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Egypt

Egypt's State Of Emergency Lifted, Even As Violence Mars Campaign

AL-AHRAM, AL-MASRY AL-YOUM (Egypt)

CAIRO - Muslim Brotherhood presidential candidate Mohamed Mursi expressed confidence that he would be elected in the upcoming runoff and sought to assuage Christians' fears about Islamist rule, Egypt's Al-Ahram reported on Friday.

Egyptians, particularly those who supported the Arab spring revolution, will not accept a Mubarak-style regime again, Mursi told Reuters. His rival for the presidency, Ahmed Shafik, was former President Hosni Mubarak's last appointed prime minister and a former Air Force chief. Rallies were set for Cairo's Tahrir Square on Friday to oppose Shafik's candidacy.

Meanwhile late Thursday night, three people were killed when armed clashes erupted at a meeting of Shafik supporters in the province of Qena. The conference had been organized by tribes but was disrupted by youth supporters of the revolution, including Salafi and Muslim Brotherhood members, "who tried to storm it" and caused "an affront to the tribes' dignity," Al-Ahram reported.

Mustafa Fouad, the head of the Youth Revolutionary Coalition, said they decided to go to the conference after learning that former elements from Mubarak's regime and ruling party, the National Democratic Party, would be there to express their strong support for Shafik. Fouad told the paper he was "surprised" by the firing on the demonstrators.

Also on Friday, a State of Emergency, that had long symbolized the oppressiveness of the Mubarak regime, was finally lifted after 31 years. Human rights activists told Al-Masry Al-Youm that despite the presence of a Mubarak ally in next month's presidential runoff, the end to the State of Emergency was a sign that democracy has begun to take root.

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Geopolitics

For Erdogan, Blocking Sweden's NATO Bid Is Perfect For His Reelection Campaign

Turkey's objections to Swedish membership of NATO may mean that Finland joins first. And as he approaches an election at home, Turkish President Erdogan is playing the game to his advantage.

For Erdogan, Blocking Sweden's NATO Bid Is Perfect For His Reelection Campaign

January 11, 2023, Ankara (Turkey): Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the International Conference of the Board of Grievances on January 11.

Turkish Presidency / APA Images via ZUMA Press Wire
Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — This story has all the key elements of our age: the backdrop of the war in Ukraine, the excessive ambitions of an autocrat, the opportunism of a right-wing demagogue, Islamophobia... And at the end, a country, Sweden, whose NATO membership, which should have been only a formality, has been blocked.

Last spring, under the shock of the invasion of Ukraine by Vladimir Putin's Russia, Sweden and Finland, two neutral countries in northern Europe, decided to apply for membership in NATO. For Sweden, this is a major turning point: the kingdom’s neutrality had lasted more than 150 years.

Turkey's President Erdogan raised objections. It demanded that Sweden stop sheltering Kurdish opponents in its country. This has nothing to do with NATO or Ukraine, but everything to do with Erdogan's electoral agenda, as he campaigns for the Turkish presidential elections next May.

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