position:assistant secretary of state

  • Victoria Nuland, US midwife to Maidan-2014, denied visa to Russia — RT World News

    Former US diplomat Victoria Nuland, best known for distributing cookies to protesters during the US-backed 2014 Maidan coup in Ukraine, has found out she was on a visa blacklist as she sought to enter Russia.

    The former US ambassador to NATO and assistant secretary of state for Eurasia is best known for supporting the coup that ousted the government in Kiev, and dismissing the concerns of Washington’s European allies about meddling in Ukraine (“F*** the EU”) in the same conversation she mentioned bringing then-VP Joe Biden to “midwife this thing.”

  • Criminal Shocked When Congresswoman Says His Crimes Out Loud

    America loves a feel-good story. How else to explain our government’s appetite for redemption arcs? Elliott Abrams was once convicted of lying to Congress and on Wednesday, he got to testify before Congress again, this time in his capacity as our special envoy to Venezuela. But not everyone was happy to see him. Representative Ilhan Omar, a Democrat from Minnesota, questioned the former Assistant Secretary of State about his old misdeeds. “In 1991, you pleaded guilty to two counts of withholding information from Congress regarding your involvement in the Iran-Contra affair, for which you were later pardoned by President George H.W. Bush,” Omar began, before asking Abrams why the committee should believe anything he had to say.

    A spluttering Abrams complained that Omar did not give him a chance to respond, but the congresswoman continued. “You dismissed as ‘communist propaganda’ reports about the massacre of El Mozote in which more than 800 civilians, including children as young as 2 years old, were brutally murdered by U.S.-trained troops,” she said. “You later said the U.S. policy in El Salvador was a ‘fabulous achievement.’ … Do you think that massacre was a ‘fabulous achievement?”

  • Elliott Abrams Isn’t Going to Bring “Democracy” to Venezuela

    On December 11, 1981 in El Salvador, a Salvadoran military unit created and trained by the U.S. Army began slaughtering everyone they could find in a remote village called El Mozote. Before murdering the women and girls, the soldiers raped them repeatedly, including some as young as 10 years old, and joked that their favorites were the 12-year-olds. One witness described a soldier tossing a 3-year-old child into the air and impaling him with his bayonet. The final death toll was over 800 people.

    The next day, December 12, was the first day on the job for Elliott Abrams as assistant secretary of state for human rights and humanitarian affairs in the Reagan administration. Abrams snapped into action, helping to lead a cover-up of the massacre. News reports of what had happened, Abrams told the Senate, were “not credible,” and the whole thing was being “significantly misused” as propaganda by anti-government guerillas.

    This past Friday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo named Abrams as America’s special envoy for Venezuela. According to Pompeo, Abrams “will have responsibility for all things related to our efforts to restore democracy” in the oil-rich nation.

    The choice of Abrams sends a clear message to Venezuela and the world: The Trump administration intends to brutalize Venezuela, while producing a stream of unctuous rhetoric about America’s love for democracy and human rights. Combining these two factors — the brutality and the unctuousness — is Abrams’s core competency.

  • [Revision] « Tell Me How This Ends » | Harper’s Magazine

    Dans cet article très USA-centré, le récit des premiers temps de la guerre en #Syrie par l’ancien ambassadeur US à Damas. (J’ai grasseyé certains passages. Le récit US passe égaleemnt sous silence la présence à Hama de l’ambassadeur français et de quelques invités...) L’histoire de ce conflit commence petit à petit à s’écrire...

    The vulnerable regimes in early 2011 were in the American camp, a coincidence that the Syrian president, Bashar al-­Assad, interpreted as proof that the Arab Spring was a repudiation of American tutelage. As Russia’s and Iran’s only Arab ally, he foresaw no challenge to his throne. An omen in the unlikely guise of an incident at an open-­air market in the old city of Damascus, in February 2011, should have changed his mind. One policeman ordered a motorist to stop at an intersection, while another officer told him to drive on. “The poor guy got conflicting instructions, and did what I would have done and stopped,” recalled the US ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, who had only just arrived in the country. The second policeman dragged the driver out of his car and thrashed him. “A crowd gathered, and all of a sudden it took off,” Ford said. “No violence, but it was big enough that the interior minister himself went down to the market and told people to go home.” Ford reported to Washington, “This is the first big demonstration that we know of. And it tells us that this tinder is dry.”

