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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #200 on: July 15, 2012, 03:28:40 PM »



http://www.radicalislam.org/news/90-percent-egyptian-women-undergo-female-genital-mutilation
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #201 on: July 30, 2012, 10:03:08 AM »

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-egypt-islam-20120729,0,3897778.story
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #202 on: August 09, 2012, 02:16:36 PM »



http://pjmedia.com/spengler/2012/08/08/saudis-to-muslim-brotherhood-drop-dead/?singlepage=true
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #203 on: September 14, 2012, 08:03:54 AM »

Moving BD's post to here:

http://thehill.com/homenews/house/249467-pelosi-well-see-whether-egypt-is-ally

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/14/world/middleeast/egypt-hearing-from-obama-moves-to-heal-rift-from-protests.html?_r=2&hp
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #204 on: September 14, 2012, 08:10:41 AM »

Fg POTH. tongue

“(Morsi/MB) evidently paralyzed by the conflicting pressure”

How does that match with this?

“The United States Embassy publicly mocked the Brotherhood for sending out conflicting messages in its English and Arabic Twitter accounts. “Egyptians rise up to support Muhammad in front of the American Embassy. Sept. 11,” read an Arabic language post the Brotherhood sent out on the day of the attacks — one of several over the last few days emphasizing outrage at the video or calls for its censorship."

Sounds to me like the MB wasn't paralyzed at all.  This is no different than what happened to the Isreali embassy.  Note that there that the "convicted" were sentenced to , , , suspended sentences.  Why wouldn't the MB figure it would play the same way here?


“Scholars say the furor here reflects different traditions when it comes to religious rights and freedoms. Where Americans prize individual choice, Egyptians put a greater emphasis on the rights of communities, families and religious groups.”

It is utter excrement like this that leads me to call the NYT a pravda.   Maybe the reporter should take a look at what is happening to the Coptic Christians.  tongue angry

BTW, as has been noted on various occasions in this thread, Egypt will starve in very short order but for the infusion of American money. 
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bigdog
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« Reply #205 on: September 14, 2012, 08:20:30 AM »


Sorry for missing the right threads twice this AM. I try!

And I KNEW you'd "love" the NYT article!
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #206 on: September 14, 2012, 08:24:21 AM »

No worries BD, it is not always an obvious call.

And right you were about my response to Pravda on the Hudson  evil
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #207 on: September 26, 2012, 09:13:22 AM »



Alarm Raised Over Egypt Constitution .
By MATT BRADLEY

CAIRO—The troubled process of drafting Egypt's postrevolutionary constitution has turned rancorous, as secular-minded politicians and intellectuals forcefully object to what they call hard-line Islamists' efforts to use the document to impose Islamic law.

Several liberal politicians called this week for their counterparts on the 100-seat constituent assembly, the body tasked with framing Egypt's new constitution, to resign from their posts. Conservatives on the body are attempting to impose Shariah law and limit freedoms of expression in media and art, to the liberal framers' objections, these politicians allege. An outspoken liberal member of the assembly quit Monday.

The conflict threatens to drag out the final leg of Egypt's fraught transition to a stable democracy, and erode the assembly's already shaky authority to design the blueprint of Egypt's political future.

Assembly leaders have said they plan to finish the document within the next few weeks, after which it will be put to a national referendum. Egypt's new Muslim Brotherhood-backed president, Mohammed Morsi, has pledged to call new parliamentary elections within 60 days of the document's approval.

But discourse within the assembly sessions has grown hostile within the past two weeks, members say. Draft articles have endowed the government with broad powers to police freedom of speech, including the powers to shut down newspapers on political grounds, according to local media reports of participants' accounts from the closed assembly sessions, which were confirmed by people involved in the process.

Unlike in earlier sessions, in which the more pragmatic Muslim Brotherhood played a mediating role between liberals and Salafi Islamists, the Brotherhood members have become abruptly neutral, some members say.

"The situation is uncomfortable," said Ahmed Maher, the leader of the 6th of April Youth Movement, an activist group that was central to the uprising that ousted former President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011. Mr. Maher said he and several other secular-leaning members are considering quitting the assemblyover the disagreements with the Salafi members.

A different resolution to the impasse may loom. An administrative court will decide Oct. 2 whether to dissolve the assembly on the grounds that it was nominated by a Parliament that itself was later dissolved as unconstitutional.

The Islamists' increasing confidence may be a vestige of outrage over an American-made film clip that many Muslims say insults the Prophet Muhammad, said Noah Feldman, a professor of law at Harvard University and an expert on Islamic jurisprudence.

Protesters angered by the clips stormed the U.S. Embassy grounds in Cairo two weeks ago, forcing the Brotherhood-backed presidency to accommodate public outrage while demonstrating a strong defense of Islam. That same dynamic may now be playing out in Egypt's constituent assembly, Mr. Feldman said. "It's not a good time to press for a freedom of speech clause," he said.   

Brotherhood members of the assembly couldn't be reached to comment on Tuesday.

None of the committee members cited the Internet film clips as a reason for the shift in tone. Emad Abdel Ghaffour, the head of the Salafi Nour Party and a member of the assembly, said the differences between liberals and Islamists were "personal" rather than political. He declined to elaborate.

The original assembly was dissolved in May after a court deemed its makeup unconstitutional. Lawmakers then fought for weeks to divide seats in a new assembly evenly among liberals and Islamists.

Six secular-leaning political parties quit the assembly in June, saying the committee lacked representation from women and Christians. The Islamists' greater ideological unity also appears to have given them a stronger hand.

Critics of the assembly say Islamist members have reversed their previous commitments to hew to a set of guidelines drafted last year by religious scholars at the Cairo-based Al Azhar University, the seat of Sunni Islam and one of the oldest religious institutions in the world. Many also object to the Salafis' insistence that Shariah law take a more prominent role in drafting legislation. The constitution drafted by Egypt's former regime contained vague language that only alluded to "principles" of Shariah law as the "source" of legislation.

The draft articles cited in the local press have already violated Al Azhar's proposed safeguards over freedoms of religion, expression, artistic creation and scientific research, said Mohammed Salmawy, a leader in the National Committee for the Defense of Freedom of Expression, a group of prominent liberal intellectuals and politicians that called Monday for a united stand against Islamist proposals to limit free speech.

Mr. Salmawy's group complained that Islamist committee members struck language from a draft constitution that said "literary and artistic creativity are the cultural right of every citizen."

The proposals "are really shocking in many ways," Mr. Salmawy said. "They are even more backward than what was there during Mubarak's time."

Three secular-minded former presidential candidates were scheduled to meet Tuesday night to discuss organizing protests against the assembly.

Write to Matt Bradley at matt.bradley@dowjones.com
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« Reply #208 on: September 26, 2012, 11:03:12 AM »

Several liberal politicians called this week for their counterparts on the 100-seat constituent assembly, the body tasked with framing Egypt's new constitution, to resign from their posts. Conservatives on the body are attempting to impose Shariah law and limit freedoms of expression in media and art, to the liberal framers' objections, these politicians allege.

Hey, it's JDN's triumph of democracy. Good thing that Muslim Brotherhood is a mostly secular organization....
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #209 on: September 29, 2012, 06:07:52 PM »

WND is a site which sometimes hyperventilates, but the gist of this seems on the mark to me.
==================================


http://www.wnd.com/2012/09/egypts-copts-hostage-to-muslim-brotherhood-threats/?cat_orig=world
Coptic Christians were warned it they protested against Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi during his visit to the U.S., they would suffer, reports from Egypt said.
 
The speech is over, but the retaliation is happening anyway. Egyptian human rights activist and journalist Wagih Yacoub says protests or not, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt is acting on those threats.
 
“We’ve seen it today. People are going to the Sinai, shooting at Christian’s shops. They’re telling the people to leave their homes,” Yacoub said. “It’s especially because they are Christians.”
 
“The Muslim Brotherhood people are going there to the Sinai and declaring that it is an Islamic state,” Yacoub said.
 
Yacoub says reports of the threats were real.

“Morsi sent one of his representatives to threaten the church. The representatives told the Copts that there would be retaliation if there were protests against Mosi.  The Coptic Church issued a statement today urging the government to secure the Coptic churches and to stop the violence, but the government is doing nothing.  The Copts are being evicted from Rafa in Sinai and have been evicted from Basshur, and the government has done nothing at all.  There is no security; they’re not doing anything.  Morsi is the executive, he has the control of the government after he took over the military, and he has the power in his hands. The government is now mostly run by the Muslim Brotherhood,” Yacoub said. “He is worse than Mubarak and this is part of the plan of the Muslim Brotherhood.”
 
Middle East Forum research fellow Raymond Ibrahim agrees with the reports of the threats. He says the threats indeed came from the president’s office.
 
“This is the case. The threats are real; after all, they are being made by the moderate Islamist president himself and his cabinet – not the every-day radical on the streets.  Morsi especially made his position clear when a few weeks ago, and contrary to his election-time promises to Copts, he hired only one Copt – a woman – to his new cabinet, even though Copts argue that four representatives would be a more appropriate number considering the size of the Christian population, which according to the Coptic church is 14 percent.  The Muslim Brotherhood are masters at manipulating time, that is, implementing their vision incrementally,” Ibrahim said.
 
An Egyptian citizen living in Cairo, who asked not to be named for security reasons confirmed, Ibrahim and Yacoub’s reports.
 
“The newly elected Egyptian Islamist President Morsi, a member of the radical Muslim Brotherhood, has directly threatened the Coptic Church in Egypt to prevent U.S. Copts going out to protest against him in New York during his U.N. visit.  Human rights activist Magdi Khalil, director of Middle East Forum for Liberties, revealed the threats made by Morsi.  Threats were exposed against the Egyptian church on the personal Facebook page of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.  It was made in clear, unambigious terms the president would take retaliatory measures against the church if U.S. Copts participate in any demonstrations against him, or during his speech. Magdi Khalil described the threat as cheap blackmail and appealed to the masses of the Copts abroad not to succumb to this threat and blackmail.  Morsi’s Facebook also said several Muslim organizations, in partnership with the Egyptian Embassy in America, plan to organize pro-Brotherhood demonstrations to welcome the Egyptian President and chant for him as though he came on the wings of the Egyptian revolution to implement their demands,” the Cairo resident said.

The requests for a show of support for Morsi materialized. Morsi’s Facebook page has a photo of a pro-Morsi demonstration. The written entry is translated as, “Lift your head up boss, Marina.”
 
Yacoub says he expects the expulsions of Copts from their towns to continue. Ibrahim agrees.
 
“If anything, expect worse to come,” Ibrahim said.

Former PLO terrorist turned peace activist Walid Shoebat puts it more bluntly.

“The Copts are toast,” Shoebat said.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #210 on: September 30, 2012, 02:07:31 PM »

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/us-house-blocks-obama-administrations-plan-to-send-450-million-to-egypt/
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #211 on: October 04, 2012, 04:04:18 PM »

Guest Column: Egypt's Christians - Distraught and Displaced
by Raymond Ibrahim
Special to IPT News
October 4, 2012
http://www.investigativeproject.org/3761/guest-column-egypt-christians-distraught

 
Reuters reported last week that "Most Christians living near Egypt's border with Israel [in the town of Rafah in Sinai] are fleeing their homes after Islamist militants made death threats and gunmen attacked a Coptic-owned shop." Photos of desecrated churches and Christian property show Arabic graffiti saying things like "don't come back" and "Islam is the truth."

All media reports describe the same sequence of events: 1) Christians were threatened with leaflets warning them to evacuate or die; 2) an armed attack with automatic rifles was made on a Christian-owned shop; 3) Christians abandoned everything and fled their homes.

Anyone following events in Egypt knows that these three points—threatening leaflets, attacks on Christian property, followed by the displacement of Christians—are happening throughout Egypt, and not just peripheral Sinai, even if the latter is the only area to make it to the Western mainstream media. Consider:

Genocidal Leaflets

On August 14, El Fegr reported that leaflets were distributed in areas with large Christian populations, including Upper Egypt, offering monetary rewards to Muslims who "kill or physically attack the enemies of the religion of Allah—the Christians in all of Egypt's provinces, the slaves of the Cross, Allah's curse upon them…"
As a testimony to just how safe the jihadis feel under Egypt's new Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi—who just freed a militant jihadi responsible for the burning of a church leaving several Christians dead—the leaflets named contact points and even a mosque where Muslims interested in learning more about killing Christians should rally "after Friday prayers where new members to the organization will be welcomed."

On the same day these leaflets were distributed, a separate report titled "The serial killing of Copts has begun in Asyut" noted that a Christian store-owner was randomly targeted and killed by Salafis.

Muslim Attacks on Christian Properties and Persons

For months, Arabic-Christian media have been reporting ongoing stories of Muslim "gangs" and "thugs" attacking Christian homes, abducting the residents, including women and children, and demanding ransom monies—not unlike what is happening to Christians in Iraq and Syria. In one particular case, the Muslim gang attacked the home of a Coptic man, "releasing several gunshots in the air, and threatening him either to pay or die." The gang "picked this specific village because Copts form 80% of its inhabitants." Such reports often conclude with an all too familiar postscript: Christians calling police for help and filing complaints, all in vain.
A Coptic Solidarity report from August 20 titled "Copts in Upper Egypt Attacked, Beat, Plundered," tells of just that—how Christians are being beat, their businesses set on fire, and their properties plundered (see also here and here for similar reports). Likewise, according to Al Moheet, a new human rights report indicates that, in Nag Hammadi alone, there are dozens of cases of Muslim gangs abducting Christian Copts and holding them for ransom. Concerning these, the Coptic Church is daily asking for justice and receiving none.

Christian Displacements

The exodus of Copts from their homes also has become an ongoing crisis, so much so that a recent statement by the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt lamented the "repeated incidents of displacement of Copts from their homes, whether by force or threat." The statement also made clear that what happened in Sinai is no aberration: "Displacements began in Ameriya, then they stretched to Dahshur, and today terror and threats have reached the hearts and souls of our Coptic children in Rafah [Sinai]."

Indeed, back in February, a mob of over 3,000 Muslims attacked and displaced Christians in the region of Ameriya, due to unsubstantiated rumors that a Christian man was involved with a Muslim woman. Christian homes and shops were looted and then torched; "terrorized" women and children who lost their homes stood in the streets with no place to go. As usual, it took the army an hour to drive 2 kilometers to the village, and none of the perpetrators were arrested. Later, a Muslim Council permanently evicted eight Christian families and confiscated their property, even as "Muslims insisted that the whole Coptic population of 62 families must be deported."
A few weeks ago in Dahshur, after a Christian laundry worker accidently burned the shirt of a Muslim man, the customer came with a Muslim mob to attack the Copt at home. As the Christian defended his household, a Muslim was killed. Accordingly, thousands of Muslims terrorized the area, causing 120 Christian families to flee. One elderly Coptic woman returned home from the bakery to find the area deserted of Christians. Rioting Muslims looted Christian businesses and homes. Family members of the deceased Muslim insist that the Christians must still pay with their lives.

The same time the media reported about the displacement of Christians from Rafah, a quarrel between two school girls—a Christian and a Muslim—ended when several "heavily-armed" Muslims stormed the home of the Christian girl, causing her family and three other Christian families to flee the village. When the father returned, he found that all his saved money and possessions had been plundered. When he asked police for help, the officer replied, "I can't do anything for you, reconcile with them and end the problem."
-----
Indeed, this has been the same attitude of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood led government: in all of the above cases, the government looked the other way, or, when called on it, denied reality. Thus the Coptic Holy Synod made it a point to assert in its statement that "nearly one month ago the media had published the violations against the Copts but the Egyptian authorities have not taken the necessary measures to protect the Egyptian families, who have the right to live safely in their homes." As for the Rafah incident—the only incident to reach the mainstream media—Prime Minister Hisham Qandil denied that Christians were forced to flee, saying "One or two [Christian] families chose to move to another place and they are totally free to do so like all Egyptian citizens."

Such governmental indifference is consistent with the fact that, despite promising greater representation for Egypt's Christians, President Morsi just broke his word by allowing only one Copt—a female—to represent the nation's 10-12 million Christians in the newly formed cabinet.

Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #212 on: October 04, 2012, 04:57:44 PM »

second post
http://www.radicalislam.org/analysis/six-things-450-million-aid-egypt-will-pay

Six Things the $450 Million Aid to Egypt Will Pay For
Tue, October 2, 2012
by: Ryan Mauro

 
Attack on US Embassy in Egypt (Photo: Reuters)The U.S. government is about to add $450 million to its $16 trillion debt for the sake of Muslim Brotherhood-run Egypt.
 

According to the New York Times, the emergency cash transfer is part of a $1 billion aid package pledged in May. The original plan was to provide $190 million as soon as possible, but the declining economic conditions of Egypt convinced the Obama Administration to more than double that amount.  Another $260 million will be delivered once Egypt secures a $4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund.
 
And it doesn’t stop there. The Times reports:
 
“In addition to the $1 billion in assistance, the administration is working with Egypt to provide $375 million in financing and loan guarantees for American financiers who invest in Egypt and a $60 million investment fund for Egyptian businesses. All of that comes on top of $1.3 billion in military aid that the United States provides Egypt each year (emphasis mine).”
 
Here are six things that American taxpayers’ money will pay for once it arrives in Egypt:
 
1. The Unraveling of the Peace Treaty With Israel.
 
The pledge by Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi to honor the peace treaty with Israel means nothing. The Brotherhood’s line has always been that Israel is the one violating, and therefore nullifying, the treaty.
 
After a meeting with Secretary of State Clinton, the Egyptian Foreign Minister said, “Mr. President [Morsi] has repeatedly reaffirmed, on all occasions, that Egypt continues to respect all treaties signed as long as the other party to the treaty respects the treaty itself.”
 
He then implied that Israel was in violation of the treaty. “…Egypt’s understanding of peace is that it should be comprehensive, exactly as stipulated in the treaty itself. And this also includes the Palestinians, of course, and its right to – their right have their own state on the land that was – the pre June 4, 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital.”
 
