(...) The White House said Washington would "modernise" the way it provided military aid to Cairo to focus on counterterrorism, border security, maritime security and Sinai security, where the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group has been active.
"In this way, we will ensure that US funding is being used to promote shared objectives in the region, including a secure and stable Egypt and the defeat of terrorist organisations," Meehan said in a statement.
Obama told Sisi he would continue to ask the US Congress for $1.3bn in military aid for Egypt per year, but said the US would stop allowing Egypt to buy equipment on credit starting in fiscal year 2018, the White House said.
Rights activists expressed concern. Resuming full military aid would send a dangerous message that human rights were not a priority concern for the US, said Neil Hicks, a director at Human Rights First.
The deals for the released equipment were paid for long ago, so were not expected to have much impact on the companies.
Egypt has been the second-largest recipient of US foreign aid since its peace treaty with Israel in 1979.
Aid was frozen after the Egyptian army overthrew former President Mohamed Morsi. Obama resisted calling that a coup because it would have resulted in aid being cut completely, the Reuters news agency reported.
Some restrictions were relaxed last year, but Congress made aid dependent on the US Secretary of State certifying that Egypt was taking certain steps to govern democratically, a delay which angered the Egyptian government.
"The animosity had been growing because of an Egyptian sense that they were at a point of mortal peril and we were engaged in academic games about modifying assistance programs," said Jon Alterman, director of the Middle East programme at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think-tank in Washington.
Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to tell Congress within the next two weeks that the aid is in the US national security interest, even though he will not make the "democracy certification," a senior administration official said.
(...) Few in Egypt expect the demonstrations or bombings to change the military-backed government any time soon. Public debate here is dominated by pro-government voices. President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has ruled by decree without a Parliament or other elected officials.
At the moment, there is no visible mechanism for a public outcry to change public policy. (Parliamentary elections are promised next month, but under rules experts say will most likely produce strong support for Mr. Sisi.)
When Shaimaa el-Sabbagh, 31, was killed at a small demonstration in downtown Cairo on Jan. 24, I thought, is this news? Sondos Reda Abu Bakr, 17, had just been killed by the police at a protest in Alexandria. The next day was the fourth anniversary of the start of the Arab Spring revolt in Egypt, and I had a feeling many more people would die before the day was over. About 50 had died in clashes with the police at demonstrations on the previous anniversary, in 2014. (In the end, the protests this year were smaller and about 20 were killed, along with three policemen.) So I went back to spending Saturday afternoon with my family.
But some ghosts find a way of lingering. In Tehran, the killing of Neda Agha-Soltan, 26, by Iranian soldiers in the spring of 2009 turned her into a symbol and cause for a season of antigovernment protests. In Egypt, the beating to death of Khaled Said, 28, by the Alexandria police in June 2010 planted a seed that germinated into the revolt that toppled Hosni Mubarak in February 2011. (“We are all Khaled Said” became a rallying cry.) Both lived on in the public memory because of photographs and videos shared over social media, surviving as icons long after others were forgotten.
Ms. Sabbagh, too, had died in front of cameras.
By Sunday afternoon the pictures were everywhere on Egyptian social media: especially the image of her friend grasping her waist, his head pressed against her abdomen, blood streaking down her face, a distant look in her eye. Her death had eclipsed so many others. My wife was transfixed. My editor, Michael Slackman, had covered Iran and immediately thought of Neda Agha-Soltan. I thought of Khaled Said. Even the pro-government talk shows were taking up the subject, if only to suggest that someone besides the police might have been responsible.
Then I learned she had been poet, and the author of a verse about a vision of the crucifixion in a similar street not far from where she died in downtown Cairo. (...)
The defendants faced charges over an attack on a police station in Minya in 2013 in which a policeman was killed.
However, the judge also commuted to life terms 492 death sentences out of 529 passed in March in a separate case.
Also on Monday, a court banned a youth group that helped ignite the uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
The decision passed in Cairo to outlaw the April 6 pro-democracy movement was based on a complaint that accused the group of "tarnishing the image" of Egypt and colluding with foreign parties. (...)
Authorities have cracked down harshly on Islamists since President Mohammed Morsi, who belongs to the Muslim Brotherhood, was removed by the military in July.
Hundreds have been killed and thousands arrested.
The verdict was the first against Mr Badie in the several trials he faces on various charges along with Mr Morsi himself and other Brotherhood leaders.
