Executive ministries: Main pillars of Al-Sisi’s state

Adham Youssef
3 Min Read

As concerns over a possible cabinet reshuffle are overflowing, Egypt’s three powerful and executive ministries, the Defence Ministry, Interior Ministry, and Foreign Ministry, are not worried.

The three have proved to be main pillars of the state during President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s first presidential term.

The three ministries have participated in the military and diplomatic representation of Egypt since 2013, two areas that Egypt has suffered in after the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi, especially after the rise of militancy in North Sinai and the Nile Delta, as well as the deterioration of relations between Egypt and some countries.

For the Ministry of Defence, Minister Sedky Sobhi, who was promoted by Al-Sisi on 26 March 2014, has been the engineer of several military campaigns that took place against Islamists and extremists. The military has proved to be a strong supporter of the state in the last several years and has radically increased its presence in civilian life, whether in governmental apparatuses, the economy, popular culture, military courts, or via physical presence on streets and control over entire governorates.

The same goes for Magdy Abdel Ghaffar, who used to head the Interior Ministry’s intelligence agency and who has a history that reminds many of the infamous Mubarak-era interior minister Habib Al-Adly. As a former officer in the State Security Apparatus, the actions of which were a main cause of anger in 2011, he helped in normalising the presence of the newly-established National Security Apparatus in the Egyptian mindset. Although he was appointed in March 2015 after the Rabaa Al-Adweya dispersal, he set out to resolve several issues inside the ministry. During his tenure, terrorism-related cases and arrests have reached a peak, enabling the Egyptian state to perform with no significant extremist opposition.

As the Egyptian state is currently relying on security policies in handling its affairs, it is unlikely that either Abdel Ghaffar or Sobhi will be replaced in the expected reshuffle.

As for the Foreign Ministry, Sameh Shoukry was appointed at the beginning of the first presidential term of Al-Sisi. He had served as ambassador to the United States in Washington before retiring in 2012, and he also served as Egypt’s permanent representative to the United Nations in Geneva and ambassador to Austria.

The Egyptian government has succeeded in ameliorating its foreign relations with a significant number of other nations. For example, Al-Sisi made several significant state visits to Europe, Africa, and Asia during his four years as president. His subsequent visits to several countries contributed to reshaping relations built on mutual respect and non-interference in any country’s internal affairs, as well as a significant amount of agreements, deals, and memoranda of understanding that were signed.

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