Politicalmonkey2010

The Truth Shall Set You Free…It might piss you off first, but it will set you free.

Archive for the ‘World News’ Category

Twitter Battles

Posted by politicalmonkey2010 on September 24, 2011

I’ve taken a few days off from cyberspace to reflect…

They say the political battle for 2012 is going to be fought in cyberspace and twitter, we have already seen the impact of the age of information and instant communication.  We have watched the Arab Spring unfold before our very eyes starting with a vegetable vendor in Tunisia lighting himself on fire out of frustration.  The world sat transfixed for 18 days and watched the now world famous Tahrir Square Revolution, and the demise of a tyrant.  Bahrain a tiny country still struggles, they have not given up.  Libyan freedom fighters with the help of NATO are taking back their country.  In Syria, a vicious battle rages, we rely on You Tube Videos and tweets to tell the story since no journalist are allowed.  Finally we watched as the Palestinians took their hopes for dignity, freedom and justice to the UN and asked for statehood.  We also watched Pres. Obama threaten a veto, and did nothing short of wrapping himself in the Israeli flag and dance the Hora.   The US threatened countries who supported the Palestinian bid with cutting off funds, as well as the Palestinians themselves.

What happened to the Barack Obama who was in Cairo a few years ago encouraging the Arabs to embrace democracy, self determination?  He was playing to the the domestic market, he was playing to AIPAC, he was playing to the powerful Jewish lobby and the mis-information that the right has sent out – claiming that Barack Obama didn’t support Israel.  Which was far from the truth.   Winston Churchill said “A lie gets half way around the world before the truth has a chance to put its pants on.”  We’ve seen that with the birther issue.

In the midst of the Arab Spring, the Arab Awakening and the shifting sands of diplomacy and power in the middle east, Barack Obama has chosen to be on the wrong side of history.

One of the dangers in not blindly supporting Israel is one is automatically labelled as anti – Semitic.  The truth is the narrative that most of us have heard regarding the Palestinian issue has largely been framed by the Israelis – with a background always touching the holocaust. In no way do I deny the Holocaust, we as human beings cannot forget the horrors that occurred.   We cannot remain silent when we see ethnic cleansing going on…and that includes when the victim becomes the victimizer.  The situation in the occupied Palestinian territories is at a tipping point.   Nothing short of a slow holocaust has been occurring.   It is no longer a back story in a newspaper as it was 10 years ago, the new information age has made sure we see it all.   9/11 brought the middle east to the forefront.  There is no excuse for us as Americans not to be educated on the entire issues, from the beginning, and here’s a surprise, that is before  1948.

I am absolutely disgusted with Pres. Obama on this issue, when I voted for him I was voting for a change, not the same Bush policies towards the Palestinian issue that did nothing but cause the US to lose credibility in the middle east.  We were making significant headway in restarting our relationships in the middle east until  now…we have just lose the battle at the most crucial time.

Does that mean I don’t support Pres. Obama for re-election?  No.  I support him for re-election, because the alternative is unthinkable.

When I watch a Tea Party audience cheer at an uninsured man dying, in no way can I support that type of mentality.

When I watch a Tea Party audience boo a gay soldier serving his country, and not one Presidential candidate called them on it at the time…in no way can I support that type of mentality.

When I listen to people like Michele Bachmann hype lies on cervical cancer vacines, in no way can I support that type of mentality.

The list goes on..I will support Barack Obama for re-election,  he is the lesser of two evils.  The other evil is so vile and vicious, the founding father’s must surely be turning in their graves.

But what you will hear me tweeting and blogging about more is the Palestinian issue, and it is not anti Semitic to tell the truth.  It is a long complicated history, and there is enough blood on everybody’s hands.  Nobody is innocent,   as one of my favorite people in the twitterverse @ilikewoods in  says in her bio .. I believe the truth is out there, and I am going to spread it like mustard!   That is exactly what I intend to do.  I know I am going to make some people uncomfortable, I know I am going to lose some followers, and I’m ok  with that.  If the truth makes you uncomfortable, then don’t read my blog, don’t follow me on twitter.  If you want to understand, engage in productive dialogue, challenge the  false narrative that has been pounded into you with the truth and facts, then welcome.

Truth is such a rare thing, it is delightful to tell it.  ~Emily Dickinson

(http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2011/09/23/Palestinians-US-bullied-to-get-its-way/UPI-34431316763000/)

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Posted in aipac, anti semitic, dirty politics, holocaust, israel, obama, palestinian conflict, twitter, US Politics, World News | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Egyptian – Israeli – Turkish Dynamics or Shifting Sands

Posted by politicalmonkey2010 on September 10, 2011

Israeli Embassy in Cairo

One of the first things that strikes you when you look at the Israeli Embassy in Cairo is that it is in a residential building.  I remember the first time the embassy was pointed out to me I was somewhat shocked.  I thought about US Embassies, and the level of security surrounding them, and wondered what the people who lived in the building thought about an Embassy being located there, virtually being used as human shields.   I didn’t think much more about it until recently…..

Before I address last night’s rampage on the Israeli Embassy, we need to review history.  I offer a brief snapshot of a very complicated part of the world.  Each of the areas plays a part in the events of the Israeli Embassy in Cairo being  attacked.

Egypt – Israel Peace Agreement

Egypt was the first Arab nation to sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1979.  This bold move cost then President Anwar Sadat his life,  and Egypt was ostracized from the Arab community.  The peace treaty also cost Yitzhak Rabin his life.  Both  men were assassinated by extremist from within their own countries.   The agreement paved the way for the return of Sinai to Egypt.  For over 30 years peace has been maintained, Israelis have often commented that it was a “cold” peace, but peace is peace.

