Showtime for the Egyptian President

(Jerusalem Post) Zvi Mazel - Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is doggedly pursuing reforming the country's economy and putting it squarely on the road to sustainable growth. He has launched or completed a number of mega projects including the doubling of the Suez Canal, carried out within one year by the army. He has initiated the building of a new capital east of the present one. Some 3,000 km. of new highways are at various stages of planning. Western countries led by the U.S. still see Sisi as a military dictator who grabbed power from a "democratically elected president." They do not want to admit that Morsi was toppled by a popular uprising - admittedly with the help of the army - just in time to prevent him from creating an Islamic dictatorship. Deprived of Western backing, Egypt turned to Russia and China for political support and economic cooperation. The next few months will be critical. On the one hand, most Egyptians understand that their president has no other choice but to reduce subsidies. On the other hand, his drastic measures are taking their toll on the poorest of the poor, while the Muslim Brotherhood is busy fanning the flames. Meanwhile, Israel is quietly helping wherever it can. It could undoubtedly do much more were the Egyptian leadership ready to defy the Islamic establishment and the old Nasserist circles, still bitterly opposed to any form of normalization. The writer, a fellow of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, is a former ambassador to Romania, Egypt and Sweden.

2016-11-11 00:00:00

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