Tag Archives: egypt

Stratfor: The American Public’s Indifference to Foreign Affairs

Excellent commentary on how we are increasingly insular when it comes to world events.

By George Friedman

Last week, several events took place that were important to their respective regions and potentially to the world. Russian government officials suggested turning Ukraine into a federation, following weeks of renewed demonstrations in Kiev. The Venezuelan government was confronted with violent and deadly protests. Kazakhstan experienced a financial crisis that could have destabilized the economies of Central Asia. Russia and Egypt inked a significant arms deal. Right-wing groups in Europe continued their political gains

Any of these events had the potential to affect the United States. At different times, lesser events have transfixed Americans. This week, Americans seemed to be indifferent to all of them. This may be part of a cycle that shapes American interest in public affairs. The decision to raise the debt ceiling, which in the last cycle gripped public attention, seemed to elicit a shrug.

The Primacy of Private Affairs

The United States was founded as a place where private affairs were intended to supersede public life. Public service was intended less as a profession than as a burden to be assumed as a matter of duty — hence the word “service.” There is a feeling that Americans ought to be more involved in public affairs, and people in other countries are frequently shocked by how little Americans know about international affairs or even their own politics.

Read more: The American Public’s Indifference to Foreign Affairs | Stratfor
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Long War Journal: Al Qaeda official says force needed to establish sharia law in Egypt

Al-Qaeda, alive and well, is seeking to “help” Egyptian Muslims and to see Sharia enforced in that beleaguered land.

In a message released by al Qaeda’s As Sahab on Dec. 7, Muhammad bin Mahmoud Rabie al Bahtiyti, an al Qaeda official, said the group is following current events in Egypt, even though it is “away from them.”

“[W]e would have liked to be among them [Egyptian Muslims], helping them and supporting them, and blocking off the assaults of the oppressors and the tyrants,” al Bahtiyti said, according to a translation by the SITE Intelligence Group. “Even though we are away from them – and that is imposed on us – this does not prevent us from addressing them and their plight and doing out duty towards them.”

With regard to the ongoing crackdown against the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters, al Bahtiyti argued that a peaceful approach will not do anything of importance. “Anyone who calls to resist falsehood with peacefulness is swimming in a sea of illusions, and perhaps in a sea of blood, in vain,” he declared.

He also called on Egyptian Muslims to work towards the implementation of sharia-based governance. Egyptian Muslims must “stand in the face of this fierce campaign led by the people of falsehood and the forces of delusion,” al Bahtiyti urged. They must “educate people about their obligation to support the religion and empower the Shariah,” he continued.

According to al Bahtiyti, force is necessary to ensure sharia-based governance is brought about. “The reality about which there is no doubt, is that falsehood will not be removed and will not go away except with force and with power,” al Bahtiyti’s message said.

Al Bahtiyti described the current government in Egypt as a “small band of secularists that imposed themselves … over the necks of the people.” He further denounced the current regime for allegedly trying to fight Islam, “extirpate its people, and prevent its empowerment, and to serve the enemy the Jews and Crusaders and to be their follower.”


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Islamist Cleric’s Trial Postponed to April 14

Mustafa is better known as Abu Hamza al-Masri, the subject of the important book The Suicide Factory.  Al-Masri is considered responsible for radicalizing a number of known terrorists, and both Richard Reid and Zacarias Moussaoui.  He also praised Osama bin Laden and declared that”many people will be happy, jumping up and down at this moment,” after 9/11.  Here’s to a long, grueling incarceration. –AA

Associated Press

NEW YORK — A federal judge has pushed back the New York terrorism trial of an Egyptian Islamic cleric extradited from Great Britain.

U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest granted the change Monday for the trial of Mustafa Kamel Mustafa (muh-STAH’-fuh kah-MEHL’ muh-STAH’-fuh).

The new date — April 14 — was requested by prosecutors.

