MILITANTS BLEW UP EGYPT-ISRAEL PIPELINE IN NORTHERN SINAI: REPORTS

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South Front

On February 2nd, armed militants blew up a gas pipeline in Northern Sinai connecting Egypt and Israel.

At least six masked militants planted explosives under the pipeline in the town of Bir al-Abd. It transfers gas to el-Arish, the provincial capital of North Sinai, and a cement factory in central Sinai, local officials said.

The pipeline allegedly remained “functional” following the attacks.

A statement from the office of Israel’s energy minister, Yuval Steinitz, read:

“At the moment, the natural gas is flowing from Israel through the pipeline and reaching Egypt.

The ministry looked into the reported explosion, such as it was, in coordination with all relevant authorities.”

Another statement from the corporate partners operating Israel’s Leviathan gas field, which supplies the gas to the pipeline in question, issued a statement late on February 2nd said:

“There has not been any damage to the EMG pipeline connecting Israel and Egypt. The flow of gas from Leviathan to Egypt is continuing as normal.”

Thus, it is unclear if the attack even took place.

The reports of the sabotage come just two weeks after Israel started pumping natural gas to Egypt from two massive offshore fields, marking a major milestone and a historic cooperation between the countries, according to a joint January 15 statement by the two countries’ governments.

Steinitz hailed the move at the time as “the most significant cooperation ever between Israel and Egypt, in energy and the economy, since the [1979] peace treaty.”

The gas pipelines running through the Sinai Peninsula have long been a favorite target of jihadist groups in the restive region.


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@nblenergy and Delek have finalized their acquisition of EMG pipeline, enabling a landmark $15 billion natural gas export deal between #Egypt and #Israel begin next year #oott #lng #energy @EgyptOilandGas

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Israel’s Delek Group and the American company Noble Energy – which together own 85% of the Leviathan field – completed the purchase of 39% of the Egyptian gas pipeline in partnership. The purchase was carried out in conjunction with Egypt’s state-owned company EGAS for about $520 million.

Egypt has battled insurgents in Northern and Central Sinai since 2011, with varied intensity.

In late 2017, North Sinai was the scene of the deadliest attack in Egypt’s modern history when fighters killed more than 300 worshippers at a mosque, without any group claiming responsibility.

Following that, Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi gave the order that the peninsula must be purged of terrorist elements.

In February 2018, the army launched a military operation aimed at defeating ISIS or related armed groups in the Sinai Peninsula.

Since then Egypt provides regular updates of how the operation is going. In November 2019, which was the most recent report it said that throughout October 2019, 83 suspected terrorist fighters had been killed, and 61 were detained.

According to estimates based on official figures upwards of 700 militants have been killed since the start of the operation, while the army has lost around 50 soldiers.

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Egypt Mosque Attack: 230+ Martyred in Sinai Massacre

Local Editor

25-11-2017 | 11:01

Militants martyred more than 230 people at a mosque in North Sinai Friday, detonating a bomb and gunning down worshippers in the deadliest such attack of Egypt’s modern history, state media and witnesses said.

Egypt Mosque Attack

No group immediately claimed responsibility, but since 2013 Egyptian security forces have battled a stubborn Wahhabi Daesh [Arabic acronym for “ISIS” / “ISIL”] affiliate in the desert region, and militants have killed hundreds of police and soldiers.

State media showed images of bloodied victims and bodies covered in blankets inside the Al-Rawda mosque in Bir al-Abed, west of Al-Arish, the main city in North Sinai.

Worshippers were finishing Friday prayers at the mosque when a bomb exploded, witnesses said. Around 40 gunmen set up positions outside the mosque with jeeps and opened fire from different directions as people tried to escape.

“Four groups of armed men attacked the worshippers inside the mosque after Friday noon prayers. Two groups were firing at ambulances to deter them,” said Mohammad, a witness. The public prosecutors’ office said 235 people had been killed and 109 more wounded.

Hours after the attack, Egypt’s military launched airstrikes on targets in mountainous areas around Bir al-Abed, security sources and witnesses said.

“The armed forces and the police will avenge our martyrs and restore security and stability with the utmost force,” Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi said in a televised address.

“What is happening is an attempt to stop us from our efforts in the fight against terrorism, to destroy our efforts to stop the terrible criminal plan that aims to destroy what is left of our region.”

Egypt later said it would delay the opening of the Rafah border crossing to Gaza after the attack due to security concerns. The crossing had been due to open for three days beginning Saturday. Striking at a mosque would be a change in tactics for the Sinai militants, who have usually attacked troops, police and Christian churches.

The militants have also attacked local tribes and their militias for working with the army and police, branding them traitors.

Sisi, a former armed forces commander who presents himself as a bulwark against extremist militancy, convened an emergency meeting with his defense and interior ministers and intelligence chief soon after the attack.

Security has long been one of the key sources of public support for the former general, who is expected to run for re-election early next year for another four-year term.

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri contacted Sisi to give his condolences for the attack.

“These attacks revealed the falsity of taking religious as a pretext to commit the most heinous crimes against innocents,” Hariri’s press office said in a statement, “These attacks call for the necessity to unite all efforts to deracinate terrorism from its roots and protect Islam and Muslims from those who violate their security, religion and safety of their homelands.”

US President Donald Trump, in a post on Twitter Friday, called the assault a “horrible and cowardly terrorist attack.”

“The world cannot tolerate terrorism, we must defeat them militarily and discredit the extremist ideology that forms the basis of their existence,” he added. A White House statement called on the international community to strengthen its efforts to defeat terrorist groups.

Russian President Vladimir Putin sent condolences to Sisi, calling the attack “striking for its cruelty and cynicism,” while condemnations poured in from Iran, Saudi Arabia and other countries.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian also condemned the attack and said Paris stood with its ally.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

استهداف مصر ومحاولات اغتيال في لبنان

استهداف مصر ومحاولات اغتيال في لبنان

نوفمبر 25, 2017

ناصر قنديل

– قد يظنّ البعض أن لا علاقة بين الاستهداف الأمني الكبير الذي تعرّضت له مصر، وبين الاستهداف الذي كان لبنان سيعيش تحت وطأته لولا اكتشاف جهاز أمن الدولة له وإحباطه في مهده، لكن الوقائع المتزامنة للعمليتين، في وقت كان لبنان يعرف أصعب أزماته الحكومية المفخّخة والمفتوحة على مشروع فتنة أهلية، تقول إنّ تفجير لبنان الذي لعبت مصر دوراً كبير في منع حدوثه، ليس بعيداً عن تفسير الرابط من جهة وتحديد الجهة التي تقف وراء العمليتين الخطيرتين معاً.

– في مصر مئات الشهداء والجرحى وضرب لهيبة الدولة وأجهزتها، ودفع الناس في سيناء خصوصاً لليأس من وعود الدولة بالقضاء على الإرهاب، لينصاع بعضها للتعاون مع رموز هذا الإرهاب، بقوة المثال الذي يقدّمه الإرهاب على قدرته على التحرّك، والتجذّر والمثابرة، ويدفع بأغلب السكان للنزوح عن سيناء طلباً لأمن مفقود، وشروط حياة الحدّ الأدنى، وهذا يعني الاقتراب من تحويل سيناء مركزاً بديلاً للإرهاب بعد خسارة العراق وسورية، وإعلاناً للاقتراب أكثر من ليبيا، حيث مصر معنية أيضاً، ومن أوروبا حيث الهدف الأهمّ للإرهاب، وأوروبا كانت في الأزمة اللبنانية الأخيرة شريكة مصر في احتواء عناصر التفجير، التي قالت عنها «إسرائيل» إنها فرصة ذهبية لا يجوز تفويتها لجعل حزب الله يدفع ثمن تهديده أمن «إسرائيل» في الداخل اللبناني وعلى أيدي اللبنانيين.

– في لبنان محاولة طازجة لاغتيال وزير الداخلية نهاد المشنوق والوزير السابق عبد الرحيم مراد، كلّ منهما كان يلعب في جبهته عنصر التبريد والتواصل مع الضفة الأخرى، لتشكيل خط وسط يستطيع صناعة تسوية، ولكلّ منهما بالمناسبة علاقته العميقة والوطيدة بمصر، ولو نجحت المحاولة لا سمح الله لكانت أصابع الاتهام ستتجه فوراً، كما جرت العادة في حالات مشابهة لحزب الله،

والمحاولة أُجهضت باكتشاف المكلَّف بالتحضير للعملية من الموساد «الإسرائيلي»، وهو مخرج وممثل لبناني، يصعب توقّع قيامه بمهام أمنية على هذه الدرجة من الخطورة، والمحاولة على خلفية مواكبة مشروع تفجير لبنان التي أريد لها أن تبصر النور مع استقالة مفخّخة لرئيس الحكومة سعد الحريري، وقطع الطريق على مشاريع التهدئة، والخاسر الرئيسي من إجهاض التفجير بحلقاته كلها هي «إسرائيل»، وهذا لم يعُد استنتاجاً، بل حقيقة مع بيان الجهاز الأمني اللبناني الذي كشف العملية وأجهضها.

– نجح لفترة بعض المندسّين لحساب «إسرائيل» في الجسم الإعلامي العربي بتسخيف كلّ اتهام لـ «إسرائيل» بالتخريب، ولولا النجاح الأمني اللبناني بكشف المعلومات وتوثيقها لكان اتهامنا لـ «إسرائيل» موضع سخرية من الكثيرين لكن المهمّ الآن هو أن ينتبه المصريون إلى أنّ تنامي دور مصر في التفاهم الفلسطيني ومشروع المصالحة على قاعدة حفظ سلاح المقاومة، مصدر أرق وغضب لـ «إسرائيل»، وأن ينتبهوا إلى أنّ تقدّم موقفهم في سورية ونحوها لا يريح «إسرائيل»، وأنّ دور مصر في وأد التفجير في لبنان فجّر الغضب «الإسرائيلي» لأنه أجهض خطة «إسرائيلية» بالكامل.

– في زمن ينطق فيه ولي العهد السعودي بخطاب «إسرائيلي» في توصيف يشبّه إيران بألمانيا النازية، وهو وصف أطلقه مارتن أنديك، السفير الأميركي الأسبق لدى كيان الاحتلال، يصير تفجير لبنان بيد سعودية لحساب «إسرائيل»، وتدخّل مصر وأوروبا لمنع التفجير، بمثابة وقوف على خط الحرب. ومخطئ مَن يتوقع النظر للأمر بعين السعي لإزالة سوء تفاهم، ففي اللحظات الصعبة التي يعيشها «الإسرائيليون» ومثلهم الحكم السعودي الجديد، تدير «إسرائيل» كلّ شيء، بعين الحرب ولغتها، ولا تملك إلا الذراع الأمنية. وهي في حال إفلاس سياسي وعجز عسكري. والأمن هنا تفجير واغتيالات وإرهاب، والحليف الأقرب والأفعل لهذه المرحلة هو التنظيمات الإرهابية بالواسطة أو مباشرة، وسيناء محور صفقة بين «إسرائيل» والتنظيمات الإرهابية.

