Category Archives: Egypt

How Not To Fight Terrorists

Every so often, in a moment of frustration, my mind lingers in memories of Saddam Hussein. He was a brutal, sadistic murderer who lacked any sense of morality. He was a hedonist whose concept of joy was witnessing the brutal murder of some innocent man or observing fear and horror on the face of a young woman being raped by his savage son. The invasion of Iraq DID end his reign of terror. Unfortunately, it introduced another reign of terror. The American government had five years in which to assist those seeking creation of a modern peaceful Iraq in which all, regardless of religious or non-religious belief could live in harmony and peace. There is no doubt Americans failed to meet any standard of success. We allowed a thug religious fanatic, Nouri al-Maliki to gain power. He inherited an Iraq in which his religious enemies-the Sunnis were cooperating with the US military in crushing al-Qaeda. So, what did Maliki do? Once in power, he proceeded to persecute, jail, and drive from any positions of power Sunnis who had worked to destroy al-Qaeda! Republicans want to blame President Obama for this fiasco. The madness began when President Bush was in power. Obama inherited still one more of the Bush mistakes.

Could Obama had done anything to prevent the tragedy that was to occur? No one knows the answer to that question. Perhaps, there was a moment in 2009 when he could have clamped down on Maliki. He never made any such attempt, most probably fearing it would result in armed response from Shiite groups. So, Maliki persecuted the Sunnis, he drove them into the arms of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria(ISIS). Naturally, Prime Minister Maliki would never accept responsibility for his blunders. So, now what is he doing? Maliki now charges the Kurds with cooperating with ISIS! The Kurdish army is protecting Shiites fleeing from ISIS. They are behaving as an ALLY of Maliki, but he is bent on making them an enemy!

Oh, fifty bodies found in a village south of Baghdad. No doubt the bodies are those of Sunnis. Shot in the head and left to die. The end result is more recruits for ISIS. Retain this man in power and soon all Iraqis will be recalling Saddam Hussein with fond memories of peace.

The “Other” Is Always To Blame!

I have devote a half century studying and teaching about the Middle East. In particular, my courses have focused on the Palestinian and Israel conflict which dates back over a hundred years. This conflict witnesses several stages:

1. A period in which either or both sides have groups that conduct low level violent operations against the enemy.

2. A period in which both sides claim the other is responsible for any violence and demand the outside world do something about it.

3. A period in which an incident or series of incidents leads the other side to insist its resort to violence is in response to what the other side has been doing.

4. The incidents increase in ferocity and size resulting in escalation of rhetoric by one side.

5. A period in which both sides escalate the rhetoric of violence.

6. A period in which talk shifts to actual use of violent means against the other side.

7. Eventually, Israel forces gain the upper hand, and crush, for the moment, violent Arab groups.”

8. A period of seeming quiet. In reality, Palestinians are preparing some form of violence.

9. An act of violence by a small group of Palestinians sets in motion a fierce outburst of action on the part of Israel.

10. Our present stage in which the death of three innocent children has set in motion violence that has cost the lives of dozens of innocent Palestinians.

There have to be other ways to handle this conflict, don’t you think?

An Egyptian Trial

It is apparent from reaction of western media to the recent trial in Egypt of three members of the media who work for Al Jazeera that many Americans do not quite grasp the methodology that is followed by the Egyptian government in its courts of law. So, let us explain

1. The assumption in an Egypt court is that defendants are guilty, why else are they in the court? Makes sense.
2. Defendants are placed in iron cages during the trial to prevent them from hurting themselves.
3. There is no jury, just a group of dedicated men who seek the truth.
4. In order to avoid confusion, the prosecution does not respond to anything said by the defense attorney. Yes, there is such a person.
5. In this trial, the prosecution worked diligently to present films of children playing, and horses rambling around in a meadow. This was designed to provide all in the court nice scenes of pleasure and happiness.
6. I realize that in other societies, a court is supposed to present -evidence. This makes no sense to Egyptian prosecutors, evidence will only confuse issues, why not keep everything clear and to the point.
7. Ah, you want to know the “point.”
8. The point is to find the defendants –guilty!

HEADLINES FROM WORLD PRESS

We offer samples of headlines that appeared in the world press along with our comments.

New Zealand, New Zealand Herald: “Gay Dad Banned From Police Force”

I assume that means there are no happy cops in this police force.

Turkey, Hurriyet: “Bus Driver Beats Woman”

Boy, I promise to pay the fare next time!

Sweden, Local: “Teen Steals Beggar’s Money”

This act of bravado beggars the mind!

Russia, Moscow Times: “We’ve Come A Long Way”

From Russia’s attempt at democracy.

Denmark, Copenhagen Post: “Still Breaking Teen Girls’ Hearts”

Not me at 83!

Japan, Japan Times: “Goldilocks Meets Godzilla”

Only in a Japanese movie!

Egypt: al-Ahram: “Guard Egypt Constitution”

From President Sisi??

Another Egyptian Tragedy

During the past sixty years, the people of Egypt have enjoyed the benefit of one military ruler after another. As of this date, there is no evidence being led by a general is any better than being led by the corner candy store man. The economy is stagnant, thousands who obtain education, flee seeking a job, and opportunity to enjoy freedom of speech. The latest example of an incompetent general is General Abdel Fatah al Sisi, who definitely is NOT a sissy when it comes to violating human rights. There was something termed a “trial” for three members of al-Jazeera and all three were found guilty of something. Amnesty International insists the so called, trial,”failed to produce a single shred of solid evidence.”

Australian Peter Geste, Canadian-Egyptian Mohamed Fahmy,and Egyptian Baher Mohamed were sentenced to terms of seven to ten years. US Secretary of State John Kerry asked President Sisi to reverse the decision. The General–I have no idea if this general actually did any fighting in a war–responded: “We will not interfere in judicial rulings. We must respect judicial rulings and not criticize them even if we do not understand this.”

