 ( July 9-15)

Top Headlines 

  • Egypt denounces reports that 2016 Paris-Cairo Egypt Air crash was due to cockpit fire
  • Hamas said it had reached a ceasefire with Israel brokered by Egypt
  • Italian company Eni reveals second oil discovery in Egypt’s Western desert
  • Egyptian hospitals are ordered to play the national anthem daily
  • Senior US lawmaker urges US Congress to designate the Muslim Brotherhood group as a terrorist organization

Main Headlines

 Monday 

Tuesday

  • Egypt’s annual urban consumer price inflation surged to 14.4 percent in June
  • Egypt’s foreign minister heads to Belgium for the ‘mini-summit’ on Syria
  • Egypt in talks with World Bank for additional $500 million fund for social housing projects
  • Head of Egypt’s customs authority is detained for 4 days on corruption charges
  • Three children found slaughtered and wrapped in garbage bags in Giza
  • Egypt to receive 500,000 Thomas Cook tourists in 2018 in 2018

 Wednesday

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Sunday 

Good Reports

Good Read

From Twitter

https://twitter.com/miskelayla/status/1017133659516698625?s=21

Sport

 Plus

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This Week in Egypt: Week 27-2018 ( July 2-8)

Top Headlines

  • Egypt Air flight MS804 crash “caused by cockpit fire”, French investigators find
  • Lebanese tourist sentenced to over 8 years in prison for insulting Egypt in a viral video
  • Egypt opens Rafah border with Gaza, allowing passage in both directions
  • Egypt Supreme Administrative Court issued a verdict supporting a number of police officers fired from duty for having beards
  • Egypt’s football star Abu Treika has terrorist list verdict overturned but remains on list due to second ruling in similar case
  • Coptic Pope Tawadros heads to Italy for ecumenical prayer for Mideast peace with Pope Francis

 Main Headlines

 Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

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Good Reports

Good Read

From Twitter

Plus

Petition

 

  • A petition against Coptic discrimination in Egypt
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Egypt’s Football “Naksa”

 

Here is an English version of my latest piece in Al-Hurra, you can read the Arabic on here

Egypt's Naksa photo

 

One cannot grow up in Egypt and not love football. The smiles of kids playing in the streets, their joy and passion, and their wild cheers after winning are all part of my childhood memories. But such scenes were not always upbeat and cheerful; I also remember the ugly bickering, yelling, and fights following defeat. Football in Egypt has always mirrored our society, with all its blessing and flaws. During the country’s World Cup journey, Egypt swung wildly between exuberant joy and equally ugly anger and depression. Every society has its own flaws, but in Egypt, our flows are toxic and destructive, enough to doom us to defeat even when we are desperate to win. Egypt’s football “Naksa” is cruel and painful, but it should be an opportunity for reflection and learning.

A popular Egyptian idiom says “an inch of good luck is better than an acre of hard work.” This very destructive idiom has created a collective backgammon mentality in Egypt, which makes us systematically rely on (or blame) luck for our successes (or failures). Luck may help once, but smart hard work is what leads to and, more importantly, maintains success.

Let’s go back to our October qualification match. Anyone with basic football knowledge can recognize that Egypt did not play well in that match. Without the last-minute penalty and Mohamed Salah’s beautiful goal, the team’s chance for qualification would be different.. It is baffling how anyone can believe that Egypt’s shaky performance against Congo could have so miraculously improved in just a few months—enough to beat stronger teams such as Russia and Uruguay.

Instead of acknowledging the modest standard of our team, we Egyptians were carried away with joy and wrongly assumed that our inch of luck would be enough to continue to secure us victory, as long as we had the talented Mohamed Salah.

A Story of Two Penalties

After our crushing defeat in Russia, many looked with nostalgia to Egypt’s last performance twenty-eight years ago in the 1990 World Cup, as if that Egyptian team was so much better. Such nostalgia is misplaced. The 1990s Egypt was no different except for its lack of a high-expectation mentality. Our expectations back then were not high, because we knew that our team’s modest skills. The result was a more relaxed performance—albeit modest, but not poor.

The difference between the two World Cup performances was in the timing of our penalties. In 1990, Egypt scored in the first match of the competition, giving us a moral boost. However, in 2018, our crucial penalty was in the last match of the qualifying stage, which only created misplaced high expectations and arguably complacency.

A One-Man Show

The focus on Salah’s qualifying goal, which coincided with his amazing performance in the English football Premier League, inappropriately skyrocketed our confidence and, more dangerously, created a Salah-dependent mentality. The rest of the team came to rely on Salah’s presence and performance. Although other football teams rely on one star (e.g., Ronaldo, Messi, and Neymar), the gap between those stars and other players on their respective teams is not usually as wide as what exists on the Egyptian team. This wide gap may have knocked down the confidence and the standard of other players, leading them to rely completely on Salah. Such dangerous reliance on Salah was rattled following his injury in the Championship League. Despite his recovery, the other players failed to regain their confidence.

Mental Preparation

I could not help but notice how Senegal and Nigeria players looked chilled, relaxed, and happy whereas our Egyptian players were tense, stiff, and almost miserable. The Egyptian team had almost no mental coaching. It arrived stressed and preoccupied with the uncertainty of Salah’s readiness for play after his injury. There is nothing more destructive for any player than distrusting his own ability.

Our collective enchantment with Salah was unhealthy and unproductive. Football is a group game and cannot be won by relying on one star. We have unnecessarily piled pressure on Salah and managed to turn the blessing of having a gifted player to a curse that ruined our collective ability to fight and win. That is certainly notSalah’s fault; it is ours—and ours alone—to rectify.

We can blame everyone from the coach and the football association to the overall climate of corruption and nepotism, but let’s be honest: We lost the World Cup long before our team played any match in Russia. Egypt can do better, but first we have to learn how to work as a team. We do not need luck, but we need acres of hard teamwork. Let’s try to enjoy football again.

 

 

 

 

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