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“Don’t Make Me Do It!”: Morsi Threatens Unspecified “Emergency Measures”

Mohamed Morsi

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NB: This post was updated on 5/11/2013.

COMMENT: Continuing on the Islamic fascist path that his Muslim Brotherhood has pursued since the overthrow of Mubarak, Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi has threatened unspecified “Emergency Measures” to quell the opposition.

Just such rhetoric and the actions that generally follow that kind of talk are part and parcel to the implementation of totalitarian rule.

Responsible and honest interests should not be surprised at such a development in light of the Brotherhood’s fascist ideology and history. This is a category that obviously excludes much of our journalistic community, especially the so-called “progressive sector.”

The autocratic Mubarak’s run, like those of other Middle Eastern strongmen, had run its course. Replacing such regimes with Islamic fascist regimes is a poor way of implementing good governance.

In an upcoming post, we will ruminate about the Brotherhood’s economic agenda against that of the Christian fundamentalist group known as “The Family,” currently wielding great influence in Washington. 

In an update to this post, we note that Morsi has solidified the Islamist participation in his cabinet, which should surprise no one.

For background on the Morsi ascendancy and the “Arab Spring,” see these updates, being sure to follow the links to FOR THE RECORD discussion of the Piggy-Back coups in the Middle East:

“Egypt­ian Prez Warns Oppo­si­tion of Crack­down, ‘Harsh Deci­sion’” by Hamza Hendawi [AP]; Talking Points Memo; 3/24/2013.

Egypt’s pres­i­dent deliv­ered a stern warn­ing to his oppo­nents on Fri­day, say­ing he may be close to tak­ing unspec­i­fied mea­sures to “pro­tect this nation” two days after sup­port­ers of his Mus­lim Broth­er­hood and oppo­si­tion pro­test­ers fought street bat­tles in the worst bout of polit­i­cal vio­lence in three months.

At least 200 peo­ple were injured in Friday’s vio­lence, some seri­ously, out­side the head­quar­ters of the Broth­er­hood, Egypt’s dom­i­nant polit­i­cal group.

“If I have to do what is nec­es­sary to pro­tect this nation I will, and I am afraid that I may be close to doing so,” a vis­i­bly angry Morsi said in an ani­mated speech to the open­ing ses­sion of a con­fer­ence on women’s rights.

“I will do so very, very soon. Sooner than those try­ing to shake the image of this nation think,” said the Islamist leader who took office in June as Egypt’s first freely elected president.

“Let us not be dragged into an area where I will take a harsh deci­sion,” he warned.

Morsi’s com­ments were ini­tially released in a series of tweets on his account but state tele­vi­sion later aired exten­sive excerpts from the address.

He also warned that “appro­pri­ate mea­sures” would be taken against politi­cians found to be behind Friday’s vio­lence, regard­less of their senior­ity.

Any­one found to be using the media to “incite vio­lence” will also be held account­able, he added. His com­ments came just hours after dozens of Islamists staged a protest out­side stu­dios belong­ing to inde­pen­dent TV net­works that are crit­i­cal of the Egypt­ian leader.

The Islamists are protest­ing what they see as the biased cov­er­age of Friday’s clashes. The Broth­er­hood says it does not sup­port the protest, but some of the pro­test­ers were chant­ing slo­gans in sup­port of Broth­er­hood leader Mohammed Badie.

Friday’s clashes fol­lowed an assault a week ear­lier by Broth­er­hood sup­port­ers on pro­test­ers paint­ing deroga­tory graf­fiti out­side the group’s head­quar­ters. The pro­test­ers chanted hos­tile slo­gans and taunted Broth­er­hood sup­port­ers when some of them tried to stop demon­stra­tors from post­ing fly­ers on the head­quar­ters’ out­side walls.

The Broth­er­hood sup­port­ers also assaulted reporters at the scene. The group later said its sup­port­ers were pro­voked by the pro­test­ers who scrib­bled pro­fan­i­ties on the head­quar­ters’ out­side walls and that the reporters were part of the protest.

Morsi’s com­ments made no direct men­tion of the clashes but appeared to be a pos­si­ble pre­lude to mea­sures against the mostly lib­eral and sec­u­lar opposition. . . . .

“More Islamists Join Cabinet in Shuffling Within Egypt” by Ben Hubbard and Mayy El Sheikh; The New York Times; 5/7/2013.

EXCERPT: President Mohamed Morsi swore in nine new cabinet members on Tuesday in a reshuffle that increased the role of Islamists in the upper ranks of the government but is not expected to herald any immediate policy shifts.

Two of the new ministers are in the Muslim Brotherhood’s political party, bringing the group’s representation in the cabinet to at least 11 of the 36 members. Others appointed to handle important portfolios are seen as allies of the Islamist movement. . . .



10 comments for ““Don’t Make Me Do It!”: Morsi Threatens Unspecified “Emergency Measures””

  1. When the court jesters are declared a major threat to a society that society is indeed facing a major threat:

    Egyptian Satirist Posts Bail as Authorities Press Case
    Published: March 31, 2013

    CAIRO — An Egyptian television satirist who was summoned by prosecutors on charges that he had insulted President Mohamed Morsi was ordered to post bail on Sunday, indicating that the authorities were continuing to pursue their investigation of the popular host.

