Britain and America’s support for the removal of long-established dictatorships in Egypt and Libya only served to create a dangerous political vacuum in North Africa that is being actively exploited by Islamist groups hostile to the West. And it is the dawning realisation that a similar fate could befall the kingdoms of the Gulf that has persuaded Britain to adopt a more nuanced approach. Indeed, according to senior Bahraini officials who travelled with the royal party this week, one of the main items on the Downing Street agenda was Bahrain’s desire to sign a billion-pound arms deal with Britain to supply 12 state-of-the-art Typhoon fighters.
Egypt and her strategic waterways are the heart of the Arab economy. Wars have been waged in the past based upon these important straits. If Egypt falls to militarism or radical Islam like its neighbors Sudan and Libya, numerous Arab and western nations will suffer massive economic loss. You can have unlimited oil and LNG on hand but you need safe shipping routes in which to transport it. With this understanding Egypt is not truly sovereign and that is why it is in a constant state of flux. Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iran and other actors and countries are in the midst of a covert battle royal to influence Egyptian affairs.
The suspension of Tunisia’s transitional parliament could bring the birthplace of the Arab Spring uprisings closer to an “Egyptian scenario” in which the secular opposition topples an Islamist-led government, analysts and politicians say.
The biggest shock to the ruling Ennahda party, the Tunisian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, may be that the latest blow came from one of its own secular allies – a sign of rising polarisation between Islamist and secular forces.
A group of energy companies that discovered large amounts of natural gas off Israel’s Mediterranean coast said they were in talks to export the gas to Europe via a pipeline to Turkey. They are also studying options to export gas to Jordan, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority, Avner Oil & Gas said on Tuesday. “The partners are negotiating with various officials,” Avner, one of the partners in the project, said. Recoverable gas in the Levant Basin, which lies largely in Israeli and Cypriot waters in the eastern Mediterranean, hold some 3.5 trillion cubic metres of gas, the U.S. Geological Survey has estimated.
Vladimir Putin, now in power for over 13 years, has a history with the United States, his one-time opponent on the global chessboard. He began by mending ties with NATO, broken during the Kosovo conflict, and then actually applying for membership in the alliance that once faced off against the Red Army. In the wake of Sept. 11, Putin not only called George W. Bush, but also gave practical and substantive support to U.S. operations in Afghanistan—and tolerated a large U.S. military presence in former Soviet Central Asia.
Egypt’s army is recasting the country’s political drama, giving a popular general the starring role in a change with echoes of the past that could undermine democracy in the Arab world. Even though Sisi has a popular mandate, the army’s manoeuvring, coupled with the resurgence of the security apparatus, raises questions about the prospects for democracy in the Arab world’s biggest nation. In one incident alone, 80 Mursi supporters were killed in the streets of Cairo on Saturday.
From Washington’s perspective, Bandar’s appointment is important news. Sure, his wife was investigated by Congress a decade ago about her connections to Al-Qaida activists. But Bandar is considered the CIA’s man in Riyadh. When there was a need to transfer money to the Nicaraguan rebels in the 1980s, Bandar dealt with the Saudi “grants” requested by the White House. He also arranged things when Saudi Arabia was asked to help fund the mujahideen’s battles in Afghanistan against the Soviets.
I am astonished by how little the media has covered the ongoing protests in Bahrain, Kuwait, and eastern Saudi Arabia. You would think that the oil-rich Gulf Cooperation Council states would be under a microscope, because what happens there immediately affects oil prices. But large media corporations have opted not to cover events in these countries, so as not to cause market panic. And there is a lot to panic about. The Arab Spring, or something like it, in Bahrain is all about Sunni-Shia tensions. Bahraini Shia make up almost 70% of the country’s total population.
A long time corrupt, disconnected ruling party? Check. Contentious elections? Check. Allegations of voter fraud? Check. Ethnic and religious fault lines? Check. On the surface, two months after the closest election in Malaysian history, one in which the opposition coalition actually received more votes, the situation looks ripe for an uprising along the lines of Egypt or Tunisia, or even nearby Indonesia and Thailand. Instead, the country seems destined for more years of unequal, resource-driven, racially divisive policies.
How many bargains you get when shopping depends on Egypt’s Suez Canal being open for business. Between 8% and 12% of all international trade goes through Egypt’s Suez Canal, which cuts thousands of miles off ship journeys from Asia to Europe and to the North American East Coast. We can call it 10% of world trade on a rolling average (trade is still down after the 2008 crash). But note that if the Suez Canal were to be closed by the country’s turbulence, it wouldn’t just affect that ten percent– the impact on prices of many commodities would be across the board.
Nearly three weeks after Egypt’s military forced the country’s President Mohamed Morsi out of office and jailed him and officials of his Muslim Brotherhood party, the explosive reaction on Cairo’s streets has brought death and turmoil—and in another country more than 1,200 miles away, an uneasy sense of loss. Qatar, the tiny gas-rich peninsula in the Arabian Gulf, had poured nearly $5 billion into Morsi’s government in its one short year in office, propping up Egypt’s teetering economy, and investing—or so it thought—in a lasting relationship with the Arab world’s most populous nation.
Dozens of people were injured in Cairo clashes Monday as the family of Mohamed Morsi said they plan to sue Egypt’s army chief for having “kidnapped” the ousted Islamist president.
Supporters and opponents of Morsi clashed in Tahrir Square, throwing rocks and firing birdshots, according to members of the emergency services. Police fired tear gas to disperse them.
