This Week in Egypt: Week 20- 2022 ( May 16-22)

Top Headlines

  • Egypt raises bank rates again
  • Egypt’s Sisi approves law to increase state budget by 6 billion Egyptian pounds
  • Egyptian security forces foil suicide bombing attempt against checkpoint in North Sinai 
  • Israel and the EU have been in negotiations to export gas to Europe via Egypt
  • Jailed Egypt activist on hunger strike moved to a new prison
  • Court sentences man to death for murdering Coptic priest in Alexandria
  • New Egypt’s international airport to open in mid-July
  • Egypt launches National Climate Change Strategy 2050

Main Headlines

Monday

  • Egypt faces sharp rise in costs to finance proposed $30 billion deficit 
  • New report documents over 1,700 prisoners ‘rotated’ in remand detention in 4 years in Egypt
  • Uber raises prices in Egypt after fuel price hike 

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

 Sunday

Reports

Interview

And

From Twitter

Plus

  • Three US Army veterans claim they saw UFOs along Israel-Egypt border in 2014
  • Egypt bids farewell to veteran actor Samir Sabry, aged 85
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This Week in Egypt: Week 19-2022 ( May 9-15)

Top Headlines

  • ISIS claimed responsibility for two successive attacks in Sinai 
  • Egypt and the United States eye counter-terrorism ties in wake of deadly Sinai attack 
  • US set to remove 5 groups from foreign terrorism blacklist, including 2 Islamist groups that have been active in Egypt
  • Egypt says government purchases exempted from India’s wheat exports ban
  • Egypt, Ethiopia compete for US support in Nile dam file
  • Egypt outlines broad plan to sell state assets

Main Headlines

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

 Thursday

  • Cairo sentences 25 to 15 years in prison, acquits 12 in Rabaa dispersal trial
  • Gold prices are down in Egypt amid uncertain economic outlook, expected dollar price hike

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

 Reports

Sports

  • Classy Mo Salah celebrate FA Cup win with former Egypt team-mate Zakaria who has ALS

From Twitter

Plus

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This Week in Egypt: Week 18-2022 ( May 2-8)

Top headlines 

  • At least 11 Egyptian troops were killed in a militant attack east of the Suez Canal
  • Egypt private sector activity continues contraction on Ukraine war
  • Egypt’s international reserves inch up slightly in April
  • BNP Paribas expects Egypt to raise interest rates by 200 bps
  • Egypt to delay sale of state company shares until September
  • Egyptian security forces arrested 13 boys after a video of them harassing tourists went viral
  • Cairo begins operating new automated garbage suctioning trucks

Main Headlines

Monday

  • U.S. State Department says death of Egyptian researcher requires investigation
  • European Bank set to approve $20m loan to Egypt’s CIB to support lending to women-led small and medium-sized enterprises
  • First direct flight between Israel, Egypt takes off
  • Alexandria home and museum of Greek poet C.P. Cavafy to be restored

Tuesday

  • Brazil plans ‘fertilizer diplomacy’ trip to North Africa, Jordan to secure more imports
  • Egypt’s Sisi pardons 986 inmates on Eid El-Fitr

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

 Saturday

Egypt’s average daily Covid infection rate dropped to eight per day

Sunday

Read

Reports

From Twitter

Plus

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Hamas’ Gaza-Last Strategy

I reblog this smart insightful piece by Michael Koplow on Hamas’ strategy at this stage of the conflict. .

Enjoy…

Ottomans and Zionists

While tensions in Jerusalem, particularly on the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif, have been elevated over the past couple of weeks, this year’s Ramadan has been relatively quiet as compared to last year’s Ramadan. While last May featured clashes in the Old City, outside of Damascus Gate, and in Sheikh Jarrah, the most notable element was Hamas’ launching of rocket barrages from Gaza, culminating in Israel’s Operation Guardian of the Walls. While there were isolated rockets fired out of Gaza on five separate days last week, resulting in some limited Israeli counterstrikes and a two-day suspension of entry permits for Palestinians coming into Israel from Gaza, this week has been quiet, and the prevailing assessment is that last week’s rockets were fired by Islamic Jihad rather than Hamas. The evidence suggests that Hamas is doing what it can to keep Gaza quiet and to avoid risking another conflagration similar to the one…

View original post 1,018 more words

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This Week in Egypt: Week 17-2022 ( April 25- May 1)

Top Headlines

  • Cigarette in cockpit caused Egypt-Air passenger jet to crash in 2016
  • US Secretary of State Blinken marks 100 years of Egypt-US diplomacy
  • Egypt’s Sisi calls for listing of army-owned companies this year
  • Muslim Brotherhood TV channel leave Turkey
  • Egypt releases 3,273 prisoners granted presidential pardons
  • Archaeologists Discover Temple in Egypt Inspired by Greek God Zeus
  • Egypt’s COVID-19 vaccination rate reaches 79.5%
  • Egypt’s to restore historic Ezra synagogue 