Of the 683 sentenced on Monday, only about 50 are in detention but the others have a right to a retrial if they hand themselves in.
The group were accused of involvement in the murder and attempted murder of policemen in Minya province on 14 August, the day police killed hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood supporters in clashes in Cairo.
Defence lawyers boycotted the last session, branding it "farcical."
The final judgement on the sentencing of the 529 Muslim Brotherhood supporters accused of attacking another police station in the same province on the same day means 37 will now face the death penalty.
Defence lawyer Khaled Elkomy said 60% of those defendants, including teachers and doctors, have evidence that "proves they were not present" when that station was attacked, a statement released by human rights group Avaaz said.
Amnesty International warned that Egypt's judiciary "risks becoming just another part of the authorities' repressive machinery".
"The court has displayed a complete contempt for the most basic principles of a fair trial and has utterly destroyed its credibility," Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, the group's Middle East and North Africa deputy director, said in a statement.
The government had defended the court's handling of the first mass case, insisting that the sentences were passed only "after careful study."
At least 1,000 opponents of the military-installed regime have been sentenced since December.
The authorities have designated the Brotherhood a terrorist group, blaming it for a series of bombings and attacks. The group has strongly denied the accusations.
The turning point came on August 14, when the military and security forces brutally cleared the two mass sit-ins in Cairo that formed the epicenter of support for the ousted president. Hundreds of people were killed in what Human Rights Watch describes as “the most serious incident of mass unlawful killings in modern Egyptian history.”
The National Salvation Front leadership, which includes former presidential candidates Hamdeen Sabahi and Amr Moussa, put out a statement applauding the raids. Two days later, Dawoud—who describes himself as a “leftist, not a liberal”—resigned as the group’s spokesperson.
“We wanted a political deal, we wanted Morsi removed, but we didn’t want to suppress or kill them or consider them an outlawed organization,” he says, sitting on a heavily cracked black leather couch in the offices of Al-Ahram Weekly, the state-owned English-language publication where he has worked as a journalist since 1996. After resigning, he says, “even some close friends called me a Brotherhood sympathizer, a secret cell, a traitor and a US agent.”
Dawoud’s story is emblematic of Egypt’s convoluted political landscape, whose fault lines have shifted and rearranged in the aftermath of Morsi’s overthrow and the subsequent brutal crackdown on the Brotherhood and its allies.
Opposition to Morsi grew throughout his time in office, eventually stretching across nearly every sector of Egyptian society. It also had grassroots support, manifested in more than 9,000 protests and strikes during his year-long rule that culminated in calls for early presidential elections and the unprecedented June 30 mobilization.
His opponents included a broad swath of political and social movements, often characterized by conflicting ideologies and grievances. It included revolutionary activists, labor unions, human rights advocates, the Coptic Church, intransigent state institutions, former Mubarak regime members and sidelined business elites as well as the formal opposition—the flock of non-Islamist political parties and figures routinely lumped together as “liberals,” despite the fact that many of them have rejected any notion of political pluralism, a defining characteristic of liberalism.
Watching Jon Stewart and I had heard about the GOP ummmm delegation that was sent to Egypt to address the Egyptians directly. They shouldn't let these people out of their own homes much less to represent our country in any way on their state supported television. My God, what the Egyptians must think of us!!
It is ironic that a state claiming to rule according to Islamic principles, Saudi Arabia, fears the rise to power of Islamists — both at home and in neighboring countries. One regional Islamist trend worries the Saudi leadership, the Muslim Brotherhood which has decided to engage in politics through elections and the democratic process.
Saudi legitimacy is based on an appropriation of Islamic symbols such as claims that "our constitution is the Quran" and the application of sharia. The Saudi leadership fears losing its unique Islamic credentials as Islamists in other countries reach power. It wants to remain the sole Islamic model in the Arab region. The possibility of neighboring states combining Islamist politics with democracy threatens the Saudi model and seriously alarms the Saudi state.
The Saudi government made it clear that it does not accept the rule of Islamists in Egypt or elsewhere, for that matter. Riyadh had in the past coexisted and even cooperated and manipulated the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood but since September 11, 2001 it turned against them when deceased Minister of Interior Prince Nayef held the Muslim Brotherhood responsible for terrorism in Saudi Arabia.
Hours after General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi deposed Mohamed Morsi on July 3, King Abdullah congratulated the Egyptian interim government and promised $5 billion in aid and subsidies, thus indicating his support for the change that led to removing the Muslim Brotherhood from power. (...)