organization:egyptian military

  • The Real Reasons Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Wanted Khashoggi ‘Dead or Alive’

    Christopher Dickey 10.21.18
    His death is key to understanding the political forces that helped turn the Middle East from a region of hope seven years ago to one of brutal repression and slaughter today.

    The mind plays strange tricks sometimes, especially after a tragedy. When I sat down to write this story about the Saudi regime’s homicidal obsession with the Muslim Brotherhood, the first person I thought I’d call was Jamal Khashoggi. For more than 20 years I phoned him or met with him, even smoked the occasional water pipe with him, as I looked for a better understanding of his country, its people, its leaders, and the Middle East. We often disagreed, but he almost always gave me fresh insights into the major figures of the region, starting with Osama bin Laden in the 1990s, and the political trends, especially the explosion of hope that was called the Arab Spring in 2011. He would be just the man to talk to about the Saudis and the Muslim Brotherhood, because he knew both sides of that bitter relationship so well.

    And then, of course, I realized that Jamal is dead, murdered precisely because he knew too much.

    Although the stories keep changing, there is now no doubt that 33-year-old Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the power in front of his decrepit father’s throne, had put out word to his minions that he wanted Khashoggi silenced, and the hit-team allegedly understood that as “wanted dead or alive.” But the [petro]buck stops with MBS, as bin Salman’s called. He’s responsible for a gruesome murder just as Henry II was responsible for the murder of Thomas Becket when he said, “Who will rid me of that meddlesome priest?” In this case, a meddlesome journalist.

    We now know that a few minor players will pay. Some of them might even be executed by Saudi headsmen (one already was reported killed in a car crash). But experience also tells us the spotlight of world attention will shift. Arms sales will go ahead. And the death of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi risks becoming just one more entry in the annals of intensifying, murderous repression of journalists who are branded the “enemy of the people” by Donald Trump and various two-bit tyrants around the world.

    There is more to Khashoggi’s murder than the question of press freedom, however. His death holds the key to understanding the political forces that have helped turn the Middle East from a region of hope seven years ago to one of brutal repression and ongoing slaughter today. Which brings us back to the question of the Saudis’ fear and hatred of the Muslim Brotherhood, the regional rivalries of those who support it and those who oppose it, and the game of thrones in the House of Saud itself. Khashoggi was not central to any of those conflicts, but his career implicated him, fatally, in all of them.

    The Muslim Brotherhood is not a benign political organization, but neither is it Terror Incorporated. It was created in the 1920s and developed in the 1930s and ‘40s as an Islamic alternative to the secular fascist and communist ideologies that dominated revolutionary anti-colonial movements at the time. From those other political organizations the Brotherhood learned the values of a tight structure, party discipline, and secrecy, with a public face devoted to conventional political activity—when possible—and a clandestine branch that resorted to violence if that appeared useful.

    In the novel Sugar Street, Nobel Prize-winning author Naguib Mahfouz sketched a vivid portrait of a Brotherhood activist spouting the group’s political credo in Egypt during World War II. “Islam is a creed, a way of worship, a nation and a nationality, a religion, a state, a form of spirituality, a Holy Book, and a sword,” says the Brotherhood preacher. “Let us prepare for a prolonged struggle. Our mission is not to Egypt alone but to all Muslims worldwide. It will not be successful until Egypt and all other Islamic nations have accepted these Quranic principles in common. We shall not put our weapons away until the Quran has become a constitution for all Believers.”

    For several decades after World War II, the Brotherhood’s movement was eclipsed by Arab nationalism, which became the dominant political current in the region, and secular dictators moved to crush the organization. But the movement found support among the increasingly embattled monarchies of the Gulf, including and especially Saudi Arabia, where the rule of the king is based on his custodianship of Mecca and Medina, the two holiest sites in Islam. At the height of the Cold War, monarchies saw the Brotherhood as a helpful antidote to the threat of communist-led or Soviet-allied movements and ideologies.

    By the 1980s, several of the region’s rulers were using the Brotherhood as a tool to weaken or destroy secular opposition. Egypt’s Anwar Sadat courted them, then moved against them, and paid with his life in 1981, murdered by members of a group originally tied to the Brotherhood. Sadat’s successor, Hosni Mubarak, then spent three decades in power manipulating the Brotherhood as an opposition force, outlawing the party as such, but allowing its known members to run for office in the toothless legislature, where they formed a significant bloc and did a lot of talking.

    Jordan’s King Hussein played a similar game, but went further, giving clandestine support to members of the Brotherhood waging a covert war against Syrian tyrant Hafez al-Assad—a rebellion largely destroyed in 1982 when Assad’s brother killed tens of thousands of people in the Brotherhood stronghold of Hama.

    Even Israel got in on the action, initially giving Hamas, the Brotherhood branch among the Palestinians, tacit support as opposition to the left-leaning Palestine Liberation Organization (although PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat once identified with the Brotherhood himself).

    The Saudi royals, too, thought the Brotherhood could be bought off and manipulated for their own ends. “Over the years the relationship between the Saudis and the Brotherhood ebbed and flowed,” says Lorenzo Vidino, an expert on extremism at George Washington University and one of the foremost scholars in the U.S. studying the Brotherhood’s history and activities.

    Over the decades factions of the Brotherhood, like communists and fascists before them, “adapted to individual environments,” says Vidino. In different countries it took on different characteristics. Thus Hamas, or its military wing, is easily labeled as terrorist by most definitions, while Ennahda in Tunisia, which used to be called terrorist by the ousted Ben Ali regime, has behaved as a responsible political party in a complex democratic environment. To the extent that Jamal Khashoggi identified with the Brotherhood, that was the current he espoused. But democracy, precisely, is what Mohammed bin Salman fears.

