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  • Author: Adel Abdel Ghafar
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The role played by countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in the Eastern Mediterranean is becoming increasingly important. This calls for an assessment of their evolving relationship with countries in the region, as well as their involvement in the Libyan conflict. Increased involvement by Gulf actors may inflame existing regional rivalries and geopolitical tensions. The interests of GCC countries in the Eastern Mediterranean are first analysed in the broader context of regional rivalries. Special attention is then devoted to Egypt, Libya, Lebanon, Greece and Cyprus, while considering the role of other key regional actors such as Turkey and Israel. Recommendations on why and how the new US administration should intervene to decrease regional tensions are provided.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Gulf Nations, Geopolitics, Economy, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Israel, Greece, Libya, Lebanon, Egypt, Cyprus, Mediterranean
  • Author: Maged Atef
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Turkey is making overtures for rapprochement with Egypt. How will Sisi respond? In a surprising development, Turkey-based media channels opposed to the Egyptian regime announced the suspension of all political programs attacking President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi and his regime, based on directives from the Turkish government. Supporters of the Egyptian regime met the news with happiness and approval, counting it as a victory for Sisi. Yet the Egyptian regime itself refrained from showing enthusiasm towards this paradigm shift, contenting itself with a remark by Minister of Information Osama Heikal in which the minister said the move represented a “good gesture from Turkey.” Meanwhile, Egyptian Islamists residing in Turkey were struck by concerns that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan could be contemplating handing them over to Cairo. Looking ahead, despite the importance of Erdogan’s gesture, any response from Sisi is still unclear
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Muslim Brotherhood
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Egypt
  • Author: Hazem Albassam, Coline Ferrant
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: A recent poll gauges Egyptians' lasting impressions of their chapter in the Arab Spring. In 2011, after just eighteen days, from January 25 to February 11, the Egyptian public overthrew the 30-year-long dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak. A decade afterwards, we sought to have Egyptians reflect on the collective memory of those days. What fueled the revolution? Was it successful? Did it lose its way? Attempts to explain the Revolution in public discourse point to inequality, economic stagnation, poverty, unemployment, and corruption. Reflecting on these indicators, we compare them to Egyptians’ own recollections through the analysis of an exploratory survey conducted in November 2020.
  • Topic: Public Opinion, Arab Spring, Memory, Revolution
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa, Egypt
  • Publication Date: 07-2021
  • Content Type: Country Data and Maps
  • Institution: Economist Intelligence Unit
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Summary, Economy, Background, Fact sheet
  • Political Geography: Egypt
  • Publication Date: 07-2021
  • Content Type: Country Data and Maps
  • Institution: Economist Intelligence Unit
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Politics, Summary, Political structure
  • Political Geography: Egypt
  • Publication Date: 07-2021
  • Content Type: Country Data and Maps
  • Institution: Economist Intelligence Unit
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Summary, Economy, 5-year summary, Key indicators
  • Political Geography: Egypt
  • Publication Date: 07-2021
  • Content Type: Country Data and Maps
  • Institution: Economist Intelligence Unit
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Economy, Economic structure, Charts and tables, Monthly trends charts
  • Political Geography: Egypt
  • Publication Date: 07-2021
  • Content Type: Country Data and Maps
  • Institution: Economist Intelligence Unit
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Economy, Outlook, Forecast, Overview
  • Political Geography: Egypt
  • Publication Date: 07-2021
  • Content Type: Country Data and Maps
  • Institution: Economist Intelligence Unit
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Politics, Summary, Outlook, Briefing sheet
  • Political Geography: Egypt
  • Publication Date: 07-2021
  • Content Type: Country Data and Maps
  • Institution: Economist Intelligence Unit
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Summary, Basic Data, Economy, Background
  • Political Geography: Egypt
  • Author: Abdullah Al-Arian
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: Prof. Abdullah Al-Arian discusses how Islamist movements have historically viewed diplomacy as important to their activist missions.
  • Topic: International Relations, Cold War, Diplomacy, Politics, History, Islamism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North America, Egypt, United States of America
  • Author: Roee Kibrik, Nimrod Goren, Merav Kahana-Dagan
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: Israel’s Relations with Arab Countries: The Unfulfilled Potential examines relations between Israel and seven key Arab states – Egypt. Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Morocco and Iraq – against the backdrop of the changes sweeping the Middle East over the past decade. The researchers mapped out the potential for cooperation with each state based on shared interests, challenges and opportunities, and on the abilities, strengths and needs of Israel and those states. The researchers described existing diplomatic, security, economic and civilian cooperation – relying on open source material, their expertise in the arena and interviews they conducted. The studies found that despite progress in cooperation between Israel and Arab countries, and notwithstanding certain growing normalization with specific Middle Eastern countries, the strategic-diplomatic, economic, social, civilian and cultural opportunities are significant and far greater than their current level. There is wide-ranging, unfulfilled potential in Israel’s relations with Arab countries, and it is more evident now than it was in the past. The ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict and absence of significant progress in resolving it constitute the main obstacle to tapping the potential for cooperation between Israel and the Arab world, capping relations with a glass ceiling. In formulating its policy and actions in the region, Israel should learn the lessons of the past. It must take into consideration current realities and limitations, existing interests and processes. Just as important, it must also shape its actions, assessing and choosing from among various alternatives with a view to the future potential and tremendous promise they hold out. We hope this publication helps those interested in sketching the current complex picture and the potential that lies in relations between Israel and major Arab countries, and paves the way to expanded cooperation and normalization between Israel and its neighbors in the Middle East. As the studies in this publication indicate, the potential for regional cooperation is great and its realization also depends on progress towards Israeli-Palestinian peace.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Economy
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Qatar, UAE
  • Author: Georgeta Vidican Auktor, Markus Loewe
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: Budgetary constraints forced Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia to reduce energy and food subsidy after 2010 but they applied different strategies, thereby transforming their existing, quite akin social contracts into different new ones delivering more protection, provision or participation for citizens.
