Tag: Cairo

EGYPT DIVIDED: POPULAR NEW “PHAROAH”, AL-SISI, BATTLES IKHWAN AS OBAMA CUTS AID, SUPPORTS M.B.; CHRISTIANS CLEANSED

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America's Aid and Egypt's IndifferenceDina Khayat, Wall Street Journal, Oct. 16, 2013—In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, no country stood by the U.S. more staunchly in its fight against al Qaeda than Egypt. Having been through its own war against terror in the 1990s, Egypt was able to provide valuable information and logistical support.

There Are Two Egypts and They Hate Each OtherAshraf Khalil, Time World, Oct. 08, 2013—Egypt’s latest spasm of violence over the weekend—which led to at least 57 deaths and 400 injured—confirmed the troubled nation’s new reality: The emergence of two distinct, opposed Egypts that hate each other.
 
The Ethnic Cleansing of Christians in EgyptMichael Armanious, Gatestine Institute. Oct. 1, 2013—Iskander Toss, who had lived all his life in the town of Delga in Upper Egypt, last week was kidnapped, severely beaten, and dragged on the dirt roads of the village until his spirit left him.His crime? As in the Kenya mall massacre last week, he was a Christian.
 
Islamist or Nationalist: Who is Egypt’s Mysterious New Pharaoh?Raymond Stock, Foreign Policy Review Institute, October 2013—Egypt's new de facto pharaoh, General Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, is a man of mystery.  Is he an Islamist, or a nationalist?  Is he a person of high principle, or a lowly opportunist? And in a land which has known five thousand years of mainly centralized, one-man rule, with limited experience of democracy, when have we seen his type before, and where will he lead the troubled, ancient nation now?
 
On Topic Links
 
The Real Force Behind Egypt's 'Revolution of the State'Reuters, Oct. 10, 2013
Interview with Defence Minister Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi (part 1&2)Al-Masry Al-Youm, Oct. 9, 2013
Egypt’s Economic Competitiveness Plunges to New LowsHend El-Behary, Egypt Independent, Oct. 12, 2013
Sinai: Can the Truth Be Told?Drew Brammer, Egypt Independent, Oct. 11, 2013
 

AMERICA'S AID AND EGYPT'S INDIFFERENCE
Dina Khayat
Wall Street Journal, Oct. 16, 2013

In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, no country stood by the U.S. more staunchly in its fight against al-Qaeda than Egypt. Having been through its own war against terror in the 1990s, Egypt was able to provide valuable information and logistical support. Now the war is back on Egyptian territory, in the Sinai and other Egyptian provinces. A direct link between the Muslim Brotherhood and its jihadist allies was established by the Brotherhood itself in July, shortly after President Morsi's ouster, when Mohamed Beltagui, a senior Muslim Brother, said on television that the violence in the Sinai and elsewhere would cease the moment Mr. Morsi was reinstated as president.
 
Yet rather than condemn the terrorist attacks that have since increased and spread across the country, the Obama Administration decided last week to send a different message. The State Department released a statement on Oct. 9 saying that it would be "recalibrating" its assistance provided to Egypt. It also said it would continue working with the interim Egyptian government to help it move toward democracy and inclusiveness. The statement came just two days after three deadly terrorist attacks in Cairo and Sinai: a drive-by shooting near the Suez Canal that killed six soldiers, a car bomb that killed three police officers and wounded dozens near a Red Sea resort area, and a rocket-propelled grenade attack that damaged a government satellite transmitter in southern Cairo.
 
Which forms of aid would be cut, and whether these were permanent cuts or just suspensions, were left unspecified in the State Department's statement. As was the total reduction in the amount of aid, which at $1.3 billion yearly pales, in any event, next to the $12 billion quietly advanced by Egypt's Arab neighbors in the past three months.
 
This was a baffling message to Egypt's interim government and the vast majority of Egyptians, millions of whom who came out to protest Mr. Morsi's rule on June 30. What they heard was that the Obama Administration stands firmly behind the Muslim Brotherhood, even if it means damaging the two countries' strategic relationship.
 
To call the curtailing of U.S. aid a prod to the Egyptian government toward democracy is disingenuous. There was neither outrage nor threats from Washington last November, when Mr. Morsi issued a constitutional declaration that effectively put him and his diktats above the law. Or during the ensuing demonstrations in December, when dozens died just behind Mr. Morsi's palace walls at the hands of Muslim Brotherhood supporters.
 
When Gen. Sisi appeared on television on July 3, the day Mr. Morsi was ousted, he was flanked by the Sheikh al Azhar, the Coptic Pope, women, youth, politicians left and right, and representatives of Salafist groups. Only the Muslim Brotherhood, which had turned down an invitation, was missing. That picture contrasts starkly with the one presented by Mr. Morsi, who, during his brief tenure, surrounded himself solely with members of his organization and appointed them to executive positions. Copts, secularists and even Salafists were conspicuously absent. Calls by the Obama administration for inclusiveness should have begun then; today they ring hollow.
 
When millions of Egyptians took to the streets on June 30, they took the only path possible to changing their government. There was no prospect of impeaching Mr. Morsi. The army intervened solely to prevent the chaos that would surely have occurred had Egyptians been left to fight one another. Now, three months into the new interim government and with a constitution being written by 50 representatives of society—again, all but the Muslim Brotherhood—there is no turning back. The draft constitution is almost complete, and dates and plans for parliamentary and presidential elections are set.
 
The challenge remains the economy, but it is hard to rebuild when so many resources are diverted to fighting weekly violence, as Muslim Brotherhood demonstrators, often armed, take to the streets. The Brotherhood has chosen to exclude itself from the governing process, preferring instead to bully their way into negotiating the best possible deal for themselves, which includes the reinstatement of Mr. Morsi as president. Brotherhood supporters who are not implicated in the present violence will eventually be included in a new government—but only when the organization changes its mind and decides to operate within the context of a state.
 
Egyptians are yearning to get it right this time. They are determined to build a democratic state and avoid the mistakes of the past. What will eventually emerge is a country much more sensitive to human and religious rights. It will not be a repetition of the Mubarak years. We would have liked America with us at this time, and its support would have sent a strong message to the Egyptian people.
 
Instead, upon hearing the news of the U.S. aid cuts, there was a collective shrug in Egypt, and a general sense of relief at being rid of any shackles that had tied the government's hands in fighting terrorism. Such is the popular anger against the Brotherhood and their daily annoyances that there are even calls for martial law to be applied—or at least for demonstrations by any faction to be outlawed by force for a period.
 
The Egypt-U.S. relationship is decades-old, built on mutual strategic interests. It has withstood many challenges.
 
Even in the midst of the June 30 demonstrations, and at the height of anger against U.S. policies, banners in the streets proclaimed Egyptians' love for Americans. To throw all that to the wind for unfathomable benefits and spurious justifications in the name of democracy and inclusiveness is a pity.
 
Ms. Khayat is founder and chairman of an asset management company based in Egypt. She is also head of the economic committee of the Free Egyptians Party, a political party founded after the 2011 revolution.
 
Contents

THERE ARE TWO EGYPTS AND THEY HATE EACH OTHER
Ashraf Khalil
Time World, Oct. 08, 2013
 
Egypt’s latest spasm of violence over the weekend—which led to at least 57 deaths and 400 injured—confirmed the troubled nation’s new reality: The emergence of two distinct, opposed Egypts that hate each other. One Egypt is in the ascendant—that of a nationalist, pro-military populace that has nothing but contempt for the country’s Islamists, represented chiefly by the Muslim Brotherhood. The Egypt of the Brotherhood is reeling and embittered: it has seen its democratically-elected President ousted by the military this July and its supporters gunned down in the streets. But it’s showing no sign of backing down.
 
The enmity existed well before senior Muslim Brotherhood official Mohamed Morsi won the presidency in June 2012. But the chasm between these two sides widened dramatically over the course of Morsi’s chaotic and divisive year in power, which culminated in Morsi’s July 3 ousting, cheered on by millions of citizens.
 
Both sides covet the deeply symbolic real estate that is Tahrir Square—epicenter of the original February 2011 revolution that ousted long-ruling President Hosni Mubarak and the launchpad for Egypt’s faltering revolutionary moment. Tahrir’s fortunes, and who controls it, have shifted multiple times since the initial uprising. But an unprecedented spectacle of division took place on Oct. 6: one side celebrated inside of Tahrir Square, while the other side desperately fought—and died—to reach it and confront its rivals.
 
Inside of Tahrir Square, supporters of the military rallied in the thousands with flags, fireworks, patriotic songs and vuvuzelas. Oct. 6 is a national holiday—a militaristic one that celebrates the launching of a successful surprise attack on Israel in the 1973 war. So the current national mood, characterized by nationalist and anti-Islamist fervor, dovetailed neatly with the holiday. Posters of Defense Minister Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi (notably not civilian Interim President Adly Mansour) dominated the day—many of them directly comparing Al-Sisi with Col. Gamal Abdel Nasser, the beloved and iconic force behind the 1952 coup that ended the monarchy and ushered in almost 60 years of military rule.
 
Outside of Tahrir Square, the losers of the country’s political shakeup continued their Sisyphaean campaign for their voices to be heard and heeded. “Our target is to go back to Tahrir to bring the revolution back to the square,” said Diaa El-Sawy, spokesman of the Youth Against the Coup group, ahead of their protest. But the Brotherhood—which marched in the thousands from multiple directions on Sunday—never managed to get near Tahrir Square. The entire downtown area was heavily secured with riot police, Army APCs, barbed wire and ID checkpoints at the entrances to Tahrir. The subway station underneath Tahrir had already been closed for months to prevent unauthorized infiltration.
 
Three separate Brotherhood marches were violently repelled. In Ramses Square, about a 20 minute walk from Tahrir, the two sides battled into the night with the Brotherhood marchers confronting a combined force of army soldiers, riot police and local youth gangs hurling rocks, Molotovs and fireworks and apparently working in coordination with the security forces. The final death toll from the day reached 57—the vast majority of the dead from the Brotherhood side.
 