Mustafa’s lawyers said at the hearing that he should be moved to a prison hospital. They say his lower Manhattan lockup cannot adequately care for Mustafa. He is missing both arms just below the elbows.

Prosecutors say Mustafa conspired with Seattle men to set up a terrorist training camp in Oregon. They also say he helped to abduct two American tourists and 14 others in Yemen in 1998.

He has pleaded not guilty.

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Egypt’s top military commander says the army is now in full control of the country and President Mohammed Morsi has been replaced by the chief justice of the constitutional court as the interim head of state.

He made the announcements in a Wednesday night speech — the latest twist in an all-out power struggle inside Egypt that Morsi’s national security adviser is describing as a military coup.

Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi said the country’s constitution has been temporarily suspended and Morsi has failed to meet the demands of Egypt’s people.

Fireworks and cheers erupted from the millions gathered in Tahrir Square after the announcement was made.

Top military officials and opposition leaders met Wednesday and agreed on a political roadmap for the country’s future, el-Sissi said. A new presidential cabinet will be formed as well as a national reconciliation committee, which will include youth movements that have been behind anti-Morsi demonstrations.

Morsi’s response was not immediately known, but an aide says he has been moved to an undisclosed location.

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Travel ban imposed on Egypt’s President Morsi, Brotherhood members

CAIRO — The Egyptian military Wednesday ordered a travel ban on President Mohamed Morsi and members of his Muslim Brotherhood movement as commanders worked to isolate the Islamist leader and form a coalition government.

Egyptian media reported that officials at the Cairo airport were told to block prominent Brotherhood officials, including Essam Erian and Khairat Shater, from leaving the country.

The move came as military commanders met with opposition and religions figures, including Nobel laureate Mohamed ElBaradei and Coptic Christian Pope Tawadros II.

The military, which had given Morsi until 5 p.m. Cairo time (8 a.m. PDT) to end months of unrest, was expected to announce in the coming hours the scrapping of the Islamist-backed constitution and the establishment of a coalition government.

Egyptian media reported that Morsi was still refusing to step down but said a coalition government, which he had earlier rejected, might be a way out of the crisis.

The army’s actions heightened the chances that Egypt could slide into factional bloodshed. Essam Haddad, an adviser to Morsi, wrote on his Facebook page that the military was tightening its circle around the Muslim Brotherhood.

“As I write these lines I am fully aware that these may be the last lines I get to post on this page,” he wrote. “For the sake of Egypt and for historical accuracy, let’s call what is happening by its real name: military coup.”

Meanwhile, thousands of anti-government protesters were waiting in Tahrir Square for a statement from the military. Many chanted:”Leave, leave” and waived the Egyptian flag.  

“Morsi did nothing for us,” said Narges Kamel, 65, who was among the crowd. “Everything is more expensive. There is no social justice. The military will stand with us and with Egypt. They  [the Brotherhood] can’t attack us. We have the youth, the police and the military on our side.”

Helicopters buzzed over Cairo,  and the army’s Facebook page carried an ominous post titled: “The Final Hours:”

“The general commander of the armed forces has mentioned that it is more honorable for us to die than for the Egyptian people to be intimidated or threatened … and we swear to god that we will sacrifice for Egypt and its people with our blood against any terrorist, fundamentalist, or ignorant [person].”

Fear, excitement and apprehension have gripped the nation, which two years ago overthrew Hosni Mubarak only to face economic turmoil, political divisions and deadly protests that have marred the path toward democracy. Pro- and anti-Morsi supporters clashed through Tuesday night, including fighting at Cairo University, where 16 people were killed and more than 200 injured.

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Egyptians Amongst the Suspects in the Benghazi Attack

Remember when everyone was heralding the Arab Spring?  It was supposed to render al-Qaeda and its affiliates obsolete because young Arabs learned a new way to address their grievances?  That seems like a distant memory, what with the Muslim Brotherhood in control in Egypt and now this news.  –AA

By Catherine Herridge

The list of suspects in the Libya terror attack now extends to a handful of suspected militants aligned with an Egyptian group known as the Jamal Network, Fox News has learned. 

