Egypt. Egypt's economy was severely affected by reduced
tourism following the September 11 attacks in the United
States. The Egyptian Pound was devalued on January 14. In
October, President Hosni Mubarak took control of the central
bank because of the banking sector crisis.
Countryaah website, US Vice President Dick Cheney visited Egypt in March to
discuss the fight against terrorism and support for an
attack on Iraq. At the end of August, Mubarak warned that a
possible US attack on Iraq could wreak havoc on the region.
Egypt announced in April that its diplomatic relations with
Israel had been downgraded and would focus on defending the
cause of the Palestinians following the Israeli army's
offensive against Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat.
On July 23, Egypt celebrated the 50th anniversary of the
military coup that abolished the monarchy. Among the guests
of honor were Libya's leader Muammar al-Khadaffi.
Mubarak's son Jamal, 39, was appointed Secretary-General
of the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) in September.
The appointment was seen as the president preparing for a
change of power.
The case of Sad ad-Din Ibrahim, an Egyptian-American
sociologist and human rights advocate, strained Egypt's
relations with the United States and also the EU. Ibrahim
was released in February after eight months in prison,
accused of diminishing Egypt's reputation abroad and
illegally receiving contributions from abroad. But on July
29, he was sentenced to seven years in prison by a security
court. Both the EU and the US protested. The United States
decided to freeze all aid beyond the $ 2 billion guaranteed
under the Camp David Agreements in 1978. The verdict would
be tried again in December.
In May, Mubarak ordered a trial in which 23 gay men were
sentenced last year to prison for rape. That all 52 who had
originally been prosecuted would again be faced with the
right triggered criticism. The process continued to be
bordered by litigation over procedural issues.
In September, a military court sentenced 51 Islamists to
between two and fifteen years in prison for alleged
assassination attempts and attempts to overthrow the
government. 43 people were released. The trial was
designated as the largest of its kind in several years.
The leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mustafa Mashhur,
passed away on November 14. Mashhur turned 83. He had led
the organization, which is formally banned but still
tolerated, since 1996.
More than 370 people were killed on February 20 in a
violent fire on a crowded passenger train en route from
Cairo to Luxor in southern Egypt. The Minister of Transport
and the Head of the State Railways resigned. The fire is
believed to have been caused by a leaking gasoline tube.
In March, US crash investigators identified the second
pilot on the Egypt Airplane that crashed Oct. 31, 1999,
outside the United States as responsible for the crash that
claimed 217 fatalities. Egypt questioned the information.
In October, the Alexandria Library was inaugurated as it
took twelve years to build. The building is erected in the
same location as the famous Alexandrian library of
In May, security forces attacked the Cairo Press
Syndicate and arrested 2 journalists accused of publishing
"false rumors". The journalists were released on bail in the
fall, but in November Press Syndicate Director Yahia Galash
and board members Khaled Elbalshy and Gamal Abd el-Reheem
were sentenced every 2 years to "hide suspects".
In April, authorities arrested Ahmed Abdallah, director
of the Egyptian Commission on Rights and Freedoms, who
investigated and documented disappearances in Egypt. In
September, the authorities turned to another 3 human rights
organizations that were frozen in their funds: the Cairo
Institute for Human Rights Studies, the Hisham Mubarak Law
Center and the Egyptian Center for the Right to Education.
Throughout 2016, the dictatorship received massive
financial support from the United States, the IMF and the
Gulf states. The West failed to criticize the massive human
rights violations in the country. In addition, the sale of
weapons to the country was important. French President
Francois Hollande visited Egypt in April 2016 and returned
home with solid Egyptian orders on French warships and
In the Sinai Peninsula, militant groups linked to IS
ambushed police and military ambushes through 2016.
US-Egypt relations improved greatly after Donald Trump
took over as US President in January 2017. The two
presidents met during Trump's arms sales trip to the Gulf
States in May 2017. The US was primarily interested in
selling weapons to Egypt.
Egypt is currently one of the most oppressive
dictatorships in the world, where freedom of the press and
assembly has been put to waste; political parties banned;
Torture, disappearance and murder are commonplace.