This Week in Egypt: Week 41-2021 ( Oct 11-17)

Top Headlines

  • Greece, Egypt sign deal for first subsea power link between Europe and Africa
  • Cyprus and Egypt sign deal to pursue electricity hookup
  • Cairo requests freezing drones deal between Turkey and Ethiopia
  • Trial of Egyptians for Italian student’s murder is suspended
  • Russia-Egypt tactical exercise ‘Defenders of Friendship 2021’ kick off
  • Egypt says will impose coronavirus restrictions on public employees after Nov 15
  • Sadat’s nephew negotiates way out for Egypt prisoners
  • Egypt’s El Gouna Film Festival opens fifth edition against the odds

Main Headlines

Monday

 Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

Read

Sports

  • Mo Salah might be the best Premier League player ever but is the ‘unprecedented’ Liverpool forward still underrated? Jack Bantock

From Twitter

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Podcast: Political Islam lost opportunity for Turkey to coexist with West

In my latest podcast for Ahval’s Turkish Trends series, I spoke to Turkish political scientist Cengiz Aktar about his latest essay ” The Turkish Malaise – A Critical Essay,” in which he explains how Turkey was in a counter-process in terms of westernisation.

Aktar criticised those he called optimistic intellectuals who still believed in westernisation.

“Many Westerners still believe that Turkey is a normal country which can be reformed. They argue that all the misdeeds and wrongdoings of the present regime can be reversed, and Turkey can become a normal country,” he said.

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This Week in Egypt: Week 40-2021 ( Oct 4-10)

Top Headlines

  • Egypt close to finalising arrangements for gas supplies to Lebanon
  • Egyptian FM Shoukry delivers message from Sisi to Putin
  • Egypt starts construction of gas pipeline in the Western Desert
  • Egypt raises fuel prices by 25 piasters 
  • Egypt and US advance Palestinian unity government, but Fatah and Hamas leery 
  • Egyptian headline inflation rises to 6.6% in September
  • Sharm El-Sheikh receives first direct flight from UK following year-long suspension 

Main Headlines

Monday

Tuesday

  • Egypt close to finalising arrangements for gas supplies to Lebanon
  • Egyptian FM discusses Libya, Middle East process with Russian security council secretary
  • Egypt has fully vaccinated over 7 million people against COVID-19 

Wednesday

 Thursday

Friday

Saturday

  • Sharm El-Sheikh receives first direct flight from UK following year-long suspension 
  • First Libyan flight lands in Cairo Airport after 7 years 
  • Canterbury Archbishop urges Ethiopia to ensure fair GERD use, calls for Israeli-Palestinian peace process 
  • Egypt to receive 7 million doses of COVID vaccines within days 
  • Two doctors, employee sentenced to two years in jail for bullying a nurse

Sunday

Reports

Read

From Twitter

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This Week in Egypt: Week 39-2021 ( Sep 27- Oct 3)

Top Headlines

  • U.S. security adviser visits Egypt, discusses various issues with Egyptian officials
  • Egypt Air flight lands in Tel Aviv for first time in decades
  • Egypt’s FM Shoukry visits Moscow for political consultations
  • Egypt is “selected as nominee” to host COP27 climate talks  
  • Egypt inaugurates world’s largest water treatment plant
  • Historic court ruling on FGM case in Egypt
  • Egypt welcomes naming of Tunisia’s new PM Najla Bouden
  • UK Foreign Office relaxes advice for Egypt, Maldives and Sri Lanka

Main Headlines

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

  • Egypt welcomes naming of Tunisia’s new PM Najla Bouden
  • Egypt’s EFG Hermes in talks to buy stake in Spain’s Ignis
  • Egyptian authorities have said they had thwarted an attempt led by an imprisoned businessman to revive activities of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood

Saturday

Sunday

  • Egypt Air flight lands in Tel Aviv for first time in decades
  • Egypt’s FM Shoukry visits Moscow for political consultations
  • Egypt’s Sisi urges speedy vaccination of education sector staffers, university students
  • Egypt’s Sisi pledges continuous support for DR Congo as current chair of African Union
  • Egypt’s Armed Forces mourned on Sunday the death of an Egyptian peacekeeper who was killed in an explosive blast in Mali

Reports

  • Egypt steps up efforts to ‘restore Syria position in the Arab world.’ Mohamed Saied
  • Egypt sends display of artefacts to Dubai Expo 2020 George Mikhail
  • Egypt allocates billions for development in Sinai.  Mohammad Hanafi

From Twitter

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The Time Magazine and the Western Attitude towards Islamism

Abdul Ghani Baradar- Time 100 list 20211 – Photo by Sefa Karacan—Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

It was a baking hot July day in Cairo and my first day in medical school. Like many well-sheltered Egyptian girls, I was shy and introspective; I decided to spend my lecture break in the female section of the university’s mosque, instead of in the public café.  In hindsight, that was a turning point in my life. For the first time I was faced with the raw, unfiltered, unapologetic face of Islamism. 

