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Netanyahu between the Nakba Arabs and the Arabs who are a joke

By Wael Qandil | Al-Arabi Al-Jadeed | February 21, 2020

The Arabs agreed in 1948 on the decision to form combat groups against the Zionist colonisation of the land of Palestine, which was known as the Nakba. Exactly 72 years later, the Arabs seem closer to form a united combat force to fight those rejecting the Zionist colonisation of Palestine.

It does not seem that the joke recently posted by a sarcastic Twitter activist about Saudi Arabia’s condemnation of the Palestinian people’s actions against the Israeli occupation will remain a joke for long, as all of the facts and indications say that the Arab capitals are very close to taking measures against those who refuse normalisation and the “deal of the century”. The Arab leaders’ patience is running out with the Palestinian resistance factions, who are disturbing the relationship between these leaders and Israel.

Matters rushing in this direction is not a new phenomena. It was announced and put into effect at least five years ago and many are competing to serve this. They are not ashamed to voice their approval of Israel’s leadership in the region and the first to voice this was General Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, who is loved and supported by all Zionists, especially their rabbis and generals.

More than four years ago, the right-wing Zionist newspaper Makor Rishon revealed that Al-Sisi confirmed, before the leaders of the American Jewish organisations, his admiration for Netanyahu’s personality and leadership capabilities. The newspaper’s correspondent, Zvika Klein, wrote that the leaders of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organisations in the United States informed Netanyahu during their meeting with him, on the side-lines of a meeting organised by the committee in occupied Jerusalem, that Al-Sisi told them that Netanyahu is “a leader with great powers that help him not only lead his country, but also could propel the region – even the world – forward.”

Well, here is the ruling general of the oldest Arab sister stripping his country of leadership of the region and giving it to Israel/Netanyahu to succeed him. Following in his footsteps is Mohammad Bin Salman, Saudi crown prince, who learned from Al-Sisi how to reach power through Israel. The story begins with hosting Trump and his family in Riyadh in order to establish the “moderate” alliance, the idea of which was proposed, formulated and developed years ago by Benjamin Netanyahu. Trump then leaves Saudi Arabia with more than $450 billion and lands in occupied Jerusalem wearing a skullcap.

In 2018, in anticipation of Saudi Arabia’s hosting of the Dhahran Summit, the Saudi crown prince held an interview with America’s Atlantic magazine, in which he announced a vision completely aligned with Israel’s for the Middle East according to extremist rabbis, violent generals and the Knesset hawks and doves. He spread his free kisses and gifts by stating that he was surrounded by enemies except for Israel and the so-called “axis of moderation” made up of the four parties that besieged Qatar. He said: “We are in an area not surrounded by Mexico, Canada, the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. We have ISIS, Al-Qaeda and Hamas and Hezbollah and the Iranian regime, and even pirates.”

This insight took a practical form when Al-Riyadh newspaper, the mouthpiece of the government, stated, before the summit opening: “Today, the Arabs have no choice but to reconcile with Israel, to sign a comprehensive peace agreement, to devote themselves to confronting the Iranian project in the region and its nuclear program, and to put an end to its interference in Arab affairs. This is an option that cannot be delayed with any justification, even [accusations of] bargaining with and auctioning the Palestinian cause, because Iran poses a direct threat to all.”

Thus, without vagueness, and very early on, the capitals of the two largest Arab countries delivered the badge and cloak of leadership to Israel, until we reached a stage where Benjamin Netanyahu was authorised, alone, to speak about the pilgrimage trips from Israel to Saudi airports, promising that the Israelis will fly in the skies of Saudi Arabia soon. It is at this same stage that the Egyptian military man may find himself entrusted with the war against the Palestinian people, if the gas pipeline from the occupation to Egypt is damaged or endangered, when an uprising breaks out in the areas the pipeline passes through.

What misery awaits a nation that clashes with itself over who will serve its enemy more?

Translation by MEMO.

February 21, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The US bought Sisi for $9bn, but the Egyptian people cannot be swayed

By Amelia Smith | MEMO | February 9, 2020

When Trump announced Jerusalem was Israel’s undivided capital under his so-called “deal of the century”, the Egyptian public questioned whether Al-Sisi had a hand in preparing the plan. His support, after all, came just half an hour after the announcement.

Officially, Egypt supports the establishment of a Palestinian state on its pre-1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital. According to Mada Masr, Al-Sisi’s statement originally included a sentence to that effect, but in a later draft it was removed, after it had passed through the president’s office for review.

Since he came to power, Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s rule has been decidedly anti-Palestinian. When Egypt’s military overthrew Mohamed Morsi on 3 July 2013, one of the first things the generals did was close the Rafah Crossing and deport Palestinians arriving in the country through Cairo Airport.

