Findings and Recommendations of the Conference on “Arab-U.S. Relations in Perspective” hosted jointly by the School of Global Affairs at AUC and the Middle East Institute, on January, 29-30, 2017, in Cairo, Egypt.
In the past ten days Egypt held a first round of parliamentary elections, announced renewed loan talks with the IMF, experienced new clashes with militants in the Sinai, and joined multinational talks to end the war in Syria. These headlines provide current glimpses into the country’s complex and challenging political, economic and security trajectories.
The need for streamlined procedures to facilitate business, trade and investment has grown to crisis proportions in Egypt, but political will to deliver administrative reform has long been lacking, reports Maria Golia. However with the bill for government wages expected to reach $30 billion next year, Egypt has finally taken action through a new Civil Service Law aimed at cutting government spending.
In Egypt, there is no dialogue between the people who manage public space and those who must live with their decisions. There is no real local government, only local administration officials ensuring that the decisions and laws handed down by the central state are enforced. But one of the outcomes of the 2011 uprising is that Egypt’s highly- centralized status quo is being challenged, including on the streets.
Italian energy company Eni announced on August 30 that it had discovered a deep-water gas field 93 miles north of Egypt’s Mediterranean coast. The field, named Zohr, holds an estimated 30 trillion cubic feet (cft) of natural gas (NG) reserves, potentially making it the twentieth largest in the world and the largest in the Mediterranean.
The 1,667-strong contingent of U.S. and international forces that make up the Multinational Force of Observers (MFO) in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula is in a tough spot. The ongoing failure of the Egyptian government's war against the ISIS-led rebellion there has shredded the MFO's mandate to monitor Egyptian and Israeli adherence to their peace treaty.
Egyptian diplomats rarely have a good word to say about U.S. policies these days. In contrast, they are enthusiastic in their praise of the close relations between Cairo and Jerusalem—centered on counterterror security and intelligence cooperation in Sinai—and effusive in their acknowledgement of Israel’s response to the bloody insurgency there, led by Egypt's ISIS affiliate in the “Sinai Province,” Ansar Beit al-Maqdis.