– إذا كان تعليق الرئيس المصري على ما استهدف مصر، الغالية على كلّ عربي، أنّ مصر تقاتل وحدها يقصد تجاهل قتال سورية والعراق وقوى المقاومة للإرهاب فهو مخطئ، خصوصاً أنه سبق وأعلن أنّ مصر ستكون وجهة الإرهابيين بعد هزيمتهم في سورية والعراق، لكن إنْ كان قصده أنّ سورية والعراق قاتلا ومعهما حلفاؤهما من المقاومة وإيران وصولاً لروسيا، بينما حلفاء مصر يتركونها وحدها، فهو محقّ، لكن ذلك يطرح السؤال عن السبب، أليس باختيار الحلفاء الخطأ، والسؤال الأهمّ عن: كيف يجب أن تتصرّف مصر؟

– التهديد الضمني للرئيس سعد الحريري في كلام ولي العهد السعودي إن عاد لرئاسة الحكومة، يحمل الكثير من المعاني.

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Daesh Crimes against Christians in Sinai

Daesh Generations أجيال “داعش”

15 كانون الثاني ,2017  13:54 مساء

يعمل تنظيم “داعش” الذي ملأ الدنيا بالدماء وشغل الناس بالقتل والتفجير والتفخيخ والحرق والإبادة على توريث منهاجه من أجل إقامة الخلافة الإسلامية لأجيال جديدة من “داعش” والتي لا تتوفر عنها أي قاعدة بيانات ومعلومات كصورهم وأسمائهم الحقيقية وتاريخهم في العمل المسلح ومناطق وجودهم في العراق أو سورية والعالم العربي والإسلامي والغرب، ويمكن القول إن الجيل الأول من الجهاديين هو الجيل المتدين والذي تبنى العنف والتشدد وحمل على الدول الطاغوتية الكافرة بزعمه، ثم الجيل الثاني الذي تمثل في القاعدة حيث بدأت هذه الأخيرة تهتم بالتنظيم والسرية والعمل الاستخباري، وبرز بعد ذلك جيل ثالث من الجهاديين ممثلاً في “داعش” الذي استفاد من كل الذين قادوا العمل المسلح ضد دولهم ومجتمعاتهم وأضاف المزيد من الأساليب المبتكرة باجتهاد الدم.

ويذهب الخبراء الغربيون ومنهم جيل كيبل إلى القول أن الجيل الثالث من “داعش” موجود في معظم العواصم الغربية كخلايا نائمة بناء على تنظير لأبي مصعب السوري الذي طرح مشروع استهداف أوروبا التي تبقى في جميع الأحوال أقرب إلى ساحة العمليات وأضعف من أميركا، فضلاً عن أن أوروبا تمثل بيئة خصبة لتجنيد الملايين من المسلمين الأوروبيين أو المهاجرين أو حتى المعتنقين الجدد للإسلام، والجيل الثالث للسلفية الجهادية هو جيل شاب فغالبية عناصرها من جيل عشريني وثلاثيني ويتسم خطابهم بتشدد وعدوانية للمخالفين أكثر من الأجيال السابقة، فقد تميز كل من الجيل الأول والثاني من السلفية الجهادية بمحاربة العدو البعيد، بينما ركز الجيل الثالث على المخالف الطائفي والعقائدي فقط.

ويذهب بعض الخبراء إلى القول أن نهاية “داعش” لن تكون وشيكة لأنها مرتبطة بمصالح استراتيجية عملاقة للولايات المتحدة الأميركية والكيان العبري وبريطانيا ثالوث التخصص في تدمير العالم العربي والإسلامي، و قد بدأت “داعش” تتمدد في سيناء المصرية وليبيا وصولاً إلى إفريقيا وتعمل على التمدد في الدول الخليجية والساحة الأوروبية، ويسود لدى فئة من الشباب الأوروبي المسلم شعور بالإحباط والسخط تجاه المجتمع، هم شباب ثائرون يبحثون عن قضية يضحون من أجلها، ويجدون في الجهاد ضالتهم المثالية، لأنهم يعتقدون أن الجهاد عمل بطولي، وأن صورهم ستنتشر في ليلة وضحاها على أعمدة جميع الصحف وسيصبحون حديث الجميع.. كما يقول الخبير الفرنسي أوليفر روي الباحث في الحركات الإسلامية.

 

On the second anniversary of June 30 Brotherhood-Linked Attacks Kill More Than 70 in Egypt’s Sinai

مع الحدث | الذكرى الثانية للثلاثين من يونيو وجردة حساب | العالم


ISIL-Linked Attacks Kill More Than 70 in Egypt’s Sinai

Militants of Takfiri group, ISIL (so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Levant) launched an unprecedented wave of attacks Wednesday on Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai Peninsula that killed at least 70 people.

F-16 warplanes bombarded the militants as they fought police and soldiers on the streets of the North Sinai town of Sheikh Zuweid after striking military checkpoints in a surprise attack after dawn.

Sinai attacks on Wednesday July 1
The violence came two days after state prosecutor Hisham Barakat was assassinated in a Cairo car bombing. He was the most senior government official killed in the Takfiri insurgency.

In the capital on Wednesday, police killed senior Muslim Brotherhood member Nasser al-Houfi and eight others during a raid on an apartment, security officials and a member of the Islamist movement said.

The Sinai attacks, in which car bombs were used, were the most brazen in their scope since extremists launched an insurgency in 2013 following the army’s overthrow of Brotherhood’s president Mohammad Mursi.

The victims included several civilians, according to security and medical officials, who said 38 militants were also killed.

“It’s war. The battle is ongoing,” a senior military official told AFP.

“It’s unprecedented, in the number of terrorists involved and the type of weapons they are using.”

Militants took over rooftops and fired rockt-propelled grenades at a police station in Sheikh Zuweid after mining its exits to block reinforcements, a police colonel said.

F-16 jets struck the militants in several locations in the town, officials and a witness said.
“There are gunmen on the streets. They have planted mines everywhere,” said the witness in Sheikh Zuweid.

Explosions were heard and plumes of smoke were seen over Sheikh Zuweid from the neighboring Palestinian Gaza Strip, witnesses there said.

ISIL said its militants surrounded the police station after launching attacks on 15 checkpoints and security installations using suicide car bombers and rockets.

Security and medical officials said ambulances could not get to the scene of the attacks because of heavy fighting in which the military brought in Apache helicopters.

“Ambulances are waiting in front of the hospital. They can’t leave. People are bringing in the casualties,” a health official told AFP.

Troops regularly come under attack in the Sinai, where Takfiris have killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers since Mursi’s overthrow.

In a statement released online, ISIL said the assault had involved three suicide bombers.
“In a blessed raid enabled by God, the lions of the caliphate have simultaneously attacked more than 15 checkpoints belonging to the apostate army,” the group said.

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The “ISIS spring” in North Africa

An image made available by propaganda Islamist media outlet Welayat Tarablos on February 18, 2015, allegedly shows members of the Islamic State (IS) militant group parading in a street in Libya’s coastal city of Sirte, which lies 500 kilometres (310 miles) east of the capital, Tripoli. AFP/Welayat Tarablos

Published Friday, February 20, 2015
The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) (aka the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant [ISIL]) is expanding beyond the Levant. Establishing Wilyat Sinai (the Province of Sinai) was just the start, and now the group is determined to expand into all of North Africa. What happened in Sirte yesterday is just one episode in a series geared toward launching an “ISIS Spring” on the African continent.
Wilayat Sinai was launched on November 2, 2014; today, it is Wilayat Sirte’s turn and tomorrow it will be Wilayat Algeria and Wilayat Rabat. Rather than a mere possibility, this is a reality that seems to be etching itself into the sprawling map of North Africa, where thousands of miles of borders cover a vast expanse of unruly desert terrain.
This area has been a breeding ground for takfiri thought, fostered by influential states like Saudi Arabia with money, preachers, literature and so on. In the 1980s, it was a major source of manpower for the jihadists in Afghanistan, known as the Arab Afghans. In the 1990s, it served as a stage for those who fought their national armies in an attempt to Islamize the countries of the region.
In the last decade, takfiri militants moved to Iraq to fight the US occupation of Muslim land, before moving to Syria to participate in the war to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The name they go by and the banner under which they fight do not matter. In the past, al-Qaeda was the top takfiri group in the world. It became a model with its own framework, operational mechanisms and jihadist approach, until its strongholds in Afghanistan fell and it became a brand name used by every takfiri group that decided to take up arms and engage in terrorism anywhere in the world. Today, the model has changed and the new brand is ISIS, a group born in Iraq as the country became a magnet for takfiris from all over the world, including African jihadists.
One cannot talk about jihadist salafism and its history without focusing on Egypt. The phenomenon is not new to Egypt, and the activities in the Sinai do not constitute a unique case, isolated from the rest of the country. Cairo took up an approach of exporting the damage since the assassination of late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, who provided support for the so-called mujahideen before getting killed by one of them. Egypt, however, became a target of jihadist activities in the last two decades before the crisis of the “Arab Spring,” with operations that targeted mostly tourist sites before escalating to a gradual state of engagement with the Egyptian army in conjunction with scattered rocket attacks on Israel. Eventually, these groups left Israel alone and focused on Egyptian forces as the primary enemy. Other major Egyptian takfiri groups include Ajnad Misr (Soldiers of Egypt) and Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (Supporters of Jerusalem).

The significance of the Libyan case is that extremist groups went from operating in the shadows to operating openly, after seizing control of vast areas including cities and strategic roads that link the Mediterranean to the Sahara Desert.