    Vidino traces the Saudis’ intense hostility toward the Brotherhood to the uprisings that swept through much of the Arab world in 2011. “The Saudis together with the Emiratis saw it as a threat to their own power,” says Vidino.

    Other regimes in the region thought they could use the Brotherhood to extend their influence. First among these was the powerful government in Turkey of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has such longstanding ties to the Islamist movement that some scholars refer to his elected government as “Brotherhood 2.0.” Also hoping to ride the Brotherhood wave was tiny, ultra-rich Qatar, whose leaders had used their vast natural gas wealth and their popular satellite television channel, Al Jazeera, to project themselves on the world stage and, they hoped, buy some protection from their aggressive Saudi neighbors. As one senior Qatari official told me back in 2013, “The future of Qatar is soft power.” After 2011, Jazeera’s Arabic channel frequently appeared to propagandize in the Brotherhood’s favor as much as, say, Fox News does in Trump’s.

    Egypt, the most populous country in the Arab world, and the birthplace of the Brotherhood, became a test case. Although Jamal Khashoggi often identified the organization with the idealistic hopes of the peaceful popular uprising that brought down the Mubarak dynasty, in fact the Egyptian Brotherhood had not taken part. Its leaders had a modus vivendi they understood with Mubarak, and it was unclear what the idealists in Tahrir Square, or the military tolerating them, might do.

    After the dictator fell and elections were called, however, the Brotherhood made its move, using its party organization and discipline, as well as its perennial slogan, “Islam is the solution,” to put its man Mohamed Morsi in the presidential palace and its people in complete control of the government. Or so it thought.

    In Syria, meanwhile, the Brotherhood believed it could and should lead the popular uprising against the Assad dynasty. That had been its role 30 years earlier, and it had paid mightily.

    For more than a year, it looked like the Brotherhood’s various branches might sweep to power across the unsettled Arab world, and the Obama administration, for want of serious alternatives, was inclined to go with the flow.

    But then the Saudis struck back.

    In the summer of 2013, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, the commander of the Egyptian armed forces, led a military coup with substantial popular support against the conspicuously inept Brotherhood government, which had proved quickly that Islam was not really the “solution” for much of anything.

    Al-Sissi had once been the Egyptian military attaché in Riyadh, where he had many connections, and the Saudis quickly poured money into Egypt to shore up his new regime. At the same time, he declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization, and launched a campaign of ruthless repression. Within weeks of the coup, the Egyptian military attacked two camps of Brotherhood protesters and slaughtered hundreds.

    In Syria, the efforts to organize a credible political opposition to President Bashar al-Assad proved virtually impossible as the Qataris and Turks backed the Brotherhood while the Saudis continued their vehement opposition. But that does not mean that Riyadh supported moderate secular forces. Far from it. The Saudis still wanted to play a major role bringing down the Syrian regime allied to another arch enemy, the government of Iran. So the Saudis put their weight behind ultra-conservative Salafis, thinking they might be easier to control than the Muslim Brothers.

    Riyadh is “okay with quietist Salafism,” says Vidino. But the Salafis’ religious extremism quickly shaded over into the thinking of groups like the al Qaeda spinoff called the Nusra Front. Amid all the infighting, little progress was made against Assad, and there to exploit the chaos was the so-called Islamic State (which Assad partially supported in its early days).

    Then, in January 2015, at the height of all this regional turmoil, the aged and infirm Salman bin Abdelaziz ascended to the throne of Saudi Arabia. His son, Mohammed bin Salman, began taking into his own hands virtually all the reins of power, making bold decisions about reforming the Saudi economy, taking small measures to give the impression he might liberalize society—and moving to intimidate or otherwise neutralize anyone who might challenge his power.

    Saudi Arabia is a country named after one family, the al Saud, and while there is nothing remotely democratic about the government, within the family itself with its thousands of princes there traditionally has been an effort to find consensus. Every king up to now has been a son of the nation’s founder, Abdelaziz ibn Saud, and thus a brother or half brother of the other kings.

    When Salman took over, he finally named successors from the next generation. His nephew Mohammed bin Nayef, then 57 and well known for his role fighting terrorism, became crown prince. His son, Mohammed bin Salman, became deputy crown prince. But bin Nayef’s position between the king and his favorite son clearly was untenable. As one Saudi close to the royals put it: “Between the onion and the skin there is only the stink.”

    Bin Nayef was pushed out in 2017. The New York Times reported that during an end-of-Ramadan gathering at the palace he “was told he was going to meet the king and was led into another room, where royal court officials took away his phones and pressured him to give up his posts as crown prince and interior minister. … At first, he refused. But as the night wore on, the prince, a diabetic who suffers from the effects of a 2009 assassination attempt by a suicide bomber, grew tired.” Royal court officials meanwhile called around to other princes saying bin Nayef had a drug problem and was unfit to be king.

    Similar pressure was brought to bear on many of the richest and most powerful princes in the kingdom, locked up in the Ritz Carlton hotel in 2017, ostensibly as part of an extra-legal fight against corruption. They were forced to give allegiance to MBS at the same time they were giving up a lot of their money.

    That pattern of coerced allegiance is what the Saudis now admit they wanted from Jamal Khashoggi. He was no prince, but he had been closely associated in the past with the sons of the late King Faisal, particularly Turki al-Faisal, who was for many years the head of the Saudi intelligence apparatus and subsequently served as ambassador to the United Kingdom, then the United States.

    Although Turki always denied he had ambitions to be king, his name often was mentioned in the past as a contender. Thus far he seems to have weathered the rule of MBS, but given the record of the crown prince anyone close to the Al Faisal branch of the family, like Khashoggi, would be in a potentially perilous position.

