The year 2015 has been a traumatic period for Egypt. All indicators of instability have been on the rise compared to their 2014 levels. Although the focus of most of the year from a media impact has been on actual defense/security and terrorism-related incidents, social and human-related crises have had much greater impact on the weakening of the Egyptian society and the rise of instability. Furthermore, economic indicators have magnified Egypt’s unstable environment, which accelerated in the aftermath of the terror attack that brought down a Russian airplane carrying tourists from the resort town of Sharm al-Sheik.
Yet, as 2015 came to a close, when looking at overall casualty rates, the armed forces have been the main source, inflicting more than half of the total human losses. Terrorism, in contrast to most reporting, only stood at the third position, behind human and social-related causes, such as virus outbreaks, health problems, ferry accidents, and building collapses, among the many other issues.
If the first week of 2016 is an indicator of what’s to come, the New Year will be a continuation of 2015. Violence and the political, social and economic life will worsen, unless a new path is put forward by the country’s political and military elite. The first weeks of 2016 saw fresh attacks against tourists and hotels in Giza and Red Sea resort Hurghada, targeting Israelis and European tourist, as the military continues its insurgent’s elimination campaign in North Sinai, where 11 suspected militants were killed this week. On the economic front, two news items confirmed that the government is unable to bring about sustainable solutions. Wheat imports and the Egyptian luxury cotton industry are quickly falling victims of policies that don’t work. Worse of all is the decision of a court to keep a 20-year old student in jail for simply wearing a T-Shirt that read “Nation without Torture.” He was arrested in January 2014. These early January 2016 incidents are indicators of what’s to come.
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