‘Tony Blair has agreed to advise the Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who came to power in a military coup last year, as part of a programme funded by the United Arab Emirates that has promised to deliver huge “business opportunities” to those involved, the Guardian has learned. The former prime minister, now Middle East peace envoy, who supported the coup against Egypt‘s elected president Mohamed Morsi, is to give Sisi advice on “economic reform” in collaboration with a UAE-financed taskforce in Cairo – a decision criticised by one former ally.
The UAE taskforce is being run by the management consultancy Strategy&, formerly Booz and Co, now part of PricewaterhouseCoopers, to attract investment into Egypt’s crisis-ridden economy at a forthcoming Egypt donors’ conference sponsored by the oil-rich UAE, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Blair’s decision to become involved in Gulf-financed support of the Sisi regime, which is estimated to have killed more than 2,500 protesters and jailed more than 20,000 over the past year, has been attacked.’
‘Iraq’s latest bloody crisis and its links to the 2003 war brought Tony Blair back into the headlines this week, along with calls for him to step down as a Middle East peace envoy – but new evidence has emerged that his private business interests in the ever-volatile region are expanding. Aides to the former prime minister confirmed that he was actively considering opening an office in Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates, which is in the frontline of the struggle against political Islam. But a spokesperson denied suggestions by a leading Arab economist that he was being considered for a job advising Oman on its long-term development, after his controversial £27m consultancy project for the Kuwaiti government in recent years.
Retired diplomats and political enemies united to demand Blair be sacked as the envoy of the Quartet – the UN, US, Russia and EU – after achieving little to promote Israeli-Palestinian peace in seven years. Blair’s Middle Eastern activities cause some irritation in Whitehall, where officials say they are not always aware of what he is doing and exactly who he is representing in meetings abroad – even though he is routinely briefed by British embassies. “He moves in mysterious ways,” quipped one senior figure. “The Blair organisation is like a sort of government with different departments doing different things,” an ex-employee said. “His office is run on Downing Street lines. It’s like he’s never not been PM.”‘
- Former spin doctor Alastair Campbell meets Egyptian regime weeks after Blair gives backing
- Tony Blair’s Faith Foundation charity advisors ‘linked to Muslim Brotherhood’
- Tony Blair backs Egypt’s government and criticises Brotherhood
- Albania sets its sights on full EU membership… helped by Tony Blair
- Why has Albania hired Tony Blair as an adviser?
- Blair’s Kazakhstan role has failed to improve human rights, activists say
- Tony Blair denies he and Cameron are forging ‘special relationship’
- Tony Blair advising David Cameron on Middle East
- Tony Blair Is Getting Millions From A New Oil Rich Client
Visiting Egypt’s military junta, Secretary of State John Kerry reportedly expressed “strong support” for freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, while assuring the junta, which has been massacring people who participate in peaceful protests, that they’ve got even stronger support still. Kerry assured President Sisi of billions of dollars in continued US military aid, and in particular promised that ordered helicopter gunships would be sent to Egypt’s junta “very, very soon.”
Sisi, for his part, promised to continue to move against “terrorism,” which pleased Kerry. Since the junta has designated most public protesters as terrorists, however, it suggests the policy of crackdowns will continue. The former defense minister, Sisi orchestrated a military coup last summer against the elected government, and has since been elected president, albeit in a vote in which all significant opposition parties were banned from participating, and indeed, during which many opposition figures were imprisoned pending execution for “terrorism” related charges.’
- US unlocks military aid to Egypt, backing President Sisi
- Kerry presses Egypt on democracy, assures on Apache gunships
- Egyptian Court Convicts 3 Al Jazeera Journalists
- Egypt’s kangaroo courts
- Egypt upholds death sentence on Brotherhood leader, nearly 200 supporters
- Egypt cabinet sworn in, with most ministers retained
- Egypt’s Sisi cracks the whip on new government
- Egypt to free Al Jazeera journalist on hunger strike
- Egypt police confiscate rights group’s publication
- Egyptian security forces seize Brotherhood leaders’ assets
- The Egyptian Revolution: Three years and counting
- 1000s of Egyptians hold anti-government rallies
- Egypt’s ultraconservative Islamists back Sisi, seek to eclipse Brotherhood
- Islamist Coalition Calls Supporters to Prepare for New Uprising
- HRW: Egypt’s human rights crisis worse than ever
- Egypt’s Lost Power: The Energy Deal Between Egypt and Israel (Documentary)
‘An ultra-conservative Egyptian cleric has said that watching football matches is unacceptable in Islam because it is a distraction and “destroys nations”. Yasser Borhami, a founding member of the main Salafi movement in Egypt, the Salafi Call, sparked an outcry when he said spending time watching the World Cup games in Brazil was “a disaster that makes me very irate”. He claimed that it was a distraction from religious and worldly duties, ultimately leading to “the destruction of nations and peoples”.’
