Egypt Media Roundup – Feb 18, 2014

02/18/2014 . By TIMEP

TOP STORIES

Legal & Political Institutions

Egypt’s presidential polls delayed by political divisions and legislative disputes over a new elections law that interim President Adly Mansour still has not issued, despite a 17 February deadline.Read More.. [Ahram, The Times]

Security Sector

The Sinai-based Islamist militant group Ansar Beit al-Maqdes claimed responsibility on Tuesday for the bombing of a tourist bus that killed three on Sunday in Taba.Read More.. [Mada Masr, Daily News Egypt, Jeune Afrique-fr, Ahram]

Marginalized Groups

Head of a council bringing together Coptic Orthodox, Catholic, Anglican, Evangelical and Greek Orthodox churches says the churches will not back a particular presidential candidate.Read More.. [Ahram]

Rights & Freedoms

National Union of Journalists in London is calling for demonstrations in front of the Egyptian embassy in solidarity with detained Al Jazeera journalists in Egypt. [NUJ]

Economy

Egypt’s army chief, Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, won vast popularity by crushing the Muslim Brotherhood, but even a man seen by his followers as invincible may be unable to fix the mess in the politically sensitive energy sector. Read More..  [Reuters]

Foreign Relations

The minister of irrigation says unless Ethiopia offers a mutually agreeable solution, Egypt may demand the Ethiopian government to stop the construction of the Renaissance Dam, meanwhile, Egypt and Sudan are in talks on Nile resources. Read More.. [Ahram ,Sudan Tribune]

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Legal & Political Institutions

Sabbahi releases presidential platform: issues spanning increased taxes on upper-classes, security issues, the judiciary, Al-Azhar, etc

Daily News Egypt: Sabbahi releases electoral platform

Summary: Presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi released his extensive political platform on Monday, addressing a myriad of issues facing Egypt. The founder of Al-Tayar Al-Sha’aby presented his platform as three “pillars”: freedom enshrined by the democratic system, social justice achieved by complete development, and dignity preserved by national independence. The first part of the 166-page document is split into nine sections that deal with national security, the security apparatus, local governance, the efficiency of state bodies and purging them of corruption, civil society, Al-Azhar, the judiciary, the media, and arts and culture. In his platform regarding economic development, the Nasserist candidate favours increased taxes for upper-class Egyptians and national projects aimed at providing housing for citizens.

Fouad al-Saeed discusses the fading use of the term ‘foloul’ to describe remnants of the old regime in Egypt’s new government

Al Monitor: “Feloul” loses its punch in Egypt

Summary: Fouad al-Saeed, a media expert at the National Center for Social and Criminological Research, told Al-Monitor, “The fading of the term [foloul]  was due to the decline of the channels that were in favor of the January 25 Revolution, the disappearance of religious channels and the proliferation of media channels, most of which are owned by businessmen who were once described as foloul themselves.”

Saeed explained that these programs “criticized and ridiculed anyone who used the term foloul, both during the Brotherhood’s reign and after June 30, and that contributed to the term’s gradual disappearance from the Egyptian street.”

However, Saeed believes that the term’s use did not decline in the Egyptian street, but rather it has become less visible because of the complex political situation in Egypt after the June 30 revolution. He added, “A large mass of people — the bloc that supported the January 25 Revolution — have reconsidered the idea of ​​rejecting the foloul because many of the foloul have not been proven to have been corrupt and because some of them represent a stock of experience in the Egyptian state.”

Morsi accused of colluding with foreign terrorist groups in “Egypt’s biggest conspiracy”

Al Jazeera: Morsi accused of ‘Egypt’s biggest conspiracy’

Summary: The deposed Egyptian president, Mohamed Morsi, was accused of committing “the biggest case of conspiracy in the history of Egypt” as he faced court on espionage and terrorism charges. Prosecutors on Sunday outlined their case against Morsi, stating that he and his group the Muslim Brotherhood conspired with foreign groups in Iran, Lebanon and Gaza to conduct espionage and commit terrorist acts inside Egypt.

However, the trial was adjourned when Morsi lawyers withdrew from court, after their client complained that he was being kept in a soundproofed dock to silence him.

The former president stated that he was placed in the glass cage to stop him speaking to the people of Egypt. “We are in a farce, all this because you are afraid of me. You are afraid that the president speaks,” Morsi cried out, and told his defence: “If this farce continues, don’t come to the court.” The court was adjourned until February 23.

Mahmoud Salem breaks down the effectiveness of Egypt elite’s media image

Daily News Egypt: [OP-ED] Leadership and spin

Summary: While there are a vast number of articles written on the charisma and the cult of personality that Al-Sisi commands, few of them tackle the components of this charisma. The man’s charisma and appeal is the amalgamation of his military uniform (70% approximately) contrasted with his soft-spokenness (30%),  which are highlighted in the rare instances in which he speaks in public, which are always in speech format, and never in TV interviews. Now, the moment Defence Minister Al-Sisi becomes a presidential candidate (or President Al-Sisi) he will have to (1) take off the uniform and wear a regular suit, (2) appear in TV interviews where-no matter how scripted it will be- people will finally be able to seize up the man behind the uniform and (3) try to find a new manner of speaking, since his current game will no  longer be effective.

Security Sector

Analysts: ‘Increase in violent insurgency in Egypt could turn into guerilla-style conflict’

Washington Post: Slaying of South Korean Tourists signals turn in Egypt’s Islamist insurgency

Summary: An explosion ripped through a bus carrying South Korean tourists in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula on Sunday and killed three people, the deadliest attack on vacationers here in years, signaling a potential escalation in the fight by Islamist militants against the Egyptian government. The insurgency that sprouted last summer had previously confined itself to targeting Egyptian military and police forces. But as the government continues its broad repression of Islamists in the wake of the military’s removal of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in July, the attacks could turn into a much bloodier ­guerrilla-style conflict, analysts say.

