Military takeover in Egypt: turning a political dispute into a religious conflict


United States Congressman Darrell Issa and General el-Sisi

United States Congressman Darrell Issa and General el-Sisi


Referring to Mursi’s year as president,Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense warned of mixing religion with politics, and of turning a political dispute over a regime that failed to meet the demands of the people into a religious conflict and a war on Islam. He condemned what he said were attempts to distort “a ruling experience that failed to meet the demands of the Egyptian people” and portray it as a “religious battle and a war on Islam.”

[September 11]

Rafah crossing point

Rafah crossing point

At least six soldiers have been killed and 17 others injured in car bomb explosions at an intelligence facility in Rafah on Egypt’s border with the Gaza Strip.

Two cars driven by suicide attackers drove into the outside gates of the military intelligence service building in the Imam Ali area in Rafah on September 11.

[July 10]

Anne Patterson, Liberals denounce U.S. Ambassador [so does Brotherhood]

Anne Patterson, Liberals denounce U.S. Ambassador [so does Brotherhood]


Supporters of the new coalition, particularly the liberals, who support the army are aiming their poisonous arrows at American ambassador Anne Patterson because she personifies what they consider – in a very exaggerated manner – Obama’s biased policy towards the Muslim Brotherhood.
On the other hand, the Brotherhood accuses Obama’s administration of conspiring against them and abandoning them because after deposing Mursi, Anne Patterson advised them to negotiate with the military and with the “Tamarod” (rebellion) protest campaign.
Hisham Melhem
[July 9]
Egyptian GDP

Egyptian GDP


Tuesday, July 9, just six days after the Egyptian army overthrew the Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi, a UAR delegation of foreign and energy ministers and national security adviser landed in Cairo. They came carrying the gifts of $1 billion as a grant and $2 billion in long-term credit.
In well-orchestrated moves, Saudi Arabia then stepped forward with a $5 billion package, of which a lump sum of $2 billion was drafted to Egypt’s state bank that day, followed by another $2 billion as a gift of Saudi gas, and a further $1 billion for propping up the sagging Egyptian currency.
[July 7]
Mr. Morsi never believed the generals would turn on him as long as he respected their autonomy and privileges, insisted to his aides that he remained fully confident that General Sisi would not interfere, almost until the end of his presidency. He was the last one in the inner circle to acknowledge last week that General Sisi was ousting them. His top foreign policy adviser, Essam el-Haddad called the United States ambassador, Anne W. Patterson, to say that Mr. Morsi refused to accept the appointment of a new prime minister and cabinet, one that would take over all legislative powers and replace his chosen provincial governors. He said he had spoken to Susan E. Rice, the national security adviser, and that the military takeover was about to begin, senior aides said.

“Mother just told us that we will stop playing in one hour,” an aide texted an associate, playing on a sarcastic Egyptian expression for the country’s Western patron, “Mother America.”

The State Department had no comment July 6 on the details of the American role in Mr. Morsi’s final days.

The abrupt end of Egypt’s first Islamist government was the culmination of months of escalating tensions and ultimately futile American efforts to broker a solution that would keep Mr. Morsi in his elected office, at least in name, if not in power.
[July 5]
Military concern about Mursi’s governance boiled over when he attended a June 15 rally at which hardline fellow Islamists called for holy war in Syria, army sources say.

Sunni Muslim clerics at the rally denounced as “infidels” both the Shi’ites fighting to protect Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the non-Islamists who oppose Mursi at home.

Mursi himself called for foreign intervention in Syria against Assad, leading to a veiled rebuke from the army, alarmed by the prospect of a new generation of Egyptian jihadis going abroad and then bringing their radical agenda home.

It’s almost impossible to have any sort of economic stability in the face of political turmoil. By taking control, the Egyptian army may provide the degree of stability necessary to bring the donors and investors back, if only in the short-term.

Hence, the jump in Cairo’s stock market. The cost of insuring financial exposure to Egypt in the Credit Default Swap (CDS) market has also fallen.

However, this initial euphoria may be short-lived – underneath the harsh economic realities remain.

The Arab Spring revolution that removed Hosni Mubarak from power did not translate into the economic change many had hoped for.

Instead, over the past two years, political instability in Egypt has ensured that inflation and unemployment rose, while foreign investment and tourist revenues fell.