But in some respects the Egyptian dictator has tried to maintain nominal respect for the Egyptian position. In 2017, it was Egypt which filed a draft resolution rescinding Trump’s declaration that Jerusalem was Israel’s capital amid the global outrage that followed his announcement.

The price for Egypt’s new position was $9 billion, the amount promised at the economic workshop for the deal of the century in Bahrain last summer. It’s a big chunk of money for Egypt, given the dire straits it has found itself in under Al-Sisi’s mismanagement of the economy, and should provide some generous bonuses for the ruling generals, who we know through the whistleblower Mohamed Ali are getting rich through corruption and at the expense of their own people.

For its part, Israel has achieved political and economic gains it never imagined could be possible. This has been described as the golden age of Israeli-Egyptian relations symbolised by the transfer of Tiran and Sanafir islands to Saudi Arabia, which opened up the Straits of Tiran to Israel, and compounded by security cooperation between the Egyptian and Israeli army in Sinai.

As Yehya Okail, a former MP in Sinai, once told me:

Hosni Mubarak was a treasure to Israel, however Sisi is much more than that. Israel never imagined that it would be served by anyone in the history of Egypt as Sisi has done.

Trump’s plan proposes “cross-border services” including building desalination and power plants next to the Egypt-Gaza frontier. Observers have long talked about the US’ plans to build infrastructure projects in the Sinai Peninsula where Palestinians can work.

As Al-Sisi laid the groundwork for these projects, Sinai’s indigenous population, the Bedouin, have felt the plans acutely. The government has razed homes and obliterated fertile farmland, offering Sinawis no compensation for their loss. All of this has taken place under a protracted “war on terror” in Sinai authorities have been fighting for years now. As well as being accused of systematic war crimes, the army is no closer to defeating the estimated 1,000 militants there.

With Trump’s announcement, Egypt has another excuse to ramp up security in Sinai, which is already suffocating under a curfew and restrictions on goods entering the peninsula. No one knows better than the people of Sinai that increased security in the peninsula is a pretext for increased repression. At the beginning of the week, Egypt arrested 32 women from a prominent North Sinai tribe.

Reports reveal high level military and intelligence leaders have demanded security forces be on high alert in anticipation of events in Gaza, including the claim that Palestinians will storm the border and make their way deep into Egyptian territory. With this, Egypt has flipped the narrative on its head to persuade the public it is Palestinians that want to flood Sinai, not that it is preparing to give its own land up at the behest of Israel and the US.

It’s not just in Sinai that people will feel the reverberations of Trump’s deal. Dual Palestinian-Egyptian national Ramy Shaath, the general coordinator of BDS Egypt who was imprisoned for speaking out about Egypt’s participation in the Bahrain workshop, and his colleague Mohamed El-Massry, are both imprisoned as part of the regime’s crackdown on pro-Palestinian solidarity. Their sentences and conditions could be negatively affected by the announcement and its aftermath.

Whilst the Egyptian regime has made a significant shift in its official position, in the long-term convincing its people isn’t so easy, as is evident from the public outcry in January, not just over the government’s official response to the deal of the century, but also because last month was when Israel began transporting natural gas to Egypt under a $15 billion deal.

In an attempt to change hearts and minds, Egypt intelligence sent round a WhatsApp to top media editors with instructions on how to report on the announcement. It asked them to refer to the US proposal as a “peace plan”, rather than the more negatively-viewed deal of the century, it said was viewed as an American-driven project to secure Israel’s interests. Editors were told not to address or focus on religious or national elements of the plan or to ask Al-Azhar for its view on the matter. It also asked journalists to emphasise the historical and pivotal role of Egypt on the Palestinian issue.

Attempts to control the narrative are widespread. One source in Sinai told me that two people were arrested in Arish around Christmas over Facebook posts about Israel, another researcher said that only high-ranking officers in the Egyptian army know they are cooperating with Israel in Sinai. These incidents show how entrenched pro-Palestinian sentiment is in Egypt, and how insecure the regime is. But it won’t stop Trump’s “favourite dictator”, as he presses ahead with the deal of the century to his benefit and to the detriment of his own people.

February 9, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Egypt and the Destruction of Civil Liberties in America

By Jacob G. Hornberger | FFF | January 17, 2020

There are lots of things wrong with the conviction and incarceration of 54-year-old Mustafa Kassem, who died last week in Egypt.

Kassen was an American citizen who drove a taxi in New York City. He had two children. In 2013, the Egyptian military ousted the democratically elected president of the country, which reestablished its omnipotent control over the government and the nation. In the process of killing hundreds of protestors, Egyptian authorities arrested Kassem in a nearby shopping center where he was exchanging money before returning home to the United States.

According to an article in the New York Times entitled “U.S. Citizen Dies in Egyptian Jail After Lengthy Hunger Strike,” after Kassem’s arrest Egyptian soldiers beat him mercilessly. They then jailed him. He remained incarcerated for five years before being accorded a trial. He was a diabetic and had a heart condition, but was accorded only limited medical care.

