Back to the complete issue
Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Reactions to El Sisi’s US visit

Coverage of — and reactions to — the White House meeting between President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Donald Trump continue to dominate foreign coverage of Egypt. Don’t expect anything interesting or fresh here: Opinions are split into camps supporting Trump (and hence lauding the meeting) and the liberal media’s disdain of both men.

The New York Times’ editorial board was true to form, grumbling about Trump’s failure to raise the issue of human rights and (rightfully) pointing to the injustice that is the pre-trial detention of Aya Hijazi. The NYT board did temper the rhetoric when they said that El Sisi’s economic reforms would benefit all Egyptians.

Senior US administration officials confirmed to Reuters that the Hijazi case did not comeup at the meeting. However, Nikki Haley, America’s UN ambassador, noted that the Trump administration was not backing away from human rights "because they fully support me speaking about human rights in the Security Council."

Other outlets ran with shameless odes to Obama (CNN) and outright vitrol (pseudo-journalists at Vox and Salon). Want to take a swipe at Trump, El Sisi or Egypt? At least have the intellectual chops to construct an argument that holds water, as do The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald and the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin, who make the case that there’s really no difference between how Obama and Trump handle human rights.

Conservative outlets, including the Conservative Review, see Trump’s embrace of El Sisias a victory in the war against radical Islamists, a view reflected in newspapers closer to home. UAE-based The National’s editorial board was full of praise: “The UAE has recognised a simple and [indisputable] fact: a strong Egypt means a strong Middle East… Given our close relationship with Egypt, it is encouraging to see our allies take a similarly warm tone with Mr El Sisi’s government… Mr Trump underlined Egypt’s role in fighting extremism and establishing stability across the Middle East.”

That said, former Israeli foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami urged the Trump administration not to designate the Ikhwan as a terrorist group in a column for Project Syndicate. Although he acknowledges the have “not always fully embodied democratic values,” he warns that political exclusion can foster radicalism.

Overall, the visit is “certainly successful” from El Sisi’s point of view, Samuel Tadros tells Bloomberg TV. The photo-op in Washington shows that he is “an accepted leader,” a “partner” for the US, and that he is taken seriously and accepted around the world. Tadros, however, does not believe the trip might result automatically in meeting all of Egypt’s demands in terms of increasing military aid and trade (runtime 03:01).

Other coverage of Egypt worth noting in brief:

  • Global Construction Review profiles “Africa’s new generation of modern megaports” with a series looking at those on the Mediterranean, including the Suez Canal Container Terminal.
  • A report on the systemic targeting of LGBT folks in Egypt by The Guardian’s Mia Jankowicz. She says human rights campaigners are now trying to shift attitudes in Egyptian society.
  • Look for FGM to be in international headlines in the days ahead after the Thomson Reuters Foundation issued a PSA on Tuesday about the vile practice ahead of what campaigners traditionally consider "cutting season."
  • “Egypt’s Jon Stewart is Not Done Laughing,” reads the headline atop a piece in the New Republic. Too bad Egypt is done laughing with him.
  • The impact of the EGP float and AUC continuing to raise tuition on the prospects of students completing their college education was featured in Asharq Al Awsat. Meanwhile, US News is looking at the plight of education-focused civil society groups, blaming the “repression” in Egypt for their hard times.

Enterprise is a daily publication of Enterprise Ventures LLC, an Egyptian limited liability company (commercial register 83594), and a subsidiary of Inktank Communications. Summaries are intended for guidance only and are provided on an as-is basis; kindly refer to the source article in its original language prior to undertaking any action. Neither Enterprise Ventures nor its staff assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, whether in the form of summaries or analysis. © 2022 Enterprise Ventures LLC.

Enterprise is available without charge thanks to the generous support of EFG Hermes (tax ID: 200-178-385), the leading financial services corporation in frontier emerging markets; SODIC (tax ID: 212-168-002), a leading Egyptian real estate developer; SomaBay (tax ID: 204-903-300), our Red Sea holiday partner; Infinity (tax ID: 474-939-359), the ultimate way to power cities, industries, and homes directly from nature right here in Egypt; CIRA (tax ID: 200-069-608), the leading providers of K-12 and higher level education in Egypt; Orascom Construction (tax ID: 229-988-806), the leading construction and engineering company building infrastructure in Egypt and abroad; Palm Hills Developments (tax ID: 432-737-014), a leading developer of commercial and residential properties; Etisalat Misr (tax ID: 235-071-579), the leading telecoms provider in Egypt; and Industrial Development Group (IDG) (tax ID:266-965-253), the leading builder of industrial parks in Egypt.