Category Archives: Egypt

Ex-Egyptian minister: We warned US ahead of 9/11

Gavriel Fiske reports for The Times of Israel:

‘In the weeks ahead of the September 11 attacks in 2001, Egypt warned the Bush administration repeatedly about an imminent large-scale terror attack to be carried out by al-Qaeda operatives on US soil, but the message was ignored, a former high-ranking Egyptian government official said

Habib al-Adly, who served from 1997 to 2011 as minister of the interior for the Mubarak government, said in court testimony that Egypt received intelligence “from inside the al-Qaeda den” that “America would be subject to a huge terror attack.” In testimony last month that was translated and posted online Tuesday by the Middle East Media Research Institute, Adly said the intelligence was verified and analyzed, and then president Hosni Mubarak gave the order to pass it on to the US in May of 2001.

The information was passed to both the CIA and FBI several times, Adly said, as Egyptian intelligence received word that the terror attack was moving from the planning to operation stage.’

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Jailed for Protests, Activists in Egypt and Bahrain Turn to Hunger Strikes

Robert Mackay reports for The New York Times:

‘Three years after they helped lead street protests demanding democracy in Egypt and Bahrain, prominent Arab Spring activists in both nations are now starving themselves in prison, hoping to draw attention to intensifying crackdowns on dissent there.

Following prison visits this week, relatives expressed fears for the health of at least two of the activists on hunger strike: Ahmed Douma, a leader of Egypt’s April 6 Youth movement who was sentenced to three years in prison after the military-backed government banned unsanctioned street protests last year, and Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, the founder of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, who was given a life sentence for his role in the 2011 protests.’

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Egypt and UAE strike Islamist militias in Libya

Anne Gearan reports for The Washington Post:

‘The United Arab Emirates and Egypt have carried out a series of airstrikes in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, U.S. officials said Monday, marking an escalation in the chaotic war among Libya’s rival militias that has driven American and other diplomats from the country.

The Obama administration did not know ahead of time about the highly unusual military intervention, although the United States was aware that action by Arab states might come as the crisis in Libya worsened, said one official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

The airstrikes appear tied to fear over the growing muscle of Islamist militias. The region’s monarchies and secular dictatorships are increasingly alarmed about Islamist gains from Libya to Syria and Iraq. And the airstrikes may signal a new willingness by some Arab states to take on a more direct military role in the region’s conflicts.

Various groups in Libya have been battling for control of the main Tripoli airport, and the strikes may have been a failed attempt to keep the strategic facility from falling to extremists.’

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The World’s Most Repressive Regimes Delight In U.S. Crack Down In Ferguson

Hayes Brown writes for Think Progress:

Police advance after tear gas was used to disperse a crowd of protesters in Ferguson, MO on Sunday‘After years of being critiqued for its own crackdowns against dissidents, China has begun to use the ongoing clashes between police and protesters and police in Ferguson, MO as a way to lambaste the United States for hypocrisy, joining other repressive regimes in expressing no small amount of schadenfreude at the current situation.

The Chinese government either directly owns or oversees all media within the country, including the Xinhua news service. As such, the op-ed published on Monday from commentator Li Li can be read as being an unofficial statement from Beijing. In the article, Li takes the United States to task for not yet realizing Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream, noting that “despite the progress, racial divide still remains a deeply-rooted chronic disease that keeps tearing U.S. society apart, just as manifested by the latest racial riot in Missouri.”’

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Tony Blair’s Egypt links in spotlight after HRW report on Rab’a Massacre

Chris Green reports for The Independent:

‘Tony Blair’s close ties to the Egyptian government have been called into question after some of the country’s key officials were accused of collaborating in the “widespread and systematic” killings of more than 1,000 protesters. A year-long investigation by Human Rights Watch (HRW) claims that Egyptian security forces “systematically and deliberately” killed large numbers of mainly unarmed demonstrators who had gathered in Rabaa al-Adawiya Square in Cairo last August to protest about the ousting of former president Mohamed Morsi.

The group said the massacre was as bad as Tiananmen Square and that it “likely amounted to crimes against humanity”. It called for several senior Egyptian officials to be investigated for their role in the incident – including the country’s current President, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, who was defence minister at the time. Tony Blair, who is a Middle East peace envoy, supported the coup against president Morsi and has voiced his support for the new Egyptian government. He is also acting as an informal adviser to Mr al-Sisi on economic reform.’