Secure America Now’s excellent new pamphlet about Morsi quotes him as saying on April 24, 2004 hat a parliamentary committee is needed “to draft a popular political program to restructure Egyptian-American relations and set a timetable to dispose the so-called peace agreement with the Zionist entity.”
 
There is no reason to believe that his opinion has changed, especially when the Brotherhood openly states its objective as the destruction of Israel. The Brotherhood Supreme Guide, Mohammed Badie, said on June 14 that Muslims are required to perform “jihad of self and money” for the sake of “imposing Muslim rule throughout beloved Palestine.”
 
2. Supporting Hamas.
 
The charter of the Hamas terrorist group states it is “one of the wings of the Muslim Brothers in Palestine.” In December 2011, Hamas even changed its name to “The Islamic Resistance Movement—a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood-Palestine.” The Brotherhood has never condemned Hamas. On the contrary, it has endorsed the terrorist group at every turn and preached to the Muslim world that it is the “resistance” to Israel.
 
In June 2007, Morsi said, “Muslim Brotherhood support of Hamas is a support of the Palestinian resistance.” In 2011, he told CNN, “We do not use violence against anyone. What’s going on [in] the Palestinian land is resistance.”
 
At one of Morsi’s campaign stops, a musician performed a song with lyrics that included “brandish your weapons, say your prayers” and “Come on, you lovers of martyrdom, banish the sleep from the eyes of all Jews. Come on, you lovers of martyrdom, you are all Hamas. Indeed, all the lovers of martyrdom are Hamas.”
 
Hamas, with good reason, believes Egypt will end cooperation with Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip. Hamas chief Khaled Meshal praised the “new era” in the Egyptian-Palestinian relationship after he met with Morsi in June. The next month, Morsi told Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh that “Egypt and Palestine are one entity.”
 
3.  Sharia Law.
 
Don’t be fooled by the Brotherhood’s adoption of popular terms like “democracy.” Its senior cleric, Sheikh Yousef Qaradawi, explains that their version of “democracy” is different than that in the West. To them, democracy means the level of freedom permitted within the confines of Sharia Law.
 
Consider the Muslim Brotherhood’s official motto: “Allah is our objective/The Prophet is our leader/The Quran is our law/Jihad is our way/Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.”
 
On April 21, Morsi pledged his commitment to “instituting the religion of Allah” because “every aspect of life is to be Islamicized.” He even promised the radical Salafists, who are even more radical than the Brotherhood, that he’d appoint a clerical council to review all legislation to make it is in compliance with Islam as they see it. Of the 27 members of the National Council for Human Rights, 9 are Islamists, including two Salafists and the Secretary-General of the Brotherhood.
 
On May 13, Morsi recited the Brotherhood pledge to an adoring audience.
 
“The Sharia, then the Sharia and finally, the Sharia…I take an oath before Allah and before you all that regardless of the actual text [of the constitution]…Allah willing, the text will truly reflect [Sharia], as will be agreed upon by the Egyptian people, by the Islamic scholars, and by legal and constitutional experts,” he said.
 
Morsi’s government has arrested a Coptic Christian for allegedly posting the anti-Islam “Innocence of Muslims” film online. Another was sentenced to six years in prison for posting cartoons of Mohammed on Facebook. This is only the beginning. The Brotherhood follows a doctrine of "gradualism" where Sharia Law is implemented in stages. For example, Sheikh Qaradawi advised Egypt to wait five years before cutting off the hands of robbers.
 
On September 30, a Brotherhood preacher named Wagdy Ghoneim (who used to be an imam in California until he was arrested in 2004) called for prosecution secularists for apostasy. “If anyone tells you that he is a liberal, tell him directly that he is an infidel,” he said.
 
4. Anti-Semitism and Anti-Americanism
 
The Brotherhood views the U.S. and Israel essentially as one unit. To them, the U.S. is secretly controlled by the anti-Muslim Zionists. In July 2004, Morsi talked about the “crisis of the Zionist and American enemy.” In 2010, Brotherhood Supreme Guide Badi preached that “resistance is the only solution against the Zio-American arrogance and tyranny.” The context of the statement clearly referred to violent jihad. He opined, “The U.S. is now experiencing the beginning of its end, and is heading towards its demise.”
 
Morsi has insinuated that the 9/11 attacks were an “inside job” on numerous occasions, claiming in 2007 that the U.S. “never presented any evidences on the identity of those who committed that incident.” This conspiracy theory almost invariably holds that “Zionist” elements within the U.S. government collaborated with Israel to carry them out.
 
The Muslim Brotherhood’s former Supreme Guide, Mohammed Akef, came to Ahmadinejad's defense in 2005 about “the myth of the Holocaust.” Strangely, Ahmadinejad caused a furor in the U.S. and around the world when he said the 9/11 attacks were an “inside job” and denied the Holocaust but not a word is said when the Brotherhood says the exact same things.
 
The Brotherhood’s anti-Semitism is just as vulgar as anything that has come from Ahmadinejad’s mouth. In November 2004, Morsi said the “Quran established that the Jews are the ones with the highest degree of enmity towards Muslims” and “there is no peace with the descendants of the apes and pigs.” In July 2007, he talked about the “way to free the land from the filth of the Jews.”
 
The charter of Hamas is explicit in its anti-Semitism, quoting an Islamic verse that reads, “The time will not come until Muslims fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind the rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!”
 
5. Building the Caliphate
 
This isn’t an exaggeration. The Brotherhood and its allies won the elections in Egypt, Tunisia and Somalia. Hamas controls the Gaza Strip. In Yemen, the Brotherhood’s Islah affiliate is the strongest party as the country undergoes a transition. The Brotherhood is a major force behind the rebels in Syria and the Brotherhood is gearing up to destabilize Jordan. The Sudanese regime says it is instituting full-blown Sharia Law and if it doesn’t, the Muslim Brotherhood’s affiliate may overthrow it. The Brotherhood suffered a major setback in Libya’s elections, but it remains a potent force in that country.
 
Resurrecting the Caliphate sounds like a fantasy but the Brotherhood is certain that it is destiny and, if you look around the region, it’s easy to see why they are confident that it will happen soon. At one of Morsi’s campaign rallies, a cleric proclaimed, “We are seeing the dream of the Islamic Caliphate come true at the hands of Mohammed Morsi” and “the capital of the Caliphate and the United Arab States is Jerusalem.” Morsi nodded.
 
6. Keeping the Brotherhood in Power
 
If American money helps the Egyptian economy succeed, it helps the Brotherhood succeed. It’s as simple as that. If Morsi succeeds in improving the economy, even if it’s because of international assistance, he gets the credit.
 
At the same time, Morsi is doing whatever he can to preserve the Brotherhood’s hold on power. There was an argument to be made in favor of U.S. financial assistance when the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces were the real power-brokers and served as a check on the Brotherhood’s power. That is no longer the case. Morsi was able to depose the top leaders and replace them with Brotherhood supporters.
 
At the same time, Morsi is issuing administrative orders to shut down independent television stations. About 50 editors of state newspapers have been replaced with his allies. The state television is giving him positive coverage. The individual who was arrested for posting “Innocence of Muslims” online was also charged with insulting the President and a newspaper that criticized Morsi was confiscated, the best examples attacks on free speech you could ever ask for.
 
This is what Americans are paying $450 million for. And there’s no money-back guarantee if they are unsatisfied.
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« Reply #213 on: October 04, 2012, 08:54:50 PM »

Anyone think Buraq is unhappy with Egypt today? But he wore a kippa at AIPAC ........

second post
http://www.radicalislam.org/analysis/six-things-450-million-aid-egypt-will-pay

Six Things the $450 Million Aid to Egypt Will Pay For
Tue, October 2, 2012
by: Ryan Mauro

 
Attack on US Embassy in Egypt (Photo: Reuters)The U.S. government is about to add $450 million to its $16 trillion debt for the sake of Muslim Brotherhood-run Egypt.
 

According to the New York Times, the emergency cash transfer is part of a $1 billion aid package pledged in May. The original plan was to provide $190 million as soon as possible, but the declining economic conditions of Egypt convinced the Obama Administration to more than double that amount.  Another $260 million will be delivered once Egypt secures a $4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund.
 
And it doesn’t stop there. The Times reports:
 
“In addition to the $1 billion in assistance, the administration is working with Egypt to provide $375 million in financing and loan guarantees for American financiers who invest in Egypt and a $60 million investment fund for Egyptian businesses. All of that comes on top of $1.3 billion in military aid that the United States provides Egypt each year (emphasis mine).”
 
Here are six things that American taxpayers’ money will pay for once it arrives in Egypt:
 
1. The Unraveling of the Peace Treaty With Israel.
 
The pledge by Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi to honor the peace treaty with Israel means nothing. The Brotherhood’s line has always been that Israel is the one violating, and therefore nullifying, the treaty.
 
After a meeting with Secretary of State Clinton, the Egyptian Foreign Minister said, “Mr. President [Morsi] has repeatedly reaffirmed, on all occasions, that Egypt continues to respect all treaties signed as long as the other party to the treaty respects the treaty itself.”
 
He then implied that Israel was in violation of the treaty. “…Egypt’s understanding of peace is that it should be comprehensive, exactly as stipulated in the treaty itself. And this also includes the Palestinians, of course, and its right to – their right have their own state on the land that was – the pre June 4, 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital.”
 
Secure America Now’s excellent new pamphlet about Morsi quotes him as saying on April 24, 2004 hat a parliamentary committee is needed “to draft a popular political program to restructure Egyptian-American relations and set a timetable to dispose the so-called peace agreement with the Zionist entity.”
 
There is no reason to believe that his opinion has changed, especially when the Brotherhood openly states its objective as the destruction of Israel. The Brotherhood Supreme Guide, Mohammed Badie, said on June 14 that Muslims are required to perform “jihad of self and money” for the sake of “imposing Muslim rule throughout beloved Palestine.”
 
2. Supporting Hamas.
 
The charter of the Hamas terrorist group states it is “one of the wings of the Muslim Brothers in Palestine.” In December 2011, Hamas even changed its name to “The Islamic Resistance Movement—a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood-Palestine.” The Brotherhood has never condemned Hamas. On the contrary, it has endorsed the terrorist group at every turn and preached to the Muslim world that it is the “resistance” to Israel.
 
In June 2007, Morsi said, “Muslim Brotherhood support of Hamas is a support of the Palestinian resistance.” In 2011, he told CNN, “We do not use violence against anyone. What’s going on [in] the Palestinian land is resistance.”
 
At one of Morsi’s campaign stops, a musician performed a song with lyrics that included “brandish your weapons, say your prayers” and “Come on, you lovers of martyrdom, banish the sleep from the eyes of all Jews. Come on, you lovers of martyrdom, you are all Hamas. Indeed, all the lovers of martyrdom are Hamas.”
 
Hamas, with good reason, believes Egypt will end cooperation with Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip. Hamas chief Khaled Meshal praised the “new era” in the Egyptian-Palestinian relationship after he met with Morsi in June. The next month, Morsi told Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh that “Egypt and Palestine are one entity.”
 
3.  Sharia Law.
 
Don’t be fooled by the Brotherhood’s adoption of popular terms like “democracy.” Its senior cleric, Sheikh Yousef Qaradawi, explains that their version of “democracy” is different than that in the West. To them, democracy means the level of freedom permitted within the confines of Sharia Law.
 
Consider the Muslim Brotherhood’s official motto: “Allah is our objective/The Prophet is our leader/The Quran is our law/Jihad is our way/Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.”
 
On April 21, Morsi pledged his commitment to “instituting the religion of Allah” because “every aspect of life is to be Islamicized.” He even promised the radical Salafists, who are even more radical than the Brotherhood, that he’d appoint a clerical council to review all legislation to make it is in compliance with Islam as they see it. Of the 27 members of the National Council for Human Rights, 9 are Islamists, including two Salafists and the Secretary-General of the Brotherhood.
 
On May 13, Morsi recited the Brotherhood pledge to an adoring audience.
 
“The Sharia, then the Sharia and finally, the Sharia…I take an oath before Allah and before you all that regardless of the actual text [of the constitution]…Allah willing, the text will truly reflect [Sharia], as will be agreed upon by the Egyptian people, by the Islamic scholars, and by legal and constitutional experts,” he said.
 
Morsi’s government has arrested a Coptic Christian for allegedly posting the anti-Islam “Innocence of Muslims” film online. Another was sentenced to six years in prison for posting cartoons of Mohammed on Facebook. This is only the beginning. The Brotherhood follows a doctrine of "gradualism" where Sharia Law is implemented in stages. For example, Sheikh Qaradawi advised Egypt to wait five years before cutting off the hands of robbers.
 
On September 30, a Brotherhood preacher named Wagdy Ghoneim (who used to be an imam in California until he was arrested in 2004) called for prosecution secularists for apostasy. “If anyone tells you that he is a liberal, tell him directly that he is an infidel,” he said.
 
4. Anti-Semitism and Anti-Americanism
 
The Brotherhood views the U.S. and Israel essentially as one unit. To them, the U.S. is secretly controlled by the anti-Muslim Zionists. In July 2004, Morsi talked about the “crisis of the Zionist and American enemy.” In 2010, Brotherhood Supreme Guide Badi preached that “resistance is the only solution against the Zio-American arrogance and tyranny.” The context of the statement clearly referred to violent jihad. He opined, “The U.S. is now experiencing the beginning of its end, and is heading towards its demise.”
 
Morsi has insinuated that the 9/11 attacks were an “inside job” on numerous occasions, claiming in 2007 that the U.S. “never presented any evidences on the identity of those who committed that incident.” This conspiracy theory almost invariably holds that “Zionist” elements within the U.S. government collaborated with Israel to carry them out.
 
The Muslim Brotherhood’s former Supreme Guide, Mohammed Akef, came to Ahmadinejad's defense in 2005 about “the myth of the Holocaust.” Strangely, Ahmadinejad caused a furor in the U.S. and around the world when he said the 9/11 attacks were an “inside job” and denied the Holocaust but not a word is said when the Brotherhood says the exact same things.
 
The Brotherhood’s anti-Semitism is just as vulgar as anything that has come from Ahmadinejad’s mouth. In November 2004, Morsi said the “Quran established that the Jews are the ones with the highest degree of enmity towards Muslims” and “there is no peace with the descendants of the apes and pigs.” In July 2007, he talked about the “way to free the land from the filth of the Jews.”
 
The charter of Hamas is explicit in its anti-Semitism, quoting an Islamic verse that reads, “The time will not come until Muslims fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind the rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!”
 
5. Building the Caliphate
 
This isn’t an exaggeration. The Brotherhood and its allies won the elections in Egypt, Tunisia and Somalia. Hamas controls the Gaza Strip. In Yemen, the Brotherhood’s Islah affiliate is the strongest party as the country undergoes a transition. The Brotherhood is a major force behind the rebels in Syria and the Brotherhood is gearing up to destabilize Jordan. The Sudanese regime says it is instituting full-blown Sharia Law and if it doesn’t, the Muslim Brotherhood’s affiliate may overthrow it. The Brotherhood suffered a major setback in Libya’s elections, but it remains a potent force in that country.
 
Resurrecting the Caliphate sounds like a fantasy but the Brotherhood is certain that it is destiny and, if you look around the region, it’s easy to see why they are confident that it will happen soon. At one of Morsi’s campaign rallies, a cleric proclaimed, “We are seeing the dream of the Islamic Caliphate come true at the hands of Mohammed Morsi” and “the capital of the Caliphate and the United Arab States is Jerusalem.” Morsi nodded.
 
6. Keeping the Brotherhood in Power
 
If American money helps the Egyptian economy succeed, it helps the Brotherhood succeed. It’s as simple as that. If Morsi succeeds in improving the economy, even if it’s because of international assistance, he gets the credit.
 
At the same time, Morsi is doing whatever he can to preserve the Brotherhood’s hold on power. There was an argument to be made in favor of U.S. financial assistance when the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces were the real power-brokers and served as a check on the Brotherhood’s power. That is no longer the case. Morsi was able to depose the top leaders and replace them with Brotherhood supporters.
 
At the same time, Morsi is issuing administrative orders to shut down independent television stations. About 50 editors of state newspapers have been replaced with his allies. The state television is giving him positive coverage. The individual who was arrested for posting “Innocence of Muslims” online was also charged with insulting the President and a newspaper that criticized Morsi was confiscated, the best examples attacks on free speech you could ever ask for.
 
This is what Americans are paying $450 million for. And there’s no money-back guarantee if they are unsatisfied.

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« Reply #214 on: October 12, 2012, 02:51:25 PM »

The Christian Exodus From Egypt
For Copts, a persecuting dictator was preferable to the Islamist mob..
By SAMUEL TADROS

Visit any Coptic church in the United States and you immediately recognize the newcomers. You see it in their eyes, hear it in their broken English, sense it in how they cling to the church in search of the familiar. They have come here escaping a place they used to call home, where their ancestors had lived for centuries.

Waves of Copts have come here from Egypt before, to escape Gamal Abdel Nasser's nationalizations or the growing Islamist tide. Their country's transformation wasn't sudden, but every year brought more public Islamization. As the veil spread, Coptic women felt increasingly different, alien and marked. Verbal abuse came from schoolteachers, bystanders in the bus station who noticed the cross on a wrist, or commentators on state television.

But life was generally bearable. Hosni Mubarak crushed the Islamist insurgency of the 1980s and '90s. He was no friend to the Copts, but neither was he foe. His police often turned a blind eye when Coptic homes and shops were attacked by mobs, and the courts never punished the perpetrators—but the president wasn't an Islamist. He even interfered sometimes to give permission to build a church, or to make Christmas a national holiday.

To be sure, Copts were excluded from high government positions. There were no Coptic governors, intelligence officers, deans of schools, or CEOs of government companies. Until 2005, Copts needed presidential approval to build a new church or even build a bathroom in an existing one. Even with approval, state security often blocked construction, citing security concerns.

Those concerns were often real. Mobs could mobilize against Copts with the slightest incitement—rumor of a romantic relationship between a Christian man and a Muslim woman, a church being built, reports of a Christian having insulted Islam. The details varied but the results didn't: homes burned, shops destroyed, Christians leaving villages, sometimes dead bodies. The police would arrive late and force a reconciliation session between perpetrators and victims during which everything would be forgiven and no one punished. What pained the Copts most was that the attackers were neighbors, co-workers and childhood friends.