In 2018, five years after he was arrested, Kassem was convicted in a mass trial involving hundreds of other defendants. He began a liquids-only hunger strike and then passed away last week.

Like the United States since the end of World War II, Egypt is a national-security state. That means that, like the United States, its government is characterized by a powerful military-intelligence establishment with vast powers within the national governmental apparatus. The difference between the two systems is that while the U.S. government has three other branches of government — the executive, legislative, and judicial — the Egyptian national-security establishment wields 100 percent omnipotent control over the government and, consequently, the nation.

The U.S. Constitution called a different type of governmental structure into existence — a limited-government republic. The last thing that Americans of that time would have approved was a national-security state form of governmental structure similar to the one in Egypt or the United States today. That’s because they didn’t trust vast and powerful military-intelligence establishments, which they called “standing armies.” They figured that such establishments end up destroying the freedom and well-being of the citizenry.

James Madison, the father of the Constitution, expressed the common sentiment of Americans, when he stated:

A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defence agst. foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending, have enslaved the people.

To ensure that the federal government would lack the power to do to people what the Egyptian government has done to Mustafa Kassem, our ancestors demanded the enactment of the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments, to supplement the guarantee of habeas corpus in the original Constitution.

Those amendments guarantee that if the federal government targets a person for punishment, it must comply with certain procedural restrictions on its power. These include due process of law, which mean formal notice of charges and a trial, which, at the option of the defendant, can be trial in which a jury of regular citizens in the community, not a judge, determines guilt. Other procedural rights include the right to an attorney, the right to confront and cross-examine adverse witnesses, the right to remain silent, the right to speedy trial, and the right to be free of cruel and unusual punishments.

There is something important to note: Our ancestors made sure that those procedural guarantees extended to everyone, not just American citizens. Thus, if a foreign citizen was visiting the United States and targeted by federal officials, he would be treated just like U.S. citizens were treated.

All that changed with the conversion of the federal government to a national-security state after World War II and especially after the 9/11 attacks. The national-security establishment, which consists of the Pentagon, an enormous and permanent military establishment, the CIA, and the NSA, quickly acquired the most power in the overall governmental structure. That power was solidified after the 9/11 attacks.

That phenomenon is reflected by the fact that the U.S. national-security state does much the same thing that the Egyptian national-security state does. Consider, for example, the Pentagon’s and CIA’s torture and prison camp in Cuba. It mirrors how things operate in Egypt.

At Guantanamo Bay, there is no right to a speedy trial. While Kassem had to wait 5 years for a “trial,” there are inmates at Gitmo who have been incarcerated for more than 10 years without trial. If trials are ever held, hearsay evidence and evidence acquired by torture can be used to secure a conviction. Trial is by military tribunal rather than by a jury of regular citizens. Attorney-client communications are secretly monitored by the authorities. Many of the proceedings are held in secret. Confessions can be coerced. Defendants can be tortured, both before and after conviction.

Here’s something else to consider: The U.S. national-security state also now wields the power to round up American citizens, place them in military dungeons or detention centers, torture them, and even assassinate them without a trial.

Like in Egypt, the federal courts permit it to happen. So long as the Pentagon and the CIA relate their mistreatment of people to “national security” and “terrorism,” the federal courts step aside, or even worse, confirm and uphold the constitutionality of the tyranny.

Finally, perhaps it should be worth pointing out that the Egyptian military dictatorship is a close partner and ally of the U.S. government. Just last year alone, the U.S. government sent these goons $1.4 billion in U.S. taxpayer-funded largess with which to line their pockets and fortify their dictatorial rule. And why not? Don’t birds of a feather flock together?

January 17, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment

Erdoğan Opened a Pandora’s Box in Libya That Will Be Difficult to Close

By Paul Antonopoulos | December 4, 2019

Tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean are rapidly rising after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met with a Libyan official of the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA), based in the Libyan capital of Tripoli, in Ankara last week. They agreed on their own Economic Exclusive Zone that penetrates into Greek and Cypriot waters, in violation of the United Nations Convention Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) that favors Cypriot and Greek claims, a major reason why Turkey is only one of 15 UN members, out of 193, that has not signed it. Although Turkey claims it is acting within international law to enter the oil and gas-rich Greek and Cypriot waters, it never references which international law. This leads to the simple question of why Turkey has not signed UNCLOS if international law supposedly favors their claim?

The Turkish-GNA provocation against Greece comes as only last month Pakistan and Turkey conducted naval exercises where Pakistan violated Greek and Cypriot air and maritime space several times and harassed Cypriot merchant ships. This demonstrates that Turkey is bolstering its alliances to force its complete hegemony over the Eastern Mediterranean. This is to expand their maritime space in violation of international law to exploit the rich deposits of gas and oil in the region.

