by Syarif Hidayat*

While the Egyptians (pro-deposed President Muhammed Morsi demonstrators and the Egyptian troops) fight and kill each other in the streets of the Egyptian cities in the latest power struggle in this Nile country that left 1000 people dead according to official figure (Muslim Brotherhood put the figure at some 2,600), the Israelis find a new hero in Cairo. He is General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi who ousted a democratically elected President Morsi.

Egyptian security troops forcibly dispersed two major protest camps for pro-Morsi protesters in Cairo’s Rabaa al-Adawiya Square and Giza’s Nahda Square on Wednesday. Clashes later flared between angry Morsi supporters and security forces in several provinces nationwide.

According to government figures (until Saturday, August 24, 2013), more than 1,000 people have been killed across Egypt, including about 100 soldiers and police, since the army deposed Mursi on July 3. The Brotherhood says the death toll is much higher.

The official death toll given by the Health Ministry remains far below figures given by the National Alliance for the Defense of Legitimacy, a coalition of pro-Morsi Islamist parties and figures, which has put the number of deaths from the dispersal of the Rabaa al-Adawiya sit-in alone at some 2,600.

The Brotherhood put the death toll at a staggering 2,600 and the injured at around 10,000 – figures that are extremely high in light of footage by regional and local TV networks, as well as The Associated Press.

Stop Massacre

Muslim Brotherhood leader urges world to intervene to stop ‘massacre’ of Morsi supporters.  Al-Beltagi has appealed to the international community to intervene to halt what he described as “massacre” of supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi.  “They are dealing with us as if we were fighting a war,” al-Beltagi told the Anadolu Agency Wednesday.

“Military facilities near the protest camp, which we never touched for weeks, are now being used by snipers to shoot at us,” al-Beltagi said. “Live ammunition has been fired at [demonstrators’] chests and heads from aircraft and tanks for the past four hours,” he added. “Ambulances are not allowed into the square and medical supplies at the field hospital have been torched.”  There was no immediate reaction from the police or army regarding al-Beltagi’s assertions.

Israel finds a new hero in Cairo

     World Bulletin in the latest article titled: “General Sisi is new hero of Israelis – Israelis find a new hero in Egypt” published in its website: reported that the Israeli people are seeing Egyptian General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who announced the toppling of democratically elected president Morsi and the suspension of the constitution on July 3, as a hero.  Haaretz columnist Ari Shavit has written that Israelis were yearning for Sisi who announced the military coup against President Mursi, in the article titled of “Longing for Egypt’s General Sisi”.

The article compares Sisi with Morsi by having the former represent the ideal of “undemocratic enlightenment” of society’s elite and the latter represent the “unenlightened democracy” of the people in general. Ari Shavit specifically targets Morsi’s beard by saying, “Israel had no doubts about Sisi and they’re all for the right of clean-shaven generals who were educated in America to end the rule of an elected, bearded leader, who was also educated in America and who was supposed to subordinate the generals to his authority.”

“The Israeli yearning for Sisi is two-fold. Looking out, we seek friendly dictators who will rule the hostile Arab masses surrounding us,” he writes, conveying the Israeli attraction to dictators they find sympatethic due to their grasp on the Arab populations they govern.  Regarding Israeli politicians, Shavit adds, “But when we look in, many of us long for a supreme commander of our own who will limit the powers of the elected political leadership we loathe.”

He expresses that the “Israeli center-left elite” dreams of “Men in uniform with the same ideological DNA as ours will save the homeland from the unfit, elected governments that the ignorant masses voted for in their great stupidity.” “While the protest marches were impressive, their translation into partisan politics was miserable. After years of degeneration, enlightened Israeli society has lost the ability to act within the parameters of democracy and absorb the principle of majority rule. It no longer knows how to love the people, talk to the people and respect the people’s decisions.”

Longing for Egypt’s General Sisi

       Haaretz columnist Shavit writes “after years of degeneration, enlightened Israeli society has lost the ability to act within the parameters of democracy and absorb the principle of majority rule. It no longer knows how to love and respect the people. But no enlightened general will rescue us.” The new Israeli hero is an Egyptian figure − General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. You don’t need an especially discerning eye to see the Israeli elite’s deep sympathy and barely concealed admiration for the commander of our large southern neighbor’s armed forces. The one who has just imprisoned the elected president who appointed him to his position.

While the U.S. administration’s stomach is turning at the headlong collision between General al-Sisi’s undemocratic enlightenment and Mohammed Morsi’s unenlightened democracy, Israel has no doubts. We’re all for Sisi. We’re all for the military coup d’etat. We’re all for the right of clean-shaven generals who were educated in America to end the rule of an elected, bearded leader, who was also educated in America and who was supposed to subordinate the generals to his authority.

Israeli ambassador calls Al-Sisi a “national hero for all Jews”.  The Israeli ambassador in Cairo has told a minister in the interim government that the people of Israel look upon General Abdul-Fattah Al-Sisi as a “national hero”. According to Israel Radio, the ambassador rang Egyptian Agriculture Minister Ayman Abu-Hadid to congratulate him on his new post and said, “Al-Sisi is not a national hero for Egypt, but for all Jews in Israel and around the globe.”

