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Dissent Disappears in Egypt as Government Consolidates Strength

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August 12, 2014

A year after the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi, the current leader, Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, has consolidated his government's hold on power within the country, eliminating the widespread opposition that was so prevalent before and after Morsi's turbulent presidency.

Sisi himself followed in Morsi's footsteps, becoming Egypt's second freely and democratically elected president in decades. Sisi it was who was the head of the armed forces when they removed Morsi from power, on July 4, 2013. The Muslim Brotherhood, which had a working majority in both houses of Parliament and a longtime member (Morsi) as president, is largely toothless, its political party, the Freedom and Justice Party, having been officially banned by Sisi's government and formally dissolved (and assets liquidated) by the nation's top administrative court.

Political dissent has largely disappeared, with human rights observers reporting nearly 1,000 deaths at the hands of security forces and many more thousands (including Morsi himself) arrested and/or imprisoned. Human Rights Watch is set to release a related report, and the Egyptian government refused to allow the head of the organization to enter the country.

Sisi, meanwhile, traveled to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to meet with that country's leader, King Abdullah, in a conversation about regional security. Abdullah's government has given Egypt $12 billion in the past year alone. Saudi Arabia has also outlawed the Muslim Brotherhood, which has a sizable Saudi membership.

In another economically related story, the Egyptian government announced plans to build a new Suez Canal alongside the existing waterway, in an effort to improve on the $5 billion a year in revenues from shipping traveling between Europe and Asia. Estimates are that by 2023, the twin canals would generate revenues exceeding $13 billion. The new canal is estimated to cost $4 billion, and the timeline for completion is five years.

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