Tag Archives: Mubarak

Egyptian Police Brutalize Protest Groups

President Obama used Cairo as his setting for a speech to Muslims throughout the world in which he discussed peace and freedom. He apparently did not grasp the irony of making speeches concerning freedom in the capitol of a nation that lacks free elections or the right to protest against its semi-dictator, President Mubarak. After the death of 28 year-old Khaled Said, groups of concerned Egyptian citizens gathered to express their anger only to be met with violence from security forces who beat them up, handcuffed them and dragged them through the streets. Human rights groups have eye-witness accounts of Mr. Khaled being dragged into a building where his head was banged on tables and other hard surfaces until he was dead. Police reports claim he was a known drug addict who swallowed a joint and then choked on it until dead. An interesting story, but hardly believable.

Oh, Egyptian security forces, there is a video on the Internet which shows the body of Mr. Khaled, the bruised face and signs of beating on his body. Perhaps, authorities can explain how swallowing a joint results in a disfigured face??

Mubarak To Israel-Act Or Usher In Violence!

President Mubarak of Egypt made clear to Israel that the time for making decisions concerning peace is NOW, not tomorrow. At a meeting with Italian leader, Berlusconi, he urged the Israel government to reach out to Palestinian leaders and resolve the issue of a Palestinian state. If this is not accomplished, he warned: “then, we’ll see terrorism increase and spread throughout the world.” Obama’s representative, George Mitchell, has been running around the Middle East in a desperate effort to obtain some solution. Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has hedged and dodged, uttered a curious comment by saying his government “is prepared to do things that are not simpler, that are difficult.”

For over fifty years Israel has been complaining that no Arab nation is willing to discuss peace. They are now present. Israel, do something.

The State Of Emergency for Thirty Years?

Christiane Amanpour recently on CNN examined the situation in Egypt where former UN official Mohamed Elbaradei is attempting to foster a free election for the presidency against President Mubarak who essentially believes only someone with his name is entitled to lead the nation and the other one with his name is a son. Amanpour asked a few opponents of the president as well as supporters to discuss issues of human rights on her program. She admitted, “it is not uncommon for a country to declare emergency powers in times of national crisis, but what happens when the state of emergency lasts for almost 30 years.” The answer is simple, then you have the current emergency state of democracy in Egypt.

Elbaradei told the TV audience he wants a true democratic election in his country that includes a free and fair election, judicial supervision and some international inspectors around to ensure that votes are counted as they were voted. If the past offers any examples to the present we can assume when votes are finally counted in Egypt someone with the name of Mubarak will be the victor. Tune in about fifty years from now if you seek to hear another name.

Egyptians Dismayed By Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister’s recent speech announcing his nation would recognize the existence of a Palestinian state provided— and then came the list of “buts” has only reinforced views in the Muslim world there is slight likelihood of a resolution of the Palestinian-Israel dispute. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak stated bluntly that Netanyahu’s speech torpedod all chances for successful peace talks. He said the “Middle East will remain a scene of stability for as long as a peaceful and fair settlement for the Palestinian cause remains evasive.” Even Robert Serri, the UN’s special envoy for the Middle East was hesitant in making any positive remarks about the Israel offer.

There is growing feeling the Obama speech failed to energize Israel leaders to engage in meaningful discussions with Palestinian leaders. At some point, Israel must confront reality– a peace between Palestine and Israel requires compromise on the part of both sides. Instead of announcing what Israel demands, it might be wiser to begin negotiations without any preconditions. How would Israel react if President Abbas said there were preconditions that must be met.

Netanyahu Argues Peace Will Destroy His Government!

President Barack Obama while in Cairo for his speech conveyed to President Mubarak that he had been told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu believes if he agrees to the concept of a Palestinian state and return to the 1967 boundaries, his coalition government will fall apart and he will cease being prime minister of the nation. Mubarak told Obama that he was not impressed by the comment since Netanyahu has been saying things like that for years. He formed a right wing coalition, he appointed Avigdor Lieberman as his foreign minister even though he is a virulent anti-Muslim individual. Foreign Minister Lieberman apparently was angry that the Israel Embassy in Cairo invited speakers from the Peace Now movement to discuss their ideas with Egyptian journalists.

The reality is Netanyahu had alternatives. Former Foreign Minister Lipni urged a coalition based on the idea of peace with Palestinians and recognition of the idea of a Palestinian state, but she was turned down. Prime Minister Netanyahu has to place the interests of his nation before his own selfish need to have an important role in government. He must form a new coalition government based on ideas that will lead to peace.

