|Qatar Prime Minister announced on Wednesday it will grant Egypt an extra $3bn in financial aid.
The announcement came after an unexpected trip this week by most of the Egyptian cabinet to the Qatari capital, Doha, after signs of discord emerged between the two countries, partly over a stalled banking deal.
Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani spoke of “the importance of relations between Egypt and Qatar continuing at the same pace and at the same momentum” during a press conference announcing the aid package.
Bin Jassem said the latest round of financial support would be provided within days either as a deposit in Egypt’s central bank or purchases of Treasury bonds. Egypt’s main stock index remained flat on the news, dipping slightly after falling 5.7 per cent so far this year.
The announcement followed talks with visiting Egyptian Prime Minister Hesham Qandil.
Egypt’s public finances have deteriorated significantly since the revolution which began an era of political turmoil. Foreign currency reserves have fallen 63 per cent, from $36bn, before the uprising to $13.4bn at the end of March. The country’s budget deficit is widening and its credit rating continues to drop.
The government of Mohamed Morsi, the president, has been trying to secure a $4.8bn loan from the International Monetary Fund as well as financial aid from other oil-rich Arab countries. The loan would unlock budget support and aid from other countries and international organizations.
However, many commentators doubted over Qatar’s intentions to give aid to Egypt, with the public minds see Doha’s support as suspicious outside meddling in the affairs of other states.
Archive for the ‘Egypt’ Category
|Yarmouk Palestinian Camp, Damascus
History is nothing if not interesting. And that it most definitely is.
Today however, Palestinian refugees are being severely punished in Syria out of revenge by jihadst factions and others, for not becoming involved in the current Syrian civil war as they insist on staying out of this incredibly tragic mess.
Some Palestinian teenagers here in Damascus call it “Yarmouk-Shatila,” as in: “Our neighbors or friends had to escape from Syria and are now in Yarmouk-Shatila camp” in Lebanon. Shatila was probably the most grotty, tightly packed sardine-canned camp of the 12 in Lebanon and of the 59 in the region, even before 600 more families arrived recently, with more arriving daily.
To date, approximately 38,000 Palestinians have fled to Lebanon, another 5,000 to Jordan, 9,000 to Egypt, and thousands more to Iraq and Turkey. Jordan blocked Palestinian refugees fleeing Syria from entering eight months ago and those who did are now essentially incarcerated, according to AUB Professor Rosemary Sayigh and are prevented from moving outside the camp unless they return to Syria, perhaps facing death.
In Egypt, Palestinians fleeing Syria have found that the host country is blatantly discriminating against them–a policy left over from the Mubarak era and upheld by the Morsi government.
Today, a Palestinian refugee from Syria may only enter Egypt if she or he flies directly from Damascus to Cairo’s airport–an impossible condition given that the Damascus airport is routinely closed. Currently, no passenger airlines are flying out of Damascus airport except sometimes Syria Airline to a few destinations.
Truth be told, Palestinian refugees from Syria are not welcomed in most Arab League countries and particularly not in the Gulf countries, although in past years Palestinian refugees helped build these countries and their economies. They would do the same for Lebanon if allowed to work.
Palestinians fleeing to Lebanon are mainly from Yarmouk camp in south Damascus but many also arrive from Syria’s Palestinian refugee camps at Sbeineh, Jaramana and Khan Eshieh, all established in 1948-9 following the massive, criminal ethnic cleansing of Palestine.
Virtually all the Palestinian camps in Syria, from Deraa in southern Syria, to Neirab near Aleppo are currently being targeted by occasional random shelling and frequent sniping. Just last week, on the first of April, Grad rockets and mortar shells showered some of the main streets in Yarmouk killing at least 16 Palestinian refugees and wounding more than 30. A Palestinian woman and her four children were also wounded in the near-by Al-Husseiniya refugee camp.
As of yesterday, the situation in Yarmouk stands approximately as follows. The south-west corner of the camp is increasingly under the control of “rebels.” Their control appears to be spreading as reinforcements sneak in and their ranks swell a bit from defections from camp “popular committees.”
The only way to enter Yarmouk currently is from the north side of the camp from the “Melon Square” crossroads. The Syrian army has loosely encircled Yarmouk but in certain places they will allow passage inside with a warning.
This observer senses that these increased assaults on Yarmouk, are an effort to get the Palestinians involved in the current crisis which virtually all Palestinians want to avoid.
In addition, according to UNWRA, as well as personal observations, tens of thousands of Palestinians have been displaced inside Syria and are currently living wherever they can, unable to flee to neighboring countries for various reasons including lack of money. These comprise part of the approximately 3.6 million displaced refugees inside Syria. According to the March 8 weekly report of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) the number of registered refugees reached 12,000 during the past week, with 262,000 refugees already registered and 140,000 in the process of being registered, for a total of more than 400,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon. The report said that there are currently 113,000 Syrian refugees in Northern Lebanon, 99,000 in the Bekaa, 28,000 Beirut and 20,000 in Southern Lebanon. Among these figures are thousands of Palestinians.
When asked why they have not provided more help for the Syrian and Palestinians refugees, various UN agencies explain that they do what they can, but, typically offer explanations such as the one given on April 5th by Marixie Mercado, spokeswoman for the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), during a news conference in Geneva: “The needs of the refugees are rising exponentially, and we are dead broke…The number of people fleeing Syria, the world’s worst refugee crisis has repeatedly outrun the UN’s expectations. The 1.25 million refugees, three-quarter of them women and children, is 10 percent higher than had been expected by June with no end in sight.”
