Celebrations are expected to follow the announcement in Tahrir Square, After the results are released Tuesday night, el-Sissi is expected to be sworn in before Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court.
Egypt‘s military chief, Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, gave his strongest indication yet that he intends to run for president, saying Tuesday that he “can’t turn his back” to public demands. In a campaign-style speech, he said Egyptians must unite and end street turmoil to tackle the country’s mounting economic and security woes.
El-Sissi is considered almost certain to win if he runs for president, riding on a wave of popular fervor since ouster Mohammed Morsi, who had faced massive protests demanding his removal after a year in office.
El-Sissi’s speech to military cadets and their families during a graduation ceremony, later aired on state TV, appeared aimed at explaining to nervous supporters why he has not yet made an official announcement amid the widespread expectations — while laying out what is likely to be a theme of his campaign, that Egyptians must take responsibility for restoring stability and rebuilding the economy.
He virtually confirmed he intends to run. “Don’t imagine that anyone who truly loves his country and loves the Egyptians, can ever turn his back on them when he finds there is a desire by many of them. No one can do that,” he said, to applause from the audience.
He said he could not openly declare his candidacy since he still holds the post of defense minister. “Let us leave things for the coming days,” he said, hinting that he was waiting for the interim president to issue a law governing the presidential vote. The vote is to be held by the end of April.
“I spoke in signs so that people don’t get confused” amid much speculation, el-Sissi said. “I hope you all got the sign.”
His call for unity reflected the daunting problems he would face if he becomes president. Morsi’s Islamist supporters have been protesting for months demanding his reinstatement. Also, Islamic militants have been waging a campaign of bombings and assassinations. The economy has been wrecked since the 2011 ouster of autocratic President Hosni Mubarak.
“Don’t imagine that any one person can solve the problems in Egypt, regardless of who it is you select. No, it will be solved by all of us,” he said. “Don’t imagine that the problems accumulated for over 30 years, can be solved without us joining hands.”
In an implicit call to Morsi supporters to end their protests, he said, “Maybe eight months (since Morsi’s ouster) is a time to start to review and reconsider. … Look around you to see if what is happening pleases God.”
“Egyptians, you need to put your hands together to avert a real danger for Egypt,” he said.
Over the past weeks, the 59-year-old army chief has been increasingly acting in a presidential fashion, most notably a visit last month to Russia, where he secured the Kremlin‘s blessing for his likely presidential bid.
Last week, his wife made her first public appearance: Intisar el-Sissi was seated next to him during a ceremony honoring senior officers.
Posters of el-Sissi next to a lion are plastered on walls and hoisted on lampposts across much of the country. Songs praising the military and el-Sissi are played on radio and blare from coffee shops. Supporters often tout him as the new Gamal Abdel-Nasser, the legendary Arab nationalist who ruled in 1950s and 1960s.
The law governing the upcoming presidential vote was given on Tuesday to the Cabinet for consultations, after which it will be given to interim President Adly Mansour to issue.
Ali Awad, the president legal adviser, said that one article in the new law provides that if only one candidate runs, the vote will be a referendum on the candidate. Another article would allow for the results of the voting to be appealed if a complaint is filed within a week of their announcement. Awad said the articles will still be debated by the Cabinet.
20 ministers from El-Beblawi’s cabinet keep their posts, while 11 ministers are fresh appointees
Egypt’s new government was sworn in Saturday in a limited reshuffle that kept the powerful ministers of defense and interior in place under a new prime minister named days earlier.
State television aired the ministers being sworn in live from the presidential palace, led by new Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehlib, the outgoing housing minister,
The new Cabinet keeps Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi as the country’s defense minister. The 59-year-old el-Sissi is widely expected to run for president in elections expected by April.
Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim, who oversees the country’s police, also remains in place despite wide criticism of his performance in handling rising violence
The reshuffle comes after the surprise resignation Monday of the Cabinet, including then-Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi.
The change of government before the presidential vote appeared orchestrated to curb rising criticism of the outgoing Cabinet, which was accused of failing to stem widening labor strikes and continued protests. It also would spare el-Sissi the disruption associated with forming a new one if he becomes president. Parliamentary elections are expected by the summer, after which a new government is likely to be formed.
