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43TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE OCTOBER VICTORY

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LEADER OF WAR AND PEACE PRESIDENT ANWAR SADAT

Documentary – Khaled Abd El Aziz

The 6th of October Victory

While so many are Egypt’s great events and so fraught is its deep-rooted history with memorable days, of all days and events, the 6th of October rises out so lofty as Egypt’s most unforgettable, most valuable and most influential. Thus, Egypt will continue to celebrate the anniversary of the 1973 glorious victory, through which the 1967 setback was rectified, the honor and dignity of the nation regained, and the Egyptian armed forces were crowned with laurel. On that glorious day, Egypt’s armed forces regained their pride and self-confidence, as they had successfully completed a stupendous military feat, consummated mission impossible, thus deterring forces of aggression. Putting an end to the state of no-war, no-peace, the Egyptian Army had obviously managed to change the whole situation in the Middle East. It had proved to the whole world that the Egyptians were able to achieve a daring military action, based on courageous decision, careful planning and preparation, and valiant performance. This, as a matter of fact, involved a strategic, preemptive strike, crowning the sacrifices of the Egyptian people and their Armed Forces with an eye-catching victory that will ever remain a source of pride for the coming generations. On that great day, the will for challenge triumphed and the Egyptian people engaged most successfully in a battle of life or death.

Victory leaders

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On October 6, 1973, the Egyptian Armed Forces mounted a surprise attack against the Israeli army stationed in Sinai and the Golan Heights. As a result, Egypt regained full sovereignty over the Suez Canal and was able to recover part of Sinai. The October victory led to destroying the myth of Israel’s invincible army Preparations for the October victory began very early in 1968 with the war of attrition. After President Anwar al-Sadat assumed power in 1970 and Israel having rejected the Rogers Initiative, war was the only option to recover Sinai and Suez Canal. A surprise attack was carried on both the Egyptian and Syrian fronts. Intelligence Authorities in both countries relied on a plan to confuse the enemy.

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At exactly 14:00 hours on October 6, 1973, 222 Egyptian fighters crossed the Suez Canal, undetected. Their target: radar stations, air defense batteries, fortified points on the Barlev line, oil refineries and ammunition depots. Meanwhile, Egyptian artillery across the Canal turned the front line into an inferno in what was a show of force not soon to be forgotten. 10,500 rockets were fired in the first 60 seconds at an average of 175 rockets/seconds. 1000 rubber boats crossed the Canal carrying 8000 soldiers who climbed the Barlev Line and stormed into enemy defenses.

BRIGHT STAR '83

The Egyptian Engineer Corps built the first bridge 6 hours after the war began. 8 hours later they cut a path into the Barlev Line, set up another 12 bridges and operated 30 ferries.

The success of the air strike, at the beginning of the war, made it possible for Egyptian soldiers to penetrate the Barlev Line in no more than six hours causing heavy losses among Israeli troops.

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PRESIDENT HOSNI MUBARAK – COMMANDER OF THE AIR STRIKE

But had it not been for the air bridge of military equipment and supplies launched by the US on October 10, the Israeli Army would have been heavily defeated.

Golda Meir devastated by the news of the capture of Bar lev line by the Egyptian army

On October 22, 1973, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 338 calling on all parties to stop fighting, to cease all firing and terminate all military activity and begin negotiations aimed at establishing a just and durable peace in the Middle East.

BBC DOCUMENTARY,6TH OF OCTOBER WAR

Raising Egyptian flags on all  homes windows

The war demonstrated that:
• The Egyptians could mount a military attack, based on a brave decision, well-planned and properly-prepared.
• The myth of the invincible Israeli Army could be destroyed.
• The policy of imposing a status quo was invalid.
• Arab national security was threatened, a feeling which brought all Arabs together.
• Sinai should be reconstructed, linked to the Nile Valley and turned into a strategic region shielding Egypt from the east.
The Egyptian people, however, were not entrapped into domestic conflicts rather they joined hands with the army sharing up their capabilities and placing the liberation of land on top of all priorities. Thus, the armed forces had managed to shatter down the myth of invincible power as well as the security doctrines based on that power. They further dismantled all barriers, blockade and lines earlier set up to prevent the people from liberating their land. This gave proof to everyone that military supremacy was not an exclusive monopoly of a specific party. It also proved that good Egyptian military planning, indomitable courage of Egyptian warriors, and their belief in the nobility of their goals, were stronger and bigger than any gaps in capability and sophistication in equipment and military plant.