Concerning UNWRA. It’s an easy target for grousing and it is, in fact, sometimes a bit frustrating to work with due to its cumbersome bureaucracy. For the past five weeks Palestinian refugees from Syria have been camping outside UNRWA’s Lebanon Branch Headquarters across the highway from Shatila camp. They are urging more help as some explained to this observer last week. The tents have signs on them reading “From Palestinians in Syria: We request: That UNWRA Obtain the Housing and Health, Education and Nutrition Services.” The large banner is signed: “The Palestinians Displaced from Syria.”
But it’s never been easy for UNWRA which has been in the cross hairs of the Zionist lobby since its creation in 1949. The most recent pledge of groups like AIPAC is to disband it. Elements of the lobby intend to have the US Congress declare that the American government does not recognize any Palestinian refugee but the original ones from the 1947-48 Nakba. At the same time the lobby has organized a campaign to draft legislation to end the automatic transmission of refugee status to the descendants of Palestinians that has been the policy of the international community and the UN since 1948.
One of the leaders of this anti-UNRWA project is Daniel Pipes, the anti-Muslim and anti-Arab organizer of CampusWatch which, as Professor Rosemary Sayigh reminds us, has since 2002 mobilized students in US universities to report on faculty and even staff who support the Palestinians. Pipes declared recently that “the current approach by UNRWA creates a narrative of victimhood and leads to extremism”. Some reporters who attended a recent anti-UNWRA conference in New York, reported that the organizers, led by Israel’s envoy to the UN, Ron Prosor, will be urging Congress to enact a law specifying that “the US will only consider as a Palestinian refugee someone who was personally displaced as a result of the 1948 or 1967 Arab-Israeli conflicts, and who is not firmly resettled in another country.”
This language is similar to an amendment presented in the Senate last May by Illinois Republican Senator Mark Kirk. The amendment was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee but did not become law when the larger bill to which it was attached failed to pass in the Senate. AIPAC pledges to continue this campaign. The intention of the initiative is that when the last of these Nakba and Naksa refugees die–the sooner the better–the issue will be solved. Presto! No more of those troublesome Palestinian refugees.
When a refugee family arrives in Lebanon and registers for help with UNWRA (the backlog to get an interview in Lebanon at the Lebanon Field Office is currently close to six months and some refugees interviewed by this observer at the Shatila Camp Youth Center on April 2nd reported that, given the delay, they could not wait and have essentially given up on UNWRA–some risking their lives and returning to Syria. Assuming all their documents are in order, a family of four will received $150..a larger family will receive $200. It should be noted that the average taxi fare for Palestinians from Damascus to Beirut is now $110, up from around $16 pre-conflict. War profiteering again. Then there is the $17 per person (children aged 7 and under exempted), 90-day Lebanon “visa fee,” for which no social services are provided by the government of Lebanon.
Earlier, UNWRA renewed the cash grants for another month but has recently announced it cannot continue this aid due to lack of cash, leaving Palestinians from Syria now essentially on their own. Palestinians from Yarmouk and elsewhere in Syria are currently relying on their countrymen in Shatila and other camps. UNRWA’s current Response Plan calls for $26.85 million of which only $19.04 million has been received as of April 5th.
Even UNWRA schools in Lebanon are now maxed out for those Palestinians from Syria who could adjust to the UNWRA curriculum in Lebanon given that language and methodology are different in Lebanon than the system used in Syria. Most Palestinian refugees from Syria are not enrolled in school.
Yet, UNHCR’s official policy of not including Palestinian refugees in its mandate should be immediately changed. UNHCR’s current hands-off policy flagrantly violates the international legal principle of “non-refoulement (the act of refusing entry or aid to refugees whose lives are endangered). The refoulement requirement is enshrined in the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, is required by the 1967 Protocol and Art 3 of the 1984 Torture Convention and is required by international principles, standards and rules of accepted customary law as well as trucial Law of Nations (forbids the rendering of victims to their persecutors) agreed to by certain tribal states in the Middle East as far back as the 19th century.
Professor Rosemary Sayigh, at the beginning of her recent brilliant lecture in Berlin, quoted Thomas W. Hill’s observation:
“Palestinians never seem to have the luxury of digesting one tragedy before the next one is upon them.”
All too true. But at the Shatila refugee camp in Lebanon as well as the other 11, Palestinians are receiving and helping their countrymen to the best of their capacity until they can return to their still-occupied country.
That, history teaches us, they will eventually do.
Franklin Lamb is doing research in Syria and is reachable c/o firstname.lastname@example.org
قيل ما قيل عن استخفاف القطريين بمرسي وتبعية جماعة الإخوان المسلمين للإمارة الصغيرة.
محسن جابر رقيباً لحساب مَن؟
دخلت الحلقة 20 من «البرنامج» تاريخ البرامج التلفزيونية، مرّة لكونها الحلقة الأولى التي يطلّ عبرها باسم يوسف بعد التحقيق معه في مكتب النائب العام (الاخبار 2/4/2013)، وطوراً بسبب أوبريت «قطري حبيبي» الذي أثار جدلاً كبيراً. لم يفعلها يوسف مع جماعة الإخوان ولا مع محمد مرسي فقط، بل مع دولة قطر التي تنظر إليها غالبية المصريين نظرة تشكّك بسبب طبيعة العلاقة بين الدوحة والقاهرة.