‘More than three years ago, US President Barack Obama withdrew Washington’s long-standing support for Hosni Mubarak, accelerating the former air force marshal’s overthrow by mass demonstrations. Today, the White House is cooperating with Egypt’s latest military-commander-turned-president, Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, in what some analysts say is a return to the old status quo of US support for military rule.
“The United States looks forward to working with [Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi], the winner of Egypt’s presidential election, to advance our strategic partnership and the many interests shared by the United States and Egypt,” the White House said in a news release. The Obama administration also expressed concern about the restrictive political environment in which the elections took place, calling on el-Sissi to adopt political reforms that would fulfill the “democratic aspirations of the Egyptian people.” But in his May 28 foreign policy speech, President Obama made clear that US-Egyptian relations are primarily rooted in national security interests, not democracy promotion.’
- Sources: Egypt turns to Western advisers, signaling possible reforms
- US Continues to Surreptitiously Supply Arms to Unelected Regime in Egypt
- Egypt’s Sisi takes office to cool reception from West
- Egypt’s Sissi: From army chief to civilian strongman
- At Swearing-In, Ex-General Vows ‘Inclusive’ Egypt
- Egypt’s al-Sissi vows tough line against Islamists
- Timeline of Turmoil in Egypt From Mubarak and Morsi to Sisi
- Egypt willing to open Gaza border crossing permanently, official says
- Egypt’s new leader vows to uphold ties with Israel
- Saudi shouts support for Egypt’s new anti-Islamist leader
- Egypt bans unlicensed preachers, tightens grip on mosques
- 10 Islamists sentenced to death in Egypt
- Egypt court overturns policeman conviction for killing 37 Islamist prisoners
- Egypt criminalises sexual harassment for first time
- Egyptian Election Law Helps to Block Opposition
- Three al-Jazeera journalists could be jailed for up to 15 years
- Egypt to monitor social network sites
- Egyptian Regime Scrambles to Boost Low Turnout in Election Sealing General Sisi’s Grip on Power (Video)
- Pro-military fervor at polls as Egyptians vote
- Sisi voters say they’ll take the quiet life over democracy
- Journalists take care of the censorship as Sisi poised to rule
- Sisi Is Torture and Suffering, Confirms Sisi
- Abby Martin: How the US is Supporting Egypt’s Unelected Mass Death Sentencing Regime (Video)
- US General: U.S.-Egypt military ties will depend on Egypt’s actions
- Badie: the real terrorists are those who killed worshippers and burned the wounded to death
- Galloway: Egypt cannot be ruled without the Muslim Brotherhood
- MI5 stands accused of complicity in torture this year after ‘trying to recruit man from Egyptian jail’
- BP ‘aims to invest $1.5bn in Egypt in 2014’
- Russia to conduct joint army drills with Egypt amid bid to regain regional hold
- Egypt’s Sisi says Muslim Brotherhood is finished
- Egypt claims Israeli spy ring uncovered
- Al-Sisi claims population increase is cause of Egypt’s problems
- Patrick Cockburn: The Death of Justice in Egypt
‘The US State Department issued a statement today angrily condemning Syria’s presidential elections as a “disgrace” that don’t represent legitimate voting and will confer no credibility to presumptive winner President Bashar Assad. Officials centered their complaints on the lack of real opposition candidates and massacres over the course of the last several years, along with the inability of people in rebel-held regions to vote. If that sounds familiar, you probably remember Egypt holding an election a week ago under extremely similar circumstances.
