President El-Sisi’s Egypt: Quietly rebuilding economic strength

President of Egypt at the 2018 Beijing Summit at the Great Hall of the People in China, Sept. 4, 2018
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has taken significant strides toward restoring the most populous Arab country to a leading role in the Middle East (source: dpa)
  • Egypt’s president was elected in 2014 and reelected in 2018, in both cases with overwhelming support from voters
  • President El-Sisi is not a Western-style democrat and his human rights record is bad, but, in these respects, he is not worse than his predecessors
  • He deserves credit as an economic reformer and defender of stability in the Middle East matters of importance to the West, the EU in particular

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has been ruling Egypt for more than five years now. Has his country achieved political stability? Is it on the road to sustainable development? What about the Islamic terrorist insurgency in the northern Sinai Peninsula? Unfortunately, global public opinion does not focus on the answers to these vital questions. For some, Mr. El-Sisi is merely a military dictator riding roughshod over human rights. Others point out that the country is back on track after years of bloody turmoil and that substantial economic progress has been made, while fundamentalists’ attempts to spread Islamic terror and turn Egypt into another Syria or Libya have been mostly, if not wholly, foiled.

In early January 2018, 60 Minutes, a prestigious TV newsmagazine in the United States, ran a segment on Egypt. Interviewing the president, the program’s correspondent Scott Pelley launched a scathing attack on Mr. El-Sisi’s reported violations of human rights and persecution of members of the Muslim Brotherhood organization. And Andrew Miller, former Egypt director in the National Security Council during the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama, told the viewers of the “peaceful, gradualist approach of the senior Muslim Brotherhood leadership” and the organization’s benevolent activities in the fields of education, charity and healthcare. Mr. Miller added that Egypt was unstable, living standards were down and the Sinai insurgency on the rise.

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