organization:muslim brotherhood

    • Exclusive: Khashoggi sons issue emotional appeal for the return of their father’s body
      By Nic Robertson, CNN
      https://edition.cnn.com/2018/11/04/middleeast/salah-khashoggi-abdullah-khashoggi-intl/index.html

      Updated 0004 GMT (0804 HKT) November 5, 2018

      (...) Khashoggi was labeled as a Muslim Brotherhood sympathizer and a dangerous Islamist in phone calls the Saudi crown prince had with Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and Middle East adviser, and John Bolton, national security adviser, according to reports in both the Washington Post and New York Times. The Muslim Brotherhood, considered a terror group in many Arab nations, but not the US or Europe, has long been seen as an existential threat by the desert kingdom’s leaders.
      ‘It’s just labels and people not doing their homework properly, and reading his article and going in depth. It’s easier to stick a label on him,’ Abdullah said, when asked about the Muslim Brotherhood claim.
      Asked how Khashoggi should be remembered, Salah replied, ‘as a moderate man who has common values with everyone... a man who loved his country, who believed so much in it and its potential.’
      “Jamal was never a dissident. He believed in the monarchy that it is the thing that is keeping the country together. And he believed in the transformation that it is going through.”
      Reflecting on their father’s career as a journalist, they say Khashoggi was ‘like a rock and roll star’ when they were out with him in Saudi Arabia.
      ‘He was a public figure that was liked by everyone else,’ Salah said. ‘You don’t see that much in media, in print media.’ (...)

      #Jamal_Khashoggi


  • UAE. The Other Murderous Gulf - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

    https://carnegieendowment.org/2018/10/30/other-murderous-gulf-pub-77606

    Since the murder of Jamal Khashoggi by a Saudi hit squad in early October, Mohammed bin Zayed, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi and patron of Saudi Arabia’s own crown prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS), has resembled the cat that swallowed the canary. The disastrous regional adventurism and ruthless despotism of his protégé has averted Washington’s gaze from the UAE’s own responsibility for the carnage that is roiling the region. But the UAE should not be given a get out jail free card. If the White House refuses to hold the Emirates accountable for undermining U.S. interests, Congress should use its constitutional power to step into the leadership void.

    Richard Sokolsky

    Richard Sokolsky is a nonresident senior fellow in Carnegie’s Russia and Eurasia Program. His work focuses on U.S. policy toward Russia in the wake of the Ukraine crisis.
    Throughout Yemen’s three-and-a-half-year civil war, the Emiratis have been as brutal and reckless as the Saudis. While Saudi aircraft slaughter innocent civilians at wedding halls, funerals, homes, markets, schools, and ports, UAE boots on the ground have also contributed to the humanitarian disaster. The UAE-led military offensive in and around the port city of Hodeidah has been a catastrophe: over 400,000 Yemenis have been displaced since June and the fighting has considerably worsened the country’s already alarming food crisis and famine. Human rights organizations have reported on secret UAE-administered detention facilities where torture, beatings, electric shocks, and killings have occurred. The UAE royal family has paid retired U.S. Special Forces soldiers to track down and assassinate Yemeni political figures that it believes are in league with the wider Muslim Brotherhood movement. In Aden, the UAE has organized, supplied, and paid militias to foment fractious proxy violence. Yemenis who once saw the Emirati intervention as an heroic act to defend their nation’s sovereignty from a ruthless Iran-supported militia are now depicting it as an occupation, if not colonization.

    The UAE is part of the coalition of “Saudi-led” Arab countries (along with Bahrain and Egypt) that imposed a blockade against Qatar in May 2017. These nations were attempting to, among other things, end Qatar’s “terrorism,” cut its ties to Iran, get it to stop meddling in the internal affairs of other countries, and force it to pursue a less independent foreign policy. The UAE has taken an even more hardline stance against the Qataris than the Saudis, in part because it is more fanatical than Riyadh about eradicating any trace of Muslim Brotherhood influence in Qatar and the region more broadly. The boycott, which has divided America’s partners in the Gulf Cooperation Council, has been a disaster for both the UAE and Saudi Arabia, affording both Iran and Turkey opportunities to expand their influence in Doha. Nor has it worked out well for Washington, which hoped to forge a united Gulf front to contain Iranian influence. But for the UAE, the Saudis have been a useful surrogate for outsized regional ambitions; the Emiratis’ relationship with the Kingdom has allowed them to punch well above their weight. That’s not a good thing.


  • The Real Reasons Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Wanted Khashoggi ‘Dead or Alive’
    https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-real-reasons-saudi-crown-prince-mohammed-bin-salman-wanted-khasho

    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


  • Can Islamist moderates remake the politics of the Muslim world? - CSMonitor.com

    https://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2018/0919/Can-Islamist-moderates-remake-the-politics-of-the-Muslim-world

    By Taylor Luck Correspondent

    AMMAN, JORDAN; TUNIS, TUNISIA; KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA
    Alaa Faroukh insists he is the future. After nearly a decade in the Muslim Brotherhood, he says that he has finally found harmony between his faith and politics, not as a hardcore Islamist, but as a “Muslim democrat.”

    “We respect and include minorities, we fight for women’s rights, we respect different points of view, we are democratic both in our homes and in our politics – that is how we honor our faith,” Mr. Faroukh says.

    The jovial psychologist with a toothy smile, who can quote Freud as easily as he can recite the Quran, is speaking from his airy Amman clinic, located one floor below the headquarters of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood, the very movement he left.

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    “The time of divisive politics of older Islamists is over, and everyone in my generation agrees,” says the 30-something Faroukh. “The era of political Islam is dead.”

    Faroukh is symbolic of a shift sweeping through parts of the Arab world. From Tunisia to Egypt to Jordan, many Islamist activists and some established Islamic organizations are adopting a more progressive and moderate tone in their approach to politics and governing. They are reaching out to minorities and secular Muslims while doing away with decades-old political goals to impose their interpretation of Islam on society.

    Taylor Luck
    “The time of divisive politics of older Islamists is over, and everyone in my generation agrees. The era of political Islam is dead,” says Alaa Faroukh, a young Jordanian who left the Muslim Brotherhood for a moderate political party.
    Part of the move is simple pragmatism. After watching the Muslim Brotherhood – with its call for sharia (Islamic law) and failure to reach out to minorities and secular Muslims – get routed in Egypt, and the defeat of other political Islamic groups across the Arab world, many Islamic activists believe taking a more moderate stance is the only way to gain and hold power. Yet others, including many young Muslims, believe a deeper ideological shift is under way in which Islamist organizations are increasingly recognizing the importance of religious tolerance and political pluralism in modern societies. 

    Think you know the Greater Middle East? Take our geography quiz.
    While Islamist movements remain the largest and most potent political movement in the region, a widespread adoption of democratic principles by their followers could transform the discourse in a region where politics are often bound to identity and are bitterly polarized.

    “We believe that young Jordanians and young Arabs in general see that the future is not in partisan politics, but in cooperation, understanding, and putting the country above petty party politics,” says Rheil Gharaibeh, the moderate former head of the Jordanian Brotherhood’s politburo who has formed his own political party.

    Is this the beginning of a fundamental shift in the politics of the Middle East or just an expedient move by a few activists?

    *

    Many Islamist groups say their move to the center is a natural step in multiparty politics, but this obscures how far their positions have truly shifted in a short time.

    Some 20 years ago, the manifesto of the Muslim Brotherhood – the Sunni Islamic political group with affiliates across the Arab world – called for the implementation of sharia and gender segregation at universities, and commonly employed slogans such as “Islam is the solution.”

    In 2011, the Arab Spring uprisings swept these Islamist movements into power or installed them as the leading political force from the Arab Gulf to Morocco, sparking fears of an Islamization of Arab societies.

