Tag: Morsi

Wednesday’s “News in Review” Round-Up

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

 

 

Contents:  Weekly Quotes |  Short Takes On Topic Links

 

 


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 On Topic Links

 

UN Agency Promotes Palestinian Agenda: Asaf Romirowsky: Canadian Jewish News, Oct. 25, 2013

 

 

 

WEEKLY QUOTES

 

"I am Dr. Mohammed Morsi, the president of the republic. I am here by force and against my will. The coup is a crime and treason…This is not my court. This court, with all due respect, doesn't have jurisdiction over the president. There is a military coup in this country. The leaders of this coup must be brought to trial according to the constitution."—  Former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi speaking at his trial in Cairo that began on Monday, Nov. 4. (Associated Press, Nov. 4, 2013)

 

“His entrance to the caged dock led to an immediate breakdown of order, with pro-Brotherhood lawyers rising to greet him and chanting “Morsi is our president”. The other defendants shouted the popular revolutionary slogan “Down, down with the military regime!” applauded and embraced him.”—  Richard Spencer reporting from Morsi’s trial in Cairo on Monday (The Telegraph, Nov. 4, 2013)

 

“It was no contest…Morsi’s antics in the courtroom made him look like a student prankster, not a former president— Hisham Kassem, a long-time civil-rights advocate and founding publisher of the Al Masry al-Youm newspaper, speaking with reporters at Morsi’s trial (Globe & Mail, Nov. 4, 2013).

 

Israel is an "illegitimate and bastard" regime and the US alliance with Israel an alleged "indulgence…The Americans have the highest indulgence toward the Zionists…and they have to. But we don't share such indulgence[s]."­­— Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, further referring to the US as a "smiling enemy" who is not to be trusted for leaving the option of a US and Israeli strike on Iran on the table in the event of continued nuclear weapons development. (Arutz Sheva, Nov. 3, 2013)

 

"Fighting the global arrogance and hostile policies of America is the symbol of our national solidarity…It's not death to American people, but it's against a portion of Americans who support oppressive policies in the world. If we say 'death to America,' it is death to megalomania. 'Death to America' means death to think tanks that work for the destruction of nations."— Saeed Jalili, speaking at an anti-U.S. rally in Tehran, Iran on Monday, Nov. 4. Jalili lost to Rouhani in the Iranian Presidential election in June. (Associated Press, Nov. 4, 2013)

 

“Iran is continuing to try and arm itself with nuclear weapons; it has not changed its goal – the method maybe, but not the goal – and it has not changed its ideology”— Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking at the opening of the weekly cabinet meeting, saying Iran was “openly and directly” calling for Israel’s destruction. He pointed out that Monday, Nov. 4, 2013 is the 34th anniversary of the seizure of the US Embassy in Tehran, a day celebrated in Iran as “Death to America Day.” “This makes it clear that pressure on the Iranian regime must be continued,” Netanyahu said. “The pressure has brought them to the negotiating table. I am convinced that if the pressure is maintained and not relaxed, Iran will dismantle its military nuclear capabilities, and if the pressure is relaxed, Iran will advance toward this goal. We are committed to ensuring that it does not reach its realization.” (Jerusalem Post, Nov. 3, 2013)

 

"The West must stop dictating their solutions,"— Mohammed Zarif, Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs, told French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius in Paris Tuesday evening, when asked if Tehran was ready to hand over its stockpile of enriched uranium. "Let's seek mutually acceptable solutions that keep the Iranian program as transparent as possible and help ensure it remains peaceful.” He also highlighted an atmosphere of distrust between Tehran and the West that, he claimed, has poisoned previous diplomatic efforts. "We have already defined from our perspective what the common objective is: An Iranian nuclear project, including enrichment, which remains exclusively peaceful," (Wall Street Journal, Nov. 6, 2013)

 

 “The United States believes that the U.S.-Egypt partnership is going to be strongest when Egypt is represented by an inclusive, democratically-elected, civilian government based on rule of law, fundamental freedoms, and an open and competitive economy,” — John Kerry, U.S. Secretary of State, speaking at a news conference with Egypt’s Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy. (Associated Press, Nov. 3, 2013)

 

“Syria is definitely an issue where American policy has been wrong. That’s my opinion. That is also the opinion of much of the public in Arab countries. How you fix that is by showing that you can correct it. If Obama supports Kerry on the Palestinian issue and we get an agreement between Israel and Palestine — that will be something for President Obama to take credit for. If he can convince the Iranians to stop building a nuclear weapon, that will be something he can show the rest of us. The Palestinian issue is the core issue.”— Saudi Arabia’s Prince Turki, former chief of intelligence and brother of the foreign minister, speaking with Lally Weymouth of the Washington Post (Washington Post, Nov., 4, 2013)

 

“I didn’t expect to see that in Syria…It’s not accurate to say this is Somalia, but this is a critical situation…We have a middle-income country that is transforming itself into something a lot more like Somalia.”— Dr. Annie Sparrow, an assistant professor and pediatrician at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, who examined Syrian refugee children in Lebanon and was shocked to find many underweight for their height and age.

“They [Israel] say they want to stay in the Jordan Valley for 40 years…With 40 years in the Jordan Valley there will be no solution. They say they need the Jordan Valley to protect themselves against the Iranian threat or whoever comes from the eastern border.”— Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, saying Israel’s claims that it wants to retain control over the Jordan Valley for security reasons is a lie. He reiterated his refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, and his view that Israel wants to retain a presence in the Jordan Valley for economic, and not security reasons. “[I]t is a matter of investment. The Israelis gain an annual profit of $620 million from the Jordan Valley. So the claim that they want to protect their eastern border from Iran and others is all lies.” (Jerusalem Post, Nov. 4, 2013)

 

 “I think we should no longer think of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, but Palestinian settlements in Israel.”— Danny Danon, Israeli Deputy Defense Minister, said in an interview. Danon, recently elected to head the central committee of the Likud party, imagines an archipelago of Palestinian cities — Jenin, Nablus, Ramallah and Hebron — as Arab islands in an Israeli sea. “The Jewish people are not settlers in the West Bank, but Israel will make the Palestinians settlers and Jordan will be the one taking control over Palestinians and that’s it”. (Washington Post, Nov. 5, 2013)

 

“It’s quite different than what I thought it was…It’s a modern, dynamic, positive society that has its difficulties, but is extremely forward-oriented,”— Université de Montréal rector Guy Breton said after returning from a 10-day trip to Israel attempting to build academic connections between Canada and Israel “It was interesting to see the real mosaic that is Israel,” said Breton, “In this small environment, I saw groups that are extremely different living next to each other peacefully…It was inspiring, especially nowadays.” (Montreal Gazette, Nov. 1, 2013)

Contents

 

SHORT TAKES

 

NO DEAL ON SYRIAN PEACE TALKS DATE(Geneva) After a rocky day of U.N.-brokered talks, the United States and Russia failed to agree on a date to bring Syria's warring sides back to the negotiating table, and the two powers remained divided Tuesday over what role Iran should play in a hoped-for Geneva peace conference. The U.N.-Arab League's top envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, told reporters at the end of the talks involving the U.S., Russia and other nations that the impasse did not mean all hopes of resuming negotiations were dashed. Another round of U.S.-Russian talks on arranging a second peace conference in this city is planned for Nov. 25. (Associated Press, Nov. 5, 2013)

 

KERRY TRIES TO STEADY WAVERING ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN PEACE TALKS(Jerusalem) U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry tried Wednesday to steady wavering peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, amid visible cracks in the three-month-old negotiations. Both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas warned this week of growing tensions in the closed-door discussions between negotiating teams that have taken increasingly public potshots at each other in recent days. Speaking before a three-hour session with Kerry on Wednesday morning, Netanyahu charged the Palestinians with “incitements [and] continuing to create artificial crises, continuing to . . . run away from the historic decisions that are needed to make a genuine peace.” “There are always difficulties, always tensions,” Kerry said before his meeting with Netanyahu.  I am very confident of our ability to work through them, that is why I am here.” (Washington Post, Nov. 6, 2013)

 

ISRAEL, IRAN, ARABS ATTENDED SAME MEETING ON NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT(Geneva) Iran, Israel and Arab states took part in a recent meeting about prospects for an international conference on banning nuclear weapons in the Middle East, diplomats said Tuesday. The Oct. 21-22 meeting in the Swiss village of Glion near Montreux was a rare gathering of regional adversaries. Various envoys set out their national positions, but Israel had no direct communication with Iranian and Arab delegates, an Israeli official told Reuters. A U.S. official told The Wall Street Journal it wasn't insignificant that Finnish Foreign Ministry Under-Secretary of State Jaakko Laajava, the diplomat trying to organize the conference, succeeded in getting Arab, Iranian and Israeli officials into the same room. (Wall Street Journal, Nov. 5, 2013)

 

MODERNIST ART HAUL, ‘LOOTED BY NAZIS’, RECOVERED BY GERMAN POLICE (Munich) About 1,500 modernist masterpieces – thought to have been looted by the Nazis – have been confiscated from the flat of an 80-year-old man from Munich, in what is being described as the biggest artistic find of the postwar era. The artworks, discovered two years ago and unannounced since, which could be worth as much as €1bn (£860m), are said to include pieces by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Marc Chagall, Paul Klee, Max Beckmann and Emil Nolde. They had been considered lost until now, according to a report in the German news weekly Focus. The works, which would originally have been confiscated as "degenerate art" by the Nazis or taken from Jewish collectors in the 1930s and 1940s, had made their way into the hands of a Nazi-era German art collector, Hildebrand Gurlitt. When Gurlitt died, the artworks were passed down to his son, Cornelius – all without the knowledge of the authorities. (Guardian, Nov. 4, 2013)

 

EGYPT ARRESTS BROTHERHOOD OFFICIAL AHEAD OF MORSI TRIAL(Cairo) Egyptian police arrested one of the last senior figures of the Muslim Brotherhood who was still at large, days before the start of the trial of ousted President Mohammed Morsi of the once-powerful Islamist group. Essam El Erian, a spokesman long considered one of the Brotherhood’s more moderate leaders, will be charged with inciting violence against the state. The same accusation has been leveled against dozens of top-level Brotherhood officials since, amidst wide-spread popular protests against him, the military forced Mr. Morsi from power on July 3. (Wall Street Journal, Oct. 30, 2013)

 

EGYPT’S OUSTED PRESIDENT DEFIANT(Cairo) Ousted President Mohammed Morsi, making his first appearance in court since being arrested, refused to wear a prison jumpsuit, entering the caged dock in a dark business suit as his co-defendants applauded. He defiantly questioned the legitimacy of the court and proclaimed himself still Egypt’s leader. His fellow Muslim Brotherhood members chanted, “Down with military rule!”, while some lawyers present shouted “Execute him! Execute him!”. Morsi’s long-awaited trial got off to a chaotic start Monday, and was quickly adjourned until Jan. 8. The dramatic first public appearance for Morsi since the July 3 military coup that removed him from power was meant to be a step toward due process. Instead, it highlighted the challenges facing Egypt’s interim authorities as they attempt to close a chapter of his presidency, while his Islamist supporters seek to disrupt the effort. (Associated Press, Nov. 4, 2013)

 

ISRAELI COURT CLEARS FORMER FOREIGN MINISTER OF FRAUD CHARGES

(Jerusalem) Avigdor Lieberman, the former Israeli foreign minister who is among the nation’s most powerful and polarizing politicians, was unanimously acquitted Wednesday of corruption charges that have dogged him for more than a decade, a verdict with profound implications for Israel’s internal politics and its peace talks with the Palestinians. Mr. Lieberman, an immigrant from the former Soviet Union who lives in a West Bank settlement, a populist hard-liner who has alienated international diplomats with undiplomatic outbursts, has been both an important partner of and a sometime rival for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Freed of the burden of a 17-year criminal investigation, he is expected to quickly return to the foreign minister’s post and may challenge Mr. Netanyahu for leadership of Israel’s nationalist camp. (New York Times, Nov. 6, 2013)

 

CYPRUS RIDES A TROUBLED SEA OF OIL AND GAS OPPORTUNITY(Nicosia)The republic of Cyprus has entered into the maelstrom of the world’s most volatile region, thanks to newfound gas and oil reserves, combined with an erratic Turkish foreign policy and a civil war in Syria. Even as leaders of this Mediterranean island show skill dealing with these novel threats and opportunities, they need support from a strong U.S. Navy, something not now available. Cypriot underwater gas and oil discoveries follow directly on those found earlier in Israeli seas adjacent to them and uncovered by the same American (Noble) and Israeli (Delek, Avner) companies. The current estimate of 5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, as well as of some oil, has a value estimated at $800 billion, a huge sum for a small country in economic exigency whose current gross domestic product is a mere $24 billion. (Washington Times, Nov. 5, 2013)

 

DUTCH CHRISTIAN ZIONISTS TO UNVEIL ‘EUROPE’S LARGEST MENORAH’(Amsterdam) Christian Zionists in the Netherlands are building what they believe will be Europe’s largest menorah as a Hanukkah gift to the country’s Jewish community. The Hanukkah candelabrum, or hanukkiyah, will be approximately 36 feet tall and made out of metal, Sara van Oordt of the Netherlands headquarters of the Christians for Israel organization, told JTA on Monday. It will be placed near the group’s offices in Nijkerk, 30 miles east of the Dutch capital. “We think that this is a good way to show our support and solidarity for the Jewish community worldwide,” van Oordt said.

(JTA, Nov. 5, 2013)

 

U.S. OFFICIAL: ISRAEL HIT HEZBOLLAH-BOUND MISSLES IN SYRIA(Washington)

Israel has remained tight-lipped over an alleged strike in Syria, an Obama administration official confirmed on Thursday that Israeli warplanes had in fact attacked an airbase in Latakia on Wednesday. The target was “missiles and related equipment” which the Israeli government assessed might be transferred to the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, the report said. A security official told AP that the attack occurred in the Syrian port city of Latakia and that the target was Russian-made SA-125 missiles. (Times of Israel, Oct. 31, 2013)

 

FIVE ISRAELI SOLDIERS HURT, FOUR PALESTINIAN GUNMEN KILLED AS IDF, HAMAS CLASH ON GAZA BORDER(Jerusalem)  IDF soldiers who were carrying out work to destroy a tunnel built by Hamas for terrorism on the Israel-Gaza border came under fire from a Palestinian terrorist cell overnight Friday. The IDF stated that terrorists detonated an explosive device targeting the soldiers during the operation. The attack left five soldiers injured. One is suffering from serious injuries, one was moderately wounded and three soldiers were lightly hurt, an army source said. The wounded were airlifted to the Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba. In response to the attack, the IDF fired a shell at terror suspects in the nearby Gazan district of Khan Younis. One Palestinian gunman was killed and a second was wounded, according to Palestinian medical sources. (Jerusalem Post, Nov. 1, 2013)

 

LEADER OF PAKISTANI TALIBAN KILLED IN U.S. DRONE STRIKE, OFFICIALS SAY(Islamabad) The chief of the Pakistani Taliban was killed by a U.S. drone strike on Friday, security sources and a senior Taliban commander said, in a major blow to the country’s most feared militant group. Hakimullah Mehsud was one of Pakistan’s most wanted men, with a $5-million (U.S.) bounty on his head. He led an increasingly violent insurgency from a secret hideout in North Waziristan, the Taliban’s mountainous stronghold on the Afghan border. “We confirm with great sorrow that our esteemed leader was martyred in a drone attack,” a senior Taliban commander said. (Globe & Mail, Nov. 2, 2013)

 

(New York) The ADL released the results of its new poll on anti-Semitism showing 12 percent of Americans harbor deeply entrenched anti-Semitic attitudes, a 3 percent decline since the League’s previous poll in 2011. “It is heartening that attitudes toward Jews have improved over the last few years and, historically, have declined significantly in America,” Foxman said, telling Newsmax that, however, “12 percent is still 40 million people.” The poll showed that 14 percent of Americans believe Jews have too much power in the U.S; 30 percent say American Jews are more loyal to Israel than to their own country; 19 percent believe Jews have too much power in the business world; 17 percent say Jews have too much control on Wall Street and 26 percent believe Jews were responsible for the death of Christ. (Newsmax, Nov. 1, 2013)

 

UN SAYS NEARLY 1,000 IRAQIS DIED IN OCTOBER AS ATTACKS RAGE— (Baghdad) Violence across Iraq killed nearly 1,000 people in October, the United Nations said Friday, as the world body's representative there called on leaders to take bold action to stop the "current mayhem" gripping the country. Car bombings, shootings and other attacks have been on the rise all year, intensifying fears that widespread sectarian conflict again may overwhelm the country. Widespread chaos nearly tore the country apart in the aftermath of the U.S.-led invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein in 2003. (Associated Press, Nov. 1, 2013)

 

Contents

 

On Topic Links

 

UN Agency Promotes Palestinian Agenda: Scholar: Paul Lungren, Canadian Jewish News, Oct. 25, 2013

It is pretty much accepted that around 650,000 to 700,000 Palestinians became refugees during and after creation of the State of Israel. Whether they left on their own or were pushed out remains an issue that’s hotly contested.

 

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

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

 

 

 Contents:         
Download today's Isranet Daily Briefing.pdf
Download an abbreviated version of today's Isranet Daily Briefing.pdf

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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EGYPT AFTER MORSI: AS SITUATION STABILIZES, HAMAS MARGINALIZED AND SINAI ISLAMISTS ATTACKED, ONGOING U.S. SUPPORT FOR BROTHERHOOD IS PUZZLING

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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Contents:

 

Egyptians Bewildered Over Support for Muslim Brotherhood: Michael Armanious, Gatestone Institute, Aug. 23, 2013—The Egyptian people are astounded. They simply do not understand the Obama Administration's efforts to bring the Muslim Brotherhood back to power.

 

Egypt's Sinai Emerges As New Arena for Jihad: Maggie Michael, Real Clear World,  Sept. 4, 2013—An Egyptian doctor once close to Osama bin Laden is bringing together multiple al-Qaida-inspired militant groups in Egypt‘s Sinai to fight the country's military, as the lawless peninsula emerges as a new theater for jihad, according to Egyptian intelligence and security officials.

 

Egypt's War On Hamas: Khaled Abu Toameh, GatestoneIinstitute, Sept. 12, 2013—For the past two months, the Egyptians have been at war not only with the jihadis in Sinai, but also in an all-out war with the Palestinian Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip. This

 

Egypt and its Patrons: Paul Mutter, The Arabist, Sept. 6, 2013 —Why does Egypt receive between $1.3 and $1.5 billion of US aid annually? "Because of Israel" is the most common answer to that question. Certainly, that is driving much of the American political wrangling over whether aid should be suspended.

 

As World Watches Syria, Egypt Launches Major Campaign Against Jihadists in Sinai: Paul Alster, FoxNews, Sept. 16, 2013—While the eyes of the world are on Syria, Egypt's military is routing jihadists from the vast and lawless Sinai Peninsula — and, according to some regional observers, showing the U.S. how to conduct a war on terrorists.

 

 

On Topic Links

 

Egyptian Military: Army To Continue Operations until Sinai Terrorist-Free: Israpundit, Sept 16, 2013
Egyptian Media Attack U.S.: L. Lavi and N. Shamni, MEMRI, Sept. 14, 2013

Egyptian Army Saves Christians from Muslim Terrorists: Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu, Jewish Press, Sept. 17, 2013

 

 

 

EGYPTIANS BEWILDERED OVER
SUPPORT FOR MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD

Michael Armanious

Gatestone Institute, Aug. 23, 2013

 

The Egyptian people are astounded. They simply do not understand the Obama Administration's efforts to bring the Muslim Brotherhood back to power. In an effort to make some sense of the Obama Administration's policies, Amr Adeeb, a prominent Egyptian commentator, argues that the U.S. is helping the Muslim Brotherhood to achieve power, in order to turn Egypt into a magnet for jihadist fighters. The goal, Adeeb states, is to turn Egypt into another Syria or Afghanistan and discredit Islamism as a viable political movement.

 

To Westerners, this may seem like a bizarre conspiracy theory, but for Egyptians it helps explain why the U.S. government is supporting an organization that has openly declared jihad against the West, engaged in threats of war with Israel and Ethiopia, demolished dozens of ancient historic churches, set hospitals on fire, and murdered Christians in the streets. The Muslim Brotherhood has no respect for the rule of law, but the Obama Administration treats the Egyptian military that removed the group from power as a threat to democracy itself.

 

The fact is, the Ikhwan (as the Muslim Brotherhood is called in Arabic) engaged in some pretty undemocratic behavior in the election that brought it to power in June 2012. Morsi lied about his background, telling voters he worked for NASA when he did no such thing. He falsely promised to spend $200 billion on an Egyptian renaissance only to say, once he was elected, that it was just an idea. He bribed voters with cooking oil, sugar, and medicine. On the day of the election, with threats of violence, the Muslim Brotherhood stopped thousands of Coptic Christians from voting. Further, in a little known aspect of the election, many voters complained of receiving ballots that had already been marked in Morsi's favor.

 

Egyptians were willing to overlook these irregularities in hopes that Morsi would bring order and stability to their country. They hoped he would follow through on his promise to build a modern Egypt; create jobs, and put together and inclusive government and constitution. They hoped he would honor his promise to spend $200 billion on repairing Egypt's infrastructure as part of an Islamic "Renaissance Project." Instead, Morsi worked systematically to dismantle the institutions of a 7,000 year-old country. He gathered his cronies to speak openly, on national television, of destabilizing Ethiopia in a fight over the use of water from the Upper Nile River.

 

Morsi also straightforwardly stated that he was recreating an Islamic "Caliphate." He pardoned and freed hard-line Islamists — including Anwar Sadat's killers — and allowed them to have an Islamic political party, contrary to the constitution, which bans religious parties. When Morsi spoke to audiences, hard-line Islamists sat in the front row, demonstrating that these people were his political base.

 

To buttress the support of this base, Morsi released members of Gamaa al-Islamiyya, founded by the "Blind Sheikh," Omar Abdel-Rahman, who attempted the first World Trade Center attack. This group, considered a terrorist organization by the United States, killed over 60 tourists in Luxor in 1997. That history did not stop Morsi from appointing one of its members governor of Luxor, over the objection of local residents who are dependent on tourism for their livelihood. Nor did it stop him from assigning another member of this group as Minister of Culture. With these decisions, Morsi delivered a final blow to Egypt's tourism industry. And if people are not even willing to visit Egypt, how will they invest in the country?

 

The Muslim Brotherhood, however, apparently does not want tourists from the West, even though they have been an important source of hard currency for decades. It seems Sheik Hazem Salah Abu Ismail, an ultraconservative Islamist and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, had asked Morsi to not allow Western tourists into Egypt, and to replace them with tourists from Muslim countries. Life under the rule of Morsi became impossible. For Egyptians, shortages of food, water, electricity, and medicine became the norm. In response, Morsi appeared on TV to ask for more time, another 10 or 15 years.

 

As Morsi started driving his country into a civilizational ditch, some of the passengers rebelled. A grassroots movement called "Tamarud" ("Rebellion") mobilized over 30 million people, who took over the streets of Egypt, and called for the removal of Morsi and his radical government. Their legitimate goal was to take the steering wheel from a group of madmen who wanted to bring about famine and take Egypt back to the dark ages. To prevent a civil war, the Egyptian army removed Morsi and installed an interim government with the support of Al-Azhar University, the most respected Islamic authority in Sunni Islam; the El Nour Party (an ultraconservative group); the Coptic Church, and a number of secular parties.

 

Predictably, the Muslim Brotherhood responded with threats and violence, especially targeting the Christians of Egypt. Members of the Muslim Brotherhood shot a 10-year-old Christian girl in the streets as she returned home from church. They beheaded a Christian merchant, shot a priest in Sinai and marched Franciscan Nuns in the streets like war prisoners. They burned Christian business, homes, and churches, especially the ancient churches in Upper Egypt. Their goal was to terrorize Christians and erase all of evidence of Egypt's Christian past. Apparently, destroying the country's hope for the future was not enough.