  • Topic: Reform, Social Contract, Participation, Subsidies
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia
  • Author: Motaz Zahran, Joey Hood, Paul Salem, Gerald Feierstein, Mirette F. Mabrouk
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: The Middle East has become a kaleidoscope of evolving relationships and developments. Following almost a decade of near chaos, Libya has just elected an interim government, paving the way for a new transition. Despite several new normalization treaties with Arab states, Israel remains deadlocked in perhaps the most urgent of its relationships with Arab states; that with Palestine. A decade of stressful and largely fruitless negotiations between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is threatening to become even more complicated by Ethiopia’s internal conflicts and the possibility of a civil war spilling over its borders, threatening a fragile transition in Sudan and possibility of stability in the Horn of Africa. Amid all these developments, relationships and alliances are being reformed and reevaluated. Where does Egypt stand on all of these issues? MEI held a private, on the record roundtable discussion with the Ambassador of Egypt to the United States Motaz Zahran and Acting Assistant Secretary of State Joey Hood. MEI President Paul Salem gave an introduction and Senior Vice President Amb Gerald Feierstein and Egypt Programme Director Mirette F Mabrouk moderated the discussion.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Regional Cooperation, Transition
  • Political Geography: Libya, North Africa, North America, Egypt, United States of America
  • Author: Sherif Mohyeldeen
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Along the Egypt-Sudan border, tensions have been rising for several decades despite limited efforts at cooperation. Both countries need to reexamine their border policies to prevent further escalation. Since Sudan’s independence in 1956, its border relations with Egypt have been characterized more by mutual suspicion than by peaceful exchange. This legacy has been exacerbated over the decades by myriad obstacles and conflicts, particularly over the disputed Halayeb triangle, even if both sides did try to improve relations after Egypt’s uprising in 2011. Border communities, suffering from this reality, have pushed for improved ties, but mistrust has prevailed to the detriment of both countries.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, History, Borders
  • Political Geography: Sudan, Middle East, North Africa, Egypt
  • Author: Zeinab Abul-Magd, İsmet Akça, Shana Marshall
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Egyptian and Turkish military businesses have used their institutional privileges to dominate their respective economies, but they have key differences. Turkey’s military businesses are centrally managed while Egypt’s use multiple complex conglomerates. In recent years, Turkish and Egyptian military institutions have followed divergent paths in their respective states. After many decades of full or partial control over the government, the Turkish military today is largely marginalized in politics. By contrast, after periods of exclusion from power, the Egyptian military is now in full control of the state. Despite these differences, both military institutions are powerful economic actors within their states. They have developed extensive civilian economic enterprises over the decades, dominating important sectors by capitalizing on their political influence, legal and regulatory privileges unique to their enterprises, and opportunities provided by market liberalization.
  • Topic: Government, Economy, Business , Liberalization
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Egypt
  • Author: Anthony Bubalo
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: The examples of Egypt and Saudi Arabia show the risks in betting on the stability of autocratic regimes in the region. Despite the Arab uprisings of the last decade, most countries in the Middle East remain in the grip of autocrats, with a widespread view that this is the 'default setting' for the region. However, an examination of Egypt and Saudi Arabia, where authoritarianism has been revived, reveals both regimes are struggling for popular legitimacy. Increasingly reliant on repression, these regimes risk provoking civil unrest, and external powers should reconsider their assumption that autocracy guarantees stability in the Middle East.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Government, Authoritarianism, Political stability, Legitimacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Egypt
  • Author: Dina H. Sherif, Salma El Sayeh
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Harvard Journal of Middle Eastern Politics and Policy
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: In 2010, the Arab region was regarded as having very little potential for serious political transformation. The outside world perceived “stable” authoritarian regimes with iron-fist control over citizens who would surely never demand drastic change. Amal Ghadour described the regional landscape best: “These are the lifeless landscapes you are sure to behold if you were standing and peering down. Crouch and you begin to brush against the faint gusts of wind delicately working their way through them.”1 Engagement comes in many forms besides political, and in 2010, countries like Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan, and Syria were seeing significant increases in the number of NGOs, private sector engagement in social development, philanthropy, and youth volunteerism. None of these was viewed as a threat to the existing regimes at the time, but they represented a new coalescence of power amid increasing human rights abuses, youth exclusion, unemployment rates, and social inequity. The ingredients for change were there and finally ignited by the self-immolation of street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi on 17 December 2010 in Tunisia, which launched the cycle of mass uprisings and the falling of dictators in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya in 2011.
