Posted December 15th, 2012, 09:41 AM
I lived in Saudi Arabia from 1981 to 85 and visited Egypt twice. The second time December 85 soon after the Achille lauro incident. This was before the terror attack on German and Swiss tourists at the tomb of Queen Hatshepsut in 1997.
While working in Riyadh, I got to know several Egyptians. I learned that Saudi Arabia hired most of its public school teachers from Egypt. Most tended to be Muslim Brotherhood types that worked well in the conservative Wahabbi Islamic state.
Most Muslims have no desire to commit acts of terror, but unfortunately there are millions of Muslims that will do so or support those who will.
Events in the Middle East and North Africa continue to shape what groups run the governments of this area. The Muslim Brotherhood is currently in charge of the Egyptian government. The MB created HAMAS, which is not in charge of Gaza and continues to foment terror against Israel. However, the MB is not the most extreme group. Salafists won about 20 percent of the vote in the last election in Egypt and they support al qaeda and terror.
The security situation in Egypt when I visited in 1983 and 85 was fairly good, but still there was some risk to visiting Egypt. My Egyptian friends warned me about going places by myself, not on tour.
For example, on my first visit to Cairo in 83, I secured a taxi at the airport to take me to the Ramases Hilton. On exiting the airport, we had to stop at a security checkpoint and a policeman asked to see my passport and my destination. He took down that information as well as the name of the taxi driver and tag number. I wondered why this was necessary. On returning to Riyadh and questioning my Egyptian friends, they explained that taxi drivers were talking tourist to the desert, stealing their valuables and sometimes raping the women, or just leaving people to die in the desert.
I suspect that this problem is still a concern, perhaps more so today. I would not recommend touring alone with a taxi, but if you do, make sure someone at the hotel knows the taxi driver's name, etc.
Next, traffic in Egypt, especially Cairo is probably the most dangerous place that I have ever seen in the World and I have been to 55 countries. People drive like maniacs. There are few street lights and drivers honk their horns when the arrive at an intersection. Who honks first has the right of way. Egyptian men drive like they are trying to prove their mascilinity and that is very agressive driving.
It is safer to tour in a bus of some kind, so if you are in an accident, you have more protection.
Last, but not least, the country is still coming out from under a poiice state that had some control over subversive groups. Now one of those groups runs the country and others are back in business, especially since many of the jails were empied of some of the worst terrorists.
Since Mubarak was overthrown, attacks on Coptic Christian churches have been a huge problem. The police are not protecting the Christians as they should.
Sure, the government must know that a safe environment is necessary to keep tourists spending their money in Egypt, but the security environment is much looser than before. There are groups that could easily decide to go for the new Caliphate
by trying to harm tourism, which could be your bus or you.
I know that cc wiill continue to find posts from people that have successfully visited Egypt. That does not mean it is relatively save to visit. The threat is there.
Egypt has people that have stated that the Pyramids and Sphinx should be destroyed, since they are idols. This is not a majority view, it means that there are some bad dudes in that country.