Aletho News


Egyptian army delegation visits Israel

MEMO | March 20, 2014

us-egyptian-israeli-military-commandersA delegation from the Egyptian army and Ministry of Foreign Affairs visited Israel last week against the backdrop of consolidating relations between the two countries following the July 3 military coup.

The Egyptian delegation was hosted by the Israeli army’s Planning Department and the MFA, according to Haaretz.

A senior Israeli official told Haaretz that the Egyptian delegation spent a week in Israel, met Israeli officials, and toured a number of areas.

In the same context, Israeli journalist Barak Ravid said in his latest Haaretz article that Israel urged senior officials in the US Administration and Congress not to cancel the sale of 10 advanced Apache combat helicopters to Egypt, quoting an Israeli official as saying that supplying Egypt with the helicopters “is crucial to Egypt’s fight Against jihadist organizations in the Sinai, and will improve regional security.”

Ravid stressed that security cooperation between Egypt and Israel has been enhanced since June, and that Israel has made huge efforts to support the interim Egyptian government.

March 20, 2014 Posted by | Militarism | , , | Comments Off on Egyptian army delegation visits Israel

Sources: Egyptian F16 jets fly over Gaza, army opens fire at Palestinians in Rafah

IMEMC & Agencies | October 17, 2013

The Palestine Now News Agency has reported that Egyptian soldiers opened fire at the Palestinian side near the border area in Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip on Wednesday.

Palestinian security sources in Gaza told Palestine Now that the Egyptian army targeted a number of Palestinians in their lands close to the border, no injuries have been reported.

The incident took place while the Egyptian Air Force was flying over the border area with Gaza.

Also on Wednesday, the Egyptian army detonated a tunnel under a home on the Egyptian side, and said that the tunnels lead to the Rafah city.

In related news, Israel allowed Egyptian F16 fighter jets to fly over the border area in Sinai for the first time in 34 years.

Israeli sources said that for the first time since the peace agreement was signed between Cairo and Tel Aviv in 1979, Israel has authorized Egyptian F16 jets to fly over the border area as part of operations the Egyptian military is conducting against armed groups in the Sinai Peninsula.

October 17, 2013 Posted by | Militarism, Subjugation - Torture, Wars for Israel | , , , | Comments Off on Sources: Egyptian F16 jets fly over Gaza, army opens fire at Palestinians in Rafah

Egyptian army planning eventual military intervention in Gaza Strip

Al-Akhbar | October 3, 2013

Egypt is preparing a plan for a possible military intervention in the Gaza Strip, security sources told Ma’an news agency on Wednesday.

Officials told Ma’an that Egyptian planes had entered Gazan airspace and examined a number of locations near the border in Rafah and Khan Younis to be targeted if military attacks against Egyptian troops intensify in Sinai.

Egyptian aircraft could also target vehicles traveling across the border with smuggled goods, the sources added, highlighting that “all options are open.”

Egyptian military sources claim that ongoing attacks in Sinai are carried out by organizations based both in Sinai Peninsula and in the Gaza Strip.

“The Egyptian army does not believe the population of Gaza is involved in the violence in Sinai, but certain factions strongly support Sinai groups. The tunnels play a major role in the communication between both sides,” a senior Egyptian official told Ma’an.

“In addition, Hamas, although its involvement is limited, is responsible for maintaining control of the smuggling tunnels as well as the factions operating in the coastal enclave,” he added.

Hundreds of people have been killed and more than 2,000 arrested across Egypt in the crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood following the army’ ouster of President Mohammed Mursi in July.

The Egyptian military has stepped up a campaign against militant groups operating out of the Sinai Peninsula since, as attacks against the army have intensified.

The Egyptian military has accused Hamas, the current rulers of the Gaza Strip, of being connected to the violence and of having ties to Mursi.

(Ma’an, Al-Akhbar)

October 3, 2013 Posted by | Militarism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Egyptian army planning eventual military intervention in Gaza Strip

Tragic Stories From Rafah: Students Mourn Their Future

By Fatima Abdallah | Al-Akhbar | September 20, 2013

At the Rafah border crossing with Egypt – Gaza’s only bridge to the outside world – a young Palestinian man cries profusely. He scrapes a passenger bus with his fingernails as it departs toward Egypt. He wants more than anything to stop the bus and get on it.

Mohammed al-Astal’s situation is shared by dozens of Palestinian students from Gaza studying abroad who wanted to spend their holidays with their families in the Gaza Strip. Unable to travel – Egyptian authorities have closed the border for a week now, citing security reasons – they have now missed the start of the academic year. If their absence continues, they will not be able to carry on with their studies.