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    But instead of rolling back women’s rights, the Tunisian Islamist party Ennahda pushed through gender equality laws and helped write the most progressive, gender-equal constitution in the Arab world. The Moroccan Justice and Development Party (PJD) has played down its Islamic rhetoric, abandoning talk of Islamic identity and sharia and instead speaking about democratic reform and human rights. And the Brotherhood in Jordan traded in its slogan “Islam is the solution” for “the people demand reform” and “popular sovereignty for all.”

    The past few years have seen an even more dramatic shift to the center. Not only have Islamist movements dropped calls for using sharia as a main source of law, but they nearly all now advocate for a “civil state”­ – a secular nation where the law, rather than holy scriptures or the word of God, is sovereign.

    Muhammad Hamed/Reuters
    Supporters of the National Alliance for Reform rally in Amman, Jordan, in 2016. They have rebranded themselves as a national rather than an Islamic movement.
    In Morocco and Jordan, Islamist groups separated their religious activities – preaching, charitable activities, and dawa (spreading the good word of God) – from their political branches. In 2016, Ennahda members in Tunisia went one step further and essentially eliminated their religious activities altogether, rebranding themselves as “Muslim democrats.”

    Islamist moderates say this shift away from religious activities to a greater focus on party politics is a natural step in line with what President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has done with his Justice and Development Party in Turkey, or even, they hope, with the Christian democrats in Europe: to become movements inspired by faith, not governing through faith.

    “While we are a Muslim country, we are aware that we do not have one interpretation of religion and we will not impose one interpretation of faith over others,” says Mehrezia Labidi, a member of the Tunisian Parliament and Ennahda party leader. “As Muslim democrats we are guided by Islamic values, but we are bound by the Constitution, the will of the people, and the rule of law for all.”

    Experts say this shift is a natural evolution for movements that are taking part in the decisionmaking process for the first time after decades in the opposition.

    “As the opposition, you can refuse, you can criticize, you can obstruct,” says Rachid Mouqtadir, professor of political science at Hassan II University in Casablanca, Morocco, and an expert in Islamist movements. “But when you are in a coalition with other parties and trying to govern, the parameters change, your approach changes, and as a result your ideology changes.”

    The trend has even gone beyond the borders of the Arab world. The Malaysian Islamic Youth Movement (ABIM), founded in 1971 by Malaysian university students inspired by the Brotherhood and now one of the strongest civil society groups in the country, is also shedding the “Islamist” label.

    In addition to running schools and hospitals, ABIM now hosts interfaith concerts, partners on projects with Christians and Buddhists, and even reaches out to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender activists in its campaign for social justice.

    “We are in the age of post-political Islam,” says Ahmad Fahmi Mohd Samsudin, ABIM vice president, from the movement’s headquarters in a leafy Kuala Lumpur suburb. “That means when we say we stand for Islam, we stand for social justice and equality for all – no matter their faith or background.”

    *


  • Les États-Unis dévoilent la condition de leur retrait de Syrie - Sputnik France
    https://fr.sputniknews.com/international/201809241038218472-bolton-etats-unis-syrie

    « Les troupes des États-Unis ne quitteront pas la Syrie tant que des troupes iraniennes se trouvent en dehors d’Iran », a-t-il déclaré lors d’une conférence de presse à New York.

    En vo : “We’re not going to leave as long as Iranian troops are outside Iranian borders and that includes Iranian proxies and militias,” White House national security adviser John Bolton said while traveling in New York for the United Nations General Assembly, according to the Associated Press." (https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/policy/defense-national-security/john-bolton-us-will-stay-in-syria-until-iran-leaves)

    Et moi qui croyais qu’ils étaient là pour défendre la révolution syrienne ! Comme j’étais naïf !

    #syrie #grand_jeu

    • US military document reveals how the West opposed a democratic Syria, by Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed (Le Monde diplomatique - English edition, September 2018)
      https://mondediplo.com/outside-in/syria-democracy-documents

      Despite acknowledging that opposition groups would probably fail to overthrow Assad, the document still assesses that they could be mobilised to counter Iranian encroachment. It was accepted that this would empower Islamist forces among the Syrian opposition, rather than democratic and secular forces: ‘Turkey does not have good options nor the capability to effect change in Syria any time soon, but it will gradually attempt to build up linkages with groups inside Syria, focusing in particular on the Islamist remnants of the Muslim Brotherhood in trying to fashion a viable Islamist political force in Syria that would operate under Ankara’s umbrella. This will take time to develop, but the geopolitical dynamic of the region points to a gradually [sic] weakening of the Alawite hold on power in Syria.’

      The anti-democratic nature of the strategy was clear. Regardless of the democratic aspirations driving the Syrian uprising, US military officials were content with the idea of encouraging foreign powers to nurture Islamist forces in Syria who would operate under the ‘umbrella’ of those foreign powers: all to try and weaken Iran’s foothold.


  • The U.S. is wrong about the Muslim Brotherhood — and the Arab world is suffering for it - The Washington Post

    By Jamal Khashoggi
    August 28 at 3:26 PM

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/global-opinions/wp/2018/08/28/the-u-s-is-wrong-about-the-muslim-brotherhood-and-the-arab-world-is-

    During the Obama presidency, the U.S. administration was wary of the Muslim Brotherhood, which had come to power in Egypt after the country’s first-ever free elections. Despite his declared support for democracy and change in the Arab world in the wake of the Arab Spring, then-President Barack Obama did not take a strong position and reject the coup against President-elect Mohamed Morsi. The coup, as we know, led to the military’s return to power in the largest Arab country — along with tyranny, repression, corruption and mismanagement.

    That is the conclusion that David D. Kirkpatrick arrives at in his excellent book “Into the Hands of the Soldiers,” which was released this month. A former Cairo bureau chief for the New York Times, Kirkpatrick gives a sad account of Egypt’s 2013 coup that led to the loss of a great opportunity to reform the entire Arab world and allow a historic change that might have freed the region from a thousand years of tyranny.

    • During the Obama presidency, the U.S. administration was wary of the Muslim Brotherhood, which had come to power in Egypt after the country’s first-ever free elections. Despite his declared support for democracy and change in the Arab world in the wake of the Arab Spring, then-President Barack Obama did not take a strong position and reject the coup against President-elect Mohamed Morsi. The coup, as we know, led to the military’s return to power in the largest Arab country — along with tyranny, repression, corruption and mismanagement.

      That is the conclusion that David D. Kirkpatrick arrives at in his excellent book “Into the Hands of the Soldiers,” which was released this month. A former Cairo bureau chief for the New York Times, Kirkpatrick gives a sad account of Egypt’s 2013 coup that led to the loss of a great opportunity to reform the entire Arab world and allow a historic change that might have freed the region from a thousand years of tyranny.

      The United States’s aversion to the Muslim Brotherhood, which is more apparent in the current Trump administration, is the root of a predicament across the entire Arab world. The eradication of the Muslim Brotherhood is nothing less than an abolition of democracy and a guarantee that Arabs will continue living under authoritarian and corrupt regimes. In turn, this will mean the continuation of the causes behind revolution, extremism and refugees — all of which have affected the security of Europe and the rest of the world. Terrorism and the refugee crisis have changed the political mood in the West and brought the extreme right to prominence there.

      There can be no political reform and democracy in any Arab country without accepting that political Islam is a part of it. A significant number of citizens in any given Arab country will give their vote to Islamic political parties if some form of democracy is allowed. It seems clear then that the only way to prevent political Islam from playing a role in Arab politics is to abolish democracy, which essentially deprives citizens of their basic right to choose their political representatives.

      Shafeeq Ghabra, a professor of political science at Kuwait University, explains the problem in this way: “The Arab regimes’ war on the Brotherhood does not target the movement alone, but rather targets those who practice politics, who demand freedom and accountability, and all who have a popular base in society.” A quick look at the political degradation that has taken place in Egypt since the military’s return to power confirms what Ghabra says. President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi’s regime has cracked down on the Islamists and arrested some 60,000 of them. Now it has extended its heavy hand against both secular and military figures, even those who supported him in the coup. In today’s Egypt, political life is totally dead.

