3rd August 2011 - Egypt - From President to Criminal

When the author of this blog first visited Egypt about 15 years ago he found village people living in mud-brick houses, with a fan to keep cool in the summer, with black and white televisions, if they were lucky an ancient 'phone, and maybe a bicycle.
Now they live in brick and concrete houses, with air conditioning, with colour and satellite television, - even the children have mobile phones, many have computers, and many have cars, or at least a motor-bike.
Hospitals are better, shops are full of copies of designer clothes and most people are decidedly better off.
But the man who led the government which provided these improvements is in a 'cage', awaiting a trial and undoubtedly punishment.
It's unlikely he was responsible for more deaths than the still deeply revered Nasser, and while he and his family were undoubtedly 'corrupt', then so are the majority of the Egyptian people - they always have been - from the time of the Pharaohs, - and probably always will be - the Mubaraks were just corrupt on a presidential scale.
In the civilised world we don't put 83 (?) year old men (even if we think they are murderers) in cages, even before they have been found guilty - so the Egyptian people - who seem to want this - seem to be as barbaric as the so-called 'criminals' whom they are so keen to humiliate and punish.

And punishing Mubarak and his sons will not solve any of Egypt's intractable problems.
The most likely outcome of all this lunacy will probably be a fundamentalist (Salafist) Muslim government, which will topple Egypt into the mire at present occupied by Sudan and Somalia - but then, as the author of this blog has always said - 'the Egyptians are good at shooting themselves in the foot !'

The New Arms of Egypt ?

And as for the much vaunted 'Arab Spring' - it's the beginning of an 'Arab Night' - plunging the whole area into conflict and economic disruption - that is, even more conflict and more economic disruption - which in the end will undoubtedly be unjustly blamed on the West and the Zionists.

23rd August 2011 - Libya

Never trust an Arab ! - Good advice from John Stokes Crawford.

In Libya, as Gaddafi grew old, certain members of his government decided that they didn't want to be passed over as Gaddafi sons took over - and so the broke away - moved to Bengazi - and set up an alternative government. Just another Arab coup.
They said they were creating a democratic, free Libya - but Arabs have no understanding of the words - they only understand the family and the tribe.
All the nonsense about freedom and democracy was simply for Western consumption - a ploy to get money and military support.
Now they have entered Tripoli, claiming to have captured two of Gaddafi's sons, whom they claim they have sent to the International Criminal Court of Justice. - Just another Arab lie !
What should the West do ?
Have nothing to do with these Arab family squables !
Leave them to stew in their own internecine conflicts.

The new dictator of Libya ?

Mustafa Abdul Jalil  (left) (born 1952) is a Libyan politician.
From 2007 to 2011, he was Minister of Justice (unofficially, the Secretary of the General People's Committee) under Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi.
It was he who sentenced to death the Bulgarian nurses.
During the 2011 Libyan civil war, Abdul Jalil has been identified as the Chairman of the National Transitional Council based in Benghazi, which controls much of the country in opposition to Gaddafi in Tripoli.
Now the new, unelected government of Lybia has accused neighbouring Algeria of an 'act of war' - and have declared that they wish to execute Gaddafi by firing squad.

مُعَمَّر القَذَّافِي‎  Muʿammar al-Qaḏḏāfī

Muammar al-Gaddafi was raised in a bedouin tent in the desert near Sirt.
According to most conventional biographies, his family belongs to a small tribe of arabized Berbers, the Qadhadhfa.
They are mostly stockherders that live in the Hun Oasis.
According to Gaddafi, his grandfather, Abdessalam Bouminyar, fought against Italian occupation of Libya and died as the "first martyr in Khoms, in the first battle of 1911".
Gaddafi attended a Muslim elementary school as a youth, during which time he was profoundly influenced by major events in the Arab world.
He was passionate about the success of the Palestinians and was deeply disappointed by their defeat to Israeli forces in 1948.
He admired Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, and looked to him as hero during his rise to power in 1952.
In 1956 Gaddafi took part in anti-Israeli protests during the Suez Crisis.
He finished his secondary school studies under a private tutor in Misrata, concentrating on the study of history.
In Libya, as in a number of other Arab countries, admission to a military academy and a career as an army officer only became available to members of the lower economic strata after independence.
A military career offered an opportunity for higher education, for upward economic and social mobility, and was for many the only available means of political action.