In the aftermath, there is no sign of either side backing away from the chasm that threatens to swallow post-revolutionary Egypt. The Brotherhood—which has managed to retain a high level of coordination and planning despite most of its senior decision-makers being arrested—has announced plans to launch a fresh push to occupy Tahrir Square this coming Friday, Oct. 11. The Square, according to a statement released late Sunday night, “belongs to all Egyptians and no one will prevent us from demonstrating in it, no matter the sacrifices.”…
 
Many trying to resist the current polarization or find some sort of middle ground are punished by both sides. One of the clearest examples of this dynamic came in mid-September when senior Brotherhood official Salah Soltan published a unilateral apology to the nation on behalf of the Brotherhood. Soltan’s US-citizen son Mohamed was shot in the Aug. 14 siege on a Brotherhood sit-in site and later arrested after two weeks on the run. Nevertheless, Salah Soltan wrote a month later that the Brotherhood should “apologize to the nation for our political mistakes…we are not against Egypt. We are part of Egypt.”
 
Among the mistakes he mentioned was a failure to better include the non-Islamist and revolutionary youth into their decision-making processes—spawning divisions and a national paranoia over the Islamist agenda that eventually turned much of the country against the Brotherhood.
 
But rather than becoming some sort of rallying point for the start of a push for reconciliation, Salah Soltan immediately became a man without a country. The Brotherhood distanced itself from his comments, saying Soltan did not speak for the organization. And, within days Soltan was arrested at Cairo airport by the very government with whom he was trying to reconcile.
 
Khalil is a Cairo-based journalist and author of Liberation Square: Inside the Egyptian Revolution and the Rebirth of a Nation.

Contents


 
THE ETHNIC CLEANSING OF CHRISTIANS IN EGYPT
Michael Armanious
Gatestine Institute,  Oct. 1, 2013
 
Iskander Toss, who had lived all his life in the town of Delga in Upper Egypt, last week was kidnapped, severely beaten, and dragged on the dirt roads of the village until his spirit left him.His crime? As in the Kenya mall massacre last week, he was a Christian. A few days later, the Ikhwan [Muslim Brotherhood] jihadists opened his grave, pulled his body out, and dragged it through the village until the majority of the Coptic families fled in terror.
 
What is unique about Toss's death is that people know his name. Throughout the land of the Nile, murders like his are taking place on a regular basis. Delga, located 150 miles south of Cairo, is one of the oldest and the largest towns in Egypt. Out of over 100,000 inhabitants, 25,000 are Christians. Delga had a number of churches [4-5], some going back to the 4th century. Almost all of them have been destroyed.
For the past 75 days, since Morsi was forced out of office, members of the Ikhwan and its affiliates have cordoned off the village. They forced some Christians to pay "Jizya," the extra poll tax that Christians and other non-Muslims are required to pay (like a shakedown fee for "protection.") Members of the Ikhwan make life intolerable for Christian community in the village.
 
On September 16, 2013, the Egyptian armed forces moved in to free Delga from the Ikhwan and its supporters. The armed forces waited that long because of what happened earlier in Kerdasa, another village south of Cairo and the home of many Christian families.
 
In Kerdasa, members of the Ikhwan, starting in a police station, took 11 policemen and soldiers hostage. They tortured and shot them dead on camera, and set the station and the village's churches on fire. Christians fled the village of Kerdasa. The government's strategy was to wait to give the world chance to see what the Ikhwan is capable of.
 
Ehab Ramzy, a Coptic attorney in Egypt, provided the context. He stated in a televised interview that his office building was set on fire along with 50 churches and 1,000 Christian businesses. They were destroyed in Upper Egypt, Ramzy explained, on the day that Morsi was forced out. This was the Ikhwan strategy, he said: to punish the church for not supporting Morsi.
 
Since the ouster of Mohamed Morsi, the problem has only intensified: anti-Christian violence now manifests itself in Egypt with increasing regularity. Since ouster of Hosni Mubarak in February 2011, what happened to the Christians in Delga and Kerdasa, has been happening throughout Egypt. The Christians of the village of Marinab in the Aswan Governorate, 700 miles south of Cairo, were also placed under siege by jihadists in October 2011. Their food supplies and contacts with the outside world were cut off until they agreed to have their church demolished because they violated the building code by displaying a cross, which the jihadists said was offensive.
 
The death of Iskander Toss and the ongoing attacks against Christians in Egypt demonstrates a troubling reality in the Middle East: On September 19, Mohamed Hassanein Heikal, adviser to many leaders in the Middle East, stated in televised interview that most countries in the region owned chemical weapons, the poor nation's weapon of choice.
 
Heikal also stated that in the short run, President Obama's incoherent foreign policies in the Middle East will threaten the stability of countries such as Lebanon, especially its Christian minority; and in the long run, the Persian Gulf countries. He added that what happened in Delga is not just an indicator of what the Ikhwan is capable of, but of what is coming.
 
The issue came to a head with the current U.S. administration's response to the sarin gas attack that killed several hundred people on the outskirts of Damascus on Aug. 21, 2013. By not attacking Assad, a puppet of Shiite Iran, the U.S. has not only strengthened America's adversaries, Russia and China, but also emboldened the mullahs in Iran and Sunni extremists in Syria and Egypt, who now apparently think that the radicals' war of attrition with the U.S. — which has been going on for decades — is finally bearing fruit.
 
While the British and American people have made it clear that they do not support a strike on the Assad regime in Syria, Christians in Syria and in the rest of the Middle East have also been unanimous in their opposition to such a strike: they fear it would unleash the forces of jihadists and cause the total destruction of Christianity in the region.
 
There is an irony here: by failing to act against the Bashar Al-Assad after stating it would, the U.S. policy has not only put religious and ethnic minorities in the region at even greater risk; it has also put moderate, reform-minded Muslims in even greater danger. By speaking about the use of chemical weapons as a red line, and Assad's days being numbered, the U.S. gave leaders in the Middle East an expectation that it would act in the face of atrocity.
 
By not acting, the U.S. has unintentionally given the signal that America is retreating from the region. The implication of this retreat is that violence against Christians and other non-Muslims can proceed with impunity. U.S. President Barack Obama's recent speech, given on the eve of the twelfth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, did nothing to disabuse global jihadists of this notion. As American credibility in the region has deteriorated, Islamist violence against Christians in the Middle East has escalated.
 
The problem is particularly evident in Syria, where Christians have been driven from their homes in Maaloula by Sunni jihadists associated with Al Qaeda. Earlier this year, the Christian quarter of Homs was completely destroyed and emptied of all of its inhabitants — more than 100,000 people were evicted from their homes. Churches dating back to the second, third and fourth centuries were destroyed.
 
If the violence against Christians in the Middle East continues without a meaningful response from the U.S. administration and leaders in the Middle East, it will indicate to jihadist cells currently residing in Europe and North America that their hour has finally arrived.
 
Although the Ikhwan has now been outlawed and driven from the halls of power in Egypt, as an international organization, it is still a force to be reckoned with: even if it is blocked in Egypt, its stated plan is to create problems for Western democracies.
 
If the American people and the current Administration turn their backs on the Middle East region, the destruction of both Christianity and freedom there is a virtual certainty.
 
    Michael Armanious is US based analyst and a video producer. He was born in Egypt.
 
Contents


 
ISLAMIST OR NATIONALIST: WHO IS EGYPT’S MYSTERIOUS NEW PHARAOH?
Raymond Stock
Foreign Policy Review Institute, October 2013
 
Egypt's new de facto pharaoh, General Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, is a man of mystery.  Is he an Islamist, or a nationalist?  Is he a person of high principle, or a lowly opportunist? And in a land which has known five thousand years of mainly centralized, one-man rule, with limited experience of democracy, when have we seen his type before, and where will he lead the troubled, ancient nation now?
 
These questions are crucial to knowing how the U.S. should react to al-Sisi's removal of Egypt's first “freely elected” president, Mohamed Morsi on July 3 in answer to overwhelmingly massive street protests demanding that he do so, and to the ongoing bloody crackdown on Morsi's group, the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), that began on August 14.  Citing the ongoing, actually two-way violence in Egypt, President Barack Obama's administration has now suspended much of our annual $1.6 billion aid to the country, save for money needed to maintain security operations along the Israeli border in Sinai and to directly support the 1979 Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty.
 
Earlier, the administration had stopped the scheduled delivery of four out of twenty F-16s to Egypt, cancelled the bi-annual “Bright Star” joint training exercises that had been set for September, and launched a review of the bi-lateral relationship. There has now been a delay in paying the final $585 million tranche of this year's aid package, pending that review, according to an October 9 report by the global strategic analysis firm, Stratfor.
 
However, the administration has been careful not to classify Morsi’s removal a “coup,” which under U.S. law would require an immediate cut-off of all of our aid to Egypt. That assistance is vital to the U.S.’ favored access to the Suez Canal, maintenance of the 1979 Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty and crucial bi-lateral security cooperation against international terrorism. Nonetheless, the latest move puts the entire alliance at great risk, and plays into popular demands that Egypt switch to a more independent stance, or even adopt Russia as chief military supplier instead of the U.S., an idea made more enticing by Washington's apparent weakness in surrendering its interests in Syria to Moscow, and its seeming haste to make concessions to Cairo's post-MB regional antagonist in Tehran over the latter's nuclear program.
 
Yet along with a number of key Congressional leaders and most of the mainstream media, Obama has been far more critical of al-Sisi and his use of force against a group that our government wrongly supported while in power under the illusion that it was "moderate," than they have been of the violence and mayhem of the MB.
 
Meanwhile, the MB’s “peaceful demonstrators” have been busy burning scores of Christian churches and schools along with hundreds of Christian businesses while attacking other citizens, museums and public buildings, the police and the army, and waging an open war against the state in Sinai and around the country.  As the total number of deaths in the past nearly two months of confrontations climbs toward the thousands, the MB clearly hopes to use its own "martyrs" (as both sides call their fallen) to generate sympathy for their unaltered goal of restoring Morsi to power.  So far, however, it's not working.  Despite a surge in turnout at demonstrations it organized to coincide with the State’s grand celebrations of the 40th anniversary of the 1973 war on October 6, fewer and fewer people have been joining its protests, which have been tiny compared to the unprecedentedly-huge demonstrations against the Islamists.
 
But what besides the obvious hard realities pushed al-Sisi to act when he did?  What does he believe, and what does he want?  A quiet man known for saying little and keeping his own counsel, in his year of study at the U.S. Army War College in 2006, al-Sisi produced a research paper or brief thesis on his views of Islam and the state.  That document was first exposed by Robert Springborg, an expert on Egypt’s military, in a July 28 article in Foreign Affairs.
 