The US, comfortable with the military coup there and only vaguely concerned with the massacres in Cairo, has been comfortable with Gen. Sisi’s win over his coup-backing non-rival. And while both Syria and Egypt’s elections were a foregone conclusion, they both seem positively Athenian in their democratic principles compared to the 2012 Yemen vote, in which Maj. Gen. Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, the US-backed ruler, was “elected” in a single candidate vote in which voting “no” was not an option. Hadi’s rubber stamp election was such a runaway success, by US standards, that President Obama declared it a potential “model” for the Middle East. If Syria is falling short of this model, it can only be in its presumptive victor not having been given an advanced imprimatur by the US.’
‘A Cairo criminal court sentenced toppled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to three years in prison for stealing roughly $17 million from government coffers for the upkeep his presidential palaces. Mubarak’s sons, Alaa and Gamal, who wore white prison uniforms as they stood behind the wheelchair-bound exiled president, received four years sentences.
The verdict, which was supposed to signal a judiciary committed to holding the former dictator and his family accountable for abusing their power, instead was largely met with a shrug across much of Egypt. Many assume the conviction will be overturned on appeal, just like his 2012 death sentence for the deaths of hundreds of protesters during the 2011 uprising that led to his resignation.
In the short term, however, the verdict allows Egypt’s presumed next president, now retired Gen. Abdel Fatah el-Sissi, to dodge the controversy that would be kicked up if the 86-year-old Mubarak were released. The two-day presidential balloting that el-Sissi is expected to dominate take place Sunday and Monday.’
‘The senior leader of Egypt’s outlawed Muslim Brotherhood said on Tuesday that the mass death sentences against him and other members will cause the government’s downfall. “This ruling is the last nail in the coffin of the ruling powers that led the coup,” said Brotherhood general guide Mohamed Badie, who was condemned to death along with 682 supporters on Monday. “The regime is on the brink of collapse.”
The defendants were charged with crimes including inciting violence following the army overthrow of elected leader Mohamed Mursi, a senior Brotherhood member, last July after mass protests against his rule. Security forces have mounted a tough crackdown on the Brotherhood since Mursi’s fall, killing hundreds of its supporters, arresting thousands and putting leaders on trial.’
- With mass sentences, Egyptians seek justice, but come away empty-handed
- Iran warns of fallout from Egypt court rulings
- Egypt Bans Pro-Democracy Group Involved in 2011 Revolution
- The death of justice in Egypt
- U.N. chief ‘alarmed’ by new mass death verdicts in Egypt
- White House objects to Egypt mass conviction
‘U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate appropriations subcommittee that oversees foreign aid, said on Tuesday he will not approve sending funds to the Egyptian military, denouncing a “sham trial” in which a court sentenced 683 people to death. “I’m not prepared to sign off on the delivery of additional aid for the Egyptian military,” the Vermont Democrat said in a speech on the Senate floor, explaining why he would hold up the $650 million.
“I’m not prepared to do that until we see convincing evidence the government is committed to the rule of law,” Leahy said. The Obama administration said last week it would deliver 10 Apache attack helicopters and $650 million to Egypt’s military, relaxing a partial suspension of aid imposed after Egypt’s military ousted President Mohamed Mursi last year and cracked down violently on protesters.’
[...] The Post headline is actually somewhat misleading. It’s not so much that Washington is “partially resuming military aid to Egypt,” but rather that the aid was only partially halted to begin with. Last October, President Obama suspended millions of dollars from the annual U.S. aid package and halted advanced military hardware. But the Egyptian regime still received about $1.6 billion in U.S. aid. The so called “halt” was largely symbolic.
The U.S. has always opposed democracy and supported authoritarianism in Egypt, so this should come as no surprise. The internal Washington logic, however, is that while continuing to support the military junta may not be good for democracy and human rights, it will help secure U.S. interests. These interests supposedly are the following: (1) to help Cairo battle extremists in the Sinai, (2) to maintain control of the Suez Canal, which the U.S. Navy uses to send warships from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf and through which “8 percent of global seaborne trade and 4.5 percent of world oil supplies travel,” and (3) to maintain the peace treaty with Israel.