    The next month, the security police astride the Jordanian border in the dusty southern town of Daraa ignited the tinder by torturing children who had scrawled anti-­Assad graffiti on walls. Their families, proud Sunni tribespeople, appealed for justice, then called for reform of the regime, and finally demanded its removal. Rallies swelled by the day. Ford cabled Washington that the government was using live ammunition to quell the demonstrations. He noted that the protesters were not entirely peaceful: “There was a little bit of violence from the demonstrators in Daraa. They burned the Syriatel office.” (Syriatel is the cell phone company of Rami Makhlouf, Assad’s cousin, who epitomized for many Syrians the ruling elite’s corruption.) “And they burned a court building, but they didn’t kill anybody.” Funerals of protesters produced more demonstrations and thus more funerals. The Obama Administration, though, was preoccupied with Egypt, where Hosni Mubarak had resigned in February, and with the NATO bombing campaign in Libya to support the Libyan insurgents who would depose and murder Muammar Qaddafi in October.

    Ambassador Ford detected a turn in the Syrian uprising that would define part of its character: “The first really serious violence on the opposition side was up on the coast around Baniyas, where a bus was stopped and soldiers were hauled off the bus. If you were Alawite, you were shot. If you were Sunni, they let you go.” At demonstrations, some activists chanted the slogan, “Alawites to the grave, and Christians to Beirut.” A sectarian element wanted to remove Assad, not because he was a dictator but because he belonged to the Alawite minority sect that Sunni fundamentalists regard as heretical. Washington neglected to factor that into its early calculations.

    Phil Gordon, the assistant secretary of state for European affairs before becoming Obama’s White House coordinator for the Middle East, told me, “I think the initial attitude in Syria was seen through that prism of what was happening in the other countries, which was, in fact, leaders—the public rising up against their leaders and in some cases actually getting rid of them, and in Tunisia, and Yemen, and Libya, with our help.”

    Ambassador Ford said he counseled Syria’s activists to remain non­violent and urged both sides to negotiate. Demonstrations became weekly events, starting after Friday’s noon prayer as men left the mosques, and spreading north to Homs and Hama. Ford and some embassy staffers, including the military attaché, drove to Hama, with government permission, one Thursday evening in July. To his surprise, Ford said, “We were welcomed like heroes by the opposition people. We had a simple message—no violence. There were no burned buildings. There was a general strike going on, and the opposition people had control of the streets. They had all kinds of checkpoints. Largely, the government had pulled out.”

    Bassam Barabandi, a diplomat who defected in Washington to establish a Syrian exile organization, People Demand Change, thought that Ford had made two errors: his appearance in Hama raised hopes for direct intervention that was not forthcoming, and he was accompanied by a military attaché. “So, at that time, the big question for Damascus wasn’t Ford,” Barabandi told me in his spartan Washington office. “It was the military attaché. Why did this guy go with Ford?” The Syrian regime had a long-standing fear of American intelligence interference, dating to the CIA-­assisted overthrow in 1949 of the elected parliamentary government and several attempted coups d’état afterward. The presence in Hama of an ambassador with his military attaché allowed the Assad regime to paint its opponents as pawns of a hostile foreign power.

  • U.S. Support for Saudi Arabia Tough to Explain for Top State Department Official

    Stuart Jones, who was appointed as U.S. Ambassador to Iraq by former President Barack Obama in 2014 before assuming the title of assistant secretary of state for near eastern affairs in January, took a long, silent pause after an Agence France-Presse reporter asked the official how President Donald Trump could criticize Iran’s democracy, while standing next to Saudi Arabian officials. Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy, where every position of power is appointed by either the king or other members of the Al Saud royal family from which the nation derives its name. Trump recently visited Saudi Arabia, a close ally of the U.S., and took the opportunity to deeply criticize the two nations’ mutual foe, Iran, and its commitment to democracy weeks after it held its presidential election.

