After an uncertain political transition following the 2011 revolts, Egypt seems ready to reshape its geopolitical role in the Mediterranean area and fulfil its geostrategic goals, always maintaining their national security principle to be an essential objective of its domestic and foreign policy. The two main closely and interconnected scenarios, where the country’s strategic ambitions are projected, move from Libya to the contested waters of the Eastern Mediterranean.
The decision making in Egyptian foreign policy reflects the strategic and geopolitical culture of the State. Remarkably enough, it never loses sight of the long-term considerations. Therefore, it is often reluctant to cut the gordian knots. Security considerations are more important than economic and commercial ones. Of course, the president is the ultimate decision maker, but most decisions are the fruit of considerable brainstorming in the regalian institutions and the foreign policy community.
The spread of COVID-19 has hit countries and regimes in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region at a time already characterised by deep-seated issues, such as ongoing conflicts, widespread popular protests and economic crises. These ongoing insecurities partially explain what is behind several governments’ attempts at minimising or dismissing the real threat posed by the pandemic, as presidents and rulers attempt to maintain a hold on increasingly unstable societies and political systems.
Over half of Egyptians have not read the newly amended constitution, according to a new opinion poll -- although the charter will be put to national referendum on January 14.Fifty-nine percent of the respondents to a poll in late December by private polling organisation Baseera said they had not read the new charter, while 36 percent said they had read "parts" of it.
Egypt’s first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi, collapsed and died on June 17th after addressing a state court during his trial for espionage charges. The ex-president and senior-figure of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood had been held in solitary confinement since his removal by a military-led coup d’etat in July 2013, and routinely denied access to medical care, family visits, and legal advice.
January 25th marks the 8th anniversary of the popular protests that brought an end to Hosni Mubarak’s authoritarian regime. At the turn of 2011, almost three decades of worsening economic conditions, restriction of political space and gross abuses of human rights had left Egyptians – literally – hungry for change. However, eight years after the beginning of the 18 days that brought a country together and toppled a dictator, it seems like the cries for “bread, freedom and human dignity” have long been forgotten.
In the wake of the killing of more 300 Muslim worshippers by allegedly Jihadist militants during al-Rawdah massacre in November 2017, President Sisi launched a new military campaign - “Comprehensive Operation-Sinai 2018” - with the aim of putting an end to terrorism and restoring security within three months in turbulent Egypt. The military operation, which precedes the presidential election of March 26-28, 2018, has pursued growing repression of the opposition and militarization of institutions in the country.
“That’s what we will be working on, to follow the president’s instructions. We will try to complete all the phases by the end of 2018 or early 2019”, said Petroleum Minister Tarek El Molla with great fanfare. It was on February 1, at the inauguration of the first phase of developing Zohr, the giant offshore gas field near the Egyptian coast. Zohr is estimated to have a reserve of 30 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, the largest in the Mediterranean.
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.
Later this month Egypt will witness its third presidential election since 2012. With only two candidates and very limited competition, there is no doubt that Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi is looking at a second term in office. The cornerstone of the Egyptian president’s first term in office was countering terrorism and radicalization. It is fair to say that Egypt’s war against terrorism and radical/jihadist Islam had an impact on numerous domestic policies as well as on Egypt’s foreign policy.