Former Egyptian army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Sunday called for a big turnout in a presidential election he is expected to win easily, countering a call for a boycott by allies of deposed Islamist president Mohamed Mursi. Sisi, who deposed Mursi after mass protests against his rule last July, faces only one competitor in the May 26-27 election – leftist Hamdeen Sabahi. He came third in the 2012 election won by Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Sisi called on Egyptians to vote in “unprecedented numbers for the sake of Egypt”, according to an official statement outlining comments he made during a meeting on Sunday with investors in the tourism industry. An alliance of Islamist parties opposed to last year’s military takeover had earlier issued a statement declaring their boycott of the election, describing it as “a farce” designed to appoint “the coup orchestrator” as president.
The architects of the military takeover in Egypt promised a new era of tolerance and pluralism when they deposed President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood last summer. Nine months later, though, Egypt’s freethinkers and religious minorities are still waiting for the new leadership to deliver on that promise. Having suppressed Mr. Morsi’s Islamist supporters, the new military-backed government has fallen back into patterns of sectarianism that have prevailed here for decades.
Prosecutors continue to jail Coptic Christians, Shiite Muslims and atheists on charges of contempt of religion. A panel of Muslim scholars has cited authority granted under the new military-backed Constitution to block screenings of the Hollywood blockbuster “Noah” because it violates an Islamic prohibition against depictions of the prophets. The military leader behind the takeover, Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi, often appeals to the Muslim majority in a language of shared piety that recalls Anwar el-Sadat, nicknamed the believer president, who invoked religious authority to bolster his legitimacy and inscribed into the Constitution the principles of Islamic law.
‘A judge in Egypt has sentenced to death 720 men, including the head of the Muslim Brotherhood, in a pair of mass trials that were both completed after two brief court sessions. In the first case, 683 men – including the Brotherhood leader, Mohamed Badie – were sentenced to death on charges of killing a policeman in a southern Egyptian town last August.
Minutes later, in a second and separate case, the same judge, Saeed Youssef, upheld the death sentences of 37 of the 529 men he notoriously sentenced to hang last month. The remaining 492 had their sentences commuted to 25-year jail terms, with all 529 convicted of killing a second police officer in a neighbouring town on the same day. In a separate development on Monday, a Cairo court banned the 6 April youth movement, the liberal protest group charged with playing a leading role in Egypt’s 2011 revolution. A spokesman for the group, Ahmad Abd Allah, said the move highlighted the extent of Egypt’s counter-revolution.’
- Egypt’s Judges Join In: Crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood Enters a New Phase
- Egypt jails students, doctors for protesting without permit
- Journalist claims systematic torture in Egyptian detention centres
- Al-Jazeera trial shown video evidence
- Tony Blair Backs Egypt’s Military Government Despite Human Rights Crackdown
The Egyptian military said on Thursday it had gained “complete control over the situation” in the Sinai Peninsula, where Islamist insurgents have been carrying out attacks against security forces for several months. Violence has spiraled in the Sinai since last July when the army toppled President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood, prompting militants who had previously focused on attacks against neighboring Israel to turn their attention to Egyptian police and military targets.
“There is obvious stability in Sinai despite rumors that there are still terrorist elements and tunnels in north Sinai,” said Major General Mohamed al-Shahat, who heads Egyptian forces in the peninsula, in comments carried by state news agency MENA. A recent Reuters investigation found that a few hundred militants – a mix of Egyptian Islamists, foreign fighters and disgruntled youth – are successfully playing a cat-and-mouse game with Egypt’s army and are nowhere near defeat.
The former army general who toppled Egypt’s first freely elected president will face a leftist politician in next month’s presidential election, as they were the only candidates to enter before nominations closed, the committee organizing the vote said.
The committee had received paperwork from former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and former parliamentarian and presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi, it said at a news conference on Sunday, several hours after the deadline had passed.
The elections will be held in a barren political climate after the 2011 uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak raised hopes of a robust democracy in the biggest Arab nation. Neither candidate has outlined a strategy for tackling poverty, energy shortages and unemployment that afflict many of Egypt’s 85 million people.
Momentum is continuing to build towards Egypt’s 26 May elections, which are widely expected to see Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi stroll into the presidential office. After a long period of speculation, the recently promoted Field Marshall finally announced last month that he would be taking off his military slacks and stepping into civilian shoes to run for top office.
