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Egypt Media Roundup (February 13)

[Egypt's Defense Minister Sedki Sobhi and US Congress Republican Representative Dana Rohrabacher during a Cairo meeting. Photo from the official Facebook page of the Spokesperson of the Egyptian Armed Forces.] [Egypt's Defense Minister Sedki Sobhi and US Congress Republican Representative Dana Rohrabacher during a Cairo meeting. Photo from the official Facebook page of the Spokesperson of the Egyptian Armed Forces.]

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on Egypt and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Egypt Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to by Sunday night of every week.] 

Muslim Brotherhood’s Terrorist Designation Threat

White House Weighs Terrorist Designation for Muslim Brotherhood President Trump’s advisers are debating an order intended to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a foreign terrorist organization, targeting the oldest and perhaps most influential Islamist group in the Middle East.

The Muslim Brotherhood and Trump's terror list Outlawing the Brotherhood reflects a total failure to understand the historical complexities of the group's evolution.

Calling the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group would hurt all American Muslims Reports suggest that the White House is considering an executive order directing the State Department to assess whether the Muslim Brotherhood should be designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization, a decision that will have ramifications far beyond the Middle East, where the group primarily operates. The result is likely to be intimidation, harassment and smears of Muslim and Arab groups here in the United States.

Designating the Muslim Brotherhood a “terrorist organization” puts academic researchers at risk There is a hidden danger for academics and journalists lurking within congressional legislation introduced by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) to designate the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization.

If Trump or Congress Decides the Muslim Brotherhood is a Terrorist Organization, Brace for the Blowback The Muslim Brotherhood is many things—including a U.S. partner in some countries. What happens if Congress or the Trump administration calls them a terrorist organization?

Could President Trump Use the Treasury Department to Go After the Muslim Brotherhood? As a legal matter, the short answer is almost certainly yes. But doing so would pose some constitutional questions the government will need to consider seriously.

Political Rights

Authorities forcibly close Al-Nadeem headquarters A sizable police force converged on Al-Nadeem Center for the Rehabilitation of Torture Victim’s headquarters in downtown Cairo on Thursday and forcibly closed the building, according to the center’s co-founder Aida Seif al-Dawla.

Activist forcibly disappeared after being arrested in security raid Activist Amr Mohamed Mahmoud, known as Amr Sokrat, was forcibly disappeared on Wednesday night after being arrested during a raid on a cafe in downtown Cairo.

After 3 years in prison, student searches desperately for her missing fiancé Out of jail after three years in prison, Asmaa Hamdy is not celebrating, but desperately searching for her fiancé, who was forcibly disappeared just one week before her release.

Sinai’s al-Arish families to begin civil disobedience after killing of 6 men Families in North Sinai’s al-Arish have decided to enter into civil disobedience as of next Saturday, citing the interior ministry’s “intransigence” in punishing those behind the murder of six young men, according to a member of a committee formed by those families.

Infinite eyes in the network: Government escalates attack on secure communication The Egyptian government has intensified efforts in the last six months to bolster its ability to intercept and monitor messages and data sent over the internet, interfering with the digital security tools that facilitate secure communication channels.

Egypt’s public prosecutor to summon everyone on 'terrorist list' for investigation Egypt’s public prosecutor Nabil Sadek decided on Tuesday to summon everyone named on the “terrorist list” for investigation regarding their alleged involvement in funding the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood.

Egypt’s prosecution refers defendants in State Council bribery case to trial Egypt’s Public Prosecutor Nabil Sadek referred the defendants in the State Council bribery case to criminal trial on Sunday, according to a statement by the prosecution.

Egypt court sentences two to death over violence near U.S. embassy in 2013 The Cairo Criminal Court sentenced two to death and twenty others to life imprisonment on Tuesday in a case concerning violent clashes that erupted between security forces and protesters near the U.S. embassy in 2013.

Tensions arise between Al-Azhar and presidency over verbal divorce debate Recent calls by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to reduce Egypt’s escalating divorce rate by ending verbal divorce have been met with resistance from Al-Azhar, feeding into an ongoing standoff between the state and the country’s largest Islamic institution.

The assembly law’s fate: What are the implications of the challenge to the British colonial-era statute Human rights activists filed a lawsuit in front of the Court of Administrative Justice on 31 January, contesting the existence of Law 10 of 1914, otherwise known as the assembly law. Introduced under British rule, the law functioned as an emergency measure during World War I and has been used by post-independence Egyptian governments to restrict assembly and provide license for the arrest of protesters.

