Revolutionizing Awareness

helping humanity, make choices, more so through awareness, than ignorance

Posts Tagged ‘Hosni Mubarak’

Egypt trial on U.S. democracy activists set for February 26

Posted by Admin on February 18, 2012

http://news.yahoo.com/egypt-trial-u-democracy-activists-set-february-26-121625255.html;_ylt=AsDfB988WdpcfsQU8ia.m1ms0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTNsN2ZhbWt2BG1pdANUb3BTdG9yeSBGUARwa2cDNDY2NDZkYzktZjNhMy0zY2I4LTkwODEtYWRlNTE1MmZlMWQ4BHBvcwMyBHNlYwN0b3Bfc3RvcnkEdmVyAzljMzQzOTIwLTVhMmEtMTFlMS1iZmY2LTNmOGJiNmE2NDU2YQ–;_ylg=X3oDMTFvdnRqYzJoBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdANob21lBHB0A3NlY3Rpb25zBHRlc3QD;_ylv=3

Reuters – 1 hr 6 mins ago

Note By Admin: Remember that in all the Arab nation uprising observed during the last one ad a half years, either MI6, CIA, black ops and Xe forces along with SAS covert troops have been noticed masquerading as activists and inciters to provoke and create strategically timed revolts in each of the nations.

Not to mention for those of you who have kept abreast with updates from Project Camelot where an interview was conducted by Kerry Lynn Cassidy with Aaron McCollum, he mentioned that the Powers that Be were planning such strategies to hide the ‘ethereal’ like experiences created by this massive Gulf of Aden Stargate anomaly which has united over 300 maritime navy and battle ready ships from the navies of all the powerful nations in the world including USA, China, India, Israel, Iran, Russia all united and keeping a 15 nautical mile boundary of observance on this anomaly while at the same time benevolent ET ships are decloaking to reveal their enormous size when they appear into this dimension to observe and supervise our world. Also to be noted is that there is an underwater base right beneath the Stargate anomaly. Remember a stargate is way bigger and more massive and complex compared to a portal and is usually a naturally occurring vortex of coalescent energy.

It cannot be manufactured unless there are extremely powerful negatively oriented and purely service to self beings with tremendous 4D technologies to create one and operate and maintain it.

Either way both versions attract an lot of attention from off worlders for various reasons and they draw up huge amounts of energy which is now being facilitated and provided by the Great Central Sun of our Galaxy and the super massive black hole at its centre. Also a ring of quasars are right at the event horizon periphery of this black hole emanating bands of radiation to help all DNA based lifeforms existing on our world to ascend. Then there are the photon bands into which we are increasingly entering more towards their maximum intensity central sub-bands.

The ETs and Dark Illuminati humans operating this Underwater Base below the Gulf of Aden are trying to assimilate various regressively oriented ET races’ DNA strands with that of Earth humans to create a perfect assimilation and synthesis of the perfect Super Soldier that can always be controlled for whatever ends they are required for.

A lot is happenign on this world now and a lot is yet to be explained. Sounds confusing, it is and wait there will be some more later.

Oh and one more thing, even if you are a billionaire you can’t fly anywhere near that anomaly cause you will just be shot down with EMF oriented scalar weapons. Infact your pilot won’t even know what hit the navigations systems before the plane drops like a stone into the surrounding ocean and due to the Earth’s concavity, you need to be at least within 15kms or near the ships to witness what is on the horizon, otherwise the object falls off below it making it not visible.

Also naturally occurring star gates are not messed around with by good ETs because they know that these gates themselves are sentient and activate at the right time to help the beings on the planet ascend and the other point is they cannot be controlled.

CAIRO (Reuters) – An Egyptian court will start the trial on February 26 of activists from mostly American civil society groupsaccused of working illegally in Egypt, in a case which has strained U.S.-Egyptian ties.

A judicial source told Reuters that the 43 accused, including around 20 Americans, would go on trial next Sunday, charged with working in the country without proper legal registration.

The state new agency MENA said the hearing would take place at North Cairo Criminal Court.

Investigators swooped down on the offices of civil society groupson December 29, confiscating computers and other equipment and seizing cash and documents.

The American defendants have been banned from leaving Egypt and some have taken refuge in the U.S. embassy. Among those accused is Sam LaHood, Egypt director of the International Republican Institute and the son of the U.S. transportation secretary.

“The date of the first hearing in the case of foreign funding involving foreign civil societyorganizations has been set for February 26,” a judicial source told Reuters.

The American groups raided were the IRI and the National Democratic Institute, both democracy-building groups loosely affiliated with the U.S. political parties, as well as the human rights group Freedom House, and the International Center for Journalists.

