Every Friday the CMES hosts an informal guided discussion of current events in the Middle East and North Africa, open to all.
On January 27, French President Emmanuel Macron began his first official visit to Egypt. The meeting of Macron and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi solidified a strategic relationship between France, as one of Egypt's main arms suppliers, and Egypt, described by Macron as a bulwark against terrorism. Human rights activists have criticized France's continued support for the Sisi regime, despite violations and repression. Although Macron has acknowledged Egypt's human rights violations, France has continued to support Sisi's crackdown on civil society through investment and military arms sales. Across the Middle East, France's weapons sales have grown, in spite of criticism from France's own lawmakers and rights groups. From Sisi's crackdown in Egypt to the recent American support for Saudi Arabia following the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Western powers have shifted discourse away from human rights promotion to economic investment and increased arms sales to fight terrorism. In this week's salon, we will discuss Western arms sales and human rights in Egypt and around the Middle East.
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