  • The no-shows at Arafat’s funeral - Opinion - Israel News | Haaretz.com
    All those who don’t understand why it was so difficult for the Palestinian-Israelis’ political representatives to show their final respects to Shimon Peres, should recall Arafat’s funeral and the ’respect’ shown him by the Israelis.

    Shlomo Sand Oct 14, 2016
    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.747364

    On November 11, 2004, Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat died under mysterious circumstances. The next day his body was brought to Cairo, where a official state funeral was held. Representatives of 50 countries participated in the event, both admirers and rivals.
    Behind his coffin marched Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Syrian President Bashar Assad, King Abdullah of Jordan, King Mohammed VI of Morocco, the presidents of Tunisia and Sudan, the leaders of Sweden, Brazil, Turkey, Malaysia and Pakistan, the deputy prime minister of China, the vice presidents of Austria, Bulgaria, Tanzania, Iraq and Afghanistan, the foreign ministers of Great Britain, France, Spain, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Ireland, Portugal, Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg, Greece, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Slovakia, Canada, Indian and Slovenia, the parliamentary leaders of Italy, Russia, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates. It was an official farewell that was less impressive that Shimon Peres’ funeral, but still quite respectable for a president without a country.
    The United States, the well known neutral intermediary between Israel and Palestine, sent a low-ranking representative: William Burns, assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs. Israel, on the other hand, gave it the finger.
    No Israeli representative, either high- or low-ranking, or even very low-ranking, attended. None of the leaders of the opposition dreamed of showing his final respects to the leader of the Palestinian people, the first who recognized the State of Israel, and signed the Oslo Accords. Not Shimon Peres, not Ehud Barak, not Shlomo Ben-Ami and not even Uzi Baram bothered to participate in the Palestinians’ mourning.
    Some of them had courageously shaken his hand in the past, other had embraced him enthusiastically several years earlier. But with the outbreak of the second intifada he was once again categorized as a satanic terrorist. The pundits of the sane, moderate left repeatedly claimed in innumerable learned articles that he was not a partner and there was nobody to talk to. When the body of the rais was transferred to Ramallah, the funeral was attended by several “extremist,” marginal Israelis, the likes of Uri Avnery and Mohammed Barakeh.
    All the other peaceniks had to wait for the screening of the film “The Gatekeepers” in 2012; in other words, for the videos of all the chiefs of the Shin Bet security services, who declared that in real time they knew that Arafat did not encourage, organize or initiate the mass uprising in the second intifada, nor the acts of terror that accompanied it. For lack of choice the leader was forced to join the wave, otherwise he would have lost his prestige and his status. The disappointment at Barak’s unprepared and totally bizarre diplomatic step, and Ariel Sharon’s ascent to the Temple Mount, were among the main reasons for the eruption of the Palestinians’ unbridled opposition.

  • Does Henry #Kissinger Have a #Conscience ? - The New Yorker

    The latest revelations compound a portrait of Kissinger as the ruthless cheerleader, if not the active co-conspirator, of Latin American military regimes engaged in war crimes. In evidence that emerged from previous declassifications of documents during the Clinton Administration, Kissinger was shown not only to have been aware of what the military was doing but to have actively encouraged it. Two days after the Argentine coup, Kissinger was briefed by his Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, William Rogers, who warned him, “I think also we’ve got to expect a fair amount of repression, probably a good deal of blood, in Argentina before too long. I think they’re going to have to come down very hard not only on the terrorists but on the dissidents of trade unions and their parties.” Kissinger replied, “Whatever chance they have, they will need a little encouragement . . . because I do want to encourage them. I don’t want to give the sense that they’re harassed by the United States.”

    #criminel #crimes #Etats-Unis #impunité #Amérique_latine #Argentine

  • Saakashvili signs reforms deal with US on regional support for Odesa

    Odesa Governor Mikheil Saakashvili has signed a memorandum with the United States, assuring American support in reforming the region. The memorandum was counter-signed by William R. Brownfield, assistant secretary of state for drugs and law enforcement. It marks the first agreement between the U.S. and a regional Ukrainian government.