Springborg predicted that al-Sisi, who has sworn to swiftly restore democracy after a nine-month transition, intends to keep real power for himself.  Furthermore, Springborg warned of his “Islamist agenda,” saying that he would not likely restore the “secular authoritarianism” practiced by Mubarak, but would install “a hybrid regime that would combine Islamism with militarism.”  Intriguingly, though it holds no state secrets, the document was classified, and was only released under a Freedom of Information Act request by Judicial Watch on August 8.
 
In it, al-Sisi declares, “There is hope for democracy in the Middle East over the long term; however, it may not be a model that follows a Western Template” (sic).  By that, al-Sisi makes plain, he means that Middle Eastern democracy must be based not on secularism, but on Islam.
 
However, in an August 16 profile of the previously obscure general published by The Daily Beast by Mike Giglio and Christopher Dickey, those who know al-Sisi (few of whom will talk much about him) say that he grew up in a family that was both religiously conservative—not radical—but extremely nationalistic.  And indeed it is that sense of nationalism which seems to have had the upper hand in motivating the actions he’s taken thus far.
 
The chaos, economic calamity, and political upheaval that have rocked Egyptian society since a much more limited popular uprising against longtime president Hosni Mubarak resulted in Mubarak’s ouster by the military on February 11, 2011 (at Obama's thinly-veiled urging the night before)—and which led in part to al-Sisi’s move against Morsi—have all been seen before.
 
In 1952, the widespread corruption, resort to political assassination, and the burning of the most elegant parts of downtown Cairo (both of the latter done, it is thought, mainly by the MB) led a group of so-called Free Officers to overthrow Egypt's last king, the feckless Farouk—with covert aid from the U.S.[1]—in a coup, and to declare a republic the next year. Though the move was clandestine and confined to the army, it gained massive popularity and created a mythic hero (who was really an epic failure), Colonel Gamal Abdel-Nasser, the movement's charismatic leader, himself initially a mystery—and to whom al-Sisi is often compared today.
 
Or perhaps he will be more like Anwar al-Sadat, another Free Officer, who in 1970 succeeded Nasser—the father of one of Egypt's greatest military defeats, in the war of 1967.  Sadat partially made up for Nasser's many economic and political blunders by launching a successful surprise attack against Israeli forces in Sinai in 1973 (though it culminated in yet another defeat), partially repealing Nasser's reckless state socialism, trading an alliance with the Soviet Union for one with the United States, and daring to make peace with Israel—though it cost him his life when Islamists shot him down on the anniversary of that "victory" in 1981. 
 
Al-Sisi has rapidly returned to the direct and confident military cooperation with the Jewish State that Morsi reviles, in order to prevent al-Qa`ida-affiliated groups (believed to have cooperated with the Muslim Brotherhood) from staging deadly incidents along the sensitive border. However, much less reassuringly, al-Sisi has begun to flirt with both Russia and China, and is known to have neither much affection for the U.S., or patience with Obama's pro-MB policy.  But going back even further, to 1805, al-Sisi could turn out to be like Mohamed Ali Pasha—Farouk’s first direct royal forebear, an Albanian-Kurdish mercenary who used popular discontent against Egypt's oppressive Ottoman governor to replace him in office.
 
Mohamed Ali would briefly revive Egypt's long-lost military glory, and more relevantly, would do so by breaking with his own patrons in Istanbul–a possible cautionary tale for Washington now.  And yet, plumbing much more deeply the currents of Egyptian history, al-Sisi may really most resemble Horemheb, the last king of the fabled 18th Dynasty.
 
Horemheb served as head of the army under Akhenaten (ruled 1353-1336 B.C.), the "heretic king" who became the first ruler of any country to embrace something close to monotheism, a fanatic who threw out the traditional pantheon of ancient Egyptian gods in favor of worship of the Aten, the disc of the sun.  Akhenaten's navel-gazing neglect of the nation's economy and security while he persecuted the believers of other deities and—like Morsi—inserted his own followers everywhere in the bureaucracy, led to massive unrest and perhaps prompted his most trusted lieutenant, Horemheb, to overthrow him—though his exact fate is unknown. 
 
Born a commoner, Horemheb did not seize the throne until its last royal claimant, Tutankhamun, had died—as well as the boy-king's aged tutor Ay, who had married his widow.  But when he did take it, he promptly stamped out the hated Aten cult and brought back that of the suppressed Amun-Ra, leading to a century of initially strong and stable rule by people mainly bearing the name of his successor and military protégé, a man called Ramesses.
 
As a soldier, Horemheb was no doubt angry that Akhenaten allowed Egypt's hard-won empire in the Near East to largely slip away without a fight. The nation's sacred prestige fell for the first time in centuries, and had to be reestablished so that ma`at—meaning everything from truth to order to righteousness, bound up with Egypt’s well-being–could reign once again. And that he quickly set out to do.
 
Here is a degree of parallel with al-Sisi, who reportedly had been enraged by Morsi’s actions that led not only to a loss of Egypt’s international prestige but also damaged her national sovereignty. This he saw not only in Morsi’s apparent covert cooperation with militants who had killed and kidnapped many Egyptian troops in Sinai, but also in his release of numerous terrorists convicted of murdering their fellow Egyptians plus members of the army, police and foreign tourists. Two symbolic acts by Morsi also not only raised eyebrows, but a sense of alarm about his intentions. 
 
The first was Morsi's decision not only to invite Tarek al-Zomor, a member of the terrorist organization, al-Gama`a al-Islamiya (the Islamic Group), who took part in the assassination of President Anwar al-Sadat on the eighth anniversary of his 1973 brief but psychologically crucial triumph over Israel in Sinai, but to place him in the front row during the commemoration of the day on October 6 last year.  The second was Morsi's June 2013 appointment of Adel Mohamed al-Khayat, a leader of al-Gama`a al-Islamiya, which waged a civil war against the Mubarak regime in the 1990s, killing scores of foreign tourists as well as hundreds of security officials, politicians and Egyptian civilians, to be governor of Luxor—where its most violent attack killed 58 foreigners and four Egyptian police and tourist guides (who died trying to defend the others) in November 1997.
 
Moreover, in late June this year, Morsi threatened to declare jihad on the embattled Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria in which the military had no interest.  Al-Sisi was similarly piqued that Morsi allowed some in his cabinet to make threats to attack a controversial dam in Ethiopia that it is feared will lessen Egypt’s accustomed share of the Nile’s vital waters.  And he was reportedly appalled that Morsi had evidently even told Sudan’s Islamist president, Omar Bashir, whom the U.N. has accused of genocide in Darfur, that he would consider giving that country land which lies in dispute between them on their common border.
 
To Egyptians since antiquity, to yield any part of the nation’s territory is an unforgivable heresy.
“But I loved Egypt more.” Perhaps worst of all, the MB calls for the establishment of a new caliphate, and lately demanded that its capital be in Jerusalem, which would not only mean a war to the death with Israel for which Egypt is not prepared, but—if successful–would obliterate the nation’s independence.  Misr al-Mahrusa—“God-Guarded Egypt,” an ancient epithet for the country–would be no more.
 
Though the general wrote nostalgically in his U.S. War College paper of the caliphate that united the Islamic world for seventy years after the death of the Prophet Muhammad in 632, he stated as well that only extremists were calling for its immediate return now.  And if it does come back, he would undoubtedly want it to be based in Cairo.
 
Adding to all this was Morsi’s rapid and relentless attempt to turn Egypt into a one-party Islamist dictatorship, and how it had destroyed both tourism and foreign investment while turning formerly rather small, if persistent protests by scattered secularist groups in an historically pious society into the largest demonstrations the world had ever seen.
 
On October 8, The Washington Post ran an AP story that quoted the first of a three part interview of al-Sisi by the respected Egyptian daily, AlMasryAlYoum, in which the general-turned-king breaker recounts for the first time what led to his actions on July 3:
 
El-Sissi said the turmoil of the past three months could have been avoided if Morsi had resigned in the face of the protests that drew out millions against him, starting on June 30. Days after the protests began, el-Sissi said, he met with senior Brotherhood figures, including the group’s strongman Khairat el-Shater.
 
He said el-Shater warned him that the Brotherhood, which made up the backbone of Morsi’s administration, would not be able to control retaliation by Islamic groups in Sinai and other areas if Morsi were removed.
 
“El-Shater spoke for 45 minutes, vowing terrorist attacks, violence, killings by the Islamic groups,” el-Sissi told the paper. “El-Shater pointed with his finger as if he is shooting a gun.”
 
He said el-Shater’s speech “showed arrogance and tyranny,” adding: “I exploded and said … ‘What do you want? You either want to rule us or kill us?”
 
Addressing Islamists now in the wake of Morsi’s fall, el-Sissi said, “Watch out while dealing with Egyptians. You have dealt with Egyptians as if you are right and they are wrong … (as if) you are the believer and they are the infidels. This is arrogance through faith.”
 
In the first part of the interview published Monday, el-Sissi said he told Morsi in February, “your project has ended and the amount of antipathy in Egyptians’ souls has exceeded any other regime.” He added that the military’s move against Morsi was driven by fears of civil war.
 
Given all this, could it be any wonder that the highly-patriotic, if also pious general with whom Morsi had replaced the aged Mubarak holdover Mohamed Hussein Tantawi because of his seemingly solid Islamist credentials had—after long hesitation—eventually felt that he had to act for the sake of his country?  Ironically, al-Sisi was born and raised in the old Islamic quarter of Cairo called Gamaliya, the native district of Egypt and the Arab world’s first (and so far only) Nobel laureate in literature, Naguib Mahfouz (1911-2006).
 
Mahfouz, despite a very strict Islamic upbringing, was from his youth a pharaonist—someone who placed Egypt’s unique national heritage above anything else, including Islam, in defining her identity—as well as his own.  One of Mahfouz’s most prescient works is his peculiar 1983 novel-in-dialogue, Before the Throne.  In it he hauls about three score of the nation’s rulers–from Menes in the First Dynasty to al-Sadat—before the Osiris Court, the divine tribunal which in ancient Egyptian belief judged the souls of the dead.  Before the Throne features many cycles of tyranny, rebellion, chaos and restoration, which presage the events of the past three years in uncanny ways.
 
In the afterlife trial of Horemheb, there is an exchange between the general who turned on Akhenaten and the addled religious zealot himself that could well have taken place between al-Sisi and Morsi, though without the intense mutual affection, no doubt:

“I loved none of my followers more than you, Horemheb,” Akhenaten reproached him.  “Nor was I as generous with anyone as much as I was with you.  My reward was that you betrayed me…”
 
“I deny nothing you have said,” replied Horemheb.  “I loved you more than any man I’d ever known—but I loved Egypt more.”
 
