Sep 22, 2019

"Sisi out": Corruption allegations drive protestors to streets of Egypt

Protesters shout slogans during a rare anti-government protest in downtown Cairo. Photo: Oliver Weiken/picture alliance via Getty Images

Hundreds of Egyptians took to the streets on Friday and Saturday to demonstrate against President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, who has been accused of corruption and lavish spending while the rest of the country suffers under his economic austerity policies, the BBC reports.

Why it matters: Protests have been rare in Egypt since Sisi — condemned by many as a brutal authoritarian who has jailed thousands of his political opponents — first took power in a military coup in 2014. Hundreds of protestors on Friday filled Tahrir Square, a key site in the 2011 Egyptian uprising that led to the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak. On Saturday, about 200 people chanting that Sisi is "the enemy of god" demonstrated in Suez, leading to dozens of arrests, per the BBC.

Go deeper: Trump reportedly called Sisi "my favorite dictator" at the G7

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Anti-corruption protests roiling Egypt add to regional insecurity

Anti-government protesters in Cairo. Photo: Oliver Weiken/picture alliance via Getty Images

Chaotic protests across Egypt this weekend — prompted by videos exposing corruption in President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi's military-backed government — underscore the population's weariness with economic hardship due in part to government austerity measures.

Why it matters: While Sisi markets Egypt as an island of stability in a turbulent region, popular dissatisfaction with his regime threatens that image. Whether the protests escalate or fizzle, the country remains a potential powder keg in a highly strategic location: straddling the Suez Canal, flanked by Israel and Libya, and across the Mediterranean from Europe.

Go deeperArrowSep 23, 2019

Turkish President Erdoğan accepts Trump invitation to visit White House

Photo: Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has accepted an invitation from President Trump to visit the White House next month, Reuters reports.

Driving the news: Erdoğan accepted the invitation during a call with Trump in which the Turkish president expressed dissatisfaction over the U.S military's apparent failure to implement a safe zone agreement in northeast Syria. Erdogan wants the safe zone to be established to eliminate threats from the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, which is supported by the U.S. but considered a terrorist organization by Turkey.

Go deeperArrowOct 6, 2019

At least 70 Iraqi protesters killed amid calls for prime minister to step down

Photo: Hussein Faleh/AFP/Getty Images

At least 70 Iraqis have died as thousands of protestors continue to demonstrate and call for Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi to step down, reports BBC.

Why it matters: These demonstrations are the "most serious" since 2016, and mark the largest public display of anger directed at Mahdi since he took office nearly a year ago, notes the Financial Times. Protesters, now in their 5th consecutive day, are demanding he resign amid a 25% youth unemployment rate, growing allegations of corruption and a lack of access to public services, according BBC.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Oct 5, 2019