Egyptian Minister of Planning Faiza Abul Naga has linked U.S. funding of civil society initiatives to an American plot to undermine Egypt. The democracy groups’ leaders denied their activists had done anything improper or illegal.

The spat is one of the worst in more than 30 years of close U.S.-Egyptian ties and has complicated Washington’s efforts to establish relations with the military council that took power from Hosni Mubarak after his overthrow in a popular revolt a year ago.

A delegation of U.S. lawmakers is scheduled to arrive to Egypt Monday headed by Senator John McCain who has said he hoped Egyptian officials understood the situation was unacceptable to the United States.

(Reporting by Marwa Awad: Writing by Shaimaa Fayed)

 

Advertisements

Posted in Conspiracy Archives, Geo-Politics, War Quotient | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Egypt trial on U.S. democracy activists set for February 26

Nonviolent Revolution Clarified: Five Myths and Realities Behind Egypt’s Uprising

Posted by Admin on July 10, 2011

http://www.truth-out.org/nonviolent-revolution-clarified-five-myths-and-realities-behind-egypts-uprising/1310067482

by: Dr. Cynthia Boaz, Truthout | News Analysis
 

An Egyptian flag flies as thousands of protesters attend a mass demonstration in Tahrir Square, the focal point of the Egyptian uprising, in Cairo on July 8, 2011. (Photo: Moises Saman / The New York Times)

The fall of the regimes in Tunisia and Egypt has produced prolific analysis by media commentators across the spectrum. Some of this analysis has been excellent, but much of the conventional media interpretation of the why, how and what behind these events leaves much to be desired. There are a handful of misconceptions that have been parroted repeatedly in media coverage of the “Arab Spring.” These are important to recognize because the dynamics of how power is shifted matters enormously. In Gandhian language, means and ends are inseparable. That which is won through violence must be sustained through violence. That which is won through mass civil nonviolent action is more legitimate and more likely to be sustainable over the long term.

Additionally, how we understand and interpret the source of the power that emerged in Tunisia and Egypt last spring can go on to shape our long-term views about what is possible. If we consciously or unconsciously reinforce misconceptions or negative stereotypes about nonviolent action, we potentially undermine the morale of people engaged in ongoing struggles and, in the worst-case scenario, we can give credibility to the perspectives of the oppressors. What follows are the five most prevalent ways in which mainstream media has gotten the story wrong on the Egyptian uprising and the corresponding correction to each.

Misconception 1: It was spontaneous. Reality:  Although commentators still tend to talk about the Egyptian revolution as though no one could have predicted it, the key variable in the victory was planning. As we saw during the height of Mubarak‘s crackdown, the movement was able to keep the people of Egypt unified and, for the most part, nonviolently disciplined. Considering the lengths to which the regime went to try and provoke violence, it was quite remarkable how focused, creative and disciplined the activists remained. None of that would have been possible without several years of laying the groundwork. Egyptian activists worked for years to identify and neutralize the sources of power in the nation of 83 million. Their effort extended to making personal connections with the military forces and the commanders in particular. It’s a nuanced divide-and-conquer strategy. After building relationships with members of the regime’s pillars of support, the movement then helped them question the legitimacy of the ruler and the system they were upholding. When media analysts talk about an uprising like the one in Egypt as spontaneous, they are revealing their lack of understanding of the dynamics of nonviolent action and, simultaneously, are taking credit away from activists, who in many cases, have worked hard for years – often at great personal risk and sacrifice – to make this kind of victory possible. Regimes like Mubarak’s don’t fall when people just spontaneously show up in the city square. They only fall when movements are capable of exerting sustained pressure on them over a length of time. And that for that to happen, there must be unity, strategy, vision and, most importantly, planning, planning and more planning.

Misconception 2: It was a military coup. Reality: It was a people-power revolution. This misconception stems partly from the fact that, at the end of the day, much hinged on whose side the military took in the struggle. But instead of giving the people credit for winning the military to their side through effective campaigning and salient messaging, many media commentators erroneously regard the military’s defense of the people as a sign that it was they who were actually leading the uprising. But the loyalty demonstrated by the military to the people’s revolution should be interpreted as a sign of how well the movement did its job, not just of how powerful the military is in Egypt. The strategy was about unifying around a shared vision of Egyptian society. This misconception also is partly attributable to the fact that many of us cannot conceptualize power as taking any form other than a militaristic one. That perspective reflects adherence to outdated assumptions and frames about violence and power, namely the notion that those two concepts are interchangeable. Fortunately, the people of Egypt know better and they’ve given the rest of the world an example from which to build.

Stay informed with Truthout updates delivered straight to your email inbox. Click here to sign up.