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One Year After Egypt’s Rab’a Massacre, US Still Funding Repression

Medea Benjamin writes for CounterPunch:

‘It has been one year since the August 14, 2013 Rab’a Square massacre in Egypt, when the Egyptian police and army opened fire on demonstrators opposed to the military’s July 3 ouster of President Mohamed Morsi. Using tanks, bulldozers, ground forces, helicopters and snipers, police and army personnel mercilessly attacked the makeshift protest encampment, where demonstrators, including women and children, had been camped out for over 45 days. The result was the worst mass killing in Egypt’s modern history. The government’s systematic effort to obscure what took place, beginning with sealing off the square the next day, has made it difficult to come up with an accurate death toll. But a just-released Human Rights Watch report, based on a meticulous year-long investigation, found that at least 817 and likely well over 1,000 people were killed in Rab’a Square on August 14.

[...] Since the massacre, Sisi has overseen a year of intense government repression that has included the arrests of tens of thousands of people, including Islamists and leftist political activists. More than 65 journalists have been detained and some, like three Al Jazeera journalists, have been sentenced to 7-10 years in prison. Egypt’s criminal justice system has become a cruel joke; sentencing 1,247 people to death in trials makes a mockery of the word “justice”. In many cases defendants were not brought to their trials and lawyers have repeatedly been barred from presenting their defense or questioning witnesses. Amnesty International has documented the sharp deterioration in human rights in Egypt in the past year, including the surge in arbitrary arrests, torture and deaths in police custody. Amnesty says torture is routinely carried out by the military and police, with members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood particularly targeted. Among the methods of torture employed are electric shocks, rape, handcuffing detainees and suspending them from open doors.’

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Mubarak On Trial: I Would Never Order the Killing of Protesters

From All Africa:

‘Egypt’s former President Hosni Mubarak denied he ordered the killing of protesters who participated in the January 25, 2011 uprising on Wednesday. Mubarak testified on his own behalf during his trial’s final hearing. The former president is being tried alongside his Interior Minister and six of his aides on charges of killing protesters. Mubarak, his two sons and an Egyptian businessman are also being tried at the same court on corruption charges related to the export of gas to Israel. The trial was postponed to September 27, when the court is scheduled to issue its verdict. The defendants are also being tried over inciting violence and creating a security vacuum during the early days of the uprising.’

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Egypt court bans Muslim Brotherhood’s political wing

BBC News reports:

Egypt's ousted President Mohammed Morsi stands inside a glassed-in defendant's cage (28 January 2014)‘A court in Egypt has dissolved the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), the Muslim Brotherhood’s political wing. The ruling will effectively prevent the banned Islamist movement from formally participating in parliamentary elections expected later this year. The government declared the Brotherhood a terrorist group in December. It was accused of orchestrating a wave of violence to destabilise the country after the military overthrew President Mohammed Morsi in July 2013.

The Brotherhood has denied any connection to the jihadist militants based in the Sinai Peninsula who have killed hundreds of security personnel. At the same time, more than 1,400 people have been killed and 16,000 detained in a crackdown by the authorities on Mr Morsi’s supporters. President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, a former military chief who was elected head of state in May, has vowed to wipe out the group.’

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US silently continues Apache helicopter shipments to Egypt

Ken Klippenstein and Paul Gottinger report for Middle East Eye:

‘[...] Congress approved the release of $572 million in aid to the Egyptian government in June, but the remainder of the $1.5 billion in aid remains withheld pending John Kerry’s certification that Egypt was on the road to a democratic transition.

Apache helicopters had been part of the original arms freeze to Egypt announced by the State Department in October of 2013, which still includes M1-A1 tank parts, F16 jets, and Harpoon missiles.

Egypt has been seeking the release of the Apaches for months in order to assist their crackdown on the Sinai Peninsula. According to reports, Egypt has 34 Apache helicopters in its possession; however, 12 are not currently operating due to maintenance issues.’

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Anal jihad: Militant Islamists accused of gay sex

Gay Star News reports:

Mazar Shahin claims the Muslim Brotherhood are allowing their fighters to have gay anal sex with each other.‘Militant Islamists and terrorists are waging ‘anal jihad’ by having gay anal sex with each other, an Egyptian cleric has claimed. There is even a ‘fatwa’ or religious edict allowing it, says Mazhar Shahin.

But others have claimed Shahin may be simply trying to discredit the Muslim Brotherhood, who were kicked out of power last year in Egypt and who he fiercely opposes. A video picked up by progressive online news show The Young Turks shows Shahin describing ‘anal jihad’ on Egyptian channel al-Tahrir.’

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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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