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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘egyptian military’

America’s Problems in the Middle East are Just Beginning

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

It’s 2015, and there is a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. The Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood (Hamas), financed by Iran, wins an election on a platform demanding the expulsion of the Jews from Israel. Iran meanwhile smuggles shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles to terrorist cells in Palestine that can take down civilian airlines at Ben-Gurion airport. With backing from the Egyptian military, Fatah throws out the elected Hamas government and kills larger number of Hamas supporters. What will Washington do? Given the track record of both the Obama administration and the Republican mainstream, one would expect America to denounce the use of violence against a democratically-elected government.

Such is the absurdity of both parties’ stance towards Egypt: the Egyptian military is doing America’s dirty work, suppressing a virulently anti-modern, anti-Semitic and anti-Western Islamist movement whose leader, Mohammed Morsi, famously referred to Israelis as “apes and pigs.” It did so with the enthusiastic support of tens of millions of Egyptians who rallied in the streets in support of the military. And the American mainstream reacted with an ideological knee jerk. America’s presence in the Middle East has imploded.

As it happens, Iran already is smuggling weapons via Syria to the West Bank to gain leverage against the Abbas government, as Stratfor reports (hat tip: the Daily Alert ), including surface-to-air and anti-tank missiles. Hamas crushed Fatah in the 2006 West Bank elections parliamentary elections 74-45, and made short work of the supposedly moderate Palestinian faction when it seized power in Gaza in 2007. As Syria disintegrates, along with Iraq and Lebanon, the artificial borders of Arab states drawn first by Ottoman conquerors and revised by British and French colonial authorities will have small meaning. Palestinians caught up in the Syrian and and Lebanese conflagrations would pour into a new Palestinian state and swell the ranks of the hard-core Jihadi irredentists. Iran will continue to use Hamas as a cat’s paw.

Among other things, the American response to the events in Egypt show the utter pointlessness of American security guarantees in the present negotiations between Israel and the Palestine Authority. Even in the extremely unlikely event that Mohammed Abbas chose to make peace with Israel, he would face a high probability of civil war, just as Ireland’s independence leader Michael Collins did when he struck a deal with the British for an Irish “Free State” rather than a republic. Collins killed more Irishmen than the British did in the preceding independence struggle. I do not want to compare Abbas to Collins, and I do not think he has any attention of making peace with Israel. But American blundering in Egypt has closed out the option, for whoever makes peace with Israel will require a free hand with Iranian-backed rejectionists.

America forgets that it corrected the flaw in its founding by killing 30 percent of Southern men of military age during its own Civil War, so many that the Confederate Army collapsed for lack of manpower. There are numerous wars which do not end until all the young men who want to fight to the death have had the opportunity to do so. And of all of history’s conflicts, none was so likely to end with this sort of demographic attrition as the present war in the Middle East. Compared to the young Arabs, Persians and Pakistanis of today, American Southerners of 1861 were models of middle-class rectitude, with the world’s highest living standards and bright prospects for the future. The Europeans of 1914 stood at the cusp of modernity; one only can imagine what they might have accomplished had they not committed mutual suicide in two World Wars.

Today’s Middle Eastern and South Asian Muslims have grim future prospects. The world economy has left them behind, and they cannot catch up. Egypt was at the threshold of starvation and economic collapse when the military intervened, bringing in subsidies from the Gulf monarchies. The young men of the Middle East have less to lose, perhaps, than any generation in any country in modern times. As we observe in Syria, large numbers of them will fight to the death.

America cannot bear to think about its own Civil War because the wounds are too painful; in order to reunite the country after 1865, we concocted a myth of tragic fratricide. Wilsonian idealism was born of the South’s attempt to suppress its guilt for the war, I have argued in the past. That is an academic consideration now. America’s credibility in the Middle East, thanks to the delusions of both parties, is broken, and it cannot be repaired within the time frame required to forestall the next stage of violence. Egypt’s military and its Saudi backers are aghast at American stupidity. Israel is frustrated by America’s inability to understand that Egypt’s military is committed to upholding the peace treaty with Israel while the Muslim Brotherhood wants war. Both Israel and the Gulf States observe the utter fecklessness of Washington’s efforts to contain Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

The events of the past week have demonstrated that America’s allies in the Middle East from Israel to the Persian Gulf can trust no-one in Washington-neither Barack Obama nor John McCain. Those of us in America who try to analyze events in the region will be the last to hear the news, and the value of our work will diminish over time.