Dozens of people were injured, medics said, in the clashes that erupted hours after hundreds of Morsi supporters held protests elsewhere in the Egyptian capital.
As was the case with the Balkans in 1914, on the eve of the First World War, the Eastern Mediterranean is now a pile of “kindling”, ready to trigger a larger explosion. Similar to the ball which deprived the life of Archduke Ferdinand, nobody can predict what could widen the conflict, but surely the possibility should not be ignored. Conflicts Sunni and Shiite boil. In the old sources of tension have been added and new, mainly for gas deposits claimed by Israel, Cyprus, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.
Britain has sold industrial materials to Syria that could have been used to make chemical weapons, according to a new report by MPs on arms sales. The Commons Committees on Arms Export Controls (CAEC) said it was just one example of numerous questionable deals between UK contractors and countries the Foreign Office (FCO) deems to have poor human rights records. The CAEC said supplies of sodium fluoride which could be used to make chemical weapons were sent to Syria in the last couple of years.
This history of double standards shadows the recent events in Egypt and Washington. When a country’s military sends tanks into the streets, deposes an elected President, suspends the constitution, shuts down television stations, and arrests the leadership of the ruling party, the usual word for it is “coup.” But, in the days since all this came to pass in Egypt, the Obama Administration has gone to great lengths to avoid calling it by its rightful name-Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, said that the events of July 3rd and afterward were under “review”-for the obvious reason that, under the law, it would mean the end of $1.5 billion in U.S. military and economic aid.
With massive firepower at its command, the Egyptian security forces are armed with a wide range of mostly U.S-supplied weapons, ranging from fighter planes, combat helicopters, warships and missiles to riot-controlled equipment such as armoured personnel carriers, recoilless rifles, sub-machine guns, rubber bullets, handguns and tear gas grenades.Additionally, Egypt receives grants under the International Military Education and Training (IMET) programme, amounting to about 1.3 million to about 1.9 million dollars annually, plus about 250 million dollars annually in economic aid.
The development of new safe havens for terrorism and transnational crime in the Sahel should be considered a threat to all European national interests, says think-tank. The ongoing crises in Syria and Egypt have marginalised the conflict in Mali in the western media. But the French-led military intervention in that country is facing a complex and challenging transitional period. The United Nations Special Envoy for the Sahel, Romano Prodi, recently warned the international community to “not forget the Sahel, or you will have more Malis if you do”.
Both Gen Sisi and Adly Mansour, the chief justice appointed as interim president by the generals, have old ties with Riyadh – Gen Sisi was once military attache there, while Mr Mansour spent seven years as an adviser to the Saudi ministry of commerce. The day before Saudi’s money was sent to Egypt, it won another small battle when Ghassan Hitto, who was said to be close to Qatar and the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, finally resigned as the interim prime minister of the Syrian National Coalition. Two days earlier, Saudi’s man, Ahmad Assi Jarba, a tribal sheikh of more traditional bent, became its president.
Two U.S. Navy ships patrolling in the Middle East moved closer to Egypt’s Red Sea coast in recent days, the top Marine Corps general said on Thursday, in what appeared to be a precautionary move after the military overthrow of President Mohamed Mursi. “Egypt is (in) a crisis right now,” Marine Corps Commandant General James Amos told the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank. “When that happens, what we owe the senior leadership of our nation are some options,” Amos said. He did not say what the options were.
Egypt is planning a large scale offensive against Sinai terrorists, where it has already killed scores of Islamist fighters – including 32 Hamas men – in recent days, according to reports. Egyptian forces also arrested several others over the past few days in the Sinai Peninsula, an Egyptian military source told the London-based Arabic-language al-Hayat newspaper Thursday morning. According to the newspaper, the Egyptian army’s military operations in Sinai killed 32 Hamas militants and arrested 45 of the group’s members, as well as about 200 other gunmen.
Scores of militants linked to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, now locked in an explosive confrontation with the Egyptian army over the ousting of President Mohamed Morsi, a Brotherhood leader, are reported to have moved into the Sinai Peninsula to fight the military.
They’re expected to join forces with jihadist groups linked to al-Qaida who have established bases in Sinai’s vast desert wastes since 2011 and are already clashing with Egyptian security forces.
Had anyone asked back in January what kind of risks you thought might be giving financial markets a jolt by mid-year, odds are that you would have talked about the Federal Reserve’s intentions with respect to quantitative easing, the outlook for economic growth and whether S&P 500 companies are delivering the kind of earnings that analysts had been expecting. That is the problem with geopolitical events, in a nutshell. They tend to fall into the category that former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld famously referred to as “unknown unknowns”: They can’t be predicted.
Egypt’s evolution after the armed forces removed President Morsi from office will be a determinant in the geopolitical definition of the southern and eastern Mediterranean, according to the Euromed Survey presented by the European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed) today.
The survey was released at an event in Brussels with representatives of research centres, the European Commission, the European External Action Service, the European Parliament and diplomatic delegations. The Survey, which has been conducted annually since 2009, is funded by the European Union.
The collapse of the Muslim Brotherhood’s rule did not just impact its supporters in Egypt. In Qatar, it caused a tremor inside the whole ruling establishment, destroying the political bridges it had built to exert influence in the country. Qatar was the mother whose milk fed the Islamist groups. It spent billions to install them in power – observers estimate that Qatar paid more than $17 billion to Arab Spring countries – especially the deposed president Mohamed Mursi. This could be the beginning of the decline of the role of Qatar under the new Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.
Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood called for an “uprising” on Monday after dozens 35 supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi were killed at dawn when security forces opened fire on them as they were praying, and urged international intervention to prevent a “new Syria.”
