Morning Wrap: Tourism down in Sinai, Power Troubles, Iran

Hotel occupancy drops 15 percent in Sinai after attack in Egypt Independent – Particularly painful because the majority of Egypt’s tourism revenue, especially over the last 18 months, has come from Sinai. The tourism minister, Hesham Zaazou, says charter flights should be encouraged. Maybe the government should focus on security in Sinai instead.

I have two stories out in The National today, looking at Egypt’s electricity problems. The take-out: Egypt should cut its natural gas exports as a short-term fix, rather than shutting down plants (which has ramifications across Egypt, especially on the poor). And despite some noise about restarting the nuclear programme, the government is not that serious about moving forward to it’s own long-term detriment.

Dr Paul Sullivan, a professor of economics at the US National Defense University, writes that:
The Egyptian economy is due for its own revolution. If correctly handled this would be a peaceful, creative and enriching change in the business environment. It could also help average Egyptians to the better life to which they aspire.
The US government says the Iraqis are helping Iran skirt sanctions in the New York Times.
Tunisia has been facing general strikes across some of the cities near Tunis and the Ennahda party – the moderate Islamist group that has become the most powerful party in Tunisia after the toppling of Ben Ali – has shown little political skill in handling it. This has echoes in Egypt.
More details in the ongoing EADS controversy. Apparently, EADS – the “pan-European defence contractor” – made payments to a mysterious Cayman Islands account that is now under investigation by the UK authorities. Sounds like a classic case of bakshish.



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