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Current Issues in Egypt

Current Issues in Egypt

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Published by shannon
This is a paper on the issues in Egypt during the spring of 2010. It includes a fairly detailed description of the issue of who controls the Nile's waters, conflict bewteen the Coptic Christians and the Muslims, and information on Egypt's next election.
This is a paper on the issues in Egypt during the spring of 2010. It includes a fairly detailed description of the issue of who controls the Nile's waters, conflict bewteen the Coptic Christians and the Muslims, and information on Egypt's next election.

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Published by: shannon on Aug 10, 2010
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Mrs. Minor, A period
Current Issues inEgypt 
By: Shannon Kehoe
 
With a population well over eighty million, Egypt is the sixteenth largest country in theworld
(CIA World Fact Book)
. At first glance, Egypt looks well suited to care for its population, what with the easy access to water; the Mediterranean Sea on the North, the Red Seaon the East and the Nile River in middle. Unfortunately, first glances rarely reveal the truth:Egypt struggles to care for its people and faces much turmoil, both internally and externally. Thecountry is plagued by disputes and changes with the dictatorial government, a dispute over whocontrols the Nile River, and internal religious differences between the Coptic Christians and theMuslims.Egypt is currently facing a political quagmire. Their current president Muhammad HosniMubarak has ruled continuously for neigh on thirty years (Lerner). He took control after Anwar Sadat was assassinated on October 14
th
of 1981. During this time, Mubarak imposed a state of emergency. A state of emergency, as defined by the Longman Dictionary of ContemporaryEnglish, is ³when a government gives itself special powers in order to try to control an unusuallydifficult or dangerous situation.´ As the president had just been assassinated, declaring a state of emergency is understandable: people are upset; riots could break out; worries of another assassination attempt run rampant. What is
not 
understandable is the fact that Mubarak 
never ended the state of emergency
. The government has had ³special privileges´ for almost thirtyyears. Only recently has Mubarak begun to try and alter his current label from dictator todemocratic leader.For example, on May 11
th
, 2010 Telegraph.co.uk reported that the law that ³gave police broad powers of arrest and allows indefinite detention without charge« would be restricted andonly apply to terrorist and drugs cases´. This alteration of the legislation, though a step in theright direction, is seen as ³¶farcical¶´ by many with a watchful eye on Egyptian politics. The
 
law, they say, can still be used to oppress activists and ³opposition parties´. As Mubarak iscurrently in poor health and it is unknown if he will run for President again next year, thedecision to lighten the laws may have been made in order to change people¶s perception of him before his time is up, rather than to lessen oppression.This is where Mohamed ElBaradei enters the picture: he wants to be the next Egyptian president. Unlike Mubarak, ElBaradei is renowned for his peaceful and democratic decisions.In 1962 he earned his bachelor¶s degree in law from the University of Cairo and in 1974 hisdoctorate in International Law from the New York University School of Law (MohammedElBaradei- biography). In 1964 he began working for the Egyptian Diplomatic Service, then leftin 1980 to work for the United Nations. In 2005 he and the International Atomic Energy Agencywere, together, awarded the Nobel peace prize for preventing ³¶nuclear energy from being usedfor military purposes´ and making certain that this type of energy is used safely, and peacefully.It is this history that is causing the grassroots movement that ElBaradei is spearheading in Egyptto burgeon. The movement seeks to change the Egyptian constitution and ³make a genuine shifttoward democracy´ (Lerner). Both goals are peaceful, and will, if accomplished, enact genuinechange in the country. ElBaradei¶s history makes many Egyptians realize that, with enoughsupport,
these goals could be realized 
.Egypt¶s constitution, as it stands now, forbids an independent running for the Presidency(Egypt 'thirsty for change' says Mohamed ElBaradei ). In fact, ³only officials of parties that have been licensed and established for at least five years are eligible´. ElBaradei
wants
to run as anindependent; he doesn¶t want to deal with the pressures and ties needed to run through a party.This conundrum has not stopped officials in the government from experiencing an elevated levelof angst: ElBaradei¶s grassroots movement receives an enormous amount of support. A

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