Is El Sisi to Much of a Sissy to Embrace Democracy?

In the past few years Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, Egypt’s president, has faced the largest opposition since his election in May 2014. The opposition has been sparked by a failed counterterrorism strategy and a sale of land to Saudi Arabia for cash. How he’s handling it provides a concerning answer for many Egyptians. His authoritarian approach is beginning to draw many similarities with Mubarak’s Egypt in the 2000s, full of corruption and disparities.
El-Sisi’s rise to power began in 2012 when he was appointed to commander-in-chief in the armed forces by then President Morsi, but when widespread protests occurred against Morsi in 2013, Sisi declared Morsi had 48 hours to meet the demand of the people. Morsi however, did not meet the demand and Egypt’s military removed him from power. It was then that El-Sisi was sworn-in as deputy prime minister and later won the election with 96% of the vote.
On Palm Sunday 2017 an attack on a church killing 45 people raised questions about El-Sisi’s commitment to fighting terrorism. El-Sisi’s motivation behind his counterterrorism strategy goes far beyond its intention. He uses it to silence his enemies of which include, activists, journalists, human rights organizations, and businessmen who oppose him. A three month national emergency law simply acts as a cover for brutal practices against the opposition forces. This exploitation of the recent attacks not only fuels the advancement of his political agenda but incites terrorism.
Khalid Ali has become a key figure of opposition of El-Sisi’s actions. Ali ran against El-Sisi during 2012 election, but in May he was detained after suggestions he would run again in the 2018 election. If Ali is convicted he would be unable to run, eliminating El-Sisi’s worry of once again defending the controversial island transfer with Saudi Arabia. The islands were crucial for Egypt to defend the Gulf of Aqaba and almost half of Egyptians say the islands belonged to Egypt. Ali’s was among dozens who have protested against the government, and the charges on which many were detained proved risible. El-Sisi’s motives clearly point toward his desire to win the next election in authoritarian manner.
So, is there anyone who is supporting El-Sisi’s efforts? President Donald Trump of the U.S states, “that we are very much behind President al-Sisi”. Trump has also praised the ways in which he has taken control over the country. This backing creates a real problem. El-Sisi sees this as permission to continue the suppression of dissent. In return, El-Sisi expressed his admiration of Trump’s personality and subtly criticised the departed Obama administration, since this had been his first visit since his election.
In addition to targeting activists and dissidents, El-Sisi has begun cracking down on NGOs and websites. In June the government shut down several independent news websites in an attempt to regulate the amount of opposition being circulated in the media. For NGOs, El-Sisi now has the final say of what NGOs do and how they are funded. The government claims the organizations are “destabilizing national unity”. This raises concerns not only about his secret agenda, but now victims of human rights violations are no longer getting the help or representation they need.
As El-Sisi continues to restrict the freedoms of Egyptian citizens, motivated by Trump’s support and his own political agenda, his ulterior motives behind all his actions become increasingly clear. He has fallen into the same authoritarian leadership of the dictator Mubarak who the Egyptian people overthrew in the first place.

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