 

Islamists also massacred officers and soldiers from the armed forces and the police. Mohamed Beltagy, an Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood politician, stated in a televised interview that violence would stop when Mohammed Morsi was reinstated as the president of Egypt.

 

Many Egyptian are asking: Why are the West and United States insisting on supporting the Muslim Brotherhood in the name of democracy? It was the same type of "democracy" — merely an election, which is only a small part of a democracy — that brought Hitler to power in Germany and Hamas to power in the Gaza Strip. If Hamas is outlawed in the West, why isn't the Muslim Brotherhood?

 

What many Egyptians cannot understand is: Why is the U.S. Administration siding with the forces of oppression in their country and assisting with its transformation into a failed state under the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood? These conditions all run contrary to American interests.

 

In the Middle East, a strong economy, military, and police are the cornerstones of stability. Egypt was the first Arab nation to choose the path of peace with Israel. Egypt is the nerve system of the Arab and the Islamic world. The U.S. has a strong interest in a stable, modern, and prosperous Egypt. It simply cannot be allowed to become another Somalia or Afghanistan, controlled by its own version of the Taliban.

 

Michael Armanious is a Coptic-American who has written extensively about his homeland, Egypt.

 

Contents

 

EGYPT'S SINAI EMERGES AS NEW ARENA FOR JIHAD

Maggie Michael

Real Clear World,  Sept. 4, 2013

 

An Egyptian doctor once close to Osama bin Laden is bringing together multiple al-Qaida-inspired militant groups in Egypt‘s Sinai to fight the country's military, as the lawless peninsula emerges as a new theater for jihad, according to Egyptian intelligence and security officials.

 

There have been other signs of a dangerous shift in the longtime turmoil in the peninsula bordering Israel and Gaza since the military's July 3 ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, the officials say. With the shifts, Sinai's instability is becoming more regionalized and threatens to turn into an outright insurgency.

 

Sinai has seen an influx of foreign fighters the past two months, including several hundred Yemenis. Several militant groups that long operated in the area to establish an Islamic Caliphate and attack their traditional enemy Israel have joined others in declaring formally that their objective now is to battle Egypt's military.

 

Also, Sinai has become the focus of attention among major regional jihadi groups. Al-Qaida's branch in Iraq last weekend called on Egyptians to fight the military, as did al-Qaida's top leader, Ayman al-Zawahri. The militant considered the most dangerous man in the Sahara – one-eyed terror leader Moktar Belmoktar, a former member of al-Qaida's North Africa branch – joined forces with a Mali-based jihadi group last month and vowed attacks in Egypt.

 

Topping the most wanted list in Sinai is Ramzi Mawafi, a doctor who joined al-Qaida in Afghanistan in the 1990s. Mawafi, 61, escaped from an Egyptian prison in 2011 in a massive jailbreak that also sprung free Morsi and more than a dozen Muslim Brotherhood members during the chaos of the uprising against autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

 

Mawafi is now believed to be in Sinai coordinating among militant groups and helping arrange money and weapons, security officials told The Associated Press. The four officials were from military intelligence, the military and the security forces and spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press.

 

Sinai's disparate militant groups are now "on the same page, in full cooperation in the face of the same threat," Gen. Sherif Ismail, a recently retired security adviser to the governor of Northern Sinai, told the AP. He said the groups are inspired by al-Qaida, but not necessarily linked to the mother group.

 

Morsi's fall opened the way for an escalation by Sinai's jihadis. Most militants had seen Morsi as too willing to compromise in bringing rule by Islamic Shariah law in Egypt. But his removal by the military, backed by liberals, was seen as an attack on Islam. More importantly, it ended the policy Morsi pursued during his year in office of negotiating with Sinai armed groups, restraining security operations against them in return for a halt in attacks on the military.

 

Now, the military has stepped up operations. On Tuesday, helicopter gunships struck suspected militant hideouts in several villages near the borders with Israel and Gaza, killing at least eight and wounding 15 others, the state news agency MENA announced.

 

Since Morsi's ouster, more than 70 police and soldiers have been killed by militants in a cycle of attack and counterattack that has seen jihadis turn to more brutal tactics. In the worst single attack, gunmen pulled police recruits from buses, lay them on the ground and shot 25 of them to death on Aug. 19. Days later, a group of militants was killed before carrying out a suicide car bombing in a significant escalation. Over the same period, security forces have killed 87 militants – including 32 foreigners – and arrested 250 others, including 80 foreigners, according to the army spokesman's office.

 

Hit-and-run attacks take place nearly daily in northern Sinai, targeting security forces in the provincial capital of el-Arish and towns dotting the coast and the borders with Gaza and Israel.

Two militants – a Yemeni and a Palestinian – who were recently arrested in Sinai provided information about Mawafi's role while under questioning, the security officials said. Recently, Nabeel Naeem, a founder of the Islamic Jihad militant group who has known Mawafi since Afghanistan – said on an Egyptian TV station that Mawafi "is leading the militants in Sinai."

 

Mawafi specialized in bomb-making during his years in Afghanistan, the officials said. He also supervised clinics that treated wounded Islamic fighters, earning him the nickname "bin Laden's doctor" – though Naeem said he never treated the late al-Qaida leader himself. An Egyptian court in June last year accused Mawafi, along with members of Muslim Brotherhood group, including Morsi, of conspiring with Hamas and Hezbollah to orchestrate the 2011 break from Wadi Natroun prison. The court described Mawafi as "the secretary general of al-Qaida in Sinai."

 

The number of jihadi groups operating in Sinai's rugged, mountainous deserts has mushroomed over recent years, believed to have thousands of fighters. Some are mainly Egyptian, such as Ansar Jerusalem – thought to include Egyptians from outside Sinai – and the Shura Council of Mujahedeen of Environs of Jerusalem – which is mostly Sinai locals – and the Salafi Jihadi group. Among Sinai's population, there has been a growing movement of "Takfiris," who reject as heretical anyone who does not adhere to their strict interpretation of Islam. While not all Takfiris are involved in armed action, their ideology makes them an easy pool for armed groups to draw from.

 

Other groups are based in the neighboring, Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, such as the Islam Army and Jaljalat, which are believed to send fighters into Sinai. Some groups were oriented toward fighting Israel, occasionally firing rockets across the border. Others carried out attacks on Egyptian security forces, usually in retaliation for arrests or out of the deep-seeded resentment of the police among Sinai's population. In the aftermath of Mubarak's fall in 2011, a group attacked police stations and drove security forces out of the border towns, declaring the area an Islamic Caliphate. Many of them were later tried and sentenced to death.

 

Now multiple groups are overtly calling for "jihad" against Egypt's military. Several hundred Yemeni fighters came in after Morsi's ouster in response to religious edicts by clerics back home urging them to fight jihad in Egypt, according to a Yemeni security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the press. Al-Qaida in Yemen, known as al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, is considered the most active branch of the terror network.

 

The Egyptian officials say fighters have also come from Saudi Arabia, Libya and Syria. The military intelligence official said commanders of jihadi groups are joining ranks with prominent Sinai-based militants who belong to major tribes to ensure protection and facilitate weapons smuggling. One of the most influential tribes, the Swarkas, has split between anti- and pro-government families.

 

An Egyptian military official in el-Arish said there are at least nine main training camps run by jihadists in Sinai, hidden in villages controlled by allied tribes or in mountainous regions. Ismail el-Iskandarani, a researcher at the Egyptian Center for Social and Economic rights who writes extensively about Sinai, says it's hard to pin down the number of militants or camps because local jihadis hide in homes among their own families after carrying out hit-and-run attacks. "Even their relatives might not know they are involved in Islamic militancy," he said.

 

He said there is also no single leader, with small cells of differing ideologies. The situation is further complicated by the overlap of militants and criminal networks involved in smuggling, sometimes with the involvement of corrupt police officials. "Different security agencies are meddling in making it hard to tell who is doing what," he said.

 

Now international terror groups are adding their calls for jihad in the wake of the coup. In an Aug. 3 statement, al-Qaida leader al-Zawahri mocked Morsi's participation in democratic process, calling democracy "an idol made of date paste" created by secularists. He called upon "the soldiers of the Quran to wage the war for the Quran."

 

On Saturday, a leader of al-Qaida's Iraqi branch, Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, also called on Egyptians to fight their army. From North Africa, the militant leader Belmoktar and a Mali jihadi group announced last month that they aim to form a jihadi front from the River Nile to North Africa's Atlantic coast.

 

So far, Egypt's military has not launched a major offensive against armed groups in Sinai. El-Iskandarani, the researcher, believes the generals are wary of a sparking a wider confrontation with disgruntled Bedouin tribes. Also, Sinai jihadis have powerful new arsenals of heavy anti-aircraft guns, rockets and other weapons smuggled from Libya. "The price will be very heavy," el-Iskandarani said.

 

Contents
 

 

EGYPT'S WAR ON HAMAS

Khaled Abu Toameh

Gatestone institute, Sept. 12, 2013

 

For the past two months, the Egyptians have been at war not only with the jihadis in Sinai, but also in an all-out war with the Palestinian Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip. This war is being waged on two fronts: in the media and along the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. As far as Hamas is concerned, this is a war of survival that it cannot afford to lose.

 

An Egyptian army watchtower at Rafah, along the Gaza Strip border with Egypt, April 2009. (Photo credit: Marius Arnesen) The Egyptian war is clearly hurting Hamas much more than the two military offensives launched by the Israel Defense Forces in the Gaza Strip since 2008. Hamas officials in the Gaza Strip are now talking openly about the Egyptian war, which they believe is aimed at toppling their regime there.

 

The officials admit that they were not prepared for this war from the largest Arab country, which until last June was their main ally in the Arab and Islamic countries. Since the ouster of Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi, the state-controlled media in Egypt has turned Hamas into the country's number one enemy. Almost every day an Egyptian newspaper runs a story about Hamas's ongoing attempts to undermine Egypt's national security, and its involvement in terror attacks against the Egyptian army.

 

Hamas spokesmen in the Gaza Strip now spend most of their time denying the allegations and accusing the Egyptian media of waging a smear campaign not only against their movement,but all Palestinians. The media offensive has been accompanied by a series of security measures that have convinced Hamas leaders they are in a state of war with Egypt.

 

Apart from banning Hamas representatives from entering Egypt, the Egyptian authorities have imposed severe travel restrictions on residents of the Gaza Strip. The Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt has been shut for most of the time over the past two months, with the Egyptian authorities citing "security reasons" for the closure.

 

But the most drastic measure taken by the Egyptians so far, which is really hurting Hamas, is the destruction of hundreds of smuggling tunnels along the border with the Gaza Strip. The Egyptians are now in the process of creating a buffer zone between the Gaza Strip and Egypt after having razed several homes and leveled land along the border.

 

These are the same Egyptians who used to condemn Israel for every military strike aimed at thwarting rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip against Israeli cities and towns. All these measures have prompted some Hamas officials to wonder whether Egypt was planning to launch a military operation inside the Gaza Strip under the pretext of combating terror.

 

Hamas believes that as part of this war, Egyptian intelligence officials are behind a new group called Tamarod [Rebellion] whose members have vowed to overthrow the Hamas regime in November. In recent weeks, Hamas arrested dozens of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip on suspicion of being involved with the new group, which carries the same name as the Egyptian movement that campaigned against Morsi.

 

The Egyptian security measures have thus far resulted in a severe shortage of basic goods and fuel in the Gaza Strip. Some Hamas leaders warned this week that the Gaza Strip is facing a humanitarian and economic crisis as a result of the Egyptian army's measures. Until recently, Hamas leaders were careful not to engage in a direct confrontation with the new rulers of Egypt. But in recent days several Hamas officials are beginning to regard Egypt's security measures as an act of war against the Gaza Strip.

 

For now, the Egyptians do not want to admit that they are at war with Hamas, preferring instead to describe their measures as part of a campaign against terror. Hamas, for its part, has internalized the fact that it is at war with Egypt. Hamas, as it is being pushed to the wall and increasingly isolated, faces two options: either to initiate a new confrontation with Israel to create Arab and Islamic pressure on Egypt to halt its war, or to confront the Egyptian army in a direct military engagement by joining forces with the jihadis in Sinai.

 

Contents

 

EGYPT AND ITS PATRONS

Paul Mutter

The Arabist, Sept. 6, 2013

 

Why does Egypt receive between $1.3 and $1.5 billion of US aid annually? "Because of Israel" is the most common answer to that question. Certainly, that is driving much of the American political wrangling over whether aid should be suspended. The New York Times reports that during the back-and-forth among the US and its allies leading up to Morsi's ouster, Israeli officials argued against cuts, and told the military not to put stock in US threats to cut off aid. The Israelis, like the US, greatly prefer the Egyptian security forces to be in charge of the country. Whatever, the depredations of Mubarak, the Brotherhood, or the counterrevolution, Egypt is too valuable for any American leader to risk "losing."

 

But though the Muslim Brotherhood signaled it might be less hostile to Hamas or Iran than Mubarak was, in practice the former president did little to change existing policies. Under Morsi's short presidency, the Egyptians even stepped up the destruction of smuggling tunnels into the coastal strip (moreover, the Egyptians were reportedly instrumental in negotiating an end to Operation Pillar of Cloud last winter).

 

Both Israel and Egypt have many shared interests in the Sinai, especially as the security situation deteriorates. Though Egyptian pressure on Gaza is massively increasing now, it was never seriously in jeopardy under the Brotherhood given that the terrorists and criminal gangs in the Sinai were going after both the SCAF- and Brotherhood-led Egyptian state, and it served Morsi little to champion the Palestinian cause while in office.

 

The massive corporate investment in Egyptian or Saudi defense expenditures certainly contributes to Congressional deliberations against aid cuts. And while one might examine the head of President Obama, and whether his reluctance to "take sides" really suggests a desire to reduce a US commitment to Egypt, the fact that the aid has not yet been publicly cut off suggests that Washington has tacitly taken a side: that of the military's, guarantor of the status quo.

 

It was, in fact, not just the Israelis telling General Sisi et al. to pay no mind to the US law that requires all aid to be suspended to a country if a coup takes place there. It was King Abdullah telling the Egyptian generals that the Kingdom would make up for any cutoffs in economic or military aid – the latter, almost assuredly in the form of American-made weapons in Riyadh's possession.

 

Riyadh's role is extremely important in all of this, especially with respect to Iran's containment. As the CNAS think tank noted in February 2011, Egypt's strategic importance in the wider region has nothing to do with the current deployment of US forces in the country, where the only fully staffed America military station is a US Navy medical center. It instead has to do with the nightmare scenario that would threaten the US's interests in the Persian Gulf: the sudden collapse of any one of the Gulf monarchies that host the radar sites, listening posts, airfields, and weapon emplacements pointing at Iran:

 

"The United States has no military bases of its own in Egypt. Its headquarters for directing air and ground troops in the Middle East, Afghanistan and Iraq, are in Qatar. Stockpiles of tanks, ammunition, fuel, spare parts and other war materiel are warehoused in Kuwait, Qatar and Oman. U.S. missile batteries are deployed along the Persian Gulf's west coast. The U.S. Navy's regional headquarters is in Bahrain.

 

But in contingencies or crises, American forces have depended heavily on Egyptian facilities built with U.S. aid to U.S. specifications to accommodate U.S. forces as they move from the United States and Europe to Africa or westward across Jordan and Saudi Arabia to the Persian Gulf. American nuclear powered aircraft carriers, whose jets are playing a major role in Afghanistan, rely critically on their expedited use of the Suez Canal, giving them easy access to the Red Sea and Persian Gulf."

 

Jane's Defence Weekly presented an analysis of commercial satellite imagery compiled between 2011 and 2012 to illustrate the expansion of US, UK, and GCC "conventional combat capabilities" in the Persian Gulf. The analysis highlighted the most salient points of this cooperation, which all ultimately leads back over that waterway and the Saudi desert to Egypt's own airspace and port facilities.

 

Meanwhile, the suggestion that the failure of the Brotherhood's political experiment in Egypt may be necessary for the House of Saud's survival is not farfetched. Though security concerns largely determine American actions, for the Saudis, there is also the matter of not wanting competition from the transnational Brotherhood as a mass Islamist movement.

 

While in years past, the Saudis supported the Brotherhood in Egypt – against Nasser, primarily, whose pan-Arabism and meddling in Yemen during the Cold War threatened the House of Saud's shaky legitimacy. But then the Brothers' messaging and aspirations began to appeal to dissidents within the Kingdom, as did other rival Islamist precepts, threatening absolute monarchy with the prospect of replacement. In recent years, top Saudi officials have made extremely negative remarks about the Brotherhood, most notably the late Crown Prince Nayef. Last month, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal fired a Kuwaiti preacher from his Al Resalah channel for having pro-Brotherhood leanings. As a Foreign Policy article recently noted about Saudi efforts to arm anti-Assad Syrian militias, "Saudi Arabia does not only despise the Muslim Brothers, but political Islamic movements and mass politics in general, which it sees as a threat to its model of absolute patrimonial monarchy."

Contents

 

AS WORLD WATCHES SYRIA, EGYPT LAUNCHES
MAJOR CAMPAIGN AGAINST JIHADISTS IN SINAI

Paul Alster

FoxNews, Sept. 16, 2013

 

While the eyes of the world are on Syria, Egypt's military is routing jihadists from the vast and lawless Sinai Peninsula — and, according to some regional observers, showing the U.S. how to conduct a war on terrorists.

 

Under orders from Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the military leader governing Egypt since the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohammed Morsi was ousted, the Egyptian military is stepping up the fight against the growing coalition of Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda and other radical Muslims gathering in the massive desert peninsula. Although the jihadist activity in the Sinai could be as big a threat to regional stability as the civil war in Syria, Sisi's effort to confront terrorism at his doorstep comes without endorsement from the Obama administration, which has denounced the military takeover in Egypt.

 

"I am more than sure that the Muslim Brotherhood and its leadership in Egypt were actually encouraged by the Americans — and not just in Egypt," Mordechai Kedar, a highly respected analyst of Islamic groups, and a former Israeli military intelligence officer, told FoxNews.com. "The State Department sympathized with the Muslim Brotherhood because they wanted Islamists to love America. They will do anything in order to look nice in the eyes of these Islamists."

 

In recent weeks, ferocious battles have been fought by the Egyptian military against Islamists in the vast desert region that separates Egypt and Israel. The territory is meant to be controlled by Egypt under the terms of the 1979 peace agreement between the two countries, but things in Sinai were already deteriorating during the final years of former President Hosni Mubarak's rule. Then, during Morsi's brief, 12-month tenure, things became significantly worse.

 

"I have no doubt that Sinai could become a hub for terror, like Afghanistan. The Egyptian Army has finally decided to take care of what is going on in Sinai," Kedar said, "not because of Israel, not because of Gaza, not because of Sinai, but because of Egypt and the fact that the terrorism there could soon spill into Egypt itself."

 

Under Sisi's leadership the Egyptian Army is now intent on creating a buffer zone to prevent a flood of Hamas terrorists pouring in from Gaza to join the fighting in the Sinai Peninsula. Some 20,000 or more Egyptian soldiers have gone into Sinai in recent weeks and scores of terrorists have been killed, but the Egyptian forces have also sustained losses. Early Monday, a remote-controlled roadside bomb blew up a bus transporting Egyptian soldiers in Sinai. Early reports suggest at least nine casualties.

 

On August 13, missiles from Sinai were fired at the Israeli Red Sea holiday resort of Eilat, which borders the Sinai region — prompting the Iron Dome defense system to be called into action. There was also a brief suspension of flights to the popular tourist destination.

 

The Sinai has long been a lawless hotbed of militancy, where Bedouins mix with foreign fighters far from the arm of Cairo. Egypt's efforts to crack down in the region date back to the 1990s, and the Luxor Temple Massacre in 1997, when terrorist elements murdered 58 foreign tourists and 4 guards at the historic site. But since the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak and ended three decades of police state, the region had become even more ungovernable than before.

 

Paul Alster is an Israel-based journalist

 

Contents

 

 

 

Egyptian Military Spokesman: Army To Continue Operations Till Sinai Terrorist-Free: Israpundit, Sept 16, 2013—Spokesman for the Egyptian Armed Forces, Ahmed Ali, says there will be more military operations against “terrorist” strongholds in Sinai, adding there is no timeframe for army action in the Peninsula.

 

Egyptian Media Attack U.S.: L. Lavi and N. Shamni, MEMRI, Sept. 14, 2013—Since Egyptian President Morsi's removal from power, the Egyptian public and media – both pro- and anti-Morsi – have been fiercely attacking the U.S.

 

Egyptian Army Saves Christians from Muslim Terrorists: Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu, Jewish Press, Sept. 17, 2013—The Egyptian military regime escalated its war on radical Islamists Monday and came to the rescue of Christians whose village has been terrorized.

 

 

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EGYPT, WHERE TIME STANDS STILL, IS A ZERO SUM GAME — AND OBAMA’S PRO-M.B. STANCE WORKED AGAINST “DEMOCRACY”

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Contents:

 

The Choice in Egypt: Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, August 22, 2013—Egypt today is a zero-sum game. We’d have preferred there be a democratic alternative. Unfortunately, there is none. The choice is binary: the country will be ruled by the Muslim Brotherhood or by the military.

 

How Close Is the U.S. to the Muslim Brotherhood?: Magdi Khalil, Front Page Magazine, Aug. 23, 2013—There is no question that the US and the Muslim Brotherhood have been engaged in a dialogue during the course of the so-called Arab Spring, in regards to the form and structure of government in Egypt and perhaps in the Middle East as a whole.

 

Egypt is Where History Goes to Die: Daniel Greenfield, Jewish Press, August 27th, 2013—One of the biggest differences between conservatives and liberals is that while conservatives believe that history is an expression of human nature, liberals don't believe in history, they believe in historical processes.

 

 

On Topic Links

 

Mubarak's Muslim Brotherhood Prophecy: Raymond Ibrahim, Gatestone Institute, Aug. 15, 2013

The Evolution of the Revolution: Dr. Michael Evans, Jerusalem Report, Aug. 21, 2013

The Realist Prism: Indecision on Egypt Leaves U.S. Interests at Risk: Nikolas Gvosdev, World Politics Review, Aug. 23 2013

Is Egypt the next Algeria? Unlikely: Tawfik Hamid, Jerusalem Post, Aug 26, 2013

Gulf Islamists Irked as Monarchs Back Egypt's Generals: Egypt Independent, Aug. 27, 2013

Constitutional Tweaks May Empower Mubarak-Era Politicians in Egypt: Egypt Independent, Aug. 24, 2013

 

THE CHOICE IN EGYPT

Charles Krauthammer

Washington Post, August 22, 2013

 

Egypt today is a zero-sum game. We’d have preferred there be a democratic alternative. Unfortunately, there is none. The choice is binary: the country will be ruled by the Muslim Brotherhood or by the military.

Perhaps it didn’t have to be this way. Perhaps the military should have waited three years for the intensely unpopular Mohamed Morsi to be voted out of office. But Gen.Abdel Fatah al-Sissi seems to have calculated that he didn’t have three years, that by then there would be no elections — as in Gaza, where the Palestinian wing of the Brotherhood, Hamas, elected in 2006, established a one-man-one-vote-one-time dictatorship.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

What, then, should be our policy? The administration is right to deplore excessive violence and urge reconciliation. But let’s not fool ourselves into believing this is possible in any near future. Sissi crossed his Rubicon with the coup. It will either succeed or not. To advocate a middle way is to invite endless civil strife. The best outcome would be a victorious military magnanimously offering, at some later date, to reintegrate the more moderate elements of what’s left of the Brotherhood.

