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Egypt's Political Leadership.

With Abdul-Fattah al-Sissi's regime holding Egypt with an iron hand, the state of emergency on Jan 2 was extended throughout the country by presidential decree which went into force on Jan 13 and cited security reasons. Fanatic Islamists in late 2017 Coptic Christians in Helwan district, south of the capital, Cairo. The state-owned Middle East News Agency (MENA) said the move was taken to allow security forces to "take [the measures] necessary to confront the dangers, the funding of terrorism and safeguard security in all parts of the country".

The authorities firstA imposedA a country-wide state of emergency in April 2017, after two Coptic church bombings killed at least 45 people. Similar extensions were announced in July and October last year. The measure grants the president, and those acting on his behalf, the power to refer civilians to State Security Emergency Courts for the duration of the three-month period.

There is no appeal process for State Security Emergency Court verdicts. The order allows President Sissi to intercept as well as monitor all forms of communications, imposing censorship before publication and confiscating extant publications, impose a curfew for or order the closure of commercial establishments, sequestration of private properties, and designating areas for evacuation.

The emergency measures allow security forces to detain people for any period of time, for virtually any reason. They also grant broad powers to restrict public gatherings and media freedom.

However, human rights groupsA have repeatedly criticisedA Egypt's human rights situation, saying conditions in the country have continued to deteriorate since Sissi took power after a July 2013 military coup d'A@tat which he staged against President Muhammad Mursi, a member of the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood leadership movement active in about 70 countries. The MB leadership has since July 13, 2013, been subjected to mass arrests and trials for terrorism.

Since then, the MB leadership members have been based in Qatar, Turkey and/or the Sudanese capital of Khartoum. But Sudan in 2016 forced many MB members to leave the country - having since been based in Qatar.

Backed by Iran's Shi'ite theocracy, which leads a axis of "resistance" in both the Greater Middle East (GME) and Africa, Tehran and its allies mentioned above are being countered by a Saudi-headed Arab alliance backed by the US and the EU. A resulting confrontation is felt badly in the Arab region including war-torn Syria and Yemen as well as Iraq and Lebanon - in addition to Ankara and Doha.

These are the four Arab League and UN member-states which Iran has been trying to keep under its direct control for decades through the theocracy's co-ruling Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and over which Tehran continues to spend heavily. As a result, these countries have witnessed a lot of violence and long civil wars. Although Baghdad and Beirut have lately seen a recurring civil war averted by US military or political interventions in each case, they remain on edge as a result of Iranian interference by IRGC-controlled proxies.

Iran's control is assumed through proxy groups, such as Hizbullah in Lebanon's case. Created in 1982, Hizbullah was established for Lebanon by the IRGC. Iran is trying to control neighbouring Iraq through the IRGC-guided Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), which groups more than 50 rival militia groups led by IRGC's external arm the Quds Force (QF). In both countries, the militia groups are charged with acts of terrorism by the US, the EU and the Saudi-led alliance of moderate Arab states, or by the UNSC.
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Publication:APS Review Gas Market Trends
Geographic Code:7IRAN
Date:Jan 22, 2018
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