November 11, 2020


Egypt assembles bipartisan lobbying team for post-Trump era (Julian Pecquet, 11 November 2020, Middle East Eye)

"They're clearly worried," said Michele Dunne, the director of the Middle East programme at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and co-chair of the bipartisan Working Group on Egypt.

"When it became clear that Biden would be named the winner, [President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi] sent his congratulations and now you see all of these former foreign ministers and major figures being called out onto the talk shows to reassure government supporters in Egypt that everything's going to be fine with Biden."

Trump, who famously called Sisi "my favorite dictator" at last year's Group of Seven summit in France, largely insulated Cairo from congressional efforts to punish Egypt for its human rights violations, including the death in custody of US citizen Moustafa Kassem earlier this year. [...]

US human rights advocates have also been ramping up their activities.

The Freedom Initiative, the organisation started by US citizen Mohamed Soltan, a former political prisoner in Egypt, hired its first lobbying firm in August to "advocate for political prisoners in MENA".

Meanwhile, the newly launched Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), the brainchild of murdered Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi, has made Egypt one of its three priority countries, along with Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Egyptian opposition groups and advocates also see an opening.

The Muslim Brotherhood, which Sisi's government has labeled a terrorist group, has urged Biden to "reconsider previous policies of support for dictatorships around the world", Middle East Eye reported on Tuesday.

"We implore the Biden administration to repudiate the crimes and violations committed by tyrannical regimes against the rights of peoples," the group said in a statement.

"We regard policies that ignore the free choices of people and which foster relations with authoritarian regimes as absolutely inappropriate. They represent a choice to stand on the wrong side of history."

...they're our democratic Brothers.

Posted by at November 11, 2020 4:51 PM