The Egyptian Arms Industry

by James Paul
published in MER112

Egypt, with the earliest industrial economy in the Middle East, has engaged in some military production for many years, supplying its own armed forces with light arms and small naval ships. Such production remained minor until recently, both in terms of the Egyptian economy and in terms of the arms purchases of the Egyptian armed forces. Now, with encouragement from the United States and other Western governments and arms manufacturers, Egypt is planning a major arms industry. In the past, such investment plans have fallen short in actual implementation. If these plans do materialize, however, Egypt may soon fill much of its domestic arms orders and begin sizable arms exports to other countries in Africa and the Middle East.

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The Sisi Shuffle

by Joshua Stacher | published February 24, 2014 - 5:21pm

This morning Egypt’s military-installed cabinet resigned en masse. Initial comment implies that the resignations were a surprise but nonetheless fit into a pattern of events paving the way for a presidential run by Field Marshal ‘Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi. If al-Sisi does indeed run, the outcome would not be in doubt.

Doctors and Brothers

by Steven Brooke
published in MER269

There are few obvious reasons to visit Basatin, a poor district off the Ring Road at the southern edge of Cairo. Getting there requires a driver willing to bob and weave through a succession of potholed lanes barely wide enough to accommodate pedestrians and the tiny shops that spill into the street. The problems of Basatin are the problems of Egypt: grinding poverty, overcrowding and the slow deterioration of state services. The neighborhood has learned to fend for itself, and non-residents are regarded with suspicion. I stick out more than most. One man watches me curiously for a while, and wanders over to ask if I am Syrian.

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The Muslim Brothers Take to the Streets

by Neil Ketchley
published in MER269

On August 14, 2013, supporters of deposed President Muhammad Mursi were massacred at two protest camps in Cairo and Giza. In the subsequent four months, the Muslim Brothers have regrouped to launch a wave of popular protest the likes of which has not been seen in Egypt since the January 25 revolution. Under the banner of the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy, the Brothers have mounted over 1,800 actions in 26 of Egypt’s 27 governorates to call for Mursi’s restoration to office and justice for his dead supporters. These protests have continued in spite of an ongoing crackdown that has claimed the lives of hundreds more and seen thousands of Brothers and pro-Mursi supporters detained.

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From the Editors

by The Editors
published in MER269

On January 25, 2011, thousands of Egyptians angered by police brutality, among other state abuses, took over Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo, setting off the exuberant upheaval that unseated a dictator of 30 years’ standing and inspired democrats the world over. Spellbound observers (including us) predicted that January 25 would never again be known in Egypt as Police Day.

Looking for Sadat Square

by Judith Tucker
published in MER116

Visiting Egypt this spring -- my first since the assassination of Anwar al-Sadat -- I was immediately struck by the extent to which symbols of the Sadat era had already faded or been pushed into oblivion. Only one small, inconspicuous plaque informs the passerby that Cairo’s main square is “Anwar al-Sadat Square.” The shopkeepers, taxi drivers and pedestrians still know it by its old name of “Liberation Square.” Many individuals, though, especially those in opposition groups, are quick to point out that most changes under Husni Mubarak are skin-deep. The basic orientation as well as the problems of the regime remain the same.

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Egypt Gropes for Political Direction

by Roger Owen
published in MER116

No one in Cairo seems at all clear about the present direction of Egyptian politics. The signs are contradictory and difficult to read. On the one hand, the press is freer than at any time since 1952 (and perhaps before), there is a wide-ranging public discussion about major issues, and all recognized political groups display considerable energy in the jockeying for position involved in the runup to the 1984 election for the People’s Assembly. On the other hand, President Husni Mubarak’s brief dialogue with what he identified as the country’s “official opposition” is long since over. Major problems, like the attempt to provide a constructive role for the more moderate elements inside the Muslim Brothers, remain.

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Women and Labor Migration

One Egyptian Village

by Fatma Khafagy
published in MER124

Women are now the heads of between 25 and 35 percent of all households in developing countries. [1] In the Middle East and North Africa, women head about 16 percent of all households. [2] One main reason for the increasing number of households headed by women is male migration to seek work outside their own countries, unaccompanied by their wives and children. When male villagers from Egypt emigrate, they do so without their families. [3] For one thing, a large number emigrate illegally, with neither official work contracts nor legal residence in countries of employment. It is much easier for them to move alone and leave their families behind.

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Egyptian Migration and Peasant Wives

by Elizabeth Taylor
published in MER124

In the 1960s, Egypt supplied the labor markets of the Middle East with professionals and administrators seconded by the government. Carefully regulated and controlled, the export of labor was consistent both with Egypt’s policies in the area and with its own manpower needs. In the 1970s, government-seconded labor was overtaken in volume by a huge and largely unregulated flow of labor at all skill levels. By 1975, Egypt had overtaken Yemen as the major exporter of labor in the area, and its share of the total Arab migrant labor market had reached one third. By 1980, Egypt had at least doubled its migrant stock, an estimated 10 percent of which are women.

Egypt's Left Opposition Party Holds Second Congress

by Joel Beinin
published in MER135

Cairo, July 2. The National Progressive Unionist Party (Tagammu‘) held its second national congress in Cairo on June 27-28, 1985. The Tagammu‘, Egypt’s principal left opposition party, is a united front formation including members of illegal communist organizations, independent Marxists, Nasserists, enlightened religious elements and a number of newer, less politicized members who have joined the party since the parliamentary elections of May 1984. The Tagammu‘ did not win any seats then in the People’s Assembly, due to an undemocratic election law and some falsification of the election results.

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