Sisi’s Development Dreams and the Blocked Suez Canal

Sisi’s Development Dreams and the Blocked Suez Canal
The Ever Given blocks the Suez Canal almost a week after it got stuck sideways in the crucial waterway, March 29, 2021 (AP photo by Mohamed Elshahed).

Editor’s Note: Every Monday, Managing Editor Frederick Deknatel highlights a major unfolding story in the Middle East, while curating some of the best news and analysis from the region. Subscribers can adjust their newsletter settings to receive Middle East Memo by email every week.

Everyone, it seems, has been searching for meaning in the gigantic container ship stuck in the Suez Canal—which was finally freed Monday, six days after blocking one of the most vital shipping routes in the world. For all the memes that have proliferated online, there is also some analysis: for example, that this is a “warning about excessive globalization” and its “bottlenecks,” given the fragility of a global supply chain that can be derailed by one sideways ship in Egypt.

And yet, the clearest symbolism is also the closest to the Ever Given. The 1,300-foot vessel has been towering over Manshiyet Rugola, a quiet Egyptian village alongside the Suez Canal that reporters descended on in recent days. Egyptian authorities were blocking access to the huge container ship as dredgers and tugboats tried to dislodge it, so the village was suddenly in the limelight.

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