    Barbara Bodine is a former U.S. ambassador to Yemen, which has suffered mightily since MBS launched a brutal proxy war there against Iran. Both MBS and Trump have declared the regime in Tehran enemy number one in the region. But MBS botched the Yemen operation from the start. It was dubbed “Decisive Storm” when it began in 2015, and was supposed to last only a few weeks, but the war continues to this day. Starvation and disease have spread through Yemen, creating one of the world’s greatest humanitarian disasters. And for the moment, in one of those developments that makes the Middle East so rich in ironies, in Yemen the Saudis are allied with a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.

    “What drives MBS is a ruthless effort toward total control domestically and regionally; he is Putin of the Desert,” says Bodine. “He has basically broken the back of the princelings, the religious establishment and the business elite, brought all ministries and agencies of power under his sole control (’I alone can fix it’), and jailed, killed or put under house arrest activists and any and all potential as well as real opposition (including his mother).”

    In 2017, MBS and his backers in the Emirates accused Qatar of supporting “terrorism,” issuing a set of demands that included shutting down Al Jazeera. The Saudis closed off the border and looked for other ways, including military options, to put pressure on the poor little rich country that plays so many angles it has managed to be supportive of the Brotherhood and cozy with Iran while hosting an enormous U.S. military base.

    “It was Qatar’s independent streak—not just who they supported but that they had a foreign policy divorced from the dictates of Riyadh,” says Bodine. “The basic problem is that both the Brotherhood and Iran offer competing Islam-based governing structures that challenge the Saudi model.”

    “Jamal’s basic sin,” says Bodine,“was he was a credible insider, not a fire-breathing radical. He wrote and spoke in English for an American audience via credible mainstream media and was well regarded and highly visible within the Washington chattering classes. He was accessible, moderate and operated within the West. He challenged not the core structure of the Kingdom but the legitimacy of the current rulers, especially MBS.”

    “I do think the game plan was to make him disappear and I suspect the end game was always to make him dead,” said Bodine in a long and thoughtful email. “If he was simply jailed within Saudi there would have been a drumbeat of pressure for his release. Dead—there is certainly a short term cost, whether more than anticipated or longer than anticipated we don’t know yet, but the world will move on. Jamal will become a footnote, a talking point perhaps, but not a crusade. The dismembered body? No funeral. Taking out Jamal also sends a powerful signal to any dissident that there is no place safe.”

    #Arabie_Saoudite #Turquie #politique #terrorisme #putsch

  • A superb new book on the 2011 Egyptian uprising shows how Israel helped thwart democracy there – Mondoweiss

    Kirkpatrick quotes Leon Panetta, at the time the head of the CIA, who says the new Egyptian strongman, General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, recognized that the American threats were bluffs partly because Sisi was confident the Israel lobby would protect the Egyptian military. 

    The [U.S.] Congress knew that in a part of the world where Israel does not have a lot of friends, it does not make a heck of a lot of sense to kick Egypt in the ass, because they are one of the few players in that area that are a friend to Israel.

    Israel was not the only reason the U.S. betrayed democracy in Egypt. America’s other allies in the region, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf oil kingdoms, also preferred military rule there. Senior U.S. commanders, like Generals James Mattis and Michael Flynn, had personal ties to Sisi and other Egyptian top brass. Kirkpatrick also notes that Hillary Clinton “saw the generals as a source of stability.” But remove Israel from the equation and it is more likely that the minority of moderates in the Obama administration, which included Obama himself, might have prevailed.

    #Egypte #Israel #démocratie

  • Why the Egyptian military will relinquish power | MadaMasr

    In 2013, I wrote that the military would not be able to maintain popular support if they abandon the democratic process, and that neither the Muslim Brotherhood nor the military would be able to re-impose authoritarianism. Egypt cannot be stable without democratic governance. The only remaining question, as I wrote in the German Die Zeit and privately owned Al-Shorouk newspaper, is whether this democratic governance would “soon emerge, or we should embark on a new round of conflict before everyone realizes the need for true democracy?”

    We got the answer rather quickly. The new regime not only abandoned democratic transition, but also closed the limited pluralist space that former President Hosni Mubarak had maintained for 30 years, and became increasingly comparable to the Nasserite regime, both in terms of its despotism and the dominance of the military. As a result, many gave up on the possibility of democracy in Egypt and accepted the claim that the military will not abandon its hold over the country in the foreseeable future, perhaps ever.

    I contend that this is too hasty a conclusion; sooner or later the Egyptian military will give up control over governance. While they will almost certainly maintain their independence and a strong voice in the country’s strategic decisions, they will have no viable option other than to withdraw from the public sphere, opening the way for a genuine democratic transition.

  • Egypt’s SCAF and the Curious Case Against Konsowa - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

    The Egyptian military is exploiting legal loopholes and bureaucratic mechanisms to control which military personnel can exercise their constitutional right to political participation.
    January 25, 2018
    عربيComments (+)
    On December 3, a few days after Colonel Ahmed Konsowa announced in a YouTube video that he intended to run against Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in the upcoming Egyptian presidential election, he was detained and put on a military trial for announcing his bid while still serving in the military. In an uncharacteristically prompt trial on December 19, he was sentenced to six years in prison and is now awaiting an appeal before a military court.

