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Author Topic: Egypt  (Read 38750 times)
ccp
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« Reply #250 on: January 23, 2013, 03:26:31 PM »

The sale to Egypt of this military equipment while Egyptians go hungry can only be seen as a signal from Obama to Netanyahu:

"you don't run this show, I am the one who calls the shots and the one who says when where and if."

More pressure against Bibi not to attack unilaterally.

What else can this mean?
« Last Edit: January 23, 2013, 03:50:25 PM by ccp » Logged
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #251 on: January 26, 2013, 10:41:20 AM »


 MATT BRADLEY
CAIRO—Dozens of people were killed as violence engulfed cities across Egypt for the second straight day Saturday, challenging Egypt's police and military to contain mounting lawlessness on a national scale.

At least 26 people were killed and nearly 300 were injured in rioting in the coastal city of Port Said on Saturday after a Cairo court sentenced 21 people to death for their role in a deadly soccer riot last February. Meanwhile, Friday's antigovernment riots in Cairo and other cities continued into early afternoon on Saturday, leaving at least 11 people dead, mostly in the impoverished coastal city of Suez.

The harsh verdict and back-to-back outbursts of violence have lent an air of desperation to Egyptian politics just as the country marked the second anniversary of a revolution that ended the 30-year rule of former President Hosni Mubarak and ushered in a two-year period of political instability.

The bloody street fights throughout the country often involve angry youth and have become a routine feature of Egypt's fraught transition to democracy.   But this latest flare-up comes amid profound political divisions, an imminent economic crisis and months ahead of expected parliamentary elections that threaten to accelerate the country's plunge into instability.

The weekend's rallies showed that many Egyptians continue to view the street-level protests and violence—not the ballot box—as the surest way to express their political will.  The general focus of rage is President Mohammed Morsi's Islamist government, who his secular opponents complain has brought little real change, particularly to a police force that remains incapable of containing mass demonstrations.

"When we call for the reform of the security sector and the security sector refuses this call, it leads to things like Port Said," said Khaled Fahmy, a political analyst and history professor at the American University in Cairo. "When we say that the security sector has to be reformed, this is exactly what we mean."

Adding to the political confusion as the death toll mounted, the National Salvation Front, the umbrella political group that represents opponents to Egypt's Islamist-backed presidency, issued a statement announcing that they would boycott the parliamentary vote unless Mr. Morsi devolved power to his opponents and amended the constitution.

Mr. Morsi cancelled a scheduled trip to Ethiopia and deployed Egypt's military in Suez and Port Said. In Port Said, hundreds of relatives and friends of the convicted defendants tried to breach prison walls to spring the convicts from jail.

The 21 people sentenced to death on Saturday were among 73 defendants, including several police officers, accused of participating in one of the world's deadliest soccer riots. Rulings for the rest of the defendants will be read on March 9. The verdict for the 21 announced Saturday isn't final—the defendants are almost certain to appeal and the head of Al Azhar, a government-managed Islamic university, must first accept or reject the capital sentences.

The head of Al Azhar has historically served a rubber-stamp religious role, and he is likely to approve the judge's decision.

Egyptian soccer hooligans, known here as Ultras, have been demonstrating in Cairo for the past week in anticipation of the court verdict over the alleged murder of 74 soccer fans during a stadium riot last February.  Ultras backing the Port Said-based Al Masry team rushed the pitch following their win over the Cairo-based Al Ahly team. The ensuing melee saw dozens of Al Ahly fans suffocate while trying to leave the stadium. Others were tossed from the bleachers or slashed with knives.

Ultras supporting Al Ahly dubbed the incident a massacre and blamed Egypt's police for the deaths. The soccer fans accused the ministry of interior of doing little to stop the violence as part of a decade-long vendetta between soccer hooligans and the police.

Others said police deliberately orchestrated the attack.

"They are to blame for derelection of duty and the murders happened under their watch," said Mahmoud Adel, a member of the Al Ahly fan club committee who was at the game last year. Mr. Adel said thousands of Al Ahly fans erputed into cheers and applause at the Al Ahly club in Cairo when the decision was read.

"It's a strong verdict, but what happened deserves an even stronger verdict," he said.

A Port Said resident and lawyer of one of the defendants given a death sentence said the verdict was nothing more than "a political decision to calm the public.  There is nothing to say these people did anything and we don't understand what this verdict is based on," Mohammed al-Daw told the Associated Press. "Kids were taken from their homes for wearing green T-shirts," he said, referring to the Al Masry team color

The court's ruling in the Port Said case came a day after protesters descended on city squares across Egypt on Friday to mark the second anniversary of the revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak's 30-year autocracy and to press their demands against Egypt's Islamist leadership.

The Muslim Brotherhood and its conservative Islamist allies have dominated every national vote since Mr. Mubarak stepped down. In statements this week, the Brotherhood championed Egypt's "glorious revolution" but warned of the "evil forces of darkness [who] desperately endeavor to spoil the celebration [by] spreading chaos and terror across the country."

In a statement on his official Twitter account, Mr. Morsi expressed his sympathy for the deaths of protesters and police officers in Suez and vowed to pursue those responsible.

In Egypt's capital, marchers converged Friday from across the city onto Tahrir Square, the nerve center of the 2011 revolution. Demonstrators chanted anti-Islamist slogans.

"This is not a memory or a memorial," said Sayyid Gouda, a 36-year-old accountant who was wearing a gas mask around his neck as he gazed out on the crowds on the square. "This is a new wave of the revolution to restore our country."

In condemning the Muslim Brotherhood, which exercises expansive control over Egypt's government, Mr. Gouda and other activists drew from the same lexicon of resistance that defined the uprising two years ago. President Morsi and his Brotherhood backers are "fascists" who should be imprisoned for trying to take over Egypt and turn it into an Islamist state, Mr. Gouda said.

Though many of the tens of thousands of demonstrators were peaceful, according to televised images of the protests, dozens of rock-throwing youth laid seige to the Brotherhood's headquarters in the Nile Delta cities of Ismailia and Damanhour, according to the state news agency.

For the second time this week, assailants armed with Molotov cocktails attacked the offices of the Brotherhood's website in downtown Cairo, the Brotherhood reported on the site.

Friday's protests saw the first major appearance of a new group of masked protesters calling themselves the "Black Block," after a protest strategy historically associated with the violent European anarchist movement. Sporting black clothing and concealing black face-masks, members of the group were responsible for blocking a tramway in the coastal city of Alexandria to make way for protesters and clashed with police in front of the presidential palace in Cairo, state media said.

The apparently loosely affiliated new group swore on its unofficial Facebook FB +1.48%page to shield antigovernment protesters from Brotherhood thugs.
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G M
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« Reply #252 on: January 28, 2013, 11:14:24 AM »

http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2013/01/27/egyptian-path-darkens/

January 27, 2013


Egyptian Path Darkens


[UPDATED to reflect breaking news]
 
The situation in Egypt continues to darken; President Morsi has just declared a state of emergency and announced a curfew in three provinces following widespread riots. Hundreds of Egyptians have hit the streets in recent days to protest against President Mohamed Morsi and the death sentence handed down to 21 people for rioting at a soccer match. Forty-five people have died since the protests began on Thursday. Reuters reports:
 

Three people were shot dead and hundreds were injured in Egypt’s Port Said on Sunday during the funerals of 33 protesters killed at the weekend in the city.
 
Gunshots had killed many of the 33 who died on Saturday when residents went on the rampage after a court sentenced 21 people, mostly from the Mediterranean port, to death for their role in deadly soccer violence at a stadium there last year.
 
Elsewhere in Egypt, police fired teargas at dozens of stone-throwing protesters in Cairo in a fourth day of clashes over what demonstrators there and in other cities say is a power grab by Islamists two years after Hosni Mubarak was overthrown.
 
Egypt’s recent struggles are often portrayed as a conflict between Islamists in the Muslim Brotherhood and the liberal groups in the Cairo street. But while the MSM has given much attention to the Muslim Brotherhood’s increasing infringement on civil liberties, the truth is that these policies, while important, will not determine the future of Egyptian politics. This latest wave of violence and those that are certain to follow, stems largely from the sorry state of the Egyptian economy.
 
Most Egyptians these days are poor, unemployed, and frustrated with both the current and the past leadership of the country. And since the beginning of the Arab Spring, Egypt has seen its currency plummet as investors flee. Unless these trends are reversed, the restlessness and violence is only likely to get worse.
 
The latest outbreak of violence and the draconian measures now being taken to contain it only highlight the reality that neither Egypt’s government, its liberal opposition or its military guardians have any idea what to do. So far, Egypt hasn’t really seen a revolution. It’s seen faction-fighting and a change of regime, but society itself remains largely unchanged. Will that persist as the Muslim Brotherhood government is seen increasingly as unable to solve the country’s problems? It is much too soon to tell, but the government of Egypt is not standing on solid ground.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #253 on: January 28, 2013, 02:34:04 PM »

Maybe things will go better if we give the military some fighter jets , , ,
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #254 on: January 29, 2013, 10:25:10 AM »



Egypt Army Chief Fears State Collapse .
CAIRO—Egypt's army chief warned on Tuesday that the state could collapse if the latest political crisis roiling the nation drags on, but also defended the right of people to protest.

Troops deployed in the two riot-torn Suez Canal cities of Port Said and Suez stood by and watched on Monday night as thousands took to the streets in direct defiance of a night curfew and a state of emergency declared by the president a day earlier. Residents of those two cities and Ismailiya, a third city also under the emergency, marched through the streets just as the curfew came into force at 9 p.m.

The display of contempt for the president's decision was tantamount to an outright rebellion that many worried could spread to other parts of the country. Already, protesters across much of Egypt are battling police, cutting off roads and railway lines, and besieging government offices and police stations as part of a growing revolt against the rule of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood group.

At least 60 people have been killed since Friday.

Mr. Morsi's opponents protest that Islamists have monopolized power and not lived up to the ideals of the pro-democracy uprising that ousted authoritarian leader Hosni Mubarak nearly two years ago.

"The continuation of the conflict between the different political forces and their differences over how the country should be run could lead to the collapse of the state and threaten future generations," said the army chief, Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who is both head of the military and defense minister.

The warning was the military's first public comment since the latest crisis erupted last week around the second anniversary of the uprising. Mr. el-Sissi was speaking to military academy cadets and the comments were posted on the armed forces' official Facebook page.

On Sunday night, Mr. Morsi ordered the army to restore order in the Suez Canal cities of Port Said and Suez and slapped a 30-day state of emergency and night curfew on the two cities, as wells as Ismailiya. The army hasn't deployed in Ismailiya, however, which has seen little of the deadly violence flaring in the other two cities.

On Tuesday, tanks were fanned out on the streets of Port Said, a strategic city of some 600,000 located 140 miles northeast of Cairo on the Mediterranean coast and at the tip of the Suez Canal. New funerals were held for six more of those killed in clashes, with thousands marching and chanting against Mr. Morsi.

"Erhal! Erhal!" or "Leave, leave!" the mourners chanted.

The military is Egypt's most powerful institution and was the de facto ruler since a 1952 coup by army officers seized power and later toppled the monarchy. Generals forced Mr. Mubarak from power at the end of the uprising and then a ruling military council took over from him.

Their nearly 17 months in power that followed tainted the military's reputation, with critics charging the ruling generals of mismanaging the transition to democratic rule, human rights violations and hauling thousands of civilians before military tribunals.

Mr. Morsi became the first freely elected and civilian president in June and was immediately plunged into a power struggle with the military when it tried to curtail his powers. Two months after he took office, he ordered the retirement of the country's top two generals, regained powers the generals had taken away from him and handpicked Mr. el-Sissi as defense minister and army chief.

The timing of Mr. el-Sissi's warning is particularly significant because it came as Mr. Morsi appears to have failed to stem the latest bout of political violence as the country sank deeper into chaos and lawlessness and opposition to Mr. Morsi grew.

Some of the demonstrators in Port Said on Monday night waved white-and-green flags they said were the colors of a new and independent state. Such secession would be unthinkable in Egypt, but the move underlined the depth of frustration in the city.

Mr. El-Sissi acknowledged the difficult challenges facing his troops in Port Said and Suez, and spoke of the "realistic threat" facing the nation as a result of what he called the political, economic and social challenges.

"The deployment of the armed forces poses a grave predicament for us insofar as how we balance avoiding confrontations with Egyptian citizens, their right to protest and the protection and security of vital facilities that impact Egypt's national security," he said.

Since coming to office nearly seven months ago, Mr. Morsi has failed to tackle the country's massive problems, which range from an economy in free fall to surging crime, chaos on the streets and lack of political consensus. His woes deepened when the main opposition coalition turned down his offer for a dialogue to resolve the crisis, insisting that he meets their conditions first.

The wave of unrest has touched cities across much of the country since Thursday, including Cairo, the three Suez Canal cities, Alexandria on the Mediterranean in the north and a string of cities in the Nile Delta.

The violence accelerated Friday, the second anniversary of the start of the uprising, with protests to mark the event turned to clashes around the country that left 11 dead, most of them in Suez.

The next day, riots exploded in Port Said after a court convicted and sentenced to death 21 defendants—mostly locals—for a mass soccer riot in the city's main stadium a year ago. Rioters attacked police stations, clashed with security forces in the streets and shots and tear gas were fired at protester funerals in mayhem that left 44 people dead over the weekend.
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G M
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« Reply #255 on: January 29, 2013, 02:59:55 PM »



Egypt Army Chief Fears State Collapse .
CAIRO—Egypt's army chief warned on Tuesday that the state could collapse if the latest political crisis roiling the nation drags on, but also defended the right of people to protest.

Troops deployed in the two riot-torn Suez Canal cities of Port Said and Suez stood by and watched on Monday night as thousands took to the streets in direct defiance of a night curfew and a state of emergency declared by the president a day earlier. Residents of those two cities and Ismailiya, a third city also under the emergency, marched through the streets just as the curfew came into force at 9 p.m.

The display of contempt for the president's decision was tantamount to an outright rebellion that many worried could spread to other parts of the country. Already, protesters across much of Egypt are battling police, cutting off roads and railway lines, and besieging government offices and police stations as part of a growing revolt against the rule of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood group.

At least 60 people have been killed since Friday.

Mr. Morsi's opponents protest that Islamists have monopolized power and not lived up to the ideals of the pro-democracy uprising that ousted authoritarian leader Hosni Mubarak nearly two years ago.

"The continuation of the conflict between the different political forces and their differences over how the country should be run could lead to the collapse of the state and threaten future generations," said the army chief, Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who is both head of the military and defense minister.

The warning was the military's first public comment since the latest crisis erupted last week around the second anniversary of the uprising. Mr. el-Sissi was speaking to military academy cadets and the comments were posted on the armed forces' official Facebook page.

On Sunday night, Mr. Morsi ordered the army to restore order in the Suez Canal cities of Port Said and Suez and slapped a 30-day state of emergency and night curfew on the two cities, as wells as Ismailiya. The army hasn't deployed in Ismailiya, however, which has seen little of the deadly violence flaring in the other two cities.

On Tuesday, tanks were fanned out on the streets of Port Said, a strategic city of some 600,000 located 140 miles northeast of Cairo on the Mediterranean coast and at the tip of the Suez Canal. New funerals were held for six more of those killed in clashes, with thousands marching and chanting against Mr. Morsi.

