CONTENT PREVIEW
Country Risk

Egyptian President’s consolidation of authority over the military indicates falling government instability risk, but rising terrorism risk

07 February 2018

Key Points

  • Despite evidence of some dissent within the high ranks of the military and security forces, this is unlikely to manifest in a challenge to Sisi’s re-election or a successful coup against him in the one year outlook.
  • Economic programmes intended to reduce subsidies and improve the state’s fiscal position are unlikely to be affected by the election, or in the unlikely event that Sisi is replaced with another figure with a military background.
  • Sisi’s consolidation is unlikely to address grievances of disaffected low- and mid-ranking military personnel. This will probably sustain the trend of small-scale desertions in favour of jihadist causes, raising the risk of more capable attacks against more ambitious security force, tourism, and energy targets outside the Sinai Peninsula.

Event

President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has overseen a series of removals within the senior ranks of the security forces since October 2017, which are likely to secure his position ahead of the upcoming March 2018 presidential election.Members of President Sisi's campaign staff stand next to boxes containing signatures of support for his candidacy in the 2018 presidential election on 24 January 2018. (Mohammed el-Shahed/Getty Images)Members of President Sisi's campaign staff stand next to boxes containing signatures of support for his candidacy in the 2018 presidential election on 24 January 2018. (Mohammed el-Shahed/Getty Images)

Lieutenant General (retd) Sami Anan, the former Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, was arrested on 23 January, three days after announcing his intention to stand as a candidate. In a televised speech announcing his decision, Anan had specifically highlighted what he said were mistakes by the military and the extent to which it is embedded in Egypt’s political and economic governance. He was arrested following allegations of bringing the armed forces into disrepute and falsifying his candidature forms. The New Gulf news website reported on 31 January that 23 army officers were also arrested since Anan’s arrest. The arrests were reportedly carried out by Military Intelligence, the branch of the armed forces that President Sisi oversaw from 2010–12; the government has not commented on these reported arrests.

Two other potential candidates with backgrounds in the military were reportedly detained in December 2017, after announcing their intention to stand in the 24 March election.

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