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Former interim Vice President of Egypt called on to give evidence on allegations of crimes against humanity following Egyptian coup in 2013
Former interim Vice President of Egypt, Dr Mohammed El-Baradei, is called on by an international investigation team to provide evidence into crimes against humanity perpetrated by the military backed government in the 2013 Egyptian coup.
In a public statement, the former Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, provided important insight into events that took place during the military coup in 2013 which saw the overthrow of President Morsi and the massacre of thousands of unarmed protestors.
Dr El-Baradei, who took the position of interim vice president in the immediate aftermath of the coup issued the statement on his Facebook page on 1st November 2016, having kept his silence for three years.
In the statement, Dr El-Baradei described attempts that he made to “work in order to avoid a civil war and to maintain peace” through a road map. He says that he hoped for “a prime minister and government with all the powers to manage a transitional period” and attempted to create a “National Reconciliation Committee.” El-Baradei suggested that these efforts were undermined by the National Defence Council (NDC).
Instead, on 13 August 2013 “matters took a completely different turn after the use of force to break up the rallies” was authorised. This made his role in the NDC untenable.
On 14 August 2014, the military went on to use unprecedented levels of violence to disperse large groups of unarmed peaceful protestors in two camps in Cairo located at the Al Nahda Square and Rabaa al Adawiya Square, killing hundreds of protestors and injuring thousands. According to Human Rights Watch, a minimum of 817 people were killed in Rabaa Square alone. They describe the massacre as “one of the world’s largest killings of demonstrators in a single day in recent history”.
Dr El-Baradei states that he was “absolutely opposed” to these actions. He strongly disputes any allegation that he consented to the decision to use force to break up the rally at Rabaa Al-Adawiya.
Dr El-Baradei resigned as the interim Vice President on 14 August 2013 citing his opposition to the violence. In his recent statement, Dr El-Baradei complains that following his resignation, he became the victim of “vicious attacks” by the “media”.
The violent crackdown by the military led to condemnation by human rights organisations across the world and the launch of several international criminal investigations, including an investigation which is currently being conducted by the Scotland Yard’s International War Crimes Division in the UK.
The Freedom & Justice Party, which had been led by President Morsi, instructed an international team of lawyers to investigate the allegations of international crimes perpetrated by the military during the 2013 coup in Egypt.
Tayab Ali, Partner at leading London law firm ITN Solicitors, who represents the FJP, said:
I welcome the fact that Dr El-Baradei has finally broken his silence and has stated that the violence perpetrated by the military regime in Egypt was not necessary and that peaceful alternatives were available.
We now have very credible evidence that the decision to use violence was authorised by the National Defence Council and that they chose to ignore credible peaceful alternatives. We consider Dr El-Baradei’s statement to be an important new evidential development and we have ensured that it has been brought to the attention of Scotland Yard.
The allegation made is a serious one. There is ample evidence that the military crackdown amounted to a crime against humanity. I call on Dr El-Baradei to meet with my investigation team and provide evidence detailing precisely what happened within the National Defence Council in the lead up to the massacres.
I have no doubt that Dr El-Baradei will prove to be a key-witness in bringing the perpetrators of these international crimes to justice.
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Adnan Abu Amer is dean of the Faculty of Arts and head of the Press and Information Section at Al Ummah University Open Education, as well as a lecturer there in the history of the Palestinian issue, national security, political science and Islamic civilization. He holds a doctorate in political history from Damascus University and has published a number of books on issues related to the contemporary history of the Palestinian cause and the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Relations between the Palestinian Authority and Egypt are strained as political differences continue. The PA is less than enthusiastic about Egypt’s peace initiative with Israel and also rejects Cairo’s support for dismissed Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan.
The chill in Palestinian-Egyptian relations was evident following the PA’s late-July request that Egypt convene an Arab League summit in Cairo to discuss the issue of Israeli settlements and to set a date to present the PA’s case to the United Nations Security Council. Egypt ultimately rejected the request without explanation and the summit was never held.
In a July 28 article for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, former Israeli intelligence officer Yoni Ben-Menachem predicted that relations between the PA and Egypt will only get worse, as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas rejects the Egyptian peace initiative while Cairo paves the way to have Dahlan succeed Abbas.