Time will tell if al-Sisi, currently calling the shots behind an all-secularist civilian government of technocrats of his choosing, is truly more nationalist than Islamist—whether he will restore ma`at or shari`a (Islamic law)—and if he will guide Egypt back into stability (or fails to do so) as a democrat in uniform, or as a martinet behind a “democratic” curtain.  A key clue will be if he pushes for a new Constitution that omits the central problem with the one rammed through by Morsi, which not only made shari`a the main source of legislation (as it was before)—but which also empowered the clerics of al-Azhar, the highest authority in Sunni Islam, to interpret all laws to ensure compliance with it.
 
A draft of the new Constitution, released on August 21, would reinstate the Mubarak-era ban on religious parties, throw out the most offensive aspects of Morsi's Islamist Constitution from the point of view of religious tolerance, and ban the formation of religious parties—a very good sign.  The fifty-member commission (headed by former Arab League chief and presidential candidate, Amr Moussa), that is now reworking the draft, in coordination with the panel of experts that produced it, may entirely rewrite the Morsi-era charter.  
 
The only Islamist group to join the body and to play any part in the transition, the Salafi al-Nour Party, has protested against the removal of the shari'a provision—but the secularists, including the commission's spokesman, head of the Arab Writers' Union Mohamed Salmawy, seem to control the process so far.  However, the August 21 draft specifically outlawed the removal of the president by popular protest, reserving that right for parliament (the lower house of which has been dissolved due to violations of elections laws since June 2012)—to the outrage of the activists who fought to bring down both Mubarak and Morsi.
 
A recent decree replaces the oath that members of the armed forces formerly took to the nation's president, Constitution and laws with a declaration of loyalty solely to the country's military leadership.  As the experience not only of Egypt both before and under the Brotherhood, but also Pakistan under its own generals, Gaza under Hamas and even Turkey under the more stealthily Islamist Recep Tayyip Erdogan has shown, only a separation of mosque and state with civilian control of the military can deliver anything like real democracy.
 
In Egypt, arguably the most religion-obsessed country on earth all through her world’s-longest history (and one of the most authoritarian as well), we should not expect to see either genuine democracy or even its prerequisite, a strong degree of secularism, with or without the new Constitution—or al-Sisi himself–anytime soon. Yet at least Egypt will not be ruled by the MB—which threatens not only the world's oldest nation, but us all–thanks to this enigmatic character from the heart of Old Cairo:General Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi.
 
Raymond Stock resided in Egypt for 20 years. He is writing a biography of Egyptian Nobel laureate in literature, Naguib Mahfouz (seven of whose books he has translated), for Farrar, Straus & Giroux in New York.  
 
 

On Topic
  
The Real Force Behind Egypt's 'Revolution Of The State'Reuters, Oct. 10, 2013 —In Hosni Mubarak's final days in office in 2011, the world's gaze focused on Cairo, where hundreds of thousands of protesters demanded the resignation of one of the Arab world's longest serving autocrats.
 
Interview with Defence Minister Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi (part 1)Al-Masry Al-Youm, Oct. 9, 2013
 
Interview with Defense Minister Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi (part 2)Al-Masry Al-Youm, Oct. 10, 2013 —During a four-hour interview, Sisi did not refrain from answering any question but chose to hold back some details because, according to him, it was not yet the time to elaborate on them.  While Sisi believes that the decision to oust former President Mohamed Morsy prevented a civil war in Egypt, he speaks of Morsy respectfully. He says that the Muslim Brotherhood were not equipped enough to lead a country as big as Egypt.
 
Egypt’s Economic Competitiveness Plunges To New LowsHend El-Behary, Egypt Independent, Oct. 12, 2013—Political instability has caused Egypt’s economic competitiveness to tumble from 107th to 118th out of 148 countries, according to Global Competitiveness Index (GCI), an annual report issued by the World Economic Forum.
 
Sinai: Can the Truth Be Told?Drew Brammer, Egypt Independent, Oct. 11, 2013—A young, niqab-clad journalist carefully tiptoed through the black, burned out shell of a house, her feet cracking broken tiles and stone as she stepped. Sunlight glared into the charred room through massive openings blown out of the bullet-ridden walls. This destruction is a result of one of many recent military offenses in Sinai.
 
 

 

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YOM KIPPUR WAR ANNIVERSARY: AS ISRAEL, JEWISH PEOPLE REMEMBER OCT., 1973, TODAY EGYPT (POST-MORSI) & ISRAEL COOPERATE MILITARILY IN SINAI

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Ber Lazarus, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 – Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284; E-mail:  ber@isranet.org

 

 

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Middle Israel: The Last WarAmotz Asa-ElJerusalem Post, Sept. 13, 2013 — The establishment’s subsequent transition from secular socialists to traditionalists and capitalists; the disappearance of the European-born generation that led Israel in its first three decades; and the passage of the settlement ideal from the kibbutzim’s liberal farmers to the West Bank’s messianic rabbis, make the Yom Kippur War a watershed in practically all aspects of Israeli history.
 
‘Incalculable Consequences’Erol Araf, National Post, Oct 7, 2013 —Forty years ago today, Israel stood on the brink of catastrophe. The day before — Oct. 6, 1973, the Day of Atonement — Egypt and Syria had launched a surprise and spectacularly successful offensive against Israel. Israeli forces were retreating, or being annihilated, at the Suez Canal and the Golan Heights. Faced with the prospect of Arab armies moving into Israeli population centres, the government began to consider unleashing Armageddon on its enemies.
 
Israel-Egypt Forge New Ties Over SinaiGeoffrey Aronson, Al-Monitor, Sept. 13, 2013—Last week, Egypt embarked on its most extensive military operation in the Sinai peninsula in almost half a century. The target of this unprecedented deployment is an array of disaffected Egyptians and jihadi foreigners intent upon defying the seat of Egyptian power and sovereignty centered in Cairo.

Is this the End of the Failed Muslim Brotherhood Project?: Hussein Ibish , The National (UAE), October 5, 2013—Is the Muslim Brotherhood dying? In Egypt and throughout the Arab world, Brotherhood-affiliated parties are suffering an unprecedented series of setbacks that cast real doubt on the long-term viability of that version of Islamist politics.
 
On Topic Links
 
Lessons from the Yom Kippur WarDaniel Greenfield, Front Page Magazine, Oct. 7, 2013  
51 Dead in as Egyptians Celebrate 40th Anniversary of Yom Kippur WarJewish Press,  Oct. 7th, 2013
Who Is Egypt's Next President?Bassem Sabry, Al-Monitor, Sept. 22 2013
 

 

MIDDLE ISRAEL: THE LAST WAR
Amotz Asa-El
Jerusalem Post, Sept. 13, 2013

 
It started at 2 p.m. As if echoing the thunders that once paralyzed their forebears at Mount Sinai’s foothills, 436 Israeli troops scattered in 16 outposts along the Suez waterfront were showered out of the blue with 10,000 shells spewed from 2,000 artillery barrels, while 8,000 Egyptian troops emerged from the water and 240 warplanes descended from the sky. By day’s end, with nearly half of the soldiers in those outposts dead, vast Egyptian armies parked at Sinai, and 1,400 Syrian tanks on the Golan Heights – one fact hovered above the battlefield’s thick fog: Israel had been stunned.
 
Forty years on, the war that cost 2,522 Israeli fatalities, traumatized a generation and profoundly impacted the Jewish state’s society, politics, economy and psyche, refuses to go away.
 
The warriors, now mostly grandfathers, are writing memoirs, holding spontaneous reunions and retrieving diaries, photographs, recordings and even rare footage taken with the era’s bulky 8- mm. Kodaks, in what adds up to a collective quest for closure.
 
The rest of Israel, surveying where it has since journeyed, has reason to proverbially enter these makeshift group therapies, place a hand on the shoulder of each of the Yom Kippur War’s veterans, look them in their wrinkling faces, and quietly tell them Jeremiah’s consolation to Rachel: “There is a reward for your labor.”
 
STRATEGICALLY, the war will be counted among military history’s grand surprises, alongside Pearl Harbor and Operation Barbarossa. Israel was caught off-guard in almost every respect. It underestimated the enemy’s intentions, abilities, weaponry and motivation. The leaders misinterpreted Egyptian president Anwar Sadat as a babbler, the generals did not enlist the reserves, the pilots were humbled by the radar-guided SA missile and the tankists by the shoulder-carried Sagger. Then again, not only did the IDF ultimately prevail, in 40 years’ hindsight it emerged from the war with long-term strategic gains that dwarf the its immediate setbacks.
 
Tactically, the war’s tide was turned on both fronts: on the Golan Heights, the vastly outnum-bered Seventh Brigade managed to fend off the Syrian armored thrust, and thus open the IDF’s path to Damascus; and in Sinai, the Egyptian Third Army was encircled and the Suez Canal was crossed as the IDF reached within an hour’s ride from Cairo. Yet what at the time seemed like heroism that merely decided one war, actually went much farther.
 
First, the recollection of prevailing even under such duress, and of successful improvisations along the entire hierarchy – from foot soldier to general – helped foster a culture of inventiveness from which Israel benefitted in other tests. But far more important, following the Armageddon that included some of history’s largest armored battles, Israel’s enemies never again unleashed on it a conventional army.
 
The realization that Israel prevailed even in a war waged, from the Arab viewpoint, under ideal conditions, convinced Arab leaders to abandon traditional war, and opt for assorted alternatives – from guerrilla and terror wars to peace deals. While far from reflecting a pro-Zionist conversion, the Arab abandonment of the traditional military option is a major strategic gain for Israel, and a direct result of the Yom Kippur War.
 
WHEN THE fighting ended, it turned out that one outpost of those that initially confronted the Egyptian onslaught, the northernmost, endured the entire war. Having emerged from it intact and returned home bewildered, Capt. Motti Ashkenazi went to Jerusalem, stood outside prime minister Golda Meir’s office and demanded that she and her cabinet resign.
 
Ashkenazi was soon joined by thousands who felt a deep sense of disillusionment and were now spontaneously forming Israel’s first effective protest movement. By the time Golda Meir resigned the following year, it was clear that the repercussions of the Jewish state’s Pearl Harbor would exceed the narrow realms of warfare, and include Israel’s politics, society and state of mind.
 
