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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. . . .

 

Discussion

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
    By KAREEM FAHIM and MAYY EL SHEIKH
    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.”

    ...

    LOL

    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
    By ZVI MAZEL
    02/05/2013
    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.

    http://mordechaikedarinenglish.blogspot.co.il/2013/05/egypt-land-of-total-loss-brotherhood.html

    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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