Relations between Abbas and Dahlan were cut when Dahlan was dismissed as a Fatah leader in May 2011 because of pressure from Abbas. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who favors Dahlan, pressured Abbas in November 2015 to reconcile with Dahlan in a bid to return Dahlan to the Palestinian scene at the expense of Abbas.
Ben-Menachem also wrote that the peace initiative introduced by Sisi in May undermines Abbas’ efforts to hold Israel accountable in international venues and bolster the global boycott against it. The Egyptian initiative calls for both Palestinians and Israelis to resume negotiations without preconditions, which would hinder Abbas’ efforts to push the UN and the Security Council to issue resolutions against Israel.
Yet the secretary-general of Fatah’s Revolutionary Council, Amin Makboul, told Al-Monitor, “Relations between Palestine and Egypt are strong and solid. President Abbas’ latest visit to Cairo on May 9 was a success, as discussions held with Sisi dealt with all common interests regarding the Palestinian cause. There is no conflict between the Egyptian and French initiatives, with Egypt endorsing the international conference [the French initiative calls for]. Also, talk about Egyptian support for Dahlan is but unfounded hearsay.”
So far no date has been set for an international peace conference between Palestinians and Israelis. Palestinians favor the idea, while Israelis prefer a conference that Arab and regional states attend without directly participating in.
Makboul’s statement may be diplomatic in nature and aim to prevent further deterioration of Ramallah’s relationship with Cairo. But the latest communiqué, issued Aug. 7 by the PLO Executive Committee, was more explicit when it proclaimed its endorsement of the French initiative without any mention of the Egyptian one — a clear indication that Palestinians do not back the latter. The French initiative calls for an international peace conference and refers the Palestinian cause back to the UN, which Israel rejects.
“It is clear that the differences between the Palestinian and Egyptian sides are due to their respective incongruent interests,” Abdel Sattar Qassem, a political science professor at An-Najah University in Nablus, told Al-Monitor. “Egypt backs Dahlan because it needs financial support from the United Arab Emirates in light of [Egypt’s] financial crisis, while the UAE considers Dahlan to be one of its proteges in the region. This angers [Abbas].”
It should be noted that there are strong ties between the UAE and Dahlan, who found refuge there in 2011 after his dismissal from Fatah. As the security adviser of the UAE’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Dahlan is considered an active player in determining internal and external security policies for the UAE. Dahlan was able to establish security relations on the regional and international levels when he was head of Palestinian Preventive Security intelligence between 1994 and 2000, and as the Palestinian national security adviser.
Qassem said, “The Palestinian stance on the French initiative is more enthusiastic, as it offers the Palestinians more than its Egyptian counterpart. The French are restoring the Palestinian cause to its international roots, while Egypt, through its initiative, is searching to create a role for itself at the expense of the Palestinians.
“This chilled state of affairs between Egypt and the PA also coincided with a steady rapprochement between Cairo and Tel Aviv, as Sisi is looking to protect his regime. And one of the tools available in the region toward that end is Israel, which enjoys security potential and has tight political relations with some world powers. [This rapprochement] will eventually lead to the waning of Egypt’s role and status among Palestinians.”
The warming relations between Egypt and Israel have been marked by the return of Egypt’s ambassador to Tel Aviv early this year, followed by Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry’s visit to Israel in July. Meanwhile, security and military cooperation between both countries has been increasing to fight jihadist Islamic groups in Sinai, and both countries share hostility against Hamas.
Also worthy of note are the July 29 statements made by an anonymous Fatah official to New Khalij about Arab mediation efforts, the latest of which took place in Jordan, aimed at improving relations between Abbas and Sisi. The efforts ultimately failed.
Although there is no accurate information on the mediation that took place in Jordan, British reporter David Hearst said in a July 27 report on Middle East Eye that the UAE, Egypt and Jordan are planning for the post-Abbas period and paving the way for Dahlan to replace Abbas.
While the relationship between Egypt and the PA is characterized by a lack of empathy, the relationship between Cairo and Hamas remains tense. On July 6, Egypt canceled the visit by a Hamas leadership delegation scheduled for early July, reportedly because Cairo was dissatisfied with Hamas’ response to Egyptian concerns about the deteriorating security situation in Sinai. Hamas had refused to hand over wanted Egyptian citizens Egypt says are in Gaza and active in armed organizations in Sinai. Hamas also refused to form a joint security commission with Cairo to fight terrorism in Sinai.