Israel is looking forward to the launch of new relationships with Egypt, said Yaakov Amitai, as well as joint efforts in the war on terror. His mention of “terror” is understood to be an oblique reference to President Mohamed Morsi’s supporters protesting against the coup which removed him from office. The two men agreed on the resumption of the work of the Supreme Egyptian-Israeli Agricultural Committee. Meetings of the committee are held alternately in Cairo and Tel Aviv every six months. They also agreed to reactivate the Egyptian branch of the Future Leaders Network, which includes Egyptian, Jordanian, Palestinian and Israeli youths.


Watching on television the Egyptian military violent crackdown against pro-deposed President Muhamed Morsi and anti-coup protesters in Egyptian cities that killed more than 500 people and reading the reports from Tel Aviv that say the Israelis have found a new hero (General Abdul-Fattah Al-Sisi) in Cairo make me remember about The Protocol of the Elders of Zion, Protocol No.13, Paragraph 6 that says: “Who will ever suspect then that ALL THESE PEOPLES WERE STAGE-MANAGED BY US ACCORDING TO A POLITICAL PLAN WHICH NO ONE HAS SO MUCH AS GUESSED AT IN THE COURSE OF MANY CENTURIES?”

 Al-Sisi informed Israel of the coup three days prior

     Israeli military analyst Roni Daniel revealed that the Egyptian General Abdul-Fattah al-Sisi informed Israel of his efforts to remove President Mohamed Morsi three days before the coup. Speaking to the Israeli TV channel 2, Daniel said that Al-Sisi asked Israel to monitor the Palestinian Islamic movement Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip. He said Al-Sisi was afraid of Hamas, but his fear faded after the Israeli assurance that everything in Gaza has been under strict surveillance.

Israel advised Al-Sisi to destroy the tunnels. Daniel asserted that the military coup in Egypt is useful to Israel and it had been an “urgent demand” for Israeli and its security. Military analysts did not hesitate to confirm news about contacts between Al-Sisi and Mohamed El-Baradei from the Egyptian side and government officials from the Israeli side. He said that El-Baradei met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu once before the coup and again after the coup. According to Daniel, Israel promised Al-Baradei to help lobby for Western recognition with the new government (after Morsi).

The Egyptian army started damaging tunnels to Gaza several days before the coup took place. The tunnels are the main lifeline for Gaza residents who have been living under an Israeli, internationally backed siege since 2006. Despite frenzied defamation campaigns against them by the Egyptian media and the Egyptian anti-Morsi elite, Hamas asserted its longstanding position towards what is happening in Egypt. They have said that they do not interfere with any of the state’s internal affairs.

Israel and the Egyptian Revolution

Since its inception, Israel has invested great interest in Egypt and in its critical role in the Arab-Israeli conflict, both during the period in which the two countries were at war or and after the signing of the peace agreement between them. These attention they pay Egypt is due to two main factors: first, Egypt’s internal strength as a large and cohesive state with the potential forces and determinants of power that make it the Arab state with the ability to hold strong against, and indeed challenge, Israel.

Second, Egypt’s Arab and regional influences that have enabled it to assume a leadership role in collective Arab action for a considerable period of time. The Camp David agreements, from an Israeli perspective, did not end the conflict between Egypt and Israel; rather, these talks gave it a new form. After the treaty was signed, the conflict continued over a wide range of issues, particularly over each country’s status, role, influence and ability to affect developments in the region. In managing this conflict, Israel relied on its sources of power, particularly:

1. Its military superiority over Egypt and the rest of the Arab states in conventional arms;

2. Its monopoly of nuclear weapons in the region;

3. Its advanced economic standing, evidence for which is its average per capita income which, for the past two decades, has been comparable to those of some European countries;

4. Its possession of a unified political position on national security issues, in which the Israeli military establishment plays a primary role in formulating security goals and mobilizing popular social support behind them, and in which the Israeli democratic process is founded on ideological, political and security precepts that have the status of being unquestionable and even “sacred”;

5. Its especially advanced relationship with the United States of America, through which Israel receives vital and important U.S. economic, military and political support that aims to maintain Israeli superiority in relation to all Arab countries.

Based on these factors of power, Israel has in recent decades sought to diminish Egypt’s standing, marginalize its role on the Arab and regional levels, reduce its ability to independently impact the course of regional events, and impose upon it an Israeli agenda with regard to the core issues underlying conflict in the region, particularly with regard to the Palestinian cause, in an attempt to transform Egypt into a contractor for Israeli policies towards this and other regional issues, under the guise of “mediation,” the fight against “terrorism” and confrontation of  “Islamic extremism.”

A central factor that facilitated Israel’s success in achieving many of these policy objectives has been the presence in Egypt of a regime founded on corruption and tyranny, similar to systems of governance in other Arab countries. There should be no surprise then, with this context in mind, that Israel opposed the Egyptian and other Arab revolutions from the first moment, firmly holding to its support for the stability of the corrupt and tyrannical regimes.


Two elements are characteristic of the orientation in Israeli political culture towards Arabs: hostility towards Arab unity and hostility towards democracy in Arab countries. Underpinning this hostility are mainly political factors: Zionist and Israeli leaders have believed-and continue to believe-that democracy and Arab unity reinforce Arab power and increase the potential-in the medium and long term-for resistance to Israel and the possibility of a resultant Arab victory.

This view was held by no less a personality than David Ben-Gurion, the founder of Israel and its security doctrine. On January 29, 1949, after reading the political program of an Arab political party that appeared in the late 1940s, Ben-Gurion wrote in his diary that “the Arabs that see the situation clearly have finally appeared.” He added: this party calls for Arab unity and “believes that people are the source of power, that everyone has the right to equality in rights and duties,” and calls for freedom of the individual to live in dignity and freedom from colonialism.

