Friday, October 17, 2014

Egypt's deepening dictatorship

As you may have noticed from press reports, the Carter Center, which opened an office in Egypt in 2011 following the January 25 Revolution announced the closure of the office on October 15, 2014.  If you are concerned about the sad state of freedom in Egypt, then you should take a few moments to read the Carter Center's announcement. You will find it here.
"The current environment in Egypt is not conducive to genuine democratic elections and civic participation," said former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. "I hope that Egyptian authorities will reverse recent steps that limit the rights of association and assembly and restrict operations of Egyptian civil society groups."
Former President Jimmy Carter's statement summarizes the situation, but the announcement goes into detail concerning the restrictions on assembly, NGO activities, and the impediments to election monitoring are illuminating.

Reading the Carter announcement against the background of Field Marshal al-Sisi's ascent to power, including the August 2013 massacre at Rab'a al-Adawiya, one comes to grips with the fact that the actions of the new dictatorship has been relentless, merciless and brutal.  Read the August 2014 Human Rights Watch report (العربية) for details about what happened in the Summer of 2013.  Also see my earlier post.

The U.S., represented by Secretary of State Kerry, has been making nice with now-President al-Sisi. In this instance, the New York Times has the right advice, namely that Kerry should certainly not certify that Egypt is on the path to democracy.  This certification is a Congressional precondition for the continuation of military aid.

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