The will of peoples is much stronger than forces of oppression and suppression no matter how great.

President Sadat
Immortal words from victory speech

Peace with Israel :

On 20 November 1977, Sadat became the first Arab leader to visit Israel officially when he met with Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, and spoke before the Knesset in Jerusalem about his views on how to achieve a comprehensive peace to the Arab–Israeli conflict, which included the full implementation of UN Resolutions 242 and 338. He said during his visit that he hopes “that we can keep the momentum in Geneva, and may God guide the steps of Premier Begin and Knesset, because there is a great need for hard and drastic decision

Moments where time stopped : Sadat arrival to Israel

The Peace treaty :

The Peace treaty was finally signed by Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin in Washington, D.C., United States, on 26 March 1979, following the Camp David Accords (1978), a series of meetings between Egypt and Israel facilitated by US President Jimmy Carter. Both Sadat and Begin were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for creating the treaty. In his acceptance speech, Sadat referred to the long awaited peace desired by both Arabs and Israelis.

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Sadat’s assassination :

On 6 October 1981, Sadat was assassinated during the annual victory parade held in Cairo to celebrate Egypt’s crossing of the Suez Canal. Islambouli emptied his assault rifle onto Sadat’s body while on the stands, instantly killing the President. In addition to Sadat, eleven others were killed, including the Cuban ambassador, an Omani general, a Coptic Orthodox bishop and Samir Helmy, the head of Egypt’s Central Auditing Agency (CAA). Twenty-eight were wounded, including Vice President Hosni Mubarak, Irish Defence Minister James Tully, and four US military liaison officers.

The assassination squad was led by Lieutenant Khalid Islambouli after a fatwā approving the assassination had been obtained from Omar Abdel-Rahman.Islambouli was tried, found guilty, sentenced to death, and executed by firing squad in April 1982.

Moment of the assassination of Anwar Sadat

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Four Reasons Why Liberation of Aleppo Would Mean an End to the Syrian War

As the Syrian army advances in the jihadist-ravaged city of Aleppo, Russian political analysts explain why the once-vibrant metropolis, formerly home to 2.3 million people, is of prime importance to all the parties of the conflict and can play a key role in settlement of the ongoing crisis.

The first group of residents trapped in Aleppo’s militant-occupied eastern neighborhoods has started to escape through a humanitarian corridor created with Russia’s help, according to reports broadcast by Al Mayadeen TV.

Leaflets were dropped on Thursday over the city with instructions on how to approach checkpoints and a map showing the corridors.

Those who want to leave are supposed to wave the leaflet with their right hand raised above their head and the other hand either around their head or holding a child’s hand, the leaflet reportedly says. While approaching checkpoints the residents are advised to move slowly and to follow the commands of the Syrian military.

Once near checkpoints, they will be required to turn around to demonstrate they do not have explosives on them.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Thursday that Russia and the Syrian government have jointly launched a large-scale humanitarian relief operation in Aleppo, establishing three corridors for civilians and one for militants wishing to lay down arms.

Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported on Thursday that President Assad has issued a decree granting amnesty to all militants who surrender within three months. This prompted “scores of terrorists” to turn themselves in and lay down their arms.

Meanwhile, local media reports suggest that the Syrian government forces are ready to retake the desperate city; they’ve already re-established full control over two more strategic districts along the last access road into opposition-held east Aleppo: the neighborhood Bani Zeid and a second rebel-held district adjacent to Bani Zeid.

A military source told SANA that army engineering units had dismantled the explosives and removed mines from its streets and squares, with the Syrian army establishing full control over the Efrin bus station, youth housing and all the building blocks and factories in al-Liramoun in the northern outskirts of Aleppo.

Meanwhile, Vladimir Shapovalov, the Director of the Institute of Political Science, Law and Social Development has explained to RT why Aleppo, Syria’s most important economic and geopolitical center, might become a key to fully resolving the Syrian conflict.

Aleppo — Syria’s most important economic and trade center with advantageous geopolitical position

“Aleppo is of prime importance to all the parties of the conflict as it is Syria’s most important economic and trade center; the city lies on the crossroad of the country’s trade routes and holds a very advantageous geopolitical position,” he said.

“Full control over Aleppo allows one to control not only all of northern Syria but the whole territory along the border with Turkey, the district inhabited by Kurds, and the territory of northwestern Iraq,” the political analyst explained.