In a poll in March, 39% of Egyptians said they were planning to vote for him, while fewer than 1% of respondents said they were planning to vote for any of the other candidates. Anything but an Al-Sisi victory seems highly unlikely, and come May, the military’s hold on power will have become even further entrenched. It was only in January 2011 that Hosni Mubarak − a military man too, like all his predecessors since 1952 − was overthrown, but now it seems the Egyptian military is not only back in the seat of power, but perhaps stronger than ever. A look behind the political curtains at the backstage that is the Egyptian economy seems to bear this out.
- Al-Sissi clears final step to run for Egypt’s presidency
- Egypt’s Tahrir Square dream fades as Sisi builds power
- Egypt’s Mubarak endorses Sisi in leaked tape
- Documents: US bankrolled anti-Morsi activists
- Egypt Muslim Brotherhood chief calls Sisi a ‘tyrant’
- El Sisi rides a bicycle, kicks off social media storm
- Abdul Fattah al-Sisi: New face of Egypt’s old guard
- Egyptian police ‘using rape as a weapon’ against dissident groups
- Egypt steps up campaign to control mosques
- Egypt army extends power by taking charge of Gulf aid
- Rights group calls on U.S. to delay military aid to Egypt
- State Department slaps terror designation on militants in Egypt
- Egypt woman professor targets young in bid to save Brotherhood
- Al-Jazeera case: Fresh calls to free reporters
- Egypt court upholds jailing of leading pro-democracy activists
- Egypt deports man lobbying against mass death sentences
- Egyptian journalists strike, demanding protection
- Egypt tightens security laws to counter ‘terrorism’
- Three years on, Egyptians fear future darker than Mubarak era
- Egypt on the Verge of a Social Explosion
Prime Minister David Cameron has ordered an inquiry into the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood to determine whether it is using London as a base for planning extremist attacks after the military crackdown in Egypt, officials and news media reports said on Tuesday.
In the past, British governments have moved against small Islamic militant groups, but have tended to cast the Brotherhood, a prominent Islamic organization, in a different, more moderate light, particularly after Mohamed Morsi, the Brotherhood’s candidate, was elected Egypt’s president in 2012. Mr. Morsi was overthrown last year by the Egyptian military, and Egypt and Saudi Arabia have since declared the Brotherhood a terrorist organization.
…The inquiry, to be led by Sir John Jenkins, Britain’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, is to complete its investigation by midsummer, officials said… It comes amid pressure from Egypt and Saudi Arabia for Britain to outlaw the organization, but an official said the aim of the inquiry was “not about establishing evidence to proscribe” the group. Mr. Morsi and hundreds of his followers are facing trial in Egypt.
…The first round of executions, ordered Monday, covered 529 pro-Morsi protesters, ordered killed as “terrorists” because a protest led to the death of a single junta police officer.
The international community barely had time to express outrage at that before the same judge was given another mass trial of supporters of the ousted election government, this time 683 more facing execution on similar pretexts.
Not stopping there, the junta’s chief prosecutor announced two new mass trials of “suspected Islamists,” one covering 715 people accused of involvement in rallies against government buildings in August, and another of 204 detainees accused of “inciting violence” by opposing the summer coup.
- Medea Benjamin: Egypt Kangaroo Court Sentences 529 Morsi Supporters to Death
- U.N. says mass Egyptian death sentences contravene international law
- Protests over trials of Muslim Brotherhood members erupt in Alexandria
- Aly el-Kabbany: Egypt judiciary politically oriented, engulfed in corruption
- Egypt’s Courts Further Repression With Journalists on Trial and Mass Death Sentence for Morsi Supporters: Interview with Sharif Abdel Kouddous
- Due Process ‘Impossible’ In Harsh Death Sentencing Of Over 500 Muslim Brotherhood Members: Interview with Mohamed Elmeshad
Abdel-Fatteh al-Sissi, the Egyptian military chief who last summer removed the elected Islamist president, announced Wednesday that he has resigned from the military and will run for president in elections scheduled for next month.
In a nationally televised speech, Sissi appeared in his military uniform, saying that it was the last time he would wear it because he was giving it up “to defend the nation” by running for president. He said he was “responding to a call from the people.”
