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Egypt: Sisi's son sidelined for impacting his father negatively

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi attends the opening session of the 30th Arab League Summit in Tunis, Tunisia on 31 March, 2019 [Yassine Gaidi/Anadolu Agency]
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi attends the opening session of the 30th Arab League Summit in Tunis, Tunisia on 31 March 2019 [Yassine Gaidi/Anadolu Agency]

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi's son Mahmoud is being assigned a long-term position in Moscow due to his failure to handle the media and the storm over Egyptian whistleblower Mohamed Ali, multiple sources have told Mada Masr.

Mahmoud Al-Sisi's visible influence in the top decision-making levels of government and the frequent mention of his name in the media, both at home and abroad, is impacting negatively on his father's image and threatening the stability of the administration, according to the sources quoted in Mada Masr's report.

In a widely circulated video last month, Sinai politician and writer Massaad Abu Fager accused Mahmoud of running a $45 million drug operation through the tunnels that connect Gaza to Sinai.

In September Mahmoud announced that TV presenter Amr Adib would interview a guest on his show, Mahmoud Al-Sisi. As it was about to go on air it was revealed that instead of being the president's son the guest was actually the managing director of a pharmacy chain by the same name. Instead of embarrassing the Muslim Brotherhood who announced the interview, the Sisi family came under closer scrutiny.

At the beginning of October it was reported that Mahmoud banned intelligence officials from leaving the country in anticipation of an internal revolt after September protests which spread across the country.

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His move to Moscow would also help alleviate growing tension in the General Intelligence Service (GIS) about the fact that he removed senior officials – "Omar Suleiman's men" – who had no loyalty to the "new state".

Egyptians protested for two weeks in a row as a series of videos released by Egyptian whistleblower Mohamed Ali unveiled widespread corruption in the top ranks of the Egyptian regime whilst a severe austerity programme was rolled out across the country.

One GIS source, who spoke to Mada Masr, said Mahmoud was responsible for dealing with the Mohamed Ali controversy but failed to contain it.

According to one senior politician and a governmental official, Mahmoud's removal from the GIS may be to hone his skills so that he becomes a military envoy. However, advice that Mahmoud be sidelined came from senior government figures in the UAE, one of Egypt's closest allies.

"We believe the role that Mahmoud Al-Sisi has been playing has become problematic and harmful to the president's popularity within the circles of power," one source close to the UAE said.

"The advice was that the son should not cast a shadow over the president's position, so that the situation of Hosni and Gamal Mubarak is not repeated," in reference to the former president of Egypt Hosni Mubarak who was ousted in the 2011 revolution.

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