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.
Egypt has a new prime minister—and he is, of all people, the housing minister. Interim president Adly Mansour today asked 65-year-old Ibrahim Mehlib, a former construction magnate and Hosni Mubarak ally, to form a government in the wake of the mass resignation of the previous government. Minutes after the official announcement, Mehlib told reporters that his cabinet members will be “holy warriors” in the service of Egyptians, fighting “day and night” to improve living standards, combat terrorism, and ensure new elections go smoothly. He says he will form his cabinet within three days.
Installing a new government, weeks ahead of the vote, appears to be paving the way for outgoing Defense Minister Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who led the army’s overthrow of Morsi, to run for the presidency. A government official says el-Sissi will be part of the new cabinet. El-Sissi must leave the military and take off his uniform if he is to run for president. A cult of personality has grown around him, and most observers expect he would sweep the vote if he runs.
- Egypt’s Military Resigns, Awaits Inevitable ‘Election’ to Continue US-Backed Dictatorship
- Egypt, Russia pledge close bilateral relations
- Putin backs Sisi to be president of Egypt
- In rare interview, Mubarak says Egyptians want al-Sissi
- El Sisi’s past may serve him well for future Egypt-US ties
- Popular wave could lift Egypt army chief to office
- Egypt army backs Sisi as presidential candidate
- Egypt Junta to Hold Early Presidential Vote
- Saudi Arabia to give Egypt up to $4bn more aid
- Influential cleric urges Saudis to stop backing Egypt’s dominant military
- Robert Fisk: If only Tony Blair could grasp the truth about Field Marshal Sisi
On Jan. 8, Ethiopia turned down Egypt’s demand that it suspend construction of its mega-dam on the Nile, further escalating tensions between the two states. Fearing that Ethiopia’s $4.2 billion project would reduce the river’s flow, Egypt calls for a halt in construction until the dam’s downstream impact is determined. Otherwise, it has vowed to protect its “historical rights” to the Nile at “any cost.”
While scoffing at Egyptian threats, Ethiopia has called for Cairo’s collaboration in negotiations and claims that the dam will have no adverse effect on Egypt. It would, in fact, decrease evaporation and improve water flow. Ethiopia hopes that the ambitious hydroelectric project, slated to be completed in 2017, would catapult the country out of poverty. Frustrated by what it described as Ethiopia’s stubborn stance, Cairo is threatening to take the issue to the United Nations Security Council.
Is this just standard diplomatic brinkmanship before an inevitable compromise, or a harbinger of a looming water war? Regardless, the lack of progress on the diplomatic front bodes ill for a quick end to a stalemate that has long gripped the region. Home to 600 million people, more than half of Africa’s total population, the Nile Basin is already traumatized by endless internal political strife and mounting pressures to feed a population growing at Malthusian proportions.
However, as ominous as it sounds, the collapse of the talks does not necessarily mean Egypt and Ethiopia will soon be locking horns. Despite suggestions to the contrary, this is simply the waning phase of a protracted diplomatic dance before an inevitable conciliation.
The Egyptian authorities are using every resource at their disposal to quash dissent and trample on human rights, said Amnesty International in a damning new report published ahead of the third anniversary of the “25 January Revolution”.
The briefing entitled Roadmap to repression: No end in sight to human rights violations, paints a bleak picture of the state of rights and liberties in Egypt since the ousting of President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.
“Egypt has witnessed a series of damaging blows to human rights and state violence on an unprecedented scale over the last seven months. Three years on, the demands of the ‘25 January Revolution’ for dignity and human rights seem further away than ever. Several of its architects are behind bars and repression and impunity are the order of the day,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director at Amnesty International.
Across the board the Egyptian authorities have tightened the noose on freedom of expression and assembly. Repressive legislation has been introduced making it easier for the government to silence its critics and crack down on protests. Security forces have been given free rein to act above the law and with no prospect of being held to account for abuses.
- Army general al-Sisi turns anniversary of Tahrir Square uprising into presidential rally
- Protesters killed on anniversary of anti-Mubarak revolt
- Ministry: Car bomb strikes Egypt police base
- Military-backed government bans last opposition newspaper
- Egypt’s censorship of comedian Bassem Youssef sends ‘wrong message’
Egypt’s military chief, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, plans to resign from his post in the coming days in order to run for president with the army’s backing.