The significance of the Libyan case is that extremist groups went from operating in the shadows to operating openly, after seizing control of vast areas including cities and strategic roads that link the Mediterranean to the Sahara Desert. This was made possible mainly by the state of lawlessness in Libya after the fall of Muammar Qaddafi’s regime, and the absence of forces capable of asserting authority over Libyan territories.
 Just as the presence of takfiri groups in North African countries is not new, Algerian, Tunisian and Libyan groups have been pledging allegiance to ISIS for some time now. On September 12, a group of extremist militants calling themselves Soldiers of the Caliphate in Algeria, led by Khaled Abu Suleiman, announced joining ISIS and pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi after splitting from al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), which is led by the Algerian national Abdelmalek Droukdel. There is another group called Soldiers of the Caliphate in Algeria, previously called al-Furqan Brigades, which operated under the banner of AQIM. In Tunisia, the Uqba bin Nafe Battalion led by the Algerian national Luqman Abu Sakhr, known for its close ties to the Tunisian group Ansar al-Sharia, led by Abu Ayyad, and its Libyan branch, led by Mohammed al-Zahawi, pledged allegiance to ISIS.
This means that the battalion pledging allegiance to ISIS has links to extremist groups active in Libya. However, Libya is unique as it remains the largest haven for terrorist groups affiliated with ISIS, after being the main reservoir and source for all kinds of groups fighting in Syria. There are also groups operating publicly in Chad to the south, in addition to Niger and Mali all the way to Mauritania. These countries have the Sahara Desert in common, but there are other countries as well, so it is more accurate to say it is where the Sahara Desert and the Sahel intersect.
In light of the absence of accurate information, we can only construct a time frame that enables us to draw a rough picture indicating that the actual emergence of these groups coincided with the changes in the Arab world, as well as the French Operation Serval in northern Mali.
North Africa is once again at the heart of the international conflicts that comprise the war on terror. These wars are fueled by other factors such as disputes over borders and the natural resources they contain, further complicating the scene, and turning North Africa into an important area witnessing conflicts at the international level. In addition, Western countries have used the weak central authorities in beforementioned countries to justify establishing military bases, thus procuring the military tools they need for the future.
The crisis does not end there. To the south, Boko Haram has taken this phenomenon to a whole new level, amid international silence and Arab nonchalance. A new Agence France Presse report about Boko Haram says that the number of its members, its structure and its sources of funding are unknown according to military experts. Further, it became clear last week that this group is capable of launching several attacks in different areas using different methods at the same time, such as suicide attacks in Nigeria, attacks by boat in Chad, as well as ground attacks in Niger, Cameroon and Nigeria.
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.


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Reshaping the city of Rafah in Sinai: Expulsion threatens war with the tribes

 

Smoke rises after a house was blown up during a military operation by Egyptian security forces in the Egyptian city of Rafah near the border with southern Gaza Strip on November 2, 2014, as Egypt began setting up a buffer zone along the border with the Hamas-run territory to prevent militant infiltration and arms smuggling following a wave of deadly attacks. AFP/Said Khatib
Published Wednesday, November 5, 2014
Along the border with the Gaza Strip, the Engineer Corps of the Egyptian Armed Forces is carrying out ground clearing operations following the demolition of hastily evacuated citizens’ homes, in preparation for creating a buffer zone with the Strip.
Sinai – A multitude of machines, including excavators, bulldozers, and transport vehicles, have been active on the border area from 5 am to 5 pm every day. After the homes are blown up, the bulldozers fill the trucks with the debris. Other machines level the ground, erasing all sign of human life, under the supervision of senior officials from the armed forces in the North Sinai governorate.
The head of the army command in Rafah, Major General Mohammed al-Saadani, told Al-Akhbar that the committee formed to catalogue the houses and evaluate their actual worth is still receiving requests from citizens and is finalizing procedures for receiving compensation. He added that some of the payments had been cashed, in addition to 900 Egyptian pounds ($128) urgently provided to each family. He explained that most families had left their homes.
According to a security source in Rafah, military committees are sweeping and leveling the area and work on the creation of the buffer zone has already begun.
In the meantime, dozens of families are still waiting in a big courtyard inside Rafah after evacuating their homes and being unable to find alternative residences. They remain in the open, living in difficult conditions. This led several local associations to collect blankets and some tents to send to them, but the army has banned tents in the Rafah region.

“But today, after two revolutions, we have been displaced from the homes we built with our own sweat and blood.” – Riad Saleh al-Qunbuz, displaced resident

Riad Saleh al-Qunbuz, who was displaced from the border part of the town, saw his house being demolished as part of the army’s plan to confront terrorism in northern Sinai. “Since 1986, we had been dreaming of the development of North Sinai and particularly Rafah,” he told Al-Akhbar. “But today, after two revolutions, we have been displaced from the homes we built with our own sweat and blood.”

“We endured what no human on this earth could handle. We endured the mistakes of all the regimes and presidents. We patiently waited for the promises made by all the governments. But none of them came to fruition. Yet we pay the highest price [for the war on] terrorism. We pay with the land of our forefathers. We leave the homes we dreamt of owning for years, in return for LE300 ($43) in compensation to rent an apartment.”

Qunbuz points to a pile of furniture.

 “This is the furniture of my two-storey home, strewn on its rubble. I don’t know how or where to take it or my family. I want to stress that we still haven’t received any compensation, although we were promised that the compensation will be paid on the same night of evacuating the homes and leveling them to the ground,” he said.

Ahmed Suleiman stood next to the rubble of his own home in Rafah.

“They demolished my home. Everybody is selling their furniture for cheap. The areas of the demolished homes were vast, since our tribal character and culture requires it. And God awarded many of us a large number of children,” he explained. “But we do not know where to go or what is the real reason for evicting us from our land. None of us were implicated in acts of sabotage.”

“Our children are suffering here. Although we live without schools, education, or minimum care, we are satisfied with this and holding on to our ancestors’ lands. Actually, we have suffered the most from the operations carried out by the takfiri groups here. And now we are paying the price of their actions,” he added.

The decision to evacuate a 500-meter wide strip adjacent to Egypt’s border with Gaza towards the center of the city was implemented without taking any measures to protect the residents or transfer them to a safe location after being forced to evacuate their homes. Egyptian authorities are using this plan to gauge the feasibility of the decision, in preparation for similar measures to empty Rafah in North Sinai from its residents.
A few days following the implementation of the 500-meter evacuation decision, Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahleb issued decree 1957/2014. It called for isolating Rafah, based on the defense minister’s recommendations for the strategic direction in the northeastern sector of the North Sinai governorate.
The area cordoned off by the decree was: “Abu Shanar – al-Rasm north of Sadat Square for a distance of 880 meters, southeast of Sadat Square for 500 meters, southeast of Sadat Square for 1.5 kilometers, north of Goz Abou Raad for 400 meters, Goz Abou Raad, East of Goz Abou Raad for 2 kilometers, west of al-Madfouna for 1 kilometer, and northeast Atlet al-Tayyara for 2 kilometers at the intersection of the political border line.”
The second article of the decree called for the evacuation of the area mentioned above and the provision of alternative residences for the evacuees. In the event of refusal to evacuate amicably, the decree called for the seizure of property.
Article 3 of the decision stated that compensation would be estimated based on the Public Mobilization Law and the two Presidential decisions, 2152 of the year 1960 and 540 of 1987, related to the creation of committees to estimate and compensate seized property.
The decree puts into force the sixth item of Article 3 of the Emergency Law, allowing the president or a delegated authority to evacuate areas where a state of emergency is declared. This is in addition to item four of the same article that allows the confiscation of real estate and movable property.
The people of North Sinai reacted with fury and resentment towards the prime minister’s decision. They considered this to be an extension of the cleansing Rafah region, from the center to the peripheries, following the expulsion of its residents to different areas. This would lead to the dispersion and breakup of families and the elimination of community and family bonds.
According to activist Mona al-Zamlout, the media “brainwashed the Egyptians into believing the evacuation in the Egyptian-side of Rafah serves the war on terror. However, Rafah does not have terrorists and did not partake in any violence against the army. Citizens of North Sinai are not going to believe that displacing the people of Rafah is intended to fight terrorism.”

”Citizens of North Sinai are not going to believe that displacing the people of Rafah is intended to fight terrorism.” – Mona al-Zamlout, activist

“The problem with Rafah is the tunnels [with Gaza]. If the state’s aim was national security, it would have created a free zone and commercial port after destroying the tunnels, which would have employed all of Sinai’s young people. But Egypt took the easy road, expulsion under the pretext of eradicating terrorism coming through the tunnels with the Gaza Strip, which kept functioning until the moment of evacuation and with the knowledge of officials in the armed forces.”

Political activist Said Aatiq, from the town of Sheikh Zuweid, indicated that “the people of Sinai are not happy with the situation in Rafah, since the citizens of Sinai will be the first to be harmed. For many years, they suffered from marginalization and exclusion, feeling as if they were third class citizens. Some of them feel the state treats them as foreigners and not as one of its own.”
He added that several Sinai residents who collaborated with the army had been targeted by “terrorist organizations” in the peninsula. But the military command did not recognize them. “The state treats the people of Sinai as security informers and not as real partners for the stability of the Sinai territories. Everyone in Sinai is under suspicion. Officials did not involve the people of Sinai in a real partnership to confront terrorism.”
Masad Abu Fajr, an expert on tribal affairs from Sinai and a former member of the Committee of Fifty to Amend the Constitution, considered the expulsion of the residents to be a declaration of war by the Egyptian state against the tribes of Sinai. It declared war against the three biggest and most brutal tribes in Sinai, which are, “from the south to the north: al-Tarabin, al-Sawarka, and al-Armilat.”
“It is a real shame to even propose the idea of expulsion for discussion,” he continued. “Expulsion is a crime the moment it is discussed.”
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.
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Egypt Imposes State of Emergency in Sinai As Terrorist Bomb Killed 30 Soldiers

Local Editor

MeetingEgypt declared a three-month state of emergency would begin Saturday in the north and center of the Sinai Peninsula after a suicide car bombing killed 30 soldiers.

The bombing on Friday was carried out by a suspected ‘jihadist’ who rammed a checkpoint with his explosives-packed vehicle, security officials said.

The emergency measures will begin Saturday at 0300 GMT “for a duration of three months”, the presidency said in a statement in the wake of the deadliest attack on the security forces since the army deposed Islamist president Mohammad Mursi last year.

The decision was also taken to close the Rafah crossing into the Gaza Strip, the only route into the Palestinian territory not controlled by ‘Israel’.

“The army and the police will take all necessary measures to tackle the dangers of terrorism and its financing, to preserve the security of the region… and protect the lives of citizens,” the presidential decree said.

The attack, in an agricultural area northwest of El-Arish, the main town in north Sinai, killed at least 30 soldiers and left 29 others injured, medics said.

A senior army official and five officers were said to be among those wounded.

Gunmen also shot dead an officer and wounded two soldiers on Friday at another checkpoint south of El-Arish, security officials said.

– Three days of national mourning –

After Friday’s attack, Sisi announced three days of national mourning and summoned a meeting of the national defense council — the country’s highest security body — to discuss the killings, his office said.

The European Union and United States both condemned the attack.

“The United States continues to support the Egyptian government’s efforts to counter the threat of terrorism in Egypt as part of our commitments to the strategic partnership between our two countries,” the State Department said.

“We regret the loss of life and express our deepest condolences to the families of the victims,” an EU spokesman said.

It was the latest in a string of bloody attacks against security forces in Egypt.

In August 2013, just weeks after the army ousted Mursi, 25 soldiers were killed in the Sinai when gunmen opened fire at two buses transporting troops with automatic rifles and rocket launchers.

In July this year, 22 border guards were killed in the western desert near the border with Libya.

