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November 26, 2014 / 4 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Mubarak’

Islamic Militants Attack in Sinai as Egypt Prepares for Friday Riots

Friday, July 5th, 2013

Armed Islamic militants attacked the positions of Egyptian security forces in Rafah and El Arish in the northern Sinai this morning. Rockets were fired at a police station in Rafah which stands right outside a base of the Egyptian military intelligence service.

At least one Egyptian soldier was reprted killed and two wounded.

Egyptian security forces in the El Arish airport were also attacked by Islamists armed with RPGs and grenades. There were no reports of injuries or serious damage.

Egypt is on alert this morning, before Friday prayers in the mosques. The Islamic coalition, led by the Muslim Brotherhood whose elected president has been removed from office and placed under house arrest, have called on their supporters take to the streets after prayers and protest “peacefully” the military coup and the arrests.

The Egyptian military is urging the people to avoid revenge attacks following President Morsi’s ouster, and called for a reconciliation among the rival factions.

The Obama Administration is pressuring Egyptian officials not to jail the deposed president and his supporters, Reshet Bet reported. U.S. National Security Council officials stressed that the Egypt must have an elected government as soon as possible.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr spoke last night on the phone with his American colleague, Secretary of State John Kerry, and insisted that Egypt is not under a military coup. He told Kery the Army only fulfilled the will of the people, who are still the sovereign in Egypt.

On Thursday, a number of senior Muslim Brotherhood members were arrested and placed in Tora prison, the same prison holding former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. They were accused of giving orders to murder protesters using snipers. Eight Egyptians were shot outside the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in Cairo.

Adly Mansour, the newly appointed interim president of Egypt

Adly Mansour, the newly appointed interim president of Egypt

Adly Mansour, the judge who headed up Egypt’s Constitutional Court, was sworn in as the interim Egyptian president on Thursday, replacing the ousted Morsi who was overthrown by protesters and the Egyptian army.

The Egyptian main stock index rose over 7% following Egyptian president Morsi’s removal.

Egypt’s Salafist Nour Party is negotiating with the Army in an effort to reopen the religious television channels which have been taken off air following Morsi’s ouster on Wednesday, the Salafist party leader Younis Makhioun said on Thursday.

A handful of Islamist channels – including the Muslim Brotherhood’s Misr 25 and the Al-Hafez and Al-Nas TV channels – were abruptly taken off air on Wednesday, and their staff were arrested.

Those religious channels had sparked controversy in the past, according to Al Ahram, and were accused of using hate speech against Christians, Shia-Muslims and secular opposition figures.

Welcome Back Hosni

Sunday, June 30th, 2013

Call me optimistic, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Egypt’s favorite dictator back in power in the near future. The current protests in Egypt have got Morsi on the ropes, and the army certainly doesn’t appear to be backing him at all.

And why should it?

The country has deteriorated to incredibly low levels since Mubarak was kicked out.

I’m willing to bet the Egyptian people would be glad to have Mubarak back at the reins, and putting everything back where it belongs.

Consider this – after being deposed, Mubarak wasn’t shot or hung. Quite an unusual move, I’d say. Almost as if someone (the army?) wanted to keep him in reserve in case things got really, really bad.

Bad, sort of like where Egypt is now, with only a few weeks of gas left.

Morsi, on the other hand, doesn’t really enjoy that kind of support from the army, or the people.

If a coup happens, you can be rest assured that Morsi will most likely quietly find his end somewhere behind a building, and if Mubarak does come back after his extended sabbatical vacation, the rest of the Muslim Brotherhood members will likely be meeting Allah almost as soon.

I just want to remind (the potentially) returning President Mubarak of one thing. It was Fuad Ben-Eliezer and others in the Israeli government that showed you support and offered you asylum when the going got tough, not America, and definitely not your fellow Arab countries. So when you’re back in power and cleaning house, if you could take care of the Sinai for us and those Gaza tunnels, it would be much appreciated.

Israel-Palestinian ‘Peace’ Would Destabilize Middle East

Monday, April 15th, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

Secretary of State John Kerry has every what-should-be-discredited cliché about the Middle East firmly ensconced in his head. Of course, he is not alone. I recently briefed a European diplomat who came up with the exact formulation I’m going to deal with in a moment. What is disconcerting—though long familiar—is that Western policymakers hold so many ideas that are totally out of touch with reality.