“Aleppo is the dominating center of this whole region. And for the Syrian government forces, for their adversaries, for Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the US it is the key to control over the whole Syrian territory and adjacent regions.”

Hence, Shapovalov said, there’s no wonder that since the very start of the military conflict in the country there has been fierce fighting for this city.

It is the key to control over the whole Syrian territory and adjacent regions

Another political scientist, head of the Center for Middle East and Central Asia Studies Semyon Bagdasarov, also explained that Aleppo is the top strategic point, the economic capital of Syria and its clean-up could be a grandiose victory for Syria and Russia.

“However the liberation of Aleppo without closure of Syrian-Turkish border crossings, first and foremost in the city of Azaz, will be a hard task,” he said.

It is essential for cooperation with the Syrian Kurds

“Azaz — is a Turkish crossing gate and a whole load of arms, ammunition and thousands of militants have got into Syria through this crossing. It must be closed and it could be dome only in alliance with the quasi-state [known as] the Federation of North Syria – Rojava, or otherwise the Syrian Kurds,” Bagdasarov explained.

The political analyst further said why the territory under the control of the Syrian Kurds will play a vital role in the recapture of Aleppo:

“There are over 2,000 NATO servicemen on this territory, including the American special forces and its engineer-sapper battalions and the Danish, UK, French and German units. There is no clear border among them and during an offensive there might be undesirable clashes.”

Vladimir Shapovalov also noted the Kurds, more than anyone else are interested in the liquidation of the jihadists and might become a key ally to President Assad.

“For the Kurds, the most important thing is the fight against the Islamist militants, which are their major adversary in establishing Kurdish autonomy,” he said.

“In such a context, the alliance with the Syrian government is of primary importance to the Kurds, as it is Assad who could ensure the security of the Kurdish areas, not only from the terrorists but from Turkish claims as well,” he added.

Control over Aleppo would allow for the completion of the restoration of the Syrian government’s authority over most of the country

Semyon Bagdasarov also agreed that Aleppo is a sweet spot for Turkey, as it is the gateway to the whole north-west of Syria, including Aleppo Province.

“Turks historically regard Aleppo as their city and think that the population of the city gravitates more towards Turkey, but it is not the case,” he said.

The political analysts agree that the liberation of the city would mean the liberation of Syria and the end of the war.

“Control over Aleppo would allow for the completion of the restoration of the Syrian government’s authority over most of the country, the most densely populated and the most economically developed part of the country” said Vladimir Shapovalov.

“After establishing control over Aleppo, control over the rest of Syria would only take a couple of weeks”, he concluded.

Russia, Egypt Transport Ministers Discuss Aviation Security at Regular Talks

Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov discussed aviation security measures with his Egyptian counterpart, Civil Aviation Minister Sherif Fathi, the Russian ministry said Friday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov discussed step-by-step aviation security measures at regular consultations with his Egyptian counterpart, Civil Aviation Minister Sherif Fathi, the Russian ministry said Friday.

“Sokolov held another round of technical consultations with his counterpart… The meeting took place in a constructive atmosphere, the parties again discussed a step-by-step action plan for measures in the field of civil aviation,” the ministry said.

Sokolov said this week safety experts planned a visit to Egypt to inspect airport security in September.

Fathi announced during a visit to Moscow earlier in July that an investigation into Russia’s A321 passenger plane crash over the Sinai Peninsula in October 2015 was entering final stages.

The plane, operated by the Russian air carrier Kogalymavia and carrying 224 people, was heading to St. Petersburg from the Egyptian resort city of Sharm El-Sheikh. Russia’s Investigative Committee has officially classified the plane crash as a terrorist attack.

Erdogan ‘Trying to Outdo Ataturk’: Germany’s Genocide Vote Sends Shockwaves

Germany’s Bundestag passed a resolution to recognize the Armenian Genocide of 1915, at the hands of the Ottoman Empire. In response, Ankara recalled its German ambassador and Turkish President Erdogan threatened to retaliate.

Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear spoke with journalist William Whiteman about Berlin’s motivation for the vote and its potential to derail the refugee deal between Turkey and the European Union.

“You have to take into consideration the weight of the Holocaust on the German psyche,” Whiteman said. “Any kind of genocide or injustice, generally they will have a huge amount of sympathy towards it.” He suggested that German Chancellor Angela Merkel has stepped lightly so as to not upset a recently brokered EU-Turkey migrant exchange deal.