Astal, a medical student at al-Mansoura University in Egypt, told Al-Akhbar: “For two weeks, I’ve been coming to the Rafah crossing every day at six in the morning, hoping I would be allowed to travel so I can go back to school, but to no avail.”

More than 2,000 people in Gaza are dreaming of traveling to Egypt today or tomorrow now that the Egyptian authorities have opened the crossing for two days. Egyptian authorities announced on Monday, September 16, the opening of the Rafah crossing on Wednesday and Thursday from 10 am to 2 pm at the request of the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Frustrated, the only thing those waiting can do is obstruct the buses full of travelers. Hamas security forces clash with individuals, pushing them back with batons until three buses manage to leave Rafah.

“All students have to come to the Rafah crossing again tomorrow morning. That is what the Palestinian embassy said in a piece of news posted yesterday,” said Hassan, a law student in Egypt. “Missing an entire month of the new semester means losing the whole semester.”

Hassan expressed his right to be on the list of passengers, along with medical patients and other urgent cases, especially after the Palestinian ambassador in Egypt, Barakat al-Farra, issued a statement on Tuesday requested that students come to Rafah after coordination with the embassy.

Maher Abu Sabha, director general of crossings at Egypt’s Interior Ministry, said: “Students stuck in Gaza do have a priority to travel, but there are also humanitarian cases of patients and people with residence permits that might expire at any moment. [These people] need to leave Gaza or else they will lose their lives outside the Strip.”

According to Abu Sabha, there are more than 4,500 Gazans registered on urgent travel lists. He pointed out that all of them can be considered humanitarian cases. They are patients, people with residence permits, and students.

Mufid al-Mukhalalati, health minister in the Hamas government, said at a press conference, “Closing the crossing has prevented more than a thousand patients from reaching Egyptian hospitals and receiving treatment and has also prevented foreign medical delegates from reaching the Gaza Strip.”

Egyptian authorities closed the crossing last Wednesday, September 11, after an armed attack was launched against the Egyptian military intelligence building in Rafah. The attack killed six Egyptian soldiers and injured 17 others.

Palestinians in Gaza continue to face increased difficulties at the Rafah crossing since the Egyptian army deposed former Egyptian president Mohamed Mursi on July 3. In the meantime, Egyptian authorities reduced working hours at the crossing to four hours daily. While thousands waited at the Rafah gate, only 250 were able to leave the Gaza Strip.

September 20, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Comments Off on Tragic Stories From Rafah: Students Mourn Their Future

Sinai: Counter-Terrorism or Collective Punishment?

By Ismail Iskandarani | Al-Akhbar | September 16, 2013

On Saturday, September 7, the Egyptian army began a large-scale military campaign in the villages located south of the Sinai town of Sheikh Zoweid. Al-Akhbar toured the devastated area and found consistent reports of the Egyptian army indiscriminately targeting of civilians and their property.

Sinai – On Saturday morning, the Egyptian army took control of the central telecom building in al-Arish and cut off all landlines, mobile phones, and Internet communications in the governorate of North Sinai.

The telecom outage lasted nearly 10 hours, following which the residents of the governorate learned that the army had initiated a large-scale military operation in the border region, but could not obtain any further details. When communications were restored in the evening, a flood of phone calls ensued, complaining about the aftermath of the military operation.

A spokesperson for the Egyptian army took to Facebook to announce the results of the first day of the military campaign, writing that 107 homes were burned down along with a number of vehicles used by the terrorists in their operations. But the residents, while agreeing on some of these details, had a different version of events.

The operation lasted three days. During the communication blackout, tanks and heavy hardware were moved in under cover from Apache combat helicopters, while no media or relief personnel were allowed to enter the area of operations.

Al-Akhbar only learned that the operations had ceased once it arrived in Sheikh Zoweid on Tuesday morning, September 10. Communications had returned, and the residents had not seen or heard the choppers that day. In a quick tour to examine the effects of the military campaign on the villages of al-Zuhair and al-Mokataa, two of several villages affected by the fighting, the extent of the devastation inflicted on civilian homes and vehicles soon became clear.

Al-Akhbar learned from its field guide that Hajj Salem Abu Draa was killed. Salem is a cousin of Sinai journalist Ahmad Abu Draa, who is being detained by the military. He was killed as he left the mosque following the dawn prayer, and his children could not reach his body until later that afternoon. We also learned that Umm Sulman Abu Draa, an elderly woman, was killed after a bullet pierced a wall in her home and settled in her chest.