  • Topic: Economics, Labor Issues, Business , Youth, Innovation
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa, Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia
  • Author: Nourhan Shaaban
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Harvard Journal of Middle Eastern Politics and Policy
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: Nelly El Zayat is the co-founder and CEO of Newton Education Services and an advisor to the Minister of Education in Egypt on early childhood education and education policy. Nelly has been working in international education for the past 21 years, specifically in student advising, scholarship management, admissions, curriculum design, e-learning, learner-centered teaching, and student recruitment and on bridging the gap between education and the job market. She has held positions in several organizations including America Mideast Educational and Training Services (AMIDEAST), the International Institute of Education (IIE), and the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. She is specifically interested in education reform and development in Egypt and the Middle East and the role technology plays in education. Nelly holds a master’s degree in international education policy from Harvard University and a master of arts in Middle East studies and a bachelor of arts in economics from American University in Cairo. She is an alumni ambassador and member of the International Peer Advisory Program of the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
  • Topic: Education, Governance, Interview
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa, Egypt
  • Author: Assaf Orion, Denis Thompson
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: For almost four decades, the Multinational Force & Observers has protected Israel-Egypt peace and anchored stability in the Sinai Peninsula, but a new Pentagon initiative could end the American contribution by late next year. Defense Secretary Mark Esper has indicated that all military endeavors must now fall within a National Defense Strategy focused on Great Power competition. Look closer, though, and America’s MFO role does just that. Both Russia and China have recently sought deeper involvement in Egypt’s development, nuclear energy, arms acquisition, and broader economy, so staying in Sinai means staying relevant. This timely Policy Note is authored by two decorated military officers, Assaf Orion, a brigadier general in the Israel Defense Forces, and Denis Thompson, a Canadian Army major general who led the MFO from 2014 to 2017. They contend that the grand-strategic benefits of the force—now populated by 1,156 troops from thirteen nations—easily justify its low cost. An American exit would likely unravel the entire MFO, putting Israel-Egypt peace and regional stability at needless risk.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: North Africa, North America, Egypt, Sinai Peninsula, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Country Data and Maps
  • Institution: Economist Intelligence Unit
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Politics, Background, Forecast, Political and institutional effectiveness
  • Political Geography: Egypt
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Country Data and Maps
  • Institution: Economist Intelligence Unit
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Politics, Summary, Background, Political forces at a glance
  • Political Geography: Egypt
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: This report provides an overview of the nature of illicit trade in cigarettes across three markets in the Levant region: Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon. It establishes estimates of Illicit Consumption in each market and the impact it has on government tax revenue.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Finance, Illegal Trade
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan
  • Author: Ayfer Erdogan
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Turkish Journal of Middle Eastern Studies
  • Institution: Sakarya University (SAU)
  • Abstract: In 2013, Egypt’s first democratically elected president Mohammed Morsi was overthrown by a military coup. Since then the country has undergone serious setbacks in terms of democracy, individual freedoms, and social justice. Egypt’s failed revolution and the military coup could not be thought independently from the role of external actors - either directly or indirectly involved in this process. Despite their political rhetoric emphasizing democracy promotion and political reforms, both the US and the EU failed to pursue consistent and contributory policies in promoting democratic transition in Egypt out of fear that the electoral victory of Islamist groups would harm their interests in the region. On the other hand, the Gulf Monarchies played a pivotal role in the entrenchment of the military rule by providing financial and political support to the military-backed government as a shield against the democratically elected government in Egypt. This article investigates how the policies adopted by Egypt’s key allies, the European Union, the US and the Gulf Monarchies, impacted the trajectory of Egypt’s political transition in the face of the January 25 revolution and 2013 military coup. The main thesis of the article is that the policies pursued by external actors created a political environment unfavorable for democratic change in Egypt.
  • Topic: Non State Actors, Military Affairs, Authoritarianism, European Union, Transition
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Egypt
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: This paper scans the interests and activities of Greece, Cyprus, Turkey and Egypt in the Mediterranean Basin – their varying and competing interests, their points of convergence and cooperation, and the challenges and opportunities for Israel. The paper is based on the main points raised at the third meeting of the working group on Israel in the Mediterranean, held in September 2019 in the Herzliya offices of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung at the initiative of the Mitvim Institute, the Hebrew University’s Leonard Davis Institute for International Relations and Haifa University’s National Security Studies Center. The paper shines a spotlight on key elements in regional relationships and significant activity taking place in the Mediterranean Basin, which Israel must consider in formulating and executing policy. It is based on the presentations and discussions conducted at the event and does not reflect agreement among all participants.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Economy
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Greece, Palestine, Egypt, Cyprus, Mediterranean
  • Author: Haim Koren
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: Since President Abdel Fatah a-Sisi’s rise to power in 2014, Israeli-Egyptian ties have been marked by defense-strategic cooperation. This is based on the shared perception of Iran and radical Islamist terror organizations as a threat, and the common interest in managing the Palestinian issue, in general, and specifically the Gaza arena. In the inherent tension between ideology and national interests, Egypt continues to strive for an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians (Fatah, Hamas and the other Palestinian factions) and seeks to bring about internal Palestinian reconciliation beforehand (between the leaderships in Ramallah and Gaza). Its role as a key mediator between Hamas and Israel is crucial, and is in line with Egypt’s international standing as an important regional leader.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Bilateral Relations, Peace
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Gaza, Egypt
  • Author: Nimrod Goren, Merav Kahana-Dagan, Roee Kibrik, Lior Lehrs, Maya Sion-Tzidkiyahu, Ksenia Svetlova
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: srael’s new foreign minister should lead a process of fixing Israel’s foreign policy. This paper presents recommendations for messages he can convey and actions he can take to improve Israel’s regional relations with Arab states, the Palestinians and Europe. It is based on deliberations by a Mitvim Institute task team.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Geopolitics, Regional Integration, Peace
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries, Egypt, Jordan
  • Author: Yitzhak Gal, Haim Koren, Moran Zaga, Einat Levi, Ronen Zeidel
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: Israel-Jordan: Continued Deterioration / Yitzhak Gall Israel-Egypt: Strategic Warming, Civilian Coolness? / Dr. Haim Koren; Israel-UAE: Warming Relations, Also in Civilian Affairs/ Dr. Moran Zaga; Israel-Morocco: Warming from the Bottom Up / Einat Levi; Israel-Iraq: Security Challenges and Civilian Warming / Dr. Ronen Zeidel
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Foreign Policy, Public Opinion, Civilians
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, UAE
  • Author: Gabriel Mitchell
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: Established in January 2019, the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF) is the most significant multinational organization in a geopolitical space often associated with conflict and competition. Currently comprised of Egypt, Greece, Cyprus, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Greece, Italy and the Palestinian Authority, the forum’s purpose to advance opportunities for energy development and cooperation between Eastern Mediterranean states in order to maximize the commercial potential of the region’s hydrocarbon reserves. This paper analyzes the diplomatic processes that resulted in the EMGF’s formation, the current challenges the forum faces, and Israel’s capacity to shape this nascent body’s future. If the forum hopes to grow in the postcoronavirus era, then it must commit to seeking pathways towards economic cooperation, enhancing its scope to include renewable energy, while also prioritizing conflict resolution and the establishment of a new maritime order.