- دروس من البوسنة لمجاهدين في المحرقة
- Syria: An interview with 2 Tunisian Ex-Jihadist
- Tunisian Jihadists Fighting in Syria
- 132 Tunisian Takfiris killed in Aleppo, Pictures of some Nusra Front Takfiris killed in Syria over the past 24 hours
كما أشار الى العلاقة الطيبة بين حماس وتنظيم الإخوان المسلمين في مصر، والذي تُرجم على أرض الواقع وفي حال ثبوت التدخل المصري في تعيين رئيس للمكتب السياسي لحماس فإن هذا سيؤثر على استقلالية القرار الفلسطيني ما يعني خضوعاً لحسابات ضيقة بعيداً عن المجال العروبي والإسلامي الأوسع للقضية الفلسطينية، وهذا ما يحتم الحؤول دون تدخل أي دولة أو جهة خدمة لأجندتها السياسية الخاصة. كما تطرق الى كلام قائد شرطة دبي ضاحي خلفان الذي قال “إن الإخوان المسلمون هدفهم حماية إسرائيل وبالتالي فإن حماس لن تطلق صاروخاً باتجاه إسرائيل”، ورأى رجا أن “حماس ليست كتلة واحدة ولا يمكنها بالتالي أن تعلن وقف المقاومة ضد إسرائيل ، واعتبر ان المقاومة هي حالة وطنية لها جذورها وأبعادها في المجتمع الفلسطيني ولا يمكن لأحد أن يقصيه عن لعب دوره في المقاومة“. واعتبر أن ما تحدث عنه خلفان يأتي على خلفية المعلومات التي لديه عن دور الإخوان في مصر الذين بدأوا يعبثون بالملف الفلسطيني، وما حصل بالقاهرة أتى ليقول أن السيد مرسي إستطاع أن يطلق سراح شاليط،
وهذا التدخل يجب مراقبته بحذر فهو يؤدي الى شرذمة القضية الفلسطينية، وتمنى أن “لا يكون هناك أي دور لقطر والسعودية في تعيين القيادات الفلسطينية لأن ذلك يعتبر كارثة بحيث تصبح الدول هي من تعين القادة الفلسطينيين، ويؤدي الى مزيد من البعثرة للجهود الفلسطينية“. كذلك أشار أنه ومنذ إتفاق مكة وحتى الآن فقد ثبت أن السعودية وقطر لا تريدان الخير للشعب الفلسطيني، واعتبر أن الأيدي القطرية والسعودية في المنطقة أصبحت واضحة، وفي ما يتعلق بالملف الفلسطيني حاولت مصر والسعودية أن تعبثا بالقضية الفلسطينية، واشار الى دور قطر في تثبيت بعض الأجندات المرتبطة برؤيتها للعلاقات الفلسطينية – الفلسطينية، ولفت الى ميول قطرية – سعودية لـ “مغمغة” الحلول الفلسطينية، واعتبر ان الحلول التي قدمت للشعب الفلسطيني من قطر والسعودية تضيع الحق الفلسطيني وتلغي حق العودة“
. وفي سياق متصل كانت مصادر فلسطينية مطلعة أشارت أن “سبب التأخير في انعقاد مجلس الشورى في حركة “حماس” إلى رغبة غالبية أعضائه ببقاء رئيس المكتب السياسي خالد مشعل في منصبه لولاية أخرى رغم إعلانه الرغبة في التنحي، وإصرار مشعل على أنه لن يقبل بالتراجع عن موقفه والبقاء في هذا المنصب، إلا إذا كان هناك إجماع داخل الحركة على ذلك”.ورجحت المصادر “أن يحصل مشعل على مراده ويبقى في منصبه لولاية خامسة وأخيرة مدتها أربع سنوات“. كما أكدت مصادر عسكرية مصرية أنه لا دخل للمؤسسة العسكرية في زيارة قيادات “حماس” للقاهرة، لافتا إلى أن لقاءات الحركة تكون مع مؤسسة الرئاسة وجهاز المخابرات“. وتنتخب “حماس” قياداتها في ثلاثة أقاليم، هي غزة والضفة والشتات، كل أربعة أعوام، وتبدأ من المناطق المحلية، وصولا إلى قيادة المكتب السياسي، أما أسرى الحركة في سجون الاحتلال فينتخبون هيئة قيادية عليا خاصة بهم.
“…President Obama’s trip to Israel was widely hailed as a great success. Though, in the opinion of many, long overdue [State Department officials were urging the White House to reach out to the Israeli public from the time of his 2009 Cairo speech to the Moslem World]. Nonetheless, even the President’s most vocal critics, privately conceded that it was, at least, a major public relations coup. And by pulling off a last minute phone call between Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and his Turkish counterpart Prime Minister Erdogan, which seems to have resulted in the beginnings of a rapproachment between the one time allies and close friends of the US, he also appeared to add substance to his visit..
Nonetheless, his visit and that of his newly minted Secretary of State, John Kerry, made little in the way of progress on the most intractable problems in the region. As one State Department official put it, “We have gotten nowhere on the Iranian nuclear issue, Syria continues its slide into ever more violent chaos and little remarked upon but uppermost in the minds of many of us, is the downward economic and political spiral that is occuring in Egypt.
The latter issue was the subject of intense discussions between Kerry and Gulf leaders in Riyadh. While Syria may have topped their list of concerns, the US pressed first and most vigorously on the question of aid to Egypt. The Moslem Brotherhood-led government of Mohamed Morsi has, in the words of one US expert “badly mismanaged” the Egyptian economy. An International Monetary Fund delegation, which visited Cairo 10 days ago, was again frustrated in its attempts to get Morsi & Co. to deal with the ruinous state of the Egyptian economy, first by reducing, if not eliminating state subsidies [To be fair to Morsi, says one State Department veteran, when former President Mubarak tried to reduce food subsidies, his efforts were met by wide spread rioting]. Still, Kerry tried to push the wealthy Gulf States to provide financial support, or at least investment in Egypt. But the answer, according to well-placed US officials, was a resounding `No’.
