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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #300 on: August 11, 2013, 09:01:46 AM »

Christians, police, army being killed


http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/11/world/middleeast/lawless-sinai-shows-risks-rising-in-fractured-egypt.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20130811&_r=0
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #301 on: August 15, 2013, 09:51:10 PM »



In Egypt, a Crackdown Threatens to Divide the Muslim Brotherhood
Geopolitical Diary
Thursday, August 15, 2013 - 02:24 Text Size Print

Six weeks after toppling the government, the Egyptian military moved to crack down on the Muslim Brotherhood, raising questions about the future of the world's largest Islamist movement. The Brotherhood has demonstrated an ability to weather far worse suppression, but this time it is facing a different sort of crisis -- one that could strip its status as Egypt's largest political movement.

Some 300 people were killed Wednesday in clashes resulting from the military government's decision to forcibly break up Brotherhood sit-ins protesting the coup that overthrew President Mohammed Morsi. In the wake of the violence, the government imposed a monthlong state of emergency. On the same day, Cairo appointed 25 new provincial governors, 19 of whom are generals (17 from the military and two from the police).

Clearly, the regime is unwilling to tolerate the Brotherhood's resistance to the post-coup political process and has prepared for the worst. What it has not done and is unlikely to do is deliver a decisive finishing blow to the Brotherhood. Gamal Abdel Nasser, the founder of the modern republic of Egypt and of the current regime, tried to do just that in 1954 when he launched a major campaign to crush the movement. The Brotherhood was resilient and emerged from that experience with its core intact.

What is a Geopolitical Diary? George Friedman explains.

Nasser's popularity enabled him to move aggressively against the Brotherhood without much cost. Likewise, military chief Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's moves against the Brotherhood, though nowhere near the scale of those carried out in the Nasser era, are backed by popular demand. However, the key difference is that Nasser was running a classic military regime, while al-Sisi is pursuing an agenda in which the military will not govern but rather will rule from behind the scenes. Obviously, the Egyptian military today is under different constraints -- the country's geopolitical environment has been significantly altered, especially in light of the Arab Spring and in the age of worldwide social media and cellphone videos.

Indeed, al-Sisi must ensure that the army retains popular support, and that will only be possible so long as the Brotherhood's opponents feel that they benefit from the post-Morsi political process and the country's economic woes do not exceed tolerable levels. The Brotherhood hopes that the military will be unable to stabilize Egypt's economic and political situation, providing the Islamist movement with an opportunity to stage a political comeback.

That could happen eventually, but at present the Brotherhood is in the midst of the greatest crisis since its inception. During the suppression of the Nasser era, the Brotherhood could portray itself as the victim of a brutal campaign ordered by an autocratic regime; what it is faced with today comes in the aftermath of a popular uprising against the Islamist movement's government. The Muslim Brotherhood's power peaked and then suffered a steep decline.

Many of the group's rank and file do not recall the suppression of the 1950s and 1960s. There is a good chance that their generation will see the coup and the suppression that followed it as evidence that mainstream politics does not pay off, a conclusion that could lead them to resort to radical and militant Islamism. They are battle hardened after weeks of violent protests against security forces, and many of them have taken up firearms, Molotov cocktails or simply paving stones. They are angry at the security forces and angry about friends killed in the clashes. There are many Salafist and jihadist forces that will work hard to recruit the disillusioned youth of the Brotherhood.

At the same time, there are many within the Brotherhood who have long wanted to see the group move beyond Islamism and follow the lead of Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party. Such introspection will have to wait until after the group has made it through the current hostilities afflicting the Egyptian state and society. But once the current period has passed, these members will likely hold the movement's leadership responsible for the loss of the power that the Brotherhood had gained democratically -- and this will lead to an internal shakeup of the organization.

Between these two forces pulling the movement in different directions, the group is bound to enter a lengthy period of internal crisis. It could even lose its position as the most organized political group in Egypt, the largest Arab state. Whether this will happen is not clear, but it is the clear hope of the military and its civilian allies.

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #302 on: August 16, 2013, 07:25:09 AM »

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/08/14/muslim-brotherhood-supporters-attack-churches-around-egypt-in-apparent-retalliation-for-military-crackdown-as-149-people-killed/

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/3054727/posts

http://world.time.com/2013/08/14/egypts-military-cracks-down-on-muslim-brotherhood-will-chaos-follow-killings/

http://blogs.cbn.com/globallane/archive/2013/08/14/muslim-brothers-massive-church-attack-in-egypts.aspx
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DougMacG
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« Reply #303 on: August 18, 2013, 01:18:44 PM »

Steven Hayward writes at Powerline:

Here’s a historical counter-factual thought experiment for you: suppose the German military, in the spring of 1933, decided that the ascension of Hitler and his Nazis was bad news for Germany, moved to remove Hitler by a coup, outlawed the Nazi party, and in ruling henceforth by military decree thereby ended more than a decade of democratic weakness that was the Weimar Republic.  What judgment would you cast?

Of course you can only approve of this course with the perfect hindsight of knowing what actually happened after 1933 (or after 1938, when the Munich agreement may have forestalled a military move against Hitler).  Without today’s hindsight, a Wilsonian idealist in 1933 might well have condemned the German military, just as today’s State Department can’t speak with a clear voice about how we should think about the problems in Egypt.

So let’s be clear: the Muslim Brotherhood is a fascist political faction with murderous intent.  Full stop.  They not only deserve to be put down; they need to be put down if Egypt—and possibly the region as a whole—is going to have a future in the modern world.   The military rulers are absolutely correct to outlaw the Muslim Brotherhood.
...
There can be little doubt that the current violence is a deliberate provocation of the Muslim Brotherhood.

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2013/08/egypts-agony-and-americas-cluelessness.php
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #304 on: August 18, 2013, 06:48:13 PM »

Concur.

Quick snap mini-poll for us here-- what should the US do?

a) Suspend aid and stay out of it;
b) keep aid going i.e. support military
c) or?

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DougMacG
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« Reply #305 on: August 19, 2013, 12:34:24 PM »

(I'll come back to answer the poll.)

Mark Steyn's column, Consensus in Egypt, is a don't miss, read it all.

By  Mark Steyn
August 18, 2013 8:09 AM
http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/356073/consensus-egypt-mark-steyn

everywhere except Washington people are thinking strategically
...
Eighty per cent of Egyptians say things are worse than under Mubarek.

...(as Bernard Lewis once warned) America is harmless as an enemy but treacherous as a friend.

Whatever regime emerges in Cairo, it will be post-American.

A year before the fall of Mubarak, David Pryce-Jones, in a conversational aside, quoted to me Lord Lloyd, British High Commissioner to the old Kingdom of Egypt in the Twenties: “Ah, the jacarandas are in bloom. We shall soon be sending for the gunboats.” There’s more wisdom about Arab springs in that line than in all the blather of Obama, Clinton, Kerry and Anne Patterson combined. 

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/356073/consensus-egypt-mark-steyn



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G M
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« Reply #306 on: August 19, 2013, 12:44:36 PM »

Concur.

Quick snap mini-poll for us here-- what should the US do?

a) Suspend aid and stay out of it;
b) keep aid going i.e. support military
c) or?



B. Just give the military enough aid to be sure they crush the MB into dust.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #307 on: August 19, 2013, 09:21:11 PM »

IMHO any answer needs to take into account that without aid, Egypt starves in short order, probably less than three months.   Rand Paul fails to include this in his analysis when he calls for terminating aid.  If we do continue aid, the implications are profound-- all pretense at finding a modus operandi with political Islam will be done.   Given the profound stupidity of throwing away our accomplishments in Iraq, we have zero credibility now-- at the same time we dramatically reduce our military capabilities and have barked that we are pivoting to southeast Asia to deal with the Chinese.

