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BLOG 270 September 14, 2015

The stability that the al-Sisi government has been attempting to establish in Egypt has been shaken. When the former general and his cohorts overturned President Mohamed Morsi and the Moslem Brotherhood in 2013, the vast majority of Egyptians sighed in relief. Unfortunately, it has been an uphill climb ever since. Now, the Egyptian government has taken a downhill slide. This week the former Prime Minister was forced to resign.

President Sisi immediately instructed Sherif Ismail who had been the petroleum ministry to form a new government within a week. Apparently, Sisi does not want to allow any time to lapse that might allow further chaos to explode somewhere in the country. Possibly, Sisi is acting so quickly to prevent the next parliament from appointing the government.

Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb resigned in the midst of many high level, high-profit accusations of corruption. On Tuesday, Mehleb was holding a news conference in Tunisia when a reporter asked him a question about his participation in corruption charges. Mehleb wouldn’t answer and abruptly walked out. Earlier, it had been reported that Mehleb was involved when former President Hosni Mubarak and his two sons were convicted of embezzling funds that were meant to be spent in renovating the presidential palace. The reporter in Tunisia pointed out that a former minister of agriculture who resigned because of corruption had been reappointed by Mehleb and now both men are accused of involvement in the presidential palace scandal.

One of the major problems in Egypt is that corruption is so widespread. Earlier in the week Salah Helai the agriculture minister resigned in the midst of his arrest in a corruption investigation. Helai and several of his officials were charged with accepting brides in exchange for land licenses.

How does such corruption happen? It’s a way of life in Egypt. A few bucks here and there helps to speed matters along. Sisi’s problem is that these officials at the top practice greed on such a vast scale, that eventually the magnitude of the corruption can’t be overlooked.

In a few weeks, the first parliamentary elections in the new government are supposed to beheld. To have the government become shaky on the eve of this important step forward is not a good sign. These upheavals in the government underscore Sisi’s political dilemma and his failure in solving a number of problems facing Egypt. The steady deterioration in security is troubling as the government continues to fight with terrorist in the Sinai Peninsula. These Muslim militants have escalated their often brazen attacks. The elections in October will surely be influenced by these issues.

In the face of these problems, an Egyptian judge sentenced three journalist to three years in prison for reporting information exposing problems in the government. There was widespread belief that the charges were baseless and that no evidence was offered to collaborate the accusations. The charges were that the three reporters from the Al Jazeera network had “broadcasted false news.”The United States State Department responded that the verdict left the USA “deeply disappointed and concerned.”

America has always maintained that freedom of the expression and the press is necessary for any countries stability and development.

While Sisi needs the support the United States, such corrupt court decisions and capricious judgements aren’t going to help him get it.


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