      It is wrong to dwell on political Islam, conservatism and identity issues when the choice is between having a free society tolerant of all viewpoints and having an oppressive regime. Five years of Sissi’s rule in Egypt makes this point clear.

      There are efforts here in Washington, encouraged by some Arab states that do not support freedom and democracy, to persuade Congress to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. If they succeed, the designation will weaken the fragile steps toward democracy and political reform that have already been curbed in the Arab world. It will also push backward the Arab countries that have made progress in creating a tolerant environment and allowing political participation by various components of society, including the Islamists.

      Islamists today participate in the parliaments of various Arab countries such as Kuwait, Jordan, Bahrain, Tunisia and Morocco. This has led to the emergence of Islamic democracy, such as the Ennahda movement in Tunisia, and the maturing of democratic transformation in the other countries.

      The coup in Egypt led to the loss of a precious opportunity for Egypt and the entire Arab world. If the democratic process had continued there, the Muslim Brotherhood’s political practices could have matured and become more inclusive, and the unimaginable peaceful rotation of power could have become a reality and a precedent to be followed.

      The Trump administration always says it wants to correct Obama’s mistakes. It should add his mishandling of Arab democracy to its list. Obama erred when he wasted the precious opportunity that could have changed the history of the Arab world, and when he caved to pressure from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, as well as from members of his own administration. They all missed the big picture and were governed by their intolerant hatred for any form of political Islam, a hatred that has destroyed Arabs’ choice for democracy and good governance.

      #Frères_musulmans #USA #Egypte


  • Egyptian Chronicles: Corbyn and Rabaa Salute misinformation : The sign’s true story

    https://egyptianchronicles.blogspot.com/2018/08/corbyn-and-rabaa-salute-misinformation.html#more

    The Telegraph says in the report that Corbyn is under fire because he was doing the Salute of the Muslim Brotherhood, the group linked to terrorism in Egypt and the Middle East.
    The news article is currently viral on main news websites and newspapers that can’t stomach the Labour leader like The Sun and The Metro.
    That photo is making rounds on alt-rights and Islamophobia fanatics on social media.

    Now there is a little misinformation here that needs to be corrected.

    Jeremy Corbyn was doing Rabaa the sign which is not an MB salute.
    The four-finger sign of Rabaa was made in 2014 by a Turkish graphic designer to commemorate the victims of Pro-Islamist president Mohamed Morsi’s sit-in’s forcible dispersal in Rabaa and Nahda squares in Egypt on 13 August 2013.

    According to the different human rights organizations, whether Egyptian or international, at least 600 human beings were killed on that day.
    The numbers of the victims are still disputed but at least 600 victims have been officially confirmed by the semi-official National Council For Human Rights.
    The Rabaa sign is associated with the Muslim Brotherhood because its members began to do it in their trials, rallies and protests in Egypt and around the world to commemorate the victims. The group indeed adopted it but it is not their salute

    That sign is banned in Egypt and some have paid a heavy price because of doing it publicly even accidentally.
    I would have ignored this matter but unfortunately, it came at the same time as the anniversary of that sad event that we have been suffering from its consequences up until now. I do not need to post a disclaimar that I am not a Muslim Brotherhood supporter or member.


  • The Islamic fundamentalist Jeremy Corbyn should be ashamed of himself – if only he’d behaved more like Margaret Thatcher | The Independent
    https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/jeremy-corbyn-islam-jewish-antisemitism-israel-labour-party-margaret-

    Un peu d’humour (anglais) ne fait jamais de mal en politique.

    It gets worse and worse for Jeremy Corbyn and Labour. There’s a rumour that photos have emerged of a courgette grown on his allotment which is a similar shape to a rocket propeller used by al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.

    This comes on top of revelations that he has a beard, much like Palestinian terrorists, and his constituency is Islington, which starts with IS, or Islamic State. As a vegetarian he doesn’t eat pork, his friend John McDonnell’s initials are JM – that stands for Jihadist Muslim – and he travels on underground trains, that are under the ground, just like the basements in which Isis make their little films.

    The Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail and various others have also published a photo of him folding his thumb while holding up his fingers, in a way they describe as a salute to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. That settles it. If you don’t constantly check the shape of your thumb to make sure it’s not folded in a way similar to the way it’s folded by Muslim groups in Egypt, you might as well strap Semtex to your chest and get a bus to Syria.

    Thankfully there are some brave journalists who discovered the truth: that Corbyn laid a wreath in Tunisia at a memorial for civilians who were bombed, but also buried in that cemetery are the “Munich terrorists”. It turned out that the terrorists are not buried there at all, as they’re buried in Libya, but you can’t expect those journalists to get bogged down in insignificant details like that.

    We’ve all turned up for a funeral to be told we’re in the wrong country. “I’m afraid the service for your Uncle Derek is in Eltham Crematorium,” we’re told, “and you’ve come to Argentina.” It doesn’t make any difference to the overall story.

    Because there are Palestinian leaders who may have been terrorists in that cemetery. And when you attend a memorial service, you are clearly commemorating everyone in the cemetery, and the fact that you’ve probably never heard of most of them is no excuse.
    Corbyn takes on Margaret Thatcher over homelessness in Parliament in 1990

    If it’s possible to bring comfort to all those shocked by this outrage, it may be worth recalling that one of the first scandals about Corbyn after he became leader was that he wasn’t dressed smartly enough when he laid a wreath at the Cenotaph, which was an insult to our war dead. He’s just as scruffy in the pictures from Tunisia, so perhaps what he’s actually doing is insulting the terrorists, by laying a wreath near them while his coat is rumpled.

    I suppose it may just be possible that the wreath he laid at an event organised to mark the bombing of civilians in 1985 was actually put there to mark the bombing of civilians in 1985.

    But it’s much more likely that secretly, Jeremy Corbyn supports Palestinian terrorists who murder athletes. You may think that if you hold such an unusual point of view, it might have slipped out in conversation here and there. But the fact he’s never said or done anything to suggest he backs the brutal murder of civilians only shows how clever he is at hiding his true thoughts.

    This must be why he’s always been a keen supporter of causes beloved by Islamic jihadists, such as gay rights. For example, Jeremy Corbyn was a passionate opponent of Margaret Thatcher’s Section 28 law that banned the mention of homosexuality in schools. He supported every gay rights campaign at a time when it was considered extremist to do so. And the way he managed to be an extremist Islamic fundamentalist and an extremist gay rights fanatic at the same time only shows how dangerous he is.

    One person who appears especially upset by all this is Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and it’s always distressing when someone that sensitive gets dragged into an issue.

    Sadly he’s going to be even more aghast when he reads about another event in which wreaths were laid for terrorists. Because a plaque was unveiled to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the bombing of the King David Hotel, in which 91 people died, mostly civilians and 28 of them British. This was carried out by the Irgun, an Israeli terror gang, and one man, who by coincidence was also called Benjamin Netanyahu, declared the bombing was “a legitimate act with a military target”.
    The most ridiculous claims made about Jeremy Corbyn
    He called Hezbollah and Hamas ‘friends’
    ‘Jeremy Corbyn thinks the death of Osama bin Laden was a tragedy’
    He is ‘haunted’ by the legacy of his ‘evil’ great-great-grandfather
    Jeremy Corbyn raised a motion about ‘pigeon bombs’ in Parliament

    When Benjamin Netanyahu hears about this other Benjamin Netanyahu he’ll be furious.

    The Labour MPs who pine for Tony Blair are even more enraged, and you have to sympathise. Because when Blair supported murderers, such as Gaddafi and Asad, he did it while they were still alive, which is much more acceptable.

    So you can see why Conservative politicians and newspapers are so disgusted. If you subjected the Conservative Party to a similar level of scrutiny, you’d find nothing comparable. There might be the odd link to torturers, such as their ex-leader Margaret Thatcher describing General Pinochet, who herded opponents into a football stadium and had them shot, as a close and dear friend. Or supporting apartheid because “Nelson Mandela is a terrorist”. But she was only being polite.