 

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

 

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

 

The final step on that long democratic path should be elections. First municipal, then provincial, then national. As was shown in the post-World War II democratizations, the later the better. After all, we’ve been here. Through a half-century of cold war, we repeatedly faced precisely the same dilemma: choosing the lesser evil between totalitarian (in that case, communist) and authoritarian (usually military) rule.

 

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

 

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

 

Regarding Egypt, rather than emoting, we should be thinking: what’s best for Egypt, for us and for the possibility of some eventual democratic future. Under the Brotherhood, such a possibility is zero. Under the generals, slim. Slim trumps zero.

 

Contents

HOW CLOSE IS THE U.S. TO THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD?

Magdi Khalil

Front Page Magazine, Aug. 23, 2013

 

There is no question that the US and the Muslim Brotherhood have been engaged in a dialogue during the course of the so-called Arab Spring, in regards to the form and structure of government in Egypt and perhaps in the Middle East as a whole. But the real question, which is frequently asked, is what kind of a role did the US exactly play in the Muslim Brotherhood’s arrival to power in Egypt? Is the US actually working alongside the Muslim Brotherhood to shape the future of the Middle East?…

 

First, it must be said that the US is not unacquainted with the Muslim Brotherhood, since the movement has had US-based activities, organizations and financial investments for more than five decades, particularly through its relationship with and presence in Saudi Arabia, which became its refuge after it fled from Egypt during Nasser’s rule. The Muslim Brotherhood sought to establish its presence in the American continent, starting with “The Muslim Students’ Association,” which was a small organization established in 1963. Later, they went on to establish bigger organizations such as the North American Islamic Trust in 1971; the International Institute of Islamic Thought in 1980; the Shura Council of the Muslim Brotherhood in America in 1980; the Islamic Society of North America in 1981; the Islamic Association of Palestine in 1981, which in turn established the Occupied Land Fund that later became the Holy Land Foundation; the American Islamic Council in 1990, and the American Islamic Society in1992. Furthermore, the international Muslim Brotherhood movement held its meetings several times in the US, specifically in the years 1977, 1978 and 1979. The Muslim Brotherhood had well known leaders in the US, such as Zaid Noman, Ahmed El Kady, Mohammed Ikram Elwani, as well as senior investors such as Youssef Nada.

 

Looking back, we can see that the starting point for the attempts to contain Islamist movements around the world, including the Muslim Brotherhood, was right after the events of September 11 [2001]. As the first shot was fired in Afghanistan, the US began also to formulate a plan to deal with the Islamist dilemma from a political angle. An endless war was not a viable solution, and a political alternative was required in order to control the emerging phenomenon. The Bush Administration primarily thought that the lack of democratic political participation was behind the phenomenon of international terrorism, believing that these individuals were hunted in their countries, and after being forced to flee, they had directed their excessive hatred and violence at the Western World. The solution seemed clear enough then: to find a way to redirect and assimilate that excessive energy through a local political process that would both embrace and contain said individuals. Bush chose Iraq as a starting point for the democratization of the region and the creation of a new Middle East, where he had expected democracy to spread in a domino-like effect.

 

However, democracy failed in Iraq. On one side, it was thwarted by the unleashed sectarian strife monster, and on the other it met with stubborn and unanimous resistance from neighbouring countries, including Iran, which worked together to defeat Bush’s plan and stop the tide of American democracy from reaching its shores.

 

This plan’s failure was promptly followed by a hunt for a second alternative, and the idea to assimilate Islamists into their own countries through an Islamist rule of the region was born. In 2005, Ms. Condoleezza Rice, then the Secretary of State, made a speech in Cairo which suggested that the US did not mind if Islamists assumed power. This notion soon gained popularity, and dozens of seminars, conferences and meetings that took place in Washington, London, Madrid and Brussels started to promote in earnest the participation of Islamists in government. Many of these gatherings were funded through Qatar, with evident “green light” from the US.

 

With the support of Qatari funds, Al-Jazeera Channel started to back the Islamist project, i.e., an Islamist rule via elections, until the Channel became the official media platform of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamic movements in the region. The role played by both Qatar and Al-Jazeera expanded throughout the Arab Spring uprisings, seeking to speed up a “brotherhoodization” process that would reshape the entire region to reflect Muslim Brotherhood beliefs and practices. Later, they worked to engage the US in extensive dialogues about government requirements and structure, the conditions of Western cooperation, and particularly US-Muslim Brotherhood cooperation.

 

Since the collapse of Mubarak’s regime, Washington and Cairo had maintained contact as attested by frequent Washington-Cairo trips and intense phone consultations between the White House and the Muslim Brotherhood’s Guidance office in Al-Mokattam. It had reached a point where the almost nonstop contact became the subject of a widespread political joke among foreign diplomats in Egypt, who said that you can measure the time that passes between President Mursi issuing a decision and reversing it by the time difference existing between the Office of Guidance and the White House–the joke clearly speaks for itself.

 

In the beginning, the US terms were as follows: 1) to take into consideration American interests in the region; 2) to stay away from Iran; 3) to maintain the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty; 4) to resort to the ballots in political issues; 5) to take into consideration the rights of women and minorities. The Muslim Brotherhood agreed to all conditions, even if it was merely a form of dissimulation.

 

The outcome of the Gaza crisis [Operation Pillar of Defense] increased the trust between Obama’s Administration and the Muslim Brotherhood, with Obama praising Mursi at length after the crisis was averted. In fact, the Muslim Brotherhood had offered what no other Egyptian president has ever offered to the US, pledging the following to Obama: 1) Hamas will not launch a single rocket, fire a single shot or conduct a single operation against Israel in the next four years, which represented Obama’s second term; 2) Egypt will monitor crossings and tunnels to ensure that no weapons are being smuggled to Hamas; 3) The US will be allowed to set up advanced equipment at the borders to conduct its own surveillance of the crossings; 4) In case the violence originating from Sinai gets out of control, American troops will be allowed to guard the Egyptian-Gaza borders.

 

In a nutshell: To restrain Hamas and keep Israel from harm while the Muslim Brotherhood is let loose in Egypt to do as it wishes. Even worse, there are serious noises about Qatari/Egyptian/American discussions aiming to bypass the Palestinian Authority and open a dialogue with Hamas directly, followed by political talks which may lead to an individual peace treaty between Hamas and Israel….

 

The bottom line is that while Mubarak had delivered the government into the hands of the military represented in the Military Council, the Military Council, in cooperation with the US, has handed the government over to the Muslim Brotherhood. Mubarak showed more intelligence in that regard, and had previous knowledge of the US intentions, as indicated by his statement to Dr. Hossam Badrawi that the US has been planning since 2005 for the Muslim Brotherhood to assume power in Egypt. The Military Council failed the people, perhaps because it made some sort of deal with the Muslim Brotherhood, or due to increased US pressure, or even because of poor political skills; what matters is that these factors combined to place Egypt under the thumb of the Muslim Brotherhood.

 

It is up to Egyptians now to reshape history once more for the sake of the people, the homeland and the future, rather than the past. There is hope yet for their voice to be heard and for their will to prevail.

Contents

 

 

EGYPT IS WHERE HISTORY GOES TO DIE

Daniel Greenfield

Jewish Press, August 27th, 2013

 

One of the biggest differences between conservatives and liberals is that while conservatives believe that history is an expression of human nature, liberals don't believe in history, they believe in historical processes. The shortage of conservatives explains why so many politicians and pundits glowingly endorsed the Arab Spring as the "end of history" because the historical processes had been achieved, the check boxes were ticked and Egypt, Tunisia and the rest of the Arab Spring countries would shortly reach the same historical terminus that Sweden, France and the United Kingdom had achieved.It also explains why so many politicians are frantically trying to "fix" Egypt by putting it on the right historical track.

The liberal understanding of history is so hopelessly dominant that it never occurs to most of them that countries can't be fixed. They aren't leaky sinks, but systems emerging from a national culture. Egypt can't be fixed by calling the plumbers of democracy to tighten a few valves and bully the natives into holding another election. The last election didn't fix Egypt. There's no reason to believe that another one will. Elections did not fix a single Arab Spring country. They didn't fix Russia. They won't fix China….

To the liberal misreading of history, a failed state is like an overweight fellow. Map out a diet and exercise regimen for him based on historical processes, things that he must do and mustn't do and he'll get better. If he isn't following orders, make him run through the right historical processes. If the whole thing backfires, refuse to admit it, because progressive policies never fail. Push that logic forward and there is no reason to think that the past is relevant to a nation at all. Not when historical processes break away the present from the past and the future from the present.

There is no real need to understand Egypt or the Muslim Brotherhood in any great depth. Not when they are about to be transformed by the magic of democracy. The Muslim Brotherhood may have been a terrorist organization in the past, its branches may still engage in terrorism, but that stops mattering once the Brotherhood bows to the historical process of democracy. Egypt's history also vanishes once it is transmuted through the magic of elections. Democracy didn't actually change Egypt. Egypt is still the same country it was before Obama's Cairo speech. It's poorer, more unstable and more dangerous. But it hasn't really changed….

The assumption that historical processes align with a forward motion, that the liberalization of a society moves it forward, are so innate that it goes unquestioned. It is why democracy is held to be a good, entirely apart from its outcome. Even if democratic elections lead to a takeover by a junta of fanatical cannibals, the very act of holding an election moves a society forward through one hoop in the great circus of historical processes. The immediate result may be cannibalism, but in the long run, as Arab Spring advocates remind us from the editorial pages, the society moves forward.

The liberal understanding of history made it impossible to see the Muslim Brotherhood for what it was because its victory did not fit the march of progress. The victory of the Muslim Brotherhood in a democratic election meant that it was progressive. Because that is how the forward motion of history is meant to work. And its overthrow had to be considered reactionary, regardless of the issues.

This blinkered view discarded the issues and nature of the participants. It traded the contents of the system, for the addiction of process. It made the same mistakes as in Iraq and Afghanistan, drifting on a democracy high without paying attention to who was actually winning the elections and what their plans for the future were. The conviction that Afghanistan or Iraq or Egypt were moving forward was not borne out by anything except the spectacle of process and the conviction that everything was bound to keep moving forward, especially if we gave it a push or two.

The conservative understanding of Iraq, Afghanistan and Egypt was that these places were backward because the culture of the people, their occupations, the way that they chose to live, kept it that way. But in the liberal understanding of history, they were backward because they had been denied access to modern processes for upgrading their societies. Give them democracy and they'll be Europe in no time at all.

 

It did not occur to them that the reason Egypt wasn't England had nothing to do with elections and everything to do with the culture of a broken country that hasn't gotten all that far past feudalism, and whose "modern" face was slapped together by European colonialism and local dictators borrowing European ideas and applying thin layers of them across the surface of a much older culture. Processes don't move a society forward. The striving to learn and grow, to push beyond the next horizon and find out what is over the next hill. That innate organic expansionism, that creative dissatisfaction, cannot be transplanted or imposed externally. It either grows out of the soul of a culture or it does not. The historical processes that matter are a by product of such strivings….

We are not bound to move forward. It is quite possible that we are moving back. And even that sense of direction is a matter of opinion. To the Islamists of the Muslim Brotherhood, backward is forward, as they push on toward the 7th century. The sense of historical direction in Cairo or New York is not an abstract, but a function of culture, a product of the things we value and strive toward. It is possible to distinguish the healthy and unhealthy cultures through the outcome of these products, but it is not possible to make a culture want not only the things we want, but to want them in the same way and through the same means.

Egypt is where history goes to die. Beneath its sands, there are ages and ages of lost time, lost civilizations and lost pasts that might have been. They lie there untouched by the mantra of historical processes. They simple were and are no more. The Arab Spring is nothing but another one of those many sedimentary layers of history that fall into the sands and crunch under the sandals of the cultures that take each other's place….

 

Islam has cloaked [Egypt] in its characteristic darkness that teaches its followers to strive for nothing except the subjugation of others to its will….There is no future here. There is no history here. Egypt is where history goes to die, buried in its tombs with its ancient kings, lying in wait for another time when the sands will shift, the stones will fall and time will begin moving again.

Contents

 

Mubarak's Muslim Brotherhood Prophecy: Raymond Ibrahim, Gatestone Institute, Aug. 15, 2013—In a video of Hosni Mubarak when he was still Egypt's president, the strategies of which he accuses the Muslim Brotherhood have come to pass. What follows are Mubarak's words from a conference in Egypt (date unknown; author's translation).

 

The Evolution of  the Revolution: Dr. Michael Evans, Jerusalem Report, Aug. 21, 2013—The streets of Cairo are caught in the midst of a murderous frenzy — the Egyptian military on one side and Muslim Brotherhood supporters of recently-deposed president Mohamed Morsi on the other. The death toll now hovers at over 1,000 including twenty-five off-duty policemen murdered execution-style in northern Sinai.

 

The Realist Prism: Indecision on Egypt Leaves U.S. Interests at Risk: Nikolas Gvosdev, World Politics Review, Aug. 23 2013—As the Obama administration grapples with what to do next in Egypt, it may be instructive to review the U.S. efforts of the past decade to bring about fundamental political and economic change in Egypt and the other countries of the greater Middle East.

 

Is Egypt the next Algeria? Unlikely: Tawfik Hamid, Jerusalem Post, Aug 26, 2013—Many fear that banning the Muslim Brotherhood group will result in the use of violence, similar to what happened in Algeria during the 1990s. When the Algerian people refused to give the radical Islamists – who later won the elections – political power, Algeria endured the blood shed of 100,000 innocent people, over a ten year period.

 

Gulf Islamists Irked as Monarchs Back Egypt's Generals: Egypt Independent, Aug. 27, 2013—While they have been careful to express only muted dissent in public, Islamists and some other conservative Gulf Muslims are quietly seething at Saudi Arabia's whole-hearted backing of Egyptian army chief General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi.

 

Constitutional Tweaks May Empower Mubarak-Era Politicians in Egypt: Egypt Independent, Aug. 24, 2013—Islamists and liberals have voiced alarm about the proposals made by a constitutional committee set up by the generals who removed the Muslim Brotherhood's Mursi on July 3 amid widespread protests against Egypt's first freely elected leader.

 

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POLITIQUE AU MOYEN-ORIENT : L’ISLAMISME S’AFFRONTE À LA DÉMOCRATIE

 

 

 

 

 

La démocratie est incompatible

avec les intégristes et l’Islam politique

Freddy Eytan

Le CAPE de Jérusalem, 5 juillet 2013

 

L’Egypte plonge vers l’inconnu. L’incertitude s’aggrave dans la tourmente et le risque d’une guerre civile n’est toujours pas écarté. L’arrestation du guide spirituel de la confrérie des Frères musulmans, Mohammed Badie, et avec lui de centaines de ses partisans, rappelle l’époque lointaine des affrontements qui ont déferlé contre le régime du président Nasser et soulignons que Sadate, son successeur, avait été tué par les balles des islamistes.

 

Certes, nous suivons les événements en cours avec inquiétude mais nous ne pouvons apporter ni contribution ni intervenir, et laissons donc les Egyptiens décider eux mêmes de leur avenir.

 

Cependant, nous avons l’impression que dans ce théâtre de l’absurde nous assistons à une répétition de la chute de Moubarak. Il est incontestable que l’armée joue un rôle crucial et unique dans un monde arabe en ébullition. Contrairement à la Syrie les militaires en Egypte sont avec le peuple. Ils sont avant tout des patriotes sachant parfaitement maîtriser la situation mais ils savent aussi diviser pour régner.

 

Le brusque départ du président Morsi, élu pourtant légitimement par un certain processus démocratique, surprend et étonne les observateurs. Son départ de la scène était imprévisible il y a encore quelques jours, et prouve que le Proche-Orient est instable et peut changer rapidement de mains et de visages au grand dam des services de renseignement. Ils ne peuvent jamais suivre la cascade des événements politiques et religieux et le comportement des sociétés arabes déchirées entre la veille garde et les jeunes qui utilisent habilement les avantages magiques de l’Internet.

 

Au sein de l’administration Obama, au Quai d’Orsay et au Foreign Office, on avait cru que Morsi était le maître absolu de l’Egypte, le nouveau pharaon… Il existait selon les diplomates occidentaux un « islamisme soft » car les Frères musulmans représentent des « intellectuels pragmatiques » capables de gérer un pays démocratiquement. Eh bien, suite aux retombées du « Printemps arabe » déclenché en Tunisie, l’Occident se trompe toujours et ignore que nous vivons dans un Moyen-Orient imprévisible, où les intégristes islamiques sabotent systématiquement toute tentative de réconciliation avec le monde moderne et la civilisation judéo-chrétienne et sont incapables de gérer un Etat avec des valeurs démocratiques.

 

De même qu’avec les ayatollahs en Iran, la méconnaissance de la confrérie islamiste demeure totale et parfois grotesque ; elle se traduit par la confiance et la crédibilité que les médias et les chancelleries donnent à Tariq Ramadan, petit-fils du fondateur de ce mouvement intégriste. On retrouve également cette naïveté flagrante dans les salamalecs à l’égard du Qatar, qui diffuse une propagande sans scrupule, un soit-disant islamisme « light », par le biais de la chaîne al-Jazeera.

 

Bien entendu, nous n’allons pas verser de larmes pour le départ de Morsi, mais il faut toutefois reconnaître que ce dernier n’a pas abrogé le Traité de paix avec l’Etat juif, et a bien réussi l’épreuve durant l’opération « Pilier de défense » déclenchée par Tsahal en novembre dernier. Il a su maîtriser le Hamas et a pris des mesures adéquates contre des groupes terroristes dans le Sinaï. Cette politique devrait être suivie par ses successeurs car le djihad mondial et le Hamas n’ont jamais abandonné leur croisade, leur cruel combat au nom d’un Dieu méchant et rancunier. L’instabilité en Egypte et l’afflux des armes depuis le Soudan en passant par la Libye risquent de relancer le terrorisme aveugle et d’aggraver la lutte entre intégristes et laïcs de tous bords.

 

Nous devrions surtout poursuivre nos contacts directs avec l’état-major égyptien et leur service de renseignement pour éviter à tout prix l’escalade et un nouveau conflit frontalier.

 

Depuis 1979, nous avons respecté à la lettre les accords signés avec Le Caire et nous souhaitons vivement, dans notre propre intérêt, que le peuple égyptien sorte enfin de la crise, retrouve la stabilité politique, économique et touristique.

 

Enfin une réflexion à méditer : voilà déjà 34 ans que nous avons signé avec Anouar el-Sadate un solide traité de paix, mais les Egyptiens, par ignorance, ont malheureusement choisi une paix froide, haineuse et contre-productive. Certes, fort heureusement, ils ont refusé la guerre, mais imaginons leur situation actuelle si les relations avec l’Etat juif avaient été positives et constructives ? Le pays des pharaons plongé aujourd’hui dans la misère et le désespoir n’aurait-il pas été uni et prospère ? Un véritable grand pays arabe exemplaire ? Quel gâchis…!

 

 

La politique moyen-orientale d'Obama a-t-elle un sens ?

Sébastien Castellion

menapress.org, 9 juillet 2013

 

Pendant le week-end qui vient de s'achever, Washington a envoyé des signaux contradictoires face à la révolution qui a mis fin, en Egypte, mercredi dernier, au court règne (un an et trois jours de pouvoir) des Frères musulmans.

 

Les commentateurs ont rappelé que la loi américaine oblige de mettre un terme à la considérable aide d'Etat à l'Egypte (1,3 milliard de dollars par an) en cas de coup d'Etat. Certains hommes politiques, comme l'ancien candidat Républicain à la présidence John McCain, ont appelé à interrompre l'aide en rappelant que le régime Morsi avait été démocratiquement élu.

 

Lancé sans grande conviction, ce débat s'est rapidement enlisé. La loi évoquée par les commentateurs date de la guerre froide et n'a jamais eu pour autre objet que de permettre aux Etats-Unis d'interrompre leur aide à un pays dans lequel un régime ami est renversé ; que ce régime soit démocratique ou non n'est pas la question.

 

Samedi, le Président Obama est intervenu pour indiquer qu'il avait "demandé aux agences gouvernementales d'étudier les conséquences légales" de la suspension de la Constitution égyptienne sur l'aide américaine à l'Egypte.

 

Mais personne ne s'attend à une interruption de l'aide. Sous couvert d'examen juridique, les Etats-Unis ont simplement choisi d'utiliser la menace de fermer les robinets afin de faire pression sur l'Armée et d'influencer le déroulement des prochaines étapes.

 

Le président a ajouté que les Etats-Unis "ne soutiennent aucun groupe ou parti" en Egypte, mais insistent uniquement sur le respect de la démocratie.

 

Cette phrase était rendue nécessaire par les événements de la semaine, qui ont vu le peuple égyptien rejeter massivement le régime des Frères musulmans : les manifestations populaires qui ont précédé la chute du régime ont rassemblé entre 14 et 17 millions de personnes, ce qui en fait la plus grande "manif" de l'histoire humaine.

 

Mais si l'on observe l'histoire de la politique américaine sous Obama, la déclaration du président est un mensonge pur et simple. La politique de cette administration n'a rien à voir, depuis cinq ans, avec une quelconque neutralité. Elle consistait, au contraire, jusqu'à la semaine dernière, en une alliance délibérée entre les Etats-Unis et le mouvement islamiste extrémiste des Frères musulmans.

 

Cette alliance s'est d'abord manifestée en Egypte, où l'administration Obama avait brutalement poussé le Président Moubarak vers la sortie en 2011, et insisté pour que l'élection présidentielle de 2012 soit ouverte aux Frères (qui avaient initialement annoncé qu'ils ne présenteraient pas de candidat), puis, après sa courte victoire, Obama avait soutenu le Président Morsi jusqu'au bout. Il y a encore une semaine à peine, Obama était personnellement intervenu pour rappeler, malgré les immenses manifestations populaires, que Morsi était un "président légitime".

 

Cette connivence Obama-Frères musulmans s’est manifestée aux Etats-Unis mêmes, où, comme je l'ai rapporté il y a un mois dans ces colonnes, le président a fait reposer sa politique de "main tendue" aux musulmans sur un groupe de "conseillers" étroitement liés aux Frères.

 

Elle se manifeste aujourd'hui en Syrie, où Obama a décidé, après quelques mois d'hésitation, d'armer les rebelles anti-Assad, parmi lesquels les Frères occupent une place déterminante.

 

La première relève de la politique intérieure américaine. Pendant la campagne présidentielle de 2008, le parti Démocrate présentait le Président Bush comme le responsable d'une hostilité injustifiée entre le monde musulman et l'Amérique.

 

Obama, dans ce narratif, était celui qui rétablirait des relations de respect et d'amitié entre les deux civilisations. Dans le célèbre discours du Caire, le 4 juin 2009, le président – au rythme d'environ une contre-vérité historique par paragraphe, mais la paix n'a pas de prix –, avait développé le mythe d'un islam facteur de progrès historiques de la civilisation, avec lequel l'Amérique allait entamer un dialogue entre égaux, fondé sur la confiance.

 

Pour donner une traduction politique concrète à ce rapprochement, l'Amérique d'Obama avait besoin de montrer une rupture bien visible avec l'ère Bush – c’est-à-dire, en clair, un renversement d’alliances.

 

Les monarchies pétrolières du Golfe – un premier type d’alliés politiques de l'Amérique dans le monde arabe – étaient intouchables. D’abord, parce que les intérêts pétroliers sont encore trop sensibles pour l'économie américaine. Ensuite, parce que le fonctionnement même de ces régimes – fondé sur une gestion subtile des rivalités entre tribus et entre grandes familles – empêche l’apparition d’une véritable opposition politique. La plupart des opposants sont achetés dans le partage de la manne pétrolière ; les quelques irréductibles sont isolés et, à l’occasion, éliminés.

 

En revanche, les dictatures militaires héritières du nationalisme arabe du vingtième siècle – Egypte et Tunisie – étaient d’excellents candidats pour un renversement d’alliances. Ces dictatures, qui avaient commis le crime d’entretenir de bons rapports avec l’administration Bush, étaient très impopulaires. Fondées (à l’origine du moins) sur une idéologie non sur des liens tribaux, elles avaient vu apparaître, malgré tout leur appareil répressif, une opposition de nature, elle aussi, idéologique.