Then came last year's revolution. Copts were never enthusiastic about it, perhaps because centuries of persecution taught that the persecuting dictator was preferable to the mob. He could be bought off, persuaded to hold back or pressured by outside forces. With the mob you stood no chance. Some younger Copts were lured by the promise of a liberal Egypt, but the older generation knew better.

The collapse of the police liberated the Islamists, who quickly dominated national politics but were even more powerful in the streets and villages. This is where the "Islamization of life" (as Muslim Brotherhood leader Khairat Al Shater called for) was becoming a reality.

The Muslim Brotherhood aimed to assuage Coptic fears while speaking in English to American audiences. The reality was different. When Coptic homes and shops were looted in a village near Alexandria in January, Brotherhood parliamentarians and Salafis organized a reconciliation session that didn't punish the attackers but ordered the Copts to evacuate the village.

Soon after, the Brotherhood's Sayed Askar denied that Copts face any problems in building churches, saying they have more churches than they need. Elections featured accusations that Copts backed the old regime. When attempts to build a non-Islamist coalition were led by businessman Naguib Sawiris, a Copt, the Brotherhood's website accused him and his co-religionists of treason.

Westerners may debate how moderate Egypt's Islamists are, but for Copts the questioning is futile. Their options are limited. While Copts are the largest Christian community in the Middle East, they're too small to play a role in deciding the fate of the country. They are not geographically concentrated in one area that could become a safe zone. The only option is to leave, putting an end to 2,000 years of Christianity in Egypt.

The sad truth is that not all will be able to flee. Those with money, English skills and the like will get out. Their poorer brethren will be left behind.

What can be done to save them? Egypt receives $1.5 billion in U.S. aid each year, and Washington has various means to make Egypt's new leaders listen. Islamist attempts to enshrine second-class status for Copts in Egypt's new constitution should be stopped. Outsiders should also keep an eye on Muslim Brotherhood politicians who are planning to take control of Coptic Church finances. At a minimum, donors should demand that attacks on Copts be met with punishment as well as condemnation.

Yet looking at the faces of the new immigrants in my Fairfax, Va., church, I cannot escape the feeling that it is too late. Perhaps the fate of the Copts was sealed long ago, in the middle of the last century, when the Jews were kicked out of Egypt. In the late 1940s, Brotherhood demonstrators chanted, in reference to the sabbath days of Jews and others: "Today is Saturday, tomorrow will be Sunday, oh Christians." And so it is.

Mr. Tadros is a research fellow at the Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom. He is currently writing a book about the Copts for the Hoover Institution.
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« Reply #215 on: October 12, 2012, 04:34:21 PM »

Wow. Who could have seen this coming?

The Christian Exodus From Egypt
For Copts, a persecuting dictator was preferable to the Islamist mob..
By SAMUEL TADROS

Visit any Coptic church in the United States and you immediately recognize the newcomers. You see it in their eyes, hear it in their broken English, sense it in how they cling to the church in search of the familiar. They have come here escaping a place they used to call home, where their ancestors had lived for centuries.

Waves of Copts have come here from Egypt before, to escape Gamal Abdel Nasser's nationalizations or the growing Islamist tide. Their country's transformation wasn't sudden, but every year brought more public Islamization. As the veil spread, Coptic women felt increasingly different, alien and marked. Verbal abuse came from schoolteachers, bystanders in the bus station who noticed the cross on a wrist, or commentators on state television.

But life was generally bearable. Hosni Mubarak crushed the Islamist insurgency of the 1980s and '90s. He was no friend to the Copts, but neither was he foe. His police often turned a blind eye when Coptic homes and shops were attacked by mobs, and the courts never punished the perpetrators—but the president wasn't an Islamist. He even interfered sometimes to give permission to build a church, or to make Christmas a national holiday.

To be sure, Copts were excluded from high government positions. There were no Coptic governors, intelligence officers, deans of schools, or CEOs of government companies. Until 2005, Copts needed presidential approval to build a new church or even build a bathroom in an existing one. Even with approval, state security often blocked construction, citing security concerns.

Those concerns were often real. Mobs could mobilize against Copts with the slightest incitement—rumor of a romantic relationship between a Christian man and a Muslim woman, a church being built, reports of a Christian having insulted Islam. The details varied but the results didn't: homes burned, shops destroyed, Christians leaving villages, sometimes dead bodies. The police would arrive late and force a reconciliation session between perpetrators and victims during which everything would be forgiven and no one punished. What pained the Copts most was that the attackers were neighbors, co-workers and childhood friends.

Then came last year's revolution. Copts were never enthusiastic about it, perhaps because centuries of persecution taught that the persecuting dictator was preferable to the mob. He could be bought off, persuaded to hold back or pressured by outside forces. With the mob you stood no chance. Some younger Copts were lured by the promise of a liberal Egypt, but the older generation knew better.

The collapse of the police liberated the Islamists, who quickly dominated national politics but were even more powerful in the streets and villages. This is where the "Islamization of life" (as Muslim Brotherhood leader Khairat Al Shater called for) was becoming a reality.

The Muslim Brotherhood aimed to assuage Coptic fears while speaking in English to American audiences. The reality was different. When Coptic homes and shops were looted in a village near Alexandria in January, Brotherhood parliamentarians and Salafis organized a reconciliation session that didn't punish the attackers but ordered the Copts to evacuate the village.

Soon after, the Brotherhood's Sayed Askar denied that Copts face any problems in building churches, saying they have more churches than they need. Elections featured accusations that Copts backed the old regime. When attempts to build a non-Islamist coalition were led by businessman Naguib Sawiris, a Copt, the Brotherhood's website accused him and his co-religionists of treason.

Westerners may debate how moderate Egypt's Islamists are, but for Copts the questioning is futile. Their options are limited. While Copts are the largest Christian community in the Middle East, they're too small to play a role in deciding the fate of the country. They are not geographically concentrated in one area that could become a safe zone. The only option is to leave, putting an end to 2,000 years of Christianity in Egypt.

The sad truth is that not all will be able to flee. Those with money, English skills and the like will get out. Their poorer brethren will be left behind.

What can be done to save them? Egypt receives $1.5 billion in U.S. aid each year, and Washington has various means to make Egypt's new leaders listen. Islamist attempts to enshrine second-class status for Copts in Egypt's new constitution should be stopped. Outsiders should also keep an eye on Muslim Brotherhood politicians who are planning to take control of Coptic Church finances. At a minimum, donors should demand that attacks on Copts be met with punishment as well as condemnation.

Yet looking at the faces of the new immigrants in my Fairfax, Va., church, I cannot escape the feeling that it is too late. Perhaps the fate of the Copts was sealed long ago, in the middle of the last century, when the Jews were kicked out of Egypt. In the late 1940s, Brotherhood demonstrators chanted, in reference to the sabbath days of Jews and others: "Today is Saturday, tomorrow will be Sunday, oh Christians." And so it is.

Mr. Tadros is a research fellow at the Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom. He is currently writing a book about the Copts for the Hoover Institution.

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« Reply #216 on: October 30, 2012, 04:30:43 PM »



http://www.timesofisrael.com/jewish-ownership-documents-confiscated-by-cairo-on-national-security-grounds/

Anyone care to flesh this out?!?
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« Reply #217 on: November 05, 2012, 08:28:57 AM »

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/05/world/middleeast/coptic-church-chooses-pope-who-rejects-politics.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20121105
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« Reply #218 on: November 06, 2012, 09:01:54 AM »


CAIRO — The young activists lingered on the streets around Tahrir Square, scrutinizing the crowds of holiday revelers. Suddenly, they charged, pushing people aside and chasing down a young man. As the captive thrashed to get away, the activists pounded his shoulders, flipped him around and spray-painted a message on his back: “I’m a harasser.”


Egypt’s streets have long been a perilous place for women, who are frequently heckled, grabbed, threatened and violated while the police look the other way. Now, during the country’s tumultuous transition from authoritarian rule, more and more groups are emerging to make protecting women — and shaming the do-nothing police — a cause.

“They’re now doing the undoable?” a police officer joked as he watched the vigilantes chase down the young man. The officer quickly went back to sipping his tea.

The attacks on women did not subside after the uprising. If anything, they became more visible as even the military was implicated in the assaults, stripping female protesters, threatening others with violence and subjecting activists to so-called virginity tests. During holidays, when Cairenes take to the streets to stroll and socialize, the attacks multiply.

But during the recent Id al-Adha holiday, some of the men were surprised to find they could no longer harass with impunity, a change brought about not just out of concern for women’s rights, but out of a frustration that the post-revolutionary government still, like the one before, was doing too little to protect its citizens.

At least three citizens groups patrolled busy sections of central Cairo during the holiday. The groups’ members, both men and women, shared the conviction that the authorities would not act against harassment unless the problem was forced into the public debate. They differed in their tactics: some activists criticized others for being too quick to resort to violence against suspects and encouraging vigilantism.  One group leader compared the activists to the Guardian Angels in the United States.

“The harasser doesn’t see anyone who will hold him accountable,” said Omar Talaat, 16, who joined one of the patrols.

The years of President Hosni Mubarak’s rule were marked by official apathy, collusion in the assaults on women, or empty responses to the attacks, including police roundups of teenagers at Internet cafes for looking at pornography.

“The police did not take harassment seriously,” said Madiha el-Safty, a sociology professor at the American University in Cairo. “People didn’t file complaints. It was always underreported.”

Mr. Mubarak’s wife, Suzanne, who portrayed herself as a champion of women’s rights, pretended the problem hardly existed. As reports of harassment grew in 2008, she said, “Egyptian men always respect Egyptian women.”

Egypt’s new president, Mohamed Morsi, has presided over two holidays, and many activists say there is no sign that the government is paying closer attention to the problem. But the work by the citizens groups may be having an effect: Last week, after the Id al-Adha holiday, Mr. Morsi’s spokesman announced that the government had received more than 1,000 reports of harassment, and said that the president had directed the Interior Ministry to investigate them.

“Egypt’s revolution cannot tolerate these abuses,” the spokesman quoted Mr. Morsi as saying.

Azza Soliman, the director of the Center for Egyptian Women’s Legal Assistance, dismissed the president’s words as “weak.” During the holiday, she said, one of her sons was beaten on the subway after he tried to stop a man who was groping two foreign women. The police tried to stop him from filing a complaint. “The whole world is talking about harassment in our country,” Ms. Soliman said. “The Interior Ministry takes no action.”

For years, anti-harassment activists have worked to highlight the problems in Egypt, but the uprising seemed to give the effort more energy and urgency.

==================================


Page 2 of 2)



 Over the holiday, the groups staked out different parts of Cairo’s downtown. One avoided any violence, forming human chains between women and their tormentors. The other group forcefully confronted men and boys it suspected of harassment, smacking around suspects before hauling them off to a police station.


One of that group’s founders, Sherine Badr el-Din, 30, started her work as an anti-harassment activist by asking men to get off the women-only cars on the Cairo subway, regarded as a safe zone. When they refused, she videotaped them and posted their pictures on the Internet, she said.

Last summer, one of the men attacked her. “I wanted to file a case, but the police officer refused, claiming they were only there to monitor the train schedules.” She said the group escalated its tactics out of frustration, after the police started releasing suspects the group had caught.

“Violence is not our method,” she said. “But the pressure was tremendous.”

Last week, as the group gathered near Tahrir Square, one member had what looked like a stun gun, and another shook a can of spray paint. Most participants were men, and some wore fluorescent green vests, with the words “combating harassment” written on the back.

They mused on the reasons for the frequency of the attacks on their sisters, mothers and friends, finding no sure answer in the blame often laid on poverty or religion, society’s indifference or the state’s contagious chauvinism.

They seemed more certain of the solution, as they plunged into the holiday crowds over several evenings. Some bystanders were supportive. But when violence broke out, there was less support. “I will tell the government on you,” one man screamed as the activists wrestled with a suspect.

Sometimes the patrol acted after seeing a woman being groped. At other times, it justified its attacks as preventive.

Two boys on a scooter hardly knew what hit them. One minute, they were driving along the Nile Corniche, saying something — maybe lewd, maybe not — to two girls strolling on the sidewalk. The next, they were being hauled off the scooter by the men in green vests. The melee that broke out afterward stopped traffic on one of downtown’s busiest roadways, before the police chased the patrol members off.

Afterward, Muhaab Selim, 23, a member of the group, could barely contain his anger. “Why do I have to wait until he touches them?” he yelled. “Why do people defend the harassers?”

By the end of the holidays, one of the group’s leaders, Muhammad Taimoor, 22, had been arrested after fighting with a suspect on the subway. Even so, he called the weekend a success. “We caught some harassers, sprayed them with paint and published their pictures everywhere,” Mr. Taimoor said. “The Interior Ministry wasn’t cooperating with us at all. They weren’t protecting women in the streets.”

While Mr. Taimoor and his colleagues were on patrol, another group, called Imprint, was in a nearby square. Nihal Saad Zaghloul, 27, an activist with the group, said its members stopped more than 30 men who were trying to harass women.

When the group believes someone is being harassed, some members form a wall between the attacker and the victim, while others take the woman to safety. “We don’t push back, and we don’t fight,” Ms. Zaghloul said. They ask police officers to be present, in case the woman wants to file a report.

Ms. Zaghloul, who became active after she and a friend were assaulted, was less critical of the patrol officers than some of the other activists. “They are understaffed, and at the same time, they are part of a society that always blames women, although they know it’s wrong.” She worried that the other group’s methods would alienate the public.

But she added, “No one understands their frustration better than me.”
 
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« Reply #219 on: November 23, 2012, 08:58:53 AM »

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/23/world/middleeast/egypts-president-morsi-gives-himself-new-powers.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20121123
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« Reply #220 on: November 28, 2012, 05:27:52 PM »

http://www.investigativeproject.org/3823/islamist-says-morsi-critics-could-be-killed
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« Reply #221 on: November 28, 2012, 07:41:42 PM »


Wait, I was told this was a "triumph of democracy".
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« Reply #222 on: November 29, 2012, 06:08:36 PM »

The Obama Administration's PR Campaign for Morsi and the MB
IPT News
November 29, 2012
http://www.investigativeproject.org/3827/obama-administration-oversells-morsi

 
The elected head of a nation made threatening statements toward Israel. His organization called for jihad and celebrated a bus bombing in Tel Aviv.
The United States then hailed Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi as a statesman and a moderate last week.

True, he did help bring about a cessation of Hamas rocket fire from Gaza. But in doing so, he wasn't trying to advance American objectives or the cause of peace.

Morsi knew avoiding a war in Gaza would help secure $1 billion in debt relief from the United States and an International Monetary Fund loan approaching $5 billion.
All of that makes the high praise Morsi received from the Obama administration unnecessary and counterproductive. And the administration's tepid response to Morsi's subsequent power grab – neutering his country's judiciary – fails to make clear whether there will be consequences if he maintains dictatorial power.

"Mr. Obama told aides he was impressed with the Egyptian leader's pragmatic confidence," The New York Times reported after the Gaza ceasefire Nov. 21. "He sensed an engineer's precision with surprisingly little ideology."

The president and his aides must not have been paying attention. Days earlier, Morsi stood in Cairo's al-Azhar mosque and offered unwavering support to Hamas and threatened Israel with violent retribution.
 
"Let everyone know that the size of Egypt and the capabilities of Egypt, and the people of Egypt have rage, and the leaders of Egypt are enraged at what is hitting Gaza," Morsi said. "The leaders of Egypt are enraged and are moving to prevent the aggression on the people of Palestine in Gaza."

"We in Egypt stand with Gaza," he said. "[W]e are with them in one trench, that he who hits them, hits us; that this blood which flows from their children, it, it is like the blood flowing from the bodies of our children and our sons, may this never happen."

During a Nov. 19 visit to Shifa Hospital in Gaza, Saad Katatni, chairman of Morsi's Freedom and Justice Party and speaker of Egypt's dissolved parliament, continued issuing violent threats of jihad against Israel, saying:

"We are with you in your jihad. We have come here to send a message from here to the Zionist entity, to the Zionist enemy. And we say to them, Egypt is no longer. Egypt is no longer after the revolution a strategic treasure for you. Egypt was and still is a strategic treasury for our brothers in Palestine; a strategic treasure for Gaza; a strategic treasure for all the oppressed."

The Obama administration has yet to criticize the pro-Hamas, pro-jihad rhetoric from Morsi, Katatni and their Brotherhood associates.

Throughout the conflict, the Muslim Brotherhood – where Morsi had been a senior member before seeking office earlier this year – issued a series of pro-Hamas statements and celebrations of attacks on Israel, the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) reports.

During a protest organized by the Brotherhood and its political arm in Al-Qalyubi, preacher Muhammad Ragab called on Muslims "to raise the banner of jihad against the tyrannical, invading and wicked sons of apes and pigs [i.e., the Jews], and to unite against the enemies of Allah."

"The MB thanked Allah for the death of Israelis killed by rockets, and called for jihad against Israel," the MEMRI report says. "The official MB Facebook page reported joyously on the deaths of Israelis. On November 15, 2012, the official MB Facebook page celebrated the death of three Israeli civilians killed by a rocket that hit a house in Kiryat Malakhi: 'Allah akbar and praise to god, three Zionists were killed and five others were injured in a blast at a three-story building in Kiryat Malakhi from resistance rockets.'"
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland ducked the issue of violent rhetoric from Morsi and the Brotherhood when a reporter raised it in a Nov. 16 press briefing.
"Well, I'm obviously not, from this podium, going to characterize the Egyptian view, nor am I going to speak for them and characterize our private diplomatic conversations," Nuland said. "We all agree on the need to de-escalate this conflict, and the question is for everybody to use their influence that they have to try to get there."

The Muslim Brotherhood's hostile rhetoric against Israel continued on Nov. 22 after the cease-fire was reached. Supreme Guide Dr. Mohamed Badie—considered by Middle East intelligence sources to be the real power broker behind Morsi— issued a statement describing jihad against the Jewish state as "a personal obligation for all Muslims."
"The cause of Palestine is of considerable importance. It is not a cause of power, nor of Palestinians, nor of the Arabs, but is the basic cause of life of every Muslim," Badie said. "For the sake of its return, every Muslim must wage jihad, sacrifice; and expend his money for the sake of restoring it.