Behind the News in Israel.

Sen. Leahy: Obama Secretly Suspended Egypt Military Aid

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

The office of Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), head of the Appropriations State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee, told The Daily Beast that military aid to Egypt has been temporarily cut off.

“[Senator Leahy’s] understanding is that aid to the Egyptian military has been halted, as required by law,” said David Carle, a spokesman for Leahy.

If it’s done as required by law, why is the U.S. government keeping it a secret that it believes the regime change in Egypt was a military coup? If it is, indeed, temporarily suspending most of the military aid to Egypt, where is the public announcement that we don’t send money to governments that were installed by a coup?

After skewering Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hard—through the good services of the NY Times—for his attempts to preserve stability in Egypt and the integrity of the peace treaty, now the administration is attempting to punish the naughty Egyptian generals, but without making a big deal out of it.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki was asked on Monday about the suspended aid, and told reporters the aid is not officially suspended.

I suppose the Egyptians can use the officially unsuspended aid money the same way Israelis can live in the officially unfrozen homes in East Jerusalem…

“After sequestration withholding, approximately $585 million remains unobligated. So, that is the amount that is unobligated,” Psaki said.

I looked up “unobligated” and means funds that have been appropriated but remain uncommitted by contract at the end of a fiscal period. In other words, an I keep, you don’t get kind of relationship.

“But it would be inaccurate to say that a policy decision has been made with respect to the remaining assistance funding,” Psaki clarified.

In other words, I keep, you don’t get, but it’s not forever.

The Daily Beast quotes two Administration officials who explain it was the government lawyers who decided it would be more prudent to observe the law restricting military aid in case of a coup, while not making a public statement that a coup had taken place.

Bret Stephens, a deputy editorial page editor of The Wall Street Journal, wrote on Monday (A Policy on Egypt—Support Al Sisi):

“What’s realistic and desirable is for the military to succeed in its confrontation with the Brotherhood as quickly and convincingly as possible. Victory permits magnanimity. It gives ordinary Egyptians the opportunity to return to normal life. It deters potential political and military challenges. It allows the appointed civilian government to assume a prominent political role. It settles the diplomatic landscape. It lets the neighbors know what’s what.”

By taking the opposite approach, making it harder for the new Egyptian government to bring the internal conflict to a conclusion, the Obama Administration is promoting and prolonging chaos in yet another country. Which is why, I suspect, Senator Leahy has spoken to the Daily Beast in the first place, to stop this blind march over the cliff.

Middle East analyst Brian Katulis from the Center for American Progress, told the Beast he thought the Administration was “trying to maintain maximum flexibility,” but he suggested that this horse is long out of the barn. “Egypt’s struggle has become so intense, polarized, and violent, and I worry that no matter what move the United States makes now, the competing power centers in Egypt might continue down the dangerous course they’ve headed.”

Unless, of course, the U.S. is making clear, with loud noises and a light show, that it supports stability in Egypt, and in order to hasten new elections, it will not suspend military aid to Egypt. In fact, with its financial and military might, the U.S. will do everything it can to restore stability and democracy in Egypt.

But that would require President Obama to get over the insult of the Egyptian nation ignoring his wishes and dethroning his favorite Muslim Brother president.

Egypt Closes Gaza Border Crossing – No Flotillas on the Horizon

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

BREAKING NEWS: Just as this article was about to be published, The Jewish Press learned that at least 24 Egyptian police officers were killed late Monday, Aug. 19, in an attack near the Rafah crossing.  According to AFP, militants targeted the police, firing rocket-propelled grenades at two buses traveling from the town of Rafah on the Egyptian side of the border with Gaza. The crossing is again closed indefinitely. This attack in the north of the Sinai is the deadliest attack against Egyptian law enforcement in many years.

***

Director General of the Gaza border crossings Maher Abu Sabha last week announced that Egyptians had informed Gazan officials the Rafah terminal border crossing would not operate according to its regular schedule and would be intermittently closed indefinitely in both directions due to the serious security conditions in Egypt.