If we cut aid, Egypt descends into anarchy.

I'm OK with the military, which seems to have the support of the majority, kicking MBs ass as we continue aid.  Yes the MB won an election that it promised it would not participate in, but once in it was becoming one man one vote one time and suppressing the Christians etc hence the majority opposition that led the military to overthrow Morsi.
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G M
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« Reply #308 on: August 19, 2013, 11:43:54 PM »

"Islam is the answer" is popular graffiti all over the Muslim world. Let them live and die with that on their lips.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #309 on: August 19, 2013, 11:55:41 PM »

Umm , , , given the extraordinary outpouring by the Egyptian people demanding the removal of Morsi that led the military to act, I'd say quite a few people are getting a clue. 

I would paste the URL here but I don't know how to on my mom's Mac, but apparently according to the Telegraph the Egyptian ambassador to the UK has said that the MB should be eradicated just like the Nazis should have in the mid-30s for their "one man one vote one time" policies enforced with extreme prejudice viz opposition.

IF the military stomps the MB, this could be a role model for the rest of the middle east in dealing with Islamic Fascism.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #310 on: August 20, 2013, 09:30:41 AM »

Saudi Arabia has said that if we cut aid, it will step in.

Big strategic considerations here if we do or do not step aside , , ,
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DougMacG
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« Reply #311 on: August 20, 2013, 09:35:21 AM »

"Quick snap mini-poll for us here-- what should the US do?
a) Suspend aid and stay out of it; b) keep aid going i.e. support military; c) or?"
-------------------------------------------------

The present situation involves a bad group killing off the capabilities of a much worse group.  
The only answer for the U.S. is to stay quiet as a church mouse.  This crisis is (mostly) not about us.

Yes, keep aid going.  The time to suspend aid would have been in reaction to the elected leader destroying the constitution.  Our aid is to Egypt; they are the ones lacking a constitutional government and using it in ways that some might find controversial.

Of course, as I write, the Obama administration is doing the opposite, publicly taking the death-to-America side and suspending aid.  http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/20/politics/us-egypt-aid/?hpt=po_c1
-----

Bret Stephens, WSJ today:
Stephens: A Policy on Egypt—Support Al Sisi
In a zero-sum game, the U.S. should hold its nose and back the military.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324747104579022723029024470.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop

A better foreign policy would be conducted to keep our nightmares at bay: stopping Iran's nuclear bid, preventing Syria's chemical weapons from falling into terrorist hands, and keeping the Brotherhood out of power in Egypt.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #312 on: August 20, 2013, 09:38:00 AM »

The Stephens article makes sense to me.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #313 on: August 20, 2013, 10:16:54 AM »

Meanwhile, the American people say otherwise:



http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2013/08/19/poll-americans-criticize-obama-on-egypt-want-aid-cut-off/

Classic media work.  Call Muslim Brotherhood the legitimate government.  Call their ouster a coup.  Ignore their calls for death to America, death to Christians, death to Jews and Israel, death to women's rights, gays, rape victims, and efforts to take over the entire region, etc.  Label the military the oppressor.  Poll the result.  Make the poll result into a news story that drives policy.

If you push-polled the other direction, you would get the opposite result.
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G M
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« Reply #314 on: August 20, 2013, 01:10:28 PM »

How many of those polled could locate Egypt on the world map?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #315 on: August 20, 2013, 01:13:32 PM »

Doug's analysis of the poll makes sense to me. 

I would add that, as this thread evidences, until rather recently I too thought we had substantial leverage due to our aid.  However as the facts change (Saudis stepping in) I change my opinion.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #316 on: August 21, 2013, 10:32:55 AM »

For whatever we each think of the Egyptian military, interesting that everyone from John Bolton at AEI to Thomas Friedman at the NY Times recognize that rule by the Muslim Brotherhood is the worst possible outcome.  (Yet the media portrays them as the oppressors.)

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324108204579020851300268912.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADSecond

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/21/opinion/friedman-close-to-the-edge.html?adxnnl=1&ref=opinion&adxnnlx=1377098820-663nSha7SdwquoAe93IAgw

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ccp
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« Reply #317 on: August 21, 2013, 11:11:52 AM »

I spoke to three Egyptian doctor colleagues who are also I would call friends of mine.  One came here from Egypt with nothing became an excellent specialist from hard work, putting his head down and through sheer determination accomplished a very good reputation.  He is now disgusted at the piecemeal dismantling of his profession.  He also resents the immigrants who come here illegally and demand their rights.  He says, "no one gave me anything".  "I came here and worked for everything I have and asked for nothing" except that opportunity.  

Another is a Coptic.   He said what has Islam done for the world unlike Christianity?

A third is Muslim.  He was against Mubarak but also does not like the Muslim Brotherhood.  Everything is based on "hate" he says.

I like them all refer patients to them and would go to them myself for care if I needed it.

What a shame about what is going on in Egypt one of the world's most ancient places.  
« Last Edit: August 21, 2013, 11:13:26 AM by ccp » Logged
DougMacG
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« Reply #318 on: August 23, 2013, 08:02:33 AM »

Charles Krauthammer weighs in on Crafty's mini-poll.

What’s the United States to do? Any response demands two considerations: (a) moral, i.e., which outcome offers the better future for Egypt, and (b) strategic, i.e., which outcome offers the better future for U.S. interests and those of the free world.

As for Egypt’s future, the Brotherhood offered nothing but incompetent, intolerant, increasingly dictatorial rule. In one year, Morsi managed to squander 85 years of Brotherhood prestige garnered in opposition — a place from which one can promise the moon — by persecuting journalists and activists, granting himself the unchallenged power to rule by decree, enshrining a sectarian Islamist constitution and systematically trying to seize the instruments of state power. As if that wasn’t enough, after its overthrow the Brotherhood showed itself to be the party that, when angry, burns churches.

The military, brutal and bloody, is not a very appealing alternative. But it does matter what the Egyptian people think. The anti-Morsi demonstrations were the largest in recorded Egyptian history. Revolted by Morsi’s betrayal of a revolution intended as a new opening for individual dignity and democracy, the protesters explicitly demanded Morsi’s overthrow. And the vast majority seem to welcome the military repression aimed at abolishing the Islamist threat. It’s their only hope, however problematic, for an eventual democratic transition.

And which alternative better helps secure U.S. strategic interests? The list of those interests is long: (1) a secure Suez Canal, (2) friendly relations with the United States, (3) continued alliance with the pro-American Gulf Arabs and Jordanians, (4) retention of the Israel-Egypt peace treaty, (5) cooperation with the U.S. on terrorism, which in part involves (6) isolating Brotherhood-run Gaza.

Every one of which is jeopardized by Brotherhood rule.

What, then, should be our policy? The administration is right to deplore excessive violence and urge reconciliation. But let’s not fool ourselves into believing this is possible in any near future. Sissi crossed his Rubicon with the coup. It will either succeed or not. To advocate a middle way is to invite endless civil strife.

The best outcome would be a victorious military magnanimously offering, at some later date, to reintegrate the more moderate elements of what’s left of the Brotherhood.

But for now, we should not be cutting off aid, civilian or military, as many in Congress are demanding. It will have no effect, buy no influence and win no friends on either side of the Egyptian divide. We should instead be urging the quick establishment of a new cabinet of technocrats, rapidly increasing its authority as the soldiers gradually return to their barracks.

Generals are very bad at governance. Give the reins to people who actually know something. And charge them with reviving the economy and preparing the foundations for a democratic transition — most importantly, drafting a secular constitution that protects the rights of women and minorities.

The final step on that long democratic path should be elections. First municipal, then provincial, then national. As was shown in the post-World War II democratizations, the later the better.

After all, we’ve been here. Through a half-century of cold war, we repeatedly faced precisely the same dilemma: choosing the lesser evil between totalitarian (in that case, communist) and authoritarian (usually military) rule.