Ben-Gurion then expressed his fear that if Arabs were to proceed in the way advocated by this party, “this is the way for the Arabs, and all the time I am afraid that an Arab leader will emerge who will lead the Arabs in this direction. They ignore the internal and external constraints and the time required to achieve Arab unity. Woe to us if we do not make use of this time to grow and fortify ourselves, to occupy a place in the world.”

After the Egyptian revolution broke out in January 2011, the vast majority of Israeli officials were overcome by the fear that this revolution could lead to the establishment of a democratic political system in Egypt. The same fear was shared by the analysts, journalists and Arab affairs experts commenting on the Egyptian revolution. All of these people have spoken about democracy in Egypt as a “threat” in various forms ranging from the explicit to the concealed.

The total Israeli antipathy and fear of the establishment of a democratic system in Egypt led the Israeli writer and journalist Ofer Shelah to address the issue in an article titled “Democracy is not for the Arabs.” Shelah starts his article by stating that “there is no sane Israeli who is not afraid of the consequences of the events in Egypt”,” especially since the peace agreement between Israel and Egypt is of crucial importance to Israel, and any disruption of the agreement affects all aspects of life in Israel.

Shelah goes on to say that “there is one thing I hear from those who speak on behalf of Israel and from a large part of the Israeli public, that is: democracy is not for Arabs. For example, yesterday we heard a “general” say clearly that democracy is not for the Arabs, and they are not worthy of it, and that what Israel needs is Arab political systems that are stable, not democratic. Put simply, we need Arab rulers who are dictators dependent on the West.”

Shelah then analyzes this Israeli view that calls for dictatorial Arab regimes, concluding that two motives underlie this view. First, the fear that democracy would bring political Islam to power; and second, Israeli arrogance. It “has become psychologically necessary for us that Arabs remain backwards and despotic, that they be unworthy of fundamental human rights”,” he writes. In the Israeli view, the Arabs are hundreds of years behind the West and Israel because of their culture, traditions and their unchanging collective nature.

It is therefore better for them and the world that they be governed by dictators who rely for their authority on military force and bequeath power to their children. Freedom is not good for them; because their dark nature would explode outward in waves of violence against their community in the event that they are granted freedom. Anyone who thinks otherwise, “especially the fossilized West and the naive man in the White House, simply does not understand the world, or does not live here like us.”

Shelah affirms that this is the prevailing Israeli view whether one lies on the left or the right of the political spectrum. The Israeli left, which traces its roots to those who migrated to the country to build a “villa in the jungle,” armed with the slogan “a land without a people, for a people without a land,” is as marked by this condescending outlook at least as much as the Israeli right.

In concluding his article, Shelah distinguishes his view from that prevalent amongst the elites and the public in Israel as it pertains to the issue of democracy in Arab countries, saying: “I do not know what will come to be in Egypt … I know that if democracy is good for us, it is also good for the Arabs.”

Violence no tool to solve Egyptian divide

       The situation in Egypt is desperate as the army’s plan to return to Mubarak era is likely to fail due to political Islam firmly striking roots in the country in recent years, journalist and author, Hugh Miles, told RT. A vigorous police crackdown on the sit-ins supporting Egypt’s ousted Islamist president Mohammed Morsi has turned Cairo into a battlefield. Health and security officials are so far only talking of dozens of confirmed casualties, although the Muslim Brotherhood claims more than 500 have been killed. Hugh Miles says that the new wave of violence in the Egyptian capital comes as no surprise, with the army issuing warnings to the pro-Morsi protesters beforehand.

“Well, the military have been preparing for this for some time, there have been leaks about this for several days. We were expecting it right after the Eid holiday, which was a couple of days ago. But I think the square was just too full of people then for it to be safe and they thought that maybe they could frighten some people off by leaking about the attacks in advance. But now the military felt they had to make this move because this protest is blocking up the major thoroughfare in the center of Cairo. It’s causing serious disruption, they’ve been there for many, many days. So, this is why they’ve gone ahead and taken this move.”

The journalist believes “anything is possible” in Egypt, which is equally split between the backers of civil society and the Islamists.

“Egypt is obviously sliding into a very desperate condition. The future is highly uncertain and all the predictions so far about what’s going to happen in Egypt have all turned out to be wrong. So, it’s very difficult to say what’s going to happen. Various historical precedents, the Algerian model, the Syrian model, the Iranian model – none of them particularly attractive.”

“What’s clear is that Egypt is a very divided society, the Islamists – having won the last four democratic elections – are very popular. They can`t just be swept under the table. It’s not possible to turn the clock back to the Mubarak era. And that seems to be the plan at the moment for General [Abdel Fattah] el-Sisi and his backers to try and go back to the kind of status quo before 2011 revolution. But I think if that’s their plan, they are dreaming because Islamists in Egypt are now used to being free and being able to practice their religion in the way they want. And it’s not going to be easy to deny these people, what they have become accustomed to.”

By relying on methods of force, the military has shown that it doesn’t have the clear view of what’s happening in the Egyptian society where the influence of Islam has recently increased, Miles explained.

