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August 30, 2015 / 15 Elul, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Cairo’

Kerry Skips over Israel in Middle East Trip

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

When President Barack Obama says Israel his back, does he mean he is turning his back?

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is conveniently skipping over America’s closest ally this week during a trip that will take him to neighboring Egypt as well as Egypt, Qatar, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam.

The reason or skipping over Israel is obvious: The Obama administration’s single-minded objective right now is to make sure Congress does not reject “ObamaDeal” with a veto-proof majority.

President Obama’s declaration that he wants an “honest discussion” on the controversial agreement with Iran has its limits. After Kerry was told by Republican senators last week that he was “fleeced” and “bamboozled” by Iran, he does not want to walk into lion’s den.

But the State Dept., of course, has a different version of why Kerry is not stopping over Israel.

Spokesman John Kirby explained to nosy reporters at Monday’s daily press briefing:

It’s just not part of the parameters for this trip. It’s not – it wasn’t a deliberate decision not to go. There’s an awful lot to cover in eight days, as you can see. It’s literally – it’s an around-the-world trip.

He has been in touch with Prime Minister Netanyahu many, many times over the last several weeks in terms of discussing the deal and the parameters of it. So it’s not as if we aren’t in constant communication with Israeli counterparts about this.

The last call that I see to the Prime Minister took place on Thursday the 16th of July.

A journalist pointed out that was more than week ago, bur Kirby maintained, “Yeah, but that’s not that long ago.”

“Constant communication” is subjective.

The truth is that Kerry and Prime Minister Netanyahu do not have much to talk about. They can argue until they are blue in the face, but it is not going to get anyone anywhere, even though it would be a boon for the media.

Kerry may not find Egypt much friendlier, but at least he can count on Cairo not enabling the freedom of expression and speech that he doesn’t like in Israel, unless it is in his favor.

He will be in Cairo on Sunday for a session of the U.S.-Egypt Strategic Dialogue, a forum that “reaffirms the United States’ longstanding and enduring partnership with Egypt,” in the words of the State Dept.

That is the same phrase the United States uses for all of its wonderful friends, such as Israel.

On Monday, Kerry will meet with Gulf States officials in Doha, where Saudi Arabia will take the lead to lecture him in private what Netanyahu says in public: The deal with Iran is suicidal, and the war on the Islamic State (ISIS) needs to be more aggressive.

Egypt Foils ISIS Suicide Attack near Suez

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

Egyptian soldiers prevented another deadly Islamic State (ISIS) suicide attack on Wednesday, according to military sources.

A suicide bomber drove a vehicle loaded with explosives towards a military post between Cairo and Suez when the vehicle was destroyed. Egypt did not explain if its soldier actually foiled the attack or if a malfunction in the vehicle or explosives caused the blast that killed the driver.

The Sinai Province, the new name used by ISIS-linked forces in the Sinai, tweeted that it was behind the attempted car bombing of soldiers.

 

 

Analysis: ISIS Will Go Down to Defeat in Egypt

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

 

The Islamic State (ISIS) finally is going to be brought its knees in its attempt to take use the Sinai as a step to expand its terrorist empire to include Gaza, Egypt and even Israel.

The war in the Sinai is not over, but the ISIS attacks on Egyptian army checkpoints and police stations Wednesday were met with a fierce response that eventually will show the world that the Islamic State cannot succeed where a country is unified. ISIS, like Hezbollah, Hamas, Al Qaeda and other terrorist networks, survive on anarchy.

Wherever there is a power vacuum, the terrorists can step in, bankroll schools and welfare program, and take over the area business infrastructure to control the economy and government.

That is what Hezbollah did in southern Lebanon and Hamas did in Gaza.

ISIS also is succeeding in Libya, a semi-anarchic state since the fall of Muammar Qaddafi.

It has frightened the world by beheading men, women and children, and it has recruited butcher knife-wielding agents in Western countries

But beheading victim does not mean it can take over a country unless it totally demoralizes its citizens into surrender.

The ISIS is not invincible, and its incursion into Egypt will prove it.

Egypt, unlike Iraq and Syria, is bordered by open waters on two sides, the Mediterranean Sea to the north and the Red Sea to the east. The Sinai Peninsula’s tiny land border to the northeast is with Israel, where Cairo has no fear of ISIS terrorists infiltrating the country

That leaves only Libya to the east and Sudan to the south, and both of them indeed are dangerous sources of jihadists and weapons.

But Egypt has one other factor running in its favor, and that is a fierce nationalism that worship and despite its dictators but always survives them by finding another.