We generally supported the various militaries in suppressing the communists. That was routinely pilloried as a hypocritical and immoral betrayal of our alleged allegiance to liberty. But in the end, it proved the prudent, if troubled, path to liberty.

The authoritarian regimes we supported — in South Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, Chile, Brazil, even Spain and Portugal (ruled by fascists until the mid-1970s!) — in time yielded democratic outcomes. Gen. Augusto Pinochet, after 16 years of iron rule, yielded to U.S. pressure and allowed a free election — which he lost, ushering in Chile’s current era of democratic flourishing. How many times have communists or Islamists allowed that to happen?

Regarding Egypt, rather than emoting, we should be thinking: what’s best for Egypt, for us and for the possibility of some eventual democratic future.

Under the Brotherhood, such a possibility is zero. Under the generals, slim.

Slim trumps zero.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/charles-krauthammer-the-choice-in-egypt/2013/08/22/eb9350da-0b5b-11e3-8974-f97ab3b3c677_story.html?hpid=z2
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #319 on: August 25, 2013, 02:02:53 PM »

While waiting for my flight to Switzerland on Wednesday I had a conversation with a very bright, very well educated, probably very rich, condscending British Euro weenie businessman.  As often seems to happen around me, conversation wandered to international relations.  The Brit weenie was shocked that I thought

a) we should not support the opposition to Assad in Syria because they were AQ Islamo-fascists; and
b) we should support the Egyptian military to honor the majority call of the people to overthrow the MB, and
c) the whole fg point of the war against Islamo-fascism is that for civilization to win was that the Arab peoples needed to decide to fight it and that in essence, that is what is happening now in Egypt.  This is what we have been waiting for and our leadership (both the Demogogues and the Patricians) are utterly clueless, see the Newt piece I posted in the Foreign Affairs thread.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #320 on: August 26, 2013, 09:34:59 AM »

Summary

While protests organized by the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy, a group of supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi, did materialize after Friday prayers in Egypt, their relatively small numbers do not pose a meaningful challenge to the military's consolidation of its ruling power. Secularist protests expressing displeasure at the release of former President Hosni Mubarak to house arrest have also been underwhelming, and there has been no sign of cooperation between Islamist and secular opposition elements. Last week's crackdown by the military, culminating in the weak showing Aug. 23 by the military's opponents, are evidence that the military authority does not face a serious challenge and that the path is clear for the military to proceed with its political roadmap.
Analysis

The military's crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood in the last week has had its intended effect: The group's leadership is imprisoned, and the specter of deadly military tactics has inhibited the group's ability to mobilize large numbers in the street. The protest culture that has defined Egypt since January 2011 is suffering from temporary fatigue.

Muslim Brotherhood supporters had called for protests in 28 locations. Many Cairo suburbs saw demonstrations, including Ain Shams, Abbassiya, Ramsis and Shubra. In addition, there have been demonstrations around the country in Giza, Alexandria, Ismailia, Port Said and Tanta. Minor clashes between pro-Brotherhood protesters and both security forces and local Brotherhood opponents have been reported. Security forces used tear gas to control protesters in Tanta, and there have been small clashes reported in Zagazig, Giza and Dakahlia. MENA reported that some protesters at a pro-Morsi rally in Suez carried weapons.

Both military and security forces pre-emptively deployed in the vicinity of the Rabaa Al-Adawiya mosque in Nasr City, which has been a focal point of Muslim Brotherhood support since Morsi's removal. In addition, Al-Ahram reported that the military has closed off all entrances to Tahrir Square with tanks and barbed wire in an attempt to limit the potential for clashes between pro-Brotherhood protesters and the anti-Brotherhood demonstrators who have made Tahrir their home.

Despite the geographic breadth of the Brotherhood's marches, the numbers have been tellingly small. Local media sources such as Nile News TV report that many of the demonstrations number in the hundreds, and Reuters reported that some mosques had even canceled midday prayers, notable for the fact that in the past the group has typically launched protests after Friday prayers. Al-Ahram reported that thousands of Brotherhood supporters were demonstrating across Egypt but arrived at that figure only by adding together small protests numbering in the hundreds scattered around the country -- a far cry from the social unrest that has punctuated Egyptian politics in the last two years.

Even more underwhelming has been the overall reaction to Mubarak's release to house arrest Aug. 22. The April 6 Movement, which had originally called for demonstrations against Mubarak's release, canceled its protests. And although the Tamarod opposition group condemned the release yesterday, thus far it has not done more than express its displeasure in statements. The Revolutionary Socialists movement is one of the few groups to actually follow through on its call for protests, but the group lacks the ability to mobilize meaningful numbers in the streets. Small protests in Cairo numbering in the low hundreds against Mubarak, the Brotherhood and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces are taking place around Cairo, but they are relatively tame and there have been no reports of the military or security forces intervening to stop them. More important is that there has been no indication that these anti-Mubarak protesters have found common cause with the Islamists; indeed, their protests do not significantly distinguish between being critical of Mubarak and Morsi.

The weak showing of today's demonstrations indicates that Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and the military's aggressive moves to assert authority in the last week have been successful. The Muslim Brotherhood's ability to mobilize large numbers of supporters has been curtailed, and Al-Ahram reported late Aug. 22 that both the second-largest Islamist party, al-Nour, which initially supported the coup, and the leftist Popular Alliance Party had both responded with cautious optimism to a proposal by Deputy Prime Minister Ziad Bahaa-Eldin meant to end the cycle of violence. That such groups are openly negotiating with the government further establishes that many of the groups that would oppose the military in the end lack the will and capability to challenge its power and instead prefer to work within the context of the stability that the military can enforce in the street.

With its integrity reinforced, the military will move forward with its political roadmap. It will strongly influence the writing of a new constitution that will enshrine its economic and political advantages in constitutional law, and it will focus on reviving economic activity and containing jihadist threats in Sinai. There will continue to be protests, sectarian violence and political conflicts. And the crackdown on Islamists may have the unintended consequence of leading to more jihadism. But these facts of Egyptian culture should not obfuscate the fact that has prevented the United States and other powers from breaking ties with the Egyptian military: In ruling Cairo, the military is peerless.

Read more: And a New King Rose Over Egypt | Stratfor
Follow us: @stratfor on Twitter | Stratfor on Facebook
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objectivist1
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« Reply #321 on: August 27, 2013, 07:40:24 AM »

Why It Matters Who Wins in Egypt


Posted By Daniel Greenfield On August 23, 2013 @ frontpagemag.com

These days and weeks of bloody struggle in Egypt have implications that go far beyond the country and the region.

The conflict between the Muslim Brotherhood and its opponents will determine whether an Islamic terrorist group will run Egypt.

Forgotten in all the Arab Spring cheerleading is the simple fact that the Muslim Brotherhood is a terrorist group. And not only is it a terrorist group but it is the single most influential Sunni Islamic terrorist group in the world, spawning entire networks of terrorist organizations; including Al Qaeda.

Egypt holds great resources and great wealth, advanced weapons and even limited nuclear capability. But beyond that it is also where the modern age of terror began, where Western ideas crossbred with the ancient Jihad of Islam to create a new strategic threat.

The Arab Spring, the Islamist Winter and the Military Summer are more than just seasons for Egypt, they are also transformative phases for the country that long stood at the crossroads of terrorism.

The road to America’s modern confrontation with Islamic terrorism began in Egypt. The World Trade Center bombing was spawned by a leader of the Egyptian Islamic Group, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood. Mohamed Atta, the key figure in the September 11 attacks, was an Egyptian member of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Today the Engineers Syndicate, the Brotherhood front group that Atta was a member of, is holding rallies in support of Morsi.