"Erhal! Erhal!" or "Leave, leave!" the mourners chanted.

The military is Egypt's most powerful institution and was the de facto ruler since a 1952 coup by army officers seized power and later toppled the monarchy. Generals forced Mr. Mubarak from power at the end of the uprising and then a ruling military council took over from him.

Their nearly 17 months in power that followed tainted the military's reputation, with critics charging the ruling generals of mismanaging the transition to democratic rule, human rights violations and hauling thousands of civilians before military tribunals.

Mr. Morsi became the first freely elected and civilian president in June and was immediately plunged into a power struggle with the military when it tried to curtail his powers. Two months after he took office, he ordered the retirement of the country's top two generals, regained powers the generals had taken away from him and handpicked Mr. el-Sissi as defense minister and army chief.

The timing of Mr. el-Sissi's warning is particularly significant because it came as Mr. Morsi appears to have failed to stem the latest bout of political violence as the country sank deeper into chaos and lawlessness and opposition to Mr. Morsi grew.

Some of the demonstrators in Port Said on Monday night waved white-and-green flags they said were the colors of a new and independent state. Such secession would be unthinkable in Egypt, but the move underlined the depth of frustration in the city.

Mr. El-Sissi acknowledged the difficult challenges facing his troops in Port Said and Suez, and spoke of the "realistic threat" facing the nation as a result of what he called the political, economic and social challenges.

"The deployment of the armed forces poses a grave predicament for us insofar as how we balance avoiding confrontations with Egyptian citizens, their right to protest and the protection and security of vital facilities that impact Egypt's national security," he said.

Since coming to office nearly seven months ago, Mr. Morsi has failed to tackle the country's massive problems, which range from an economy in free fall to surging crime, chaos on the streets and lack of political consensus. His woes deepened when the main opposition coalition turned down his offer for a dialogue to resolve the crisis, insisting that he meets their conditions first.

The wave of unrest has touched cities across much of the country since Thursday, including Cairo, the three Suez Canal cities, Alexandria on the Mediterranean in the north and a string of cities in the Nile Delta.

The violence accelerated Friday, the second anniversary of the start of the uprising, with protests to mark the event turned to clashes around the country that left 11 dead, most of them in Suez.

The next day, riots exploded in Port Said after a court convicted and sentenced to death 21 defendants—mostly locals—for a mass soccer riot in the city's main stadium a year ago. Rioters attacked police stations, clashed with security forces in the streets and shots and tear gas were fired at protester funerals in mayhem that left 44 people dead over the weekend.

Maybe things will go better if we give the military some fighter jets , , ,
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #256 on: January 30, 2013, 12:38:31 PM »

http://www.investigativeproject.org/3898/there-he-goes-again-egypt-morsi-stuns-us-senators
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G M
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« Reply #257 on: January 30, 2013, 12:56:52 PM »


What you islamiphobes don't get is that Morsi is just the arab world's Don Rickles. When he calls Jews the descendants of apes and pigs, it's out of love.
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For_Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #258 on: February 17, 2013, 07:23:27 AM »

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Posted on behalf of Crafty Dog
by Spartan Dog
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #259 on: February 18, 2013, 07:33:00 PM »


Summary

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi on Aug. 12 announced the retirement of the country's top five officers from military service. Defense Minister and head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi and army Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Sami Annan were both given top civilian posts as advisers to the president, while the air and naval chiefs along with the air defense chief were also retired from service and given top civilian positions. Second-tier commanders took over from the retired officers, while unconfirmed reports in Egyptian media suggest that the deputies of the promoted commanders have taken over the posts vacated by their superiors.
 

The military needs to secure its influence in the new political system in which the president is no longer drawn exclusively from the armed forces, which had been the case in Egypt since Lt. Col. Gamal Abdel Nasser established the modern Egyptian republic through a military coup in 1952. It is also grappling with internal tensions due to younger officers' frustrations over a lack of opportunity for promotion. The president's move may have partially addressed both issues. Given that the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces had heavily circumscribed Morsi's powers just before the June presidential election, it is unlikely his decision was a unilateral one, and it may have been made in cooperation with the ambitious younger members of the armed forces to nudge out the aging military leadership.
 


Analysis
 
Egypt's second- and third-tier commanders and the general staff officer corps have for some time been displeased with the top brass's refusal to relinquish posts and allow those below a chance at promotion. Indeed, Stratfor sources in Cairo said resentment reached an all-time high after the 2011 uprising against former President Hosni Mubarak and has not subsided. The internal schisms have received little attention amid the larger struggle between the military and the Muslim Brotherhood for control of Egypt, but the recent retirements, promotions and reassignments suggest that an internal restructuring within the military was also under way.
 






.
 

Tantawi has been at the helm of the military establishment since the 1990s. He gave no indication that he intended to retire, and it is unlikely that his or the others' retirements were purely voluntary. Instead, they likely came as a result of pressure from subordinates who charge that the professionalism of the military as an institution is harmed when the normal flow of promotions is disrupted and aging generals remain at the helm for too long.
 
The retirements and promotions come at a time when the military is searching for a new arrangement that will preserve its authority now that the country has moved away from the single-party model to a multi-party one with competitive elections. The military has always wanted to resume ruling from behind the scenes and leave day-to-day matters of governance to civil authorities, and the new civilian assignments for the now-retired generals will likely be the conduit through which the defense establishment maintains its oversight of the political system.
 
In addition to Tantawi and Annan, who were made presidential advisers, the former air force chief will become the head of military production. Likewise, the former naval chief has reportedly been named head of the Suez Canal Authority, an important revenue-generating asset for the country, and the former air defense chief was named chairman of the Arab Organization for Industrialization, a military development group. Under this arrangement, the military can go back to operating key state institutions through retired commanders, as was the case under Anwar Sadat and Mubarak. Unlike previous times, however, these commanders will be working with a president whose background is in the Muslim Brotherhood, not the military. Furthermore, these three appointments show that the defense establishment will be able to continue to dominate the country's economic sector.
 
Since Mubarak's ouster and the beginning of Egypt's political transition, the Muslim Brotherhood's efforts to assert its power have repeatedly been countermanded by the military, and Morsi's decree could similarly be reversed. However, Tantawi reportedly consented to the move, and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces released a statement saying the shifts were settled via negotiation between the president and the military, indicating the military will not directly challenge the moves.
 
Under the new arrangement, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces remains powerful, but its composition and leadership have changed. Sensing an opening, Morsi has already issued presidential orders beyond what may have been agreed upon with the military. Morsi canceled a June 17 constitutional addendum issued by the ruling council and amended the constitutional declaration issued on March 30, 2011, with one that grants him full executive and judicial authority as well as the power to set all public policies in Egypt and sign international treaties. The declaration also gives Morsi the right to form a new constituent assembly tasked with drafting an Egyptian Constitution should any future developments prevent the current assembly from carrying out its responsibilities.
 
These presidential orders have not been implemented, and the judiciary or the military is likely to block them from ever being enacted just as they have done with previous initiatives intended to empower the legislature or the president. While Morsi may have achieved a symbolic victory in removing long-serving members of the former Mubarak regime from their military posts, the military had its own reasons for going along with the moves -- reasons that are intended to increase, not reduce, the military's influence over the civilian government. Furthermore, Morsi is unlikely to exercise unencumbered authority any time soon, especially with the new constitution, which will likely limit the powers of the president, being drafted.
.

Read more: Egypt's Evolving Civil-Military Relations | Stratfor
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G M
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« Reply #260 on: February 27, 2013, 07:42:38 PM »

http://pjmedia.com/barryrubin/2013/02/26/who-will-the-muslim-brotherhood-heed-allah-or-tom-friedman-and-such-people-no-contest/?singlepage=true

Who Will the Muslim Brotherhood Heed: Allah or Tom Friedman (and such people)? No Contest

February 26th, 2013 - 10:16 am



Sigh. I really don’t want to write this article, but we have too good a case study of contemporary Western foreign policy reporting, debate, and elite attitudes toward international affairs to ignore. Doing a better job here is vital, as this task involves the fate of millions of people, matters of war and peace, the most basic interests of the United States, and the decency of intellectual discourse.
 
I refer, of course, to Thomas L. Friedman’s latest effort: “The Belly Dancing Barometer.” (Tens of millions of lives are at stake — that’s worth a flippant title and goofy concept, right?)

 


Friedman writes:
 

Since the start of the 2011 revolution in Tahrir Square, every time the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood faced a choice of whether to behave in an inclusive way or grab more power, true to its Bolshevik tendencies it grabbed more power and sacrificed inclusion. [President] Morsi’s power grab will haunt him.
 
The Brotherhood needs to understand that its version of political Islam — which is resistant to women’s empowerment and religious and political pluralism — might be sustainable if you are Iran or Saudi Arabia, and you have huge reserves of oil and gas to buy off all the contradictions between your ideology and economic growth. But if you are Egypt, you need to be as open to the world and modernity as possible to unleash all of the potential for growth.
 
So, let me get this straight.
 
Friedman is saying that you cannot trust the Brotherhood, as it seeks total power and is anti-democratic.
 
Hmm: what’s Friedman been saying the last two years? Well, he has been an apologist for the Brotherhood, a cheerleader for the course taken by the “Arab Spring,” and has constantly insisted that the “democratic” revolution is going well. Indeed, in January 2012 I wrote an analysis of Friedman’s coverage titled: “Friedman Cheers as Egyptians are Enslaved.”
 
Now, when it’s too late? Friedman is supposedly outraged to see what’s going on there.
 
Now, he concludes that the Egyptian regime is not democratic at all.
 
However, he draws no conclusions about how U.S. policy should change to adjust for his discovery. Does Friedman now favor — as he hints in the article — using real pressure on Egypt if the regime continues to be repressive at home? Will he criticize Obama for not doing so?
 
If Mursi [I'll stick with my transliteration] has “Bolshevik tendencies,” might that not also lead to his doing something nasty to U.S. interests?
 
It’s like identifying a mass murderer, and then asking him “Do you really think you can get away with this without a vast criminal organization behind you?”, rather than hollering: “Help! Police! There’s a mass murderer over there!”
 
On top of that, Friedman uses that “needs to understand” phrase, so beloved by editorialists but totally absurd when dealing with dictators. Well, what if they don’t understand, Mr. Friedman? How about saying:
 

Herr Hitler needs to understand that he cannot conquer the whole world. Germany lacks the economic base to do so.
 
Also, do we now believe in economic determinism? Was the USSR sustainable? Can you imagine someone writing this in 1917 about the Bolsheviks?
 

Mr. Lenin needs to understand that the Soviet Union [yes, I know it wasn't founded until several years later, but I'm trying to make a point here -- BR] should abandon its Bolshevik tendencies because it will never work out.
 
Sure, the Soviet Union failed. But it took almost 75 years, and tens of millions died as a result.
 
And since when did a Middle Eastern radical dictatorship — even one that was elected — put economic pragmatism ahead of seeking its goals: the PLO or Palestinian Authority? Saddam Hussein? Gamal Abdel Nasser?
 
Has the Iranian government dropped their nuclear weapons program because of economic sanctions?
 
Arguably, one such leader did bow to economic necessity to moderate. His name was Anwar al-Sadat, and now his regime — under Sadat’s successor, Mubarak — is the villain for America and the West.
 
Note that Friedman never says: President Obama needs to understand that he cannot trust this Muslim Brotherhood regime, should see it as a threat to U.S. interests, and must work to undermine it.
 
Moreover, is Friedman correct, and Mursi wrong? Is the world really going to cut off the money to Egypt if it keeps getting more Islamist? Will the U.S. insist the IMF stop aiding the Egyptian regime, or even … stop sending it free weapons?
 

Aide: “President Obama! The Muslim Brotherhood is grabbing more power and not being inclusionary!”
 
Obama: “Jumping Saul Alinsky! We must cut off aid at once! Then he’ll learn that he must be open to the world in order to unleash Egypt’s potential for growth!”
 
But wait! Egypt doesn’t have a potential for economic growth. It isn’t going to happen. The country has too many people and not enough resources. What if Mursi knows that Egypt isn’t going to be the new China, with shining cities of high rises, factories pumping out consumer durables for export, and so on?
 
If he knows that there is no real chance for economic prosperity … maybe that is why he follows the policies he does! Might it be that Mursi knows more about Egypt than Friedman, or even Obama?
 
Perhaps Mursi could intimidate or blackmail those with oil and gas, as his predecessor Gamal Abdel Nasser did. And, after all, the Arab nationalists faced precisely the same problem as Mursi does, and yet stayed in office for 60 years. Yes, they had the USSR, but that hardly gave a lot of economic aid. Why can’t the Islamists run Egypt for the next 60 years?
 

Aide: “President Mursi! We must abandon Islamism! We can’t afford it!”
 
Mursi: “Oh well, I guess the IMF is more important than Allah. Mwa-ha-ha! Just kidding!”
 
If you know anything about societies like Egypt, you would understand that these societies have a lot of flexibility. People can get along with far less than in the West, and be a lot more passive in the face of suffering, because that’s the way they always had to live. This is a largely agricultural society. Some can go back to the villages, or be sustained by extended families, or tighten their belts. They have low expectations. And the “Arab Spring” has not changed that fact, at least for a majority. What proportion of the Egyptian public participated in those romanticized events before the Mubarak regime was overthrown in 2011? Say, 100,000 out of a population of 70 million?
 
And many of them were Muslim Brotherhood cadre.
 
The Egyptian people also know they face repression, and they have a deeply embedded ideology to comfort them and to drive them onward. And why are they so poor and miserable? It’s not Mursi, but America, the West, Israel, and now even the Saudis who are blamed for their suffering. Obviously, not everyone is going to believe this, but enough will — or will get bopped upside the head — to keep the regime in power. Wait until you see what’s going to happen in Syria as a new dictatorship takes control there as well.
 
The one ray of hope in Egypt is that there are now four Islamist parties: the Brotherhood, “moderates,” radical Salafi, and “moderate” (i.e., pro-regime) Salafi. If the democratic opposition wasn’t led by such a bunch of quarreling incompetent egomaniac politicians, there might actually be some hope of defeating Islamists in the parliamentary elections due in a few months.
 
This is all a tragedy for the poor victims in the Middle East, and a farce for the well-paid, much-honored careerist opportunists and ideologues in the West.
 
What’s so frustrating about this mess: not only are the policies so bad, not only is the permitted debate so narrow, but these people don’t even try to come up with logical arguments because they know they can get away with any old trash and still get applauded.
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« Reply #261 on: February 27, 2013, 09:00:32 PM »

Forgive the frivolous tangent, but shouldn't that be "WHOM will the MB heed?"  cheesy
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« Reply #262 on: March 01, 2013, 04:30:24 PM »

February 28, 2013


The Egypt Bomb Goes Tick Tick Tick



 
Egypt is set to explode, according to former Finance Minister Samir Radwan. Joblessness stands at 74 percent for people under 30, according to government figures. This figure is unlikely to improve, the FT reports:
 

“I expect unemployment to increase because there are no signs that the economy is picking up,” says Mr Radwan. “Already some 1,500 [business] establishments have shut down.”
 