The Gaza Factor

Gaza Strip

The ever evolving borders of  Israel since its inception has led to the Gaza strip being in essence sealed off – between the Mediterranean Sea,  Israeli borders on two sides and an Egyptian border on the other.  The population is about 1.6 million people in an area approximately 140 miles, most of them descendants of refugees.  In March 1979 when the peace treaty was signed between Israel and Egypt, the treaty provided for the withdrawal by Israel of its armed forces and civilians from the Sinai Peninsula, which Israel had captured during the Six-Day War, to the 1906 international border. The Egyptians agreed to keep the Sinai Peninsula demilitarized. The Gaza Strip remained under Israeli military administration until 1994  when under the Oslo Accord a phased transfer of governmental authority to the Palestinians took place.   In February 2005, the Israeli government voted to implement a unilateral disengagement plan from the Gaza Strip. The plan began to be implemented on 15 August 2005, and was completed on 12 September 2005.   You may recall George W. Bush calling for free and fair elections in the middle east, and that is exactly what happened…in a twist of irony the US kicked in the door of democracy and Hamas came to power.  The US wanted democracy, but didn’t like who showed up.   As Israel continued to choke the people of the Gaza Strip by not allowing supplies in, the now  famous Gaza tunnels were a natural outcome.  Everything from food, medicine, livestock and yes, arms runs through the tunnels.

The Gaza War or Operation Cast led was a three-week bombing and invasion of the Gaza Strip by Israel, and hundreds of rocket attacks on south of Israel which started on December 27, 2008 with a surprise air strike from Israel.  Israel’s stated aim was to stop rocket fire into Israel and arms import into the Gaza strip.  Israeli forces attacked police stations and other Hamas government buildings in the opening assault, striking in the densely populated cities of Gaza, Khan Younis and Rafah.   An Israeli ground invasion began on January 3.  Infantry commanders were given an unprecedented level of access to coordinate with air, naval, artillery, intelligence, and combat engineering units during this second phase.  Between 1,166 and 1,417 Palestinian and 13 Israeli deaths, 4 from friendly fire.  In September 2009, a UN special mission, headed by the South African Justice Richard Goldstone, produced a controversial report accusing both Palestinian militants and Israeli Defense Forces of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity, and recommended bringing those responsible to justice.  In January 2010, the Israeli government released a response criticizing the Goldstone Report and disputing its findings.   In 2011, Goldstone wrote that he no longer believed that Israel intentionally targeted civilians in Gaza. The other authors of the report, Hina Jilani, Christine Chinkin and Desmond Travers, rejected Goldstone’s reassessment.

As a side note, with all the promises including, from the US to rebuild Gaza, it hasn’t been done.  Hard to rebuild when Israel won’t allow cement in.

Gaza Humanitarian Aid, Flotillas and Turkey

There have been many humanitarian groups inside Gaza the past 10 years, one of which is the International Solidarity Movement.  A young American woman named Rachel Corrie had taken a year off to travel to Gaza and join the ISM.   She was killed in the Gaza Strip by an Israel Defence Forces (IDF) bulldozer when she was standing or kneeling in front of a local Palestinian’s home,  acting as a human shield, attempting to prevent the IDF from demolishing the home. The IDF stated that the death was due to the restricted angle of view of the IDF Caterpillar bulldozer driver, while ISM eyewitnesses said “there was nothing to obscure the driver’s view.”  Her family has had a wrongful death suit in the Israeli courts, where they have accused the IDF of withholding information.  (Read more about Rachel Corrie and her family at http://rachelcorriefoundation.org )

Part of the humanitarian efforts have also been Freedom Flotillas to Gaza.  Ships including one named after Rachel Corrie have attempted to land in Gaza and offer aid.   The the Mavi Marmara aid ship was bound for Gaza on May 31, 2010, was intercepted in international waters by IDF, 9 people were killed, including a Turkish  American Furkan Dogan, who was shot with four bullets in his head and one in his chest at close range.   The UN has released its findings, which in short say both parties were wrong, Israel had used excessive force, and they had a right to stop the flotilla.  The report of course is being challenged. ( http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/09/2011978161147706.html)  Turkey has dismissed the Palmer-Uribe Report because its conclusion about the siege contradicts previous statements and reports by the United Nations, including the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council and statements by the U.N. secretary-general. Furthermore, the Palmer Report, contrary to some claims, is not a legally binding document to be voted on at the U.N. nor is the panel a court that can issue a juridical view on Gaza. But by giving a carte blanche to Israel’s piracy in international waters, it has disregarded international law and undermined the fundamental principles of justice and freedom for all including the Palestinians.   Turkey has asked for an apology from Israel.  Israel has refused.

The Netenyahu government’s refusal to issue a formal apology to Turkey has led to a swift reaction from Turkey. Prime Minister Erdoğan ordered the implementation of five measures against Israel including the lowering of diplomatic relations and freezing of military agreements. “No country is above the law,” said Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, referring to  the Israeli exceptionalism in regional and global politics.  PM Erdoğan described Israel as acting “like a spoiled child in the face of all U.N. decisions.” The prime minister also said Turkey has no quarrel with the people of Israel and Jews around the world. Refusing to apologize and then claiming to want to repair relations with Turkey, as Mr. Netenyahu said recently, is not only an oxymoron but also self-delusional. As PM Erdoğan has declared on various occasions, Turkish-Israeli relations will not be normalized until and unless Turkey’s three conditions are met. Turkey keeps the door of diplomacy open, but it is up to Israel to pass through it or close it.  Turkey has also announced it will beef up its naval presence in the Mediterranean  – Egypt and Turkey will hold a joint naval maneuver in Turkish territorial waters by the end of the year. Erdogan is scheduled to go to Egypt on Monday.. Erdogan, meanwhile, continued to up the ante, saying in an Al Jazeera interview that Turkish warships were directed to protect Turkish ships bringing humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, and that from now on “we will not allow our ships to be exposed to Israeli attacks, as was the case with the Mavi Marmara, because if this happens Israel will meet the appropriate response.”

