Saturday, January 13, 2018

الحصاد- المجلس المركزي.. حماس والجهاد تعتذران

الحصاد- مواقف لترمب.. الجميع يرد عدا العرب

Why Sisi is Israel's choice

By David Hearst


You can imagine the telephone calls. A third heavyweight challenger has emerged to contest the presidential election and he is another former chief of staff, General Sami Anan. Military intelligence, loyal to the incumbent president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, is working overtime to brief its hand puppets in the media.
"We have made this so simple even you can understand."
"Yes, sir."
"Three A's. Anan. Age. Alzheimer's. Got it? Anan repeats words because he forgets he says them. The president speaks fluently. Anan in a wheelchair. The president on a white horse. Like Gaddafi. No, forget Gaddafi. Like Putin. Remember Putin bare-chested on a horse? Youth versus age. Got it?"
"On it, sir."

Dead man walking

Anan is the third challenger I identified over a year ago when I wrote that Sisi was a dead man walking. I compared him to King Solomon, who died propped up on his wooden staff. The only beings to know of the king's death were the termites eating into his stick.
Since then, the termites consuming Sisi's authority have come closer to the seat of power. Ahmed Shafiq, the former prime minister, who abandoned his presidential bid after being told he would be smeared with sex tapes and charged with corruption, along with his daughter, came close.
In exile, Shafiq assembled a wide list of potential backers. First and foremost from the deep state: generals from the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF)  and those "whores" in General Intelligence that Captain Ashraf al-Kholi, the security agent alluded to when instructing Azmi Megahed, the TV anchor, on what line to take. 
At the same time as Iran attracted international condemnation for the crushing of its protesters, Egypt killed almost as many people by hanging them, without so much as a whisper of protest
The backing of the business elite around the family of Hosni Mubarak also came as no surprise, as Shafiq owes his career to the former president.  
But visits from Salman al-Ansari, the founder of the Washington-based Saudi American Public Relations Affairs Committee, a right-hand man of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and from a representative of the Coptic Church, were interesting.
Shafiq courted both the secular and Islamist opposition. The two camps of the Muslim Brotherhood, the reformist wing and the old guard, who have stopped speaking to each other, spoke with ease to Shafiq.
Sisi faced down another threat from within - his brother-in-law General Mahmoud Hegazy. The chief of staff of the armed forces was sacked when he stepped off his plane from Washington, where he had apparently presented himself as the president in waiting.
It was not clear whether Hegazy had been talking about running as candidate in the forthcoming presidential election or whether he intended to take a more direct route.

The economy, stupid

Anan, Shafiq, Hegazy are all insiders. None would shed a tear for Mohamed Morsi, the deposed Muslim Brotherhood president, let alone the 50,000 other political prisoners. But they are not the issue any more.
Sisi's continued misrule, in their eyes, is threatening something bigger than a political movement. He is endangering the state itself. Have things got that bad?
Lieutenant General Sami Anan, then chief of staff of the Egyptian armed forces (L), during a visit to a polling station in Cairo in May 2012 (AFP)
Economic mismanagement tops the list of grievances, at least as far as his backers, the Saudis and Emiratis, are concerned. According to figures from Egypt's central bank, Saudi, the UAE and Kuwait have poured $12bn in aid and $6.2bn in direct investment into Egypt since 2013. In reality, the figure is likely to be higher.
The emir of Dubai and prime minister of the UAE, Mohammad bin Rashed Al Maktoom, blurted out the truth when he said the UAE alone gave Egypt $14bn in two years. This fits with other figures culled from a series of leaked and authenticated conversations between the president and his then-chief of staff, Kamel Abbas, which totals nearly $50bn in aid.
One month after the leaks were aired in February 2015, the three Gulf states pledged another $15.2bn in aid. If you add that to the $6bn Egypt has already received from its three-year International Monetary Fund loan, that makes over $70bn in the past five years. In the same tapes, Sisi scoffed about his Gulf donors: "They have money like rice." Well, it does not feel that way in Riyadh any more.
What, they would be right to ask, has Sisi done with the money?
The decision to float the Egyptian pound in November last year, forced on Cairo by the IMF, has restored foreign reserves from $19bn to $36.7bn by the end of October. But the price of that has been to push inflation to over 30 percent. 
"We have increased prices on average by 15 percent because consumers' purchasing power cannot take more, whereas the increase should have been more like 30 percent," the Financial Times quoted an Egyptian cheese-maker, Ibrahim Soudan, as saying.
The new Suez canal, opened two years ago at a cost of $8bn, is struggling to maintain annual revenue, let alone double it  - which was the promise made at the time.