A U.S. official said the Jamal Network is committed to violence to attain its political ambitions, adding they are “hard-core, violent extremists in Egypt who are trying to develop a relationship with Al Qaeda.” 

Fox News is told that there are between two- and three-dozen suspects actively being investigated at any one time in connection with the Benghazi attack. The suspect list is fluid, drawn from intelligence ranging from intercepts to witness accounts, with new names being added and dropped on a regular basis. 

The majority of the suspects were described to Fox News as “locals” who come from Libya and are followers of the group Ansar al-Shariah, which wants to establish an Islamic state with adherence to strict Shariah law. 

The additional suspects are being investigated after one Tunisian suspect, Ali Ani al-Harzi, was first arrested in Turkey — after being identified through telephone intercepts where he bragged to friends about his involvement — and transferred to Tunisian custody. There is also at least one suspect with ties to Al Qaeda in Iraq. 

The radical ties of the suspects further raises questions about the degree of planning that may have been involved in an attack initially described as “spontaneous.” 

The Jamal Network takes its name from Mohammed Jamal Abu Ahmed, who was released from an Egyptian jail during the Arab Spring and is now trying to establish himself as a leader in Jihadi circles. U.S. officials believe he established training camps in Libya, and it was in these camps that some of the fighters linked to the attack were trained. 

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The Final Message from Osama bin Laden

On May 18, 2011 Al-Qaida’s As-Sahab Media Foundation released the final audio message of the “martyr” Usama Bin Laden addressed “to the Muslim Ummah.” In the recording, Bin Laden attempted to endorse and encourage ongoing revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and beyond. According to Bin Laden, “This revolution was not one about food or clothes, but a revolution of glory and defiance; a revolution of sacrifice and giving.” He continued, “To the free rebels in all our countries: take the lead in moving forward and beware of any dialogue, as there is no middle way.” He counseled, “The youth…should not do anything before consulting those honest ones with actual expertise who are alien to half-solutions.”

(Read More)

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Ayman al-Zawahiri’s latest message to the Egyptian People

Could al-Zawahiri’s messages to the Egyptian people after their relatively peaceful overthrow  of the Mubarak regime mark a sign that that al Qaeda is feeling marginalized?

(Courtesy of the NEFA Foundation)

”In the name of Allah, and praise Allah, and prayer and peace upon the messenger of Allah and upon his family and companions and followers, and thereafter:”
“Muslim brothers everywhere, peace be upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings.”
“The past episode, I discussed one part to answer the first question, which is: what is this reality? And today, I will finish, with the help of Allah, talking about the reality in Egypt. But before I go forth in explaining the present, I would like to step outside the focus of this message—message of hope and glad tidings for our people in Egypt—to discuss an important and dangerous subject, which is the honor [and protection] of Muslims’ blood, which the prophet, prayer and peace upon him, mentioned [Hadith].“
“There are some operations that are being attributed to the Mujahideen truthfully or falsely, which include attacking the Muslims in their mosques, markets or their gatherings. I say: regardless of the truthfulness…of attributing these operation to the Mujahideen, my brothers and I in Qaida’t al-Jihad disown, by Allah, these operations and condemn them, whether those who commit them the Mujahideen or others.”
“And Amir of Believers Mulla Muhammad Omar Mujahid—may Allah protect him—has previously discussed this matter, and also Sheikh Usama bin Laden—may Allah protect him—discussed it, and also it was discussed by Sheikh Atteyatullah, and Sheikh Abu Yehya al-Liby, may Allah protect him, and I also discussed this matter previously. And Sheikh Usama bin Laden—may Allah protect him—ordered me again to emphasize this matter.”


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Steven Emerson on Egypt’s Future and the Muslim Brotherhood

by Steven Emerson
IPT News
January 31, 2011

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