Cairo- Between popular industry and external pressures, the implications and dimensions of the sudden announcement by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to cancel the state of emergency in force for years range.
Al-Sisi’s announcement – which comes amid international criticism of the human rights file in Egypt – theoretically ends a decree that has been renewed every three months since 2017.
Under the state of emergency, the authorities have the right to evacuate areas, impose a curfew, take strict security measures, punish violators with imprisonment, and ban gatherings and demonstrations, if it is proven that there is a danger that may affect national security or threaten the stability of the state by its presence.
While analysts and politicians welcomed the decision, their fears were present about whether the cancellation was just a “message abroad that will not fundamentally change the internal situation in their country.” On the other hand, there was widespread welcome among the regime’s supporters.
I am glad that we share together that moment that we have always strived for by struggle and hard work. Egypt has become … thanks to its great people and loyal men, an oasis of security and stability in the region; Hence, I decided, for the first time in years, to cancel the extension of the state of emergency throughout the country.
— Abdelfattah Elsisi (@AlsisiOfficial) October 25, 2021
Analysts and politicians have not ruled out the link between the decision to cancel the emergency and the external pressures at the European and American levels on Cairo in the human rights file. What reinforces this is that the decision came less than two months after the administration of US President Joe Biden announced withholding 130 million dollars of the 1.3 billion dollars Egypt receives in annual aid.
Since 2014, the US Congress has begun imposing human rights conditions that would prevent part of the military aid to Egypt, but previous administrations issued so-called national security exceptions to bypass restrictions.
Last year, Biden said – during his election campaign – that there would be “no more blank checks” for Sisi.
The journalist, expert in international affairs, Abdel Azim Hammad, touched on in his article To the Congress’ decision to suspend part of the aid to Egypt, as it is a critical and not a decisive round in the relations between the two countries.
The Egyptian writer stated that in light of the follow-up to the results of official and community visits (with official coordination) to Washington, and the statements of American officials, the Biden administration needs or asks Cairo to show greater flexibility on the issue of human rights, in order to lift the suspension of the suspended amount of aid.
On his personal Facebook page, Hammad questioned the reasons for the decision on “the day of a (military coup against the civilian component) in Sudan, and a week before the International Climate Summit”, which is scheduled to be hosted by Scotland, and Sisi may attend.
Commenting on this, Hassan Nafaa, a professor of political science at Cairo University, said that the decision may be related to Sisi’s participation in international conferences, or arranging a meeting for him with Biden, but he indicated that there are no clear official assurances about this, or requirements for canceling the state of emergency to pass such meetings. .
In statements to Al Jazeera Net, Nafaa believes that the abolition of the emergency can be linked to many external events, but it is unlikely that the Sudanese events are related to it, he believes.
The Egyptian academic explained that there are perceptions that the military coup against the civilian component in Sudan is supported by the Egyptian regime, in addition to that Sisi was not obliged to take the step of raising the emergency due to the strength of his internal situation and not being exposed to external vibrations.
“I succeed if it is true.”
Welcoming the decision, Nafaa said that the cancellation was a surprise and a major event, especially since the periods during which Egypt was ruled by ordinary laws were few.
He stressed the need for other steps to follow, ending with the release of all political detainees, the abolition of travel bans and the seizure of funds, adding that it is “a step in the right direction, and (Sisi) succeeded if he believed in it.”
Regarding the local indications and repercussions, he indicated that Sisi chose to write on social media, at a time when state institutions were supposed to discuss this, to know its effects on the ground, which did not happen; Therefore, the coming days will reveal what will happen, according to Nafaa.
Nafaa did not rule out that the abolition of the emergency was linked to the imminent announcement of the move to the administrative capital (east of Cairo), and talk of a “new republic” under Sisi.
He explained that the Egyptian president may be seeking steps to increase his popularity and convince the masses that the exceptional situation that Egypt was experiencing and that required exceptional measures had ended, to pave the way for a new stage.
Mohamed Anwar El-Sadat, head of the Reform and Development Party: The president’s decision to cancel the emergency extension is not a surprise, but rather a general direction of the state#Public opinion #TeNTV pic.twitter.com/5gaKvd5G9H
– TeN TV (@TeNTVEG) October 25, 2021
Are things in order?
In response to this question, Nafaa said that the regime will reap many benefits from canceling the emergency, but that will depend on the consequences of the transition to the normal situation, and if it does not change, this means a maneuver by the political system.
He indicated the need to wait some time to see if the rights that were squandered returned to normal or not, and then the president will feel more confident, that his internal situation is not threatened, and that external pressures no longer frighten him, and thus he can deal with a normal state dominated by normal laws and procedures.
On the other hand, the Egyptian politician Ayman Nour ruled out that things had been condemned to the authority after the abolition of the emergency, or that there was no longer any threat to it, stressing that the opposition’s disagreement with the Sisi regime remained complete, and stressing the importance of many reforms.
In statements to Al Jazeera Net, Nour welcomed the return to the normal path by canceling the emergency, but stressed that the decision alone is not sufficient; Because there are many defective texts in the law that have been transferred to other laws, such as the laws of terrorist entities and demonstrations, according to him.
The Egyptian opponent also called for the necessity of making several amendments to the constitution and laws, “to which the spirit of the emergency law was exported”, so that Egypt would return to the constitutional and legislative normality.
For his part, the Egyptian politician Magdy Hamdan, a former leader of the Salvation Front and Assistant Secretary-General of the Conservative Party, went on to say that the cancellation of the emergency “is surprising in its timing and in the nature of its publication on Facebook without making an official announcement as usual.”
Hamdan touched – in statements to Al Jazeera – about the timing of the decision and its connection to several factors; Including the visits of Egyptian delegations to Washington, without their goals being crowned with success; For reasons related to the legal file.
Hamdan believed that the emergency file contains many secrets, adding, “We are trying to search these secrets, and we find that there is a strategy prepared for human rights, which is a message to the outside and not to the inside, and it had to be strengthened to reassure the world by implementing the full rights of human beings in Egypt.”
While Hamdan welcomed the abolition of the emergency, he expressed his “complete lack of confidence” about the decision, referring to other laws – including the Terrorism Law – that may be replaced, and the abolished state of emergency can be seen in police dealings with citizens, and is there a difference or will it remain as it is? She is, he said.
Hamdan added that the abolition of the emergency also has economic dimensions aimed at reassuring the foreign investor, and not the Egyptian, who no longer has what to pay for local investment because of the many taxes he was recently exposed to.
He stressed that there is no longer anything that threatens the authority or compels it to make a decision, after the opposition and party life have been absent for years.
Member of the National Council for Human Rights: The decision to cancel the state of emergency is an affirmation of the ability and strength of the political leadership pic.twitter.com/YBxaT4DvmC
– Sada El Balad (@baladtv) October 25, 2021