ISIS was able to exploit a civil war in Syria and a total breakdown of sanity in Iraq to gain power.

Egypt is a different story. The country was divided between secularist and Islamists after the fall of Mubarak, but with only two sides fighting each other, the victor took the spoils. The Muslim Brotherhood swept into power, and then fell a year later, succeeded by a military regime until an election placed General Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in power last year.

The Sinai Peninsula is prime territory for ISIS. It is steeped in anarchy, neglected by Cairo for years, and its Bedouin tribes have carved out their own little fiefdoms.

Hamas and other terrorist organizations have exploited the vacuum of power over the past several years to carry out attacks in the Red Sea resort area and more recently on the army, but they always have been hit-and-run operations.

Geography and demography in the Sinai make it a wrong choice for ISIS. The Sinai is a desert. There are no major cities except for the Red Sea resort of El-Arish. The Egyptian air force Wednesday had no trouble in carrying out massive bombing raids on jihadist positions.

There was no worry of killing hundreds or even dozens of civilians, if there is such a creation in the criminal and terror-infested Sinai.

ISIS organized in the Sinai with the help of foreign intelligence, according to Egyptian military officials. It had no trouble smuggling weapons by sea from Sudan or from Gaza, but it would take a massive undercover infiltration outside of the Sinai and closer to Cairo for ISIS to be able to undermine the Egyptian regime.

Al-Sisi Wednesday night pre-empted a subversive Muslim Brotherhood-ISIS underground by approving drastic measures to expedite judicial proceedings against jihadists and their fund-raisers, with the death penalty hanging over their heads.

All-Out War South of Israeli-Sinai Border

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

The northern Sinai Peninsula south of the border with Israel is engulfed in an all-out war.

Egyptian F-16 warplanes attacked Islamic State (ISIS) and other jihadists’ positions for several hours Wednesday afternoon and killed more than 90 jihadists following massive ISIS attacks.

Most of the 70 Egyptian casualties were soldiers and policemen, and the death toll is not final.

Egypt retaliated immediately and fiercely, and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said:

Terrorism is knocking on our borders. ISIS is not only across from the Golan Heights, it is also in Egypt, across from Rafah…And we are together with Egypt and other states in the Middle East and the world in the struggle against extreme Islamic terror.

Together or not, Israel immediately closed crossings to Egypt and Gaza.

ISIS declared yesterday that it will wipe out both Hamas and Israel.

Egypt still is counting the bodies of those killed today while its jets bombed jihadi posts near Rafah and at Sheikh Zuweid, where ISIS had set siege to a police station earlier in the day.

The ISIS attacks may have finally woken up the regime of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to the fact that ISIS is no less a threat to Cairo than it is to Damascus and Baghdad.

ISIS assassinated Egypt’s state prosecutor two days ago.

The terrorist machine gave the world a hint Wednesday morning just how powerful and well-armed it is.

Terrorists used anti-tank rockets, assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades in the assault on 15 different army and police positions in a well-planned and calculated war on the regime that faces Al-Sisi with a bigger threat than even the Muslim Brotherhood, whose party he replaced in a de facto military coup last year.

ISIS also has anti-aircraft guns, some of which were destroyed n the Egyptian retaliation this afternoon.

Egypt has been in turmoil ever since the Arab Spring protests against Hosni Mubarak, who ousted was hastened by President Barack Obama, who in turn praised the Muslim Brotherhood and its leader Mohammed Morsi following his election.

A year later, Obama found himself once again encouraging the ouster of the president and praising Al-Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi , whose regime has been no less ruthless than Mubarak’s and Morsi’s.

With the alternative being anarchy, the United States and other powers have backed al-Sisi, but the Sinai has been virtually a province of anarchy for four years.

Hamas has been a serious threat to Egyptian control in the Sinai, next to the border with Israel, and the Gaza terrorist party and army have executed dozens of attacks against Egyptian forces.

ISIS making Hamas look like small potatoes.

Earthquake in Sinai Lightly Shakes Israel

Saturday, June 27th, 2015

An earthquake that measured 5.5 on the Richter scale according to the Israel Geological Survey (other sources say 5.1 or 5.2), with its epicenter in the northern Sinai, 90 kilometers south of Eilat, sent slight tremors through Israel on Saturday around 6:34 PM.

No damage was reported. The quake occurred on the East African rift.

Ben-Gurion airport shut down for the duration of the tremors.

Residents in Ashkelon said their furniture shook. Yediot Acharonot reported that cows in the Arava, north of Eilat, apparently sensed the earthquake was on its way and started mooing several minutes before the tremors were felt.