Main headlines

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

 Reports

Read

Sports

From Twitter

Plus

Happy Eid

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This Week in Egypt: Week 16- 2022 ( April 18-24)

Top Headlines

  • Cairo summit of leaders of Egypt, UAE, and Jordan
  • Fitch gives Egypt ‘stable’ debt rating
  • Egypt’s Public Prosecution decides to release 41 pre-trial detainees, including political activists
  • Egyptian probe discounts criminal violence in researcher’s death despite concerns

Main Headlines

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

  • Egypt sends former MP to prison for antiquities smuggling  
  • Egypt considers replacing tuk-tuks with safe, civilised alternatives

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

Israel’s IDF foils smuggling of 200 kilograms of drugs on border with Egypt

Reports

  • Human rights in the spotlight. Gamal Essam El-Din
  • The United Arab Emirates is seeking to plow money into Egyptian companies — but its investment foray is not without obstacles. Bloomberg
  • Ramadan series ‘Faten Amal Harby’ focuses on women’s rights in Egypt. Hames Saleh
  • Egypt: Release Autopsy report, investigate Suspicious Death suspicious death. HRW
  • Buyers rush to purchase Egyptian real estate as prices rise as prices rise. Ahmd Elleithy
  •  German bank to fund rehabilitation of Aswan Dam, construction of solar plant in Egypt. Adam Lucente

 Interview

From Twitter

Plus

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Time for Arabs to stand with Ukraine

Photo by Victor Hanacek

More than 50 days have passed since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the attitude in the Middle East towards the war is ambiguous at best. Apart from formal statements from various governments in the region that claim “neutrality,” public reaction is still confused, misguided, and dominated by resentment towards the United States, instead of focusing on the human tragedy playing out in Ukraine as a nation.  

From the beginning of the Ukraine war, Arabs have considered the conflict solely through the prism of a revival of the Cold War between Russia and the United States. Apologism and justifications for the Russian invasion have been all over social media since the beginning of the conflict, with expressions such as Russia was “dragged,” “tricked,” or “provoked.”  As Merissa Khurma has written, many Arab analysts are not convinced by Western “hysteria” over the Ukraine crisis. Moreover, rather than decrying Russia’s unlawful invasion of a sovereign state, many Arabs have denounced the ‘double standard’ of sports bans on Russia. In other words, it has been the responses of Western countries that have irked Arabs, rather than Russian aggression. 

Within the Arab psyche, it seems Ukraine as a nation and the will and aspirations of the Ukrainian people are not part of the narrative that is shaping their opinion towards the war. Ironically, in a region that built its entire cultural narratives on concepts of resistance, jihad, and anti-colonialism, many are resenting Ukraine for resisting Russian occupation. Such an attitude prevails not just among traditional allies of Russia in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon, but also in countries like Egypt and the Gulf States. 

In fact, the war in Ukraine has highlighted how the most unifying factor among Arab political factions, whether they are leftists, Nasserites, nationalists, or capitalists, is their collective resentment of the United States; often for conflicting reasons. It was interesting to see an overlap between the anti- and pro-Iran camps in the region.  Both projected an understanding of Russian motives in Ukraine, and regard the war in Ukraine as an opportunity to voice their grievances towards the US. Each camp resents the US for different reasons; Iran sees the US as its archenemy, while regional opponents of Iran resent the US for not standing strong against Iran, and for its efforts to reach a nuclear deal with the Mullahs in Tehran at any price. Both camps, however, see Russia as an alternative ally that can stand against perceived American hegemony over the global order.  

The same contradiction is seen in Turkey, where, as Suat Kınıklıoğlu wrote, both Nationalist-Islamism and Eurasianism overlap, as they both despise West­ern dominance in the international order, feel threatened by the liberal cultural-civilizational siege of the West, and thus have a common counter-hegemonic view of the world. In Egypt, Mohamed Salmawy wrote, “a third bloc is needed”, one that yearns for the 50s, and the Non-aligned Movement, led by Egypt, India, and Yugoslavia. 

Arab media outlets’ coverage of the conflict, while claiming neutrality, is full of ambiguity and subtle bias towards Russia. Most, if not all, of the Arab media start the news with almost identical themes that include “Russia says,” “Russia did,” or “Russia claims,’ which has triggered positive bias towards Russia among their followers. 