“Well, the Egyptian people are very divided and not all behind this move at all. I mean this a move which is being orchestrated, as far as we can tell by General Sisi and the army. And, of course, the army have spent decades ruling Egypt and have long been opposed to the Muslim Brotherhood. And they’re very separate from the Muslim Brotherhood. The army tries to keep the Muslim Brotherhood out of the ranks. So, the army and the security services generally in Egypt are very used to dealing with these enemies. This is a kind of back to the old school. It`s back to the old rule book in Nasser’s time or Mubarak`s time. The Islamists are a threat to the state and they can be locked up, repressed, shut down. And that’s what we’re seeing now.

“But it just seems like times have changed since this tactics worked. And it seems that the military is out of touch with the make-up of Egyptian society today where Islamism has become extremely popular and what we’re really seeing now in Egypt is a clash between people who want Islam as their frame of reference against people who want a more secular kind of European style frame of reference. And that’s a very fundamental divide. It divides families and it divides Egypt. Probably, roughly half and half is the best guess.”

According to the journalist, the only way out of the crisis for the split society in Egypt is compromise, but no sides seem eager to make concessions.

“Egypt has to find a way of squaring this circle. And an obvious way is to have some kind of political reconciliation: some kind of power sharing government, where, for example, president Morsi is allowed back, but he has no other Muslim Brotherhood ministers and Mohamed El-Baradei is a deputy and maybe Hamdeen Sabahi can run this ministry and Amr Moussa can run another ministry. So, everyone shares power like as happened in South Africa after the end of the Apartheid.

“But unfortunately there has been no indication of any kind of broad inclusive reconciliatory gesture. And what we`re seeing instead is that the army and its supporters seem to think that they can go this alone without having any Islamists counting on into the power sharing  at all. And certainly the army has got powerful backers, they have got allies, there are many people who support them and would like very much to turn the clock back to the Mubarak era because this model suited many other countries in the region: Egypt was predictable, it was manageable, yes, it had problems but it was easy to deal with. And the alternative, which is an Islamist style government, is a huge unknown quantity, which frightens just about every country in the region and many countries in the West.”

Egyptian political activist, Ebtesam Madbouly, disagrees with Miles‘s claim of a fifty-fifty split in the Egyptian society, saying that the Morsi supporters are in minority in the country, despite him claiming over half of the votes in last year’s election.

“Let me tell you this: its 50 percent of the people, who went to the election, there are lots and lots of people who didn’t go. And let me tell you: on the night of the June 30, there were 30 million people on the street. The night of the June 26 there were 40 million people on the street. People who elected Morsi were not only pro-Morsi people, there also were lots and lots of people who were just against the Mubarak regime.”

Her words were echoed by political sociologist, Dr. Said Sadek of American University in Cairo, who stressed that every month public opinion polls, locally and internationally, showed a decline in the popularity of President Morsi.

“People elected him only on one platform, that he would achieve the objectives of the Egyptian revolution, not the objectives of his own organization. This is what he really did. He began to use his office to put his own people, to turn Egypt into a semi totalitarian state. He began to a play a political game. He used democracy as a ladder to reach power.”

The current turn of events in Cairo was provoked by the Muslim Brotherhood members, who refused to restore order in the city, Sadek added.

“The strategy of the Muslim Brotherhood was to control and destabilize Cairo by controlling the traffic, by controlling some districts and even try to expand them. They also tried to use flash-mobs to besiege some ministries, like yesterday they tried to besiege seven ministries and cause chaos, troubling traffic of Cairo. The Egyptian government after taking all the mandates waited enough, they started acting and the brought foreign media; they brought human rights organizations to see how things are being done.”

Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood spokeswoman in the UK, Mona Al Qazzaz, told RT that the actions of the military are only increasing the divide in the Egyptian society.

“They (the army) didn’t show even a single sign of good will gestures. They didn’t show any step towards reconciliation. What they’re doing is actually making the polarization within Egypt even deeper. We hold General Sisi, the military junta and all the Egyptian authorities and the civilian façade responsible for every single Egyptian blood that is shed.”

She also said that it’s “the silence of the international community,” which has given the military a mandate to use force against the “largely peaceful” pro-Morsi protesters.

“Our protests have been there for 46 days – they have been largely peaceful. Obviously, the protests aren’t a centralized protest. We have no control of what is happening in the other cities. What erupted today in every single province of Egypt was a spontaneous outrage of the Egyptian people, who saw the massacre on Egyptian TV and could do nothing, but go to the streets and say: this is enough, it’s enough for the military rule, it’s enough for this military junta we’re getting back our free Egypt.”

An assistant professor of The American University in Cairo, Mohamed Elmasry, also put the blame for the violence on the interim government, which “instigated a military coup and then proceeded to carry out mass repression” in Egypt.

“Any time you deviate from democratic norms, usually, it spells disaster. In Egypt we had a democratic society in place. The opposition could’ve competed in elections; could’ve competed for parliamentary seats. We had regular elections scheduled. We had term limits. We had balance of powers – the prime minister was about as powerful as the president. I could go on: the right to form political parties for anyone; the right to establish a newspaper without permission from the government.

“Now, all of that has been abandoned. And we’re living essentially in a military state and some of the people, who supported this coup continue to state that their optimistic about the future. Although, frankly, I don’t understand how people based on the reality that we’re seeing on the ground in terms of the violence and also in terms of the policies.”  (HSH)

*The writer can be contacted via email:










    Israeli writer, Yossi Melman, has said that Israel’s main concern is the possible downfall of the military regime in Egypt. He has also said that Israel is fearful that chaos could lead the country into civil war.