However, Turkey has once again defied international law, remembering the illegal invasion of northern Cyprus and Syria among many. This has now opened up a new quagmire that Erdoğan has probably not expected. With the NATO destruction of Libya in 2011, in which both Greece and Turkey took a minor part, the country has been plagued by tribalism, feudalism and Islamic radicalism, with two major forces emerging from the mess – the GNA in coalition with the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Libyan National Army (LNA) led by General Khalifa Haftar and based in eastern Libya. This is unsurprising since Turkey has a long history of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood.

Erdoğan has opened up a pandora’s box in Libya that will now surely backfire on him and see the dismantlement of the GNA. The GNA is now becoming increasingly isolated since Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt have sworn to back General Haftar with weapons and money. It is expected that with the arrival of new funds and weapons, Haftar will continue his assault to take Tripoli which he began in March. One major reason for this new support for the LNA is that Greece, Cyprus and Egypt are in a strategic regional alliance to protect their respective EEZ against Turkish aggression.

Haftar has also controversially announced that he wants relations with Israel. His desires for relations with Israel, a rarity among Muslim-majority countries, will surely bring Haftar more international recognition and legitimacy as a “reward,” especially crucial as the majority of the world recognizes the Tripoli government.

A delegation of U.S. diplomats recently asked Haftar to halt military operations, citing that it will supposedly allow Russia’s military invasion of Libya. Haftar refused. Haftar’s Secretary of State said that the United States is completely wrong, as Libya has become a huge arena for settling accounts among regional powers – and this is true if we consider that the Saudis, Emirates and Egyptians are backing the LNA, while the Turks and Qataris backs the GNA.

Rather than being in compliance with international law, Erdoğan signed with the GNA an illegal agreement to carve out the Eastern Mediterranean for its own plans. Greece has given the GNA time until today to retract their deal with Turkey. Although Greece on the international scene is a minor player, it does wield significant influence in the Eastern Mediterranean and will use NATO and EU mechanisms to convince member states to retract their recognition of the GNA, which will only further isolate Turkey as it has attempted to build an alliance to counter the Greek-Cypriot-Egyptian military partnership.

In a rare occurrence, both the U.S. and Russia have criticized Turkey’s aggression and escalation in the Eastern Mediterranean, with the US State Department describing the Turkish and GNA move as “unhelpful” and “provocative.”

It is unlikely this will make a difference as it is expected that the GNA will adamantly refuse to renounce its agreement with Turkey, which will push Greece to back the LNA and encourage NATO and EU members to do the same. At the very minimum, the Saudi-Emirati-Egyptian tripartite has used Turkey’s aggression in the Eastern Mediterranean as an excuse to back the LNA, providing him with the money, weapons, intelligence and other resources to overcome the Turkish-backed GNA.

With Saif Gaddafi, the second son of Muammar Gaddafi, also announcing his support for Haftar, there is every potential that the internationally recognized GNA will have a multitude of pressure from NATO, the EU, the Saudi-Emirati-Egyptian alliance, and from Haftar and Gaddafi supporters. Erdoğan’s desperate pursuit for regional hegemony was first received with applause domestically, but it appears he has now opened a pandora’s box in Libya that is now likely to backfire on him.

Paul Antonopoulos is a Research Fellow at the Center for Syncretic Studies.

December 4, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | Leave a comment

US gatecrashes into Libyan endgame. But Russia stands in the way

By M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | Indian Punchline | November 29, 2019

The United States has alleged that Russia’s presence in Libya is having an “incredibly destabilising” impact. Washington is stepping out of the shade and making way to the centre stage of the Libyan conflict.

David Schenker, the State Department’s assistant secretary for near eastern affairs said Tuesday in Washington, “The United States is committed to a secure and prosperous future for the people of Libya. For this to become a reality, we need real commitments from external actors… In particular, Russia’s military interference threatens Libya’s peace, security, and stability.”

Schenker explained, “Russian regulars and the Wagner forces are being deployed in significant numbers on the ground and support of the LNA [Libyan National Army]. We think this is incredibly destabilising. And the way this organisation, the Russians in particular, have operated before raises the spectre of large-scale casualties in civilian populations.”

Schenker spoke only days after a delegation of US civilian and military officials led by the high-flying US Deputy National Security Advisor Victoria Coates met with Khalifa Haftar, the supremo of the LNA. A state department readout said Coates expressed serious concern to Haftar over Russia’s “exploitation of the conflict” at the expense of the Libyan people.

US Delegation meeting with General Khalifa Haftar, Nov 24, 2019

Libya becomes the third theatre after Ukraine and Syria where Washington has locked horns with Moscow in a Cold War-style proxy war. Up until last weekend, two EU members were supposedly conducting a proxy war in Libya over control of Africa’s largest oil and gas resources — France and Italy.