The Syndicate is one of many front groups that the Muslim Brotherhood uses to recruit new members. That same process takes place at most American colleges through front groups such as the Muslim Students Association; four of whose chapter presidents became high-ranking Al Qaeda members. One of whom co-founded Al Qaeda.

The clash between the Egyptian military and the Muslim Brotherhood is at the heart of the War on Terror. Al Qaeda may often be associated with Saudi Arabia, but its real roots lie closer to Egypt.

Before Ayman al-Zawahiri became the leader of Al Qaeda, he was a member of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and headed up the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, a terrorist organization spun off from the Muslim Brotherhood that eventually merged into Al Qaeda.

Membership in the Muslim Brotherhood is a biographical note that Ayman al-Zawahiri shared with Osama bin Laden. Al Qaeda’s interim Emir after Bin Laden’s death was Saif al-Adel, an Egyptian member of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, maintaining the Egyptian identity of the new Al Qaeda leadership.

Zawahiri was described as the “brains” of Al Qaeda while Bin Laden was its purse and its public image. That organizational and interpersonal relationship mimics the greater one between the Muslim Brotherhood and its wealthy Gulf oil backers.

Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and other oil kingdoms may fund terrorism, protect terrorists and fill out their ranks; they may spread the corrosion of its clerics into the West, but they aren’t its brains.

Al Qaeda after Bin Laden is more “Egyptian” and more “Brotherhood” than ever. It draws its rank and file Jihadists from the usual sources, but its orientation has shifted away from Azzam’s global Jihad against the infidels and toward the Islamic civil wars that Zawahiri had sought to fight all along.

There have been no major Al Qaeda operations launched against America. Instead Al Qaeda has reemerged as a loosely aligned group of franchises fighting to take over Muslim countries.

The strategy that emerged distinctly in Iraq, where Al Qaeda often seemed more focused on killing Shiites than on killing Americans, has exploded into full scale civil war in Syria, where Al Qaeda in Iraq is operating as the Al Nusra Front.

In Syria, Al Qaeda’s Al Nusra Front and the Muslim Brotherhood’s brigades in the Free Syrian Army appear to also be loosely aligned, fighting toward the same objectives.

The Arab Spring helped complete the realignment of Al Qaeda’s objectives. It became what its Egyptian faction of Muslim Brotherhood activists had always wanted it to be; a force for helping them take over entire countries, rather than aimlessly bombing Western targets.

Al Qaeda’s two biggest operations took place after the Arab Spring and were carried out on a much bigger scale than September 11. In Mali and in Syria, Al Qaeda franchises attempted to capture entire countries. These operations were aligned with the regional objectives of the Muslim Brotherhood.

When Al Qaeda attempted to seize Mali, President Mohammed Morsi came out firmly against any intervention. Morsi also aggressively pushed for intervention in Syria and called for a No Fly Zone.

The second wave of attacks of September 11, a day most remembered for the assault on the Benghazi mission and the murder of Ambassador Stevens, was concentrated largely in countries and areas under the control of the Brotherhood and allied Islamists, whether it was entire countries, such as Egypt and Tunisia, or cities, such as Benghazi.

In Washington and London, the politicians wanted to believe that the Muslim Brotherhood was a check on its violent splinter groups like the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and the Egyptian Islamic Group and even on Al Qaeda. Instead the Muslim Brotherhood was quietly working with them to advance the common Islamist objectives of imposing total Islamic rule on the region in the form of a united Caliphate.

Morsi’s regime freed Egyptian Islamic Group terrorists and even attempted to appoint an EIG leader as governor in Luxor, where memories still linger of its infamous massacre. That appointment may have been one of the tipping points that toppled the Brotherhood, but it was also a clear message that not only was the Muslim Brotherhood not disavowing its so-called splinter groups, but it was aiding them.

Washington and London may think that they are playing the Muslim Brotherhood against Al Qaeda, but they are the ones being played.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s defeat has damaged the group’s morale by hitting its sense of historical inevitability. It is a long way from being destroyed, but if it suffers a series of defeats in Egypt, Syria and beyond, it will lose members and momentum. And the Brotherhood’s loss will also be Al Qaeda’s loss.

Obama’s weakness created an opening that the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda took advantage of. Now they are at the climactic moment in their great game of Jihad. Either they win here and the road to the Caliphate becomes much smoother or they lose badly and risk becoming relics of history.

It’s a crucial strategic moment that will determine whether the next bomb goes off in America or Egypt.
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« Reply #322 on: September 02, 2013, 05:25:03 PM »

Which group has as its symbol a black hand against a yellow background?
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« Reply #323 on: September 02, 2013, 05:43:25 PM »

Which group has as its symbol a black hand against a yellow background?


The old school Italian mafia was known as the black hand. A Black hand tat is used by the Mexican Mafia. Egyptian mafia???
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« Reply #324 on: September 02, 2013, 05:49:00 PM »

GM you have PM.
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« Reply #325 on: September 02, 2013, 05:56:44 PM »

GM you have PM.


Copy.

A quick look says there was a old anti-jew/anti-brit group that was known as the black hand. HAMAS antecedent
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« Reply #326 on: September 02, 2013, 06:09:36 PM »

Thank you.
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« Reply #327 on: September 04, 2013, 12:56:56 PM »

http://edition.cnn.com/2013/09/04/world/meast/egypt-interim-president-interview/index.html
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« Reply #328 on: September 04, 2013, 12:58:10 PM »


Good thing we got that dumb cowboy Bush out of the white house and now live in a new era of Smart Power!
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« Reply #329 on: September 17, 2013, 11:49:42 AM »

http://www.siotw.org/modules/news_english/item.php?itemid=1317
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« Reply #330 on: September 18, 2013, 10:29:45 AM »

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323342404579076393770615038.html?mod=WSJ_hps_LEFTTopStories
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« Reply #331 on: October 01, 2013, 07:42:04 PM »

Moving GM's post to here:

Quote from: Crafty_Dog on Today at 12:13:26 PM
"I but point out that for a goodly percentage of those supporting the overthrow of the MB were doing so not merely as a matter of economics."

The poll, by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, also finds a small decline among Egyptians in favorable views of the United States – now just 19 percent – while 61 percent of respondents said the billions of dollars the U.S. gives their country in military and economic aid has a “mostly negative” impact.
 
Asked their views on Egyptian-U.S. ties, 38 percent indicated the relationship should be more distant, 35 percent said it should remain as it is now, and 20 percent said it should be closer.
 
Among other findings:
 
--On the role of religion in government, 61 percent chose Saudi Arabia as the preferred model. (Turkey came in at 17 percent).
 
--Asked whether Egypt’s laws should strictly adhere to the Qur’an, 60 percent said yes while 32 percent said it should follow the values and principles of Islam and only six percent said laws should not be influenced by the teachings of the Qur’an.
 
-- Seventy percent of respondents viewed the Muslim Brotherhood favorably, down from 75 percent in 2011. The Muslim Brotherhood’s political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party, also received the highest support rating among political parties, 56 percent.
 
--Priority issues in the election are the economy and a fair judiciary (81 percent each), with others including free speech (60 percent), equal rights for women (41 percent) and religious freedom (38 percent.)
 
The foreign policy issue with arguably the biggest implication for regional stability related to the peace treaty with neighboring Israel. The agreement, hammered out at Camp David in 1978 and signed at the White House the following year, remains the centerpiece of decades of U.S. mediation between Israel and its Arab neighbors.
 
The survey found that 61 percent of Egyptians want to abandon it, while only 32 percent think it should be maintained.
 
Support for annulling it has grown in particular among younger Egyptians (up by 14 points since 2011) as well as among those with higher education levels (up 18 percent since last year.)
 - See more at: http://cnsnews.com/news/article/egyptians-want-ditch-peace-treaty-israel-poll-shows
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WSJ
« Reply #332 on: October 10, 2013, 06:32:02 AM »



The Obama Administration plans to suspend the delivery of "nonessential" weapons to Egypt's military-led government. If gestures that made America feel good about itself were the stuff of a successful foreign policy, then the White House has scored another hit.