    We can only guess what the next revelation will be. My guess is “Corbyn supported snakes against iguanas in Attenborough’s film. Footage has emerged of the Labour leader speaking alongside a snake, and praising his efforts to catch the iguana and poison and swallow him. One iguana said he was ‘shocked and horrified’ at the story, told in this 340-page special edition, and one anti-Corbyn Labour MP said, ‘I don’t know anything about this whatsoever, which is why I call on Mr Corbyn to do the decent thing and kill himself.’”

    #Jeremy_Corbin #Fake_news #Calomnies #Violence


  • The Islamic fundamentalist Jeremy Corbyn should be ashamed of himself – if only he’d behaved more like Margaret Thatcher | The Independent
    https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/jeremy-corbyn-islam-jewish-antisemitism-israel-labour-party-margaret-

    It gets worse and worse for Jeremy Corbyn and Labour. There’s a rumour that photos have emerged of a courgette grown on his allotment which is a similar shape to a rocket propeller used by al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.

    This comes on top of revelations that he has a beard, much like Palestinian terrorists, and his constituency is Islington, which starts with IS, or Islamic State. As a vegetarian he doesn’t eat pork, his friend John McDonnell’s initials are JM – that stands for Jihadist Muslim – and he travels on underground trains, that are under the ground, just like the basements in which Isis make their little films.

    The Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail and various others have also published a photo of him folding his thumb while holding up his fingers, in a way they describe as a salute to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. That settles it. If you don’t constantly check the shape of your thumb to make sure it’s not folded in a way similar to the way it’s folded by Muslim groups in Egypt, you might as well strap Semtex to your chest and get a bus to Syria.

    Thankfully there are some brave journalists who discovered the truth: that Corbyn laid a wreath in Tunisia at a memorial for civilians who were bombed, but also buried in that cemetery are the “Munich terrorists”. It turned out that the terrorists are not buried there at all, as they’re buried in Libya, but you can’t expect those journalists to get bogged down in insignificant details like that.

    We’ve all turned up for a funeral to be told we’re in the wrong country. “I’m afraid the service for your Uncle Derek is in Eltham Crematorium,” we’re told, “and you’ve come to Argentina.” It doesn’t make any difference to the overall story.

    Because there are Palestinian leaders who may have been terrorists in that cemetery. And when you attend a memorial service, you are clearly commemorating everyone in the cemetery, and the fact that you’ve probably never heard of most of them is no excuse.
    Corbyn takes on Margaret Thatcher over homelessness in Parliament in 1990

    If it’s possible to bring comfort to all those shocked by this outrage, it may be worth recalling that one of the first scandals about Corbyn after he became leader was that he wasn’t dressed smartly enough when he laid a wreath at the Cenotaph, which was an insult to our war dead. He’s just as scruffy in the pictures from Tunisia, so perhaps what he’s actually doing is insulting the terrorists, by laying a wreath near them while his coat is rumpled.
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    I suppose it may just be possible that the wreath he laid at an event organised to mark the bombing of civilians in 1985 was actually put there to mark the bombing of civilians in 1985.

    But it’s much more likely that secretly, Jeremy Corbyn supports Palestinian terrorists who murder athletes. You may think that if you hold such an unusual point of view, it might have slipped out in conversation here and there. But the fact he’s never said or done anything to suggest he backs the brutal murder of civilians only shows how clever he is at hiding his true thoughts.

    This must be why he’s always been a keen supporter of causes beloved by Islamic jihadists, such as gay rights. For example, Jeremy Corbyn was a passionate opponent of Margaret Thatcher’s Section 28 law that banned the mention of homosexuality in schools. He supported every gay rights campaign at a time when it was considered extremist to do so. And the way he managed to be an extremist Islamic fundamentalist and an extremist gay rights fanatic at the same time only shows how dangerous he is.

    One person who appears especially upset by all this is Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and it’s always distressing when someone that sensitive gets dragged into an issue.

    Sadly he’s going to be even more aghast when he reads about another event in which wreaths were laid for terrorists. Because a plaque was unveiled to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the bombing of the King David Hotel, in which 91 people died, mostly civilians and 28 of them British. This was carried out by the Irgun, an Israeli terror gang, and one man, who by coincidence was also called Benjamin Netanyahu, declared the bombing was “a legitimate act with a military target”.
    The most ridiculous claims made about Jeremy Corbyn
    He called Hezbollah and Hamas ‘friends’
    ‘Jeremy Corbyn thinks the death of Osama bin Laden was a tragedy’
    He is ‘haunted’ by the legacy of his ‘evil’ great-great-grandfather
    Jeremy Corbyn raised a motion about ‘pigeon bombs’ in Parliament

    When Benjamin Netanyahu hears about this other Benjamin Netanyahu he’ll be furious.

    The Labour MPs who pine for Tony Blair are even more enraged, and you have to sympathise. Because when Blair supported murderers, such as Gaddafi and Asad, he did it while they were still alive, which is much more acceptable.

    So you can see why Conservative politicians and newspapers are so disgusted. If you subjected the Conservative Party to a similar level of scrutiny, you’d find nothing comparable. There might be the odd link to torturers, such as their ex-leader Margaret Thatcher describing General Pinochet, who herded opponents into a football stadium and had them shot, as a close and dear friend. Or supporting apartheid because “Nelson Mandela is a terrorist”. But she was only being polite.

    We can only guess what the next revelation will be. My guess is “Corbyn supported snakes against iguanas in Attenborough’s film. Footage has emerged of the Labour leader speaking alongside a snake, and praising his efforts to catch the iguana and poison and swallow him. One iguana said he was ‘shocked and horrified’ at the story, told in this 340-page special edition, and one anti-Corbyn Labour MP said, ‘I don’t know anything about this whatsoever, which is why I call on Mr Corbyn to do the decent thing and kill himself.’”


  • L’interview de la mère d’Oussama Ben Laden, Alia Ghanem, par Martin Chulov dans le Guardian est l’évènement médiatique du moment :
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/aug/03/osama-bin-laden-mother-speaks-out-family-interview
    L’article a été largement signalé et commenté (positivement) dans les grands médias français.

    Or, en dehors d’Angry Arab, personne ne semble vouloir remarquer que l’interview reprend tous les talking points de la propagande séoudienne de l’ère Mohamed Bin Salman.

    D’entrée de jeu, Chulov admet qu’il interviewe la famille Ben Laden sous le contrôle du régime séoudien :

    Now, Saudi Arabia’s new leadership – spearheaded by the ambitious 32-year-old heir to the throne, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – has agreed to my request to speak to the family. (As one of the country’s most influential families, their movements and engagements remain closely monitored.)

    Voilà l’une des dictatures les plus violentes de la planète, où le déplaisir du prince vous vaudra la ruine, ou la prison, ou la réclusion à vie dans une résidence privée, ou quelques centaines de coups de fouets, voire la décapitation. Un pays où des milliardaires parmi les plus puissants ont été retenus dans un hôtel, possiblement torturés, avant d’être proprement ruinés. Où un Premier ministre étranger a été retenu et démissionné d’office.

    Mais si la famille accepte enfin de parler – avec l’accord de la nouvelle direction du régime – c’est, selon Chulov, pour éviter de « réouvrir d’anciennes plaies » :

    Unsurprisingly, Osama bin Laden’s family are cautious in our initial negotiations; they are not sure whether opening old wounds will prove cathartic or harmful. But after several days of discussion, they are willing to talk.

    L’idée qu’il n’est pas bien sain, d’un point de vue journalistique, de présenter dans de telles conditions la parole de ces gens comme un authentique entretien, est soulevée dans la fin de l’article par une demi-sœur de Ben Laden installée (réfugiée ?) à Paris. Objection balayée d’une phrase et l’euphémisme « complicated status in the kingdom » :

    From her home in Paris, she later emailed to say she strongly objected to her mother being interviewed, asking that it be rearranged through her. Despite the blessing of her brothers and father, she felt her mother had been pressured into talking. Ghanem, however, insisted she was happy to talk and could have talked longer. It is, perhaps, a sign of the extended family’s complicated status in the kingdom that such tensions exist.