Sisi has had to deploy ever more force to keep the lid on his own people. At the same time as Iran attracted international condemnation for the crushing of its protesters, Egypt killed almost as many people by hanging them, without so much as a whisper of protest. It was Egypt's largest mass execution in recent memory.
As they use more force, Egypt's army and police have themselves come under sustained attack. The semi-official Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies recorded 1,165 armed operations between 2014 and 2016, which translates to one operation a day for three years.
Omar Ashour wrote: "The lethality of the attacks is probably the worst bit of the recorded data. Under the current regime, the two worst terrorist attacks in Egypt's modern history were perpetrated: the Russian Metrojet bombing (224 victims) and al-Rawda Mosque attack (at least 305 victims)."
In Sinai militants are expanding their activities to target civilians (AFP)
"The latter is five times more lethal than the worst attack perpetrated under president Mubarak (57 victims in the Luxor massacre in 1997) and 19 times more lethal than the worst attack perpetrated under president Morsi (16 dead soldiers in Karem Abu Salem in 2012)."
Regionally, despite five years of covert and overt military intervention, Egypt has been unable to secure Libya using its place-man, General Khalifa Haftar. Diplomatic hostilities are mounting with Sudan, its southern neighbour, over a border dispute and water, and to the east, the militant campaign in Sinai is more potent than ever.
All of which could make Shafiq's or Anan's candidacy attractive to Egypt's backers in the Gulf.
They would remain in control of the presidency, and the army would remain in control of Egypt. However, there would be a  political path forward  if prisoners began to be released, and a lot of talented exiles could start returning. Sisi's replacement would not be revolutionary, and in many senses it would be a step backwards to the days of Mubarak. 
But it's a sign of how bad things have become under Sisi that even a return to the pragmatic despotism of Mubarak would look like progress.
Why then hasn't this happened?

Softening Arab public opinion

Sisi, the despot, can still play a role for Israel, the United States and Saudi Arabia, that Shafiq or Anan, or another replacement from the military, who will not necessarily be closer to Egyptian public opinion, cannot. This is to soften the opinion of the Arab street in favour of surrendering East Jerusalem to Israel.
If this policy faces one major obstacle, that obstacle is not to be found in the elites of modern Arab states. It is to be found on the Arab street.
Turkish supporters of Egypt's ousted president Mohamed Morsi demonstrate to condemn the latest killings in Cairo, outside the Egyptian embassy in Ankara, July 2013 (AFP)
This was the substance of the briefing between a security operative and a TV chat-show host, leaked to the New York Times. It is also the subject of other licensed voices like Youssef Ziedan, an Egyptian novelist and scholar.
Ziedan's thesis is that al-Aqsa mosque, literally the "furthest" of the three Muslim holy sites, is not located in Jerusalem's al-Haram al-Sharif compound and that Jerusalem is not a holy Muslim city.
The Israeli embassy in Cairo thanked Ziedan for his remarks, but the fact that they are being voiced and aired now on Egyptian television is no accident. He, like everyone else, is doing his master's bidding.
None of this will work. The only way for Egypt to recover from the death spiral it is now in is to restore its own leadership, sovereignty, economy, parliament and ultimately democracy.
The current path leads to a terminal weakening and ultimately break-up of the Arab world's most populous state.
"We are not a real state. We are a pseudo-state," Sisi once said. This could be another of his self-fulfilling prophecies. 
- David Hearst is editor-in-chief of Middle East Eye. He was chief foreign leader writer of The Guardian, former Associate Foreign Editor, European Editor, Moscow Bureau Chief, European Correspondent, and Ireland Correspondent. He joined The Guardian from The Scotsman, where he was education correspondent.