Government debt has grown from $30bn before Mr Mubarak was ousted to around $40bn today. Inflation, which two and a half years ago was 3%, now stands at between 13% and 18%. Unemployment has climbed to a record 13.2% under Mr Morsi.

Gradual change too slow
Caroline Freund from the Peterson Institute for International Economics said that after Mr Morsi came to power two years ago, he squandered the short “grace period” he had in which to implement changes that might have improved the economy, while he had the support of a newly liberated people.

“It’s very typical for economies to decline in the year around transition, but what we’ve seen is that countries that are able to demonstrate a clear programme both politically and economically are able to rebound much more quickly than countries that do it gradually,” she said.

“While gradual sounds good, gradual usually end up being gradual by default, rather than by design, which is a real problem for the economy because it leaves investors, tourists and consumers on the sidelines waiting to see where things are going.”

The political instability has made it increasingly difficult for the government to raise taxes from Egypt’s 80 million-strong population.

So, as Egypt’s debt ballooned, Mr Morsi’s government continually dipped into the country’s cash reserves, which at $16bn today are less than half what they were before Mr Morsi took office.

Because he battled to raise money from his own people, tourists stopped coming and the IMF loan became stalled, Mr Morsi often relied on cash from other sources to balance the books.

Qatar and Saudi Arabia loaned at least $3bn each, Turkey put in another $1bn and Libya stumped up $2bn. And while the IMF loan of $4.8bn failed to materialise, the United States kept up its annual grant of more than $1.3bn.

But it wasn’t nearly enough.

[June 15]
Egypt has not taken an active role in arming the Syrian rebels, but an aide to Morsi said on June 14 that Cairo would not stand in the way of Egyptians who wanted to fight in Syria, Voice of America

Missiles could play a part in a no-fly zone over Syria.   FIring at a wayward F-16 could bring in American boots

Missiles could play a part in a no-fly zone over Syria. FIring at a wayward F-16 could bring in American boots

U.S. Central Command said the military would be deploying Patriot missile launchers and F-16 fighter planes as part of a training exercise with the Jordanian military called Eager Lion.

“In order to enhance the defensive posture and capacity of Jordan, some of these assets may remain beyond the exercise at the request of the government of Jordan,” Seara said.

[March 17]

standard U.S. TOW anti-tank missile in use worldwide

standard U.S. TOW anti-tank missile in use worldwide

“This is a sensitive matter as you know, but yes the American army and intelligence are training some of the rebels,” in Jordan to use anti-tank weapons, they have finished their training and are now returning to Syria to fight.
[February 28]
The United States will be sending technical advisors through our implementing partners to support the Syrian Opposition Coalition [SOC]’s staff at their Cairo headquarters in the execution of this assistance. This will ensure that the assistance continues to comply with U.S. rules and regulations on the use of foreign assistance, including vetting, oversight, and monitoring

There is the top-down process of the SOC getting stronger in Cairo in its ability to support alternative administration in liberated areas, and there’s a bottom-up process of the SOC providing the goods and services and support and training that those at the local level in the political opposition who are starting to try to provide services need to demonstrate to the people in their neighborhood, the people in their towns, the people in their villages, that a better day is coming.
My understanding is that this will be done – and we can get you more detail on this as we go forward – but my understanding is that these will be some of the NGOs that we regularly work with in this part of the world to deliver these kinds of services.

“He will end by recommending direct military support for the rebels” Pat Lang

The Obama administration said February 28, 2013 that it will provide the Syrian opposition with an additional $60 million in assistance and — in a significant policy shift — will for the first time provide nonlethal aid like food and medical supplies to rebels battling to oust President Bashar Assad.

Remember Libya?[24 Apr 2011] it is difficult to see how this cursory weapons training and the addition of a few dozen advisers can break the stalemate.
Mirroring the disorganisation in the ranks is a squabbling between the top brass. Rival supporters of both Gen Khalifa Hifter and Gen Abdul Fattah Younis claim that each is in overall charge of the military. The rebels’ ruling council appears impotent to sort it out.
In private, even as Britain sends military advisers, diplomats are talking about a long haul where the breakthrough is unlikely to come on the front lines of eastern Libya.