In fact, US officials consider some of the Gulf states to be working against the current Egyptian regime. In particular, the United Arab Emirates has been vocal in its opposition to the “Brothers”. Meanwhile, there are a number of wealthy Saudi supporters of the even more radical Salafists in Egypt, and they have become more active than ever. As one veteran US official sums up the situation: “Egypt is too big to fail. This is a country that controls one of the world’s most important waterways [The Suez Canal] and whose population comprises one quarter of the Arab world]….the US has been unable to “light a fire” under the Gulfis on Egypt, the reverse can be said to be the case with the Gulf states’, led by Qatar, to get the US more involved in the chaos that is now Syria. Once again acting like “The Mouse that Roared,” Qatar has led the charge to overthrow the Assad regime in Damascus. …. But to the Gulf states and increasingly our French and British allies, the goal of Assad’s removal as soon as possible trumps the concerns about which group will gain the upper hand if the regime in Damascus collapses. …
If published reports are accurate, there has been some movement by the Administration towards greater involvement. “With increased humanitarian aid, some covert support based in Jordan and the high profile visit by Kerry to Baghdad to persuade the Iraqis to stop facilitating Iranian supplies to Assad, we are, says one US official, willy-nilly winding up on the side of the Sunnis, in their fight against Iran” (and the so-called Shia-arc that stretches from Teheran to Beirut). …”
Is Kuwait trying to scapegoat the Palestinians?
Graphics by Alex
Beirut — The Imam Musa Sadr, Sheik Mohammad Yaacoub, and journalist Abbas Badreddine case, like the Tell Tale Heart in Edgar Allen’s Poe novel, will not stop crying out for justice despite more than three decades of political efforts to close the file.
Recent visits to Egypt and Libya as well as common knowledge here in Lebanon, make plain that there is still much interest in finally solving this mystery. But while the fall of the Gadaffi regime initially led to much speculation that the Sadr-Yaacoub case would finally be solved new factor’s including Egyptian-Libya-Lebanese economics and political relations, among other factors are slowing the investigation.
Against this backdrop comes the most recent speculation about the Lebanese trio’s fate, this time from Kuwaits Al Rai newspaper. Without revealing its claimed source for the sensational story, which has been denied by former Gaddafi operatives in both Cairo and Tripoli, including investigators at the Libyan Justice and Interior ministries, Al Rai weaves a most improbable story, that Sunni Palestinians murdered the Shia delegation.
At first glance the tale does lead one to at least take notice because for years, Libyan intelligence was closely involved with Abu Nidal and funded his “Fatah: The Revolutionary Council”, commonly known as the Abu Nidal Organization (ANO).
|April, 1986: US Tripoli bombing protest|
Senussi’s “favorite mercenary.”
In June of 1986 this observers visited Abu Nidal’s office which was being set up in an apartment building four blocks from Green Square. The visit was arranged by former Libyan Ambassador Omar el Hamdi now laying low in Cairo. Omar served as Secretary-General of the Sennusi-created “International Secretariat For Solidarity With The Arab People And Their Central Cause Palestine” on which this observer served five years as North American Representative while working at the US Congress.
The ANO, along with other Palestinian “radical-rejectionist” groups, who favored armed struggle over what they considered, fake negotiations with the Occupiers of Palestine, had a representative on the International Secretariat so we were welcomed to their new office. While the seriously paranoid Abu Nidal was “not available” at the time, we visited with three of his taciturn aids as they unpacked cardboard boxes containing office and kitchen supplies.
Again with Omar, this observer visited the bomb site which included Gaddafi’s private residence. After viewing the canisters of 14 CBU/58 A/B cluster bombs that the US dropped on Gadaffi’s Bab al-Azizia (The Splendid Gate) compound we were shown damaged home including his bedroom with its huge heart shaped bed with silk sheets, his, also huge, bathroom with gold fixtures and a large bathtub as well as his bedside safe where he kept cash, a pearl handled pistol, and a stash of drugs.
Two of Gaddafi’s biological children were injured. Gaddafi himself was reportedly so shocked he was unable to appear in public for two days, but he did survive, to the dismay of the United States government. The story released by Gaddafi that Hanna Gaddafi, a baby girl who he and his wife adopted, was killed by the American attack was false. This observer met Dr. Hanna Gaddafi in Tripoli during July of 2011. She is very much alive, appeared fine and is no doubt a skilled pediatrician which she discretely trained for in Europe. Unlike her older sister Aisha, Hanna seems nearly oblivious to politics and is devoted to her patients.
As explained to this observer by one former Libyan official with detailed knowledge of what Abu Nidal did for the Gaddafi regime, shortly after the bombing of his home, they plotted revenge and more than one Palestinian faction was invited to Tripoli by Senussi. Guests were booked into the Grand Hotel near Green Square for consultations. Several projects were reportedly discussed and groups were judged and rewarded depending on their success.
In early June, 1986, Abu Nidal started his move from Syria to Libya. Some of the initial ANO projects included the murder of two British school teachers, Leigh Douglas and Philip Padfield, plus an American, Peter Kilburn who was kidnapped in Lebanon by Abu Nidal associates. Their bodies were found in a village east of Beirut on April 17, 1986. While not made public before, this date was chosen, according to a former Gadaffi official now in Cairo, to send a message from Gadaffi to Reagan. It was three years to the day following the bombing of the US Embassy in Beirut on April 17, 1983.
Ironically, on that day, this observer was in Athens, Greece with Omar el Hamdi and thirty or so delegates from the International Secretariat including two from the ANO. One of the 63 victims of the Embassy bombing was Janet Lee Stevens, an American ournalist and brilliant advocate for the liberation of Palestine with whom this observer had spoken the night before. British journalist John McCarthy was kidnapped the same day and another British journalist Alec Collett, kidnapped in Beirut on March 25, 1986, was hanged by Abu Nidal operatives in response to the Tripoli bombing. And that was just the beginning. Pan Am 103 (the ANO’s only direct role in the Pan Am operation was to put together the bomb, a skill they excelled in) while Senussi’s contractors did the rest.
So why should we not credit the Kuwaiti story?
