Bottom Line: Relations between Egypt and Israel have often been referred to as a “cold peace,” but the emergence of mutual security threats over the past few years has facilitated a growing partnership between the former enemies. Specifically, Egypt and Israel have expanded their cooperation on the security front to combat ...

The Friday prayer massacre of more than 300 worshipers at a Sinai was a departure for the local Islamic State affiliate in scale, but not in targets – they’ve hit Sufi Muslims before. The group’s continued growth in the Sinai points to decades of neglect by the Egyptian government, combined ...

Friday’s deadly terrorist attack at the Al-Rawda mosque in the north of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula demonstrates that the so-called Islamic State’s Sinai affiliate remains a potent force and raises questions about the effectiveness of Egypt’s harsh four-year anti-ISIS campaign. Egyptian President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi has pledged to stay the course ...

On Friday, militants carried out a devastating attack at a mosque in the city of Bir al-Abed located in Egypt’s northern Sinai province, leaving at least 230 dead and more than 100 others injured. According to local police, gunmen arrived in four vehicles and bombed the mosque, which was packed ...

At least 18 Egyptian policemen were killed Monday in an ISIS attack on a security convoy in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. Over the last few years, ISIS’ Sinai affiliate has conducted frequent attacks against Egyptian military and security forces deployed in the Sinai and has also struck in Cairo, carrying out ...

Despite its role as a critical partner for the U.S. in the global fight against terror, Egypt has struggled to quash an extremist insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula, which has had devastating effects on the country’s security apparatus and economic health. Egyptian President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi has pledged to continue ...

As a key U.S. ally in the Middle East, Egypt has played an integral role in helping to combat the region’s terrorist threat, particularly since Egyptian President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi came to power in June 2014. However, Egypt is facing a daunting terrorist challenge of its own, primarily in the ...

Last November, Egypt’s Central Bank announced it was taking steps to allow the pound to trade freely on the currency market. The move to float was widely regarded as a necessary, but incredibly difficult one. The Central Bank had held the pound at around eight to the dollar; today it ...

The U.S. is withholding millions of dollars in military and economic aid to Egypt, citing human rights concerns. “The funds that would normally go to Egypt … will be held in reserve until we can see progress on democracy,” said State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert on Wednesday. The U.S. is ...

U.S. President Donald Trump arrives in Saudi Arabia Saturday with a packed agenda. He will conclude a $109.7 billion arms agreement with Riyadh, discuss opportunities for enhanced U.S.-Saudi economic cooperation, and address the leaders of over 50 Muslim-majority countries at the Arab-American-Islamic summit, which Riyadh hosts Sunday. While many leaders ...

The term “political Islam” has become commonplace after the Arab uprisings of 2011, during which Islamist groups rose to political prominence across the Middle East and North Africa. But what does “political Islam” really mean, and should Westerners fear it? For most observers, the term refers to relatively moderate Islamist ...

The concept of political Islam has deep historical roots in Islamic societies and, during the Arab Spring uprisings of 2011 in the Middle East and North Africa, many moderate political Islamist groups rose to prominence. In Egypt, Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood won the presidency.  Since then, however, Morsi ...

Usage of the term political Islam has become common in recent years as Islamist movements vie for influence in a changing Middle East. However, the expression means very different things to different people It is often used to refer to a wide spectrum of Islamist groups, from the Muslim Brotherhood ...

Sunday’s horrific terrorist attacks on Coptic churches in Tanta and Alexandria during Palm Sunday services, in which dozens have been killed and many more injured, should convince the Egyptian military to update its strategy against jihadis based in the Sinai Peninsula. While these aren’t the first bombings for which the Islamic State’s ...

Egyptian President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi is at the White House on Monday with the high hopes of receiving strong support from U.S. President Donald Trump. One of the major issues that the Egyptian President will surely stress to attain this favor is the sustainment of the Egypt-Israel peace treaty. While ...

President Donald Trump and his cabinet are pondering an executive order to add the Muslim Brotherhood to the United States’ Foreign Terrorist Organization list. Yet such a designation would appear to have one critical flaw: it is hard to explain what the term “Muslim Brotherhood” precisely means. In Egypt, for ...

The Trump Administration is considering whether to designate the Muslim Brotherhood – a movement that espouses a doctrine of political Islam and has millions of supporters across the Middle East – as a terrorist organization. But experts caution about the potential for unintended consequences, backlash, and legal challenges to such ...

The Cipher Brief sat down with Michele Dunne, Director and Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Middle East Center, to discuss the potential implications of the U.S. State Department designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. According to Dunne, such a move may actually backfire and ...

The Muslim Brotherhood preaches a violent, exclusivist ideology.  Its websites and social media accounts are chock-full of anti-Christian and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.  Its affiliated networks in Istanbul have threatened foreign nationals in Egypt.  Its leading figures and platforms have embraced violence and martyrdom explicitly. And its motto – which concludes with “jihad is our way, death for the sake of Allah ...

Six years after Egyptians rose up against the political authoritarianism and economic incompetence of the Mubarak regime, the potential transfer of two strategic islands to Saudi Arabia serves as a bitter reminder that, since the heady days of 2011, things have only gotten worse. Since Egyptians woke up on 8 ...

In a surprising move last week, Egypt postponed a UN Security Council vote on a resolution it had proposed demanding an end to Israeli settlement building in the West Bank. Although the resolution eventually passed, the event provided another of example of the increasingly close cooperation between Egypt and Israel. ...

The Cipher Brief spoke to Perry Cammack, a fellow in the Middle East Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, about the current state of Egypt-Israeli relations. According to Cammack, Egypt-Israeli security cooperation has “in many ways never been better” and that the relationship between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin ...