Militants killed 17 policemen in two bombings in the Sinai later the same month and released footage of the attacks.

Those bombings were claimed by Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, the most active militant group in Egypt.

From the desert and mountainous Sinai, which borders the Gaza Strip and Israel, the attacks have also extended to the capital and the Nile Delta to the north.

Ansar Beit al-Maqdis tried to assassinate the interior minister in Cairo last year with a car bomb.

The group has expressed support for ISIL terrorist group in Iraq and Syria, although it has not formally pledged its allegiance.

The military has said it killed at least 22 militants in October, including an Ansar Beit al-Maqdis commander.

The group itself has acknowledged the arrest or deaths of militants, but the army has been unable so far to crush them despite a massive operation in which it has deployed attack helicopters and tanks.

– Deadly crackdown –

The latest bombing came after an Egyptian military court sentenced to death seven members of Ansar Beit al-Maqdis on Tuesday for carrying out deadly attacks on the army.

Since Mursi’s ouster, more than 1,400 of his supporters have been killed in a crackdown by the authorities.

Over 15,000 others have been jailed, including Mursi and the top leadership of his Muslim Brotherhood, and more than 200 sentenced to death in speedy trials.

The authorities have also dissolved the Brotherhood’s political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, since Sisi became Egypt’s second democratically elected president following a landslide victory in a May vote.

Source: Agencies

25-10-2014 – 08:18 Last updated 25-10-2014 – 08:22 

Created on Friday, 24 October 2014 19:21

CAIRO,(ST)_Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi has called for urgent national defense council meeting on Friday over north Sinai terrorist blasts that killed at least 34 Egyptian soldiers and wounded 50 others, media sources reported.

The sources clarified that the soldiers were killed and wounded when a car bomb exploded at a security checkpoint in Karm al-Kwardis in Sheikh Zuwaid north Sinai.

The bodies of the victims and the injured soldiers have been admitted to the military hospital and the general hospital in Al-Arish, the biggest city in North Sinai, Al-Ahram’s Arabic news website reported.

Medical teams are being sent to Al-Arish’s military hospital, said Health Minister Adel El-Adawi.

Al-Arish’s general hospital called on residents to donate blood in order to save the injured soldiers.

Earlier a terrorist blast ripped through two armored vehicles for the Egyptian army in Sheikh Zuwaid.

Today’s blasts are the third against security forces in just a week.

The agenda of the terrorist organizations in the northern edge of Sinai is similar to that of the Muslim brotherhood as they have carried out bloody attacks against the Egyptian security forces and army since the ouster of Mohammad Morsi in July 2013.

Al-Sisi calls urgent meeting over Sinia attack

After the attack, Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi called for an urgent meeting with the National Defense Council to discuss the security situation in North Sinai, according to Egypt’s state-run TV.

The National Defense Council is chaired by the President and includes the Prime Minister, the Speaker of the Parliament, Defense Minister and the Commanders of the Egyptian armed forces.

Clashes in Cairo, Alexandria  

On the other hand, fierce clashes broke out today between security forces and members of Muslim brotherhood in Cairo and Alexandria.

The member of Muslim brotherhood burned a car for a police officer.

Dozens of Muslim brotherhood members were arrested east and west Alexandria after they took part in protests during which they shouted slogans against police and armed forces.

later on, the Beirut-based al-Mayadeen TV channel reported that Egyptian warplanes struck sites of armed groups in al-Arish and Shiekh Zuwaid. 

Basma Qaddour  

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   

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Egypt and Gaza: The tale of two Rafahs

A ball of fire is seen following an Israeli air strike, on July 11, 2014 in Rafah, in the southern of Gaza Strip. Israeli warplanes kept up deadly raids on Gaza but failed to stop Palestinian militants firing rockets across the border, as the United States offered to help negotiate a truce. (Photo: AFP-Said Khatib)
Published Thursday, August 7, 2014
Om Mohammed Zaarab is an Egyptian woman of Palestinian descent. She has been living in the Salahuddin neighborhood in Sinai’s Rafah since before the division of the town into an Egyptian side and a Palestinian side.
Sinai – It was shortly after 2 pm when Om Mohammed Zaarab, a woman in her fifties, was seen standing on the balcony of her house located on the border of the Salahuddin neighborhood in Sinai’s Rafah. She prayed to God to ease the suffering of people in Gaza and her relatives living on the Palestinian side of Rafah.
Speaking to Al-Akhbar Om Mohammed said, “We did not sleep at all during the night, we kept hearing the sounds of Israeli jets bombing the region that separated the two Rafahs. They targeted the houses of my relatives and my cousins on the Palestinian side.”
“I could see their homes from my balcony, I saw it with my own two eyes as the planes bombarded their houses and turned them into piles of rubble,” she recounted.
“I saw the dead bodies of children and adults of the Zaarab family on TV, but all I could do was to pray to God to bring destruction upon the Israelis and all those supporting them… Here I am, standing a few steps away and I cannot join them, or even attend the funerals of the deceased,” she sighed.
Om Mohammed was not the only one hit by the tragedy. It was a feeling she shared with many Egyptian families of Palestinian origin who are today living on the Egyptian side of Rafah.
This town and its famous crossing were at the heart of the peace initiative launched by late Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat who visited Israel and signed a “peace accord” that involved redrawing the borders and dividing Rafah, hence separating families that lived on both sides of the borders.

“I could see their homes from my balcony, I saw it with my own two eyes as the planes bombarded their houses and turned them into piles of rubble,” – Om Mohammed

 

In his shop located on the corner of a Salahuddin’s side street, Hajj Moussa Qashta sat with a friend watching the news of the Israeli aggressions on Gaza.
 “We are sad about the massacres we see on TV that are being committed against our cousins and our relatives in Gaza, and targeting neighborhoods in Palestinian Rafah where our families are living,” he said.
Mahmoud al-Akhrassi, an Egyptian man from Rafah explained that “there are family ties linking people from the Palestinian side to those on the Egyptian side, my sister-in-law is Palestinian and her nephew was killed in the recent Israeli aggression.”
“We received condolences at our house, from both our relatives and from the relatives of the martyr, who are members of Egyptian families of Palestinian origin,” he said.
Meanwhile, an emotional Ibrahim al-Qomboz said, “We wished that Egypt would open the Rafah crossing so we can visit Gaza, especially Rafah, but there is nothing we can do.”
“We see them crying and yelling for help and we cannot even go bury them or participate in the funerals of our loved ones,” he added.
Om Khaled, who has been living in Rafah for over 30 years, is a Palestinian woman married to an Egyptian man.
She says she will never stop mourning her relatives. Constantly worried because of the Israeli war on Gaza, she said, “May God [take our revenge on] the Israelis, they do not distinguish between anyone, they kill children, mothers and old men, may God deprive them of everything they cherish.”
As we walked through the town, we reached a house in the Ahrash neighborhood. Iman Zaareb, 27, was covered in black as she sat at her parents’ house, holding the picture of a man in his thirties.
When asked about the man in the picture, she broke down in tears. She calmed down a few minutes later as her mother comforted her, and she was finally able to share her pain with us.
“This is my husband Iyad Zaarab, he visited us in Rafah when the borders were opened, we got married and I went with him to the Palestinian side where we lived what I thought was the most beautiful life,” she said.
She described her husband as “a compassionate man, who did his best to make me and our three children happy.”
“Two weeks after the Israeli aggression, some shells and missiles fell near our house and some of our neighbors were martyred,” she said, recounting her story. “My husband asked me to travel with my children to Rafah and to stay at my parents’ house until the end of the war, when the situation stabilizes. I insisted on staying there and told him we either live together or die together, but he refused and demanded that I leave.”
“In the end, I did as he wished and I came to my parents’ house,” she said with deep sorrow.
“He used to call us every day to check on me and on the kids but four days ago, Rafah was targeted with intense Israeli shelling, and dozens were martyred, including my husband,” she continued.
“He did not answer when I called him on his phone and I found out from his brother that he was martyred in the shelling,” she sighed.
“I headed to the Rafah crossing on the same day, trying to enter Gaza to see my husband before he was buried, I wept and did everything I could but the Egyptian security refused to let me in. But God is sufficient for us, for he is the best disposer of [our] affairs. He will deal with those who killed him and those who prevented me from seeing him as a martyr before he was buried,” she lamented.
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Beirut, Baghdad, Sinai, Libya … Same perpetrator

Via FLC

… and NO: The reason is NOT Hezbollah’s role in Syria!

Egypt: The Sinai of All Fears

The Sinai Peninsula

‘Violence may go to the point of murdering the hater, but it dosen’t murder hate. It may increase hate. It is always a descending spiral leading nowhere.This is the ultimate weakness of violence : It multiplies evil and violence in the universe. It doesn’t solve any problems’