It was not prayer time, but the self-appointed niqabi-wearing fellow student had started a preaching session on what she claimed to be “the real Islam.”  When she saw me, she was not impressed. “It’s a shame your parents opted to choose such an infidel name for you; to prove you are Muslim, at least you need to wear the hijab,” she added.  For the next six years, I heard her and other “sisters and brothers” preaching about the mandatory obligation to wear a hijab, the need for segregation between male and female students, the importance of female “circumcision,” how music is forbidden in Islam, and why it is crucial to return to what they labelled the “puritan spirit of Islam.” 

Yes, I heard all those Taliban-style teachings a long time ago, well before the 9/11 terror attacks in New York. Those Islamist colleagues eventually joined the various Islamist movements that spread underground in Egypt during Mubarak’s tenure. Some of them joined the Muslim Brotherhood; some joined various Salafi groups; others went to Afghanistan, and a few of them emigrated to Europe pretending to be “reformers.” The cobweb of Islamists is tangled, diverse, and multidimensional.  

Islamists may differ in strategy and tactics, violent or non-violent, but all are united in one goal: Achieving a significant paradigm shift in the minds of both Muslims and non-Muslims. They aim to convince Muslims that Islamism is the real Islam, and to persuade non-Muslims that the concepts of equality and women’s rights are alien to Muslims and should not be imposed by the West.

The handover of Afghanistan to the Taliban, and naming the Taliban’s co-founder, Abdul Ghani Baradar, as one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2021 under the “leaders” category is arguably the top real victory of Islamism as a global ideology. Both events symbolise a significant paradigm shift in the minds of top Western policy makers.  

Western elites have convinced themselves that their values are alien to Muslims, at least in Afghanistan, and have been preoccupied with finding a “moderate” path, even within the most radical oppressive puritan groups such as the Taliban. Baradar represents a more moderate current within the Taliban, “one that will be thrust into the limelight to win Western support,” Time’s profile explained.  As Afghan-Canadian entrepreneur Sara Wahedi tweeted: There was a clear campaign to sanitize the Taliban from the very beginning of the peace process. Think tanks vis-à-vis consultants, journalists, and “experts” were tasked with planting the seed of neutrality, at the cost of destabilizing a nation.

One might argue that the choice is merely political, because the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban is arguably the biggest political event of 2021. Nonetheless, that “victory” of the Taliban is hardly a credit to Baradar and his clan, but is largely an American political move. It is the United States that decided to withdrew from Afghanistan, regardless of the implications of such a decision, or the negotiation skills of Mr Baradar and his team. 

Shortly after Time Magazine’s prestigious selection, it was revealed how the Taliban, defying international calls for diversity, inclusion, and gender equality left women out of the line-up of ministers and deputies and accommodated few ethnic minorities. Moreover, a Taliban official has revealed that the group will once again carry out strict punishments and executions.  Many Western pundits, however, claim that Baradar is moderate and that he has been ‘side-lined’ by radicals within the group on the mere basis of the flowery cheap words he uttered during his negotiations with US officials.   

In an attempt to look balanced, Time Magazine also included a female Afghani entrepreneur, Roya Mahboob, in its prestigious list. But this quest for balance is farcical, to say the least. One does not put a drug dealer and an anti-addiction champion in one list, with the aim of presenting a balanced list of global influencers. Only a cruel, soulless editor can do that without a shred of shame. 

Thus far, however, the success of Islamists in conquering the minds of Muslims seems limited only to their core supporters. Many have noted the images of desperate Afghanis clinging to the side of a moving US military plane leaving Kabul airport, the decisive defeat of an Islamist party in a free and fair election in Morocco, and the rising resentment against the Mullah regime in Tehran and Erdogan’s ruling party in Turkey. Even Western-based Islamist political thinkers who are applauding the Taliban did not move to Afghanistan and bask in the laws of sharia. Instead, they prefer to resume their lives enjoying the freedoms and liberties guaranteed by democratic and secular laws in the West, as Hany Ghoraba highlighted.