    Konsowa, who had previously tried to resign from the military to run in the 2015 parliamentary elections, is not the only presidential hopeful to face dire consequences for his intentions. After declaring his decision to run, Ahmed Shafik—Egypt’s former prime minister and air force pilot who ran in the 2012 presidential election—was deported from the UAE and held incommunicado for 24 hours upon his return to Egypt. Following this episode, he indicated he no longer wishes to participate. Sami Anan, the former Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, was detained on January 23 after announcing his intention to run for president, and is now accused of incitement against the military and of violating military code. Khaled Ali, a prominent lawyer, withdrew on January 24, citing the absence of a democratic process or any possibilities for competition. Sisi currently stands unchallenged.

    Military officers, though not banned from political participation, have to resign from the military before running for any office. In May 2013, the Supreme Constitutional Court upheld the constitutional right of Egyptian military and police personnel to political participation—thereby rejecting a draft law by the then Islamist-dominated Shura Council that would have denied military and police personnel their right to vote. The court’s decision made clear the difference between denying the right to vote based on “temporary and objective” conditions (such as age or mental disability) and depriving an entire group of people (such as military personnel) of a right. The law was thus rejected on basis of preventing discrimination. In addition, the court explained that exempting citizens based on the nature of their employment further impinges on the right to work, which is also protected by the Egyptian constitution.

  • Why US aid to Egypt is never under threat | News | Al Jazeera

    For a country to become an eligible recipient of US aid, it must align itself with American interests and foreign policy, analysts say.

    In the case of Egypt, US aid granted since the signing of the 1978 Camp David Accords was “untouchable compensation” for maintaining peace with Israel.This deal is considered a cornerstone of US-Egyptian relations.

    Robert Springborg, a Middle East expert and non-resident fellow at the Italian Institute of International Affairs, told Al Jazeera that US economic support was intended to stabilise Anwar Sadat’s [former Egyptian president] government and succeeding ones.

    How does the US benefit?

    The primary benefit is the “cessation of hostilities against Israel” by Egypt and “other Arab states that could not wage war against Israel in the absence of Egyptian participation”, Springborg said.

    In addition to Egyptian support for American “counterterrorism and counterinsurgency” campaigns, Springborg says the US also enjoys marginal benefits, including access to Egyptian airspace and the prioritisation of US naval vessels through the Suez Canal.

    The high amount of military aid, in particular, has also helped to create jobs and to reduce unemployment in the US. More than 1.3 million Americans work in manufacturing weaponry for defence companies, and more than three million others support the industry indirectly.

    The US is among the world’s top five arms producers and distributors, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

    “The United States does not give money to Egypt for military equipment; it gives the Egyptian military a list of equipment the American government will purchase on its behalf in the United States,” Gelvin told Al Jazeera.

    What about economic aid?

    Economic assistance, or American “investments” in Egypt, are a relatively small part of the package, analysts say.

    Economic aid now stands at less than $200m annually, compared with more than $1bn from the early 1980s through the early 2000s, Springborg said.

    #Egypte #etats-unis

  • “This Land is their Land” : Egypt’s Military and the Economy

    Cet article extrêmement documenté est remarquable sur la réalité et la nature du pouvoir économique et politique des militaires en Egypte

    contrary to popular thinking, the army’s share in Egypt’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is relatively small. Though limited, hard data shows that it is present in many sectors but does not occupy a commanding position in any, and indeed has no presence in a range of crucial economic sectors. There is little empirical evidence that the private sector has been crowded out by the military at all, with the possible exception of government contracts for new mega-projects in the post-June 2013 period.

    The Egyptian military’s economic model is based on rent extraction. Through its broad legal and effective control of public assets, namely public lands that constitute around 94 per cent of Egypt’s total surface area, the military translates its regulatory mandate into an economic return. The military also wields considerable, if less formal influence through the large number of former officers who hold high level posts in the civil service, particularly in public land management. Public land is crucial for economic growth and for the development of essential sectors, including urban development, manufacturing, tourism, and agriculture—which, together, constitute the bulk of Egypt’s economy. More than any other factor, the chokehold on land use is costly for the economy. The complexity and opacity of the regulatory environment affecting access to it moreover adds to the inefficiency of the private sector. This results in significant opportunity costs for potential growth and urban expansion—in an overcrowded country that needs to expand settlement into the vast tracts of desert land to the east and west of the densely populated Nile Valley.

  • A statement by Hossam Bahgat on his military detention, interrogation | Mada Masr

    Mada Masr contributor Hossam Bahgat recently published a statement on his Facebook account in which he documents the events that took place during his three-day detention by military intelligence and interrogation by military prosecution, from Sunday November 7 until his release today at Tuesday November 10 at noon.

    A translation of Bahgat’s statement by Mada Masr reads as follows:

    Firstly, I would like to express my gratitude to everyone who has expressed any form of solidarity during the three days in which I was “hosted” by the Egyptian military.

    It is not the appropriate moment for me to narrate all the details of the past three days, so I will only document the events that took place briefly.

    On the morning of Sunday November 8, I headed to military intelligence headquarters in response to a written summons that was delivered to my house three days earlier.

  • The erasure of Rafah and the normalization of “Gazafication”

    By the end of 2015 the Egyptian border town of Rafah will no longer exist. Before the end of the year the entire town will be evacuated and all its structures leveled to the ground with no trace left behind. The Egyptian military announced in late 2014 that it intends to create a buffer zone (initially 1000 meters and later amended to 2000 meters) with the Gaza border, citing national security and the government’s efforts to fight terrorism. Source: Cairobserver

  • Recordings Suggest Emirates and Egyptian Military Pushed Ousting of Morsi -

    Audio recordings of senior Egyptian officials that were leaked Sunday suggest that when Mohamed Morsi was president, the United Arab Emirates gave the Egyptian Defense Ministry money for a protest campaign against him.