–Martin Luther King

For Sinai 2013 has been one of the most critical years since its liberation from Israeli occupation.
It took a war in 1973 and a decade of negotiations to restore Sinai to Egypt. When it was returned to Egyptian sovereignty 1983 the peninsula looked forward to the implementation of development plans that would make it a land of peace and prosperity for its inhabitants and those around it. Unfortunately, the next two decades (1984-2004) witnessed little tangible progress apart from the tourist resorts that emerged in the south and helped turn that area into one of the world’s prime tourist destinations. Northern Sinai remained remote from the march of economic development, in spite of the fact that, with its long stretches of sandy beaches along the Mediterranean coastline, it is endowed with natural beauty as well as potential for industry.
Having remained fallow for so long Sinai entered an even grimmer period ushered in by terrorist attacks against southern resorts in 2004. The close of 2013 marks the end of a decade of terrorism and, hopefully, the beginning of the implementation of long-delayed plans to turn Sinai into the prosperous and thriving environment first envisaged 40 years ago.
A vicious war between the army and extremist factions and jihadist militias, now in its fifth month, has seen progress made towards dismantling the terrorist structure in Sinai. But it is important to bear in mind that the crisis runs deep. There has been cross-border infiltration which has largely been checked through the closure of most of the Sinai-Gaza tunnels. Now many leaders of takfiri factions have been apprehended, and weapon arsenals have been captured. In the wake of what Sinai activist Ghazi Abu Farraj describes as “the clean-up operation after precision surgery” there has to be a comprehensive plan capable of immunising the area from any resurgence in terrorism.
Militant field leaders like Abu Mounir, Kamal Allam and Shadi Al-Maniei, and ideological organisational leaders such as Abu Faisal, founder of the Sharia Courts in northern Sinai, are not the only players. In fact, much of the action takes place off-stage. Some of the actors ate known, others not. Arab and other countries are involved, some through their intelligence agencies, others by means of groups and organisations that they fund. There are jihadist ideologues who pronounce fatwas from behind bars, such as Abu Mohamed Al-Maqdisi in Jordan, and Wahhabi takfiri sheikhs who issue similar edicts, such as Abi Al-Munzir Al-Shanqiti, author of a lengthy tract calling on jihadists in Sinai to take up arms against the Egyptian army.
Other issues closely intertwine with events in Sinai. Extremists have used the Palestinian crisis and the sustained blockade of Gaza to legitimise aggression against Egypt. Hamas is reeling. The commercial traffic through the network of tunnels between the Sinai-Gaza border engaged some 50,000 workers and was such a major source of revenue for the Hamas government, so much so an entire ministry was set up to oversee the tunnels. That Hamas now feels beleaguered on this front suggests two possible scenarios. The first is that it has become a witting or unwitting tool for the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, as an organisational and ideological resource supported by the International Muslim Brotherhood and with the primary function of creating trouble for post-30 June Egypt. There is strong evidence to support this. In the second half of 2013 dozens of Palestinians affiliated with Hamas’s Ezzeddin Al-Qassam brigades were apprehended in Sinai and security forces unearthed large quantities of arms, ammunition and explosives traced back to the brigades. There is another dimension to this scenario. It became clear as the Egyptian army dismantled the tunnel network and tightened border security that the Egyptian authorities were aware of Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s hand in the matter. A clear message was intended: Egypt’s borders are no longer available for anti-Egyptian propaganda or for activities that undermine Egyptian sovereignty.
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Mohamed Gomaa, a researcher at Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies, explains the second scenario. Hamas, he says, realised it could not afford to continue to lend itself to the designs of the first scenario, having concluded it would ultimately backfire, drawing fire into Gaza which would ignite the political/economic pressure and lead to a redrawing of the Gazan political map in which Hamas would be marginalised.
Eliminating terrorism in Sinai entails drying up all sources of arms. Though the supply is considerably reduced, some still find a way into the peninsula. There are weapons coming from Sudan where, according to the prominent political activist Al-Mahjoub Abdel-Salem, the regime is hostile to the developments in Egypt since 30 June. Egyptian military expert Gamal Mazloum points another supply line across the Red Sea from Yemen where Qaeda activities are flourishing.
The largest weapons tributary, however, flows from Libya, currently the greatest external threat to Egyptian national security due to the proliferation of extremist groups and a weak central government. Many of these factions fall under the jihadist Salafist umbrella and have bases near the Libyan border with Egypt. According to Egyptian security sources and Libyan affairs expert Ali Saleh, there are four arms smuggling routes from Libya into Egypt, from the maritime route and an overland coastal route in the north to two desert routes in the south. In spite of frequent reports that Cairo and Tripoli are working together to curb this traffic Egyptian military reports indicate that breaches of Egypt’s western border continue.
It is not just the weapons from Sudan, Yemen and Libya that flow into Sinai. Terrorists have also begun to flock to the peninsula in order to wage holy war. The majority of leaders of the recent wave of armed assaults have been foreign jihadists, most of them trained in Al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan. They then passed on training to their local affiliates in Sinai. There are recent arrivals from Syria to, both Egyptian and foreign. Any effective anti-terrorist programme must take this into account. Cross border cooperation is required to dismantle an international terrorist network which, like organised crime, has tentacles everywhere. The assassination of Major Mohamed Abu Shaqara, whose whereabouts had been leaked to a terrorist cell, and of Major Mohamed Mabrouk, who was to be a key prosecution witness in the espionage case against Mohamed Morsi, both point to the trans-national nature of this network.
Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis initially claimed responsibility for the assassination, followed by Furqan Brigades. Both are members of the Jihadist Shura Council in Sinai. Security experts believe that these groups are actually covering for others outside Sinai. The backgrounds of suspects arrested in connection with the assassinations are very different to those of members of Sinai groups. The suspects come from wealthy families and had university educations whereas the vast majority of members of Sinai groups come from poor families and have little more than elementary school education and sometimes not even that.
The deadliest terrorist attacks in Sinai in 2013 were the second Rafah massacre in August in which 25 soldiers died and the bombing of an army bus in November which killed 11 soldiers. These were well organised operations, terrorist expert Lieutenant Colonel Khaled Okasha told Al-Ahram Weekly, which underscored the relationship between the perpetrators in Sinai and the International Muslim Brotherhood. This International Muslim Brotherhood provides funding and has encouraged the export of terror outside of Sinai. These exports include the attack against the church in Warraq, the attempted assassination of Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim in September and the bombing of a satellite station in Maadi in October.
July, a period of intermittent attacks, was the prelude to a major confrontation. August and November brought peaks in terrorist attacks against police and military installations and personnel, October saw a relative lull in violence. In October and November the army made major advances in the battle against terrorism, arresting many of Sinai’s jihadist takfiri leaders.
There has been a qualitative improvement in security for Sinai residents, says Mohamed Hamad, son of a local Sinai chief. The area from Beir Al-Abad to Al-Masaid at the entrance to Arish, once a trouble spot, is safe during the day and relatively safe at night, he says. The situation becomes more tense the further one moves towards Sheikh Zuweid and Rafah, where weapons still abound.
Military affairs expert General Talaat Muslim told the Weekly that the military’s overriding aim in Sinai is to restore security. The army does not play a political role in the peninsula but is following its traditional function which is to safeguard and eliminate all threats to national security. “We are engaged in a military battle and in any battle there will be losses,” he says. “However, the level of losses has remained within acceptable limits and is far less than was anticipated at the outset of operations.”
Members of the Sowarka and Tarabeen tribes complain of tit-for-tat violence between the army and terrorist groups and its effect on innocent people. They say homes have been destroyed and civilians targeted on the basis of a vague suspicions. A distinction must be drawn between those who practise violence and others, a member of the Tarabeen tribe told the Weekly. He stressed that harming the innocent breeds vengeance.
“We do not condemn the army for moving against any terrorist target. In fact we cooperate with it. But sometimes the situation gets out of control. Perhaps, too, they should do more to protect people threatened by the takfiris. Twelve sheikhs from the tribe were killed because they cooperated with the security agencies. The authorities have ignore this and not one of their families received compensation,” he says.
“There is security cooperation with neighbouring countries,” said the same source, “not least Israel. Israel also has agents and cells in Sinai that are playing a role in events and gathering intelligence in a very professional way. But we have to keep watch on those who are with us in case they turn against us. We cannot trust any party. Hamas is just like Israel in this matter. I am worried about Hamas because it is the Muslim Brotherhood’s arm playing from the outside while Muslim Brotherhood elements in Sinai confine themselves, superficially, to a political role.”
Comprehensive development is the only long term solution to any resurgence of the terrorist virus. Yet, says Salah Gawdat who has conducted many economic and technical studies on Sinai, though a third of a century has passed since Egypt won the peninsula back from Israel, two regimes have come and gone, a third is currently in power and a fourth is on its way, the development process has yet to extend beyond six per cent of the area of Sinai. This is despite the fact that Sinai contains 48 per cent of Egypt’s mineral wealth. The problem of Sinai’s underdevelopment could be solved, he says, by a realistic investment plan and a massive population transfer of around four million people from the Nile Valley. There would be development of the coastlines and land reclamation. Agricultural expansion would see an increase in olive cultivation and the introduction of new strains of wheat. These activities would change the face of Sinai though for them to happen, the state as a whole must return to Sinai, not just the army.

EGYPRESS: Morsi met W/ Mosad, CIA

ايجى برس 

عملت النهار من مصادر خاصة أن الرئيس المعزول محمد مرسي والمرشد العام للإخوان المسلمين
 محمد بديع قاموا بمقابلة أثنين من رجال الموساد الاسرائيلي وضابط من جهاز CIA الأمريكي بحضور السفيرة الأمريكية السابقة آن باترسون والسيناتور جون ماكين ولجنة العلاقات الخارجية للحزب الجمهوري بالكونغرس الأمريكي

وأكد المصدر أن تلك المقابلة كانت في يوم 15 يونيو أي قبل دورة الإعادة الإنتخابية مع أحمد شفيق بيوم
واحد , من جانب أخر كشف المصدر عن أسماء هؤلاء الضباط وهم “إسحاق تن” و أساري أورين” وضابط الـ CIA الأمريكي يسمى بإسمه الحركي وهو (أ-a) وأوضحت المصادر أن اللقاء كان في مكتب الإرشاد بالمقطم وتم عمل بروتوكول بإسم البارون وتم ختمه بخاتم 1977 السري المتوارث في الدولة العبرية عبر الاجيال اليهوية والذي لايمكن تقليده او تزويره على الإطلاق وأشارت المصادر إلى أن رقم البروتوكول هو 65 وأفصحت المصادر عن بنود  البروتوكول المبرم وهي

 التعهد بأن يقوم كلا من محمد بديع و محمد مرسي رئيس الجمهورية بحفظ العلاقات المصرية الاسرائيلية وعدم الإخلال بمعاهدة كامب ديفيد
عدم إضافة أو تعديل أي بند من بنود معاهدة السلام مع إسرائيل
أن تظل دولة إسرائيل دولة صديقة وليست معادية للوقت الحاضر والمستقبل مهما يحدث من خلافات أو نزاعات
لايجب على مصر إقامة تحالفات أو إتفاقيات مع حزب الله اللبناني إطلاقاً
أن يتعهد الإخوان من خلال محمد بديع مرشد الجماعة ومحمد مرسي بضمان عدم قيام حركة حماس بأي عملية تستهدف الأمن القومي لإسرائيل مهما حدث
التعهد بإعطاء جزء من الاراضي المصرية بسيناء للفلسطينين طبقا لإتفاق البارون
 وأكد المصدر أن تلك الإتفاقية ستجعل الرئيس المعزول محمد مرسي في موقف صعب أثناء محاكمته بالاضافة الي القضايا الأخر

