Performing in Egypt can potentially become even more complicated, if a new decree approved in July 2018 comes into force. As per the decree, Egypt formed a permanent committee to regulate and grant licenses for festivals. Under the new decree, a concert would require up to eight permits. The decree further stipulates that the minister of culture holds the right to cancel a festival if the event ‘defames the reputation of Egypt’.
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In short, the government and private parties such as Al Ismaelia for Real Estate Investment envision a city centre with higher end residents and businesses, regulated and controlled entertainment, and a vibrant but nevertheless strictly censored arts and culture scene. Meanwhile, the bulk of resources for urban development are being directed elsewhere, such as the new capital.
In addition to solving the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, tension on the Israeli border would be alleviated and a long-term calm could be achieved. Moreover, there would be a real key to political partnership among all Palestinian factions. Consequently, the Egyptian leadership would likely agree to keep the Rafah crossing open because it would be run by an internationally recognized administration.
A few months after the Zamalek tragedy in 2015, the Ultras’ groups were banned by law by an Egyptian court. There was even a court case to brand them a ‘terrorist organisation’, but that was overturned. Nevertheless Ultras became target of a harsh crackdown, with dozens of its members being arrested from their homes in recent years.
Salah shies away from politics and seems to want to avoid problems with the state. He donated 5 million Egyptian pounds ($285,000) to the public Tahya Masr (‘long live Egypt’) fund that is used for large ‘national’ government projects such as the Suez Canal extension and the new administrative capital. Even so, he has found himself an unwilling political pawn, either being used for political gain or smeared by pro-regime media.
There is no doubt that this operation is not the same as the ones launched in the past. The Egyptian army announced that it aims to achieve four objectives: tightening control over border posts, eliminating terrorist outposts, immunizing local populations against extremist ideologies and tackling the crime rate, which has soared amid the instability.