    After presenting himself to prosecutors on Sunday morning for questioning that lasted several hours, the satirist, Bassem Youssef, paid the equivalent of $2,200 bail and was released. Prosecutors had issued an arrest warrant for Mr. Youssef on Saturday on charges stemming from statements he had made on his widely watched television show, including that he had insulted Mr. Morsi, denigrated Islam and disturbed public peace.

    Human rights advocates and members of Egypt’s political opposition seized on the warrant as evidence that Egypt’s first freely elected leader had grown impatient with his many critics and was using authoritarian tactics to limit freedom of expression. Similar criticisms were leveled at the government last week, after the public prosecutor issued warrants for five anti-Islamist political activists for things they had written on social media.

    Since Mr. Morsi took office in June, prosecutors in at least two dozen cases have been asked to look into charges of insulting the president, according to a human rights lawyer, Gamal Eid. Few of those cases, however, have resulted in arrest warrants.

    Mr. Eid said the decision to order bail for Mr. Youssef indicated that the case was continuing, and he raised the possibility that the satirist could be summoned to answer more questions or be referred to court. “He could have been released without bail,” Mr. Eid said. “This is legal, but we think it’s arbitrary.”

    In a statement from Mr. Morsi’s media office on Sunday, the president seemed to distance himself from the investigation, saying that the public prosecutor, Talaat Ibrahim, whom Mr. Morsi appointed in November, “operates independently from the presidency.”

    “The current legal system allows for individual complaints to be brought to the prosecutor general,” the statement said. “All the current well-publicized claims were initiated by citizens rather than the presidency.”

    The statement also said the presidency could not comment on active legal cases, but “respects freedom of speech and the press.”


    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 2, 2013, 8:01 am
  2. So is Morsi going to have the UN arrested and interrogated too? It might be necessary given UN’s call to end violence again women. Such hostile declarations can only lead to the disintegration of Muslim society. Apparently:

    Muslim Brotherhood backlash against UN declaration on women rights

    UN’s call to end violence against women would lead to disintegration of Muslim society, says Egypt’s ruling party

    Patrick Kingsley in Cairo
    The Guardian, Friday 15 March 2013 14.49 EDT

    Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood have claimed that a UN declaration calling for an end to violence against women will lead to the “complete disintegration of society”.

    Delegates at the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York have spent the last fortnight debating the wording of a declaration that would condemn violence against women. The brotherhood, whose close allies control Egypt’s parliament and presidency, slated the declaration in an online statement on Thursday – calling it a decadent and destructive document that undermined Islamic ethics by calling for women to work, travel and use contraception without their husbands’ permission.

    In a 10-point memorandum, the brotherhood also criticised the declaration for granting women sexual freedom, allowing Muslim women to marry non-Muslims, granting equal rights to homosexual people, and allowing wives full legal rights to take their husbands to court for marital rape.

    “This declaration, if ratified, would lead to complete disintegration of society, and would certainly be the final step in the intellectual and cultural invasion of Muslim countries, eliminating the moral specificity that helps preserve cohesion of Islamic societies,” the brotherhood ‘s statement claimed.

    The remarks drew a furious response inside Egypt. Soad Shalaby, a spokesperson for Egypt’s National Council for Women, said: “How would this declaration lead to a disintegration of society? On the contrary, it will lead to women’s integration within society.”

    Shalaby said it was disingenuous to use Islam to justify the erosion of women’s rights. “It is only a misinterpretation of Islam that creates these kinds of statements,” she said. “It goes without saying that Islam never encourages violence against women. On the contrary, it gives them rights.” She said she thought the brotherhood’s outburst was not a fair reflection of the views of many within the Muslim Sisterhood, the brotherhood’s female division – let alone the Middle East.

    “We’re asking them to stop using religion and culture to undermine negotiations and to justify violence against women,” said Lynn Darwich, a spokesperson for the Coalition for Sexual and Bodily Rights in Muslim Societies, who is attending the conference in New York.

    The brotherhood’s statement is also likely to have divided Egypt’s delegation at the Commission on the Status of Women, which contains both conservative and liberal members. “On the whole, they have been quiet because of internal divisions within the delegation,” said Darwich.

    The brotherhood is not the only group to have voiced objections to the UN charter, which has been the subject of bitter debate. Countries such as the Vatican, Pakistan, Iran, Syria and Russia have led the conservative response.

    A spokesman for Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s Islamist president who comes from the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, attempted to distance himself from the brotherhood’s statement, saying he was no longer a member of the organisation. But in an interview with the New York Times, Pakinam al-Sharkawy also appeared to side with some of the brotherhood’s arguments, claiming that marital rape was a western rather than Egyptian problem.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 2, 2013, 6:42 pm
  3. http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/04/egypt-collapse-economy-imf-security.html?utm_source=&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=7066#ixzz2Rsa5rgdl

    The Coming Egyptian Collapse
    [Riot policemen run toward protesters opposing Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi during clashes at a rally in support of the judiciary in front of El-Thadiya presidential palace in Cairo, April 26, 2013. (photo by REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh )]
    Riot policemen run toward protesters opposing Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi during clashes at a rally in support of the judiciary in front of El-Thadiya presidential palace in Cairo, April 26, 2013. (photo by REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh )

    By: Gamal Abuel Hassan for Al-Monitor Posted on April 28.

