On Egypt’s domestic scene, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is being lauded as an early-rising drill sergeant demanding 24/7 performance from a newly efficient and energized government. And in the foreign policy arena, a re-empowered Egyptian presidency is also moving beyond both the somnambulant legacy of the later years of the regime of deposed President Hosni Mubarak and the abbreviated and contentious era of deposed President Mohammed Morsi.
Nowhere is this new look in Egypt’s foreign activism more evident than on Syria. Days before Sisi’s election, a delegation of Syrian opposition figures assembled in Cairo at the invitation of Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy. Syrian opposition figures are scattered throughout the region, but in Cairo the only permanent resident for many months has been Haytham Maleh, a peripheral player in the Syrian scene.