Sisi came to the decision “in light of wide popular demands, in addition to signs of Arab approval, especially from the Gulf,” an informed source told the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper, in a report published on Tuesday.
The source also said that Sisi made his decision after carefully studying expected “Western reactions, especially American,” to his potential candidacy, and saw that the Pentagon welcomed the move.
The report speculated that the presidential election would be held in March.
[...] As Egypt prepares to celebrate the third anniversary of the Jan.25 revolution which ousted the Mubarak regime, the mood in Davos was slightly skeptical on whether the 2011 revolution has actually achieved its goals.
One of the major concerns was the fact that Egypt’s first post-Mubarak elected president, the Muslim Brotherhood-backed Mohammad Mursi, was also ousted in a counter-revolution which took to the streets last summer. Ever since, Egypt has witnessed the rise of its military strongman, General Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi. In Davos, PM Beblawi publically endorsed Sisi as a candidate for presidency.
Speaking at the Annual Meeting, Bebalwi compared Sisi to De Gualle and Eisenhower, referring to the French and American war heroes, adding that Sisi is “under popular pressure” to run for the presidency.
“Those that are pushing Sisi to run are not the military camps, they are people in the streets, women in the first place,” Beblawi said.
“Don’t forget he is a handsome man,” he added.
Over 98% of participants in the first Egyptian vote of the post-Morsi era voted in favour of approving a new constitution, the country’s electoral commission officially announced on Saturday.
“This is a wonderful day for Egypt, Egyptians and for democracy, despite the extraordinary circumstances,” a spokesman for Egypt’s interim presidency, Ehab Badawi, said in a statement ahead of the official announcement. “This vote represents a resounding rejection of terrorism and a clear endorsement of the roadmap to democracy, as well as economic development and stability.”
After a campaign in which several no-campaigners were arrested and the government said participation was a patriotic duty, the poll’s turnout is also seen as a significant indicator of the level of public support for the process.
According to officials, the turnout was a respectable 38.6% – higher than the 33% who voted in a referendum during Morsi’s tenure, but lower than the 41.9% who turned out in a similar poll following Egypt’s 2011 uprising.
Egypt’s new constitution strengthens the country’s three key institutions – the military, the police and the judiciary. It also gives more rights to women and disabled people, and removes certain Islamist-leaning clauses inserted under Morsi, while maintaining the principles of Islamic sharia as the main source of legislation.
But the referendum was seen less as a poll on the text’s contents, and more of a vote on Egypt’s current leadership.
At the polling station in the impoverished Cairo neighborhood of Imbaba, the contradiction that is Egypt’s democratic transition played out Tuesday. Women, children in hand, celebrated their votes in the country’s referendum on a new constitution with celebratory ululation, while a few feet away a young man sat with his head bowed in fear after military personnel beat him.
Police on the scene said soldiers had struck the man because he’d insulted the military, whose generals now serve as the country’s de facto rulers and had called on voters to endorse the document. The proposed constitution calls for freedom of expression, but the man said he was beaten “because I expressed my opinion.”
Tuesday was the first of two days of balloting on the nation’s newest proposed charter, but the vote lacked the suspense of previous elections held in the three years since the Arab Spring toppled longtime President Hosni Mubarak. When balloting ends Wednesday, the constitution is expected to have passed with overwhelming support.
Opponents couldn’t call for voters to say no and couldn’t insult the military without fear of arrest in a country where many think that under the newest government, democratic processes have become a means to codify the return of a police state that millions rose up against when they forced Mubarak from office.
Many called the vote a referendum on the political future of Egypt’s strongman, Defense Minister Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who’s considered the top contender in the still-undeclared presidential elections. The military hailed the vote, with army spokesman Ahmad Mohamed Ali saying the referendum “confirms Egyptians are the first free population in recorded history.”
Egypt’s army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will run for president if the people request it and the military supports the bid, state media quote him saying.
“If I nominate myself, there must be a popular demand, and a mandate from my army,” state paper Al-Ahram quoted him as telling Egyptian officials.
The general feels he could not stand aside if there was palpable demand for him to run, an official told AFP.
Recent local reports have suggested the general is eyeing a presidential bid.
In a move that could reshape the way the United States deals with post-coup governments, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved a bill that would make it easier to provide aid to countries ruled by military regimes. With an eye toward this summer’s turmoil in Egypt, the bill also requires the executive branch to determine when a democratically-elected government has been removed by force.