For Gaddafi and many of his fellow officers, who were inspired by Nasser's brand of Arab nationalism, a military career was a revolutionary vocation.
Gaddafi entered the Libyan military academy at Benghazi in 1961 and graduated in the 1965–66 period, along with most of his colleagues from the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC). Gaddafi's association with the Free Officers Movement began as a cadet.
The frustration and shame felt by Libyan officers at the time of Israel's defeat of the Arab armies on three fronts in 1967 fueled their determination to contribute to Arab unity by overthrowing the monarchy.
An early conspirator, Gaddafi began his first plan to overthrow the monarchy while in military college.
Gaddafi pursued further studies in Europe, and false rumors have been propagated with regards to this part of his life—for example Gaddafi did not attend the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, though he did receive further military training in the United Kingdom.
On 1 September 1969 a small group of junior military officers led by Gaddafi staged a bloodless coup d'état (bloodless - unlike the revolution against Gaddafi which has shed an ocean of blood - with the help of the European powers) against King Idris while he was in Turkey for medical treatment.
His nephew, the Crown Prince Sayyid Hasan ar-Rida al-Mahdi as-Sanussi, was formally deposed by the revolutionary army officers and put under house arrest; they abolished the monarchy and proclaimed the Libyan Arab Republic.

Gaddafi looked to Gamal Abdel Nasser as a role model and based his government on Nasser's Egypt.
Gaddafi's ideology was largely based on Nasserism, blending Arab nationalism, aspects of the welfare state, and what Gaddafi termed "popular democracy", or more commonly "direct, popular democracy".
He called this system "Islamic socialism", as he disfavored the atheistic quality of communism. While he permitted private control over small companies, the government controlled the larger ones.
Welfare, "liberation" (or "emancipation" depending on the translation), and education was emphasized.
He also imposed a system of Islamic morals and outlawed alcohol and gambling.

جمهوريّة مصر العربيّة


محمد حسين طنطاوى سليمان‎

Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi

Mohamed Hussein Tantawi Soliman - born October 31, 1935) is an Egyptian Field Marshal and statesman.
He is the commander-in-chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces and since February 11, 2011, he has been simultaneously the Minister of Defense, and Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, the de facto head of state of Egypt.
Tantawi has served in the government as Minister of Defense and Military Production since 1991 and was also Deputy Prime Minister in January–February 2011.

Tantawi, who is of Nubian origin, received his commission as a military officer on April 1, 1956 serving in the infantry.
He took part in the Sinai War of 1956, the Six-Day War of 1967, and the Yom Kippur War of 1973, all against Israel.
He held various commands and was assigned as military attaché to Pakistan.
Tantawi has served as Commander of the Presidential Guard and Chief of the Operations Authority of the Armed Forces.
In 1990/1991 he also took part in the U.S.-led Gulf War against Iraq to force it to pull out its troops from Kuwait, which it invaded on 1990 by commanding an Egyptian army unit deployed in the Gulf theater of operations.
On May 20, 1991, following the dismissal of Lt. General Youssef Sabri Abu Taleb, Tantawi was appointed as Minister of Defense and Military Production and commander-in-chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces.
He was also appointed as Field Marshal.
It is believed that Tantawi would have succeeded Mubarak as president of Egypt, had the assassination attempt in June 1995 been successful.
Early in 2011, Tantawi was seen as a possible contender for the Egyptian presidency.

