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Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Western Desert dinosaur fossil tops coverage of Egypt in the foreign press

Topping coverage of Egypt in the foreign press today is last month’s discovery of a dinosaur fossil in the Western Desert. The dinosaur is thought to be of a genus not previously discovered, making the finding “a landmark one that could shed light on a particularly obscure period of history for the African continent, roughly the 30 mn years before dinosaurs went extinct,” The Associated Press says. The newswire also notes that paleontology has not enjoyed much popularity or success in Egypt previously, and that the finding is cause for hope that it will help reel in more funding for ongoing studies.

The Prosecutor General’s decision to investigate the opposition bloc calling for a boycott of the presidential elections is also picking up steam in foreign outlets. The Associated Press’ Brian Rohan describes the move as “yet another sign that authorities will not allow even the slightest questioning of president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s continued rule ahead of the March vote.

From Fantasyland: Is El Sisi looking to reconcile with the Ikhwan? President Abdel Fattah El Sisi — like all his predecessors — may have “come to the realization that some degree of political inclusion for the [Ikhwan] is required if stability is to be maintained,” Abdallah Hendawy and Geneive Abdo write for Bloomberg in a piece that fundamentally mis-reads everything political that’s happened in Egypt of late—and whose take on the Ikhwan’s future reads as if it came out of some Guidance Bureau working group. Read, if your blood pressure can take it.

Blurred lines between deadlock and breakthrough over GERD: The leaders of Egypt and Ethiopia are trying to strike more moderate tones, with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi flatly saying “there is no crisis” on the issue of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, Sonia Farid writes for Al Arabiya English. With lots happening behind the scenes, both leaders are trying to ensure their room to maneuver isn’t limited by their respective public’s blowing the issue out of proportion.

Military cooperation with Israel and IMF loans aren’t enough to solve Egypt’s chronic issues, David Rosenberg oh-so-helpfully writes for Haaretz. While Egypt has reportedly allowed Israel to discreetly carry out airstrikes against Daesh, our eastern neighbor’s efforts alone cannot contain the militant insurgency, Rosenberg says. “The same goes for the IMF’s assistance. Neither can do anything to solve the problems of corruption, mismanagement, bureaucracy and repression that keep the country down.” Despite the IMF and Israel’s best efforts, “there’s a limit to how much friends can do for a country that remains politically and economically dysfunctional. None of the gyrations over the last seven years … has fundamentally changed Egypt, or addressed its underlying problems.”

In the meantime, Israel will continue to capitalize on its friendship with Egypt: Tel Aviv and Hamas will likely enlist Cairo’s help to mediate a prisoner swap, because “Egypt is the sole choice,” according to Palestine News Network.

Other stories worth a skim this morning:

  • BP’s profits in the fourth quarter of 2017 “more than quadrupled” on a y-o-y basis, thanks to higher oil prices and the introduction of new oil and gas projects in Egypt, Oman, Trinidad, and Australia, the Financial Times says (paywall).
  • Arizona State University connects classrooms in Phoenix and Cairo through a grant-funded STEM program to teach high-school girls to solve complex, real-world problems involving biology and physics, according to Cronkite News.
  • Egypt is inadvertently creating a unified opposition by attempting to snuff out political plurality, Open Democracy write.

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