“Morsi supporters were praying while the police and army fired live rounds and tear gas at them. This led to around 35 dead and the figure is likely to rise,” the Brotherhood said in a statement
With unrest in Egypt, U.S. military officials looking for insight might test the ties they formed with the Egyptian defense minister, Lt. Gen. Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, when he was a student at the Army War College.
“In this little historical Pennsylvania town, the most important school in the world operates under the radar,” said retired Col. Stephen Gerras, a professor of behavioral science at the Carlisle Barracks.
The African Union, proud of its zero tolerance for coups on the continent, advertises this policy as part of what is termed shared democratic values, which all countries are expected to incorporate into a common set of constitutional convergence principles. These principles is expected to automatically elicit joint action when power is seized through unconstitutional means. I am not convinced by the argument that a coup could ultimately good for democracy. The argument that the military was merely enforcing the will of the people and safeguarding democracy from its real opponent, who, in this thinking, was Morsi is nonsensical.
Just days after Morsi’s removal from office by the Egyptian armed forces, there is a remarkable replacement: Mohammad ElBaradei, the lone leadership figure with deep Western appeal — and the resume and ideology to match.
There’s no doubt that ElBaradei represents the smallest and least powerful of the main factions supporting big reform in post-Mubarak Egypt — the others being Team Muslim Brotherhood and Team Army.
“Mansour is relatively unknown in Egypt’s political scene,” says Christian Achrainer, political scientist at the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP). The 67-year-old Mansour, who has been working for the country’s constitutional court since 1992, had been in office as president of the court for just two days when the military pushed Morsi out. Morsi had appointed Mansour to the post after his predecessor, Maher al-Behairis retired at the end of June. A new law which came into force after Hosni Mubarak was toppled forces the president to appoint one of the three longest-serving vice presidents as president of the court.
The day after President Mohammed Morsi was forcibly removed from office by the military, it appears Egypt’s new leaders are hunting for his Muslim Brotherhood pals and arresting the Islamist political party’s top officials. According to reports from Reuters, the Associated Press and the AFP, Egyptian authorities issued arrest warrants for the Muslim Brotherhood’s supreme leader Mohammed Badie, his first deputy Khairat El-Shater, and around 200 other Brotherhood members on Thursday. The Associated Press reports Badie has already been detained in a coastal city close to the Libyan border and is now being flown back to Cairo.
As Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi digs in his heels despite calls for him to step down, roughly 500 U.S. Marines deployed to Italy and Spain are poised to react if their presence is needed to calm the brewing violence in the North African country, according to Stars and Stripes. Pentagon spokesman told reporters the Marines were ready, if needed, to respond to a crisis in the region: “We have taken steps to ensure our military is ready to respond to a range of contingencies.” CNN reports that 200 of the Marines in Italy and Spain are poised to be airborne within an hour of getting orders to deploy to Egypt
By collecting millions of signatures, opponents of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi are pressuring his Muslim Brotherhood. Organizers have planned a large protest for June 30, which could turn violent. This anger toward the president and the politics of the Muslim Brotherhood has found an outlet in the two-month old “Tamarod” campaign, the goal of which is to raise 15 million signatures against the president. In 2012, Morsi was elected with only 13 million votes. The campaign’s initiators hope to force the president to resign this way.
A coalition of Egyptian Islamist parties on Monday called for an “open-ended” demonstration on Friday in support of President Mohamed Morsi two days before planned rallies against him, raising fears of violence.
The alliance is calling for a “million-man march” followed by an open-ended protest outside the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque in Egypt’s Nasr City under the slogan “legitimacy is a red line”, Morsi’s Freedom and Justice Party said in a statement on its website. The call comes a day after the defence minister warned that the army will intervene if violence breaks out.
Egypt’s top ranking defense official warned Sunday that the military was “ready to intervene to stop the violence” ahead of scheduled mass protests to mark the one-year anniversary this week of Mohammed Morsi’s inauguration as Egypt’s first democratically elected president.
Defense Minister Abdel-Fatah el Sissi’s comments were the most forceful to date by a senior official of Egypt’s revered military in response to months of unrest and seemed to threaten the possibility of a military coup if protests lead to bloodshed or, as el Sissi described it, “uncontrollable conflict.”
American troops being deployed to Sinai this summer are doing so as part of the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) peacekeeping force that has been present there since 1982, the armed forces said in an official statement Saturday. Reports had been circulating on Thursday on the Washington Times and state-run Al-Ahram websites that United States soldiers were being deployed on Egyptian soil to combat riots. Major Ahmed Shaaban told Daily News Egypt that such claims are inaccurate. “They are only training as a precautionary measure,” said Shaaban.
The battle over the Nile has already drawn neighboring countries into the dispute. Sudan and South Sudan have expressed their support for Ethiopia’s dam, while Somalia might show their allegiance to Egypt.
Earlier this month, Egyptian army officials arrived in Somalia to discuss revamping the Somalia National Army and building a possible Egyptian military base. It appears that if Egypt & Ethiopia do go to war, Egypt is relying on Somalia’s strategic location to attack Ethiopia. In order to do so, they will need to go through Somaliland first – with the help of Somalia.
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi said he had cut all diplomatic ties with Damascus on Saturday and called for a no-fly zone over Syria, pitching the most populous Arab state firmly against President Bashar al-Assad.
Addressing a rally called by Sunni Muslim clerics in Cairo, the Sunni Islamist head of state said: “We decided today to entirely break off relations with Syria and with the current Syrian regime.” He also warned Assad’s allies in the Iranian-backed Lebanese Shi’ite militia Hezbollah to pull back from fighting in Syria.
