US scholar’s barred entry ‘dishonorable': Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs
Screenshot from Carnegie Foundation interview with political analyst Michele Dunne.
By HANAN FAYED

CAIRO: It was “dishonorable” for Egypt to bar the entry of U.S. political analyst Michele Dunne, after she had arrived in Cairo Airport per an invite from the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs (ECFA,) Thuraia al-Hag, a researcher with ECFA told The Cairo Post Saturday.

“We are disgruntled, but we will continue to invite her to relevant conferences to come and hopefully circumstances will change and she would be able to come,” Hag said.

The authorities did not advise Dunne, a senior associate in the Middle East Program of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, of the grounds for refusing her entry, she told The Cairo Post in an email.

Dunne was scheduled to attend a Monday conference by the ECFA on Egypt’s foreign policy after the January 25 Revolution in 2011. ECFA plans that the conference would debunk a number of “misconceptions and inaccurate reading” of Egypt after the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.

“Some Egyptians complain I don’t list enough to pro govt views. When I accept invite to conf of pro govt group they deny me entry. Go figure,” Dunne tweeted after she learned of the authorities decision.

Homeland Security, formerly State Security, regularly updates its ban list with Cairo Airport; for those who are not wanted for any investigations, the reason cited is usually “national security.”

“We would not invite someone who poses a threat to national security. The entry denial runs counter to our efforts,” ECFA’s Hag said.

Dunne, also a former Middle East specialist at the U.S. Department of State, has been a close observer of Egypt, and her analysis of the situation has been critical of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and his government.

“What is needed in the struggle against the Islamic State is not Egyptian troops in Syria or Iraq, or more sermonizing by Egypt’s discredited state-controlled clergy, but sound political and economic policies that will quench the spread of violence and extremism in Egypt itself,” Dunne wrote in a September article.

After the election of Sisi in June, Dunne said that the country is “sliding back into authoritarian rule,” and called on the U.S. to reduce its assistance program to the military in favor of the Egyptian people as a whole.

This is not the first time that Egypt has denied entry of foreign analysts and activists. In August, Kenneth Roth and Sara Leah, Human Rights Watch executives, were denied entry to Egypt because they did not have the prerequisite visas for their work, rather tourist visas.

In March, dozens of women, mostly French, from Code Pink movement were denied entry because they intended to go to Gaza Strip.

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