In al-Mokataa, the Abu Munir mosque was turned to rubble after being hit by missiles, most likely from an Egyptian army Apache. Some locals explained why the mosque would be targeted, saying it was a meeting point for some militant groups. But no one could say for sure whether any militants had actually been holed up in the mosque during the operations.

Dozens of residents gave their testimonies to Al-Akhbar about the indiscriminate collective punishment, the attacks on bystanders and civilians inside homes, and the burning of civilian cars for no apparent reason. One of the residents claimed the army stopped and searched him before sending him away and burning his car.

Not far from the charred remains of the car, a number of adjacent houses met a similar fate. Residents were forcibly evicted and their homes were searched. When the army did not find any contraband inside, they used cooking gas bottles to burn furniture and appliances, and also burned any cars parked in their yards. A taxi driver whose car was burned said he begged the army to arrest him and leave the car to his children to be able to make a living and finish payments on the car, but that the army burned it anyway, as he watched.

Disaster also stuck the extremely impoverished residents of the area’s shanties. People were driven out before their shelters were set on fire although no contraband was found inside. Even the owners of expensive homes were not spared from aerial bombardment, destruction of property, and looting, despite the improbability that their lavish lifestyles were linked to radical Islamists.

According to consistent eyewitness accounts in the two villages, homes were looted of clothes, food, and even women’s jewelry. Olive trees were uprooted and cattle were slain. The army uprooted large areas of olive groves south of al-Arish, supposedly to better expose the area and secure it against infiltration. But these measures have resulted in losses to the tunes of millions of Egyptian pounds, with many families losing their only source of livelihood.

Impact on the Armed Groups

Official army statements claimed that the military operations succeeded in eliminating dens of terrorism and criminal hideouts. However, these claims were shattered on Wednesday morning, when the military intelligence building in Rafah was destroyed in a double suicide attack. On Thursday, a takfiri group called Jund al-Islam claimed responsibility for the attack.

The group’s statement helped clarify the confusion that prevailed over whether Ansar Bait al-Maqdis, a Salafi jihadi group, was otherwise responsible for the Rafah bombing, as the latter had issued another statement on Wednesday announcing figures on the army’s casualties during the three-day operation.

Ansar Bait al-Maqdis’ statement was enclosed with a picture of a military Land Cruiser that the group claimed it had destroyed, in addition to a Hummer and three armored vehicles using explosive devices. The statement also confirmed that eight soldiers were killed, including six from Special Forces.

Accusing the Egyptian army of treason and collaboration with Israel is nothing new in the statements of Salafi jihadi groups in Sinai. What is new, however, is that the latest statement described the Egyptian military as “the infidel army.” The statement also boasted that the large-scale military campaign claimed the life of only one of the group’s members, something that a resident of al-Mokataa commented on by saying, “They destroyed our homes, burned our cars, and left us with the members of the [militant] groups sticking out their tongues and telling us they were left unharmed.”

The villages in the operation zone south of Sheikh Zoweid are at least 15 km away from the tunnels northeast of Rafah, which means that the recent bombing and burning of homes has nothing to do with these tunnels and the smuggling whatsoever.

Egyptian security forces confirmed that on Sunday, September 15, army attack helicopters bombed positions supposedly belonging to militant Islamists in villages south of Sheikh Zoweid. The sources added that the army started a new military operation against militant outposts in Sinai.

September 16, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | Comments Off on Sinai: Counter-Terrorism or Collective Punishment?

Egypt’s coup leaders grateful for Israeli support

By Shazia Arshad | MEMO | September 9, 2013

The Egyptian army and Israel have grown much closer in the weeks since the coup d’etat. In a Ha’aretz report, Amos Harel, suggested that the Egyptian and Israeli relationship now was in fact stronger than it was during the rule of Mubarak. Following the coup, it was Israel that the Egyptians turned to ensure that the American government and the new Egyptian coup regime would reach an understanding. Although the toppling of the democratically elected government was widely accepted as a coup, Israel prevented the use of the term and encouraged America to accept events as a regime change. In doing so, Israel ensured that American financial support to Egypt could continue, as acceptance of a coup would mean that aid would have to be suspended under American law.