In the new lineup, Mehlib kept 20 ministers from el-Beblawi’s government and appointed 11 new ones, mostly technocrats. The new Cabinet includes three Christians and four women, but no Islamists. It removes most ministers who were members of political parties formed after the 2011 ouster of Mubarak.
This new interim government is the sixth since 2011. It’s also the second interim government after Morsi’s ouster.
The new Cabinet will face a host of challenges ranging from Egypt’s unstable security situation to a battered economy drained of resources.
Ministers from El-Beblawi’s government who will remain in their posts are:
1. Minister of Defence Abdel-Fatah El-Sisi
2. Minister of Interior Mohamed Ibrahim
3. Minister of Tourism Hisham Zazou
4. Minister of Transportation Ibrahim Domeiri
5. Minister of Communication Atef Helmy
6. Minister of Local Development Adel Labib
7. Minister of Agriculture Ayman Abu Hadid
8. Minister of Antiquities Mohamed Ibrahim
9. Minister of Transitional Justice and National Reconciliation Amin A-Mahdy
10. Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment Mounir Fakhry Abdel-Noor.
11. Minister of Culture Saber Arab
12. Minister of Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Ashraf El-Arabi
13. Minister of Foreign Affairs Nabil Fahmy
14. Minister of Information Doreya Sharaf El-Din
15. Minister of Environment Laila Iskandar
16. Minister of Petroleum Sherif Ismail
17.Minister of Religious Endowments Mokhtar Gomaa
18.Minister of Education Mahmoud Abou El-Nasr
19. Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Mohamed Abdel-Moteleb
20. Minister of Sports and Youth Khaled Abdel-Aziz
Newly appointed ministers:
1. Minister of Justice Nayer Abdel-Moneim Othman
2. Minister of Military Production Ibrahim Younis
3. Minister of Health Adel El-Adawi
4. Minister of Housing Mostafa Madbouli
5. Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Wael El-Degwi
6. Minister of Manpower Nahed Ashri
7. Minister of Supply Khaled Hanafy
8. Minister of Electricity Mohamed Shaker
9. Minister of Finance Hani Qadri Demian
10. Minister of Social Solidarity Ghada Wali
11. Minister of Aviation Mohamed Hossam Kamal
Location – Cairo, Egypt – Date : July 3 – Time : 7 p.m. (1700 GMT)
Egypt’s people and armed forces overthrew Mohamed Morsi on Wednesday and announced a political transition with the support of a wide range of political, religious and youth leaders.
After a day of drama in which tanks and troops deployed near the presidential palace as a military deadline for Morsi to yield to mass protests passed, the top army commander General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced on television that the president had “failed to meet the demands of the Egyptian people”.
Flanked by political and religious leaders and top generals, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced the suspension of the Islamist-tinged constitution and a roadmap for a return to democratic rule under a revised rulebook.
The president of the supreme constitutional court will act as interim head of state, assisted by an interim council and a technocratic government until new presidential and parliamentary elections are held.
“Those in the meeting have agreed on a roadmap for the future that includes initial steps to achieve the building of a strong Egyptian society that is cohesive and does not exclude anyone and ends the state of tension and division,” Sisi said in a solemn address broadcast live on state television.
After he spoke, Millions of anti-Morsi protesters in central Cairo’s Tahrir Square erupted into wild cheering, setting off fireworks and waving flags. Cars drove around the capital honking their horns in celebration.
The Muslim Brotherhood president, in office for just a year, was at a Republican Guard barracks surrounded by barbed wire, barriers and troops, but it was not clear whether he was under arrest. The state newspaper Al-Ahram said the military had told Morsi at 7 p.m. (1700 GMT) that he was no longer head of state.
“TERRORISTS AND FOOLS”
Military chiefs, vowing to restore order in a country racked by protests over Morsi’s Islamist policies, earlier issued a call to battle in a statement headlined “The Final Hours”. They said they were willing to shed blood against “terrorists and fools”.
Armored vehicles took up position outside the state broadcasting headquarters on the Nile River bank, where soldiers patrolled the corridors and non-essential staff were sent home.
