[January 29 2014 ]
“Now in Egypt you are a long way from the ideal anyway, so what you want is some regular electoral process in which people who want to have power accept the legitimacy of elections as a means to getting power,” Masoud said.
“If we can just have a few free and fair elections that are not abrogated … maybe that’s the best you can hope for in Egypt right now.”
The influence of local notables over voting habits, especially in rural towns and villages, where most people live, is likely to remain widespread for years to come.
With many of Mursi’s followers in jail or driven underground, and liberal parties unable to challenge Sisi, there are few forces in a position to overhaul the system.
Mubarak’s National Democratic Party, which was banned after the 2011 uprising, was never ideological, like the Communist parties in Eastern Europe. Instead the party was an efficient vehicle for distributing patronage.
Sisi, whose image hangs on posters across Shebin El Kom, may have to depend in the long-term on local politicians who can secure a level of consent from the population that cannot be achieved by force alone.
Fitch Ratings has revised the Outlook on Egypt’s Long-term foreign and local currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDR) to Stable from Negative and affirmed the IDRs at ‘B-‘. A referendum on a new constitution in January is intended to pave the way for presidential and parliamentary elections later in 2014. Nevertheless, serious political tensions remain. Society is deeply polarised, political parties are weak and the security situation in North Sinai has worsened. Medium Reduced political disruption and a greater availability of foreign exchange, combined with fiscal and monetary stimulus, are supporting a tentative improvement in the economy.
The central bank has cut interest rates three times by a total of 150 basis points since July, stressing growth over inflation and cutting borrowing costs for the heavily indebted state. Urban consumer prices rose 13 percent in November year on year.
“For them keeping the currency stable or slightly appreciating was their only way of fighting inflation,” said one Cairo-based currency trader.
“The premium between unofficial and official rate has been widening now to about 8 percent. They’re trying to close that gap.”
Egyptian officials are seeking financing from an unidentified Persian Gulf country to buy as much as $4 billion of Russian arms. Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait have pledged at least $12 billion to Egypt’s new government.
“The only issue is Egypt’s ability to pay,” Igor Korotchenko, [a] member of the Defense Ministry’s advisory board, said by phone from Moscow. “Russia is prepared to supply a wide range of arms to meet Egypt’s requirements.”
Washington has said it would consider resuming some of the suspended aid depending on Egypt’s progress in following the interim government’s plans to hold elections – a plan the government says it is committed to seeing through.
Seeking to mend fences with Egypt, US Secretary of State John Kerry expressed guarded optimism about a return to democracy during a Nov. 3 visit to Cairo.
A Western diplomat in Cairo said the prospect of the United States resuming aid early next year was one factor diminishing the chances of a major new defense deal with Moscow.
The anti-Brotherhood UAE, home to around 380,000 Egyptian expatriates and a major Arab investor in Egypt, withheld billions of dollars in aid after the 2011 overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak, a close ally of most Gulf Arab states.
Now that Mubarak’s successors have themselves been deposed, it is the turn of Qatar-Egyptian business ties to undergo a period of disruption, and for other investors to step in. Egypt’s ambassador to the UAE, Ihab Hamouda, said the Gulf state was spearheading a number of potential projects to be discussed with Gulf investors at the Cairo forum.
Companies such as Al Futtaim Group, Taqa Arabia, Arabtec Holdings, Almarai, Dana Gas, Emaar Properties and DP World will participate.
Kerry also said November 19 that the greatest threat to America is not a “rising rival,” but the “risks that would arise in the world where American leadership ceases to be a driving force.”
He said the gravest danger “comes from the vacuum that the absence of leadership would create for autocrats and extremists to exploit. All of us know that these risks are real and unpredictable.” The Muslim Brotherhood and Mohamed Morsi, elected to the presidency in June 2012, had filled a power vacuum left by the “Arab Spring” revolt that brought down longtime Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarak in 2011. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that the Egyptian revolution was “stolen” from the youth who started it by the Muslim Brotherhood.
Egypt has up to $4 billion in outstanding contractual commitments to be paid by cash-flow financing, or more than three years’ worth of State Department’s Foreign Military Financing (FMF) program with Egypt -. DSCA has reportedly delayed delivery of four F-16s and ten Apache helicopters.
Cairo is believed to be current with its payments to contractors through October. Should Washington continue to prevent delivery of equipment, however, U.S. taxpayers would become responsible for meeting the obligation. And if contracts with Egypt are terminated altogether, the cancellation costs due to American companies may be funded from the FMF; more likely, though, the U.S. government would hold onto the equipment until the transfer could be made.
Supporters of ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi have attacked churches in Dilga, Menya and Sohag after government security forces backed by armoured cars and bulldozers stormed protest camps outside Cairo’s Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque.
The Churches of Abraham and the Virgin Mary in Menya were burning after Morsi supporters set fire to the outside of the building exteriors and smashed through doors. At least 1,000 pro-Morsi protesters were involved in the attack before police armed with teargas dispersed them.
Muslim Brotherhood members also threw firebombs at Mar Gergiss church in Sohag, a city with a large community of Coptic Christians who represents up to 10 percent of Egypt’s 84 million people, causing it to burn down.
Protesters threw molotov cocktails at the Bon Pasteur Catholic Church and Monastery in Suez, setting it ablaze and breaking windows.
Clashes raged for most of the day around the main camp near Cairo’s Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque. By evening the security forces had finally seized full control of the site, and were allowing surviving protesters to leave.
But several Muslim Brotherhood leaders were reportedly detained, including Essam El-Erian.
Most of the dead are thought to be Morsi supporters, but members of the security forces were also killed.