  • Topic: Development, Diplomacy, Energy Policy, Geopolitics, Gas, Strategic Competition
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Greece, Palestine, Italy, Egypt, Jordan, Cyprus, Mediterranean
  • Author: Ksenia Svetlova
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: This article reviews the changed attitudes of Arab states (especially the “core” states of the Middle East) toward the Jews from the turn of the millennium to the present. It places these changes in a broad diplomatic context, which also relates to improved ties between Israel and Middle Eastern states and these states’ strengthening alliance with the US. The article presents the difficulties of Arab regimes and societies in differentiating between Jews and Israel, briefly describes widespread manifestations of anti-Semitism in the second half of the 20th century in Arab culture and media, and reviews the changing geopolitics and awareness in Arab states that have affected the development of interfaith discourse between Jews and Muslims. The article argues that a significant turnaround has occurred over the past two decades in the attitude of Arab regimes toward the Jews by virtue of the geopolitical changes in the Middle East and a desire to project enlightenment and modernity to the West. The resulting increased Jewish-Muslim dialogue could imbue future Israeli-Palestinian negotiations with an added dimension and contribute to their success.
  • Topic: Demographics, Religion, Ethnicity, Judaism, History
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries, Egypt
  • Author: Valeria Talbot, Ugo Tramballi, Paola Magri, Zhao Jianming, Kabir Taneja, Adel Abdel Ghafar, Jeongmin Seo, Naser Al-Tamimi, Nael Shama, Sara Bazoobandi, Anshel Pfeffer
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: As the world’s economic and political centre of gravity moves increasingly towards East and South Asia, we can expect a number of countries in these regions to devote more attention to the Middle East. The relations between East and South Asia and the Middle East have significantly expanded as a result of the global rise of Asian economic powers, particularly China, India, Japan and South Korea. Not only oil but also trade, investment, infrastructure, and tourism is the name of the business with the MENA region. Beyond energy and economic interests, questions arise about the potential geopolitical dimension of these evolving ties. What are the strategic implications of the projection of Asian countries in an unstable, fragmented and volatile region? How do they interact with each other and with other international players? Last but not least, will the Covid-19 pandemic be a game changer in (re)shaping relations in the future?
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Oil, Regional Cooperation, European Union, Geopolitics, Business , Soft Power
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Europe, Iran, Middle East, India, Israel, Asia, South Korea, Egypt, Gulf Cooperation Council, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Karim Mezran, Annalisa Perteghella, Nadereh Chamlou, Gawdat Bahgat, Abbas Kadhim, Hafsa Halawa, Yahia Mohamed, Lemine Mestek, Emadeddin Badi
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: The Covid-19 pandemic could not have come at a worse time, as many countries in the MENA region remain engulfed in vicious internal conflicts or must cope with structural socio-economic distress and popular dissent. In many respects, such a context and many of its problems resemble those that formed the backdrop for the Arab Spring in 2011. Exactly like what happens with humans, who are hit the hardest when presenting pre-existing conditions, MENA states have been impacted because of their own pre-existing conditions. In this sense, the Covid-19 pandemic has laid bare all the vulnerabilities and deficiencies of these states’ structures, and has aggravated pre-existing political, social, and economic shortcomings. How has the pandemic impacted state structures? What is its effect on organized protests and spontaneous popular movements? What are the possible long-term consequences?
  • Topic: Authoritarianism, Arab Spring, Conflict, Protests, COVID-19, Elites
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Libya, Algeria, North Africa, Egypt, Gulf Cooperation Council
  • Author: Anthony Dworkin
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: North African countries, each for their own reasons, are increasingly turning their attention towards sub-Saharan Africa. Morocco is pursuing a comprehensive campaign to increase its influence and win support with regard to Western Sahara. Algeria may be showing new flexibility in its response to security threats to its south. Tunisia is beginning to look for new economic opportunities in Africa. Egypt is responding to a series of strategic concerns, particularly over the waters of the Nile. Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia are also all dealing with increased migration flows, with migrants seeking to work on their territories or pass through it to reach Europe. This North African turn to sub-Saharan Africa offers opportunities for European cooperation. But the EU should be aware of the distinctive agendas of North African countries and the reservations that their initiatives engender in some countries.
  • Topic: International Relations, Migration, Regional Cooperation, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Africa, Algeria, North Africa, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Al Jazeera Center for Studies
  • Abstract: Despite the recent escalation and the stark divide between their vision of their interests and roles, both Turkey and Egypt realise that a direct clash would be damaging for both of them. In fact, there are indications that both states are more pragmatic than their bellicose statements indicate.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Military Strategy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Egypt
  • Author: Mehari Taddele Maru
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Al Jazeera Center for Studies
  • Abstract: Very few consider that despite the possibility of conflict or cooperation, such changes in the exploitation of the Nile River resources are due to changing relations and the need to address long-standing unfair and hegemonic approaches to trans-boundary resource sharing.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Regional Cooperation, Natural Resources, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Africa, North Africa, Ethiopia, Egypt
  • Author: Michael Barak
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: Since mid-June, there have been growing social media protests by residents of the city of Port Said, Egypt against the mayor's intention to reposition the statue of de Lesseps (1805-1894), a French engineer and statesman who initiated and led the Suez Canal excavation project. In their view, the statue symbolizes European colonialism and denigrates the blood of the Egyptian people who scarified their lives in a war against the oppressive colonialist enemy. The discourse reflects an ideological struggle over the interpretation of symbols and monuments in the public sphere and corresponds with similar protests that have taken place recently in several Western countries, with the resumption of riots against the murder of George Floyd, which highlights the phenomenon of tearing down statues identified as symbols of oppression.
