• Egypt
    Security forces arrest 4 political activists on 3rd day of Eid holiday | MadaMasr
    https://madamirror.appspot.com/www.madamasr.com/en/2018/08/23/news/politics/security-forces-arrest-4-political-activists-on-3rd-day-of-eid-h

    A source had told Mada Masr that a wide arrest campaign is in the cards ahead of plans to amend the Constitution to allow for an extension to Sisi’s current term, his last according to the Constitution.

    Sources who spoke to Mada Masr last month said that the amendment scenario is being seriously touted within parliamentary circles, where there is an intention to either amend the duration of the four-year term or remove the current constitutional stipulation that imposes a maximum of one re-election for presidents, or both.

  • Egypt, Ethiopia approach negotiations over filling Renaissance Dam reservoir | MadaMasr

    https://madamirror.appspot.com/www.madamasr.com/en/2018/06/21/feature/politics/egypt-ethiopia-approach-negotiations-over-filling-renaissance-dam-reservoir/?platform=hootsuite

    As the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) nears completion, both Egyptian and Ethiopian sources say that the most significant outcome of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s three-day visit to Cairo in early June was reaching a direct understanding with Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on beginning to draft a legal agreement regarding filling the dam’s reservoir.

    The water reservoir is projected to be filled with approximately 75 billion cubic meters over the course of three phases, and is designated to generate a massive electricity supply for Ethiopia. The construction of the dam commenced six years ago, and the Nile Basin country is expected to mark the launch of the first filling phase later this year with mass popular celebrations.

    Egypt is concerned that filling the reservoir too rapidly would affect its water share, which it already claims is insufficient. But since construction began, Ethiopia has reiterated that the project — whose projected cost is approximately US$4.2 billion — is vital to the development of the country and to meeting the needs of its population, which is nearly as large as Egypt’s.

    Although Ahmed was friendly during the three day visit, which ran from June 10 to June 12, and repeatedly expressed that Ethiopia completely “understands” the significance of the matter of the Nile water to the Egyptian people and, consequently, the implications of “any big setbacks” in that regard for “[Sisi]’s situation,” he was also clear that his country is determined to begin the first filling phase this coming fall, sources speaking on condition of anonymity tell Mada Masr.

  • Syria cooperation highlights progress in Egypt-Russia relations as hurdles remain | MadaMasr

    https://madamirror.appspot.com/www.madamasr.com/en/2018/05/01/feature/politics/syria-cooperation-highlights-progress-in-egypt-russia-relations-

    Phone calls between high-ranking Egyptian and Russian officials have brought the two countries into accord on the Syrian crisis, according to an Egyptian government source, in what is one of several breakthroughs on pending Cairo-Moscow diplomatic discussions.

    The government source, who is involved in Egyptian-Russian diplomatic relations, says communications between the two countries were at their peak prior to the mid-April joint airstrikes carried out by the United States, United Kingdom and France against government facilities in Syria. Talks centered on possible approaches to the conflict, to be taken in the event that the then-potential tripartite strikes were carried out, that would ensure that Islamist groups do not reap any political gains.

    Egyptian-Russian cooperation was and remains mainly an exchange of information aimed at curbing Saudi Arabian and Turkish-backed militias that were deployed to Syria to “overthrow” President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, according to the source, who spoke to Mada Masr on condition of anonymity.

    The alliance falls in line, the source adds, with Cairo’s position on the situation in Syria: Assad remaining in power is the best available option, despite Cairo’s reservations on certain aspects of the way he’s managed the conflict. Tellingly, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s speech the Arab League summit in Dhahran in mid-April was free of any condemnation of the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons in Eastern Ghouta — the stated reason for the tripartite airstrikes — as much as any endorsement of the strike.

  • Egypt and Sudan: Diplomatic pacification, unresolved affairs | MadaMasr

    https://madamirror.appspot.com/www.madamasr.com/en/2018/03/08/feature/politics/egypt-and-sudan-diplomatic-pacification-unresolved-affairs/?platform=hootsuite

    Quietly and without an official announcement is how Osama Shaltout, Egypt’s ambassador to Sudan, returned to his post in Khartoum on Tuesday. On the same day, Abdel Mahmoud Abdel Halim, Sudan’s ambassador to Egypt, returned to Cairo two months after he was recalled due to tension between the neighboring countries.

    Shaltout spent the better part of two months in Cairo, as the Egyptian government worked to resolve the tension. Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid told Mada Masr on Wednesday morning that the reason for the ambassador’s stay in Cairo had been to “take part in official meetings.” Abu Zeid also stressed that Cairo did not recall Shaltout, either in response to Khartoum’s January decision or at any point since.

    Although the return of both ambassadors to their respective posts is an indication of the end of the public escalation of tensions, several Egyptian and Western diplomats as well as observers believe that the matters which originally triggered the crisis earlier this year have yet to be settled, even if the restoration of diplomatic relations is a step in the right direction.

    “The kind of escalation we saw in the January [between Sudan and Egypt] was kind of a negotiation being carried out in public, with a ratcheting up of rhetoric that didn’t necessarily match what was happening on the ground,” International Crisis Group’s Horn of Africa Analyst Magnus Taylor tells Mada Masr. “Of course, there are some real structural problems in the relationship on the Renaissance Dam, on the Muslim Brotherhood, the border conflict over Halayeb. But I’ve never really seen any of those issues as escalating into a border war or proxy war.”

  • Egypt Analysis : How Sisi has been sidelining his opponents

    | MadaMasr
    https://madamirror.appspot.com/www.madamasr.com/en/2018/02/10/feature/politics/analysis-how-sisi-has-been-sidelining-his-opponents

    “Angry” was the way many described President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s improvised speech during the inauguration ceremony of the Zohr natural gas field on January 31.

    The president declared that the only way Egypt’s national security could be compromised was over his “dead body” and the “dead body of the military.”

    But who exactly the president is angry at is not clear. Sisi did not specify whether he was addressing opposition leaders — many of whom have called for a boycott of the upcoming presidential elections — or individuals within state institutions who have antagonized him as of late.

    The speech follows a series of high-level shuffles within the security apparatus, with Sisi unexpectedly dismissing Armed Forces’ Chief of Staff Mahmoud Hegazy in October of last year. According to a family friend, Hegazy had been under house arrest until December 16, when he appeared at a small event held to honor him — which the president attended — and where the dismissed official was permitted limited movement under strict surveillance.

    In January of this year, Sisi also dismissed Khaled Fawzy, the head of Egypt’s General Intelligence Service (GIS). Fawzy’s movement has also been restricted, according to a source close to his family. He was removed from his post after calls were allegedly leaked in which a man who appears to be affiliated with Military Intelligence speaks to media talk show hosts and celebrities and instructs them to appear understanding of US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The man is also heard condemning Kuwait and Saudi Arabia for political stances that Cairo is not pleased with, especially with the rapprochement between Kuwait and Qatar and the fear of a rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and the Yemeni Muslim Brotherhood. The leaks have yet to be independently verified.

    According to a Foreign Ministry source and to a European diplomat who has recently visited both Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, the leaked calls have made officials from both countries unhappy, and compelled the Egyptian Foreign Ministry to release a statement of apology to Kuwait and take unannounced measures to placate Saudi Arabia.