Back in the real world, it's hard to see how this policy shift helps U.S. interests in Egypt and the region. The annual $1.2 billion Egyptian military aid program predates by three decades the 2011 uprising against Hosni Mubarak and subsequent stillborn attempts to establish a legitimate government. America's security alliance with Egypt has kept this combustible patch of the Middle East stable since the Camp David peace accords in 1978.

July's ouster of President Mohammed Morsi, an Islamist who was freely elected in 2012, prompted the Obama Administration to review the program. Senator John McCain wanted to stop aid to punish the Egyptian brass for the coup. The status quo would keep the bilateral military relationship separate from Egypt's messy politics. So in his wisdom, President Obama is splitting this baby down the middle.

The Administration is expected to hold back shipments of a dozen Apache helicopters and four F-16 fighters. The message to Cairo, as White House spokesman Jay Carney explained on Wednesday: "We are not able to continue with business as usual."

Pending the formal announcement expected in coming days, the Administration didn't say what share of the program will be affected. The U.S. will continue to support Egypt's counterterrorism efforts against Islamist militias in the turbulent Sinai Peninsula, supply critical spare parts for U.S.-built equipment and train Egyptian soldiers. What's "half measures" in Arabic?

The U.S. is managing to anger nearly everyone in Cairo. The Islamists who demand President Morsi's return and the shrinking band of liberal democrats will see this as continued U.S. support for the generals. The generals get to feel the back of Washington's hand without being given an incentive to change their behavior at home. Israel is also upset, since its peace with Cairo was premised in part on U.S. aid.

The U.S. will always be the Egyptian military's best and for some equipment only option. But if the government concludes the U.S. is a fickle friend, it may turn to Russia and the Gulf states for closer political ties and even some weapons. As Iran and resurgent al Qaeda seek to squeeze the U.S. out of the region, Washington can hardly afford to lose reliable Middle Eastern allies.

The other priority in Egypt is to stem the recent spiral of political violence and repression and get the Arab world's largest country back on track to civilian rule. But how does a symbolic American sanction help nudge Egypt that way?

The Islamists and the generals sought and got the current war of attrition. Egypt is a broken place. The military crackdown, the bloodiest since Nasser ruled in the 1960s, has seen thousands of Morsi supporters land in jail. The Muslim Brotherhood has been banned again. Hundreds have died in clashes, including more than 50 on Sunday. Reconciliation seems more remote than ever.

A smart policy would be to try to use whatever influence the U.S. has left to broker disputes, but the Obama Administration hasn't done this since Mubarak's ouster. Now it seems to be giving up the little leverage it has in Cairo. The good, fuzzy feeling in Washington may prove fleeting.
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« Reply #333 on: October 21, 2013, 10:32:11 AM »


Thousands of students have gathered at Egypt's Al-Azhar University Monday calling for the reinstatement of ousted President Mohamed Morsi. The protests have continued a day after Egyptian riot police clashed with students, some of whom were reportedly throwing stones, firing tear gas as the demonstrations spread outside of the campus. The protests have come amid a debate over a draft law aimed at severely restricting demonstrations. Meanwhile, up to four people, including an eight-year-old girl, were killed when one or two armed men on motorcycles opened fire on a wedding party outside a Coptic Christian church in the Giza district of Cairo. Egypt's Christian minority has been increasingly targeted since the overthrow of Morsi in July, however this appeared to be the deadliest attack in months. Egypt's Interim Prime Minister Hazem Beblawi condemned the attack and said security forces are looking for those responsible.
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« Reply #334 on: November 14, 2013, 10:26:01 AM »

 
Russian and Egyptian officials have opened up talks on defense cooperation, coming amid tensions in U.S. and Egyptian relations. Russian Foreign Minster Sergei Lavrov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu are meeting with Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy, Defense Minister Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, and interim President Adly Mansour in the highest-level Russian visit to Egypt in years. Lavrov expressed his support for a democratic transformation in Egypt and said, "We are quite confident that Egypt will overcome its current crises and put into consideration the interests of all political, ethnic, and religious blocs within society." Russian officials say the talks are focusing on military and technical cooperation, which could mean an arms deal. Beyond that, the Egyptian government hopes to broaden economic relations with Russia. In October, the United States announced a suspension of a large portion of its $1.3 billion in military assistance to Egypt. Russian and Egyptian officials however have downplayed strains with the United States. A spokesman for the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said, "Our strategy is to expand, not to replace one party with another."
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« Reply #335 on: November 15, 2013, 09:49:03 AM »


http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2013/11/15/Russia-offers-Egypt-helicopters-and-air-defense-systems.html?utm_source=Sailthru&utm

Russia is proposing to sell Egypt modern fighter jets, helicopters and air defense systems reportedly worth $2 billion, Russian officials said, in a clear sign of returning military cooperation between the two countries.  Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, along with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, travelled to Egypt on Thursday to seek valuable contracts with the country’s government after the United States curbed its military aid to Cairo last month.  Shoigu had confirmed that military collaboration was discussed in meeting with his Egyptian counterpart Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi but did not elaborate further.

“We agreed today to take steps toward creating a legal basis for our agreements [on military collaboration],” he said, according to RIA Novosti news agency.

Mikhail Zavaly, a senior official with Russia’s arms export agency Rosoboronexport who will lead its delegation at the upcoming Dubai air show, confirmed Russia wanted to sell military hardware to Egypt, according to Agence France-Presse.

“Now we are offering Egypt modern helicopters, air defense equipment and the modernization of previously purchased military equipment,” he told the RIA Novosti news agency.

“The word is now with our partners,” he added.

He did not give further details but Russian daily Vedomosti said negotiations were ongoing about the sale of MiG-29M/M2 fighter jets, low range air defense systems and Kornet anti-tank rockets.  Citing Russian defence sources, Vedomosti said the deals were worth more than $2 billion and could be financed by Egypt’s Arab Gulf allies. 
Earlier this week a senior Rosoboronexport official told RIA Novosti that Russia wanted to sell military hardware to Egypt.

“We are ready to negotiate with the Egyptian side the possibility of deliveries of new weaponry as well as repairing equipment supplied in Soviet times,” the Rosoboronexport official said.

But the official noted that such new supplies would depend on Egypt’s ability to pay for them. “Moscow is ready to discuss with Cairo a possible loan to that country,” he said.

The Soviet Union was the main weapons supplier to Egypt in the 1960s and early 1970s, but cooperation declined after the U.S.-brokered peace treaty with Israel when Cairo began to enjoy generous U.S. aid.  However, the U.S. government suspended some of its military aid to Cairo after Mursi’s ouster.
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« Reply #336 on: November 15, 2013, 08:44:47 PM »

Stratfor
Russia and Egypt Rekindle Relations
Analysis
November 14, 2013 | 0937 Print Text Size
Russia and Egypt Rekindle Relations

Interim Egyptian President Adly Mansour (R), Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (2-L) and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu at the presidential palace in Cairo on Nov. 14. (KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Summary

Russian and Egyptian relations are improving as both countries respond to changes in the Middle East and look for alternative partners to work with on multiple fronts. The countries' foreign and defense ministers met Nov. 13-14, the highest-level meeting Moscow and Cairo have held in years. The conference is in preparation for a possible visit to Cairo by Russian President Vladimir Putin later this month, Putin's first such visit to Egypt. However, despite their common interests at the moment, both countries realize that a permanent alignment is not sustainable.
Analysis

Russia and Egypt have a long and tumultuous history. Egypt was a staunch supporter of communist regimes around the world in the early part of the Cold War, and the Soviet Union supported Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser as he modernized the Arab nation. At the time, Egypt and the West were experiencing spats over Egypt's nationalizing the Suez Canal and expelling Western diplomats. However, when Anwar Sadat assumed the presidency in Cairo in 1970, the country began to turn toward the West and relations cooled with Moscow after Sadat expelled thousands of Soviet military advisers.