On Wednesday [Dec 18th], the Egypt Assistance Reform Act sailed through the committee in a 16-1 vote. Its key backers, Sens. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn), said the bill allows the U.S. government to maintain ties with strategically important countries like Egypt while imposing strict restrictions on any financial or military aid to their governments.
“This legislation reaffirms the enduring U.S. commitment to our partnership with the Egyptian government by authorizing continued assistance and endorsing the importance of ongoing cooperation,” said Menendez, chairman of the committee.
But opponents criticized it for lifting restrictions on U.S. aid to unelected military juntas. The committee “voted to weaken existing law and give the president more authority to send billions in aid to countries who violently overthrow their governments and engage in violence against their own citizens,” Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) told The Cable in a statement.
Egypt’s Defense Minister and army chief Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi claimed he was approached in a dream by the late president Anwar Sadat, and was told by Sadat he’d rule the country some day.
In a leaked recording of an interview between the Egyptian defense minister and a reporter for Egypt daily Al-Masry al-Youm, el-Sissi, who oversaw the ousting of Egypt’s Islamist president in the summer, can be heard recounting his fantastical conversation with the late president. Sadat, who signed the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty in 1979, was assassinated in 1981.
El-Sissi also recalled another dream in which he envisioned himself holding a sword with the words “there is no God but Allah,” inscribed in red on its handle.
The interview, which was originally published in October, omitted the peculiar comments attributed to el-Sissi.
- Egypt’s el-Sissi wins TIME Person of the Year reader’s poll
- Former army official: Army leadership cannot be independent from America
- New Egypt draft charter sets powers for military
- Egypt Junta Retains Military Trials for Civilians in New Constitution
- Hagel voices U.S. concern over new Egyptian law limiting protest
- Egypt’s Moussa defends draft charter
- Tahrir Square clashes as constitution changes agreed
- Muslim Brotherhood rejects Egypt’s draft constitution
- Egypt stops Morsi prison visits over ‘incitement’ messages
- Egyptian Satirist applauds freedom of expression during Morsi’s era
- The return of Egypt’s police state
- Egyptian police stage rare protest in defiance of new law
- Egyptian court frees 21 women who took part in Islamist protest
- In Egypt, university campuses emerge as the latest battleground
Speaking at the State Department to leaders of multinational U.S. firms, Kerry said the Islamist group had appropriated the revolt against Mubarak from young people who started it in large part through social media in response to what they saw of other mass protests around the Arab world.
[...] Kerry’s comments are likely to raise eyebrows in Egypt where competing claims of credit for Mubarak’s ouster are still a source of major division. Mubarak’s ouster led to Egypt’s first-ever democratically chosen president, Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood. Secular politicians could not get organized enough to provide a credible contest.
- Kerry, White House Split on Egypt Policy
- Egypt turns to Russia for support
- al-Sisi: Egyptian general is idolised for deposing former President Mohamed Morsi, but can his popularity last?
- Egypt Islamist tells army chief to avoid politics
- Mursi says he was kidnapped before being removed by army
- Lifting state of emergency in Egypt may not change police behavior
- Sissi vows to avenge deaths of 11 soldiers in Sinai
- It Took Less Than 24 Hours To Deface The New Monument In Tahrir Square
- Survey: Egypt is worst Arab state for women
Clashes in Cairo and its suburbs have killed at least 989 people since security forces launched a 14 August crackdown on supporters of ousted Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi, a forensic official told AFP Thursday.
On 14 August itself, 627 people were killed when security forces stormed Cairo’s Rabaa al-Adawiya square to disperse a sit-in by Morsi’s backers, said Hisham Abdul Hamid, spokesperson for Egypt’s forensic authorities.
The protesters had been calling for Morsi’s return after he was overthrown and imprisoned by the army on 3 July.
Dozens more were also killed on 14 August in the capital’s Nahda Square when police and troops dispersed a similar sit-in.
Abdul Hamid said the death toll was based on forensic details collected by several morgues in and around Cairo. It does not include security forces’ casualties.
His presence sparked chaos in the courtroom, with Morsi’s 14 co-defendants chanting against the army who ousted him, local journalists shouting for his execution and scuffles breaking out between rival lawyers. Amid the melee, Morsi and his colleagues rejected the authority of the court before the bedlam forced the presiding judge to adjourn proceedings until 8 January.