Now let’s go back  to the Rafah Border

On Aug. 18, in violation of the peace treaty, Israeli forces crossed into Egypt in pursuit of  “militants” – ultimately this claimed the lives of five Egyptians.   This is not the first time Egyptians have been killed by Israel.  It happened quite often, and was always given minimal press coverage under Mubarak – as if Egyptian blood was cheap and plentiful.  Things have changed.  Egypt wanted an apology, seems like a reasonable request.   The response?  Israeli Def. Min. Ehud Barak  said in an interview with Israel’s Channel 2 News, Israel’s most widely-watched TV news network … “I didn’t apologize to Egypt, I expressed regret.”    Barak’s exactly statement was:  “Israel deeply regrets the deaths of the Egyptian officers.”  This was not enough for Cairo.  Egypt threatened to pull its ambassador.   Barak noted the importance of the Israel-Egypt peace agreement and expressed appreciation for the “discretion and responsibility” shown by Egypt.  “The peace agreement between Israel and Egypt is of great importance and strategic value to stability in the Middle East,” Barak said.  Barak’s statement came after he held a special situation assessment with IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and other security and intelligence officials.   Barak ordered the IDF to investigate the incident after which a joint investigation will be conducted with the Egyptian military to determine the circumstances of the incident.

The idea that Egyptian blood is cheap, is a seminal point.  Under Mubarak no protest would have ever been tolerated at the Israeli Embassy…but on Aug. 23 there came a new folk hero, dubbed the Egyptian Spiderman or Flagman.  He climbed  13 stories… with nothing  to assist him to remove the Israeli flag and replace with the Egyptian flag.  “This is for Palestine. This is for Egypt. This is for every Arab. This is for every free person,” one Twitter user posted.

About Last Night…

Now let’s look at what happened last night.  Another Friday, another protest.  This time under the heading of  “Correcting the Path of the Revolution” .. frustrated at the slow pace of change, and for some let’s be honest protesting has become a career and lifestyle.   Some have found fame in Tahrir and simply cannot move forward.  The military has been in my opinion,  been wrongly accused by protesters.  It was the military who saved this revolution.  All you have to do is look at Libya and Syria to see what happens when the military doesn’t side with the people from the beginning.  The military deserves much more respect than it is getting from the protestors.  They have done exactly what they said they would do.

The revolutionaries deserve so much credit for having the guts to stand up to tyranny, but they do not have the ability to speak with one voice, the demands change day to day, and there is no readily identifiable leader.  This is a problem.  The continual sit ins and tent city erected in Tahrir was a problem, it would be like putting a tent city on Wall Street.  It would not be tolerated in the US.  It was an obstruction to business and movement forward.  Finally, the military said enough and cleared out Tahrir.  The military never denied the protesters the right to protest peacefully, let’s be very clear about that.  The military not wanting to be accused of using excessive force on civilians pulled out of Tahrir Square completely for Friday’s protest.

Enter the mob mentality….as the day progressed marches began to the Interior Ministry and to the Israeli Embassy.  Things quickly got out of control as the mob mentality ensued.  The beautiful thing about the revolution is it was about Egypt, about Egyptians.  There was no hating America, no hating Israel.  Last night was about wanting the world to know that Egyptian blood is not cheap…and then something went terribly wrong.  The embassy had recently been barricaded by huge cement slabs after the “Flagman” incident.  The barricade was destroyed.  The embassy was entered.

JERUSALEM, Sept 10 (Reuters) – Israel appealed for American help in guarding its Cairo embassy after Egyptian protestors stormed the building housing it on Friday.

A statement from Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak said that in conversations with U.S. counterpart Leon Panetta and Obama administration envoy Dennis Ross he had “asked them to protect the embassy from the demonstrators”. (Reporting by Dan Williams; Editing by Jon Boyle)

This absolutely inflamed me.  Why is it the United State’s responsibility to protect an Israeli embassy in Cairo?

In essence, there are two  diplomatic ties under severe strain with Israel and both critical to Israel.  Why?  Because Israel has refused to apologize.  That spoiled child, digging their heels in and refusing to acknowledge they were wrong.  This is a self inflicted wound on Israel.  From the beginning of the Arab Spring they have refused to acknowledge the neighborhood is changing.  Let me be very clear, this is not about being anti Semitic, or not believing Israel has a right to exist in peace, this is about the facts.  This is about Israel growing up, moving from the victim archetype to the empowered survivor archetype.  The world is changing, there is a new paradigm in place.  You can either embrace change and be part of a positive outcome, or you can stand against it and watch your own downfall.

Israeli ambassador Yitzhak Levanon, staff and family members arrived home on Saturday but one diplomat stayed in Egypt to maintain the embassy, an Israeli official said.  Four officers and 42 soldiers were injured in the Israeli Embassy clashes between protesters and security forces on Friday evening. There are three dead and 1049 injured, the Ministry of Health announced on Saturday.  Egypt is on high alert.  Rumors are flying the Egypt’s Prime Minister may resign.

There is no such thing as democracy in a box.  Egypt will get there, there are going to be some serious bumps in the road.  We saw one last night.