 

Les mouvements libéraux et démocrates manquaient cruellement de métier politique. Divisée en de multiples groupes, déchirée par les rivalités de personnes, privée d’outils d’influence dans les couches populaires, jamais vraiment formée à l’art de la lutte d’influence, du complot efficace et du rapport de forces, la mouvance libérale arabe ressemble davantage à un sympathique phénomène de salon qu’à un véritable mouvement politique.

 

Dans le camp islamiste, en revanche, le professionnalisme est indiscutable. Les Frères musulmans ont été spécifiquement créés en 1928 par Hassan al-Banna (le grand-père de Tariq Ramadan) afin de parvenir graduellement au pouvoir par l’infiltration graduelle des institutions, la distribution d’aide aux pauvres et une discipline de fer dans l’organisation interne.

 

Les mouvements salafistes – qui partagent avec les Frères l’objectif d’imposer la sharia au monde entier mais sont moins patients et plus prompts à recourir à la violence – sont moins habiles mais, eux aussi, bien disciplinés et bien implantés dans la population.

 

Face à cette situation, les Etats-Unis d’Obama auraient pu choisir, pour des raisons de principe, de soutenir malgré tout le camp libéral, en faisant l’effort de lui prodiguer la formation politique qui lui manquait. L’Amérique aurait pu, dans chaque pays, choisir un champion, puis utiliser ses ressources financières et organisationnelles pour unifier l’opposition libérale et la doter d’antennes dans les couches populaires.

 

Pourquoi cette politique n’a-t-elle pas été choisie ? D’abord, sans doute, à cause de son coût et du risque d’échec. Mais aussi et surtout, pour des raisons étroitement liées avec la vision du monde que partagent Obama et son équipe de proches conseillers. Cette vision du monde est la deuxième des trois raisons qui expliquent l’alliance d'Obama avec la fratrie islamiste.

 

La vision du monde du président a été analysée par l’universitaire américain d’origine indienne Dinesh D’Souza dans son ouvrage The Roots of Obama’s Rage (les raisons de la rage d’Obama) (Regnery Publishing, 2010). D’Souza y démontre, avec un grand luxe de citations et de détails, que l’idéologie d’Obama ne peut pas être réduite, comme tente de le faire une partie de la droite américaine, aux influences socialistes qu’il a subies, ni à ses origines musulmanes.

 

Le président ne semble pas s’intéresser particulièrement à la réduction de la pauvreté, qui est un objectif majeur pour les socialistes. Il a du respect pour la civilisation musulmane mais n’a pas hésité à multiplier massivement, par rapport à l’ère Bush, les attaques de drones contre les ennemis militaires de l’Amérique en terre d’islam, sans se soucier outre mesure des victimes civiles.

 

En revanche, Obama trouve sa cohérence dans ce que D’Souza appelle « l’idéologie anticolonialiste » : l’idée que la richesse de l’Amérique, et de l’Occident en général, trouve son origine dans la spoliation historique des plus pauvres et dans une injustice historique faite aux autres civilisations.

 

Pour les anticolonialistes, l’Occident a commis une faute originelle en intervenant dans les affaires des autres civilisations. Il doit, à l’avenir, montrer plus de respect pour le reste du monde, et surtout, éviter de lui imposer de l’extérieur ses valeurs et ses méthodes.

 

Pénétré qu'il est de cette idéologie, Obama ne pouvait pas accepter de soutenir, à grand coups de millions de dollars et de conseillers occultes, une opposition arabe libérale qu’il considère sans doute comme déjà trop « occidentalisée » pour être vraiment représentative de la diversité des cultures.

 

Au contraire, les Frères musulmans représentent pour le président la possibilité de se doter d’un allié authentiquement arabe, qui n’est teinté en principe d’aucune influence occidentale, doté de surcroît d’un soutien populaire conséquent et parfaitement organisé pour la poursuite du pouvoir.

 

Certes, l’idéologie des Frères exige aussi le refus de la démocratie, l’imposition de la sharia comme norme suprême, la persécution systématique des femmes, l’élimination d’Israël et la fin de toute influence américaine au Moyen-Orient. Plusieurs de ces objectifs sont inacceptables pour les Etats-Unis, et même pour leur président.

 

Mais Obama – sujet à l’illusion fréquente en Occident qui fait voir derrière chaque extrémiste un modéré rationnel dévoyé par les circonstances – a espéré qu’en soutenant les Frères, il s’attirerait leur gratitude et obtiendrait d’eux, sur toutes ces questions, une évolution vers des positions plus modérées.

 

Enfin, la troisième raison de l’alliance avec les Frères tient précisément à leur mode de fonctionnement, fondé sur l’infiltration patiente des institutions – dans le monde arabe, mais aussi en Occident. L'apparition soudaine de dizaines de « conseillers » proches des Frères autour d'Obama n'est pas seulement le fait d'un choix délibéré du président.

 

Elle traduit aussi l'habileté de l'organisation et son long exercice des méthodes de l'infiltration et de la dissimulation. Ces "conseillers" ne sont pas seuls, bien sûr ; des influences contraires existent aussi dans l'entourage du président. Mais leur existence a grandement facilité la mise en place d’une alliance entre les Frères et l’Amérique.

 

L’alliance entre l’administration Obama et les Frères musulmans n’a cependant jamais été complète ni parfaite. Au Moyen-Orient même, elle connaît deux exceptions.

 

D’abord, contrairement aux exigences et à la doctrine des Frères musulmans, Obama (après quelques hésitations en début de premier mandat) a confirmé la doctrine historique de l’Amérique concernant Israël : il veille autant que ses prédécesseurs à préserver la supériorité militaire de l’Etat hébreu sur tous ses voisins, seul moyen de garantir qu’ils ne menacent pas son existence.

 

Ensuite, il n’a jamais cherché à se rapprocher du Hamas, qui n’est autre que la branche palestinienne des Frères musulmans. Pour Obama comme pour Bush, le Hamas est un mouvement terroriste et l’interlocuteur privilégié dans les territoires palestiniens reste le Fatah de Mahmoud Abbas.

 

 

Éclaircissements sur la complexité du coup d'État en Égypte

Daniel Pipes

National Review Online, 5 juillet 2013

Adaptation française: Johan Bourlard

 

Les événements survenus en Égypte cette semaine appellent plusieurs réponses. En voici treize (en complément de mon article suggérant que Morsi a été destitué trop tôt pour discréditer l'islamisme comme il aurait dû l'être).

 

Morsi siégeait avec Sisi à sa droite, en signe d'autorité, mais on sait désormais qui détenait vraiment le pouvoir. Morsi était-il le président démocratiquement élu de l'Égypte ? Tous les comptes rendus journalistiques répondent par l'affirmative alors qu'il n'en est rien.

 

Morsi n'a jamais été aux commandes. De toute évidence, il ne contrôlait pas l'armée mais échappaient également à son contrôle la police, les services de renseignements, la justice et même la Garde présidentielle chargée de le protéger. Pour reprendre les termes d'un journal du Caire, « comme un signe du peu de contrôle exercé par M. Morsi sur la bureaucratie issue de l'ère Moubarak, les officiers de la Garde présidentielle… ont éclaté de joie en faisant flotter les drapeaux sur le toit du palais. » En d'autres termes, Morsi a toujours exercé ses fonctions avec la permission de l'État profond, à savoir les groupes mêmes qui ont organisé son « élection » en 2012.

 

Il n'y a que deux pouvoirs, l'armée et les islamistes. Cette triste réalité s'est confirmée à plusieurs reprises depuis le début des bouleversements dans le monde arabe, il y a deux ans et demi, et vient à nouveau de se confirmer en Égypte. Les libéraux, les laïcs et les gens de gauche ne comptent pas dans les moments difficiles. Pour eux, le défi majeur est d'acquérir un poids politique.

 

1952, 2011, 2013. À trois reprises, l'armée égyptienne a destitué des dirigeants en place à savoir un roi, un ancien général de l'armée de l'air et désormais, un représentant des Frères musulmans. Aucune autre institution en Égypte ne jouit d'un tel pouvoir. Que ce soit en 2011 ou aujourd'hui les manifestants dans les rues se sont félicités d'avoir destitué le président mais si l'armée avait été du côté de ces présidents et non des manifestants, l'ancien chef d'État serait toujours en fonction.

 

La gamme de produits de consommation de la marque Safi est l'un des centres de profit de l'armée égyptienne. L'Armée, une véritable société commerciale. Le corps des officiers de l'armée exerce un contrôle aussi étendu que malsain sur l'économie du pays. Cet intérêt surpasse tous les autres. Les officiers peuvent être en désaccord sur bien des points mais ils sont unanimes sur la nécessité de transmettre ces privilèges intacts à leurs enfants. Inversement, ce matérialisme signifie qu'ils feront alliance avec quiconque leur garantira ces privilèges comme ce fut le cas il y a un an avec Morsi (qui a ajouté de nouveaux avantages).

 

Gouverner en restant dans les coulisses. Pendant un an et demi, de février 2011 à août 2012, l'exercice direct du pouvoir par Mohamed al-Tantawi et le Conseil suprême des Forces armées (CSFA) s'est mal passé. Cela explique peut-être pourquoi le général Abdul-Fattah al-Sisi a immédiatement remis le pouvoir entre les mains d'un civil.

 

Les coups d'État ont changé. Le soir du 22 juillet 1952, le colonel Gamal Abdel-Nasser demanda à Anouar el-Sadate de venir du Sinaï au Caire. Mais Sadate, qui se rendit alors au cinéma avec sa famille, faillit faire échouer le renversement de la monarchie. Cette anecdote révèle deux changements de taille. D'une part les destitutions font maintenant partie d'une catharsis nationale alors qu'à l'époque il s'agissait de manœuvres qui s'opéraient dans l'ombre. D'autre part, ce sont désormais les hauts dirigeants de l'armée qui révoquent le chef de l'État et plus des officiers subalternes enflammés. En d'autres termes, en 2011, l'Égypte est entrée dans l'ère des coups d'État plus raffinés, à la Turque, trois des quatre coups ayant été réalisés par des chefs de l'armée et non par des officiers de second rang.

 

Le fascisme de l'armée. Hillel Frisch observe que la référence faite par al-Sisi à « la volonté du peuple », alors que le peuple est en fait profondément divisé, indique la vision intrinsèquement dictatoriale que Sisi et le CSFA ont du pouvoir. Ce constat, qui est juste, n'a toutefois rien de nouveau. Ce sont en effet des militaires qui gouvernent l'Égypte depuis 1952 avec une pompe antidémocratique.

 

Analogie avec l'Algérie. L'armée algérienne est intervenue dans le processus électoral en 1992, au moment où les islamistes apparaissaient en mesure de gagner les élections. Cette situation est comparable à celle que vit l'Égypte actuellement et n'exclut pas l'éventualité d'une guerre civile de plusieurs années. Cependant l'analogie manque de pertinence dans la mesure où l'Algérie n'a rien connu de comparable à l'Égypte avec l'opposition massive au pouvoir des Frères musulmans. Il serait surprenant de voir les islamistes égyptiens recourir à la violence après en avoir fait plusieurs fois l'expérience et après avoir considéré le nombre important d'opposants engagés contre eux.

 

Al-Sisi est-il de mèche avec les salafistes ? Il était frappant que Sisi invite Galal Morra parmi les quelques privilégiés conviés à l'annonce de la destitution de Morsi. Chose plus frappante encore, le plan d'action de Sisi correspond aux idées mêmes des salafistes. Ainsi, il n'a pas désigné d'homme de gauche comme Mohamed El Baradei comme chef du gouvernement intérimaire, et il n'a pas non plus supprimé la constitution islamiste actuelle mais l'a seulement suspendue.

 

Adli Mansour n'est-il qu'un homme de paille ? C'est ce que disent les spécialistes. Or ils disaient la même chose d'Anouar el-Sadate au lendemain de la mort inopinée de Gamal Abdel-Nasser en 1970. On avait vu par la suite qu'ils s'étaient trompés. Il se peut que Mansour soit éphémère mais il est trop tôt pour le savoir d'autant plus qu'il est quasiment inconnu.

 

Anne W. Patterson, « hayzaboon ». L'ambassadrice des États-Unis en Égypte a fait scandale en prenant parti pour les Frères musulmans. Objet d'aversion dans les rues du Caire et qualifiée de « vieille sorcière », elle n'a fait que récolter les fruits de sa trahison des valeurs fondamentales de l'Amérique.

 

Morsi et Patterson ont été l'un comme l'autre vilipendés. L'Arabie Saoudite va-t-elle financer l'Égypte ? David P. Goldman observe que la monarchie saoudienne craint les Frères musulmans en qui elle voit un concurrent républicain à son pouvoir et à son énorme soulagement face à l'expulsion de Morsi. Il émet l'hypothèse selon laquelle Ryad, qui dispose d'une réserve de 630 milliards de dollars, pourrait sans grands efforts fournir les dix milliards nécessaires chaque année pour préserver l'Égypte de la famine. C'est probablement la seule solution en vue pour une population égyptienne affamée. Mais la gérontocratie va-t-elle mettre la main au portefeuille ?

 

ISLAMIC CIVIL WAR COMES TO BANKRUPT EGYPT, AS HAPLESS U.S. “POLICY” IS EXPOSED AS BATHETIC

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

 

 

 Download an abreviated pdf version of today's Daily Briefing.

 

 

At Last, Secret Obama Middle East Policy Revealed, No Kidding: Barry Rubin, Jewish Press, July 9, 2013—A statement by two National Security Council senior staff members has revealed the inner thinking of President Barack Obama. It is of incredible importance and I plead with you to read it. If you do you will comprehend fully what’s going on with U.S. foreign policy.

 

Islam's Civil War Moves to Egypt: David P. Goldman, Mid East Forum, July 8, 2013—The vicious crosswind ripping through Egyptian politics comes from the great Sunni-Shi'ite civil war now enveloping the Muslim world from the Hindu Kush to the Mediterranean. It took just two days for the interim government installed last week by Egypt's military to announce that Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States would provide emergency financing for the bankrupt Egyptian state.

 

It’s the (Egyptian) Economy, Stupid: Evelyn Gordon, Jerusalem Post, July 8, 2013—There’s nothing Israel can do about the fragile situation in Egypt except beef up its forces in the south and be prepared to contain any spillover violence. But since it has no interest in yet another failed state on its borders, there’s something very important it should be urging its Western allies to do: worry less about a new constitution and inclusive democratic processes and more about urgently reviving Egypt’s economy. For without economic improvement, the best constitution in the world won’t be able to stabilize the country.

 

Al-Qaeda's Jihad on Anti-Morsi Egyptians: Raymond Ibrahim, Gatestone Institute, July 4, 2013 — Now that the Egyptian military appears to have granted the nation's wish—to be rid of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, as millions have been chanting, "Irhal" ["Leave office"] — al-Qaeda appears to have stepped in.

 

On Topic Links

 

Morsi Spurned Deals, Seeing Military as Tamed: David D. Kirkpatrick and Mayy El Sheikh, New York Times, July 6, 2013

Twelve Year-Old Explains Egyptian Crisis in Under Three Minutes: Brittany Ritell, Jerusalem Post, July 9, 2013

Egypt And Hamas Part Company: Neville Teller, Eurasia Review, July 9, 2013

Gaza Terrorists Infiltrate Sinai: Roi Kais, Ynet News, July 8, 2013

Turkish Leadership Demoralized By Coup in Egypt: Cengiz Çandar, Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse, July 8, 2013

Tunisian Ruling Party Feels Heat After Egyptian Coup: Mischa Benoit-Lavelle, Al-Monitor, July 8, 2013

Egyptian Fighting Squeezes the Gaza Strip: Linda Gradstein, Jerusalem Post, July 9, 2013

How Morsi Came Undone: Eric Trager, New York Daily News, July 5, 2013

 

AT LAST, SECRET OBAMA MIDDLE EAST

POLICY REVEALED, NO KIDDING

Barry Rubin

Jewish Press, July 9, 2013

 

A statement by two National Security Council senior staff members has revealed the inner thinking of President Barack Obama. It is of incredible importance and I plead with you to read it. If you do you will comprehend fully what’s going on with U.S. foreign policy. Egypt, Egypt, Egypt… There are more words written about this event than demonstrators in Tahrir Square. But, to quote a recent secretary of state on Benghazi, what difference does it make? A great deal indeed.

 

First, let’s remember that in the face of advancing totalitarianism in the Middle East, U.S. policy completely y failed. Imagine, if you wish, what would have happened with the Nazis without Winston Churchill and Great Britain in the 1940s. The U.S. government of this day was not only ready to leave Middle Easterners to their fate; it even sided with their actual or potential oppressors.

 

So who has been waging the battle meanwhile? The people of Iran and Turkey, who have not won because in part the United States failed to encourage the former and did not encourage the Turkish army to do what the Egyptian army did do; the embattled Tunisian and Lebanese anti-Islamists; the Saudis (at times) and the Persian Gulf Arabs (except for Qatar) and Jordan. Oh yes, and also Israel the most slandered and falsely reviled country on earth.

 

Second, the Benghazi affair was the model of the Obama Administration worldview: If you allow a video insulting Muslims, four American officials will be killed. If you support the overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, thousands of Americans might die. This is the result of placing not politics but counter-terrorism in command.  And this leads to… Barack Obama’s Big Decision

 

Is President Obama going to come down on the side of the Islamist ex-regime, remember this includes the Salafists in objective terms, or the new regime? What a remarkable irony that Obama endlessly apologized for past U.S. support for dictators and ended up adding a new chapter to that history and heightened anti-Americanism! Remember that one of his last conversations with ex-President Muhammad al-Mursi,

 

Obama told him that he still regarded him as the democratically elected president of Egypt. Of course, Obama will have to end up recognizing the new government. The question is how much and how long he will resist that? It is pitiful to know that the best possible result is that he will accept the rulers in Cairo and continue the economic aid. In fact, he should increase it. We should not be talking punishment for the coup but in fact a rich reward, to show others which way the wind blows.

 

Specifically, U.S. diplomats were urging a deal: a coalition government in Egypt in which the Brotherhood has part of the power.   You can imagine how well that would work and how grateful the Brotherhood (much less the Salafists) and their opponents will be to Obama for proposing they surrender. So in other words, the army, the former opposition, and the Islamists–in short, all of the Egyptian people no matter which side they are on, will see America as their enemy.

 

And will Obama learn more lessons from this situation?  Will he stop seeking to install a regime in Syria that is worse than Mursi’s? Will he increase support for the real Iranian, Turkish, and Lebanese oppositions? Will he recognize the true strategic realities of Israel and stop seeking to install a regime like Mursi’s in the territories captured by Israel in 1967 (I refer here to Hamas, not the Palestinian Authority which might well give way to Hamas after a state would be established?)

 

So far though, it looks like Obama is determined to be the protector of oppressive dictatorship in Egypt. Isn’t that what Obama complained about what previous presidents had done? The Obama Administration has called on  Egyptian leaders to pursue, “A transparent political process that is inclusive of all parties and groups,” including “avoiding any arbitrary arrests of Mursi and his supporters,” Bernadette Meehan, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council, said July 4 in a statement.

 

I don’t recall such a statement being made in criticism of the Mursi regime. According to Bloomburg News, “Two U.S. officials who asked not to be identified commenting on[Obama\s]private communications—I assume it was really because they were too ashamed– said the administration is concerned that some in the military may want to provoke the violence and provide a rationale for crushing the movement once and for all.”

 

Then comes a critical statement that explains Obama Middle East policy. Pay close attention to this:   “Such a move would fail and probably prompt a shift to al-Qaeda type terrorist tactics by extremists in the Islamist movement in Egypt and elsewhere, the U.S. officials said.”   What is this saying? Remember this is a  White House policy statement for all practical purposes. That if the Muslim Brotherhood or perhaps the Salafists are denied power in Muslim-majority countries they cannot be defeated but that they will be radicalized so that they will launch September 11 style attacks on America.   In other words, the United States must surrender and betray its allies or else it faces disaster. This is called surrender and appeasement. And, besides, such a move would fail. There is a coherent Obama policy. Inquire no more, that is it.   And that’s why, for example, it wants the Turkish and Egyptian armies to accept an Islamist regime; and Syria for getting one, too; and Israel making whatever risks or concessions required to end the conflict right away no matter what the consequences. American officials say that the actually illusory demographic issue–which is simply nonsense–means that Israel better make the best deal possible now.

 

American allies cannot win and if they try they’ll just make the Islamists angrier. The White House, it is forgotten now, even wanted to overthrow the pro-American regime in Bahrain and might have helped them replace it if the Saudis hadn’t stopped them. I am not joking. I wish I were.

 

Remember what the two NSC staffers said, in representing Obama policy because they deserve and may well go down in history: “Such a move [fighting the Islamists in Egypt would fail and probably prompt a shift to al-Qaeda type terrorist tactics by extremists in the Islamist movement in Egypt and elsewhere.”

 

The Obama administration, on the basis of the current CIA director John Brennan’s Doctrine  has given up the battle. The Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists are holding the United States for ransom. The demand for releasing (which means not attacking) the United States is the Middle East.

 

Naturally, this is also involved in domestic politics since the Obama Administration will be largely judged by voters—including in the 2014 congressional elections—on whether they can prevent such (imaginary) attacks. The theme is consistent, just another way of protecting the American people while accumulating more votes. It should be emphasized that aside from everything else, this is a ridiculous U.S. strategy because the Brotherhood and Salafists haven’t even thoughtof this tactic This isn’t just a surrender; it’s a preemptive surrender.

 

ISLAM'S CIVIL WAR MOVES TO EGYPT

David P. Goldman

Mid East Forum, July 8, 2013

 

The vicious crosswind ripping through Egyptian politics comes from the great Sunni-Shi'ite civil war now enveloping the Muslim world from the Hindu Kush to the Mediterranean. It took just two days for the interim government installed last week by Egypt's military to announce that Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States would provide emergency financing for the bankrupt Egyptian state. Egypt may not yet have a prime minister, but it does not really need a prime minister. It has a finance minister, though, and it badly needs a finance minister, especially one with a Rolodex in Riyadh.

 

As the World Bulletin website reported July 6:

 

"The Finance Ministry has intensified its contacts [with Gulf states] to stand on the volume of financial aid announced," caretaker Finance Minister Fayyad Abdel Moneim told the Anadolu Agency in a phone interview Saturday. Abdel Moneim spoke of contacts with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Kuwait for urgent aid … Defense Minister Abdel Fatah al-Sisi phoned Saudi Kind Abdullah bin Abdel Aziz and UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nuhayyan yesterday on the latest developments in Egypt. King Abdullah was the first Arab and foreign leader to congratulate interim president Adly Mansour after his swearing-in ceremony.

 

Meanwhile, Egypt's central bank governor, Hisham Ramez, was on a plane to Abu Dhabi July 7 "to drum up badly need financial support", the Financial Times reported. The Saudis and the UAE had pledged, but not provided, US$8 billion in loans to Egypt, because the Saudi monarchy hates and fears the Muslim Brotherhood as its would-be grave-digger. With the brothers out of power, things might be different. The Saudi Gazette wrote July 6:

 

Egypt may be able to count on more aid from two other rich Gulf States. Egypt "is in a much better position now to receive aid from Saudi Arabia and the UAE", said Citigroup regional economist Farouk Soussa. "Both Saudi Arabia and the UAE have promised significant financial aid to Egypt. It is more likely that Egypt will receive it now."