[September 25, 2011]
The Libyan rebels are being aided by small CIA teams, including former U.S. special operators on contract to the intelligence agency, as well as a small number of advisers from British and French special operations teams, according to three former U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss matters of intelligence.
One key to tracking Gadhafi will be to study what he did in the past, a U.S. official said. In 1986, when the U.S. bombed the Libyan cities of Tripoli and Benghazi, he went to the city of Sabha, in a mountainous region of southern Libya. “He was shocked and surprised,” with his arm in a sling, the official said. reuters
September 20: Al Jazeera’s Hashem Ahelbarra, reporting from Tripoli, said NTC fighters in Sabha, located 770km south of the capital, were “confident that in a matter of hours they would control the centre of the city”.

“In the punch into Sabha, the anti-Gaddafi forces targeted strategic areas, including the airport, which is some 10km from the city centre,” said Ahelbarra. al jazeera

“[Gaddafi loyalists] have been using similar tactics as in Sirte and Bani Walid. They have taken up positions in urban areas and are using snipers in the very centre of the city to repel the forces.”
September 3: Gaddafi is believed to have spent time in the town of Bani Walid eight days ago before heading south. His whereabouts are unknown, but Nato and rebel officials believe he is hiding somewhere in an area from the southern town of Sabha to the Algerian border – a vast tract of land on the fringes of the Sahara desert, where he can count on the protection of Tuareg tribesmen. Two weeks after the battle for Tripoli, which rapidly ousted his 42-year regime, southern Libya remains largely a no-go zone for rebels. Sabha, a city of 500,000 people, is still thought to be in loyalist hands. Members of the Gaddafi family were believed to have fled the town on September 3.
Fezzan, the south-west province next to Algeria, is said to be firmly under Gaddafi’s control. While making up some 30% of the land area of Libya, the Fezzan supports little of its population. Despite this, large towns like Sabha, survive on near surface water in the wadis of the north and west. Just west of the city of 250,000 is a fertile enclave called the Wadi al Hayat — Valley of Life — containing some of Libya’s most notable oil and water reserves. More than 15 percent of Libya’s pre-conflict oil output was churned out here by Spain’s Repsol energy concern. The region’s inhabitants include the nomadic Tuareg in the southwest and the Toubou in the southeast. These pastoralist populations often cross the borders of Algeria, Chad and Niger freely. In the north, Arab, Berber and settled Tuareg and Toubou mix. The Tuareg clans of the region were only pacified by European expansion before the Second World War
Gaddafi had arrived on August 26 at a Tripoli compound in a saloon car.”They swapped into a series of Land Cruiser cars and headed off. He spoke to his immediate officer (who said) ‘They’re going to Sabha.”
The Libyan rebels are being aided by small CIA teams, including former U.S. special operators on contract to the intelligence agency, as well as a small number of advisers from British and French special operations teams, according to three former U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss matters of intelligence.
One key to tracking Gadhafi will be to study what he did in the past, a U.S. official said. In 1986, when the U.S. bombed the Libyan cities of Tripoli and Benghazi, he went to the city of Sabha, in a mountainous region of southern Libya. “He was shocked and surprised,” with his arm in a sling, the official said. reuters
[March 1, 2013]

http://youtu.be/XE3Z_Zkcyys

Gaddafi swapped into a series of Land Cruiser cars. 'They're going to Sabha."

Gaddafi swapped into a series of Land Cruiser cars. 'They're going to Sabha."

[March 1, 2013]
Hundreds of foreign jihadist fighters joining the battles against the Syrian troops were seen leaving Syria on Tuesday through borders with neighboring Turkey, the opposition Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.

The reason behind the withdrawal is still vague, said the Observatory, citing one fighter as saying that his comrades “have been pulled out of Syria to join jihadists in Mali.”

The Observatory said the fighters pulled out from Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib, a main hotspot in Syria’s long- standing conflict. Syrian Observatory

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About huecri

Publishing on the Web is a fairly iterative process. ...NYT ...Not too long ago, reporters were the guardians of scarce facts delivered at an appointed time to a passive audience. Today we are the managers of an overabundance of information and content, discovered, verified and delivered in partnership with active communities. summer 2012 issue of Nieman Reports from Harvard, --- THE FIX by Chris Cillizza, WAPO blogger, quoting Matt Drudge: “We have entered an era vibrating with the din of small voices,” he said in the speech. “Every citizen can be a reporter.” Later, he added: “The Net gives as much voice to a 13 year old computer geek like me as to a CEO or Speaker of the House. "
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