    For many reasons, the concept of state collapse is not strange to the Middle East. In many of its countries, the modern state is a relatively new and alien concept brought to the region during the era of colonialism. No wonder, then, that state collapse and secessionism have afflicted some countries in the region. Lebanon during the civil war (1975-1990) and Somalia since 1990 are clear cases in point. Syria is already on the way to total state collapse.
    About This Article
    Summary :
    Gamal Abuel Hassan warns that Egypt may not be too big to fail; it may be too gone to save.
    Author: Gamal Abuel Hassan
    Posted on : April 28 2013
    Categories : Originals Egypt

    Egypt used to be considered an exception to this reality of state fragility in the Middle East. It has been one of the longest-existing political entities throughout history. Therefore, many may dismiss the possibility of state collapse in Egypt as mere exaggeration. Interestingly enough, Egypt’s defense minister does not seem to be one of those who think the idea is totally preposterous. In January, referring to the political crisis and the deteriorating security situation, he said the “current unrest may lead to state collapse.”

    “Egypt is too big to fail” has become the newfound mantra repeated by many to reject prospects of total collapse. But what if Egypt is too big to save? What if the inherent weaknesses of state and society in Egypt reach a point where the country’s political, social and economic systems no longer function?
    One way to look at the current situation in Egypt is to invoke what took place in other countries transitioning to democracy after protracted periods of totalitarian rule. Chaos and state weakness are typical of transitional periods. However, this might not be the case in Egypt. Symptoms of state failure can be easily traced back into the 2000s, and even further back. The uprising in January 2011 only brought to the fore and accelerated an ongoing process.

    Instead of addressing deep and serious problems, the political system – forged in 1952 and substantially unchanged since — was designed to prevent social and economic crises from turning into deadly catastrophes. Nevertheless, keeping the status quo was no easy task in a populous country such as Egypt. It entailed maintaining and persistently enhancing two major structures. The first was an all-pervasive security apparatus that has been assigned with the micromanagement of a variety of issues ranging from monitoring and steering political life to the recruitment of junior staff members in academia. The second was an economic system inherited from the socialist era in the 1960s, and characterized by a bloated bureaucracy comprised of millions of civil servants, in addition to a generous system of subsidies for staples and energy. Together, the security apparatus and the state-controlled economic system constituted the pillars of stability in Egypt. Today, those two pillars are on the verge of collapse, and therefore the temple is shaking in an alarming way.

    The role the security apparatus used to play in Egyptian social and political life can hardly be overstated. Egypt’s security apparatus, not unlike internal security in totalitarian regimes, evolved into an omnipresent administrator of social and political order. With almost no guiding ideology, except for fending off the Islamist existential threat to the regime, the security services evolved into a semi-bureaucracy which took on roles and tasks that otherwise should have been assumed by political parties or social forces. As a result, the stability of the social order grew more dependent on the judgment and performance of numerous security agencies, whereas civil society and the political class grew weaker and atrophied. Neither politicians, nor community leaders were ever accustomed to deal with matters relating to real politics.

    Needless to say, that security-oriented system was unsustainable in the long run. The uprising in January 2011 brought about its unraveling, and sent the security agencies into a severe crisis of political legitimacy. Their capacity to impose law and order has been largely diminished in the last two years. Mubarak’s recipe for achieving security was rather simple. It was to provide “almost complete political backing for the police, no matter how brutal the methods they used.” The security apparatus can no longer operate in the same way, for the Brotherhood government has failed repeatedly to provide the political backing necessary for the functioning of police agencies.
    The bloody incidents that engulfed the coastal city of Port Said in January, where almost 50 people lost their lives in clashes with police, clearly illustrate the complexity of the situation. Moreover, the alarming tendency among ordinary Egyptians to take the law into their own hands is bound to grow stronger. In January, Sharkia province witnessed the twelfth case in two years where people chose to publicly take the life of a suspect without waiting for the police.

    Instances of the collapse of law and order cannot be simply attributed to poor performance on the part of security agencies. They rather reflect rapid erosion of the security equation that governed Egypt for decades. The fallout from this collapse will be felt in every aspect of Egyptian daily life.

    While erosion of security constitutes a real and present danger, an economic crash might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. With foreign reserves running low, hardly enough to cover three months of imports, and an unsustainable budget deficit due to an economically inefficient system of subsidies (the greater part of the subsidies goes to bread and energy, amounting to $20 billion annually), the Brotherhood government faces a daunting challenge to dismantle an economic structure that has been in place for decades. Judging from the way it tackled the negotiations with the International Monetary Fund in order to get a $4.5 billion loan, essential for kick-starting the economy, it does not seem that the Islamic movement is ready to take the necessary, however unpopular steps, that may reset the economy. In December, President Mohammed Morsi had to backtrack only hours after announcing new tax increases on some consumer goods.

