Strongwoman of Egypt returns to power

Strongwoman of Egypt returns to power
2 min read
09 November, 2014
One of Egypt’s most controversial politicians, Faiza Abul Naga has been appointed to one of Egypt’s most important and sensitive roles and continues to divide the country.
Naga spent much of her career abroad (AFP)
Faiza Abul Naga has shown remarkable longevity as far as Egyptian politics goes.

With high-ranking positions under former dictator Hosni Mubarak and during the military council’s subsequent transitional rule, she emerged avoiding charges of corruption as so many other from teh Mubarak era, but still under a cloud of controversy when the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohammad Morsi was elected.

Now appointed as current Egyptian strongman Abdul Fattah al-Sisi's national security adviser , she is coming to embody the very concept of the political survivor.

Naga was part of Mubarak’s ruling National Democratic Party, and was particularly close to the dictator’s wife, Suzanne Thabet. Because of this, and her reputation as a strongwoman, she is perceived by many as a remnant of the old regime.

Her political career started in 2001, when she was chosen as Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, a post she held until the 2011 revolution. Then,nearly all the ministers of the Mubarak era lost their jobs. Naga retained her position under the administration of another political survivor, Ahmed Shafik.

She remained in that position in the next three administrations of the military council and until Morsi's election. Then, and after 12 years in government, her career had been tainted by her authoritarian attitudes towards opposition.
Naga's return to govenment is a testament to her political survival skills and authoritarian tendencies.

In 2012, she launched a campaign against 43 NGO workers, accusing them of being agents of foreign powers and attempting to stir unrest in Egypt. NGO offices were raided and civil society members detained, while Naga lambasted civil society and human rights organisations, and slammed Western countries for their criticism of Egyptian authorities.

Following a surprise U-turn by Egyptian courts, the travel ban on foreign pro-democracy activists involved in the NGO cases was eventually lifted. Naga refused to give testimony. It reminded many of the old days of the Mubarak regime.

She will also be remembered for a statement she made during the euphoria of the 25 January revolution: “I am proud I worked for 10 years in the pre-revolution government.”

Most of the other members of that government are on trial for corruption. But today, Naga holds one of the most sensitive and powerful positions in Sisi’s government.

This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.

Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the original author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Al Araby Al Jadeed, its editorial board or staff.