Today, changes in the Middle East are undermining the positions of Egypt and Russia. The United States and Iran could be headed toward a compromise, which would alter the reality of the region. If such a deal takes place, Russia would lose its last significant bit of leverage in the Middle East, since the Syria issue has already been played out. Russia is now seeking a new advantage in the Middle East, both to anchor itself in the region and to counter the United States. This also comes as Russia is attempting to propel itself onto the international stage as an alternative power to the United States.

U.S.-Egyptian relations have dropped off substantially since the July 3 coup, and in light of Washington's decision to cut military aid to Cairo in October, there are no signs of improvement. With the United States now tilting toward Iran, Arab nations are scrambling.
Egypt's Crisis Threatens Foreign Aid

Already Egypt is in serious economic distress due to falling energy production and skyrocketing inflation. The Egyptians have turned to their Gulf Arab allies for help, thus far receiving $7 billion of the $12 billion promised from states such as the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. But the Gulf Arab aid is not enough to keep Egypt stable, and the country is seeking a supplementary patron not only for aid but also to try to shape U.S. behavior.

There are three main areas in which Russia and Egypt can begin to develop stronger relations. The first is financial -- Egypt's foreign reserves are dwindling and foreign aid has been insufficient, while Russia has excess cash in its reserves and growing oil-supported wealth funds.

The second potential area of cooperation is military. Reports have emerged that Russia and Egypt are negotiating a considerable military deal, certainly the largest and most important between the countries since the 1970s. Price estimates for the deal, which reportedly centers primarily on MiG-29 fighter aircraft, air defense missile systems and anti-tank guided missiles, range from $1.5 billion to $4 billion.

Finally, Russia can support Egypt with larger grain exports. In the 2012-13 grain season, Russia made up a third of Egypt's grain imports, approximately 2.7 million tons. Russia is currently having a healthy year for grain production at home, with a rise in exports for 2013-14 expected. The problem in recent months between Egypt and Russia has been the price -- Cairo has been unable to afford Russian grain, which is more expensive than grain from countries such as Ukraine. An agreement for discounted grain is a possibility going forward.

Even with so many important potential deals, there are limits on the Russo-Egyptian relationship -- and on Russia ever replacing the United States in relations with Egypt. Egypt will always have some sort of relationship with the United States, and Russian support so far from home is typically piecemeal as Moscow deals with domestic problems. Moreover, Egypt's Gulf Arab allies would not be welcoming of Cairo's attempts to swap Washington for Moscow. But at this time, Egypt and Russia are seeking any advantage they can from rekindling the relationship while the region realigns. Egypt has specific needs that Russia can fill, and Russia needs to continue shaping the Middle East in order to keep U.S. focus far from its immediate region.


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« Reply #337 on: February 13, 2014, 09:10:01 AM »


Putin Backs Sisi’s Bid for Egypt’s Presidency
________________________________________
 
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday conveyed his support for Egyptian Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's bid for Egypt's presidency, wishing him "luck" in the upcoming contest. Meeting with Egyptian authorities in Moscow, Putin told Sisi, "I know that you have decided to run for president of Egypt. This is a very responsible decision, to take upon yourself responsibility for the fate of the Egyptian people." Though Sisi has not officially announced his candidacy for the presidency, his visit to Moscow is another sign that such announcement is imminent. Sisi's meeting with Russian officials aimed at finalizing a $2 billion arms agreement between Egypt and Russia. "Our visit offers a new start to the development of military and technological co-operation between Egypt and Russia. We hope to speed up this co-operation," Sisi remarked on the meeting.
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« Reply #338 on: February 13, 2014, 10:01:37 AM »

Second post

'Worse Than Mubarak: Egypt's New Constitution and the Police State' (Mara Revkin, Foreign Affairs)

"Egypt is not the first country in the world to declare a 'war on terror,' but it is one of the only nations to have written counterterrorism into its constitution. Last month, an overwhelming 98.1 percent of voters approved Egypt's new charter in a referendum marred by a heavy-handed military campaign to stifle dissent. The new constitution further marginalizes Islamists from political life and enhances the powers of the military and security services by, among other things, banning all political activity based on religion and giving the military veto authority over the president's choice of defense minister for the next eight years. But as problematic as those measures are, one of the constitution's most alarming sections has been overlooked: an unprecedented counterterrorism clause that lays the legal foundation for a police state that is a military dictatorship in all but name. 

Buried on page 62 of a rambling document that most Egyptians admit they have not even read is Article 237, the most sweeping counterterrorism mandate in any Egyptian constitution. It obligates the state to 'fight all types and forms of terrorism and track its sources of funding within a specific time frame in recognition of the threat it represents to the nation and citizens.' Article 237 doesn't define 'terrorism' or the scope of the powers it grants the government, deferring them to future legislation. But for now, Egypt has no parliament. The military dissolved it last summer as part of its overthrow of former President Mohammed Morsi. With new parliamentary elections not expected until later this year, legislative authority rests solely in the hands of the military-appointed interim president, Adly Mansour."
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« Reply #339 on: February 17, 2014, 06:46:21 AM »


Summary

Russia and Egypt are nearing a $3 billion arms purchase agreement that will be financed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, Russian daily Vedomosti reported Feb. 14. While Egypt is not completely breaking with the United States, its move to enhance its ties with Moscow shows that Cairo feels it should no longer depend on Washington as its sole powerful ally. This shift in Egypt's strategic foreign policy stems from the internal disagreement in Washington on how to manage Cairo following the July 3, 2013, coup that has degraded the political and security situation in the world's largest Arab state. Egypt's efforts to enhance ties with Russia could enable the Kremlin to make minor gains in extending its geopolitical influence in the Middle East, but the region's dependence on the United States will not be significantly reduced.

Analysis

According to Vedomosti report quoting two unnamed Russian government sources, Cairo and Moscow already have either initialed or signed contracts for Egypt's purchase of MiG-29 fighters, air and coastal defense systems, Mi-35 attack helicopters, and other smaller arms. The report came a day after Russian Vladimir Putin met with Egyptian army chief Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. During the meeting, Putin remarked, "Mr. Defense Minister, I know that you have decided to run for president. This is a very important decision -- to undertake responsibility for the fate of the Egyptian people. On my own behalf and on behalf of all Russians I would like to wish you success."

These words represented Russia's rejoinder to the United States that it, too, can use elections around the world to its advantage. This is in line with Putin's September 2013 New York Times op-ed in which he implied that each country would find its own way to democracy. But the Russians are not just trying to get into the election game; they are also using the disconnect between the Obama administration and the al-Sisi regime to their advantage. Though U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has had some 30 phone calls with al-Sisi since the coup, the U.S.-Egyptian relationship remains sour.
Click to Enlarge

A key reason for this is the disagreement within the U.S. administration and the Congress about the need to balance the relationship with the military and nurture the democratic process. There are competing realist points of view. One side argues that the military is the only institution in Egypt that can hold Cairo together and that Egypt's democratization process has failed and the region is in great turmoil. Therefore, the United States should return to working with Egypt's armed forces to help the country limp back to some semblance of normalcy.

On the other side are those who believe the Egyptian armed forces on their own are not capable of stabilizing the country. From their perspective, the continuing political unrest and the growing jihadist insurgency will deteriorate under military-imposed order. This camp points to the growing non-Islamist opposition to the military's dominance of politics, given the splits within the Tamarod movement that organized massive demonstrations and called on the military to oust former President Mohamed Morsi. This faction wants to see a compromise between the army and the Muslim Brotherhood that will resolve the political crisis the jihadists are exploiting.