ميدان التحرير‎

Tahrir Square - Cairo - Egypt

Tahrir Square (English: Liberation Square) is a major public town square in Downtown Cairo, Egypt.
The square was originally called Ismailia Square, after the 19th-century ruler Khedive Ismail, who commissioned the new downtown district's 'Paris on the Nile' design.
After the Egyptian Revolution of 1919 the square became widely known as Tahrir (Liberation) Square, but the square was not officially renamed until the Egyptian Revolution of 1952, which changed Egypt from a constitutional monarchy into a republic.
The square is a focal point for the Egyptian Revolution of 2011.
At the centre of Tahrir Square is a large and busy traffic circle. On the north-east side is a plaza with a statue of nationalist hero Omar Makram, celebrated for his resistance against Napoleon I's invasion of Egypt, and beyond is the Omar Makram Mosque.
The square is the northern terminus of the historic Qasr al-Ayni Street, the western terminus of Talaat Harb Street, and via Qasr al-Nil Street crossing its southern portion it has direct access to the Qasr al-Nil Bridge crossing the nearby Nile River.
The area around Tahrir Square includes the Egyptian Museum, the National Democratic Party-NDP headquarters building, the Mogamma government building, the Headquarters of the Arab League building, the Nile Hotel, Kasr El Dobara Evangelical Church and the original downtown campus of the American University in Cairo.
The Cairo Metro serves Tahrir Square with the Sadat Station, which is the downtown junction of the system's two lines, linking to Giza, Maadi, Helwan, and other districts and suburbs of Greater Cairo. Its underground access viaducts provide the safest routes for pedestrians crossing the broad roads of the heavily trafficked square.

Tahrir Square - Cairo - Egypt - 22 November 2011


The so called Arab Spring seems to be achieving very little.
Tunisia has had its election - but then no one is very interested in what happens in Tunisia.
In Libya the internal 'coup', disguised as a revolution, continues on its way with the announcement of a provisional government.
With the leaders of the Gaddafi tribe either killed, missing, or, in the case of the leader, Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar Gaddafi, brutally tortured and murdered, the Western backed  coup is yet another Arab case of 'moving the deckchairs on the Titanic'.
The foolish Egyptians deluded themselves into believing that the removal of the geriatric Mubarak would suddenly bring with it a torrent of Mercedes, designer jeans and Nokia and Apple i-phones, and maybe some much wanted jobs.
Instead the Army simply ushered Mubarak into the dictator's retirement home, and continued to rule Egypt, with the promise of elections in the near future.
I have watched, first hand, during the rule of Mubarak, as many Egyptians went from mud brick hovels to concrete and brick houses - from black and white televisions to wide screen, colour satellite TVs. From bicycles to motorbikes, and from motorbikes to cars. From no telephone to mobiles, even for the children.
And what thanks did Mubarak get for all that ?
Egypt is one of the most inefficient countries in the world, and the only institution that operates with any degree professionalism is the armed forces, and in particular the Army.
Whilst guaranteeing the security of the country, and guaranteeing law and order, the Army also controls about forty percent of the Egyptian economy.
Undoubtedly many of the officers in the army are corrupt - but then that is the norm in all Arab countries.
Equally, I can say from my own experiences in Egypt, that almost all Egyptians are corrupt, from the lowliest stall-holder to the highest officials in the Azhar.
When the rioters (protesters or freedom-fighters ?) accuse the military of corruption, it is like the 'pot calling the kettle black' - but of course, what the rioters really want is their grab at the power, and their resulting share of the corruption.
When the new round of rioting began, the rioters began by tearing down the election posters - so what hope for a fair and free election in the near future ?
And if Tantawi goes, and the army goes, as the rioters demand, who will hold the state together ?
The parties are ramshackle groups of amateurs, with no real plan for Egypt's future.
These groups are in no way capable of bringing order, stability and prosperity to to country which has, for as long as I have known it, been on the brink of disaster.
Only one group - the sinister Muslim Brotherhood - الإخوان المسلمون/المسلمين - stands quietly in the wings, waiting for disaster.
And them it will probably step in, and impose a theocratic regime, a Sunni version of the Iranian regime - and then we will see how the Egyptian people will like that !

for more information about Egypt go to 'Mustafa's Egypt'