President Mohamed Morsi announced last week that Parliamentary elections will be held in April, prompting an outcry from his liberal opponents. But neither the Muslim Brotherhood nor any other potential candidate has any viable plan to ease unemployment. This, really, is all one needs to know about Egypt.
 
The economy is in a meltdown. And the situation on the ground will only be exacerbated by the hordes of young people (under-30s make up an estimated 60 percent of Egypt’s population) unable to find work to pay for the rising costs of basic goods. Radwan is right, the time bomb in Egypt is ticking. There is nothing worse for an unstable country than a restive, and hungry, youth. The only question now is, when the explosion comes, what will rise from the debris?
 
[Update: An earlier version of this post mistakenly stated that 74 percent of Egyptians are unemployed, rather than jobless. This error has been corrected.]
 - See more at: http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2013/02/28/the-egypt-bomb-goes-tick-tick-tick/
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« Reply #263 on: March 02, 2013, 05:31:53 PM »

http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2013/0301/A-warning-to-John-Kerry-on-Middle-East-trip-Egypt-could-become-the-next-Iran

A warning to John Kerry on Middle East trip: Egypt could become the next Iran


Take note, Secretary of State John Kerry: Under the rule of Mohammad Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt is in danger of becoming a Sunni version of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The US must demand the protection of human rights and back rhetoric with action.

 By Nesreen Akhtarkhavari / March 1, 2013


Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi, right, embraces Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the 12th summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Cairo, Egypt Feb. 6. As US Secretary of State John Kerry visits Egypt this weekend, op-ed contributor Nesreen Akhtarkhavari warns: 'Just as the revolution in Iran was hijacked by the Shiite clergy in 1979, the Muslim Brotherhood is doing the same in Egypt now.'

As Secretary of State John Kerry heads to Egypt March 2 he should be wary of one concerning possibility: Under the rule of Mohammad Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt is in danger of becoming a Sunni version of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Opposition leaders’ refusal to meet with Mr. Kerry over what they perceive to be as unprincipled US support for Mr. Morsi should serve as a wake-up call and warning to Washington.

Morsi’s first step after winning the June 2012 presidential election was to create an alliance with other Islamic groups, and sideline seculars and liberals who could derail the establishment of a religious state. Next, he gave himself immunity from legal prosecution and managed to quickly hoard more power than deposed dictator Hosni Mubarak ever dreamed of having. After a number of maneuvers, Morsi pushed forward a constitution drafted mostly by Brotherhood members and their allies, ignoring the protests of secular opponents, Christians, women, and liberals against the discriminatory language and key articles placed in the new constitution.

The new constitution sets the legal ground for creating what could become an Islamic state. It restricts the role of the judicial and legislative branches and stipulates that laws and their interpretations are subject to Islamic jurisprudence. It further gives legal-oversight power on “matters related to the Islamic sharia” to Al-Azhar University, the oldest and highest Sunni religious institution in Egypt.


The new constitution and its wide implications for personal freedom and social justice should concern the international community. It explicitly recognizes only the three Abrahamic religions (Islam, Christianity, and Judaism), and leaves other minorities, such as those of the Baha’i faith, without meaningful constitutional protection. Strict adherence to the concept of apostasy prevents Muslims from changing their religion, a crime punishable by death. Blasphemy laws restrict freedom of expression, especially on religious matters, with retributions as severe as death for comments related to the prophet Mohammed or the Koran.

According to Sunni jurisprudence, women are subject to male guardianship under which their personal freedoms, social life, and career choices are severely restricted. This restriction is not banned under Egypt’s new constitution. And because the new constitution fails to set a minimum age for marriage and does not criminalize sexual trafficking of minors, children, especially girls, could be forced into marriages at the age of nine with the approval of their male guardians.

During the last three decades, Iran, under the control of the Islamic Shiite clergy, was transformed into a religious state with endless human rights violations. In most cases, the world stood by watching. Egypt is learning from the Iranian experience. If the political conditions in Egypt remain the same, Egypt could soon follow Iran’s footsteps.

In spite of the deep and highly politicized Sunni-Shiite divide, the Sunni-based Muslim Brotherhood doctrine recognizes Shiite Islam as a legitimate sect. Many Islamists in Egypt see their country as Iran’s equal Sunni counterpart and may perceive the collaboration between the two nations as another step toward Islamic world expansion.

With little regard to the controversy surrounding the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadeinejad’s recent visit to Egypt to participate in an Islamic summit, Morsi warmly welcomed him. He left the Sunni religious institution, Al-Azhar, and the flying shoe of a Syrian dissident to deliver condemnations of Iran’s Shiite expansion efforts in Arab-Sunni territories and their support of the Syrian regime. Meanwhile, Morsi negotiated with the Iranian president about ways to improve political collaboration and economic partnership. Recently, Egypt and Iran signed an agreement to foster tourism between the two countries.


It is important that the international community carefully watches this newly forged alliance and takes steps to prevent the repeat of the Iranian experience. This is not a call against Islam, but against the establishment of a theocratic state that practices a wide range of human right abuses with impunity, under the banner of religion.

It is not enough that world leaders such as Secretary Kerry make clear in their public discourse that such practices will not be tolerated, but the rhetoric should be reinforced in private talks to demonstrate seriousness. International investments and funds to support Egypt’s economy should continue to be conditioned upon implementation of the rule of law and protection of human rights.

International human rights and civic organizations should be diligent in supporting similar organizations in Egypt. Having a strong and active “third sector” is the only way to ensure that state abuse, torture, and imprisonment are widely reported and actions are taken to support the victims and their families, and to bring perpetrators, including the state, to account.

It is critical that international trade unions continue their support of Egyptian trade unions. The current religious state sees these unions as a threat to its dominance and is enacting laws to control their independence, operation, and right to assemble and protest.

Just like the revolution in Iran was hijacked by the Shiite clergy in 1979, the Muslim Brotherhood is doing the same in Egypt now.

Morsi and his government seem to have learned well from the Iranian regime about how to deal with opposition. The tens of thousands of disappointed activists, bloggers, seculars, liberals, trade union members, and frustrated Egyptians back in the streets in a “revolution of rage” calling for Morsi’s resignation, are brutally attacked, tortured, imprisoned, and killed as Iran did with the protestors of the Youth Green Movement in 2009.

There is a fine line between interference in domestic affairs and the responsibility of the world community toward the protection of human rights and individual freedoms. Kerry and the rest of the Obama administration must remember this.


Recognizing that only Egyptians can determine the type of government they want, the protection of the rights of minorities and individuals is a global responsibility that we all share as nations, organizations, and people.

Dr. Nesreen Akhtarkhavari is director of Arabic Studies and an assistant professor at DePaul University in Chicago. Her research focuses on Islamic law and minority and women’s rights. This piece was written in association with The OpEd Project, which seeks to expand the range of opinion voices.
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« Reply #264 on: March 02, 2013, 07:26:31 PM »

a) I do not believe I exagerate when I say that without US aid, Egypt is merely a couple of months from mass starvation.  Thus we have powerful leverage.  That said, if we combine the vote of the Salafist parties and the MB parties, what % of the vote was it?  Was it not a huge majority?  How do we make the case for the rights of minorities over the right of a large majority? 

I suppose one option is to say that in return for our money we need to see X, Y, and Z in the way of religious freedom (e.g. the Coptics) women's rights, minority political rights, freedom of speech, etc-- i.e. take it or leave it, it's up to you guys!  But exactly what happens then?  Does Morsi kow tow?  How would that play out?  What then happens to the alliance/uneasy balance of power between the Salafists and the MB?  How does the Egyptian street react?  Is chaos and anarchy and option?  Is this a good or a bad thing?

I am NOT arguing one way or the other here, merely raising what seem to me questions that must be thought about.

b) My sense of history on Iran may be a bit hazy, but the way I remember it is that the outpouring of support for Khomeni upon his return was extraordinary.  I do not remember a hijacking at all; I remember the people getting exactly what they thought they wanted.  Life is tough and it is tougher when you are stupid.   If anyone has a reputable summary of this period, please post it in the Iran thread.
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« Reply #265 on: March 04, 2013, 01:57:55 PM »

http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/kerry-praises-egypts-version-democracy_705070.html

Kerry Praises Egypt's 'Version of the Democracy'


1:34 PM, Mar 4, 2013 • By JERYL BIER



Secretary of State John Kerry announced on Sunday the release of a quarter of a billion dollars in aid to Egypt. The Associated Press reports:
 

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday rewarded Egypt for President Mohammed Morsi's pledges of political and economic reforms by releasing $250 million in American aid to support the country's "future as a democracy."
 
Yet Kerry also served notice that the Obama administration will keep close watch on how Morsi, who came to power in June as Egypt's first freely elected president, honors his commitment and that additional U.S. assistance would depend on it.
 
The day before, the secretary of state hinted that the Obama administration was continuing to throw its weight behind Morsi in remarks at the Marriott Zamalek Hotel in Cairo. Kerry had meet with some opposition leaders on Saturday and a reporter apparently caught Kerry at his hotel after the meeting. There is a partial transcript of a reporter's impromptu question and Kerry's answer on the State Department's website [emphasis added]:
 

QUESTION: (In progress) heard his conversation with the opposition members. Did you hear anything from them that would suggest that they’re going to renounce their boycott of the election and actually take part?

 
SECRETARY KERRY: No, I heard very passionate people who are deeply committed to Egypt and to their version of the democracy that they fought for in their revolution. And I completely understand that. I wanted to hear from them. I explored their strategy and thoughts.
 
They’re deeply committed to human rights, to democracy, to freedom of expression, and to a real political process in which they feel they have a voice. America supports all of those things. And so listening to them was really important. There was a divergence of views in terms of the adamancy, but they all shared a sense that they needed to be more part of the process, more included, and they recognized the economic challenge, but they believe there’s also a need to fill the promise of democracy. And so do we. We believe that too.
 
There's no explanation of what Kerry meant by the remark.
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« Reply #266 on: March 04, 2013, 06:45:16 PM »

IMHO what happened here is subject to more than one interpretation.  It certainly is not a bad thing that SecState Kerry met with the opposition and said what he said in response to that question; it begins to stake out ground not previously in play.  $250M keeps Morsi on a short leash-- they will burn through that quickly enough-- and one doubts there will be much expression of indignation over Kerry's "internal meddling".
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« Reply #267 on: March 07, 2013, 09:09:12 AM »

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/david-ignatius-egypt-slides-toward-financial-ruin/2013/03/06/85974478-85e4-11e2-98a3-b3db6b9ac586_story.html?hpid=z3

From the article:

The economic facts are stark: Egypt’s official foreign-currency reserves in February were $13.5 billion, which would cover a little less than three months of imports. But U.S. officials say that accessible, liquid reserves total only $6 billion to $7 billion. Already, imports are harder to find, including the raw materials needed by Egyptian manufacturers. The Egyptian stock market tumbled 5 percent early this week, sensing danger ahead.
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« Reply #268 on: March 07, 2013, 09:10:36 AM »

Quoting:

A top Egyptian court Wednesday suspended parliamentary elections scheduled to begin on April 22. The Cairo Administrative Court said the electoral law must be reviewed by the Supreme Constitutional Court. Egypt's main opposition group, the National Salvation Front, had planned to boycott the elections, claiming the electoral law favored Islamists and demanding an overhaul to the Islamist-backed constitution. President Mohamed Morsi said it would respect the court's decision, which was another instance of confrontation between Egypt's prerevolutionary judiciary and the Islamist ruling party. The announcement came amid continued violence and turmoil in Port Said over death sentences issued over the 2012 football riots that killed 74 people. On Wednesday, Egypt's interior minister dismissed Port Said's security chief. Meanwhile, Egypt has backed away from making economic policy changes necessary to negotiate a $4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund. The delays have come just days after a visit from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry during which he committed $250 million in assistance but urged political collaboration on economic reform.
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« Reply #269 on: March 14, 2013, 03:08:35 PM »

Announcing a Symposium and Webcast on
The Muslim Brotherhood And The West

A Panel Discussion sponsored by the
Foreign Policy Research Institute,
Al Mesbar Studies & Research Centre,
and the Reserve Officers Association

Wednesday, March 20, 2013
1:45 p.m. Registration; 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. Program ROA, One Constitution Avenue, NE, Washington, DC

Free and Open to the Public
Reservations required
Also available thru audio webcast/teleconference Register by email to: events@fpri.org or telephone: (215) 732-3774 x303

To register for webcast/teleconference only use this link:
https://cc.readytalk.com/r/uz0psms4njfh

FEATURING
Lorenzo Vidino, Senior Fellow, FPRI/Senior Fellow,
   Center for Security Studies, ETH Zurich

Abdullah Bijad Alotibi, Journalist/Board of Advisors, Al Mesbar

Joseph Braude, Writer/Collaborating Researcher, Al Mesbar

Moderator: Tally Helfont, Managing Director of FPRI’s Program
   on the Middle East

Few observers foresaw the Arab Spring, but it should not have surprised anyone that the Islamist movements - the most organized movements in the Arab world - became the main beneficiaries of the turmoil that ensued. Islamism, in its gradualist and pragmatic approach embodied by the Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoots worldwide, seems ready to reap the rewards of its three decades-old decision to abandon violence and focus on grassroots activities. This monumental change has created many concerns among liberals, religious minorities and, more generally, all non-Islamists in the countries where Islamists have won. In addition, Arab states ruled by non-Islamist regimes have expressed concern. The former worry that Islamist ideology - even in its more contemporary, pragmatic form - remains deeply divisive and anti-democratic, often at odds with their values and interests. The latter believe that on foreign policy issues, most of the positions of various Brotherhood-inspired parties are on a collision course with the policies of established regimes in the region.

In association with Al Mesbar Studies and Research Centre (based in the United Arab Emirates), the Foreign Policy Research Institute has just published as an E-Book The West and the Muslim Brotherhood After the Arab Spring, edited by Lorenzo Vidino.
The book provides an overview of each of eight countries’ policies towards Islamism, including the United States, Britain, Canada, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Spain, and Israel. In this program, Vidino highlights the key lessons of the volume, and comment is offered by Abdullah Bijad Alotibi and Joseph Braude.