    D’ailleurs la conversation se fait ouvertement en présence d’un commissaire politique du régime mais, précise notre grand reporter : qui ne fait aucune tentative pour influencer la conversation…

    When we meet on a hot day in early June, a minder from the Saudi government sits in the room, though she makes no attempt to influence the conversation.

    On est heureux de constater que les méthodes séoudienness se sont affinées depuis l’interview grotesque de Saad Hariri.

    Bref, l’entretien commence.

    D’entrée de jeu, premier élément de langage tiré de la propagande officielle saoudienne : Oussame Ben Laden s’est radicalisé sous l’influence d’un membre des Frères musulmans. Subtile…

    “The people at university changed him,” Ghanem says. “He became a different man.” One of the men he met there was Abdullah Azzam, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood who was later exiled from Saudi Arabia and became Osama’s spiritual adviser.

    Un autre élément de langage, central, reviendra plusieurs fois dans l’interview : en Afghanistan, Ben Laden est un type très bien : il n’est pas encore un jihadiste (jusqu’en 1999…).

    “[…] He spent all his money on Afghanistan – he would sneak off under the guise of family business.” Did she ever suspect he might become a jihadist? “It never crossed my mind.”

    Tant qu’à faire, le petit détail sectaire qui ne trompe pas : la maman de Ben Laden est alaouite :

    Ghanem begins to relax, and talks about her childhood in the coastal Syrian city of Latakia, where she grew up in a family of Alawites, an offshoot of Shia Islam.

    Évidemment, le bon fan-boy de la rébellitude syrienne ne tarde pas à en faire la bonne lecture : la mère de Ben Laden est alaouite « comme les Assad ». Par exemple Sam Dagher te conseille l’article en commençant par cette remarque (subtile) :
    https://twitter.com/samdagher/status/1025343757229678597

    Must read by ⁦@martinchulov⁩ on Bin Laden’s mother. She’s Syrian Alawite like the Assads. […]

    Un autre talking point typique de MBS : l’Arabie séoudite était un pays relativement libéral dans les années 70 (ah ah… comment traduire « freewheeling » ici sans paraître totalement ridicule), mais a adopté une interprétation rigoriste du wahhabisme en réaction à la révolution iranienne (dont le but, écrit-il, était d’exporter le chiisme dans le monde arabe sunnite).

    Osama bin Laden’s formative years in Jeddah came in the relatively freewheeling 1970s, before the Iranian Revolution of 1979, which aimed to export Shia zeal into the Sunni Arab world. From then on, Saudi’s rulers enforced a rigid interpretation of Sunni Islam – one that had been widely practised across the Arabian peninsula since the 18th century, the era of cleric Muhammed ibn Abdul Wahhab.

    Ah, il faut te dire qu’à ce moment de ce long article, l’interview proprement dite de la mère de Ben Laden est terminée depuis longtemps, et n’a dû occuper que deux gros paragraphes…

    À la place, on part dans des considérations enthousiastes sur cette nouvelle direction saoudienne, sous l’influence de Bin Salman, qui voudrait instaurer un « islam modéré » en Arabie (Chulov est d’ailleurs sans surprise coupable, dans le Guardian, de plusieurs articles enthousiastes sur les femmes séoudiennes autorisées à conduire) :

    In 2018, Saudi’s new leadership wants to draw a line under this era and introduce what bin Salman calls “moderate Islam”. This he sees as essential to the survival of a state where a large, restless and often disaffected young population has, for nearly four decades, had little access to entertainment, a social life or individual freedoms. Saudi’s new rulers believe such rigid societal norms, enforced by clerics, could prove fodder for extremists who tap into such feelings of frustration.

    Reform is beginning to creep through many aspects of Saudi society; among the most visible was June’s lifting of the ban on women drivers. There have been changes to the labour markets and a bloated public sector; cinemas have opened, and an anti-corruption drive launched across the private sector and some quarters of government. The government also claims to have stopped all funding to Wahhabi institutions outside the kingdom, which had been supported with missionary zeal for nearly four decades.

    Such radical shock therapy is slowly being absorbed across the country, where communities conditioned to decades of uncompromising doctrine don’t always know what to make of it. Contradictions abound: some officials and institutions eschew conservatism, while others wholeheartedly embrace it. Meanwhile, political freedoms remain off-limits; power has become more centralised and dissent is routinely crushed.

    Toujours plus éloigné du sujet initial (la maman d’Oussama), le prince Turki al-Faisal, l’« érudit » ancien chef des services secrets saoudiens :

    I meet Prince Turki al-Faisal, who was the head of Saudi intelligence for 24 years, between 1977 and 1 September 2001 (10 days before the 9/11 attacks), at his villa in Jeddah. An erudite man now in his mid-70s, Turki wears green cufflinks bearing the Saudi flag on the sleeves of his thobe.

    Lequel te synthétise l’élément de langage central de l’article : en Afghanistan c’est un combattant de la liberté, et c’est après que ça se gâte :

    “There are two Osama bin Ladens,” he tells me. “One before the end of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, and one after it. Before, he was very much an idealistic mujahid. He was not a fighter. By his own admission, he fainted during a battle, and when he woke up, the Soviet assault on his position had been defeated.”

    As Bin Laden moved from Afghanistan to Sudan, and as his links to Saudi Arabia soured, it was Turki who spoke with him on behalf of the kingdom. In the wake of 9/11, these direct dealings came under intense scrutiny.

    Et une autre explication totalement tirée par les cheveux : si la plupart des terroristes du 11 Septembre étaient séoudiens, ce n’était pas parce que les Séoudiens vivent dans un environnement toxique depuis l’enfance, mais parce que Ben Laden voulait tourner le monde occidental contre l’Arabie… Oui, c’est une très jolie théorie du complot dans laquelle on présente le royaume comme une victime du 11 Septembre :

    “There is no doubt that he deliberately chose Saudi citizens for the 9/11 plot,” a British intelligence officer tells me. “He was convinced that was going to turn the west against his ... home country. He did indeed succeed in inciting a war, but not the one he expected.”

    Et pour terminer, enfonçons le clou sur l’authentique conviction réformatrice (« mais pourra-t-il réussir ? ») de ce brave Mohammed Bin Salman :

    While change has been attempted in Saudi Arabia before, it has been nowhere near as extensive as the current reforms. How hard Mohammed bin Salman can push against a society indoctrinated in such an uncompromising worldview remains an open question.

    Saudia Arabia’s allies are optimistic, but offer a note of caution. The British intelligence officer I spoke to told me, “If Salman doesn’t break through, there will be many more Osamas. And I’m not sure they’ll be able to shake the curse.”

    • Objection balayée d’une phrase et l’euphémisme « complicated status in the kingdom »

      Je n’arrive plus à me rappeler où j’ai entendu la réplique « It’s complicated », réponse typique de profiteurs qui se font du pognon dans un pays dictatorial. En fait, je ne me souviens plus si c’est dans un docu ou dans une comédie (grinçante) !

      Ah oui, c’est dans Mariage gay à Tel Aviv et Jean Stern finit par en faire une blague. Tout le monde (État et business) se pâme sur la liberté sexuelle à Tel Aviv et chaque fois qu’il pose une question sur le conflit avec la Palestine, il obtient cette réponse. « It’s complicated. » Traduction : je n’en ai rien à foutre et j’aimerais beaucoup que toi aussi.


  • Egypt: The White House and the Strongman - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/27/sunday-review/obama-egypt-coup-trump.html

    President Trump boasts that he has reversed American policies across the Middle East. Where his predecessor hoped to win hearts and minds, Mr. Trump champions the axiom that brute force is the only response to extremism — whether in Iran, Syria, Yemen or the Palestinian territories. He has embraced the hawks of the region, in Israel and the Persian Gulf, as his chief guides and allies.

    But in many ways, this hard-line approach began to take hold under President Barack Obama, when those same regional allies backed the 2013 military ouster of Egypt’s first elected president, Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood.

