The arrest comes at the same time that Saudi Arabia has detained a number of prominent women’s rights activists, ironically just ahead of the date set to lift the ban on women driving in the kingdom. The arrests of both the activists and al-Rashid have provoked an outcry from rights groups and a statement of concern from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, but so far international action has been limited.
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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.
Besides holding elections, the terms of the agreement include unifying the country’s key financial institutions such as the Libyan Central Bank, phasing out parallel government and institutions” and building a national army. It stipulates that all parties will preserve security during the elections, and respect the final outcome.
Egypt’s strategy to combat these groups has primarily relied on a security crackdown – specifically on the Muslim Brotherhood – and large-scale military operations against IS in North Sinai. At the same time, the state has set about ‘renewing religious discourse’. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has repeatedly called for a more moderate version of Islam, although the efficacy of the approach to prevent and counter radicalization has been questioned.
According to the announcement, the plan would entail digging a maritime canal along Saudi Arabia’s border with Qatar, turning it into an island and allowing shipping to bypass the emirate. To do so, Saudi Arabia would use Egyptian engineers who have experience building the Suez Canal. The costs have been put at 2.8 billion Saudi riyals ($750 million) and work could start within a year if approved. So far, no official statement has been issued confirming the likelihood of the plan.
A 2016 leaked German government report described how the ‘Islamization of Ankara’s domestic and foreign policy since 2011’ has turned the country into a bastion of Islamist groups in the region. Whereas Turkey’s republicans would have shied away from any such public international links, Erdogan has embraced them, heralding to the world Turkey’s new direction and a for the country that he has long sought to achieve.
The economic integration has always come first in the GCC, while political cooperation has tended to be shaky. This is because there has often been a general concern among the members about ceding sovereignty in favour of adopting a more homogenous foreign policy. Despite the political differences, the GCC is still seeking ways to cooperate.
The sudden return of Gosh, who has a fearsome reputation for cruelty, triggered widespread speculation about the country’s political future and President Omar al-Bashir’s motives for seeking the old guard’s assistance again. However, it seems that Gosh has been preparing for such a day. He has never shown any bitterness about being imprisoned. He even thanked al-Bashir at the time for issuing a presidential pardon that secured his release in 2013, stressing that he would remain loyal to the ruling party.
Many media reports speculate that MBC’s decision was made to punish Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for rushing to the aid of Qatar after it was subjected to a Saudi-led blockade. Turkey has also supported and harboured members of the Muslim Brotherhood, which Saudi Arabia considers a terrorist organization.