 

Media accounts ignored the big picture, and focused instead on the irrelevant figure of Mohamed al-Baradei, the Nobel Peace Prize winner whose appointment as prime minister in the interim government was first announced and then withdrawn on Saturday. It doesn't matter who sits in the Presidential Palace if the country runs out of bread. Tiny Qatar had already expended a third of its foreign exchange reserves during the past year in loans to Egypt, which may explain why the eccentric emir was replaced in late June by his son. Only Saudi Arabia with its $630 billion of cash reserves has the wherewithal to bridge Egypt's $20 billion a year cash gap. With the country's energy supplies nearly exhausted and just two months' supply of imported wheat on hand, the victor in Cairo will be the Saudi party.

 

I predicted this development in a July 4 post at PJ Media, noting,

 

The Saudis have another reason to get involved in Egypt, and that is the situation in Syria. Saudi Arabia's intervention in the Syrian civil war, now guided by Prince Bandar, the new chief of Saudi Intelligence, has a double problem. The KSA wants to prevent Iran from turning Syria into a satrapy and fire base, but fears that the Sunni jihadists to whom it is sending anti-aircraft missiles eventually might turn against the monarchy. The same sort of blowback afflicted the kingdom after the 1980s Afghan war, in the person of Osama bin Laden.

Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been fighting for influence among Syria's Sunni rebels (as David Ottaway reported earlier this week at National Interest). Cutting off the Muslim Brotherhood at the knees in Egypt will help the KSA limit potential blowback in Syria."

 

There wasn't before, there is not now, and there will not be in the future such a thing as democracy in Egypt. The now-humiliated Muslim Brotherhood is a Nazi-inspired totalitarian party carrying a crescent in place of a swastika. If Mohamed Morsi had remained in power, he would have turned Egypt into a North Korea on the Nile, a starvation state in which the ruling party rewards the quiescent with a few more calories.

 

The head of Egypt's armed forces, Field Marshal Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi, is not a democrat, but a dedicated Islamist whose wife is said to wear the full niqab body covering, according to Naval Postgraduate School professor Robert Springborg. "Islamic ideology penetrates Sisi's thinking about political and security matters," Springborg observes.

 

The question is not whether Islamism, but whose. Some Saudi commentators claim al-Sisi as their Islamist, for example Asharq al-Awsat columnist Hussein Shobokshi, who wrote July 7, "God has endowed al-Sisi with the Egyptians' love. In fact, al-Sisi brought a true legitimacy to Egypt, which will open the door to hope after a period of pointlessness, immaturity and distress. Al-Sisi will go down in history and has gained the love of people." The Saudi-funded Salafist (ultra-Islamist) Nour Party in Egypt backed the military coup, probably because it is Saudi-funded, while other Salafists took to the streets with the Muslim Brotherhood to oppose it. Again, none of this matters. The will of a people that cannot feed itself has little weight. Egypt is a banana republic without the bananas.

 

Whether Egypt slides into chaos or regains temporary stability under the military depends on what happens in the royal palace at Riyadh, not in Tahrir Square. It appears that the Saudis have embraced the military-backed government, whoever it turns out to include. It is conceivable that the Saudis vetoed the ascension of al-Baradei, hilariously described as a "liberal" in the major media. Al-Baradei is a slippery and unprincipled operator who did great damage to Western interests.

As head of the International Atomic Energy Agency until 2009, the Egyptian diplomat repeatedly intervened to distort his own inspectors' reports about the progress of Iran's nuclear program. In effect, he acted as an Iranian agent of influence. The Saudis have more to fear from Iran than anyone else. Iran (as Michael Ledeen observes) is trying to subvert the Saudi regime through the Shi'ite minority in Eastern Province. If Riyadh did not blackball his nomination as prime minister, it should have.

 

There isn't going to be a war with Israel, as some commentators have offered. Israel is at worst a bystander and at best a de facto ally of the Saudis. The Saudi Wahabists hate Israel, to be sure, and would be happy if the Jewish State and all its inhabitants vanished tomorrow. But Israel presents no threat at all to Riyadh, while Iran represents an existential threat. The Saudis, we know from WikiLeaks, begged the United States to attack Iran, or to let Israel do so. The Egyptian military has no interest in losing another war with the Jewish state. It may not have enough diesel fuel to drive a division of tanks to the border.

 

The Saudi regime, to be sure, sponsors any number of extremist malefactors through its network of Wahabist mosques and madrassas. But the present Saudi intervention in Egypt – if I read the signals right – is far more consistent with American strategic interests than the sentimental meanderings of the Barack Obama administration, or the fetishism of parliamentary form that afflicts the Republican establishment.

 

The Saudi regime is an abomination by American standards, but the monarchy is a rational actor. As Michael Ledeen observed a year ago, "The big oil region in Saudi Arabia is in Shiite country, and the Saudi Shi'ites have little love for the royal family. If the rulers saw us moving against Tehran and Damascus, it would be easier for us to convince them to cut back their support for jihad outside the kingdom."

 

The United States has less influence in the region than at any time since World War II, due to gross incompetence of the Obama administration as well as the Republican establishment. The Obama administration as well as Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham courted the Muslim Brotherhood as a prospective vehicle for Muslim democracy, ignoring the catastrophic failure of the Egyptian economy as well as the totalitarian character of the Brotherhood.

 

Americans instinctively ask about any problem overseas, "Who are the good guys?" When told that there are no good guys, they go to see a different movie. There are no good guys in Egypt, except perhaps for the hapless democracy activists who draw on no social constituency and wield no power, and the endangered Coptic Christian minority. There are only forces that coincide with American interests for reasons of their own. It is a gauge of American foreign policy incompetence that the medieval Saudi monarchy is a better guardian of American interests in Egypt for the time being than the United States itself.

 

    David P. Goldman is Senior Fellow at the London Center for Policy Research and Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

 

Contents

 

 

IT’S THE (EGYPTIAN) ECONOMY, STUPID

Evelyn Gordon

Jerusalem Post July 8, 2013

 

There’s nothing Israel can do about the fragile situation in Egypt except beef up its forces in the south and be prepared to contain any spillover violence. But since it has no interest in yet another failed state on its borders, there’s something very important it should be urging its Western allies to do: worry less about a new constitution and inclusive democratic processes and more about urgently reviving Egypt’s economy. For without economic improvement, the best constitution in the world won’t be able to stabilize the country.

 

To understand why, it’s first important to understand what last week’s popular revolution-cum-coup was really about. It wasn’t an uprising by would-be liberal democrats infuriated at the Muslim Brotherhood’s authoritarian, anti-democratic behavior in power: Though this behavior undoubtedly angered many Egyptians and played a role in driving them into the streets last week, for many, it was a secondary motive. Nor was this a coup by anti-democratic forces seeking to gain by force what they couldn’t gain at the ballot box, though this motive, too, surely animated some of the estimated 14 million demonstrators. But for most, the motive was something much simpler: economic desperation.

 

That comes through clearly in the reportage of journalists who bothered to interview ordinary demonstrators rather the Cairo elite. A small boat owner who used to earn his living taking tourists on Nile cruises, for instance, said he could no longer feed his children because tourist traffic had fallen so sharply. An unemployed engineer groused that “There's no construction in Egypt and no company is hiring workers.” A Cairo street vendor who voted for the Brotherhood last year summarized the situation succinctly: “The city is dead. Dead. No work. No food.”

 

People with no work and no food can’t afford to wait for the next regularly scheduled election, no matter how perfect their constitution and how inclusive their democratic processes. True, the constitution the Muslim Brotherhood rammed through was far from perfect, and the government it led was far from inclusive. But had the economy been improving, both problems could have been solved through normal democratic processes: In a few years’ time, new elections could have swept new forces into office, and they could have drafted and passed a new constitution.

 

Instead, the economy was tanking – both by objective standards (unemployment, foreign reserves, etc.) and by subjective ones: In an Egyptian poll taken last week, 63% of respondents said their standard of living had worsened over the last year, while only 13% reported an improvement. And in a country where nearly half the population lived under or just above the $2-a-day poverty line on the eve of the 2011 revolution, the standard of living couldn’t fall very far without people becoming desperate.

 

Thus to stabilize the country, the first step is arranging a massive infusion of economic aid. Fortunately, the Brotherhood’s ouster makes this a reasonable goal: The countries most likely to be able to provide aid quickly are oil-rich Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states, and all these countries (except Qatar) loathed the Muslim Brotherhood. But they have long had close ties with the Egyptian military, which is now de facto running the country.

 

The next step, however, is much harder: carrying out a long-range economic reform program that can ease some of the country’s chronic problems. That means figuring out what needs to be done, rounding up donors both to finance the reforms and to provide aid that can cushion their effects on the population until the economy starts improving, and brow-beating the Egyptian government into actually implementing them.

 

All this may be impossible under any circumstances. But it will certainly be impossible if influential Western actors, especially in Washington, are more focused on a new constitution and inclusive democratic processes than they are on fixing the economy – or too squeamish about “supporting a coup” to mobilize the necessary resources. The West only has so much influence, and it can’t afford to squander it on secondary issues.

 

One could argue that inclusive democratic processes would help promote economic reform – and sometimes, that’s true. But sometimes, democracy can actually hinder economic reform. Indeed, one reason the Muslim Brotherhood government refused to take steps that virtually every economist deemed essential, like eliminating the subsidies on staple products that eat up more than 28% of the government’s budget, is that these steps were widely unpopular. 

 

And democracy certainly isn’t necessary for economic reform. China’s highly undemocratic governments, for instance, slashed the country’s extreme poverty rate from 60% in 1990 to 12% in 2010. South Korea rose from the ruins of the Korean War to become the world’s 15th-largest economy under a series of undemocratic strongmen; it democratized only in the late 1980s.

 

Indeed, economic growth has frequently proven a necessary precursor to democratization, and the latest iteration of the Egyptian revolution shows why: Democracy is impossible if people can’t afford to wait for the next election to secure a change in policy. But without a modicum of economic security, too many people feel they can’t wait that long.

 

None of the above is meant to minimize the importance of democracy; it’s a much better system than the alternatives. If Egypt could have both democracy and economic growth, that would clearly be preferable, and this should be the West’s ultimate goal.

 

But right now, the economy is much higher priority, so that’s where most of the effort must be directed. And if it comes to a choice, then yes, in Egypt right now, democracy should be sacrificed in favor of economic stabilization. For once the economy has stabilized, democracy is likely to follow in time, as it has in numerous countries round the world (think Korea, Taiwan, Chile and Brazil). But if the economy doesn’t stabilize, no democracy has a prayer of lasting, and the dictatorship that follows could well be much worse than the military government now in place. After all, history has a precedent for that, too: Just remember what followed the economic meltdown of the Weimar Republic.

 

Contents

 

 

AL-QAEDA'S JIHAD ON ANTI-MORSI EGYPTIANS

Raymond Ibrahim

Gatestone Institute, July 4, 2013

                       

Now that the Egyptian military appears to have granted the nation's wish—to be rid of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, as millions have been chanting, "Irhal" ["Leave office"] — al-Qaeda appears to have stepped in.

Hours before Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi was sidelined by the military council, Muhammad al-Zawahiri, Egypt's al-Qaeda leader, declared that the terrorist organization would wage a jihad to save Morsi and his Islamist agenda for Egypt. (They would not be the first Islamic terrorists to come to his aid; Hamas members were earlier arrested from inside Muslim Brotherhood headquarters, where they opened fire on protesters.)

 

According to a July 2 Veto Gate report, "al-Qaeda, under the leadership of Muhammad Zawahiri, is currently planning reprisal operations by which to attack the army and the Morsi-opposition all around the Republic [of Egypt]." The report adds that, hours before this information was ascertained, Zawahiri had been arrested and was being interrogated—only to be ordered released by a presidential order. He has since fled to the Sinai, where al-Qaeda is stationed—not to mention where Morsi had reportedly earlier summoned thousands of foreign jihadis to come to his aid whenever necessary, and where he may even have smuggled Muhammad Zawahiri's brother, Ayman Zawahiri—al-Qaeda's supreme leader.

 

In another report, Muhammad Zawahiri "offered joy to our Muslim Brothers in Egypt, for in all circumstances, we will not lose, Allah willing- – quite the contrary." He added that "if matters reach a confrontation, then to be sure, that is in our favor — for we have nothing to lose. And at all times and places where chaos reigns, it's often to the jihad's advantage." Zawahiri concluded by saying that even if many and important jihadis and Islamists are arrested, it matters not, "for we sold our souls to Allah" — a reference to Koranic verses like 9:111 — "and welcome the opportunity to fight to the death."

 

In the context of all these threats, many Egyptians are understandably worried. Right before the military intervened, a Tahrir TV host frantically and repeatedly called Morsi a "murderer," and the Brotherhood, a "gang of murderers," adding, "Oh Minister of Defense — move! Move! Move and save the country! There is no time!" This may also explain why so many leading Islamists — including Morsi himself — have been arrested and held by the military, on the charge of inciting Muslims against anti-Morsi demonstrators, by portraying them as "apostates" who must be fought and killed for are trying to resist the implementation of the Sharia of Allah.

 

They may also be being held as hostages to dissuade al-Qaeda from waging an all-out jihad, as many of those arrested — Safwat Hegazy, Hazim Abu Ismail, Tarek al-Zomor, Khaled Abdullah — are open friends of Muhammad Zawahiri.

 

On the other hand, although the Brotherhood has been portrayed in the U.S. as "just another" political party — or, in the mystifying words of James Clapper, Obama's director of national intelligence, "largely secular," which is the last thing it is — it is folly to think that Morsi, the Brotherhood, and all their Islamist and jihadi allies are going to go peacefully.

 

Now that the Islamists have tasted power — Salafis, Muslim Brotherhood, or al-Qaeda — it is unlikely that they will quietly release the reins of power without a fight. History has proven that many jihadis never give up — unless they are in prison or dead. And as Egyptian al-Qaeda leader Muhammad Zawahiri pointed out, not only have they long been inured to sufferings and deprivations — they have nothing to lose.

Contents

 

Morsi Spurned Deals, Seeing Military as Tamed: David D. Kirkpatrick and Mayy El Sheikh, New York Times, July 6, 2013—As President Mohamed Morsi huddled in his guard’s quarters during his last hours as Egypt’s first elected leader, he received a call from an Arab foreign minister with a final offer to end a standoff with the country’s top generals.

 

Twelve Year-Old Explains Egyptian Crisis in Under Three Minutes: Brittany Ritell, Jerusalem Post, July 9, 2013

A video of a 12-year-old Egyptian boy named Ali Ahmed eloquently and passionately criticizing the last year of president Mohamed Morsi’s rule has become a YouTube sensation since going viral on Saturday. YouTube video: http://youtu.be/QeDm2PrNV1I

 

Egypt and Hamas Part Company: Neville Teller, Eurasia Review, July 9, 2013—Just two days after the overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi, the new interim government in Egypt closed the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip indefinitely, and Nilesat – an Egyptian company that controls a number of Egyptian communications satellites – removed Hamas TV, Al-Quds, from the air.

 

At Last, Secret Obama Middle East Policy Revealed, No Kidding: Barry Rubin, Jewish Press, July 9, 2013—A statement by two National Security Council senior staff members has revealed the inner thinking of President Barack Obama. It is of incredible importance and I plead with you to read it. If you do you will comprehend fully what’s going on with U.S. foreign policy.

                                               

Gaza Terrorists Infiltrate Sinai : Roi Kais, Ynet News, July 8, 2013 —Dozens of members of terrorist groups affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood have left the Gaza Strip headed to the Sinai Peninsula to fight the Egyptian army, Ynet has learned. The terrorists are taking part in the Muslim Brotherhood's struggle against the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi. They had been taken part in battles in El-Arish over the weekend and attacked several Egyptian army posts.

 

Tunisian Ruling Party Feels Heat After Egyptian Coup: Mischa Benoit-Lavelle, Al-Monitor, July 8, 2013— As French President François Hollande landed in Tunisia on July 4 to begin the first visit by a French head of state since Tunisia's uprising in January 2011, the country's ruling Islamists had just become more politically isolated than at any time since coming to power.

 

Turkish Leadership Demoralized By Coup in Egypt: Cengiz Çandar, Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse, July 8, 2013—If there is one place on earth where the effects of the July 3 military coup in Egypt were felt as much as in Cairo by deposed president Mohammed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood, it must be Turkey.

 

Egyptian Fighting Squeezes the Gaza Strip: Linda Gradstein, Jerusalem Post, July 9, 2013—Shortage of cooking gas and fuel has considerably slowed life in the Palestinian enclave. Ahmed Abu Hamda, a journalist and producer in the Gaza Strip, had some work to do in the morning. But as happens frequently in Gaza, there was an electricity blackout because the area’s sole power plant is running low on fuel.

 

How Morsi Came Undone: Eric Trager, New York Daily News, July 5, 2013—When historians review Mohamed Morsi's brief presidency, the now-deposed Egyptian leader's most iconic moment will likely have come one day before he was formally inaugurated.

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Morsi n’est plus président de l’Egypte

crif.org, 4 juillet 2013

 

« Le général al Sissi a appelé de ses voeux l'organisation d'une élection présidentielle et d'élections parlementaires ainsi que la création d'un comité de réconciliation nationale.»

 

L'armée égyptienne a renversé l'islamiste Mohamed Morsi, mercredi 3 juillet 2013, après une année tumultueuse au pouvoir marquée par des crises à répétition parfois meurtrières. La Constitution égyptienne a été provisoirement suspendue et le président Mohamed Morsi va être remplacé à la tête de l'État par le président de la Cour constitutionnelle, a annoncé le chef de l'état-major de l'armée égyptienne.

 

Dans une déclaration à la télévision, le général Abdel Fattah al Sissi a annoncé que l'Égypte allait être dirigée par un gouvernement d'experts et qu'une commission serait chargée de réviser la Constitution, tandis que l'opposant et ex-candidat à la présidentielle Amr Moussa a annoncé dans la nuit de mercredi à jeudi que les consultations pour la formation du prochain gouvernement en Égypte commencent "maintenant". "C'est la fin du régime de Morsi. C'est fini", a-t-il ajouté.

 

Le général al Sissi a appelé de ses voeux l'organisation d'une élection présidentielle et d'élections parlementaires ainsi que la création d'un comité de réconciliation nationale incluant les mouvements de la jeunesse. Abdel Fattah al Sissi a prévenu que l'armée et la police répondraient à toutes les violences. Ses déclarations ont été accueillies par des cris de joie et des scènes de liesse sur la place Tahrir où sont rassemblés les opposants à Mohamed Morsi.

 

Quatre partisans de Mohamed Morsi ont été tués dans des affrontements avec des militaires et des policiers dans la ville de Marsa Matrouh (nord-ouest), selon les services de sécurité. Un cinquième partisan du président déchu a péri dans des affrontements similaires à Alexandrie, la deuxième ville du pays. Dix autres personnes ont été blessées lors de cette attaque par un groupe de partisans armés de M. Morsi contre le siège des services de sécurité de cette ville sur la côte méditerranéenne, proche de la frontière libyenne.

 

 

Comment les Frères ont perdu l'Égypte

Armin Arefi

crif.org, 4 juillet 2013

 

Les islamistes, opposants historiques à Moubarak, se retrouvent aujourd'hui dans la position de l'ancien raïs. Mais ils n'ont pas dit leur dernier mot.

 

Le scénario est le même que lors de la révolution du Nil. En février 2011, l'ampleur de la mobilisation populaire place Tahrir avait poussé l'armée à réclamer le départ du président Moubarak. Lâché par ses pairs, celui-ci n'avait eu d'autre choix que de quitter ses fonctions le 11 février. Deux ans plus tard, la place centrale du Caire est à nouveau noire de la même foule. Plus nombreux encore qu'en 2011, les manifestants exigent la tête de l'islamiste Mohamed Morsi, pourtant premier président démocratiquement élu de l'ère post-Moubarak. Face au risque d'une guerre civile, l'armée entre une nouvelle fois en action mardi et donne 48 heures au chef de l'État pour satisfaire les "demandes du peuple", autrement dit pour quitter le pouvoir.

 

Or, contrairement à son prédécesseur, Mohamed Morsi, un habitué des coups de force depuis son élection à la présidence du pays en juin 2012, rejette l'ultimatum des militaires, au risque de plonger son pays dans le chaos. "L'Égypte ne permettra absolument aucun retour en arrière, quelles que soient les circonstances", insiste le président. "L'époque des coups d'État militaires est révolue", renchérit Yasser Hamza, l'un des dirigeants du Parti de la liberté et de la justice (PLJ), une émanation des Frères musulmans, auquel appartient Mohamed Morsi.

 

"Les Frères sont aujourd'hui dans le déni. Ils ressentent une profonde injustice et sont persuadés d'avoir face à eux une contre-révolution souhaitant faire chuter le premier gouvernement démocratiquement élu", analyse Stéphane Lacroix (1), professeur à l'École des affaires internationales de Sciences Po (PSIA). "Pour le président égyptien, la déclaration de l'armée est une atteinte à ses pouvoirs constitutionnels", explique pour sa part Clément Steuer (2), chercheur en sciences politiques au Cedej, au Caire. "Même si des milliers de personnes dans la rue ont réclamé son retour, l'armée vient d'intervenir dans les affaires publiques du pays."

 

Dimanche, "plusieurs millions" de personnes ont manifesté à travers le pays en criant "Morsi dégage", soit "la plus grande manifestation de l'histoire de l'Égypte", a estimé une source militaire citée par l'Agence France-Presse. Alliance hétéroclite de jeunes révolutionnaires, de classes populaires désenchantées par la crise économique ou de nostalgiques de l'ancien régime, les manifestants dénonçaient l'intransigeance du président Morsi, ce qui lui a valu le surnom de "nouveau pharaon". "Le bilan au pouvoir des Frères musulmans est catastrophique", souligne Jean-Noël Ferrié (3), directeur de recherche au CNRS. "Ils ont échoué sur le plan tant économique que démocratique. Surtout, ils ne sont pas parvenus à rétablir la paix civile."

 

Mais après 80 années de lutte clandestine pour enfin accéder au pouvoir à la faveur du Printemps arabe, on voit mal ces "islamistes modérés" abandonner aussi facilement les commandes du pays. La contre-révolte a déjà sonné. Sur Facebook, de nombreux partisans des Frères musulmans et de la Gamaa al-Islamiya (groupe islamiste classé terroriste qui s'est reconverti à la politique après 2011) ont appelé à la mobilisation générale. Il s'agirait, selon eux, d'une "question de vie ou de mort", la chute de Mohamed Morsi pouvant précipiter leur retour en prison, comme c'était le cas sous Moubarak. "Les Frères n'ont pas encore montré toute l'ampleur de leur capacité de mobilisation", prévient Stéphane Lacroix.

 

Très implantés dans le sud du pays, les islamistes ont développé un vaste réseau d'aides sociales vis-à-vis des plus démunis. Ce clientélisme poussé, couplé à leur légitimité divine, leur assure, selon leurs propres chiffres, une base d'au moins huit millions d'électeurs. Mais pour la présidentielle de juin 2012 (52 % des suffrages remportés), comme pour le référendum sur la nouvelle Constitution de décembre 2012 (64 %), ce sont les voix des révolutionnaires et des salafistes qui ont fait pencher la balance de leur côté.

 

Un scénario aujourd'hui impossible à reproduire, tant le désamour envers les Frères musulmans semble profond. "Leur légitimité n'a cessé de s'effriter dans leur propre camp, notamment en raison de l'inflation. Un certain nombre de leurs partisans sont désormais contre eux dans la rue", affirme Jean-Noël Ferrié. La fronde aurait ainsi gagné la ville d'Assiut, un bastion islamiste de moyenne Égypte. "L'argument selon lequel l'islam est la solution a perdu de sa puissance", assure Clément Steuer. "Il manquait en réalité aux Frères un véritable programme." Face au mouvement Tamarod (rébellion) anti-Morsi et les 22 millions de signatures qu'il revendique, les Frères musulmans semblent avoir d'ores et déjà perdu le bras de fer de la rue.