Download E-Book:
http://www.fpri.org/articles/2013/02/west-and-muslim-brotherhood-after-arab-spring

E-Book
Table Of Contents

* Introduction, Lorenzo Vidino

* U.S. Policy and the Muslim Brotherhood, Steven Brooke

* Between ‘Engagement’ and a ‘Values-Led’ Approach: Britain and the Muslim Brotherhood from 9/11 to the Arab Spring, Martyn Frampton & Shiraz Maher

* Canada and the Arab Islamists: Plus Ça Change, Alex Wilner

* Political Islam According to the Dutch, Roel Meijer

* Germany and the Muslim Brotherhood, Guido Steinberg

* France and Islamist Movements: A Long Non-dialogue, Jean-François Daguzan

* Spain and Islamist Movements: from the Victory of the FIS to the Arab Spring, Ana I. Planet and Miguel Hernando de Larramendi

* Israel and the Arab Spring: Understanding Attitudes and Responses to the “New Middle East,” Benedetta Berti

ABOUT THE PANELISTS:

Lorenzo Vidino specializes in Islamism and political violence in Europe and North America. Currently a Senior Fellow at FPRI and at the Center for Security Studies, ETH Zurich, he previously held positions at the RAND Corporation, the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, the U.S. Institute of Peace, and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. He has taught at Tufts University, the University of Maryland, the National Defense University and the University of Zurich. He is the author of three books, most recently The New Muslim Brotherhood in the West (Columbia University Press, 2010), and articles in several prominent newspapers, including The International Herald Tribune, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe. He has testified before the U.S. Congress and consults with governments, law firms, think tanks and media in several countries. A native of Milan, Italy, he holds a law degree from the University of Milan Law School and a doctorate in international relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

Abdullah Bijad Alotibi, a Saudi writer and researcher, is a member of the board of advisors at Al Mesbar Studies & Research Centre. Alotibi has written for many Arabic and Saudi newspapers such as Al Ittihad, Okaz, and Al Hayat (London). He currently contributes a weekly article to Asharq Al-Awsat, Al Ittihad, and Al Majalla. He has published several research papers for Al Mesbar’s monthly publication including “Loyalty and Enmity: the Ideology of the Political Opposition in Islam” and “Saudi Arabia and the Muslim Brotherhood.” Alotibi works as a consultant at The Middle East Broadcasting Center Group and has also worked on and supervised various media documentaries and programs for Al Arabia Channel.

Joseph Braude studied Near Eastern Languages at Yale and Arabic and Islamic History at Princeton. Fluent in Arabic, Persian, and Hebrew, he contributes a weekly Arabic-language broadcast, "Letter from New York," to MED Radio, a national network in Morocco, and is a regular contributor to Public Radio International's America Abroad. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine, among other publications.
His latest book, The Honored Dead (Random House - Spiegel & Grau, 2011), is a study of the relationship between state and society in the Arab world based on four months which he spent embedded with the Moroccan police in Casablanca; Braude is the first Westerner ever to have gained embed access to an Arabic security service. His prior book, The New Iraq (Basic Books, 2003), examines the challenge of state-building in Iraq in light of the country's history, culture, and institutions.

Tally Helfont is the Managing Director of FPRI's Program on the Middle East. Her current research focuses on the Levant, regional balance of power, and radical ideologies therein.
Ms. Helfont has instructed training courses in Civil Information Management to U.S. Military Civil Affairs Units and Human Terrain Teams assigned to Iraq and Afghanistan.
She is the author of the FPRI monograph, The Palestinian Islamic Jihad's U.S. Cell [1988-95]: The Ideological Foundations of Its Propaganda Strategy, and has published numerous FPRI E-Notes, and in Orbis. Helfont conducted research in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in the summer of 2011, about which she also authored several articles. She is proficient at various levels in Hebrew, Arabic, and French.


For event information and updates:
http://www.fpri.org/events/2013/03/muslim-brotherhood-and-west

Thursday, March 20, 2013
1:45 p.m. Registration; 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. Program ROA, One Constitution Avenue, NE, Washington, DC

Free and Open to the Public
Reservations required
Also available thru audio webcast/teleconference Register by email to: events@fpri.org or telephone: (215) 732-3774 x303

To register for webcast/teleconference only use this link:
https://cc.readytalk.com/r/uz0psms4njfh

For more information, contact:
Harry Richlin
Tel: (215) 732-3774 x102
Email: hr@fpri.org.

Foreign Policy Research Institute
1528 Walnut Street, Suite 610
Philadelphia, PA 19102-3684
www.fpri.org.
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« Reply #270 on: March 21, 2013, 10:48:41 AM »

Summary
 
Egypt is attempting to attract foreign direct and portfolio investment while delaying making foundational changes to the country's economic system. During a recent state visit to India that ended March 20, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi made several ambitious statements about Egypt's future as an emerging economy in a public effort to spin the country's economic downturn as a moment of opportunity.
 
Meanwhile, Egypt is in negotiations with the International Monetary Fund, which is studying the possibility of extending a $4.8 billion loan to Egypt, pending improvements in the country's financial outlook. In order to secure the loan, Egypt must cut back on social spending. However, cutting spending will only worsen the country's political and security situation. A range of recent actions taken by the government demonstrate that Cairo is attempting to spur economic growth and investment where it can while postponing politically costly social spending adjustments.
 
 
Analysis
 
The most notable announcement in recent days was that the government will attempt to implement bread and cooking fuel ration cards within two months. This move came after an announcement that transportation fuel ration cards will be implemented by the end of July. Ration cards would put caps on how much access Egyptians would have to subsidized goods. They would not necessarily reduce the amount of bread or fuel being consumed by a particular household, but they would certainly better allow the government to control and anticipate its own costs.
 
If implemented with a means-testing mechanism -- a way to tell how much of a given subsidized good a household legitimately needs -- then the ration card system could more effectively aim Egypt's large subsidies toward portions of the population that really need them. As with most indiscriminate subsidy programs, most of the subsidies in Egypt are used by people with the means to purchase larger quantities of subsidized fuel, electricity, food and other goods. A ration card system implemented carefully could mitigate this problem and help to alleviate the government's deficit spending.
 
The implementation of such a system would be difficult and would require an evaluation of the individuals and households applying for ration cards in order to avoid fraud. It will likely take longer than the government's estimate of two months to implement a system like this. It is not at all clear that Egypt has the bureaucratic means to put a program like this in place carefully, and it is highly likely that the program will be implemented unevenly, if at all. Even if perfectly implemented, a rationing system would have political costs -- even if rations are sufficient for each household, the appearance of reducing benefits to a population with a high poverty rate will lend additional political momentum to ongoing unrest.
 
In addition to offering a timeline for the ration card system, the Egyptian government is extending assurances to portfolio investors and loans to the tourism industry. The Foreign Investor Repatriation Mechanism, which opened March 17, guarantees to stock, treasuries and bond investors in Egypt that if they bring in foreign currency, they will be able to pull it out when necessary. The mechanism also guarantees Egyptian Central Bank aid in bank-level transactions, should investors need to liquidate their holdings. This system is designed to reassure investors that Egypt is a safe investment environment and to address the steep decline in Egypt's capital and financial account flows following the global financial crisis and the Arab Spring.
 
The Egyptian Central Bank is also attempting to stabilize the domestic tourism industry. A major source of foreign revenue, Egypt's services sector has been suffering since the unrest of the Arab Spring began. An ongoing devaluation of the Egyptian pound should help improve Egypt's attractiveness as a vacation destination, but growing security concerns are likely to outweigh those benefits in the short and medium term. To help bridge the gap, the central bank has offered to reschedule and postpone payments on more than 60 percent of outstanding loans to the tourist industry, including hotels. However, the real key to stimulating the tourist industry will be reducing protests and associated violence -- a goal that is unlikely to be reached any time soon.
 
The picture that emerges from Egypt's most recent moves is that though the government has a range of financial tools it can use to attempt to stabilize the economy, serious political barriers stand in the way of addressing more fundamental problems. Fuel subsidies remain the biggest burden on the country's trade deficit and government budget, and any real moves toward controlling subsidized energy consumption will indicate that Egypt is ready to make foundational changes. In order to make such moves, however, the new Muslim Brotherhood-led government would need to be very secure in its political position, something that seems unlikely in the immediate future and, at the very least, will not be achieved until parliamentary elections can be held. Without that fundamental political stability, a financial and economic solution will remain out of Egypt's reach.


Read more: Egypt's Careful Economic Changes | Stratfor
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« Reply #271 on: April 05, 2013, 12:59:54 AM »

http://www.clarionproject.org/analysis/egypts-muslim-brotherhood-sets-militia-enforce-rule/#fm

http://www.clarionproject.org/analysis/christian-activist-egypt-tortured-opposing-muslim-brotherhood
« Last Edit: April 05, 2013, 01:06:16 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
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« Reply #272 on: April 08, 2013, 07:23:07 AM »

CAIRO—Thousands of Coptic Christians and Muslims clashed in downtown Cairo on Sunday following a funeral mass for four Christians killed in weekend violence outside the capital, a new low point in Egypt's worsening sectarian troubles.

At least one person was killed and 66 people were injured in the clashes, Egypt's state news agency reported.

The street battles began early Sunday afternoon, as mourners leaving the funeral at Egypt's main Coptic Christian cathedral clashed with youths from Abasseya, a poor Cairo neighborhood next to the church compound. The funeral procession was held to honor four Christians who were killed, along with one Muslim, in sectarian fighting in the village of El Khusus on Friday.

By nightfall on Sunday, the mostly Muslim rioters had managed to surround much of the downtown cathedral, blocking rescue workers from entering the sprawling church campus, according to Christians inside.

Christians who took shelter inside the cathedral said police did little to subdue the crowds of angry Muslim youths outside. Instead, the Christians complained, police attacked the cathedral compound and fired tear gas into the church's courtyard.

The police didn't release a statement regarding the attacks. The Interior Ministry didn't respond to requests to comment.

Egypt has seen a rise in bloody conflicts between Muslims and the Christians who make up about 10% of Egypt's 90 million people. But Sunday's siege around the cathedral signified a new low.

It also augurs fresh trouble for Islamist-backed President Mohammed Morsi, whose administration has presided over a worsening economy, rising crime and an increasingly vocal opposition since he was voted into office in late June 2012.

As the violence kicked off in Abasseya, a Cairo criminal court voted to acquit former presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq on charges of corruption dating from his time as civil-aviation minister under the regime of ousted President Hosni Mubarak.

The verdict clears the path for Mr. Shafiq, who lost a tight presidential race to Mr. Morsi last summer, to return to Egypt from the United Arab Emirates, where he has lived for much of the past year.

As the public's patience with Mr. Morsi wears thin, people close to Mr. Shafiq said he hopes to throw his hat back into the political ring. He has already called for presidential elections before 2016, the date of the next scheduled vote, because "the president has so far proven that he is incompetent to rule this country," said Ahmed Sarhan, Mr. Shafiq's former campaign spokesman, on Sunday.

"You can see what happened today: Almost no Christian trusts" Mr. Morsi, said Mr. Sarhan, referring to the Abasseya violence. Mr. Shafiq "truly thinks that we need an early presidential election after all this failure. We cannot afford to dive further into this chaos."

A survey late last month by private Egyptian polling group Baseera found that only 37% of Egyptians would vote for Mr. Morsi again if presidential elections were held tomorrow.

The violence comes amid an uptick in sectarian rhetoric from Muslim Brotherhood leaders. Last week, Egypt's Brotherhood-dominated legislature passed a law that would allow the use of religious slogans during political campaigns, clearing the way for the Brotherhood's own mantra "Islam is the solution." When asked on a television talk show last week whether Christians should be allowed to use a similar slogan—"Christianity is the solution"—Yasser Hamza, an official with the Freedom and Justice Party, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood organization that Mr. Morsi once helped lead, said no.

"This is an Islamic nation with an overwhelming Muslim majority," said Mr. Hamza. "The minority doesn't have absolute rights, it has relative rights."

The violence in El Khosos, northeast of Cairo, began, according to local media reports, when Christian youths spray-painted a swastika on a building owned by Al Azhar University, one of the most important religious institutions in Sunni Islam.

The incident quickly deteriorated, turning into a gunfight that left five people dead.

Those who attended the funeral of the four Christians on Sunday afternoon described an emotional, highly politicized atmosphere. Because of the size of the crowd, pallbearers could barely get the caskets through the door of the church. Parishioners shouted slogans against Mr. Morsi and the Brotherhood even after the service began.

"The anger was palpable in the church," said Khaled Fahmy, a professor of history at the American University in Cairo who attended the funeral. "The priest could not actually conduct the prayers. He was shouted down with slogans."

In a statement On Sunday evening, the Freedom and Justice Party, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, blamed unstated "enemies of Egypt" for provoking sectarian violence to "create sedition among citizens." The party condemned the attacks and called for an investigation.

Sunday's funeral for the four slain Christians took on the trappings of an anti-Morsi rally, witnesses said, with youths in the procession chanting slogans against the Brotherhood.

Witnesses gave contradictory accounts of how the fighting started. Muslim residents said Christians pelted nearby youths with rocks as they left the church, before turning on security forces who had arrived to calm the scene.

"The Christians just came out and attacked the people on the street," said a man from Abasseya who gave his name as Mohammed. "The Christians were the ones who started this. They even attacked the police who had come to protect them."

Christian witnesses said the Abasseya youths assaulted them after the funeral with rocks, Molotov cocktails and homemade rifles—one-shot, locally manufactured devices that have become increasingly common in street-level riots. The fighting continued into the night, as both sides appeared unwilling to yield. As the sun set Sunday, Muslims on the street outside the cathedral chanted "God is great!" and made lewd gestures at Christian youths watching from the roofs of the cathedral complex. Inside the compound, Christians gathered rocks to throw at the crowd gathered outside.

Coptic Christians holed up inside the cathedral accused the police of attacking the church in concert with neighborhood Muslims. "This conflict is because of Morsi. He's creating division so that he can seize the whole country" said George Adli, 28 years old. "The police attacked the Christians, not the Muslims because the police are Islamists, too."

Mr. Adli, who said he had witnessed the fighting from the beginning, said many of the young Christians he knows are making plans to leave Egypt. He himself plans to move to Canada within two months, he said. "It's gotten very bad," he said. "Morsi is bad. Egypt is bad. Everyone just wants to leave."
« Last Edit: April 08, 2013, 08:19:24 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
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« Reply #273 on: June 02, 2013, 08:03:39 AM »

http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/2013/06/lawlessness-blackouts-sexual-attack-roil-egypt-as-us-warns-against-pyramids-tourism.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=facebook
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« Reply #274 on: June 03, 2013, 07:44:10 AM »


A triumph of democracy ! Thanks president Obama!
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« Reply #275 on: June 13, 2013, 05:06:44 AM »

http://freedomoutpost.com/2013/06/kerry-waive-restrictions-on-foreign-aid-sends-egypt-1-3-billion/
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« Reply #276 on: June 18, 2013, 03:26:31 PM »

http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2013/06/17/egypt-shoots-tourism-industry-in-the-foot/

June 17, 2013


Egypt Shoots Tourism Industry in the Foot



 
Handing over control of a tourist hotspot to a party that loathes tourists is asking for trouble, but that’s exactly what Egypt has just done. On Sunday, President Morsi appointed Adel al-Khayat of the Gamaa al-Islamiyya party as Governor of Luxor, a region home to the ruins of two temples and several monuments, widely known as the “open air museum.”  The party, Gamaa al-Islamiyya, not only holds conservative views against sunbathing, women wearing shorts, and alcohol, but is also responsible for the 1997 attack in Luxor that killed 60 tourists. The New York Times reports:
 

“A fatwa, or religious decree, published on the Gamaa al-Islamiyya’s Web site advised members of the group not to build tourist accommodations. ‘Because tourist villages have aspects that anger Allah, including alcohol, gambling and other forbidden things, building these hotels and villages is considered aiding their owners in sin and aggression, and is not permitted,’ the decision read.”
 