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Iranian Warships Pass Thru Suez Canal – Israel Angered

Posted by politicalmonkey2010 on February 22, 2011

This will be a relatively short posting.  Iranian warships have passed through the Suez Canal, and Israel is angry.  And?  While Israel is concerned about the  new Egyptian government honoring its peace treaty with Israel it evidently doesn’t extend that same concern to honoring any other international treaties?  The bottom line is: Under international treaty, it may be used “in time of war as in time of peace, by every vessel of commerce or of war, without distinction of flag.  Period. End of Story. Deal with it.

 

 

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Why Suspending the Egyptian Constitution and Dissolving Parliament Are Good Things

Posted by politicalmonkey2010 on February 15, 2011

Tareq al Bishry

Contrary to what the right wing may be chattering about, suspending the Egyptian constitution and dissolving parliament are very good things.

The way the Constitution is written, it is very carefully crafted to ensure that in reality in a Presidential election, the only person running, able to run was either Mubarak or his heir apparent Gamal.  If there is one thing Mubarak did and did well, was crush any opposition parties, Muslim or not.    If you were not part of the National Democratic Party (NPD) you were not part of the political process.    In a recent statement the Military Supreme Council made  decisions aimed to safeguard the transparency of presidential and parliamentary elections that should be held within the next six months.  An The eight-member committee held its first meeting on Tuesday to discuss possible ways of amending six articles of the national charter.  The fact that this panel is headed by Judge Tarek al-Beshry, a moderate Islamist writer, seems to be grist for the right wing food mill.  Let’s be very clear, 90% of the Egyptians are Muslims, it is a part of their life, just like the vast majority of Americans are Christians.  The fear card that is being played is a non-starter.

The panel  is expected to draft the constitutional amendments by 25 February, paving the way for more democratic reforms long demanded by the opposition.  The current Egyptian constitution was written during Anwar Sadat’s presidency, and has been amended three times since then–in 1980, in 2005 and in 2007. This constitution served to consolidate power in the hands of the presidency at the expense of all other branches of government.  The panel is in place to  consider the abolition of Article 179, along with amending articles 88, 77, 76, 189, 93, and all other relevant articles which may need to be removed to ensure the transparency of the electoral process.

Article 77 of the Constitution does not set a limit for presidency periods, hence Mubarak  managed 30 years..

Article 88 oversight over the elections

Article 93 meanwhile grants parliament sole authority for determining the legitimacy of MPs’ memberships.

Article 189 gives the president and the People’s Assembly an exclusive right to amend the constitution.

Article 179 on counter-terrorism restricts people’s freedoms and rights.

It is a good start.  There is much work to still be done, but given the rapid chain of events, it is remarkable that the process is going forward.

Dissolving Parliament

Given that the last parliamentary elections and blatant electoral fraud, it really is the only solution.  Another caveat with dissolving parliament is – it strips the members of the automatic immunity they received from any criminal investigations and prosecutions.  Yes, you read that right.  If you were a member of parliament, you could not be prosecuted for a crime.  We have already seen bank accounts and assets of some members and ministers frozen at home and abroad.  While there will be many interesting stories to watch unfold…I would keep an eye out for Ahmed Ezz, the steel tycoon who  had a virtual monopoly on steel in Egypt.   Former interior minister Habib al-Adli, information minister Anas el-Fekky and tourism minister Zaher Garana have been forbidden to leave the country…the list goes on, it is extensive.

I have a feeling that when the fat cats start to fall, they are not going to go down alone, and will take everybody down with them, including the Gamal and Alaa Mubarak.  Swiss authorities have already taken steps to freeze accounts and potential accounts of the Mubarak family.   The Egyptian government has asked the United States to freeze the financial assets of some officials from that country, while details are murky on exactly whose assets are being frozen, there is a pattern developing here…..

Posted in egypt, World News | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Reflections on the Egyptian Revolution – The Military and Hero Status

Posted by politicalmonkey2010 on February 14, 2011

Egyptian man embraces the militaryI remember when I first saw the military entering into the streets of Cairo, I had foreboding feeling deep in the pit of my stomach.  The rumble of the tanks on the road made me fear the worst.  Certainly a sign of a regime in its final death throes,  a desperation move.  The fighter jets making my windows shake,  flying over  Tahrir Square so low the crowd could see the pilot.  Military helicopters circling the protesters in the Square.  The police had virtually disappeared, what was to come?  Was he going to unleash the military on the people and violently squash the voice of the people?  Yet, while the tanks were rolling into the city, the crowd was electrified shouting “the people and the army are one.”  I admit at the time I had my doubts.  The talk on the streets from the beginning said the fate of the country will be in the hands of the military, that seemed to be a foregone conclusion.

I was trying to get my head around what I was witnessing, some where in my life conditioning military tanks and protesters made for a violent outcome, not a love-fest.  As I engaged in conversations with friends and neighbors trying desperately to understand WHY they were finding comfort in seeing the military on the streets they gave me quite an education.  It is one thing to read history,  I knew the history of Egypt on an intellectual level,  but to talk to people who had actually lived through it, their experiences, the raw emotion puts it completely different slant on it.  Egyptians are by nature passionate people, the love for their country runs deep, to the core of their being.  As an older neighbor told me his views on modern Egyptian history, and his eyes well with tears as he recounted it, I began to understand.   He had lived through  he 1952 Revolution, where the British occupation and King Farouk were ousted in a coup d’état.   The 1967 War was viewed as a “humiliating” event for Egypt.  Nasser the President at the time, offered his resignation, saying he had failed the people.  The people took to the streets and demanded he stay.  During the years that followed the people supported the build up of the military, and the military restored Egypt’s sense of pride and dignity when in 1973  Sinai was liberated.  The people supported the military in failure and in now in victory, that bond is viewed as unbreakable. The overwhelming sense of  the military is from and of the people is firmly embedded in psyche of the Egyptian people.

