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October 7, 2015 / 24 Tishri, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Cairo’

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.

ISIS Supporters in Gaza Claim They Launched Rocket on Israel

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015

Islamic State (ISIS) supporters have claimed responsibility for the Grad rocket attack north of Be’er Sheva last week and have issued a 48-hour ultimatum to Hamas to halt its crackdown against them.

The Islamic Jihad originally said it was behind the missile attack, the first beyond the Gaza Belt area since the war against Hamas last summer.

It is not known if the ISIS cells in Gaza are directly linked to the parent organization, but the fact that they have claimed responsibility for the rocket attack indicates they are active are staging a propaganda campaign to attract more recruits.

They have not said what they will do if Hamas does not “withdraw the attacks” against them” in two days, but Hamas clearly is worried.

It has set up checkpoints within Gaza City the past month following several explosions that have been attributed to ISIS cells.

Jihadists blame Hamas for being “soft” on Israel and for not imposing Islamic law on Gaza.

Hamas finally has found an enemy it fears. The terrorist organization always has been able to draw Israel into wars and then escape with its life. No matter how much damage Israel causes to its infrastructure, Hamas always springs back to life.

Its corruption has kept civilians at their mercy, creating exactly the conditions that make an organization like ISIS even more appealing than Islamic Jihad and other terrorist groups that simply are a re-make of Hamas.

The Islamic State is different. It operates out of fear, and anyone who does not have the will to fight back becomes its slave. Whoever does fight back has to be willing to be beheaded.

There is nothing more that ISIS would like than to behead an Israeli, and an Arab probably would be preferred in order to scare other Arabs into fighting Israel.

Egypt has banished Hamas, but one Israel security official told a Births newspaper that the presence of the ISIS in Gaza may force Cairo, as well as Israel, to carry out back-door cooperation with Hamas to squash ISIS.



Egyptian Journalist Poses as Jew and Discovers Ant-Semitism

Friday, May 22nd, 2015

Crowds of curious and angry Egyptians shoved and cursed a man they thought was a Jew and who in reality was a reporter for an Internet website in Cairo that wanted to find out how people would react to the appearance of a Jew.

The response bears out God’s command to the People of Israel never to return to Egypt.

The “Jew,” dressed up as a Hareidi, complete with earlocks, a beard and black hat, roamed the streets  and showed people a note, written in Hebrew, asking for direction  to the synagogue.

Responses rand from “Get lost” to a few words unfit to print.

Here is the video:

Morsi Sentenced to 20 Years n Jail

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

An Egyptian court Tuesday morning sentenced former President Mohammed Morsi to 20 years in jail for inciting to kill protesters in 2012. He could have been sentenced to death.

Morsi still faces a possible death sentence for other crimes, including espionage, after he won the elections after the Muslim Brotherhood, with the support of President Barack Obama, forced Hosni Mubarak to resign.

Mubarak eventually was tried, convinced and sent to jail for corruption.

If the Muslim Brotherhood has its way, current president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is next in line to go to prison. The terrorist party called for pro-Morsi demonstrations Tuesday and stated, “The coup commander [Al-Sisi] is exploiting the judiciary as a weapon in the battle against popular will and the democratic and revolutionary legitimacy represented by President Mohamed Morsi.”

Morsi will join in jail hundreds of other Muslim Brotherhood members who have been convicted for helping to kill hundreds of people, among those who still were alive after Mubarak’s forces killed nearly 1,000 people and before Al-Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s regime murdered more than 1,000 protesters since taking power.


Egypt Destroys 285 Smuggling and Terror Tunnels in Three Months

Monday, April 20th, 2015

The Egyptian army has destroyed 185 smuggling and terror tunnels under the border between Egypt and Gaza since February, according to the country’s military spokesman.

Sixty-nine of them were destroyed in the past three weeks. One of them was more than a mile long and 10 feet deep and was used for smuggling weapons and people.

Cairo has proposed that digging a tunnel along the border is a crime, with a punishment of life in prison.

The clampdown on the tunnels, following several murderous terrorist attacks on Egyptian soldiers, has been met with almost total silence by the United Nations and foreign media, unlike the condemnation of Israel when the IDF used to shut down the tunnels.

Egypt also has created a buffer zone and destroyed more than 1,100 houses on the Egyptian side of the border with Gaza.