Cabinet approves organic farming bill The government has approved Egypt’s first draft law regulating organic farming, which the Cabinet hopes will enhance its chances of marketing organic products abroad. The bill will be passed to Parliament for ratification.


Financial support to the poor: Does it really work? Question marks surround two government funds' ability to alleviate poverty with current austerity measures.

Mahalla textile workers initiate partial strike, warn of comprehensive industrial action More than 2,000 workers at the Misr Spinning and Weaving Company in the Nile Delta City of Mahalla initiated a partial strike on Tuesday, and warned of a comprehensive strike starting on Wednesday which could potentially involve all of the company’s factories and nearly 17,000 workers.

Mahalla textile workers temporarily call off strike, 5 strike leaders face disciplinary hearings Over 2,000 workers from the state-owned Misr Spinning and Weaving Company in Mahalla called off their partial strike on Wednesday. Five of the strike leaders, all women, are currently facing a disciplinary hearing and face potential suspension or sacking.

Report: World Bank policies in Egypt may exacerbate climate change The World Bank’s development policies are contributing to increased carbon emissions in Egypt and exacerbating risk for some of the country’s most vulnerable communities, according to a report recently issued by the Bank Information Center, a nongovernmental organization that monitors the policies of the World Bank, along with those of regional development banks.

Rising temperatures may cause decline in Egypt’s crop production Egypt is likely to witness a decline in the productivity of a number of crops in the next ten years as a result of rising temperatures due to global warming, according to a study released by the Central Authority for Public Mobilization and Statistics on Tuesday.

Egypt's urban inflation jumps to 28.1 pct in January Egypt's annualized urban consumer price inflation jumped to 28.1 percent in January from 23.3 percent in December, the Central Authority for Public Mobilization and Statistics statistics agency said on Saturday, its highest level since central bank records began in 2005.

Foreign Relations

Egypt's defence minister discusses combatting terrorism with US Congress delegation Egyptian Defense Minister Sedky Sobhy has met with a US Congress delegation currently visiting the country and discussed a number of points of strategic interest, including combatting terrorism, an army spokesman statement issued Sunday read.

Egypt’s Foreign Ministry backs Trump’s attack on western media Egypt’s Foreign Ministry praised a statement released by the White House, claiming that Western media has underreported seventy-eight terrorist acts.

Trump presidency heralds new era of closer ties with Egypt Friendly phone calls, an invite to the White House, a focus on Islamic militancy and what Donald Trump called "chemistry" have set the tone for a new era of warmer U.S.-Egyptian ties that could herald more military and political support for Cairo.

FCO says 'restrictions on civil society worsened' in Egypt in 2nd half of 2016 UK's Foreign and Common Wealth Office updated on Wednesday the "Human Rights Priority Countries Report" to cover the period between July and December 2016, during which "restrictions on civil society worsened significantly" in Egypt.

Three British trade missions visit Egypt to explore investment opportunities UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy Sir Jeffrey Donaldson and over forty delegates from British companies arrived to Egypt this week “to assess new trade and investment opportunities and identify potential Egyptian partners.”

Suspect in Louvre attack placed under formal investigation - source A man who attacked soldiers with machetes at the Louvre museum in Paris was placed under formal investigation on Friday, a judicial source said.

Egyptian national suspected in Louvre attack refuses to speak with investigators Abdallah al-Hamahmy, the Egyptian suspected of attacking a soldier outside the Louvre Museum in Paris, is refusing to speak with investigators in the hospital where he’s being treated, according to a source at the French prosecutor’s office. 

Sudanese president threatens to resort to UN Security Council over Halayeb, accuses Egypt of harboring opposition members Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir reasserted claims of Sudanese sovereignty over the contested Halayeb triangle, threatening to resort to the United Nations Security Council, in an interview on Sunday.

Egyptian exports to Gaza signal better ties with Hamas Egypt has eased restrictions at a tightly-controlled border with the Gaza Strip in a sign of improved relations with the Palestinian territory's Islamist rulers.

Domestic Security

Egypt court declares Hasam movement a ‘terrorist’ group The Cairo Court for Urgent Matters banned and declared on Saturday the recently emerged group known as “Hasam” as a “terrorist movement.”

Civilian shot dead at North Sinai checkpoint Thirty-year-old Abdul-Latif al-Nasayira was shot dead at the Raysa military checkpoint in Arish, North Sinai on Tuesday, less than a day after he was released from police custody.

