While Egypt approaches the upcoming presidential elections with an almost uncompetitive political sphere, the spectrum of violence in Egypt has become more diverse over the last few years. It has developed to the extent that we could speak of a “market of violence” among different groups who seek to maximize their respective market shares.
We could say that the history of the Muslim Brotherhood, born in Egypt in 1928 and wiped out by ‘Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi’s coup d’etat in 2013, has been a history of failed opportunities. For although the Muslim Brotherhood has been a grass-roots movement, deeply entrenched in civil society, it failed for decades to seize political power, and when finally, for two years (2011-2013) it succeeded in achieving its goal, its performance was poor.
Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s online communication strategy has mostly centred on two themes: economic development and a call for unity to all Egyptians, regardless of their faiths and political orientations, in the name of the greater good of the country. Drawing from 174 tweets from the official Twitter account of the Egyptian president over the last six months, four recurrent ideas emerge in the al-Sisi narrative:
Egypt has many challenges in its domestic economy, either inherited from Hosni Mubarak’s era or arising during the years of political turmoil and instability that followed the 2011 uprisings. During his first term as president, ex-field marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s military regime tried to resolve the country’s chronic problems in its own way.
The outcome of Egyptian presidential elections scheduled for March 26 is a foregone conclusion - incumbent President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will win and serve his second term unchallenged. The only question is whether he will then abrogate the constitutional clause that imposes a two-term limit and become - like all his predecessors - de facto president for life.
Six years after the first free elections in Egypt’s post-Arab uprisings era, the Persian Gulf media’s attention to the country’s presidential election has considerably changed. Although the Gulf countries’ political support for Egypt remains unchanged – also expressed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s two-day visit to Cairo earlier this month in which he reaffirmed the highest level of bilateral cooperation – this election appears to be less important for Cairo’s Arab allies.
In the Arab Gulf states, the military has turned the page: a new, national-oriented pattern of civil-military relations is in the making, triggered by foreign projection and, in some cases, mandatory military service.
On 30 June 2017 the Tunisian army celebrated its 61st anniversary. On that occasion the Armed Forces presented their new military uniform. According to the spokesperson for the Tunisian Ministry of Defence, Belhassen Oueslati, the renewed attire is part of new equipment received from international partners, remarking the efforts to modernise the military and adapt it to the new challenges the country faces.
As Lebanon seems inexorably dragged into the regional cold war between Saudi Arabia and Iran – the bizarre saga of Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s resignation being the latest illustration – it is worth looking at the current state of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and questioning its ability to prevent any type of conflict escalation. Discussions on the LAF generally oppose two competing views.
“Egypt’s old guard is back?” It’s a constant question in Egypt: it reminds us about the political, institutional and economic role that the Egyptian armed forces (EAF) – the “glorious army” – play in the history of the country.According to Zeinab Abul-Magd, “the Egyptian military managed to weather many fundamental transformations in the country, including socialism, neo-liberalism, and recently mass uprisings, and successfully adapted to change in order to amass power and expand its profitable b