"Palestine and Jerusalem is a holy Muslim land, part of the faith of the Muslim ummah," Badie continued. "To forsake any part of it is to forsake the ummah's civilization and faith. This is a great sin."

The Muslim Brotherhood leader continued, saying that the Jews should not "establish a state for themselves" and should be content living as a minority in other nations.
"The enemy knows nothing but the language of force," Badie said. "Be aware of the game of grand deception with which they depict peace accords."

Morsi Grabs Dictatorial Powers

Cairo's streets filled with angry protesters after Morsi turned around and issued an edict making his decisions immune from judicial review just a day after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised him as a peacemaker.

"I want to thank President Morsi for his personal leadership to de-escalate the situation in Gaza and end the violence. This is a critical moment for the region," Clinton said during a Nov. 21 joint press conference in Cairo with Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr. "Egypt's new government is assuming the responsibility and leadership that has long made this country a cornerstone of regional stability and peace."

Morsi's grab for dictatorial power trampled Egypt's judiciary and gave him unchecked rule over Egypt at least until a new constitution is drafted.

At least 40 people were wounded and a teenager was killed Sunday in the Nile Delta city of Damanhoor when a group of anti-Morsi protesters tried storming the Brotherhood's local offices, the Associated Press reported.

Washington's response has been tepid at best, calling for calm but never criticizing Morsi directly. White House Spokesman Jay Carney was asked directly Monday if the administration "condemned" Morsi's unprecedented power grab.

"We are concerned about it and have raised those concerns," Carney said.

During a press briefing also held Monday, the State Department's Nuland tread lightly. Clinton spoke with Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr that morning, Nuland said, taking "that opportunity to reiterate some of the points that you saw in our statement, that we want to see the constitutional process move forward in a way that does not overly concentrate power in one set of hands, that ensures that rule of law, checks and balances, protection of the rights of all groups in Egypt are upheld, et cetera."
She repeatedly referred back to a statement issued Friday calling for calm in Egypt as a result of Morsi's decree.

U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., called on the United States to condemn these actions and demand they be reversed. "Stop. Stop. Renounce the statement, and the move that he just made. Allow the judiciary to function," McCain said. "If the judiciary is flawed in some way, then, that's an illness that can be cured over time. But, absolutely, to assume this kind of power is unacceptable to the United States of America and, then, we can outline what actions might be taken. But, first, condemn it."

Egypt's pro-democracy groups also have called on President Obama to condemn Morsi's decree, but their pleas fell on deaf ears.

"I am waiting to see, I hope soon, a very strong statement of condemnation by the U.S., by Europe and by everybody who really cares about human dignity," said prominent opposition figure Mohamed Elbaradei.

The opposition forces have formed a National Salvation Front in response to Morsi's power grab in attempt to circumvent an impending Islamist takeover of the Egyptian government, referring to the move as a "coup" and Morsi as a "pharaoh."

"I'm against the constitution and the dictatorship of Mr. Morsi," anti-Morsi protester Horeya Naguib told the Associated Press Tuesday amid protests in Tahrir Square. "He is selling his own country and looks out for the interests of his group, not the people of Egypt."

Morsi's decree is his second attempt at consolidating power in five months, first ousting military leaders and invalidating a constitutional declaration that limited his control over Egypt's army.

Egyptian opposition politician Hamdeen Sabahy said that protests would continue until Morsi's decree was reversed, stating that Egypt "will not accept a new dictator because it brought down the old one."

Morsi's Long Support For Hamas

It is worth remembering that the administration has tried to cast the Muslim Brotherhood in a false light of moderation since the early days of the Arab Spring. In February 2011, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper appeared before a House committee and described the group as "a very heterogeneous group, largely secular, which has eschewed violence and has decried Al Qaeda as a perversion of Islam."

That comment was widely derided and Clapper walked it back somewhat. But a series of Arabic translations from the Muslim Brotherhood's official website made by the Investigative Project on Terrorism shows that Morsi worked for years alongside Hamas, which began as a splinter group from Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood in the 1980s.
As a leading Muslim Brotherhood member of Egypt's parliament, Morsi wrote a Sept. 23, 2003 letter to Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh thanking God for his survival and declaring his solidarity with Hamas' goal of destroying Israel.

"We thank all of you for your courageous positions in support of our cause, the cause of Palestine – the first Qibla of the Muslims, and your continued support of your brothers on the land of encampment," Morsi wrote, according to Ikhwanonline.com. "We send through you greetings to all our faithful brothers throughout the world, and we assure you that we are we are pledged to God, and we promise you we will continue to the path of jihad and resistance until victory or martyrdom."

In April 2004, Morsi actually led efforts in the Egyptian parliament to scrap the peace treaty with Israel.

The Brotherhood's own website reported that "Dr. Morsi" proposed "a timetable for the disposal of the alleged peace agreement signed with the Zionist entity."

Later that year, Morsi invoked anti-Semitic themes found in the Qur'an and Shariah law, saying the Jews are "the most hostile of men to Muslims" and that "Zionists are traitors to every covenant."

In 2007, he said that he and the Muslim Brotherhood actively supported Palestinian jihadism to annihilate Israel through violent jihad: "[T]he Palestinian issue for the Brotherhood is pivotal and essential, and that the Brotherhood offered and still offers full support for the Palestinian resistance to liberate the Holy Land."

A month later, Morsi participated in a teleconference with Haniyeh, saying "resistance is the right and only way to liberate the land from the defilement of the Jews."
The list goes on and on. Morsi delivered a brief respite in the rocket fire from Gaza toward Israeli civilians. That's a good thing. But pretending this one act somehow transforms him into a statesman, or a reliable international mediator is not. It's reckless.

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« Reply #223 on: November 29, 2012, 11:28:40 PM »

Egypt Adds Islamic Influence to Constitution .
By SAM DAGHER And MATT BRADLEY


CAIRO—Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and his Islamist allies completed a new constitution with references to Shariah, or Islamic law, setting the stage for a new showdown with secularists, liberals and the country's judiciary.

Drafters voted on the constitution's 234 articles, one by one, in a marathon session that started Thursday and lasted more than 16 hours until dawn Friday, with the head of the Islamist-dominated constitutional assembly racing to complete the document before a Supreme Court verdict on Sunday that could dissolve the assembly.

In a controversial move, an additional article was added Friday at the last minute calling for a change in the makeup and membership of the Supreme Constitutional Court, the body challenging the assembly.

The charter that took shape, Egyptian legal experts said, was almost identical to the 1971 constitution written by former President Anwar Sadat, which underpinned a presidential-led autocracy for four decades. But unlike Mr. Sadat's version, the new constitution incorporates mentions of Islamic law that could elevate the role of Islam in Egypt's public life and government.

In one clause worrying for Egypt's liberals, the draft assigns the state with the responsibility to "ensure public morality," a clause that critics said is open to manipulation by Islamists.

State TV broke away from a live broadcast of the proceedings to air an interview with Mr. Morsi, who said he would next put the constitution up for public approval through a national referendum scheduled for mid-December, even if the judiciary opposes it, because a decree he issued last week entitles him to do so.

"I will stop those who want to turn back the clock no matter the cost," he said.

Mr. Morsi cast the decree, which claimed more powers for the president and his Islamist allies, as a temporary fix to expedite a tumultuous democratic transition.

Thousands of youth activists and members of secular and liberal parties camped this week in Cairo's central Tahrir Square, the focal point of the popular uprising that toppled the previous regime nearly two years ago, to demand that Mr. Morsi rescind the edict.

Activists planned a mass protest on Friday in Tahrir to press their demands.  A counterprotest on Saturday is set for another venue in Cairo, in what Islamists said was an attempt to avoid violence. At least four people have been killed and hundreds wounded in violence across the country over the past 10 days.

If the Supreme Constitutional Court follows those protests on Sunday by declaring the constitutional assembly to be unconstitutional—as the court did with the Islamist-dominated parliament earlier this year—Islamists are likely to cast the decision as an attack on the president, escalating unrest.  Mr. Morsi has said it was necessary to insulate the judiciary from the current political fight because it is stacked with judges appointed under the regime of his predecessor as president, Hosni Mubarak. The new constitution contains language that could further help Mr. Morsi bring the judges to heel.

The vote Friday was a move by Mr. Morsi and the Constituent Assembly, which drafted the new constitution, to outflank the judiciary, said Nathan Brown, an expert on the Egyptian legal system and a professor of political science at George Washington University.

"They're ripping the gavel out of their hands and pounding them over the head," he said.

Now the same Egyptian judges who have spent the past week in open revolt against Mr. Morsi and his Islamist allies could be put in charge of monitoring a national referendum on the constitution, and implementing it if it passes.

More than one quarter of the original 100 members of the Constituent Assembly had either resigned or boycotted Thursday's session to protest what they said was bullying by the body's Islamist majority.  Many of those who quit the Assembly also objected to several articles that could elevate the powers of the president, reshape of the judiciary and allow military tribunals to try civilians, among other issues.  Secular, liberal and Christian groups had called for the dissolution of Islamist-dominated Constituent Assembly, and the Supreme Constitutional Court was scheduled to take up the matter within days.

Critics accused Mr. Morsi of trying to force a hasty end to the constitution-drafting process amid deep polarization in the country.

"The constitution won't survive because the legitimacy of the constitution has to be in our national consciousness first," Mohamed ElBaradei, a former presidential candidate who is now part of a new national front opposed to Mr. Morsi, told local TV channel al-Nahar. "It's a miserable constitution, I am sad especially because it's coming out in circumstances of total division in Egypt," he said.

Members of the National Salvation Front formed last week by Mr. Baradei and several political figures and parties to oppose Mr. Morsi's decree came out Thursday to demand a complete overhaul of the constitution-drafting process, casting doubt over whether the final product could gain national acceptance.

Mr. Morsi called the deep division provoked by his decree "very healthy and positive" in the interview broadcast on Thursday.

"We aren't used to this and must be happy when we put it into practice: The opponent says his opinion and the supporter says his opinion and the decision maker [the president] bears his responsibility," he said.

Meanwhile, Hossam El-Gheriany, the chairman of the Constituent Assembly, which drafted the constitution, pressed the panel to move through the voting held at the Shura Council, the upper house of parliament.

"We really need this," said Mr. Gheriany, who at times used humor, cajoling, hectoring and banging on his desk to keep the chaotic proceedings on track. "God's hand is with the majority."

The first order of business for Mr. Gheriany was to replace 11 of the 26 absent members to achieve a quorum of 85.  He brushed off a member of the panel who warned him of the dangers of rushing the constitution through given the absence of those representing the church, secularists and other segments of the population. "The constitution must come out in a manner that makes the entire nation rally around it," said the objecting member, Mohammed Mohiye.

Some critics complained that repeated references to Shariah law in the draft offered wide leeway of interpretation by judges and security forces.  An attempt to define Shariah in Article 219 of the draft may raise more questions than answers, said critics.

"The main concern for me and Copts at large is trying to smuggle Islamic Shariah into articles of the constitution," said Yusuf Sidhum, editor of Al Watan, a Coptic Christian newspaper.

According to the draft, the military would still be allowed to try civilians before military courts—though many Islamists in the assembly had languished in jail for years following truncated military trials.

In another potentially problematic clause added on Wednesday, the constitution limits the political role of former regime figures without articulating their exact identities. Attempts to qualify this clause provoked the most heated and prolonged exchanges toward the end of the assembly's meeting, with the chairman Mr. Gheriany suggesting it be dropped. Members insisted on it but made it applicable to "those who were officials in the former ruling party after the start of the Jan. 25 revolution in 2011."
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« Reply #224 on: December 01, 2012, 03:44:22 PM »

Ayman Zawahiri and Egypt: A Trip Through Time
by Raymond Ibrahim
Special to IPT News
November 30, 2012
http://www.investigativeproject.org/3831/ayman-zawahiri-and-egypt-a-trip-through-time

 
Around 1985, current al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri fled his homeland of Egypt, presumably never to return. From his early beginnings as a teenage leader of a small jihadi cell devoted to overthrowing Egyptian regimes (first Nasser's then Sadat's) until he merged forces with Osama bin Laden, expanding his objectives to include targeting the United States of America, Zawahiri never forgot his original objective: transforming Egypt into an Islamist state that upholds and enforces the totality of Sharia law, and that works towards the resurrection of a global caliphate.

This vision is on its way to being fulfilled. With Islamist political victories, culminating with a Muslim Brotherhood president, Muhammad Morsi, Egypt is taking the first major steps to becoming the sort of state Zawahiri wished to see. Zawahiri regularly congratulates Egypt's Islamists—most recently the attacks on the U.S. embassy in Cairo—urging them to continue Islamizing the Middle East's most strategic nation.

He sent a lengthy communiqué during the Egyptian revolution in February 2011, for example, titled "Messages of Hope and Glad Tidings to our People in Egypt." In it, he reiterated themes widely popularized by al-Qaeda, including: secular regimes are the enemies of Islam; democracy is a sham; Sharia must be instituted; the U.S. and the "Zionist enemy" are the true source behind all of the Islamic world's ills.

Zawahiri continues to push these themes. Late last month, he sent messages criticizing Morsi, especially for not helping "the jihad to liberate Palestine;" called for the kidnapping of Westerners, especially Americans—which the U.S. embassy in Cairo took seriously enough to issue a warning to Americans; and further incited Egypt's Muslims to wage jihad against America because of the YouTube Muhammad movie.

In short, a symbiotic relationship exists between the country of Egypt and the Egyptian Zawahiri: the country helped shape the man, and the man is fixated on influencing the country, his homeland. Accordingly, an examination of Zawahiri's early years and experiences in Egypt—a case study of sorts—provides context for understanding Zawahiri, the undisputed leader of the world's most notorious Islamic terrorist organization and helps explain how Egypt got where it is today. The two phenomena go hand-in-hand.

In this report, we will explore several questions, including: What happened in Egypt to turn this once "shy" and "studious" schoolboy who abhorred physical sports
as "inhumane" towards jihad? What happened to turn many Egyptians to jihad, or at least radical Islam? What is Zawahiri's relationship to the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis—Egypt's two dominant Islamist political players? Did the 9/11 strikes on America, orchestrated by Zawahiri and al-Qaeda, help or hinder the Islamists of Egypt?

Background

Little about Zawahiri's upbringing suggests that he would become the world's most notorious jihadi, partially responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocents in the September 11 attacks and elsewhere. People who knew him stress that Zawahiri came from a "prestigious" and "aristocratic" background (in Egypt, "aristocrats" have traditionally been among the most liberal and secular). His father Muhammad was a professor of pharmacology; his mother, Umayma, came from a politically active family. Ayman had four siblings; he (and his twin sister) were the eldest. Born in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, on June 19, 1951, Zawahiri, as a BBC report puts it, "came from a respectable middle-class family of doctors and scholars. His grandfather, Rabia al-Zawahiri, was the grand imam of al-Azhar, the centre of Sunni Islamic learning in the Middle East, while one of his uncles was the first secretary-general of the Arab League."

According to the Islamist Montasser al-Zayyat, author of the Arabic book, Al Zawahiri: As I Knew Him (translated in English as The Road to Al Qaeda: the Story of Bin Laden's Right-Hand Man), Zawahiri was "an avid reader" who "loved literature and poetry." He "believed that sports, especially boxing and wrestling, were inhumane.... people thought he was very tender and softhearted…. nothing in his youthful good nature suggested that he was to become the second most wanted man in the world…. He has always been humble, never interested in seizing the limelight of the leadership."

Even so, he exhibited signs of a strong and determined character, as "there was nothing weak about the personality of the child Zawahiri. On the contrary, he did not like any opinion to be imposed on him. He was happy to discuss any issue that was difficult for him to understand until it was made clear, but he did not argue for the sake of argument. He always listened politely, without giving anyone the chance to control him."

For all his love of literature and poetry, which Islamists often portray as running counter to Muslim faith, Zawahiri exhibited a notable form of piety from youth. "Ayman al-Zawahiri was born into a religious Muslim family," al-Zayyat wrote. "Following the example of his family, he not only performed the prayers at the correct times, but he did so in the mosque…. He always made sure that he performed the morning prayers [at sunrise] with a group in the mosque, even during the coldest winters. He attended several classes of Koran interpretation, fiqh [Islamic jurisprudence] and Koran recitation at the mosque."

Otherwise, he appeared to lead a normal, privileged lifestyle. Like his family, he followed a prestigious career path. Zawahiri joined the Faculty of Medicine at Cairo University, graduating in 1974 with the highest possible marks. He then earned a Master's degree in surgery from the same university in 1978. He went on to receive a PhD in surgery from a Pakistani university, during his stay in Peshawar, when he was aiding the mujahidin against the Soviets. People who know Zawahiri say that the only relationship he had with a woman was with his wife, Azza, whom he married in 1979, and who held a degree in philosophy. She and three of Zawahiri's six children were killed in an air strike on Afghanistan by U.S. forces in late 2001.

Death of a Martyr

The initial influence on Zawahiri's radicalization appears to have come from his uncle Mahfouz, an opponent to the secular regime and Islamist in his own right, who was arrested in a militant round up in 1945, following the assassination of Prime Minister Ahmed Mahfouz. In reference to this event, Zawahiri's uncle even boasted: "I myself was going to do what Ayman has done," according to Lawrence Wright's The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11.

Though Mahfouz was likely the first to introduce young Ayman to the political scene of radical Islam, no one appears to have had an impact on Zawahiri's development as much as Uncle Mahfouz's mentor and Arabic teacher, Sayyid Qutb—often referred to as the "godfather" of modern jihad. Qutb, then the Muslim Brotherhood's premiere theoretician of jihad, has arguably played the greatest role in articulating the Islamist/jihadi worldview in the modern era, so much so that Zawahiri and others regularly quote his voluminous writings in their own work.

