Thursday, August 22, 2013

Egypt: disaster not averted (Part 2)

(17/8) - Egypt crisis: Dozens dead in Egypt 'day of anger' -

17/08/2013 (0700GMT) [Presented by Julian Worricker] with Jonathan Steele in London and Vaiju Naravane in Paris, discussion on Weekend, 7:10 GMT, sums it up, Jonathan Steele and female (Maria ... ?) from al-Hayat says that the MB refused to talk. Vaiju Naravane puts the point that, according to the EU's Bernardino León, it was the army that rejected peace negotiations The al-Hayat woman insists that this was because MB said, either we bring Morsi and then talk or there are no talks. (Onedrive (Skydrive))

Khaled Dawoud on Al Jazeera: calls for compromise: Morsi return a non-starter, but MB must be included in political process. He resigned as spokesman of the NSF not only because of the government's use of excessive force, but also because of their denial of the same

Egypt crisis: Cairo mosque 'cleared' after siege
Egypt: Security Forces Used Excessive Lethal Force
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The New York Times has what Shadi Hamid describes as "a long, fascinating - and tragic - account of last-ditch int'l efforts to stave off violence in Egypt" (8:11 PM - 17 Aug 13):
a senior European diplomat, Bernardino León, told the Islamists of “indications” from the leadership that within hours it would free two imprisoned opposition leaders. In turn, the Islamists had agreed to reduce the size of two protest camps by about half. [..] Two senators visiting Cairo, John McCain and Lindsey Graham , met with Gen. Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi and the interim prime minister, Hazem el-Beblawi, and pushed for the release of the two prisoners. But the Egyptians brushed them off.
“You could tell people were itching for a fight,” Mr. Graham recalled in an interview. “The prime minister was a disaster. He kept preaching to me: ‘You can’t negotiate with these people. They’ve got to get out of the streets and respect the rule of law.’ [..]
the Israelis, Saudis and other Arab allies have lobbied [Obama ] to go easy on the generals in the interest of thwarting what they see as the larger and more insidious Islamist threat.
Diplomats from Qatar, a regional patron of the Muslim Brotherhood, agreed to influence the Islamists. The United Arab Emirates, determined opponents of the Islamists, were brought in to help reach out to the new authorities. But while the Qataris and Emiratis talked about “reconciliation” in front of the Americans, Western diplomats here said they believed the Emiratis were privately urging the Egyptian security forces to crack down.
[..]
The Israelis, whose military had close ties to General Sisi from his former post as head of military intelligence, were supporting the takeover as well. Western diplomats say that General Sisi and his circle appeared to be in heavy communication with Israeli colleagues, and the diplomats believed the Israelis were also undercutting the Western message by reassuring the Egyptians not to worry about American threats to cut off aid.
[..]
American and European diplomats hoped to reinforce the few officials in Egypt’s interim cabinet who favored an inclusive approach, led by Mohamed ElBaradei, the vice president .. . After the second massacre, on July 26, Mr. ElBaradei wanted to resign, but Mr. Kerry talked him out of it, arguing that he was the most potent, if not the only, voice for restraint in the government. 
But General Sisi never trusted Mr. ElBaradei, and on the other side was a small core of military officers close to the general who saw a chance to finally rid Egypt of the Muslim Brotherhood. Among them were Gen. Mohammed al-Tohami, a mentor and father figure to General Sisi and now head of the intelligence service, and Gen. Mahmoud Hegazy, the general’s protégé and chosen successor as head of military intelligence. And with no serious reprisals against Egypt after two mass killings, many analysts here argue that the hard-liners could only feel emboldened.
Mr. Kerry sent his deputy, William J. Burns, to Cairo, where he and a European Union counterpart scrambled to de-escalate the crisis. Under a plan they worked out, the Muslim Brotherhood would limit demonstrations to two squares, thin out crowds and publicly condemn violence. The government would issue a similar statement, commit to an inclusive political process allowing any party to compete in elections and, as a sign of good faith, release Saad al-Katatni, the Muslim Brotherhood speaker of the dissolved Parliament, and Aboul-Ela Maadi, founder of a more moderate Islamist party. Both faced implausible charges of instigating violence, and Western diplomats felt that before the takeover, Mr. Katatni in particular had proved himself a pragmatic voice for compromise. 
Adding to the shock of the new charges [against Khairat el-Shater and Mohamed Badie], they came just hours before Mr. Burns and his European partner, Mr. León, were allowed to see Mr. Shater. Mr. Shater embraced the need for dialogue, but did not endorse the proposals.
Again and again the actions of the interim government left the diplomats "surprised", "furious, feeling deceived and manipulated". 
 “They were used to justify the violence,” [Amr Darrag, an adviser to Mr. Morsi and top negotiator for the Islamist coalition] said in an interview. “They were just brought in so that the coup government could claim that the negotiations failed, and, in fact, there were no negotiations.”
Khaled Dawoud: one day b4 Baradei resigned, I wrote for Ahram Weekly 10:13 PM - 15 Aug 13
[..] following bloody clashes with Brotherhood supporters on 26 July that left at least 72 people dead, Al-Baradei could be forgiven if he thought little had changed: state-owned newspapers, as well as television shows on private channels whose owners were part and parcel of the Mubarak regime, began a fierce campaign against him.
Abdel-Rehim Ali, an expert on militant Islamic groups who had close ties with the Interior Ministry under Mubarak, claims Al-Baradei threatened to resign on 26 July if the police attack on Brotherhood supporters went further or the Rabaa Al-Adaweya sit-in was broken up violently. “The police,” says Ali, “were ready to finish the job but they were held back by Dr Al-Baradei.”
[..]
Novelist and newspaper columnist Gamal Al-Ghitani used an entire page of Al-Akhbar to claim Al-Baradei was “a danger to the Egyptian people and state”. [..] Scores of articles appeared charging that Al-Baradei had promoted “foreign intervention” in domestic affairs by allowing European, African, American, Qatari and Emirati top officials to visit Egypt and meet with senior Brotherhood officials, including former president Morsi.
Khaled Dawoud: on bbc world with gehad hadad at 930 pm cairo time, in 25 mins 8:06 PM - 16 Aug 13. it was an intv on bbc radio. J hadad of MB still lives in lala land and wants Mursi, Shura, shameful Cons back. No to MB and police state 9:17 PM - 16 Aug 13