In another show of force, several hundred soldiers with armored vehicles staged a parade near the presidential palace, and security sources said Morsi and the entire senior leadership of his Muslim Brotherhood were banned from leaving the country.
Security sources told Reuters the authorities had sent a list of at least 40 leading members of the Brotherhood to airport police.
U.S. oil prices rose to a 14-month high above $100 a barrel partly on fears that unrest in Egypt could destabilize the Middle East and lead to supply disruption.
The massive anti-Morsi protests showed that the Brotherhood had not only alienated liberals and secularists by seeking to entrench Islamic rule, notably in a new constitution, but had also angered millions of Egyptians with economic mismanagement.
Tourism and investment have dried up, inflation is rampant and fuel supplies are running short, with power cuts lengthening in the summer heat and motorists spending hours fuelling cars.
Liberal opponents said a rambling late-night television address by Morsi showed he had “lost his mind”.
The country’s two main religious leaders, the head of the Al-Azhar Islamic institute and the Coptic Pope, both expressed their support for the army’s roadmap in speeches after Sisi
In an article last week in the Daily News Egypt, the Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives and former presidential candidate described the history of the Muslim Brotherhood as full of violence and terrorism.
“From the time of Hassan al-Banna and the ‘secret apparatus’ staging terror attacks across Egypt and the assassinations of Prime Minister Mahmoud an-Nukrashi Pasha and judge Ahmed El-Khazindar in 1948, to the ongoing attacks on Coptic Christians and churches and the terror campaign targeting the military in the Sinai and elsewhere, the Muslim Brotherhood has always kept terrorism as part of its arsenal and living up to their motto, ‘Jihad is our way,'” Bachmann wrote.
She added that the Brotherhood engages in a two-faced policy of publicly condemning terrorism to media outlets in the West, and then supporting terrorism when they think no one is looking. When they get caught, the predictable response is to claim that they were misquoted or taken out of context. Alain Chouet, the former head of the French Security Intelligence Service, observed that “like every fascist movement on the trail to power, the Brotherhood has achieved perfect fluency in double-speak.”
Bachmann added after the January revolution, the Obama administration and the American media fell for this double-speak, embracing the so-called “moderate Muslim Brotherhood.” But as the people of Egypt quickly discovered, they were anything but moderate.
“Under former President Morsi’s brief tenure, the Muslim Brotherhood’s program of extremism was given a green light. One of Morsi’s first agenda items was to demand the release of convicted terrorist leader Shiek Omar Abdel Rahman from American prison. Morsi also released scores of convicted terrorists from Egyptian jails,” she noted.
By Michele Bachmann
If the decision of the interim government of Egypt is to consider the organisation of the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation, then the United States should follow.
From the time of Hassan al-Banna and the “secret apparatus” staging terror attacks across Egypt and the assassinations of Prime Minister Mahmoud an-Nukrashi Pasha and judge Ahmed El-Khazindar in 1948, to the ongoing attacks on Coptic Christians and churches and the terror campaign targeting the military in the Sinai and elsewhere, the Muslim Brotherhood has always kept terrorism as part of its arsenal and living up to their motto, “Jihad is our way.”
We’ve seen the Brotherhood engage in a two-faced policy of publicly condemning terrorism to media outlets in the West, and then supporting terrorism when they think no one is looking. When they get caught, the predictable response is to claim that they were misquoted or taken out of context. This is why Alain Chouet, the former head of the French Security Intelligence Service, observed that “like every fascist movement on the trail to power, the Brotherhood has achieved perfect fluency in double-speak.”
After the 25 January Revolution, the Obama administration and the American media fell for this double-speak, embracing the so-called “moderate Muslim Brotherhood.”
But as the people of Egypt quickly discovered, they were anything but moderate. Under former President Morsi’s brief tenure, the Muslim Brotherhood’s program of extremism was given a green light. Following his election, one of Morsi’s first agenda items was to demand the release of convicted terrorist leader Shiek Omar Abdel Rahman from American prison. The “Blind Sheik” was convicted in his role in federal court for his leadership role in authorising the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the planned follow-up “Day of Terror” attack. Morsi also released scores of convicted terrorists from Egyptian jails.