They do not allow these assumptions to be questioned. On the contrary, it is astonishing to find how often individuals in elite positions have never heard counter-arguments to these beliefs. It is easy to prove that many of these ideas simply don’t make sense, but it is nearly impossible to get elite intellectuals, officials, and politicians to open their minds to these explanations.

Yet we can’t just believe what we want to believe, what we’d like to see happen, what we hope for. Reality must be faced or things will be worse. Having unexamined utopian ideas dominate this topic does not serve anyone’s interests.

Let me give a single example. Here are Kerry’s observations after touring the Middle East:

I am intensely focused on this issue and the region because it is vital really to American interests and regional interests to try and advance the peace process and because this festering absence of peace is used by groups everywhere to recruit and encourage extremism.

Supposedly, then, the reason that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is so important and urgent to solve is that otherwise it is a powerful force in encouraging extremism. Of course, steps toward easing Israel-Palestinian tensions and stabilizing the situation are good but have no positive effect on the region.

Let’s stipulate that it would be a very good thing if this conflict would be resolved in a stable compromise. Let’s further stipulate that this isn’t going to happen.

But there is another point which sounds counter-intuitive and yet makes perfect sense: Resolving the conflict in some way will encourage even more extremism and regional instability. How can I say that? Very simple.

Islamist groups and governments, along with radical Arab nationalists, Iran, and others, are determined to prevent any resolution of the issue. Anything other than Israel’s extinction they hold to be treason. If—and this isn’t going to happen—Israel and the Palestinian Authority made a comprehensive peace treaty those forces would double and triple their efforts to subvert it.

The government of Palestine would face determined domestic opposition, including assassination attempts on the “traitors” who made peace. Palestinian factions would claim to be more militant than their rivals and would seek to use the new state as a basis for attacking Israel in order to prove their credentials and advance their political fortunes.

What would the government of Palestine do once cross-border attacks inevitably began against Israel? It is highly likely it would disclaim responsibility and say they cannot find those responsible or even proclaim that these people are heroes.

Of course, the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip would not accept the deal, thus ensuring that it could not be implemented. That last factor, which is a huge and impassable barrier is simply ignored by the “peacemakers.” Israel would have to make major territorial concessions and take heightened risks in advance that would bring zero benefits from a Hamas government that would increase its attacks on Israel. Hamas forces in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria], perhaps in partnership with Fatah radicals, would seek to overthrow Palestine’s government.

There would be attempts to carry out atrocities against Israeli civilians to break the deal, just as happened by Hamas alone during the 1993-2000 “Oslo peace process” period. Hizballah from Lebanon would also increase attacks on Israel to prove that the treasonous peace could not hold.

The ruling Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Syria would do everything possible to help Hamas. There would be outrage in large sectors of public opinion and especially among the armed Islamist militias who would try to lever their countries into war, stage cross-border attacks against Israel and back Palestinian insurgents.

Of course, the fact that they understand all of the points made above is one of the main reasons why the Palestinian Authority’s leadership isn’t interested in making a peace deal with Israel and not even negotiating seriously toward that end.

‘An Act of Stupidity That Will Resonate for Generations’

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

The replacement of dictator Hosni Mubarak with the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi has had serious negative consequences for Egyptian liberals, Christians, and women; for Israel, which now must treat Egypt as a hostile power rather than a peace partner; and for the U.S., which is in the uncomfortable position of financially supporting a radical Islamist, anti-American, antisemitic regime.

So did this have to happen? Some say yes, there was no way the 82-year old corrupt, brutal Mubarak could have been propped up (but note that the new regime is no less, possibly more, brutal and corrupt). And shouldn’t the Egyptian people be allowed to choose their own rulers?

If you listen to Rafi Eitan, a former Mossad official who led the capture of Adolf Eichmann in 1960, the answer is that it definitely did not have to happen — and the U.S. is responsible. An interview with Eitan appeared today in the Times of Israel:

This slight man, with his trademark thick-rimmed glasses, did not mince his words when speaking of what he perceives as fatal American mistakes in handling the “Arab Spring” — particularly at that crucial moment in June 2012 when the administration could have imposed a secular president on Egypt, Ahmad Shafiq — and by doing so change the course of that country’s history. …

“The military unequivocally decided that [Ahmed] Shafiq will be president, not [Mohammed] Morsi,” Eitan told The Times of Israel. “But the Americans put all the pressure on. The announcement [of the president] was delayed by three or four days because of this struggle.”