The Egyptian military is unlikely to brook the kind of extreme provocation Israel has endured for years whenever it closes a border crossing into Gaza for security reasons.  For that reason it is unlikely Hamas, Islamic Jihad, al Aksa Martyrs Brigade or any of the other Arab Palestinian defenders of the Gazan people will rise up and violently or verbally attack the Egyptian military for its decision.

A quick check on the non-Arab groups who support the right of the Gazans, including its terrorist inhabitants, to freely move in and out of Gaza did not disclose any public efforts to rally the troops and either denounce the Egyptian military or set sail for the Mediterranean in an effort to break Egypt’s blockade of Gaza.

Hard to believe, but there is no flotilla, nor even a flytilla, carrying aboard the likes of Alice Walker or George Galloway or any of the other people who like to show off their love for Gazans when the rule of law-bound Israelis are treating Gaza in a manner befitting terrorists, but who are nowhere to be found when their love might require that a hair on their head might be mussed.

However, one group has been openly rejoicing over the actions of the Egyptian military towards the supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.  And it isn’t the Israelis.

On Friday, Fatah staged a rally in Ramallah’s central square to support the Egyptian Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, and to protest the closing of the Al-Arabiya TV and Maan Agency offices in Gaza City.

The Fatah stalwarts chanted pro-coup slogans and called on to Sisi to crack down on Morsi’s supporters.  They also called for granting Palestinian citizenship to al-Sisi, and accused the Muslim Brotherhood of trying to “drag Egypt into the furnace of the civil war,” according to the AlRay media agency.

Well, the Hamasniks are not going to suffer those insults quietly.  The Hamas government’s media spokesman Ihab al-Ghusain claimed on his Facebook page that Fatah supported Egypt’s massacres and called for the elimination of Palestinian resistance. He also suggested that Abbas’s recent trip to Egypt and the Egyptian’s closing of the Rafah crossing was not a coincidence.
Shouldn’t be too long now before Hamas and Fatah are behaving towards each other the way their Egyptian role models do.

Mubarak to be Freed from Jail This Week, Says His Lawyer

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Hosni Mubarak, overthrown two years ago in the Arab Spring rebellion and jailed on charges of murder and corruption, will be freed from jail this week after being cleared of a charge of corruption, his lawyer Fareed el Deeb announced Monday, but murder charges still await him.

He added that one other charge of corruption remains open and that the case will be concluded later this week. “All we have left is a simple administrative procedure that should take no more than 48 hours. He should be freed by the end of the week,” Deeb said.

Mubarak’s two sons remain in jail, and the former dictator’s trial on charges of involvement in murder of protesters in 2011 is to resume next week.

 

 

Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood

Sunday, August 18th, 2013

It’s very difficult to ignore what is going on in Egypt. Daily news coverage of the army slaughtering fellow Egyptians easily engenders sympathy for the victims. One can easily conclude that we are witnessing the actions of a vicious military crushing its unarmed protesting population. Indeed the world community including the United States has been condemning the army for that.

Those daily images of the bloody carnage will generate the same attitude in most people. It is difficult to see dead bodies lined up in makeshift morgues, severely wounded bloody victims, and wives and mothers who cry out in pain at the loss of a husband or child.

It is easy to sympathize with them. The reportage is extremely sympathetic to the underdog victims. But as always the case with media reports – rarely do they see context. It’s always about the underdog. In this case the underdog is the Muslim Brotherhood.

Let us take a moment and look at some historical and religious context.

Egypt’s former dictator, President Hosni Mubarak, was ousted from office after a popular uprising by Egyptian citizens . Democracy was their cry. They had apparently had enough of Mubarak. But he fought back. People were killed. Mubarak was eventually overthrown by his own military and arrested. After a brief military rule elections were held and Musilm Brotherhood candidate Muhamed Morsi was (somewhat surprisingly to me) elected by a majority of Egyptian voters.

Mosri pushed through a new constitution that was largely based on Islamic law. In the meantime Egypt’s economy collapsed and is in shambles. People started protesting again. The Egyptian military once again stepped in and quickly removed Morsi from office.