Under the Morsi regime attacks against women and religious minorities, including Coptic Christians and Shi’ites, increased dramatically with no response from the government. In April, when mobs and police attacked a funeral at St. Mark’s Cathedral, killing at least one mourner, one of Morsi’s top aides took to Facebook to blame the Coptic Christians for the attacks. The Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party have continued to incite violence against the Coptic community since Morsi’s removal
When Morsi issued his 22 November, 2012 declaration claiming that his power was beyond the review of the courts and that all his decrees could not be appealed – effectively declaring himself dictator – the Obama administration issued no condemnations. As protestors were being tortured by Muslim Brotherhood cadres in front of the presidential palace, the United States was continuing with plans to send planes, tanks, tear gas and financial aid to the Morsi regime over the protests from myself and many of my colleagues in both chambers of the United States Congress.
As Egyptians were being jailed and tried for “defamation” and “insulting the president” and after Morsi appointed a former Jamaa Islamiya terrorist leader as governor of the Luxor Governorate, where his terror group had attacked and killed 62 tourists in 1997, Obama’s Ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson gave a speech in Cairo just days before the 30 June Tamarod protests continuing to back Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.
In October 2003, the former counter-terrorism “czar” for both President Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, Richard Clarke, testified before the US Senate that virtually every Islamic terrorist organisation in the world had in common membership and inspiration from the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood. Not only has virtually every leader of Al-Qaeda passed through the ranks of the Muslim Brotherhood, but several of the 9/11 hijackers, including ringleader Mohamed Atta, were known to have been radicalised through the Brotherhood.
In February 2011, just days after Mubarak announced he was stepping down, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Robert Mueller told the U.S. House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence that “elements of the Muslim Brotherhood both here and overseas have supported terrorism.”
The move in Egypt to designate the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation is one born out of urgent necessity and the group’s long history of terror. If this decision is made by the Egyptian government then the United States should follow. The designation of the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation is warranted and long overdue.
Michele Bachmann is an American Republican member of the United States House of Representatives, representing Minnesota’s 6th congressional district, and a former U.S. presidential candidate.
CAIRO (AP) — Egypt state media is reporting that the country’s top prosecutor has referred ousted Mohammed Morsi to trial for conspiring with foreign organisations, countries, espionage
and carrying out terrorist operations in the country.
The state news agency reported Wednesday that Morsi and 35 others, including the Muslim Brotherhood‘s top three leaders, are charged with revealing state secrets to a foreign country, sponsoring terrorism and carrying out military training and other acts that undermined Egypt’s stability and independence.
If found guilty, they could face the death penalty.
Morsi is already under investigatation over allegations he and the Brotherhood worked with the Palestinian militant group Hamas on a prison break that freed him and other members of the group during Egypt’s 2011 uprising. That attack killed 14 inmates.
Morsi is already on trial on other charges.
- Egypt’s Ousted President Mohammed Morsi To Be Tried For Conspiracy With Foreigners.
- Morsy to stand trial for espionage, terror acts (thehindu.com)
- Ousted president Morsi to stand trial for espionage (alrasub.com)
- Egypt Says Morsi To Face Conspiracy Trial (world.time.com)
- Egypt’s Mohammed Morsi to face charges of espionage ‘linked to terror campaign’ (telegraph.co.uk)
The call came as the panel amending Egypt’s suspended constitution began voting Saturday on some 250 changes,
The constitution before the 50-member committee makes drastic changes in ensuring civil liberties, fighting discrimination, criminalizing torture, protecting religious freedoms and giving lawmakers power to remove the president. Yet the draft also allows Egypt’s powerful military to choose its own chief and try civilians in military tribunals.
“This is the path of rescue from the current condition,” said Amr Moussa, the elder Egyptian statesman leading the constitutional panel. “It is the transition from disturbances to stability and from economic stagnation to development.”
The military suspended the Islamist-drafted, voter-approved 2012 constitution in the July 3 coup that ousted Morsi. The constitutional panel, dominated by secularists, has been working on changes as part of a military-backed timeline that calls for voters to approve it. It plans for parliamentary and presidential elections to be held early next year.
