Egyptian Whistleblower Launches Movement to Topple Trump's 'Favorite Dictator' and Says He Wants Support of U.S. Lawmakers

The Egyptain whistleblower who sparked mass protests against President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in September has vowed to continue his fight, while launching a new political movement to bring down the dictator.

Speaking at a press conference in London on Wednesday, anti-corruption firebrand Mohamed Ali told reporters that Sisi's "vicious regime" is inflicting brutal hardships on the Egyptian people and risking a new wave of migration into Europe.

Ali has been living in self-imposed exile in Spain since he fled Egypt, where his series of videos detailing corruption within Sisi's regime and the country's powerful military went viral.

A businessman, his work in the construction industry won him government contracts and access to evidence of vast abuse of power. Ali claims his evidence shows that Sisi and his loyalists are enriching themselves at the expense of the state.

Ali has described himself as an "accidental revolutionary" and assumed the role of a regular, working-class Egyptian outraged at state fraud.

At his urging, thousands took the streets of major Egyptian cities for around a week in September, in a rare mass protests against a regime that has systematically crushed all opposition. More than 3,000 protesters were ultimately arrested.

On Wednesday, he told journalists that London "is my first, but certainly not last, stop" in a tour promoting his new movement, which he claims has support from "the opposition" in Egypt and is being formulated by "a host of independent Egyptian specialists."

Ali's tour will take him across Europe and to the U.S., where he said he will be seeking to "explain what is really happening in Egypt."

Asked by Newsweek, Ali did not say whether he would be meeting with American lawmakers. However, he explained that he wants U.S. politicians to "listen to us, hear our voice and understand our suffering."

Ali also warned that continued Western support for Sisi could produce another wave of migration to Europe, as Egyptians flee an authoritarian government, economic hardship and deteriorating environmental conditions.

President Donald Trump's administration has been criticized for its support for Sisi's regime given the rampant human rights abuses in Egypt. Washington has provided Sisi was hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid, which Human Rights Watch has characterized as a "green light" to repression.

Trump—who has a history of cozying up to authoritarians—also raised eyebrows in September when he referred to Sisi as "my favorite dictator."

The opposition in Egypt has been fractured and suppressed by Sisi, who seized power in a 2013 military coup. The move deposed President Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood leader who became the country's first democratically-elected president in 2012 following the revolution that toppled long-time dictator Hosni Mubarak.

Sisi's new regime arrested Morsi, his allies and thousands of others. Morsi died in prison of a heart attack in June while on trial for alleged espionage.

Ali provided little detail on what opposition figures or parties are involved in the project, suggesting more details would be revealed at a later date. He read a statement that described his partners as "national Egyptian leaders from various backgrounds," who together will form "a unified Egyptian opposition front."

Ali said the project is not receiving any outside funding, instead relying on volunteers "who love Egypt."

As for next steps, Ali promised to soon announce "a number of events and activities" designed "to bring down Sisi's regime." The events, Ali said, will be "highly organized and more ambitious."

Ali described his offering as a "referendum" for the Egyptian people, to gauge the kind of post-Sisi country they want. He stressed several times that deposing Sisi without a "roadmap" will only lead to more chaos and facilitate the rise of another authoritarian regime.

"We have to be clear. We have to be fair. The Egyptian people need to see a way forward first," he explained.

Ali also said that the voting process for his referendum would be designed to ensure anonymity for those taking part while protecting the referendum against any forms of meddling or electronic warfare.

Asked how long his process would take, Ali suggested his proposal for the Egyptian people would be ready in less than six weeks. He added that he was hoping to force Sisi from office by January 2020, though stressed the movement relied on "slow steps" rather than spontaneous action.

Mohamed Ali, Egypt, protests, movement, Sisi
Egyptian self-exiled businessman Mohamed Ali looks on during an interview in an office near Barcelona, Spain on October 23, 2019. JOSEP LAGO/AFP via Getty Images/Getty

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