It is perhaps understandable to see how the conflict in Ukraine is used as an excuse to lash out against the Biden administration’s policies that have neither supported America’s traditional allies in the region, nor stood firm against US enemies such as the Mullahs’ regime in Tehran.  Nonetheless, such ambiguous handling of the war in Ukraine is worrisome to say the least, and for many reasons:

First, Russia can’t balance US dominance

It is a mistake to assume that Putin’s Russia will counter what Arabs perceive as “US hegemony.” Historically, apart from its rule in the Syrian civil war, Russia has a poor record of supporting any Arab cause. It failed to help Iraq, Libya, and the Palestinian cause.  The economic impacts of this war, together with the crippling US sanctions on Russia will limit its influence and ability to navigate the global order. Furthermore, its strong relations with the regime in Tehran will limit its ability to support Arab Gulf states in their quest to limit Iran’s destructive regional policies.  

Second, calls for a “third bloc” are equally delusional. The fifties Non-aligned Movement (NAM) tried to transcend the Cold War, but the NAM ended up as one of the Cold War’s chief victims. The group eventually moved closer to the Soviet camp and lagged behind the Western world on all fronts, militarily, technologically, and economically. Furthermore, denying Ukraine’s right to self- determination is an insult to all the values of the NAM and the anti-colonial stance of all Arabs. 

Third, fanning the flame of anti-Americanism is counter-productive.  Crying about American’s double standards exposes Arabs’ own bias and inconsistencies.  Arabs behave as if they are not too bothered about colonialism and imperialism when it’s being conducted by a non-Western actor, and they only unleash their anger against what they perceive as American imperialism. While they bitterly remember the US invasion of Iraq, Arabs forget how the ex-Iraqi president, Saddam Hussein, invaded Kuwait and denied its legitimacy as a sovereign nation, which, in many ways, resembles how Putin handles Ukraine. 

Regardless of the outcome of the war in Ukraine, the current ambiguity and soft stance towards Russian aggression will have negative long-term impacts on the Arab world. It will destroy the moral compass of young Arabs, who will grow increasingly susceptible to conspiracy theories, tolerant towards injustices as long as they are committed by non-Western actors, and cynical about the universal values of freedom and the right to self-determination. 

It’s time for Arabs to remove their biased Cold War cloak and look at Ukraine as a country yearning to be liberated from its colonial master. Arabs must recognize the sovereignty of independent states, from the West and the East, and reject the bullying, aggression, and catastrophic destruction of human life that has characterized Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Ukraine is not Russia, exactly as Kuwait is not part of Iraq, and Lebanon is not part of Iran. It is about time to stand for Ukraine, regardless of our grievances about American policies in the region. 

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This Week in Egypt: Week 15-2022 ( April 11-17)

Top headlines

  • Eni signs Egyptian gas deal to unlock LNG supplies for Europe this year
  • Egypt to import wheat from India and bans export of key staples to cushion blow of Ukraine war
  • Ethiopia started concrete work to the body of the Renaissance Dam, in preparation for the third filling
  • Four French tourists and one Belgian among 10 dead in Egypt bus crash
  • Libyan rival lawmakers start U.N.-backed talks in Egypt 
  • Swiss prosecutors drop money-laundering case against Mubarak’s sons 
  • Direct flights between Tel Aviv and Sharm El-Sheikh begin operating on Sunday

Main Headlines

Monday

Tuesday

  • Pope Tawardos receives the widow of slain priest of Alexandria and family
  • Egyptian cabinet approves bill to imprison and fine anyone aiding and abetting child marriage

 Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

Reports

From Twitter

Happy Easter and happy Passover

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Twitter thread: Russia war in Ukraine

Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, I read several important Twitter threads on the conflict that are worth reading. However, I choose those three threads ( plus few other tweets)because they highlight important angles of the conflict and debunk many myths.

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This Week in Egypt: Week 14 -2022 ( April 4-10)

Top Headlines

  • Egypt’s foreign reserves drop by $4 billion on Ukraine war shock, urban inflation accelerates to 10.5% in March
  • Israel is ready to export gas to Europe via Egypt in September
  • Coptic Christian priest is stabbed to death in Alexandria
  • US provides 1.5 million additional doses of Pfizer’s Coronavirus Vaccine to Egypt
  • Turkey to appoint ambassador to Egypt, ending nine-year standoff
  • Egyptian sailors stuck in Kherson are evacuated from Ukraine
  • EU General Court cancels decision to freeze funds of the Mubarak family

Main Headlines

Monday

 Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

  • Israel is ready to export gas to Europe via Egypt in September
  • Egypt receives additional 1.5 million Pfizer vaccine doses from US
  • Egypt welcomes formation of presidential council in Yemen

Friday

Saturday

 Sunday

Good Reports

Sports

  • Will Egypt & Algeria be granted World Cup play-off replays? Reasons for FIFA requests explained. Chris Burton 

From Twitter

Plus

  • Cairo has been named the second most trending destination in the world, and ninth best destination for city lovers in 2022, according to Tripadvisor 
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