    Melman made clear that Israel was not concerned that this would undermine Egypt’s development or independence, but said this “could render null the peace treaty that has brought relative calm to the border for more than 30 years.”

    In his article in the Jerusalem Post, Melman wrote: “Israel’s primary concerns regarding Egypt are the possible fall of the military regime or a descent into civil war,” according to Middle East Monitor (MEMO) report quoted by Mi’raj News Agency (MINA).

    Melman asserted that Israel was treading carefully as it is unable to do anything significant to protect its borders if the peace treaty is annulled. “From a diplomatic and military perspective, Israel is following events in Egypt with great trepidation, in the knowledge that there is little it can do.”

    Therefore, Melman said, “Israel has been engaging in some diplomatic lobbying, particularly in Washington and a number of European capitals, with the intent of persuading those governments against rushing to step up their condemnation of the latest Egyptian military operation to remove the pro-Muslim Brotherhood protesters from the streets of Cairo and other cities.”

    The senior Israeli writer continued, “since (they) ousted President Mohamed Morsi six weeks ago, Israel has been secretly manoeuvring via friendly nations, deploying heavy diplomatic leverage to stop Western governments, first and foremost the United States, from denouncing the overthrow by the Egyptian security forces, deterring them from calling it a ‘massacre.'”

    He said that calling it a massacre “weakens the military-backed Egyptian government and strengthens the will of the Muslim Brotherhood to continue its policy of brinkmanship.”

    Melman asserted that most European countries support the military coup. He said that military rule “for now enjoys the support of most of the Egyptian people.”

    • Facts speak for themselves correctly and objectively that some of the Arab leaders including Egyptian military (coup) leaders, Libyan rebel leaders and Syrian rebel leaders could be easily fooled, drugged and dragged and finally deceived by the Imperialist and Zionist ploys into supporting their interests to sow discord among Muslim countries including demonizing Iran as a threat to the Arab world and intervening in the other Arab countries as well as make them fight each other at the expense of their own fellow countrymen!!!

      … and the winners are the Zionist and Imperialist corporate world!!!

      I am very sorry for my Egyptian brothers and sisters!!!

  2. ‘Israel undermining Western diplomatic efforts in Egypt’

    The Egyptian strongman General El-Sissi has been in ‘heavy’ contact with Jerusalem since Morsi’s ouster, says report in NY Times, quoting unnamed diplomats.

    Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, the general who orchestrated the military takeover in Egypt, has been in “heavy communication” with Israeli colleagues, who have been “undercutting” Western diplomatic efforts vis-à-vis Cairo, according to unnamed Western diplomats quoted in a report published Saturday by the New York Times.

    El-Sissi, who ousted former Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi and replaced him with an interim government led by Hazem el-Beblawi, was said to have cultivated close ties to Israel during his tenure as head of military intelligence in Egypt.

    The 58-year-old general and his close circle, said the report, kept in close contact with Israel even as fierce clashes erupted on the streets of Cairo, killing 173 over the weekend.

    Foreign diplomats told the New York Times that they believed Israel was “undercutting” Western diplomatic efforts by telling el-Sissi that the US would not cut off its aid to Egypt, despite threats to the contrary.

    They said Jerusalem had undermined Washington’s efforts to forestall the violent, chaotic deterioration from democracy to autocracy in Egypt, spearheaded by the generals who had ousted Morsi – the same generals who had had close relationships with Western powers for decades and who enjoyed the support of Israel, Saudi Arabia and other Arab states who viewed them as less dangerous than their Islamist counterparts.

    “When Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, proposed an amendment halting military aid to Egypt, the influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee sent a letter to senators on July 31 opposing it, saying it ‘could increase instability in Egypt and undermine important U.S. interests and negatively impact our Israeli ally,’” the Times report said. “Statements from influential lawmakers echoed the letter, and the Senate defeated the measure, 86 to 13, later that day.

    Washington, meanwhile, tried to press Cairo for a transition back to civilian rule and freedom for Islamist leaders, but was warned again and again of the danger posed by the Muslim Brotherhood.

    However, not even the best Western efforts – including US President Barack Obama’s decision Thursday to opt out of Egypt’s Bright Star war game — could put a stop to the bloodshed, which went on despite the diplomats’ warnings and entreaties.

    Egypt has been wracked by mass protests and counterprotests since the week of June 30, when opponents of Morsi took to the streets by the hundreds of thousands and called for his resignation. Following Morsi’s forced resignation, Muslim Brotherhood supporters and secular opponents of the Islamist president have been engaging in bloody clashes throughout Egypt.

    Egypt’s Interior Ministry said in a statement Saturday that a total of 1,004 Brotherhood members were detained in raids across the country and that weapons, bombs and ammunition were confiscated with the detainees.

    The Muslim Brotherhood-led anti-military coalition has called for a week of protests, further escalating unrest in the country. The coalition says that they won’t back down until it topples the government installed by the military — which overthrew Morsi on July 3.

    Meanwhile, hundreds remained inside the al-Fatah mosque in Cairo on Saturday morning after barricading themselves inside overnight. They shoved furniture against the doors to stop police from breaking their way in.
    “The million-dollar question now,” one American military officer was quoted as saying, “is where is the threshold of violence for cutting ties?”

