Cracking Up - Maybe.
A recent, interesting, professional and dark view of the Junta. It makes a few points. Clearly there is pressure, global financial instability and the Egyptian Economy is doing worse thean bad.
The proposals to make Sisi King or President for life seem more a realization that the future will be worse and best to secure what you have now.
In the last few days there has been tough negotiations by the Central Bank to move money around and odder things like holding back tax benefit payments for over 3 years and some type of large problem with local banking/foreign currency for exporters. I can't make sense of it but there does seem financial panic made much worse by the world saying it won't loan anything more to Egypt and demands $US10-20 billion payment in maturing debt in the next 12 months. Egypt can't pay that without borrowing more to do the repayment.
If Trump gets paralyzed and distracted and if the paralysis in Saudi continues Egypt has no door - the Russian's have little cash, the Chinese want merciless conditions and interest - to knock on other than a really tough door.:
The points in the article.
1. The repression is worse now that any time since 1952. The repression is mainly not about threats to the state or violence mainly political opposition/embarrassment.
2. The population is under real economic pressure and the economic planning is unlikely to deliver much in the future.
3. People and Egyptians will take pressure/difficulties if you have a vision that you can communicate to the population (Nasser) and/or deliver on practical results (Nasser and maybe some of Mubarak’s term).
4. Sisi cannot communicate a vision and has delivered little therefore the repression becomes a high price for no benefit. In addition he is not popular/liked and has poor communication/interpersonal skills. (he has also surrounded himself with probably a dramatically narrower source of advice than his predecessors and many are not skilled)
5. Sadat was not popular or competent until his propaganda machine made him the eternal ‘Hero of the Crossing” in 1973 a high price for 20,000 dead and a bankrupt country – they got about 2-5 ks inland on a narrow front whilst the Israeli Army got to 100 miles from Cairo and destroyed the Egyptian Airforce.
Here were the cease fire lines – green for Israel and the northern Egyptian army was surrounded and cut off as was the middle Egyptian army. The facts don't matter and the Egyptians believed, and still do, the Alternative Facts now made famous by Trump.
6. Therefore the increased repression is necessary to hold together an unpopular junta with no vision/objectives and little delivery. (There is also a need to beat up the ‘terrorist threat’ or let it string out through inaction and absolutely over-destroy those who might aspire to follow a collapse – The Brotherhood).
Recent polling conducted by James Zogby indicates that Egyptians are profoundly unhappy with their situation and that even the army—the holy of holies—is no longer trusted like it once was.
There was, of course, terrible repression during the Nasser, Sadat, and Mubarak eras, but it was nothing like the sustained cruelty that has marked the Sisi period so far. Supporters of the government defend the president and the government by claiming they are protecting the country from the Muslim Brotherhood and extremism, but they have targeted everyone else as well.
The Author of the article tried to be a wit and hedge a suggestion that Sisi had lost his marbles/cool in the past few weeks with the following rot
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi achieved something impressive in the last few weeks: He made remarks that, in their loopiness, managed to outdo U.S. President Donald Trump’s campaign rallies. In a televised address he declared, “The situation was this way, we were this way, and despite it being this way, we went this way. That is the miracle.” Then, a few days later, while imploring Egyptians to lose weight and exercise more, he added, “Even in the media we have to choose guests who take care of their bodies.” (and Sisi’s been stacking on the kilos so that not even a Brioni suit can hide them on his midget frame)
No doubt he has established some political control …but it is hard to make the case that Sisi is actually governing. In the last six months, Egyptians have been forced to endure a potato shortage and water scarcity. Instead of addressing the issues that the United Nations special rapporteur on the right to housing recently highlighted, the government attacked her and the people she interviewed in the course of her research.
https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/12/19/si ... uch-worse/ December 19th
The survey mentioned above is interesting and predictable – education, jobs corruption and nepotism but a standout is that Egypt leads the whole, rather awful, region in stating that 2/3rds feel worse off than 5 years ago – where did those Saudi $US30 billion and the other $20-30 billion go?
Egyptians stand out in the region in having little/no confidence in institutions – odd result for a military command and control/worship me system 70 years old. Media and Parliament are regarded as toilets but the Army and police are headed for the S-bend with surprising decline in support. Obviously 5 years of an Army government has had one positive result - exposed them to personal responsibility for stuff ups which for the previous 40 years they managed by pulling strings from behind the screen and managed to keep a PR distance from the responsibility. Even strangling media hasn't stopped the deterioration in their support.
The US is on the nose with Egyptians – shockingly. Russia could best be characterized as Slavic Stinky. Opinion on Iran would support a war if Sisi needs to go to war to become popular – and loose.
The data is presented in a less than clear way and I suspect the collection methodology was similar. A lot of the questions are complex matters concerning Syria and Iran so either the participants were pretty sophisticated/middle class/educated or they didn’t really know what they were being asked. I suspect it’s the former and therefore the opinions should be regarded as educated, at least middle class, possibly non-Islamist and well informed/read. If true, its not a true measure of opinion and its just the 100,000 nice Tahrir kids with no change agenda, no leader and no organization.
https://foreignpolicymag.files.wordpres ... NALWEB.pdf and https://lobelog.com/poll-has-troubling- ... and-egypt/
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