Politically, the future was hinted at in the first postwar election, when the newly established Likud won more of the soldiers’ votes than Labor. In the following election Labor lost power for the first time, and its political hegemony for good.
 
The establishment’s subsequent transition from secular socialists to traditionalists and capitalists; the disappearance of the European-born generation that led Israel in its first three decades; and the passage of the settlement ideal from the kibbutzim’s liberal farmers to the West Bank’s messianic rabbis, make the Yom Kippur War a watershed in practically all aspects of Israeli history.
 
Back in autumn ’73, all protagonists of this gathering transformation shared a sense of crisis and agony, some because they felt they were losing their grip on Israeli society, and some because they could hardly wait to seize it. Gradually, the Yom Kippur War came to be seen as an engine of a great schism.It wasn’t.
 
THE MOST notable realm where Israeli pragmatism and resilience prevailed is the economy. Back when the war ended, Israel was financially strapped. The knowledge that it was won thanks to emergency arms shipments from America; the consequent dependency on American aid; the inflation that began that year and soon spun out of control; and envy of Arab oil wealth which those days cast a shadow over the global economy – all generated an economic pessimism that complemented the overall atmosphere of cynicism and despair.
 
Forty years on, Israel’s is among the world’s strongest currencies, its growth rate is among the world’s highest, its unemployment, inflation and interest rates are among the world’s lowest, and its innovations are the toast of investors from Tokyo to New York. On top of that, for more than 15 years, Israel has no longer been accepting US civilian aid. These accomplishments belong collectively to Israelis of all persuasions and backgrounds, who meet daily in workplaces where they do together what a seriously divided society could never create.
 
The same can be said of Israeli culture, which over the past 40 years has seen the previously unthinkable rise of religious authors and filmmakers, symbolized by novelist Haim Sabato, a rabbi and rosh yeshiva who emerged from the war a prize-winning novelist. In fact, the cultural traffic ignited by the war proved to a two-way street. The sense of perplexity, enhanced by David Ben-Gurion’s death five weeks after the cease-fire, was expressed by the era’s popular songs, three of which became timeless, and inspire a melancholy that moves Israeli hearts to this day.
 
One, penned by songwriter Haim Hefer, a veteran of the War of Independence who wrote some of its most popular hits, now had an unnamed soldier promise his little girl – “in the name of the pilots who thrust into angry battle,” and the gunners “who were the pillars of fire along the front,” and “all the fathers who went to battle and never returned” – that 1973’s would be the last war.
 
A second song, by “Jerusalem of Gold” writer Naomi Shemer, placed “a white sail in the horizon, opposite a heavy black cloud,” and “holiday’s candles shimmering in dusk’s windows,” while asking “What is the sound of war I am hearing, the sound of shofar and drums,” and then praying, “If the announcer stands at the door, place a good word in his mouth, if only all we ask – would be.”
 
The whisper of prayer that both songs shared was the zeitgeist, so much so that it even arrived in Kibbutz Beit Hashita – whose veterans included diehard Marxists and atheists. Tucked in the Jezreel Valley north of Mount Gilboa, where the biblical Saul and Jonathan died in battle, this community lost 11 of its sons in the war.
 
Having lived in their midst at the time of their grief, composer Yair Rosenblum wrote a tune for U’Netane Tokef, the prayer which states that on Rosh Hashana God drafts, and on Yon Kippur he seals, the verdict of every man: “Who will live and who will die, who is in his end and who is not, who by water and who by fire, who by sword and who by beast, who by hunger and who by thirst.”
 
The tune brought together Zionism’s epitomes of the New Jew, the atheist warriors of the kibbutzim, with Rabbi Amnon of Mainz, the prayer’s writer and the ultimate Old Jew, a sage whom legend says was killed without a fight after refusing a demand to convert. Animating the most solemn moments in Judaism’s holiest days, the tune has since come to be sung annually in thousands of synagogues throughout Israel, and has even been performed by some ultra- Orthodox singers and cantors.
]
THE YOM KIPPUR WAR, then, had more effects on Israeli society besides political divisions, and the most decisive of these was humility. The arrogance and swagger that followed the Six Day War were initially followed by anger and acrimony, but what for a moment seemed like despair soon gave way to a sense of appeasement and constructive soul searching. This humility is particularly evident where it is needed most, namely in the way Israeli generals speak and think.
 
Forty years on, it is clear that Israeli society was not debilitated by the Yom Kippur War and in fact, soon resumed its development in earnest.
 
Having left us while the war’s trauma was fresh, one feels like updating Ben-Gurion that since his departure: no Arab army again waged war on Israel; there are two peace agreements; the population has more than doubled and the economy more than quadrupled; there are more Jews here than in any other country; the number of Israeli Jews has just crossed, for the first time, the charged figure of 6 million, Soviet Jewry is here, and the Soviet Union is gone; and Israeli society, while varied and complex, remains intact even when the rest of the region is ablaze with civil wars – and that U’Netane Tokef, as written in medieval Germany and composed in Kibbutz Beit- Hashita, will tomorrow echo from Metulla to Eilat.
 
Contents

‘INCALCULABLE CONSEQUENCES’
Erol Araf
National Post, Oct 7, 2013
 

Forty years ago today, Israel stood on the brink of catastrophe. The day before — Oct. 6, 1973, the Day of Atonement — Egypt and Syria had launched a surprise and spectacularly successful offensive against Israel. Israeli forces were retreating, or being annihilated, at the Suez Canal and the Golan Heights. Faced with the prospect of Arab armies moving into Israeli population centres, the government began to consider unleashing Armageddon on its enemies.
 
Many documents pertaining to the nuclear crises that took place during the 1973 Arab-Israel War remain classified; participants who have written about the war are still vague. Over the years, however, numerous books and studies have been written, ranging from Seymour Hersh’s dubious The Sampson Option, alleging that Israel used the threat of nuclear war to pressure the U.S into sending massive quantities of munitions, to an exhaustive research project by the U.S.-based research group CNA, entitled The Israeli “Nuclear Alert” of 1973: Deterrence and Signaling in Crisis, published last spring. Thanks to these sources, we have enough facts at our disposal to construct a narrative that makes clear that between Oct. 7-25, there were three distinct nuclear crises featuring deceptions, miscalculations, existential panic and missile launches that could easily have triggered a worldwide nuclear war.
 
The first crisis relates to the Israeli nuclear alert itself.
 
In the hours and days after the surprise attack, tank battles fought on the Golan Heights were comparable in size and intensity to the largest such clashes during the Second World War. Not even the indomitable Israeli Air Force could turn the tide. In the north, 177 Israeli tanks stood between Haifa and 1,460 Syrian armoured vehicles. In the south, Egyptian soldiers armed with hand-held anti-tank missiles knocked out 300 Israeli tanks in the first hours of the war. On that day, the ancient lines from the Book of Yom Kippur resonated with apocalyptic portent as reservists were raced to their mobilization centres: “On Rosh Hashanah it is written and on the day of the fast of Kippur it is sealed … who shall live and who shall die … who by water and who by fire … who by the sword.”
 
Howard Blum, in his book The Eve of Destruction, tells how Moshe Dayan, the Israeli Defense Minister, told Prime Minister Golda Meir on Oct. 8, two days into the fighting, that Israel must prepare to fight “to the last bullet” on the streets of Tel Aviv. He also urged the arming of Israeli’s ultimate weapon, code-named Temple. Ms. Meir gave the green light to arm 13 Jericho missiles with nuclear warheads. Nuclear bombs were also loaded onto six Phantom F-4 attack aircraft at the Tel Nof air base.
 
Israel’s actions were quickly spotted, and just as quickly understood. William B. Quandt, who was a member of the U.S. National Security Council staff, confirmed that the U.S. knew that Israel had placed its nuclear arsenal on alert. He wrote; ” It was also conceivable that a nuclear threat might be made if Egyptian troops broke through … None of this had to be spelled out in so many words by the Israelis.” The Americans found out about the nuclearization of Israeli missiles, according to Russell Warren Howe’s book Weapons, when a U.S. Air Force SR-71 spy plane, specifically designed to monitor nuclear activity, flew over Israel. An American KH-11 intelligence satellite also detected missile launchers that had been left in the open specifically to signal Jerusalem’s resolve. The Soviets, too, were monitoring the situation on the ground with their COSMOS satellites.
 
The U.S. reaction to the possibility that Israel might go nuclear was twofold: Henry Kissinger, President Richard Nixon’s National Security Advisor and newly sworn-in Secretary of State, authorized a badly needed conventional munitions resupply effort — after all, the Soviets were arming the Arabs. The U.S. also informed Moscow about Jerusalem’s nuclear alert in an emergency hotline conversation between Nixon and Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. The Americans were eager to make sure that there were no understandings that might lead to a nuclear exchange between the superpowers.
 
In response to Israel’s nuclear mobilization, the Soviets decided to deploy their own nuclear weapons, under strict Soviet control, to Egypt, to dissuade Israel from going nuclear. But they didn’t rush things, choosing a deliberately slow deployment to make sure that the Israelis would clearly see their activity, and understand that the Soviets were serious. Kissinger privately warned the Soviets that further Syrian advances into northern Israel, which could cut the country in two, would pose such an existential threat to Israel that the Soviet deterrence might not be sufficient to prevent Israel from going nuclear. The message was clear: Don’t let their early successes spur your allies into pushing so hard that Israel felt it had to strike back.
 
The message was heeded. As Charles Wakebridge wrote in Military Review in 1976, the sudden Syrian halt when they could have advanced into Israel on Oct. 7 and 8 was one of the most intriguing and inexplicable decisions of the war. It is reasonable to infer from the Syrian decision to stop at the Jordan River, when they could have advanced all the way to Haifa, was due to the Israeli nuclear alert. The river was a red line that Damascus would not risk crossing.
 
The second crisis occurred between Oct. 17-22, when the Soviet nuclear warheads arrived. Some were conspicuously deployed deep inside in Egypt, to deter any rash Israeli act. But the Soviets also deployed conventionally armed SCUD missiles in the Sinai, where Israeli forces were on the counteroffensive against the Egyptian invaders. The Israelis, quite reasonably, assumed that the Sinai SCUDs were also nuclear tipped. In Jerusalem’s and Washington’s view, this constituted dangerous escalation from a deterrence-based posture to war-fighting deployment.
 