    The Muslim Brotherhood group, founded in 1928, came to power a year ago when its leader Mohammed Morsi was elected in the country’s first free presidential elections. The election came after the overthrow of longtime autocratic president Hosni Mubarak.

    The Brotherhood rocketed to power after decades of being a banned group in Egypt. While sometimes tolerated, its leaders often faced long bouts of imprisonment.

  3. Israel Quietly Maintains Ties With Egyptian Army

    JERUSALEM August 19, 2013 (AP)
    By JOSEF FEDERMAN Associated Press

    Israel is quietly and carefully watching the turmoil in neighboring Egypt while maintaining close contacts with the Egyptian military amid concerns that the escalating crisis could weaken their common battle against Islamic militants in the Sinai Peninsula, officials said.

    As the week’s death toll in Egypt rises, this alliance has put Israel in a delicate position. Wary of being seen as taking sides in the Egyptian military’s standoff against Islamist supporters of the ousted president, Israel also needs the Egyptian army to maintain quiet along their shared border — and to preserve a historic peace treaty.

    The 1979 peace treaty, Israel’s first with an Arab country, has been a cornerstone of regional security for three decades. It has allowed Israel to divert resources to volatile fronts with Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories. For Egypt, it opened the way to billions of dollars in U.S. military aid.

    Although diplomatic relations have never been close, the two militaries have had a good working relationship. These ties have only strengthened since longtime President Hosni Mubarak was ousted in a popular uprising two and a half years ago. With both armies battling extremist Jihadi groups in the Sinai Peninsula, near the Israeli border, Israeli security officials often say that relations with their Egyptian counterparts are stronger than ever.

    With so much at stake, Israel has remained quiet since the Egyptian military ousted Mubarak’s Islamist successor, Mohammed Morsi, in a coup on July 3. Morsi, who became Egypt’s first democratically elected president, hails from the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist group considered the parent organization of militant Palestinian Hamas that rules the Gaza Strip and is a bitter enemy of Israel.

    Israel has not commented on this week’s bloodshed, in which the Egyptian troops killed hundreds of Morsi’s supporters who were rallying against the coup and demanding that he be reinstated.

    “Israel does not have to support the (Egyptian) regime, especially not publicly. It is not our place to defend all the measures taken, this is not our business,” said Giora Eiland, a former chairman of Israel’s National Security Council.

    At the same time, Eiland suggested that international condemnations of the Egyptian military’s actions have been excessive. He said Israeli and Western interests are “much closer” to the interests of Egypt’s military leader, Gen. Abdel-Fatah el-Sissi and his secular allies.

    “Even if we don’t share the same values, we can share the same interests,” he said. “The Israeli interest is quite clear. We want a stable regime in Egypt.”

    “In the end of the day, the U.S. has to realize the real potential, reliable partner is the combination of the coalition of secular people in Egypt and the current military regime,” he added.

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office declined comment but Israeli defense officials confirmed to The Associated Press that security cooperation with Egypt has continued over the past week.

    The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were discussing classified information, said the topic was discussed last week with the visiting chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of State, Gen. Martin Dempsey. They refused to discuss the content of the discussions.

    The Israeli and Egyptian armies have worked closely in recent years to contain the common threat posed by al-Qaida-linked groups operating in Sinai. These groups have stepped up their activities since Mubarak was toppled, and even more so since Morsi was deposed.

    In the latest attack, militants ambushed and killed 25 Egyptian policemen on Monday on a road in northern Sinai, Egyptian officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to talk to the media. The militants forced two vehicles carrying policemen on leave to stop, ordered the men out and made them lie on the ground before they shot them to death, the officials said.

    Early this month, Israel briefly closed its airport in the Red Sea resort town of Eilat, next to the border with Sinai, in response to unspecified security warnings. The following day, five men believed to be Islamic militants were killed in what Egyptian security officials told the AP in Cairo was an Israeli drone attack. The site of the strike was about five kilometers (three miles) inside Egypt. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to brief journalists.

    Israel has maintained official silence about the strike, likely out of concerns about exposing Egypt’s military to domestic public backlash over a strike on Egyptian soil. Egypt’s government celebrates its battles fought against Israel over Sinai and despite the 1979 peace deal, many in Egypt still view the Jewish state with suspicion.

    A week after the suspected drone strike, Israel intercepted an incoming rocket fired from Sinai at Eilat. An al-Qaida-linked group claimed responsibility for the rocket attack.

    Under the terms of the peace accord, Egypt must coordinate its military operations in northern Sinai with Israel. The Israelis are believed to have granted every request by Egypt to bring additional forces into the region, as long as all operations were closely coordinated. An international force helps monitor the terms of the treaty.

    Israeli lawmaker Shaul Mofaz, a former defense minister and military chief of staff, said it was essential that peace and order be restored in Egypt.

    “The issue of the peace treaty with Egypt is Israel’s highest interest. As long as the violence, and the confrontation between the army and the civilians and the bloodshed there increases, it endangers the peace treaty. We have an interest that life there is quiet,” he told Channel 2 TV.

    The U.S. and European Union have criticized Egypt’s crackdown on Morsi’s supporters.

    President Barack Obama has suspended a planned military exercise with Egypt, and U.S. Sen. John McCain has led a chorus of voices urging a halt in the $1.3 billion in military aid the U.S. sends to Egypt each year.