Egypt’s military will not allow violence during protests against President Mohamed Mursi that his opponents have planned for June 30, the first anniversary of the leader’s election, a state newspaper said yesterday.
“Security forces from the armed forces and the military police will deploy on all main roads” on June 28 “to secure vital installations and public facilities”, Al Gomhuria said, quoting a military source. “The armed forces will not allow any confrontations that could lead to violence or drive the country into a spiral of blood during the June 30 protests,” it said.
Eastern European states had clearer goals in their 1990s transitions, writes Tony Barber. So it is in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia, two-and-a-half years after the eruption of the Arab Spring, and so it was just over 20 years ago in central and eastern Europe after the fall of communism. The differences between the two regions are, for the most part, more striking than the similarities. In one fundamental respect, however, they have something in common: a period of transition in which the struggle for a settled constitutional and political order and economic progress is long and hard-fought.
The latest setback for Greece: MSCI Inc. booted the euro-zone member from its index of developed countries. It is the first time the index provider demoted a country from its “developed” to its “emerging-market” category since the launch of its flagship emerging-markets index in 1987.
It affirms what investors have believed for years. Multiple bailouts by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, a sharp contraction in gross domestic product and a still-large debt burden mean Greece now has more in common with Hungary than France.
So many devastating changes in the Middle East’s so-called ‘Arab Spring’ aftermath are being blamed on misguided US policies in many countries. This in-depth report reveals how Washington institutions allegedly groom destructive elements when attempting to destabilise nations. Their tentacles are now even touching Turkey’s fully-fledged democracy – one that has achieved economic transformation in only a decade, with tourism and foreign investment booming.
Egypt will demand that Ethiopia stop construction of a Nile river dam and warned “all options are open” if it harms its water supply, advisers to President Mohamed Morsi said on Wednesday.
“It is Egypt’s right to defend its interests,” said Ayman Ali, one of Morsi’s advisers, in comments carried by the official MENA news agency. “Other people have a right to seek their own interests. But there must be guarantees that the Ethiopian dam will not harm Egypt, otherwise all options are open,” he added.
Politicians meeting with Egypt’s president on Monday proposed hostile acts against Ethiopia, including backing rebels and carrying out sabotage, to stop it from building a massive dam on the Nile River upstream.
Some of the politicians appeared unaware the meeting with President Mohammed Morsi was being carried live on TV. Morsi did not directly react to the suggestions, but said in concluding remarks that Egypt respects Ethiopia and its people and will not engage in any aggressive acts against the East African nation.
Founders of Egypt’s ‘Rebel’ campaign, a newly established movement that aims to withdraw confidence from President Mohamed Morsi by collecting citizens’ signatures, spoke at an open forum on Wednesday to discuss the campaign, which has recently gone viral online and on the streets. ‘Rebel’ campaigners hope to collect 15 million signatures and hold a mass sit-in on 30 June – marking the end of Morsi’s first year as president – to call for snap presidential elections and force Morsi out of office.
Algeria is competing to be the next Arab nation to witness a popular revolt. That is assuming soccer is a barometer of rising discontent in a region experiencing a wave of mass protests that have already toppled the leaders of Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Yemen and sparked civil war in Syria.
In fact, there is increasingly little doubt that soccer, a historic nucleus of protest in Algeria, is signaling that popular discontent could again spill into the streets of Algiers and other major cities.
Egypt experienced a state of unrest on Friday, as numerous protests across the country took place. While various protests shared similar demands, people largely voiced their concerns on varying issues.
In Alexandria people took to the streets to denounce the rule of President Mohamed Morsi, calling for early presidential elections. A similar protest took place in Cairo, where security surrounding the cabinet building was intensified in preparation.
The recent discovery of oil and gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean off the Israeli, Cypriot and Lebanese coasts is a great boost to the independence and self-sufficiency of these countries.
But the discoveries also add to existing tensions between Israel and Lebanon as both are claiming the oil and gas reserves as their own. In April, natural gas from the Israeli Tamar reserve began to flow from an offshore rig in the Mediterranean Sea into Israel, giving the country the chance to hone its energy security and freedom.
The Cyprus issue, energy security and the exploitation of hydrocarbon reserves in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone were examined during a meeting in Athens between the Defence Ministers of Cyprus and Greece, Fotis Fotiou and Panos Panagiotopoulos, respectively.
Fotiou also discussed with Panagiotopoulos the situation in the wider south-eastern Mediterranean region and Turkish threats against Cyprus with regard to oil exploration.
The FBI is asking for is the ability to fine those companies that don’t comply with a wiretap order, even if they’re technically unable to do so within a time limit set by the FBI.
In other words, if you can’t provide the feds with a back door to your system, the government will keep piling on fines until you go out of business. The idea, of course, is to compel companies that provide secure communications to also build in a means for the feds carry out get their wiretaps.
A team of scientists in China has created hybrid viruses by mixing genes from H5N1 and the H1N1 strain behind the 2009 swine flu pandemic, and showed that some of the hybrids can spread through the air between guinea pigs. The results are published inScience1. Flu hybrids can arise naturally when two viral strains infect the same cell and exchange genes. This process, known as reassortment, produced the strains responsible for at least three past flu pandemics, including the one in 2009. There is no evidence that H5N1 and H1N1 have reassorted naturally yet, but they have many opportunities to do so.
