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Wednesday, 21 February 2018

US should adopt more nuanced policy with Egypt, Hijazi and Sultan argue

On a slow day for Egypt in the international press, former prisoners Aya Hijazi and Mohamed Soltan argue that the US need to adopt more nuanced policies towards Egypt and the region. Writing for the Washington Post, they criticize a wave of arrests in the lead up to the 2018 presidential elections. “The United States should use its influence to address the deteriorating human-rights situation, to demand the release of all political prisoners (including presidential candidates), and to urge an opening of the political sphere… Our friendship is based not only on joint history, but on a shared conviction that only a representative democracy and the rule of law can guarantee peace and stability for Egypt and the surrounding region.”

Former presidential candidate Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh was put on a terrorism list yesterday following his arrest for alleged contacts with the Ikhwan, Reuters reports. The story is getting traction in foreign outlets, including The Associated Press and Voice of America.

Egyptian intelligence is pressuring Hamas to hand over Gaza to the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority, Jack Khoury writes for Haaretz. A senior Hamas delegation has been in Cairo for an unusually long time for talks with Egyptian officials, who “are very worried by the implications of the humanitarian situation in Gaza and are continuing their efforts to find a formula that would enable the reconciliation to be implemented,” a Palestinian source in Gaza said.

Also worth noting in brief this morning:

  • Netherlands-based Sudanese radio station Radio Dabanga has been taken off air by Egypt’s Nilesat since Sunday, Sudan Tribune reports.
  • Owners of blocked websites and their audiences in Egypt are developing new ways to bypass censorship, including using VPNs and proxy sites or publishing content on other platforms, the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression says.
  • A number of economists speaking to Al Monitor have criticized the USD 3.3 bn theme park in Matrouh. They say it detracts attention from other higher priority investments, such as agriculture.
  • Authorities arrested a student in Giza for “debauchery” after allegedly organizing a concert for LGBT people, Hornet reports. The concert never took place, the website notes.
  • Enas El Masry reviews for Slate Egypt’s largest annual camel race, which has been running since 1987 in the Sinai.
  • An engineer claims the Giza Pyramids’ alignment is based on the fall equinox, according to Newsweek.
  • Medium to long-term political stability is less certain in Egypt now as Egyptians’ trust in their institutions is falling, Joseph Colonna writes for Frontera.

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