Category Archives: Egypt

Bombs Away Bombs Away Peace

There is no question that the history of negotiations between Israel and Arab leaders reveals a story of missed opportunities, incompetent Palestinian leadership, and roads that were never explored. Yasser Arafat in 2001 refused the Clinton plan which gave Palestinians about 95% of what they desired, he wanted, 100%! Such has been the past. But, today, there is another Palestinian leader, President Abbas, who seeks a genuine solution of the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Yes, there is the presence of Hammas. We can assume Israel’s claim that Hammas had something to do with the death of 3 innocent Jewish children. The response of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with bombings,words of hate and violence, will have consequences. Israel claims its bombings have destroyed missiles, weapon bases, militants, and, of course, a few dozen innocent Muslim children. A mosque has been hit, a center for disabled people has been hit, schools have been hit, all in retaliation for the death of 3 innocent children.

Death of a Jewish child is painful, so is death for a Muslim child, painful, as well as the child of an atheist or Christian. As I recall, there have been previous bombing campaigns with the promise that THIS time bad people will be killed, and there will be no more bombings or deaths of Israelis. Frankly, one has lost track as to how many bombing campaigns were launched that were the last bombing campaign. American colonists fought for seven years against the most powerful nation in the world, they lost 90% of the battles, but finally won the last one. Of course, the “end” only arrived when both sides sat down to negotiate peace. THAT is the only hope for peace in the Middle East. Netanyahu’s heroes are warriors. Perhaps, it is time to model another hero-Nelson Mandela who did not allow the deaths of innocent black South African children to get in the way of peace–even with those who had brutally killed the innocent!

War Knows No Respite In Gaza

The latest example of Middle Eastern madness began when some thugs murdered three innocent Jewish boys who lived on the West Bank. Their deaths on the West Bank is symbolic of what has happened between Israel and Palestinians. The West Bank was won from Jordan in the famous Six Day War in 1967. Israel leaders at that time wanted to return the West Bank in exchange for peace with their Arab leaders. If there is one thing that has rarely changed in the Middle East is the reality no Nelson Mandela or his equivalent can be found in the Middle East. The subsequent half century have witnessed an ever growing anger and failure to compromise over the issue of the West Bank. Three Jewish boys died. The latest count of Israel’s murderous bombing campaign in the Gaza Strip is that 156 Palestinians are dead and over 1,000 thousand wounded. Certainly, this has gone beyond an eye for an eye. Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has never been guilty of the crime of softness in the face of danger. He has shouted for revenge, and he has gotten revenge. Of course, the revenge began with three Israel Jews murdering an innocent Palestinian boy and it has escalated and escalated from that moment.

The problem with bombing revenge is that this is a TACTIC, this is not a plan nor a solution. I assume Israel can bomb and bomb and bomb. At some point in time, the bombing must cease. Then, what? PM Netanyahu has not presented any idea for a long term solution that would end the murders and bombings in the region. The UN has called for a cease fire. Netanyahu rejects it because more bombing must ensue. As I recall, Israel decades ago bombed, and Jewish Israelis(20% of Israelis are Muslim or Christian) were promised peace would result. Actually, since the bombings began Hamas and other groups have received thousands of more missiles. There is no evidence that bombings will bring peace.

Uman Omar,a Gaza woman summed up the problem of bombing when she saw her home destroyed by bombs. “Am I a terrorist? Do I make rockets and artillery in my home?”” Of course not, but to cease bombing such homes would get in the way of bombing.

Pope Asks For World Time Out

The World Cup involves nations throughout the world in competition to determine which is in possession of the best soccer(sorry for the American name) team in the world. There is no doubt if your nation’s team wins the cup, it will result in jobs, free health care, new housing for the poor, and wonderful schools for children. Now, how did I ever connect the World Cup to these events? Perhaps, I am still in a state of shock that King Lebron James has decided to hold his court in the Cleveland Cavalier court. Anyway, millions are focused on the World Cup so along comes that man of peace, Pope Francis with an outrageous idea. He is asking all nations of the world, for one minute, yes, just one damn minute to cease and desist from killing someone. The Pope is asking “for a moment of silence around the July 17th match to remember those stricken by war and unrest.” In other words, just for a fucking moment, could you guys just put down your weapons of destruction and avoid killing for A MOMENT!

I can just hear leaders of violence bellowing that if they don’t kill at this very moment, then those who murder will get ahead in the race to see who can murder more people! What would it do to our national prestige if we fell behind in the murder race? Oh, my God, imagine coming up second in the murder cup!

Most probably if they halt for a moment, our leaders of Death will undoubtedly make certain the next moment is twice as violent!!

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.