Egyptian law says only civilians can run for president, so his resignation from the military, as well as his posts of military chief and defense minister, was a required step.
Sissi is widely expected to win the vote, after months of nationalist fervor since he removed Mohammed Morsi, who in 2012 became Egypt’s first freely elected and civilian president.
…The concern in Egypt is about the potential threat to its dominance over the Nile.
Egypt fears Ethiopia’s dam will restrict the flow of this strategic waterway – the main source of water in a country where rainfall is scarce.
The row started in 2011, and Egypt has been worried ever since that its annual quota of the Nile water might be reduced.
This conflict comes at a time when different parts of Egypt are already suffering from a shortage of water. In the northern Nile Delta, the agricultural heart of Egypt, a lot of farmers are waiting with a heavy heart to see if they will be able to cultivate their land next summer.
- Egypt Just Handed Out The Largest Death Sentence in Its Modern History
- Egypt dissident released on bail in possible sign government is easing crackdown
- Al-Jazeera journalist jailed in Egypt loses full use of arm
- Media crackdown more severe for Egyptian journalists
- Egypt crackdown brings most arrests in decades
- Egypt military chief reshuffles commanders
- Egyptian man arrested for Facebook correspondence with Israeli
- Egypt leftist tells army to stay out of politics
- The Coca-Cola cover up: Egypt police van ‘disguised’
- Former Egyptian General Calls Promise of Free Elections a ‘Farce’
- Egyptian candidate questions Sisi’s commitment to democracy
- Egypt ex-PM: presidential poll will be fixed
- Dubai’s Arabtec to build one million flats for Egyptian army
- Egypt army ‘AIDS detector’ instead finds ridicule
- Did State Department Fail American Peace Activist When She Was Detained at Cairo Airport?
- UN calls on Cairo to end human rights violations
- Egypt human rights group decries police violence
- Egypt Court Bans Hamas
- First woman to head a political party in Egypt says it proves the revolution has changed attitudes
- Egypt criticises ‘US appointing itself human rights advocate’
- Egyptians use Muslim Brotherhood crackdown to settle scores
Robert Fisk: Pluralism was once the hallmark of the Arab world, so the exodus of Christians from the Middle East is painful to one Islamic scholar
Tarif Khalidi is a big, bearded bear of a man, the kind you would always choose to play Father Christmas, or perhaps a Cossack leader sweeping across the Russian steppe, reins in one hand, sword in the other. But Tarif – or Uncle Tarif as I invariably call him – is an Islamic scholar, the most recent translator of the Koran and author of a wonderful book of Muslim stories about Jesus. I am thus surprised – but after a few seconds not at all surprised – to hear how well this Palestinian from Jerusalem got on with the Imam Musa Sadr, the Shia leader in southern Lebanon who did more to lift his people from squalor than any I can think of – until Colonel Muammar Gaddafi had him murdered in Libya in 1978.
“He took on the Christians of Lebanon in an extraordinary manner,” Tarif says. “He revived Islamic interest in Jesus and Mary. He was an extraordinary performer. He almost embraced Christian theology. He would lecture in churches with the cross right behind him!” But as we weave our way between religions, I realise what is grieving this most burly of professors – he teaches at the American University of Beirut – as he speaks slowly and eloquently of the almost biblical exodus of Christians from the Middle East.
[...] Revolutionaries must have some idea of what they are going to do once they have displaced the powers-that-be. It is not enough to say that anything is better than the status quo, particularly, as happened in Egypt and Syria, when people find their lives are getting worse. What happens when foreign powers, once so eager to support the risen people, want a share of the political cake? The success of those first uprisings meant that the revolutionaries, always better on tactics than strategy, had lethally few ideas about what to do next.
But the formula that brought them to power still works. In the past eight months, governments in Turkey, Thailand and Ukraine have been destabilised by prolonged mass protests. In the case of Egypt a giant demonstration on 30 June led directly to – and was portrayed as giving legitimacy to – a military coup on 3 July. In Istanbul it was Taksim Square and in Kiev it was Independence Square that were the stages on which revolutionary dramas were played. But what is at issue now is very different from 2011. This is not obvious, because television reporters often produce the same simple-minded story as before. Downplayed and even unstated in reports from Kiev, Cairo, Bangkok and Istanbul was that this time the protesters were confronting democratically elected leaders.