  • Topic: History, Social Media, Colonialism, Protests
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa, Egypt, Port Said
  • Author: Brandon Friedman, Joshua Krasna, Uzi Rabi, Michael Milshtein, Arik Rudnitzky, Liora Hendelman-Baavur, Joel D. Parker, Cohen Yanarocak, Hay Eytan, Michael Barak, Adam Hoffman
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: This collection of essays, published by Konrad Adenauer Stiftung in collaboration with the Moshe Dayan Center (MDC), focuses on how states and societies absorbed the coronavirus shock as the first wave spread through the Middle East, from February through April 2020. It offers a critical examination of how several different Middle East countries have coped with the crisis. This publication is not intended to be comprehensive or definitive, but rather representative and preliminary. Each of these essays draw on some combination of official government data, traditional local and international media, as well as social media, to provide a provisional picture of the interplay between state and society in the initial response to the crisis.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Health Care Policy, Economy, Crisis Management, Sunni, Jihad, Coronavirus, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Iran, Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Egypt, Jordan, Gulf Cooperation Council, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Joshua Krasna
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: In the latest edition of Tel Aviv Notes, Joshua Krasna examines the regional implications of Chevron's purchase of Noble Energy for Israel, Egypt, and Jordan.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Oil, Gas, Economy, Business
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Egypt, Jordan
  • Author: Dina Wahba
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: In my visit to Egypt in late March 2018, two things were happening simultaneously: the demolition of Maspero Triangle, the neighbourhood I have been working on for my case study, and the re-election of President Abdel Fattah El Sisi for his second term. There was a big campaign banner, one of many engulfing Cairo, with El Sisi’s face and the slogan “You are the hope”. This banner on 6th of October bridge was overlooking the neighbourhood as the bulldozers were hard at work demolishing what was for years the homes of over 4000 families spanning generations. I was in a taxi trying inconspicuously to take pictures of the banner and wondering what my interlocutors would say when I ask them about how they view this promise of hope overlooking the destruction of their homes. I was also marvelling at the almost nonsensical sequence of events. In 2011 Maspero was one of the most militant neighbourhoods, among many in downtown and old Cairo (Ismail 2013), that defended the occupation of Tahrir Square. As it was adjacent to Tahrir, it played a crucial role in sustaining the square during the first 18 days of the uprising. Seven years after the revolution, the neighbourhood was faced with complete erasure. How did we get here? I argue for the productivity of looking at Egyptian politics through the lens of affect as a possible way to answer this question. As Laszczkowski and Reeves argue in their edited book Affective States (2017) “Affect is at the heart of those moments when the political catches us off guard or when it leaves us feeling catatonically suspended, wondering where we are, how we even go there, and when this became so ordinary”. In this paper, I examine one such moment: the demolition of Maspero neighbourhood that coincided with the re-election of Abd El Fattah El Sisi in early 2018. I investigate state-society relations and the shifts throughout those moments by looking at how one neighbourhood negotiated their survival that culminated in their removal. Much like the wider socio-political context in Egypt and the story of the Egyptian revolution itself, Maspero is a story of a negotiated failure. A youth-led movement that demanded basic rights, exhausted various political tactics to lobby the government and failed the bigger fight, but scored some victories, such as the ability of some 900 families to come back to Maspero after the development project is over. I argue that Maspero can uncover much about the wider political tribulations since 2011. The case offers a lens through which we can see political openings and opportunities, clampdowns and closures as well as the current regime’s agenda for ensuring that what happened on 25 January 2011 does not happen again. I claim that one of the tactics of the regime is to systematically deconstruct the politics of the urban subaltern that played a major role in the revolution (Ismail 2013) through urban reconfiguration as well as new and old methods of affective co-optation and coercion. In her analysis of state-society relations, Cilja Harders argues that “political science tends to privilege macro-level perspectives” rendering the urban subaltern as only passive subjects of political transformations (Harders 2003). I argue that this has not changed in analysing the aftermath of the revolution. Few studies discussed the role of the urban poor in the revolution; however, many scholars neglected the politicisation of the urban subaltern when analysing transformation (or lack thereof) in Egyptian politics in the last few years. After eight years, the situation seems bleak and the task futile. To argue for any kind of change, let alone transformation, one must be blind to the strong backlash against any attempt to capitalise on the temporary gains of the revolution. The only story left to be told seems to be one of failure. The utter failure of a reformist movement to impose even partially its agenda for change (Bayat 2017). However, the case of Maspero neighbourhood and its youth alliance allow me to trace the revolution back into the everyday politics of citizens in a crushing struggle with the regime to examine whether the revolution disrupted informal traditional ways of doing politics. Rather than examine radical or even reformist regime or legal changes in national politics, I am interested in informal politics and its disruption. “It is in the local scale that power relations become tangible and abstract concepts such as ‘state’ and ‘politics’ observable” (Hoffmann, Bouziane & Harders 2013, 3). Building on the work of scholars of everyday politics, street politics and politics from below, I focus, therefore, on the street and, more specifically, Maspero, a neighbourhood adjacent to Tahrir Square that lived the revolution with all its tribulations, a neighbourhood that affected and was affected by the revolution. I find Salwa Ismail’s work on the role of the urban subaltern in the revolution productive in unpacking and tracing the “everyday” in the Egyptian revolution. “The infrastructures of mobilisation and protest lay in the microprocesses of everyday life at the quarter level, in their forms of governance and in the structure of feelings that developed in relation to state government” (Ismail 2012, 450). Ismail’s argument highlights the quarters or neighbourhoods as spatial political laboratories where the urban subaltern, through rigorous negotiations and “every day” encounters with the different arms of the state, accumulates knowledge about modes of governance and how to resist them. This was obvious in the role that the urban subaltern played in the revolution and was reflected in the narratives of my interlocutors and highlighted in some of the scholar’s accounts of the revolution. In Ismail’s (2012) account of the “backstreets of Tahrir”, she narrates several important “battles” in informal neighbourhoods that she believes were vital to the success of the revolution. These “battles” manifest the moment of convergence between locally grounded grievances and national revolutionary politics. “The account of the battles serves to draw attention to the place of popular quarters in the geography of resistance, and to the spatial inscription of popular modes of activism”. (Ismail 2012, 446) The importance of Ismail’s account is in linking popular resistance to the spatial characteristics of the quarter, which brings up the question of what will happen