This is a boneheaded move for a country that relies so heavily upon tourism for its economic well-being. Tourism accounts for more than 11 percent of Egypt’s GDP, and 90 percent of Egyptians employed in Luxor work in industries that depend on tourism to stay afloat. The revolution and the political turmoil following it has already dealt a blow to the country’s tourist economy, and this recent appointment will only make things worse. Egypt’s death spiral continues…
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« Reply #277 on: June 23, 2013, 08:58:36 AM »



http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jun/21/us-soldiers-set-deploy-egypt-riot-control/
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« Reply #278 on: June 29, 2013, 09:22:37 PM »

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/06/24/you_can_t_eat_sharia

http://mideast.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2013/06/27/will_june_30_be_midnight_for_morsis_cinderella_story
« Last Edit: June 29, 2013, 09:30:49 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
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« Reply #279 on: July 01, 2013, 10:21:47 AM »

http://minutemennews.com/2013/06/obama-supports-terrorism-the-egyptian-peoples-message-for-america/


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



Egypt's Tamarod Movement Challenges the Muslim Brotherhood
Analysis
June 28, 2013 | 0600 Print Text Size

Summary

The shared interests that have driven the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt and the country's military together over the past year remain, but large, sustained protests could strain that relationship and force the military to reassess its options. Anti-government protests planned for June 30 by a recently formed opposition movement called Tamarod represent a particularly potent threat to the political legitimacy of President Mohammed Morsi's regime.

The Tamarod movement's ultimate intent with the upcoming demonstrations is to instigate enough unrest on Egypt's streets to force the military to intervene -- an unlikely result. However, even if the protests fizzle and fall short of this goal, Tamarod has given a voice to the growing, visceral dissatisfaction with Morsi's government in Egypt -- one that could undermine the Muslim Brotherhood's ability to govern and its performance in future elections.
Analysis

The Tamarod movement claims it has collected some 15 million signatures on a petition calling for an early presidential election and for Morsi to leave office. The opposition wants to delegitimize the Morsi regime to force its removal and -- since the military would not want to govern the country -- ultimately be installed in its place. But this ambitious plan would require either huge numbers of protesters or security incidents larger than those that occurred in Port Said and other Egyptian cities in March. The opposition may also have underestimated the Muslim Brotherhood's ability to mobilize its own supporters, either for counter-demonstrations or to provide its constituents with staples such as food and fuel.

Thus, it is unlikely that the Tamarod protests will succeed in deposing Morsi. But the size and intensity of the upcoming protests will still test the legitimacy of the regime. Opposition to the Muslim Brotherhood-led government is getting stronger, and Morsi's position appears to be vulnerable because the Muslim Brotherhood's attempts to solve Egypt's economic problems have been ineffective. The opposition hopes to break the political alliance between the Muslim Brotherhood, the country's most organized political entity, and the Egyptian military, the country's ultimate arbiter of power.
Opposition Parties Unite

Tamarod, which means "rebel" in Arabic, has united a range of Egyptian opposition groups. The movement was founded by three activists previously associated with the Egyptian Movement for Change, known as the Kefaya movement, which started in 2004 in opposition to then-President Hosni Mubarak. Though Kefaya was involved in the protests that brought down the former president in 2011, it did not organize them or participate in large numbers. Tamarod began attracting small numbers of volunteers in recent months and announced its existence and platform on May 1.
What's at Stake in Egypt's Weekend Protests

Since then, Tamarod has seen its support grow exponentially. The group maintains a headquarters in Cairo and boasts networks of grassroots organizers and volunteers in every Egyptian province. Several other secular opposition groups have rallied around Tamarod's momentum, including the National Salvation Front, the April 6 youth movement, the Constitution party and the Egyptian Conference party. Since the fall of Mubarak, the Egyptian opposition has been undermined by friction among these smaller parties, but Tamarod has been able to unite them around a common goal -- the removal of Morsi. The movement has been so successful that other politicians are trying to co-opt its influence for themselves. For example, Ahmed Shafiq, Mubarak's former prime minister and Morsi's opponent in the June 2012 presidential election, signed the petition to the chagrin of some Tamarod supporters, who view his participation as an attempt to restore the previous regime.

Morsi has also begun to face opposition from Islamist and religious factions. In April, the Salafist Al-Nour group joined the National Salvation Front, a largely secular and liberal umbrella group for the political opposition, in calling for Morsi to form a new government, and Al-Nour has tried to remain neutral publicly in the Tamarod issue by refusing to participate in any demonstrations -- either for or against Morsi. Moreover, though the country's religious establishment at al-Azhar University has long been at odds with the Muslim Brotherhood, the university's top religious scholar, Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, issued a fatwa a week ago declaring that peaceful protests against the government are legitimate under Islamic law.

All of this points to a deeper malaise affecting Egypt's fledgling democracy. The country's political forces are seeking a democratic order, but they remain inherently anti-democratic in their approaches. The Tamarod movement reflects this problem: The secular opposition hopes that instability in the streets will force the army to disassociate itself from the current political process. Divisions among the opposition remain, but a consensus is growing that, one way or another, Morsi must step down.

Still, the full extent of Tamarod's capabilities remain unclear. While the movement has certainly energized and united the opposition, the group's claim of gathering millions of petition signatures is likely inflated. The petitions being passed out by grassroots volunteers cannot realistically be tracked, and anyone can add their name on Tamarod's website multiple times. Thus, the June 30 protests will indicate just how popular the movement has become. The group will be truly effective only if it can force the hand of the military. Absent an intervention, the protests will be no more significant over the long-term than were the Port Said protests in March or anti-Morsi protests in November and December 2012.
The Regime's Waning Popularity

Nevertheless, the Muslim Brotherhood is struggling to consolidate its power and move Egypt beyond political gridlock, and the group's popularity is waning due to ineffective governance. Because of disputes between the Morsi regime and the judiciary, overdue parliamentary elections have yet to be scheduled -- even though Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court ruled June 2 that the interim governing body, the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated Shura Council, is illegal. Egypt's economic crisis has persisted, with little progress made on the subsidy reforms needed for Egypt to secure an International Monetary Fund loan or address its trade deficit and dwindling foreign reserves. The government is considering implementing a smart-card system to ration fuel, but implementation of the program has been delayed multiple times, and fuel shortages have become frequent. Furthering Egypt's woes, Ethiopia recently raised tensions with Cairo by announcing plans to build a dam on an upstream section of the Blue Nile, and militants in Sinai kidnapped security forces in May.
Agenda
Egypt's Current Crisis (Agenda)

Since the Muslim Brotherhood has been unable to make any of the needed systemic changes, the group is attempting to boost its popularity in other ways. As part of the subsidy reforms, the Morsi government plans to engage in a bread-rationing program and attempt to prevent bakers from selling flour for profit. Reforming bread subsidies is a contentious issue in Egypt, since many of the country's 84 million people rely on them. To limit political backlash, the Muslim Brotherhood is utilizing hundreds of nongovernmental organizations to provide bread directly to people. The group will likely organize other, similar programs to try to stem the rising tide of dissent against it.
The Military's Cautious Role

The Egyptian military is caught between a desire to perpetuate its own hold over the state while struggling to prevent the polity from descending into anarchy, and the best way to do that remains cooperation with Morsi's government. Since the military has no desire to rule the country directly, it needs to maintain the integrity of the office of the presidency and its partnership with the Muslim Brotherhood. Though the army is more ideologically aligned with the secular opposition, the Muslim Brotherhood is still the most organized civilian organization in Egypt. Thus, the military and the Muslim Brotherhood are unlikely partners, and the forces binding them together have not shifted meaningfully.

The military would not mind if Morsi's popularity took another hit and would likely welcome organized challengers to balance him. However, it cannot stand aside if the unrest leads to violence that undermines the state. In the past, the army has intervened in limited, tactical ways, such as in Port Said. On June 23, Egyptian military chief Col. Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi warned that the army would intervene if clashes with the opposition spin out of control and threaten to lead the country into "a dark tunnel of conflict." Already troops have begun to deploy around media and government buildings.

The Tamarod movement will likely fail to oust Morsi because the protests will probably lack the overwhelming scale necessary to provoke much more than a minor intervention. Moreover, a removal of Morsi by the military would set a dangerous precedent, making street protests the deciding factor in political power. Still, the Tamarod movement is a manifestation of the growing popular dissatisfaction with Morsi's regime -- and the first indication that the opposition might be capable of coalescing into something beyond fragmented parties.

If the June 30 protests help the opposition organize around particular leaders and principles, the movement will be remembered as a key development in Egyptian political history. But if it splinters soon after the protests, Tamarod will embody little more than another moment of social catharsis while Egypt continues stumbling along on the same path it has for 28 months since Mubarak's fall.

Read more: Egypt's Tamarod Movement Challenges the Muslim Brotherhood | Stratfor


« Last Edit: July 01, 2013, 10:44:44 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
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« Reply #280 on: July 01, 2013, 11:41:26 AM »

I read an AP version of the Egypt protest story yesterday and Strat and WSJ (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324328204578573423054562056.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop) and I still cannot tell who is better or worse from our point of view, Morsi or whoever would replace him if the crowd today had its way.  Summarized by the last line in the WSJ editorial: "The alternatives are all ugly."
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« Reply #281 on: July 03, 2013, 04:14:50 PM »

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vux_-vJvHww

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/07/03/15-anti-obama-photos-from-tahrir-square-protests-that-you-probably-havent-seen/
« Last Edit: July 03, 2013, 08:30:32 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
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« Reply #282 on: July 03, 2013, 08:30:07 PM »

second post

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-202_162-57592254/state-dept-orders-diplomats-to-leave-egypt/
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« Reply #283 on: July 04, 2013, 09:14:12 AM »



Summary

Egypt's crisis goes much deeper than the recent political chaos. With the leader of the Supreme Constitutional Court taking over the presidency at the behest of the military, the new government will likely represent a coalition of interests facing many of the same challenges that brought about Mohammed Morsi's downfall. Egypt's population has grown well beyond the means of the state to support its needs, and even a strong state will struggle to ensure sufficient supplies of basic staples, particularly fuel and wheat.
Analysis

Underlying the question of what political structure will emerge from this week's crisis, the fundamental fact is that Egypt is running out of money. Dwindling foreign reserves point to a negative balance of payments that is sapping central bank resources. At the same time, Egypt's reliance on foreign supplies of fuel and wheat is only growing. Egyptian petroleum production peaked in 1996 and the country first became a net importer in 2007. Government fuel subsidies are an enormous burden on state finances and, throughout the past year, failures to pay suppliers and a shortage of foreign exchange available to importers have caused supply shortfalls and price spikes throughout the country.

The government has a few options, including backing off subsidies in hopes that higher prices will help reduce consumption and therefore cut down on the net drain on state finances. That route carries a high risk of a major political backlash, so it is more likely that the government will continue, if not increase, its commitment to using state funds to guarantee sufficient supply and low prices.

The second major challenge stems from Egypt's extreme vulnerability to international food markets. Though dire warnings of food shortages have been frequent in the media, they have not yet appeared with any significant frequency within Egypt. However, this is not to say that they will not eventually appear. Bread is a staple of the Egyptian diet, and Egypt relies on imports for more than half of its wheat consumption. Although farmland within Egypt is increasingly dedicated to growing wheat, there is simply not enough arable land for Egypt to feed its population.

In fact, although Egypt is a vast country geographically, most of it is uninhabitable desert. Population growth is accelerating in Egypt's densely packed urban centers, threatening to worsen these underlying challenges. Population growth in 2012 hit its highest levels since 1991, reaching 32 births per 1,000 people and bringing the country's population to 84 million, according to initial government estimates. This represents an increase of 50 percent from 1990, when the population was just 56 million. Egypt's fertility rate is currently 2.9 children per woman and is expected to remain above the replacement ratio of 2.1 for at least the next two decades. As a result, the United Nations projects the Egyptian population to exceed 100 million by 2030. This means that Egypt will have a growing pool of young people of working age in the coming decades, creating substantial challenges for the Egyptian state to provide them with economic opportunities, or at the least sufficient basic goods.

Ousted Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak faced similar problems, and growing poverty and joblessness are arguably among the root causes of the uprising in 2011 that unseated him. The wave of protests that challenged Morsi, who became the first democratically elected president in the country's history, should be understood as a continuation of this swelling trend. While previous governments in Egypt have been able to leverage strategic rent from foreign countries interested in maintaining stability in Egypt, which is the linchpin between the Middle East and North Africa and the manager of the Suez Canal, the country has become increasingly peripheral to the strategic needs of major powers.

As a result, although Egypt has been able to secure some limited funding from regional players such as Qatar, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Libya, it remains locked in negotiations with the International Monetary Fund over some broader, more sustainable financial relief. It is possible that the new government will find a level of stability that the increasingly isolated Muslim Brotherhood leadership was unable to sustain in the face of rising disputes with former coalition partners and a firmly obstructionist judiciary. However, the military's decision to unseat Morsi underlined the instability inherent in Egypt's political system and may make it even more difficult for Egypt to return to the good graces of financial markets or Western powers. In any case, mounting demographic and economic pressures mean that the job of managing Egypt's economic challenges will become incrementally more difficult with each passing year and for each faction that occupies the presidential palace.

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


Analysis

The Arab Spring was an exercise in irony, nowhere more so than in Egypt. On the surface, it appeared to be the Arab equivalent of 1989 in Eastern Europe. There, the Soviet occupation suppressed a broad, if not universal desire for constitutional democracy modeled on Western Europe. The year 1989 shaped a generation's thinking in the West, and when they saw the crowds in the Arab streets, they assumed that they were seeing Eastern Europe once again.

There were certainly constitutional democrats in the Arab streets in 2011, but they were not the main thrust. Looking back on the Arab Spring, it is striking how few personalities were replaced, how few regimes fell, and how much chaos was left in its wake. The uprising in Libya resulted in a Western military intervention that deposed former leader Moammar Gadhafi and replaced him with massive uncertainty. The uprising in Syria has not replaced Syrian President Bashar al Assad but instead sparked a war between him and an Islamist-dominated opposition. Elsewhere, revolts have been contained with relative ease. The irony of the Arab Spring was that in opening the door for popular discontent, it demonstrated that while the discontent was real, it was neither decisive nor clearly inclined toward constitutional democracy.

This is what makes Egypt so interesting. The Egyptian uprising has always been the most ambiguous even while being cited as the most decisive. It is true that former President Hosni Mubarak fell in 2011. It is also true that elections were held in 2012, when a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood's election as president highlighted the reality that a democratic election is not guaranteed to produce a liberal democratic result. In any case, the now-deposed president, Mohammed Morsi, won by only a slim margin and he was severely constrained as to what he could do.

But the real issue in Egypt has always been something else. Though a general was forced out of office in 2011, it was not clear that the military regime did not remain, if not in power, then certainly the ultimate arbiter of power in Egyptian politics. Over the past year, so long as Morsi remained the elected president, the argument could be made that the military had lost its power. But just as we argued that the fall of Hosni Mubarak had been engineered by the military in order to force a succession that the aging Mubarak resisted, we can also argue that while the military had faded into the background, it remained the decisive force in Egypt. 

Modern Egypt was founded in 1952 in a military coup by Col. Gamal Abdel Nasser. Nasser was committed to modernizing Egypt, and he saw the army as the only real instrument of modernization. He was a secularist committed to the idea that Arab nations ought to be united, but not Islamist by any means. He was a socialist, but not a communist. Above all else, he was an Egyptian army officer committed to the principle that the military guaranteed the stability of the Egyptian nation.