Actually, the alignments in Libya do not warrant a US-Russia standoff, as disparate external powers largely pursue self-interests. Italy, Turkey and Qatar have backed the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli (also supported by Germany and the UN), while France, Egypt, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Russia backed LNA.

The fight against terrorist groups is a stated common objective of all protagonists, but there are sub-plots too — Libya’s oil and gas (France, Italy, Turkey and Russia); political Islam (Turkey, Qatar, Egypt, UAE); France’s military operations in the five Sahel countries (Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and Chad), which can end only with the stabilisation of Libya; the migration issue; and geopolitical interests (France, Italy, Russia and Turkey).

Although Haftar was a CIA “asset” for over three decades, Washington largely kept contacts with him under the radar and seemingly watched the struggle between GNA and LNA from the sidelines even after Haftar launched a determined push in April to capture Tripoli. The US policies were incoherent. President Trump apparently viewed Haftar as a factor of stability, while Washington officially pitched for a UN-mediated political settlement in Libya, although that is easier said than done, given the fragmentation in the country.

Washington was marking time, unsure whether Haftar’s military campaign would succeed. Moscow too took a back seat, but in recent months the Kremlin began weighing Haftar’s prospects positively. Moscow (like Cairo) counts on Haftar’s impeccable credentials in the fight against terrorist groups.

Russian military support has decisively helped Haftar’s campaign, which took big leaps lately. Haftar controls something like 80 percent of Libya, whereas, GNA is reduced to a mere rump confined to Tripoli.

Enter Washington. Washington feels alarmed that in the Libyan endgame, with Haftar inexorably gaining the upper hand, thanks to Moscow’s help, the vista opens for cascading Russian influence over the new regime.

Nonetheless, it isn’t easy to find fault with Russia’s military role to stabilise Libya, since NATO intervention in 2011 that wrought havoc and such colossal destruction had enjoyed the backing of Obama Administration. Washington is on weak moral grounds. Geopolitics is dictating its policy trajectory.

Washington’s policy is driven by the project to make Libya the headquarters of the United States Africa Command, one of the eleven unified combatant commands of the United States Armed Forces (which is presently based in Stuttgart, Germany.) Clearly, the rollback of Russian presence and influence in Libya becomes a prerequisite of the US project.

The backdrop, of course, is the big-power struggle erupting over Africa and its vast untapped resources. China has been rapidly expanding its presence in Africa and Russia too is stepping up. Importantly, as the recent Russia-Africa summit in Sochi (October 23-24) signalled, military cooperation is Moscow’s priority.

Russia and China’s growing presence creates space for African leaderships to negotiate with the Western powers. It is a sign of the times that the South African Navy’s first-ever multinational maritime exercise (November 25-30) is exclusively with Russia and China.

Fan Guanqing, the captain of the PLA Navy frigate Wei Fang, said in Cape Town last weekend, “We hope that the exercises will allow China, Russia and South Africa to work together and make an improvement through co-operation and exchanges. This exercise is historical and the first of its kind for these three countries.” Captain Fan said the maritime exercise should help maintain world peace and stability and would also be the starting point of a relationship between the three countries.”

Libya is the perfect gateway for NATO to penetrate the African continent. But a willing government in Tripoli could give the Russian Navy access to the eastern Libyan ports of Sirte and Benghazi on the Mediterranean. If Russia gets ensconced in Libya (in addition to Syria), NATO presence in the Mediterranean is affected. Russia and Libya also have a history of close political, military and economic ties dating back to the Soviet era.

Russia had a traditional presence in Libya’s armaments market and Soviet troops were deployed in Libya. Today, Libya’s reconstruction is the real prize for Moscow in terms of infrastructure (roads, railways, cities). Russia lost heavily due to the NATO-led regime change in Libya in 2011. Moscow had billions of dollars in investments in Libya during Moammar Gadhafi’s rule.

It remains to be seen how far the US pressure tactic on Haftar to sever his links with Russia will work. Russia, France and Egypt are on the same page in helping Haftar militarily. All three countries also bond together. While Moscow’s politico-military relations with Cairo are deepening, France is decoupling from the US’ Russia policies. Washington will be hard-pressed to isolate Russia in Libya. The big question is where indeed Haftar himself stands.

December 1, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Washington threatens Egypt with Sanctions over Russian Su-35 fighter jet purchase

By Sarah Abed | November 18, 2019

Washington’s latest attempt to dissuade an ally from making arms deals with Russia came in the form of a letter sent on last Wednesday to Egyptian officials warning them that they could face sanctions if they continued with their $2 billion dollar Su-35 fighter jets contract.

In addition to sanctions, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper warned Egyptian Defense Minister Mohamed Ahmed Zaki in Wednesday’s letter that “Major new arms deals with Russia would — at a minimum — complicate future U.S. defense transactions with and security assistance to Egypt.” The United States sends Egypt $1.3 billion annually in military assistance.