“What is happening now is a military coup,” boomed Morsi after arriving in the defendants’ cage – his first words in public since 2 July, when he gave a rambling televised speech the night before he was deposed by the army, following days of mass protests in which millions had called for the military to intervene.
“I am furious that the Egyptian judiciary should serve as cover for this criminal military coup,” he continued.
- Robert Fisk: As Mohamed Morsi goes to trial, General Sisi should remember: Egypt is a dangerous place to rule (Independent)
- Egyptian authorities prevent journalists from covering Morsi’s trial (MEMO)
- Egypt considers expanded powers for military in new constitution (Washington Post)
- Coup leader in Egypt wants immunity for army for 10 years (MEMO)
- Egypt’s Jon Stewart Taken Off The Air Minutes Before Showtime (Wired)
- Egypt to lift curfew on Nov. 14 (Xinhua)
In the highest-level American visit here since the Egyptian military removed the country’s first democratically elected president from power, Secretary of State John Kerry pressed Egyptian leaders on Sunday to stick to their “road map” for restoring democracy.
In substance as well as tone, Mr. Kerry’s visit to Egypt reflected the Obama administration’s determination to work with a military leadership that ruthlessly put down protesters from the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist movement that put forth the successful candidacy of President Mohamed Morsi, who was ousted on July 3. A military government, now firmly entrenched here, has promised to establish a civilian-led government.
“The road map is being carried out to the best of our perception,” Mr. Kerry said, referring to the plan by the Egyptian authorities to conduct a national referendum on an amended Constitution and hold parliamentary and presidential elections by next spring.
“There are questions we have here and there about one thing or another,” he added in a joint news conference with his Egyptian counterpart. “I think it’s important for all of us, until proven otherwise, to accept that this is the track Egypt is on and to work to help it to be able to achieve that.”
President Obama’s October 9th decision to suspend millions of dollars in U.S. military aid to Egypt came after two years of intense public pressure following Mubarak’s ouster. In all likelihood, however, it is probably a temporary scheme to avoid further public allegations that Obama supports the dictatorial coup regime in Egypt.
But it may have been even more cynical than that. One of the biggest problems with U.S. military aid to Egypt is the small arms and riot gear that security forces use to disperse crowds of peaceful protesters or crack down more generally on the population’s democratic ambitions. This type of aid may not be included in the suspension, but it’s hard to know because unless the arms transfer is a multi-million dollar war plane, they often are not even publicly disclosed.
Amnesty International lays out what Obama needs to do for the suspension of Egypt aid to actually mean something. Geoffrey Mock says “It’s time to ensure that Egyptian human rights violations don’t come labeled ‘Made in the USA.,’” and lists recommendations Amnesty has sent in a letter to the White House.
- U.S. lawmakers criticize Egypt aid cuts, consider changing law (Reuters)
- Egypt’s lobby by proxy wields outsize influence in DC (Al Jazeera)
- ‘Israel bluntly told the US not to cut aid to Egypt’ (Times of Israel)
- Egypt FM: Relations With US in ‘Turmoil’ Since Military Aid Cuts (Antiwar)
- Egypt sends delegation to Russia, rejects US pressure (Egypt Independent)
- Egypt ‘looking to Russia’ for arms after US aid freeze (Times of Israel)
- European Union calls on Egypt to lift state of emergency (MEMO)
- GOP senator holds up $60M in economic aid to Egypt (AP)
- Egyptian coup leaders hire US lobbyist with ties to Israel (MEMO)
Shariah, military power haunt Egypt’s secularists as they amend Islamist-era constitution (plus other news from Egypt)
[...] Democracy advocates warn the provisions could erase other significant democracy gains that are in the final draft still being shaped.
New articles definitively guarantee freedom of faith, expression, thought and the press, better due process and bans on torture, said Bahey Eldin Hassan, head of the Cairo Institute For Human Rights. On the basis of those articles alone, “this will be the best constitution of all Egypt’s charters,” Hassan said.
But, he said, the controversial articles would “constrain those gains.” For example, Islamists could restrict civil liberties and rights of women and Christians by arguing they contradict Islamic Shariah law— an aim one ultraconservative cleric proudly boasted about when the articles were introduced last year.
Proposed amendments to ban religion-based political parties and lift restrictions on building churches could also run into contradictions with Shariah rules.