“It is our hope that the Gulf Cooperation Council, the GCC, can play an important role in the future providing security for this region,” he told an audience at the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies Research. Across the board, he said, Washington is urging allies to build local capacity. “That’s what we’re doing for the UAE and that’s what we’re doing with other countries. Yes, we give them the help they need, we give them assistance, but the fact is that they have to help provide for their security.” For months, many commentators from Riyadh to Doha to Manama have sensed and relayed this shift in US policy.
“The year 2014 can be expected to usher in another major war involving the U.S.” The threat of war against the United States is making headlines and roiling investors’ nerves. While full-scale war is likely not imminent, it’s something worth considering in light of where we stand in the long-term War Cycle.
To answer this question we need first to realize where we are in the context of the 24-year cycle. This particular cycle, a subset of the Kress 120-year cycle, has been identified as the long-term “war cycle” among industrialized countries. The most recent 24-year cycle bottom occurred in October 1990. This ended a vicious bear market for the stock market.
The only democracy Egypt has known in 5,000 years of recorded history lasted six years — from 1946, when the World War II British protectorate came to an end, until 1952 when Col. Gamal Abdel Nasser and his Free Officers movement dethroned and exiled King Farouk. Nasser’s coup was inspired by Egypt’s defeat in the first Arab-Israeli war of 1948. No more than 100 colonels, majors and captains were involved, including Anwar Sadat, who succeeded Nasser upon his death in 1970. Officially, Nasser and his Free Officers said they had taken over to wipe out corruption among their generals who, they charged, had led Egypt to its first defeat by Israel in 1948.
The Central Intelligence Agency conspired with dozens of governments to build a secret extraordinary rendition and detention program that spanned the globe. Extraordinary rendition is the transfer—without legal process—of a detainee to the custody of a foreign government for purposes of detention and interrogation. In the Open Society Justice Initiative’s new report, it stripped people of their most basic rights, facilitated gruesome forms of torture, at times captured the wrong people, and debased the United States’ human rights reputation world-wide.
It was what secularists had feared would secure an Islamist state. After granting himself sweeping powers and pushing through a controversial new constitution, President Mohamed Morsi had been calling for parliamentary elections with haste. With the opposition set to boycott, Islamists were poised to dominate. But when a top court cancelled elections last month just weeks before elections were set, the president’s plans were quickly derailed and a more complex struggle reemerged.
Morocco could be the first victim among the emerging democracies of Southern Mediterranean, a European strategy for economic independence and political sovereignty. The World Social Forum held recently in Tunis, associative altermondialists Maghreb, South European and Scandinavian, had preached an alarming discourse: It would be according to what was discussed by them, a wide ranging a war that is about to pit the EU-27 countries against the democratic spring countries in the southern Mediterranean. Thus, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and to a lesser extent Jordan, whether it decides its orientation towards democracy or not, will be kept on a leash by Europeans through Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas (DCFTAs)
It was a perilous time for Egypt. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) was demanding subsidy cuts in exchange for a loan Egypt’s leaders desperately wanted. So they complied, cutting subsidies on the bread, cooking fuel, and gasoline average citizens relied on to live.
Within hours, workers were pouring off the docks in the Suez Canal zone and Alexandria and out of the factories in the Nile Delta, and attacking symbols of the government everywhere – furious about the sudden rise in the price of daily staples. In Cairo’s Tahrir Square, angry youth tore up sidewalks to hurl stones at riot police when they ran out of Molotov cocktails
Israel Today newspaper has prepared a special report on the Arab armies in the Middle East; its title is telling; “Long Arm in the Region” is a reference to the Israel Defence Forces. It is claimed that the IDF is planning for a confrontation with Egypt. There is a new unit within the IDF which studies the armies of the Arab states through Israel’s military intelligence agency, Aman.
This agency supplies information on the power centres in the region’s armies and their plans, as well as how to exhaust their capabilities even before a direct confrontation. In the event of war with any Arab state, the new unit is ready to present a detailed plan of attack, cutting off enemy supply routes and rendering it unable to retaliate against Israeli attacks.
Qatar, the small Gulf state that on Tuesday hosts an Arab summit, has become a key regional player thanks to its support for Arab uprisings and the marginalisation of traditional heavyweights.
But the “chequebook diplomacy” of this energy-rich state — a staunch US ally — and its backing for Islamists who have managed to seize power in some countries rocked by the Arab Spring have triggered criticism. The emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, is “obsessed by an ambition to leave his heirs a country that counts on the world map after it was practically unknown only 20 years ago,”
Protests against the Muslim Brotherhood continue to rock Egypt without a word being said from the White House. Now, the Brotherhood and allied Islamists are taking a cue from their Shiite counterparts in Tehran and have announced they are setting up a civilian force with the power to arrest those they deem to be criminals.
At around the same time, Jama’a al-Islamiya threatened to set up a pro-Brotherhood militia to “protect private and public property and counter the aggression on innocent citizens.”
Egypt ministers announced controversial plans to introduce a smart-card system that limits the amout of subsidized bread citizens can buy. The government would start rationing “after two months,” Supply Minister Bassem Ouda told Reuters earlier this week. Besides cutting subsidies, the severe economic crisis has forced the Islamist-led government to introduce rationing. Tension is already high in Egypt with the shortage of fuel, and economists have warned that restrictions on bread sales could cause a “revolution of the hungry.”
A lot of people in Europe, especially the French, cheered heedlessly when the Arab Spring took off in 2011. But then came the 70,000 dead from the Syrian war; the proliferation of terrorism in Libya and Mali; the assassination of the main Tunisian opposition leader Chokri Belaid in a country where there is actually less freedom than before; and of course, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, knee deep in economic and social chaos.
