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Thursday, 2 May 2019

Egypt in the News on 02 May 2019

Topping coverage of Egypt in the foreign press is the White House’s announcement that it could formally designate the Ikhwan a terrorist organization. This comes weeks after a meeting between The Donald and President Abdel Fattah El Sisi in Washington DC. Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal and The Guardian all emphasize the potential negative fallout from such a move, which they say could complicate US relations with allies (including Tunisia, Morocco and Kuwait) where Islamists serve in the government. Reuters, meanwhile, reports that the Ikhwan’s response was to issue a statement that it would continue to work in line with its “moderate and peaceful thinking.”

On the same topic: Former NYT Cairo bureau chief David Kirkpatrick wades in with a Q&A that argues the Ikhwan doesn’t meet the US definition of a terror group. The news came as Hassan Malek, the Ikhwan business leader who suddenly became very popular from 2011 through early 2013, was handed a life sentence on charges that included helping lead a terror group.

Also making headlines this week was news that “an infectious biological agent or toxic chemicals” were behind the death of a British couple at a Hurghada resort last year, according to the Guardian. John and Susan Cooper died in August after falling ill at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic hotel. The BBC, Sky News and the Sun had the story.

Also making the international press this morning:

  • Referendum turnout: The Carnegie Middle East Center is casting doubt on the veracity of the turnout figures for the recent referendum on constitutional reform, something that exiled opposition leader Ayman Nour is eager to point out in the Washington Post.
  • Sectarianism in Egypt: Increased assaults on Egypt’s Copts has led to an increased “exodus” of the Christian population out of the country, the Wall Street Journal reports (paywall).
  • Egypt’s security and prosperity are crucial for regional stability, but it must work to regain its regional leadership position, argues Republican Congressman Jeff Fortenberry in an opinion piece for The Hill.
  • Egypt’s small steel producers are coming under financial pressure due to the recently imposed tariffs on iron billet and steel imports, Arab Weekly reports.

ODDITIES: The Economist talked up fiseekh on the occasion of Sham El Neseem, while Bloomberg got into Ancient Egyptian cat statues.

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