And granting an untouchable status to the military could give it political power over the government.
- Egyptian Islamists call for daily protests before Morsi trial (Daily Times)
- Egypt considers law that could sharply limit protests, months after coup against Morsi (Washington Post)
- Egyptian strongman el-Sissi is being pressed to seek the presidency (McClatchy)
- Ousted General in Egypt Is Back, as Islamists’ Foe (NY TImes)
- Egypt athlete ‘stripped of gold medal’ for Morsi support (BBC)
- Egyptian journalist sentenced to a year in prison for ‘impersonating military personnel’ (Ahram)
- Egypt satirist Bassem Yousuf hits out at Al Sisi in TV return (Gulf News)
- Egyptians Abandoning Hope and Now, Reluctantly, Homeland (NY Times)
- Egypt police to be tried over detainee tear-gas deaths (BBC)
- Mubarak trial resumes in Egypt behind closed doors (AP)
- Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood facing wave of trials (AP)
In a major new report, the International Network of Civil Liberties Organizations details a global crackdown on peaceful protests through excessive police force and the criminalization of dissent. The report, “Take Back The Streets: Repression and Criminalization of Protest Around the World,” warns of a growing tendency to perceive individuals exercising a fundamental democratic right — the right to protest — as a threat requiring a forceful government response. The case studies detailed in this report show how governments have reacted to peaceful protests in the United States, Israel, Canada, Argentina, Egypt, Hungary, Kenya, South Africa and Britain. The report’s name comes from a police report filed in June 2010 when hundreds of thousands of Canadians took to the streets of Toronto to nonviolently protest the G20 Summit. A senior Toronto Police Commander responded to the protests by issuing an order to “take back the streets.” Within a span of 36 hours, more than 1,000 people — peaceful protesters, journalists, human rights monitors and downtown residents — were arrested and placed in detention. We are joined by three guests: the report’s co-editor, Abby Deskman, a lawyer and program director with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association; Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union; and Hossam Bahgat, an Egyptian human rights activist and the founder and executive director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights. (Democracy NOW!)
The Egyptian army has established a precautionary plan for military intervention in the Gaza Strip if attacks on Egyptian troops in the Sinai Peninsula intensify, Egyptian security officials said Wednesday.
Officials told Ma’an that Egyptian reconnaissance planes had entered the Gaza Strip’s airspace and examined a number of locations in Rafah and Khan Younis to be targeted if military attacks against Egyptian troops intensify in Sinai.
Egyptian aircraft could also target vehicles which travel across the border area delivering smuggled goods, sources added. More smuggling tunnels could also be destroyed, and sources highlighted that “all options are open.”
According to Egyptian military sources, the ongoing attacks in Sinai are carried out by organizations based both in Sinai Peninsula and in the Gaza Strip.
RECENT SINAI/GAZA NEWS:
Egypt’s army chief, who orchestrated the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Mursi in July, should not run for the leadership in elections due to be held next year, the head of the biggest liberal party told Reuters.
General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has said in an interview with an Egyptian newspaper that now was the wrong time to raise the issue of whether he would stand for the presidency.
But he did not rule out taking part in any contest, and speculation has been rising that the former military intelligence officer under toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak could contest the vote.
“I don’t think this is advisable and I don’t think it would be a good thing for Sisi and the country that Sisi runs for the presidency,” said Sayed El-Masry, head of the Al Dostour Party which is a major part of the country’s main leftist and liberal coalition, the National Salvation Front.
“He is doing the country the best favor he can do from his position as a military chief,” Masry said in an interview. “Sisi’s nomination will give the wrong image to the world that what happened was a coup.”
Sisi has said that he stepped in to remove Mursi in response to mass protests against the former leader’s rule, which millions of Egyptians complained had pursued an overtly Islamist agenda and mismanaged the country’s economy.
MORE RECENT NEWS FROM EGYPT:
- Post-coup Egypt swept by nationalist fervor centered around the military, its chief (AP)
- Egypt’s foreign minister says transitional government phase to end by spring (Reuters)
- Army chief calls for speedy transition in Egypt (Press TV)
- Morsi to stand trial in November (BBC)
- Egypt’s Nour party rejects changes to constitution (The Peninsula)
- Disrespecting flag can lead to prison (AP)
- Video reveals Al-Sisi asked to buy an Apache to eliminate the Muslim Brotherhood (MEMO)
- Egypt Islamists rally after calling off Tahrir demo (AFP)
By suspending military aid to Egypt, Washington is pressing Cairo to end the bloodshed on the streets but its largely “symbolic” act is unlikely to have a concrete impact, analysts say.