When the uprisings of the Arab Spring came, Nasser's successors used the unrest to force Mubarak out, and then they stepped back. It is interesting to consider whether they would have been content to retain their institutional position under a Muslim Brotherhood-led government. However, Morsi never really took control of the machinery of government, partly because he was politically weak, partly because the Muslim Brotherhood was not ready to govern, and partly because the military never quite let go. 

This dynamic culminated in the demonstrations of this "Egyptian Summer." The opposition leadership appears to support constitutional democracy. Whether the masses in the streets do as well or whether they simply dislike the Muslim Brotherhood is difficult to tell, but we suspect their interests are about food and jobs more than about the principles of liberalism. Still, there was an uprising, and once again the military put it to use.

In part, the military did not want to see chaos, and it saw itself as responsible for averting it. In part, the military distrusted the Muslim Brotherhood and was happy to see it forced out of office. As in 2011, the army acted overtly to maintain order and simultaneously to shape the Egyptian political order. They deposed Morsi, effectively replacing him with a more secular and overtly liberal leadership.

But what must be kept in mind is that, just as in 2011, when the military was willing to pave the way for Morsi, so too is it now paving the way for his opposition. And this is the crucial point -- while Egypt is increasingly unstable, the army is shaping what order might come out of it. The military is less interested in the ideology of the government than in containing chaos. Given this mission, it does not see itself as doing more than stepping back. It does not see itself as letting go.

The irony of the Egyptian Arab Spring is that while it brought forth new players, it has not changed the regime or the fundamental architecture of Egyptian politics. The military remains the dominant force, and while it is prepared to shape Egypt cleverly, what matters is that it will continue to shape Egypt.

Therefore, while it is legitimate to discuss a military coup, it is barely legitimate to do so. What is going on is that there is broad unhappiness in Egypt that is now free to announce its presence. This unhappiness takes many ideological paths, as well as many that have nothing to do with ideology. Standing on stage with the unhappiness is the military, manipulating, managing and containing it. Everyone else, all of the politicians, come and go, playing a short role and moving on -- the military and the crowd caught in a long, complex and barely comprehensible dance.

Read more: The Next Phase of the Arab Spring | Stratfor
Follow us: @stratfor on Twitter | Stratfor on Facebook


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« Reply #284 on: July 04, 2013, 11:45:40 AM »

Someone I know who travels around the World went to Egypt not too long ago.   She loved the pyramids.   She did not go to see the mummies.  She is a Buddhist and does not believe in disturbing the dead.  But above all she complained about people approaching her and the other travelers trying to sell them things and asking for money.   She said it is like that in poor countries but in Egypt her experience was worse.   Usually one can just say no and the beggar or vendor would back off but there they were in her face and very pushy and would not take no for an answer. 

Just anecdotal.   

Anyone on this board been to Egypt?

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« Reply #285 on: July 05, 2013, 08:31:01 PM »

http://frontpagemag.com/2013/dgreenfield/morsi-appoints-member-of-al-qaeda-allied-group-that-massacred-european-tourists-in-luxor-governor-of-luxor/
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« Reply #286 on: July 05, 2013, 09:43:15 PM »

Not short, but seems worthy of the time:

http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/07/morsi-brotherhood-lost-egypt-bsabry.html
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« Reply #287 on: July 08, 2013, 09:47:40 AM »


Summary

The latest deadly clashes in Cairo are likely to undermine the Egyptian military's plans for the country and push it toward greater violence. The political unrest in Egypt sparked by the ouster of President Mohammed Morsi worsened when at least 42 supporters of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood were killed and another 300 were wounded in a confrontation with security forces outside the Republican Guards headquarters July 8.
Analysis

It is not entirely clear what led to the shooting, with the military reporting that pro-Morsi "terrorists" sought to climb the walls of the Republican Guards headquarters where Morsi is being held and the Brotherhood claiming that the attack was unprovoked. The Muslim Brotherhood's political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, called for a general uprising in Egypt and called on the international community to intervene to prevent further "massacres." The military also closed the Brotherhood's Cairo headquarters, claiming that stockpiled weapons were found inside.

The country's second-largest Islamist group, the Hizb al-Nour party, which has been siding with the opposition and endorsed the military's post-Morsi roadmap, announced that it was pulling out of the political process after the killings. A day earlier, al-Nour issued a statement opposing the moves to appoint Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the main secularist umbrella group, the National Salvation Front, as prime minister. The decision by al-Nour -- already uncomfortable with the direction of the roadmap -- to pull out from the political process after the July 8 killings shows how the political landscape is polarizing along ideological lines.

At this early stage, al-Nour's decision could be a tactical one, designed to manage an increasingly difficult situation and/or extract concessions from the military authorities. However, it works to the advantage of the Muslim Brotherhood's strategic imperative of trying to prevent the roadmap from succeeding. The Brotherhood understands that it is unlikely to be able to restore the Morsi presidency and is thus trying to create a situation in which the military cannot impose a new political order.

The Brotherhood's central leader, Mohammed Badie, issued a statement that military chief Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was pushing Egypt into a Syria-like situation, and the movement has called for an uprising to resist the military coup. However, the Brotherhood is not interested in an armed conflict. Rather, such statements and protests are geared toward creating a gridlock, where the Brotherhood can force the military and its political opponents into negotiations with the Islamist movement. The Brotherhood is attempting to extract concessions to minimize its political losses and eventually re-enter the process without looking as though it had accepted the coup.

Such a strategy involves weeks, if not months, of civil unrest, which entails considerable risks. Though the Brotherhood is a well-disciplined organization, some of its elements could be radicalized by the Morsi ouster and the clashes that have been taking place since. Already there are reports in the Egyptian press about the formation of an Ikhwan Ahrar Front that has criticized Badie and other senior Brotherhood leaders, blaming them for the 42 deaths. Moreover, there is no shortage of more right-wing Islamist elements that can seize the opportunity to push for an armed struggle. Attacks have already occurred in the Sinai, and a jihadist outfit called Ansar al-Shariah announced its formation.

Indeed, al Qaeda-style jihadists who have long condemned democracy as un-Islamic are seizing upon Morsi's ouster to reiterate that the Muslim Brotherhood's participation in mainstream politics cannot succeed, and change can only be brought about through armed struggle, as in Syria. This is a problem for both the Brotherhood and its opponents, as neither wants jihadists to exploit their enmity. There is considerable talk among political pundits about present-day Egypt going the way of Algeria during the 1990s, when a nearly decade-long insurgency killed as many as 200,000 people after the 1992 military coup annulled the elections in which an Islamist movement was poised to win overwhelmingly.

However, there are many differences between Egypt and Algeria. Algeria's Front Islamique de Salut, which was headed for an electoral victory, was a new party formed hurriedly and serving as an umbrella for multiple Islamist currents -- the core of which were Salafists (including many jihadists). In sharp contrast, Egypt's Brotherhood has been around for 85 years and is a well-organized group that has long been on the path of mainstream politics. This is why jihadism, though born in Egypt, never displaced mainstream Islamism despite the decades-long suppression of the Brotherhood at the hands of the autocratic regimes during the Nasser, Sadat, and Mubarak presidencies.

Furthermore, Egypt's two main jihadist groups, Tandheem al-Jihad and Gamaah al-Islamiyah, have long renounced violence and in fact adopted the Brotherhood approach in the wake of the Arab Spring uprising that ousted Mubarak. Therefore, it is unlikely that transnational jihadists will be able to steer Egypt toward a civil war like Algeria's during the 1990s or post-Arab Spring Syria's. That said, Egypt is likely to see its share of violence (in many cases in the form of militant attacks) as a result of many other factors. Fighting is likely to continue and escalate along ideological lines with selective engagement by the military, which may or may not distinguish between the Brotherhood and the more radical elements. Moreover, the Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins at sundown July 8. Ramadan generally motivates Muslims -- especially Islamists -- to strive harder for their causes and makes it easier to mobilize their followers, though activities during this time are more likely after sundown, when Muslims break their daily fasts.

Conversely, the Brotherhood's use of inflammatory rhetoric in an already charged atmosphere in an effort to mobilize its supporters against the coup will only give the more radical elements openings to exploit and could blur the line between the Brotherhood's cadre and more radical forces. With the Brotherhood's senior leadership in jail, the mainstream Islamist movement may not be able to control the unrest it is currently fomenting. Jihadist forces, realizing that the window of opportunity for them is narrow, would like to prevent any compromise between the military and the Brotherhood in the short term. Therefore, the duration and intensity of the crisis in Egypt will depend upon the Brotherhood and the military's ability (or lack thereof) to reach a political compromise.


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« Reply #288 on: July 10, 2013, 07:38:47 PM »

IPT News
July 10, 2013
http://www.investigativeproject.org/4076/violent-mb-rhetoric-drives-fuels-egyptian-tension
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Dozens of Muslim Brotherhood officials – including Supreme Guide Mohammed Badie – are being arrested by Egyptian officials for allegedly inciting violence that ended with more than 50 people dead on Monday.
Most of the violence took place outside the Egyptian Army's Republican Guard headquarters in Cairo, as Brotherhood members protested last week's ouster of President Mohamed Morsi after massive popular demonstrations. Brotherhood officials blame the army for the deaths, saying it opened fire on peaceful demonstrators.
Army officials say the Brotherhood plotted the violence by throwing bricks and stones, firing guns at soldiers and tossing Molotov cocktails and other weapons, said an article in the Arabic-language Alarab translated by the Investigative Project on Terrorism. An army spokesman said they would seek to charge Brotherhood officials "with trying to ignite sedition against the armed forces to the detriment of public security of the armed forces and the consequent damage to public security."
It is unclear exactly what happened outside the Republican Guard building and whether the army's response was excessive. A New Yorker reporter spoke with a doctor who said he witnessed the violence outside his apartment building. He described hearing "people through megaphones encouraging jihad" and then seeing masked men on motorcycles fire guns past protesters and at the soldiers guarding the building. "Then the Army started firing. And the protestors were firing. I saw firing from both sides."
A CBS News report describes videos showing "protesters on rooftops lobbing projectiles at troops below, including firebombs and toilet seats. It also showed some armed protesters firing at close range at the troops, but it did not show what the military did."
Brotherhood rhetoric throughout the past week has emphasized violence over passive, peaceful protest.
Morsi set that tone himself July 2 after the army issued a 48-hour ultimatum for him to leave office or negotiate a settlement with opposition leaders.
"I am prepared to sacrifice my blood for the sake of the security and stability of this homeland," Morsi said in a speech that further inflamed the situation. A spokesman later added that Morsi would rather die "standing like a tree" than yield power.
Similarly, the head of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party urged Morsi supporters to die defending his rule. "Now is the time for martyrdom," said Mohamed Al-Beltagy. He is among those being charged in the wake of Monday's violence.
After interim leadership was announced, Badie gave a speech declaring it a fraud.
"People of Egypt, those gathered in all its squares, the Brotherhood has lived with you and you with them and they served you," he said. "Morsi is my president, your president and the president of all Egyptians. God, you are the witness, all these people have gone out in the streets to support your religion and free Egypt from attempts to steal its revolution. We will remain in all the squares to protect our elected President Mohamed Morsi."
An Al Jazeera report Monday also translated by the IPT said the Brotherhood was calling for an 'Intifada' against those who forced them from power.
Meanwhile, the Brotherhood is rejecting a proposal to revamp Egypt's constitution and hold new elections within six months. It continues to demand that Morsi be reinstated as president.
"We do not deal with putchists," said Brotherhood spokesman Tareq El-Morsi. "We reject all that comes from this coup."
Gulf states are expressing their pleasure at seeing the Brotherhood forced from powering, with Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates promising $12 billion in emergency aid to alleviate Egypt's economic crisis.
A perception that Morsi failed to act enough on economic challenges, while trying to entrench Muslim Brotherhood power over that government, fueled much of the anger and protests against him. The group stands to lose even more if it continues to incite against the country's new direction.
"The Brotherhood is facing a serious existential challenge," Khaled Fahmy, chairman of American University in Cairo's history department told Al-Ahram. "They can either adopt a critical attitude and ask themselves what went wrong, or blame other political forces and the whole democratic system for their own shortcomings."
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Also, I note that Saudi Arabia has given the new govt $5B (!) and the UAE (or was it Qatar?) has given $3B.  This is serious $$$!!!  In contrast the US gives a bit under $2B per year.
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« Reply #289 on: July 11, 2013, 09:49:24 AM »

The U.S. moves forward with plan to send F-16s to Egypt
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The United States is going forward with a plan to deliver four F-16 fighter jets to Egypt despite the current political crisis. The U.S. administration has been careful not to designate the removal of Mohamed Morsi from Egypt's presidency last week as a coup, or by law Washington would have to suspend financial assistance. U.S. defense officials said the jets, built by Lockheed Martin, would likely be sent in August. The delivery is part of a deal for 20 planes in total, eight of which were sent to Egypt in January. The Pentagon reiterated that the administration is reviewing U.S. assistance to Egypt, however "The delivery remains scheduled as planned." On Wednesday, Kuwait pledged $4 billion in assistance to Egypt in order to alleviate its failing economy, adding to the $8 million promised by Saudi Arabia and Qatar a day prior. Meanwhile, Egyptian prosecutors are working to detain Muslim Brotherhood leaders, accusing them of inciting violence outside the Republican Guard headquarters on Monday, which left 51 Morsi supporters dead. Additionally, signs of improving living conditions for many people in Egypt, particularly a sudden end to energy shortages and a reemergence of the police, suggest a campaign by the opposition to undermine Morsi while he was in power.  

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http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/07/10/egyptian-christians-face-horror-at-islamists-hands-in-the-wake-of-morsis-ouster/
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« Reply #290 on: July 11, 2013, 10:13:50 AM »

second post

Cutting Off Aid to Egypt Would Be a Mistake
The military move last week stopped a burgeoning theocracy. Now Egypt needs U.S. help more than ever.
by JOHN BOLTON

Decisive action by Egypt's military has brought down President Mohammed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood government, but the Brotherhood is not going quietly. It has condemned the coup as "illegitimate," arguing that its candidates won free and fair elections. It refuses to cooperate with the interim government and on Monday provoked the military to violence. More than 50 demonstrators were killed—no doubt the Brotherhood, in its twisted thinking, considers them martyrs to the cause.

The anti-Morsi protesters who last week effectively triggered the army's move to depose him were briefly elated at his fall. But now they are hopelessly divided about how to proceed. Ironically, this "opposition" initially included the leading Salafist political party, which is even more radically Islamist than the Brotherhood. The Salafists' support for the coup has wavered, but the group clearly has an eye on outmaneuvering the Brotherhood in the new political environment.

i

The military has so far remained cohesive, underlining Mr. Morsi's error in believing that he had brought it under control following his year-long effort as president to pack the armed forces with generals loyal to the Brotherhood. The military acted to overthrow Mr. Morsi only reluctantly and would likely prefer returning to its barracks (and its own lucrative business enterprises) and its decades-long role directing Egypt's overall state security.

After the past week's violence, however, it is probably impossible for the military to withdraw from a continuing, prominent role, especially since its civilian allies are so feckless. Nonetheless, new interim President Adly Mansour has decreed a rapid return to electoral politics: a constitutional referendum in four months, parliamentary elections two months later and presidential elections thereafter. It is hard to imagine a more rapid transition, if it could be implemented successfully.