“Security Arc” forms amidst Mideast terror

Map of ‘Security Arc’ by S. Narwani, E. Adaime, A. Amacha



These developments come with a unique, post-imperialist twist, though. For the first time in decades, this direction will be led from inside the region, by those Mideast states, groups, sects and parties most threatened by the extremism.
Because nobody else is coming to “save” the Middle East today.
As Salafist militants swarm various borders – from the Levant to the Persian Gulf to North Africa and beyond – states are disintegrating, their territorial integrity and sovereignty under threat, their institutions and economies in shambles, and their armed forces impotent against the irregular warfare practiced by these invaders.
But from within this chaos, a group of countries on the frontline of the battle has decided to give shape to a solution.
Their answer is to fight the militancy directly, to weed it out of their areas and cut off its roots. Already, they are sharing intelligence, cooperating in the battlefield with their collective resources and working to secure support from the international community.
And so while states are weakening elsewhere in the region, a security alliance is emerging out of a stretch of countries from the Levant to the Persian Gulf: Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Iran.
According to a number of informed sources in the Levant, interviewed over the course of several months, this “Security Arc” will seek to achieve several objectives: First, to maintain the territorial integrity and sovereignty of participating countries. Second, to establish rigorous military and security cooperation against immediate and future threats from extremists. Third, to forge a common political worldview that enhances the alliance and can lead to further collaboration in other arenas.
Jordan’s Sunni King Abdullah once dubbed these four nations the “Shia Crescent,” taking an unusually sectarian jab at the rise in influence of Shia governments and political parties in all four nations. But the security alliances now forming between the four states has little to do with common “sect.” Instead, Abdullah and his allies have a direct hand in the development of this grouping:
It was, after all, the region’s western-backed Arab monarchies that launched the “counter-revolution” to thwart popular Arab uprisings and re-direct them at their regional adversaries, via Syria. Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, the UAE and their Western allies threw money, weapons, training and resources at unseating Syrian President Bashar al-Assad – in a bid to weaken Iran, isolate Hezbollah and take care of that “Shia threat” once and for all.
But in their single-minded haste to cripple foes, Arab monarchies (supported by western allies) backed any co-religionist prepared to enter the fight and ignored the sectarian, extremist ideologies that these fighters embraced. They quiteillogically calculated that the militancy could be controlled once the mission was accomplished.
To quote Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow Ed Husain in August 2012: “The unspoken political calculation among (US) policymakers is to get rid of Assad first—weakening Iran’s position in the region—and then deal with al-Qaeda later.”
In the end, Assad didn’t fall, Iran didn’t waver, Hezbollah dug in, and the Russians and Chinese stepped into the fray. As the Syrian conflict developed into a regional geopolitical battle, heavy weapons, porous borders and increasingly sectarian rhetoric created a unique opportunity – from Lebanon to Iraq – for Salafist militants, including Al Qaeda, to gain influence and create a highly desirable corridor from the Levant to the Persian Gulf.
Former CIA Director Michael Hayden says: “The dominant story going on in Syria is a Sunni fundamentalist takeover of a significant part of the Middle East geography, the explosion of the Syrian state and of the Levant as we know it.”
Today, this ideological brand of political violence marked by summary executions, suicide bombings, beheadings and sectarianism threatens to unravel the entire area and turn it into a stomping ground for “emirs” and their fiefdoms governed by Shariah law. For some, this is a price worth paying – the Saudis continue unabashedly to fund and weaponize these conflicts. Other supporters, particularly in the West, have become fearful that the jihadi march will not stop at any border.
But few have taken any concrete steps to inhibit – financially or militarily – the proliferation of this extremism.
And so it is left for the targeted countries to tackle the problem. The same Western-Arab axis that sought to cripple “Shia” ascendency in the Middle East by fueling sectarianism and encouraging an armed “Sunni” reaction, has now created urgent common cause among Iranians, Syrians, Lebanese and Iraqis, based almost entirely on the “security” threat.
self-fulfilling prophecy, if you will.
Not a Uniform Union
In Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, there exists significant – mainly Sunni – populations that currently do not back a security union between the four states. Decades of sectarian propaganda from the GCC and west has made this demographic highly suspicious of the intentions of Shia Iran and its allies.
Although these populations are just as likely to be targeted by Salafist militants who have now killed Sunni moderates (along with Christians, Kurds and Shia) in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, their reluctance to see political foes gain influence has often meant they have provided “cover” for militant co-religionists and allowed them to proliferate locally. The choice is painful for this demographic: let your adversaries rise or let extremists run amok.
But earlier this year, when Hezbollah took the decision to fight openly in Qusayr, Syria alongside the Syrian army, it became clear that the parties supporting this security alliance would no longer humor the dissenters.
This Security Arc would be forged with or without the approval of naysayers. And buy-in for the security imperative is coming from an unlikely source: the United States.
In the past few months, Washington has suddenly gone from backing a mostly Sunni ‘rebellion’ in Syria to reaching out to Iran. This about-turn stems from the realization that the US has dangerously overplayed its geopolitical game and allowed religious militancy to swell past the point of no return. Neither Washington nor its NATO partners can reverse this trend unaided. Both failed miserably in the decade-long, superficial “war on terror,” which, if anything, helped sow further seeds of extremism. The US now understands that it needs the assistance of vested regional partners and rising powers that face a more imminent threat from militants – Iran, Russia, China, India, Syria, Iraq, – not just to fight extremism, but to cut off its source…in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Yemen, Libya, Afghanistan and other places.
The Americans are in an extremely difficult position: to tackle the spread of extremists, they will have to support military and security solutions from old foes in the region – Iran, Syria, Hezbollah. For starters, this means that 30-plus years of “policy” will literally be flushed away and Washington risks alienating longtime regional allies. Moreover, a successful outcome, i.e. eliminating extremism, will almost certainly mean the ascendency of Iran and the downfall of US-ally Saudi Arabia – among the many other reverberations throughout the Mideast that this will entail.
Washington’s conflicting signals on the Middle East are a result of this tortured decision. Actions, however, speak louder than words: the US just struck a nuclear deal with Iran in Geneva in record time, having secretly opened direct channels of communications first. Last month, US President Barack Obama asked to meet his Iraqi counterpart Nuri al-Maliki – soon after, the US began sharing intelligence for the first time since American troops withdrew from Iraq. That first piece of intel, according to Az-Zaman, was on the movement of militants in the Anbar desert. Today, the US-Saudi relationship has soured to the point that even officials question any real convergence of interests; European ambassadors are starting to trek back to Damascus, their intelligence officials lining up to meet with their Syrian counterparts to share information on jihadists; the formidable Israelis have been shunted aside on some major Mideast decisions; NATO-member Turkey is working overtime to ease relations with Iran and Iraq. The list goes on.
These extraordinary developments would not have been feasible a mere six months ago when the blinkers were still on. The speed at which we have been ushered into a new “era of compromise” between adversaries is a testament to the extreme urgency of the jihadist/Salafist problem – and the lengths to which countries will go to address it.
Even if this means bulldozing through entrenched policy and turning it on its head.
As a senior Hezbollah source tells me: “The US is focused more on making arrangements directly with their opponents instead of relying on their allies.” There’s good reason for that. Many of Washington’s regional allies are a source of the instability and are having to be muzzled, coerced and cajoled into accepting the new realities.
Some of these allies are political parties within the Security Arc. They’re being brought into line more quickly now, partly because the threat of terrorism hovers in their own backyards. In Lebanon, for instance, a national army thus far restrained by pro-Saudi political interests looks set to finally tackle Salafist militants in key towns, cities and refugee camps where their numbers have swelled. That’s a tremendous breakthrough after almost three years of sitting on the fence, waiting for “spillover” from Syria and taking virtually no security precautions to prevent it.
Security Arc: Plan of Action
Things are moving rapidly on every front. The convergence of extremist sectarian militias into the 50,000-strong “Islamic Front” has created further common cause on the other side. The US and UK last week withdrew support for rebels, belatedly fearing radicalization of the ‘rebellion.’ And Iran launched diplomatic efforts in neighboring Gulf states to divide their ranks against toeing the old adversarial line, succeeding when Oman refused to support a Saudi initiative for a GCC union.
But to stamp out jihadism in Syria and beyond, three main objectives need to be achieved – and it will take a collective effort to get there:
First, is to weed out extremists from inside the areas where they are growing in number and influence and where political will exists: inside the Security Arc, from within Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Iran. This is primarily a military solution – though some fighters may surrender/exit through negotiated political outreach, or when a mentoring state/individual calls it quits.
Second, is the establishment of a global sanctions regime to financially cripple jihadist/Salafist networks by targeting their sources of funding. This is already being done in small measure, but the West’s relationship with many of the violating states and individuals has prevented any genuine progress in the past. As Patrick Cockburn’s recent column in The Independent “Mass Murder in The Middle East is Funded By Our Friends The Saudis” points out: “Everyone knows where Al Qaeda gets its money, but while the violence is sectarian, the West does nothing.” The new US-Iranian rapprochement – fast-tracked to tackle terror – could change this, given the dramatic realignment of priorities and alliances created in its wake.
Third, is for neighboring states – and even those well beyond the region – to shut down their borders and enforce air-tight immigration security. On Syria’s borders we are already seeing both Turkey and Jordan taking some drastic measures, but the Iraqi border still remains porous and dangerous. Hence, Washington’s recent intel upgrade with Iraq.
Gravitating Toward The “Security” Priority
You can see the calculations changing in nations beyond the Security Arc already. Many keenly understand the vital role these four countries will have to play to stem militancy. All eyes right now are on Syria where the security situation is most precarious for the region – particularly in Egypt, Jordan and Turkey.
The latter three are the regional states most likely to support the Security Arc’s security objectives, albeit with reservations that accompany some fairly stark political differences.
Jordan, for example, has played “host” to an array of foreign special forces, troops, intelligence agencies and contractors, all focused on the task of bringing down the current Syrian government. But even its longtime financial dependency on Saudi Arabia is not worth the thousands of jihadis stationed on Jordanian territory, waiting to enter conflict zones. Arab media puts the number of Jordanian-origin jihadists inside the country at a horrifying 1,000. By contrast, the Europeans are terrified of even a handful of their own Islamist militants coming home.
According to a well-connected Lebanese source, around four months ago, Jordan, Syria and Iraq began quiet discussions (on separate bilateral tracks) about economic and security cooperation. The Jordanians initially balked at the security upgrade, but came around eventually. They’re not just worried about extremism, but about economic collapse too – either can set the other off. Worst of all would be complete irrelevance in a region undergoing rapid change. The Jordanians are not mavericks, and sandwiched as they are between Syria and Iraq, it is not hard to see their new direction.
Already, state security courts in Amman are imprisoning prominent Salafists and Jordanian fighters intent on crossing over into Syria. Jordan has shut down its border, enforced tight security around the Zaatari camp for Syrian refugees, and is likely to take further measures as relations with the Syrian government continue to improve.
The Turks have also taken measures to tighten up their borders – in practice. An internal battle still rages within its Islamist establishment where a hot-headed Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan cast his lot almost three years ago with the Syrian opposition. His intransigence on this issue has cost Turkey: armed militants have found refuge inside Turkey’s border with Syria, political violence has seeped into the country, Turkey’s popularity has plummeted in the Arab world across all sects, Erdogan’s own suppression of protest has marked him a hypocrite, and Kurdish “autonomy” in Syria raises ambitions for Kurds in neighboring Turkey.
The Turks will understand the security imperative, but the clincher will be the economic ones. Syria needs a lot of reconstruction and Iraq has oil wealth to spend once calm returns. Furthermore, a gas pipeline initiative stretching from Iran to the Mediterranean will altogether bypass Turkey – if it doesn’t play ball.
Egypt is likely to fall in line with the Security Arc for the simple reason that it now faces the same problems. Indebted as the interim military government may be to the petrodollars of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf state sponsors, Egypt will be entirely bankrupt if religious militancy takes hold, as it now threatens to do. Attacks against security forces in the Sinai surged during Egypt’s popular uprising in early 2011, and have gained momentum again since last summer when the military establishment returned to power. Today, non-Bedouin militants from outside the area are flocking to the Sinai, stocked with advanced weaponry from conflicts in Libya and Sudan. During the short reign of the Muslim Brotherhood which endorsed Syrian rebels, thousands of Egyptians flocked to the fight in Syria. It is likely that a state governed or dominated by a secular military establishment will follow the Syrian example and implement heavy security solutions to break the back of extremists.
Whatever one’s political inclinations, there is little doubt that inaction against Salafist militants at this juncture will lead to the disintegration of states throughout the Mideast.
The most dangerous hubs today are Syria, followed by Iraq, because of their political and geographical centrality in the region, and the likelihood of smaller or weaker neighbors being swept into the chaos.
The fight against extremism will therefore start inside the Security Arc, and will receive immediate support from the BRICS states and non-aligned nations. The West may choose to play key roles behind the scenes instead of unsettling their regional allies – at least for a while. But as confrontation escalates, countries will have to “take clear sides” in this pivotal battle, both in the Mideast and outside. Expect opportunism to play a hand – there may be a point at which a “stalemate” may be desirable for some. Few will dare to support the extremists, however, so also anticipate some serious narrative shifts on ‘good-guys’ and ‘bad-guys’ in the Mideast.
This, now, is the real War on Terror. But this time it will be led from inside the Middle East, gain universal support and change the regional political balance of power for generations to come.
Sharmine Narwani is a commentary writer and political analyst covering the Middle East. You can follow Sharmine on twitter @snarwani.