They say the “half-measured” move reflects the lack of a clear US foreign policy on Egypt, where a political crisis since strongman Hosni Mubarak was toppled in 2011 has worsened after the July 3 ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.
On Wednesday, Washington suspended deliveries of major military hardware and cash assistance of $260 million to the Egyptian military, which ousted Morsi in a coup.
The decision will stop deliveries of big-ticket items such as Apache helicopters, F-16 fighters, M1A1 Abrams tank parts and Harpoon missiles.
Washington says the suspension will remain in place until Egypt moves towards an elected and “inclusive” democratic civilian government.
Hosni Mubarak looked like a stalwart American ally but worried for years that Washington was trying to oust him as president of Egypt, he confided to a doctor recently in surreptitiously recorded conversations that came to light here last week.
“How did the revolution start?” Mr. Mubarak mused about his ouster, in early 2011. “The Americans worked on it since 2005, and I had a feeling then.”
The conversations were recorded over a period of months this year and were authenticated over the weekend when the doctor, an ear, nose and throat specialist, was summoned to testify about them. They offer a rare, unadulterated taste of the former president’s attitudes about a host of subjects — Washington, Israel, his Arab neighbors, Jews, the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s new military leaders and most of all himself.
For all the aid the United States gave Egypt during his 30 years in power, his comments suggest that Washington gained little sway over Mr. Mubarak. And he expressed nothing but pride in his rule despite the steady decline of Egypt’s economy and influence.
An Egyptian court has banned all activities of the Muslim Brotherhood in the country. Its assets will also be confiscated according to the court ruling.
“The court bans the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood organization and its non-governmental organization and all the activities that it participates in and any organization derived from it,” said the presiding judge Mohammed Sayed.
The Cairo Court for Urgent Matters also ordered the “confiscation of all the group’s money, assets, and buildings”.
The Cabinet has ordered the formation of an independent committee to manage the money until final court orders are issued.
“This is totalitarian decision,” leading group member Ibrahim Moneir told Al-Jazeera Mubashir Misr TV.“You are losers and it (the Brotherhood) will remain with God’s help, not by the orders of the judiciary of Sisi,” he added, referring to the commander-in-chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces, who led the military-backed ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi.
The Brotherhood has been outlawed for most of its 85-year existence. It has been in its worst crisis since a similar attempt to suppress it in the 1950s.
MORE EGYPT NEWS:
- Abdel-Nour: Government does not seek to get IMF loan (Government Statement)
- Will Egypt’s strongman Sisi run for presidency? (AFP)
- Morsi vows to stand firm until ‘last breath’ (Press TV)
- Islamist Nour party walks out of Egypt’s constitution talks (Reuters)
- In Sensitive Case, Egypt Acquits Alleged Killers of 2011 Protesters (VoA)
A farmer is southern Egypt was taken into custody after putting a military chief’s name and a military hat on a donkey, state media reported.
Omar Abul-Magd was arrested late Friday as he rode the donkey through the town in Qena province, MENA news agency reported. The farmer was taken into custody for insulting General Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, commander-in-chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces who led the military-backed ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi in July. Morsi’s overthrow occurred following nationwide mass protests against the leader.
Eight other people were detained elsewhere in Egypt for spraying anti-military graffiti.
The arrests highlight Egypt’s intensified crackdown on critics of the military since Morsi’s ouster.
The news from Egypt sounds delusional these days. Military coup, massacres, church burnings, mass arrests, curfews and vigilante checkpoints, attacks on police stations, shuttered television channels, an inflated pro-military patriotism among journalists, and, to cap the most bizarre of twists, Mubarak’s release from prison.
State and private television have been parroting baseless claims in favor of the coup with banners and somber music warning the new government is fighting an existential war on domestic terror. Ikhwan Web, the official news portal of the Muslim Brotherhood, acts as if Morsi’s one-year rule was a prophetic revelation, while Mubashir Misr, the Al Jazeera service devoted to Egypt, has shamelessly turned into an MB headquarters relaying only one side of the story.