‘Egypt’s arrest and trial of three Al-Jazeera journalists, charged with assisting the Muslim Brotherhood, has prompted outcry around the world. The case helps highlight growing dangers to journalists worldwide, especially in countries caught in war or turmoil. In 2013, 119 members of the press died while on assignment. Alison Bethel McKenzie of the International Press Institute and David Rohde of Reuters join Jeffrey Brown to discuss the hazards.’ (PBS Newshour)
Saudi Arabia’s surprise announcement on Friday to declare the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization is an attempt to strike the group at their weakest moment – and an attempt to kick start worldwide condemnation towards the group, an analyst said. The blacklisting of the group comes soon after the kingdom – along with Bahrain and the UAE – withdrew their ambassadors from Qatar, a known backer of former Egyptian President Mohammad Mursi’s Brotherhood-led government. The ban is an attempt to strike the group at their weakest moment, according to Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, a professor of political science at UAE University.
“They [the Muslim Brotherhood] have lost so much as a result of the crackdown in Egypt and the dismantling of their leadership, so I think the time is probably right [to ban them],” said Abdulla. By joining Egypt in designating the group as a terrorist organization, the kingdom may be able to persuade Western governments to blacklist the group – further weakening its power, the analyst said. “Probably if you have the UAE joining in, and others, probably this will send a message to west, to London and Washington, this is probably going to be a masterstroke from the Saudis,” he told Al Arabiya.
Egypt’s new prime minister said on Tuesday he would seek to eradicate militant violence that has increased since the overthrow of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, hoping improved security will lead to economic recovery. Speaking after his appointment by Adly Mansour, Ibrahim Mahlab, the army-appointed president since Morsi’s removal in July, said he hoped to form his government within three or four days.
“We will work together to restore security and safety to Egypt and crush terrorism in all corners of the country,” said Mahlab, formerly the housing minister, expressing hope for a recovery in the crucial tourism sector. “Security and stability in the entire country and crushing terrorism will pave the way for investment.”
Mahlab’s appointment followed the surprise resignation of prime minister Hazem el-Beblawi’s government on Monday. Bombings and shootings by militant Islamist groups have become commonplace since the army deposed Morsi after mass protests against his rule.
- Independent Journalism Now Considered ‘Terrorism’ in Egypt
- Egypt Junta Orders ‘Mass Tribunal’ for 504 Detained Foes
- Egypt’s Morsi urges revolution from court
- Jingoistic nationalism replaces revolution in Egypt
- Islamist leader: Egypt became ‘republic of fear’
- Egypt breaks up Muslim Brotherhood “military wing”
- Egypt mosques: Weekly sermon themes set by government
- Egypt cracks down on online dissent
- Egypt court acquits police of 2011 killings
- Egypt’s Security Forces Once Again Using Virginity Tests On Female Detainees
- The Egyptian revolution still grinds on
- Three Years Later, Tahrir Protesters Drained And Defeated
Egypt faces plenty of threats, from a growing insurgency in the Sinai to a shaky and still unstable presidential regime. But the dramatic reversal in the country’s energy fortunes in recent years, and the stark challenges that poses for the economy could end up proving the biggest headache for strongman Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
Before the Arab Spring, Egypt turned its abundant reserves of natural gas, the third largest in Africa, into lucrative exports shipped to Europe and Asia. It sent gas by pipeline to neighboring countries, including Jordan and Israel. It had ambitious plans to further develop offshore natural gas resources, and was expanding its creaky electricity system on the back of natural-gas fired power plants.
Today, Egypt is scrambling to import natural gas just to meet skyrocketing domestic demand. Exports have plummeted: One of the two terminals that liquefied natural gas and shipped it to southern Europe has been shuttered since 2012; the other is wheezing, starved of gas for export by voracious demand at home.
In a sign of just how quickly Egypt’s once-advantageous position has changed, there are reportedly talks underway to import gas from Israel — less than two years after Cairo shut off exports headed there. The abrupt reversal is a result of unsustainable economic policies, such as generously subsidized fuel prices at home that spur unbridled growth in gas consumption. And it’s one big cause for concern about Sisi’s ability to tackle the country’s economic challenges.