“Merkel seems to have been doing some logistical maneuvering to try and avoid the vote happening, because this an incredibly sensitive issue for Turkey, they have always acted incredibly violently, in terms of their rhetoric, to anyone who moves to recognize the Armenian genocide. So, it has been a huge problem for the Merkel Administration.”Host Brian Becker commented that “the Merkel Administration positioned itself in the beginning as being welcoming and sympathetic, but since then there’s been a right-wing opposition against the influx of refugees into Germany,” and asked Whiteman about the terms of Turkey’s migrant deal with the EU.

“Human Rights Organizations have been outraged by it,” Whiteman said, adding, “The whole principle behind it is that Syrian, Iraqi and Afghan refugees, people who are fleeing conflicts, who have managed to reach Turkey, are now being traded with people who are fleeing North Africa and the Middle East from countries where there aren’t conflicts raging. There’s been a report saying that very few refugees have actually changed hands. Essentially, this is just [an obstacle to] the flow of refugees and migrants who are attempting to cross into Europe.”

Whiteman suggested that the initial positive response in Germany to refugees has been countered by right-wing media stoking racism by painting the influx as part of an “Islamization”of Europe. Adding to this pressure, the Balkan states have closed their borders to refugees.

Becker remarked that Turkey’s Erdogan is facing political isolation after stripping parliament members of immunity, forcing out former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and suppressing journalists and anyone else who opposes him. He asked Whiteman whether Erdogan’s action will create anti-German sentiments in Turkey.

Nationalism in Turkey goes beyond Erdogan, and even the 1915 Genocide, Whiteman responded. “It goes right back to the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire,” he said.

“Even though Kemal Ataturk, the person who set up the modern Turkish Republic, was very much opposed to the Ottomans, he detested them, he had this slogan of ‘one nation, one people’ and this lead to the oppression of Kurds and others within Turkey. Languages were suppressed, everyone was supposed to speak Turkish. So the formation of the modern Turkish state is a nationalist creation essentially. So this has everything to do with nationalism and nationalist pride. Erdogan is trying to outdo Ataturk.”

Paris Peace Talks Embolden Status Quo of Incremental Genocide in Palestine

The ill-fated peace talks denounced by both parties do little but provide a veneer of legitimacy to the rightward creep of Netanyahu’s apartheid regime.

Peace talks began in Paris on Friday, led by US Secretary of State John Kerry and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, with an espoused aim to restart negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians that have repeatedly failed since the Jewish state was established in 1948, in the heart of ancient Arab lands.

The diplomats were joined by representatives from the Arab League, the European Union and several neighboring Arab states, but notably the meeting, designed to reestablish peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians, included no representatives for either of the adversaries.

The Israeli Prime Minister publicly blasted the initiative as his country makes a hard shift toward more aggressive militarism against their Palestinian neighbors. In May, Prime Minister Netanyahu appointed controversial far-right politician Avigdor Lieberman as defense minister to replace the more moderate Moshe Ya’alon. Reacting to the appointment, UN Middle-East envoy Nikolay Maladenov said on Wednesday that Israeli ministers are “killing hope” for peace, following comments by the Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, that a Palestinian state will never be allowed.

“As long as we are in the government, there will be no Palestinian state, there will be no settlement evacuations and we will not give any land to our enemies,” Shaked said on Tuesday.

The situation for Palestinians has grown more desperate in recent years, with childhood poverty increasing at a near exponential rate, people repeatedly dispossessed of their land and under constant bombardment by Israeli defense forces. The climate of violence and fear has been repeatedly noted as closely resembling the South African regime of apartheid, including remarks by former US President Jimmy Carter.

The Palestinian people have been devastated by efforts by Israeli officials to co-opt their leadership, providing victims with few options to voice their dissent to a global audience about the daily tragedy they endure.

Mass killings of Palestinians by IDF forces have given way to a rash of stabbings in Israel by beleaguered Palestinians. More peaceful approaches, including the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) program advanced by Palestinian leadership have had limited effect on Israel, with the world refusing to cut trade ties with the country and leading to ever-higher levels of poverty in Gaza and the West Bank.

On Thursday, Loud & Clear’s Brian Becker sat down with peace activist Miko Peled and political analyst Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich to discuss whether the Paris peace talks are about peace or if they are a fig-leaf to justify the status quo of Palestinian displacement.

