PRAYER ALERT: In Egypt’s May 26-28 elections, Defense Minister Abdel Fatah al Sisi won the presidency in a landslide. But al Sisi’s victory was undercut by a low turnout and immediate crises at home and abroad. The strictly pro-shariah Salafists, whose Nour party endorsed al Sisi, stayed away from the polls. Al Sisi’s crackdown on the deposed Muslim Brotherhood and other militant Islamists, resulting in hundreds of death sentences, alienated many Egyptian voters.
It was hard for anyone to deny that the MB’s year in power had plunged Egypt into a severe economic distress. Inflation soared and foreign reserves shrank. Tourism declined and unemployment increased to 13%. The budget deficit swelled. Gas lines lengthened and poverty deepened. As a remedy, on May 29 al Sisi’s new government announced a 10% capital gains tax. But in reaction, Egypt’s stock market took a sudden dive. Investors bolted when no one could describe how the law will be imposed. No one could explain how to calculate the tax and when it would take effect.
Al Sisi can hardly afford more blunders like this. Egypt’s low water supply is imperiled by neighboring Ethiopia’s plans to dam up the Nile. It will take careful negotiations, rather than hasty reactions and military saber-rattling, to ensure that Egypt gets its fair share of the water. Egypt’s borders with Gaza and a highly volatile Libya are threatened by jihadist infiltration. Al Sisi may have to temper his support of an independent Palestinian state with security considerations.
Conversely, Al Sisi’s desire for Israel’s natural gas may be tempered by widespread Muslim opposition to any dealings with Israel. And in his desire for American weapons, al Sisi may have to consider American conditions on how he uses those weapons. The US Congress has already delayed delivery of Apache helicopters due to concerns over human rights in Egypt. Russian weapons are an option that al Sisi is exploring. But Russia too may impose conditions. Al Sisi faces competing interests everywhere he turns. It is hard to tell how he will respond to them, since he refused to commit himself to a campaign platform. We must pray that God’s will prevails for the good of Egypt and its neighbors.
PRAY WITH US: Father God, You show great care for this universe You have made. You care for the nations. You care especially for Your chosen people Israel, and for Your church. You see how Israel is threatened by destruction. You see how Iran, Hamas and many other militant Muslims have called for her annihilation. And You have disarmed and distracted Iran in many ways. You have weakened and marginalized Hamas. Hamas is now seeking cover under its rival Fatah’s wing. But we ask that You keep exposing Hamas’ evil designs. Do this for the sake of the Israelis, and for the Palestinians too. Show all Your enemies that like Saul, they are kicking against the goads. Show them the higher calling of being a light to Gentiles and Jews.
We thank You for preserving a 10% Christian remnant in Egypt. We thank You that the Muslim Brotherhood’s persecution of them is being curtailed. We thank You for a new government in Egypt that stands against jihad, shariah and anti-Israeli fanaticism. But we do not know yet what it stands for. As Isaiah 19:20 says, Egyptians “will cry to the Lord because of oppressors, and He will send them a Savior and a Champion, and He will deliver them.”
Let there be fulfillments of that prophecy now. Show Jesus as the living water who can satisfy their thirst. Show Him as the defender of vulnerable people against jihad. Show them that the real battle is not against flesh and blood. It is against evil spiritual powers. And one of those powers is Allah. Dethrone Allah, and exalt Jesus. And set the course for the government of al Sisi to cooperate with the Redeemer and not with oppressors. In Jesus’ name, amen.
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Al Sisi must deal with competing interests