Catch up on the latest out of Egypt every week, with analysis, news updates, photos, videos, and more.

Quote of the Week

This security measure is very natural, one that Egyptian officials abroad are subjected to, and a former foreign minister experienced it during his visit to the United States.
–Foreign Ministry Spokesman Badr Abdel Atty on security forces subject US Secretary of State John Kerry to a security check before a meeting with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Egypt in the News







New requirement to register rattles Egyptian NGOs | H.A. Hellyer, The National

The “war on terror” narrative in Egypt, in place since the removal from office of Mr Morsi a year ago, has seen an emphasis on security measures to the near exclusion of other considerations. With that in mind, human rights organizations have become even more important – but their collective job has become more difficult.

Some organizations fear that one of the few sectors left to hold the state to account will be hampered. The past year has already seen a number of legal measures that are ostensibly meant to improve state security but could have a chilling effect on civil society. The protest law of 2013 – which not only severely restricts the right to protest but applies what the European Union among others has describe as disproportionately harsh penalties – is one prominent example.

Political party officials have privately admitted that their effectiveness has been weakened due to the emphasis on security above all else. Egypt needs an accountability mechanism, but the fear is that whatever parliament emerges after elections late this year will be fragmented and unable to provide strong checks and balances on other institutions of state.

It is precisely at times when societies are challenged in that fashion that it becomes even more necessary for rights groups to do the job that only they can do: lift a mirror to the institutions of power and remind them what they are supposed to be fighting for.

If Egypt’s rights organisations are weakened, it constitutes a victory for those forces seeking to destabilise the security situation.

The regime’s new clothes | Ursula Lindsey, Mada Masr

Do you remember the endless confused, elated chatter of 2011 and 2012, in taxis and everywhere else? It was probably the single most important, real change: the way people briefly aligned themselves with their own many voices, were able to speak for themselves and to each other. I write “people” and not “the people,” because if we’ve learned anything from the last three years, it’s that the second category — as an absolute — is a figment of both the revolutionary and authoritarian imagination. You can bet that anyone invoking it is not to be trusted. This applies to our prevaricator-in-chief — who likes to hold conversations with “the people” the way a ventriloquist does with his dummy — and to the chorus of jumped-up sycophants that brays at the public every night from TV platforms.

The new regime has its accomplices and plenty of supporters, relieved to see the state reassert its authority, and “the people” back to a state of appropriate passivity and silence. But the authorities’ hypersensitivity to dissent reveals a deep unease. Otherwise, how to explain the need to criminalize hand gestures, hunt down flyers, investigate telephone ads, and treat comedy shows as threats to national security?

The government is rightly paranoid, because it is a regime, like the Emperor of Hans Christian Anderson’s tale, with no clothes. A castle of cards built on fake confessions, fake miracle cures, fake trials, fake crack-downs and clean-ups

On Twitter: A View of Gaza from Egypt

As the conflict in Gaza shows little signs of abating, despite multiple trips by US Secretary of State John Kerry to the region to mediate, the view of Gaza from Egypt is in a state of flux. The Egyptian government has been involved in an unsuccessful attempt to broker a ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinians, while the Egyptian people have been confronted with a media that has extended its vilification of the Muslim Brotherhood to Hamas. With no wide scale protests in support of Palestine, as was once the case, how are Egyptians reacting to what is happening in Gaza? 

Video of the Week While in Cairo, US Secretary of State John Kerry delivered remarks on the Gaza Ceasefire with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, and Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Araby on July 25, 2014.


2013 International Religious Freedom Report | US State Department

On July 28, the State Department released its 2013 International Religious Freedom Report. The report documents the status of religious minorities and religious freedom in Egypt over the course of the year under both former president Mohamed Morsi and the interim government after Morsi’s removal. In particular, the report highlighted discrimination in Egypt’s judiciary, such as pointing out longer sentences given to Christians as opposed to Muslims convicted of the same crime. The report also highlighted inaction on the part of the Egyptian government in terms of protecting Egypt’s religious minorities.