Category Archives: Egypt

US Weaponizes Nearly Every Major World Conflict

Abby Martin reports on the militant group ISIS seizing 52 US-made heavy artillery cannons, going over several other examples of US weapons playing a role in almost every major global conflict.’ (Breaking the Set)

Tony Blair to advise Egypt president Sisi on economic reform

Seumas Milne reports for the Guardian:

Tony BlairTony 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.’

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Tony Blair accused of conflict of interests in Middle East, plans to advise Egypt’s el-Sisi next?

Ian Black and Patrick Kingsley write for the Guardian:

Governments advised by Blair‘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.”‘

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Kerry Assures Egypt Junta of More Military Aid

Jason Ditz writes for Antiwar:

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.’

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Egyptian cleric: Watching football ‘destroys nations’

From The Associated Press:

‘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”.’

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US backing of el-Sissi reminiscent of Mubarak era

Spencer Kimball writes for DW:

Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sissi and US Secretary of State John Kerry‘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.’

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US Condemns Syria’s Election, Fine With Egypt’s (And Yemen’s in 2012)

Jason Ditz writes for Antiwar:

‘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.’

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Mubarak’s sentence for stealing $17 million same as that given Ahmed Maher for calling a protest

Amr Nabil reports for the AP:

‘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.’

Brotherhood leader says mass death sentences will bring down government

From Reuters:

Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Badie shouts slogans from the defendant's cage during his trial with other leaders of the Brotherhood in a courtroom in Cairo December 11, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer‘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.’

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Sen. Patrick Leahy blocks Egyptian military aid over ‘appalling abuse of the justice system’

From Reuters:

‘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.’

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In Support of Dictatorship, US to Send Egypt Military Helicopters

John Glaser writes for Antiwar:

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel meets with Egyptian general Abdel Fatah Saeed Al Sisy[...] 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.

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Sisi urges big vote in Egyptian election; Islamists urge boycott

From Reuters:

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.

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Vow of Freedom of Religion Goes Unkept in Egypt

David D. Kirkpatrick writes for The New York Times:

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.

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Egyptian judge sentences 720 men to death including leader of Muslim Brotherhood

Patrick Kingsley reports for the Guardian:

Photograph: Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images‘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.’

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Egypt’s army says has ‘complete control’ over Sinai Peninsula

From Reuters:

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.

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Egypt election panel: Sisi, former MP only candidates in presidential poll

From Reuters:

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.

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Egypt’s military economy: Money is power, power is money

Joseph Hammond and James Wan write for Think Africa Press:

In this photo released by the office of the Egyptian presidency, Egyptian troops demonstrate their skills at a graduation ceremony in Cairo in July 2012.  (Photo courtesy of the Egyptian Presidency) 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.

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The Street Art of Egypt’s Revolutions

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Britain Orders Inquiry Into Muslim Brotherhood in London

Alan Cowell reports for the New York Times:

CREDIT: REUTERS/LUKE MACGREGORPrime 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.

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Egypt Junta Orders More Mass Trials

Jason Ditz writes for Antiwar:

…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.

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Egypt army chief Sisi announces he will run for president

From Reuters:

Egypt's military chief Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi speaks in a nationally televised speech, announcing that he will run for president.

Credit: AP Photo/Egyptian State Television

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.

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Will Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam dry the Nile in Egypt?

Emmanuel Igunza reports for BBC News:

Ethiopia's Tekeze Hydropower project.

Photo: Business Wire

…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.

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Egypt court sentences 529 Morsi supporters to death

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

Robert Fisk writes for The Independent:

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.

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Patrick Cockburn: Are protesters overthrowing a brutal despot, or merely bad losers at the polls?

Patrick Cockburn writes for Th Independent:

[...] 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.

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Covering conflict and corruption, journalists face rising threat of violence and imprisonment

‘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 Brotherhood ban could send shockwaves worldwide

Paul Crompton writes for Al Arabiya:

King Abdullah (file image)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.

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#FreeAJStaff – Al Jazeera Calls For A Global Day Of Action For Press Freedom

Egypt’s new army-backed PM vows to ‘crush terrorism’

Reuters reports:

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.

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Sisi’s Gas Pains: Why energy, not terrorists, could be the Egyptian strongman’s undoing

Keith Johnson writes for Foreign Policy:

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.

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