    The recordings, which could not be authenticated, appear to indicate that both the Egyptian military and its backers in the Emirates played a much more active role in fomenting the protests against Mr. Morsi in June 2013 than either party has acknowledged.

    President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who was then the defense minister, said when he led the ouster of Mr. Morsi that he was acting in response to the protests.

    The audio recordings are the latest in a long series that appear to capture the private meetings and phone calls of senior defense officials. All have been released through Islamist news outlets that oppose President Sisi.

    Egyptian officials have said that the recordings are fabrications, but many Egyptian commentators treat them as credible, giving them weight in public opinion.

    “Everything, absolutely everything is under surveillance,” Mohamed Hassanein Heikal, a historian and journalist who is close to senior defense officials, said in a television interview when asked about previous leaked recordings. Mr. Heikal said that amid all the turmoil in Egypt, it would not be surprising that such recordings would have been made.

    “Who records during the time of chaos?” he said. “Everyone records during the time of chaos.”

  • Recordings Suggest Emirates and Egyptian Military Pushed Ousting of Morsi

    Audio recordings of senior Egyptian officials that were leaked Sunday suggest that when Mohamed Morsi was president, the United Arab Emirates gave the Egyptian Defense Ministry money for a protest campaign against him.

    The recordings, which could not be authenticated, appear to indicate that both the Egyptian military and its backers in the Emirates played a much more active role in fomenting the protests against Mr. Morsi in June 2013 than either party has acknowledged.

    President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who was then the defense minister, said when he led the ouster of Mr. Morsi that he was acting in response to the protests.

    The audio recordings are the latest in a long series that appear to capture the private meetings and phone calls of senior defense officials. All have been released through Islamist news outlets that oppose President Sisi.

    Egyptian officials have said that the recordings are fabrications, but many Egyptian commentators treat them as credible, giving them weight in public opinion.

  • We watched the war on Gaza, now Gaza is watching the war on us,” Abdu’s sister told me.
    They secretly showed me entire neighborhoods named “Brazil” and “Canada” that had been wiped out by the Egyptian military to stop tunnel activity. Throughout the town, the fear and paranoia was palpable. Everyone spoke in hushed tones, and the few who traveled through the streets did so only out of necessity – lightly, quickly, silently. - See more at:

    #Palestine #Gaza #Egypt #Strip

  • Egypte Il y a 1 an, 51 pro-Morsi étaient tués par les forces de sécurité devant la Garde républicaine - Enquête de Patrick Kingsley - Guardian

    In the early hours of 8 July 2013, 51 Muslim Brotherhood supporters camped outside the Republican Guards’ club in Cairo were killed by security forces. The Egyptian military claimed the demonstrators had attempted to break into the building with the aid of armed motorcyclists.

    After examining video evidence and interviewing eyewitnesses, medics and demonstrators Patrick Kingsley finds a different story – a coordinated assault on largely peaceful civilians. ’If they’d just wanted to break the sit-in, they could have done it in other ways. But they wanted to kill us,’ a survivor says

  • Senior U.S. lawmaker blocks aid for Egyptian military | Reuters

    U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate subcommittee that oversees foreign aid, said on Tuesday he would not approve sending funds to the Egyptian military, denouncing a “sham trial” in which a court sentenced 683 people to death.

    The decision by Leahy, the longest-serving U.S. senator and an influential foreign policy voice, could further complicate the Obama administration’s difficult relationship with Egypt, one of Washington’s most important strategic allies in the Middle East.

  • The curious case of Egypt’s economy, par Mahmoud Salem - Daily News Egypt

    Analyse de la situation économique de l’Egypte et des investissements extérieurs par le blogueur Sand Monkey : la continuité rassure les investisseurs.

    For the first time in three years, the whole world knows who is running the show and will continue to run the show in the country, and that’s the Egyptian military. Having an entity in Egypt that operates as the guarantee of the continuing existence of the state- after a year and a half of revolutionaries destabilising it and a year of Muslim Brotherhood rule completely mismanaging it - makes certain businesses and investors comfortable with investing here. Egypt might be a “failed state” at the moment, but there is someone in charge who will continue to be in charge and that’s good enough for some investors .

    Further investments will follow based on the simple formula of “state building”: with every check mark next to a political step (the constitutional referendum, the presidential elections, the parliamentary elections and the formation of the government), more money will pour in. It is unlikely that further protests or clashes will affect the flow of this money this time for a very simple reason: people now expect it from Egypt. The country has such a horrible image world-wide at the moment, that there is literally no place for it to go but up.

    #economie #finances #Fitch #notation #crise #Golfe #Egypte

  • Egypt army kills Sinai’s most wanted jihadist - Telegraph

    Abu Munir, 62, was the most important sheikh or religious voice in the Sinai militant movement. He was said by the authorities to lead Takfir wil-Hijra, a long-standing al-Qaeda-linked group, and was also associated with Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, a militant variant which has emerged in the last two years leading an insurgency in the Sinai against the Egyptian military.
    He was personally sought in connection with the ambush and killing of 25 police recruits removed from the bus taking them on leave in August.

  • Official reveals Egypt receiving US supplies to destroy tunnels with Gaza

    The United States supplied us with sets that helped us in discovering the tunnels and we are still using these sets until nowSpokesman of the Egyptian military forces Ahmed Ali has recognised that the US is helping the Egyptian army to destroy the tunnels between Egypt and the Gaza Strip.

    Speaking to the Saudi based Al-Arabia TV channel, Ali said: “The United States supplied us with sets that helped us in discovering the tunnels and we are still using these sets until now.”

    He affirmed that contacts between the two sides continue on a daily basis: “The military relationship between the Egyptian and American defence ministries is both strategic and historical.”