On Saturday, 48 panel members began voting on the changes in a session aired live on state television. Most articles passed unanimously. One issue the panel faced was how the principles of Islamic law, or Shariah, already called the main source of law in Egypt, should be defined. Some feared a definition would allow for a heavier implementation of Shariah and the creation of a religious state.
The panel voted to refer to Supreme Constitutional Court’s limited definition of Shariah’s principles. That “didn’t appease the Islamist representative,” said panel member Kamal el-Helbawi, an independent who once belonged to Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood.
The panel voted for an amendment banning slavery, human trafficking and “the sex trade.” The panel’s sole Islamist party representative opposed the amendment, as some say the article restricts early marriages.
The panel also voted in favor of abolishing the upper house of parliament, the Shura Council, as well as an amendment defining Egypt as a “civilian” government in Arabic. That term angers Islamists, who say it means secular.
Among articles the panel will vote on Sunday is one allowing lawmakers to vote out an elected president and call for early elections if they have a two-thirds majority. Another allows parliament to prosecute the president for “violating the rules of the constitution.”
A proposed change also prohibits the establishment of political parties on religious grounds, meaning the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice party and Al-Nour, the political arm of Salafi Call movement, could be banned.
Other controversial changes up for a vote include one giving the military the right to choose its own army chief, who serves as the defense minister, over a transitional period of eight years. Another gives the military the right to try civilians in front of military tribunals for a series of crimes. The tribunals are known for swift and harsh verdicts that cannot be appealed.
Once approved, the panel will hand the draft constitution to interim President Adly Mansour. Mansour has a month to call for a public vote on it.
The military-backed government hopes to pass the constitution with more support than Morsi’s constitution garnered. Only a third of voters cast ballots in 2012 and it passed by 63.8 percent. Billboards calling on voters to support the draft constitution already have been put up around the capital, Cairo, though some already have reservations about it.
“The constitution is better than the previous one, but it is not the best in general,” said leading civil rights lawyer Nasser Amin, an alternate member of the panel. “Polarization and divisions had its impact on the constitution.”
For Egyptians, the constitution is the first step toward normalcy and stability after nearly three years of tumultuous political change that has dealt a heavy blow to the economy and plunged the parts of the country into lawlessness.
Meanwhile Saturday, a few kilometers (miles) from where the panel met, brief clashes broke out between riot police and protesters. The clash grew out of anger over the arrest of 24 activists Tuesday who held a demonstration in defiance of a new law heavily restricting protests.
The new law allows security agencies to bar protests not previously reported to authorities, while also setting prison terms and high fines for violators. It appears aimed at ending the near-daily protests by Islamists supporting Morsi and others opposing the military-backed interim government. The law has angered secularists as well.
On Saturday, Deputy Prime Minister Ziad Bahaa-Eldin called on authorities to review the law to show that the state was ready to listen to the country’s secular activists.
“It is not a shame and it does not detract from the prestige of the state to reconsider a law that will only widen the gap between the state and the youth,” Bahaa-Eldin said on his official Facebook page.
In a press conference on Nov. 23, Egypt’s Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim accused the Muslim Brotherhood of supporting actors who are attempting to bring chaos and instability to Egypt. “The Muslim Brotherhood, in cooperation and with finances from the international branch of the group, has mobilized a number of terrorist extremist elements … and spurred them to carry out villainous terrorist act[s]” against Egyptians, Ibrahim charged.
Ibrahim’s remarks “were the first detailed examples offered by a senior Egyptian official to back claims that the Brotherhood … is responsible for attacks against security, government institutions and the country’s Coptic minority,”
Ibrahim said security forces arrested five individuals from al-Qaeda linked groups who were present at the pro-Morsi vigils in Cairo before they were dispersed on August 14. The Brotherhood denies any links to violence.
Ibrahim said security forces found documents, seized weapons, and foiled various attack attempts against public figures, police and army personnel. It also blamed those groups for attacks against the police and army since June 30.
According to AFP, Ibrahim claimed that some of those detained since the ouster of Mohammed had been “pardoned of offences during Morsi’s year-long rule, and that others were linked” to groups such as Ansar Jerusalem (Ansar Bayt al Maqdis) and Ansar al Sharia in Libya.