Israel had to respond. The CNA researchers wrote that “[Israeli] Chief of Staff General Elazar ordered the deployment of an Israeli missile battery in an uncamouflaged fashion in such a way that Soviet satellites would be likely to detect the deployment and assume that such missiles were nuclear-capable.” Officials in Washington and Jerusalem were both worried that the Soviets, under pressure from their Egyptian allies, might escalate a conflict that was rapidly, and remarkably, evolving into a major Israeli conventional military victory.
 
On Oct. 22, hours before a UN Security Council ceasefire resolution was set to go into effect, the situation suddenly became even more tense when Egypt launched SCUD missiles at Israeli targets. In his book Inside the Kremlin during the Yom Kippur War, senior Soviet diplomat Victor Israelyan relates that the authority to launch the missiles was given by Soviet Defense Minister Andrei Grechko to the Soviet ambassador in Cairo, Vladimir Vinogradov, in an emergency telephone conversation. “Go the hell and fire it!” was Gecko’s response to the Egyptian request for authorization. The Egyptians fired.
 
Senior officials in Moscow were shocked, and outraged. “A few minutes later there was a call to Vinogradov from Moscow — [Foreign Minister Andrei] Gromyko was on the line,” Israelyan recounts. “‘What did you talk about with Grechko?’ he asked. When he learned of Grechkov’s order, Gromyko was outraged and strictly prohibited Vinogradov from carrying out the order. ‘I am sorry, Andrei Andreyevich, I can’t help it,’ was the reply. ‘The missiles have already been fired.’” The normally phlegmatic Gromyko was profoundly disturbed by this development — he had a bad feeling that things would soon get out of control. He was right. The third crisis was at hand.
 
Forty-eight hours later, the Soviets and Americans found themselves facing the gravest nuclear crisis since the Cuban Missile Crisis. Despite the UN ceasefire having come into effect, the Egyptian Third Army, which had been completely surrounded by Israeli forces, was still fighting, desperately attempting to break out and avoid a humiliating surrender. Egyptian President Anwar Sadat was demanding the Soviets save his army. After lengthy deliberations, Brezhnev informed Nixon that the Soviets were considering “taking appropriate steps unilaterally.” The Soviets began mobilizing troops and equipment. In all, 50,000 Soviet soldiers were readied for a possible intervention to save Egypt and, to be sure, a great deal of Soviet prestige.
 
Kissinger was furious with the Israelis for forcing Moscow’s hand, but could not possibly allow the unilateral introduction of Soviet forces into the Sinai. He responded to Brezhnev’s quasi-ultimatum by writing to Soviet ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin. “We must view your suggestion of unilateral action as a matter of grave concern,” he said, “involving incalculable consequences.” After a lengthy National Security Council meeting, the U.S. raised the alert level of U.S. forces worldwide, including its nuclear forces, to Defense Condition [DEFCON] 3. Fifty nuclear-capable B-52 bombers moved from bases in Guam closer to the Soviet Union. Airborne tankers were prepared and dispersed. The carrier USS John F. Kennedy and its battle group sailed into the eastern Mediterranean. The 82nd Airborne Division was put on alert and told to be ready for action in the Sinai.
 
At that point two unrelated developments helped to swiftly reduce tensions: Kissinger demanded that Israel allow essential non-military supplies to reach the encircled Egyptian Third Army and desist from further military action or lose U.S. support at the UN; meanwhile, Sadat, having realized that his call for Soviet intervention had pushed the superpowers to the brink of war, opened direct negotiations with the Israelis. This unprecedented step by an Arab leader led to the establishment of a true peace between Egypt and Israel, and also saved Sadat’s Third Army from annihilation or capitulation. With Israeli forces rapidly driving the Syrians back to Damascus, when the UN ordered another ceasefire, all sides saw fit to end the fighting. The superpowers stood back from the brink.
 
The modern Middle East was changed by the events of 40 years ago. And the Soviet Union, of course, is history. But to those closely following the U.S.-Russian brinksmanship over Syria’s used of chemical weapons and Iran’s drive to develop it’s own nuclear weapons, it’s hard to ignore the similarities between now and then. Moscow and Washington butting heads of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East is nothing new. And Israel, as ever, must remain wary of what its neighbours may be planning.
 
Contents


 

ISRAEL-EGYPT FORGE NEW TIES OVER SINAI
Geoffrey Aronson
Al-Monitor, Sept. 13, 2013

 
Last week, Egypt embarked on its most extensive military operation in the Sinai peninsula in almost half a century. The target of this unprecedented deployment is an array of disaffected Egyptians and jihadi foreigners intent upon defying the seat of Egyptian power and sovereignty centered in Cairo.
 
Israel is a key partner in this Egyptian effort. Ironically, the anarchy in Sinai has prompted a new era of enhanced security cooperation between Israel and Egypt. The promise of the Arab Spring may be uncertain, but the Jerusalem-Cairo axis is one arena where a newly energized system of relations is being forged on the crumbling foundations of the old order. Egypt and Israel are creating a new basis for mutually beneficial relations, in the process ignoring not only key aspects of their historic peace treaty signed in 1979, but also reducing the role of what was once deemed to be the critical actor in that relationship — the United States.
 
For two generations the United States was at the center of a strategic partnership between Cairo and Jerusalem. Washington built its regional security strategy around the rapprochement that followed the October 1973 War and invested heavily in its vitality. Economic and military aid to the two nations dwarfed similar US programs elsewhere. “Investing in peace” established a solid security and political rationale for supplying billions to both Egypt and Israel.
 
An iconic photograph taken at the treaty signing ceremony, showing a beaming US President Jimmy Carter standing between Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, their hands outstretched in a tripartite handshake, said it all. The United States was the critical midwife of this relationship, and its support was vital to its maintenance.
 
The photograph is now well into middle-age. It has yellowed and its corners are brittle and worn from use. So too the old order of things that it celebrated. Like the photo, the structure that Washington championed reflects the hope and concerns of a bygone era — one that is not so much collapsing as evolving to accommodate seismic changes in the challenges confronted by a revolutionary Egypt and the new security environment along Israel’s southern border, shared with its troubled neighbor. In this new picture, the United States is no longer at the center of things. In some key respects it is not even in the picture. In a path-breaking departure from past practice, Washington is viewed in both Cairo and Jerusalem as an obstacle to be overcome or ignored rather than a key player in solving the shared problems at the top of their mutual security agenda.
 
Washington was long viewed by all parties as the glue that cemented what was often a bloodless bilateral relationship. True, Washington and particularly Congress, always viewed Egypt as the junior partner in this menage a trois, but today, ambivalence if not outright hostility define the bilateral relationship between Washington and post-Mubarak Egypt. The Obama administration can’t quite decide whether Egypt is friend or foe.  “I don’t think that we would consider them an ally, but we don’t consider them an enemy,” President Barack Obama observed in September last year, soon after violent demonstrations at the US Embassy in Cairo.
 
Today, it is Israel that finds itself in the awkward position of trying to convince Washington’s skeptical political (if not security) class to reaffirm a partnership that it once sponsored. Yet, Washington’s imprimatur is far less important today to the vitality of the Israel-Egypt relationship than it was in the past. Israel and Egypt, first during the short-lived rule of President Mohammed Morsi and now under Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, are redefining their relationship to address the shared concerns of this new era.
 
The lawless region of Sinai and to a lesser extent the Gaza Strip top this list in both Cairo and Jerusalem today. In each of these areas the US-sponsored treaty, constructed to address problems that have not so much disappeared as been overcome by the new realities on the ground, has nothing to contribute. The security situation in Sinai — defined by a local and growing wide-ranging insurgency against the central government — is unlike anything envisioned in the treaty, which was focused on preventing a classic conventional war between Israel and Egypt. The treaty tools available to Egypt to address today’s war are inadequate and unsuited to the task. The treaty does not enhance, but in some respects acts as a break on solving the problems both parties face today. And so it is being ignored by Israel and Egypt alike.
 
In the past few years, Egypt, with Israel’s consent, has deployed almost a division of army forces — close to 5,000 men — to the peninsula to combat the insurgency. Egyptian battle tanks have been transported over the Suez Canal for the first time since the peace agreement. Egyptian aircraft deployed in Rafah fly intelligence missions, careful however not to peek across the border into Israel. Apache helicopters are deployed against local and jihadi forces, and even overfly the southern Gaza Strip on occasion.
 
These deployments are a clear violation of the terms of the treaty that all but prohibited the introduction of regular Egyptian troops across the Suez Canal — a perfect example of how the treaty was designed to prevent the last — October 1973 — war. For years, Israel refused the efforts of Egyptian generals, chafing at the indignity of being denied the right to redeploy its forces in sovereign Egyptian territory.
 
But a new chapter was opened when Israel retreated from the Gaza Strip and ended its control over the border between Gaza and Egypt along the “Philadelphi” border in 2005. By mutual agreement, Egypt and Israel agreed to the introduction of new Egyptian forces in Sinai in numbers that have been progressively increased as the anarchy in Sinai has grown from limited concerns about the transfer of arms from Egypt to Gaza to a systemic loss of Egypt's sovereign control over large parts of the peninsula. The United States has not played a central role in these deliberations.
 
And where it does — notably the deployment of the Multinational Force of Observers (MFO) — the revolutionary transformation of security realities in Sinai, and a sour mood in Washington, call into question the future of the US-led contingent. The troops and experts of the MFO were established by the 1979 treaty to monitor compliance with the terms of the treaty. The force’s creation was both a clear symbol of the US commitment to the new regional security framework and the importance that all parties attached to such a visible US role in maintaining the peace.
 
A decade ago, cost-cutters at the Pentagon, including then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, argued for the MFO's elimination as an expensive and unnecessary expense. Their hardheaded view failed to prevail over those, including leaders in Cairo and Jerusalem, who argued against the signal such a US retreat would send about a reduced US commitment to the strategic alliance.
 
Today, the MFO is hunkered down, focused on force protection in the Wild West that Sinai has become. Its mission to monitor violations to the treaty — when Egypt and Israel have agreed to do so as a matter of policy — is passe. The MFO is hostage, figuratively and literally, to the new environment in Sinai. And what is to be said about the US commitment to the regional security framework that the MFO symbolizes when serious consideration is being given in Cairo and Washington to ending US-Egyptian aid and security ties? The question to be asked is increasingly not whether the MFO will remain, but whether anyone will notice if it doesn’t.
 
