Stuck With Sisi

Amid Egypt's Repression, Few Alternatives

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi at a meeting of the Arab Summit in Egypt's South Sinai governate, March 2015. Amr Dalsh/Reuters

Six years ago today, tens of thousands of Egyptians descended on downtown Cairo’s Tahrir Square demanding “bread, freedom, and social justice.” Only 18 days later, the protests ended President Hosni Mubarak’s three-decade reign. Any ensuing optimism about the Arab Spring was short-lived, however, and by virtually every standard, the problems that generated the uprising are even greater today. The current Egyptian government’s repression of its opponents is broader and more brutal, youth unemployment is higher, the economy is in dismal shape, and there is a growing sense that the country is adrift. Yet despite this mounting frustration, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is “very confident,” one senior official told me. “He has a good relationship with people and knows that the people trust him,” the official told me.

Sisi is confident because of the relative quiet that followed the Central Bank’s decision in early November to float Egypt’

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