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Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Egypt in the News on 7 February 2017

It’s a big morning for Egypt in the international press. Football remains the dominant story by sheer volume of pieces, with one of the more significant piece in that vein being the BBC’s report that the Egyptian Football Association isn’t planning on kicking head coach Héctor Cúper to the curb for failing to bring home the African Cup. Instead, it’s looking ahead to the 2018 World Cup.

Also on the BCC, Orla Guerin reports from Cairo that the “Trump era heralds a warming of US-Egypt ties.” The lengthy piece notes that “Egypt’s hardline leader, and his supporters, are on the Trump train. Now President Sisi is looking forward to a reset in relations, and a visit to the White House – which the Obama administration denied him.”

Nobody in “Greater Sudan” (hold the hate mail, please, we’re joking) is terribly pleased with us today. The South Sudanese claim we’re bombing them. The Sudanese are edging us toward a trade war. And now geriatric Sudanese leader Omar Al-Bashir is lashing out at Cairo, lumping us with Iran as he “accused Egyptian intelligence of supporting Sudan’s opposition forces, and vowed to take a border dispute between the two neighbors to the United Nations Security Council if negotiations fail.” The Associated Press’ report — triggered by Al-Bashir’s demand that we give Halayeb to Sudan — is getting wide pickup around the world.

Relations between Cairo and Khartoum are getting plenty of ink in Breitbart, the right-wing news outlet close to the Trump administration. The site is also covering (dateline: Israel — begad) the apparent sentencing to death of a man accused of murdering a Christian alcohol seller last month.

Over in the Washington Post, foreign affairs columnist David Ignatius picks up on a Carnegie report we noted last week to argue in “A look at the Arab Spring, six years later” that we’re facing a region-wide crisis in governance, that our biggest problems are authoritarianism and corruption, et cetera, et cetera, ad nauseum. Uncharacteristically, the best part of the piece is from the comments, where the reader FarTraveler notes as a visitor to Cairo that “things are rarely as simple as columnists or commenters want to imagine.”

In the New York Times, author and Century Foundation fellow Thanassis Cambanis is given plenty of space for a review of Rachel Aspden’s “Generation Revolution,” a lengthy excerpt of which appeared in the Guardian last July when the book was first published in the UK. The bottom line is all you need to know in deciding whether to buy a copy: “So what did happen to Egypt’s revolution? Aspden, like most of its chroniclers, was rooting for it to succeed. Yet it failed, she says, not only because the police state adapted so efficaciously but also because the people who sparked the revolt ultimately remained faithful to too many reactionary ideas.”

Some tourism experts remain pessimistic about Egypt’s tourism, saying that the return of the Russians may not be enough to revive the ailing sector, Menna Farouk writes for Al Monitor. Expect no trenchant sector analysis.

Rumors that the Tourism Ministry rejected a request from British band Coldplay to perform in Egypt are “baseless,” a spokeswoman from the ministry said, adding that the ministry had received no such request, Al Arabiya reported.

The legal crackdown on FGM has pushed the practice further underground, while also medicalizing it, as parents who want their daughters to undergo the surgery are likely to believe a doctor is the “safe option,” CNN’s Sophie Morlin-Yron writes. Many doctors are charging parents heftily — to the point where some parents forego anaesthetics because they can’t afford it — and often carry out the procedure late at night to avoid being caught.

Arriving rather late to the party and with nothing in hand but a single source, the Middle East Eye says the latest price hikes on subsidized goods are adversely affecting welfare recipients.

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