Egypt at a crossroads

  • Nov 27, 2020
  • Published in Egypt

Na'eem Jeenah

Responding to demands of “Mubarak out!”, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak announced earlier this week that he would stay in power until presidential elections in September, and will oversee the formation of a new government and of constitutional amendments which will allow opposition candidates to run for president.

The announcement was made on the eighth day of national protests, when two million Egyptians occupied various city centres to protest against Mubarak’s three-decade rule. Predictably, the protesters were unimpressed, and continued demanding his removal.

By AlJazeera Centre for Studies

In the early hours of the new year, a Coptic church in Alexandria, Egypt, was the target of a violent terrorist attack which resulted in the death of twenty-one Coptic Christians and left more than seventy others, including a number of Muslims, injured. The attack resulted in a state of shock reverberating through the state and the government, as well as in the sphere of public opinion. Over the next three days, a number of Egyptian cities witnessed a wave of violent demonstrations and mass rallies organised by Coptic Christians. At the same time, various political parties publicly expressed their feelings of solidarity with the Coptic community, as well as their eagerness to safeguard the unity of the Egyptian people. However, neither the openly declared sentiments of national unity by these political parties nor the statements by President Hosni Mubarak were capable of restraining Coptic violence, which manifested itself in a series of sporadic clashes with the state security forces.

By Afro-Middle East Centre

Initially speculated to be a result of an impending presidential candidacy announcement by Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the resignation this week of Egypt’s prime minister and cabinet was more likely the result of deeper structural problems facing the Egyptian state and people. Many of these are similar to those which wee used as excuses for the coup against ousted president, Mohamed Mursi.

Crisis in northern Sinai worsens

  • Nov 27, 2020
  • Published in Egypt

By Afro-Middle East Centre

On 24 October 2014, an armed attack on an Egyptian security detail in the Sheikh Zuweid area of Egypt’s North Sinai Governorate left more than thirty soldiers dead and dozens wounded. Details of the attack are still unclear, but the Egyptian government immediately declared a three-month state of emergency in the governorate, and deployed additional military and security troops to the region, adjacent to Egypt’s eastern border with Gaza and Israel.

Cairo also indefinitely closed the Rafah Crossing with Gaza, and postponed indirect negotiations between Hamas and Israel, scheduled for the end of October in Cairo. Subsequently, the Egyptian authorities began establishing a buffer zone along Egypt’s border with Gaza, ranging from 400 metres to two kilometres, thus forcing thousands of residents in the area from their homes and agricultural lands.

By Afro-Middle East Centre

Ethiopia’s decision in May 2013 to divert the Blue Nile tributary for 500 metres to aid in the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) was met with fury from the Egyptian administration led by President Mohamed Morsi. Military action was even threatened as a retaliatory move. Morsi’s subsequent overthrow and the need of the military coup administration to reassert control meant that talk of such hostilities was suspended.

This article is the first in a two-part series which analyses these events using the 1966 Helsinki principles of equity and water security as a framework to permit better understanding of the situation. This part will contextualise the GERD’s construction by unpacking the main historical and current issues which have influenced its development, and by analysing the evolution of water sharing. Additionally, changes in the balance of power in the region and the rise of Ethiopia are critically examined.

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