Despite a historically tenuous relationship, current ties between Israel and Egypt are far better, explains David Schenker, Director of the Program on Arab Politics at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. In an interview with The Cipher Brief, Schenker explained that while “cooperation on the Sinai has largely driven ...

Although relations between Egypt and Israel have often been referred to as a “cold peace,” the emergence of mutual security threats over the past few years has facilitated a growing partnership between the former enemies. In fact, since Egyptian President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi assumed office in June 2014, many foreign ...

When the Arab Spring reached Egypt in January 2011, sparking unprecedented mass protests in Tahrir Square and across the country, calls for democratic reform and liberation from authoritarian rule seemed to dominate the revolutionary movement. However, it was not just political demands that brought millions to the street to protest ...

November has arrived, and with it, the long-anticipated devaluation of the Egyptian pound. Precipitated by weeks of growing panic in the currency market, the measure was an integral reform needed to secure the disbursal of a 12 billion USD loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), finally inked last Friday. ...

Two weeks ago, Egypt appeared to be on the brink. The Egyptian pound, which sold at 5.9 LE/$ at the time of Egypt’s January 2011 “Arab Spring” uprising, had fallen to 8.9 LE/$ on November 2, while traders were buying dollars for 18.2 LE/$ on the black market.  Meanwhile, as revenue ...

After a brief moment in the sunshine four years ago, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt has retreated deep into the shadows under perhaps the most severe government crackdown against the group since the 1970s. As this crackdown expands far beyond the Islamist group, and more violent extremism takes hold in ...

August 14 2013 was the most violent day in contemporary Egyptian history.  Security forces brutally dispersed demonstrations in northern Cairo’s Rabaa al-Adawiya Square and Giza’s al-Nahda Square, killing hundreds of Islamists who were protesting the ouster of Egypt’s first elected president, Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Morsi, six weeks earlier. Human Rights ...

Three years ago on August 14, 2013, nearly 1000 Islamist protesters were killed by Egyptian security forces in Rabaa and Nahda squares in Egypt’s capital. The Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and its Islamist allies had camped out to protest the popularly-backed coup that ousted the Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi the previous ...

Islamic militant group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL) in November 2014, after a deadly attack on Egyptian security forces in the Sinai Peninsula. The group, based in Sinai and now known as ISIS-Sinai Province, has escalated attacks over the past ...

The U.S. government has continued providing military support to Egypt despite the 2013 military coup that overthrew then-president Mohamed Morsi. Moreover, the U.S. State Department and Department of Defense have failed to conduct proper vetting of human rights violations by Egyptian forces that receive U.S. aid, according to a recently ...

The U.S. and Egypt remain allies  although relations have been strained since the 2011 Egyptian revolution, which resulted in the ousting of then-President Hosni Mubarak. Since then there was  a brief period of military rule, the election and subsequent ousting of former President Mohamed Morsi, a transitional government led by ...

Confronted with instability in neighboring Libya, a civil war to its south in Sudan, and an ISIS affiliate taking root in the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt’s deteriorating security environment has pushed the country’s economy to the brink. Yesterday’s hijacking of an EgyptAir flight, which comes six months after the downing of ...

Egypt’s latest cabinet reshuffle, which Cairo announced last Wednesday, caught many observers both within and outside Egypt by surprise.  But given that four of the ten new ministers hold portfolios that are critical to economic development and investment, the reshuffle likely reflects President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s implicit recognition that Egypt’s ...

The cabinet reshuffle implemented by Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi last week aims to reinvigorate Egypt’s floundering economy, explains Dr. Amr Adly of the Carnegie Middle East Center. According to Adly, the individuals appointed by Sisi are “high-profile business people” that maintain “dense connections with business circles in Egypt as ...

Egypt’s economy remains in a dire state primarily due to the fall in global oil prices, which has led to a decline in foreign direct investment in Egypt.  Meanwhile, the region’s unstable security environment has devastated Egypt’s tourism industry, explains Dr. Yeganeh Morakabati and Dr. John Fletcher of Bournemouth University. ...

With the Middle East ablaze, new opportunities have emerged for regional cooperation. In fact, partnerships have formed in the most unlikely of places, as Israel and some of its Arab neighbors have joined together to combat common enemies, such as ISIS and Iran. Since its establishment in 1948, Israel has ...

Former head of Israel’s Shin Bet and current Knesset member Yaakov Perry discussed Israel’s cooperation with its neighbors to combat regional threats.  Perry explained that Egypt and Jordan are important partners for Israel in the fight against ISIS, and that Israel and many of the Gulf countries share mutual concerns ...

The collapse or weakening of state authority in different parts of the Middle East and Africa, together with growing inner challenges and chronic instability in large parts of the region and the widening and escalating Iranian-Arab power struggle, creates a chaotic environment militant Islamic groups exploit to expand their activities ...

The Arab Spring was the beacon of hope that would free millions from the grip of autocratic rulers.   At first, it looked promising.  One by one, the dictators fell: Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia, Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, Moammar Khadafy in Libya, Ali Abdullah Saleh in Yemen.   Many ...

The “Arab Spring” of 2011-12 has profoundly changed the Middle East, but much is misunderstood about its effects.  First, it did not produce, other than in Tunisia, lasting liberalization and more democracy in the states of the region. Second, the Arab Spring was not just “Arab,” but it also had ...

When the so-called Arab Spring burst upon the Middle East five years ago, Henry Kissinger remarked that this was only “scene one of act one of a five act play.”  How right he was. Kissinger’s remark was a usefully sobering antidote to a brief moment of nearly unbounded euphoria.  Recall ...

As the citizens of Arab nations reflect on the fifth anniversary of the popular revolts of 2011, they are likely to feel a sense of malaise and frustration. The rise of autocratic counter-revolutionary politics, regime repression, the resurgence of terrorism, and the spread of violence have replaced the euphoria of ...