Unless you’re a regular eBay shopper, here’s something you may have missed:
That’s Egyptian president/dictator/pharaoh Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, and yes, somebody was trying to sell him yesterday, at least for a few hours before eBay took the listing down. Shockingly there was at least one person somewhere in the world who was willing to pay six figures for this guy, although to be fair maybe that person was just trying to do the Egyptian people a favor.
General Field Marshal President Sisi wind up on eBay, you ask? Interesting question. As it turns out, he sort of volunteered for it:
A heated speech by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has been widely mocked by Egyptians online, with one of them even putting him “up for sale” on the auction site eBay.
“By almighty God, if I could sell myself [to benefit the nation], I would have done it,” he said in an address broadcast on state television, in which he revealed a plan for economic growth.
I guess somebody just wanted to take him up on his generous offer. The “Questions and Answers” section of Sisi’s listing led to even more hilarity:
Sisi’s actual plan for economic growth is apparently to ask every Egyptian to donate one Egyptian pound to the government. One Egyptian pound is worth roughly 13 cents US, so at Egypt’s current population that works out to around $11 million US. So his plan has the dual benefit of asking impoverished Egyptians to go out of pocket to save the government that’s helped to impoverish them and of not really being able to raise enough money to stimulate very much growth in an economy that has an annual GDP in the ~$270 billion range. One thing that would help boost Egypt’s economy would be a return to something like normal rates of international tourism (tourism normally makes up about 11% of Egypt’s GDP), but that’s not really in the cards this year and maybe beyond. I suppose it’s not fair to blame Sisi entirely for ISIS making inroads in Sinai or for its periodic attacks in Cairo, but those flames were undoubtedly fanned by the coup that overthrew Mohamed Morsi and by Sisi’s brutal crackdown against the Muslim Brotherhood after that.
On the plus side, Sisi also declared that Egypt, at long last, is finally
a true democracy on the path to true democracy a 20-25 year meandering sojurn in search of true democracy. In the same speech, Sisi also told Egyptians that it’s “still very early for open democratic practices, like criticising and pushing [officials] out of office,” and said “Please, do not listen to anyone but me. I am dead serious.” So…maybe 25-30 years? Sisi’s 61, so I hope they hurry up and find democracy while he’s still around to quash it. The United States, if you’re wondering, claims to support the cause of Egyptian democracy but is trying to lift even the inconsequential penalty that Sisi’s human rights abuses have earned him when it comes to US aid to Egypt. And, of course, Republicans love Sisi, because, like them, he talks tough about terrorism and then consistently fails to do anything constructive to counter it.
In case you haven’t noticed there are a lot of places in Egypt’s near abroad that are currently tearing themselves apart. Egypt, for better or worse (and usually both), used to sit atop the Arab world, and an Egyptian government that was competent at anything other than tearing its own country apart could play a desperately needed stabilizing role in the world right now. In Egypt’s absence, the role of top Arab power has passed to Saudi Arabia, which has shown an incredible gift for destabilization but appears to have neither the capacity nor the desire to try to stabilize things in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, etc. Sisi, because his government is almost entirely leveraged by Riyadh, couldn’t guide Egypt (and the region) in a different direction even if he had a mind to do so.
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