The battle for the soul of Islam in the modern era will continue, but despite the paradigm shift within many Western institutions in support of Islamism, such ideology will not prevail. Islamists may rule and oppress their opponents. They may also be glamorised by prestigious Western magazines. Nonetheless, their inability to provide a successful formula for governance will eventually lead to their defeat in every corner of the Muslim world.

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This Week in Egypt: Week 38 -2021 ( Sep 20-26)

Top Headlines

  • Egypt’s former military ruler Tantawi, key figure in 2011, dies at 85
  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Egypt’s FM hold talks in New York
  • Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias met with his counterparts from Egypt and Cyprus in New York
  • UN secretary-general urges resuming GERD talks in spirit of compromise
  • Ethiopian Embassy in Cairo to temporarily close for “economic reasons”
  • Egypt’s Suez Canal revenue at $4.09 billion in 8 months –statement
  • Egyptian court bans use of mosques for political purposes
Egyptian, Greek, Cypriot FMs meet in NewYork. Via AFP

Main Headlines

Monday

Tuesday

  • Egypt’s former military ruler Tantawi, key figure in 2011, dies at 85 
  • Egypt’s Sisi  says River Nile lifeline for Egyptians, slams Ethiopia’s intransigence in GERD talks 
  • President Sisi inaugurates 6th tunnel to connect Africa to Asia among new national projects in Sinai
  • Egypt records highest coronavirus death toll in more than 70 days 

Wednesday

Thursday

  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Egypt’s FM hold talks in New York
  • Egypt expected to sell up to $3 billion in bonds

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

Reports

Read

From Twitter

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This Week in Egypt: Week 37-2021 ( Sept 13-19)

Top Headlines

  • U.N. council urges Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan to restart dam talks
  • President Biden to withhold, restrict some military aid to Egypt
  • Egyptian president and Israeli prime minister have talks in first formal meeting between two countries in over a decade
  • Multinational military exercise Bright Star 2021 is concluded in Egypt
  • Egypt Air to operate Cairo-Tel Aviv flights in October 
  • Egypt set to export electricity to Cyprus, Greece in October 2021 
  • Egypt is removed from UK COVID-19 ‘Red List’
  • Egypt signs flurry of deals with Libya’s unity government

Main Headlines

Monday

  • Egyptian president and Israeli prime minister have talks in first formal meeting between two countries in over a decade3

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

  • U.N. council urges Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan to restart dam talks
  • Cairo welcomes UNSC presidential statement on GERD
  • Egypt signs flurry of deals with Libya’s unity government

Friday

  • UK removes Egypt from red list of travel  
  • The multinational two-week long military exercise Bright Star 2021 hosted by Egypt was wrapped up on Friday

Saturday

  • Egypt receives more than 564K doses of COVID-19 vaccine AstraZeneca  from France
  • Sudan FM decries Ethiopia for ‘fabricating problems’ over GERD, borders
  • Marriage, divorce decline in Egypt in 2020

Sunday

Read

Reports

  • Experts weigh in on the Biden administration restricting aid to Egypt. Omri Nahmias
  • Egypt’s embrace of Bennett highlights divisions in Israeli cabinet. Mazal Mualem
  • Turkey to extradite militants to Egypt as relations warm. Hamza Hendawi 
  • Egypt trains Sudanese police to counter Brotherhood plans. Al-Monitor 
  • Egypt picks Europe over China: High-Speed Rail to Connect Red Sea and Mediterranean.  Bernhard Zand

From Twitter

Plus

  • Ritualistic tools discovered at Tel al-Fara in Egypt
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This Week in Egypt: Week 36-2021 ( Sept 6-12)

Top Headlines

  • Egypt Launches National Strategy for Human Rights
  • Turkey and Egypt pledge further talks to normalise ties after second round of talks
  • Egyptian PM:  Egypt-Turkey ties could be restored this year if outstanding issues are resolved
  • Egypt builds new water station outside Cairo as fears over Ethiopia dam persist
  • Ethiopia claims it ‘withstood pressures’ from Egypt and Sudan to ‘internationalise’ GERD dispute
  • Egyptian and Indian navies execute joint drill in Mediterranean Sea

Main Headlines

Monday

Tuesday

  • Turkey holds second summit with Egypt as Erdoğan courts regional rivals
  • Egypt’s GDP is expected to grow to 5.3% in FY2022/23 through FY2023/24: S&P 