Russia has become one of Egypt’s major arms suppliers. This particular arms between Egypt and Russia for ten fighter jets was signed at the end of 2018, with delivery of the Su-35 Flanker-E air superiority fighter aircraft as well as weapons for the planes starting in 2020-2021.

In order to counter Russia’s expanding military influence in the Middle East and dissuade countries from buying Russian-made arms, the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) was signed by President Donald Trump in August 2017. Countries that are trading with Russia’s defense or intelligence sectors could face secondary sanctions.

Russia estimates that since 2014 it has lost $760 million dollars in potential weapons sales due to the international sanctions sealing off the U.S. market.

However, the CAATSA is not limited to sanctioning Russia and those who purchase Russian-made weapons, this U.S. Federal law also imposes economic sanctions on Iran and North Korea.

The first case for secondary sanctions under CAATSA took place in September 2018 when sanctions were imposed by the Trump administration on the Chinese military for purchasing 10 Su-35 aircraft and S-400’s from Russia, also 33 people and entities were blacklisted due to links to Russian military and intelligence.

The second case would be Turkey’s purchase of Russia’s S-400 air defense system with the first delivery of its components having taken place in July of this year. As a result of going through with their purchase and delivery, Turkey was also suspended from participating in the F-35 program and the F-35 air systems it had already purchased are now under U.S. control.

Although requirements have been met for CAATSA to be enforced there is a gray area as to how, and to what extent the sanctions should be applied. A waiver is also in place that the president can use. Also, both the U.S. executive and legislative branches play a role in determining the action that would be taken against Turkey for doing business with Russian personnel targeted by sanctions.

India is paying close attention to how the US is reacting to Turkey’s purchase as they too have purchased Russia’s S-400 SAMS system which would put them in conflict with the CAATSA as well. However, relations between India and the United States are strong and the likelihood that a waiver will be used to avoid making India suffer collateral damage is likely.

For the past decade Russia has been expanding its military influence in the Middle East, much to the dissatisfaction of the United States. Russia and Egypt’s military and technical cooperation has been deepening and expanding for years. Both nations have repeatedly held joint naval and airborne counterterrorism exercises since 2015. From October 27th till November 7th of this year the Egyptian air force’s tactical training center near Cairo hosted joint Russian/Egyptian military drills dubbed Arrow of Friendship-1.

There’s even been speculation about the prospect of Russia setting up a military base in Egypt, due to the increase of Russian activity on Egyptian grounds. Just two years ago a draft agreement which would “allow each side to use the other’s airspace and air bases” was approved by Moscow and Cairo. Even though it didn’t specify setting up a military base it did set the ground for significant expansion in military cooperation between the two countries.

While the US fumbles around in the Middle East leaving death and destruction in its tracks, Russia has become the main peace broker. While maintaining good relations with all the major players in the region, Russia intervened militarily in Syria at the request of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad to fight terrorism and derail a strong regime-change plan by the Obama administration. Relations and business with Iran and Turkey have also increased.

Moscow knows that security in neighboring countries directly impacts its own and standing by allies will only help grow its influence and positive image in the Middle East and beyond.

November 18, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | 8 Comments

UN finds: Morsi’s death ‘state-sanctioned arbitrary killing’

Press TV – November 9, 2019

A panel of UN experts have found that the detention conditions of former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi may have directly led to his death in June.

Morsi was Egypt’s first democratically elected president. He was ousted in a military coup by current President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in 2013. He’d been jailed for six years until his death in a Cairo court while on trial on espionage charges, which rights groups dismissed as trumped-up and politicized.

A statement by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on Friday said the experts concluded that conditions Morsi endured “could amount to a state-sanctioned arbitrary killing.”

They said he was in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day, denied medical care, lost vision in one eye and suffered recurrent diabetic comas.

“Dr. Morsi was held in conditions that can only be described as brutal, particularly during his five-year detention in the Tora prison complex,” the experts wrote.

“Dr. Morsi’s death after enduring those conditions could amount to a state-sanctioned arbitrary killing.”

The experts also warned that thousands more prisoners are “at severe risk” from “gross violations” in Egyptian prisons.

Senior members of Morsi’s former government welcomed the investigation and called on the UN to extend its probe to include the “suspicious circumstances” surrounding the death of Morsi’s son Abdullah in September.

Before he died, the 25-year-old Abdullah Morsi had been in touch with the UN to formally complain about his father’s death. He reportedly died of a heart attack on September 4, and was buried next to his father in Cairo.

“Abdullah died shortly after he privately gave crucial evidence about his father’s death to the United Nations,” Yehia Hamed, a former minister under Morsi, said in the joint statement.