    That coup was a watershed moment for the region, snuffing out dreams of democracy while emboldening both autocrats and jihadists. And American policy pivoted, too, empowering those inside the administration “who say you just have to crush these guys,” said Andrew Miller, who oversaw Egypt for the National Security Council under Mr. Obama, and who is now with the Project on Middle East Democracy. Some of the coup’s most vocal American advocates went on to top roles in the Trump administration, including Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Michael Flynn, Mr. Trump’s first national security adviser.
    Image
    In July 2013, supporters of the ousted Mr. Morsi protested in Cairo against the killing of 50 demonstrators a day before. A much bigger massacre came in August.CreditNarciso Contreras for The New York Times
    I was The New York Times Cairo bureau chief at the time of the coup, and I returned to the events years later in part to better understand Washington’s role. I learned that the Obama administration’s support for the Arab Spring uprisings had been hobbled from the start by internal disagreements over the same issues that now define Trump policy — about the nature of the threat from political Islam, about fidelity to autocratic allies like the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, and about the difficulty of achieving democratic change in Egypt and the region.


  • Egypt’s millennials turn to Sufism
    https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/07/egyptian-millenials-turn-to-sufism.html

    “There has definitely been a Sufi revival in Egypt, and it is especially pronounced in bourgeois, urban milieus, particularly circles of young, highly educated people; but I think it goes across class and political lines,” says anthropologist and research fellow at the Berlin-based Center for Modern Oriental Studies Samuel Schielke. “While I was doing my fieldwork between 2002 and 2005, I really felt I was studying a tradition in decline. Young people at the time were brought up with a kind of religious discourse that rejected [Sufi traditions] and described them as ‘bid’a’ [meaning ‘new and condemned practices’],” he tells Al-Monitor. Schielke, who has studied the Islamic tradition of “moulids,” religious festivals usually associated with Sufism, at length, also notes that the influence of Salafism, the Muslim Brotherhood and “political movements that developed in the early 20th century” grew increasingly dominant since the 1970s.

    Schielke says that the mainstream Islamic revival prior to 2011 marginalized Sufis, although he did find that small numbers of “intellectual, politically left” individuals were becoming interested in Sufism. Another significant segment of the larger population was drawn to what Islamic Studies scholar Mark Sedgwick calls “eclectic Sufism,” a broader interpretation influenced by the kind of “New Age” ideas seen in the novels of Turkish writer Elif Shafak or in concerts where Sufi chanting, performed by the likes of Ahmed Al Tuni, is modernized through loudspeakers and modern-day musical instruments.

    Following the revolution in 2011, and particularly since 2013 and 2014, Schielke has observed that “a growing understanding that you could be both against ex-President Hosni Mubarak and against the Muslim Brotherhood” became prominent, making way for an “experimental openness.” Many who had previously flirted with Salafi ideology became more open to Sufism, and “even on the street level, these divides became more difficult to cross.”

    #soufi


  • Why the Egyptian military will relinquish power | MadaMasr
    https://www-madamasr-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.madamasr.com/en/?p=262066

    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.


  • Israel adopts abandoned Saudi sectarian logic - Modern Diplomacy

    https://moderndiplomacy.eu/2018/06/16/israel-adopts-abandoned-saudi-sectarian-logic

    Amid ever closer cooperation with Saudi Arabia, Israel’s military appears to be adopting the kind of sectarian anti-Shiite rhetoric that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is abandoning as part of a bid to develop a national rather than a religious ethos and promote his yet to be defined form of moderate Islam.

    The Israeli rhetoric in Arabic-language video clips that target a broad audience across the Middle East and North Africa emerged against the backdrop of a growing influence of conservative religious conscripts and officers in all branches of the Israeli armed forces.

    The clips featuring army spokesman Major Avichay Adraee were also designed to undermine support for Hamas, the Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip and backed recent mass anti-Israeli protests along the border with Israel, in advance of a visit to the Middle East by US peace negotiators Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt.

    The visit could determine when US President Donald J. Trump publishes his long-awaited ‘art of the deal’ proposal for a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that despite Israeli and tacit Saudi and United Arab Emirates backing is likely to be rejected by the Palestinians as well as those Arab states that have so far refused to tow the Saudi line.

    Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, in tacit cooperation with the Palestine Authority on the West Bank, have adopted a carrot-and-stick approach in an as yet failed bid to weaken Hamas’ control of Gaza in advance of the announcement of Mr. Trump’s plan.

    Citing a saying of the Prophet Mohammed, Major Adraee, painting Hamas as an Iranian stooge, asserted that “whoever acts like a people is one of them… You (Hamas) have officially become Shiites in line with the Prophet’s saying… Have you not read the works of the classical jurists, scholars…who have clearly warned you about the threat Iranian Shiism poses to you and your peoples?”

    In a twist of irony, Major Adraee quoted the very scholars Prince Mohammed appears to be downplaying. They include 18th century preacher Mohammed ibn Abdul Wahhab, whose ultra-conservative anti-Shiite interpretation of Islam shaped Saudi Arabia for much of its history; Taqi ad-Din Ahmad ibn Taymiyyah, a 14th century theologist and jurist, whose worldview, like that of Wahhabism, inspires militant Islam; and  Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the Egyptian-born, Qatar-based scholar, who was designated a terrorist by Saudi Arabia and the UAE because he is believed to be the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood.


  • The online war between Qatar and Saudi Arabia - BBC News

    https://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-44294826

    A year-long political conflict between the tiny, wealthy state of Qatar and its larger neighbours - including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates - has been fought with a new arsenal of weapons: bots, fake news and hacking.
    In the early hours of 24 May 2017, a news story appeared on the website of Qatar’s official news agency, QNA, reporting that the country’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, had made an astonishing speech.
    The quotes then appeared on the QNA’s social media accounts and on the news ticker running along the bottom of the screen on videos uploaded to the agency’s YouTube channel.
    The emir was quoted praising Islamist groups Hamas, Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood. And perhaps most controversially of all, Iran, Saudi Arabia’s arch-rival.
    Image copyrightREUTERS
    Image caption
    Qatari citizens have expressed their support for their emir on a mural in Doha
    But the story soon disappeared from the QNA website, and Qatar’s foreign ministry issued a statement denying the speech had ever taken place. No video footage has ever emerged of the emir actually saying the words supposedly attributed to him.
    Qatar claimed that the QNA had been hacked. And they said the hack was designed to deliberately spread fake news about the country’s leader and its foreign policies. The Qataris specifically blamed UAE, an allegation later repeated by a Washington Post report which cited US intelligence sources. The UAE categorically denied those reports.
    But the story of the emir’s speech unleashed a media free-for-all. Within minutes, Saudi and UAE-owned TV networks - Al Arabiya and Sky News Arabia - picked up on the comments attributed to al-Thani. Both networks accused Qatar of funding extremist groups and of destabilising the region.
    And soon after there was another alleged hacking - this time, targeted at the UAE. Youssef al-Otaiba, the UAE’s ambassador to the US was hacked. His emails were leaked to the press. This led to long, lurid articles about his private life in international media.


  • How WikiLeaks cables paint UAE motive for Qatar blockade

    Cables show UAE ’warned’ US about Qatar long before crisis began, motives weren’t only driven by security concerns.
    Andrew Chappelle by Andrew Chappelle

    Al Jazeera
    https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/wikileaks-cables-paint-uae-motive-qatar-blockade-180524174346824.html

    As Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt started their campaign to isolate Qatar on June 5, 2017, accusing it of aiding “terrorism” and being too close to Iran, the messaging used by the Arab quartet struck a familiar tone.

    The blockade against Qatar, now nearing the one-year mark, is often referred to as Saudi-led, but the language used by the “Arab quartet” has been consistent with private statements attributed to Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed (also known as MBZ), as revealed in diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks in 2010 and 2011.