Wednesday

  • Turkey and Egypt pledge further talks to normalise ties after second round of talks  
  • Ethiopia claims it ‘withstood pressures’ from Egypt and Sudan to ‘internationalise’ GERD dispute

Thursday

  • Traffic in Egypt’s Suez Canal unaffected by brief grounding of a ship in the canal
  • Egyptian PM:  Egypt-Turkey ties could be restored this year if outstanding issues are resolved  

Friday

  • Egypt to deliver natural gas to Lebanon through Jordan, Syria
  • Egypt, Jordan, and Palestine hold tripartite talks in Cairo

Saturday

Sunday

Reports

  • Will political tension in Ethiopia benefit Egypt’s position on Nile dam dispute? Ayah Aman
  • Egypt- Turkey: Testing the waters. Doaa El-Bey 
  • ‘Hymen reconstruction fatwa’ stirs controversy in Egypt.  Shahira Amin

Read

From Twitter

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This Week in Egypt: Week 35- 2021 ( Aug 30- Sept 5)

Top Headlines

  • President Sisi stresses Egypt’s solidarity with Cyprus against practices compromising its sovereignty
  • Second round of Turkey-Egypt diplomatic talks to be held in Ankara
  • President Sisi congratulates Israeli counterpart for new position, advent of new Jewish year
  • Egypt’s Sisi to host Israeli PM Bennett at Sharm El-Sheikh meeting 
  • Egyptian Paratroopers and Commandos conclude joint counterterrorism training with US Special Forces
  • Egypt signs $4.5 billion high-speed rail deal to link its Red Sea and Mediterranean coasts
  • Amazon inaugurates logistics centre in Egypt 

Main Headlines

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

  • Israel’s Bennett and Egypt’s Sisi to meet publically in Sharm El-Sheikh soon  
  • ‘Suez Canal on rails’ – Egypt signs $4.5 billion high speed rail to link its Red Sea and Mediterranean coasts

Thursday

  • Egypt, Jordan, and Palestine hold top-level summit in Cairo

Friday

Saturday

  • Egypt’s Sisi stresses Egypt’s solidarity with Cyprus against practices compromising its sovereignty 
  • Egypt’s Sisi asks for ‘serious’ role by international community to help solve GERD dispute
  • Sudan condemns Ethiopian army’s ‘misleading statements’ 
  • Syria says will help Lebanon get gas from Egypt as Iran fuel shipment en route 
  • Egypt’s Sharm El-Sheikh airport receives 1st Swiss Air flight after five years hiatus

Sunday

  • President Sisi congratulates Israeli counterpart for new position, advent of new Jewish year new Jewish Year
  • Governor of Central Bank of Egypt Tarek Amer is among 10 best central bank governors globally
  • Egyptian stocks retreated due to a broad selloff in blue-chip shares

Reports

From Twitter

Sports

  • Salah joins Egypt for World Cup qualifier in Gabon
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This Week in Egypt: Week 34-2021 ( Aug 23-29)

Top Headlines

  • Egypt’s Sisi, Qatar’s Tamim meet for first time since reconciliation
  • Ethiopia deems Tunisia’s GERD proposal to the UNSC ‘inappropriate’
  • Researchers discover remains of four-legged amphibious whale in Egypt’s Fayoum
  • Egypt to make oldest Islamic capital in Africa into open museum
  • Egypt’s top religious authority opens Tiktok account 
Scientists in Egypt have identified a new species of four-legged whale that lived around 43 million years ago.

Main Headlines

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

  • Researchers discovered new species of ancient four-legged whale in Egypt
  • Egypt partially reopens Rafah border crossing with Gaza

Friday

Saturday

  • Egypt’s discusses  bilateral relations with Iraqi president ahead of Baghdad cooperation conference
  • Egypt rejects all foreign interference in Iraq’s affairs, illegal aggression on its territories, Sisi says
  • Egypt’s Sisi and Qatar’s Tamim meet for first time since reconciliation 
  • Egypt urges dialogue to settle Morocco-Algeria dispute

Sunday

Reports

  • Cairo and Khartoum are both wary that Turkey might expand its ties with Ethiopia. Fehim Tastekin
  • Egypt to make oldest Islamic capital in Africa into open museum. Hani Sameer
  • Sunflowers change farmers’ fortunes in central Egypt city. Amr Emam
  • Egypt’s top religious authority opens Tiktok account.  Abdulla Kadry

From Twitter

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