Egypt Daily Update: Kushner Praises President al-Sisi in Leaked Remarks

August 2, 2017

Kushner Praises President al-Sisi in Leaked Remarks

General Intelligence Service Signs Deal with New U.S. PR Firm

Al-Nadeem Center Reports 151 Cases of Forced Disappearances in July

Cartoon of the Day: Sacrifices of the Heroes

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Kushner Praises President al-Sisi in Leaked Remarks

White House Senior Advisor Jared Kushner praised Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi during an off-the-record talk with congressional interns on Monday afternoon. Kushner said that he “never understood why politicians from government made speeches condemning these world leaders on human rights,” citing al-Sisi as an example. “This guy, President al-Sisi… he was a general in the army, he basically took out the Muslim Brotherhood, and in a lot of ways saved Egypt from a very, very radicalized direction,” added Kushner. Kushner’s talk, which administration officials urged interns not to leak, was quickly provided in the form of recordings and detailed written notes to WIRED and Foreign Policy. The sentiments expressed by Kushner regarding Egypt seem to closely reflect President Trump’s willingness to largely ignore the Egyptian government’s well-documented human rights abuses in favor of a closer strategic relationship.


General Intelligence Service Signs Deal with New U.S. PR Firm

Public relations firm APCO Worldwide has signed a $1.2 million contract with the Egyptian General Intelligence Service (GIS) after its competitor Weber Shandwick dropped a similar contract last month. APCO signed on to the same terms as the previous contract, according to Margery Kraus, APCO’s founder and executive chairman. Kraus stated that “when Weber decided it was going out of this kind of business, we had initial conversations about whether we would be interested, because Egypt was interested in having us do this.” APCO will be in charge of promoting the value of Egypt’s strategic relationship with the United States through a combination of media relations, stakeholder engagement, social media, and other communication tools.

Weber Shandwick’s decision to terminate its contract with the Egyptian intelligence agency came after The Atlantic published a critical article focusing on their “unorthodox” decision to do business with a “foreign-intelligence service known for torture and repression.” When asked, Kraus dismissed those concerns, saying that “Egypt has an interesting story to tell.” She added that “there’s a lot of misunderstanding and lack of understanding of what is going on in the region. Some of this [work] is about trying to make sure people have a clear picture of what Egypt is doing with its relationship with the U.S.”


Al-Nadeem Center Reports 151 Cases of Forced Disappearances in July

The al-Nadeem Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence, a Cairo-based human rights group, released its report [Ar] on violence in Egypt in July. The report stated that in July alone, there were 151 reported cases of forced disappearances, 44 reported cases of civilians being tortured by the police, nine civilians reported killed in police detention, and 20 reports of insufficient medical care in detention. The report also highlights 56 incidents in which a total of 196 civilians were reported killed by security forces, mostly in counter-terrorism raids and counterinsurgency operations in Sinai, the Nile Valley, and other parts of Egypt.

In February, Egyptian authorities sealed the offices of the al-Nadeem Center on charges of violating the terms of its license. The raid in February was the third time that the government tried to shut down the center. Though the physical offices of al-Nadeem remain closed, the group continues to produce investigative reports on state violence in Egypt.


Cartoon of the Day: Sacrifices of the Heroes

“Sacrifices of the Heroes”
Andeel
Mada Masr – 07/31/2017


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