Conflicting reports from news sources claiming ABM warned of renewed attacks on tourists in Egypt from their twitter–ABM does not have twitter

EuroNews: Egypt militants warn tourists to leave country or face attack

Long War Journal: ABM does not have a twitter account

Summary: The Islamist militant group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis has warned tourists to leave Egypt “before it’s too late” and threatened to attack anyone who stays in the country after a deadline of February 20.

The Sinai-based group, which claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that killed two South Korean tourists and an Egyptian on Sunday, made the statement on an affiliated Twitter account.

Two Israelis and Two Egyptians charged with ‘conspiring in Israel’s interests’

J Post: Egypt charges 2 Israel agents, 2 Egyptians with spying

Daily Star Lebanon: Egypt charges 2 ‘Israeli agents’, 2 Egyptians with spying

Summary: Egypt’s public prosecutor charged on Tuesday two men it said were Israeli intelligence agents and two Egyptians with conspiring in Israel’s interests, according to a statement from the prosecutor’s office.

“The public prosecutor ordered Ramzy Mohamed, Sahar Ibrahim, Samuel Ben Zeev and David Wisemen – two officers in the Israeli Mossad – to be sent to a Cairo criminal court for spying for the interests of the state of Israel,” the statement read.

Central Auditing Organization releases reports on corruption during Morsi’s presidency, and current state officials

Mada Masr: Corruption watchdog: presidency, state security quilty of squandering

Summary: In a wide scale media campaign, Hisham Geneina, the head of the Central Auditing Organization, released information about money squandering in several state sectors, including the presidency and the security apparatus.

According to the state-owned Al-Ahram, the squandered funds that Geneina reported have reached LE70 billion. In a press conference held on Monday, Geneina said violations documented by the organization in state-run projects amount to LE23.5 million.

Squandering within the presidency as cited by Geneina goes back to the time of ousted President Mohamed Morsi. According to Geneina, the presidency’s budget during Morsi’s rule increased by LE44 million from the year before. He also explained that while Morsi’s main salary was at LE44,416, he was also granted some LE793,652, as the balance from the basic salary had been spent on unaccounted expenses, prompting the need to issue a law to determine the president’s wage.

Geneina added that some advisors working for Morsi received wages from both the presidency and from their initial public employers, which counters the law.

Meanwhile, Geneina also reported on corruption cases where current state officials are implicated.

Marginalized Groups

Government crackdown on opposition leading to a growing gap between generations in Egypt

NYTimes: In Egypt, a Chasm grows between Young and Old

Summary: A growing number of young Egyptians say the government’s heavy-handed crackdown on any opposition is widening a generation gap, which poses a longer-term threat to stability.

Three out of four Egyptians are under 40, and more than two out of three are under 35. With the government’s most important leader, Field Marshal Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi, retracing the 60-year-old footsteps of former President Gamal Abdel Nasser — even flying to Moscow last week to try to restart arms deals that were last seen at the height of the Cold War — young bloggers and activists are complaining that they feel caught in a time warp.

They are lashing out at their parents’ whole generation, which presided over three decades of economic, cultural and political stagnation and now seems to be repudiating the 2011 uprising for interrupting that stasis.

Youth unemployment rate still high–youth feeling alienated

Ahram: Egypt’s unemployment remains high in Q4 2013: CAPMAS

Africa Report: Egypt: Youth alienated and frustrated

Summary: Egypt’s unemployment rate remained unchanged in the fourth quarter of 2013 at 13.4 percent of a labour force of 27.3 million people, according to state-run statistics body CAPMAS. Sixty-nine percent of unemployed people were aged between 15 and 29, and more than 82 percent of those young people held diplomas and university degrees. The CAPMAS quarterly report released on Monday said that the persistence of the high unemployment rate reflects an ongoing slowdown in economic activities.

Economy

Ministers of Defense, Investment, & Local Development: new development project in Cairo to create 20,000 jobs

Daily News Egypt: Emaar Misr signs protocol with Ministers of Defence, Investment and Local Development

Summary: The Ministers of Defence, Investment and Local Development signed a protocol Sunday with Cairo governorate and Emaar Misr to start work on the Uptown Cairo project with EGP 18bn in investment. This announcement came during the economic ministerial committee meeting Monday, which was headed by Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi and attended by Governor of Central Bank of Egypt Hisham Ramez and the Ministers of Finance, Investment, Planning, Supply, Electricity, Petroleum, Housing and Agriculture, according to a cabinet statement. Uptown Cairo, a residential and commercial project located in Moqattam, rests on 4.5 million square metres overlooking the greater Cairo area. The project is expected to create 20,000 job opportunities, Minister of Investment Osama Saleh noted.

Foreign Relations

US congressional delegations go to Egypt: Congressman Mike Rogers, Senator Time Kaine

Daily News Egypt: Congressional delegations arrive in Egypt

Summary: Congressional delegations arrived in Cairo on Monday and Tuesday for a two-day visits in which they will meet with high-level government officials. Republican congressman Mike Rogers, who is the head of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in the US House of Representatives, is scheduled to discuss bilateral cooperation with Egyptian government officials and consult with US Embassy officials on bilateral relations between the United States and Egypt, according to the US Embassy in Cairo. The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that a second delegation, headed by Senator Tim Kaine, was scheduled to arrive on Tuesday. Kaine is the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs. The Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence has a role in overseeing government bodies, including the US Intelligence Community, the Department of Defence, the Department of Homeland Security, and some branches of the United States military.