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Thursday, 23 March 2017

It’s a quiet morning for Egypt in the global press, and for that we’re thankful as we prepare for a long, hectic day and then (we hope) a relaxing weekend with family. Egypt in the news on 23 March 2017

Don’t read too much into Aramco resuming deliveries of oil products: The resumption of Aramco’s shipment of petroleum products to Egypt is both a signal of a thaw in relations between Cairo and Riyadh — and insufficient to really know where things stand between the two sides, Cyril Widdershoven writes for OilPrice. Although it is a positive step politically speaking — and is a positive sign for investors indicating that Egypt is more stable and has the backing of Arab states — there is little being said about the “ongoing Arab diplomatic offensive going on behind closed doors in Cairo,” which has brought Jordan into the fold as a mediator between Saudi and Egypt. Widdershoven hashes out the many elements of the situation, including the balances of power and the many ongoing wars in the region, to come to the conclusion that, at the end of the day, Saudi and Egypt will likely overcome their differences and pursue common economic and strategic interests.

Egypt’s contribution to the peace, security, and development of Africa is “oftenoverlooked,” according to the Institute for Security Studies (ISS). “By the end of 2015, Egypt had contributed more than 30,000 personnel to 37 UN missions, of which 60.71% had been deployed to Africa,” writes Annette Leijenaar, ISS’s peacekeeping guru. Egypt contributes about 15% of the African Union’s budget, and has investments worth a combined total of USD 8 bn in Africa, she writes.

Apparently just catching wind of Ibrahim Eissa’s talk show being taken off the air, The Commentator’s Dexter Van Zile draws a parallel between Eissa’s novel-turned-movie, Mawlana (The Televangelist) and the journalist’s real-life ordeal. Eissa “has run afoul of the powers that be” in Egypt, much like Mawlana’s protagonist, with both men attempting to preach against religious extremism and persecution, as well as corruption. Van Zile also notes The Suspendered One being questioned over charges of insulting the House of Representatives. “What Essa’s opponents need to learn is that by trying to stifle him, they’ve helped actually draw attention to his book, which deserves a global audience.”

Bassem Youssef — now on the talk show and interview circuit in the United States to promote his book “Revolution for Dummies” — continues to get accolades small and large in media of all description. The only decent part? Media keep linking to a the trailer for a documentary about El Bernameg (watch the trailer), which reminds us that once upon a time, the man spoke for half of our nation — and that he’s really and truly not funny without a room full of talented writers at his back.

Other stories on Egypt worth a mention this morning:

  • Reuters is covering a camel race in the desert outside Ismailia, which attracted European enthusiasts for the first time.
  • The plight of Sinai’s Coptic Christians is once again being picked by the Christian Post which accuses the government of being apathetic towards their situation.

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