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Arabic press review: Egypt's economic woes risk 'opening the doors of hell'

Meanwhile, Lebanese authorities arrest a network 'illegally smuggling people' and Algeria's civil war political detainees get a boost 
Visitors walk at the ninth-century mosque of Ibn Tulun in the historic quarter of the Egyptian capital Cairo on 4 May 2022. (AFP)
Visitors walk at the ninth-century mosque of Ibn Tulun in the historic quarter of the Egyptian capital Cairo on 4 May 2022 (AFP)

Egypt faces 'catastrophic' collapse

Egypt is in need of an immediate financial assistance plan to avoid the risk of total collapse, a prominent Egyptian journalist has written in an article for Lebanese news website Asas Media. 

Emad El Din Adeeb urged Gulf countries to provide financial aid to Cairo before a likely “return to what the country witnessed in 2011," referring to the mass protest movement that overthrew long-time autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

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Egypt needs $25bn to compensate for additional costs occurred as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russian war in Ukraine, which has hit Cairo hard due to its dependence on wheat imports from the warring sides. 

“The Egyptian economy may withstand until the last quarter of 2022, after that, Egypt will be in front of two possibilities," Adeeb wrote.

The scenario, he added, is that “fresh dollars may be secured to revive the Egyptian economy to face this growing bill through an Arab and international support project.

“The second possibility is the exacerbation of the crisis and the high pressure on Egypt's political and social stability. This scenario is catastrophic because it opens the doors of hell not only to the situation in Egypt but to the whole region."

Lebanese army arrests network ‘illegally smuggling people’ 

Lebanese forces have detained a suspected organised network facilitating unauthorised migration through the Mediterranean Sea, according to the London-based Al-Quds al-Arabi daily.

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The bust included 34 people from Syrian and Lebanese backgrounds who were arrested on Thursday from the Sarafand and Sidon regions. 

The army said initial investigations showed at least six people out of the 34 were involved in “illegally smuggling people to European countries.”

In April, Lebanon was rocked by the sinking of a boat off its northern coast, which was carrying 84 passengers, of Lebanese, Syrian and Palestinian origin.

At least six died and around 30 people were unaccounted for. 

The disaster ignited widespread public anger and prompted the army to increase its crackdown on unauthorised migration.

Algeria plans to pardon civil war detainees

Algerian authorities intend to release political prisoners linked to the now-outlawed Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) who have been in jail since the early 1990s, a political official said, according to the New Arab.

Lakhdar Benkhallef, a leader in the Justice and Development Front party, told the London-based news website that he held positive talks with President Abdelmadjid Tebboune to address the issue, known in public as the "detainees of the 1990s" case. 

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Benkhallef explained that he clarified to Tebboune that these detainees are old and some of them are sick and exhausted, confirming that Tebboune said he "will exert all his efforts, and will try to do whatever possible to release them despite the sensitivity of the file.”

The "detainees of the 1990s" are a group of about 160 prisoners who were members and supporters of the FIS. 

They were arrested in March 1992 in the aftermath of a military coup that negated the FIS election win and triggered the Algerian civil war.  

They were tried through special courts that handed some life imprisonment sentence, while others were given the death penalty. 

Tebboune also confirmed that steps will be taken to issue amnesty for “prisoners of conscience”, Benkhallef said, referring to detainees of the Hirak protest movement that ousted former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika in 2019.

*Arabic press review is a digest of news reports not independently verified as accurate by Middle East Eye