Israel’s role in securing continued US aid for Egypt’s army has made it possible for a stronger bond between the two to develop. Events in Egypt since the coup have demonstrated how grateful Egypt’s army are to Israel. Indeed, the Egyptian army’s particular focus on the Sinai and Gaza has won favour with the Israelis. Gazans in particular have been bearing the brunt of the warmer relationship between the two regimes. In recent weeks, the Egyptian army have closed all tunnels between Egypt and Gaza and restricted the border crossing at Rafah. The closure of the tunnels has had a significant impact, forcing Gaza to turn to Israel and import fuel through Israel at six times the cost. The tunnel economy, which has provided basic needs for Gaza’s blockaded residents, has been shut down and will cause further financial stress to the Gazan economy. The restrictions on the Rafah crossing have limited the travel of Palestinians in to and out of Gaza, including those who need access to urgent medical treatment. The Rafah crossing had allowed freer movement during the presidency of Mohamed Morsi, much to Israel’s chagrin.

Egypt’s new political direction has also left Hamas out in the cold, this time much to Israel’s delight. Prior to the coup, with increasing support from the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt Hamas’ strength in Gaza had increased and Hamas used the opportunity to oppose Assad’s civil war in Syria. With the opposition to Assad, Hamas relied on Egypt, but with the turn of events, Hamas now face increasing isolation. To further weaken Hamas, the Egyptian army circulated rumours of Hamas’s involvement in terrorist activities in Egypt. Last week’s attempted assassination of the Egyptian interior minister was used to implicate Hamas, when local media sources suggested that they had been involved in the bomb attack. Despite the clear fallacy of the claim, the rumours have worked to suppress Hamas in Gaza, as the Israeli’s have wanted to do for some time now.

In the Sinai, the Egyptian army has been circulating rumours of terrorist activity too. With claims that Islamist terror groups are active in the region, the army has increased its presence with more troops, tanks and helicopters in the region. Under the Israel-Egypt peace treaty the Egyptians require Israel’s agreement for them to be able to do so, and in yet another example of the Egypt-Israel bond growing stronger, the Israelis have sanctioned the increase. The Egyptian army has reportedly killed 100 activists in the Sinai, wounded and arrested hundreds of others. Further reports have indicated that the Egyptian army is currently developing a buffer zone in the Sinai to prevent weapons and terrorist smuggling into and out of Gaza. Reports suggested that the buffer zone would be a military controlled area and that the residents currently there were being forced from their homes with no warnings.

The Egyptian army have been able to mount a coup against the democratically elected Egyptian president, ensure that America continues to bank roll the country and strengthen their grip on power since the coup thanks to the work, and the words, of the Israelis. Whilst they may not be making the strengthening of their relationship public, the Egyptians want to ensure that the Israeli’s know how grateful they are for their support. In this vein, the army’s attacks to protect Israel’s interests are sure to increase.

September 9, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | Comments Off on Egypt’s coup leaders grateful for Israeli support

Egypt and UAE plot to topple Hamas

MEMO | September 4, 2013

A retired Egyptian general has revealed details of an Egypt-UAE plot to impose a stranglehold on the Gaza Strip and overthrow the Hamas-led government. The plot, claims General Sami Hassan, is for the Egyptian army to act, with funding from the UAE government.

“The plan is led by General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi,” tweeted Hassan. “He aims to achieve political and military gains in the coming days.”

General Hassan said that the military will impose even more restrictions on the Palestinians in Gaza, cutting all essential supplies which currently pass through the tunnels. Fuel supplies in particular are being targeted. The Gaza Strip relies on Egypt for 80 per cent of its fuel.

According to Hassan, the process has already started with a media demonisation campaign against the Palestinians and Hamas. As soon as the army creates calm in the Sinai Peninsula, he asserted, it will stir up popular demonstrations.

Al-Sisi has already met with Shaikh Hazza bin Zayed, an adviser to the UAE National Security Authority, and ex-Fatah “strongman” Mohammed Dahlan, said General Hassan. “A sum of $750 million has been allocated for the plot,” he claims, “which will involve returning Gaza to Egyptian control or handing it over to the Palestinian Authority [in Ramallah].”

The decisive meeting, he noted, lasted one and a half hours in Al-Sisi’s office. The following objectives were agreed upon:

  • Sinai will be “cleansed” of militant groups and nomadic tribes on the border with Gaza will be disarmed.
  • A drone base will be established by Egypt in Sinai under international supervision. Air strikes will be launched against the “global jihadist movement”.
  • All tunnels between Gaza and Egypt will be closed, and Egypt will cut off all essential supplies going to Gaza.
  • Electricity supplies from Egypt to Gaza will be cut off altogether.
  • An agreement between the Palestinian Authority, Egypt and Israel will be reactivated with the return of international observers to the Rafah Border Crossing.
  • Hamas will be toppled and the Gaza Strip will be returned to President Mahmoud Abbas’s control.
  • Power in Gaza will handed over to the PA or people in the UAE’s pay and control, such as Dahlan.