Ultimately, the United States does not have much choice in the matter and thus has no good options on how to manage the faltering political economy of Egypt. What is worse is that the ambivalence within Washington is fueling mistrust between the United States and Egypt.
The Saudi Angle

While this has been developing, Saudi Arabia -- which has had its own problems with Washington over the U.S.-Iran rapprochement and over its reluctance to act aggressively against the Syrian regime -- has rushed into support Egypt financially.

Working with their Gulf Cooperation Council partners, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, the Saudis have poured billions into the coffers of the Egyptian state since the coup. Riyadh and Abu Dhabi's underwriting the Egypt-Russia arms deal is only the latest financial commitment from the Saudis and their Gulf allies. It is somewhat odd that while the Saudis and the Russians are at loggerheads over Moscow's support for the Syrian regime, Riyadh has encouraged Cairo to purchase arms from Moscow. Paying for weapons that Egypt is trying to purchase from Russia is a way for Saudi Arabia to try and manage the divergence of Riyadh's and Washington's interests in the region.

From the Saudi point of view, the United States can no longer manage the region and is pursuing a dangerous policy. The kingdom believes it has no choice but to pursue its own independent policy of trying to deal with the region's problems. The Egyptians share the Saudi view on U.S. intentions and capabilities regarding the Middle East and thus are working closely with each other. Notably, neither the Egyptians nor the Saudis are radically turning away from the United States; there are no alternative to the Americans.
Egypt's Geographic Challenge

The region's two major Arab powers will thus continue to cooperate with the United States where they absolutely must. But they believe that they can no longer rely on Washington, as has been the case in recent decades. It is unclear whether the arms deal will be finalized, but if it is it will underscore Egypt's ongoing efforts to diversify the pool of suppliers for its defense needs as the country's armed forces already field weaponry from the United States, France, and Russia -- another example of decreasing dependency on Washington.
The Persistence of U.S. Leverage

While the United States could lose some influence in Egypt, there are major limits to how far Moscow can pull Cairo in its direction. Russia is not a reliable partner for Egypt, and Cairo knows that Moscow is using it as leverage in the struggle brewing in Russia's near abroad

The Saudis, Russians and Egyptians are all hoping -- for different reasons -- that this arms deal will upset the United States. Cairo hopes that the prospect of Egypt's tilting toward Russia will terrify the United States. The Americans will be unimpressed by the Egyptian move to purchase weapons from the Russians because they know that Egypt will not be able to rebuild its military in any reasonable time and certainly not without U.S. help. The United States is also taking into account that the Saudis do not intend to completely alienate Washington and that the Egyptians can only go so far in reducing their dependence on the United States.

Thus, the United States will accommodate Egypt, but Washington will be somewhat inflexible because it believes Cairo is trapped in its relationship Washington. Washington will quietly tell Cairo and Riyadh that if they have other sources of weapons, the United States will review all of its arms sales, since U.S. products are no longer needed for Egyptian security. The United States will try to create panic in Cairo and Riyadh and force them to think they have overplayed their hand.

Washington has already convinced them that it has lost interest in the region, and now it will try to reaffirm this and turn the tables on them. For their part, the Russians do not expect a major relationship with the Egyptians and are taking the current arrangement only as far as it can go.

Russia also knows it cannot act as an alternative to the United States in the region. It means to create problems for the United States in the Middle East as a way to ensure that there are limits to how far Washington can push into the Russian periphery. The Kremlin is already pursuing this in Syria but is facing challenges on Iran, as evidenced by Tehran's interest in working with Washington to end sanctions. Therefore, exploiting the downturn in U.S. ties with Egypt and Saudi Arabia is Russia's way of trying to sustain its bargaining position with the United States.

Read more: Egypt and Russia Strengthen Ties to Raise U.S. Concerns | Stratfor
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« Reply #340 on: February 23, 2014, 09:29:19 AM »



http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/371565/obamas-blame-it-video-was-fraud-cairo-well-benghazi-more-proof-andrew-c-mccarthy
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« Reply #341 on: February 24, 2014, 11:06:11 AM »

In a televised address Monday, Egypt's interim Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi announced the resignation of his cabinet. Beblawi gave no reason for the government's departure, however the move could pave the way for army chief Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to declare his bid for presidency. To run for president, Sisi would need to first leave his post as defense minister. According to an Egyptian official, the cabinet resigned so that Sisi would not appear to be acting alone. The announcement came amid a number of strikes over the past few days including by public transport and textile workers, doctors, and garbage collectors. Beblawi acknowledged the sharp increase in strikes, but claimed no government could address all the demands of its people in such a short amount of time. He said the government "made every effort to get Egypt out of the narrow tunnel in terms of security, economic pressures, and political confusion." Interim President Adly Mansour has asked Beblawi to run the government's affairs until a successor is named, according to the state-run newspaper al-Ahram.
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« Reply #342 on: March 13, 2014, 12:40:40 PM »


Summary

Egypt is expecting severe power outages in upcoming months after suffering rare winter blackouts. According to the Ministry of Petroleum, Egypt needs to import $1 billion worth of natural gas in the next few months to satisfy demand this summer. However, political, financial and infrastructure constraints will likely keep Egypt from achieving this goal. Last summer, as seven-hour-long rolling blackouts affected businesses and consumers throughout the country, the Tamarod movement helped oust former President Mohammed Morsi, a move that illustrated people's outrage over the Muslim Brotherhood's inability to solve Egypt's energy problems. As Egypt's rapidly growing population continues to demand more natural gas, domestic production will soon fail to meet the needs of a nation looking for political stability and economic growth under a new democratic government that is set to be elected in the coming months.

Like Morsi's government, the incoming administration will have limited options, given tensions in the region and its political and economic constraints. Perhaps most important, Cairo will have to decide whether it will decrease domestic natural gas consumption to fulfill its export obligations or pump more gas into a heavily subsidized domestic market to forestall summer outages -- and thus curry favor with the public. Both options have significant ramifications on the country's struggling economy.

Analysis

In 2003, Egypt began producing surplus natural gas that Cairo was able to export, largely to Asia and Europe, providing the country with a substantial source of revenue. But Egypt's population has grown rapidly over the past three decades, thanks to improved health care, increased food production and a lack of family planning. In 2014, domestic natural gas consumption will finally catch up with production, due in part to generous energy subsidies. In fact, from 2009-2012, consumption rose 24 percent while production declined by 3 percent. By July 1, the Petroleum Ministry believes natural gas consumption will surpass production by a rate of 1.74 billion cubic meters per year.
Click to Enlarge

This has left Egypt looking for import agreements. But regardless of who wins the upcoming elections -- Defense Minister Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is widely expected to win the presidency -- the new government will only have a few options to satisfy the public's demand. 
Tensions with Gulf Partners

During the Morsi administration, a cash-strapped Egypt looked for outside help to alleviate its economic problems. One option was a $4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund, but this came with strict conditions, including subsidy reforms. Instead of absorbing the political risk involved in tackling the problem, Morsi sought aid from Egypt's neighbors in the Gulf. Foreign currency, petroleum products and natural gas assistance helped buoy Egypt's economy, but relying on bailouts from the Gulf Cooperation Council is not a sustainable long-term solution.

When Morsi reached out to the Gulf Cooperation Council, Qatar seized a unique opportunity to enhance its regional influence by engaging with the Muslim Brotherhood -- the only Gulf state to do so. Qatar sent several liquefied natural gas shipments to Egypt. While Egypt began to divert increasing quantities of its natural gas to the domestic market, cargoes from Qatar were given to British Gas and GDF Suez operating in Egypt so that they could meet their export obligations in Europe and Asia. However, when the Muslim Brotherhood was ousted and designated a terrorist organization by the military-backed interim government, Qatar's relationship with Egypt soured. Qatar stopped sending LNG, and foreign firms lost their ability to meet their export quotas.