According to the 9/11 Commission Report, "Three basic themes emerge from Qutb's writings. First, he claimed that the world was beset with barbarism, licentiousness, and unbelief (a condition he called jahiliyya, the religious term for the period of ignorance prior to the revelations given to the Prophet Mohammed). Qutb argued that humans can choose only between Islam and jahiliyya. Second, he warned that more people, including Muslims, were attracted to jahiliyya and its material comforts than to his view of Islam; jahiliyya could therefore triumph over Islam. Third, no middle ground exists in what Qutb conceived as a struggle between God and Satan. All Muslims—as he defined them—therefore must take up arms in this fight. Any Muslim who rejects his ideas is just one more nonbeliever worthy of destruction."

Qutb's primary target—and subsequently Zawahiri's—was the Egyptian regime, which he accused of being enforcers of jahiliyya, obstructing the totality of Sharia. Because Qutb was so effective at fomenting Islamist animosity for the regime, President Gamal Abdel Nasser had him imprisoned and eventually executed in 1966. That act that only succeeded in helping propagate Qutb's importance to the jihadi movement, which came to see him as a "martyr" (a shahid, the highest honor for a Muslim), turning his already popular writings into "eternal classics" for Islamists everywhere.

As Zayyat observes, "In Zawahiri's eyes, Sayyid Qutb's words struck young Muslims more deeply than those of his contemporaries because his words eventually led to his execution. Thus, those words provided the blueprint for his long and glorious lifetime, and eventually led to its end…. His teaching gave rise to the formation of the nucleus of the contemporary jihadi movements in Egypt."

It is no coincidence, then, that Zawahiri founded his first jihadi cell in 1966 – the year of Qutb's execution – when he was only 15-years-old. Embracing Qutb's teachings—that jihad is the only answer, that talk, diplomacy, and negotiations only serve the infidel enemy's purposes—his cell originally had a handful of members. Zawahiri eventually merged it with other small cells to form Egyptian Islamic Jihad, becoming one of its leaders. Zawahiri sought to recruit military officers and accumulate weapons, waiting for the right moment to launch a coup against the regime; or, in Zawahiri's own words as later recorded by an interrogator, "to establish an Islamic government …. a government that rules according to the Sharia of Allah Almighty."

Humiliation of Defeat

A year following the establishment of Zawahiri's cell, another event took place that further paved the way to jihad: the ignominious defeat of Egypt by Israel in the 1967 war. Until then, Arab nationalism, spearheaded by Nasser, was the dominant ideology, not just in Egypt, but the entire Arab world. What began with much euphoria and conviction—that the Arab world, unified under Arab nationalism and headed by Nasser would crush Israel, only to lose disastrously in a week—morphed into disillusionment and disaffection, especially among Egyptians. It was then that the slogan "Islam is the solution" spread like wildfire, winning over many to the cause.

At the time of the 1967 war, the future al-Qaeda leader was 16 years old. Like many young people at the time, he was somewhat traumatized by Egypt's defeat—a defeat which, 34 years later, he would gloat upon in his 2001 book Fursan Taht Rayat al-Nabbi, ("Knights Under the Banner of the Prophet"):

"The unfolding events impacted the course of the jihadi movements in Egypt, namely, the 1967 defeat and the ensuing symbolic collapse of Gamal Abdel Nasser, who was portrayed to the public by his followers as the everlasting invincible symbol. The jihadi movements realized that wormwoods had eaten at this icon, and that it had become fragile. The 1967 defeat shook the earth under this idol until it fell on its face, causing a severe shock to its disciples, and frightening its subjects. The jihadi movements grew stronger and stronger as they realized that their avowed enemy was little more than a statue to be worshipped, constructed through propaganda, and through the oppression of unarmed innocents. The direct influence of the 1967 defeat was that a large number of people, especially youths, returned to their original identity: that of members of an Islamic civilization."

This theme—that the "enemies of Islam" – first the secular dictators, followed by the USSR and then the U.S., were "paper tigers" whose bark was worse than their bite—would come to permeate the writings of al-Qaeda and other jihadists. For instance, in March 2012, in response to President Obama's plans to cut Pentagon spending, Zawahiri said, "The biggest factor that forced America to reduce its defence budget is Allah's help to the mujahideen [or jihadis] to harm the evil empire of our time [the U.S.]," adding that American overtures to the Afghan Taliban for possible reconciliation was further evidence of U.S. defeat.

The 1973 war between Egypt and Israel appears to have had a lesser impact on Zawahiri, who by then had already confirmed his worldview. Moreover, it was during the 1970s that he was especially busy with "normal" life—earning two advanced university degrees (one in 1974, another in 1978), getting married, and starting a family. Even so, the subsequent peace treaty that the Egyptian President Anwar Sadat signed with Israel incensed many Islamists in Egypt, including Zawahiri, who saw it as a great betrayal to the Islamic Nation, or Umma, prompting jihadis to act now instead of later.

Accordingly, Sadat was targeted for assassination; the time had come for a military coup, which was Islamic Jihad's ultimate goal. But the plan was derailed when authorities learned of it in February, 1981. Sadat ordered the roundup of more than 1,500 Islamists, including many Islamic Jihad members (though he missed a cell in the military led by Lieutenant Khalid Islambouli, who succeeded in assassinating Sadat during a military parade later that same year).

Prison Torture

Zawahiri was among the thousands of Islamists rounded up after Sadat's assassination, leading to one of the most talked-of episodes of Zawahiri's life: his prison experience. He was interrogated and found guilty of possessing firearms, serving three years in prison. During that time, he was among many who were tortured in Egyptian prisons.
Much has been made of Zawahiri's prison-time torture. (It is curious to note that when Egyptian officials called to investigate the officers accused of torturing the Islamist inmates, Zawahiri did not file a case against the authorities, though many others did, and though he bothered to witness to the torture of other members.) Several writers, beginning with al-Zayyat, suggest that along with the dual-impact of the martyrdom of Qutb and the 1967 defeat, this event had an especially traumatic effect on Zawahiri's subsequent development and radicalization.

Still, one should not give this experience more due than it deserves. Zawahiri was an ardent jihadi well over a decade before he was imprisoned and tortured; the overly paradigmatic explanation of humiliation-as-precursor-to-violence so popular in Western thinking is unnecessary here.

On the other hand, in the vein of "that which does not kill you makes you stronger," it seems that Zawahiri's prison experience hardened him and made his already notorious stubbornness and determination that much more unshakeable. In short, if his prison experience did not initiate his jihadi inclinations, it likely exacerbated it.

Moreover, being "found out"—had an indirect impact on his radicalization. After he was released, and knowing that he was being watched by the authorities, he was compelled to quit his native Egypt, meeting other Arabic-speaking Islamists abroad. He met Osama bin Laden as early as 1986 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. That led him to relocate to the Afghan theater of jihad, where the final coalescing of his global jihad worldview culminated.

Shifting Strategy

During his time in Egypt, Zawahiri was a staunch proponent of jihad—believing that no real change or progress can be achieved without armed struggle. This never changed. However, his strategic goal of toppling the Egyptian regime grew more ambitious over time, especially after the Afghan war experience and partnership with bin Laden.
In Egypt, Zawahiri's goal was clear: overthrowing the regime and implementing an Islamic government. The enemy was internal, the secular Hosni Mubarak regime, that took over after Sadat's death. In Zawahiri's thinking, one could consider fighting the far or external enemy until he had beaten the near one. (This is the famous "near/far enemy" dichotomy Islamists have written much on.)

Accordingly, until the late 1990s Zawahiri rarely mentioned what are today the mainstays of Islamist discontent, such as the Arab/Israel conflict, or other matters outside Egypt's borders. In fact, in a 1995 article titled "The Way to Jerusalem Passes Through Cairo" published in Al-Mujahidin, Zawahiri even wrote that "Jerusalem will not be opened [conquered] until the battles in Egypt and Algeria have been won and until Cairo has been opened." This is not to say that Zawahiri did not always see Israel as the enemy. Rather, he deemed it pointless to fight it directly when one could have the entire might of Egypt's military by simply overthrowing the regime—precisely the situation today.
Then, in 1998, Zawahiri surprised many of Egypt's Islamists by forming the International Islamic Front for Jihad on the Jews and Crusaders, under bin Laden's leadership. It issued a fatwa calling on Muslims "to kill the Americans and their allies–civilians and military, an individual obligation incumbent upon every Muslim who can do it and in any country—this until the Aqsa Mosque [Jerusalem] and the Holy Mosque [Mecca] are liberated from their grip." Until then all of Zawahiri's associates believed that his primary focus was Egypt, overthrowing the regime—not the Arab-Israeli conflict and the United States.

Zawahiri's "Mistake"?

It is for all these reasons that many of Egypt's Islamists, beginning with the Muslim Brotherhood, saw al-Qaeda's 9/11 attacks, partially masterminded by Zawahiri, as a severe setback to their movement. The attacks awoke the U.S. and the West, setting off the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, and also giving many Arab regimes – including Mubarak's – free reign to suppress all Islamists. Those regimes happily took advantage. As al-Zayyat, Zawahiri's biographer, wrote:

"The poorly conceived decision to launch the attacks of September 11created many victims of a war of which they did not choose to be a part…. Bin Laden and Zawahiri's behavior [9/11] was met with a lot of criticism from many Islamists in Egypt and abroad…. In the post-September 11 world, no countries can afford to be accused of harboring the enemies of the United States. No one ever imagined that a Western European country would extradite Islamists who live on its lands. Before that, Islamists had always thought that arriving in a European city and applying for political asylum was enough to acquire permanent resident status. After September 11, 2001, everything changed…. Even the Muslim Brotherhood was affected by the American campaign, which targeted everything Islamic."

In retrospect, the "mistake of 9/11" may have indirectly helped empower Islamists: by bringing unwanted Western attention to the Middle East, it also made popular the argument that democracy would solve all the ills of the Middle East. Many Western observers who previously had little knowledge of the Islamic world, were surprised to discover post 9/11 that dictatorial regimes ran the Muslim world. This led to the simplistic argument that Islamists were simply lashing out because they were suppressed. Failing to understand that these dictatorships were the only thing between full-blown Islamist regimes like Iran, many deemed democracy a panacea, beginning with U.S. President George W. Bush, who invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, partially to "spread" and in the name of democracy.

With the so-called "Arab spring" that began in 2011, the Obama administration has followed this logic more aggressively by throwing the U.S's longtime allies like Egypt's Mubarak, under the bus in the name of democracy—a democracy that has been dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, which, as has been mentioned, shares the same ultimate goals of Zawahiri and other jihadists. Recent events—including unprecedented attacks on U.S. embassies in Egypt and Libya, ironically, the two nations the U.S. especially intervened in to pave the way for Islamist domination—only confirm this.

Zawahiri and the Muslim Brotherhood

While Zawahiri's early decades in Egypt are mostly remembered in the context of the above—prestigious and academic background, clandestine radicalization, jihad, prison, followed by fleeing the country—the al-Qaeda leader has a long history with other Islamists groups in Egypt, such as the Muslim Brotherhood. Since the "Arab Spring" and ousting of longtime President Hosni Mubarak, it has been the Brotherhood who have, not only dominated Egyptian politics, but have a member, Muhammad Morsi, as Egypt's first elected president.

Zawahiri joined the Brotherhood when he was only 14, then abandoned it to form his own cell less than two years later after Qutb's execution. A proponent of the slogan "jihad alone," Zawahiri soon became critical of the Brotherhood's pragmatic strategies, and wrote an entire book in 1991 arguing against their nonviolent approach.
Titled Al Hissad Al Murr, or "The Bitter Harvest," Zawahiri argued that the Brotherhood "takes advantage of the Muslim youths' fervor by bringing them into the fold only to store them in a refrigerator. Then, they steer their onetime passionate, Islamic zeal for jihad to conferences and elections…. And not only have the Brothers been idle from fulfilling their duty of fighting to the death, but they have gone as far as to describe the infidel governments as legitimate, and have joined ranks with them in the ignorant style of governing, that is, democracies, elections, and parliaments."

It is perhaps ironic that, for all his scathing remarks against them, time has revealed that the Muslim Brotherhood's strategy of slowly infiltrating society from a grassroots approach has been more effective than Zawahiri's and al-Qaeda's jihadi terror. The Brotherhood's patience and perseverance, by playing the political game, formally disavowing violence and jihad—all of which earned the ire of Zawahiri and others—have turned it into a legitimate player. Yet this does not make the Brotherhood's goals any less troubling. For instance, according to a January 2012 Al Masry Al Youm report, Brotherhood leader Muhammad Badie stated that the group's grand goal is the return of a "rightly guided caliphate and finally mastership of the world"—precisely what Zawahiri and al-Qaeda seek to achieve. Half a year later, in July 2012, Safwat Hegazy, a popular preacher and Brotherhood member, boasted that the Brotherhood will be "masters of the world, one of these days."

Zawahiri and Egypt Today

In light of the Egyptian revolution that accomplished what Zawahiri had tried to accomplish for decades—overthrow the regime—what relevance does the al-Qaeda leader have for the Egyptian populace today? The best way to answer this question is in the context of Salafism—the popular Islamist movement in Egypt and elsewhere that is grounded in the teachings and patterns of early Islam, beginning with the days of Islam's Prophet Muhammad and under the first four "righteously guided" caliphs.

As a Salafist organization, al-Qaeda is very popular with Salafis. Its current leader, the Egyptian Zawahiri, is especially popular—a "hero" in every sense of the word—with Egyptian Salafis. Considering that the Salafis won some 25 percent of votes in recent elections, one may infer that at least a quarter or of Egypt's population looks favorably on Zawahiri. In fact, some important Salafis are on record saying they would like to see Zawahiri return to his native Egypt. Aboud al-Zomor, for instance, the Egyptian Islamic Jihad leader who was implicated for the assassination of Sadat, but who has now been released and is even a leading member of the new Egyptian parliament, has called for the return of Zawahiri to Egypt, "with his head held high and in safety."

Zawahiri's brother, Muhammad, is also an influential Islamist in Egypt, affiliated with the Salafis and Al Gamaa Al Islamiyya. He led a mass Islamist demonstration last spring with typical jihadi slogans. He also was among those threatening the U.S. embassy in Cairo to release the Blind Sheikh—the true reason behind the September attack, not a movie—or else be "burned down to the ground." When asked in a recent interview with CNN if he is in touch with his al-Qaeda leader brother, Muhammad only smiled and said "of course not."

Under Zawahiri's leadership, al-Qaeda has made inroads on Egyptian territory. For example, several recent attacks in Sinai—such as the attacks on the Egypt-Israel natural-gas pipeline—were in fact conducted by a new group pledging allegiance to al-Qaeda. Zawahiri publicly congratulated them for destroying the pipelines, and the organization itself has pledged its loyalty to Zawahiri. More recently, al-Qaeda in the Sinai has been blamed for attacking and evicting Christian minorities living there.

This highlights the fact that groups like the Brotherhood and the Salafis have the same goals—establishment of a government that upholds Sharia law—though they differ as to achieve this. Salafis like al-Qaeda tend to agree that jihad is the solution. Yet, given the Brotherhood's success using peaceful means—co-opting the language of democracy and running in elections—many Salafis are now "playing politics" even though many of them are also on record saying that, once in power, they will enforce Islamic law and abolish democracy.

It is not clear where Zawahiri stands regarding Egypt. Because of his deep roots there, Egypt undoubtedly holds a special place for Zawahiri. But as the leader of a global jihadi network, he cannot afford to appear biased to Egypt—hence why he addresses the politics of other nations, Pakistan for example, and themes like the Arab-Israeli conflict, with equal or more attention.

Likewise, there are different accounts regarding his personality traits and how they would comport with Egypt's current state. For example, whereas his biographer described young Zawahiri as averse to the limelight and open to others' opinions, most contemporary characterizations of Zawahiri suggest he is intractable and domineering—a product, perhaps, of some four decades of jihadi activities, as well as the aforementioned experiences. While the personality traits attributed to him in youth would certainly aid him in influencing Egyptian Islamist politics, those attributed to him now would not.

He has been away too long, and others have stepped in. Either way, to many Islamists around the world, Egypt in particular, Zawahiri is a hero—one of the few men to successfully strike the "great enemy," America. Such near legendary status will always see to it that Ayman Zawahiri—and the Salafi ideology al-Qaeda helped popularize—remain popular among Egypt's Islamists.

Raymond Ibrahim, an expert on al-Qaeda and author of The Al Qaeda Reader, is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum.
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« Reply #225 on: December 05, 2012, 10:30:53 AM »

 




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-/AFP/Getty Images
 
Egyptian security forces at the presidential palace in Cairo on Dec. 4
 
On Dec. 4, tens of thousands of protestors packed the street in front the presidential palace in Cairo. Police and Interior Ministry security forces reportedly fired tear gas at protestors but were unable to stop them from cutting through the barbed wire that surrounds the building. There have been unconfirmed reports of protestors breaching the main gates, spraying graffiti on the palace walls, possibly reaching the rooftop of the palace, and waving flags in support of the protestors.
 
Meanwhile, other protestors have mounted at least one police vehicle parked in front of the palace. Reports indicate that Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has left the building. So far, security forces have either been unable or unwilling to push the protestors back. A military spokesman has denied reports that the armed forces sent troops to protect the presidential palace. Other reports confirm that the security forces are largely composed of Interior Ministry troops. At this point, it is unclear what will happen next.
 
Organized by secular opposition forces, the protestors are demonstrating against a power grab by the president and the Muslim Brotherhood that included Morsi expanding his executive powers and the government pushing forward with plans for a referendum on a new constitution.
 
Recently approved by an Islamist-dominated Constituent Assembly after walkouts by secularists, Coptic Christians and journalist members, the draft constitution is scheduled for a plebiscite Dec 15. Much of the Egyptian political opposition criticizes the draft for inadequately representing much of Egyptian society. Some elements within the Egyptian judiciary have refused to oversee the polls.
 