 

Surtout que les islamistes viennent de perdre un allié de poids, au sein même de leur camp. Les salafistes du parti al-Nour (La lumière), qui avaient décroché 24 % des sièges lors des législatives de novembre 2011, se sont désolidarisés du gouvernement. "Les Frères feront tout pour rester au pouvoir, mais leur crédibilité et leur légitimité ont pris un sérieux coup", pointe Jean-Noël Ferrié. "Surtout, ils n'ont plus aucun pouvoir sur les forces de l'ordre."

 

Étonnamment, les islamistes pourraient être sauvés – tout du moins provisoirement – par l'arrivée prochaine du mois de ramadan. Comme le rappelle Clément Steuer, "c'est une période de fête familiale qui n'est pas propice à la mobilisation politique".

 

La loi américaine oblige l’arrêt de l’aide à l’Egypte :

Que va faire Obama ?

Roger Astier

juif.org, 4 juillet 2013

 

Les observateurs extérieurs à la situation en Egypte pourraient ne pas comprendre pourquoi le coup d’Etat de mercredi en Egypte n’est pas militaire. Quand quelqu’un vêtu de kaki, avec un béret et le statut de général annonce à la télévision que la Constitution est suspendue et que le Président n’est plus un Président, c’est en effet difficile à comprendre.

 

Mais ce n’est pas tout à fait apprécié de cette manière du côté de l’administration Obama. Selon un article de Loi sur l’aide étrangère, une loi, promulguée en 1961, les Etats-Unis sont tenu de suspendre l’aide étrangère à tout pays qui « victime » d’un coup d’Etat militaire. La loi, selon son texte, « limite l’assistance au gouvernement d’un pays dont le chef du gouvernement élu est renversé par coup d’Etat militaire ou un décret. » Donc, si les Etats-Unis décident qu’il s’agit d’un coup d’Etat en Egypte, cela devrait signifier la fin de l’aide américaine !

 

Les Etats-Unis envoient d’énormes quantités d’aide à l’Egypte, en grande partie des aides aux contingents militaires. Cette aide fait suite aux accords de Camps David, en 1979, qui établissent la paix entre Israël et l’Egypte. Mais toute l’aide n’est pas militaire: en mars dernier, Obama a annoncé un don de 250 millions de dollars pour aider l’Egypte à traverser la crise économique actuelle.

 

L’administration Obama a ainsi suggéré qu’elle pourrait donner suite à la menace implicite de la Loi sur l’aide étrangère. Selon l’Associated Press, les responsables américains ont dit aux membres de l’armée égyptienne que tout coup aurait des «conséquences» sur l’aide américaine dont elles dépendent.

 

Il est sans doute peu probable que l’administration Obama coupe l’aide à l’Egypte. Il est très difficile d’imaginer le Congrès ou la Maison Blanche prêts à mettre en péril cette clé de voûte de la paix avec Israël.

 

Cette aide qui va à l’Egypte n’est pas conçu comme un cadeau ou une récompense, elle est considérée dans le but de servir les intérêts américains. Les difficultés économiques d’Egypte sont un facteur d’instabilité pour le pays. Et l’instabilité du monde est mauvaise pour tout le monde, y compris les américains.

 

À l’université de Caroline du Nord, le professeur de sciences politiques Greg Weeks  souligne sur son blog, que l’administration Obama a fait face à un dilemme semblable pendant la crise politique de 2009 au Honduras. Au début, Washington parlait d’un coup d’Etat, mais a ensuite fait marche arrière pour éviter le déclenchement automatique des sanctions.

 

Cela explique sans doute pourquoi, aux Etats-Unis, les responsables en communications évitent soigneusement de parler d’un coup d’Etat…

 

Juifs des terres musulmanes : les réfugiés

Noah Beck

upjf.org, 1er juillet 2013

Adaptation française : Nancy Verdier

   

Le 20 juin dernier fut célébrée la « Journée Mondiale des Réfugiés » dédiée à près de 60 millions de personnes dans le monde contraintes au déplacement du fait de conflits ou de persécutions. Un groupe de réfugiés rarement reconnu est celui des juifs autochtones en terre d’islam, ayant dû fuir les pays musulmans dont ils étaient originaires à l’époque de la création de l’Etat d’Israël. 

 

Une recherche sur Google pour « réfugiés de 1948″ produit environ 6 millions de résultats. Tous à l’exception de quelque six pages, traitent des réfugiés arabes palestiniens, comme s’ils étaient les seuls réfugiés de 1948. Mais on estime que depuis le début de la guerre israélo-arabe de 1948 jusqu’au début des années 1970, jusqu’à 1.000.000 Juifs ont fui ou ont été expulsés de leurs demeures ancestrales dans les pays musulmans 260.000 ont rejoint  Israël entre 1948 et 1951 et représentaient 56% de l’ensemble de l’immigration de l’état naissant.

 

En 1972, leur nombre avait atteint 600.000.

 

En 1948, le Moyen-Orient et les pays d’Afrique du Nord avaient une population juive considérable: le Maroc (250.000), l’Algérie (140.000), l’Irak (140.000), l’Iran (120.000), l’Egypte (75.000), la Tunisie (50.000), au Yémen (50.000), la Libye (35.000) et la Syrie (20.000). Aujourd’hui, les Juifs indigènes de ces pays ont pratiquement disparu (bien que le Maroc et l’Iran aient chacun encore moins de 10.000 Juifs). Dans la plupart des cas, la population juive vivait là depuis des millénaires.

 

Peu de gens connaissent l’histoire de ces réfugiés juifs de 1948 parce qu’ils ont obtenu la citoyenneté des pays d’accueil, dont Israël. En revanche, de nombreux pays musulmans ont refusé d’intégrer les réfugiés palestiniens, préférant les reléguer comme citoyens de seconde classe dans le but de maintenir un équilibre démographique interne et / ou un problème politique pour Israël.

 

L’administration américaine préparerait une loi reconnaissant le statut de réfugiés et la détresse de près de 1000.000 de juifs ayant fui les pays arabo-musulmans à partir de 1946

La partialité des médias explique aussi l’ignorance du public sur l’existence des réfugiés juifs de 1948, originaires des pays musulmans. Une recherche pour « réfugiés de 1948» sur le site de la BBC génère 41 articles (remontant à 1999); 40 discutent des réfugiés arabes palestiniens de 1948. Seuls trois de ces 40 articles (datés du 22/09/11, 02/09/10 et 15/04/04) mentionnent quand même les réfugiés juifs des pays musulmans, et deux se contentent d’une formulation superficielle qui présente la question comme une revendication plutôt que comme un fait historique.

 

Une recherche pour « réfugiés juifs de 1948 des pays arabes» sur le site du New York Times produit 497 résultats (en remplaçant «arabe» par «musulman» la moitié des résultats), tandis que «réfugiés palestiniens de 1948» donne 1050 résultats. Essayez de faire la comparaison avec le Sri Lanka, autre pays dévasté par une guerre multi ethnique et qui a obtenu son indépendance de la Grande-Bretagne en 1948. Le conflit ethnique qui a duré près de 26 ans dans cette région, a commencé en 1983 et a fait entre 80.000 et 100.000 victimes, bien plus que l’ensemble des conflits israélo-palestiniens qui durent depuis près de 100 ans. Le conflit au Sri Lanka a également produit des centaines de milliers de réfugiés, dont au moins 200.000 réfugiés tamouls rien qu’en Europe occidentale. Pourtant, une recherche de «réfugiés tamouls » ne génère que 531 articles – moins de 5% des 11.300 résultats obtenus pour « réfugiés arabes palestiniens. »

 

Le favoritisme institutionnalisé à l’ONU a également permis aux Palestiniens de monopoliser la question des réfugiés, ce qui renforce sans doute la partialité des médias. Tous les réfugiés non palestiniens à travers le monde (près de 55 millions) sont pris en charge par le Haut Commissariat des Nations Unies pour les Réfugiés, qui travaille sous les directives de la Convention sur les réfugiés de 1951. Mais les réfugiés palestiniens (dont la population d’origine était inférieure à un million) ont une agence des Nations Unies exclusivement consacrée à eux (UNRWA).

 

La définition unique de « réfugié » selon l’UNRWA inclut toute personne «dont le lieu de résidence courant était la Palestine entre juin 1946 et mai 1948, qui a perdu à la fois sa maison et ses moyens de subsistance à la suite du conflit israélo-arabe de 1948. » Donc, en plus des familles qui vivaient dans la région depuis des générations, la définition de l’UNRWA inclut des migrants arrivés dès 1946, mais qui ont ensuite été déplacés. Et parce que la définition inclut les «descendants des pères répondant à la définition, » la population de réfugiés de l’UNRWA est passée de 750.000 en 1950 à 5.300.000 aujourd’hui (rendant le règlement de la question des réfugiés palestiniens encore plus difficile). Malgré ces problèmes, les États-Unis continuent de soutenir l’UNRWA (à hauteur de 4,1 milliards de dollars depuis 1950).

 

Les autres réfugiés du monde sont assistés par le Haut Commissariat, qui est chargé d’aider les réfugiés à reconstruire rapidement leur vie, le plus souvent en dehors des pays qu’ils ont fuis. Les réfugiés juifs des pays musulmans ont fait exactement cela: ils ont reconstruit leur vie en Israël et ailleurs. Mais le fait qu’ils se soient tranquillement adaptés et qu’Israël leur ait accordé la pleine citoyenneté ne diminue pas les fautes commises par leur pays d’origine. Ces réfugiés juifs des pays musulmans ont souffert de persécutions judiciaires et souvent violentes entraînant des séquelles émotionnelles et physiques sans commune mesure. Ils ont perdu des milliards en biens et enduré d’énormes handicaps socio-économiques obligés qu’ils furent par la force des choses de reconstruire leur vie à partir de zéro. Israël a été injustement accablé par le coût social et économique colossal d’une intégration rapide de tant de réfugiés. Ainsi, tout ce qui tend à dire que les réfugiés juifs des pays musulmans ne méritent pas d’indemnisation est notoirement injuste.

 

Lors de la récente Journée Mondiale des Réfugiés, l’israélien Shimon Ohayon,  membre de la Knesset, dont la famille a fui le Maroc en 1956, a lancé un appel à la Ligue arabe pour qu’elle «reconnaisse toute sa responsabilité dans l’expulsion de près d’un million de Juifs des terres  où ils avaient vécu pendant des millénaires ». Il a expliqué « qu’en 1947, le Comité Politique de la Ligue Arabe a élaboré une loi qui … appelait au gel  des comptes bancaires des Juifs, leur internement et [la confiscation de leurs biens]. Diverses autres mesures discriminatoires furent prises par les pays arabes et des commissions ultérieures auraient appelé à l’expulsion des Juifs des Etats membres de la Ligue arabe. » Ohayon a mis la Ligue au défi d’accepter toute responsabilité dans « le nettoyage ethnique de la population juive de la majeure partie du Moyen-Orient et de l’Afrique du Nord … [et] d’accorder réparation aux réfugiés juifs. »

 

Une paix juste et globale au Moyen-Orient ne sera possible que lorsque les Etats musulmans reconnaîtront leur rôle dans deux préjudices historiques:

1) Le déplacement d’un million de personnes indigènes du seul fait qu’elles étaient juives, et

2) La perpétuation du sort des réfugiés palestiniens en leur refusant la citoyenneté.

 

Le premier préjudice exige une compensation financière aux familles des réfugiés juifs des pays musulmans, dont la réparation peut être administrée par les États qui les ont absorbés. Le deuxième préjudice devrait être comblé par l’octroi de la pleine citoyenneté aux réfugiés palestiniens (et leurs descendants) qui se sont réinstallés dans les pays musulmans. Les deux préjudices se sont envenimés depuis de trop nombreuses années.

 

CAIRO: MUSLIM BROS. OUSTED – MORSI DEFEAT IS A (CLOUDED) VICTORY FOR EGYPT, BUT A (CLEAR) DEFEAT FOR OBAMA AND U.S.

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

 

 

 Download a pdf version of today's Daily Briefing.

 

Morsi’s Departure Leaves Legacy of Danger: Daniel Pipes, National Post, July 3, 2013—The overthrow of Mohamed Morsi in Egypt delights and worries me. Delight is easy to explain. What appears to have been the largest political demonstration in history uprooted the arrogant Islamists of Egypt, who ruled with near-total disregard for anything other than consolidating their own power.

 

Welcome Back to Mubarak’s Egypt: Prof. Hillel Frisch, BESA Centre, July 4, 2013—The latest chapter in the Egyptian Revolution is being celebrated by many as another victory for democracy and freedom. However, it is nothing more than a return to the military dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak. Egypt’s troubles may only be beginning.

 

The End of Obama’s Brotherhood Crush: Jonathan S. Tobin, Commentary, July 3, 2013—There is bad news, good news and better news coming out of Egypt today. First let’s discuss the good news. The end of the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt is a blow to the cause of radical Islam. The rise of the Brotherhood and the now deposed President Mohamed Morsi was a disaster for Egypt as well as for the West.

 

Egypt's Cunning General: How the Military Plans to Keep Power: Raniah Salloum, Spiegel, July 4, 2013—Egyptian President Morsi has been toppled, and a judge will be the country's new interim leader. But in reality, he's just a puppet. Behind the scenes, General Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and his military apparatus will continue to call the shots.

 

On Topic Links

 

Officially Silent, Israel Privately Upbeat Over Morsi’s Ouster: Times of Israel,  July 4, 2013

Egypt’s Lost Opportunity: Fareed Zakaria, Washington Post, July 3, 2013

Witnessing a Coup in Egypt: Eric Trager, Wall Street Journal, July 4, 2013

Six Thoughts on the Ouster of an Undemocratic, Elected President: David Horovitz, Times of Israel, July 4, 2013

Elbaradei Favored to Head Transitional Egypt Gov't:  Reuters, July 4, 2013

 

 

A Happy Fourth of July to our American Readers!

Let us all remember the immortal words from the American Declaration of Independence:

 

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…..”

 

(In one of the great coincidences of American history, on this day, July 4, in 1826, two of the great founders of the American Revolution, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, both passed away)

______________________________________

 

Today is also the anniversary of the daring IDF mission to Entebbe, Uganda undertaken on this day in 1976 to rescue 105 hostages taken in a Palestinian airline hijacking. Ironically, today, in 2013, an Israeli company, Trilogical Technologies, will begin work on a contract it won to upgrade control systems at the very same airport. The Israeli systems at Entebbe airport will be installed “for control and warning in the event of operational or security irregularities”….. (Jewish Press, July 4, 2013)

 

 

MORSI’S DEPARTURE LEAVES LEGACY OF DANGER

Daniel Pipes

National Post, July 3, 2013

 

The overthrow of Mohamed Morsi in Egypt delights and worries me. Delight is easy to explain. What appears to have been the largest political demonstration in history uprooted the arrogant Islamists of Egypt, who ruled with near-total disregard for anything other than consolidating their own power. Islamism, the drive to apply a medieval Islamic law and the only vibrant radical utopian movement in the world today, experienced an unprecedented repudiation. Egyptians showed an inspiring spirit.

 

If it took 18 days to overthrow Hosni Mubarak in 2011, just four were needed to overthrow Morsi this past week. The number of deaths commensurately went down from about 850 to 40. Western governments (notably the Obama administration), thinking they had sided with history by helping the Muslim Brotherhood regime found themselves appropriately embarrassed.

 

My worry is more complex. The historical record shows that the thrall of radical utopianism endures until calamity sets in. On paper, fascism and communism sound appealing; only the realities of Hitler and Stalin discredited and marginalized these movements.

 

In the case of Islamism, this same process has already begun; indeed, the revulsion started with much less destruction having been wrought than in the prior two cases (Islamism not yet having killed tens of millions) and with greater speed (needing years, not decades). Recent weeks have seen three rejections of Islamist rule, what with the Gezi Park-inspired demonstrations across Turkey, a resounding victory by the least-hardline Islamist in the Iranian elections on June 14, and now the unprecedentedly massive refutation of the Muslim Brotherhood in public squares along the Nile River. But I fear that the quick military removal of the Muslim Brotherhood government will exonerate Islamists.

 

Egypt is a mess. Relations between pro- and anti-Muslim Brotherhood elements have already turned violent and threaten to degenerate. Copts and Shi’ites get murdered just because of their identities. The Sinai Peninsula is anarchic. The incompetent and greedy military leadership, which viciously ruled Egypt from behind the scenes between 1952 and 2012, is back in charge.

 

But the worst problems are economic. Remittances from foreign workers have declined since the upheaval in neighbouring Libya. Sabotage against the pipeline sending natural gas to Israel and Jordan ended that source of income. Tourism has obviously collapsed. Inefficiencies mean that this hydrocarbon-producing country lacks the fuel to run tractors at full capacity. Socialist-era factories churn out sub-par goods.

 

Egypt imports an estimated 70 percent of its food and is fast running out of hard currency to pay for wheat, edible oils, and other staples. Hunger looms. Unless foreigners subsidize Egypt with tens of billions of dollars of aid a year into the indefinite future, a highly unlikely scenario, that hunger looks unavoidable. Already, poor families have cut back on their food intake.

 

Looming over all these dangers, the Ethiopian government exploited Egypt’s weakness a few weeks ago to begin building a dam on the Blue Nile that could entail a reduction in water being supplied to Egypt from 55 billion cubic meters to 40 billion, a move that has incalculably negative implications for life in the country known as the Gift of the Nile.

 

As these economic disasters hit, the year-long interlude of Islamist rule by Morsi & Co., which did so much to exacerbate these problems, may well be forgotten – and whoever inherits the rule will take the blame. In other words, the pain Egyptians have and will go through may be for naught. Who knows, they might in desperation turn again to Islamists to pull them out of their future predicament. Likewise, the Muslim Brotherhood’s brief time in power means other Muslim peoples will also not gain as they should from Egypt’s dire experience.

 

On another subject, Lee Smith of the Hudson Institute speculates that Egypt’s new rulers will see a short war with Israel as the only way to “reunify the country and earn Egypt money from an international community eager to broker peace,” as well as “return Egypt to its former place of prominence” in the Middle East. Such a war would likely achieve none of these goals – Egyptian forces would probably get clobbered, leaving the country yet poorer and weaker – but one cannot discount this possibility. Egypt’s military leaders have many times before engaged in follies against Israel. In short, my joy at Morsi’s departure more than offset by my concern that the lessons of his misrule will not be learned.

 

Contents

 

 

WELCOME BACK TO MUBARAK’S EGYPT

Prof. Hillel Frisch

BESA Centre, July 4, 2013

 

The latest chapter in the Egyptian Revolution is being celebrated by many as another victory for democracy and freedom. However, it is nothing more than a return to the military dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak. Egypt’s troubles may only be beginning.

 

The Egyptian army’s announcement of an ultimatum “to heed the will of the people” in retrospect said it all. Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the Minister of Defense appointed by the democratically-elected president he was about to ouster, talked about “the will of the people” in the typical manner of dictators, as if the people were united. In fact, the people were deeply divided between an opposition that wanted President Mohamed Morsi’s head and his supporters who believed that the first president in Egypt’s history to be elected in free elections should be allowed to remain for the full four years in office, as stipulated by the constitution. This constitution, they argued, was supported by 63 percent of voters in a national referendum.

 

The army’s moves on the ground clearly showed that it sided completely with the opposition. All of their demands were met and more: Morsi was ousted and placed under arrest, the constitution was suspended, a government that included the military was set to take over, and new presidential and parliamentary elections were called for the distant future. Just to make sure, the military refrained from committing itself to any timetable.

 

The clearest indication that Egypt is moving back in time – restoring what the Egyptians call “the deep state” that prevailed under Nasser, Sadat, and Mubarak – was the decision to replace the ousted democratically-elected president with the President of the Constitutional Court, Adli Mansour. Mansour’s bio reveals that he started his legal career in the legislative section in the President’s Office under Gamal Abdel Nasser, showing clearly that he is not the man that will allow any moves to restore democracy.

 

Ironically, the same upper-middle class youth who ousted former president Hosni Mubarak were now instrumental in the comeback of Mubarak’s Egypt. The same youth who just a year ago shouted “down with the military” and were used by Morsi in his confrontation with the army, were now equally used by the military and others in the “deep state” to bring themselves back to power. The military lost power to Morsi after ruling Egypt ineptly for eighteen months in the aftermath of Mubarak’s ouster.  Just one year later they find themselves back on top.

 

The youth, the military, and the United States should have been wiser. They should have allowed Morsi his full term in office to fail. At that point, a weak president ruling over an even weaker state might have been pressured to hold democratic elections once again. Washington could have placed pressure on the Egyptian government to hold free elections in such a situation, reminding Morsi that an American withdrawal of financial and technological aid could cause Egypt to collapse. The Muslim Brotherhood, in the biggest and most important Arab state, would have then been elected out of office. This would have delivered a clear message throughout the Arab world that politics is about electing people who are armed with policies needed to address society’s pressing problems, not with guns and other modes of suppression. The focus on the highly contentious issues of religious and national identity would have given way to an emphasis on the pragmatics of enhancing human welfare and citizen rights.

 

Instead, the bitter adherents of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Salafist groups (and at a later stage the youth in Tamarod once they realize that they were wronged again) might learn an entirely different lesson, an ominous one played out in other revolutions: the beheading of potential counter-revolutionaries in a manner they themselves refrained from doing after Mubarak’s ouster. Despite the fireworks and roars of Egypt’s opposition as Mubarak’s military took over the reins of power, Egypt’s trials and tribulations are hardly over. They might only be unfolding.

 

Prof. Hillel Frisch is a professor of political studies and Middle East studies at Bar-Ilan University.

 

Contents

 

 

THE END OF OBAMA’S BROTHERHOOD CRUSH

Jonathan S. Tobin

Commentary, July 3, 2013

 

There is bad news, good news and better news coming out of Egypt today. First let’s discuss the good news. The end of the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt is a blow to the cause of radical Islam. The rise of the Brotherhood and the now deposed President Mohamed Morsi was a disaster for Egypt as well as for the West. Had Morsi and his party been left in place to continue their drive to impose their Islamist vision on the world’s most populous Arab country it might have been impossible to depose them, thus locking Egypt into the same nightmare scenario of theocratic tyranny that we have seen unfold in Iran in the last generation.

 

The even better news is that the Egyptian Army didn’t listen to the Obama administration when it asked them not to launch what is, for all intents and purposes, a military coup that toppled a democratically elected government. The embrace of Morsi and the Brotherhood by President Obama and his foreign policy over the last year has further poisoned Egyptian public opinion against the United States as well as strengthened the confidence of Islamists that America will not oppose their efforts to transform the region. After having been intimidated by U.S. pressure aimed at ensuring that the military would not prevent Morsi’s election, the military ran the risk that this time Obama meant what he said about using the billions in aid Egypt gets from the United States to prevent them from stopping the Brotherhood’s push for power. The willingness of the Egyptian army to step in and stop the confrontation in the streets not only avoided clashes that might have produced unimaginable casualties but also kept open the possibility that a new government could emerge in Cairo without having to fight a civil war in order to survive.

 

However, the bad news is twofold. First, the series of events leading up to the ouster illustrates the utter bankruptcy of American foreign policy under Barack Obama. The second is that there should be no blind confidence that what will follow will make Egypt more stable or prosperous, let alone free. The United States should oppose the rise of Islamists, but none of the possible outcomes of the conflict playing out between them and the military and secular Egyptians is likely to produce a liberal democracy or a nation that is likely to be a force for peace in the region.

 

It should be specified that events in Egypt could never be controlled from Washington. But the Obama administration bears a heavy share of the blame for a chain of decisions that first undermined an authoritarian ally in Mubarak and then paved the way for the rise of an equally authoritarian and far more hostile government led by Morsi and the Brotherhood. The identification of the United States with the Brotherhood over the last year was an unforced error on the part of Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her successor John Kerry. The willingness of the administration to buy into the myth that regimes like that of the Brotherhood and their increasingly despotic Islamic allies in Turkey are good allies made a mockery of American values as well as hindering its ability to protect U.S. interests.