    Posting pictures of the ceremony on his Facebook page, the former Georgian president said that the U.S. will assist in “reforming customs, administrative services and the provision of free legal services to volunteers.” Police officers from California, who are training Odesa’s new police patrol, were also present during the signing ceremony.

    The U.S. State Department announced the forthcoming agreement Brownfield’s visit via a website update on July 6, stating that it “strongly supports” Odesa’s anti-corruption initiative.

    We are funding an anti-corruption action team of Ukrainian and international experts in the governor’s office, and launching a new anti-corruption grants program to broaden and deepen our cooperation with civil society partners,” according to the State Department announcement.
    Speaking to reporters at a press briefing held on July 17 at the U.S. embassy in Budapest, Brownfield stated that he was “proud of the newly-trained police” in Odesa, but asked that “you not hold us to a standard of seeing nirvana and paradise arrive in 24 hours.

    He continued: “Any new police institution requires time to understand their communities and their people.

  • The Peninsula - 11 July, 2014

    Bahrain has charged the country’s most senior opposition leader and one of his aides with holding an illegal meeting with a US diplomat, the public prosecutor’s office said yesterday.

    It said Al Wefaq party leader Sheikh Ali Salman and his political assistant, Khalil Al Marzouq, should have obtained permission before meeting Tom Malinowski, US Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labour.

    Bahrain expelled Malinowski earlier this week, saying he had “intervened flagrantly” in the country’s internal affairs by holding the meeting. The United States has said it is “deeply concerned” about his treatment and is considering a response.

    The incident has opened a rift between Washington and one of its main regional allies. Bahrain hosts the headquarters of the US Fifth Fleet but has bristled at American criticism over its human rights record since suppressing a popular uprising in 2011.

    In Washington, the US State Department yesterday said it had summoned a senior envoy from Bahrain — the chargé d’affaires of its embassy in Washington — on Tuesday to formally protest Malinowski’s expulsion.

    “We look to the Government of Bahrain to take actions consistent with our strong bilateral relationship. We also look to all sides to recommit themselves to the reconciliation process, which remains the focus of our diplomatic engagement,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement.

    Psaki previously has said the United States is considering what steps to take in response to the expulsion but offered no details.

    The public prosecutor said Salman and Marzouq were questioned and then charged with “contacting a representative of a foreign government in violation of the political associations law and related ministerial decisions”.

    They were freed after guaranteeing their places of residence, it added, without giving any further details.

    Al Wefaq confirmed the charges and called them unfair, saying such regulations had never been implemented before and no one had been prosecuted for them.

    Malinowski attended a Ramadan evening meeting of Al Wefaq on Sunday and met Salman and an aide again at the US embassy on Monday. He said he was asked whether they had made specific requests of the Americans, and replied that they had not.

    Salman and Marzouq were interrogated at the Criminal Investigations Department on Wednesday before they were summoned to appear at the public prosecutor’s office yesterday. Salman said he was questioned for about half an hour, without his lawyer, “about the content of the (embassy) meeting and what was discussed at it.”

    A court in Bahrain last month cleared Marzouq of terrorism charges.

    The Gulf island kingdom is ruled by a Sunni Muslim royal family, but the majority of its population are Shias, whose political leaders have demanded democratic reforms.

  • Bahrain News Agency - 09 July, 2014

    The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)’s Secretary-General Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani expressed astonishment following the acts of US Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labour Affairs who was visiting the Kingdom of Bahrain two days ago.

    Dr. Al-Zayani told Bahrain News Agency (BNA) that the US diplomat’s holding meeting(s) with representatives of a certain political society excluding other components of the Bahraini community who have a significant political role in the community is deemed as an interference in the Kingdom of Bahrain’s internal affairs and it is absolutely incompliant with international diplomatic norms.

    He said that such astonishing acts do not reflect the historic bilateral relations which have existed over the eons between the Kingdom of Bahrain and the United States of America.

    The GCC Secretary-General concluded that this does not help in confidence-building amongst the components of the Bahraini community, stressing that such acts do not support the positive trend of Bahrain’s ambitious reform programme.