The military has played a significant role in the history of modern Egypt:   all of Egypt’s modern day leaders have come up through the ranks of the military. Virtually every family in Egypt has a son serving in the military from one to three years depending on education and skill level, not to mention those who choose the military as a career. Everybody I spoke to had absolutely no doubt that the military would not turn on the people of Egypt.  I still had my doubts, and watched suspiciously as they took up positions.

I was on edge as I watched the military NOT moving in on the protesters.  I watched more tanks roll in, more troops trucks being deployed through out the city.  When they rolled into my neighborhood I could not shake the uneasy feeling that came over me.  I happened to be downstairs bringing my neighborhood watch team tea and cookies when a young army Captain came into the neighborhood.  He was smiling, his hand extended, the neighborhood erupted in cheers of welcome and praise.   He was greeted like a son,  he spent a few minutes, thanked the neighborhood watch for doing such a good job and offered some instructions.  When he left you could feel the bond, the trust.  A completely different atmosphere than the police received  from the citizens.  That is when it  hit me, the military is literally the only credible, trust worthy institution in the country.  The chants of the crowd began to make sense, and I noticed there was also an almost intuitive line that the crowd would not cross with the military.  While some  protesters near the end marched to one of the Presidential Palaces, they did not stay, it was almost as if they knew how far they could push as well.  Mubarak was still in theory the Commander in Chief and those soldiers around his palace were hand picked.

I stared in awe at people sleeping under the enormous tanks in Tahrir Square to prevent them from moving…surreal was the word that kept going through my mind.  I watched in amazement as people wrote messages on the tanks – No to Mubarak, No to Sulieman,  Down with Mubarak…

As the analysis continued on cable networks, some saying the military was divided, the old guard was not ready for change, and the up and coming young officers supported  the change, it made it increasingly difficult for me to determine who the military was going to support.  Ultimately it came down to a moral decision, this “revolution” was not a foreign country invading, it was the Egyptian people speaking.  The military was placed in some what of an awkward position, the Commander in Chief had a glorious military record, a hero as a matter of fact, and they wanted him to have a dignified exit.  Actually I believe the vast majority of the Egyptian people also wanted this, but that was not to be.  I remember when a highly placed General went into the crowd and told the people “Inshallah, you will have everything you asked”, this was before Mubarak’s last speech.  I truly believe that a deal had been brokered to give Mubarak a way out, and at the last minute the man who once said “I have a PHD in being obstinate” changed the speech.  Everybody was caught off guard, from the US to the Egyptian people and the military.  The military risked its credibility with the people when that General went into the protesters, not to mention what ever action occurred behind the scenes with various governments.

About 4 a.m. Friday morning I received along with the rest of the nation a message from the Military, informing us of an important announcement soon to come.  As Friday dawned, and the streets were so angry at a defiant Mubarak, memorial services were scheduled after Friday prayers, and a call had went out for more protesters to join.  Coptic Christians made sure that the world knew this was not an Islamic movement, they showed their support and offered Mass in the Square.  Two different religions, speaking with one very clear voice, we are Egyptian.  Make no mistake, the military is made up of both Christians and Muslims, but first and foremost, they are Egyptian.

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When it was announced that the Mubarak had resigned and the military was in charge, there was literally a collective sigh of relief, and at the same time a deafening cheer rocked the country.  The military is a safe institution for Egyptians, they are respected, and to date they have done exactly what they said they would do.  While to the Western mind the military conjures up all kinds of fears, I can assure you this is not the case in Egypt.  The military members are the sons of Egypt.

In a series of statements below the Supreme Council of the Armed forces in short, has suspended the constitution, which given the way it was written there was no ability to have free and fair elections, so it was absolutely useless in going forward.  It has reaffirmed all of the international treaties, which should put Israel at ease, it has called for people to go back to work – this is critical that this country resume business.  Throughout the process they have continually reaffirmed a transition to democracy, free and fair elections.  There is no “democracy in a box”, we as Americans forget that when our country started we were not in agreement, a constitution had to be hammered out.   The chatter I hear about there is no constitution, nothing has changed it is unfounded.  Things are not nice and tidy in a revolution, but unlike Iraq and Afghanistan, this is change is coming from within, give Egypt a chance and you will be amazed at what she can do.

 

The 6th Communiqué of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces ( Feb 14,2011)

STATEMENT OF THE SUPREME COUNCIL OF THE ARMED FORCES

In light of the current conditions in the country, and the Armed Forces responsibility for the protection of the people who have demanded their legitimate rights, and now that, with God’s help, conditions are now appropriate to facilitate the democratic process through the issuing of a constitutional proclamation that will guarantee constitutional and legislative amendments that will realize the legitimate demands of the people for a true democratic environment. Nonetheless, it has been noticed that in certain sectors of the state demonstrations have been organized even though normality has been restored, and under conditions where it is expected that all groups and sectors of society would work together to support this positive progress and the efforts of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to realized the ambitions and aspirations of the people. Honorable Egyptians regard these demonstrations taking place at a critical moment as leading to negative consequences, including:First: Harming national security by disturbing all the institutions and the agencies of the state. 

Second: Negatively impacting the ability to supply the public with necessary goods.

Third: Disturbing and disrupting production and operations in the state.

Fourth: Delaying the public’s day-to-day life.

Fifth: Negatively impacting the national economy.