Immediately after Egypt’s presidential elections in June 2012, Eitan spoke to unnamed local officials, who told him that with a mere 5,000-vote advantage for Islamist candidate Morsi, the military was prepared to announce the victory of his adversary Shafiq, a secular military man closely associated with the Mubarak regime.

But secretary of state Hillary Clinton, Eitan said, decided to favor democracy at all costs and disallow any falsification of the vote.

“This is idiocy. An act of stupidity that will resonate for generations,” Eitan said. “I also thought Mubarak should be replaced, but I believed the Americans would be smart enough to replace him with the next figure. Mubarak would have agreed to that, but the Americans didn’t want that; they wanted democracy. But there is no real democracy in the Arab world at the moment. It will take a few generations to develop…”

If you believe that the ideology of radical Islamism represents a real challenge to the Enlightenment values of Western civilization,  then the takeover of the largest and most important Arab nation by the Brotherhood is a significant defeat for America and the West. Although historical analogies are notoriously misleading, in a sense it is as if the U.S. had intervened on behalf of the Bolsheviks in 1917 or helped Hitler attain power in 1933.

The appeal to ‘democracy’ is particularly ludicrous. Although Morsi uses the word a lot, his actions in consolidating power in the hands of the Brotherhood have been anything but democratic. And the philosophy of the Brotherhood itself makes it clear that regardless of the means by which power is attained, the goal is a state — and ultimately an expansive caliphate — governed according to shari’a, ruled by religious authorities, a regime in which Muslims (male) will dominate all others.

It seems that the Obama Administration has made a distinction between Islamists, with al-Qaeda and Hezbollah in the category of ‘bad’ Islamists because they have directly attacked us, while the Brotherhood and (for example) the Turkish AKP are ‘good’ because they have made the tactical decision not to wage war on us (at least not yet). But their ideology is no less anti-Western and anti-American.

If Eitan’s analysis — that the U.S. chose to support Morsi because it would be “more democratic” — is true, it reveals a shocking ignorance on the part of our leaders about the nature of the Brotherhood, of Egypt, and yes, the real meaning of “democracy.”

Egyptians See Hamas as Meddling in Their Affairs

Sunday, February 10th, 2013

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute, under the title, “The Hamas-Egyptian Alliance.”

Did Hamas dispatch 7,000 militiamen from the Gaza Strip to Egypt to protect President Mohamed Morsi, who is currently facing a popular uprising?

Reports that appeared in a number of Egyptian opposition media outlets in the past few days claimed that the militiamen entered Egypt through the smuggling tunnels along the border with the Gaza Strip.

The reports quoted unidentified Egyptian security officials as saying that the Hamas militiamen had been spotted in the Egyptian border town of Rafah before they headed toward Cairo, to shore up the Muslim Brotherhood regime of Morsi, which Hamas may have feared was in danger of collapse.

The officials claimed that the Hamas militiamen had been deployed in a number of sensitive locations in the Egyptian capital, including the Al-Ittihadiyeh Presidential Palace, as part of a plan to protect the Muslim Brotherhood regime.

Hamas, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood organization, is a staunch supporter of the Morsi regime.

This week, a Gulf newspaper Akhbar Al-Khaleej published what it described as “secret documents” proving that Hamas, with the financial backing of Qatar, had plans to send hundreds of militiamen to Egypt to help Morsi’s regime.

One of the classified documents, reportedly signed by Hamas’s armed wing, Izaddin al-Kassam, talks about the need to send “warriors to help our brothers in Egypt who are facing attempts by the former regime [of Hosni Mubarak] to return to power.”

The reports about Hamas’s alleged involvement in the Egyptian crisis have been strongly denied by Hamas officials.

Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar lost his temper during an interview with an Egyptian TV station; he said the reports were lies intended to tarnish Hamas’s image.

Zahar accused supporters of the Mubarak regime of being behind the reports depicting Hamas as a terrorist organization helping President Morsi to kill Egyptians.

But this was not the first time that Egyptians had accused Hamas of meddling in their internal affairs.

In August 2012, reports in the Egyptian media suggested that Hamas was involved in the killing of 16 Egyptian border guards near the border with the Gaza Strip. The perpetrators have never been caught.