    The economic crisis in Egypt is intimately linked to the political and security situation. Around 4,500 factories have closed since January 2011. Business people are redirecting their investments abroad for fear of expropriation. Political instability makes restoring normal economic activity next to impossible. Moreover, the vulnerability of the economic structure leaves the country prone to severe crisis. This month, World Food Program country director Gian Pietro Bordignon said the economic crises are putting more and more people in a very risky situation, adding: “The situation is deteriorating and has to be tackled right now because it’s a very risky trend.” Food security is one area where an economic crisis could turn into a humanitarian crisis. Unfortunately, it is not the only area that holds the possibility of such danger.

    Niccolo Machiavelli once said, “There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.” Egypt has embarked on the risky business of introducing a new order of things. Due to its overstretching and inherent weakness, the Egyptian state as we know it might fall victim to this perilous and entirely unpredictable process.

    Gamal Abuel Hassan is an Egyptian freelance journalist who writes on regional and foreign policy issues. He writes a weekly column for Al-Masry Al-Youm, Egypt’s leading daily newspaper.

    Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/04/egypt-collapse-economy-imf-security.html?utm_source=&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=7066#ixzz2RvQ1d2Cw

    Posted by Vanfield | April 29, 2013, 10:28 pm
  4. http://www.jpost.com/LandedPages/PrintArticle.aspx?id=311918

    Arab World: Egypt’s conspiracy theory
    Did Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood conspire to topple Hosni Mubarak? Egyptians face increasing uneasiness over links between the two.

    New revelations throw a startling light on how the Muslim Brotherhood worked hand-in-hand with Hamas during the mass demonstrations that brought about the fall of Hosni Mubarak’s regime.

    According to the Al-Masry Al-Youm daily, quoting a high-ranking security source, Egyptian homeland security head Khaled Tharwet gave Khairat el- Shater – No. 2 in the Brotherhood’s supreme guidance office – transcripts of five phone calls that were allegedly intercepted between Brotherhood members and Hamas leaders during the crucial January 2011 period. The Brotherhood, it seems, wanted Hamas to put added pressure on security forces by contributing to the general turmoil. Another, no less important goal was to secure the release of extremists imprisoned in Wadi Natrun prison – most notably Mohamed Morsi, who was to become Egyptian president a year later.

    From the transcripts, it appears that the Brotherhood knew in advance about the protests which erupted on January 25 – and that they participated in the planning. The first two calls took place between senior Brotherhood members before the mass demonstrations of January 25 and 27. On the 21st, one of them mentions preparations for the demonstrations and adds, “Don’t worry, we shall be helped by our neighbors.” The following day, he says, “Things are okay, the neighbors are ready.” In both cases, “Hamas” may be substituted in place of “neighbors.”

    On the 24th, one day before the demonstration, a high-ranking Brotherhood member asks a Hamas official if they know exactly what they are supposed to do; “absolutely,” answers his correspondent.

    There is another call on February 2, when the mass protests are reaching a paroxysm. An agitated Brotherhood member asks, “Where are you, I don’t see any of your people,” and the Hamas official replies, “Don’t worry, we are behind the museum [the Egyptian Museum on Tahrir Square] with our slingshots at the ready.”

    The last conversation took place on February 11, after the resignation of Mubarak. The Hamas official congratulates the senior Brotherhood member, saying that “this is our victory also.” The Brotherhood members replies: “You have helped us and we owe you. We shall meet soon.”

    That there are links between Hamas, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood – which was set up in Gaza in 1987 – and the movement is nothing new; indeed, for many years they were both a favorite target of Mubarak’s repressive apparatus. However, these conversations put a whole new slant on the revolution narrative. Far from having waited a number of days before joining the protests as was previously believed, the Brotherhood was in the know and participated from the very beginning. Hamas terrorists, too, were right there in Tahrir Square, agitating and taking part in attacks on public institutions – though from the phone calls their precise role is not clear.

    Interestingly, Gen. Mansour el-Essawy, who was interior minister during the rule of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, confirmed last week that there had been Hamas members in Tahrir Square and that some of them had been killed. He added that Hamas and Hezbollah terror agents had taken part in attacks on a number of jails to free political prisoners. It is worth noting that Habib el-Adly – who was interior minister from 1997 to 2011 and is now on trial for his role in the repression – had been accused in the past of having ordered that the prisoners be allowed to escape, in order to frighten the people.

    Apparently, this was not true. Adly stated in court last week that it was indeed Hamas and Hezbollah fighters who broke into the jails, and he appears to have some evidence to back his claim. A journalist from Al- Masry Al-Youm said that he himself had witnessed the arrest of members of both organizations near Tahrir Square on February 4.

    Two years ago, the paper published the results of an investigation carried out over a period of six weeks – in March-April 2011 – at great personal risk by two courageous journalists. Among the many eyewitnesses interviewed in the piece were a number of prisoners who had been freed, as well as some Sinai Beduin. The tale of the storming of the al-Marg prison north of Cairo is a case in point. Ayman Nofel, a senior member of Hamas, was imprisoned there; so was Muhammad Yusuf Mansour, codenamed “Sami Shehab,” the head of the Hezbollah terror cell in Egypt.

