Although Egypt’s social security system became obsolete in the 1990s, it was the Sisi administration that launched the major reform. The social security system was restructured along with the implementation of the bold macro-economic reform. As a result, the new social security plan can cover a much bigger population than what the old system could, despite a chronic fiscal deficit. The purpose of this paper is to examine the state of the social security reform in Egypt since 2014 and discuss its sustainability. The paper reviews the developments of the new cash transfer programs as well as the rebuilding of the social insurance system. While the new social security scheme is well-designed and is highly reputed, administrative capabilities will be a major challenge.
From the beginning of the Trump administration, the U.S. military presence in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries has rapidly evolved. Specifically, the number of U.S. Air Force soldiers stationed in Qatar, United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait has been significantly reduced. This may be a result of President Trump’s preference to minimize the level of U.S. troops deployed in the region. Conversely, the United States has maintained its naval presence in the gulf, including an aircraft carrier strike group and naval troops in Bahrain. In the same period, Iran has remarkably expanded its military capabilities after developing sophisticated new missile systems, drones, and submarines. Combined with recent hostile events in the gulf, this situation has heightened concerns about gulf security, in particular, to ensure the safe passage of crude oil destined for all parts of the world. Current tension may lead to an escalated presence of U.S. forces in the region.
India’s status in the world has been elevated since the beginning of this century, supported by its accelerated economic growth. In order to grow from a regional to world power, the foreign policy of a nation needs to be adapted to the new circumstances. In this context, the new relations between India and the Middle East attract our attention. We must also consider the repercussions of domestic politics on the subject, particularly since the advent of the BJP government under Narendra Modi in 2014.
Ever since the BJP government came to power in 2014, India has begun to question the assumptions of political principles such as “secularism,” established under the Congress party government since the country’s independence in 1947. The new orientations could be termed as a paradigm change or a watershed in the political framework in the history of independent India. In the domestic field, the BJP government challenges the Indian “secularism” and pursues a sort of “ethnic democracy,” a concept introduced in Israel. Concerning its foreign policies India is gradually discarding its use of the traditional non-alignment principle and pursues a combination of multiple alliances taking into account the rising influence of China.
The ruling party, BJP, is the political wing of the RSS, an influential Hindu right-wing ss organization promoting Hinduism as the national identity of the Indian nation. The BJP and RSS particularly target the Muslim community in their campaign to promote “Hindutva,” a Hinduized national integration concept. The Indian “secularism” traditionally emphasizes equal consideration of every religious community in India. However, the Modi government in 2019 annulled the constitutional clauses that guaranteed special allowances to the Jammu and Kashmir state with Muslim majority and introduced an amendment to the citizenship law which excluded Muslims while considering granting citizenship to illegal refugees.
Under these circumstances, the Modi government pursues three different policies toward the Middle East. The first policy is to promote trade and investment, primarily from the viewpoint of mutual economic interests. India’s dealings with the Gulf countries and East Africa are typical cases where the Modi government employs this policy. The second policy is to enhance India’s regional dominance and neutralize any interventions from neighboring Muslim countries in India’s domestic policies concerning the Muslim citizens in the country. The third policy is a newly emerged special relationship with Israel, which has strategic, technological, and ideological implications in the reorganization of power structure in the South West Asia.