The above noted brief history of what we know about Abu Nidal in Libya suggests to this observer that either Senussi did not make a statement blaming Palestinians or that he made it because he wanted to mislead his interrogators. Senussi doubted that the Lebanese delegation that interviewed him in Mauritania was serious. He also knows that some current Lebanese officials, despite public assurances, are not all that eager to have the Musa Sadr mystery solved just now. On the other hand, while the Libyans want to close the file they do not have all the details of what happened, which makes them play around with the issue.
Moreover, Abu Nidal was not based in Tripoli until 1986 whereas Sennusi supposedly stated that Musa Sadr was handed over to him in 1981. Granted, while Gaddafi later wanted Abu Nidal’s uniquely psychopathic brilliance to carry out a number of operations abroad, he did not need him to eliminate Musa Sadr who was in Tripoli where many regime operatives were available to carry out his commands. Removing Musa Sadr and Mohammad Yaacoub could also have been done in Lebanon. Both commonly rode together driving their own vehicles without security, unthinkable for some Shia leaders these days in Lebanon.
In addition, on the 13th of this month, Political Adviser of the First Deputy of the National Conference for the Libyan Opposition, Khaled al-Tarjaman, told reporter, Salama Abdellatif, that Musa Sadr was indeed murdered, that Libya has the killers (Abu Nidal died 11 years ago) and that they are alive and in prison. He claims that the killers” are former Libyan officials and symbols of the Gaddafi regime.”
If Senussi did not make the claimed statements why did the newspaper publish this hoax? Sources in Libya speculate that it is because Kuwait has joined the intensifying regional project of fomenting conflict between Shia and Sunni Muslims and having a Sunni Palestinian fingered as the murderer of a Shia Imam and a Shia Sheik would create more tension. Given all his current problems, why would Senussi want to be part of this scheme?
His era in Libya was essentially free of Shia-Sunni conflict, which only now, in post-Gadaffi Libya, is being exploited.
There are a few dozen ex-Gaddafi officials still around who know the truth about the Sadr-Yaacoub-Badr-Eddine case but the pool is drying up. One, who has been silenced, at least for now, is Ahmad Qaddafi al-Dam, a cousin of Moamar who was an intelligence official close to Senussi and Gaddafi’s son, Seif al-Islam, now in prison in Zintan, Libya. As part of a deal, Egyptian prosecutor Talaat Abdallah also ordered the arrest of former Libyan ambassador Ali Maria and Mohammed Ibrahim, the brother of senior Gaddafi-era official Ahmed Ibrahim,. All were detained in Cairo on March 19 and turned over to Interpol.
Among a list of 40 Gaddafi era Libya officials being hunted with Interpol Red Notices, Al-Dam is considered a national hero who participated in Egypt’s 1973 war against Israel, and is also a confident of Sabri Shadi, the right hand man of Senussi who is currently in Lebanon having been picked up at Beirut airport on an Interpol Red Notice warrant. During this past week, the billionaire Mr. Shadi reportedly spread around $ 4.5 million to certain individuals in order to get moved from a dank underground cell to a hospital. The Lebanese government officially denies any knowledge of Shadi being in Lebanon. The same source who has direct knowledge of the matter claims that there is another $5 million offer from someone in Lebanon in exchange for Shadi not being handed over to the Libyans.
For some in Lebanon it’s a win-win situation — big bucks and Shadi’s silence about the history of this mystery and who in Lebanon was involved.
On 3/27/13, upping the ante from the earlier 40 names, a Libyan intelligence delegation visited Cairo and submitted to the Egyptian government another list of 88 names of ex-Gadaffi associates who Libya wants without further delay.
Libya’s enhanced ability to retrieve former Gaddafi officials has caused a near panic in Cairo among former powerful Gaddafi associates who thought their bribes and their long history of working with Egyptian officials would protect them. To their dismay, they are discovering that the protection many bought and paid for has become unreliable because most of their former friends no longer occupy the posts they did under Mubarak. In addition, Libya has started using its new oil money to encourage governments to hand them over.
The Lebanese and Libyan governments appear not to be following up the Musa Sadr case and the families have been left on their own to get to the truth of this case.
Once again the Sadr-Yaacoub-Badreddine file has been returned to the political bazaar with the two governments most concerned with the case appearing unwilling to act. The families hold varying views of the fate of their loved one. During a recent visit to Libya this observer crossed paths in the lobby of the Radisson Hotel with Dr. Ali Yacoub, who continues to investigate the case. His father, Sheik Mohammad Yacoub is only 67 years old and hope remains that Imam Musa Sadr and Abbas Badreddine may be alive. Despite the passage of time and the many false reports about the case, DNA testing with the full cooperation of Libyan officials will expedite this overdue process.
Meanwhile, trying to involve Palestinians in the disappearance of the revered Lebanese trio, simply because they are an easy target these days and are trying to stay on the sidelines of the Sunni-Shia strife is a disservice to every Palestinian everywhere. And it sidetracks the pursuit of truth and justice for the Musa Sadr case which is in need of more cooperation from all concerned.
Franklin Lamb is doing research in Syria and can be reached c/o email@example.com
He is the author of The Price We Pay: A Quarter-Century of Israel’s Use of American Weapons Against Civilians in Lebanon. He contribute to Uprooted Palestinians Blog
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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!
Israel Today newspaper has prepared a special report on the Arab armies in the Middle East; its title is telling; “Long Arm in the Region” is a reference to the Israel Defence Forces. It is claimed that the IDF is planning for a confrontation with Egypt.
The report has been prepared by the paper’s military editor, Yoav Limor and opens with the failures of the IDF in the 2006 Lebanon war. Limor notes that there is a new unit within the IDF which studies the armies of the Arab states through Israel’s military intelligence agency, Aman. This agency supplies information on the power centres in the region’s armies and their plans, as well as how to exhaust their capabilities even before a direct confrontation. In the event of war with any Arab state, the new unit is ready to present a detailed plan of attack, cutting off enemy supply routes and rendering it unable to retaliate against Israeli attacks. The IDF is supposed to be able to paralyse any Arab army within two days of the outbreak of hostilities.