Do the Paris peace talks have any significance or hope of success?

“Frankly the answer is no,” said Sepahpour-Ulrich. “Israel has never been interested in a political solution and the fact that we continue to hold these peace talks, with the first one in 1949, the Lausanne Conference, and many more since 1979.”

“This whole thing reminds me of what Desmond Tutu said about the missionaries – ‘They had the bible and we had the land, they told us to close our eyes and then they had the land and we were holding the Bible,’ and the same thing is true now with these peace talks,” she said.

“Nothing ever comes out of these talks and it tends to buy Israel time to further occupy Palestinian land and engage in incremental genocide,” stated the analyst. “All of these rounds of talks are just buying more time while the Palestinian land is shrinking and so is the number of Palestinian people.”

“If somebody is serious about creating peace then we need more than talk, we need action,” she said.

Why is there no focus in these talks on holding Israel accountable for settlements?

“Let me reframe the conversation for a second if I may. I believe that the only way to move forward is to recognize the following: Palestine was occupied in 1948 and a racist, apartheid regime known as Israel was established in Palestine. In 1967, the state of Israel completed that occupation of Palestine by taking a few small parts that it left out in the West Bank and Gaza strip that then calling it Israel, even though we know it is Palestine,” said Peled detailing the history of Palestinian displacement.

“The establishment of a single state with exclusive rights for Jewish people has been in place ever since and that is it. This idea that there is a Palestine different from Israel and Israel different from Palestine and that somehow the state of Israel will negotiate with a Palestinian entity for some sort of compromise within this framework is hallucination, it is science fiction,” he said.

“The only way to move forward is a complete condemnation of the racist, colonialist project that is called the state of Israel and to get rid of it just like apartheid was done away with in South Africa, with a democracy of equal rights, where Palestinians have all of their rights, the right of return is materialized, and this whole racist, colonialist project is done away with. That is the only way to move forward,” stated the activist.

Peled commented that hope for Palestinians will come not through talks, but through resistance, likening their situation to the South African apartheid. The activist praised Palestinian leadership for modeling their Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) effort on the successful struggle for liberation in South Africa, but considers the situation in the Middle East to be more perilous, with countries around the world refusing to join in solidarity by cutting off trade with Israel.

Sepahpour-Ulrich agreed that the commonplace notion of a two-state solution has always been a false cry for peace, and criticized Europe and the United States for allowing the oppression to continue.

“There is no question in my mind that there is no will to change the status quo, the Europeans and the Israelis and their trade has grown over the years. If you are under the belief that there needs to be a two-state solution or you think that this occupation needs to end, then you freeze your trade, you don’t allow it to grow,” she said. “The United States has been funding this occupation, so, what they are doing is giving lip service, and it is just propaganda, they are selling a false truth.”

“There is no reality to these peace talks. The world is being lied to,” said the analyst. “They are just biding their time to wipe Palestine off the map, which Google incidentally did in one instance.”

US launches airstrikes on ISIS from Mediterranean, for 1st time since Iraq War

The USS Harry Truman has begun hitting Islamic State’s targets from the Mediterranean Sea. It was the first time a carrier group has launched airstrikes from the area since the 2003 invasion in Iraq.

Fighter jets conducted combat sorties from the aircraft carrier in support of Operation Inherent Resolve on Friday after transiting the Suez Canal the day before, US Naval Forces Europe-Africa said in a statement.

“While the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group is in the 6th Fleet area of operations, they continue to project power ashore against terrorists and violent extremists,” Vice Admiral James Foggo III, commander of US 6th Fleet, said in a statement.

This exemplifies our Navy’s mobility, flexibility and adaptability, as well as our commitment to execute a full range of military operations in concert with our indispensable European allies and partners.”

Friday’s airstrikes mark the first time an American carrier has hit targets on the ground from the Mediterranean since 2003, when the USS Truman was deployed in the region during the US invasion in Iraq.

The five-ship USS Truman strike group is returning from an eight-month deployment in the Persian Gulf. However, the Pentagon extended the deployment of Carrier Air Wing 7 for one more month to reduce a gap with its replacement, the carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Earlier in the day, the USS Eisenhower headed to the region with around 7,000 service members on board.

“The Dwight David Eisenhower Strike Group deploys to relieve the Harry S. Truman Strike Group and will be supporting air strikes against ISIS, answering the nation’s call and stepping up the fight,” said Admiral Phil Davidson, head of Fleet Forces Command, according to Navy Times.