In Egypt, the earthquake shook buildings in Cairo, more than 200 miles away from the epicenter in the Sinai.

Tremors caused dust storms nears the Red Sea, and strong winds whipped sand through the air in Cairo, forcing people to remain indoors.

Israel Beats BDS in Sweden

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

Efforts by Israel’s Ambassador to Sweden have paid off with the removal of a boycott of Israeli goods sold in at least three stores of a huge supermarket chain.

The COOP Forum stores in the northern city of Varberg voted nearly three months ago for the boycott, which affected products from all of Israel, not just from Judea and Samara. The chain has 644 outlets, and if the boycott had spread, it could have been a catalyst for a wider embargo in Europe on items from Israel.

Ambassador to Sweden Yitzchak Bachman swung into action immediately after the boycott was approved and went high-profile, giving interviews and arguing that the discrimination violates the concept of free trade.

He appealed to the management of the stores in Varberg, and officials issued as statement saying they oppose boycotts. The ambassador also posted online the phone numbers and e-mail address of COOP’s management, which was bombarded with protests.

It was the second recent victory for Israel. Last week, the Orange company embarrassed itself when its CEO said in Cairo that he would prefer not having anything to do with the company’s Israeli franchise.

Drowning in a sea of fierce criticism from Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, the Orange CEO made a 180-degree, and that was the end of the boycott that never was.

Bachman said after the latest victory over BDS:

The thing to do about boycotts is oppose them for what they are, without trying to decide whether we are right or the Palestinians are right. The support we were able to gain among Swedish citizens was essential, as the chain realized it couldn’t fight the will of the people.

Orange Telecom’s Troubled Egyptian History

Friday, June 5th, 2015

As CEO of French multinational telecommunications corporation Orange S.A. Stephane Richard was telling journalists in Cairo on Wednesday how happy he would be to cut ties with Israel, few outside Cairo were aware of the painful legacy of the mobile providers in Egypt and Orange in particular.

Back in 2011, when the Egyptian government under President Hosni Mubarak was cracking down on protesters in the big cities, suddenly the most effective means of communication activists had been using to coordinate action across the country—most prominently Facebook and Twitter—were unplugged.

As the Wall Street Journal reported four years ago, attempts to connect to websites belonging to Egyptian ISPs—EgyptWeb, TeData and Purenet—failed.

France Telecom, Orange’s original owner, confirmed that Egyptian authorities had taken “measures to block mobile phone services,” and apologized to the customers of Mobinil, the Egyptian Company for Mobile Services, of which Orange S.A. owns 98.92%.

Considering that Mobinil had an estimated 34 million Egyptian subscribers, it is clear why the name Orange was interchangeable with the idea of mobile phone service in Egypt, and why the betrayal, just when its services were needed the most, has left such deep-seated anger among Egyptians.

According to a Vodafone statement, mobile operators in Egypt were told “to suspend services in parts of Egypt. Under Egyptian legislation, the authorities have the right to issue such an order and we are obliged to comply with it.”

The mobile companies capitulated without even an attempt to stand up to the embattled dictator Mubarak.

Many in Egypt noted that, in 2009, when Iranian youth and intellectuals had taken to the streets, it took forever to get online, due to government trickery, but you eventually got your message through using Google’s DNS and VPNs. In Cairo, it was a complete shutdown.

Renesys, an Internet intelligence company, reported “the virtually simultaneous withdrawal of all routes to Egyptian networks in the Internet’s global routing table… an action unprecedented in Internet history.”

As luck would have it, eventually the Egyptian authorities ordered Orange’s arch-rival Vodafone to switch its network back on, so the secret service could send out unsolicited text messages.

At that point, Vodafone rediscovered its backbone, and announced that the Egyptian government had forced it to send pro-Hosni Mubarak text messages to their customers. Vodafone said it protested to the authorities that it finds these messages is unacceptable.

Regardless of whether or not that series of events actually caused the shift in that country’s telecom business, the fact is that, as of 2011, Vodafone has become the leader in Egypt’s telecom market, with the largest customer base and revenue share.

Stephane Richard is probably not the completely rabid anti-Semite some have made him up to be. As he himself admitted, for him, the move to unload Israeli customers is just business.

If Orange wants to reinvigorate its Egyptian business, it must first mend the bridges it burned four years ago.

And what better way to become the darling of Egyptian consumers once again than by dumping on Israel and capitalizing on Egyptian anti-Semitism.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/orange-telecoms-troubled-egyptian-history/2015/06/05/

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