to popular resistance when the neighbourhood is gone. I argue that the removal of entire neighbourhoods has a political purpose, that of dismantling the political laboratories and crushing street politics. In discussing the battles in Tahrir, Bulaq Abu Al-Ila features prominently in sheltering activists, defending the occupation of the square and engaging in prolonged street fights that exhausted the police and kept it from reclaiming the square. Ismail (2012, 448) links the neighbourhood’s repertoire of contention to a history of patriotism that goes back to the resistance of the French colonial conquest, again highlighting a spatially bounded accumulation of generational knowledge and affective register of popular resistance. The aim of my endeavour is not just to highlight the role of the urban subaltern in the revolution and the subsequent politicisation and depoliticization and what one may learn from it. It is also to link this to what the state has been learning about countering any possible future mobilisation in order to foresee state strategies of radically altering the “every day” modes of governance and with it modes of resistance and to connect this to the urgency of urban restructuring processes happening in Cairo on an unprecedented scale since the 1990s. Asef Bayat (2012) explores the politics of the urban subaltern in “neoliberal cities” in an authoritarian regime. Bayat offers the concept of “social non-movements” to analyse street politics (2012, 119). According to him, the streets are vital to the urban subaltern: he writes that “[t]he centrality of streets goes beyond merely the expression of contention. Rather, streets may actually serve as an indispensable asset/capital for them to subsist and reproduce economic as well as cultural life” (2012, 119). Bayat describes the ongoing conflict over the public space between the state and the urban subaltern as “street politics” (Bayat 2009). These ongoing processes consequently create the “political street”, hence, politicising ordinary citizens through their struggles over urban space. Some of the questions that arise here and reflect the limitations of Bayat’s arguments in this point of history relate to what happens to “street politics” when the urban subaltern loses the “political street”. Reflecting on the case of Maspero neighbourhood, what happens to the politicisation and cultural and economic appropriation when they are relocated to Asmarat, a far-off gated community out of central Cairo? What happens to the politics of the urban poor when they lose their “capital”? And, what kind of political and spatial affects are tied to this dispossession? One of the challenges of studying Maspero was to understand the affective attachments that people had to the neighbourhood. Drawing from the literature on street politics and Asef Bayat’s notion of encroachment (2009), I could understand materially the reasons why forcefully displacing people from their homes could be traumatic. However, as I witnessed them mourn the neighbourhood it became clear to me that there are reasons beyond what this literature can offer. Here, affect theories can be helpful. Yael Navaro Yashin calls for “a reconceptualization of the relation between human beings and space” (2012, 16). Yashin critiques what she calls “the social-constructionist imagination” in its focus on conceptualising space only through what humans project on it. Building on Teresa Brennan’s work on the transmission of affect, Yashin argues for affective relationality between humans and their environment. However, she does not take an object-centred approach but combines the human subjective approach with one that explores that “excess” in the environment that she studies through the lens of affect. Yashin’s work on the collision of the phantasmatic and the material is essential in understanding the “affect” of the neighbourhood. According to Yashin, “the make-believe is real” (2012, 10). Reflecting on the case of Maspero, the affective attachments that the inhabitants of the neighbourhood developed was built around the material, the encroachment, and the social networks but moved beyond this. To them, Maspero is their country and their home. Below one of my research interlocutors, a male resident of Maspero in his 30s explains to me the attachment of the people to Maspero Triangle. “We belong to this place; it is part of us, and we are a part of it. This place holds our memories and childhood. This is something that officials never understood. But we felt it. In this place I used to play, when I am upset, I like to sit in this place and talk to my friends. We are attached to this place not just because it is close to our work. We are linked spiritually to this place; our hearts are attached to this place. I do not want to go out. I do not want to live even in Zamalek, which is very close to us. I do not want to live there. We are attached to this place.” Nigel Thrift (2007) argues that for the political importance of studying affect in cities and affective cities to trace how affect and cities interact to produce politics. The interactions between space, bodies and affect are linked to political consequences. Thrift goes further to point to the political engineering of affect in urban everyday life and what might seem to us as aesthetic is politically instrumentalised. This engineering of affect can have various political aims. To erase emotional histories, create new affective registers or mobilise old ones in urban settings through urban restructuring (Thrift 2007, 172). Thus, it is not farfetched to argue that the urban restructuring of cities is linked to eliciting or inhibiting political responses. The massive plan of the Egyptian government to drastically change downtown Cairo, a space that witnessed a revolution has interlinked political and affective goals. It aims at erasing the affective register of the 2011 Egyptian revolution and inhibits the politics of the urban poor.
  • Topic: Human Rights, United Nations, Revolution, Urban, Youth Movement
  • Political Geography: Africa, North Africa, Egypt, Maspero
  • Author: Alex Walsh
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: The 2011 Egyptian protests started in earnest nine years ago on National Police Day on 25 January, a holiday that Hosni Mubarak had introduced to commemorate Egyptian police officers killed and wounded by British colonial forces in 1952. Protesters upended the original meaning of the holiday to turn it into a symbol of police brutality and corruption under Mubarak. In the drama of the 18 days that followed, Egypt’s internal security apparatus fought the protesters in the streets, delivering one shocking provocation after another, galvanizing the protest movement and ultimately contributing to the removal of Mubarak. Since 2011, the police and internal security forces of many countries in the Arab world have been at the centre of the conflicts and struggles that shape the region for better and for worse. Recent and ongoing encounters between protestors and police in the streets of Iraq, Lebanon, Algeria and Sudan are a stark reminder that the police are more than just a proxy target for a protestation of the state. They are also the object of much anger both as a grouping, and in terms of the concept of policing and social control they embody. The impact of this sustained contestation of police behaviour and doctrine in the region deserves reflection. Has the police and policing changed in the Arab world? And if so, in what ways? This paper maps out some of the main modes in which the police and policing have been contested since 2011, and provides a preliminary assessment of its impact. It argues that mass mobilised contestation has only been successful in the instance where institutional reform followed. It notes that hybridisation of policing – where informal security actors cooperate and challenge formal security actors – has spread in many countries but that the concept of state security – with its emphasis on the state over citizens – continues to prevail across the region. Indeed, almost a decade after that fateful 25 January 2011, many of the aspirations of citizens protesting the police are far from realised, even while there are some promising developments.