    A review of this trove - which included secret communications from the US embassy in Abu Dhabi between 2004 and 2010, recapping dozens of meetings with top UAE officials - suggests that the UAE has been a driving force behind the crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood (the Brotherhood), and shows the UAE issued a series of stark warnings to US officials about Qatar and Al Jazeera well before the blockade began.

    The cables include direct quotes from MBZ on topics he has not discussed in public, providing additional context to the changing political dynamics in the Gulf. The language attributed to him in the cables suggests the UAE’s motives for the blockade are not exclusively driven by security concerns involving Qatar, but also a desire to quash dissent at home.

    To date, MBZ has not delivered a single public statement about the current Gulf crisis, leaving his brother, Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed (or ABZ) and other surrogates, to speak for the government.


  • Rain of terror: Egypt to crack down on ’fake’ weather reports | World news | The Guardian

    Meteorological authority prepares draft law to ban unauthorised forecasts

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/apr/30/egypt-crackdown-fake-weather-reports-meteorological-association

    Donald Trump may routinely rail against the “fake news media”, but Egypt is going one better by cracking down on “fake” weather reports.

    The head of the Egyptian Meteorological Authority has said it is the only government body authorised to make predictions about the country’s weather, and is preparing a draft law to ban unauthorised forecasts.

    Ahmed Abdel-Al, the EMA chairman, said during a television interview that the bill seeks to punish anyone “talking about meteorology, or anyone using a weather forecasting device without our consent, or anyone who raises confusion about the weather”. The EMA is Egypt’s primary, if not sole, source of domestic information on the country’s weather patterns.

    Egypt’s media is under increasing pressure, with frequent accusations of fake news levelled at reporters and outlets, even those reporting in favour of the state. But false reports about the weather are rare, except perhaps for the annual repetition of doctored photos showing snow covering the pyramids and sphinx of Giza.

    Weather reports have occasionally become political, however, such as when Egypt’s interior ministry claimed in 2015 that flooding in the coastal city of Alexandria was caused not by infrastructural failings, but by members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood blocking drains with cement.


  • The debate over the use of violence within the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt after 2013
    http://cadmus.eui.eu/handle/1814/52544

    Since the Muslim Brotherhood rule was overthrown in 2013, Egypt’s largest Islamist organisation has been witnessing an internal debate over how to face the new regime: whether to continue its non-violent political approach or to turn to violence to achieve its political goals. The majority of the movements’ members remain undecided, however. This policy paper seeks to look closely at the debate over the use of violence within the Muslim Brotherhood. Whose are the voices calling for violence and whose are those rejecting it? What is each group’s strategy to advance their respective approaches? And on which resources are they relying? What is the balance of power between the two groups, and is it likely to change in the future? The answers to these questions are expected to have a profound impact on stability in Egypt.


  • Egypt and Sudan: Diplomatic pacification, unresolved affairs | MadaMasr

    https://madamirror.appspot.com/www.madamasr.com/en/2018/03/08/feature/politics/egypt-and-sudan-diplomatic-pacification-unresolved-affairs/?platform=hootsuite

    Quietly and without an official announcement is how Osama Shaltout, Egypt’s ambassador to Sudan, returned to his post in Khartoum on Tuesday. On the same day, Abdel Mahmoud Abdel Halim, Sudan’s ambassador to Egypt, returned to Cairo two months after he was recalled due to tension between the neighboring countries.

    Shaltout spent the better part of two months in Cairo, as the Egyptian government worked to resolve the tension. Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid told Mada Masr on Wednesday morning that the reason for the ambassador’s stay in Cairo had been to “take part in official meetings.” Abu Zeid also stressed that Cairo did not recall Shaltout, either in response to Khartoum’s January decision or at any point since.

    Although the return of both ambassadors to their respective posts is an indication of the end of the public escalation of tensions, several Egyptian and Western diplomats as well as observers believe that the matters which originally triggered the crisis earlier this year have yet to be settled, even if the restoration of diplomatic relations is a step in the right direction.

    “The kind of escalation we saw in the January [between Sudan and Egypt] was kind of a negotiation being carried out in public, with a ratcheting up of rhetoric that didn’t necessarily match what was happening on the ground,” International Crisis Group’s Horn of Africa Analyst Magnus Taylor tells Mada Masr. “Of course, there are some real structural problems in the relationship on the Renaissance Dam, on the Muslim Brotherhood, the border conflict over Halayeb. But I’ve never really seen any of those issues as escalating into a border war or proxy war.”


  • As Elections Near, Egypt Finds a New Target: Foreign News Media - The New York Times

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/28/world/middleeast/egypt-elections-news-media.html

    CAIRO — Egypt’s chief prosecutor delivered a withering broadside against the news media on Wednesday, blaming the “forces of evil” for negative coverage and instructing his staff to take legal action against outlets deemed to be undermining Egypt’s security.

    The remarks by the prosecutor, Nabil Sadek, were the latest escalation of a draconian crackdown on civil liberties before a presidential election in March that has become fraught with tension even though President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi faces no real opposition.

    In comments that appeared aimed at the foreign news media, Mr. Sadek accused outlets of spreading false news “to disturb the public order and terrorize society.” A day earlier, Egypt had called for a boycott of the BBC over a documentary that aired last week detailing torture and illegal abductions by Egyptian security forces.

    Local news coverage has been dominated in recent days by a wave of government-driven outrage over the documentary. Although the documentary contained abuse accusations already widely documented by human rights groups, it was denounced as propaganda spread by the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.

    The State Information Service, which oversees the foreign media, said the BBC film was inaccurate because a young woman featured in the documentary later told a local television station that she had not been harmed.

    Her mother said on Tuesday that the woman had been coerced into giving a false statement to the local station. A day later, the mother was reported to have been arrested.

    The BBC said in a statement: “We stand by the integrity of our reporting teams.”

    While Mr. Sisi has long treated Egyptian news outlets harshly, jailing dozens of reporters and blocking about 500 websites, he has generally spared foreign reporters the worst measures. That appears to have changed with the presidential election campaign.

    A long list of rules announced by the national election commission in February seeks to dictate the questions journalists can ask voters, prohibits them from using photographs or headlines “not related to the topic” and forbids them from making “any observations about the voting process.”

    “These rules made me laugh, and scared the hell out of me at the same time,” said Gamal Eid, a leading lawyer and human rights activist. “The rules are purposefully vague so they can decide to let their friends go, and punish their critics. It seems tailor-made for the foreign media.”


  • Egyptian pro-government media downplay January revolution
    BY BBC MONITORING

    Egyptian pro-government traditional media are observed to have downplayed the seventh anniversary of the 25 January 2011 revolution that forced long-standing President Hosni Mubarak to step down.

    State-owned Nile News and Channel 1 TV stations focused on the Police Day, which coincides with that of the January revolution, dedicating considerable airtime to this occasion.

    Both channels carried a logo for the 66th Police Day anniversary at the upper left-hand corner of the screen and aired parts of President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi’s speech for this occasion a day earlier.

    Privately-owned, pro-government TV channels, such as Al-Asimah (the capital) TV, also dedicated its main evening talk show “Al-Asimah” to criticising key youth activists who played a prominent role in the January revolution, accusing them of “collaborating” with foreign powers to the detriment of the Egyptian state.

    On the other hand, Istanbul-based pro-Muslim Brotherhood Mekameleen TV marked the seventh anniversary of the January revolution, dedicating its evening chat show “Egypt Today” to discussing the revolution and the media role.

    The channel made special coverage under the title “the revolution continues”, airing footage of the revolution demonstrations, the use of force by the police against protesters and the “martyrs” of the revolution.


    Revolution vs Police Day

    The state-owned newspapers are also observed to have downplayed the event, focusing on the Police Day instead. The main headlines reflect parts of Sisi’s speech.

    Editor-in-Chief of state-owned Al-Gomhouria daily wrote a full-page article under a big headline reading: “25 January an anniversary for whom? For those who made sacrifices and defended the nation or those who sabotaged, destroyed, burned and threatened the existence of the homeland?” Two pictures for Sisi during the Police Day celebration appeared with the article.