Geoffrey Aronson writes regularly on Middle East issues for Al-Monitor.
 
Contents

 

IS THIS THE END OF THE FAILED 
MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD PROJECT?
Hussein Ibish
The National (UAE), Oct. 5, 2013

 
Is the Muslim Brotherhood dying? In Egypt and throughout the Arab world, Brotherhood-affiliated parties are suffering an unprecedented series of setbacks that cast real doubt on the long-term viability of that version of Islamist politics. The blow the Brotherhood has received in Egypt is exceptionally severe. Most of its senior leaders are under arrest, and its ability to mount mass protests appears debilitated. There is a pending court order mandating its disbanding and the seizure of its assets. And none of this seems to bother most Egyptians. It’s not clear when or how the Brotherhood in Egypt can recover from this unprecedented crisis.
 
What is less widely understood, however, is that Brotherhood-affiliated parties across the region – many of which recently seemed to be on the brink of the political successes they have craved for decades – are suffering extreme setbacks. The Brotherhood’s crisis in Egypt may be particularly dramatic but it is also merely the tip of the iceberg.
 
A quick regional survey can show how damaged this movement currently is. In Morocco, the Justice and Development Party might be in the best shape of all, currently occupying the ineffective office of prime minister. But, while ostentatiously praising the King, it is loudly insisting that it is in no sense whatsoever a Muslim Brotherhood party, or affiliated with it at all except insofar as both identify as Islamist. This is untrue. They only find it necessary to disavow Brotherhood connections so vigorously because of how regionally discredited the movement has become.
 
In Tunisia, a coalition of secular political and labour movement forces has forced the Brotherhood Ennahda party government to agree to resignation. Ennahda may still be the largest political party in Tunisia, but it’s unlikely that it could repeat its 2011 parliamentary electoral success since secular and non-Islamist forces are becoming much more organised and coordinated. And it’s always been clear it would be exceptionally difficult for Ennahda to beat a consensus secular candidate in a two-person presidential election or run-off.
 
The Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood, which seemed to be growing from strength to strength a mere year ago, is in utter disarray. The Syrian Brotherhood was the most influential political force in the opposition after the uprising against the Damascus dictatorship began. But now they seem to have virtually no influence on the conflict or its likely outcome. Hamas in Gaza is undergoing an unprecedented crisis. It bizarrely made no effort to convince the new Egyptian government that it was not a hostile force, especially with regard to security in Sinai. It is therefore being treated like one. Egypt has imposed an unparalleled blockade, leaving the economy in shambles. For the first time since 2007, it is now possible to imagine a Gaza no longer under Hamas control.
 
And in those parts of the Gulf in which the Brotherhood has some presence, its affiliates are coming under intense scrutiny and increasing pressure. But all of this hardly means that Islamism across the board is enduring a nadir. In several Arab societies, Salafists are either outflanking Brotherhood groups or reaping the benefits of the Brotherhood’s crises….
 
If the ideology and practices of more moderate Brotherhood parties have proven unworkable and popularly unacceptable in power, that can only apply far more intensively to Salafist groups. The plausibility of Salafist rule in any post-dictatorship Arab society is, for those two reasons, virtually nil. This may not be the end of the Muslim Brotherhood but its region-wide crisis is so severe that significant ideological and practical adaptation will be unavoidable for those flexible enough to learn any lessons. The Moroccan and Tunisian branches are already unhappily compromising to survive.
 
But the Muslim Brotherhood may be dying at least in the sense that what ultimately emerges from the current wreckage will be unrecognisably different. Only a radical change in fortunes across the region is likely to forestall such a process. So during the very period in which many Arabs and westerners alike expected Brotherhood domination in many Arab countries, we may instead be witnessing the death throes of a nearly 100-year-old failed experiment.
 

Hussein Ibish is a senior fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine.
 
Contents

Lessons from the Yom Kippur WarDaniel Greenfield, Front Page Magazine, Oct. 7, 2013—Forty years ago, Israel experienced the most devastating war in its modern history. Israel not only suffered its worst casualties during the Yom Kippur War, but actually came close to being destroyed with Defense Minister Moshe Dayan warning that “The Third Temple is falling.”
 
51 Dead in as Egyptians Celebrate 40th Anniversary of Yom Kippur WarJewish Press,  October 7th, 2013—Deadly clashes erupted in Cairo on Sunday as pro-Morsi marches protesting the military junta rule headed to Tahrir Square, where thousands were cheering the same junta, celebrating the 40th anniversary of the army’s 1973 “victory” against Israel. Confrontations there and outside Cairo resulted so far in the death toll rising to 51, according to Al Ahram, with 268 injured.
 
Who Is Egypt's Next President?Bassem Sabry, Al-Monitor, Sept. 22 2013—If the current roadmap holds, Egypt could see its next presidential elections to select its fifth head of state sometime in the second quarter of 2014. A minority has been calling for holding the presidential elections earlier before the parliamentary polls, but all signs indicate the current administration is adamantly opposed to amending its roadmap.
 
 

 

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ISLAMISTS (AND U.S.) REMEMBER 9/11 – BLACK FLAG OVER CAIRO, AMERICAN AMBASSADOR KILLED

Contents: Media-ocrity of the Week | Weekly Quotes | Short Takes | On Topic Links

 

[On the 11th anniversary of 9/11 US embassies came under attack in Cairo, Egypt where an Islamist mob tore down the American flag and replaced it with the black flag of Islam; and in Benghazi, Libya, where the American ambassador J. Christopher Stevens was brutally murdered and his body paraded through the streets in a barbaric show of utter contempt for his remains. Photos have been circulating online. Please be warned these photos are graphic Three other Americans were also killed in the attack on the embassy in Libya, all this ostensibly in protest over a soon-to-be-released film on the prophet Mohammed.Ed.]

___________________________________________________________________

 

ISLAM’S BLACK FLAG FLIES OVER U.S. EMBASSY IN EGYPT

Raymond Ibrahim

Front Page Mag, September 12th, 2012

 

The United States embassy of Egypt is under siege. According to Fox News:

 

“Mainly ultraconservative Islamist protesters climbed the walls of the U.S. Embassy in Egypt’s capital Tuesday and brought down the flag, replacing it with a black flag with an Islamic inscription to protest a video attacking Islam’s prophet, Muhammad. Hundreds of protesters marched to the embassy in downtown Cairo …. Dozens of protesters then scaled the embassy walls, went into the courtyard and took down the flag from a pole. They brought it back to the crowd outside, which tried to burn it, but failing that, tore it apart. The protesters on the wall then raised on the flagpole a black flag with the Muslim declaration of faith on it, ‘There is no god but God and Muhammad is his prophet.’ The flag, similar to the banner used by al-Qaida, is commonly used by ultraconservatives around the region…. By evening, the protest grew with thousands standing outside the embassy, chanting ‘Islamic, Islamic. The right of our prophet will not die.’ A group of women in black veils and robes that left only their eyes exposed chanted, ‘Worshippers of the Cross, leave the Prophet Muhammad alone.’”

 

Some clarifications for context: Islam’s black flag with the shehada and sword inscription is not an al-Qaeda banner but rather Islam’s most ancient banner, popularized by the Abbasid caliphs in the 800s. In other words, these protesters were not imitating al-Qaeda; rather they—and al-Qaeda—are imitating Islam’s heritage, replete with jihad against the infidel. Same with the phrase “worshippers of the cross”—Islam’s ancient appellation for the hated Christians.

 

The reason behind this latest rampage is Muslim outrage over the appearance of a film deemed offensive about the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Apparently it depicts him inciting jihads, deceiving people, and exercising his libido—not unlike what is recorded in Islam’s own authoritative biographies and hadiths of the prophet. It is not exactly clear who made the video, though Egyptian expatriates and Copts are being accused, possibly in conjunction with Pastor Terry Jones. In other words, the reason for this latest bit of Muslim outrage is once again the issue of free speech—in the same camp of Danish Muhammad cartoons, burned Korans, and any number of other freedoms of expression exercised by non-Muslims, and even Muslims.

 

The U.S.’s formal response to this terror campaign against its embassy and the desecration of the American flag has, once again, been to lay the blame on free speech. In a statement, the U.S. said, “The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals [film makers] to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims—as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.”

 

Interestingly, while very concerned about the “religious feelings of Muslims,” the U.S. embassy in Egypt had nothing to say about the fact that, right before it was attacked, a Christian man in Egypt stood on trial for “insulting” Islam—even as a throng of Muslims besieged the court-house, interrupting the hearing and calling for the man’s death. Apparently appeasing thin skins is more important than speaking up for those whose lives are at stake—not just Christian Egyptians, but now U.S. employees—over issues of freedom.

 

Left unsaid and unknown in any Western media is the fact that the U.S. embassy has long been under threat, but for different reasons. Earlier, the Egyptian paper El Fagr reported that Jihadi groups in Egypt, including Islamic Jihad, the Sunni Group, and Al Gamaa Al Islamiyya had issued a statement threatening to burn the U.S. embassy in Cairo to the ground unless all the Islamic jihadis currently imprisonment and in detention centers in the U.S. including Guantanamo Bay were released:

 

“The group, which consists of many members from al-Qaeda, called [especially] for the quick release of the jihadi [mujahid] sheikh, Omar Abdul Rahman [the 'Blind Sheikh'], whom they described as a scholar and jihadi who sacrificed his life for the Egyptian Umma, who was ignored by the Mubarak regime, and [President] Morsi is refusing to intervene on his behalf and release him, despite promising that he would. The Islamic Group has threatened to burn the U.S. Embassy in Cairo with those in it, and taking hostage those who remain [alive], unless the Blind Sheikh is immediately released.”

 

Despite all this—despite longstanding threats to the U.S. embassy, followed by a real attack, culminating with the destruction of the American flag—Victoria Nuland, the U.S. State Department’s Spokesperson, speaking in response to this latest attack, said that “none of this suggests that there are hostile feelings for the U.S. in Egypt.”

 

In fact, none of this is surprising—neither the attack on the U.S. embassy, nor the U.S. government’s head-in-the-sand response, with strong words reserved only for those non-Muslims exercising their free speech rights. This event also explains the situation in a way that even a child can understand: the more you appease—as the Obama administration has been doing with the Islamic world in ways unprecedented—the more contempt you earn from those you appease, and the more demands will be made of you. Thus, today, far from being respected as a super-power, the U.S. is increasingly seen as a subdued, contemptuous dhimmi—who must say “how high?” whenever Muslims command “jump!”