Sixth: Creating an atmosphere that gives the opportunity to irresponsible persons to commit illegitimate acts, a situation that requires that all citizens to work together to stabilize the country and prevent further impacts on the national economy and its development.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces with a view to achieving the security and stability of the nation and the people, and to guarantee the restoration of operations in all institutions of the state, calls on citizens and professional and labor unions to fulfill their respective duties, while recognizing the difficulties which they have long faced. We hope that everyone will work to create the necessary conditions to deal with this critical phase until authority is transferred to a legitimate and popularly elected civilian authority that will be responsible for democratic and developmental progress.

God is the source of success and support.

The 5th Communiqué of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (on Saturday, Feb 13/2011)

(still looking for a good translation)

The Supreme Council of Armed Forces announced on Sunday the suspension of constitution and the dissolution of the People’s Assembly and Shura Council.

In a communiqué number five broadcast live on state television, the council decided to form a committee to draft a new constitution for the country.

It said it would run the affairs of the country on a temporary basis for six months or until the end of parliamentary and presidential elections, promising a referendum on political reforms.

The communiqué said the military would form a panel to rewrite the constitution, which effectively locked down power for the National Democratic Party (NDP), and submit it to a referendum.

The statement also confirmed that the chairman of the supreme military council, Minister of Defence and Military Production Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, is now the de facto head of state and represents Egypt on the international stage.

According to the statement, the Supreme Council for Armed Forces promised to abide by all regional and international treaties Egypt had signed.

The 4th Communiqué of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (on Saturday, Feb 12/2011)

In the name of God the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful,

The fourth statement of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces,

In light of the conditions that exist in the country, and the difficult times that have placed Egypt at a juncture that demands of us all to defend the stability of the nation, and the achievements of the people; And due to the fact that the current phase requires a reordering of the priorities of the state with the objective of meeting the legitimate demands of the people, and of delivering the nation from the current situation; And as the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces is aware that the rule of law is not only necessary for the freedom of the individual, but rather it is the only legitimate basis for authority; And with determination, clarity, and faith in all our national, regional and international responsibilities, and with recognition of God’s rights and in the name of God, and with His support, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces announces the following:

First: The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces is committed to all matters included in its previous statements.

Second: The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces is confident in the ability of Egypt’s people and institutions to get through this critical situation, and to that end, all agencies of the state, and the private sector must play their noble and patriotic role to drive the economy forward, and the people must fulfill their responsibility towards that goal.

Third: The current government, and governors shall continue as a caretaker administration until a new government is formed.

Fourth: The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces aspires to guaranteeing a peaceful transition of authority within a free and democratic system that allows for the assumption of authority by a civilian and elected authority to govern the country and the build of a democratic and free state.

Fifth: The Arab Republic of Egypt is committed to all regional and international obligations and treaties.

Sixth: The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces calls on the great people to cooperate with their siblings and children in the civilian police forces, for affection and cooperation must exist between everyone, and it calls on the civilian police forces must be committed to their slogan “the police serve the people”.

God is the source of success.

*******************************

The 3rd Communiqué of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (on Friday, Feb 11/’11 – about 10pm Cairo time)

At this historical juncture in the history of Egypt , and in light of the decision by President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak to relinquish the office of the presidency of the Republic and the tasking of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces with the administration of the affairs of the nation , and with awareness of the seriousness of the demands of our great people everywhere for fundamental change , the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces is examining this matter, asking the aid of God Almighty, to fulfill the aspirations of our great people. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces will issue further statements that will announce forthcoming steps, measures and arrangements, and it affirms at the same time that it is not a replacement for the legitimacy that is acceptable to the people.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces extends its highest salutations and appreciation to President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak for his services over the course of his career in war and peace, and for the patriotic decision he took in choosing the supreme interests of the nation. In this respect, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces extends its highest salutations and admiration to the souls of the martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the freedom and security of their country, and to every one of our great people. May God grant us success.

May God’s Peace, mercy and blessing be upon you.

The 2nd Communiqué of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (on Thursday, Feb 11/’11 – about 4pm)

Due to the consecutive developments in current incidents and which define the destiny of the country, and in context of continuous follow up for internal and external incidents, and the decision to delegate responsibilities to the vice president of the country, and in belief in our national responsibility to preserve the stability and safety of the nation.

The Supreme Council of the Egyptian Armed Forces decided to secure the implementation of the following procedures:

First: End the state of emergency as soon as the current circumstances are over.

Decide on the appeals against elections and consequent measures.

Conduct needed legislative amendments and conduct free and fair presidential elections in light of the approved constitutional amendments.

Second: The Armed forces are committed to sponsor the legitimate demands of the people and achieving them by following on the implementation of these procedures in the defined time frames with all accuracy and seriousness and until the peaceful transfer of authority is completed towards a free democratic community that the people aspire to.

Third: The Armed Forces emphasize on no security pursuit of the honest people who refused the corruption and demanded reforms, and warns against touching the security and safety of the nation and the people. And emphasizes the need for regular work in state facilities and regaining of life to normal to preserve the interests and possessions of our great people.

God protect the nation and the people.

The 1st Communiqué of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces(On Thursday, Feb 10/’11 – about 5pm)

Statement of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces
Based on the responsibility of the Armed Forces, and its commitment to protect the people, and to oversee their interests and security, and with a view to the safety of the nation and the citizenry, and of the achievements and properties of the great people of Egypt, and in affirmation and support for the legitimate demands of the people, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces convened Thursday, 10 February 2011, to consider developments to date, and decided to remain in continuous session to consider what procedures and measures that may be taken to protect the nation, and the achievements and aspirations of the great people of Egypt.

