Montag, 18.02.2019 / 09:01 Uhr

Der Westen und der ägyptische Präsident

Aus dem Netz

In Foreign Policy wird die westliche Politik gegenüber dem ägyptischen Präsidenten und anderen Autokraten in der Region kritisiert:

Sisi no longer enjoys the popularity he had when he first seized power in 2013 and 2014. The Egyptian polling center Baseera found that the president’s popularity fell from 54 percent in 2014 to 27 percent in 2016. In addition to resentment of human rights violations under his rule, anger against Sisi’s policies escalated after he devalued the Egyptian currency and lifted fuel subsidies that had been in place for decades. Both steps were implemented in 2016, leading to a hike in the prices of basic goods. This has in turn affected Egyptians’ standard of living and made it harder for many of them to make ends meet.

In the same year, there were rare and massive protests against Sisi’s decision to cede Egypt’s sovereignty over the two Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia, whose rulers have supported Sisi and supplied him with aid and loans since the coup. The protests were suppressed, and dozens of protesters were arrested but only after they had signaled that Sisi’s actions would not always go unchallenged.

Unfortunately, the international community, by siding with Sisi, is defying the Egyptian people’s will. This is true of French President Emmanuel Macron, whose visit to Egypt in late January was an unmistakable show of support for Sisi and the ruling elite. Macron’s criticism of the human rights situation in the country boils down to empty rhetoric when assessed alongside the fact that France has become the top supplier of arms to Egypt in recent years. In addition to Rafale fighter jets, warships, and a military satellite, France also provided armored vehicles that have been “used to violently crush dissent in Cairo and Alexandria,” according to an Amnesty International report.

It is no wonder that the heads of Rafale producer Dassault accompanied Macron on his visit to Cairo, the very visit in which he said in a joint press conference with his Egyptian counterpart that “stability cannot be dissociated from the question of human rights.” Sisi responded by saying that “Egypt does not advance through bloggers.”

Macron’s policies are only part of a larger pattern across an international community that has recently engaged in unprecedented complicity with Sisi’s authoritarianism.

 U.S. President Donald Trump told the Egyptian president during a meeting in September 2018 that the U.S.-Egyptian “relationship has never been stronger. And we’re working with Egypt on many different fronts, including military and trade. … It’s an honor to be with you again.” Trump is also a strong supporter of the Saudi regime, which has backed Sisi economically and politically since the coup. And most recently, on Feb. 10, the Egyptian president assumed the chairmanship of the African Union—a first for Egypt since the regional organization’s establishment in 2002.