Friday, January 12, 2018

من واشنطن-المضاعفات السياسية والإعلامية لكتاب "النار والغضب

.@realDonaldTrump takes a dump on the American dream

An early look at Friday's front: 

فوق السلطة- نار وعرب

Comment By Dan Rather

Trump's comments about immigrants from "shithole countries" is among the worst statements he has ever uttered. It might very well be the worst.
To have this outrage come as we approach the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is to cast in sharp relief the moral gulf between America as envisioned by the civil rights activist and our current President. It was Dr. King who said "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." By all accounts, Mr. Trump does not now and has never believed in such an America.
This is undeniably and clearly outright racist. It simply cannot be allowed to continue by anyone who cares about the future of this country. This is sad. It is hurtful. It is dangerous. It is unpatriotic. Each elected official, each American, has a choice: where do you stand? Some may say this helps the President with his base. What about how it debases the values of our nation? This rhetoric has to be damned at every turn, at every time. That millions of hard working men, women, and children have lives that hang in the balance at the whims of this President only makes this moment all the more tragic. Make no mistake, America is diminished today in the eyes of the world and in the eyes of history. It will be up to every decent person to make sure that this is not our destiny.

Image result for saudi king dances with trump


Reports: PA helping Israel trace perpetrators of Nablus attack


Palestinian security services are helping their Israeli counterparts to track down Palestinians who carried out a resistance attack near the occupied city of Nablus on Tuesday evening, killing a settler, Israeli media reported.
The Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation (Kan) quoted an unnamed Palestinian security source as saying that until now, they do not have a lead about the shooting in Nablus. He confirmed that the attackers used an American made M16 assault rifle.
The Israeli security services believe Hamas was behind the guerrilla operation which led to the killing of a settler rabbi near the illegal outpost of Havat Gilad.
Kan quoted Israeli military sources as saying that the attackers used standard weapons estimated at about 50,000 shekels ($15,000) and not improvised or locally manufactured weapons which had been the norm in previous cases, and therefore the defence establishment assumes that the attack was carried out by an organized and skilled cell.
The military correspondent and defence analyst for Israel’s Haaretz newspaper, Amos Harel, said yesterday that the attack was different from most attacks in recent years. “In most of the recent attacks, Palestinian militants used improvised machine guns of the locally manufactured Carlo type, however the rabbi was apparently killed by a standard weapon.”
He claimed that the Israeli forces have recently arrested Hamas-affiliated cells in the West Bank that were most likely activated from the Gaza Strip and prepared for shootings or kidnapping operations.
Meanwhile, Israeli Walla news site said the cell is still roaming the West Bank, and is likely to carry out another attack, which raises tension on the ground.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

الاتجاه المعاكس- السعودية.. إصلاحات أم خراب بيت؟

ما وراء الخبر- صراع المخابرات في مصر.. لمن الغلبة؟

"جيروزاليم بوست": السعودية تتطلع لشراء منظومة "القبة الحديدية" من إسرائيل

Image result for saudi-israeli flag


نقلت صحيفة "جيروزاليم بوست" عن "باسلر تسايتونغ" السويسرية، اليوم الثلاثاء، أن الحكومة السعودية أعربت عن اهتمامها بشراء نظام "القبة الحديدية" المضاد للصواريخ الذي طورته إسرائيل، وذلك لصد الهجمات التي تشنها جماعة أنصار الله (الحوثيين) المدعومة من إيران في اليمن.