“Peace Is Made By The Strong”

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak told the new Israel prime minister that “peace is made by the strong and is achieved by those who possess the courage to make difficult decisions.” Unfortunately, he was talking with a man whose head faces toward those who seek to perpetuate the present into the indefinite future and are unable to risk moving toward peace. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continued uttering his mantra about the only hope for peace is to maintain the status quo in which Israel controls all land and Palestinians accept being ruled by Israel. In exchange, however, he is willing to offer them economic development. One can only wonder if the founders of Israel would have accepted a bargain which allowed Jews to economically prosper in return for surrendering their right to a national state?

Netanyahu uttered his usual pablum about a struggle between moderates and extremists but somehow still doesn’t grasp his views fall within those of extremists, not moderates. The Israel leader will shortly be meeting with President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton who will make clear there must be a two state solution. Period, end of conversation.

It is ironic that a semi-dictator like Mubarak makes more common sense than the elected leader of a democratic state.

Two Faces Of Egypt– Anger Or Peace?

Egyptian President Mubarak reached out to newly appointed Israel prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and offered the hand of friendship to the right wing demagogue who has been deaf to pleas for peace. Murbarak offered to meet Netanyahu and engage in conversations that might lead to jump starting the peace process between Israel and Palestinians. However, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul-Gheit made clear his fury at comments made by Israel foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman who had once threatened to blow up the Aswan Dam and had told President Murbarak to “go to hell.” Gheit made clear, “whoever insults the dignity of Egypt must face the consequences and accept responsibility for his words.”

Perhaps, it is time for Netanyahu to sit down with his foreign minister and gave him a short course on how to conduct oneself if the goal is peace. Personally, we doubt Mr. Lieberman has the emotional or intellectual ability to change.

Egyptian Journalists Brutalized For Backing Protests

The Egyptian government intends to keep things quiet on its side of the border with Gaza and to avoid any opportunity for those opposing Israel’s attack to show support for Gazans. Eleven reporters who worked with the Hisham Mubarak Center for Human Rights said they were brutality attacked and their cameras smashed for daring to report protests against Egyptian policy toward the Gaza situation. According to the reporters, police assaulted them, shoving and hitting anyone in their way and destroying their cameras and any film they had taken of the protests against Israel’s attack on Gaza. According to Rasha Azab of the Al-Fagr newspaper, “police forces wanted everyone to stay home for days” in order to play down the reality of Egyptian opposition to their government’s policies.

According to Alsaied Al Harany, “we were taking pictures of police forces beating and assaulting protestors and once we were spotted by officers, we were immediately surrounded” and then rounded up to be sent to jail.

President Mubarak made a mistake by not taking an active role in opposing Israel’s actions, all he did was allow the Muslim Brotherhood to become the hero of the masses. It makes more sense to lead the mob rather than allow your opponent to assume that position.

Voiceless And Powerless Egypt

Bombs blast Gaza, Israel soldiers are massed on its borders and Hamas rockets are fired incessantly from its environ, but the Egyptian government is nowhere in sight to help restore peace and calm to the area. Thousands of Egyptians are furious at the Israel assault on Gaza and they may even be allowed to do some shouting or express anger because the Egyptian secret police has thousands in its employ who can shut down most protests. Most probably, a majority of Egyptians want their government to open the Rafah closing in Gaza, but nothing will be done because President Mubarak depends on handouts from Washington in order to keep the semblance of government and an economy operating. George Bush still does not grasp that refusing to allow the Egyptian government to take a stand on Gaza will eventually be disastrous for American foreign policy. What happens when Egyptian fury erupts?

It is not only Gaza which is at risk in Egypt. The health, education, and employment opportunities for the average citizen are tremendously in jeopardy because they don’t exist. In November, Al-Masry al-Youm reported many doctors abandoned their patients to attend Ramadan prayers. The civil society is in the process of collapse and a few more Gazas might well be the final blow that results in an angry explosion of anger.

Egypt Refuses To Open Gaza Crossings

President Hosni Mubarak told the Egyptian people in a televised address that the Rafah border crossing will remain closed until Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas regains control of Gaza. “We in Egypt are not going to contribute to perpetuating the rift (between Hamas and Fatah) by opening the Rafah crossing in the absence of the Palestinian Authority and EU observers in violation of the 2005 deal.” Egypt has been severely criticized across the Arab world for denying Palestinians the right to cross over into Egypt to escape Israel bombing. In Yemen, protestors stormed the Egyptian consulate the destroyed property and demanded action to protect the people of Gaza.

There are reports of protests by Egyptian students against Mubarak’s refusal to open the crossing and end diplomatic relations with Israel. Mubarak is a realist and knows allowing Hamas to gain further power will lead to an explosion of violence that might suck in Egypt and result in war with Israel. He most probably is disgusted with the actions of Hamas in refusing to halt rocket attacks in order to attain peace in the area. For him, Hamas is the region’s worst nightmare since it represents the forces which seek war and destruction.