Public mood in Egypt appears to harden against Muslim Brotherhood , by Heba Saleh in Cairo, August 18, 2013
As Egypt’s military-backed authorities edge closer to banning the Brotherhood, now frequently described by officials as terrorists, those who still advocate political dialogue with the Brotherhood or who raise human rights concerns, face an angry and intimidating reaction from a large section of public opinion.
The public mood in Egypt appears to have hardened against the Islamists since the army deposed Mr Morsi. [..] A hostile local media, which has largely refrained from covering the Islamist protest camps, their clearance or their casualties, has played its part.
[Khaled] Dawoud said he has been accused of being a “sleeping cell” for the Muslim Brotherhood, of jumping ship “at a critical time with the country facing a terrorist threat” and of being a CIA agent.
“It was sad for me that the majority of the secular parties within the NSF decided to basically give a blank cheque to the [now empowered] old security state to do whatever they wanted to do to suppress the Muslim Brotherhood,” he said. “The golden rule is that violence begets more violence, which is what is being ignored in this kind of position.”
Khaled Dawoud: majority of average Egs hate bloodshed. MB cd've [given] more had they not seen increasing calls to crush them anyway 11:26 PM - 20 Aug 13; my understanding MB recognized Mursi can't be back, talks were on release of leaders, pledges they'll remain legal, group n party 8:28 AM - 21 Aug 13
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(17/8) Article by Tariq Ramadan. (*)

(19/8) Memri says that an "Al-Jazeera Commentator, Former MB Official, Gamal Nassar" claims al-Sisi is Jewish. A little research shows that he is a founding member of the FJP. But is he an Al-Jazeera Commentator or just a commentator on Al-Jazeera ? It might say something about the MB / FJP, though.

20/8 This is getting nastier. "Erdogan is now citing a French intellectual who downplayed MB's electoral victory, stressing his Jewish identity."
"Sources in Erdogan's office say the "French Zionist" behind Egypt's coup was Bernard-Henri  Levy, Turkey's state-run news agency reports."
Incidentally, the accusations against B-HL are probably unfounded.

21/8 Political Memo: Attacks on Protesters in Cairo Were Calculated to Provoke, Some Say

* Update 27 Aug. Someone comments, "You simply ignore the 12 billion dollar contribution made by Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE within days of the coup." Absolutely right. But on Israel, Tariq Ramadan could be right. See above. 

Updated 10 Apr 2014: links updated.

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