September 4, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A raid on Sinai

By Fahmi Huwaidi | MEMO | August 12, 2013

The bad news is that an Israeli drone strike killed five Egyptians in Sinai last week; they were, it is alleged, “jihadists” who intended to launch a rocket against Israel. Even worse news is that the operation was coordinated with the Egyptian army. More disturbing still was the fact that both sides of the current polarised political situation tried to use the incident to their favour. The pro-Morsi camp gloated while the pro-coup supporters were sceptical about the whole thing as official statements flitted between denial and confirmation.

This confusion was evident in the statement from the Egyptian military spokesman. The borders, he claimed, are a “red line” which nobody can touch; the authorities, he added, are combing the area of the explosion.

The army’s confusing and confused statement came out when international news agencies were broadcasting confirmation that Israel had carried out a cross-border strike in Egypt. Israel’s Channel 1, Channel 2 and Channel 10 were unequivocal in their bulletins: an Israeli aircraft had launched a raid in Sinai. Channel 1’s primetime “Yoman” programme is presented by Ayala Hasson. Her conversation with guests Oded Granot, the Arab affairs commentator, and Amir Bar-Shalom, the military affairs commentator, went like this:

Ayala Hasson: “Mubarak’s regime cooperated with us [Israel] greatly and deeply. His chief of intelligence Omar Suleiman served as the channel of communication for coordination and cooperation in all fields. However, both Mubarak and Suleiman kept security cooperation a secret. On the other hand, General Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi cooperates with us openly and explicitly. How do you explain this?”

Amir Bar-Shalom: “If you ask any of the army leaders and the security establishment (in Israel), they will all answer that the security cooperation shown by the leadership of the Egyptian army at the moment is unprecedented and sudden. Egypt considers the cooperation as part of its relentless war on terror in Sinai. Further, the security cooperation keen with the Egyptian army is considered a message to the American officials who had been critical of the coup led by General Al-Sisi. It is an attempt to persuade supporters of Israel in the United States of the importance of moving and encircling the votes in Congress calling to criticise the coup led by the army, as Senator John McCain did during his recent visit to Egypt. On this occasion, it should be known to all that the Israeli government is very disturbed by the campaign waged by some Republicans against the new situation in Egypt. Israel believes it is important to continue to support the Egyptian army because it is the guarantor of stability in Egypt and the entire region”.

Oded Granot: “The raid carried out by Israel is considered an investment and employment of what is happening in the Arab world, especially the defections that have occurred to the waves of the Arab Spring. What is happening in Egypt and Syria represents an opportunity for Israel to ensure a large and influential margin of manoeuvre.”

At that point, Amir Bar-Shalom interrupted: “We must not forget that the Egyptian army is the one which provided Israel with the information that led to the temporary shutdown of Eilat Airport the day before the raid.”

Of course, any analysis and information emanating from Israel should be treated with caution, including praises and admiration for the military commanders in Egypt. However, what I do not understand is the Egyptian authorities’ reluctance to announce the raid in Sinai. I do not find anything wrong in admitting that this is an unacceptable assault on the sovereignty of Egyptian territory, even if it happens under the guise of combating terrorism. I believe that the Egyptian position would be more transparent and respectful when it demands of Israel an apology for what happened. It might also be an opportunity to demand the reconsideration of the security arrangements in Sinai.

Israel apologised to Egypt in August 2011, while the military were ruling the country, after it bombed a security facility in Alqontilla, killing and wounding 5 security personnel, including an officer. Israel explained then that it had been chasing jihadist groups but had to apologise because the Egyptian revolution was in its infancy and Egyptian demonstrators had attacked the Israeli embassy and forced its ambassador to flee under cover of darkness. If the latest raid was dealt with transparently it would be over and done with. Rallying behind the army against external threats is a public duty.

August 12, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , | Comments Off on A raid on Sinai

Egypt’s military junta playing with fire

By Finian Cunningham | Press TV | Jul 26, 2013

Egypt’s military strongman General Al Sisi is playing with fire that may engulf the North African country with even more internecine bloodshed. This week on state TV, Al Sisi called for massive street protests to face down “terrorists” who, he said, were destabilizing Egypt’s national security.

He also claimed that such popular show of strength would give the Egyptian army “a mandate” to use violence to restore order.