The aircraft carrier nicknamed “Ike” was supposed to have set sail back in November, but its departure was delayed, and the USS Truman headed out in its place. The “Ike” was undergoing repair work, which took almost two years to complete.

 

Egypt’s Foreign ministry hits back at EU statements criticising ‘crackdown’ on journalists

EU External Action spokesperson Catherine Ray

Egypt’s foreign ministry has hit back at statements made by the spokesperson of the EU External Ection Service, Catherine Ray, which criticised “restrictions” on freedom of press and the jailing of journalists in Egypt.

Spokesperson of the Egyptian foreign minister Ahmed Abu Zeid challenged the EU spokesperson to look closely at reports made by the delegation of the EU on the large number of newspapers that are published on a daily basis in Egypt.

On Tuesday, Ray issued a statement slamming the recent indictment of three Journalists’ Syndicate leaders and their referral to court.

Ray described the prosecution of the union leaders as “a worrying development that follows the unprecedented raid of Egyptian security forces on the Journalists’ Syndicate building earlier this month.”

On Tuesday, Egyptian prosecutors charged the chairman of Egypt’s Journalists’ Syndicate, along with the syndicate’s secretary general and undersecretary, with harbouring fugitives and spreading false news in the case of police storming of the union’s headquarters on 1 May to arrest two wanted journalists.

The trio were referred to misdeameanour court. The first session in their trial is set for Saturday.

Ray charged that the indictments “reflect broader limitations on freedom of expression and press freedom in Egypt.”

“We call on the Egyptian authorities to review the charges against those arrested or prosecuted for exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly, and work to bring the laws regulating assembly and counter-terrorism into line with the Egyptian Constitution,” the EU official said.

“I call on the spokesperson to follow [Egyptian] daily TV shows that criticise the performance of the authorities, as well as discussions that take place on social media between different segments of Egyptian society,” Abu Zeid said.

“The foreign ministry was surprised that the high representative did not pay similar attention to the humanitarian and living challenges facing the Egyptian citizen,” said Abu Zeid.

Abu Zeid said the EU should make efforts to support the Egyptian government in order to provide better services to Egyptian citizens.

The statement continued that this “reflects broader limitations on freedom of expression and press freedom in Egypt.”

 

 

Egypt’s Sisi to discuss first two years of presidency in TV interview Friday

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Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi is scheduled to give on Friday a TV interview hosted by media figure Osama Kamel, the Egyptian presidency announced Thursday.

The interview, which is scheduled for 7:30pm, will be aired on the Egyptian State TV.

According to state-owned MENA news agency, the interview will last an hour and 40 minutes.

MENA added that the interview would cover a number of topics, including El-Sisi’s achievements over the past two years and the challenges Egypt currently faces.

Chomsky: Obama ‘Dangerously Escalating Tensions Along the Russian Border’

In a new interview, linguist Noam Chomsky warns that US President Barack Obama’s military buildup in Eastern Europe is threatening to destabilize the region.

“He has been more reluctant to engage troops on the ground than some of his predecessors and advisers, and instead has rapidly escalated special operations and his global assassination (drone campaign), a moral disaster and arguably illegal as well,” Chomsky said during a recent interview with Truthout, referring to Obama’s foreign policy.

“On other fronts, it is a mixed story,” he adds. “Obama has continued to bar a nuclear weapons-free (technically, WMD-free) zone in the Middle East, evidently motivated by the need to protect Israeli nuclear weapons from scrutiny.”

“By so doing, he is endangering the Nonproliferation Treaty, the most important disarmament treaty, which is contingent on establishing such a zone.”

But the biggest problem may be Washington’s actions in Eastern Europe.

“He is dangerously escalating tensions along the Russian border, extending earlier policies,” Chomsky said.

The United States has spearheaded NATO’s gradual buildup in Poland and the Baltic states, citing “Russian aggression.” Upcoming military drills have been criticized by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Meshkov.

“We are convinced that these exercises carry a serious destabilizing component,” he told reporters on Thursday. “Their main goal is to continue the aggravation of tensions along the Russian borders.”

Obama’s policy on nuclear weapons is also worrying to Chomsky.

“His trillion-dollar program for modernizing the nuclear weapons system is the opposite of what should be done,” he said.