وذكرت الصحيفة التي تتخذ من منطقة بازل السويسرية مقراً لها، أن تاجر أسلحة أوروبياً يقيم في الرياض كشف أن السعوديين يدرسون شراء معدات عسكرية إسرائيلية، بما فيها نظام "تروفي" (ويُعرف أيضا باسم: أسبرو إيASPRO-A) هو عبارة عن نظام دفاعي من إنتاج شركتي "رافاييل الدفاعية" و"إلتا" الإسرائيليتين، وهو مصمم لحماية ناقلات الجند والدبابات من الأسلحة المضادة للدروع المباشرة والموجهة، ويقوم النظام بتدمير أي صاروخ يدخل مداه أتوماتيكياً.
كذلك ذكرت "باسلر تسايتونج" أن خبراء عسكريين سعوديين سبق أن فحصوا التكنولوجيا العسكرية الإسرائيلية في مدينة أبوظبي في الإمارات العربية المتحدة، وأضافت الصحيفة أنه على الرغم من عدم وجود علاقات دبلوماسية بين إسرائيل والمملكة العربية السعودية، بيد أن التعاون الاستخباراتي بين الطرفين سجل مؤخراً تقدماً ملحوظاً، بحسب ما ذكر مراقبون في تل أبيب والرياض.
وتنقل الصحيفة عن من سمتهم خبراء قولهم إن تهديدات النظام الإيراني للمنطقة هي العامل الأمني الذي قرّب وجهات النظر بين الطرفين، وأدى إلى تكثيف تعاونهما العسكري.
وقال الصحافي السويسري بيار هيومان الذي يقيم في تل أبيب في مقال إن "كليهما يريد أن يعوق طموحات إيران الإقليمية"
ويطلق الحوثيون منذ مدة صواريخ باليستية صوب الأراضي السعودية، وكان أبرز هذه الهجمات صاروخان على العاصمة السعودية الرياض، استهدفا مطار الملك خالد وقصر اليمامة الملكي. وتتهم السعودية والولايات المتحدة النظام الإيراني بتسليح الحوثيين بالصواريخ والمساعدات العسكرية لزعزعة استقرار المنطقة.
يذكر أن إشارات عدة ظهرت لتقارب حدث مؤخراً بين السعودية ودول عربية أخرى مع إسرائيل، تمثل ذلك في تصريحات إعلاميين محسوبين على النظام السعودي تدعو إلى تطبيع العلاقات مع تل أبيب إضافة إلى قيام وسائل إعلام سعودية بمقابلات مع مسؤولين أمنيين وسياسين إسرائيليين، وتأكيد إسرائيل أن العلاقات مع دول خليجية تشهد مرحلة تطور واضح.
إضافة إلى ذلك، تسربت معلومات عن سعي القيادة السعودية لإقناع الفلسطينيين بـ"خطة سلام" تحوي تقديم تنازلات كبيرة إرضاء لإسرائيل وكسب ود الأميركيين، وترافق ذلك مع خروج الرياض بقرار خجول ومتأخر حول عدم تأييدها إعلان ترامب القدس عاصمة لإسرائيل، فيما شهد عام 2017 العديد من التسريبات حول خطوات تطبيعية بين السعودية وإسرائيل.

A Great Khalil Bendib's Cartoon

Carlos Latuff's Cartoon

Saudi outrage over Israeli scout uniform 'invasion'

Saudi citizen files complaint after finding Israeli scout uniforms, which include Israeli flag tags, while shopping in Jizan


The uniforms were similar to those seen here on Israeli scouts in Tel Aviv AFP)
Jenan Ashi's picture
Last update: 
Tuesday 9 January 2018 10:46 UTC
Saudi citizens have complained after finding Israeli scout uniforms, with Israeli flag tags, being sold in shops in the kingdom.
Pictures of the uniforms, taken in the southern province of Jizan, were shared on social media.
Saudis criticised what they said was a "Zionist invasion" of Saudi Arabia, while others said it was a result of a push by the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, to normalise relations with Israel.
Many claimed they were "military uniforms".
Translation: Israeli military uniforms are invading Saudi shops #Saudi_Zionist_Kingdom
Translation: Israeli military uniforms are being sold in Saudi 
Some users claimed that "Zionism has penetrated the holy land".
Translation: I honestly don't believe this speed, the sale of anything in favour of #Israel in #Saudi for a sake I don't understand? The sale of Israeli uniforms in Saudi continues specifically in Jizan and Riyadh. What's left in the land of the holy sites for Muslims?
The uniforms were reported to the Saudi commerce and investment ministry by a Saudi citizen.
According to Saudi Arabia's Akhbar 24 website, the official representative of the ministry, Abdulrahman al-Hussein, said that the regulatory authorities "are called to complete the procedures and the imposition of systematic penalties".
In June 2017 King Salman of Saudi Arabia issued a royal order which exempted Mohammed bin Nayaf of his post and appointed his son Mohammed bin Salman as the crown prince of the kingdom. 
Bin Salman has launched a crackdown on alleged corruption in the kingdom and has orchestrated a sweeping purge targeting writers, scholars and popular figures on social media.