Such inflammatory talk by the supposed head of national security is tantamount to pushing Egypt – the Arab region’s most populous country – into a civil war.

The reprehensible thing about this is that General Abdel Fattah Al Sisi is indulging in reckless demagoguery to incite violence in order to cover up the fact that it is he who violated the law and constitution of his country.

As head of the Egyptian military, Al Sisi is supposed to be duty-bound to protect the nation from harm. But what he appears to be doing is plunging the nation into chaos and conflict by way of concealing his own selfish ambitions.

On 3 July, it was Defense Minister Al Sisi who dismissed then President Mohamed Morsi. Nearly three weeks on, no one has seen or heard from the deposed Muslim Brotherhood president. Even his family is still unaware of Morsi’s whereabouts and has accused the military of “kidnap”.

Meanwhile, Al Sisi, who also heads the Supreme Council of Military Forces (SCAF), appointed a senior judge as the interim-president, and oversaw the formation of an unelected government. This civilian administration is only a front for Egypt’s military deep state, which stems from the US-backed Hosni Mubarak dictatorship (1981-2011).

The 35-member interim government is packed with holdovers from the Mubarak era. Many of them are closely associated with the Egyptian military and police. The central figure in the so-called civilian administration is General Al Sisi, who also appointed himself as deputy prime minister – in addition to his portfolio of defense minister and head of the SCAF.

Fawning visits to Cairo last week by US senior diplomat William Burns and the European Union’s Foreign Policy Chief, Catherine Ashton, demonstrate that Washington and its Western allies are endorsing the military coup against Egypt’s nascent democracy.

Burns said somewhat cryptically that this was “a second chance” for Egyptians. One wonders if what he really meant was a second chance for Egyptians to conform to the US-backed military deep state that Washington has bankrolled with $1.5 billion every year for the past three decades.

In recent days, the US has said that it is delaying the delivery of F-16 fighter jets to Egypt. This was prompted by the incendiary call for street protests by General Al Sisi. But Washington is only reacting for public relations purposes to fend off criticism that it is pandering to the military junta.

Notably, an unnamed senior Pentagon official told the Washington Post: “This is not a way of punishing them (Egypt’s military). It gives us more time to consult with Congress, walk them through our strategy and explain our views to them.” Besides, too, US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel reportedly consulted with Al Sisi hours before the announcement that the F-16s would be delayed.

Understandably, millions of Egyptians who voted for Morsi’s presidential bid in June 2012 feel that their long-fought-for democratic rights have been trampled on by the same military machine that they rose up against in January 2011 as part of the Arab Spring.

The ouster of Mubarak on 11 February 2011 was supposed to herald a new democratic beginning for Egypt. But evidently, the Mubarak-era military deep state is back in the driving seat – albeit with the trappings of a civilian administration.

When Al Sisi and his other US-trained Egyptian Generals deposed Morsi, they did so under the cynical guise of “obeying the popular will” and “saving the nation” from possible violence between anti and pro-Morsi crowds. There is evidence that Mubarak-era businessmen and media magnates gave the anti-Morsi demonstrations lionized coverage, thereby amplifying an atmosphere of national tensions and insecurity.

While Morsi certainly alienated wide sections of the population during his one-year presidency, it is nevertheless legally questionable that he should have been dismissed from office, put under secret arrest without charge, and that the constitution should be suspended and the Parliament dissolved. If that sounds like a military coup that’s because it is, even though Western politicians and media have banished the word from public discourse.

The way to make that unlawful intervention appear legitimate was to claim the mantle of acting on behalf of the people to maintain national security. However, what has transpired is that the Egyptian military and remnants from the Mubarak-era judiciary have taken the reins of political power out of the hands of the electorate. The formation of the interim government without any popular mandate earlier this month makes that clear.

The targeting of hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood members and other Morsi supporters with arrest, detention and prosecution for alleged Mubarak-era crimes also makes it apparent that the military-led Egyptian deep state is running a vendetta to wipe out political opponents, not acting as a caretaker for a transition to civilian politics.

Repression has also involved lethal violence by the state forces and apparently civilian-clothed agents. Since Morsi’s overthrow, as many as 200 people have been killed in street clashes and thousands more injured. Most of the victims have been Morsi supporters, with the military responsible for most of the bloodshed. The single-biggest deadly incident was on 8 July when the military opened fire on Muslim Brotherhood protesters outside the Republican Guard headquarters in Cairo, killing as many as 80 and wounding over 400.