Cheat Sheet on Who’s Doing What to Whom in the Middle East

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Jordan (and a few quiet others) have been urging U.S. President Barack Obama to climb down from his tree and listen to Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. There’s a reason for that.

A new radical Islamic axis is forming, one that is cuddling up to the Muslim Brotherhood. The once-scattered Iranian-backed terror groups dedicated to annihilating the State of Israel are coalescing into a second axis while threatening to form an alliance with Daesh, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria also known as ISIS, as well as Al Qaeda and other global jihad organizations.

Because part-time pundits don’t have time to study the fine details of where things are happening on the political chessboard of the Middle East, here’s a cheat sheet to help you keep score on the latest realities in the region.

For a lot of Western political analysts, the Arab Spring was confusing and a real pain in the neck — but that was a walk in the park compared to the nightmare now facing foreign affairs policy makers trying to stay abreast on current terrorist ties and the tangled web they are spinning in the ‘hood.

U.S. President Barack Obama is looking for a way to nurse his salty wounds over having to spend his final tenure swallowing bile while chatting civilly, if not with good manners, during phone calls with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

But here’s what’s happening right now — and what the leader of the greatest country on earth has to grapple with — while he continues to search for ways to pick a fight with Israel’s most popular leader since the Israel was founded by its first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion.

In Africa:
Two terror organizations in Nigeria and Somalia, Boko Haram and Al Shaba’ab respectively, have both pledged allegiance to Daesh, also known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS. Both groups have slaughtered thousands and wounded more, committed numerous atrocities and are continuing to carry out murderous terror attacks to prove their mettle as “jihadists,” or holy warriors for Islam.

The moderate Arab nation of Tunisia suffered its first public terrorist attack by ISIS this weekend in a massacre that left 20 dead and dozens of others wounded in the iconic Bardo museum in Tunis, including many foreign tourists. At least 3,000 Tunisians have flown to Syria to join the ISIS terror organization; it’s no surprise those chickens are beginning to come home to roost in North Africa.

Tunisia is one of the few Arab nations left that can claim to be home to one of the most ancient Jewish communities in Africa, and which has enjoyed a healthy international tourism trade. It now faces severe damage to its tourist industry, which was just beginning to recover from the ravages of the Arab Spring. Ominously, the threat level facing Tunisia’s Jewish community on the country’s island of Djerba is also not clear.

Libya, which borders Tunisia — and where an American Ambassador and three U.S. diplomats were murdered in an Al Qaeda attack in Benghazi on September 11, 2012 — has been entirely swallowed by Al Qaeda and allied terrorist groups. ISIS has also joined the party, spreading cells throughout the country as well. Earlier this month, ISIS made its “debut” appearance in the oil-rich nation with a public seaside beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christian laborers taken captive by the terror organization.

In the Middle East:
Egypt is facing one of the toughest fights of its life in the Sinai Peninsula as it battles a budding invasion by ISIS, Al Qaeda, and Iranian proxy groups. Homegrown terror cells and disgruntled Bedouin tribes are aiding and abetting this effort, having always looked for greener pastures and a better deal regardless of who’s in power in Cairo.

Gaza has been controlled since 2007 by Iran‘s proxies who include Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and in a consultant position, Hezbollah. All maintain contentious but cooperative relationships with the Salafi, global jihad Army of Islam terror group which is linked to Al Qaeda. ISIS is also now represented in the region as well.

Jordan is facing an existential threat on its borders with Iraq and Syria due to ISIS having captured border crossings on both, and the presence of Hezbollah and Iranian Revolutionary Guards along the border with Syria. So far, its only remaining friendly borders are with Israel, and with Egypt. In addition, the Palestinian citizens within Jordan are not as friendly to the Hashemite regime as one might believe; moreover, they are wont to align with the Muslim Brotherhood which also operates within the kingdom and which can be seen as a fifth column.

Lebanon has been swallowed by ISIS, Palestinian Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades linked to Fatah, Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hamas and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, all of whom vie for power in the nation. Hezbollah holds the lion’s share of the political clout in the government since the terrorist group long ago expanded to include parliament members and actual ministers in the government cabinet as well.

Iraq was the first to fall to ISIS; its border crossings with Syria and Jordan were easy prey for the terror group. Iran easily persuaded the government that its was better off allowing its Islamic neighbor to “help” it fight off the Sunni threat than to place its trust in the American administration that had abandoned its ally when it was still to weak to fend off terrorist and tribal challenges to the power of the central government. So now Iran has now entered the picture there as well, to “assist” Iraqi forces in fighting ISIS, which Iran perceives as a threat to its own interests, for the time being at least.