    On January 30, 2011, the prison was surrounded by dozens of heavily armed gunmen, who arrived on brand-new cars and motorcycles and opened fire on the guards, who were primarily new recruits with little or no experience; they then broke in and freed all prisoners. Eyewitnesses said the attackers were Sinai Beduin fighters who spoke with the same type of accent – that is, people from the Gaza Strip. Former prisoners said that Nofel and Mansour had been in touch by phone with the attack organizers and that they had told their comrades to be ready to flee.

    The two men disappeared immediately after the break-in. Nofel surfaced in Gaza a few hours later, while Sami Shehab appeared on Lebanese television from Beirut after four days; Egypt has yet to ask for their extradition.

    Al-Masry Al-Youm argues that Tharwet should not have been given secret transcripts to Shater, who has no official standing and is merely the No. 2 in the guidance office of the Brotherhood – a movement that was not even legal. For the paper, this is the proof of collusion between the Brotherhood and the top levels of national security, and it demands that an investigation be launched by the prosecutor-general on the links between the security apparatus and the Brotherhood.

    According to a spokesman for the paper, the transcripts as well as details of the way they were handed over to Shater were given to Al-Masry Al-Youm by a highly reliable national security source. In the request sent to the prosecutor-general, the daily states that the names of the Brotherhood and Hamas members who were recorded in the five phone calls are known to it, though it only published their initials.

    Some commentators are already calling for the Brotherhood to be indicted for treason, since it called on foreign elements – i.e. Hamas – to operate in a seditious manner on Egyptian soil. Others are outraged by what they see as the infiltration of the national security apparatus by the Brotherhood, and claim that this is yet another attempt at taking over the country while endangering the security of Egypt. There are reports that Shater and Essam el-Erian, a prominent member of the Brotherhood, pay frequent visits to the offices of the state security, and that they use a passage reserved for the interior minister.

    Shater’s bodyguard was arrested while “loitering” by the voting stations during the parliamentary elections more than a year ago; he was carrying a weapon without a permit. It transpired during his trial that he had traveled several times to Gaza through the tunnels and had contact with Hamas leaders. He was sentenced to one year in prison, but nothing filtered out about the content of these contacts. A few days ago it was announced that he had been transferred to what was described as an “easier prison.”

    Predictably, Hamas leader Musa Abu Marzouk denied there had been conversations between his organization and the Brotherhood at the time. A number of spokesmen for the Brotherhood also denied that transcripts of any kind had been handed over to Shater, and said it was just a ploy to discredit their movement. Meanwhile, the Interior Ministry published a communiqué that did not address the issue, but threatened to prosecute those who try to harm its activities.

    There has been no comment from the president, and it is easy to understand why. The commander of the Wadi Natrun prison, who testified last week about the break-in, stated that all political prisoners from the Brotherhood and jihadi movements had been sent to his jail. From January 25 onward, he said, there was a great deal of agitation among them; they threatened him and said they would soon be freed. Indeed, on January 30, some 80 heavily armed men attacked the prison with automatic fire, broke down the doors and freed all inmates, including Morsi; some of the recaptured prisoners, now standing trial, want the president to testify together with the actual and previous heads of the intelligence services.

    So far there is no sign that this will occur.

    Interestingly, why was Morsi in jail? According to the Brotherhood, he was considered “dangerous” by the government, but it is well known that he was a secondrate politician, not a fighter. According to one source, he was arrested and accused of spying following a lengthy phone call with a Hamas leader – recorded by national security – discussing what Hamas would do in Egypt during the revolution.

    However, if Hamas expected the new regime to open the borders between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, and to allow people and goods – let alone arms – to flow freely on both sides, they were bitterly disappointed.

    The border is still closed and Egypt carefully monitors those who are allowed in and out. Worse, more and more tunnels are being destroyed by the Egyptian army.

    In actuality, despite their common ideological ground, Egypt is acutely aware of the security threats posed by its small neighbor. Over the past months, the role of Hamas in Egypt has becomes a hot topic.

    Hamas is accused of having had a hand in the attack that caused the death of 16 Egyptian soldiers last August, and some say Nofel himself was involved. Hamas is also accused of letting jihadi terrorists cross into Sinai, and of being behind the kidnapping of three police officers who disappeared in Sinai last year and were allegedly taken to Gaza through the tunnels. Some also say Hamas wants to set up an outpost in Sinai and settle Palestinians in the peninsula with the help of Qatar.

    The Muslim Brotherhood has nothing to say on these subjects, although short denials are regularly issued.

    Egyptians are increasingly uneasy about the links between the Brotherhood and Hamas. The latest revelations add fuel to the fire, and deepen the crisis of confidence between the people and the movement now ruling the country.

    The writer, a fellow of The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, is a former ambassador to Romania, Egypt and Sweden.

    Posted by Vanfield | May 19, 2013, 9:38 pm
  5. So has Morsi done anything helpful so far that isn’t some sort of sleazy power-grab? Anything?