Egyptians have also accused Hamas of involvement in a terror attack against a church and attacking prisons in Egypt.

Although the talk about Hamas’s involvement in terror activities on Egyptian soil may in some cases be exaggerated, repeated accusations against Hamas show that many Egyptians continue to see the radical Islamist movement as a threat to their national security.

Hamas has further been accused by some Egyptians of helping other Muslim fundamentalist groups turn Sinai into a base for jihadis from all around the world.

During last week’s street clashes in Cairo, anti-Morsi demonstrators torched Hamas and Qatari flags. They also chanted slogans condemning Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood organization for bringing Hamas militiamen to suppress Egyptian protesters.

There is no doubt that Hamas is prepared to do its utmost to help Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood organization stay in power, even at the cost of killing and torturing Egyptian civilians. The downfall of the Mubarak regime has been a great blessing for Hamas, which has since emerged as a major player in the Palestinian and regional arena.

Thanks to Morsi, an Egyptian prime minister visited the Gaza Strip for the first time ever last November to express solidarity with Hamas during Israel’s “Pillar of Defense” military operation. Such a visit would have been unthinkable under Mubarak, who did everything he could to weaken Hamas and stop it from meddling in the internal affairs of Egypt.

But now Hamas knows that it can always rely on Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood to stay in power and increase Hamas’s influence. In return, Morsi apparently expects Hamas to reward him by sending its men to defend his palace.

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute, under the title, “The Hamas-Egyptian Alliance.”

Constitutional Confusion and Contusions in Egypt

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

In a democratic state, a constitution is supposed to express in words the basic values of its citizens and state the foundational principles that will guide the conduct of the government in a way that reflects the values that most of the citizens believe in, led by the value of freedom. The constitution is intended to limit the powers of government and to defend the citizen from the whims of those in positions of power.

Even in dictatorial states there are laws, however they are mostly not effective; they do not defend the citizen from the power of the government, and the recent situation in Syria is a convincing proof of this fact. In dictatorial states the constitution is the tool that is used to carry out the will of the dictator, as well as his intentions and sometimes even his excesses, while he shuts the mouths of his opposition with the usual claim that everything he’s doing is in accordance with the constitution and the laws that are based on it.

Egypt, after the revolution of January 25th 2011, is a state that has freed itself from the burden of a dictator, Husni Mubarak, who, together with his cronies and predecessors, the officers, ruled Egypt since July 1952 in accordance with a constitution that served as a fig leaf to cover up the fact that the government was entirely in his hands, and the whole country revolved around him as if he were a god.

Now the Egyptians want a different constitution, a “democratic” one, which on one hand will promise that the government will not become a dictatorship again, and on the other hand will express the basic values of the society and defend them. This is the reason that Egypt needs a new constitution, because the previous one was nothing more than a tool to serve Mubarak.

The reality of recent days is that certain groups are not pleased by the way that President Muhammad Morsi is trying to secure the constitution by referendum, so they go out into the streets to express their opinion with demonstrations that sometimes deteriorate into acts of mass violence, injuries and deaths. In order to simplify the discussion for the purpose of this article, we will say that the population in Egypt is divided into three main groups: the Secular, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis.

The secular group wants to turn Egypt into a modern, liberal, open, Western style state, that is neither religious nor traditional in character, where the status of citizenship is equal for everyone, and takes the place of all of the other ethnic, tribal, religious, and sectarian affiliations.

The Muslim Brotherhood wants a religious state, in which Shari’a rules but does not prevent the state from adopting modern tools that exist in the world. They are in favor of women’s participation in public activities, with limitations for modesty, and believe that it is important to integrate the Coptic citizens – who are Christians – into the society, economy and the various governmental systems. But equality among citizens is seen as problematic, because according to Islam a Muslim and a Christian can never be equal, since the Christian is a “ward of the state” (dhimmi) who, according to the Qur’an (Sura 9, Verse 29) must exist in the shadow of Islam and under humiliating conditions. The statement that women are equal to men is problematic for them too, because of traditional concepts that say that “the men are responsible for the women” (Sura 4, Verse 34).

The Salafis want to see the implementation of Islamic Shari’a in all areas of life, and do not accept the adoption of any Western, modern characteristic. They insist on regarding Copts as class B citizens, and do not accept the idea that women should have public positions. They take literally the saying attributed to Muhammad, the prophet of Islam: “The best hijab for a woman is her home.”

