Egypt: Taking stock of Sissi’s visit

Source: Middle East Institute

Author(s): Mirette F. Mabrouk

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Now that the dust has settled after Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi’s visit to Washington and meeting with President Donald Trump, it may be possible to examine any possible takeaways.

There were a spate of Egypt-related events around town, largely focused on upcoming controversial constitutional amendments. If they pass, and there is little reason to believe they will not, the amendments will introduce a swathe of changes, among them the hobbling of the judiciary, an increased role for the military, and the possibility of the current president being able to remain in office for an additional two terms of six years each, carrying him through 2034. There had been much talk that Sissi was in town to meet with Trump to shore up support for the amendments. That assessment was highly unlikely. While Egypt places a high premium on its relationship with the U.S., and is often willing to discuss and cooperate on international issues, or those with international ramifications, it is not in the habit of vetting domestic developments, no matter how controversial.

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