Egypt Daily Update: Human Rights First Report Urges New U.S. Government Approach to Egypt

August 3, 2017

Human Rights First Report Urges New U.S. Government Approach to Egypt

Egyptian Foreign Reserves Reach Record High in July

Journalist Ismail al-Iskandrani’s Pre-Trial Detention Extended for 29th Time

Cartoon of the Day: Battling Corruption

Top Stories


Human Rights First Report Urges New U.S. Government Approach to Egypt

Human Rights First, a U.S.-based human rights organization, released a new report on Wednesday detailing the Egyptian government’s severe crackdown on dissent and nongovernmental organizations under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. The report, “How to Protect Civil Society and Promote Stability in Egypt,” urges the Trump administration to “withhold the 15 percent of [Foreign Military Financing] funding authorized by Congress under the FY2016 appropriation act unless and until the Egyptian government introduces extensive human rights reform,” and provides a number of other recommendations for Congress and the administration. The FY16 consolidated appropriations act mandates that 15 percent of U.S. FMF aid be withheld until the Secretary of State certifies to Congress that the Egyptian government has taken steps to advance a number of human rights and governance goals.

“Citing a steadily worsening human rights situation, activists and foreign diplomats in Cairo urge the U.S. government to withhold military aid from the Egyptian government. They say this would send an important signal to the government of President Sisi, put a brake on its repression of civil society, and help create vital space for peaceful dissent,” the report says.

The report emphasizes the failings of a U.S. approach to Egypt that ignores government repression in the name of stability. The author of the report, Brian Dooleysaid that “as long as Egyptian authorities suppress peaceful dissent, they are part of the problem of growing instability, not part of the solution.” He added that “Enforced disappearances, torture and mass jailing fuel extremism. The U.S. government needs to persuade its allies in Cairo to get off this dangerous path fast. Friends don’t let friends foster terrorism.”


Egyptian Foreign Reserves Reach Record High in July

The Egyptian Central Bank announced [Ar] on Tuesday that Egyptian foreign reserves reached a record high of $36.04 billion in July, a positive sign for the struggling economy. The bank said that foreign reserves had increased by 4.7 billion dollars since June. Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail hailed the news, saying that “this means that the Egyptian economy has recovered,” and that the increase is “an assuring message about the Egyptian economy and that we are capable of covering the needs of the Egyptian people.” The increase comes after Egypt’s implementation of a number of painful austerity measures in accordance with their November 2016 agreement with the IMF. Egypt recently received the second $1.25 billion installment of a $12 billion IMF loan.


Journalist Ismail al-Iskandrani’s Pre-Trial Detention Extended for 29th Time 

A Cairo criminal court ruled on Wednesday to extend [Ar] the pre-trial detention of Egyptian scholar and journalist Ismail al-Iskandrani by 45 days for the 29th time. Al-Iskandrani has now been detained for 612 days since he was arrested in the Hurghada airport in November 2015 after returning from a conference abroad. The State Security Prosecution says that he is being investigated for “joining the Muslim Brotherhood” and “spreading fake news,” but many suspect that his arrest and continued detention may have been retribution for his criticism of the regime, and specifically for a November 2015 article describing al-Sisi’s rise to power as a “counter-revolution.”


Cartoon of the Day: Battling Corruption

“Battling Corruption”
Top: “Arrest him”
Bottom right: “No, arrest him!”
Doaa el-Adl – Al-Masry Al-Youm – 08/03/2017


Also Worth Reading

Jonathan Guyer
The Atlantic