  • Salman and Almarzooq summoned for interrogation

    Sheikh Ali Salman, Al Wefaq Secretary General, and his Political Assistant Khalil Almarzooq, have today received an official summons by the Bahraini Ministry of Interior, following a meeting with an US Official. The interrogation will take place tomorrow morning (9th July) at 9am (Bahrain time).

    Tom Malinowski, US Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, was yesterday ordered to leave <mailto:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-28204511> Bahrain by the authorities, after meeting with members of Al Wefaq. Despite international condemnation, Bahrain is now escalating this issue further by targeting leading members of Al Wefaq, who took part in the meeting.

    In September 2013 a law was passed that prohibited meetings between opposition societies and international diplomats, without the presence of a representative of the Ministry of Interior. Although no reason for the summons was given, it comes less than 24 hours after the demand for Mr. Malinowski to leave Bahrain.

    Commenting on the orders for Mr. Malinowski to leave Bahrain, the State Department said it is “deeply concerned”, <mailto:http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2014/07/228839.htm> whilst Mr. Malinowski himself said the decision was about “undermining dialogue”. <mailto:https://twitter.com/Malinowski/status/486495418583629825> The Bahrain Justice and Development Movement share this analysis, with the summons received by Salman and Almarzooq serving as proof.

    The dropping of charges against Almarzooq last month was a potentially positive step towards rebuilding a political process, but this latest attack is yet another example of the “one step forward, two steps back approach” adopted by Bahrain. Once again hardliners within the Authorities are taking control to scupper any plans towards reform.

    Given the chance to take full control, Bahrain’s hardliners will turn Bahrain into a closed society, barring international observers and unleashing heavy repression and human rights abuses.

    The Bahrain Justice and Development Movement condemn the summons received by Salman and Almarzooq, as well as the decision to demand that a stop State Department official leave Bahrain. We call on the Bahrain authorities to rescind the summons, or at least to make sure no false charges are attributed to Salman and Almarzooq. Furthermore, we call on the authorities to end the stalling and to immediately begin a new political process that takes the country towards serious democratic reform.

    Ali Alaswad, a resigned Bahraini MP from Al Wefaq, said:

    /“After the State Department rejected the removal of Mr. Malinowski, the authorities in Bahrain are turning their attention to Al Wefaq instead. In any country, anywhere in the world, international observers and diplomats have a right to meet with political leaders. This shows just the lengths Bahrain will go to in order to protect its image, and that clearly they have something to hide.”/

  • #Bahrain orders US diplomat out for meeting with the opposition

    Bahrain on Monday ordered a visiting senior US official to leave the kingdom immediately because he had “intervened flagrantly” in the country’s internal affairs, the state news agency BNA said. BNA said the foreign ministry had declared US Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, #Tom_Malinowski, persona non grata after he “held meetings with a particular party to the detriment of other interlocutors, thus discriminating between one people, contravening diplomatic norms and flouting normal interstate relations.” read more


  • Home Page - Gulf in the Media

    The ministry said in a statement that US Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labour Tom Malinowski was ordered to leave after meeting Bahrain’s opposition group, Al Wifaq.

    Bahrain ordered a top US diplomat to leave the country on Monday, the Foreign Ministry said, after he met a leading opposition group.

    The ministry said in a statement that US Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labour Tom Malinowski is not welcome in Bahrain.

    It said he intervened in the country’s domestic affairs by holding meetings with some groups at the expense of others.

    The statement said that such meetings “segregate” the people of the nation. His actions, added the statement, “run counter to conventional diplomatic norms”.

    Despite the diplomatic spat, the Foreign Ministry statement said relations between Bahrain and the US remain strong and important. “The government of Bahrain asserts that this should not in any way affect the two countries’ relationship of mutual interests,” the statement said.

    Malinowski was ordered to leave after meeting Bahrain’s opposition group, Al Wifaq. He arrived in the country on Sunday and was scheduled to stay for three days, but his visit was cut short by the abrupt order to depart a day early. He also had meetings scheduled with government officials.