Unfortunately, continuing instability and violence in Egypt appear likely, a far cry from the flourishing of democracy that "Arab Spring" advocates confidently predicted two-plus years ago. Their confidence now rings especially hollow given the Muslim Brotherhood's significant election victories last year in both presidential and parliamentary elections. That those victories now lie in ruins is only due to Mr. Morsi's overreaching and incompetence.

In the midst of Egypt's political disarray and economic collapse, what should America's policy be? Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a policy. Even President Obama's media supporters now complain that he remains irresolute while Egyptians riot, the Camp David accord with Israel teeters, and world oil prices rise for fear that the Suez Canal might close.

Refraining from unnecessary public statements may be tactically wise now. But what are America's leaders doing behind the scenes as the future of the most populous and influential Arab nation hangs in the balance?

Many Americans, concerned that a "democratically elected" government has been ousted, argue that we should, as current law requires, terminate assistance to Egypt until another election takes place. This view is wrong on several counts.

First, while the Muslim Brotherhood prevailed in the 2012 elections, it worked assiduously thereafter to cement itself in power by manipulating the instruments of governance, such as packing the military, challenging the Mubarak-era appointees in the judiciary and writing a constitution that suited its ultimate objective of an Islamist state.

Second, democracy rests on much more than simply conducting elections. Liberty is the more profound objective, encompassing attributes like freedom of conscience and speech and constitutional restraints on government power. These are as important to a free society as the bare mechanics of elections. Thus understood, the Brotherhood's single-minded focus under President Morsi—to establish a harsh theocracy that would put an end to freedom of conscience and dissent—was manifestly unacceptable.

Accordingly, the military had little choice but to move, both to prevent the Brotherhood from continuing its own creeping coup and to avoid potentially deadly civil conflict. That the Brotherhood has launched violent protests since July 3 shows its determination to reclaim power and likely presages even broader violence. Had the army hesitated beyond last week, instability, carnage and the threat to any prospect of a free, open society would likely have been much worse.

It follows that cutting off U.S. assistance to Egypt now would be seriously mistaken, as would pressuring other donors to withhold financial assistance to rescue Egypt's economy from the deepening morass that Mr. Morsi let it become. Such cutbacks also would send exactly the wrong political message to the factions within Egypt, the Middle East more broadly, and America's friends and allies world-wide. Congress should make a quick, technical statutory fix that allows U.S. aid to continue despite the coup.

Egypt's military deserves the sign of U.S. support that continued assistance would send, especially to counter the deleterious consequences in 2011 when President Hosni Mubarak came under public pressure and President Obama wavered in support, then ultimately tossed Mr. Mubarak aside. Everyone, whatever their politics, agrees that Egypt's economy needs massive assistance.

Plainly this is the time for American leadership—not to sort out Egypt's manifold internal political difficulties, but to assert a clear-eyed view of America's enduring interests in the Middle East. Let's hope the Obama administration wakes up in time.

Mr. Bolton, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, is the author of "Surrender Is Not an Option: Defending America at the United Nations and Abroad" (Simon & Schuster, 2007).
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« Reply #291 on: July 11, 2013, 10:32:24 AM »

third post

Editor's note: George Friedman will return to the Geopolitical Weekly on July 16.

By Michael Nayebi-Oskoui

Ongoing debates surrounding the categorization of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi's July 3 ouster from office -- whether it qualified as a military coup or a democratic uprising -- are best left to think tanks. What Egypt needs, according to its geography, population size and economic condition, is stability, and this stability is best achieved through the centralization of strong state power and control. History bears this out; the pharaohs were able to build an empire on the banks of a river coursing through the desert under such a model. Subsequent foreign occupiers took heed of the pharaonic example, instituting a strong centralized authority backed with military might. Gamal Abdel Nasser's military coup overthrew the monarchy in 1952, establishing the latest iteration of a stable, independent Egyptian state.
Egypt's Challenges

The presence of a democratic political system along the lines of a Western-style liberal democracy is at best an arbitrary indicator of stability for many Middle Eastern governments, particularly Egypt. And for a region that is facing the United States' diminishing direct engagement, this stability is key. Whatever its motivation, when Egypt's military expelled Morsi, it largely guaranteed two of Washington's key interests: namely, that it will not attack Israel, and more important, it will keep the Suez Canal free and clear to international trade. As Morsi has no doubt learned by now, little else regarding the domestic politics and policies of the Egyptian state affects the decision making of the United States or other Western powers as long as the military-backed order is maintained.

The events of the past week have established a difficult precedent for the military and its management of the Egyptian state. Since the 2011 unrest that preceded the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak, Egyptian society has increasingly looked to public protest and social unrest as a legitimate means of affecting political change, at least outwardly. While the military has remained the final arbiter of power, its position has become less secure following each wave of unrest.

The 18 months of direct military rule after Mubarak's removal from office brought Egypt's generals into direct competition with the aspirations of Egypt's youth movements, culminating in large-scale protests in January 2012 that led to the call for elections. Those elections brought Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood to power. When state security forces joined protesters during the Port Said riots of early 2013, the military again had to intervene to ensure domestic stability and security, again setting a precedent of direct involvement that ran counter to nearly 50 years of indirect state management through a pliant political front party.

With the fall of Morsi's government, the military has again stepped into a very public and difficult role of having to reconcile the various political factions of the Egyptian public while maintaining its own interests, within the geopolitical constraints of the Egyptian state. The democratic system that led to the installment of Morsi's government failed to harness or contain the proliferation of street politics that emerged after Mubarak's fall. If ongoing Islamist protests against the military's most recent political roadmap are any indication, it doesn't appear Egypt's generals will have much more success managing the country's emergent protest culture. A distracted Egyptian military and an increasingly restive Egyptian population do not bode well for domestic, or regional, stability.
The Middle East's Need for Strong Leadership

Democracy is often touted by Western pundits as an ideal for Middle Eastern states, but the reality of the democratic process often results in outcomes that undermine Western and international interests in the region. Post-Gadhafi Libya has had relative success in holding elections and convening an elected government largely representative of the various regions and political currents within the country. However, the General National Congress has failed to reach consensus or extend its authority beyond the confines of the building where it meets. The inability of the central government or its military to impose its will on strong local centers has prevented the re-emergence of a Libyan strongman like Gadhafi, but it has also hampered the establishment of a permanent government to manage the Libyan state, including imposing Gadhafi-era stability.

The result has been fluctuating oil production, ongoing violence in regional centers such as Benghazi and general lawlessness in its vast swathes of desert territory, the latter of concern to Westerners seeking to limit the expansion of regional Islamist militant organizations. Libya's democratic experiment has resulted in a central government that is not convincingly stronger than any of its regional power centers -- Libya is now much more a collection of competing power centers than a centralized state. We can understand the constraints of Egypt's generals preventing them from flirting with such a system.

Unlike Libya, Iran's political system presents a case study in which democratic practices help cement strong centralized authority, and by extension, stability in the region. Like Egypt, Iran's political system features an element of stability that persists beyond the time frame of individual presidents or administrations in the role of the supreme leader, himself a representative of a broader military-clerical partnership. Unlike the Egyptian military, however, the Iranian supreme leader's role is formally acknowledged within the Iranian Constitution, which at least on paper provides a system of checks and balances and a system of nominating and removing him from office if need be.

Iran's democratic system has allowed for enough competition for power within its system to prevent the Islamic republic from coalescing around one figure or one institution, and it is exactly this competition for authority that has helped the regime endure through two supreme leaders and several presidents. Though not directly elected, Iran's supreme leader helps ensure the continuation of key Iranian policy throughout the course of different presidential administrations, though as outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's second term has shown us, presidents are not the pawns of the supreme leader.

But more than anything else, Iran's stability draws on its geographic identity and relative security. With its mountainous geography helping to define a millennia-old Persian identity, Iran has persisted even after several waves of invasion. Iran's rugged territory and the various ethnic and linguistic groups that it supports favor a strong centralized power tempered with localized self-rule under the Persian administrative system. In short, the historical legacy of Persian administration is reflected in modern Iran's unique democratic system; by creating a venue for competition between various political factions, it leaves the military-clerical elite better able to contain this opposition and impose order. Egypt lacks any such system, thereby ensuring that large-scale unrest rather than organized political competition will continue to limit the military's options in managing the Egyptian state.

The Military's Geopolitical Reality

Egypt's borders, like those in most of the Arab world, are artificial boundaries drawn up by European powers through large stretches of featureless desert. Unlike many of its neighbors, Egypt boasts a largely homogenous population and a well-defined geographic core: the Nile Valley. But Egypt's geography presents challenges as well.

Much like ancient Egypt, modern Egypt features very densely populated strips of population living along the Nile surrounded by large regions of desert. Egypt's geographical reality has long shaped its political necessities, favoring a strong centralized authority with the organizational skill to control and move large groups of people around difficult terrain. Infrastructure is costly to develop, and while the Nile can support a large population, it requires labor- and management-intensive irrigation systems and food distribution schemes to ensure there is enough wheat and bread to go around. Egypt's military has for the past five decades moved comfortably into the role previously held by strong foreign occupiers and Egypt's original rulers, although the population growth of recent years has added significant strain to the military's ability to manage its population's needs given Egypt's limited economic resources.

The challenge for Egypt's military now is whether it can continue to maintain its monopoly on authority. Like the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood's related parties in Jordan, Algeria, Tunisia and Turkey, Egypt's military regime also inspired similar military-backed governments in the Arab world, from Algeria to Iraq. The past decade has not been good to these secular military regimes -- there was the ouster of Saddam Hussein, a popular uprising against the Syrian Baathist regime and the dissolution of the Algerian military's monopoly on power. The Egyptian military's continued dominance over domestic affairs, although challenged in recent years, is increasingly becoming anomalistic rather than part of a larger regional trend.

The tide is slowly but surely shifting against Nasser's military-backed secular Arab nationalist political system. Egypt's has remained the most entrenched in the region, but in the face of rising social discontent and the political aspirations of its population, Egypt's military faces a difficult long-term scenario: adapt and loosen its hold on power to survive as in Algeria and Turkey, or resist and risk being overthrown as seen in the Baathist republics of Syria and Iraq.

For decades, the military-dominated political system in Egypt faced little in the way of meaningful challenges to its authority and prestige. Even now, the military remains the most powerful institution within the state even if some of its influence and political maneuverability has declined. But the rising instability following the unrest of 2011 has forced the military out of its preference -- ruling behind a political proxy -- into more directly addressing the challenges of the state.

Egypt's opposition is lauding the military involvement that lead to Morsi's ouster, but the 18 months of military rule after the fall of Mubarak's regime illustrated how quickly public sentiments could turn against Egypt's generals. Morsi's defiant speech in refusal of the military's demands that he step down would have been unthinkable a decade ago. And with the Muslim Brotherhood again in the role of the opposition, the Egyptian military is sure to face rising challenges to its goal of quietly guaranteeing the security and stability of the Egyptian state from behind the scenes, even as economic, energy and food security problems continue to mount.

Egypt's military leadership cannot move the country back in time, before the proliferation of independent political parties and protest culture took hold. The military's acquiescence to public demands, albeit in line with its own desire to limit the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood, came at the expense of validating large-scale unrest as a legitimate form of political participation, ultimately limiting the military's own actions in the future. The results of Egypt's democratic experiment of the past few years has left the Arab world's most populous state and strongest military facing serious indigenous competition for authority for the first time in its modern history. As the Muslim Brotherhood and the democratic process continue to weaken the military's absolute hold on power, the stability of the Egyptian state and the broader region will increasingly come into question.
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« Reply #292 on: July 16, 2013, 01:05:25 PM »

A boy with courage and wisdom.

http://www.upworthy.com/a-12-year-old-egyptian-boy-flabbergasts-an-interviewer-they-werent-expecting-a-political-genius-4?g=3
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« Reply #293 on: July 16, 2013, 03:11:44 PM »

That was awesome.
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« Reply #294 on: July 17, 2013, 06:03:08 PM »

http://www.investigativeproject.org/4086/copts-face-violent-onslaught-in-wake-of-morsi
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« Reply #295 on: July 18, 2013, 01:25:26 PM »


Summary

Though the Egyptian military deployment into the Sinai Peninsula includes a significant amount of firepower, the sheer size of the rugged terrain, as well as the number of hostile elements in the region, will severely restrict the military's efforts to suppress Sinai militancy. Unrest in Sinai had been climbing gradually, but the military's removal of President Mohammed Morsi on July 3 sparked a new wave of violence, with attacks occurring daily against Egyptian police and military targets. The military responded by sending armor, combat helicopters and personnel into the region. Ultimately, the deployment will not have much of a long-term impact on militancy there unless it is maintained indefinitely or the forces are increased significantly.
Analysis

Reports indicate that the Egyptian military, with Israel's consent, has bolstered its military presence in the peninsula above the restrictions in the 1979 peace accords. There are currently around 11 infantry battalions and at least one tank battalion in Sinai, and other reports indicate that more tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers have been shuttled into the region. There are also combat helicopters operating in support of ground operations.

One of the two most recently deployed infantry battalions is being moved to El Arish. Conflicting reports place the other battalion in Sharm el-Sheikh or Rafah. In early July, multiple tanks, armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles were reported to be operating at the border of Gaza and Sinai. The picture that is developing is of a concentration of forces primarily around El Arish and Rafah.
Recent and Growing Instability

Increasing Militancy in the Sinai Peninsula

The amount of firepower deployed is among the most significant in these specific zones of the Sinai Peninsula since 1979. Sinai is demarcated into specific zones, each of which is permitted a specific allocation of forces under the watchful eye of a multinational peacekeeping force. Egypt and Israel have had little choice but to override these limits over the past three years as security incidents have steadily increased in number and intensity, including attacks across Israel's southern border and deadly ambushes on Egyptian police, border patrols and the military. To be sure, for more than a decade Sinai has been a chaotic place, replete with intermittent kidnappings, rocket attacks and pipeline bombings, but the pace and severity has become more acute recently.
Sinai

In August 2012, militants ambushed and killed 16 Egyptian soldiers before stealing an armored personnel carrier, which they used to ram through the newly constructed Israeli border fence in an effort to conduct a complex suicide attack. An Israel Defense Forces helicopter was able to engage and destroy the vehicle. In response to this incident, Egypt was allowed to deploy several thousand infantry, hundreds of armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles and around two battalions of main battle tanks (similar in size and makeup to what we are seeing currently). Several weeks of operations were conducted against militants in the area. It is not entirely clear but it seems that most of these forces were withdrawn after the security operation was completed last year.

At the heart of the cooperation between the militaries of Egypt and Israel is the need to preserve the strategic truce in place since 1979. Egypt's security interests include protecting the free flow of commerce through the Suez Canal, keeping the various energy pipelines from being disrupted and preventing further kidnappings and extortions. But most important, it wants to limit logistical flows to Palestinian groups and keep militant attacks on Israel to a minimum so that Israel will not take unilateral action in Sinai and threaten Egypt's sovereignty. Israel desires a quiet southern border so it can concentrate on the many other threats it faces on its other borders, such as the Syrian civil war to the north and the always volatile Gaza Strip.