    Egypt’s president sends draft NGO law to parliament after criticism by rights groups

    Published May 27, 2013

    Associated Press

    CAIRO – Egypt’s president sent a bill that would regulate non-governmental organizations to the country’s interim parliament on Monday after months of criticism by rights groups concerned about stifling of their activities.

    The text of the bill presented to the Islamist-dominated Shura Council was not made public, but a top presidential aide said that Mohammed Morsi’s legal team took into consideration concerns that had been raised by local and international groups.

    NGOs allege past versions of the bill were an attempt to regulate the work of civil society by with murky, loosely defined oversight by security agencies of their work. One concern has been that security forces might be allowed to inspect the raw material gathered by human rights groups that collect sensitive testimony from witnesses.

    Morsi said in a statement Monday that the bill is aimed at committing NGOs to the principles of transparency and striking a balance with “the openness of Egypt” after the uprising that toppled longtime President Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

    Under Mubarak, local and foreign NGOs were not allowed to align themselves with political parties, involvement in politics was tightly restricted and elections widely rigged.

    The United States criticized earlier versions as “a step backwards.”

    Presidential aides said that under the proposed bill, civil society groups receiving foreign funding will not be allowed to support Egyptian parties or candidates. On the other hand, broad voter awareness activities would be permitted.

    Presidential aide Khaled Al-Qazzaz said the new bill does not require that security officials be part of a “steering committee” that will decide much of the fate of NGOs. Al-Qazzaz was speaking to reporters along with two other presidential aides before Morsi submitted the bill to the Shura Council for debate.

    Removed from the latest draft is wording that said NGO’s would be banned from receiving foreign funds directly and instead would have to receive money through a government bank account, the aides said. A previous draft stated that no transfer of money would be allowed until a steering committee that included members of the Interior Ministry and National Security Agency approved it within 60 days or rejected it.

    The new draft, according to the presidential aides, would not require NGOs to hold their money in public funds.

    Rights groups regarded the previous drafts as similar to, if not worse than, the autocratic policies of Mubarak’s regime, when NGOs faced retaliation from police for exposing human rights violations, abuse and torture.

    In the new bill, Al-Qazzaz said the steering committee may receive reports from intelligence agencies about NGOs or groups applying to register as NGOs. He described it as “inter-agency” work.

    Aides said the steering committee will be comprised of nine officials, four elected to the body from the NGO community and four to be appointed by the Minister of Social Solidarity. The minister himself would be the ninth.

    The committee would be responsible for a number of tasks, including granting and rejecting NGO licenses as well as objecting to NGO activities that exceed or counter the group’s registered mandate. The steering committee could refer an NGO to a court for a judge to rule on whether to revoke a group’s license.

    The Muslim Brotherhood, which has emerged as the country’s most powerful political group, is among those affected by the new law. Under Mubarak, it was banned from politics and from registering as an NGO.

    The president’s Freedom and Justice Party and the Muslim Brotherhood — from which the party emerged — will now be allowed to work alongside one another in what Al-Qazzaz described as “gray area” between political activism and the work of local charitable groups involved in awareness programs.

    “Politics is in everything,” he said.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 29, 2013, 10:08 am
  6. This is from an article by Mordechai Kedar, a professor at Israel’s Bar-Ilan University, and an expert on Arab politics. The entire article is worth reading. Much of it goes over the problems Egypt faces and the reasons why it is such a basket case today. I thought the following excerpt was rather surprising.


    Egypt: The Land of the ‘Total Loss’ Brotherhood

    …Is Morsi an Escaped Criminal?

    Lately the opinion is widely expressed that President Morsi is nothing but an escaped criminal. The basis for this matter began after the demonstrations of the 25th of January, 2011, when the Egyptian police – still under the regime of Mubarak – arrested hundreds of agents of the Muslim Brotherhood and other opposition groups, who were sent to prison with arrest warrants that were issued according to the Emergency Law, which was then still in force. Morsi was among those arrested at the time, and he stayed a number of days in the Wadi Natrun Prison.

    On the 29th of January, when the demonstrations intensified and policemen and prison guards were transferred to the streets, friends of the prisoners – among whom were people of Hamas and Bedouins from Sinai – took advantage of the weakened guard force, forcibly broke into the jail and freed almost three thousand prisoners and detainees, including members of Hizballah and al Qaeda. Until this day, none of these has given himself up to the authorities, and all of them are still considered escaped prisoners and detainees. So it seems that Morsi is one of them, and this is where the legal tangle in this matter begins. Because if he is an escaped criminal, how can he be president, since someone who evades the law can’t even be a candidate?

    Morsi’s supporters claim that there is no document that mentions his name among the detainees. This claim is problematic because the fact is that he and many of his colleagues were in prison, so who hid the documents in their case? That is, Morsi is also involved in concealing documents, not just escaping from prison. His supporters claim that the Emergency Law, according to which Morsi and his friends were arrested, had been cancelled afterward, and therefore, it follows that the arrest was not legal and he is not to be considered an escaped convict. His detractors claim that when he escaped, the Emergency Law was still in effect and therefore he is indeed an escaped prisoner.

