“There are 25 billion US dollars that have increased overnight in the Egyptian budget due to the rise in the bill for energy and its derivatives, grains, cereals and basic supply commodities. There is a crisis in managing these funds. The solution is to find dollars to meet this bill through an Arab-international support project. If this does not happen, the crisis will escalate, severe pressure will occur on the state of political and social stability in Egypt, and the nightmare scenario of migration with millions across the Mediterranean to Europe and across the Red Sea to the Gulf countries begin”. With these frank and straightforward words, the journalist Imad El-Din Adeeb, known for his strong ties to the Egyptian security agencies, sent a cheap blackmail message to the Gulf countries and Europe to urge them to provide aid to Sisi. His well-known media brother, Amr Adib, promoted this message through his widespread television program, which aroused the resentment and anger of many Egyptians, who saw the matter as a great insult to them and Egypt.
The message of the regime’s mouthpiece, Imad El-Din Adeeb, does not differ from what El-Sisi says personally, except that it is more precise and crude. A few days ago, Al-Sisi sent a veiled message containing the same content as Adeeb, stressing that “the state of stability in the country must be maintained, because if the pressure increases on the citizen, what will he do? If something happens and people are unsatisfied, you are talking about 100 million, and we will lose them.” In the same speech, he called on the Gulf countries to convert their deposits in the Central Bank of Egypt into investments.
In recent months, Sisi and senior officials of his regime warned of a significant crisis awaiting the country if it did not receive urgent support to save it, stressing that the effects of the actual economic crisis did not reach the citizens because the government bore the brunt of it, but this will not last long, and the citizens must prepare. Al-Sisi has previously threatened European countries veiledly with the file of illegal immigration. On every occasion, the man reiterates that Egypt protects Europe’s security and prevents unlawful immigration. Here, it is worth noting what the regime is doing in linking the file of armament to the file of illegal immigration. When Sameh Shoukry, Minister of Foreign Affairs, was asked last February about Egypt’s position if Germany halted arms deals with it due to human rights violations, he replied, “Strengthening Egypt’s military capabilities is part of the European security,” he said, citing the example of “obstructing any kind of illegal immigration towards Europe, since September 2016,” in other words, “weapons in exchange for preventing illegal immigration.”
The crisis is in the system
The Gulf countries and Europe provided tens of billions of dollars to Sisi during the past years of his rule, but this did not prevent the deterioration of the country’s economic conditions. If Sisi gets the 25 billion dollars he wants, does he guarantee that the financial crisis will end and not return? Or is it just an analgesic, and he will return after two or three years to blackmail these countries again? The cause of Egypt’s economic crisis is not the lack of dollars but the regime itself and its failed economic policies. This system borrowed more than 100 billion dollars abroad and put them into non-productive projects that do not generate actual returns, and in the end, the simple citizen pays the price. This system eliminates the private sector and enhances the monopolistic role of the army in the economy.
The Gulf States and Europe will not offer money for free. Is Sisi ready to make concessions on issues affecting national security and Egyptian sovereignty for a few dollars, as he did when he gave up the strategic islands of Tiran and Sanafir in the Red Sea in favour of Saudi Arabia? This regime is now undermining the image of Egypt and the Egyptians before the world. Even if it gets the support it wants, this will be just a sedative. The crisis will return faster than it thinks because it is convinced that its economic policies are correct and will continue with them, threatening the future of all of Egypt.