The Arab Spring of these secular republics wasn’t as positive and peaceful as many had expected.
So who is behind the unrest? The money fueling the confrontation comes from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, none of which are enamored of the Muslim Brotherhood or Morsi. They fear that the untidy democracy, such as it is, in Egypt and elsewhere amid the Arab Spring could spill over to their states, and they desire a return to something like the military-backed regime of Mubarak, which was politically reliable and dedicated to suppressing political extremism and even dissent in all forms.
Clashes between protesters and the police in the restive Egyptian city of Port Said that entered their second day Monday have dragged in the military to a dramatic extent into the nation’s turmoil.
At times in the violence, frictions have arisen between the police that were battling protesters and army forces that tried to break up the fighting. Troops in between the two sides were overwhelmed by police tear gas, one army colonel was wounded by live fire, and troops even opened fire over the heads of police, bringing cheers from protesters.
Israel has long been keen to establish a foothold in parts of Africa, for strategic as well as economic reasons. The vast continent offers relatively accessible (and increasingly fought-over) sources of energy and water, as well as emerging markets. While Israel has been able to establish diplomatic relationships with most non-Muslim African countries, nations such as Mali and Niger have so far refused to formally recognise it. Clearly, Israel would like to convert these nations of the Sahel into friends and a potential rear guard against hostile Arab nations in the north.
The collapse of regimes like Hosni Mubarak’s in Egypt, which many considered “an exemplar of…durable authoritarianism” was a salient reminder to many that such revolutions are “inherently unpredictable.” Before long some began to speculate that the protest movements might spread to authoritarian states outside the Arab world, including China. Indeed, the Chinese government was among those that feared the unrest would spread to China because, as one observer noted, China faced the same kind of “social and political tensions caused by rising inequality, injustice, and corruption” that plagued much of the Arab world on the eve of the uprisings.
“The problem with the Brotherhood is that they came to power but are still dealing with the nation as they did when they were in the opposition,” said Abdel-Jalil el-Sharnoubi, former editor-in-chief of the group’s website who left the Brotherhood in May 2011.
“Because they cannot trust the state, they have created their own,” he added. The notion of a state within a state has precedents elsewhere in the Arab world. In Lebanon, the Iranian-backed Shiite Hezbollah is the de facto government in much of the south and east of the country and has its own army and telephone network.
In reaction to the escalations, the presidency issued a statement on Tuesday stating that President Mohamed Morsi submitted a new law proposal to the Shura Council to re-launch Port Said’s free trade zone.
Unrest continued in several Egyptian governorates on Tuesday, as calls for civil disobedience escalated in canal governorates and spread to the governorate of Kafr El-Sheikh. In reaction to the escalations, the presidency issued a statement on Tuesday stating that President Mohamed Morsi submitted a new law proposal to the Shura Council to re-launch Port Said’s free trade zone.
Will armies battle each other, as the cry for “blue gold” gets furious? Will “water wars” be as prevalent as conflict for the “black gold” of oil? Two documentary films have wetted public interest – Blue Gold: World Water Wars, and Last Call at the Oasis, and a dystopia novel – The Water Wars – warns of its imminence.
In actuality, history’s pages are already splashed with dozens of conflicts. In 2,450 B.C. the Sumerian cities of Lagash and Umma warred over Tigris-Euphrates water. More recently, Senegal and Mauritaniabattled in 1989 over grazing rights in the Senegal River Valley – hundreds were killed, 250,000 fled their homes. The Pacific Institute provides an excellent map and timeline of 225 water skirmishes.
In Egypt, Libya and Syria, where Qatar tried to play a role post-Arab Spring, it finds itself blamed for much that has gone wrong on a local level. Close ties to Egypt’s new leaders, the Muslim Brotherhood, have alarmed countries like the United Arab Emirates, where the group is banned and which in January said it had foiled a Brotherhood-linked coup plot. Senior officials in the UAE have long believed Qatar has long-term strategy to use the Brotherhood to redraw the region. “There is both greater apprehension and appreciation for Qatar two years after the Arab awakening in the region,”
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, on the first visit to Cairo by an Iranian leader in more than three decades, called for a strategic alliance with Egypt and said he had offered the cash-strapped Arab state a loan.
In a step by Iran to advance ties that were broken in 1979, the Iranian foreign minister said Egyptian tourists and merchants would no longer require visas to visit, Egypt’s state news agency reported. The effort drew a cool response, however. Shi’ite Islamist Iran is still looked on with suspicion by many in Egypt, a predominantly Sunni Muslim nation.
Egypt’s army chief warned Tuesday of the “the collapse of the state” if the political crisis roiling the nation for nearly a week continues.
The warning by Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who is also defense minister, were the first comments by the powerful military since the country’s latest crisis began last week around the second anniversary of Egypt’s uprising. They came days after President Mohammed Morsi ordered the army to restore order in the Suez Canal cities of Port Said and Suez — two of three cities now under a 30-day state of emergency and night curfew.
Egyptian President Mohammad Mursi declared a month-long state of emergency Sunday in three cities along the SuezCanal that have been the focus of anti-government violence that has killed dozens of people over the past four days. Seven people were shot dead and hundreds were injured in Port Said Sunday during the funerals of 33 protesters killed at the weekend. A total of 49 people have been killed in demonstrations around the country since Thursday and Mursi’s opponents have called for more protests Monday.