Egypt is still receiving petroleum aid from its Arab neighbors, but the halt of LNG shipments from Qatar must be viewed as part of a larger rift among the Gulf Cooperation Council countries. Because Egypt is a pivotal country in the Arab world, the Gulf countries understand that instability in Egypt affects the whole region. Saudi Arabia prefers that Egypt be run with a strong military hand, because Riyadh fears the populist tactics that brought the Muslim Brotherhood to power in Egypt could fuel grassroots Islamism in the Gulf and threaten the stability of the monarchies. But Qatar still stands behind the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood and is the Gulf country in the best position to export natural gas to Egypt.

Kuwait has stepped in to mediate this conflict, because it views regional instability as detrimental to its own internal cohesion. Kuwait's looming internal political and economic strains, as well its significant Shiite minority and geographic proximity to Shiite bastions in Iraq and Iran, prevent it from acting as aggressively as Saudi Arabia. To maintain a careful balance between its neighbors, Kuwait will work to defuse tensions within the Gulf Cooperation Council, but talks are unlikely to provide any immediate natural gas assistance to Egypt, leaving Cairo to search for other solutions to its energy problems.
Import Options

To avoid shortages this summer, the government is trying to import natural gas to cover the expected deficit, but this will be expensive and difficult. Cairo has two options, but neither provides a feasible solution.

One option is to import natural gas by pipeline from Israel, but this is difficult due to security concerns and would require reversing the pipeline direction. For years, militant groups have targeted the Arab Gas Pipeline that was used to pump Egyptian natural gas across the Sinai Peninsula to Israel, and it already has been attacked five times in 2014. Even if the army could secure the pipeline, it would take time and money to alter the pumping stations so the flow of gas could be reversed back into Egypt. Israel has said it intends to export 40 percent of the natural gas from its Tamar and Leviathan fields, which could provide massive political leverage in the region. If al-Sisi is elected, it would be difficult for him to maintain his nationalist image as a strong military leader if he made Egypt reliant on Israel for its energy. However, energy imperatives might force him to consider this idea more seriously, especially if it can be done in cooperation with Jordan and the Palestinian Territories.

The other option is for the Egyptian government to lease a floating LNG import terminal. Although Egypt has two LNG export plants, it has no import terminal that can regasify imported LNG. To solve this problem, the government issued a tender to lease a floating storage and regasification unit in October 2013. The tender was awarded to Norway's Hoegh LNG in January 2014, but the firm turned down the contract because it doubted the government would be able to pay the $250 million bill. There are a few other units on the market that could be leased, but even if the government could sign an agreement in March, the unit would take six months to a year to install and would not be operational in time for the summer.
Reforming Domestic Energy Markets

While importing gas will be difficult, Egypt's government can work to improve its domestic energy usage and production, but these are not short-term solutions. Regressive energy subsidies, which amount to about 10 percent of Egypt's gross domestic product, have long encouraged excessive consumption, largely by wealthy Egyptians and energy-intensive businesses that can afford to pay higher, unsubsidized prices. Successive governments have tried to reform the subsidy program, but the fear of causing social unrest has prevented the implementation of any reform.

As subsides continue to hurt the economy, the government must attempt to attract foreign investment to bring in the capital and technology necessary to increase natural gas production. Egypt's current fields are aging, and potential new production is becoming more expensive and challenging as producers look to expand to deeper waters. Regardless of success, advanced extraction techniques and exploration in more challenging areas will not alleviate the immediate shortages. It will likely take several years for any new investments to increase production, and the current fields will continue to decline.

Cairo's relationship with foreign energy firms will likely deteriorate further in the coming months, because the government must maintain public support and continue diverting large portions of the foreign firms' export-marked gas for domestic consumption. In January, British Gas was forced to break its contracts when the Egyptian government diverted more than 50 percent of the company's production in Egypt to the domestic market. Further straining the situation is the $6 billion in arrears that Cairo is struggling to pay foreign energy firms. The incoming government may continue to divert larger amounts of natural gas for domestic use to maintain popular support and social stability, but this will further alienate foreign investors and hinder needed extraction technology from coming to Egypt.

Read more: Egypt's Energy Problems Worsen | Stratfor
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« Reply #343 on: March 24, 2014, 12:11:12 PM »

A court in southern Egyptian city of Minya on Monday sentenced 529 Muslim Brotherhood supporters to death on charges including murdering a policeman and attacking other officers in riots after security forces broke up two protest camps on August 14, 2013. The group is among more than 1,200 supporters of Mohamed Morsi on trial since a crackdown on Islamists after the military removed the president in July. In December, the government declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization. Only about 147 defendants were present at the unprecedentedly rushed hearings, which began Saturday. Others were released or are on the run being tried in absentia. Sixteen defendants were acquitted. The verdict, the largest capital punishment verdict in the history of the Egyptian judiciary, and the sentences are subject to appeal, and are likely to be overturned, according to lawyers.   
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« Reply #344 on: April 26, 2014, 08:18:58 AM »



http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/26/world/middleeast/egypt-religious-minorities.html?emc=edit_th_20140426&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=49641193&_r=0
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« Reply #345 on: April 26, 2014, 08:42:15 AM »


Shocking!
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« Reply #346 on: May 06, 2014, 11:28:02 AM »

In the first televised interview of his campaign, former Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi vowed that the banned Muslim Brotherhood will not exist if he wins the presidency. Sisi led the military's ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013 and the Muslim Brotherhood has since been designated a terrorist organization. The military-backed government has killed more than a thousand pro-Morsi demonstrators and imprisoned over 10,000 political opponents, primarily Islamists. Sisi claimed the Muslim Brotherhood has ties to militant groups and mentioned that two plots to assassinate him had been discovered. He said it would not be possible for the Brotherhood to re-enter political life in Egypt and asserted, "It's not me who finished the Muslim Brotherhood -- the Egyptian people have." Sisi is widely expected to win Egypt's presidential election on May 26 and 27.
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« Reply #347 on: May 16, 2014, 07:53:50 PM »

FP Magazine

The lawyers for two of three Al Jazeera journalists being tried in Egypt on charges of fomenting violence have quit accusing the Qatar-based news agency of a "vendetta." The lead defense lawyer, Farag Fathy said "Al Jazeera is using my clients" and that the network was "fabricating quotes" attributed to him. Additionally, the court has demanded defense lawyers pay $170,000 to view footage prosecutors say shows the journalists fabricated news reports to incite unrest. The trial has been adjourned until May 22, and the journalists have again been denied bail. Meanwhile, Al Jazeera Arabic correspondent Abdullah Elshamy, who has been held without charges since August 2013, has been transferred to solitary confinement after smuggling a video out of Tora prison highlighting his deteriorating health. Elshamy has been on hunger strike for 107 days protesting his detention.
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« Reply #348 on: May 28, 2014, 07:57:50 AM »

Egypt's election commission extended voting into a third day as low voter turnout is preventing former General Abdullah Fattah al-Sisi, who is forecast to win the presidency, from attaining the broad mandate and legitimacy he is seeking. The commission said the extension was in response to a "large" number of citizens who weren't able to make it to polling stations due to a heat wave in Egypt. However, turnout remained low on Wednesday, suggesting a lower level of support for Sisi. The Democracy International observer mission said the extension raised questions about the credibility of the electoral process. 
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« Reply #349 on: June 28, 2014, 07:05:29 PM »



Egyptian special forces arrested 15 Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant militants in Sinai on June 28, the Jerusalem Post reported. The group reportedly intended to relay messages and set up rebel cells in Egypt.

Read more: Egypt: 15 Iraqi Rebels Arrested In Sinai | Stratfor
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