The protests were planned in advance in hopes of getting Morsi to step down. Whether they are successful depends on how dire the situation actually becomes. This is why today's protests are important: They raise the question of how the military will respond. So far, it has stayed out of the conflict, but if the protests get out of hand, it may have to shift its position


Read more: Egypt: Protesters Amass at the Presidential Palace | Stratfor
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« Reply #226 on: December 05, 2012, 10:45:51 AM »

second post of the morning:

 By George Friedman
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
 
Immediately following the declaration of a cease-fire in Gaza, Egypt was plunged into a massive domestic crisis. Mohammed Morsi, elected in the first presidential election after the fall of Hosni Mubarak, passed a decree that would essentially neuter the independent judiciary by placing his executive powers above the high court and proposed changes to the constitution that would institutionalize the Muslim Brotherhood's power. Following the decree, Morsi's political opponents launched massive demonstrations that threw Egypt into domestic instability and uncertainty.
 
In the case of most countries, this would not be a matter of international note. But Egypt is not just another country. It is the largest Arab country and one that has been the traditional center of the Arab world. Equally important, if Egypt's domestic changes translate into shifts in its foreign policy, it could affect the regional balance of power for decades to come.
 
Morsi's Challenge to the Nasserite Model
 
The Arab Spring was seen by some observers to be a largely secular movement aimed at establishing constitutional democracy. The problem with this theory was that while the demonstrators might have had the strength to force an election, it was not certain that the secular constitutionalists would win it. They didn't. Morsi is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, and while there were numerous claims that he was a moderate member, it was simply not understood that he was a man of conviction and honor and that his membership in the Brotherhood was not casual or frivolous. His intention was to strengthen the role of Islam in Egypt and the control of the Muslim Brotherhood over the various arms of state. His rhetoric, speed and degree of Islamism might have been less extreme than others, but his intent was clear.
 
The move on the judiciary signaled his intent to begin consolidating power. It galvanized opponents of the Muslim Brotherhood, which included secular constitutionalists, Copts and other groups who formed a coalition that was prepared to take to the streets to oppose his move. What it did not include, or at least did not visibly include through this point, was the Egyptian military, which refused to be drawn in on either side.
 
The Egyptian military, led by a young army officer named Gamal Abdel Nasser, founded the modern Egyptian state when it overthrew the British-supported monarchy in the 1950s. It created a state that was then secular, authoritarian and socialist. It aligned Egypt with the Soviet Union and against the United States through the 1970s. After the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, who was later assassinated by Islamists, shifted Egypt into an alliance with the United States and signed a peace treaty with Israel.
 
This treaty was the foundation of the regional balance of power until now. The decision to end the state of war with Israel and use Sinai as a demilitarized buffer between the two countries eliminated the threat of nation-to-nation war between Arabs and Israel. Egypt was the most powerful Arab country and its hostility to Israel represented Israel's greatest threat. By withdrawing from confrontation, the threat to Israel declined dramatically. Jordan, Syria and Lebanon did not represent a significant threat to Israel and could not launch a war that threatened Israel's survival.
 
Egypt's decision to align with the United States and make peace with Israel shaped the regional balance of power in other ways. Syria could no longer depend on Egypt, and ultimately turned to Iran for support. The Arab monarchies that had been under political and at times military pressure from Egypt were relieved of the threat, and the Soviets lost the Egyptian bases that had given them a foothold in the Mediterranean.
 
The fundamental question in Egypt is whether the election of Morsi represented the end of the regime founded by Nasser or was simply a passing event, with power still in the hands of the military. Morsi has made a move designed to demonstrate his power and to change the way the Egyptian judiciary works. The uprising against this move, while significant, did not seem to have the weight needed either to force Morsi to do more than modify his tactics a bit or to threaten his government. Therefore, it all hangs on whether the military is capable of or interested in intervening.
 
It is ironic that the demands of the liberals in Egypt should depend on military intervention, and it is unlikely that they will get what they want from the military if it does intervene. But what is clear is that the Muslim Brotherhood is the dominant force in Egypt, that Morsi is very much a member of the Brotherhood and while his tactics might be more deliberate and circumspect than more radical members might want, it is still headed in the same direction.
 
For the moment, the protesters in the streets do not appear able to force Morsi's hand, and the military doesn't seem likely to intervene. If that is true, then Egypt has entered a new domestic era with a range of open foreign policy issues. The first is the future of the treaty with Israel. The issue is not the treaty per se, but the maintenance of Sinai as a buffer. One of the consequences of Mubarak's ouster has been the partial remilitarization of Sinai by Egypt, with Israel's uneasy support. Sinai has become a zone in which Islamist radicals are active and launch operations against Israel. The Egyptian military has moved into Sinai to suppress them, which Israel obviously supports. But the Egyptians have also established the principle that while Sinai may be a notional buffer zone, in practice the Egyptian military can be present in and responsible for it. The intent might be one that Israel supports but the outcome could be a Sinai remilitarized by the Egyptians.
 
A remilitarized Sinai would change the strategic balance, but it would only be the beginning. The Egyptian army uses American equipment and depends on the United States for spare parts, maintenance and training. Its equipment is relatively old and it has not been tested in combat for nearly 40 years. Even if the Egyptian military was in Sinai, it would not pose a significant conventional military threat to Israel in its current form. These things can change, however. The transformation of the Egyptian army between 1967 and 1973 was impressive. The difference is that Egypt had a patron in the Soviet Union then that was prepared to underwrite the cost of the transformation. Today, there is no global power, except the United States, that would be capable of dramatically and systematically upgrading the Egyptian military and financially supporting the country overall. Still, if the Morsi government succeeds in institutionalizing its power and uses that power to change the dynamic of the Sinai buffer, Israel will lose several layers of security.
 
A New Regional Alignment?
 
A look at the rest of the region shows that Egypt is by no means the only country of concern for Israel. Syria, for example, has an uprising that, in simple terms, largely consists of Sunnis, many of which are Islamists. That in itself represents a threat to Israel, particularly if the relationship between Syria and Egypt were revived. There is an ideological kinship, and just as Nasserism had an evangelical dimension, wanting to spread pan-Arab ideology throughout the region, the Muslim Brotherhood has one too. The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood is also the most organized and coherent opposition group in Syria. As Morsi consolidates his power in Egypt, his willingness to engage in foreign adventures, or at least covert support, for like-minded insurgents and regimes could very well increase. At a minimum Israel would have to take this seriously. Similarly, where Gaza was contained not only by Israel but also by pre-Morsi Egypt, Morsi might choose to dramatically change Egypt's Gaza policy.
 
Morsi's rise opens other possibilities as well. Turkey's Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party is also engaged in a careful process of reintroducing Islam into a state that was militantly secular. There are fundamental differences between Egypt and Turkey, but there is also much in common. Turkey and Egypt are now engaged in parallel processes designed to create modern countries that recognize their Islamic roots. A Turkish-Egyptian relationship would both undergird the Egyptian regime and create a regional force that could shape the Eastern Mediterranean.
 
This would, of course, affect American strategy, which as we have said in the past, is now rapidly moving away from excessive involvement in the Middle East. It is not clear how far Morsi would go in breaking with the United States or whether the military would or could draw a line at that point. Egypt is barely skirting economic disaster at the moment because it is receiving a broad range of financial aid from the West. Moving away from the United States would presumably go well beyond military aid and affect these other types of economic assistance.
 
The fact is that as Egypt gradually evolves, its relationship with the United States might also change. The United States' relationship with Turkey has changed but has not broken since the Justice and Development Party came to power, with Turkey following a more independent direction. If a similar process occurred in Egypt, the United States would find itself in a very different position in the Eastern Mediterranean, one in which its only ally was Israel, and its relationship with Israel might alienate the critical Turkey-Egypt bloc.
 
Prior to 1967, the United States was careful not be become overly involved in protecting Israel, leaving that to France. Assuming that this speculation about a shift in Egypt's strategic posture came to pass, Israel would not be in serious military danger for quite a while, and the United States could view its support to Israel as flexible. The United States could conceivably choose to distance itself from Israel in order to maintain its relationships with Egypt and Turkey. A strategy of selective disengagement and redefined engagement, which appears to be under way in the United States now, could alter relations with Israel.
 
From an Israeli point of view -- it should be remembered that Israel is the dominant power in the region -- a shift in Egypt would create significant uncertainty on its frontier. It would now face uncertainty in Egypt, Syria and Lebanon, and while unlikely, the possibility of uncertainty in Jordan. Where previously it faced hostile powers with substantial military capabilities, it would now face weaker powers that are less predictable. However, in an age when Israel's primary concern is with terrorist actions and uprisings in Gaza and the West Bank, this band of uncertainty would be an incubator of such actions.
 
The worst-case scenario is the re-emergence of confrontational states on its border, armed with conventional weapons and capable of challenging the Israeli military. That is not an inconceivable evolution but it is not a threat in the near term. The next-worst-case scenario would be the creation of multiple states on Israel's border prepared to sponsor or at least tolerate Islamist attacks on Israel from their territory and to underwrite uprisings among the Palestinians. The effect would be an extended, wearying test of Israel's ability to deal with unremitting low-intensity threats from multiple directions.
 
Conventional war is hard to imagine. It is less difficult to imagine a shift in Egyptian policy that creates a sustained low-intensity conflict not only south of Israel, but also along the entire Israeli periphery as Egypt's influence is felt. It is fairly clear that Israel has not absorbed the significance of this change or how it will respond. It may well not have a response. But if that were the case, then Israel's conventional dominance would no longer define the balance of power. And the United States is entering a period of unpredictability in its foreign policy. The entire region becomes unpredictable.
 
It is not clear that any of this will come to pass. Morsi might not be able to impose his will in the country. He may not survive politically. The Egyptian military might intervene directly or indirectly. There are several hurdles for Morsi to overcome before he controls the country, and his timeline might be extended for implementing changes. But for the moment, Morsi appears in charge, he seems to be weathering the challenges and the army has not moved. Therefore, considering the strategic consequences is appropriate, and those strategic consequences appear substantial.


Read more: Egypt and the Strategic Balance | Stratfor
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« Reply #227 on: December 05, 2012, 08:32:16 PM »

Second post of the day

CAIR Targets Morsi/Brotherhood Critics
IPT News
December 5, 2012
http://www.investigativeproject.org/3837/cair-targets-morsi-brotherhood-critics

Pro-Muslim Brotherhood forces attacked protesters of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi with rocks and clubs in Cairo Wednesday.

It's the latest in a series of clashes since Morsi, a longtime Brotherhood official, issued a Nov. 22 decree effectively placing himself above judicial oversight. He has said he will nullify it if voters approve a Dec. 15 referendum ratifying a controversial new draft constitution rammed through an Islamist-dominated assembly early Friday.
Although the document declares a right to freedom of speech, it also includes a prohibition on "insults" to "religious prophets." Another provision would require government authorization to operate a website.

Wednesday's clashes targeted several hundred anti-Morsi protesters who had camped out near the presidential palace.

Demonstrators say they will do everything possible to defeat the referendum. "Our marches are against tyranny … and we won't retract our position," Hussein Abdel Ghany, a spokesman for the protesters, said Tuesday. Eleven newspapers shut themselves down Tuesday to protest Morsi's "dictatorship," and banks said they would close three hours early in solidarity with the protesters.

The New York Times reported that Morsi's Freedom and Justice Party warned three former presidential candidates, among them Amr Moussa and Mohammed ElBaradei, that they would be held accountable for any violence that occurred.

Egyptian riot police fired tear gas at demonstrators near the presidential palace in Cairo on Tuesday. Officials in Morsi's office said the Islamist leader fled the palace as protesters broke through police lines.

While Egyptians take to the streets to oppose what they claim is a nascent tyranny, Morsi and his Islamist government can count on support from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). For example, CAIR-Los Angeles boss Hussam Ayloush praised Morsi for assuming more power in order to prevent "corrupt judges" from the "undermining and undoing of every democratic step."

In a Facebook post, Ayloush blamed Egypt's internal strife on the secular opposition: "Much of the Egyptian opposition seem to be more interested in opposing Morsi and the MB than actually helping Egypt become a stable and institutional democracy," CAIR-New York's Cyrus McGoldrick disparaged criticism of Morsi as "a last stand by old pro-West/Mubarak/Israel crowd to keep power in judiciary."

CAIR-San Francisco chief Zahra Billoo dismissed American concerns that the Islamist-backed draft constitution wouldn't protect human rights. "Why do we care about what the Egyptian Constitution says about indefinite detention, when it is being practiced by the U.S. government?" she wrote in a Twitter post Monday.

Several oceans away in Tahrir Square, Egyptian women see things very differently. They charge that the Brotherhood is "paying gangs to go out and rape women and beat men" protesting Morsi's policies.

Female protesters in Tahrir Square provided harrowing accounts of sexual assaults they say were carried out by thugs on the Islamist group's payroll.

A protester identified as Yasmine said she had been at Tahrir Square for several hours filming a recent demonstration when she was suddenly surrounded by 50 men who grabbed her breasts, ripped off her clothes and assaulted her. Men who tried to come to her rescue were beaten away by the mob, but she eventually managed to escape. Yasmine suffered internal injuries and was unable to walk for a week.

A journalist named Afaf el-Sayed said that while protesting at the square just over a month ago, she was attacked by a group of men she claims were "thugs from the Muslim Brotherhood."

While the frequency of these assaults is unclear, "activists have reported nearly 20 attacks in the last ten days and say there has been a dramatic increase in mob sex attacks in the past year," the British Daily Mail reported Saturday.

Writing in the Egyptian newspaper al-Arab al-Yahm, journalist Fathi Khattab charged that Brotherhood militias were behind recent attacks on other prominent Egyptians, including a recent beating of former presidential candidate Abu al-Ezz al-Hariri.

After the ouster of longtime strongman Hosni Mubarak last year, the Brotherhood asked that the drafting of a new constitution be delayed until a new president was democratically elected. Egypt's interim military rulers agreed to that request, a decision many Egyptians now regret. A poll conducted Nov. 28-29 by the Egyptian Center for Public Opinion Research found that 57 percent of Egyptians are satisfied with Morsi's performance in office. While that's strong, it is down from 78 percent in early October.
Veteran Egyptian human-rights activist Magda Adly accused the Muslim Brotherhood of employing the same brutal tactics that Mubarak used against political opponents.
Democracy activist Aida Nassif countered that Mubarak's "fake democracy" was superior to "the dictatorship of the current regime."

She said Morsi must "realize that many invasions and governors have come to Egypt trying to dominate it, but the Egyptians have always refused this and made such dictators lose everything."

One prominent Islamist appears to be looking at things the same way.

Kamal Helbawy, formerly a senior Brotherhood official, told the newspaper al-Arab al-Yahm that "[t]he Constitutional Declaration which President Morsi issued will make a new pharaoh, and the decrees open the door to a great evil." He added that Morsi's actions had "plunged the country into a dark tunnel, which may lead to further bloodshed and tragedy."
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« Reply #228 on: December 06, 2012, 07:49:48 AM »

GM:

Any comments on the resistance to Pharoah Morsi?
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« Reply #229 on: December 06, 2012, 08:00:10 AM »

GM:

Any comments on the resistance to Pharoah Morsi?

Aside from the complete lack of it from Buraq?
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« Reply #230 on: December 06, 2012, 08:12:12 AM »

Well, the facts do not yet rule out the notion that the US/Baraq is perfectly willing to settle for a new strong man who will keep Hamas sufficiently leashed in return for the US billions that keep the people of Egypt from starving and then revolting to over throw him.  Arguably this a a realpolitik with which some of us might approve , , , OTOH there is quite the contrast for his support for freedom, democracy, and tolerance when it benefitted the MB and his lack of support for these things now.

There is also the matter of the substantial numbers of Egyptians taking to the streets to literally fight Morsi and the MB.   What implications this for your previous predictions?  What do you make of their chances? 

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« Reply #231 on: December 06, 2012, 04:54:51 PM »

Well, the facts do not yet rule out the notion that the US/Baraq is perfectly willing to settle for a new strong man who will keep Hamas sufficiently leashed in return for the US billions that keep the people of Egypt from starving and then revolting to over throw him.  Arguably this a a realpolitik with which some of us might approve , , ,

You think HAMAS will be kept on a leash? I  think they quit when they were getting their asses handed to them by the IDF.

OTOH there is quite the contrast for his support for freedom, democracy, and tolerance when it benefitted the MB and his lack of support for these things now.

There is also the matter of the substantial numbers of Egyptians taking to the streets to literally fight Morsi and the MB.   What implications this for your previous predictions?  What do you make of their chances? 


I wouldn't bet on some modernist leader/government emerging from this anymore than last time. In fact, unless we see the Egyptian military peel off from the MB, the odds of these protests resulting in anything but death and more public sexual assaults is slim and none.
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« Reply #232 on: December 06, 2012, 05:33:12 PM »

As a betting man, I do not think Hamas will be leashed by Morsi over time, especially with Baraq (and SecState Rice/Kerry) at the helm of US foreign policy due to my belief they lack the beliefs and the will necessary to pull the fianncial plug on Egypt and send it into desperate food shortages in a few short months.

OTOH if genuine leverage is applied-- and IMHO the leverage we have here should we have the will is quite substantial-- then it would not surprise me if Morsi barked a fair amount but when push came to shove muffled his fervor.
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« Reply #233 on: December 07, 2012, 10:13:41 AM »



http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/dec/6/muslim-brotherhood-inherits-us-war-gear/
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« Reply #234 on: December 10, 2012, 07:24:54 AM »

 Muslim Brotherhood seeks U.S. alliance as it ascends in Egypt
 
Vows to honor treaty with Israel
By Ben Birnbaum
The Washington Times
Thursday, April 5, 2012
Khairat al-Shater, a presidential hopeful, filed election papers on Thursday. (Associated Press) more >
 

A lawmaker from Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood said Thursday that there would be “no referendum at all” on the country’s peace treaty with Israel, hours after the Islamist group’s presidential candidate made his unexpected bid official.
 
“We respect international obligations, period,” Abdul Mawgoud Dardery, a lawmaker from the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), told The Washington Times.
 
Mr. Dardery was on a good-will tour of Washington this week with three other Muslim Brotherhood representatives. Long shunned by Washington, the group has sought to soften its image in the West as it prepares to assume greater power in post-revolution Egypt.
 