 

Media-ocrity of the Week

Although his swearing-in at Rideau Hall must have happened in the dead of night, Canada appears to have a new foreign minister. His name is Benjamin Netanyahu. His day job may be prime minister of Israel, but Canada’s abrupt actions against Iran seem to confirm that the Harper government’s outsourcing of Canada’s Middle East policy to Jerusalem is now complete.There is little else to conclude from Canada’s unwise decision to move unilaterally on Iran at this moment. All sorts of crucial issues are in play with Iran. They involve the future of its nuclear program, the impatience of Israel’s leadership to attack Iran, the shape of a new Middle East as the heinous Syrian regime implodes and several delicate life-and-death issues involving Canadians on death row in Iran. Surprisingly, Western nations have held together on how to approach these key challenges — except, now, for Canada. [Tony Burman is no less than the former head of Al Jazeera English and CBC news [and] teaches journalism at Ryerson University in Toronto.]

___________________________________________________________
Weekly Quotes

The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions…We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.” – American Embassy in Egypt in response to the MB rioters in Cairo storming the US embassy tearing down its flag and replacing it with the ancient black flag of Islam and in Libya killing the US ambassador and 3 embassy employees. (US Embassy Website, Egypt, September 11, 2012)

Since our founding, the United States has been a nation that respects all faiths.  We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. [by the maker of the film on Mohammed – Ed.]  But there is absolutely no justification to this type of senseless violence.  None.  The world must stand together to unequivocally reject these brutal acts.” – President Barack Obama in response to the assault on the American embassy in Libya and the killing of its ambassador. (Weekly Standard, September 12, 2012)

The first response of the United States must be outrage at the breach of the sovereignty of our nation, and apology for American values is never the right course,”– Mitt Romney to reporters on the campaign trail after expressing sorrow over the deaths of J. Christopher Stevens, the ambassador to Libya, and three other Americans killed in Benghazi, Libya. “They clearly sent mixed messages to the world.” saying that the statement issued by the American Embassy in Cairo before the deaths criticizing an anti-Islamic video was “akin to an apology” and a “severe miscalculation.” (New York Times, September 12, 2012)

"I ask myself, how could this happen? How could this happen in a country we helped liberate, in a city we helped save from destruction?" – US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in response to the anti-American riots in Cairo and Benghazi. "This question reflects just how complicated and, at times, how confounding the world can be. But we must be clear-eyed even in our grief. This was an attack by a small and savage group, not the people or government of Libya," (Ynet News, September 12, 2012)

We can say with confidence that the diplomacy and the sanctions are not working. The sanctions have harmed the Iranian economy but they have not harmed the Iranian nuclear program. [Note: Clinton had said the best method to resolve the situation are sanctions and diplomacy]. That is a fact. And it is a fact that every day that passes, Iran is getting closer to a nuclear weapon.” – Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu at a press conference in Jerusalem with Bulgaria’s Prime Minister Boyko Metodiev Borisov. “If Iran knows that there are no red lines, if Iran knows that there are no deadlines, what will it do? Exactly what it is doing. It is continuing without interference toward nuclear capability and nuclear bombs. The world tells Israel ‘Wait, there is still time.’ And I say ‘Wait for what? Wait until when?’ Those in the international community who refuse to put red lines in front of Iran, don’t have a moral right to put a red light in front of Israel.” (Emphasis added – Ed.; Jewish Press, September 11, 2012)

Lights out! Israel could cripple Iran’s entire power grid with bursts of electromagnetic pulses powerful enough to send the Islamic Republic “back to the Stone Age” to stop it from developing nuclear weapons. Bill Gertz, editor of the conservative Washington Free Beacon, says US intelligence agencies have “growing concerns that Israel will conduct a strike on Iran using a high-altitude nuclear burst aimed at disrupting all electronics in the country.” The technology behind electromagnetic impulses, known as EMP, involves making nonlethal gamma energy react with the Earth’s magnetic field. The gamma flashes produce a powerful electromagnetic shock wave that can fry electronic devices. The shock wave would knock out Iran’s power grid and communications systems for transport and financial services, leading to economic collapse. (New York Post, September 9, 2012) (Top)

Short Takes

EGYPT’S 9/11 REMEMBRACE –(Cairo) The film, [titled "Innocence of Muslims"]…was reportedly produced by U.S.-based Coptic Christian Egyptians, who are concerned about church burnings, killings and persecution of their fellow Christians in Egypt at the hands of Islamists. Apparently, the Coptic Christians cannot exercise their right of free speech in the United States to express their views on a religion that has been used to justify far worse physical attacks on Egyptian Christians without incurring the wrath of the Islamists and the condemnation of the Obama State Department. (Front Page Magazine, September 12, 2012)

 

'US EMBASSY ATTACK PLANNED; AMBASSADOR WAS NOT TARGET' (Washington) [According to] official sources in Washington on Wednesday…the [attack on the US embassy where] three employees were killed was planned, and the attackers used the protest outside the consulate as a diversion. The sources could not say whether the attackers instigated the protest or merely took advantage of it, and they say they don't believe [Ambassador] Stevens was specifically targeted. (Ynet News, September12, 2021)
 

REPORT: RIOTS ACTUALLY ABOUT RELEASE OF BLIND SHEIK(New York) From reports in US media it appears that the riot at the U.S. embassy in Cairo [had] been planned well before the Egyptian media reported on the anti-Islam YouTube film that was blamed for sparking the protest. The protest was reportedly announced on August 30 by Gamaa Islamiyya, an Egyptian terrorist group [one of whose members was invited to the White House in June – Ed.], to call for the release of its leader, Sheikh Omar abdel Rahman — aka the blind sheik, who is serving a life sentence for the first World Trade Center bombing. If the storming of the embassy was organized by Gamaa Islamiyya … why hasn’t the State Department’s response reflected that? It’s hard to imagine they’re not aware of the group’s activities. (Commentary Magazine, September 12, 2012)
 

ISRAEL FEARS ARAB SPRING ANARCHY IN PA –(Jerusalem) Due to the Palestinian Authority's financial crisis, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu ordered on Tuesday the transfer of a 250 million shekel advance to the PA from tax revenues collected by Israel.A statement from Netanyahu’s office said he consulted on the issue with Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz. The directive was communicated via Netaynahu’s special envoy, Attorney Yitzchak Molho, who coordinated with PA leadership. The aid to the PA comes amid fears by Israeli military and government leaders that the social protests in the PA will lead to anarchy. (Israel National News, September 12, 2012)

ILLEGAL ARAB BUILDING DEFIES SUPREME COURT RULING –(Jerusalem) The illegal “building intifada” being waged by the Palestinian Authority on state lands in Area C of Judea and Samaria, (the West Bank), has become the latest battleground for the radical Left in conjunction with foreign-funded Israeli socalled human rights NGO’s such as B’tselem and Bimkom. This unlawful land theft is being carried out with the full support of the EU, foreign aid organizations and the UN. Under the Oslo Accords, Israel was allocated full administrative and security control over Area C. Allocation of final sovereignty in Area C was to be determined in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority under the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap of 2002. (Jerusalem Post, August 27, 2012)

 

POPULATION NEARS 8 MILLION AHEAD OF ROSH HASHANA(Jerusalem)Israel's population approached the eight million mark nearing Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year, according to a report released Wednesday by the Central Bureau of Statistics. Israel's population stands at 7,933,200, of which 5,978,600 (75.36%) are Jewish, 1,636,600 (20.62%) are Arabs- including Beduins and Druse, and approximately 318,000 (4%) are "other" – including non-Jews who have one Jewish grandparent and non-Arab Christians. The Jewish population grew 1.8% while the Arab population grew at 2.4%. [While] the Jewish growth rate remained largely steady…the Arab growth rate… continued [its] rapid decline since 1996-2000 when the population was growing at a rate of 3.4%. (Jerusalem Post, September 12, 2012)

 

FATE SEALED FOR EGYPT’S JEWS –(Alexandria, Egypt) Islamists storm the U.S. embassy and Egypt’s last Jews have no rabbi. Shanah tova from the Muslim Brotherhood. Outside of Israel, the Jewish community of Alexandria is perhaps the Mediterranean’s oldest, dating back to Alexander the Great’s founding of the city in 332 B.C. But this year, there may not even be High Holiday services at the city’s last remaining synagogue, Eliahou Hanabi, also known by its street address, Nabi Daniel.
The Egyptian press first reported that government authorities “ordered the cancellation” of this year’s Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur celebrations. But the synagogue’s caretaker, Youssef Gaon, explained that there would be services. “The only difference,” he said, “is a rabbi and cantor who usually lead the services were denied entry to the country.” Apparently they were not granted visas for security reasons. That shouldn’t come as a surprise: The Muslim Brotherhood-led government is incapable of providing security for anyone—from ordinary Egyptians who have endured a crime wave of epic proportions since Hosni Mubarak was toppled in February 2011 to Americans based in [the] Cairo embassy, which [was] mobbed by Islamists. Only a year ago this month, the Israeli embassy was also besieged; its staff was lucky to escape alive. (Tablet Magazine, September 12, 2012) (Top)

On Topic

  • Israel National News, September 12, 2012
    Gil Ronen

Mohammed Film's Maker 'Not Israeli,' 'Probably Not Jewish'

  • The American Interest, September 12, 2012
    Walter Russell Mead

The Day The Roof Fell In [on Obama]

  • Times of Israel, September 12, 2012
    Stuart Winer

Jewish Hostage Held by Al-Qaeda-Pakistan Appeals to Netanyahu for Help

Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine: ISRAZINE.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing is available by fax and e-mail.
Please urge colleagues, friends and family to visit our website for more information on our
Briefing series.
To join our distribution list, or to unsubscribe, contact us at http://www.isranet.org/.

The ISRANET Daily Briefing is a service of CIJR. We hope that you find it useful and that you will support it and our pro-Israel educational work by forwarding a minimum $90.00 tax-deductible contribution [please send a cheque or VISA/MasterCard information to CIJR (see cover page for address)]. All donations include a membership-subscription to our respected quarterly ISRAFAX print magazine, which will be mailed to your home.

CIJR’s Briefing series attempts to convey a wide variety of opinions on Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world for its readers’ educational and research purposes. Reprinted articles and documents express the opinion of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Institute.