The main problem with the constitution in Egypt today is that every one of these three sectors sees the revolution as his own revolution, defines “democracy” according to his own concepts and values, and if the new constitution goes in a different direction then he will claim that “they stole the revolution,” he will go out to the streets and will raise hell. The only common factor to all of the sectors is their avowed refusal to allow a dictator to take control of the state, even though each one of them would agree that whoever represents their world view should rule with broad powers. In other words: each sector would agree to a “soft dictator” if he would represent that particular sector’s world view.

Guardian Editorial Takes the Side of Morsi (or Mubarak?)

Monday, December 10th, 2012

To get an idea of just how outrageous a recent Guardian editorial (on Dec. 7) defending President Morsi and criticizing the liberal opposition truly was, here are two tweets by commentators with otherwise unimpeachable Guardian Left credentials:

Here’s Guardian Cairo correspondent Jack Shenker.

Let me say once again, I totally disassociate myself from this@guardian editorial on  - it’s offensive & wrong: guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/…

Here’s ‘Comment is Free’ contributor Rachel Shabi:

What is the Guardian thinking with this awful, misleading editorial on bit.ly/VDYy6T

Here are a few excerpts of the Guardian editorial in question:

[The crisis in Egypt] is not about the proposed constitution,

[The opposition is engaged in] a power battle in which the aim is to unseat a democratically elected president, and to prevent a referendum and fresh parliamentary elections being held, both of which Islamists stand a good chance of winning. Morsi, for his part, is determined that both polls be held as soon as possible to reaffirm the popular mandate which he still thinks he has.

The opposition on the other hand has never accepted the results of freely held elections, parliamentary or presidential, and is doing everything to stop new ones being held

So, the Guardian, when faced with a choice between a Muslim Brotherhood which is ideologically opposed to true democracy and individual freedoms – a political predisposition clearly on display in Morsi’s recent decision to assume dictatorial powers - and a political opposition which is at leastmarginally progressive, chose the reactionary Islamists.

The following post by a Lebanese writer, who blogs at Karl reMarks, wrote the following piece titled ‘The Guardian’s Editorial on Egypt Re-Imagined‘, which is based on the same Dec. 7 Guardian editorial re-imagined as if it were written in January 2011, with minor changes like replacing Morsi with Mubarak.

As the crisis in Egypt develops, it is becoming increasingly clear what it is not about. It is not about the elections, or the economic crisis, or Egypt’s relationship with Israel. Nor is it about the arrangements for a successor to the president. Nor even is it about the temporary but absolute powers that the Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, assumed for himself – for a mere thirty years, and which will lapse the moment the Egyptian people stop making a fuss.

Urging the opposition to shun dialogue, Mohamed ElBaradei said that Mubarak had lost his legitimacy. So the target of the opposition is not the constitution, or the emergency law, but Mubarak himself. What follows is a power battle in which the aim is to unseat a democratically elected president, with 88.6% of the vote, and to prevent fresh parliamentary elections being held, both of which the ruling NDP stand a good chance of winning. Mubarak, for his part, is determined that both polls be held as soon as possible to reaffirm the popular mandate which he still thinks he has.

In weighing who occupies the moral high ground, let us start with what happened on Wednesday night. That is when the crisis, sparked by yet another Mubarak decree when he was at the height of his domestic popularity over the role he played in stopping the yet another Israeli assault on Gaza, turned violent. The NDP party sanctioned a violent assault on a peaceful encampment of opposition supporters in Tahrir Square. But lethal force came later, and the NDP was its principle victims. NDP offices were attacked up and down the country, while no other party offices were touched. This does not fit the opposition’s narrative to be the victims of state violence. Both sides are victims of violence and the real perpetrators are their common enemy.

Mubarak undoubtedly made grave mistakes. In pre-empting decisions by the courts to derail his reforms, his decrees were cast too wide. His laws have many faults, although none are set in stone. The opposition on the other hand has never accepted the results of freely held elections, parliamentary or presidential, and is doing everything to stop new ones being held.

The Guardian is not only supporting a racist, antisemitic, anti-Christian, anti-West Islamist movement, but are remaining loyal even when a more liberal alternative is possible.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/cifwatch/guardian-editorial-takes-the-side-of-morsi-or-mubarak/2012/12/10/

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