Egyptian airstrikes destroyed twelve vehicles loaded with arms, ammunition and explosive material trying to cross the border from Libya, the army spokesman said on Tuesday.
The airforce acted after hearing that “criminal elements” had gathered to try and cross the western boundary, the army statement said, without giving details on exactly where or when the strikes took place.
Despite the paucity of the initial report, it’s clear the Abdul Fatah al-Sisi is trying to look like he’s getting revenge for attacks on Egyptian Christians by Sunni supremacists, who are trying the same old terror tricks of the 1990s to destabilize the regime. Read more “Egypt’s War on Sunni Supremacism Goes to Libya”
Call a spade a spade: Abdul Fatah al-Sisi is as much a president, with its democratic connotations, as Syria’s Bashar al-Assad. Egypt now rates a dismal 26 from 100 on Freedom House’s Freedom Index, just behind Qatar and barely above dysfunctional Iraq.
Some may quibble that Sisi is more a “strongman” than a dictator; in terms of political outcomes, that’s the difference between holding rigged elections and having no elections at all.
It’s become the phrase of the week: the deep state, a cabal of anti-Trump ideologues seeking a coup against a democratically-elected president hiding within the warrens of the CIA, State Department and any other agency that can be labeled as “shadowy”.
Russian president Vladimir Putin appears to have pulled off two geopolitical coups in one week.
On Monday, he was in Istanbul to sign an agreement with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, for the construction of a Black Sea gas pipeline that would bypass Ukraine (a longstanding Russian foreign-policy goal).
The two strongmen also vowed to seek common ground on the war in Syria. That seems a long way off, given that they back opposing sides in the civil war, but it’s an improvement from calling each other the “accomplices of terrorism,” as they did in November.
Then on Tuesday, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced that its forces would hold joint military exercises with Egypt’s at some point later this month.
Egyptians returned to the polls on Saturday for parliamentary elections that will stretch into December of this year. But this first democratic exercise since army chief Abdul Fatah Sisi legitimized his coup in 2014 is little more than a competition between the only two constituencies in the Arab country that have any real power: the military and big business.
Many genuine opposition parties are boycotting the first legislative elections since 2011-2012 when the Muslim Brotherhood won a plurality of the seats in Egypt’s parliament.
Running are retired army officers and businessmen hoping for influence in the military-led government as well as an assortment of leftist and Islamist parties that are likely to split the anti-Sisi vote (assuming the elections are fair).
Sisi has ruled by decree since parliament was dissolved by the nation’s highest court in late 2012. The justices’ decision came after the Muslim Brotherhood of President Mohamed Morsi had tried to reinstate parliament and was followed the next year by Morsi’s removal in a coup. Read more “Egypt’s Election Contest Between Generals, Tycoons”
The Italian oil and gas company Eni said on Sunday it had discovered a huge gasfield off the coast of Egypt, the largest ever found in the Mediterranean Sea. It could come as a relief to an Arab state that has struggled in recent years to meet rising gas demand.
The Financial Times reports that the field holds a possible thirty trillion cubic feet of gas, or 5.5 billion barrels of oil equivalent, which would make it around the twentieth largest of its kind in the world.
The United States unlocked $1.3 billion in yearly military assistance to Egypt on Tuesday in what analysts said was part of an effort to reassure traditional Arab allies in the Middle East.
The American Interest‘s Walter Russell Mead argued the resumption of aid — which was cut when Egypt’s army deposed the country’s elected Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi, in 2013 — should be seen within the context of American nuclear negotiations with Iran.
Egypt and other Arab states, like Saudi Arabia, worry that the United States will acquiesce in recent Iranian strategic gains in the Middle East — notably in Iraq where Tehran supports the Baghdad government’s fight against the self-declared Islamic State — as part of an agreement to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Read more “America Unlocks Aid to Egypt in Effort to Reassure Arabs”
Warships shelled Houthi fighters and troops loyal to former Yemeni strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh as they advanced on the southern port city of Aden on Monday, the news agency Reuters reported.
The vessels, likely Egyptian, were the first navy units taking part in the conflict since Saudi Arabia launched airstrikes against opponents of Yemen’s internationally-recognized president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur al-Hadi, late on Wednesday.
Egyptian military and security officials told the Associated Press last week that a ground invasion of Yemen was imminent once bombardments had sufficiently weakened the Houthis and Saleh loyalists. Egyptian and Saudi warships deployed to the Bab-el-Mandeb strait the following day to prevent the waterway from falling under rebel control.