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Tsourapas, Gerasimos (2015) 'The Politics of Egyptian Migration to Libya.' Middle East Report Online.

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The beheading of 21 Egyptian Copts working in Libya, as shown in video footage released by the Islamic State on February 12, 2015, made headlines across the world. The story was variously framed as one more vicious murder of Middle Eastern Christians by militant Islamists, one more index of chaos in post-Qaddafi Libya and one more opportunity for an Arab state, in this case Egypt, to enlist in the latest phase of the war on terror. What was left unaddressed was the deep and long-standing enmeshment of the Libyan and Egyptian economies, embodied in the tens of thousands of Egyptian workers who remain in Libya despite the civil war raging there. There is a history of maltreatment of Egyptian migrants in Libya spanning more than 60 years. The abuses date back to the organized migration of Egyptian teachers, bureaucrats and other professionals under Gamal Abdel Nasser, and have continued with increasing brutality until the present. From the beginning, whether under King Idris, under Muammar al-Qaddafi or following the colonel’s downfall, the causes of the violence have been distinctly political, with Egyptians in Libya always vulnerable to the vicissitudes of Egyptian-Libyan state relations as well as to regional crises. The welfare of these workers has always been subordinate to strategic concerns in the calculations of both states.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Published online March 17, 2015.
Keywords: Egypt, Libya, Middle East migration, Egyptian diaspora, Egyptian-Libyan relations, Nasser, Sadat, Qaddafi
SOAS Departments & Centres: Legacy Departments > Faculty of Law and Social Sciences > Department of Politics and International Studies
ISSN: 23258810
Date Deposited: 07 Apr 2015 08:53

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