Egypt army kills 14 militants in central Sinai - Army spokesman Egypt’s army killed fourteen militants in an exchange of fire during a raid in central Sinai, the military spokesman said in a statement on Monday.

From Jadaliyya Egypt

تقاسيم صيّاد الشعر وجنيّاته في العتمة Seyid Elsisi examines and exhibits the revolutionary poetry of the late Seyid Hijab, who passed away on the sixth anniversary of Egypt’s ‘unfinished’ revolution.


زيادة ديون مصر الخارجية.. حل للأزمة أم عقدة جديدة؟ Egypt’s foreign debt is expected to increase up to eighty billion dollars by next June—a forty-three percent increase in one year.

محكمة مصرية تحظر حركة مرتبطة بالإخوان المسلمين An Egyptian court banned a movement affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood.

تقرير حقوقي: 112 حالة انتهاك ضد صحفيي مصر في شهر واحد  Arab Media Freedom Monitor documented 112 violations against journalists during January 2017.

الإعدام والمؤبد لـ22 متظاهراً من أنصار محمد مرسي  Twenty-two pro Morsi defendants accused of violence near the American embassy in Cairo in 2013 received life and hard labor sentences on Tuesday, according to a judicial source.

قبائل سيناء تعلن عصياناً مدنياً  The Popular Committee declares civil disobedience in Al-Arish on 11 February.

"الخميس.. استئناف إعادة محاكمة 156 متهماً في قضية "مذبحة كرداسة Cairo Criminal Court resumes the retrial of 156 defendants over killing eleven police officers in the “Kerdasa Massacre” case.

الطلاق الشفهي: صدام جديد بين السيسي والأزهر Sisi’s call for restrictions on verbal divorce raises objections from Al-Azhar.

"البرلمان في مواجهة الشعب: عشرات الآلاف مهددون بفقد الرعاية الصحية بموجب "الجمعيات الأهلية Al Manassa sheds light on the repercussions of the state’s ban on civil society associations.

تشمّيع مركز النديم.. بعد عام من محاولة إغلاقه  Security forces shut down Al-Nadeem Center for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence on Thursday.

"محكمة تقضي بحظر حركة "حسم" واعتبارها "جماعة إرهابية Cairo Summary Court bans Hasm Movement and declares it a terrorist group.

أعلى معدل ارتفاع أسعار منذ 30 عاما  The annual inflation rate of January 2017 reached twenty-nine percent—the highest in thirty years.

منظمة تدين تشميع النديم: النظام يواصل انتقامه من المنظمات الحقوقية ملاذ الضحايا.. ولن نتراجع عن فضح انتهاكاته15 Fifteen human rights organizations condemn the closure of Al-Nadeem Center and the arrest and interrogation of its doorkeeper by security forces on Thursday. 

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Population (2016 est.): 80,274,604
Government: Republican Parliamentary Democracy
Year of independence: 1923
GDP: $856.8 billion (2016 est.); $1.698 trillion (2016 est., purchasing power parity)
Unemployment: 10.9% (2016 est.); Youth Unemployment (ages 15-24): 24.5% (est. Jan 2017)
Internet Users: 53.7% - 42.681 million (July 2015 est.)
Exchange Rate: ~ 3.5 Turkish lira per US dollar (2016 est.)
GDP Growth Rate: 2.9% (2016 est.)
Military Expenditures: 1.69% of GDP (2016) (World Rank: 35)
Health Expenditures: 5.4% of GDP (2014) (World Rank: 103)
Population Growth Rate: 5.4% of GDP (2014)
Age Structure: 0-14 years: 25.08% (male 10,303,153/female 9,833,713); 15-24 years: 16.11% (male 6,605,634/female 6,329,921); 25-54 years: 43.15% (male 17,541,137/female 17,094,141); 55-64 years: 8.36% (male 3,335,021/female 3,374,965); 65 years and over: 7.3% (male 2,603,655/female 3,253,264) (2016 est.)
Literacy: 95% (Male: 98.4%; Female: 91.8% [2015 est.])
Religious Demographics: Sunni Muslim 80-85%; Alevi Muslim 15-20%; Christian (various denominations) 0.13%; Jewish 0.03%
Ethnic Demographics: Turks 80%, Kurds 18%, Arabs 1.4%, Armenians 0.1%, and other (Assyrian, Greek Orthodox, Georgian, Circassian) 0.5%
Languages: Turkish, Kurdish, Zaza, Arabic, Armenian, Greek, Albanian, Neo-Aramaic Laz, Ladino
Area: 301,159 square miles