“I was in close contact with Abdullah Morsi and I am convinced that it was his very brave work with the United Nations that led to his death.”

The UN experts also warned that thousands more prisoners in Egypt were enduring similar conditions, and their ‘health and lives’ may also be at severe risk.

The 67-year-old former president fainted during a court session on June 17 and died afterwards.

Last year, a report by a panel of UK legislators and attorneys had warned that the lack of medical treatment could result in Morsi’s “premature death.”

November 9, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , | Leave a comment

4 Sinai civilians killed after Egypt army bombs house

MEMO | October 21, 2019

At least four civilians have been killed and 12 injured after a bomb was dropped on a house in Abu Al-Araj, Sheikh Zuweid, on Saturday.

Ten-year-old Mohammed Masoud, 90-year-old Farha Ibrahim, 24-year-old Aya Juma Eid and 28 year-old Rania Juma Eid all died in the drone attack in Egypt’s northern Sinai Peninsula.

For years now the Egyptian government has waged a war on Sinai it says is against terrorism, but which locals say is a war on civilians aimed at systematically displacing them from their land.

In the last seven years 14 villages in Sheikh Zuweid have been razed by the Egyptian military. According to a Facebook post written by Sinai researcher Ahmed Salem:

There is no such thing as a random aerial bombing and there is no such thing as a flight that makes mistakes 20 times in the coordination and rockets directed with modern technologies, the error rate is almost zero; the village has 20 or 30 homes and you know them by name.

The aggression continues across the peninsula. Just one week ago a shell hit a truck carrying civilians from an olive farm to the city of Bir Al-Abd as they were travelling home, killing at least ten people from the same family. Six others were injured and taken to hospital.

Following the attack the Arabic hashtag “Al-Sisi kills Sinai residents” was one of the top trending in the country.

A photograph of a baby with cuts on his head circulated online – the only survivor after the rest of his family died.

According to activists, the Egyptian government has been trying to remove the population of Bir Al-Abed for months now. Locals fear it will become the next Rafah, a city along the border with Gaza that has been completely flattened and the population displaced.

On 30 September the Egyptian military killed a six-year-old boy and his father in a revenge attack after Daesh attacked the Toffaha military checkpoint in Bir Al-Abed.

Suleyman Abu Dabbous, who works in a petrol station, was on his way home with his son Karim, 24, and his six-year-old grandson when the army opened fire on the car.

October 21, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , | 2 Comments

Morsi’s son dies of alleged heart attack: Egypt

Abdullah Morsi, the son of ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi is seen during the trial over the breaking up the Rabaa Al-Adawiyyah protests, at the police academy in Cairo, Egypt on December 10, 2016 [Moustafa Elshemy / Anadolu Agency]

Abdullah Morsi, son of ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, during the trial over the break up the Rabaa Al-Adawiyyah protests in Cairo, Egypt on December 10, 2016
[Moustafa Elshemy / Anadolu Agency]
MEMO | September 5, 2019

The youngest son of late Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi died of an alleged heart attack Wednesday at a hospital in Cairo.

A Morsi family sourceconfirmed Abdullah Morsi’s death to news agencies. However, the Egyptian Health Ministry has yet to comment on his death.

Abdallah Mursi, 24, began to feel spasms while driving in Cairo with a friend and died shortly afterwards, his brother Ahmed told Reuters.

Mohammed Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected president, died in June while standing trial for politically-motivated charges.

Days after his father died, Abdullah identified several figures, including current Interior Minister Mahmoud Tawfiq, his predecessor Majdi Abdel Ghaffar as well as Mohamed Shereen Fahmy, the judge who oversaw the ex-president’s trial, as “accomplices” in the “assassination of the martyr, President Morsi”, Middle East Eye reports.

Morsi collapsed at a court session on 17 June after suffering six years in prison in solitary confinement where he was consistently denied access to medical care for his diabetes, hypertension and liver and kidney disease.

Morsi was elected president after the January 25 Revolution toppled Hosni Mubarak, but he was deposed by the military general turned President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi one year later.

Despite claims from the Attorney General that Morsi was “transported immediately to hospital,” witnesses told the British newspaper the Independent that “no one bothered to help.”

“He was left slumped for while till the guards took him out. An ambulance arrived after 30 minutes. Other detainees were first to notice his collapse, they started shouting. Some of them, who are doctors, asked the guards to let them treat him or give him first aid,” said Abdullah Al-Haddad who was at the court to support his father and brother who were also on trial that day.

There are approximately 60,000 political prisoners in Egypt. Many have died from lack of access to appropriate medical care.

September 5, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties | | 2 Comments

Israel: Netanyahu approved Germany-Egypt submarine deal for $142m discount

MEMO | August 28, 2019

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is facing new questions over his role in the so-called “Submarine Affair”, after reports emerged that he approved a deal between Egypt and Germany in order to secure a multi-million-dollar discount for Israel’s own naval purchases, not for “security reasons” as he previously claimed.