    Meanwhile a lawsuit was filed in court demanding dismissal and punishment of Morsi on this basis whether because he is an escaped prisoner who has not given himself up or whether he helped others to escape from prison. Another problem is that some of the escapees were killed while escaping so anyone who assisted in their escape – meaning Morsi – might be accused of an accessory to causing a death.

    There is an additional claim that since physical damage was caused to the prisons by the break-in, Morsi is also responsible for the great damage to the prisons. The accusations of escape, aiding in escape, causing death and damage to the prison might bring the court to sentence the democratically elected president of Egypt, to life imprisonment… so how can he function in this situation?

    Posted by Vanfield | June 3, 2013, 8:13 pm
  7. @Vanfield–

    Seems to me that Hitler did a stint in prison, as well.

    That didn’t impede his career too much.

    Perhaps Morsi will write an autobiograpny “My Jihad.” (“Jihad” translates as “struggle.”)

    Posted by Dave Emory | June 3, 2013, 8:49 pm
  8. Is this surprising or not at this point?

    Mohammed Morsi aide apologises for on-air gaffe
    An aide to Mohammed Morsi, the Egyptian president, has apologised after failing to inform politicians holding talks with the president they werel ive on air, allowing viewers to listen to them planning to sabotage a dam in Ethiopia.

    By AFP

    9:49AM BST 05 Jun 2013

    The talks, chaired by Mr Morsi, revolved around a report of a tripartite Egypt-Sudan-Ethiopia commission on Ethiopia’s decision to divert the Blue Nile for a massive dam project, sparking fears of a major impact on downstream states Egypt and Sudan.

    Seated around a large table, the politicians thinking this was a closed meeting began to suggest ideas for ways to stop the dam project.

    Ayman Nour, head of the liberal Ghad Party, suggested spreading rumours that Egypt was buying military planes in order to put “pressure” on Ethiopia, he said.

    He also suggested Cairo send political, intelligence and military teams to Addis Ababa because “we need to intervene in their domestic affairs.”

    He slammed Sudan’s stance as “disgusting” for not standing by Egypt in stronger terms.

    Yunis Makhyun, who heads the conservative Islamist Nur Party, said the dam constituted a “strategic danger for Egypt”, requiring Cairo to support Ethiopian rebels “which would put pressure on the Ethiopian government.”

    The meeting, a huge embarrassment both for the presidency and the opposition members who attended, caused a storm of ridicule and anger in the media and prompted even those who didn’t attend to apologise on behalf of Egyptians.

    Pakinam El-Sharkawi, presidential aide for political affairs, has now apologised for “any embarrassment caused to the political leaders.”

    “Due to the importance of the topic it was decided at the last minute to air the meeting live. I forgot to inform the participants about the changes.”

    “I apologise for any embarrassment caused to the political leaders,” she said on Twitter.

    So it looks like we’re getting an indication of the mindsets involved in resolving the long-anticipated question over how to share the Nile: Less sharing, more shooting.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 10, 2013, 8:29 am
  9. http://www.timesofisrael.com/brotherhood-hamas-hezbollah-conspired-in-morsis-jailbreak/

    Brotherhood, Hamas, Hezbollah conspired in Morsi’s jailbreak
    Egyptian court: 2011 attack on 3 prisons, which freed thousands — including the man who became president — was result of collusion between Islamic groups
    By Hamza Hendawi June 23, 2013, 1:22 pm 1

    CAIRO (AP) — An Egyptian court on Sunday said Muslim Brotherhood members conspired with Hamas, Hezbollah and local militants to storm a prison in 2011 and free 34 Brotherhood leaders, including the future President Mohammed Morsi.

    The court statement read by judge Khaled Mahgoub named two members of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood — Ibrahim Haggag and Sayed Ayad — to be among the alleged conspirators in the attack on Wadi el-Natroun prison on Jan. 29, 2011.

    It is the first statement by a court that holds members of the three Islamist groups — the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, the Palestinian Hamas, and Lebanon’s Hezbollah — responsible for a series of jailbreaks during the chaos of Egypt’s 2011 uprising. Two other prisons in which Hamas and Hezbollah members were held were also attacked.

    Morsi and other Brotherhood leaders have maintained that they were freed by local residents. Hamas, the Palestinian chapter of the Brotherhood, has denied involvement in the attacks on prisons.

    The court statement is likely to further fuel opposition to Morsi’s rule just a week before his opponents are scheduled to stage massive protests to force him out of office. The planned June 30 demonstrations mark his first anniversary in office as Egypt’s first freely elected leader.

    The past year has seen growing polarization as Egypt struggles with a host of problems that many accuse Morsi of failing to effectively tackle. They include surging crime, rising prices, power cuts, fuel shortages and unemployment.

    Morsi has not spoken publicly about his escape from Wadi el-Natroun since he gave an account of what happened in a frantic phone call he made to Al-Jazeera Mubasher TV moments after being freed.

    “From the noises we heard … It seemed to us there were (prisoners) attempting to get out of their cells and break out into the prison yard and the prison authorities were trying to regain control and fired tear gas,” Morsi said in the call.