Hours after the operation began, Egyptian government spokemen said they had cleared the smaller of two encampments at Nahda Square near Cairo University. But protesters at the larger camp around the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque in the northeastern suburb of Nasr City remained defiant but seemed to be under siege by vastly superior forces seeking to uproot them, deploying armored vehicles, bulldozers, tear gas, snipers and helicopters in a sustained and bloody operation that seemed to surprise some protesters with its ferocity.
While Egyptians broadly consider Mr. Mubarak’s autocracy to have been fundamentally illegitimate, Mr. Morsi is now under investigation for his own escape from political imprisonment and his work in the Islamist political opposition that helped to topple Mr. Mubarak in 2011.
Mr. Morsi is being held at an undisclosed location. The military authorities have taken steps toward his criminal prosecution on charges relating to his activities during the revolution that ousted his predecessor, Hosni Mubarak.
Shadi Hamid, director of research for the Brookings Doha Center in Qatar, said, “Liberals see the Muslim Brotherhood as a fundamental threat to all they hold dear, and that takes precedent above all else.”
“This hatred of the Muslim Brotherhood by many liberals has become so visceral, it is hard to understand from the outside. It is so intense that they would support a forced dispersal of the protests, even if it involves the killing of unarmed civilians,” Hamid added.
James Traub, a fellow at the Center on International Cooperation, wrote in Foreign Policy magazine, “Perhaps we in the West were confused by the word ‘liberal,’ which we associate with a tolerant and dispassionate attitude towards difference. . . . When the stakes feel truly dire, as they do in Egypt, liberalism itself can become a form of zealotry.”
ANNOUNCED EQUIPMENT PRICE CONTRACTOR CITY STATE
Oct. 2009 24 F-16 fighter aircraft $3.2 billion Lockheed Martin Fort Worth TX
July 2011 125 M1A1 Abrams tanks $1.3 billion General Dynamics; Honeywell; Allison Transmission MI / AZ / IN
Oct. 2003 Co-production M1A1 Abrams tanks $920 million General Dynamics Sterling Heights MI
Sept. 2007 125 M1A1 Abrams tanks $889 million General Dynamics Sterling Heights MI
May 2009 12 Apache helicopters $820 million Boeing Mesa AZ
Dec. 2009 156 fighter plane engines $760 million GE Aviation Cincinnati OH
July 2001 M1A1 Abrams tanks $590 million General Dynamics Sterling Heights MI
July 2004 Three fast-missile craft $565 million Vision Technology-Marine Gulfport MS
Aug. 2001 Rocket Systems (MLRS) $354 million Lockheed Martin Missile and Fire Control Dallas TX
Sept. 2008 6,900 anti-armor missiles $319 million Raytheon Tucson AZ
Aug. 2009 6 Chinook helicopters $308 million Boeing Philadelphia PA
Feb. 2002 Close-In Weapons Systems (CIWS) $255 million Boeing St. Charles MO
Dec. 2009 Fast-missile craft $240 million VT Halter Marine Gulfport MS
July 2010 Knox-class frigates $210 million VSC Global Alexandria VA
July 2005 self-propelled howitzers $181 million United Defense York PA
Sept. 2008 4 Blackhawk helicopters $167 million Sikorsky Aircraft Stratford CT
May 2002 CH-47C Chinook upgrade $155 million Boeing Philadelphia PA
Dec. 2009 20 anti-ship cruise missiles $145 million Boeing St. Louis MO
June 2005 25 Avenger Fire Units $126 million Boeing Huntsville AL
Sept. 2007 139 RIM-116B missiles $125 million Raytheon Tucson AZ
Sept. 2002 Hellfire II missiles $122 million Lockheed Martin Electronics and Missiles Orlando FL
Sept. 2003 Multi-Purpose Wheeled Trucks $109 million AM General South Bend IN
July 2004 UpgradesChinook helicopters $108 million Boeing Philadelphia PA
Sept. 2002 Gulfstream G-IV SP aircraft $102 million Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation Savannah GA
Oct. 2007 2,000 TOW missiles $99 million Raytheon Tucson AZ
Sept. 2001 Wheeled bulldozers $98 million
Sept. 2003 21 vehicle kits guns $96 million United Defense York PA
July 2004 Three C-130H aircraft $94 million Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Marietta GA
Oct. 2007 164 Stinger missiles $83 million Raytheon Tucson AZ
July 2010 40 Skyguard transmittors $77 million Raytheon Tewksbury MA
Nov. 2001 Overhaul 155mm howitzers $77 million United Defense York PA
Oct. 2007 2 E-2C surveillance aircraft $75 million Northrop Grumman Bethpage NY
June 2005 50 engines for Chinooks $73 million Honeywell Phoenix AZ
July 2002 Six (TARS) Pods $70 million BAE Systems Syosset NY
Sept. 2008 120-mm tank rounds $67 million General Dynamics St. Petersburg FL
July 2003 C130H-based ELINT Systems $60 million Lockheed Martin ISR Systems Englewood CO
Sept. 2003 120mm (APFSDS-T) cartridges $54 million General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems St. Petersburg FL
Dec. 2009 400 Hellfire missiles $51 million Hellfire Limited Orlando FL
July 2003 AIM9M-1/2Sidewinder missiles $50 million Raytheon Systems Corporation Tucson AZ
Sept. 2002 UH-60L VIP Blackhawk helicopter $47 million United Technologies, Sikorsky Aircraft Stratford CT
Sept. 2002 AN/MPQ-64 radar systems $44 million Thales Raytheon Systems El Segundo CA
SOURCE: Defense Security Cooperation Agency. – The Washington Post. Published July 25, 2013.