Gaza in particular complicates the Sinai security situation. The Israeli security perimeter and naval blockade effectively limit Gaza's logistics to its southern border with Sinai. While the Rafah crossing itself is heavily monitored and screened, smuggling tunnels beneath the border have served as the critical supply route for all of Gaza. Militants have traveled both ways through these tunnels, and while they initially conducted attacks mostly in southern Israel, the efforts of Egyptian forces to interdict the militants have made Egypt a target as well. Egyptian and Israeli officials have on several occasions voiced frustration over what they describe as Hamas' lackluster response to the flow of weapons and militants into Sinai. Hamas has taken action against some groups but has focused more on controlling threats to its power than assisting surrounding governments.

In the wake of Operation Pillar of Defense in late 2012, Israel and the Egyptian military could not follow through on pledges to keep the Rafah border crossing open due to high militant activity in Sinai. Hamas was believed to be using the militant threat through the region as leverage in its negotiations with the Egyptian military and Israel. The Morsi government sanctioned some smaller operations to destroy some tunnels and root out some militants, but the Egyptian military restrained itself from conducting full-scale operations while the government tried negotiations with the various parties in the peninsula. The Muslim Brotherhood also did not want to be overaggressive and risk straining its relationship with Hamas. When domestic unrest captured Cairo's attention, these talks stalled and Sinai militancy began to escalate again, further frustrating the military.

A Pre-Planned Assault

The timing, pace and scale of the military buildup in Sinai indicates that an operation had been planned for some time. It also appears that while the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas are still trying to adjust to the new political reality in Cairo, the military is using the opportunity to conduct more thorough operations in Sinai.

One of the Egyptian military's interesting moves was the decision to deploy personnel and armor at the Gaza border just before Morsi's removal. (Reports suggest that as many as 50 tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers, as well as at least one battalion of troops, were deployed.) It seems the Egyptian command anticipated the potential for Gaza militants to respond negatively to Morsi's ouster and positioned forces in a way that they could not only threaten to completely sever the militants' important logistics line but also block militants from flowing back into Sinai. The current size of the Egyptian force in Sinai and the complete lack of movement by Israel Defense Forces suggest that Egypt has no intent to directly engage Gaza or enter its territory.

Considering the similarities between the latest deployment and last year's force, it is likely that the purposes are the same. Egypt's military is taking advantage of the recent political chaos to pursue its decided objective of bringing Sinai militancy back to tolerable levels. Though the deployed force seems large, the Sinai Peninsula is vast and rugged. The units will have to disperse into several smaller units to cover the entirety of the terrain and be effective in rooting out small militant cells.

The militants' preferred tactics will likely be ambushes and improvised explosive devices, the effects of which will be somewhat mitigated by the use of armored vehicles. Infantry and armor will likely work in conjunction to sweep through the territory, while airpower will be available when targets have been flushed out and identified. Militants in the region have also recently shown a propensity to attack fixed installations with predominantly small arms and rocket-propelled grenades.  The abundance of armor will help protect against these types of attacks and shore up defenses.

Like many conventional responses to guerrilla-type combat environments in difficult terrain, the Egyptian military crackdown will probably have limited effects and will only temporarily degrade or suppress militancy in the region. But dynamics have shifted such that this type of security operation in Sinai will become the norm. This operation is more about managing security than completely eliminating the threat -- a decidedly unrealistic goal -- and the main players in the region will have to adjust to the evolving security balance.

Read more: Egypt's Military Looks to Manage Sinai Militants | Stratfor
Follow us: @stratfor on Twitter | Stratfor on Facebook
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« Reply #296 on: July 26, 2013, 11:08:51 AM »

Morsi accused of plotting with Hamas ahead of massive rallies in Egypt
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The Egyptian army announced it is detaining ousted President Mohamed Morsi over alleged links with the Palestinian militant group Hamas in connection with his escape, along with other Muslim Brotherhood leaders, from prison in 2011 during the revolution, which saw the fall of former President Hosni Mubarak. In addition to conspiring with Hamas, the army is holding Morsi for allegedly killing prisoners and officers, as well as kidnapping officers and soldiers, and setting fire to the prison. A top Egyptian court ordered Friday that Morsi be held for 15 days pending an investigation. Morsi has been detained at an undisclosed location since his removal from office on July 3. The judicial order was issued ahead of planned major rival protests for Friday. Earlier in the week, army chief General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi called for Egyptians to take to the streets to show support for a military mandate to stop "violence and terrorism."

Meanwhile, after receiving a legal opinion from lawyers, the U.S. administration has concluded it is not legally required to determine whether the Egyptian military's ouster of President Mohamed Morsi was a coup. If the United States were to designate the events as such, it would be legally required to halt financial assistance to Egypt, a move the administration is concerned could further destabilize the country. A senior official remarked, "The law does not require us to make a formal determination as to whether a coup took place, and it is not in our national interest to make such a determination."
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« Reply #297 on: July 26, 2013, 05:38:05 PM »

second post

Morsi Charged, MB Slammed As Egyptians Rally
by IPT News  •  Jul 26, 2013 at 3:55 pm
http://www.investigativeproject.org/4102/morsi-charged-mb-slammed-as-egyptians-rally
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Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians took to the streets Friday in competing rallies for and against the military's July 3 ouster of President Mohamed Morsi.
The Muslim Brotherhood and other Morsi backers have held constant demonstrations since, many of which have turned violent. That prompted Army Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi to call for a rally Friday to show the depth of popular support for removing Morsi. The Brotherhood criticized that as a pretext for civil war and called for its own demonstration to show support for Morsi.
At least four people died in early clashes in Alexandria. They follow an edict by Brotherhood spiritual leader Yusuf al-Qaradawi that Morsi's power be defended violently. "If he, who has disobeyed the ruler, does not repent, then he must be killed," Qaradawi said on Al Jazeera Sunday.
Morsi has been in custody since being forced from office. Before Friday's rallies began, Egyptian prosecutors ordered him detained for more 15 days while they investigate espionage, murder and conspiracy charges against him in connection with a January 2011 jailbreak. Morsi was among 30 Muslim Brotherhood members freed in the jailbreak, while 14 security officers were killed.
The investigation seeks to determine if Morsi conspired with the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas in the attack. Morsi has an association with Hamas that goes back at least a decade. A Brotherhood spokesman rejected the allegations as "nothing more than the fantasy of a few army generals and a military dictatorship."
But a former prominent member of the Brotherhood says the military had to force Morsi from office.
In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, the Brotherhood's former European spokesman Kamal Helbawy said Morsi's ouster was not a coup, but a response to massive popular sentiment that kept a tense situation from growing more violent. The Brotherhood, Helbawy said, brought this on themselves.
Morsi and the Brotherhood failed "to propose a vision for the country," Helbawy said. "Moreover, [Morsi] deepened the society's divisions, increased polarization, relied solely on his constituency, neglected to use those with expertise and experience here in Egypt, ignored requests to amend the constitution and change the government and the attorney general, issued the Pharaoh-esque constitutional declaration in November 2012, and refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of the Tamarod [Rebel] campaign and the June 30 revolution."
Helbawy quit the Brotherhood last year, saying the group broke its promise not to run a candidate for president and was trying to monopolize power in Egypt. It's fine for the Brotherhood to protest, he said in the interview, but criticized the violent rhetoric including chants of "Fight to the death," and "Victory or martyrdom." That message, and resulting violence, will further hurt the Islamist cause around the world, he said.
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« Reply #298 on: August 05, 2013, 06:20:24 PM »

http://www.glennbeck.com/2013/08/05/watch-anti-obama-music-video-goes-viral-in-egypt/?utm_source=Daily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=2013-08-05_241927&utm_content=5054942&utm_term=_241927_241934
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #299 on: August 09, 2013, 05:01:51 PM »



A headline in a major Egyptian state newspaper this week referred to the proposed U.S. envoy to Egypt as the "Ambassador of Death." Posters in Cairo's Tahrir Square, a center of pro-government rallies, depict President Barack Obama with a beard and turban, exclaiming his "support for terrorism."

Another large Egyptian newspaper alleged Sen. John McCain, who traveled to Cairo this week in an effort to break a deadlock between the government and its Islamist rivals, has chosen sides by employing Muslim Brotherhood staffers in his office.

Photos of President Obama were burned, defaced or shown with a beard during the protests.

Egypt's state and privately owned media outlets, already no strangers to demonizing the U.S., have embarked on a particularly critical campaign. The latest salvos have targeted Robert Ford, the likely nominee for American ambassador to a country that is pivotal to U.S. foreign policy.

Egypt's state and privately owned media outlets have embarked on a particularly critical campaign against the U.S. Adam Entous joins Lunch Break with more. Photo: AP.

The moves highlight the depth of public distrust of U.S. policies, and draw from a "reservoir of anti-Americanism and conspiratorial theories," said Vali Nasr, dean of the Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies and a former senior Obama administration adviser.


America, he says, has few fans in the country after the 2011 overthrow of U.S. ally Hosni Mubarak and last month's military ouster of Muslim Brotherhood-backed President Mohammed Morsi. "We're caught in a situation of having to essentially try to find a balance between our values and our interests. It satisfies nobody," Mr. Nasr said. "The Mubarak people are unhappy with the way he was shoved off without a thank you. The military thinks we coddled the Brotherhood and didn't intervene to control them. And the Brotherhood thinks that we never supported them when they needed support, and then gave the green light to the military."

The latest anti-American hysteria is a throwback to Mr. Mubarak's three decades of rule, when state-owned media fixated on a common enemy such as Israel or the U.S. in what critics called a bid to rally the nation and deflect from government shortcomings. Now, according to several observers, Egypt's new military-backed government is using the same playbook to divert attention from internal tensions toward what newspaper headlines and television anchors call U.S. meddling in Egyptian affairs.

"The state media are programmed to the line of whoever is in power. They don't need instructions or calls to be told what to write," said Hisham Qassem, a founding publisher of privately owned Al Masry Al Youm, a major newspaper. Years of state-cultivated xenophobia have left Egyptians suspicious of foreign policy and America's interests in Egypt, said Mr. Qassem, who is now starting up his own newspaper and news channel.

Egypt's state media acts independently, said a spokesman for the Egyptian military, Ahmed Ali.

U.S. officials say they are used to the onslaught. "There's been a great deal of misinformation out there," State Department spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki said Thursday. "We've been taking every step possible to convey what our view is."

The spike in rhetorical hostilities only adds to the discomfort in a relationship that has been vital to both countries in recent years. Egypt has come to count on some $1.5 billion in mostly military aid each year from the U.S., while Washington wants Egypt to maintain its peace treaty with Israel and help the U.S. against terrorism.

The Obama administration last month didn't declare the military's ouster of Mr. Morsi a coup. The White House froze the transfer of F-16 warplanes but hasn't cut off other forms of assistance. Based on that, the country's state media has reasoned that the U.S. is unlikely to cut off aid, analysts said.

Hopes that America could reset its relationship with Egypt by appointing a new ambassador are dwindling as well, after the fierce media campaign that has targeted Mr. Ford. Mr. Ford has served as the U.S. Ambassador to Damascus since late 2010.

The White House hasn't formally nominated Mr. Ford for the Cairo post.

A fluent Arabic speaker, Mr. Ford has served in many of the Middle East's toughest spots. In Iraq, he was known for pressing Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government to crack down on Shiite militias who were attacking U.S. troops, often in collaboration with Iranian intelligence organizations.

Some in the Egyptian government have voiced displeasure with Mr. Ford's expected nomination. One official in Cairo said he had hoped to have "a fresh face" as the next U.S. ambassador, not a diplomat seen tied to unpopular U.S. policies in the Muslim world.

The campaign against Mr. Ford comes despite requests, according to U.S. officials, from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to Egyptian military chief Gen. Abdel Fattah Al Sisi to intervene to stop the incitement of anti-Americanism.

Mr. Ford's former boss in Baghdad, recently retired American Ambassador James Jeffrey, said the charges in the Egyptian press were "completely unfounded."

"He is the best we have," Mr. Jeffrey said of Mr. Ford. "His service in Iraq and in Syria were on orders of the president to go where the situation was the most delicate and dangerous, and to do the very best he could."

One U.S. official said: "If it's not Ford's nomination, they'd find a way to criticize someone else."

The criticism against Mr. Ford erupted this week. An article on Monday in Al Ahram, the flagship state newspaper, called Mr. Ford "the engineer of destruction in Syria, Iraq and Morocco" and "the man of blood."

The privately owned Al Watan newspaper this week called Mr. Ford "a superstar in the world of intelligence" sent to Cairo to "finally execute on Egyptian lands what all the invasions has failed to do throughout the history."

While stressing the media is acting on its own, Mr. Ali, the military spokesman, said: "You can't bring someone who has a history in a troubled region and a lot of unrest, make him the U.S. ambassador to Egypt and then expect people to be happy with it."

On a trip this week to Cairo as part of efforts to urge reconciliation between the Brotherhood and the government, Sen. McCain, an Arizona Republican, showed visible frustration with the rising anti-American sentiment.

"Let me just say as a friend of Egypt, we Americans see the demonization of our country in Egyptian state media and these kind of actions are harmful to our relationship and to your friends," Sen. McCain said Tuesday. He warned that some representatives in the Congress wanted to sever America's relationship with Egypt.

A spokesman for Mr. McCain on Thursday denounced accusations in Al Watan that the senator had Brotherhood staffers. "It's sad to see these supposedly legitimate news outlets make comments so transparently absurd and outrageous," the spokesman said.

The demonization of America in Egyptian state media has the potential to play out in dangerous ways that can't be reined in by the government, some observers said.

In the past few months, two U.S. citizens were stabbed on Egyptian streets—one fatally—with one of the attackers telling police that he had traveled from afar to Cairo in search of an American to kill. Last fall, thousands of protesters stormed the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, some scaling the walls of the fortified compound, tearing down the American flag and replacing it with an Islamist one.

Egypt's media appeared to bolster sentiments voiced by Raeef Elwishee, a protester living in a dirty, torn tent in Tahrir Square, to demonstrate his support of the military's overthrow of the Brotherhood.

Mr. Elwishee, 51 years old, said he is a dual U.S.-Egyptian citizen with a wife and three children who live in Missouri. He now spends his time holding anti-American placards in Tahrir Square, one with Mr. Obama's face crossed out with red.

"In general, Egyptians want America out of Egyptian affairs. For the U.S. to take the Brotherhood's side is not goodwill. They have a deal to give power to the Brotherhood in Egypt and in exchange the U.S. will give Sinai to Israel," Mr. Elwishee said with a slight American accent.

When asked for his thoughts on Mr. Ford, Mr. Elwishee didn't hesitate. "He's a troublemaker. It's enough to know that he was ambassador to Syria," he said. "He is top in one of the U.S. spy agencies…and we don't need that kind of relationship."

When asked where he had read about Mr. Ford serving as an intelligence agent, Mr. Elwishee answered: "I'm telling you from the newspapers I read and the people who watch TV and tell me about it."
—Jay Solomon and Leila Elmergawi contributed to this article.

Write to Maria Abi-Habib at maria.habib@wsj.com and Adam Entous at adam.entous@wsj.com
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