Apparently, claims Israel Today, the unit was tested with Operation Pillar of Cloud/Defence against the Gaza Strip in November 2012, which followed the assassination of senior Hamas member Ahmed Al-Jaabari. The newspaper pointed out that Israel has a missile defence system which can down any aircraft flying hundreds of meters beyond its borders, in addition to smart missiles that can hit Hezbollah’s missiles in south Lebanon.
The paper added that in the event of a war with Egypt the Syrians would not be able to use Scud missiles to attack Israel on a second front because the IDF could destroy them on the ground before they have been deployed. Israel’s development of advanced tanks such as the Merkava 5 makes it more than capable of deterring any direct assault across the border. The air arm of the IDF can, notes the newspaper, transport large numbers of combat troops over long distances in the shortest possible time. It stressed that part of Israel’s strategy is to destroy enemy troops and armour before they have left their bases.
Looking at the statistics of the Egyptian armed forces, Israel Today reports that the army has 600,000 men in service at any one time, with 1 million reservists, 3,980 combat tanks and 2,760 artillery pieces. Egypt has also recently taken delivery of 20 F-18 fighter aircraft. The backbone of the Egyptian air force is made up of 220 Falcon F-16 fighters based at 17 airfields out of a total of 86 air force bases around the country. In addition, it has 40 advanced Mirage 2000 jets, 32 F-4 Phantom IIs, Mirage 5, C130 Hercules and 10 early-warning and control aircraft. The government in Cairo is looking to buy replacements for its aging MIG-21s and F-4s. America is keen to maintain Israel’s military edge in the region, claims Israel Today. That is why Washington has rejected Egyptian requests for F-15 interceptor aircraft. Egypt is, therefore, turning to Russia to buy SU-35s and MIG-29s.
وكان نايف حواتمة شخصا قياديا فلسطينيا آخر أحسست بالارتياح اليه وكانت معرفتي المباشرة به في عزاء والدة الرئيس اليمني علي ناصر محمد في بيته الكائن في حي المزة في دمشق .. وذلك ابان أحداث الاشتباكات بين الشرطة الفلسطينية والجيش الاسرائيلي بعد اتفاق أوسلو .. وقد لفتت نظري قراءة السيد نايف حواتمة لمعاني الصراع من خلال قراءته لتوزع الضحايا في تلك الاشتباكات .. فقد لفت نظري الى أن معظم الشهداء الفلسطينيين كانوا من الضباط فيما كان معظم قتلى الجيش الاسرائيلي من الجنود مما يدل على تطور هام وهو أن القيادات الفلسطينية صارت أقرب الى الميدان الى جانب جنودها ولم تعد قيادات في المكاتب .. وهي لاتترك جنودها وحدهم ..
وعندما علمت أن المناضل جورج حبش قد دخل مشفى الأسدي الخاص في دمشق تحايلت على المرافقين للدخول اليه والسلام عليه قبل سفره الى فرنسا للعلاج .. فقد كان قد أدخل باسم مستعار لاعتبارات أمنية (ا. النقيب) وقد أصيب بجلطة دماغية صغيرة وكان يتلعثم في الكلام ..
لكن قادة حماس الذين تقاطروا الى دمشق لم يثيروا لدي الرغبة في معرفتهم ولم أحس بلهفة اللقاء مع ثوريين بل مع تيار جاءت به الظروف .. ومن جاءت به الظروف سيسير مع الظروف وسيرحل معها عندما ترحل .. كنت بالطبع مؤيدا قويا لحماس ومرتاحا جدا لدعم سورية اللامتناهي لحماس .. لكن افتقدت في حماس ذلك الشعور الذي لازمني دوما عندما كنت أتحدث الى ثوار فلسطينيين .. شعور غريب ربما جاء بسبب قناعتي أن الثورة الفلسطينية لايجب أن تكون حكرا على الاسلاميين فقط بل هي ملك الشعب الفلسطيني كله .. فوجود نايف حواتمة وجورج حبش المسيحيين دليل على أن الشرق كله بمسيحييه ومسلميه معني بالقدس وليس المسلمين فقط .. لأن لنا في كنيسة القيامة مثل مالنا في المسجد الأقصى ..وماقدمه المسيحي ادوارد سعيد لايقل عما قدمه محمود درويش .. ومافعلته حنان عشراوي المسيحية الفلسطينية لايقل عن أهمية مافعله المسلم الراحل حيدر عبد الشافي ..
ومما زاد الطين بلة هو أنني علمت أن خالد مشعل ذو عقل ديني مذهبي وانا لاأطيق أي عقل مذهبي .. وانه ليس بذي عقل ثوري منفتح مثل حسن نصر الله .. فليس للسيد حسن صاحب العمامة السوداء مشكلة مذهبية مع اي مناضل من أية طائفة طالما أنه يقاتل ضد اسرائيل ..
لكن خالد مشعل في زياراته الى ايران لقبض الأموال لدعم حركته وعلى مدى سنوات تصرف بعقلية طائفية .. فقد “نقل عنه شهود عيان” على ذمتهم أنه كان يتلقى حقيبة المال والدعم وعندما يحين موعد الصلاة يترك المصلين يؤدون صلاتهم ويغادر لأنه لايريد أن يصلي خلف امام غير سني .. والغريب أن هذا السلوك لم يثر الايرانيين ولم يعاتبه أحد عليه بل احترم الجميع رؤيته وتمسكه بمذهبه وعقيدته طالما أن ذلك لن يمس عقيدته النضالية ضد اسرائيل ..ولم يغير ذلك من متانة الدعم الايراني له على مدى سنوات ولم يطرق تلك القضية السخيفة أحد معه..