Last week on national state TV, the interim President Adli Mansour used provocative language when he said: “We will fight the battle for security until the end.” He also warned darkly against those who “hide behind false slogans and who are driving the country to the abyss”.

What “false slogans” might the military-appointed interim president be referring to? Perhaps they include “We don’t support military coup” or “Reinstate Morsi”.

This sinister formula of polarizing society and demonizing political opponents was taken to new heights this week. Again, speaking on national state TV and wearing sunglasses, General Al Sisi said: “Egyptians must take to the streets on Friday to give me the mandate to face down violence and terrorism… Friday is the day we, the army, the people and the police, will unite.”

Asking people for a mandate to face down violence and terrorism sounds like preparing a green light for even more massacres committed by the Egyptian army. And then, in the aftermath of bloodshed, the military strongman will be able to claim that he was only acting “on behalf of the people” to “defend the nation”.

This is the politics of fascism, conducted with the imprimatur of Western so-called democratic governments.

July 27, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , , , | Comments Off on Egypt’s military junta playing with fire

Egypt Destroys Eight Border Tunnels

By Saed Bannoura | IMEMC & Agencies | July 16, 2013

The Egyptian Army announced in managed to locate and destroy eight siege-busting tunnels across the border with the Gaza Strip over the last 48 hours, and that it located 23 containers holding a million liters of fuel.

The army said that the Egyptian Border Guards located the containers that were ready to be smuggled to the coastal region, and also located the eight tunnels that have already been operational.

Egyptian security sources said that the army used bulldozers to remove fuel pumps, and that the campaign is ongoing to locate and destroy all tunnels across the border with Gaza.

The sources said that Egypt’s Army Chief, Colonel Abdul-Fattah El-Sissi, gave direct orders to the army to destroy all border tunnels by using explosives, heavy equipment and even by flooding them.

El-Sissi said that the army would not allow any party to “jeopardize Egypt’s national security, its economy, and national resources.”

July 16, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , | 3 Comments

The Egyptian Army: State Within A State

By Barry Lando | July 4, 2013

In ousting Egypt’s first freely elected president, Mohammed Morsi, the Egyptian military have certainly not acted to preserve democracy. They’ve never shown much interest in that. They’re determined to put a break on the mounting political and economic chaos that is ripping the country apart. That turbulence was threatening not just the survival of Egypt, but, more to the point, it was menacing the vast state within a state that Egypt’s military presides over.

Of course, the Egyptian Army is not monolithic. Its lower ranks are very much of the people: filled with hundreds of thousands of conscripts, drawn from the most humble ranks of society—and has a strong identity with the Egyptian people.

It has traditionally been the most important means of socializing and educating the lower classes, in theory, inculcating them with a sense of pride and patriotism.

Indeed the 1971 Constitution says that the Egyptian Army shall “belong to the people”

Thus, as I have previously blogged, in 1977 when the army was called in to quell riots after President Sadat announced cuts in basic food subsidies, the generals refused to intervene unless the subsidies were reestablished. Sadat restored the subsidies.

The top ranks of the army, however, have other concerns—beginning with personal survival. They certainly will never forget the lurid spectacle of Iranian generals being publicly executed in the aftermath of Khomeini’s revolution in Iran. Iran also demonstrated that a radical revolution also means a radically transformed military. (Egypt’s generals have a constant reminder of that lesson nearby: The Shah is buried in a Cairo mosque.).

But since the fall of Mubarak, the military have feared not just a takeover by radical Muslims. There is also the fact that real civilian rule could spell an end to the system of massive military corruption and patronage that has gone on for decades in Egypt, a system that has given the military unimpeded control over an estimated 40% of the Egyptian economy–“a state within a state” as a well-informed Egyptian friend of mine puts it.

For years, Egypt’s top military ranks have enjoyed a pampered existence in sprawling developments such as Cairo’s Nasr City, where officers are housed in spacious, subsidized condominiums. They enjoy other amenities the average Egyptian can only dream of, such as nurseries, bonuses, new cars, schools and military consumer cooperatives featuring domestic and imported products at discount prices. In other areas, top officers are able to buy luxurious apartments on generous credit for 10 percent of what those apartments are actually worth.

But we’re not just talking about sensational official perks. Many of Egypt’s brass are notoriously corrupt. Vast swathes of military land, for instance, were sold by the generals to finance some major urban developments near Cairo — with little if any accounting.

Other choice military property ran on the Nile Delta and Red Sea coast boasted idyllic beaches, and exquisite coral reefs. In return for turning the land over to private developers, military officers became key shareholders in a slew of gleaming new tourist developments.