 

Let’s also dispense with the crocodile tears being shed for Egyptian democracy by some Brotherhood apologists today. What has happened in Egypt the past two years has, despite the hopes of many there and in the West, had little to do with democracy. The fall of the Mubarak regime and its replacement by an Islamist movement determined to consolidate power may have involved elections, but democracy requires more than a trip to the ballot box in which a highly organized movement that is actually opposed to freedom wins a vote. While the debate in the United States about the advisability of Americans advocating democracy abroad will continue, the power struggle in Cairo merely illustrates the fact that this cause cannot triumph in a country where the debate is largely conducted between Islamists and secular authoritarians. While we should encourage (as President Bush tried to do) liberal Egyptians to build democratic institutions, in the absence of any national consensus in favour of democracy (as exists in countries like the United States, Israel and the West), freedom doesn’t really have a chance.

 

It may be that what will happen now in Egypt will be a prolonged struggle involving the Brotherhood that will turn a country that is already a basket case into a place that is an even bigger mess. Nor is there any assurance that the new government backed by the military or the one that will be elected in new elections will be able to govern effectively. While Morsi did not abandon the peace treaty with Israel and the military has no interest in conflict with the Jewish state, there is no telling whether the chaos in the Sinai will grow or whether Hamas, the Brotherhood’s ideological godchild, will seek to heat up the border or make mischief inside Egypt.

 

Finally, in the last two years Egypt has been an outstanding example of how U.S. foreign aid is not always dispensed in a manner that furthers American interests. The decision of the Obama administration to threaten the military with an aid cut off if it opposed the Brotherhood before it took power was absurd. But if President Obama doesn’t see his way to continuing the aid now that the military has ignored his advice about not toppling Morsi, then what he will be doing is to completely alienate the Egyptian people for a generation. Congress, which has rightly been skeptical about allowing billions to flow to an Islamist government, should step back now and not further hamstring Obama and Kerry’s efforts to undo the damage they have done in the last 12 months. Whether any policy reversal on the part of the U.S. that will back the military against the Brotherhood can retrieve America’s tattered reputation remains to be seen. But it is to be hoped that even at this late date, Obama will realize just how wrong he has been about the Brotherhood and start trying to repair the damage.

Contents

 

 

EGYPT'S CUNNING GENERAL:
HOW THE MILITARY PLANS TO KEEP POWER

Raniah Salloum

Spiegel, July 4, 2013

 

Egyptian President Morsi has been toppled, and a judge will be the country's new interim leader. But in reality, he's just a puppet. Behind the scenes, General Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and his military apparatus will continue to call the shots. Adly Mansour's rise to power has been a rapid one. On Monday, the career judge was sworn in as chief justice of Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court. By Wednesday night, President Mohammed Morsi had been deposed, the constitution suspended, and Mansour was declared the country's new interim leader, set to be sworn in on Thursday. Along with a cabinet of technocrats, he'll govern the country until new elections.

 

But no one knows if and when these elections might take place. And Mansour won't be Egypt's most important man, even if the justice, who served in the country's top court under deposed autocrat Hosni Mubarak, now calls himself head of state. That's because behind the scenes, the military, led by General Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, plans to continue running the show. Since it took power in a coup in 1952, the military has remained the most important political player in Egypt. Neither Mubarak's fall in 2011, nor the short rule by Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, have changed this. El-Sissi demonstrated just how powerful the influence of the military's generals is on Wednesday night, when, after giving Morsi 48 hours to leave office, he summarily informed the president that he was no longer the leader of the country. No matter that Morsi was the country's first democratically elected head of state.

 

The Muslim Brotherhood, the region's most influential Islamist movement, has fallen into disfavor. In 2011 the army let Mubarak, who was one of their own, be deposed. This time they wanted to get rid of the disagreeable Morsi. It happened despite the fact that el-Sissi was at least nominally dependent on the president, who appointed him to lead the military in August 2012, after he fired the powerful Mohammed Hussein Tantawi. At the time, some feared the Muslim Brotherhood would form an alliance with the military.

 

El-Sissi is known to be devout, though he sees himself as a follower of the late, secular, authoritarian Gamal Abdel Nasser, the father of modern Egypt and a critic of the Muslim Brotherhood. Morsi had probably assumed that by making El-Sissi its leader, he had weakened the military. Apparently, he was wrong.

 

At 58, el-Sissi is the country's youngest general. He has never fought in a war, and only knows about conflicts with Israel from the stories of others. He belongs to a generation that was invited to receive military training in the West. In 1992 he was in Britain, and in 2006, the United States.

 

He made international headlines in 2011 when he justified the degrading "virginity tests" conducted by soldiers on Egyptian women who had taken part in the revolution. But el-Sissi learned from the debacle of 2011, when the military itself formed the government after Mubarak was toppled. The military leadership was openly pulling the strings, which quickly made it subject to the scrutiny of the public.

 

This time the head of the military has been trying from the outset to stay in the background. The events of Wednesday night are clearly a coup — the army has deposed a democratically elected president and suspended the constitution. Yet Sissi acted as if the generals had been compelled by the Egyptian people to intervene.

 

Indeed, many Egyptians have welcomed the coup. The military envisions a power-sharing setup where civilians will hold primary authority. That way, they will be the ones to draw the ire of the population as they slave away to solve the country's disastrous economic situation and mend deep political divisions.

 

Behind the scenes, Sissi and his colleagues set the tone, especially in two areas: Security policy is traditionally their domain, but the government should also keep clear of the generals' monetary privileges. The army is one of the most important economic power brokers in Egypt.

 

It remains to be seen whether this power-sharing structure will actually work. This is exactly what the military already tried in vain with the Muslim Brotherhood. But Morsi was rebellious. He began to interfere in security policy and didn't take the sharp warnings of the generals seriously. From their perspective, things will work out better this time under the duo of military chief and top judiciary.

 

Contents

 

 

Officially Silent, Israel Privately Upbeat Over Morsi’s Ouster: Times of Israel,  July 4, 2013—While Israeli leaders have refrained from commenting on the ousting of Egypt’s president Mohammed Morsi by the army, political and military sources privately indicated Thursday that they considered the turn of events potentially beneficial to Israel, if also largely unpredictable.

 

Egypt’s Lost Opportunity: Fareed Zakaria, Washington Post, July 3, 2013—Over the past three decades, when American officials would (gently) press Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak to stop jailing his opponents and initiate more democratic reforms, he would invariably snap back: “Do you want the Muslim Brotherhood in power?”

 

Witnessing a Coup in Egypt: Eric Trager, Wall Street Journal, July 4, 2013—"This is the best revolution that ever happened in the history of our entire country," the lieutenant told me. "It gathered all types of people together—the police, the army, all the Egyptian people, and the judges."

 

Six Thoughts on the Ouster of an Undemocratic, Elected President: David Horovitz, Times of Israel, July 4, 2013—As the Arab Spring moves via the Islamist Winter into the Unpredictable Summer, six thoughts on the ouster of Egypt’s president and its possible repercussions.

 

Elbaradei Favored to Head Transitional Egypt Gov't:  Reuters, July 4, 2013—Mohamed ElBaradei, a former UN nuclear agency chief, is favorite to head a transitional government in Egypt after the military overthrew Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, military, political and diplomatic sources said on Thursday.

 

 

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“LET OUR PEOPLE GO!”: EGYPTIANS RISE AGAINST NEW ISLAMIST PHARAOH

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

 

 

 Download a pdf version of today's Daily Briefing.

 

Egypt’s anti-Islamist uprising: How did it come to this?: Evan Hill, The Globe and Mail, July 1, 2013—Families had stockpiled food and water, drivers had slept nights in petrol lines that snaked for city block after city block, and half a dozen people had died in a days-long spasm of violence that exploded into a full-blown seizure on Sunday, when mass protests against President Mohamed Morsi broke out and brought out  the largest crowds in Egypt’s modern history.

 

Two Futures for Egypt Clash in the Conflict of the Squares: Nassif Hitti, Al-Monitor, July 1, 2013 — The Tamarod movement in Egypt came to fill a vacuum created by the absence of strong, well-entrenched, mass-based political parties. This is expected, since Egypt is emerging from six decades of authoritarianism that closed down the political space and confiscated political life. It also obstructed the creation and evolution of party politics.

 

For Egypt’s Military, There’s no Turning Back: Avi Issacharoff , Times of Israel, July 2, 2013 — Just hours after publishing an unequivocal statement that put it firmly on the opposition’s side, Egypt’s military, late Monday night, issued a second announcement in which its leaders attempted to regain a more neutral position.

 

On Topic Links

 

Who Will Save Egypt? Cairo's Economic Disaster: Marina Ottaway, Foreign Affairs, June 30, 2013

The Egyptian State Unravels: Mara Revkin, Foreign Affairs, June 27, 2013

'Rebel' Egyptian Movement Defies Morsi Through Petitions: Ahmed Ateyya, Al-Monitor, May 17, 2013
Pressure Builds on Morsi as His Allies Quit and Protests Mount: Ben Hubbard, David D. Kirkpatrick And Kareem Fahim, New York Times, July 2, 2013

Volcano on the Nile: Editorial, The Daily Star (Lebanon), July 2, 2013

 

 

EGYPT’S ANTI-ISLAMIST UPRISING: HOW DID IT COME TO THIS?

Evan Hill

The Globe and Mail, July 1, 2013

 

Families had stockpiled food and water, drivers had slept nights in petrol lines that snaked for city block after city block, and half a dozen people had died in a days-long spasm of violence that exploded into a full-blown seizure on Sunday, when mass protests against President Mohamed Morsi broke out and brought out  the largest crowds in Egypt’s modern history. The headquarters of the Mr. Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood were set on fire on Sunday night, after offices of the Brotherhood’s ruling Freedom and Justice Party were attacked and burned throughout the Nile Delta. Brotherhood toughs have banded together outside their offices wearing hard hats and makeshift shields and carrying homemade guns, ready to bludgeon or blow away what they fear is the very embodiment of the counter-revolution.

 

One online commentator described the mass movement to oust Mr. Morsi on the anniversary of his election – a movement known as Tamarod (“rebel”) – as the birth of a new political order that may kill its mother. A journalist said it was as if Egypt’s body politic were rejecting a transplant and killing the nation in the process, a fledgling democracy’s auto-immune system gone haywire.

 

How did the country get here? How did the January 2011 uprising and its young, made-for-TV activists spin out into another zero-sum game for control? The story is complicated, and the strategic and tactical failures by both the secularist opposition and the Muslim Brotherhood are so profoundly, majestically short-sighted and self-defeating that some have retreated into that most time-tested of rationales, the conspiracy, to explain how things could have gone so wrong, so fast. In their narrative, the crisis has been stage-managed by the military, Egypt’s eminence grise and ultimate power-broker, beginning on the day in February 2011 when the generals opportunistically seized on the mass protests to quietly but forcefully escort President Hosni Mubarak, his family and his cronies from the stage.

 

Like most conspiracy theories, the story has a seed of truth. In the heady days before and after the fall of Mr. Mubarak, the generals were taking everyone’s temperature. At one time or another, they chatted with many of the revolution’s most prominent instigators. They met with Ahmed Maher of the April 6th Movement. They met with representatives of the Brotherhood. Mohamed Aboul Ghar, who would soon found one of the only serious non-Islamist political parties in the country, once told me how he, the editor of Al Ahram newspaper, and two other men were called before five generals that March. One kept notes as they spoke; he was Abdelfattah el-Sisi, later promoted to defence minister and military commander-in-chief under Mr. Morsi. As the meeting adjourned, one of the generals casually remarked that the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces — the military’s governing body — had in 2010 held a meeting without Mr. Mubarak, their commander, and decided not to allow the president’s son, Gamal, to complete a widely telegraphed succession during rigged presidential elections then scheduled for 2011.

 

“The plan [was], when Gamal is going to take over, they are going make a coup,” Aboul Ghar recalled. The military’s disdain for Gamal and his generation of casually corrupt businessmen was well known, as was their desire not to see him crowned, and the January uprising provided a perfect opportunity to abort the Mubarak family dynasty. But after it became obvious that the masses would not accept a handover to Omar Suleiman, Mr. Mubarak’s last-minute vice president and intelligence chief, the military needed a placeholder. Picking out a suitable figure from Mr. Mubarak’s old National Democratic Party network would be impossible — not in the aftermath of a rebellion that left their headquarters smoldering, their party dissolved, and their leaders facing prosecution. Egypt’s political opposition, meanwhile, had been carefully neutered and co-opted for five decades; it had no base and its leaders no respect on the streets.

 

The only suitable dancing partner was the Muslim Brotherhood, an institution whose organizational, bureaucratic and service-providing experience was deeper than even that of the post-1956 militarized government itself.

 

And so the transition proceeded under military rule, directed by old, conservative men who learned their craft in a much different Egypt, half of them hoping to protect the old order, the other half pushing their project to usher in a new one. A temporary constitution orchestrated by the military and backed by the Brotherhood and their ultraconservative allies passed easily. Calls from figures such as Mohamed ElBaradei to create a liberal, progressive and inclusive new constitution from scratch, written by an independent body chosen by consensus, were ignored. As the year dragged on, poor Egyptians remained poor, and Mr. Mubarak sat uncharged with any crime in a military hospital. Protests against the military’s reluctance to hand over power grew. They were supported by the Brotherhood, which likely saw in the unrest a useful tactic to keep their prime opponent on the back foot. In November 2011, the protests threatened to get out of control.

 

Security forces stormed Tahrir Square and brutally dispersed a small sit-in of a few hundred people — almost all of them relatives of the revolution’s martyrs or those who had been wounded. They had been forgotten by the state, and they were angry. The revolutionaries were infuriated at the attack, and the result was the battle of Mohamed Mahmoud Street, a five-day brawl with the riot police near the Square that left more than 40 civilians dead. The end of the fighting was precipitated by army intervention, the construction of a large concrete wall, and the arrival of a human chain of Muslim Brothers who cajoled or forced the protesters off the street.

 

The revolutionaries and marginalized young men and women who had joined the fight were filled with righteous anger. They felt betrayed. They had shed blood, supposedly on principle: to force police reform, to snatch some justice for those who had lost sons or daughters or their own health during the revolution, to hold the army to account for abuses under its rule. To them, the Brothers had thrown it all away for political gain. The temporary constitution had paved the way for parliamentary elections, due that month, a critical step that would help decide who ruled post-revolution Egypt. The Brotherhood could not let them be delayed. They went on to dominate the vote. Mohamed Mahmoud cleaved a rift between the two sides that never healed.

 

Over the course of the following months, it became obvious: The Brotherhood was dutifully, purposefully playing for keeps. Under the temporary constitution they helped to pass, the new parliament would be tasked with choosing those who would write a permanent founding document for post-revolution Egypt — the holy grail. The Brotherhood would go to almost any lengths to secure it. But what they saw as predictable hardball and democratic combat — which they were almost guaranteed to win — the opposition saw as a series of betrayals.

 

The Brotherhood ran for more seats in parliament than some of their prominent members had first promised, then dominated the ministries once elected. The opposition hardly contested the second legislative election, for the less-powerful upper house, which was similarly dominated by the Brotherhood and Salafi parties. When the time came to select the constituent assembly, the Brotherhood’s parliamentary bloc helped gerrymander its 100-member makeup so that if push came to shove, the Brotherhood and its backers would not be outvoted. The Brotherhood pledged not to seek the presidency, then fielded a candidate, and fielded another – Mohammed Morsi — when the first was disqualified.

 

After Mr. Morsi took office, he failed to form — or could not find those willing to join — a cabinet that some had hoped would involve figures from across the political spectrum and prompt a national reconciliation. The Brotherhood, meanwhile, felt battered by the forces of the old regime. In the days before Mr. Morsi’s victory, the Supreme Constitutional Court used an electoral technicality to annul the lower house of parliament, erasing the Brotherhood’s gains and the country’s most crucial elected body. The court docketed a case to rule on the legitimacy of the constituent assembly. Other courts planned to rule on the legality of the Muslim Brotherhood itself. Their entire project was now at risk.

 

The beginning of the end came in November, almost a year to the day after the Mohamed Mahmoud Street battle, when Mr. Morsi issued a package of sovereign decrees — just four months into his term — that essentially placed himself and the assembly above judicial review. He and his allies argued that to stand by and do nothing would leave courts packed with Mubarak appointees free to undermine every step of the transition. The opposition, which may have once been inclined to agree, did not take his side. There had been too many betrayals; trust had evaporated.

 

Protesters took to the streets, calling the president a “new pharaoh.” The remaining liberals, progressives, leftists and Christians in the constituent assembly walked out. Mr. Morsi gave them two extra months to resolve their differences, but the assembly rushed the draft constitution through an overnight session and passed it. Opposition politicians increasingly believed that Mr. Morsi did not even call his own shots — that decisions of national import were made in the Brotherhood's secretive Guidance Bureau. In Egypt's new constitution, human-rights groups and other critics saw gaping loopholes, lax protections for minorities, women and children, and troubling roles for religious oversight from conservative Sunni institutions.

 

The November crisis awakened the opposition to a harsh reality: they were going to keep losing this game, and the Brotherhood was not going to stop playing. The only solution was to change the rules. They united, for the first time, under the banner of the National Salvation Front. Their faltering effort to boycott and then vote down the new constitution failed, but the unexpectedly tight result convinced them that Mr. Morsi’s base was shrinking. Soon after, the NSF declared that it would boycott upcoming parliamentary elections unless many of the rules — written by the nearly wholly Islamist upper house — were changed. Improbably, despite being filled with inflated egos and parties highly opposed to one another, the NSF held its front.

 

In December, after Morsi supporters ransacked a small sit-in outside the presidential palace and sparked deadly street battles, a more extreme wing of the opposition began to wield influence inside the coalition. They argued that Mr. Morsi had lost all legitimacy. He would have to go, voluntarily or by force. Violent anti-Brotherhood protests became the order of the day. Instability worked in the opposition’s favour. The economy was nose-diving, and security forces — becoming more openly vocal in their disdain for the Brotherhood government — could not or would not do their jobs. Social media and independent television stations lit up with images of Brotherhood members beating away protesters. Newspapers openly mocked Mr. Morsi’s government for its inability to right the ship. Rumours and anonymously sourced news reports spread about the Brotherhood’s ambitions to Islamize the army and police and carve off critical swaths of sovereign assets, such as those along the Suez Canal, to sell to benefactors in Qatar. Mr. Morsi – one of the more deeply uncharismatic leaders in modern Arab history – proved incapable of rallying anyone outside his base.

 

The Brotherhood’s majoritarian behavior had, by then, convinced many secular-minded Egyptians that Mr. Morsi and his administration would not engage in any meaningful negotiation. The goal for many in the opposition became the end of the Brotherhood’s entire project itself.

 

Ministries were in quiet bureaucratic rebellion. Lower-level employees stalled paperwork. Mr. Morsi and the Brotherhood had, by now, almost fully retreated to their core supporters. He held a sectarianism-fueled stadium rally where he severed relations with Syria’s Bashar al-Assad – after his administration had encouraged Egyptians to go fight in the war.

 

As the swamp of a long summer and economic decline loomed, the NSF waited. Then, in June, came Tamarod. The Tamarod (“Rebel”) campaign has publicly put into simple terms what many in the political opposition have been thinking for months: Morsi is the target, he must go. And when he goes, the Brotherhood project ends. The constitution is rewritten; the country presses the reset button on the transition.

 

Egypt is more polarized than at any point since the revolution. Figures from the old regime – Omar Suleiman’s aide, the son of one of the Nile Delta’s longtime Mubarak power brokers – have re-emerged to rally supporters against the Brotherhood. The irony is not lost on many of the most dedicated revolutionaries, who wonder whether their causes have been hijacked and their voices marginalized once again. Others have set aside such concerns, saying the Brotherhood represents the more clear and present danger. The enduring legacy of Mr. Morsi’s presidency, if he does not survive his four-year term, may be his inadvertent facilitation of the counter-revolution.

 

If Mohamed Morsi falls or steps down, millions of Egyptians will view it as a victory. Perhaps he could be succeeded by a salvation government, and some kind of stable progress will ensue, though the Brotherhood can hardly be expected to quietly allow their project to dissolve around them, and it would likely mean the return of the army to a guiding role.

 

Revolutions come with chaos. History teaches us that many years may pass before a country comes out of such upheaval with a working government, satisfactory justice and reconciliation, and a consensus about national identity. But even in such a positive scenario, it is hard not to view the first two and a half years of Egypt’s revolution as a series of squandered promises.

 

Evan Hill is a Cairo-based journalist.

Contents

 

TWO FUTURES FOR EGYPT CLASH IN THE CONFLICT OF THE SQUARES

Nassif Hitti

Al-Monitor, July 1, 2013

                       

The Tamarod movement in Egypt came to fill a vacuum created by the absence of strong, well-entrenched, mass-based political parties. This is expected, since Egypt is emerging from six decades of authoritarianism that closed down the political space and confiscated political life. It also obstructed the creation and evolution of party politics.

 

Another factor for the emergence of Tamarod lies in the shaky legitimacy of the salvation front. It is a loose coalition of important personalities and of mostly small, newly created, elitist political parties. Beyond their common unified opposition to the newly established Muslim Brotherhood regime, they have different ideological sensibilities, political views and governing agendas ranging from liberal to nationalist to socialist to a combination of some of these ideologies. The asymmetry is due to the enormous resources and the iron discipline of the Muslim Brotherhood.

 

This is cemented by years of persecution and yearning for power and by the strong belief of being entrusted with the sacral mission to salvage the Umma. The Muslim Brotherhood is acting as if they earned via the ballots a piece of property called the state, which they could rebuild and redecorate the way they wanted.

Tamarod, the youth movement, whereby youth represents a majority in Egypt, reflects the frustrated expectations of those who played a major role in bringing down the authoritarian regime of former President Hosni Mubarak. They wanted to establish an open, democratic, new regime, one that is established by all and for all. A regime that is based on political participation, accountability of the institutions, respect for rights and freedoms, separation of powers and drastic, concrete socioeconomic reforms introduced by the new state.

 

For them, a democratic regime is to be built by an inclusive equal-sharing societal process in which all the actors of the society are involved. For the Muslim Brotherhood, democracy was reduced to elections that gave the winner a free hand to enforce its ideological views and precepts, gradually if necessary, to reshape state and society. Thus, according to this view, democracy is no more than an electoral procedure, a parenthesis in the historical process to grab power. It bestows on the Muslim Brotherhood the right to build their own regime under a different name and a different legitimizing discourse. This is part of the well-known Islamist strategy of empowerment and redefining the sociocultural identity and remodeling the existent value system of the country, instead of redefining the role of the state to better face the socioeconomic challenges of an impoverished developing country.

 

The Muslim Brotherhood answer to the Tamarod movement call for change has been to depict the conflict as between Islam and secularism as the deputy supreme guide [Rashad al-Bayoumi] has been saying. Secularism is a word that represents an accusation in a religious conservative Egypt, being equated with atheism. They try also to define the conflict as being between the old regime people and the revolution.

 

If a win by knockout by either party is impossible, then to save Egypt from a deadly stalemate, with an unpredictable outcome, the regime must accept to change its policy entirely. The aim would be of building genuine bridges with the opposition. It must adopt an inclusive approach to national reconstruction that cuts entirely with the authoritarian mentality of the Muslim Brotherhood; the same mentality that governed Egypt under the old regime and that is changing its name this time. Otherwise the confrontation of the squares will continue to escalate and expand with the risk of becoming more violent. This will take Egypt to a dangerous, tortuous road leading to more economic impoverishment, a radicalization of the political discourse and more social violence in an atmosphere of tense escalated national tension, of state paralysis and of trading accusations…..

 

Ambassador Nassif Hitti is a senior Arab League official and the former head of the Arab League Mission in Paris. He is a former representative to UNESCO and a member of the Al-Monitor board of directors.