Like several other key ports in the region – including Piraeus in Greece and Naples in Italy – it is now partially owned by China. The state-owned Cosco Pacific holds 20 percent the terminal, helping make it one of the dominant – if not the dominant – Mediterranean port operators.
Cosco stresses that it is a purely commercial venture and many analysts agree. But few doubt that Beijing has made a wider geopolitical decision to become much more involved in the region. For the last two years, the People’s Liberation Army Navy has sent one or more warships through the Suez Canal to visit southern European ports, the furthest its fleet has ever operated from home.
Qassem Suleimani, the commander of the Qods Force, a division of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps which conducts special operations outside Iran, visited Egypt at the end of December at the invitation of President Mohamed Morsi’s government.
The Times of London reported that the purpose of the visit was “to advise the government on building its security and intelligence apparatus independent of the national intelligence services, which are controlled by Egypt’s military.” During the visit he met with Essam al-Haddad, foreign affairs adviser to Mr Morsi, and officials from the Muslim Brotherhood.
The worst-case scenario is a world war between the West — NATO, U.S., EU with Japan-Taiwan-South Korea — and the East—the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) with Russia, China, Central Asia as members and India, Pakistan, Iran as observers. With four nuclear powers on each side, and West versus Islam as a major issue. In the centre is the explosive mix of a divided territory (Israel-Palestine) and Jerusalem, a capital divided by a wall.
Life in Egypt is about to get harder for ordinary people who will bear the brunt of inflation caused by a decline in the value of their currency. As elections approach, President Mohamed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood may pay a political price. After a 3.2 percent slide in the Egyptian pound’s value against the dollar this week, some importers and shopkeepers say they are factoring in an even bigger decline and that the uncertainty will be reflected in steep price rises.
The United Arab Emirates has arrested an “Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood cell” that trained local Islamists in how to overthrow Arab governments, a Sharjah-based newspaper reported on Tuesday, citing an unnamed source familiar with the investigation.
The oil-rich Gulf state – of which Sharjah is one part – has previously voiced strong distrust of the Islamist political movement which after long years of being banned took power in free elections in Egypt last year. The cell, of “more than 10 people”, had a defined organisational structure and was recruiting Egyptians in the UAE to join, al-Khaleej newspaper reported.
Egypt’s opposition group, the Popular Front, said on Wednesday that it had laid hands on a leaked document signed by the Muslim Brotherhood’s deputy chairman Khairat al-Shater in which he urged the government to claim “total control of the media.”
Shater, who was the Brotherhood’s main presidential candidate before he was disquieted by the election committee, reportedly also called for shutting down TV channels owned by opposition groups. Al-Tahreer newspaper reported that Shater even advised his brethren at the helm of Egypt’s policy making to find ways to contain the more radical Salafi Islamists.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Jordan’s King Abdullah II have held secret talks in Amman to discuss Syria’s potential use of chemical weapons, Al Quds Al-Arabi reported on Wednesday.
In recent weeks, fears have grown over the potential use of Syria’s chemical weapons. Russia, one of the few remaining allies of the Assad regime, said on December 22 that Syria was consolidating its chemical weapons stores in “one or two” places.
The Middle East is a region where any political movement appears as rivalry, a place where no one is without a rival, and where there are those who cannot be without a rival. There are two forms of competition: competition against one or more people, like chess, or competition with one or more people over something, like the 100 meters hurdle race. Competition in the Middle East is generally of the second form, and the two states which the struggle for influence in the Middle East has had them confront each other are the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Struggling to quell violent protests that have threatened to derail a referendum on an Islamist-backed draft constitution, President Mohamed Morsi of Egypt moved Saturday to appease his opponents with a package of concessions hours after state news media reported that he was moving toward imposing a form of martial law to secure the streets and allow the vote.
The Egyptian army deployed tanks outside the presidential palace Thursday following fierce street battles between supporters and opponents of Mohammed Morsi that left five people dead and more than 600 injured in the worst outbreak of violence between the two sides since the Islamist leader’s election.
The intensity of the overnight violence, with Morsi’s Islamist backers and largely secular protesters lobbing firebombs and rocks at each other, signaled a turning point in the 2-week-old crisis over the president’s assumption of near-absolute powers and the hurried adoption of a draft constitution.
Opponents and supporters of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi clashed near the presidential palace Wednesday. Large crowds of Morsi supporters converged on the palace as the day wore on, until they eventually outnumbered opponents. Edward Yeranian in Cairo reports that witnesses say the president’s supporters battled opponents and tore down their tents and forced many to flee the area.
If a cabal of Egyptian generals had been planning a coup, their moment to strike should be imminent. Tuesday saw new clashes between police and tens of thousands of antigovernment demonstrators outside Cairo’s presidential palace as a constitutional deadlock hardened into a not-yet-violent civil war between Islamists and their rivals — and as political camps brought their supporters onto the streets ahead of a Dec. 15 referendum on a controversial draft constitution.
The Greek Cypriot Administration of Southern Cyprus had long been looking for appropriate international conditions to begin prospecting for petrol and natural gas and speeded these operations up after becoming a member of the EU in 2004. It prepared the way legally by signing exclusive economic zone agreements with Egypt, Lebanon, and Israel and then waited for a propitious set of circumstances to begin drilling. Just around this time in 2010, Israel announced that it had discovered about 685 billion m3 of natural gas in its Tamar and Leviathan fields.
Egypt’s top court on suspended its work indefinitely to protest ‘psychological and physical Pressures’ by Islamist supporters of President Mohamed Mursi who prevented judges from entering the court house, worsening a conflict between the judiciary and the head of state.