  • Topic: Protests, Repression, Police, Police State
  • Political Geography: Africa, North Africa, Egypt, Cairo
  • Author: Nadine Abdalla
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: Various forms of local activism in Egypt are challenging the shortcomings in local governance and the lack of any developmental urban vision. This paper examines three examples from different neighbourhoods in Giza and Cairo. All three share the goal of resisting exclusionary policies while trying to overcome the absence of political means to register their frustrations given the absence of local councils since 2011.
  • Topic: Social Movement, Arab Spring, Urban, Local
  • Political Geography: Africa, North Africa, Egypt, Cairo, Giza
  • Author: Ishac Diwan, Nadim Houry, Yezid Sayigh
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: Egypt’s recent security and macro-economic stabilization has been built on weak foundations and Covid-19 has further exposed this fragility. Egypt is now back to a situation broadly similar to that before the 2011 revolution: stable on the surface, but with deep structural problems and simmering social grievances, and little buffers to mitigate them. This paper argues for a major shift in the ways the country is currently governed in favour of greater openness in politics and markets, and for the international community to seriously engage Egypt on the need to reform economically and politically.
  • Topic: Security, Arab Spring, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, Egypt
  • Author: Defne Günay
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Department of International Relations, Abant Izzet Baysal University, Turkey
  • Abstract: According to the International Panel on Climate Change, climate change will affect the rivers leading to the Mediterranean, desertification will increase, rise in sea level will affect coastal settlements, and crop productivity will decrease in the region. Therefore, climate change is an important issue for the Mediterranean region. The European Union (EU) is a frontrunner in climate change policy, committing itself to a decarbonized economy by 2050. The EU also promotes climate action in the world through its climate diplomacy. Such EU action in promoting the norm of climate action can be explained with reference to EU’s economic interests. In this paper, I analyse whether the EU serves its economic interests by promoting climate action in its neighbourhood policy towards Egypt. Based on documentary analysis, this paper argues that European companies benefitted from the market-based solutions adopted by the Kyoto Protocol in Egypt, exported renewable energy technologies to Egypt and face a level-playing field in terms of regulations promoted for them by the EU in Egypt.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, European Union, Regulation, Economy, Renewable Energy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Egypt, Mediterranean
  • Author: Mirette F. Mabrouk, Abla Abdel Latif, Sarah El-Battouty
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: Climate change is slowly stamping an imprint on Egypt’s environment, culture, and economy. The most obvious of these challenges is the rising scarcity of water. Egypt is already one of the world’s most water scarce countries; while the UN assesses water scarcity at 1,000 cm3 per person annually, Egypt has less than 560 cm3 per person. Rapid population growth, urbanization, desertification, and unpredictable weather patterns are all taking an unrelenting toll on the country’s strained water resources, while fear is climbing over loss of water from the Nile if the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam holds back water during droughts. Just as worrisome is rising heat. This threatens health, water supplies and, in a country where over 30 percent of the labour force is directly involved in agriculture, Egypt’s harvests. While there has been much work done on water conservation, climate change mitigation policy is unclear. Much of the action is handled by the private sector which is not always invested in the strictest environmental standards. Is it possible to tackle the oncoming threat while balancing mitigation with the need for development?
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Natural Resources, Water, Culture, Economy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Egypt
  • Author: Natasha Banks, M. Anis Salem
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Cairo Review of Global Affairs
  • Institution: School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, American University in Cairo
  • Abstract: A roadmap for a sustainable future without wasteful subsidies and mismanagement.
  • Topic: Health, Food, Food Security, Sustainability, Human Security
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East, North Africa, Egypt, Jordan
  • Author: Yezid Sayigh
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The Egyptian military accounts for far less of the national economy than is commonly believed, but its takeover in 2013 and the subsequent rise of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi have transformed its role in both scope and scale and turned it into an autonomous actor that can reshape markets and influence government policy setting and investment strategies. The military delivers massive infrastructure projects, produces consumer goods ranging from food to household appliances, manufactures industrial chemicals and transport equipment, and imports basic commodities for civilian markets. It has expanded into new sectors as diverse as gold prospecting, steel production, and managing religious endowments and pilgrimage. In parallel, thousands of retired senior officers benefit from the military’s powerful political influence to occupy senior positions throughout the state’s civilian apparatus and public sector companies, complementing the formal military economy while benefiting themselves. The military boasts of superior managerial skills and technological advances and claims to act as a developmental spearhead, but its role comes at a high cost. It has replicated the rentierism of Egypt’s political economy, benefiting like its civilian counterparts (in both the public and private business sectors) from an environment in which legal permissibility, bureaucratic complexity, and discretionary powers allow considerable space for predation and corruption. At best, the military makes good engineers, but bad economists: the massive surge of megaprojects in public infrastructure and housing it has managed since 2013 is generating significant amounts of dead capital and stranded assets, diverting investment and resources from other economic sectors. The military economy’s entrenchment is detrimental to Egypt’s democratic politics, however flawed. The military economy must be reversed in most sectors, rationalized in select remaining ones, and brought under unambiguous civilian control if Egypt is to resolve the chronic structural problems that impede its social and economic development, inhibit productivity and investment, subvert market dynamics, and distort private sector growth. Nor can any Egyptian government exercise efficient economic management until informal officer networks in the civilian bureaucracy, public sector companies, and local government are disabled. Rosy assessments of Egypt’s macroeconomic indicators issued by Egyptian officials and their counterparts in Western governments and international financial institutions disregard fundamental problems of low productivity and innovation, limited value added, and insufficient investment in most economic sectors. These officials may be hoping Sisi can somehow build a successful development dictatorship, which would explain why they gloss over the social consequences of his administration’s economic approach and its fierce repression of political and social freedoms and egregious human rights violations. A corollary is the faith that the military is as good an economic actor and manager as it claims to be, and that it will withdraw from the economy as the latter grows. Yet current trends suggest Sisi will remain hostage to key partners in the governing coalition, including the military leading its involvement in the economy to accelerate.