In that regard, the Atlantic recently reported, based on comments by a regional intelligence official, that “hundreds of Sinai-based militants are traveling to Libya virtually undetected for training and cooperation with members of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).” And in July, AQIM official Abu Abdul Ilah Ahmed al Jijeli said Morsi’s overthrow should teach Egyptian Muslims “that the price for applying principles on the ground is a mountain of body parts and seas of blood, because evil must be killed and not shown mercy, and righteousness must be achieved by cutting the head of those who corrupt and not reason with them,” according to a translation by the SITE Intelligence Group.
Ibrahim’s press conference came three days after a car bombing in North Sinai killed 11 Egyptian security personnel. The attack, one of the deadliest since Morsi was turned out of office, has not yet been claimed.
Since Morsi’s ouster on July 3, there have been at least 253 reported attacks in the Sinai Peninsula, most of which were carried out against Egyptian security forces and assets, according to data maintained by The Long War Journal. Since July, the number of attacks has declined each month. November, which has already seen 29 attacks, is currently on pace to surpass October’s total, however.
Attacks by Sinai-based jihadists have not been limited to North Sinai. Indeed, Ansar Jerusalem, the dominant Sinai-based jihadist group, has also conducted a few attacks outside of its normal base of operations in North Sinai in recent months. On Sept. 5, the jihadist group carried out an assassination attempt in Nasr City on Egypt’s interior minister, Mohammed Ibrahim. A month later, an Ansar Jerusalem suicide bomber unleashed a blast at the South Sinai Security Directorate in el Tor, which killed three security personnel and injured more than 45. Then, on Oct. 19, the Sinai-based jihadist group targeted a military intelligence building in the city of Ismailia. More recently, Ansar Jerusalem claimed responsibility for the Nov. 17 shooting attack on Lieutenant Colonel Mohammed Mabrouk, a senior national security officer, in Cairo.
- Egypt official: Muslim Brotherhood backs unrest (sfgate.com)
- Egypt Official: Muslim Brotherhood Backs Unrest – ABC News (abcnews.go.com)
- Egypt Official: Muslim Brotherhood Financing Terror Attacks (eurasiareview.com)
- Egypt Official: Muslim Brotherhood Backs Unrest (nytimes.com)
- Egyptian Army Arrests Dozens Of Terrorists, Minister Says Muslim Brotherhood Financing Al-Qaeda Attacks (patdollard.com)
CAIRO — Move over America, an old bedfellow might be returning to Egypt: Russia.
On Thursday, top Russian and Egyptian officials began talks in Cairo, signaling a potential dramatic foreign policy shift following the U.S. decision to partially cut military aid to Egypt. The U.S. move came in response to the ousting of democratically elected, but controversial, Islamist President Mohamed Morsi.
But Egypt and Russia are far from strangers. For 20 years, the two countries were the closest of allies. (Ahram Online published a series of photos of famous Egyptian and Russian figures smiling and posing together over the years — everyone from Communist Party leader Nikita Khrushchev at an Aswan Dam construction celebration to dolled-up Egyptian actress Nadia Lutfi and Soviet actress Larisa Golubkina, laughing together in Moscow.)
But in the early 1970s, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat ordered 20,000 Soviet military advisers out of Egypt, and amid a U.S. brokered peace deal with Israel, decided to shift Egypt’s foreign policy, with eyes on aligning with the U.S. Since then, the U.S. government has provided around $1.3 billion in military aid every year to Egypt, up until the recent aid cut.
In a press conference on Thursday, Egyptian foreign minister Nabil Fahmy was asked by reporters whether Russia would replace the U.S. as Egypt’s main ally. Fahmy simply replied: “Russia’s weight is too heavy to be a substitute for anyone.”
Fahmy is set to meet with his counterpart, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, as well as Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu and Egypt’s defense minister Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the widely respected military leader who led Mohamed Morsi’s removal from power.
The talks between the high-profile leaders reportedly include potential arms deals, amounting to as high as $2 billion, the BBC reports. Following the partial military aid cut from the U.S., Egypt is hoping to acquire military equipment such as fighter jets, anti-tank missiles and air-defense systems, with particular focus on battling the rising insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula (though the U.S. has not severed any aid bolstering counterterrorism efforts in Sinai).
