A key element of the Biden administration’s response to the war in Gaza has been the deployment of significant forces to the Middle East. So far America has dispatched, among other assets, two aircraft-carrier groups, their associated guided-missile destroyers and a Marine Corps expeditionary unit capable of conducting amphibious operations. According to America’s defence department, this armada is intended as “a strong signal of deterrence to any actors who might be thinking of entering the conflict”, an oblique reference to Iran and its regional proxy forces.
America’s display of force in the Mediterranean is impressive, to be sure—and there is more to come: the Pentagon says it will send a THAAD air-defence missile system and Patriot missile battalions to the region.… Seguir leyendo »
In early May, the Islamic State-Sinai Province killed 11 Egyptian soldiers and damaged a natural gas pipeline. Far from demonstrating the Islamic State’s power in the strategic peninsula, the attack was the first major incident in almost a year, a far cry from the full-blown jihadi insurgency that had gripped Sinai only a few years ago. The Egyptian military finally appears to be making progress in rolling back the group. Not only have there been fewer attacks, but Cairo’s funneling of economic development funds to the peninsula has also generated some goodwill among the long-restive population. In March 2021, a coalition of Bedouin tribesmen, armed civilians, and Egyptian military killed the region’s Islamic State leader.… Seguir leyendo »
Most of the attention these days is on Syria, but there is also a growing problem in Egypt with global implications. Nine Egyptian policemen were wounded by a bomb in the northern Sinai Peninsula on Monday. The week before, suicide bombers killed nine soldiers in the peninsula. Shootings, kidnappings and bombings — roadside, car and suicide — have become routine occurrences in Sinai. And the burgeoning Islamist insurgency is spreading to other parts of Egypt. In early September, the interior minister narrowly survived a car-bomb attack in Cairo reportedly perpetrated by a Sinai-based jihadist group.
Already reeling from more than two years of civil insurrection, a spike in crime, an epidemic of sexual assault and the military's killing in August of nearly 1,000 Islamists protesting the coup that removed the elected Muslim Brotherhood president from office, the insurgency is bad news for Egypt.… Seguir leyendo »
Security in the Forbidden City across the street from the Great Hall of the People was tight last month when Li Keqiang was installed as premier of China. But the uniformed guards weren't armed with automatic weapons. Instead, they were equipped with fire extinguishers to prevent would-be protesters from self-immolating.
China these days is consumed with concerns about domestic stability. Notwithstanding this internal preoccupation, the Middle Kingdom's increasing appetite for Persian Gulf oil has sparked unprecedented Chinese interest in the Middle East. Some of this is fueled too by Washington's "pivot to Asia" and less American dependence on Persian Gulf oil.… Seguir leyendo »
Next week, Egypt's Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi, will visit China at the invitation of President Hu Jintao. He will seek investments there that will enable Egypt to "dispense of loans and aid," according to Morsi's party vice chairman. From China, Morsi will travel to Tehran to attend the Non-Aligned Movement summit. Just two months after coming to power, Morsi is pursuing a rapprochement with Tehran and articulating a newfound ambition to jettison billions in U.S. foreign assistance dollars and financing from Western financial institutions. Taken together, these steps suggest that Morsi's Egypt may be headed for a foreign policy shift rivaling the scope of President Anwar Sadat's expulsion of the Soviets in 1972 and subsequent reorientation to the West.… Seguir leyendo »
The election of the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi as Egypt's president temporarily puts to rest the debate about whether the nation will be secular or Islamist. Egypt is an Islamist state.
Not only does a member of the Muslim Brotherhood hold the nation's highest post, nearly 75% of the legislature's seats are held by Brotherhood members or by their harder-line Salafi cousins — or at least they were held by the Islamists before the dissolution of the People's Assembly by the ruling military council last month. Though headlines will remain focused on the struggle for supremacy between the Islamists and the military, the more important political battle in Cairo will be over what kind of Islamic state Egypt will become.… Seguir leyendo »
The chairman of Egypt's stock exchange undertook an urgent mission last month to the Persian Gulf, where he implored rich Arabs to invest in Egypt's bourse. Low share prices and limited political risk, Mohamed Abdel Salam claimed, had made the Egyptian market "more attractive than ever."
Abdel Salam was right, at least about the low share prices. In the aftermath of the Papyrus Revolution, the drop in Egypt's EXG30 stock index was comparable to that of the Dow following 9/11. The Dow recovered by January 2002, but in the four months since the revolution, the EGX30 has plunged an astounding 22%.… Seguir leyendo »