    State-owned flagship Al-Ahram daily also published a report saying that 25 January revolution “was abducted by the Muslim Brotherhood in collaboration with foreign elements”. The paper added that the “30 June revolution”, in reference to the mass protests that preceded the removal from office of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi by the military in 2013, “restored Egypt”.

    Some pro-Sisi editors in privately-owned newspapers also criticised the January revolution.

    Managing Editor of privately-owned Al-Youm al-Sabi newspaper, Dandrawy al-Hawary, criticised the January revolution, saying: “How to celebrate two occasions on one day?”

    “The 25 January is the Police Day only. If you want, under the pressure of fear, to mark it a day for the January revolution, let it be on 28 January at least to make people remember the size of damage and destruction as well as the state of panic that filled the hearts of the Egyptians and the killings and systematic looting of public and private property,” al-Hawary said.

    SOURCE: BBC MONITORING IN ARABIC 1100 GMT 25 JAN 18


  • Tapes Reveal Egyptian Leaders’ Tacit Acceptance of Jerusalem Move - The New York Times

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/06/world/middleeast/egypt-jerusalem-talk-shows.html?smid=tw-share

    As President Trump moved last month to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, an Egyptian intelligence officer quietly placed phone calls to the hosts of several influential talk shows in Egypt.

    “Like all our Arab brothers,” Egypt would denounce the decision in public, the officer, Capt. Ashraf al-Kholi, told the hosts.

    But strife with Israel was not in Egypt’s national interest, Captain Kholi said. He told the hosts that instead of condemning the decision, they should persuade their viewers to accept it. Palestinians, he suggested, should content themselves with the dreary West Bank town that currently houses the Palestinian Authority, Ramallah.

    “How is Jerusalem different from Ramallah, really?” Captain Kholi asked repeatedly in four audio recordings of his telephone calls obtained by The New York Times.

    “Exactly that,” agreed one host, Azmi Megahed, who confirmed the authenticity of the recording.

    For decades, powerful Arab states like Egypt and Saudi Arabia have publicly criticized Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, while privately acquiescing to Israel’s continued occupation of territory the Palestinians claim as their homeland.

    Continue reading the main story
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    Trump Recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital and Orders U.S. Embassy to Move DEC. 6, 2017
    But now a de facto alliance against shared foes such as Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic State militants and the Arab Spring uprisings is drawing the Arab leaders into an ever-closer collaboration with their one-time nemesis, Israel — producing especially stark juxtapositions between their posturing in public and private.

    Mr. Trump’s decision broke with a central premise of 50 years of American-sponsored peace talks, defied decades of Arab demands that East Jerusalem be the capital of a Palestinian state, and stoked fears of a violent backlash across the Middle East.

    Arab governments, mindful of the popular sympathy for the Palestinian cause, rushed to publicly condemn it.

    Egyptian state media reported that President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi had personally protested to Mr. Trump. Egyptian religious leaders close to the government refused to meet with Vice President Mike Pence, and Egypt submitted a United Nations Security Council resolution demanding a reversal of Mr. Trump’s decision. (The United States vetoed the resolution, although the General Assembly adopted a similar one, over American objections, days later.)

    King Salman of Saudi Arabia, arguably the most influential Arab state, also publicly denounced Mr. Trump’s decision.

    At the same time, though, the kingdom had already quietly signaled its acquiescence or even tacit approval of the Israeli claim to Jerusalem. Days before Mr. Trump’s announcement, the Saudi crown prince, Mohamed bin Salman, privately urged the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, to accept a radically curtailed vision of statehood without a capital in East Jerusalem, according to Palestinian, Arab and European officials who have heard Mr. Abbas’s version of events.


  • Egypt : The Escape Portal

    Egypt has been considered a destination country for migrants, asylum seekers and refugees from various Arab Mashreq countries and some African countries, as well as an important transit point in the Mediterranean region due to political instability, conflicts and civil wars in their homelands. Since mid-2013, as a result of the political crisis in Egypt, asylum seekers and refugees remain subject to numerous abuses and attacks. In 2013, the number of arrests of displaced Syrian and Palestinian refugees increased tremendously. According to the #Egyptian_Initiative_for_Personal_Rights (#EIPR), from August 2013 to September 2014 more than 6,800 Syrians, including at least 290 children, were arrested and detained. More than 1,200 refugees were forced to leave Egypt and travel to countries such as Turkey, Malaysia or Lebanon under the threat of detention. On 8 July 2014, the Egyptian government imposed additional measures restricting the entry of Syrians to the country, requiring them to obtain a #visa and prior security approval. Because of this, approximately 476 Syrians were deported or denied access to Egyptian territory in the same month. The Egyptian Foreign Minister announced that these measures are temporary and will have no effect on the support afforded to Syrians in Egypt. However, the wave of violence and attacks on Syrian asylum seekers and refugees was reignited after allegations that they were supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and former President Mohamed Morsi.

    https://www.law.ox.ac.uk/research-subject-groups/centre-criminology/centreborder-criminologies/blog/2017/12/egypt-escape
    #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Egypte #détention_administrative #rétention #frontières #fermeture_des_frontières


  • Egypt Men of Faith | MadaMasr
    https://www.madamasr.com/en/2017/09/15/feature/politics/men-of-faith

    sur l’Egypte, les Frères musulmans, et les communistes

    “Let the angels mark your ballot papers, they said!” Sobhy Saleh shouted to the crowd below him, which was motionless, like leaves before a hurricane. “And the angels did!”

    The crowd roared. There were hundreds in the square of the busy Alexandrian neighborhood, most of whom were from low-income areas where faith was as prevalent as high cholesterol. They believed that angels really had cooperated with the Muslim Brotherhood in the winter days of 2011, putting Saleh in the new Parliament. “In the 2005 elections, the policemen laughed saying the Brothers would need divine intervention to win. If only they knew back then what they do today,” said Saleh.

    He had been arrested before, but, during the 2011 revolution, he did not bother to pack. He knew it would be different this time. He was released, and former President Hosni Mubarak was sent to jail.

    “We told them not to play with fire! He who plays with fire burns! So the earth shattered beneath them and now they are in jail!” Saleh was dauntless on the stage under florescent lights and camera flashes.

    Holy wars throughout history were founded on moments like this, and, after 80 years underground, the Brotherhood had won theirs. In the winter of 2011, their Freedom and Justice Party emerged as the most organized grassroots group in the political playground, outside of the formerly ruling National Democratic Party, swiping 42 percent of seats in the lower house of Parliament.


  • The Real Debate That Islamism Should Spark
    Rami Khouri

    – The Cairo Review of Global Affairs
    https://www.thecairoreview.com/tahrir-forum/the-real-debate-that-islamism-should-spark/?platform=hootsuite

    Every few years, it seems the world of Middle East and global policy analysis passes through a phase when a basic question rears its head in the media and in conversations across the world: Is Islamism a dangerous trend of the future in Muslim-majority societies, or a natural passing phase only? I am struck by how often in conversation with friends and colleagues around the world the discussion so often reverts to this issue—while in daily discussions with Arabs and Muslims across the Middle East, the issue is less frequently raised.

    I am not sure if that means that, a) the West is rightly obsessed with this genuine threat of long-term Islamist militancy, b) the West has bought the line put out by assorted Arab autocrats who are directly threatened by Islamist uprisings or opposition forces, c) Arabs and Muslims in the Middle East who live with these issues every day recognize that Islamism and its manifestations like the Muslim Brotherhood or ISIS are primarily surface manifestations and symptoms of deeper issues that are not really about religion—but about politics, human nature, and the abuse of power that degrades hundreds of millions of citizens who have nowhere else to turn other than their religion.

    I ask this question because it is important that every time this discussion revives, we make sure to debate the right issues, rather than being sidetracked by smoke screens and diversionary propaganda that is now widely disseminated through global public relations campaigns funded by a few wealthy Arab countries that are genuinely worried about the persistence of Islamist movements all around the region.