أما زعماء حماس الجدد فأحدهم رئيس وزرائها الذي لايتوقف عن تقبيل يد القرضاوي في قطر جيئة وذهابا وقياما وقعودا .. ويبدو أنه لم تعد له بروتوكوليا الا وظيفة تقبيل الأيدي .. ويد القرضاوي تقطر دما سوريا وليبيا وعراقيا مثل سكاكين جبهة النصرة ومن يقبل يده ستخضل لحيته بالدم .. أما رئيس مكتبها السياسي خالد مشعل فقد سافر الى استانبول ووضع البندقية الفلسطينية فيها على طاولة أردوغان بعد أن بايعه علنا خليفة وسيدا لأمر المسلمين ..المسافة بين البندقية وفلسطين صارت تفصلها فقط مساحة سورية والدم السوري .. هل هناك اقرب الى فلسطين في الدنيا كلها من سورية ودم سورية؟؟ فلسطين تاريخيا وجغرافيا بل و(أنثروبولوجيا) وفي زمرة الدم جزء من سورية وليست جزءا من تركيا أو من مصر ..ومع هذا يريد مشعل اقناعنا أن التحرير يمكن أن يكون من دون سورية .. ومن أنقرة ..
وكان الرأي الامني الاسرائيلي بأن عملية استئصال حماس لن تفيد لأنها صارت فكرة مثل فكرة فتح .. وفتح لم يتم استئصالها حتى بالحرب خارج حدود اسرائيل .. ولذلك يجب الركوب في عربة حماس من الداخل منذ البدابة والتحكم بمسارها ومراقبته بدل التصدي لها على الطريق ..
وقيل بأن ذلك يجب أن يتم عبر اطلاق الشيخ أحمد ياسين بحيث يتم رصد والتقاط رؤوس قادة حماس عندما يلتفون حول زعيمهم ويتواصلون معه فهو كالمغناطيس خارج السجن حيث سيتجمع حوله الجميع وسيقصده الجميع وهنا ستدخل اسرائيل بالتسلل الى حياة الشيخ مؤسس الحركة عبر اشخاص تقوم بزرعهم حوله وهم سيزودونها بكل تفاصيل الاتصال بين ياسين وكل المؤيدين له في الداخل والخارج وسترسم الأجهزة الامنية خارطة لذلك .. وطرحت عملية اطلاق الشيخ ياسين لكن كان لابد من سيناريو يبرر ذلك .. سيناريو يولد منه بطل آخر تصنعه اسرائيل .. فكانت مسرحية محاولة اغتيال خالد مشعل ..بالضبط مثل مسرحية تهديد عزمي بشارة بالتصفية الجسدية ..الى أن التقى البطلان مشعل وبشارة أخيرا في قطر .. صدفة غريبة كالميعاد على اللقاء في نهاية المشوار في قطر ..
كل قادة فلسطين ومفكريها دون استثناء قتلتهم اسرائيل بالعشرات بالرصاص أو بالنسف في كل عواصم العالم من غسان كنفاني الى فتحي الشقاقي الى يحي عياش الى كمال ناصر وكمال عدوان وابو يوسف النجار وأبو جهاد وووو .. الا خالد مشعل … فقد قررت اسرائيل استعمال سم في اذنه وليس في طعامه أو وريده أو قلبه .. واختارت أن يتم التنفيذ في شارع عام على قارعة الطريق (؟؟؟!!!) وليس باقتحام بيته أو فندقه (كما في اغتيال محمود المبحوح)..
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|اقرا المقال الأصلي باللغة العربية|
For any Egyptian government, Egypt’s water share and securing the Nile’s headwaters are the top national security priorities, irrespective of the Egyptian government’s ideology or domestic policies. This fact is dictated by geography. For thousands of years, Egyptian rulers have been aware how important water is for Egypt. Water is the lifeline of Egypt (97.5% of Egypt is barren desert). Egyptian rulers have always used any means to defend their country’s historic rights to the Nile waters. As Greek historian Herodotus said, “Egypt is the gift of the Nile.” Egyptian civilization, which is one of history’s greatest civilizations, depends on the Nile. To illustrate the Nile’s importance, we should remember that Egypt is the largest desert oasis in the world. Life in Egypt is concentrated on the river banks where 90 million people live. In short, any Egyptian government should have one eye on the Horn of Africa — on Ethiopia, where the source of the Nile lies — and another eye on the Sinai Peninsula and the Levant, and the balance of power there. History has shown that most of Egypt’s invaders entered through that door.
Egypt’s sentries against the country’s internal and external foes have been sleeping on the job. Their first eye failed to notice the developments at the Blue Nile’s source in Ethiopia (the Blue Nile constitutes 86% and the White Nile 14% of the Nile water volume. The two tributaries meet in Sudan before flowing to Egypt). Their second eye had lost the ability to distinguish friend from foe. Now, with the worsening economic crisis and the political deterioration between the ruling Muslim Brotherhood and the opposition, the balance of power is more and more tilting toward Ethiopia, which may unilaterally increase its water usage. That will affect Egypt’s historic rights of the Nile water and cause a serious threat.
In the report below, we will try to shed light on the Nile conflict and on why Ethiopia’s negotiating position toward Egypt has improved. We will end with a recommendation.
The conflict over the Nile waters
The two groups fighting over the right waters are as follows: the first group are the downstream countries, it includes Egypt and Sudan. The other group are the upstream countries which includes Ethiopia, Eritrea, Uganda, Congo, Burundi, Tanzania, Southern Sudan, Rwanda and Kenya.