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Of Qu’ran Burnings, Mosque Protests, Dachau and Auschwitz

Posted by politicalmonkey2010 on September 24, 2010

Muslims praying at Dachau August 2010

Amid all the the intolerance the US has been embroiled in the past few months, there was a beacon of hope out there…faintly shining, but shining none the less.  A group of eight Muslim American Imams outside the Dachau concentration camp in Germany prostrated themselves in prayer.  The clerics were part of President Obama’s envoy to combat anti-Semitism on a trip to Auschwitz and Dachau concentration camps.  Accompanying the clerics were  current and former US officials from the Reagan,  Bush and Obama administrations who joined Hannah Rosenthal.  Rosenthal  lost much of her family in  Auschwitz.

Max Mannheimer, 90, who survived Auschwitz and Dachau, shows the delegates the number imprinted on his arm as he recounts his war- time experience.

The consensus of the group was the trip was transformational.  They issued the following statement:

We met survivors who, several decades later, vividly and bravely shared their horrific experience of discrimination, suffering, and loss. We saw the many chilling places where men, women and children were systematically and brutally murdered by the millions because of their faith, race, disability and political affiliation.

In Islam, the destruction of one innocent life is like the destruction of the whole of humanity and the saving of one life is like the saving of the whole of humanity (Holy Qu’ran, al-Ma’idah “the Tablespread” 5:32). While entire communities perished by the many millions, we know that righteous Muslims from Bosnia, Turkey, Tunisia, Morocco, and Albania saved many Jews from brutal repression, torture and senseless destruction.

We bear witness to the absolute horror and tragedy of the Holocaust where over twelve million human souls perished, including six million Jews.

We condemn any attempts to deny this historical reality and declare such denials or any justification of this tragedy as against the Islamic code of ethics.

We condemn anti-Semitism in any form. No creation of Almighty God should face discrimination based on his or her faith or religious conviction.

We stand united as Muslim American faith and community leaders and recognize that we have a shared responsibility to continue to work together with leaders of all faiths and their communities to fight the dehumanization of all peoples based on their religion, race or ethnicity. With the disturbing rise of anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and other forms of hatred, rhetoric and bigotry, now more than ever, people of faith must stand together for truth.

Together, we pledge to make real the commitment of “never again” and to stand united against injustice wherever it may be found in the world today.

Imam Muzammil Siddiqi

Islamic Society of Orange County, Calif.

Chairman, Fiqh Council of North America

Imam Muhamad Maged

All-Dulles-Area Muslim Society

Dulles, Va.

Vice President, Islamic Society of North America

Dr. Sayyid M. Syeed

National Director

Office of Interfaith & Community Services

Islamic Society of North America

Washington, D.C.

Imam Suhaib Webb

Muslim Community Association

Santa Clara, Calif.

Ms. Laila Muhammad

Daughter of the late Imam W.D. Muhammad

Chicago, Ill.

Shaikh Yasir Qadhi

Dean of Academics

Al Maghrib Institute

New Haven, Conn.

Imam Syed Naqvi

Director

Islamic Information Center

Washington, D.C.

Imam Abdullah T. Antepli

Muslim Chaplain

Duke University

Durham, N.C.

Ironically, no good deed goes unpunished, Anti-Defamation League’s Abe Foxman lobbied U.S. officials against participating.

Rest assured I didn’t find this story on Fox news, but rather CNN, which caused me to poke around a bit more.

http://www.forward.com/articles/130013/

http://www.newsobserver.com/2010/08/20/636898/muslim-group-prays-at-dachau.html

http://www.politico.com/blogs/laurarozen/0810/US_imams_officials_describe_transformative_visit_to_Holocaust_sites.html

http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2010/09/23/imams-brief-congressman-on-trip-to-concentration-camps-to-battle-anti-semitism/?hpt=Mid

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How to Set the Mood for Success – Mid East Peace Talks

Posted by politicalmonkey2010 on August 31, 2010

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef - age does not always promise wisdom

With age we expect a certain amount of wisdom to come, sometimes this is painfully just not the case.  Take for example, an 89 year old Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, founder and spiritual leader of the Shas political party, Rabbi Yosef is one of the most powerful religious figures in Israel.  On Saturday he said  “May our enemies and those who hate us be gone from this world. May the Holy One Blessed Be He strike them down with plague, them and those Palestinians, evil ones and enemies of Israel….Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] and all these evil people should perish from this world…”God should strike them with a plague, them and these Palestinians.”  Can we say that this was just a one time slip of the tongue so to speak?  Maybe, if it hadn’t been for the fact that in April 2001, he called  for the annihilation of Arabs…”It is forbidden to be merciful to them. You must send missiles to them and annihilate them. They are evil and damnable,” he said.

Probably the most alarming thing here is this man is a crazy spiritual leader.  Once you put God into any equation it is highly flammable.  Of course if anybody were to call for the destruction of Israel -i.e that crazy bastard Mahmoud Ahmadinejad all hell breaks loose.  But here’s the difference – Rabbi Yosef is a leader, a recognized spiritual lead of the very powerful Shas political party in Israel.   Israel is obviously directly involved, Iran is not.   Is he the voice of a few extremists or does he represent the majority?  One might even say that in essence this call for a genocide of the Palestinian people is akin to Hitler justifying  the holocaust of the Jews by using Godly and Biblical reasoning.  One of his most revealing statements makes this quite clear:

“Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.”  Mein Kamp

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Israel Eases Blockade – Exactly What Does That Mean?

