With close links to the business elite, Mubarak’s sons symbolize their father’s corrupt regime in the eyes of the public. They were first arrested on several charges of corruption and illicit gain shortly after Mubarak’s overthrow in 2011. In May 2014, they were handed a three-year prison sentence for embezzling public funds worth EGP 125 million ($7 million) allocated to maintain presidential palaces. The two men were released in October 2015 after the court ruled that they had served the requisite time.
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Mohammed bin Salman (also known as MBS) saw the elderly sheikh as more of a threat than an asset to his rule. On 9 September 2017, MBS ordered the arrest of al-Ouda for posting a tweet that read: ‘May God harmonize between their hearts for the good of their people’ – an apparent call for reconciliation between Saudi Arabia and Qatar. A year after his arrest, al-Ouda has been charged with 37 crimes, including spreading discord and incitement against the ruler.
There appears to be decreasing appetite for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict among Gulf leaders, due to the conflict’s stalemate, the deadlock in Palestinian politics and the inefficacy of Mahmoud Abbas’ leadership,” she noted. “But the Palestinian issue does continue to be an emotive one for the Arab world. Normalizing without a resolution carries domestic political risks for the monarchies.
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.
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.