Mursi sold 40% Sinai to Obama

فيديو.. وثيقة تكشف اتفاق أمريكي إخواني على بيع 40% من أرض سيناء لحماس مقابل 8 مليار دولار.. والكونجرس يطالب باستردادها بعد سقوط مرسي –

Four Decades After the Tishrin

Four Decades After the Tishrin

War Self-Delusion

by FRANKLIN LAMB
Damascus

Is Damascus this weekend and many other areas of Syria, citizens will celebrate the accomplishments of the October 6, 1973 19 day war launched jointly by Syrian and Egyptian armies to regain Arab land illegally occupied in 1967.In Syria, the celebration will honor the 6,000 Syrians who died during the battle. Many events are planned including special television broadcasts, re-visiting the conflict, including art exhibits, plays, films, concerts, rallies, and wreath-laying ceremonies. The public and government officials will appear at the monument, located on the top of Qasioun Mountain in Damascus, not doubt mindful of the sacrifices being made today In Egypt, October 6 is Armed Forces Day, commemorating the Egyptians’ role in the October War.For both peoples, breaking Israel’s sense of invincibility after its 1967 aggression was victory enough.The results of the battle were mixed as history records, but the political and military effects are still indelible, as Zionist leaders exhibit a certain bi-polarization. Many analysts and pro-Zionist “think tanks” are holding seminars on the subject in occupied Palestine and some also in the US, with many attendees still gnashing their teeth at what went wrong forty years ago. For many Israelis, the surprise battle that killed nearly 3000 Israeli soldiers threatened to destroy the so-called ‘Third Temple’ thus eliminating the last 19th centery colonial enterprise.  ”Academic” seminars, in “professional” strategic forums – even in the IDF and the intelligence establishment are planned just as have been organized every year since 1973.Many Israelis are still condemning their political leaders at the time, particularly then Prime Minister  Golda Meir and military ‘heroes’ from the 1967 aggression as incompetents derelict in their military duties including lack of preparedness. The adulation for General Moshi Dayan resulting from 1967 turned ugly in October of 1973 as many families picketed and chanted “murderer” for the killing of their sons and daughters. The repentance appears to intensify each year over the “Yom Kippur fiasco,” the outcome of the “blindness” and the “smugness and arrogance following the conquests of the Six-Day War,” as many claim.
The Israeli military has never denied that General Dayan urged the use of Chemical weapons during the October war. But chemical weapons are not all that Dayan wanted permission to use.  Writing in the 10/3/13 issue of the New York Times, Avner Cohen, a professor at the Monterey Institute of International Studies and a senior fellow at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies discusses an interview he had in 2008 with  Mr.  Arnan Azaryahu who was a senior political insider and trusted aide and confidant to Yisrael Galili, a minister without portfolio and Golda Meir’s closest political ally.  Writes Cohen, “Mr. Azaryahu was privy to some of Israel’s most fateful decisions. In the early afternoon of Oct. 7, as a fierce battle with Syrian forces raged and the Israeli Army appeared to be losing its grasp on the Golan Heights.”  Mr. Azaryahu further reported that  Dayan sought from Golda Meir, during the cabinet meetingm which Mr. Azaryahu attended, “an immediate authorization of preparatory steps for a nuclear blast that he claimed would save precious time and allow the order to detonate a bomb to be executed rapidly should the need arise.”Cohen continues, “Siding with her two senior ministers, the prime minister told Mr. Dayan to “forget it.” He responded by saying that he remained unconvinced but that he respected the prime minister’s decision.”  Dayan sought but was refused authority to use either chemical or nuclear weapons.

One of the lessons from the October war being discussed is that the hubris from the 1967 aggression concerning the “invincible Israeli army’ was simple propaganda for domestic consumption as the  many battles in South Lebanon during 22 years of occupation and the 33 day war in 2006 illustrate. The war established beyond peradventure that the Israel army cannot defend the Zionist colony unless it has massive American military supplies and blank check funding.

During the Tishrin battle, the American government, without input from the pentagon or the public, provided the Israeli military with planeloads of weaponry, including 9 types of US cluster bombs that were taken from supplies at Subic Bay, Philippines, causing the local US commander to resign as he claimed that “emptying these warehouses put thousands of US troops in Vietnam at risk.”  Yet, President Nixon caved to pressure from PM Golda Meir and some hundreds of these thirty years past their shelf lives, cluster bombs were used as recently as during the July 2006 war in Lebanon.

The Nixon administration also provided Israel with something far more important – intelligence. Documents relating to the American spy-plane, the ‘SR-71 Blackbird’, show that the Israelis knew where major concentrations of Arab forces were as they were supplied with this information as a result of a SR-71 flying over the war zone. With such knowledge, the Israelis knew where to deploy their forces for maximum effect.  Whatever dreams of self-sufficiency in weapon development and production were entertained in Israel before the war were abandoned. Tel Aviv learned that it needs close strategic weapons and funding from Washington to survive.

Following the October war, The Arab oil boycott turned Israel into a pariah; fewer countries had diplomatic relations with the Jewish state than with the PLO, which didn’t even pretend to seek anything but Palestine’s liberation and the full right of Return. The UN General Assembly gave a standing ovation to Yasser Arafat and shortly thereafter the UN passed the Zionism is Racism resolution. Last month’s embarrassing Netanyahu spectacle at the UN General Assembly where he presented himself as some sort of sociopathic racist, one European delegate reportedly said after his speech that if a snap vote was held on the 1975 Zionism is Racism Resolution (GAR 3379) it would pass again–but by a larger margin than the 11/10/75 vote of 72 to 35.

Ehud Barak, Israel’s former defense minister claims at pep rallies and AIPAC type gatherings that “states much larger than ours and supposedly much stronger collapsed within weeks under surprise attack and we were totally victorious in 1973.”

Think tanks, such as the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University and the Begin-Sadat Center (BESA) for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University, have become bolder participants in the national security debates and have offered alternatives to Netanyahu-Lieberman governmental policies. Gen. Isaac Ben Israel, a specialist on strategic affairs, wrote recently in the small right-wing publication Ha-Umma that “Israel’s achievement was great for revealing to its enemies their inability to overwhelm Israel’s Defense Forces” even in the most favorable circumstances.

Both gentlemen delude themselves and fail to understand the growing global resistance to the occupation of Palestine and  opposition to the confiscation of Jerusalem by misstating what happened forty years ago this month. More realistic is the statement made by last week by Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon at a meeting with top defense officials: “One of the causes of our failure at the beginning of the conflict came from a feeling of superiority that we held after the 1967 victory. Israel had “too much confidence, arrogance and lack of caution.”

Each October, bereavement becomes a major element of the Israeli ethos, and a dominant national trauma. It is to blame some claim, for Zionist doubts about facing the future of their enterprise in Palestine. And among many Israelis even about the very right of the Apartheid Jewish state to exist. Israel once again feels vulnerable to surprise attack.

The shock of the October War left deep scars on the national psyche that affect Israelis even today. Foremost among them, according to the Jaffee Center, is a gnawing anxiety that the national leadership is so locked into a “conceptzia” — a shared strategic concept that determines the leaders’ worldview — that they may be misreading reality and ignoring opportunities for peace.
Commenting on the report’s claim that Israel is now better off strategically than at any time in its history, the military analyst for the Ma’ariv newspaper, Amir Rapaport, observed wryly that “the last time we boasted that things were never better was in the autumn of 1973.”

Franklin Lamb volunteers with the Sabra-Shatila Scholarship Program (SSSP) in Shatila Camp (www.sssp-lb.com) and is reachable c/o fplamb@gmail.com

Egypt’s Sinai is a ‘Land of Fear’

People check the scene where a car bomb exploded in near the port town of El-Arish in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula, July 24, 2013. (photo by REUTERS/Stringer)
By: Amal Ali Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon).
اقرا المقال الأصلي باللغة العربية

The Sinai, especially its northern part, has rarely witnessed a state of stability. This Egyptian peninsula, located between the Suez Canal to the west and Palestine to the east, has constituted for long years an object of desire for many regional and international parties.

Sinai is currently experiencing a new phase of instability. This strategic region is facing all forms of violence, after it was transformed into fertile ground for different terrorist groups that are present and coexisting in it.

On the road from Cairo to the northern regions of the Sinai, all passengers are taken by a subtle fear. Everyone tries to hide this feeling by listening to the recitation of Quranic verses. The voices of sheikhs emanating from cell phones are mixed with those on the radio.

The ride, which normally takes five hours, nowadays needs seven hours. This is not because of heavy traffic on the Egypt-Sinai road, but rather because of the tight security measures in addition to the confusion that resulted from closing the Suez Canal Bridge approximately two months again. The closure of the bridge means that everyone crossing over the Suez Canal must rely on ferryboats.

At the checkpoints manned by the armed forces, a state of alert reigns. Cars and passengers are thoroughly inspected. These checkpoints, however, are not safe enough to protect the soldiers themselves.

Checkpoints seem completely exposed. A number of soldiers, not exceeding five, each hold a rifle to shield against expected death. Despite this, they are always smiling. It may be a smile of hope, concealing the slogan of “Duty comes first.”