On Thursday, the White House downplayed the significance of a meeting between administration officials and the Brotherhood’s envoys.
 
White House spokesman Jay Carney said the FJP representatives met with “midlevel” officials from the National Security Council and that it was a reflection of the new politics in Egypt and the “prominent role” the group now plays in Cairo.
 
“We have broadened our engagement to include new and emerging political parties and actors,” Mr. Carney said.
 
“Because of the fact that Egypt’s political landscape has changed, the actors have become more diverse and our engagement reflects that,” he said. “The point is that we will judge Egypt’s political actors by how they act, not by their religious affiliation.”
 
Presidential ambitions
 
The Muslim Brotherhood’s ascendancy to power in the aftermath of longtime President Hosni Mubarak’s ouster last year has raised concerns among secular Egyptians and Coptic Christians, as well as U.S. and Israeli officials, about how the fundamentalist group would rule Egypt’s 85 million people and conduct its foreign relations.
 
Asked whether a Brotherhood-led government would put the 1979 Camp David Accords to a referendum, as many of the group’s leaders have promised, Mr. Dardery said no.
 
“No referendum at all concerning international obligations,” he said. “All our international agreements are respected by the Freedom and Justice Party, including Camp David.”
 
Meanwhile, FJP presidential candidate Khairat al-Shater filed papers Thursday with Egypt's High Presidential Elections Commission. Egyptians will vote in the presidential election’s first round May 23 and 24, with the top two vote-getters facing off in a June 16 runoff.
 
The Brotherhood had promised not to field a presidential candidate but changed course Saturday, citing threats to democracy from the military council that has ruled Egypt since Mr. Mubarak stepped down in February 2011.
 
In Washington, Mr. Dardery said the Brotherhood fielded a candidate “to make sure that [the] democracy road is protected by the people of Egypt,” arguing that the military council had refused to give the parliament sufficient authority.
 
Mr. Shater, a businessman with a reputation for cunning pragmatism, joins a crowded field that includes Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa, former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik and moderate Islamist Abdel Moneim Abdoul Futouh. Salafist preacher Hazem Abu Ismail was disqualified Thursday, increasing Mr. Shater’s chances for victory.
 
Doubts about democracy
 
A poll taken by Egypt’s Al Ahram newspaper found that 58 percent prefer an Islamist candidate.
 
With Mr. Shater’s entry, some analysts now doubt that Mr. Moussa — once considered the overwhelming favorite — will make the runoff.
 
“Egypt is not moving toward a democracy,” said Eric Trager, an Egypt analyst at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “It is moving toward a competitive theocracy in which the Muslim Brotherhood is pitted against more fundamentalist Salafists.
 
“The question is only which interpretation of the Shariah will be legislated, not whether Egypt will be a theocratic state.”
 
The FJP and the hard-line Salafist Nour Party won two-thirds of the seats in recent parliamentary elections and now dominate the constituent assembly tasked with writing Egypt’s new constitution.
 
The prospect of unchecked Islamist control has frightened secular Egyptians as well as the country’s large Coptic Christian community, which has faced escalating violence over the past year.
 
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said this week that U.S. officials “want to see Egypt move forward in a democratic transition, and what that means is you do not and cannot discriminate against religious minorities, women, political opponents.”
 
Egypt’s Islamist tide also has sparked concerns in Israel, which has maintained a cold but stable peace with its southern neighbor since 1979.
 
“The Muslim Brothers will not show mercy to us, they will not give way to us, but I hope they will keep the peace,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday. “It is important for us, but I think that it is also important for Egypt.”
 
Despite Mr. Dardery’s statements Thursday, many analysts remain skeptical about the Brotherhood’s true intentions.
 
Trouble in the Sinai
 
“Their discourse back at home about Israel being an enemy is consistent with where they have been all along, and I don’t think we should expect any change,” said Steven Cook, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and author of “The Struggle for Egypt.”
 
“I think their hope is that they can put [the peace treaty] to the side at least for the moment, but the fact that they called for this referendum, the fact that they’ve used this issue makes it hard to believe that they wouldn’t bow to any political pressure [on Israel].”
 
Israel has had tense relations with Egypt’s military council, which the Jewish state says has not done enough to prevent terrorists from operating in the Sinai Peninsula.
 
Early Thursday, Mr. Netanyahu warned that the Sinai is becoming a “terror zone” after a rocket fired from the territory struck the southern Israeli resort city of Eilat. No injuries were reported.
 
The prospect of a further deterioration in relations between the two countries would raise difficult questions for Washington, which has given Egypt roughly $2 billion in aid annually since 1979.
 
“If they no longer respect agreements reached under previous governments, then they’re not a country worthy of our support,” said Rep. Gary L. Ackerman of New York, the ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Middle East and South Asia subcommittee.
 
But Mr. Ackerman, echoing a now-common school of thought in Washington, told The Times that Mr. Shater’s candidacy might be a positive development given the alternative.
 
“If I was writing the morning line on who can beat the Salafists, it’s the Muslim Brotherhood,” he said. “And if I have to choose between horrible and not that great, I’ll take not that great.”


Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/apr/5/muslim-brotherhood-seeks-us-alliance-as-it-ascends/#ixzz2EefhZEVw
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« Reply #235 on: December 10, 2012, 08:12:02 PM »

http://hotair.com/archives/2012/12/10/surprise-new-egyptian-dictator-declares-martial-law-ahead-of-constitutional-referendum/

Surprise: New Egyptian dictator declares martial law ahead of constitutional referendum
posted at 3:41 pm on December 10, 2012 by Allahpundit
Remember when the Egyptian army was supposed to be a check on the Brotherhood’s power, not an arm of it?

As his proposed compromise faded and tensions mounted on Sunday, Mr. Morsi followed through on plans announced the day before to authorize the military to protect national institutions and polling places. His order, printed in the official gazette on Sunday, amounts to a form of martial law, because it will allow soldiers under the direction of the defense minister to arrest civilians under a military code of justice.

The move indicated that, at least in the short term, Egypt’s powerful military was lining up behind the new Islamist president to complete the transition to a new constitution.
The new draft constitution is a sharia fan’s dream, giving Muslim clerics power over civil rights and establishing a legal basis for the sort of morals street-policing for which Saudi Arabia’s mutaween are known and loathed. Why would the military leadership, which partnered with the west for decades under Mubarak and takes billions from the U.S. even now, go for something like that? Two reasons. One: There are more Islamists in the military’s hierarchy than analysts thought. That’s how Morsi got away with firing Field Marshal Tantawi, the leader of the country’s junta and de facto supreme ruler until he was canned. Two: The military as an institution has reached an accommodation with the Brotherhood, an outcome so completely predictable that even a dummy like me saw it coming on the very day that Mubarak was deposed. Quote:

The trick for the Brotherhood will be emulating the Iranian model to coopt the military somehow. They’ll have to do it in reverse order from how Iran did it — i.e., instead of starting a la Iran with an Islamist revolt that’s later secured by a de facto military coup (in 2009), they’ll have to follow today’s de facto coup with an Islamist revolt — but it’s not impossible. If the Egyptian military holds on too tightly to power and the public gets restless again, they could strike a deal with the Brotherhood in which the Islamists take formal control in the name of “democratic legitimacy” in return for guaranteeing that the military can keep its business rackets going.
Quid pro quo. If the Brotherhood leaves the military alone, the military will repay the kindness. And sure enough, here’s what the new sharia-on-steroids draft constitution says about military prerogatives:

According to analysts who have studied it, the centerpiece of the charter is the creation of a 15-member national defense council — including eight military appointees — that is essentially an autonomous overseer of military affairs.

Critically, the council has the power to approve declarations of war, a provision that analysts cast as a kind of safety valve for the United States, which remains wary of an Islamist government with ties to the Palestinian militant group Hamas that might jeopardize the 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.

The council would handle military trials, which also are allowed for Egyptian civilians who are deemed a threat to the military. Although parliament must approve the overall budget figure, the council would handle all of its details, which are not required to be made public.

And in a provision that challenges any pretense of civilian oversight of the military, the draft charter requires that the president appoint the defense minister from among the ranks of the military.
The military’s defense budget will also be the province of the national defense council, not parliament, which means the men with guns will continue to operate as a “state within a state.” But even that’s good news for the Brotherhood, at least for now: A constitution that placed the military directly under Morsi’s command might spook Egypt’s western benefactors, who worry about a new war with Israel. By giving the military some sort of ostensible veto power over war, the MB is signaling to the U.S. that it’s safe to keep the money and weapons coming. That’s one of the reasons why the White House has been so embarrassingly docile about Morsi’s power grab. Not only are they trying to build goodwill among Egyptians by showing respect for “democracy,” even if the referendum results in a freakishly illiberal, undemocratic new constitution, but in theory they’ve got a failsafe via Egypt’s semi-independent military in case the MB decides to get frisky with Tel Aviv. In fact, almost as if to flaunt America’s acquiescence in all this, Morsi’s spokesman reiterated today that he’s planning to visit the U.S. in 2013.

The obvious next step for the Brotherhood once this new accommodation is in place is to further consolidate power by having its Islamist allies inside the military start purging the more secular officers. They’re not going to let the army operate autonomously forever; the risk of a new military coup is too high, especially when the order inevitably comes for a new war with Israel. In fact, I wonder if they’ll engage in some lesser adventurism first in order to win the military’s loyalty as part of the consolidation process. Making a move on Libya would destroy relations with the U.S., but if/when the MB amasses enough power to contemplate another bout with the IDF, they’ll have already committed to those relations being destroyed. Anyway, can’t wait for the joint Obama/Morsi presser next year!

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« Reply #236 on: December 10, 2012, 08:43:08 PM »

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/12/10/us-sending-20-more-f-16s-to-egypt-despite-turmoil-in-cairo/


US sending 20 more F-16s to Egypt, despite turmoil in Cairo
By Maxim Lott

Published December 10, 2012
FoxNews.com

Turmoil in Egypt isn't stopping a shipment of 20 F-16 fighter jets, including this one - already emblazoned with Egypt's flag.

 Instability in Egypt, where a newly-elected Islamic government teeters over an angry population, isn't enough to stop the U.S. from sending more than 20 F-16 fighter jets, as part of a $1 billion foreign aid package.

The first four jets are to be delivered to Egypt beginning Jan. 22, a source at the naval air base in Fort Worth, where the planes have been undergoing testing, told FoxNews.com. The North African nation already has a fleet of more than 200 of the planes and the latest shipment merely fulfills an order placed two years ago. But given the uncertainty in Cairo, some critics wonder if it is wise to be sending more top gun planes.

“Should an overreaction [by Egypt] spiral into a broader conflict between Egypt and Israel, such a scenario would put U.S. officials in an embarrassing position of having supplied massive amounts of military hardware … to both belligerents,” said Malou Innocent, a foreign policy analyst at the Cato Institute. “Given Washington's fiscal woes, American taxpayers should no longer be Egypt’s major arms supplier.”


“Given Washington's fiscal woes, American taxpayers should no longer be Egypt’s major arms supplier.”
- Malou Innocent, the Cato Institute


The U.S. government ordered and paid for the fighter jets for Egypt's military as part of foreign aid for Egypt back in 2010, when Hosni Mubarak ruled. The fighter jets were supposed to be delivered in 2013, and delivery will go ahead as scheduled even though Hosni Mubarak has been removed from power and replaced by Mohamed Morsi, who led the Muslim Brotherhood before becoming Egypt's president.

Morsi was democratically elected, but last month attempted to seize dictatorial powers for himself. After widespread protests and violence in Egypt's capital of Cairo, Morsi backed off from his power grab. But he is pushing through a controversial new constitution for Egypt that would more strictly enforce Islamic Shariah law, and only recently said he reserves the right to have the military arrest protesters without charges.

"The Morsi-led Muslim Brotherhood government has not proven to be a partner for democracy as they had promised, given the recent attempted power grab," a senior Republican congressional aide told FoxNews.com.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, (R-Fla.), who chairs the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, recently criticized U.S. military aid to Egypt:

“The Obama administration wants to simply throw money at an Egyptian government that the president cannot even clearly state is an ally of the United States,” Rep. Ros-Lehtinen said.

The $213 million order, which is paid for by U.S. taxpayers and is part of Egypt's foreign aid package from America, had to be approved by lawmakers in Washington.While the basic F-16 has been a military workhorse for top air forces for more than 25 years, the cockpit electronics are constantly updated and the models Egypt is getting are the best defense contractor Lockheed Martin makes.

"This is a great day for Lockheed Martin and a testament to the enduring partnership and commitment we have made to the government of Egypt," said John Larson, vice president, Lockheed Martin F-16 programs. "We remain committed to providing our customer with a proven, advanced 4th Generation multirole fighter."

"In an air combat role, the F-16's maneuverability and combat radius exceed that of all potential threat fighter aircraft," the U.S. Air Force description of the plane reads.

"The F-16 can fly more than 500 miles, deliver its weapons with superior accuracy, defend itself against enemy aircraft, and return to its starting point. An all-weather capability allows it to accurately deliver ordnance during non-visual bombing conditions."

A Pentagon spokesman said the U.S. and Egypt have an important alliance that is furthered by the transfer.

"The U.S.-Egypt defense relationship has served as the cornerstone of our broader strategic partnership for over thirty years," said Lt. Col. Wesley Miller. "The delivery of the first set of F-16s in January 2013 reflects the U.S. commitment to supporting the Egyptian military's modernization efforts.  Egyptian acquisition of F-16s will increase our militaries' interoperability, and enhance Egypt's capacity to contribute to regional mission sets."

Last month, State Department official Andrew J. Shapiro explained why the administration plans to continue military aid to Egypt:

“I know that the uncertainty over the Egyptian transition has prompted some in Congress to propose conditioning our security assistance to Egypt. The administration believes that putting conditions on our assistance to Egypt is the wrong approach, and Secretary Clinton has made this point strongly. Egypt is a pivotal country in the Middle East and a long-time partner of the United States. We have continued to rely on Egypt to support and advance U.S. interests in the region, including peace with Israel, confronting Iranian ambitions, interdicting smugglers, and supporting Iraq,” he said.



Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/12/10/us-sending-20-more-f-16s-to-egypt-despite-turmoil-in-cairo/
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« Reply #237 on: December 11, 2012, 10:42:52 AM »



http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/11/world/middleeast/allies-of-egypts-morsi-beat-protesters-outside-palace.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20121211
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« Reply #238 on: December 12, 2012, 06:36:46 AM »

Interesting piece which fleshes out some things to which we have been referring in more general terms.-- Marc

Egypt: Political Considerations of a Loan Delay
December 12, 2012 | 1101 GMT


Summary
 

Egypt's Islamist-led government is now in a race to resolve a political crisis, push through a constitutional referendum and regain the parliament before the country's economy worsens even further. The Muslim Brotherhood and Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi are betting that they can achieve their immediate political goals without risking too much on the economic front. This is why Egypt decided to postpone a $4.8 billion loan agreement with the International Monetary Fund on Dec. 11. While the economic situation in Egypt is hardly encouraging, a one-month delay in loans will not bring about economic collapse.
 
The government said it wanted an extra month to explain its new economic program, which includes tax hikes on consumer goods and services and subsidies reductions, to the media and to the public. Revenues from a new tax regime would provide Cairo with much needed capital. But amid the ongoing political crisis and just days ahead of a Dec. 15 constitutional referendum, the Islamist-led government is trying to deprive its political opponents of ammunition they could use against it. More important, the government wants to avoid undermining its own support base with a platform of unpopular tax hikes, many of which were reversed by Morsi on Dec. 10.
 


Analysis
 
Egypt is operating at a balance-of-payments deficit of $11.2 billion in the 2011-12 financial year (which ended in June), and the country has been living far beyond its productive means. Without the confidence of financiers, there is very little that can keep Egypt afloat if the government continues the massive subsidy programs. Yet cutting subsidies and introducing new taxes would be politically difficult, especially at this stage. Oil Minister Osama Kamal warned that Egypt would not meet its goal of lowering energy subsidies by 39 percent by June 2013.
 
Egypt's economic outlook may seem bleak, but Cairo is not wholly dependent on the International Monetary Fund loan for its survival. Egypt still has about $15 billion in foreign currency reserves, and Cairo has received bridge financing from a variety of sources. In October, Turkey sent Egypt the first $500 million tranche of a $2 billion loan; the second tranche is due Jan. 30, 2013. The remaining $1 billion would be used to finance Turkish imports to Egypt.
 






.
 In addition, Qatar has lent Egypt $1 billion, as has Saudi Arabia, which promised another $230 million in soft loans. The African Development Bank recently announced that it would transfer the first $500 million tranche of a $2.5 billion loan by the end of December. Kuwait has lent $1.8 billion. None of these has been tied to the International Monetary Fund loan. U.S. aid, including $1.3 in military assistance and another $1 billion in loans and debt forgiveness, has stalled in Washington, but this assistance likewise was pledged independently of the International Monetary Fund.
 
Even if Egypt does not take the International Monetary Fund loan, Cairo has other options. It can devalue its currency or reduce consumption, especially of imported goods. However, those options would be politically costly -- but less so than subsidy cuts or new taxes. They are also short-term fixes, not long-term solutions. Ultimately, the government will have to make some difficult political decisions if it is to achieve long-term financial stability.
 
Unpopular Programs
 
Several issues will affect the government's choices in the short term. The first will be the Dec. 15 national referendum on a new constitution. Definitively holding off on any major tax hikes or the widely unpopular International Monetary Fund loan is important for the Muslim Brotherhood to rally its support base. Holding off on those unpopular programs could also help the Brotherhood win over some opposition members.
 
Constitutional approval would set the stage for parliamentary elections, and the government may get more leeway to implement economic reforms if the Brotherhood wins a parliamentary majority. Egypt will likely move forward with increased taxes -- just not until the current political crisis has passed. Protests would persist, and the military could intervene at any time. But that will not necessarily prevent a painful adjustment. The government will also learn from its mistakes and implement reform more gradually than before. It will also likely receive the loan from the International Monetary Fund, though the timing will be an issue the longer the agreement is delayed.
 