    Explaining the reason why the US maintains good relations with Egypt, Ali said: “That refers to the importance of the strategic role that Egypt, as a pivotal and the biggest military power in the region, has been playing.”

    The military spokesman also confirmed that there is cooperation between Egypt and Israel, adding that: “There are no neighbouring countries without a common [interest to cooperate in] protecting common borders. What is happening [in Egypt] is not just a threat to Egypt, but to the whole region.”

  • 3 U.S. lawmakers who have generated controversy for their statements about Islam and Muslim Americans released a video praising the Egyptian military and thanking it for staging the July 3 and subsequent crackdowns against their “common enemy,” the Muslim Brotherhood.

    The video, apparently taken a few hours after meeting with coup leader General Abdel Fatah el-Sissi in Cairo, features Rep. Michele Bachmann reading a statement to the camera. She’s flanked by Reps. Steve King and Louie Gohmert.
    The video, posted below, is a doozy. Bachmann, presumably supported by King and Gohmert, offers fulsome praise for the coup and the military-led government’s subsequent actions, describing its crackdowns against sit-ins and demonstrations as “the front lines” in “the war on terrorism.” She described the Muslim Brotherhood as a common enemy and a “great evil,” implying that it had been responsible for the attacks against the U.S. on Sept. 11, 2001. King and Gohmert offered similar but more tempered remarks.
    “I want to assure the people of Egypt that I, as a member of Congress, will stand strong in support of continuing military support, United States support financially, to stand for the military in Egypt,” she said. “We know that you have been a partner. You’ve been a partner in the war on terrorism. You’ve acted bravely here on the front lines.”

    #USA #Egypt #army #terrorism

  • Looking for Hashish in Cairo ? Talk to the Police - By Mark Perry | Foreign Policy

    Le trafic de drogue dans le Sinaï, qui existe depuis l’ère Moubarak et que Morsi avait eu le malheur d’essayer de juguler, est assuré par le pléthorique corps des forces de sécurité égyptiennes, les « respectables » militaires recevant leur part des bénéfices au passage.

    ... while American journalists may be confused about what’s happening in the Sinai, a handful of senior officers in the U.S. military have been monitoring the trouble closely. One of them, who serves as an intelligence officer in the Pentagon, told me last week that Sinai troubles are fueled not only by disaffected “Bedouin tribes” but also by “Sinai CSF [Central Security Forces] commanders” intent on guarding the drug and smuggling routes that they continue to control nearly 30 years after Rushdie’s attempted crackdown. “What’s happening in Sinai is serious, and it’s convenient to call it terrorism,” this senior officer says. “But the reality is that’s there’s a little bit more to it. What Sinai shows is that the so-called deep state might not be as deep as we think.”

    Now, nearly two months after the coup that unseated President Mohamed Morsy, the power of Egypt’s “deep state” — the intricate web of entrenched business interests, high-profile plutocratic families, and a nearly immovable bureaucracy — is more in evidence than ever. At the heart of this deep state is the Egyptian military, as well as the estimated 350,000 -member CSF, a paramilitary organization established in 1969 to provide domestic security — and crush anti-government dissent. Recruited from Egypt’s large underclass of impoverished and illiterate youths, the CSF is the source of tens of millions of dollars in off-the-record profits from the sale of drugs and guns, a percentage of which it shares with its allies in the more staid, and respected, Egyptian military. 

    “None of this is all that shocking to me, or to most Egyptians,” says Robert Springborg, an Egypt expert at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif. “I’ve heard stories about the CSF all the way back into the 1970s. Do they control the drug trade? It’s almost a rhetorical question — it’s a veritable tradition with them.” Nor, Springborg says, is it a surprise that the security services control the smuggling routes into and out of Sinai: “This is their turf, it’s where they operate. Smuggling is a big business for them.”

    The same testimony was given in a report to European Union officials by a U.S.-based private intelligence company with ties to the Egyptian military, but with this caveat: “The Israelis have to take some responsibility for this,” one of the firm’s senior consultants said. “The Sinai is flooded with contraband, with a lot of it hooked into the trade with Israeli mafia families. And a lot of that comes right out of CSF pipelines.”

    (...) After an August 2012 attack that left 16 Egyptian soldiers dead, Morsy did just that: He replaced Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim (a holdover from the Mubarak days), sacked his military-approved chief of staff, appointed a new head of the military’s elite Republican Guard, forced the retirement of Egypt’s intelligence czar, dismissed the governor of North Sinai, secured Israel’s approval to deploy thousands of Egyptian soldiers to the Sinai border area, and launched air raids on “suspected terrorist strongholds” in the region.

    Israel responded positively to Morsy’s moves: (...) Morsy also insisted that the leadership of Hamas more capably patrol its side of the border area separating Egypt from Gaza, bring smuggling under control, and move against Gaza’s network of criminal gangs. 


    “I look at what has happened in Egypt over the last two months,” the senior security executive from the U.S. political intelligence firm concludes, “and I see a tragedy. I think that Morsy really tried to change things, really tried to reform the system, to overhaul it. That included the deeply entrenched CSF.” The official pauses for only a moment. “Maybe that was the problem ,” he says.

    Back in Cairo , meanwhile, Ibrahim has pledged that he will restore the kind of security seen in the days of Mubarak. That’s bad news for Morsy’s supporters, but it’s probably good news for Cairo drug kingpins, who now have an opportunity to name the CSF-supplied hashish “Bye Bye Morsy.”

  • Ties With Egypt Army Constrain Washington -

    “We need them (egyptian military) for the Suez Canal, we need them for the peace treaty with Israel, we need them for the overflights, and we need them for the continued fight against violent extremists who are as much of a threat to Egypt’s transition to democracy as they are to American interests,” said Gen. James N. Mattis, who retired this year as head of the military’s Central Command.