Egypt depends on the Nile River for 95% of its water needs for drinking, agriculture and electricity generation. The growing Egyptian population is increasingly dependent on Nile water. Egypt has historical rights to these waters under the Nile Water Agreement signed with Britain in 1929. It gave Egypt the right to veto any project in upstream countries affecting Egypt’s share of water flowing to it. It is worth mentioning that the 1929 agreement is binding for the three upstream countries — Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda — on the grounds that Britain, which colonized these countries, was their legal representative and could sign binding international agreements on their behalf.
Egypt codified its legal status in an agreement with Sudan in 1959. The agreement gave Cairo 55.5 billion cubic meters of water (or 66% of the total water flow), which would go to the Aswan Dam, and Sudan received 18.5 billion cubic meters (22%). The remainder, 12%, is lost to evaporation.
The downstream countries argue that they were not a party to those agreements at the time, and therefore do not recognize their legitimacy. The upstream countries want to modify the water-sharing agreement and keep more of the water by building dams, which will directly affect the water share of the downstream states, Egypt and Sudan.
The problem is compounded by the projected large population increase in the Nile basin. The UN projects that the population in the 11 basin states will reach 860 million people by 2050. This is pressuring both sides to try to improve their positions in the conflict over the Nile waters.
In May 2010, Ethiopia drafted the Entebbe Agreement to modify the historical and legal basis for the sharing of water. Most upstream countries supported the agreement but Egypt and Sudan refused it. It is true that the Entebbe Agreement is not legally binding for Egypt and Sudan, but it does show that Ethiopia is aware of the balance of power and its ambition to impose facts on the ground regarding the construction of dams, which will necessarily affect Egypt’s share in the Nile waters and thus represent an existential threat to Egypt. It is true that Ethiopia cannot force Cairo to sign, but the Entebbe Agreement shows that a major crisis between Cairo and Addis Ababa is on the way. What follows is an explanation of the Ethiopian diplomatic attack on Egypt and Sudan.
The geopolitical framework strengthens Ethiopia’s position
In recent years, the geopolitical framework has clearly shifted in Ethiopia’s favor, and it shifted the balance of power between Ethiopia and Egypt. The geopolitical changes that favor Ethiopia can be seen in six key indicators:
First, the disintegration of Somalia, Ethiopia’s traditional rival with which it fought a tough war over the Ogaden region, removed the geopolitical balance facing Ethiopia’s political ambitions in the region. Ethiopia exploited Somalia’s disintegration to strengthen its regional presence in the Horn of Africa. For years, Ethiopia has been “fighting terrorism” emerging from Somalia. Ethiopia has been doing that under an American umbrella from 2006 to 2009 and then again since 2011 until now.
The second indicator is represented by the partition of Sudan into two states: Sudan and South Sudan. That development has weakened Sudan (and thus Egypt) in the Horn of Africa and allowed Ethiopia to participate, since 2012, in the UN peacekeeping forces in the Abyei region, which is disputed between Sudan and South Sudan.
The third indicator is the following: the weakening of Sudan has shifted the balance of power in Ethiopia’s favor. The crisis in Darfur and the international isolation of the Sudanese president (an international arrest warrant was issued against him by the International Court of Justice in The Hague in 2009) has significantly limited Khartoum’s ability to maneuver in the Nile conflict.
The fourth indicator is the improved relationship between Ethiopia and the West in general, and between Ethiopia and the US in particular, after Addis Ababa emerged as a reliable partner in the Horn of Africa. Every year, Ethiopia gets $4 billion in military, development and food assistance. But the matter is not limited to direct aid. The West has started looking at Ethiopia differently in regard to development projects, such as the construction of dams in Ethiopia. The West had opposed such projects for decades because they were considered a threat to regional security.
The fifth indicator is about China. China is Ethiopia’s primary trade partner and Beijing has expressed willingness to finance a dam construction in Ethiopia and offered Chinese expertise in building large dams. China wishes to have a foothold in the region. There is oil in South Sudan and the Congo has mineral resources.
The sixth indicator is the weakening of Egypt’s political weight in the Horn of Africa. Egypt has no role in Somalia and was not even a key party in the negotiations between Sudan and South Sudan. Egypt’s preoccupation with internal matters is weakening its ability to confront regional and international players, such as China. Even though Egypt is the biggest market for Chinese goods among the 11 basin countries, China has favored other considerations over Egyptian priorities and Egypt’s rights in the Nile waters. So much so that China has offered its technological expertise in constructing dams, which is a complete disregard to Egyptian rights. What will Egypt do about all that? Only God knows.
In the coming years, Egypt and Ethiopia may be forced to fight a “water war” because Ethiopia’s ambitions contradict Egypt’s historical and legal rights in river waters. Ethiopia can only be deterred by the regional and international balance of powers, which in recent years has favored Ethiopia.
The government of Hisham Qandil (an irrigation expert, not a diplomat, legal expert or strategist) seems unable to manage such a complex issue with legal, political, economic, military and international aspects. His government is unable to solve everyday problems that are less complex, such as security, traffic, and fuel and food supplies. This portends dire consequences for Egypt.
What is needed is a way to manage the crisis and use Egyptian soft power toward Ethiopia, especially the Coptic Orthodox Church, which is the Ethiopian Church’s mother church. It is necessary to form a fixed Egyptian team to manage this highly sensitive issue. The team should go beyond party affiliation and include leading Egyptian Nile specialists. Ideological or religious affiliation should not be a factor in choosing that Egyptian crisis team. What is important should be the capabilities and competencies of the team members, who will come from the “clay” of the country, not from a particular group, party or political current. Clay, to those who don’t know, is what Egyptians call their country’s soil, which is a fertile soil resulting from the mixing with the Nile water.
Will Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi realize the seriousness of the situation and deal with that issue as a major national matter and quickly implement the required policies and procedures, or will he hesitate, as usual, and go down in history as someone who squandered the historic rights of Egypt and its future generations?
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!