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Sunday, 23 October 2016

Egypt in the news on 23 October 20167

It was a reasonably quiet weekend for Egypt in the international press until Saturday afternoon. Shattering the calm: The assassination of an army general outside his Cairo-area home and a court ruling upholding a 20-year prison term for former president Mohamed Morsi and two senior Ikhwan officials. (We’re linking to Al-Jazeera on the assassination story just to give you a sense of their verbiage, which hasn’t changed: The daeshbags in Sinai are “fighters” and Liwa Al-Thawra an “armed group.”)

Debunking myths about Ikhwan and 25Jan: Perhaps most interesting this weekend was a book review, as Oren Kesseler (Twitter) at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies gives a rave review to Eric Trager’s (Twitter) book Arab Fall, writing for the Wall Street Journal that the “definitive history” of the rise and fall of the Ikhwan “upends the conventional wisdom” that the Ikhwan hijacked the 2011 revolution. “It didn’t hijack anything: The Brotherhood was, in fact, the only movement in Egypt organized and disciplined enough to challenge the old regime at the ballots. Finally, he suggests, the military’s move against Mr. Morsi was not the inevitable result of its determination to deny the Brothers their place in the political power structure. Instead, it was the Brotherhood’s own lack of vision and incompetence that drew Egypt’s largest-ever crowds to the streets demanding redress.”

Is Iran a friend-in-the-making? Also worth a read: The Guardian suggests Tehran lobbied for Egypt to attend the Lausanne talks on Syria, prompting Sadegh Ghorbani, a journalist at Iranian state newspaper Fars, to tweet that it is “interesting how Sisi’s Egypt [is] gradually shifting from US-Saudi axis towards Russia-Iran. Tehran-Cairo relations revival maybe q[uestion] of when not if.” It’s a question raised here at home by El Watan columnist Yasser Abdel Aziz, who suggests we could be drawing closer to Iran and away from the GCC.

Direct flights to Luxor from Heathrow are back, and Ruth Michaelson writing for The Guardian thinks this could be good news for Egyptian tourism. Her piece is solid look at the state of the industry, with a deep dive into Luxor and then spotlights on Cairo, Sharm El Sheikh, and the Red Sea, all from the UK traveler’s point of view.

Elsewhere, Diaa Hadid and Nour Youssef have filed “Sweet-Toothed Egypt Endures a Sugar Crisis: ‘People Are Going to Snap’” for the New York Times, while the Associated Press is getting solid pickup for its “Egypt’s fight against Islamic militancy makes enemies” and Architecture Digest has a (very brief) brief about Chinese support for the New Administrative Capital.

Also making international headlines over the weekend:

  • Offices of a rights group associated with the Egyptian lawyers for the family of murdered Oxford graduate student Giulio Regeni have been raided by authorities, Ruth Michaelson reports for The Guardian.
  • Child marriage — or, more accurately, forcing underage children to become engaged — is the subject of a piece in the Washington Post by Heba Mahfouz. (Closer to home: Two government committees are drafting new legislation to clamp-down on underage marriage and to keep kids in school, Al Masry Al Youm reports.)
  • Also in the Washington Post: “A tuk-tuk driver’s viral video said what many Egyptians can’t. Then his video disappeared.” You can hear in almost every sentence the author’s longing for another #25Jan.

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