I’m never sure why the media does or does not cover important events occurring around the globe. The best that I can tell is that when there are no riots, large-scale explosions, or military interventions, it all news slips behind the local sports page or a report on how to make a pecan pie. As of late, Egypt ended up behind the pies.
However, the political situation continues to boil in the land of pyramids. If you haven’t kept up with the latest shifts, here’s the current setting. General Abdel al-Sisi resigned the military and became a citizen. As was predicted on this blog some months ago, Sisi is now making a bid for the presidency. Military and security agencies continue to control the country and have virtually wiped out the Muslim Brotherhood (MB). The MB were declared a terrorist organization with over 500 members sentenced to death. Sisi also brought harsh reprisals on Hamas, a close ally of the MB. How these dramatic changes will play out is the new question of the day.
The past three years of revolution would seem to suggest that Egyptians do not want a return to Mubark’s style of an authoritarian regime. (the reason why Sisi resigned his position with the military) Neither do they want former president Mori’s backdoor approach to creating a Muslim state (like Iran) and putting all of his old cronies in office. However, after Sisi was promoted to Field Marshall, he demonstrated that he rules with an iron fist. Military troops hit hard any protests against his rule. The years of political and social unrest appear to have created wide-spread support for Abdel Sisi because citizens recognize that he won’t tolerate any nonsense (unfortunately, or opposition).
Political relationships have radically changed. Sisi pushed away from Turkey, but grew significantly closer to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Because of the criticisms from Washington and delays in recognizing the new government, Sisi made a trip to Moscow looking into the Russians supplying arms. This action was taken in the face of the USA’s continued supply of foreign aid. Surprisingly, Egypt improved better relationships with Israel. The Morsi regime had hinted at cancellation of the peace treaty with Israel which would have been a disaster for Egypt. Sisi’s new doctrine and the pressure placed on Hamas was welcomed with joy in Israel. Both Egypt and Israel renewed their efforts to shut down the radical jihadists creating problems for both countries in the Sinai peninsula. These efforts have proved significant.
Undoubtedly, Sisi will win by a landslide in the upcoming election. Egypt desperately needs to end the violence and instability that has wrecked the country and sent tourism to the bottom. However, Sisi’s heavy-handedness has raised fears that he may turn into a despotic pharaoh with a return to a Mubarkic style of governing. No small issue!
The world will be observing what follows the predictable election and the Egyptians have already demonstrated a willingness to react violently to disappointments. Let’s hope Abdel Sisi proves to be a good guy this time.