It is likely that when the power struggle ends, one way or the other, Iran will be the force to divide the spoils and cut a deal with ISIS in order to ultimately divide up the region between the two emerging empires. However, Iran will ultimately be the one to rule because ISIS does not have the self-discipline, nor the structural underpinnings necessary to create and maintain an administration to rule an empire. This is quite separate and apart from Iran’s booming weapons production industry, not to mention its galloping race to develop nuclear arms.

Watch it happen – you read it here first on Jewish Press.com.

Syria was the little ticking time bomb that appeared to have set off this entire conflagration – but if one looks closely, it is clear that ISIS does not attack the forces of President Bashar al-Assad. Nor does Assad bother much with the ISIS terrorists. Both have bigger fish to fry.

Assad is an Alawite — a sect that is linked to Shia, hence his close ties with Shiite Iran and that nation’s support of his struggle. Iran sent Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps units and Hezbollah guerrillas to fight alongside his troops. Russia also supplemented Assad for quite some time — right up to the point that Assad began to lose and Russian citizens were endangered. Then Russian “consultants” were evacuated, funding slowed down to a crawl but weapons shipments continued to arrive.

ISIS meanwhile wants to expand its reach throughout the entire Middle East — and that’s just for starters. Its ultimate stated goal is simply to establish a worldwide caliphate — an “Islamic State” — and nothing less. Think ‘Hitler’ with a 21st century media team and you’re headed in the right direction.

In any case, Syria is no longer really Syria; it is now divided up into cantons, each of which is governed separately by various emirs and such. Many report to ISIS already. Some report to Al Qaeda. Others still are loyal to the “moderate” Syrian National Council and its Free Syrian Army. A few are hanging on to Syria’s government, or what’s left of it – mostly around Damascus.

And now there’s Yemen, bits of it left currently on the chopping block and most already nearly to the mop-up stage by Al Qaeda, ISIS and their Houthi opponents, soon probably to be allies as well. Of course, Al Qaeda had laid the groundwork for the takeover of the country to a great extent, having infiltrated and permeated the territory over the past several years. Al Qaeda promotes the image of being at odds with ISIS, although the latter began as a freak offshoot of the terror mothership, but it is more likely all a bluff. We will yet see the day the two will re-unite as one, or return as allies.

In the meantime, Saudi Arabia is starting to move its military forces towards the border with Yemen. The last time Saudi Arabia did that was in March 2011, when it “helped” its neighbor Bahrain fend off a surreptitious move by Iran to foment unrest in the Sunni-ruled country (which has a Shia majority) under cover of the Arab Spring.  It took one day for 1,000 Saudi troops and 500 troops from United Arab Emirates to clear protesters from around the iconic Pearl Roundabout in Manama, and then to destroy the statue on what became known locally as “Bloody Thursday.”

The U.S. Embassy in Yemen has been closed due to the escalating attacks. Embassy staff and families of diplomats were evacuated from the country, just in time. The last group of 100 American special forces who were there to consult and help the Yemen military fight off the takeover in the first place were evacuated from the country last weekend due to the ‘rising danger.’

Houthi rebels seized the airport and control of the entire city of Taiz as well as the surrounding province over the weekend as well – about 240 miles south of the Yemeni capital of Sana’a — according to Taiz provincial government officials who spoke with international media.

As early as January, Yemen’s president and his cabinet resigned after the Houthis surrounded the presidential palace, and in fact the entire capital city of Sana’a was captured by the Houthi rebels. Last week ISIS suicide terrorists arrived in Sana’a and bombed two mosques, killing 137 Yemenis and wounding hundreds more, making it clear that supremacy over the city is still up for grabs.

The United Nations Security Council met Sunday (March 22, 2015) to discuss Yemen’s deteriorating situation, with its UN envoy to Yemen reporting the country is “at the edge of civil war.” Meanwhile, Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi remains in exile in the southern port city of Aden, maintaining that he is still the nation’s leader. Last week, the Houthi war against Hadi pursued him all the way south to Aden, with an air strike aimed at the palace where he is housed. That day, Houthi rebels on the ground battled Hadi loyalists in Aden leaving 13 dead.