  • Topic: Military Affairs, Economy, Military Government
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa, Egypt
  • Author: Victor Asal
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Political Science Quarterly
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: Over the last 20 years, research in the area of terrorism studies has expanded enormously in many directions, including studies focusing on terrorist events as well as on individual behavior and the behavior and characteristics of organizations. One of the topics that has been of great interest to researchers of terrorist organizations is the nature, impact, and cause of terrorist organizational alliances. From Marc Sageman’s groundbreaking book Understanding Terror Networks and a growing body of articles and books, researchers are trying to understand the impact of such connections on terrorist organizations. There is still a lot of research, though, that needs to be done in this area. For example, Sageman’s book focuses more on internal connections and especially on jihadist organizations. Much of the other literature focuses on organizations allying in the same milieu. In Why Terrorist Groups Form International Alliances, Tricia Bacon expands on this perspective by exploring why terrorist organizations would form connections beyond their domestic competition and make the effort to ally with other groups internationally. This is an interesting and important effort in the literature on terrorist alliances given the regular focus on like organizations making alliances with like. The book is well laid out and explains its argument and the supporting evidence in a clear and useful manner.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Non State Actors, Book Review, Alliance
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine, Egypt
  • Author: James Aird
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Harvard Journal of Middle Eastern Politics and Policy
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: As Egypt’s ‘Year of Education’ begins, the government pushes much needed reform in pre-university education across the country. Supported by a $500 million World Bank loan, the government is accelerating efforts to train teachers, build schools, and implement tablet technology in primary and secondary education. The reforms include one ambitious project that is especially deserving of more attention: the expansion of a pilot program adapting Japanese educational techniques to the Egyptian context. At a meeting in Tokyo on February 29th, 2016, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced a joint partnership that sought to link Egypt to Japan through educational development, in part thanks to al Sisi’s personal admiration for Japan’s education system. As part of the joint partnership, Japanese and Egyptian administrators and policymakers set out to reshape Egyptian pedagogy. Modeled on Japan’s Tokkatsu education system, which refers to a program of “whole child development,” Egypt aims to build schools that place great emphasis on teaching students to be responsible, disciplined, and clean, as opposed to the more traditional model prioritizing higher standardized testing scores. A Tokkatsu-inspired curriculum is already being used at over forty schools that accepted more than 13,000 students in September 2018. While President al Sisi plans to personally monitor the new education system, other MENA states should also watch closely. If it successfully contributes to building Egypt’s human capital and improving students’ competitiveness, other states in the region might consider implementing similar educational policies.
  • Topic: Development, Education, Reform, Children, Partnerships, Youth
  • Political Geography: Japan, Middle East, North Africa, Egypt
  • Author: Haisam Hassanein
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Port projects and other outreach may help President Sisi check off some of his policy goals, but giving China such a foothold could threaten a number of U.S. interests in the region. On August 5, Egypt signed a memorandum of understanding with the Chinese company Hutchison Ports to establish a Mediterranean container terminal in Abu Qir. President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi himself attended the signing ceremony, where he praised the company’s global reputation in the field and emphasized the importance of executing the project in accordance with the highest international standards. The project is in line with Sisi’s track record of seeking Chinese help to fulfill his ambitious domestic and foreign agenda. Hutchison is one of the world’s leading port networks, operating terminals in twenty-seven countries; in Egypt, it operates the country’s two main commercial ports, Alexandria and El Dekheila. The company’s representatives commended the opportunity for direct investment in Abu Qir and announced that they will be training more than 1,500 Egyptian engineers and other workers for jobs at the terminal. According to them, the facility will be able to handle up to 1 million containers annually once completed.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Bilateral Relations, Economic Growth, Trade
  • Political Geography: China, Middle East, Asia, North Africa, Egypt, United States of America
  • Author: Neri Zilber
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The items being moved from Egypt through Salah al-Din Gate underline the contradictions and long-term unsustainability of the current stalemate regarding Gaza assistance. The Gaza Strip has been blockaded for more than a decade now, owing primarily to the violent takeover and continued militant rejectionism of the territory’s Hamas rulers. Even after certain restrictions were eased after the 2014 Gaza war, Israel and Egypt maintained tight limits on the entry of goods into the coastal enclave. This policy began to fray in early 2018 as conditions inside Gaza further deteriorated, culminating in the “Great March of Return” border demonstrations and short-lived rounds of escalation between Israel and Hamas. Indirect negotiations over a long-term truce have since provided some relief, yet the impact of one of the most noteworthy concessions has been under-examined—namely, the opening in 2018 of Salah al-Din Gate, a commercial border crossing between Gaza and Egypt. This crossing puts the lie to the narrative of a “besieged” Gaza, yet also raises questions about Israel’s continuing blockade policy and Hamas’s pretensions to be a responsible ruling entity.
  • Topic: Border Control, Borders, Trade, Hamas
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Gaza, Egypt