    “For us to sit by and watch this happen is a violation of everything that we stood for,” the Republican senator told CNN. “We’re not sticking with our values.”

    Obama has not made a decision. But suggestions like McCain’s have raised concerns in Israel that tough U.S. action could shake the alliance with Egypt — and even prompt Egypt to retaliate against Israel.

    “The Israeli and Egyptian security establishments are operating inside a bubble and, for the time being, there are no signs that relations between them have cooled,” wrote Alex Fishman, a military affairs commentator for the Yediot Ahronot daily. “But the Egyptian street is beginning to press, and the current regime is going to have to toss it a bone. Regrettably, it is going to be an Israeli bone it tosses.”

    Israeli officials say the peace accord remains intact, and dismiss speculation that it could be threatened.

    Eli Shaked, a former Israeli ambassador in Egypt, told the AP the scenario of the Camp David accords unraveling was highly unlikely. He said it was highly doubtful the United States would cut off aid to Egypt and even if it did, he could not envision Egypt canceling the peace treaty.

    “They have no interest in engaging in another conflict they have neither the time nor the energy for,” he said. “They need us now, with or without American aid.”

    Later Monday, Israel issued a new travel warning for Sinai, urging its citizens to “refrain from visiting” the peninsula and to “leave the area immediately.”

    The Sinai desert, with its pastoral coast, is a favorite vacation spot for Israelis.

    • Facts speak for themselves correctly and objectively that some of the Arab leaders including Egyptian military (coup) leaders, Libyan rebel leaders and Syrian rebel leaders could be easily fooled, drugged and dragged and finally deceived by the Imperialist and Zionist ploys into supporting their interests to sow discord among Muslim countries including demonizing Iran as a threat to the Arab world and intervening in the other Arab countries as well as make them fight each other at the expense of their own fellow countrymen!!!

      … and the winners are the Zionist and Imperialist corporate world!!!

      I am very sorry for my Egyptian brothers and sisters!!!

    Shazia Arshad, Monday, 09 September 2013
    Shazia Arshad
    The Egyptian army and Israel have grown much closer in the weeks since the coup d’etat. In a Ha’aretz report, Amos Harel, suggested that the Egyptian and Israeli relationship now was in fact stronger than it was during the rule of Mubarak. Following the coup, it was Israel that the Egyptians turned to ensure that the American government and the new Egyptian coup regime would reach an understanding. Although the toppling of the democratically elected government was widely accepted as a coup, Israel prevented the use of the term and encouraged America to accept events as a regime change. In doing so, Israel ensured that American financial support to Egypt could continue, as acceptance of a coup would mean that aid would have to be suspended under American law.

    Israel’s role in securing continued US aid for Egypt’s army has made it possible for a stronger bond between the two to develop. Events in Egypt since the coup have demonstrated how grateful Egypt’s army are to Israel. Indeed, the Egyptian army’s particular focus on the Sinai and Gaza has won favour with the Israelis. Gazans in particular have been bearing the brunt of the warmer relationship between the two regimes. In recent weeks, the Egyptian army have closed all tunnels between Egypt and Gaza and restricted the border crossing at Rafah. The closure of the tunnels has had a significant impact, forcing Gaza to turn to Israel and import fuel through Israel at six times the cost. The tunnel economy, which has provided basic needs for Gaza’s blockaded residents, has been shut down and will cause further financial stress to the Gazan economy. The restrictions on the Rafah crossing have limited the travel of Palestinians in to and out of Gaza, including those who need access to urgent medical treatment. The Rafah crossing had allowed freer movement during the presidency of Mohamed Morsi, much to Israel’s chagrin.

    Egypt’s new political direction has also left Hamas out in the cold, this time much to Israel’s delight. Prior to the coup, with increasing support from the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt Hamas’ strength in Gaza had increased and Hamas used the opportunity to oppose Assad’s civil war in Syria. With the opposition to Assad, Hamas relied on Egypt, but with the turn of events, Hamas now face increasing isolation. To further weaken Hamas, the Egyptian army circulated rumours of Hamas’s involvement in terrorist activities in Egypt. Last week’s attempted assassination of the Egyptian interior minister was used to implicate Hamas, when local media sources suggested that they had been involved in the bomb attack. Despite the clear fallacy of the claim, the rumours have worked to suppress Hamas in Gaza, as the Israeli’s have wanted to do for some time now.

    In the Sinai, the Egyptian army have been circulating rumours of terrorist activity too. With claims that Islamist terror groups are active in the region, the army have increased their presence with more troops, tanks and helicopters in the region. Under the Israel-Egypt peace treaty the Egyptians require Israel’s agreement for them to be able to do so, and in yet another example of the Egypt-Israel bond growing stronger, the Israeli’s have sanctioned the increase. The Egyptian army have reported killed 100 activists in the Sinai, wounded and arrested hundreds of others. Further reports have indicated that the Egyptian army is currently developing buffer zone in the Sinai to prevent weapons and terrorist smuggling into and out of Gaza. Reports suggested that the buffer zone would be a military controlled area and that the residents currently there were being forced from their homes with no warnings.

    The Egyptian army have been able to mount a coup against the democratically elected Egyptian president, ensure that America continues to bank roll the country and strengthen their grip on power since the coup thanks to the work, and the words, of the Israelis. Whilst they may not be making the strengthening of their relationship public, the Egyptians want to ensure that the Israeli’s know how grateful they are for their support. In this vein, the army’s attacks to protect Israel’s interests are sure to increase.

