The POMED Wire

The Tiran and Sanafir Islands Deal: A Political Test for al-Sisi

July 7, 2017 Daniel Leone On June 24, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ratified [Ar] a controversial maritime demarcation agreement that cedes Egyptian control over the Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia. This step followed the Egyptian Parliament’s June 15 approval [Ar] of the agreement. The transfer of sovereignty has struck a nationalist nerve among many Egyptians, provoking public criticism and sparking street protests rare in al-Sisi’s repressive system. It could place Egypt’s highest court in direct opposition to Parliament and the President. President al-Sisi first announced the agreement to transfer the islands to Saudi Arabia

Egypt on the Hill: Criticism, Praise, and Policy

June 28, 2017 Christian Bischoff The issue of U.S. policy toward Egypt has come up in four congressional hearings held in the past two weeks.[1] Members of Congress and Trump administration officials have discussed President Donald J. Trump’s strong support for Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi; the repressive new NGO law ratified by al-Sisi last month; the potential designation of the Muslim Brotherhood as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO); and U.S. military and economic aid to Egypt.   The Trump administration’s proposed assistance to Egypt in the Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) budget includes $75 million in economic aid, a proposed

A Deeper Look at the Protests in Morocco [Updated]

June 1, 2017 Isabel Paolini [Update as of June 16, 2017] Protests in the Rif region of Morocco have continued throughout the month of June and are spreading an anti-government movement throughout other parts of the country, particularly in Imourzen and Rabat. Authorities have reacted to the protests by detaining more than 100 leaders and participants of the Hirak-led movement across the country in the past three weeks. On June 11, tens of thousands marched through the streets of Rabat, constituting the largest protest since the 2011 movement, demanding the release of dozens of detained protesters from the Al Hoceima

Rouhani Wins Decisive Victory in Iran’s Presidential Election

On Friday, May 19, Iranians re-elected Hassan Rouhani with 57 percent of the vote, easily defeating his primary opponent, Ebrahim Raisi. The election drew a high turnout, with 73.5 percent of eligible voters casting ballots. In addition to Rouhani’s victory in the presidential race, reformist candidates captured all 21 seats of Tehran’s local council, breaking the conservative majority which has prevailed for fourteen years.  During his campaign, Rouhani stated, “The Iranian people will reject those who in the last 38 years have known nothing but being executioners and jailers,” in reference to his conservative opponents and the religious establishment of Iranian politics. Despite the victory, Rouhani is

President Trump Visits Saudi Arabia, Announces $110 billion Arms Sale

During his first foreign visit to Saudi Arabia beginning on May 20, President Donald Trump spoke to more than fifty leaders from Muslim-majority countries, addressing the need for unity in the fight against terror and radicalism. In his thirty-six-minute address, he emphasized the rejection of religious rifts in the war against extremism, stating, “This is not a battle between different faiths, different sects, or different civilizations. This is a battle between barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life, and decent people of all religions who seek to protect it. This is a battle between good and evil.” Many likened