Posted by politicalmonkey2010 on June 21, 2010

Israel Easing Blockade?

Bowing to international pressure Israel has decided to “ease” the blockade.   “From now on, there is a green light of approval for all goods to enter Gaza except for military items and materials that can strengthen Hamas’ military machine,” Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev said. Great, but  what does that mean exactly?  Does that include cement to rebuild homes?  Or would that be something that would be deemed military use?  Of course the list is not published yet.

What about the goods flowing the other direction?  What about allowing the Palestinians some type of economic empowerment?  I often think of George W. Bush and his statement about Japan being one of our strongest allies.  Yes, after dropping two nuclear bombs on them, that is quite a feat – and no I am not being flippant.  Once people are economically empowered alot can happen.  The US currently has an unemployment rate hovering around +-10%, and people are angry.   Take that 10% and multiply it by 4, over 40% of the people in Gaza are unemployed.  They do not have the option of moving to look for work, they are trapped.  If you are unemployed in Texas, you can always pick up and go look for work in California.  If you are unemployed in Gaza, you can’t pick up.  When you have 80% of the population relying completely on charity for daily living, you have removed dignity, you have removed hope.

Give people economic empowerment, and dignity you give them hope.  I am a skeptic, I admit, nothing ever seems to be in the “light of day” with Israel, there is always an alternate agenda in play, but one can always hope.

“I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us, that the less we use our power the greater it will be. ”
Thomas Jefferson

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US Warships Pass Thru Suez Canal – Political Muscle Flexing?

Posted by politicalmonkey2010 on June 20, 2010

US Warships Thru the Suez Canal

Rumors…traffic in the Suez Canal was halted for several hours in order to allow US Navy vessels, which included an aircraft carrier – some say the USS Harry Truman, which carries infantry troops, armored vehicles and ammunition, to pass from the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea.

It was further reported that eyewitnesses detected an Israeli warship among the vessels. No confirmation has been received from Egyptian authorities.

This report has been circulating for the past 24 hours, the origin is attributed to an online newspaper Al Quds al-Arabi, published in Arabic in the UK.  The facts around all of this are rather murky at this point.

While this in itself may not be an unusual event, given the current political and regional tensions brought to the world by Israel and their blockade on the Palestinian people, it may just add more heat to a fire that has been steadily simmering.

Other reports earlier in the week indicated that Egypt allowed an Iranian flotilla full of humanitarian aid thru the Suez Canal – even tho Israel had asked Egypt not to let the Iranian ship thru.  Further rumors say at least one if not two aid ships from Lebanon were headed to Gaza.  Egypt said it could not legally prevent the flotilla from using the canal due to international treaty laws.

Other reports have indicated that on the flotilla from Iran there are Republican Guards – keep in mind those reports are coming from Israel, which would give a perfect excuse for using any force “necessary” to stop the flotilla.

If in fact, the above rumors are true, then this is lighting the fuse on a powder keg just waiting to explode.  Israel may have succeeded in finally uniting the Arab countries – at the expense of the USA.  It begs the question, will the US “engage” the Iranian flotilla?   What role does the US Navy have in this event?  Are we prepared to light the fuse for the sake of our “special friendship”?  Are we just flexing political muscle?

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World Cup Fever – Jon Tae Se

Posted by politicalmonkey2010 on June 18, 2010

I don’t know about the rest of you – but when I think football, I think guys in helmets and pads banging into each other all for the sake of a pigskin, and I sorta like it…but the rest of the world thinks soccer is football.    I am slowly becoming a fan, and I really have no choice since the world is consumed by it, and there are no greater soccer/football fans than in Egypt…

I was watching a match the other night between North Korean and Brazil, and I literally gasped in awe when I watched North Korean Jong Tae Se, crying during the North Korean National Anthem.  At first I thought I am missing something..then it occurred to me I wasn’t missing anything at all, here was somebody who was brought to tears during his national anthem, we all feel those stirring when we hear our national anthem.  Americans do not have the monopoly on the market of patriotism.  As I watched the game, with a group of confirmed Brazil supporters I might add, when North Korea scored a goal I found myself caught up in the moment and cheered and clapped!  Maybe it is because I always like to see the underdog win, Brazil was heavily favored…I think they rank Number 1  and North Korea is #105?   I realize in some Conservative folk’s book I have probably just committed treason and am a confirmed communist…As I write this, the US has just entered the field to play Slovenia, and I too get a lump in my throat when I hear my national anthem.  I will enjoy the game with Egyptians, British, Indian, Pakistani, Germans and an Australian..how’s that for a mix?  If admiring somebody from North Korea because of his patriotism doesn’t land me in hot water , I am sure they are clicking their tongues with disapproval at my choice of companions, and I am quite confident at this point they are putting a bounty on my head!

By the way here’s some info on Jon Tae Se:   a 3rd generation South Korean who was born in Nagoya, Japan to parents with South Korean citizenship. His mother identified herself as a North Korean and sent him to attend a  Chongyron school–private schools in Japan funded by N. Korea–where he started football at its elementary school club. After graduating from a local Chongryon high school, he attended Korean University in Japan, a private university in  Tokyo funded by the North Korean government.  He has never lived in North Korea, but chose  to trade his South Korean citizenship for a North Korean citizenship.   Since the South Korean government officially does not recognize North Korea as a country and also does not allow dual citizenship in the case of adult citizens and hence Jong was unable to give up his citizenship. Chongryon, the DPRK’s de facto embassy in Japan, issued a North Korean passport to him. This made him eligible, per FIFA rules, to play for the North Korean team despite being a South Korean citizen and resident of Japan.  Did you get all of that?

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