 

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FOR EGYPT’S MILITARY, THERE’S NO TURNING BACK

Avi Issacharoff

Times of Israel, July 2, 2013

 

Just hours after publishing an unequivocal statement that put it firmly on the opposition’s side, Egypt’s military, late Monday night, issued a second announcement in which its leaders attempted to regain a more neutral position. “Military coups are not part of our ideology,” the later message said. “The published statement was meant to push the sides towards an agreement… We have no plan of taking power into our own hands.”

 

The military’s late attempt to paint itself as an impartial broker between the secular and Islamist camps failed to sound convincing…Indeed, it is hard to imagine a more dire threat to a democratically elected president. The military, in its initial statement, decided to grant President Mohammed Morsi (and the rest of the political system) a 48-hour ultimatum to reach understandings with the opposition, “as a last chance to shoulder the burden of the historic moment.” If the demands are not realized in that time, the military said it would be obliged to “announce a road-map for the future and the steps for overseeing its implementation, with participation of all patriotic and sincere parties and movements … excluding no one.”

 

While the wording of the statement was vague, it was not vague enough. The opposition’s demands are clear– the removal of Morsi. The only compromise that may be in the cards is the cancellation of the pro-Islamist constitution and, perhaps, the dismissal of Prime Minister Hesham Kandil. However, the millions who swarmed Tahrir Square and those who amassed opposite Ittihadiya palace will not accept anything less than Morsi’s resignation, especially in the face of such a clear threat from the military.

 

In the meantime, Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood are digging their heels in and don’t show any willingness to compromise. They may still meet with opposition representatives in the day and a half before the ultimatum expires, but the gaps between the sides seem too deep to overcome. Still, in this era of Egyptian revolutions, a last-minute compromise is not an impossibility. Morsi, who just a few days ago seemed to convey confidence in a public address, found himself on Monday night weaker than ever. Eleven Cabinet ministers as well as members of Parliament and regional governors have submitted their resignations. Belief that Morsi will survive is dwindling, especially in light of the fact that hundreds of thousands of people are still swarming to Tahrir Square.

 

He has two guns to his head now: one held by the opposition, whose ultimatum will end at 5 pm Tuesday, and one held by the army, whose ultimatum expires Wednesday afternoon. Protest groups have already announced that if the president isn’t out by 5 pm, they will announce a general strike that will bring the country to a standstill.

 

What will the military actually do when it’s 48-hour ultimatum to Morsi expires? Not much it seems. The chances of a military coup seem slim at the moment. It may be that as part of their promised “Road map” the army will demand Morsi take steps for appeasement or even leave office. If he doesn’t comply, the army may simply carry on its current policy of letting the protesters do as they like, including attacking regime institutions.

 

In such a scenario, Morsi may even turn to the army himself, requesting to be saved.

 

Contents

 

Who Will Save Egypt? Cairo's Economic Disaster: Marina Ottaway, Foreign Affairs, June 30, 2013—Egyptians have a lot to be upset about these days, and they are showing it. The one-year anniversary of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi’s inauguration has brought with it major protests and counter protests, raising fears of renewed political violence. Underneath all the anger lies a basic fact: The Egyptian economy is in deep trouble.

 

Pressure Builds on Morsi as His Allies Quit and Protests Mount: Ben Hubbard, David D. Kirkpatrick And Kareem Fahim, New York Times, July 2, 2013—President Mohamed Morsi faced deepening political isolation on Tuesday as protesters massed to call for his ouster, the clock ticked on a two-day military ultimatum, high-ranking officials quit his cabinet and his own press office, and ultraconservative Islamists joined the opposition’s call for early presidential elections.

 

Volcano on the Nile: Editorial, The Daily Star (Lebanon), July 2, 2013—For Egyptian President Mohammad Mursi, perhaps it requires repeating: In early 2011, Egyptians mounted a massive popular uprising in order to remove an authoritarian regime, not to install the Muslim Brotherhood.

 

The Egyptian State Unravels: Mara Revkin, Foreign Affairs, June 27, 2013 — Meet the gangs and vigilantes who thrive under Morsi… “Everybody needs a weapon,” said Mahmoud, a 23-year-old Egyptian arms dealer, as he displayed his inventory of pistols, machetes, and switchblades on the living room floor of his family’s apartment in the crime-ridden Cairo neighborhood of Ain Shams.

 

'Rebel' Egyptian Movement Defies Morsi Through Petitions: Ahmed Ateyya, Al-Monitor, May 17, 2013—"The Rebel Movement announces that it is collecting signed petitions calling for confidence withdrawal from the illegitimate President Mohammed Morsi." In the middle of the infamously noisy and overcrowded Giza Square, a group of 15 activists started to repeat their announcement through a megaphone, carrying thousands of copies of the petition and a stock of extra pens Monday.    

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ALTHOUGH EGYPT TOTTERS ON BRINK OF COLLAPSE, DON’T COUNT ISLAMIST BRETHREN OUT


Contents:                          

 

Download a pdf version of today's Daily Briefing.

 

The Region: Passivity in the face of Islamism: Barry Rubin, Jerusalem Post, June 3, 2013—A colleague wrote me the following thoughts: “As the expert on this issue, may I pose a question to you? I accept the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood is messing up in Egypt – that they are suffering a credibility gap between promise and performance.

 

Egypt's Summer of Discontent: Eric Trager, Real Clear World, May 29, 2013—Due to a moribund economy, fuel and food shortages, and a lack of political opportunities, Egypt faces a tumultuous summer, and conditions will likely continue to deteriorate thereafter.

 

Mohamed Morsi’s Betrayal of Democracy: Editorial Board, Washington Post, May 13, 2013—Ahmed Maher, one of the leaders of Egypt’s 2011 revolution, supported Islamist Mohamed Morsi in last year’s presidential election because he believed Mr. Morsi’s victory over a military-backed candidate would be more likely to consolidate democracy in their country.

 

On Topic Links

 

Egypt’s Supreme Court Rules Against Shura Council: Zenobia Azeem, Al-Monitor, June 3, 2013

Monthly Infiltration from Sinai Drops from 2,000 to 2: Prime Minister's Office, June 2, 2013
Ethiopian Dam Project Raises Fears of Water Deficit in Egypt: Ahmad Mustafa, Al-Monitor, May 30, 2013

Jihad on Egypt's Christian Children: Raymond Ibrahim, Gatestone Institute, June 3, 2013

 

 

THE REGION: PASSIVITY IN THE FACE OF ISLAMISM

Barry Rubin

Jerusalem Post, June 3, 2013
 

A colleague wrote me the following thoughts: “As the expert on this issue, may I pose a question to you? I accept the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood is messing up in Egypt – that they are suffering a credibility gap between promise and performance. But could this not also be positive in that in the process political Islam itself gets discredited? You would recall the Islamist Revolution heralded by Hasan al-Turabi in Sudan. However when I [met some of them], Turabi’s own students [were] critical about the Islamist revolution and indeed told me there should now be a division between state and faith. Could a similar development not happen in Egypt?”

This is a clever point, and it could certainly happen. Yes, by mismanaging Egypt’s affairs the Brotherhood could become unpopular and be voted out of office. To put this idea another way: Might despair be moderation’s best friend? There are examples of such a phenomenon right now in Egypt: An anti-Islamist media now exists to point out this discontent, though the opposition’s power is sometimes overestimated. The mistaken lesson of the 2011 Egyptian revolution at the time was that a lot of people protesting or voting equals democracy.

 

Yet power balances still matter. The old regime only fell because the old ruling elite wouldn’t save it due to exhaustion and factional conflict. The new Islamist ruling elite won’t make that mistake, at least for decades to come. A recent poll shows how Egyptians are becoming understandably gloomy over the situation.

 

Now Egypt faces a huge economic crisis. The country has only about two months’ reserves to pay for imported food. Where is it going to get the around $5 billion a month it needs to pay this bill? A proposed loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that would pay for one month or so is being held up by the Egyptian government’s refusal to sign the deal because the IMF’s conditions require cutting subsidies, and cutting subsidies on food could lead to massive riots.

 

Westerners generally believe that repression and suffering lead to angry responses by the masses. Yet institutions can control the situation, propaganda reshapes beliefs, repression stifles opposition. Moreover, in Third World countries, a predominantly poor people can – because they know they have no choice in economic, political and social terms – put up with a lot more unhappiness and suffering than do middle class Americans or Europeans who have the leisure, information, freedom, and luxury of acting (albeit not necessarily effectively) on even minor complaints.

 

In short, dissatisfaction in Egypt doesn’t necessarily mean change.  Despair usually leads to passivity. If the last revolution failed or was disappointing are people going to want to mobilize for another one? Isn’t the message that politics don’t work or the forces making the mess are too strong? Thirty-four years after Iran’s Islamist revolution a lot of despair has only led to two peaks of moderate activity there. The first was co-opted (the Khatami presidency which achieved nothing), and the second was put down through repression (the 2009 Green Movement after the regime stole an election).

 

The Arab nationalist regime in Egypt lasted for almost 60 years and involved a lot of suffering and four lost wars (Yemen, and against Israel in 1956, 1967, and 1973). By the time the Brotherhood is discredited it will be far more entrenched in power and therefore harder to remove. Perhaps future elections will be fixed, or not even held at all. The Brotherhood will, for example, control the court system in future – this is currently its highest priority – and thus can guarantee electoral victories. By then, repression will set in deeper, discouraging open dissent. Much of the time it is true that the heavier the penalty for speaking out, the fewer who will do so. Even if you have a lot of discontented people on your side it is not easy to moderate, much less, overturn an Islamist dictatorship.

 

Speaking of Iran (and this is quite interesting), in the past, especially in the 1990s, it was argued that the visible failures of Iran’s revolution would discourage other countries from having Islamist revolutions, and at the time that did seem quite logical. Around the year 2000 the Islamist movement was widely considered to have failed. Yet disastrous precedents don’t necessarily discourage revolutionary Islamists, who simply claim, “We can do it better.” And it doesn’t mean the masses necessarily will not believe them, especially since Islam is such a passionate, powerful force.

 

If the highest goal of the Middle East peoples is democracy, freedom, human rights and material progress, the argument that these forces will triumph might be plausible. But is that in fact true? Just because people in the West think that way doesn’t make it accurate. Ideological enthusiasm and religious passion may carry the day rather than the everyone-wants-their-kids-to-get-a-better-life-as-their-top-priority school believes.

 

Not every parent celebrates their kid becoming a suicide bomber, for example, but a large number do. And even though they might be angry about the children being misled by demagogues, they know well enough not to speak publicly about it. Attacking a Christian church also lets off a lot of steam, as does blaming the Jews. Many people give up, thinking (or knowing) that there is no real road immediately visible for transforming their societies into prosperous and democratic ones. Others benefit materially by supporting a dictatorial regime. The government better ensure that one of these groups are military officers.

 

It is also often true that outside observers look at every specific development in isolation, ignoring the revolutionary rulers’ ideology and blueprint. With the armed forces apparently determined to be passive, there is only one effective institution holding back the Brotherhood: the courts. Judges appointed under the old regime are largely secular, and many of them showed pro-democratic independence even under the Mubarak dictatorship. One way or another, however, the Brotherhood is moving toward replacing the judges by forcing them into retirement. And then the regime will name its own judges, who will interpret things the way the Brotherhood likes as well as putting a very high priority on making Sharia the law of the land. The same process will be happening in the schools, mass media, religious and other institutions, finally reaching the entrance and promotion of Brotherhood sympathizers in the officer corps….

 

Indeed, it is very sobering to consider the Sudan, my colleague’s example of anger at an Islamist government leading to moderation. While the extreme Islamists did become discredited there eventually, the process took almost 25 years. Even today, the country is under an authoritarian dictator. And it is very significant to note that Sharia law largely continues to rule the country. The current Sudanese dictatorship, which has been credibly accused of genocide against black Africans in the south, merely uses the pedestal provided by the Islamist predecessor. On its behalf, the Muslim clerical association has just called for jihad against anti-government rebels.

 

Egypt is a more advanced country than Sudan and the Islamists there are badly split. There are now four main Islamist parties in Egypt. Yet they can also work together and are all pushing in the same direction. The moderates are still weak even if you add in all the other non-Islamists (including radical nationalists and leftists). And the opposition to Islamism is more fragmented than the Islamists, lacking even an ideology or program….

 

Thus, while anger and despair are going to rise in Egypt these factors are not in themselves enough to bring down a regime. Unless the army is convinced that the country is going to fall apart – and perhaps not even then – the Brotherhood is going to be in power for a long time. And that also applies to everywhere else Islamists are ruling – in the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Tunisia, Turkey, and perhaps soon in Syria.

 

The writer is the director of the Global Research in International Affairs (Gloria) Center.

 

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EGYPT'S SUMMER OF DISCONTENT

Eric Trager

Real Clear World, May 29, 2013

 

Due to a moribund economy, fuel and food shortages, and a lack of political opportunities, Egypt faces a tumultuous summer, and conditions will likely continue to deteriorate thereafter. While Washington should encourage Cairo to undertake necessary political and economic reforms that might calm the situation and improve governance, the Obama administration should concentrate on preserving vital strategic interests in the event of renewed upheaval.

Since Egypt's 2011 revolution, persistent political uncertainty and plummeting domestic security have undermined foreign investment and harmed the country's once-vibrant tourism industry. According to the Interior Ministry, the past year has witnessed a 120 percent increase in murders, 350 percent increase in robberies, and 145 percent jump in kidnappings. Foreign currency reserves dropped from approximately $36 billion at the time of Hosni Mubarak's ouster to $14.42 billion at the end of April 2013, with a $2 billion Libyan cash deposit in late March inflating the latter figure. Meanwhile, according to the Financial Times, Egypt's public sector salary bill has risen by 80 percent since the uprising to $25 billion annually; 400,000 government jobs have been added, and an additional 400,000 will be made permanent by the end of June.

This combination of shrinking reserves and growing expenditures is threatening the government's ability to import wheat and fuel, which it sells at subsidized rates. Fuel and fertilizer shortages have also impacted domestic wheat production, which is unlikely to reach Cairo's goal of 9.5 million tons — a benchmark intended to reduce Egypt's dependence on foreign imports. The fuel shortages have also catalyzed regular electricity outages (including multiple times in one day at Cairo International Airport), and rural areas are reporting water outages. These problems are expected to worsen as Egyptians turn on their air conditioners during the summer; the situation will become especially uncomfortable once Ramadan begins in early July, when approximately 90 percent of the population will be observing the month-long fast during daylight hours.

Historically, wheat shortages and subsidy cuts have sparked mass protests in Egypt, such as the 1977 "Bread Riots" and the demonstrations that accompanied the 2008 global food crisis. Indeed, fuel shortages have already given rise to sporadic protests nationwide since March. Although these demonstrations have been relatively small thus far, summertime power outages that make it too uncomfortable to be indoors could force more people into the streets.

Since November 2012 — when President Muhammad Morsi asserted virtually unchecked executive authority and rushed an Islamist-dominated constitutional process to ratification — Egypt's non-Islamist opposition has protested the Muslim Brotherhood-led government's autocratic behavior and increasingly questioned its legitimacy. For many activists, the Brotherhood's use of violence against non-Islamist protesters on December 5 represented the point of no return; the group's subsequent assaults on media freedom (e.g., prosecuting journalists who criticize Morsi) have led some to call for the military to return to power.

The latest iteration of this movement is the "Tamarod" (rebellion) petition campaign, which opposition activists launched on May 1. The campaign seeks to "withdraw confidence" in Morsi and rally public support for early presidential elections by focusing on specific grievances, including the persistent lack of security, ongoing poverty, and Morsi's supposed "subservience to the Americans." While the petition will likely fall short of the 15 million signatures its supporters hope to collect by June 30 — the one-year anniversary of Morsi's inauguration — the fact that it has already collected 2 million indicates widespread frustration, and June 30 may emerge as a major protest date.

The Brotherhood's response to these political challenges has only exacerbated the situation and seemingly strengthened the opposition's resolve. Rather than engaging its opponents, the government is repressing them. Ahmed Maher, founder of the "April 6" opposition movement, was recently arrested after returning from a trip to the United States, charged with inciting protests outside the interior minister's house. The prosecutor-general is also investigating two prominent television hosts — Amr Adib and former parliamentarian Mohamed Sherdy — for supporting the Tamarod campaign.

Unfortunately, Egypt's political polarization will likely persist well beyond the summer. The opposition will probably continue to be excluded from the political process. The next parliamentary elections, which have not yet been scheduled, are unlikely to occur before September, leaving street protests as the only viable avenue for opposition dissent. Moreover, when elections finally do occur, the Brotherhood will likely win again: even if the main opposition bloc (the National Salvation Front) abandons its current boycott commitment, as many analysts expect, its late entry will complicate efforts to compete with the Brotherhood's nationwide network, which has been in campaign mode since the beginning of the year.

In the interim, the Brotherhood appears unlikely to abandon exclusivist rule. Morsi's latest round of cabinet appointments further expanded the number of Brotherhood-affiliated ministers without adding any from non-Islamist parties, and he has rebuffed opposition demands to remove the interior and information ministers. Moreover, the officials who will lead the negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a $4.8 billion loan are all Muslim Brothers.

This polarization will significantly inhibit Egypt's economic recovery for the foreseeable future. Morsi's apparent focus on consolidating the Brotherhood's power is contrary to the IMF's insistence on more inclusive governance, which the agency views as necessary for ensuring broad political support for any loan. In addition, persistent political tension and civil strife will deter foreign investment and keep tourists away, leaving Egypt reliant on petrodollar infusions (e.g., from Qatar and Libya) that are unlikely to continue flowing indefinitely. The cash crunch will also complicate government efforts to restore security, further compounding lawlessness and economic woes.

Meanwhile, the military does not appear willing or able to steer the country in a more positive direction. Although the armed forces are generally considered Egypt's strongest institution, the generals have repeatedly signaled their lack of interest in returning to power. They recognize that they performed poorly when they ran the country prior to Morsi's election, and they seem to know they are no more likely to succeed in governing than the Brotherhood given the extent of Egypt's challenges. In addition, the military's undemocratic nature makes it incapable of engendering the kind of broad consensus needed for reform.

 

Egypt's worsening economic and political frustrations, coupled with the state's declining ability to maintain order, make upheaval a strong possibility this summer and beyond. Washington should therefore focus on two goals.

 

First, it should continue encouraging Egypt's political actors to dial down the tension. This means telling the opposition not to give up on politics, since participation in the current system provides a more likely path to power sharing than calling for a "rebellion" against Morsi, which would only exacerbate the country's instability and further damage the economy. As for the Muslim Brotherhood, Washington should tell Cairo that the painful choices required by necessary economic reform (e.g., tax increases and subsidy cuts) make including the opposition and forging political consensus vital. U.S. officials should also point out that Egypt cannot rely on petrodollar infusions to sustain its shrinking cash reserves indefinitely, and that failure to institute vital reforms will ultimately lead its benefactors to view it as a bad investment.

 

Second, Washington should prepare for the likelihood that the Brotherhood and opposition will reject this advice, and plan for potential instability. In particular, the administration should focus on the three strategic interests that could be jeopardized:

 

1. The Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, which may come under pressure if turmoil leads to greater violence from Sinai or more hostile populist politics from Cairo

 

2. The security of the Suez Canal, which recent civil unrest has already put at risk

 

3. Counterterrorism cooperation, given the recent emergence of Salafist jihadists in Egypt

 

Since the Egyptian military is primarily responsible for each of these items, the Obama administration should work with the generals to ensure that contingency plans are in place if the country's summer of discontent boils over.

 

Eric Trager is the Next Generation fellow at The Washington Institute.

 

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MOHAMED MORSI’S BETRAYAL OF DEMOCRACY

Editorial

Washington Post, May 13, 2013

 

Ahmed Maher, one of the leaders of Egypt’s 2011 revolution, supported Islamist Mohamed Morsi in last year’s presidential election because he believed Mr. Morsi’s victory over a military-backed candidate would be more likely to consolidate democracy in their country. But during a visit to Washington last week, Mr. Maher told us that Mr. Morsi had betrayed him and his April 6 Youth Movement. “They lied, they broke promises, they killed members of April 6,” Mr. Maher said. Mr. Morsi’s government, he said, increasingly resembled that of former strongman Hosni Mubarak: “They only seek power.”

 

Mr. Maher’s strong charges soon were substantiated by another transgression: Upon returning to Cairo from the United States on Friday, he was arrested at the airport. The 32-year-old, who founded the April 6 movement in 2008 to organize protests against the Mubarak regime, was charged with inciting a protest in March against Mr. Morsi’s interior minister. His transfer to a high-security prison quickly provoked a backlash both in Cairo and in Washington, and on Saturday authorities backed down. Mr. Maher was released, his case was transferred to a lower court and Mr. Morsi’s office and political party repudiated the airport arrest.

 

That retreat still left Mr. Maher facing charges, according to the state news agency, of “resisting the authorities, insulting the police, gathering and obstructing traffic” — counts frequently used by the former dictatorship against public demonstrations. It offered new cause for concern about a government that repeatedly has proclaimed its commitment to both democracy and compromise with its opponents even as it prosecutes critics and prepares repressive new laws.

 

Mr. Maher’s youth movement has resisted the polarization that has overtaken Egyptian politics in the past year. Though its leaders are secular liberal democrats with left-leaning views, they supported Mr. Morsi after obtaining direct assurances from him that he would seek consensus on the terms of a new constitution. The president broke that commitment in November, when he granted himself absolute power in order to force through a constitution favoured by the Muslim Brotherhood. Meanwhile, a state prosecutor Mr.Morsi appointed in what opponents contend was another illegal manoeuvre has been bringing charges against critics, including journalists and organizers of demonstrations. A legislative body dominated by the ruling party has given preliminary approval to a law that would eviscerate Egypt’s civil society, shutting down almost all government-watchdog and human rights groups.

 

Mr. Morsi’s spokesmen have asserted that he does not favour the political prosecutions and that the government is preparing a new version of the civil society law. But the president has not removed the prosecutor he appointed nor met other reasonable opposition demands, such as the correction of a gerrymander of electoral districts legislated by his party.

 

Mr. Maher opposes counterproductive strategies embraced by other opposition leaders, including a boycott of future elections or support for a military coup. But he warns that the United States is repeating past mistakes in Egypt by appearing to tolerate Mr. Morsi’s consolidation of power. “If you want to support democracy, say we are here in Egypt to support democracy, not whoever is in office,” Mr. Maher says. That’s advice the Obama administration should heed.

 

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Egypt’s Supreme Court Rules Against Shura Council: Zenobia Azeem, Al-Monitor, June 3, 2013—In a surprising decision, Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) ruled on June 2 that the Shura Council, currently the country’s only functioning legislative body, and the Constituent Assembly, which drafted the December 2012 Constitution, are unconstitutional.

 

Monthly Infiltration from Sinai Drops from 2,000 to 2: Prime Minister's Office, June 2, 2013—Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday, "The fence that we built in the south is achieving the result for which it was erected.

 

Ethiopian Dam Project Raises Fears of Water Deficit in Egypt: Ahmad Mustafa, Al-Monitor, May 30, 2013—Ethiopia's decision to begin diverting the course of the Blue Nile (the largest of the Nile river’s branches), as a prelude to the construction of the Renaissance Dam, put Egyptian diplomacy in a difficult position and stirred fears over Cairo’s declining share in the Nile waters, but the Egyptian presidency managed to tame these fears.

 

Jihad on Egypt's Christian Children: Raymond Ibrahim, Gatestone Institute, June 3, 2013—Attacks on Christian children in Egypt are on the rise. Earlier this week, a six-year-old Coptic Christian boy, Cyril Yusuf Sa'ad, was abducted and held for ransom. After his family paid the ransom, the Muslim kidnapper, Ahmed Abdel Moneim Abdel-Salam, killed the child and threw his body in the sewer of his house

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