Hundreds of thousands of Muslim Brotherhood members were outraged seeing themselves robbed of their freely elected leader. They started protesting in huge numbers. The army fought back with live ammunition. The result is what we are now witnessing in the daily news coverage.

The US has wisely not reduced it financial support of Egypt. But it has not been shy about criticizing the Egyptian military’s lethal tactics in trying to suppress Brotherhood protests.

How are we to see what is going on there? How does what is going on in Egypt affect us, the Jewish people? Whose side should we be on… if any?

I think the first thing we have to do is look at what the Egyptian army is really fighting. They are fighting a movement that is extremely anti Semitic as a part of its religious theology. They believe that Israel is a gang, not a country and they will fight it until they destroy it.

The Muslim Brotherhood honors Osama Bin Ladin and condemned his assassination by the United States. Ayman Al Zawahiri the current head of Al Qaida is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Muslim Brotherhood denies the Holocaust while praising Islamic Jihad and martyrdom. They condemn the peace treaty with Israel and they consistently call for the destruction of Israel. In addition, their Arabic website alleges that Jews have created evil in the world throughout history.

It is therefore my view that it does not serve Israel or US interests to support the Muslim Brotherhood – even though the Egyptian military tactic is brutal.

No one supports man’s inhumanity to man which is what it seems like the Egyptian military is doing. But as Chazal tell us – when one is kind to the cruel, they will end up being cruel to the kind. To peace loving democracies like the United States and Israel and to most other Western countries, the Brotherhood should be seen in the same light as Hamas, Hezbollah, and any other Islamist Jihadist group. They should be seen as determined to prevail at all cost. Including at the cost of innocent lives as anyone who lost a loved one on 9/11 can tell you.

What about the Egyptian military? They reflect the will of secular Egypt and have their support. But there is no love lost between Egypt’s secular population and Israel. As Muslims – they are in theory just as opposed to the Jewish State as the Muslim Brotherhood. But they are not in favor of hostilities with the Jewish State and are probably more willing to stand by the peace treaty with Israel as a means of achieving stability in the region. Secular Egyptians are more interested in improving their lives materially and having a government that responds to their needs. Israel’s legitimacy is in their minds a back burner issue for now.

What about the current carnage of Brotherhood members? I’m sorry. I don’t have too much sympathy for religious fanatics whose ultimate goal is to destroy the Jewish State and kill Jews… a movement that has spawned the likes Ayman Zawahiri.

They look like innocent victims in the eye of the camera. They portray themselves as devout Muslims whose only goal is to restore their Islamist leader and live religious lives. And they seem to be systematically slaughtered for simply expressing their protest in large numbers. But that is far from the complete picture – to say the least.

In my view the United States should take a ‘hands off’ approach. Let the Egyptian people fight it out. Let nature take its course. The Egyptian military should not be hampered. Financial aid should not be withheld since it helps ensure the continuance of the peace treaty. The Muslim Brotherhood must be defeated. If we allow them to succeed, we allow religious extremism to succeed and increase. And that is the last thing the world needs right now.

I wonder how many secular Egyptians miss Mubarak right about now? He may have been corrupt. But Egypt was a lot better off when he was around. And the Middle East was a lot more stable. The democracy that was hoped for by the west after he was deposed – never happened. Democracy is not only about having a free election. It is about including free and democratic principles that do not force religious law upon all its citizens. That’s what happened with Morsi. And that is why I’m glad he’s gone.

A word about fighting terrorism as perpetrated by the above-mentioned movements .The world should once and for all realize that what they are really fighting is not terrorism but an ideology. I don’t think they do. This is not about supporting a poor underdog… or a brutal military bent on destroying innocent people. This is a holy war initiated by a militant and fanatic religion that loves death more than we love life. How do you fight an idea? I don’t know. But the more the world realizes this fact, the better prepared they will be to deal with it.

Visit Emes Ve-Emunah .

Sound Familiar? Egypt Tries Banning Muslim Brotherhood

Sunday, August 18th, 2013

The Muslim Brotherhood, which was banned as a political party in the days of Hosni Mubarak, now is being banned by the new regime that ousted the Brotherhood, which was elected into office less than two years ago.

