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Il generale che guida l'Egitto 20.08.13

Il generale al-Sisi

Il ritratto del generale Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, vero uomo forte dell'Egitto dopo l'arresto del presidente Morsi, su Newsweek.

That Egypt has a new strongman is no longer in doubt. Since the Egyptian military ousted the democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi last month following protests across the country, posters of Egypt's de facto leader, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, have become more ubiquitous on Cairo streets than Sphinx souvenirs. The head of the Army stares out from café walls and the windows of government buildings, the red and the gold of his uniform remaining bright, even as the features of his face fade under the relentless sun. "He is the one we can trust," read some of the posters. Others call him "the eagle of the Arabs."

It's a ubiquitous image--but an enigmatic one. More than a month after assuming power, al-Sisi remains as opaque as his dark glasses. In Egypt, he is often compared with the charismatic and ruthless leader of the 1950s and 1960s, Gamal Abdel Nasser, yet few people know anything about his family or background. He hardly ever talks to reporters, and his close friends and allies are reluctant to speak--begging off interview requests, or agreeing to talk, only to cancel later after checking with the general's staff.

But understanding al-Sisi is critical to understanding where Egypt is headed--especially after this week's bloodletting, which has seen his soldiers crack down on pro–Muslim Brotherhood demonstrators. And one place to begin is in Cairo's ancient Khan al-Khalili bazaar, in a shop called Al-Sisi, where finely crafted Egyptian boxes made of intricately inlaid mother-of-pearl grace the shelves.