    Two US officials in Washington confirmed that Malinowski has been ordered to leave but is still there while the logistics of his departure are worked out. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

  • Between Fascists and Neoliberals, #Ukraine Seeks Stable Leadership

    While it’s too soon to speculate what Poroshenko’s economic policy would be, his past as a close Yushchenko ally hints at his neoliberal sympathies. The current interim government is dominated by figures from Tymoshenko’s Batkivshchyna Party, including Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, a favorite of Victoria Nuland, the US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, who has ties to prominent neoconservatives. Nuland favors the kind of shock capitalism that is practiced by the IMF and that guided the economic policy of the Kuchma and Yushchenko administrations. Yatsenyuk has referred to the cabinet he heads as a “kamikaze” government because of the “extremely unpopular” financial policies it plans to implement, and has promised to follow IMF-dictated austerity measures. Considering the impact of these policies on Greece, it’s remarkable that Yatsenyuk has embraced them so whole-heartedly and unquestioningly.

    Ukraine faces immense challenges. The threat of pro-Russian separatism in the east is the most immediate concern, closely followed by the related risk of hostile Russian action, be it military in nature, economic (e.g., shutting off natural gas exports), or both. But the economic crisis that brought down Yushchenko and helped to bring down Yanukovych has not been abated, and it will be impossible to stabilize potential breakaway regions if the Ukrainian economy continues to struggle. Ukraine desperately needs competent, stable governance right now, but based on its recent political history and on the choices it now faces between destructive ultra-nationalism and failed neoliberalism, there’s little reason for optimism on this front.

  • New Memo: #Kissinger Gave the “Green Light” for Argentina’s Dirty War

    Only a few months ago, Henry Kissinger was dancing with Stephen Colbert in a funny bit on the latter’s Comedy Central show. But for years, the former secretary of state has sidestepped judgment for his complicity in horrific human rights abuses abroad, and a new memo has emerged that provides clear evidence that in 1976 Kissinger gave Argentina’s neo-fascist military junta the “green light” for the dirty war it was conducting against civilian and militant leftists that resulted in the disappearance—that is, deaths—of an estimated 30,000 people.

    In April 1977, Patt Derian, a onetime civil rights activist whom President Jimmy Carter had recently appointed assistant secretary of state for human rights, met with the US ambassador in Buenos Aires, Robert Hill. A memo recording that conversation has been unearthed by Martin Edwin Andersen, who in 1987 first reported that Kissinger had told the Argentine generals to proceed with their terror campaign against leftists (whom the junta routinely referred to as “terrorists”). The memo notes that Hill told Derian about a meeting Kissinger held with Argentine Foreign Minister Cesar Augusto Guzzetti the previous June. What the two men discussed was revealed in 2004 when the National Security Archive obtained and released the secret memorandum of conversation for that get-together. Guzzetti, according to that document, told Kissinger, “our main problem in Argentina is terrorism.” Kissinger replied, “If there are things that have to be done, you should do them quickly. But you must get back quickly to normal procedures.” In other words, go ahead with your killing crusade against the leftists.

    The new document shows that Kissinger was even more explicit in encouraging the Argentine junta. The memo recounts Hill describing the Kissinger-Guzzetti discussion this way:

    The Argentines were very worried that Kissinger would lecture to them on human rights. Guzzetti and Kissinger had a very long breakfast but the Secretary did not raise the subject. Finally Guzzetti did. Kissinger asked how long will it take you (the Argentines) to clean up the problem. Guzzetti replied that it would be done by the end of the year. Kissinger approved.

    In other words, Ambassador Hill explained, Kissinger gave the Argentines the green light.

    That’s a damning statement: a US ambassador saying a secretary of state had egged on a repressive regime that was engaged in a killing spree.

    #Criminel #Argentine #dictature_militaire #États-Unis#nos_valeurs

  • US ready to cooperate with Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood - Egypt - Ahram Online

    Jeffrey Feltman, the US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, said that the United States is ready to cooperate with the Muslim Brotherhood so long as it respects the rule of democracy, minorities’ rights and human rights; as a sector of the Egyptian society with which Washington will be communicating, the Brothers are part of the international community.


    Moreover, he charged that sectarian strife was a distraction created by the former regime, which as recent events demonstrate is not a major issue in Egypt.