Minister of Social Solidarity Ahmed al-Borai said that the ministry has started taking the legal steps necessary to disband the Muslim Brotherhood, the Egyptian newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm reported Sunday.

He explained that there is a “legal duty: to disband the Muslim Brotherhood because of its “terrorist acts.”

The movement was barred as apolitical part in the Mubarak regime but nevertheless held two dozen seats in the parliament before Mubarak was overthrown in the Arab Spring rebellion three years ago.

Egyptian Army, Trying to Win Civil War in One Day, Kills Hundreds

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

Civil war broke out in at a least dozen cities in Egypt on Wednesday as Egyptian soldiers and police, backed by bulldozers and helicopters, carried out an offensive on pro-Mohammed Morsi protesters in an effort to put a brutal and quick end to the Muslim Brotherhood opposition’s sit-in protests.

As reported earlier, there are reports of up to 250 people dead and thousands of others wounded or arrested. The Muslim Brotherhood movement now claims the death toll is in the thousands

Whereas Syrian President Bassar al-Assad figured that ignoring the protest movement would break down the opposition, only to use uncivil force after protesters were able to organize, Egyptian authorities decided to use the same tactic as Hosni Mubarak three years ago and shoot at will to break down the opposition.

Mubarak ended up ousted and in jail. Morsi, his successor who was elected in democratic elections championed by President Barack Obama, is in virtual jail, “detained” by the army and held in a secret location.

If the army thought that the Muslim Brotherhood opposition would fall without Morsi, it was wrong. Dead wrong.

After several days of massive sit-ins that have virtually shut down Cairo, the army moved in at dawn. It succeeded in clearing out demonstrators near the Cairo University campus, but protesters used their biggest weapon – massive human resistance – in eastern Cairo, where massive violence was reported.

Clashes also broke out in Alexandria in upper Egypt, Mansoura, Suez, Giza and Rabaa.

Al Arabiya reported that soldiers are besieging the neighborhood of Islamist preacher Mohamed El-Beltagi, who faces charges of incitement and attempted murder. One of his daughters was killed.

In Alexandria, demonstrators set fire to a government building, protesters attacked four police stations in Giza, and eight people were killed in an attack on a police station in Abu Kurkas. Hundreds of demonstrators clashed with security forces and set public buses on fire.

In Rabaa,  British reporter Alistair Beach said he saw 42 bodies and tweeted, “Pro-Morsi protesters have barricaded themselves inside upper floors of field clinic as live fire crackles outside.” Three deaths were reported in Aswan, and a pro-Morsi crowd threw a security forces vehicle, with five people inside, off a bridge.

Protesters are using whatever guns they have, along with Molotov cocktails and rocks, to attack security forces.

Islamist mobs set fire to dozens of churches throughout the country. Pro-Morsi supporters set fire to a Christina youth center next to a Muslim youth center in the upper Egypt city of Fayoum, according to Al-Arabiya.

Live gunfire was reported in several cities, but Morsi supporters do not have the arms to match the automatic weapons that soldiers and police are firing to disperse crowds,

Regardless of whether the army wins the war in one day or it goes on endlessly, the violence is further evidence that the Obama administration’s campaign to make the Middle East safe for democracy, and vice versa, is not working.

All the United States and the entire international community can do is wring their collective hands and cry over the violence. Typically, the European Union issued a statement Wednesday that the violence is “extremely worrying,” and it called for restraint from Egyptian authorities.

Egypt Decides Erdogan Cannot Visit Gaza

Monday, August 5th, 2013

Egypt has ditched Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s latest attempt to show his love for Hamas by visiting Gaza, the Egyptian Youm7 website reported.

The military that threw out and then arrested Muslim Brotherhood president Mohammed Morsi is staging an open war against the Brotherhood and its offspring Hamas, which it created decades ago.

Erdogan’s insistence on visiting Gaza – he has announced he would so at least half a dozen times the past two years – is another foreign policy blunder that has become his trademark since he ditched Israel as a friend.

He turned against Israel after the Operation Cast Lead counter-rocket attack maneuver more than four years ago and then ran into the waiting arms of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Bassar al-Assad. Erdogan made a U-turn after he belatedly realized the international community began isolating both countries.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/egypt-decides-erdogan-cannot-visit-gaza/2013/08/05/

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