While treaties forbid the United States from expanding its nuclear arsenal, the upgrades include improved targeting systems, as well as adjustable yields, which could, in theory, make the weapons easier to use.

“These and other moves amount to a mixed story, ranging from criminal to moderate improvement,” Chomsky said.

While a new President will take office after the November elections, the philosopher doesn’t have much hope that things will change.

“Financialization has of course exploded during the neoliberal period, and the general policies, pretty much global in character, are designed to enhance private and corporate power,” he said. “That sets off a vicious cycle in which concentration of wealth leads to concentration of political power, which in turn yields legislation and administrative practices that carry the process forward.”

The Day That OPEC Died: Saudis Aim to Bankrupt Cartel, Seek Oil Monopoly

The oil export alliance failed to reach an agreement to cap production on Thursday. Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih again walked away from the table as the kingdom looks to consolidate market share.

The collapse in negotiations, along with a forward-looking refusal by the influential Saudi delegation to consider capping production, means a free-for-all fight for market share among the world’s oil producers that is all but certain to lead to collapsing oil prices.

Economic analysts have already raised the alarm that oil-export dependent countries like Venezuela, Algeria, and war-torn Libya, who lack access to global credit markets, will be unable to weather the storm, leading to humanitarian crises and widespread social strife.

Why is Saudi Arabia pushing for overproduction?

In February 2016, world oil prices cascaded to $27 per barrel, down from a July 2008 peak of $145 per barrel, as the Saudis ramped up oil production from a 2009 dip. In the midst of the 2008 market crash, Saudi’s top oil official, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, called for the kingdom to immediately increase oil production to 11.5 million barrels of oil per day, and then to 12.5 million barrels daily by the end of 2016.

Energy market analysts initially scoffed at the aggressive move to undercut world oil prices, noting that Saudi Arabia’s own budget is dependent on a $66.70 per barrel oil price, with oil-extraction prices much higher for other OPEC countries. Market watchers predicted that Saudi Arabia would eventually push the oil alliance to cap production so as to keep prices at economically sustainable levels.

Saudi Arabia instead sought to increase market share when competitor peers were at their most vulnerable. North American oil producers, unlike Saudi Arabia, are not state-sponsored enterprises propped up by government handouts during down markets. When these US and Canadian oil resource industries fell into bankruptcy they became ripe for capture by foreign investors.

As energy analyst Marin Katusa told Radio Sputnik, Saudi Arabia has swooped into the North American energy market, through private equity firms, buying US and Canadian fracking technology and oil fields at pennies on the dollar.

Similarly, the kingdom looks to rebuff efforts by other OPEC members to expand oil market share. By pushing oil prices to their lowest level in years, the Saudis look to not only bankrupt Western oil companies, but also render insolvent entire oil producing states in order to snatch up foreign oil resources on the cheap.

Oil prices have recovered some in recent months, to $49 per barrel, due to oil disruptions in Canada after the Fort McMurray fire and oil extraction remaining offline in war-torn Syria, Iraq, and Nigeria.

Before Thursday’s OPEC meeting, Radio Sputnik sat down with Justin Dargin, Global Energy Scholar at the University of Oxford to discuss the fracturing of OPEC and the kingdom’s plans to corner oil energy markets.

Do OPEC member states face a fiscal crisis if an agreement is not reached?

“Yes, the breakeven oil price, which is the price that most OPEC member states need for their budgets to remain solvent, for most Gulf States, is between $80 and $100 per barrel, to maintain their budgetary outlays without having to go into some kind of major deficit,” said Dargin. “The price currently is not viable for the long term, but I believe there is this sentiment for the OPEC members that prices may rebound in the future.”

The analyst suggested that the market rebound over the past few months may be little more than an oasis for the smaller, fiscally-strapped OPEC member states, based primarily on seasonal demand changes, especially an increase in demand during the summer for air conditioning, travel, and leisure.

Dargin noted that he does not expect that market prices will recover in the near-term, citing a lack of structural changes in the market after prices collapsed to a low of $27 in February.

Can smaller OPEC member states survive these historically low prices?

“We can see already that in the case of Venezuela that they are not weathering it very well and they don’t have as much sway in OPEC as other members,” said Dargin. “It will be quite hard for Venezuela and the smaller producers to encourage or force Saudi Arabia to come to an agreement.”

“Many of these smaller oil producers like Venezuela and Algeria will not be able to weather the storm and it will be a very rough road ahead,” he said.