The affair – sometimes known by its case number 3000 – involves allegations that several of Netanyahu’s close associates lobbied senior Israeli defence officials to sign deals with German shipbuilding firm ThyssenKrupp. These associates are suspected of “skimming” millions of shekels off the top of the deals for their personal profit and are now being investigated for corruption.

These investigations revealed that one deal saw Egypt order two submarines and two anti-submarine warships from ThyssenKrupp. Though Germany does not require Israeli permission to sell its ships to other countries, it has traditionally refrained from doing so to give Israel dominance in the region.

However, on this occasion the Germany-Egypt sale reportedly went ahead without the approval of then Defence Minister, Moshe Ya’alon; instead, former Defence Ministry officials and aides to German Chancellor Angela Merkel claimed that Netanyahu had personally approved the deal.

Amidst the outcry that ensued, Netanyahu agreed to a rare TV interview to discuss the deal. “My reasons are security reasons and security reasons alone,” he told Israel’s Channel 12, “the State of Israel has secrets that only the prime minister knows and a handful of people”.

Now it has emerged that Miki Ganor – a former ThyssenKrupp sales agent in Israel and previously a state witness in Case 3000 – told corruption investigators that Netanyahu approved the sale to Egypt in exchange for a discount of half a billion shekels ($142 million) on the purchase of Israel’s sixth submarine from the German firm.

It was this discount which ensured that the Germany-Egypt deal went ahead, in the process securing a huge cut for Ganor and his associates, the Times of Israel explained, citing a report by Israel’s Channel 13 yesterday.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel greets Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the latters trip to Germany in February 2016

German Chancellor Angela Merkel greets Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Germany in February 2016

Ganor agreed to turn state witness in 2017, admitting to bribing a string of Israeli officials. He agreed to provide evidence for the prosecution in exchange for serving only one year in prison and paying a ten million shekel ($2.7 million) fine.

However, in a shock move, in March Ganor presented himself to Israel Police and asked to change his previous statement, despite standing by it during 50 meetings over the course of the investigation. Ganor instead claimed he had been pressured by the police into confessing.

The move was, however, reportedly prompted by Ganor’s discovery that signing a state witness agreement had put his name on an international banking blacklist, thereby blocking his access to tens of millions of shekels under his name in banks in Cyprus and Austria.

He was subsequently arrested for “obstructing an investigation with false information”. Later that month, Israel Police withdrew its state witness arrangement with Ganor, since recommending that he be charged with five counts of bribery and one count of receiving an illicit gift, in addition to six counts of money laundering.

However, as the Times of Israel explained, Ganor’s “testimony is still usable in court, and the part about Netanyahu’s reason for approving the submarine deal hasn’t been affected by [his] retraction of some of his testimony.”

Critics of Netanyahu have been quick to respond to the fresh allegations, particularly given the proximity of Israel’s upcoming general election, which is slated for 17 September.

De facto opposition leader and head of the Blue and White (Kahol Lavan) party, Benny Gantz, said in a statement that “it is unacceptable for the prime minister to carry out arms deals that affect the strategic balance in the region while being suspected of involving personal considerations”.

Blue and White number two Yair Lapid echoed this sentiment, accusing Netanyahu of “deflecting and lying as to why he approved the sale of advanced submarines to Egypt”. The former finance minister also called the affair the “worst corruption scandal in Israel’s history,” calling for a state inquiry into the allegations.

Netanyahu’s Likud party hit back at Blue and White – its biggest election rivals – for criticising the prime minister, labelling their statements “desperate attempts […] to revive this corpse [in order to] divert the public’s attention from the internal mess in their party”.

The prime minister does not seem to have issued his own statement on the revelations, only retweeting the Likud party’s statement.

READ ALSO:

Germany launches investigation into Israel submarine affair

Israel minister resigns after being handed graft indictment

August 28, 2019 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | Leave a comment

Egypt Rejects Hamas’ Request for Haniyeh to Travel

Palestine Chronicle | July 12, 2019

Egypt has rejected a request by Hamas to allow the head of its political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, to travel to a number of countries including Iran, Turkey, Qatar, and Russia.

Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported Egyptian sources as saying that after postponing its response, Cairo finally rejected it saying that regional and security conditions do not allow for Haniyeh to travel.

The news site quoted a Hamas source as saying:

“It is clear that Egypt completely objects to Haniyeh’s foreign tour, in protest against the countries which he will visit.”

The source pointed out that Hamas has decided that Mousa Abu Marzouk will head the movement’s delegation to Moscow next week to discuss the Palestinian reconciliation file among other issues.

The source added that the visit has been postponed more than once in the hope that Egypt would allow Haniyeh to travel.

July 12, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | Leave a comment