Finally, there is Turkey.

It’s odd how few actually discuss what’s happening in Turkey, a NATO member who has provided free passage to literally every single terrorist group that has requested safe passage through its country, even into Syria to reach the ISIS capital of Raqqa. If you travel through Istanbul airport on an average day, it becomes amazingly clear that whoever wishes to, can travel through Istanbul from Iran, Russia, or anywhere else.

Turkey is the ultimate Casablanca of today’s Middle East.

Muslim Brotherhood officials are warmly greeted by their supporters there. Hamas has a new international headquarters in the country, Fatah and other Palestinian officials are always welcome, and ISIS operatives move across the border to bring imports (brides and other ‘items’) to Raqqa with no trouble at all. Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps members – you name it, and you can make that meeting happen in Turkey, if you know the right buttons to push. Even United States officials are welcome.

Just be wary if you’re Jewish, or Israeli, of course.

Only a U.S. reject deported back home via Cairo to make a good showing to the Americans was turned back. Turkish authorities didn’t bother with that performance when it came to ignoring three young Muslim school girls from the UK whose frantic parents begged the Ankara government to block them from crossing the border into ISIS Land.

One wonders how Turkey is able to square its relationship with NATO with all that going on.

But managing delicate, intricate relationships are a peerless skill practiced by Turks since ancient times. There are few who can match a Turkish diplomat in anything, let alone the multi-lateral negotiations involving events so complex that one would need a nuclear microscope just to see past the surface, let alone begin to address it.

No wonder President Obama feels so disgruntled, so out of sorts, so … over his head.

This is not his neighborhood. He doesn’t know the language, diplomatically, behaviorally, gramatically or culturally. Nor has he yet learned the basic regional sport of bargaining in the souk. Worse, he probably would never enjoy it. You have to really love it to survive it.

But if you don’t live in the neighborhood, or you never come to visit, how on earth can you work out a two-state “solution” — let alone PEACE? More to the point, if you really dislike it so much why bother?

Mr. President, at least relax a little before you really hurt someone, and let those who actually like the region deal with it and with the Israelis too.

By the way – just as for your information — you may not realize it, but in Israel the appliance stores are still doing a really brisk business selling those terrific home appliances that are made in Turkey. Now, how do you suppose that could be, given all that hostile anti-Israel ranting from Ankara?

UNRWA Runs Out of Money that Israel Says Being Used for Terror Tunnels

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

UNRWA said Tuesday it has suspended it program  rehabilitate Gaza, which may be good news for Israel since it says material shipped to Gaza are also being used to rehabilitate terror tunnels.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told President Reuven Rivlin in New York Monday night that the United Nations has sent a team to Gaza to investigate assertions by Israel that metal and cement shipped into Gaza are being used for tunnels as well as homes.

UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness told The Jewish Press he is not aware of any money being used for the tunnels, some of which have been identified by the IDF as newly constructed.

The UNRWA program to help Gazans, whose homes were damaged or destroyed by Hamas rockets as well as Israeli fire in last summer’s war, is dependent on pledges of $5.4 billion, including $720 million for UNRWA, made by foreign donors at a conference in Cairo last October..

“The gap between expectations after the October Cairo conference and present reality is widening. There are genuine fears that if UNRWA halts this program, the consequences could be dramatic,” said Gunness.

He added, “All of the money that we can dispense has been spent. There is no more money.” He also stated that no money is missing.

There are two UNRWA aid plans, one for rental subsidies and the other for cash payments for Gazans to buy materials.

The Jewish Press has learned that most of the money that actually was turned over to UNRWA came from Saudi Arabia, followed by the European Union.

The constant threat of violence from Gaza is often fueled by great expectations, and the halt to work for homes in Gazans could stir up the locals again.

And what happened to all of the pledges?

Par for the course, most Arab countries have not lived up to their promises.

For example, Qatar pledged $1 billion.

With the price of oil having caved in since October, perhaps the richest country in the world, which has investments of more than $100 billion, cannot find the shekels for its poor brethren in Gaza.

Qatar’s Sheikh Hamad may need the small change for the maid to clean his home in London, for which he paid $62 million and then spent another $110 million to refurbish, complete with marble bathrooms.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/unrwa-runs-out-of-money-that-israel-says-being-used-for-terror-tunnels/2015/01/27/

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