- Saudi king sacks deputy defence minister - royal court | Reuters
- More signs of al-Saud family feuds
- Cairobserver — Egypt's cities: governed by spectacle
- Egypt hosts launch of new Qatari opposition group | Middle East Eye
- Government decides to legalise firearms | Libya Herald
I'm sure all the militias will care.
- Kurds’ deputy PM Talabani calls for decentralised Iraq
- Egypt Moves to Restrict Ramadan Sermons | TIME
More religious control.
- Revisionist powers are driving the world’s crises - FT
Mead vs. Ikenberry
A lean couple of weeks...
- Israeli authorities destroy Palestinian family’s valley of fruit trees
On so it goes on an on..
- Alaa Abdel Fattah, 24 others handed 15-year sentences
For an "illegal" protest. This is fucking heartbreaking.
- Sisiphus | MERIP
On Egypt's new president.
- FRIDE - Morocco’s Islamists: Bucking the trend?
Anouar Boukhars on the PJD.
- Save Mohamed Soltan’s life In preventive detention and on hunger strike since 26 January 2014
- Tahrir Square assaults
Nadine Marroushi gives a comprehensive account of the reactions to recent mass sexual assaults
Al Jazeera English does a great first dig into the EMG gas deal between Egypt and Israel –theft from the Egyptian people involving many who are still in power in Egypt today, and with the blessing of the United States. It underplays the extent to which Hussein Salem was a key member of the Egyptian intelligence establishment, close to Field Marshal Abu Ghazala (Mubarak's chief rival in the early 1980s) and granted some protection from the Reagan administration after being caught in one of the scams in the US-Egypt military aid relationship. It's a story at the heart of how corruption, power, and strategic interests interact in the Middle East – very much worth watching.
Belated link-dump so we can clear the joke election stuff.
- Egypt 2014 Presidential Election - Google Sheets
A handy results breakdown by Evan Hill
- Ganzeer - Who's Afraid of Art?
Famous street artist labelled "terrorist"
- Egyptian Presidential Challenger Withdraws Monitors - NYT
What a disastrous election - doubt sowed on everything.
- Egypt Elections: A Message in Spoiled Ballots - WSJ
Our friends at Industry Arabic (where you can get all your translation needs met) have translated a recent reaction by satirist Bassem Youssef (who was taken off the air recently in case he might "influence" the presidential vote) to presidential candidate Abdel Fattah El Sisi's seeming austerity program for the Egyptian people.
No sooner did I finish watching Field Marshal al-Sisi's speech to young people than I jumped out of my chair with a determination to go to the nearest gathering of doctors and dissuade them from their partial strike. Al-Sisi has managed to completely change my ideas about Egypt and its ungrateful people who just want to take and not give anything to their dear mother, Egypt.
Al-Sisi tells us in a voice replete with tenderness and affection that only a traitor or foreign agent would quibble with: "You have to give more than you take." He said that this is what he told his officers to encourage them in discharging their duties towards the people. Then he cited the lovely example of poor parents whose son graduates from university and goes on to pay them back. Al-Sisi wished that such behavior would become common.
In fact, I could use this lovely example to convince the ungrateful doctors who just ask, "What will I get from Egypt?" while not one of them stops to consider, "What will I give to Egypt?"
The ungrateful doctor studied and crammed, then went to spend his residency in remote areas, then was appointed as a physician in the Ministry of Health, spending long hours in the hospital. He is forced to chase after dispensaries and decrepit hospitals just to get enough to pay his telephone bill. The state bestows upon him an exorbitant salary, as you know. So to hell with those doctors who dare to ask for anything from Egypt.
Some interesting reporting on Israel's extensive spying on the US in two pieces by Newsweek's Jeff Stein this week - Israel Won’t Stop Spying on the U.S. and Israel’s Aggressive Spying in the U.S. Mostly Hushed Up. From the first piece:
“I don’t think anyone was surprised by these revelations,” the former aide said. “But when you step back and hear…that there are no other countries taking advantage of our security relationship the way the Israelis are for espionage purposes, it is quite shocking. I mean, it shouldn’t be lost on anyone that after all the hand-wringing over [Jonathan] Pollard, it’s still going on.”
And this anecdote from the second, follow-up report:
When White House national security advisor Susan Rice’s security detail cleared her Jerusalem hotel suite for bugs and intruders Tuesday night, they might’ve had in mind a surprise visitor to Vice President Al Gore’s room 16 years ago this week: a spy in an air duct.
According to a senior former U.S. intelligence operative, a Secret Service agent who was enjoying a moment of solitude in Gore’s bathroom before the Veep arrived heard a metallic scraping sound. “The Secret Service had secured [Gore’s] room in advance and they all left except for one agent, who decided to take a long, slow time on the pot,” the operative recalled for Newsweek. “So the room was all quiet, he was just meditating on his toes, and he hears a noise in the vent. And he sees the vent clips being moved from the inside. And then he sees a guy starting to exit the vent into the room.”
Did the agent scramble for his gun? No, the former operative said with a chuckle. “He kind of coughed and the guy went back into the vents.”
To some, the incident stands as an apt metaphor for the behind-closed-doors relations between Israel and America, “frenemies” even in the best of times. The brazen air-duct caper “crossed the line” of acceptable behavior between friendly intelligence services – but because it was done by Israel, it was quickly hushed up by U.S. officials.
And the reason it goes on unchecked, of course, is that American lawmakers are protecting Israel:
Always lurking, former intelligence officials say, was the powerful “Israeli lobby,” the network of Israel’s friends in Congress, industry and successive administrations, Republican and Democratic, ready to protest any perceived slight on the part of U.S. security officials. A former counterintelligence specialist told Newsweek he risked Israel’s wrath merely by providing routine security briefings to American officials, businessmen and scientists heading to Israel for meetings and conferences.
“We had to be very careful how we warned American officials,” he said. “We regularly got calls from members of Congress outraged by security warnings about going to Israel. And they had our budget. When ... the director of the CIA gets a call from an outraged congressman–’What are these security briefings you're giving? What are these high-level threat warnings about travel to Tel Aviv you're giving? This is outrageous’ – he has to pay close attention. There was always this political delicacy that you had to be aware of.”
- Failed Hegemons: The Middle East's Regional Powers | Raymond Hinnebusch
- Attacks in Egypt Kill 4, Including Police, Soldier - ABC News
Double suicide bombing...
- Can Secular Parties Lead the New Tunisia? - Carnegie
Odd q since two were in Troika.
- Power struggle blights Libya's chaotic main airport | Reuters
- In Egypt, Nasty Business as Usual | MERIP
- The judges behind the verdicts | Mada Masr
Important piece on the Egyptian judiciary.
- Shi'ite militias join Iraqi army to fight Sunni groups | Iraq | Worldbulletin
Tons of details here.