    Sur le sujet, dans les blogs du @mdiplo : « Armée égyptienne et américaine, des amis de trente ans »

    #USA #armée #Egypte

  • Ties With Egypt Army Constrain Washington -

    La sempiternelle fumisterie de « #nos_valeurs » vs #nos_intérêts" ("notre #sécurité_nationale") avec des journalistes du New York Times comme porte-parole du régime étasunien.

    Nul allié au monde n’est plus conciliant que le #CSFA,

    Most nations, including many close allies of the United States, require up to a week’s notice before American warplanes are allowed to cross their territory. Not Egypt, which offers near-automatic approval for military overflights, to resupply the war effort in Afghanistan or to carry out counterterrorism operations in the Middle East, Southwest Asia or the Horn of Africa.

    Losing that route could significantly increase flight times to the region.

    American warships are also allowed to cut to the front of the line through the Suez Canal in times of crisis, even when oil tankers are stacked up like cars on an interstate highway at rush hour. Without Egypt’s cooperation, military missions could take days longer.

    Those are some of the largely invisible ways the Egyptian military has assisted the United States as it pursues its national security interests across the region — and why the generals now in charge in Cairo are not without their own leverage in dealing with Washington in the aftermath of President Obama’s condemnation Thursday of the military’s bloody crackdown on supporters of the former president, Mohamed Morsi.

    Même la « mesure punitive » de Obama n’était qu’une mesure de protection des troupes étasuniennes,

    In his first overtly punitive step, Mr. Obama canceled the Bright Star military exercise, the largest and most visible sign of cooperation between the armed forces of the two nations. But given the growing violence in Egypt, it might have been impossible to guarantee the safety of the thousands of American troops scheduled to deploy for the war game, and the decision to call it off might have been the wise move regardless of the politics.

    Et, affirme-t-on sans rire, de véritables mesures sont d’autant plus difficiles à prendre que « nos intérêts » coïncident avec le chemin de la démocratie en Egypte,

    For the Pentagon, which had earlier delayed the delivery of four F-16 fighter jets to the Egyptian Air Force, other steps might be more difficult.

    “We need them for the Suez Canal, we need them for the peace treaty with Israel, we need them for the overflights, and we need them for the continued fight against violent extremists who are as much of a threat to Egypt’s transition to democracy as they are to American interests,” said Gen. James N. Mattis, who retired this year as head of the military’s Central Command.

    Le message étasunien au CSFA sera donc : Frappez aussi sauvagement que vous voulez, mais terminez vite,...

    “The violence is intolerable, but clearly they feel the nation of Egypt is facing a sovereign, existential crisis,” said one Obama administration official. “So while the violence is intolerable, we may be able to eventually accept these decisions if the violence ends, and quickly.”

    ...un souhait qui a l’inconvénient d’être bancal,

    The risk is that the United States may be left standing by as its allies in the Egyptian military lose control of the crisis.

    En réalité nul allié au monde n’est plus conciliant que le CSFA pour aider le régime étasunien à commettre ses crimes dans la région...

    For decades the Egyptians have helped the American military in ways that are largely unknown to the American public, said Robert Springborg, a professor at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif., and an expert on the Egyptian military. Mr. Springborg noted that in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003 — after the Turkish Parliament refused to allow the American military to use Turkish territory for crossing into Iraq from the north — Egypt gave the Pentagon immediate access for two aircraft battle groups and accompanying aircraft through the Suez Canal and across its territory.

    Given the number of countries in the region that do not allow American military overflights, especially for combat missions, Egypt’s location makes it a vital, and relatively direct, access route to an unstable crescent of strategic importance. aider Israël à commettre les siens,

    Egypt’s role in the Camp David agreements has also been of critical value for America’s closest ally in the region, Israel.

    En y réfléchissant bien il reste une aile de F-16 qui n’a pas encore été livrée cette année et dont la non fourniture pourrait servir de mesure punitive,...

    All of the aid for this year already has been authorized, so even an order to halt the financial assistance would not have an impact until next year. In the meantime, Saudi Arabia and other oil-rich Persian Gulf nations have increased their financial support to Egypt, far surpassing the American contribution.

    Beyond delaying shipment of the F-16 warplanes, officials said, there are few unfulfilled weapons contracts that could be held up as a punitive measure.à, le « contre-productif » se profile,

    American officials looking at ways to punish the Egyptian military for the order to clear Muslim Brotherhood protest sites have looked to the lesson of Pakistan, which came under economic sanctions for its nuclear program.

    Among the actions taken was ending a program of inviting young Pakistani military officers to attend armed service academic programs in the United States. One result has been a generation of Pakistani officers with no affinity for — and, more often, hostility toward — the American military. A similar result could occur if the next generation of promising Egyptian officers were not invited to American military schools.

    Il ne reste plus qu’à souhaiter que le CSFA se rende compte que la perpétuation de la violence n’est pas bonne pour son prolifique bizness ("l’économie de l’Egypte"),...

    In the end, one powerful incentive for the generals to quickly end the civil unrest and establish order — and try to make good on promises to begin a transition to legitimate governance might be economic — to attract tourism and investment. And also to preserve Egypt’s relationship with the United States.

    ... et arrive à restaurer le moubarakisme,

    “Both sides have a strong interest in preserving it and will work to that end,” Mr. Springborg said. “The Egyptian military will take steps to clothe the military’s behind-the-scene rule with suitable civilian trappings, making it possible for the U.S. and others to deal with it.”