  5. Gaza: Crushed between Israel and Egypt
    Jonathan Cook on October 2, 2013
    Gaza Tunnel
    The furor over the recent chemical weapons attack in Syria has overshadowed disturbing events to the south, as Egypt’s generals wage a quiet war of attrition against the Hamas leadership in Gaza.

    Hamas has found itself increasingly isolated, politically and geographically, since the Egyptian army ousted the country’s first democratically elected president, Mohammed Morsi, in early July.

    Hamas is paying the price for its close ties to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic movement that briefly took power through the ballot box following the revolutionary protests that toppled dictator Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

    Since the army launched its coup three months ago, jailing the Brotherhood’s leadership and last week outlawing the movement’s activities and freezing its assets, Hamas has become a convenient scapegoat for all signs of unrest.

    Hamas is blamed for the rise of militant Islamic groups in the Sinai, many drawn from disgruntled local Bedouin tribes, which have been attacking soldiers, government institutions and shipping through the Suez canal. The army claims a third of the Islamists it has killed in recent operations originated from Gaza.

    At an army press conference last month, several Palestinians “confessed” to smuggling arms from Gaza into Sinai, while an Egyptian commander, Ahmed Mohammed Ali, accused Hamas of “targeting the Egyptian army through ambushes.”

    The Egyptian media have even tied Hamas to a car bombing in Cairo last month which nearly claimed the life of the new interior minister, Mohammed Ibrahim.

    Lurking in the shadows is the army’s fear that, should the suppressed Muslim Brotherhood choose the path of violence, it may find a useful ally in a strong Hamas.

    A crackdown on the Palestinian Islamic movement has been all but inevitable, and on a scale even Mr Mubarak would have shrunk from. The Egyptian army has intensified the blockade along Egypt’s single short border with Gaza, replicating that imposed by Israel along the other three.

    Over the past weeks, the army has destroyed hundreds of tunnels through which Palestinians smuggle fuel and other necessities in short supply because of Israel’s siege.

    Egypt has bulldozed homes on its side to establish a “buffer zone”, as Israel did inside Gaza a decade ago when it still occupied the enclave directly, to prevent more tunnels being dug.

    That has plunged Gaza’s population into hardship, and dealt a harsh blow to the tax revenues Hamas raises on the tunnel trade. Unemployment is rocketing and severe fuel shortages mean even longer power cuts.

    Similarly, Gaza’s border crossing with Egypt at Rafah – the only access to the outside for most students, medical patients and business people – is now rarely opened, even to the Hamas leadership.

    And the Egyptian navy has been hounding Palestinians trying to fish off Gaza’s coast, in a zone already tightly delimited by Israel. Egypt has been firing at boats and arresting crews close to its territorial waters, citing security.

    Fittingly, a recent cartoon in a Hamas newspaper showed Gaza squeezed between pincers – one arm Israel, the other Egypt. Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesperson, was recently quoted saying Egypt was “trying to outmatch the Israelis in tormenting and starving our people”.

    Hamas is short of regional allies. Its leader Khaled Meshal fled his Syrian base early in the civil war, alienating Iran in the process. Other recent supporters, such as Turkey and Qatar, are also keeping their distance.

    Hamas fears mounting discontent in Gaza, and particularly a demonstration planned for November modelled on this summer’s mass protests in Egypt that helped to bring down Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.

    Hamas’ political rival, Fatah – and the Palestinian Authority, based in the West Bank – are reported to be behind the new protest movement.

    The prolonged efforts by Fatah and Hamas to strike a unity deal are now a distant memory. In late August the PA annnounced it would soon be taking “painful decisions” about Hamas, assumed to be a reference to declaring it a “rogue entity” and thereby cutting off funding.

    The PA sees in Hamas’ isolation and its own renewed ties to the Egyptian leadership a chance to take back Gaza.

    As ever, Israel is far from an innocent bystander.

    After the unsettling period of Muslim Brotherhood rule, the Egyptian and Israeli armies – their strategic interests always closely aligned – have restored security cooperation. According to media reports, Israel even lobbied Washington following the July coup to ensure Egypt continued to receive generous US aid handouts – as with Israel, mostly in the form of military assistance.

    Israel has turned a blind eye to Egypt pouring troops, as well as tanks and helicopters, into Sinai in violation of the 1979 peace treaty. Israel would rather Egypt mop up the Islamist threat on their shared doorstep.

    The destruction of the tunnels, meanwhile, has sealed off the main conduit by which Hamas armed itself against future Israeli attacks.

    Israel is also delighted to see Fatah and Hamas sapping their energies in manoeuvring against each other. Political unity would have strengthened the Palestinians’ case with the international community; divided, they can be easily played off against the other.

    That cynical game is in full swing. A week ago Israel agreed for the first time in six years to allow building materials into Gaza for private construction, and to let in more fuel. A newly approved pipe will double the water supply to Gaza.

    These measures are designed to bolster the PA’s image in Gaza, as payback for returning to the current futile negotiations, and undermine support for Hamas.

    With Egypt joining the blockade, Israel now has much firmer control over what goes in and out, allowing it to punish Hamas while improving its image abroad by being generous with “humanitarian” items for the wider population.

    Gaza is dependent again on Israel’s good favor. But even Israeli analysts admit the situation is far from stable. Sooner or later, something must give. And Hamas may not be the only ones caught in the storm.

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