The Constitutional court was expected to rule on the case of dissolving the constituent assembly and the Shura Council. However, consideration of both cases has been postponed, with no new or follow-up sessions scheduled as of yet.
Former Arab league Secretary-General Amr Moussa spoke out in a recent interview about Qatar “paying” to have U.S. military presence on its lands in return for protection, said a London-based Arab newspaper.
Moussa said that Qatar’s Prince Hamad Bin Khalifa told the United States he was going to fulfill all their military expenses in Qatar if they agree to establish bases in the Gulf state, according to an interview with Al-Hayat newspaper.
Faced with an unprecedented strike by the courts and massive opposition protests, Egypt’s Islamist president is not backing down in the showdown over decrees granting him near-absolute powers.
Activists warn that his actions threaten a “second revolution,” butMohammed Morsi faces a different situation than his ousted predecessor,Hosni Mubarak: He was democratically elected and enjoys the support of the nation’s most powerful political movement.
Hundreds of thousands of protestors gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Tuesday evening, according to reports from the scene. Earlier in the day, minor clashes between police and protestors erupted in front of the US embassy. Reports online suggested that ‘Ahram’ photo journalist, Ahmed Goma, was beaten by government forces while covering the incident.
The violence escalated on Tuesday evening with further reports of tear gas and clashes outside the square. Protestors chanted for the downfall of the regime, leading online commentators to draw parallels with the January 25 revolution.
This week, Robele Ababya wrote a piece titled “Likely war over the Blue Nile River?” that highlighted the growing concern in Ethiopia over the future of Egypt’s tenuous democracy that has seen massive unrest in recent days.
Ababya wrote: “The matter is so serious that I gave it a rather scary title after a lot of soul-searching, but the arrogant stance of prominent Egyptian leaders begged for it as mentioned in the paragraph below – notwithstanding my long held dream that democratic Ethiopia and Egypt will one day emerge as powerful allies working together as keepers of stability and engines of economic growth in the region and beyond in the African continent.”
The courtship of Hamas between rivals Iran and Qatar has been one of the Middle East’s intriguing subplots of the Arab Spring. The bloodshed in Gaza has now sharpened their competition for influence with the Palestinian militant group and the direction it takes in the future.
Qatar has sought to use its vast wealth to win over Hamas with investments and humanitarian aid and encouraging Arab partners to do the same — part of the hyper-rich U.S. allied nation’s broader campaign to bring under its wing Islamist movements that have risen to power
Branded by many protesters as “the new pharaoh,” Morsi embarked on an early confrontation with pro-democracy activists who he tried to win over in his first months in office when he made some equally audacious decisions, such as ordering military chief Mohamed Hussein Tantawi to retire. He also attempted to relieve public prosecutor Abdel Meguid Mahmoud of his duties.
The latter decision, made in October to heed a key demand of Egypt’s revolutionaries, initially backfired due to legal obstacles. But Morsi sidestepped that hindrance Thursday after issuing the controversial decree that makes his decisions immune to judicial review.
Observers believe that the reason why some Gulf states have launched a campaign against Muslim Brotherhood members is because they are worried of the group’s reaching power in the Arab Spring countries. Adding to their worries is the developing relationship between Muslim Brotherhood governments on the one hand and the Turkish Republic, which seems to have found in the organization a new ally that could help Turkey extend its influence in the Arab region.
Israeli tanks and troops moved toward the Gaza Strip on Thursday night in apparent preparation for a possible invasion after a day of violence that included a fatal rocket strike in the southern Israeli city of Kiriyat Malachi, raising the likelihood that the region was on the brink of all-out war.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak summoned more than 30,000 reservists to military duty. Barak said the order was intended to make Israel “ready for any development.”
The Israeli army command has not ruled out that in order to destroy the missile arsenals of the Palestinian movement Hamas they might need not only the Air Force, but possibly to launch a ground operation into Gaza, therefore they have authorized the Army to call up reservists.
The Israeli Air Force struck dozens of targets on the Gaza Strip as part of a large-scale operation codenamed “Protective Pillar”, which resulted in 12 Palestinians being killed, including the leader of the military wing of Hamas, Ahmed al-Jabari.
Israel may launch ground invasion into the Gaza Strip if Palestinians keep on firing rockets and mortars against the Jewish state, a British newspaper reported Sunday.
One unnamed senior Israeli government official told The Telegraph that “a ground incursion is certainly not out of the question although we hope it won’t come to that.”
Source: CH4 The prime minister is touring Gulf states, including Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), in a bid to sell British-made Typhoon fighter jets and promote the defence industry, which creates over 300,000 jobs. The trip comes just a month after Saudi Arabia was “insulted” by a parliamentary inquiry into the […]
One of the most curious of alliances in the Middle East have been the clandestine goings on between the Zionist State of Israel and the Saudi royal family, the guardians of Mecca, among the most conservative of Arab monarchs. As I wrote in a previous blog, that relationship is based on a venerable political tenet: the enemy of my enemy is my friend. The common enemy, in this case, being Iran, radical Islam, and the political upheaval known as the Arab Spring.
Modernization of the Air Force Jordan will American company Lockheed Martin. U.S. Air Force leadership has already approved several bilateral contracts to improve communication infrastructure Jordanian Air Force for a total of 26 million dollars. Pentagon officials stress that Jordan is considered as a key U.S. ally in the Arab world. Advanced American technology will allow the country to defend its airspace and provide air sovereignty.
American military specialists, along with their British counterparts regularly assist Jordan in enhancing its military capabilities.