    By the time they got out, the prison was empty, and there was no sign of a major battle, he said.

    The prison breaks took place during the 18-day popular uprising that toppled the 29-year regime of autocrat Hosni Mubarak. The breaks led to a flood of some 23,000 criminals onto the streets, fueling a crime wave that continues to this day. Among those who escaped were around 40 members of Hamas and Hezbollah as well as the 34 Brotherhood leaders.

    A total of 26 top police, prison and intelligence officials have testified before the court, which held its hearings in the Suez Canal city of Ismailia. Some gave their testimony in closed session.

    Haggag and Ayad, the two Brotherhood officials named by Mahgoub, took part in the attack on Wadi el-Natroun with “those (foreign) elements who violated the sovereignty of the Egyptian state and its territory in addition to spreading chaos throughout the republic and terrifying unarmed civilians at their homes by releasing thousands of prisoners who are danger to society,” the court statement said.

    The case began in January when a former inmate appealed a three-month sentence passed by a lower court that convicted him of escaping Wadi el-Natroun. The defendant was acquitted by judge Mahgoub, who on Sunday referred to prosecutors the testimonies and evidence gathered during the trial on the jailbreak at Wadi el-Natroun in order “to reveal the truth and honor the state’s right to mete out justice.”

    There was no immediate word from the office of the country’s top prosecutor on whether his office planned to take up the case.

    In Egypt’s polarized political climate, Morsi’s opponents have been using his escape from Wadi el-Natroun against him, saying friends of the Brotherhood violated the country’s security and fed its instability. The eagerness of some in the intelligence and security agencies to blame Hamas could in part reflect resentment of the Brotherhood’s ties with the militant group, which they have long seen as a threat.

    The Wadi el-Natroun prison in which Morsi and his Brotherhood comrades were held is part of a four-jail complex northwest of Cairo. A total of 11,171 inmates were released from the complex. Thirteen inmates were also killed, according to Mahgoub, who said the attackers used machine-guns mounted on pickup trucks and SUVs as well as huge earth-moving vehicles that demolished parts of the walls and gates.

    Mahgoub said the attackers also seized large amounts of firearms belonging to prison guards. He said allies of Hamas in Sinai prepared for the entry of its fighters into the Egyptian peninsula with attacks on Jan. 25, 2011 against security forces on the Sinai side of tunnels running under the border with Hamas-ruled Gaza. Fighters from Hamas and Hezbollah crossed into Egypt on Jan. 28, he said.

    The 34 Brotherhood leaders were arrested early on Jan. 27 and arrived in Wadi el-Natroun shortly before their escape, said Mahgoub.

    The last two hearings of the trial witnessed scuffles between supporters and opponents of Morsi. Sunday’s hearing was held amid tight security with stringent control over who gets to enter the tiny courtroom.

    Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

    Posted by Vanfield | June 23, 2013, 10:35 am
  10. http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/3/12/74608/Business/Economy/Egypt-to-exhaust-strategic-fuel-reserves-by-months.aspx

    Egypt to exhaust strategic fuel reserves by month’s end: Oil minister
    Citing Petroleum Minister Sherif Haddara, Turkish news agency Anadulo reports that Egypt’s strategic reserves of three vital fuel products will run out by end of June
    Ahram Online, Friday 21 Jun 2013

    Egypt’s strategic reserves of three vital fuel products will run out by end of this month, Turkish news agency Anadulo reported on Thursday, citing Petroleum Minister Sherif Haddara.

    According to Haddara, Egypt has enough diesel fuel to last eight days, butane enough for ten days and petrol enough for 14 days.

    Ministry officials declined to comment on the Anadolu report when contacted by Ahram Online.

    The news agency stated that the government was currently providing the nation’s gas stations with 18,000 tonnes of octane per day and 37,000 tonnes of diesel fuel, while also providing the country’s power stations with 23,000 tonnes of low-quality mazut fuel.

    In recent weeks and months, Egypt has seen a spate of intermittent power blackouts, which government officials have attributed to chronic fuel shortages.

    Haddara said that the current fuel quantities were meant to meet national demand, attributing ongoing shortages to hoarding and smuggling activities.

    Former petroleum minister Osama Kamal recently estimated that smuggling and black market activity accounted for as much as 20 percent of all fuel the ministry provides to the local market.

    He also blamed bad public energy-consumption habits. “Fuel isn’t consumed rationally because it’s sold at very cheap prices,” he said.

    According to Anadolu, the Egyptian government has requested a $265 million loan from the Islamic Development Bank to finance the import of diesel in the first quarter of 2013/14.

    The news website of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party quoted Supply Minister Bassem Ouda on Thursday as saying that the state’s current reserves of diesel fuel were “sufficient.”

    In August, the government intends to introduce a smart-card fuel allocation system aimed at reducing energy subsidies. The new system will allow consumers to purchase limited amounts of subsidised fuel, beyond which they will have to pay market prices.

    Egypt’s total energy subsidies bill is expected to reach LE100 billion in 2013/14, compared to some LE120 billion for the current fiscal year.

    Posted by Vanfield | June 25, 2013, 9:04 am

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