    • Concernant la non livraison des armes comme « mesure punitive », cet article de 2012 du même NYT reconnait que la punition concernerait réellement le contribuable étasunien, et non pas les dictateurs militaires égyptiens,

      A delay or a cut in $1.3 billion in military aid to Egypt risked breaking existing contracts with American arms manufacturers that could have shut down production lines in the middle of President Obama’s re-election campaign and involved significant financial penalties, according to officials involved in the debate.

      Since the Pentagon buys weapons for foreign armed forces like Egypt’s, the cost of those penalties — which one senior official said could have reached $2 billion if all sales had been halted — would have been borne by the American taxpayer, not Egypt’s ruling generals.

  • Al-Qaida leader tells Morsi supporters democracy not the way
    3rd of August 2013

    Al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri urged Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters to abandon democracy and seek to govern through the full implementation of Islamic law.

    In a 15-minute recording posted on Islamist websites on Saturday, Zawahri also criticized Islamists who had formed political parties in Egypt and supported the Egyptian military in ousting former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi.

    “I give this piece of advice to whoever supported Morsi and I tell them first we have to admit that legitimacy doesn’t lie in elections and democracy but it lies in Sharia,” Zawahri said.

    “Sharia is not electing Morsi president of a republic, a president of a secular and nationalistic state,” he added.

    The recording, posted two days after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry gave his seal of approval to Egypt’s new leaders saying that they had restored democracy, also lashed out against U.S. policy and the Egyptian army.

    “The crusaders, the secularists, the pro-U.S. army and former Mubarak supporters and a few of those who are linked to the Islamists have worked with Gulf money and U.S. planning to overthrow Morsi’s government,” Zawahri said.

    More than 300 people have been killed in Egypt since the army removed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood from power on July 3 in response to mass protests against his rule.

    The popular mood in Egypt had swung against the Brotherhood after Morsi was accused of trying to establish himself as a new dictator during his first year in office.

    Pro-Morsi supporters have been staging two main sit-ins in Cairo since his ouster asking to bring him back to power.

    “What has happened is the greatest evidence that taking democracy as a path to Islamic rule has failed,” Zawahri said.

  • Egypt: Arrests of Syrians Raise Deportation Fears

    Since the Egyptian military removed Mohammed Morsy from power on July 3, regulations governing Syrians’ entrance to Egypt have changed. Since July 8, Syrians have been required to obtain entry visas and security clearance before they arrive in Egypt, a hardship for those fleeing fighting. Arrests of Syrians living in Egypt have increased to levels that activists working with Syrian refugees in Cairo told Human Rights Watch were unprecedented.

    On July 10, Egyptian television presenters on local channels including Faraeen and OnTV began accusing the Syrian community of siding with Morsy supporters, fueling an atmosphere of mistrust and xenophobia. One popular presenter, Tawfiq Okasha, gave Syrians living in Egypt a 48-hour warning, telling them that the Egyptian people knew where they lived and that if Syrians did not stop “supporting the Muslim Brotherhood” after 48 hours, the Egyptians would destroy their homes.

  • Killing in Cairo: the full story of the Republican Guards’ club shootings |
    Patrick Kingsley in Cairo with video editing by Leah Green
    18th of July

    In the early hours of 8 July 2013, 51 Muslim Brotherhood supporters camped outside the Republican Guards’ club in Cairo were killed by security forces. The Egyptian military claimed the demonstrators had attempted to break into the building with the aid of armed motorcyclists.

    After examining video evidence and interviewing eyewitnesses, medics and demonstrators Patrick Kingsley finds a different story – a coordinated assault on largely peaceful civilians. ’If they’d just wanted to break the sit-in, they could have done it in other ways. But they wanted to kill us,’ a survivor says

  • Point/Counterpoint: On the Question of US Aid, Who Gains the Most?-

    While the public bemoans the amount of aid given Egypt over the years, the $1.3 billion has largely benefited both US corporations and US strategic interests in the region; namely maintaining regional stability (i.e. peace with Israel); maintaining the strategic partnership with the Egyptian military; and ensuring the continued preferential treatment US ships—both military and commercial—receive at the Suez Canal. Suspending aid would not only deny the United States these benefits, it would also allow the Egyptian government to offer them to the highest bidder. There are other superpowers who are all too willing to pay a lot more to replace the United States, and many who would not be as concerned with regional stability.

    On top of all of this, if the United States wishes to resume aid relationships after a new Egyptian president is elected, it would then have to renegotiate an aid package, at a time when $1.3 billion is no longer as impressive as it was in 1978. The Gulf countries (Kuwait, Saudi, and the United Arab Emirates) gave Egypt $15 billion in aid in one day last week. Advocates of cutting United States aid should consider how much bigger Egypt’s aid package would be if such a renegotiation were to take place. The United States will have very little to gain from this, unlike Egypt, which is why, as an Egyptian, I will gladly join the US voices calling for the suspension of aid. Please do it, we dare you, and see where it gets you.

  • Egypt Is Arena for Influence of Arab Rivals -

    WASHINGTON — Three of the Persian Gulf’s richest monarchies have pledged $12 billion in cash and loans to Egypt, a decision aimed not only at shoring up a shaky transitional government, but also at undermining their Islamist rivals and strengthening their allies across a newly turbulent Middle East.

    The robust financial aid packages of $8 billion announced Tuesday by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and $4 billion announced on Wednesday by Kuwait, followed the Egyptian military’s killing on Monday of dozens of Muslim Brotherhood members and sympathizers protesting last week’s military ouster of Egypt’s Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi. The aid package underscored a continuing regional contest for influence between Saudi Arabia and Qatar, one that has accelerated since the Arab uprising upended the status quo and brought Islamists to power.