“Russia and Egypt are determined to forge a closer partnership and mutually beneficial cooperation,” Lavrov said in an interview with Egypt’s Al-Ahram newspaper.
The now-frosty relationship between the U.S. and Egypt is met with an even more hostile dialogue between the U.S. and Russia as the war in Syria rages on.
On Tuesday, the U.S. and Russia — one of Syrian President Bashar Assad‘s biggest supporters — once again failed to come up with a date for Syrian peace talks, split over whether or not Syria’s ally Iran should be included.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Defense Department signaled it had abandoned previous plans to buy more cargo helicopters for the Afghan Air Force from Russian state-owned arms exporter Rosoboronexport — the same arms agency selling weaponry to Syria’s Assad regime.
The Russian convoy’s two-day Cairo visit coincides with the end of the now three-month nightly curfew and state of emergency imposed in mid-August when hundreds of pro-Morsi supporters were killed as their sit-ins were violently cleared by security forces. It was the worst mass killing in modern Egyptian history, and has yet to be thoroughly investigated by the government. Also taking place during the Russian visit is the sentencing of 12 pro-Morsi supporters to 17 years in prison for taking part in a student protest that turned violent.
Following the ouster of Morsi — slammed for granting himself sweeping powers and spearheading an Islamist agenda — Russia’s foreign ministry urged restraint by security forces. But on Wednesday, Russian foreign minister Lavrov told the newspaper Al-Ahram, “We are quite confident that Egypt will overcome its current crises, and put into consideration the interests of all political, ethnic and religious blocs within society.”
- Top Russian officials in Egypt talks (bbc.co.uk)
- Russian ministers make landmark Cairo visit (dailystar.com.lb)
- Top Russian officials hold talks in Egypt (africareview.com)
- Egypt says improving ties with Russia not a snub to US (theguardian.com)
- FM: Egypt not replacing US with Russia as top ally (sfgate.com)
It’s unclear what the future holds for the group, and the U.S. is concerned about the organization’s ties to radical Islam.
The Muslim Brotherhood is challenging the Egyptian government over a new law designed to regulate the number of protests. Muslim Brotherhood leaders see the law as a further crackdown directed mainly at them.
Hamid is the senior fellow and chair of the study of Islamic Radicalism at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies. He was also a former member of a terrorist Islamic organization Jemaah Islamiya with Ayman Al-Zawaherri, who became later second in command of Al Qaeda.
Hamid says the U.S. should not be fooled into thinking the organization is a moderate group.
“The Muslim Brotherhood works in four stages … preaching … share in power with ours … consolidate power … use violence to enforce Sharia [religious law of Islam],” said Hamid. “As long as they [Muslim Brotherhood] have not reached stage four many people, especially in the West, couldn’t recognize their threat … because [before then] they see them as a peaceful group.”
Hamid warned, “If you waited more for them [to spread their operations] you will start to see the reality.”
Hamid believes the Muslim Brotherhood is secretly supporting jihadist movements. “They don’t do the dirty work themselves … they can release the jihadists … they do not get engaged themselves in the terrorist acts.”
He cited Islamists in the African country of Mali, who were gaining strength in 2012, as an example of Morsi taking the side of the radicals.
“Morsi objected to the French intervention in Mali against the Jihadists … you can see that they give us a lot of lip service of how peaceful they are and they deceived many of us,” said Hamid.
Hamid, author of “Inside Jihad: Understanding and Confronting Radical Islam,” believes the Muslim Brotherhood was too confident when Morsi was elected. They thought their party would remain in power permanently going forward.
“This over confidence lead many of their leaders started to relax and start to talk to some of the people like Ayman Al-Zawaherri and others,” said Hamid. “When they [Muslim Brotherhood] got to power, the first election after Morsi came to power it was a referendum of the Constitution … you cannot imagine the level of deception, the abuse that happened to the ordinary people in order to change the results of the referendum for their benefit.”
Hamid says that Egyptian General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and the country’s military were right in removing Morsi from power. “If he didn’t do so, Egypt would have … become another Taliban [haven] in this part of the world.”
- OBAMA Accused of CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY at International Criminal Court (tomohalloran.com)