Throughout the trip, a woman keeps talking about her fear of returning to the Sinai. She talks about the daily horror the residents are going through inside their homes. “No one feels safe. We are waiting for death at any moment.” She then adds with grief, “If we were not in need of work, we would not have come back.”

In the city of El-Arish, the first stop of the trip, people are constantly talking about recurrent killings targeting civilians as well as army and police forces.

According to residents, violence has spread in an epidemic and mysterious way after the ouster of former President Mohammed Morsi, who espoused Islamist ideology. They feel helpless when it comes to protecting themselves and their families against the incessant stray bullets. The majority of El-Arish’s residents do not have any means to protect themselves. They only close their doors and rely on God first, and the nearest checkpoint second.

Before the amendments to the curfew that took place a few days ago, curfew started in the northern cities of the Sinai at 6 p.m. Yet, it was actually implemented at 4 p.m., given the expansive reaches of the province.

Although the curfew is applied in a somewhat lenient manner in El-Arish, as is the case in other crowded areas in Egypt, the story is totally different in the northern cities of the Sinai, including those adjacent to El-Arish. Citizens are not allowed to wander about after 4 p.m. and travelers are not allowed to enter the city after 6 p.m., which has left a large number of people stuck on the roads.
The outskirts in  northern Sinai, such as Rafah and Sheikh Zuwaid, are struggling with the worst security. According to the map of armed groups, the border cities are witnessing a dense presence of three jihadist groups — Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, whose mission is to fight Jews and whose elements are deployed in many border cities; the Salafist Jihadist Movement, with 90% of its members located in Sheikh Zuwaid; and the Mujahedeen Shura Council, with 70% of its members located in Sheikh Zuwaid and Rafah.

Most of the army checkpoints that are deployed on the road between the cities of El-Arish and Sheikh Zuwaid have been attacked more than once during clashes with Salafist jihadist groups.
The main square in Sheikh Zuwaid has been completely closed due to repeated clashes there. A few meters away from the square lies the city’s police department. The building exemplifies the security situation, with its semi-ruined walls riddled with bullet holes and mortar shell markings. There were three snipers positioned on the roof while police officers were inside the building.

“We are scared. If we go out we will die,” said a resident in the Sinai, who symbolizes the state of all the people of the region, which has become paralyzed since the ouster of Morsi and the beginning of terrorist attacks.

In the city of Sheikh Zuwaid, all doors are closed. Indeed, 90% of shops surrounding the police department in the Qawasimah neighborhood have been damaged. No one dares to reopen them, as attacks could occur at any moment. Nevertheless, the owners of these shops are obliged to continue to pay the monthly rent amounting to 1,500 Egyptian pounds ($218).

Trade is paralyzed and most consumer goods are not available. Moreover, people are living in terror, as they are afraid of being killed by stray bullets fired by the army or internal forces during clashes with extremist groups; this is not to mention the curfew imposed from time to time.
Hashem Abu Bakr, an employee in the courts, said, “We now rely on salary advances; those who have little sustenance share it with their neighbors. Most of us do not dare go out of the house for fear of gun shootings and sometimes we are banned from leaving our homes due to strict security measures. Even employees have not been paid their salaries for two months and some of the residents had to sell their cattle for half price to repay their debts.”

“We are not upset with the army, but it sometimes fires randomly killing a lot of people,” said a woman in her 50s, carrying a child. Indeed, one of the residents of Sheikh Zuwaid , who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that his 70-year-old father was shot by internal security forces snipers as he was heading to the pharmacy at 4:30 p.m. Given his old age, the man did not hear the warning of officers and received a bullet in the head.

The children of the Sinai are also living in a state of fear because of the terrorist operations. Many children have been suffering from nighttime seizures and some neurotic cases.

Moreover, people are concerned about the deficit in daily supplies, as the truckloads of supplies are facing great difficulties in reaching the northern Sinai from Cairo. Sometimes, the most basic goods — such as flour, oil, sugar and salt — are not available.

“There was a decision to extend August’s subsistence supplies for 10 days, as the ministry failed to provide the sufficient quantities,” a resident said. “However, we were surprised to learn that the decision was canceled. We ask the supply officer about the cause of the crisis, he said that the August allocation was nine tons but only two tons were supplied.”

This is what caused prices in the northern Sinai to rise by about 50%. The price of a loaf of bread has reached 1.25 pounds [$0.18], as bakery owners have been losing tons of flour on a daily basis.
People have become terrorized to the extent that taxi drivers are refusing to transport soldiers, even if they are wearing civilian clothes, for fear of being targeted.

“We are afraid that we might be targeted as well, while transporting soldiers,” said Mohammed al-Atarach, a resident of the Sinai.

At 3 p.m. sharp, As-Safir’s tour in Rafah and Sheikh Zuwaid ended suddenly. The curfew was about to start.

Read more

Nasser Kandil: Hezbollah, Syria, Brotherhood and Egypt

ساعة وعشرون | ناصر قنديل 17-8-2013

Sinai: An incontrollable weapons hub!

Via FLC

“… Israeli intelligence officials are not only worried about the large quantities of Libyan weapons reaching Gaza but also about weapons from Iran. The Iranian-developed Fajr-5 rockets were recently able to reach cities deep within Israel, including Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, for the first time ever.But stopping the weapons shipments promises to be a difficult undertaking. Weapons are routinely seized coming into Egypt from Libya. Just last month, Egyptian authorities stopped two pickups, also near Marsa Matrouh, that were traveling toward Alexandria on Egypt’s Mediterranean coast. They were carrying scores of rockets and mortar rounds, authorities said. 

Egyptian security officials say it’s not always clear where the weapons are headed: Islamist militants in the Sinai or Palestinian militants in Gaza. Both receive weapons from Libya, authorities say…”

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchyRiver to Sea Uprooted Palestinian
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!dc.com/2012/11/27/175702/arms-shipment-from-libya-to-gaza.html#storylink=c….”

Arch Paedophile Jimmy Savile was a devout Zionist and an Israel supporter


DateSunday, October 28, 2012 at 10:40AM AuthorGilad Atzmon

It is far from being a big surprise that Jimmy Savile, a ‘predatory sex offender’, found many friends amongst Zionists and Israeli leaders. Just a year ago, the UK Jewish Chronicle saw him as a dear friend of the Jewish people and their State.
Interestingly enough, JC’s Jessica Elgot who wrote the following piece prefers Zionist paedophile Savile over truth tellers such as prof’ John Mersheimer or myself*.

http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/57682/jimmy-savile-came-my-batmitzvah

Jimmy Savile came to my batmitzvah

By Jessica Elgot, November 3, 2011
With the Bridge in Britain friends in Tel Aviv in 1975; John Levy is far rightWith the Bridge in Britain friends in Tel Aviv in 1975; John Levy is far right

He claimed to have “invented the disco”, but Sir Jimmy Savile, the DJ and presenter who died last weekend, also claimed to have done his bit towards peace in the Middle East.
Sir Jimmy always said he had berated the Israeli Cabinet in 1975 for being too soft after the Six Day War.

The bling-loving Leeds-born presenter of Jim’ll Fix It and Top of the Pops, who once described himself as “the most Jewish Catholic you will ever meet,” was a strong supporter of Israel and through fun runs, marathons and personal appearances, raised funds for many charities including WIZO, Ravenswood, and the British Friends of the Laniado Hospital in Netanya.
His ten-day visit to Israel in 1975, when he met President Ephraim Katzir and Jerusalem mayor Teddy Kollek, was organised by John Levy of the Friends of Israel Educational Trust.

The trip was filmed for the BBC’s Jim’ll Fix It after nine-year-old Gary Merrie from Liverpool asked “to see the land where Jesus was born.”

Trademark tracksuit
Trademark tracksuit

Sir Jimmy recalled his advice to the Israelis: “I arrived at this reception. The president came to me and asked how I was enjoying my visit. I said I was very disappointed: the Israelis had won the Six Day War but they had given back all the land, including the only oil well in the region, and were now paying the Egyptians more for oil than if they had bought it from Saudi Arabia.

“I said: ‘You have forgotten to be Jewish’. He said: ‘Would you like to tell my cabinet that?’ Next morning, I went to the Knesset; they interrupted a cabinet meeting and I told them the same as I had told him.”

Mr Levy recalled: “He was a gorgeous, impish, creative character. Of course, he was an egomaniac, but he was incredibly generous. He wanted to film us walking from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, so there are these scenes trudging the Judean Hills. He had many close Jewish friends, he was a real philosemite. When we returned, I asked him to be a ‘Friend’ of the Trust and he insisted that I listed him as ‘Special Friend’.”

During his visit, Sir Jimmy spent time camping near the Sea of Galilee and at Kibbutz Lavi, where he recorded a discussion programme for his Radio 1 show “Speakeasy.”

Famous for his “clunk-click” road safety campaign advocating the wearing of seat belts, Sir Jimmy loved nearly everything in Israel, with one major exception – the driving. After his trip and a meeting with then Transport Minister Moshe Dayan, when he returned to London, he presented Israeli ambassador Gideon Rafael with two road safety films which he hoped would be shown on Israeli TV.

Mancunians Pearl Gruber and her late husband Harold were close friends of Sir Jimmy, and invited him to their daughter Sharon’s batmitzvah in 1968. Mrs Gruber said: “He was wonderful; he broadcast his radio show ‘Savile’s Travels’ from the batmitzvah party at the Yeshurun Hebrew Congregation in Cheadle. One of the boys at the party really wanted to be a disc jockey and nearly drove him mad.”

Sharon Gruber, who now lives in Mill Hill, recalled: “He came to my batmitzvah in a silver suit, and people were whispering ‘who does that man think he is, Jimmy Savile?’ They didn’t realise it was really him!”

One of his eight homes was a small flat in the heart of the Leeds Jewish community in Roundhay. He spent much of his time socialising at the Flying Pizza restaurant on Street Lane, a popular local haunt.

He was a regular at fundraising dinners at synagogues in Leeds and Manchester, particularly for the British Friends of Laniado, donating large sums to the organisation.

He told the BBYO group in Leeds: “I knew nothing about the Jewish community growing up”, but visiting Israel had made him realise that “the world owes the Jewish community a great debt.”

Manchester Laniado chair Dov Hamburger recalled Sir Jimmy’s appearance at the charity’s annual dinner, which he did for nothing. Mr Hamburger said: “I cannot recall a keynote speaker who has behaved so generously before.”

Former Norwood chief executive Norma Brier recalled Jimmy Savile’s visit to Ravenswood Village in 1989. “He came to open the Ravenswood fair and was a great hit, turning up in his gold Rolls Royce. He walked around chatting to the residents and spent lots of time there. We were very grateful for his support.”

To read Jewish Chronicle’s Jessica Elgot on Gilad Atzmon:

Mearsheimer backs book by antisemite

Gilad Atzmon’s ‘antisemitic rhetoric’ denounced at film premiere

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

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