Although Hamas deployed additional troops in April along the border with Egypt to prevent smuggling between Gaza and Sinai, Egyptian intelligence services found those measures lacking.
Yahya Moussa, Hamas leader and chairman of the Oversight Committee of the Palestinian Legislative Council, told Al-Monitor, “Any tension in the relations of Palestinians with any other party, in particular Egypt, serves Israeli interests. Israel is the ultimate beneficiary, as it will take advantage of the Palestinians’ tense relations with their Arab neighbors to escalate against them in the absence of Arab support.”
Moussa added, “Meanwhile, the PA fails to exploit against Israel any agreement between [the PA] and Egypt. In contrast, the improving relations between Egypt and Israel indicate weakness and confusion on the part of Egypt with regard to regional sovereign issues, for they render Egypt ineffectual despite its relations with Israel growing stronger.”
Egyptians and Palestinians are perhaps seeking to maintain the appearance of good relations but unable to hide their differences concerning Israel, the issue of PA presidential succession and the future of relations with the Gaza Strip. All these issues are enough to keep matters tense between them, while maintaining a modicum of contact and preventing matters from deteriorating to complete estrangement.
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, attended the ceremony held at the Egyptian Embassy in Tel Aviv to commemorate the 64th anniversary of the Revolution of July, led by the legendary leader Gamal Abdul Nasser.
Several photos have been released showing Netanyahu and his wife accompanied by Hazem Khairat, Egypt’s ambassador to Israel, and his wife during the ceremony.
In a short speech he delivered, Netanyahu praised Egypt as a ‘leading country in the Middle East’ that ‘undertakes a central role in the Palestinian issue’. He also thanked President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, offering the Egyptian people his ‘sincere congratulations’ in celebrating the anniversary.
Latest on Tel Aviv-Riyadh Links: Saudi General Meets Officials in ‘Israel’
A well-connected retired Saudi General Anwar Eshki visited the Zionist entity this week and met with Israeli officials, in the latest indication of a growing link between Tel Aviv and Riyadh which has come to light in recent months.
Eshki, who headed a delegation of Saudi academics and business people, met with Foreign Ministry Director-General Dore Gold and Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai and with a group of Knesset members, the daily Ha’aretz reported.
The daily called the visit “a highly unusual one” as Eshki couldn’t have traveled to ‘Israel’ without approval from the Saudi government.
Eshki and Gold raised an uproar first in June 2015 when they held a publicized joint event in Washington, after meeting privately several times over the preceding year. Gold attended the event a few days before assuming the role of director general of the Israeli foreign ministry.
Israeli legislator Esawi Freige, who organized Eshki’s meeting with his fellow members of Knesset, shed some light on the trip. “The Saudis want to open up to Israel,” he said.
“This is a strategic step for them. They said they want to continue what former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat started. They want to get closer to Israel. This is clearly evident,” Fregie noted.
He was referring to the former Egyptian president’s negotiations with ‘Israel’, which culminated in the Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty in 1979 – the first between an Arab state and Tel Aviv at the time.
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Cartoon Aboul-Gheit going to the Arab League under Israeli control
Syria hit back at remarks made by Arab League Secretary General, saying Damascus has no intention to get back into the Arab League.
Aboul Gheit earlier said that Syria can only have its membership in the Arab League back after reaching consensus between the government and the opposition, adding that Syria issue is very complicated and thorny.
In a statement released on Friday, Syria Foreign Ministry held the Arab League responsible for what has happened in Libya as it pushed for striking the Arab country and later for deepening the crisis in Syria and hindering efforts to solve it.
Syria reaffirms that
“it is not even thinking of going back to the Arab League as long as the latter remains subject to the dominance of countries known for having conspired against Syria and that are responsible for the state of fragmentation, weakness and division within the Arab ranks, the thing that has made it way far from, and even in complete contradiction with, the objectives of its charter, ” an official source at the Syrian ministry said, SANA news agency reported.
In his Thursday remarks, Aboul-Gheit also said Syria cannot take part in the Arab Summit in Nouakchott that is due to be held on July 25-26.
|15-07-2016 – 14:23 Last updated 15-07-2016 – 14:23|
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