The generals also preside over 16 enormous factories that turn out not just weapons, but an array of domestic products from dishwashers to heaters, clothing, doors, stationary pharmaceutical products, and microscopes. Most of these products are sold to military personnel through discount military stores, but a large amount are also sold commercially.

The military also builds highways, housing developments, hotels, power lines, sewers, bridges, schools, telephone exchanges, often in murky arrangements with civilian companies.

The military are also Egypt’s largest farmers, running a vast network of dairy farms, milk processing facilities, cattle feed lots, poultry farms, fish farms. They’ve plenty left from their huge output to sell to civilians through a sprawling distribution network.

The justification for all this non-military activity is that the military are just naturally more efficient than civilians. Hard not to be “more efficient” when you are able to employ thousands of poorly paid military recruits for labor.

Many civilian businessmen complain that competing with the military is like trying to compete with the Mafia. And upon retiring, top military officers are often rewarded with plum positions running everything from factories and industries to charities.

Whatever the number, Robert Springborg, who has written extensively on Egypt, says officers in the Egyptian military are making “billions and billions and billions” of dollars.

But there’s no way to know how efficient or inefficient the military are, nor how much money their vast enterprises make, nor how many millions or billions get skimmed off since the military’s operations are off the nation’s books. No real published accountings.

No oversight. Even Mohammed Morsi when he became president, was obliged to agree to the military’s demand that there would be no civilian oversight of the military budget.

Of course none of the above is a surprise to U.S. officials who dole out some 1.3 billion dollars a year in military aid to the Egyptian Army, and hope that sum and the neat weapons it provides will keep the army in line. [One of the most detailed studies of the military’s non-military activities was done by a U.S. military researcher at Fort Leavenworth.]

The U.S. also has a 1.3 billion dollar carrot dangling in front of the Egyptian Army. That annual American military aid to Egypt has allowed the Egyptian officers to get their hands on some of the most sophisticated of modern weapons—as we’ve seen over the past couple of years in downtown Cairo.

The generals realize there is no way the U.S. will continue paying for those goodies if a new regime more hostile to Israel takes power in Cairo.

A perceptive look into all this came via a 2008 U.S.diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks. The writer in the U.S. Embassy in Cairo ticked off the various businesses the military was involved in, and considered how the military might react if Egypt’s then president, Hosni Mubarak, were to lose power.

The military would almost certainly go along with a successor, the cable’s author wrote, as long as that successor didn’t interfere in the military’s business arrangements.

But, the cable continued, “in a messier succession scenario, it becomes more difficult to predict the military’s actions.”

No scenario could be “messier” than the mounting chaos in Egypt over the past few months.

The military acted.

July 5, 2013 Posted by | Corruption, Economics, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Comments Off on The Egyptian Army: State Within A State

US aid cut to Egypt worries Israel: Report

Press TV – July 4, 2013

The Israeli regime is worried that Washington’s plan to cut aid to Egypt in the wake of the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi could endanger the Israel-Egypt peace treaty, a report says.

The Tel Aviv regime fears that the US government would suspends the annual military aid of USD 1.3 billion to Egypt after the Egyptian Army overthrew Morsi’s government, Israeli daily Globes reported on Thursday.

The paper quoted US sources as saying that Israel might ask the US administration to find a way to continue supplying aid to Egypt.

US President Barack Obama said on Wednesday that he was “deeply concerned” by the military removal of Morsi. Obama said he ordered the government to review the American aid to Egypt.

Under the US law, the government has to suspend foreign aid to any country whose elected leader is toppled in a coup. Obama has so far stopped short of describing the events in Egypt as a coup.

The American sources also told the Israeli paper that maintaining the peace treaty was one of the pillars of the collapsed government of Morsi.

“The US Congress, which controls the purse strings, was suspicious, and even hostile, to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood government. Its agreement, albeit with gritted teeth, to keep the peace treaty with Israel, was one of the main reasons why the pro-Israeli Congress agreed to continue aid to Egypt after the fall of President Hosni Mubarak in 2011,” the paper also said.

The sources also said that the Tel Aviv regime hoped that the US would understand the importance of the treaty and continue its aid to Egypt.

General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the head of Egypt’s Army, announced late Wednesday that President Morsi was no longer in office. He declared Head of Supreme Constitutional Court Adli Mansour as the interim president.

Morsi’s ouster came after days of massive anti-government protests plunged the country into chaos.

July 4, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | Comments Off on US aid cut to Egypt worries Israel: Report