The tax hike, the subsequent reversal and the decision to delay the loan highlight the challenges of an inexperienced government. The challenges come as the government is trying to push forward the constitutional referendum, which will help define a working arrangement with the military. These factors may cause the government to act incoherently as regards economic policy -- a development that could have serious implications for investor confidence and a reviving Egyptian economy with or without the International Monetary Fund loan.
.

Read more: Egypt: Political Considerations of a Loan Delay | Stratfor
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« Reply #239 on: December 12, 2012, 06:49:54 AM »

Second post of the morning

Can God Save Egypt?
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
Published: December 11, 2012 13 Comments

 

When you fly along the Mediterranean today, what do you see below? To the north, you look down at a European supranational state system — the European Union — that is cracking up. And to the south, you look down at an Arab nation state system that is cracking up. It’s an unnerving combination, and it’s all the more reason for the U.S. to get its economic house in order and be a rock of global stability, because, I fear, the situation on the Arab side of the Mediterranean is about to get worse. Egypt, the anchor of the whole Arab world, is embarked on a dangerous descent toward prolonged civil strife, unless a modus vivendi can be found between President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood and his growing opposition. If Syria and Egypt both unravel at once, this whole region will be destabilized. That’s why a billboard on the road to the Pyramids said it all: “God save Egypt.”

Having watched a young, veiled, Egyptian female reporter tear into a Muslim Brotherhood official the other day over the group’s recent autocratic and abusive behavior, I can assure you that the fight here is not between more religious and less religious Egyptians. What has brought hundreds of thousands of Egyptians back into the streets, many of them first-time protesters, is the fear that autocracy is returning to Egypt under the guise of Islam. The real fight here is about freedom, not religion.

The decisions by President Morsi to unilaterally issue a constitutional decree that shielded him from judicial oversight (he has since rescinded most of it after huge protests) and then to rush the completion of a new, highly imperfect, Constitution and demand that it be voted on in a national referendum on Saturday, without sufficient public debate, have rekindled fears that Egyptians have replaced one autocracy, led by Hosni Mubarak, with another, led by the Muslim Brotherhood.

Morsi and the other Muslim Brotherhood leaders were late comers to the 2011 Tahrir Square revolution that ended six decades of military rule here. And because they were focused only on exploiting it for their own ends, they have grossly underestimated the deep, mostly youth-led yearning for the freedom to realize their full potential that erupted in Tahrir — and it has not gone away.

Whenever anyone asked me what I saw in Tahrir Square during that original revolution, I told them I saw a tiger that had been living in a 5-by-8 cage for 60 years get released. And there are three things I can tell you about the tiger: 1) Tiger is never going back in that cage; 2) Do not try to ride tiger for your own narrow purposes or party because this tiger only serves Egypt as a whole; 3) Tiger only eats beef. He has been fed every dog food lie in the Arabic language for 60 years, so don’t try doing it again.

First, the Egyptian Army underestimated the tiger, and tried to get it back in the cage. Now the Muslim Brothers are. Ahmed Hassan, 26, is one of the original Tahrir rebels. He comes from the poor Shubra el-Kheima neighborhood, where his mother sold vegetables. I think he spoke for many of his generation when he told me the other day: “We all had faith that Morsi would be the one who would fulfill our dreams and take Egypt where we wanted it to go. The problem [now] is that not only has he abandoned our dream, he has gone against it. ... They took our dream and implanted their own. I am a Muslim, but I think with my own mind. But [the Muslim Brothers] follow orders from their Supreme Guide. ... Half of me is heartbroken, and half of me is happy today. The part that is heartbroken is because I am aware that we are entering a stage that could be a real blood bath. And the part that is happy is because people who were completely apathetic before have now woken up and joined us.”

What’s wrong with Morsi’s new draft constitution? On the surface, it is not some Taliban document. While the writing was dominated by Islamists, professional jurists had their input. Unfortunately, argues Mona Zulficar, a lawyer and an expert on the constitution, while it enshrines most basic rights, it also says they must be balanced by vague religious, social and moral values, some of which will be defined by clerical authorities. This language opens loopholes, she said, that could enable conservative judges to restrict “women’s rights, freedom of religion, freedom of opinion and the press and the rights of the child,” particularly young girls. Or, as Dan Brumberg, a Middle East expert at the U.S. Institute of Peace, put it, the draft constitution could end up guaranteeing “freedom of speech, but not freedom after speech.”

The wild street demonstrations here — for and against the constitution — tell me one thing: If it is just jammed through by Morsi, Egypt will be building its new democracy on a deep fault line. It will never be stable. Egypt is thousands of years old. It can take six more months to get its new constitution right.

God is not going to save Egypt. It will be saved only if the opposition here respects that the Muslim Brotherhood won the election fairly — and resists its excesses not with boycotts (or dreams of a coup) but with better ideas that win the public to the opposition’s side. And it will be saved only if Morsi respects that elections are not winner-take-all, especially in a society that is still defining its new identity, and stops grabbing authority and starts earning it. Otherwise, it will be all fall down
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« Reply #240 on: December 15, 2012, 08:24:45 AM »

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/15/world/middleeast/obama-walks-a-fine-line-with-egyptian-president.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20121215
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« Reply #241 on: December 19, 2012, 09:04:00 AM »

Summary


While not as powerful as before the fall of the Mubarak government, the Egyptian military is still the most coherent and most powerful institution in Egypt. To remain that way, it needs a strategy for managing a new era of turbulent multiparty politics. Pakistan's is the only military in the Muslim world that has retained its privileged position in an increasingly democratic political system. Similarities between the two countries outweigh their differences, offering the Egyptian armed forces a template for their bid to keep power.
 


Analysis
 
Much has been said about how the Muslim Brotherhood wishes to model itself after Turkey's ruling party, the Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party, by reducing the role of the military in the political arena. But little has been said about how the Egyptian generals will avoid that fate. The Egyptian military needs a civilian vehicle through which it can manage the country. This would allow Egypt -- the Arab world's most important country -- to continue its foreign policy behavior at a time of growing unrest in the region. The only potential partner for the military at this time is the Muslim Brotherhood, which has shown it can cooperate with the Egyptian armed forces.
 
While the military values the country's other political blocs, it does not value them the same way it does the Brotherhood. The secularists and the Salafists are levers the military can use to constrain the Brotherhood and thus prevent the group from bringing the military under civilian control. In a reversal, the Muslim Brotherhood's biggest challenge since Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi's Nov. 22 decree has come from the non-Islamist left. Previously, the Brotherhood's biggest challenge came from the Salafists on the right. Circumstances will shape whether this situation reverses once again; either way, the armed forces will be able to use these various alignments to shape Egypt's political transition.
 
A Working Relationship
 
The Egyptian armed forces see Pakistan as an example of how to manage the new political landscape in Egypt. From a strategic level, the Egypt is presently divided between Brotherhood and anti-Brotherhood forces. Similarly, Pakistan was long divided between pro-Pakistan People's Party and anti-Pakistan People's Party elements. Egypt's generals would like to see the Muslim Brotherhood emulate the Pakistan People's Party, which previously was the military's adversary but has since developed a fairly good working relationship with the country's security sector. The ideological differences between the two -- Egypt's ruling party is Islamist and Pakistan's is more secular -- do not undermine the fact that the main parties are willing to work with the security establishment with varying degrees of enthusiasm.
 
The evolution of Pakistani civilian-military relations since 1988, when the military regime of former President Gen. Mohammed Zia-ul-Haq ended, offers insights into what could transpire in Egypt. In many ways, Egypt today is similar to Pakistan in the 1990s, when the military used what it termed constitutional and legal means to control the system and the Pakistan People's Party. In 1990, 1993 and 1996, Pakistan's generals used the judiciary, the presidency and opposition parties to dismiss sitting governments and dissolve the parliament to prevent civilian governments from gaining ground.
 
Egyptian generals benefit from having developed a working relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood more quickly than their Pakistani counterparts could with the Pakistan People's Party -- something that did not happen in Pakistan until 2008. However, in Egypt the president hails from the main political party; in Pakistan, the president was a civilian bureaucrat and a creation of the military-dominated establishment. The Egyptian army will therefore have to work with Morsi to contain the legislative branch, which the Muslim Brotherhood sees as a means to consolidate power. Like the Pakistani security establishment, the Egyptian generals will seek to thwart the ruling party by helping smaller parties gain additional seats in parliament in hopes of denying the ruling party of a majority.
 
To that end, the coming years could see the Egyptian parliament dismissed prematurely more than once. In a more extreme step, Egypt's army could compel the president to drop his support for the ruling party, as happened in Pakistan in 1996, or even engineer the ouster of Morsi or his successors as president. Morsi's distancing himself from the Muslim Brotherhood in the future is not out of the question, especially given growing pressures on him to act as a national figure rather than a partisan one. These forces mean he increasingly will find himself squeezed between the Muslim Brotherhood, the military and the political opposition.
 
Egypt's army could even intervene along the lines of Pakistan in 1999, when Gen. Pervez Musharraf seized the presidency in a coup. Given the domestic, regional and international climate, this would only happen if the Egyptian army faced a situation in which the civilian institutions were unable to govern and/or unrest reached a level where the Muslim Brotherhood-led government could not control the situation.
 
Knowing the fate of Musharraf and the damage inflicted on the Pakistani security establishment during his tenure, the Egyptian generals would avoid seizing power too overtly. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces would allow Egypt's senior military leaders to avoid having to have the top general assume the presidency. Instead, the collective leadership of the council would take over, though it would probably eventually appoint a new president, as it did after Mubarak's ouster. The current draft Egyptian constitution institutionalizes the role of the military in politics, a clause the final draft will likely contain, thereby facilitating any future interventions against the presidency.
 
The Egyptian military will have to do a better job than Pakistan has done in avoiding being squeezed between assertive executive legislative and judicial branches. Doing so will require keeping Egypt's branches of government divided internally, and that means getting to the point where the Muslim Brotherhood faces competition from a constellation of smaller political forces, especially in the legislature.
 Pakistan's national Islamist parties have always been weak and never have posed a realistic challenge to the Pakistan People's Party, and Egypt's secularist parties will likely be the same way.
 
But Pakistani generals allowed smaller regional parties such as the Pakistan Muslim League in Punjab, Muttahida Qaumi Movement in urban Sindh and the Awami National Party in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province to develop, limiting the power of the Pakistan People's Party and forcing it to work with the military. Egypt is not as divided along regional lines as Pakistan, meaning the potential for strong regional parties is absent. But Egypt has enough smaller parties the military can encourage to check the power of the Muslim Brotherhood -- something it is already doing.


Read more: Egypt's Military and the Pakistani Model | Stratfor
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« Reply #242 on: December 21, 2012, 10:34:21 AM »

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/dec/21/future-looks-bleak-for-egypts-coptic-christians/
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« Reply #243 on: December 22, 2012, 01:57:28 AM »

Obama Gives Cold Shoulder to Egyptian Secular Democrats
by Michael Meunier
Special to IPT News
December 21, 2012
http://www.investigativeproject.org/3862/obama-gives-cold-shoulder-to-egyptian-secular
   

When Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton visited Egypt last July, she was met with widespread protest from Coptic Christians and secular activists objecting to what they all believed was the Obama administration's role in helping the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) ascend to power in Egypt.
The secretary asked to meet with 10 Christian leaders, myself included. All of those invited refused to meet with her and boycotted her visit. Most of us had been both publically and privately warning members of Congress and the administration of the danger the Muslims Brotherhood poses and about their desire to turn Egypt into a theocratic Islamic fascist country. Yet we were ignored.
Going back to April 2007, Democrats made special efforts to link up with the MB when visiting then-House Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., met with Saad el-Katatni, the MB's parliamentary leader, at former U.S. Ambassador Francis Ricciardone's home, at a time when then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has publically refused to meet with the Brotherhood.
Mr. Ricciardone, who I can call a friend, once told me that his friendship with another MB leader, Essam El- Erian, extended for close to 30 years. Perhaps that was the catalyst for this meeting and subsequent meetings that took place at his residence.
A stream of meetings, as well as public and private contacts, followed between current U.S. Ambassador Anne Patterson and Brotherhood members since her arrival in Egypt shortly after the revolution. The ambassador seemed to favor the Brotherhood and the hard line Salafis over the rest of the secular players in Egypt.
In fact, she has turned down requests for meetings from heads of political parties and other secular politicians, myself included, who oppose the Brotherhood.
Other U.S. officials such as Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and Sen. John Kerry made the pilgrimage to MB headquarters and made sure to meet with their shadowy influential leader, Khairat El-Shater, at times even publicly praising him Kerry did. Those visits were made during a time where no political group had emerged as a leader in post-revolution Egypt.
The MB used these high-level meetings to tell the Egyptian people that the U.S. is supporting them and does not object to their rule. Many of us reached out to U.S. officials at the State Department and complained that the U.S. policy regarding the MB was putting the secular forces in Egypt at a disadvantage because it seemed to be propping the MB, but our concerns were dismissed.
We warned of the MB's desire to impose Sharia law once in power and the grim effect it would have on the rights of the millions of Christians and moderate Muslims, and on women and children, yet all of our warnings were dismissed. It seems that a policy decision was made to bring the MB to power in Egypt at all costs, and it happened.
After less than six months in office, President Mohamed Morsi issued an edict exempting his decrees from judicial review, and he is now forcing Egyptians to vote on a constitution that would impose Sharia law, violate human rights and religious freedom of Christians, degrade women, regulate child labor and kill the tourism industry for violating Islamic Sharia.
Youth and large portions of the Egyptian population responded to the president's new powers and draft of the constitution by taking to the streets and surrounding the presidential palace in protest.
Morsi then sent his own armed militia to attack the protesters with numerous weapons including shotguns, swords and firebombs.
The Brotherhood militia killed 10 people, wounded hundreds and kidnapped top youth activists, and tortured them inside the presidential palace for two days before turning them over to the police.
As the Supreme Constitutional Court was poised to dissolve the constitutional assembly, Morsi again sent his Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi militias to besiege the courthouse and prevent the judges from entering the building.
Upon arrival, the judges were turned away by the militia after their lives had been threatened, and to this day the militias are still surrounding the courthouse preventing the judges from meeting.
The president wanted to prevent the court from dissolving the assembly until after he pushes the referendum through and the constitution becomes effective.
Morsi again sent his armed militia to burn down the opposition Al-Wafd Party headquarters in response to the opposition and media stepping up their protests and criticism of the constitution, which large numbers of Egyptians reject and view as a setback for freedom.
They demolished cars and fired shots at the Al-Wafd Party, which is the oldest secular party in Egypt. Another set of Morsi's militia besieged "Media City" where most of the independent TV channels are located. The militia attacked TV anchors known to disagree with Morsi and prevented TV guests who are known to oppose Morsi from entering the city, so they could not appear on TV and criticize the referendum.
Simultaneously, another group of the Morsi's militia attacked the headquarters of newspapers knowing to oppose Morsi and the referendum. The Al-Watan newspaper was among the newspapers whose editor-in-chief went on TV to appeal to the president to stop his militia from attacking reporters and the newspaper building.
Through this all, President Obama's position amounts to, "This is an internal matter and we leave to the Egyptian people to sort out!!"
What the Brotherhood is doing in Egypt is holding a gun to the head of its opposition trying to pass a constitution that so far failed to garner a greater support among Egyptians.
Once that becomes the law of the land, the race is on to turn Egypt into another theocracy headed by an Islamist fascist regime that soon after will threaten the security of the free world. At the heart of it is the Obama administration and its failed foreign policy, and what I see as the desire to destroy moderate Egypt and turn it over to the fanatic elements of the society, creating a monster that will turn on its creator.
Michael Meunier is the President of Al Haya Party in Egypt. He is the founder of the U.S. Copts Association and a democracy, human rights and religious freedom activist.
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G M
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« Reply #244 on: December 29, 2012, 05:37:57 PM »

http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/12/29/257561.html

Brotherhood’s Shater seeks ‘total control’ of media: Egypt’s opposition group
Saturday, 29 December 2012

 Khairat al-Shater, who was the Brotherhood’s main presidential candidate before he was disquieted by the election committee, reportedly called for shutting down TV channels owned by opposition groups. (Al Arabiya)  inShare4 By Al Arabiya

Egypt’s opposition group, the Popular Front, said on Wednesday that it had laid hands on a leaked document signed by the Muslim Brotherhood’s deputy chairman Khairat al-Shater in which he urged the government to claim “total control of the media.”

Shater, who was the Brotherhood’s main presidential candidate before he was disquieted by the election committee, reportedly also called for shutting down TV channels owned by opposition groups.

Al-Tahreer newspaper reported that Shater even advised his brethren at the helm of Egypt’s policy making to find ways to contain the more radical Salafi Islamists. Salafis have strongly stood by the Brotherhood in recent constitutional battles, but the Brotherhood see extremist Islamists as potential future threats.

Shater also urged for the Brotherhood’s followers and strongmen to help raise funds to promote the movement’s policies among the Egyptian public.

The document strengthens “the importance of finding the right way and putting suitable plans to marginalize the role of the hardliners and hinder their expansion within the Islamist Public, because of the growing threat they represent now and in the future, and the difficulty of dealing with the threat later.”

The powerful businessman of the Brotherhood also urged “the shift of all sovereign duties of the ministry of foreign affairs to Dr. Issam Haddad,” and “discussing the proposal of Dr. Mahmood Ghezlan on cleansing the media from remnants of the departed regime and closing down, gradually, all private TV channels.”

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #245 on: January 05, 2013, 03:56:24 PM »



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBtkyBhzJ4o
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G M
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« Reply #246 on: January 05, 2013, 04:23:09 PM »


Is it possible he was just quoting Chuck Hagel?
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ccp
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« Reply #247 on: January 20, 2013, 08:11:38 AM »

I am not clear why Egypt needs these weapons. 

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/01/10/calls-to-pull-plug-on-us-gifts-tanks-f-16-jets-to-egypt-grows/
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G M
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« Reply #248 on: January 20, 2013, 10:15:15 AM »


They need them to attack Israel.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #249 on: January 23, 2013, 11:37:21 AM »



http://pjmedia.com/blog/in-context-muhammad-morsis-islamically-correct-jew-hatred/
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