This kind of impulsive, Fox-ified journalism would be disastrous anywhere, but it has proven catastrophic in a country where 90 percent of the population get their news from television.
So what exactly happened in the course of Morsi’s brief rule to turn the news narrative in Egypt from progressive uprisings to crippled revolution, from the hopes of free civilian rule to military rule, and from the fears of the deep state to the war on terror? Many have warned against Morsi’s aggressive power-grab policies and the Muslim Brotherhood’s meager support for more inclusive politics. But how did Egypt move from a political stalemate to a popular coup and a brutal crackdown with little public outcry? (Sixty-seven percent of Egyptians support recent military intervention.)The answer is simple and troubling. The media in Egypt today are vengeful and when revenge drives reporting, facts become secondary. If you ever wondered about the perils of Fox News’ opinionated and polarizing reporting, Egyptian media offer us a disturbing window into a society literally destroying itself. They are revealing to all of us just how deadly a concoction of fact-free journalism, dogged ideology and populism can be.
OTHER RECENT NEWS FROM EGYPT:
- Egypt extends state of emergency for two months (LA Times)
- Aides Urge Obama to Ditch Egypt Aid, But Pentagon Opposed (Antiwar)
- 6 Corporations Making Money From U.S. Aid to the Brutal Egyptian Military (Alternet)
- Visiting Republicans Laud Egypt’s Force (NY Times)
- Egypt judges recommend dissolving the Brotherhood (AP)
- Egypt’s president says Muslim Brotherhood’s fate in hands of judiciary, says security priority (AP)
- Thousands of Morsi supporters rally in Egypt (TNI)
- Mursi faces new accusations (The Peninsula)
- Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood to Coptic Christians: Convert to Islam, or pay ‘jizya’ tax (Washington Times)
- The dangerous job of selling books in Cairo (DW)
- Al Jazeera sues over broadcast ban in Egypt (The National)
- Egypt shuts down four TV stations (BBC)
- Egypt minister warns of terrorism wave after assassination attempt (Reuters)
- Egypt names key constitution panel with few Islamists (Reuters)
- Amid crackdown, Egypt’s protesters shift tactics (AP)
- Egypt’s army chief rules out presidential run, but the choice may not be his (The National)
- Younger Muslim Brotherhood hoping to revive the Egyptian group (McClatchy)
- Egyptian economy faces collapse (MEMO)
- Egypt to auction $1.3 billion for vital imports (AP)
- Egypt airport official says 50 percent decline in passengers, with numbers to fall even more (AP)
The trial for deposed Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, on Saturday was postponed until next month, state media reported. He faces charges involving the killing of protesters during the 2011 uprising that led to his ouster.
Mubarak was convicted on the charges last year and sentenced to life in prison, but appealed the ruling and was granted a retrial.
A court ordered him released last month and placed under house arrest while he awaits a retrial.
Mubarak, 85, had been held since shortly after he was removed from power.
The ousted autocratic leader’s health has been a bone of contention during his trial and incarceration. He suffered a heart attack after relinquishing power and had said that he was physically unfit to stand trial.
- NATO Chief: No Plans for Alliance Action in Syria (The State)
- Hollande: France and US Want to Send ‘Strong Message’ (TDS)
- Paid Off?: France wins Saudi Arabia defence contract (Economic Times)
- Erdogan wants Syria regime change, not limited strikes (Al Arabiya)
- Denmark Backs Military Strike in Syria (TDS)
- Germany: No Plans to Join Syria Military Action (AP)
- Iran vows ‘immediate destruction’ of Israel if Syria attacked (RT)
- Obama Hypes Case for War, But Won’t Talk Strategy (Antiwar)
- Experts warn Syria attack could escalate violence and further destabilize region (Raw Story)
- Eight things to consider before intervening in Syria (Juan Cole)
- Sixth US Ship Now in Eastern Mediterranean ‘As Precaution’ (Reuters)
- Russia Honors Pre-2011 Contracts With Syria (UPI)
- Syria Pays for Russian Weapons to Boost Ties With Moscow (Daily Times)
- Jordanians Protest Proposed Military Action Against Syria (Washington Post)
- Amid Syria Tensions, Israel Deploys Iron Dome Battery in Greater Tel Aviv Area (Jerusalem Post)
- Syrian Strikes Would Battle-Test Chinese Radars (Defense News)
- Syrian Army Moves Scud Missiles to Avoid Strike (Reuters)