How about Canada, Australia, and the US freezing funds for Egypt?

Freedom Of Speech In Egypt Ending

As you recall,once upon a time there was something termed the “Arab Spring” whose goals were to create modern democratic societies in the Middle East. Yes,Hosni Mubarak was driven from power after his thirty year term of office,and then Mr. Morsi, of the Muslim Brotherhood was forced to abandon his attempt at seeking to create a new dictatorship. Enter General Sisi who won an “election.” Since he took over from Morsi, the rights of those who fought to end dictatorship have ended. Oh, I forgot, dictator Sisi holds, “trials.” The latest example was a “trial” that placed reporters for Al-Jazeera in a courtroom where something that has to do with the law took place. It was a farce from day one.

This “court” and these “judges” found Al-Jazeera staff guilty of “aiding terrorists” and endangering national security. Former BBC correspondent Peter Greste got a seven year term in prison, ex CNN journalist Mohamed Fahmy received a similar sentence as did a local producer, Bahar Mohamed. Four students also will become prisoners for the crime of exercising free speech. US Secretary of State John Kerry was in Cairo to give Egypt money for its military. He condemned the verdicts but gave the dough.

Sisi won this round, but there will, eventually, be an Arab Spring that gains victory over dictators.

America’s Middle Eastern Policy

A president of the United States is once again confronted with what to do in what we term, the Middle East. Actually, the expression, “Middle East” was invented at the turn of the 20th century by American Admiral Alfred Mahan. He was discussing the conduct of American military policy, and cited the importance of that area in our trade relations. A major problem confronting President Obama is: what exactly should be the foreign policy of the United States in the Middle East? Let me offer some suggestions:

1. It is critically important for Israel to build positive relations with Arab nations. Both Israel and Arab leaders share a joint concern about terrorist groups in the region. First step on the part of America is insisting that the Israel government cease its settlement building, and work with President Abbas to create an independent Palestinian state. That action would open doors for Israel to establish diplomatic relations with most Muslim nations in the region.
2. Iraq requires a coalition government including both Sunni and Shiite leaders. Either Prime Minister Maliki agrees to this basic concept or he is on his own. Fighting guerrilla groups depends upon winning the support of local people.
3. The situation in Syria has deteriorated to such an extent that moderate forces no longer have any power. Whatever such groups are still existing need moderate military support.
4. An agreement must be reached with Iran that includes their right to pursue nuclear development for peaceful purposes.
5. Nations such as Tunisia should be provided economic assistance since leaders in that nation have come together to work for peace and stability.
6. Egypt is now beyond our influence. It is simply too late to support moderate groups seeking to develop a democratic society. Just wait and listen.

HEADLINES FROM WORLD PRESS

We offer samples of headlines that appeared in the world press along with our comments.

Sweden, Local: “Getting Naked In Sweden”

Brrr…

Denmark, Copenhagen Post: “Government Helps Children Of Alcoholics”

To get drunk along with dad?

USA, aol: “Priest Slain In Church”

Now, do you believe there is a Devil?

China, China Daily: “Space Ticket Sales Skyrocket”

People hear the Tea Party will gain control of Congress?

France, Connexion: “Police Fine Bad Pedestrians”

So, do they also fine bad police?

Israel, Jerusalem Post: “World’s Best Gay City”‘

It certainly is not Baghdad!

UK, Guardian: “Gun Collection Banned”

Not in the state of Texas! They ban sanity.

It’s Them, Not Us!

The outgoing president of Egypt, Adly Mansour decided as his gift to the women of his country to issue a law that made sexual harassment of females a crime in the country. In theory, if a male engages in harassment of a female, he could be sent to jail for six months and forced to pay a fine. A recent United Nations study revealed that 99.2% of women in Egypt reported to have been threatened, at one point or another in their lives, by men engaged in the act of harassment. Eba’a El Tamimi of HarassMap argues the problem stems from the reality that “society does not see it as a crime. And, police tend to sympathize with the harassers or be harassers themselves.” Police argue the problem is not Us, it it them since even if they enforced the law, males would turn their anger on the police.

I do understand the dilemma. However, my main interest is in the .07% of women who did not report being sexually harassed. So, how come this group never got harassed? I think we need a massive study of women in this group in order to learn how to avoid getting sexually harassed in Egypt. Or, we can organize groups of women to harass men, you know, play with their penis in public. Or, give them a nice swat on the butt. Fair is fair!

“I Am A Harasser”

I admit to being somewhat confused when it comes to topic of sexual harassment of women in Middle Eastern nations. On one hand, governments such as those in Saudi Arabia or Egypt claim that women can not enjoy equal rights because they are women and thus must be protected. OK, I get that point. On the other hand, 99% of Egyptian women claim that, at one point or another in their life, they have been the target of a sexual harasser. Perhaps, I am not the most intelligent person in the world, but if a government insists that women can not go out by themselves or drive a car or be seen holding the hand of a male other than dad or a brother, why is it OK for males to touch, fondle, and even strip women of their clothes?

I believe a figure of 99% strongly indicates that most Egyptian males harass women. Please explain to me how a male who will not allow his sister to hold hands with a stranger believes it is OK to touch the breasts of his friend’s sister? Oh, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is no sissy on this matter. He claims to oppose such harassment. Perhaps, then, he might begin with punishing police and soldiers who harass women!

A group of Egyptian women marched in Tahrir Square with banners proclaiming, “I am a Harasser, I am an animal.” And, believe it or not, they were protected by members of the Egyptian army. I guess these soldiers took time off from fondling women in public.