Misconception 3: It was orchestrated by the United States, either by backroom deals or “training and support” of activists. Reality: This unfortunate misconception shows a gross lack of knowledge of how nonviolent action works. There is really only one condition essential for the success of nonviolent struggle and that without which a struggle can never succeed: it must be indigenous. To claim nonviolent protests of the scale we saw in Egypt last spring can be manufactured abroad is to grossly overestimate the influence of US agents and agencies. How could US agencies organize broad-based protests and manage to get hundreds of thousands of people to maintain nonviolent discipline while under violent assault from half a world away, while these same agencies were, for more than five decades, unable to remove octogenarian Fidel Castro from his perch only 90 miles from the US border and with a population eight times smaller than Egypt’s? To say that it was the United States that somehow orchestrated the events in Egypt is also to show contempt for what the people did, which is to take control of their own destiny. To question the Egyptian people’s authorship of their own struggle serves the interests of a brutal dictator and others like him, and it risks undermining global support for what was, both at its heart and its implementation, an indigenous people’s movement. This, by the way, is not to say that US agencies have taken no interest in or have made no attempts at influencing democracy struggles around the world. It is just to argue that, in the case of Egypt and other successful people-power revolutions, that offer of help was declined.

Misconception 4It was an Islamist uprising. Reality: Not only is this incorrect, but it flies directly in the face of claims made by the same analysts who say they’re interested in promoting genuine democracy. There were Muslims in the movement, yes. But there were also Christians, Jews, atheists, and many others. In order to test the credibility of this assertion, it is important to look at the proclaimed objectives of the movement: it was about more rights, more freedoms and more democracy. Contrast those objectives to the common stereotypes about Islam held in the West: that it is undemocratic, violent and oppressive. There is no way to reconcile those two things. Either Western analysts must concede that the Egyptian revolution was not Islamist or they must concede that Islam is not a violent, undemocratic religion. The ideal course of action would be to concede the former completely and the latter mostly. But short of that, it must be one or the other. A related argument is that we should be wary about the Egyptian victory because it will create space for the Muslim Brotherhood to assert more control in that society. There are several things to note about this claim, however: first, it has never been an acceptable argument against democracy to say that it should be limited because of the outcomes it might produce. Secondly, those who make this assertion might do well to ask themselves if they would accept Egyptians picking their leaders for them. If the answer is no, then they owe the same courtesy to the Egyptian people. And lastly, the Muslim Brotherhood (a group which itself is widely misunderstood in that it formally renounced violence as a means of change of decades ago) seems to have begun evolving along with the Egyptian people. As of last week, it formed a coalition with one of Egypt’s most liberal political parties in an attempt to broaden – and moderate – its base.

Misconception 5: It wasn’t nonviolent. Reality: It is unrealistic to imagine that a revolution of this scale and with a target as brutal as this regime can be totally nonviolent. But there is a distinction between saying there were a few violent outbursts by undisciplined individuals and that there was violence by the movement. This movement itself was strictly nonviolent and that is what is most relevant. In a country as large as Egypt, it is impossible to train every person individually in nonviolent strategy. And so, not understanding the necessity of nonviolent discipline, there were some incidents of rock throwing, clashes with police, vandalism and a few outbursts of individual rage. There was a militant flank in many historical nonviolent struggles – South Africa, Chile and the US civil rights movement, to name a few. In each case, as in Egypt, the presence of that contingent undoubtedly made the work of the movement both more difficult and more essential. Because of the potential for possible outbursts, the movement had to: a) distinguish itself from undisciplined radicals, b) make it clear that no violence would be tolerated and c) train new activists on the ground. Consider the lengths to which the regime went to provoke violence by the people in order to create the perceptions that what the movement was doing was not nonviolent and, therefore, not legitimate. It was critical that the movement girded against vulnerability to these kind of agents provocateurs and they did that extraordinarily well, especially considering the movement’s enormous size. At the end of the day, the Egyptian uprising was one of history’s most significant nonviolent struggles and that is how history will remember it.

It is important that events like the ones in Egypt are conveyed as accurately as possible by media for many reasons, but one of the most significant is that the victory of mass nonviolent action in Egypt has implications for terrorist organizations and the perceived efficacy of terrorism itself. As nonviolent methods to push grievances succeed, they de-legitimize violence as a means of promoting change. Nonviolent action offers a realistic alternative to both violence and the status quo and it is, simultaneously, a very powerful form of struggle. If we consider that terrorist organizations and members of movements tend to share the same recruitment bases – disaffected people demanding significant change – then the victory in Egypt has likely done serious damage to the PR campaigns of terrorist networks. Because of that, the people of Egypt should not only be lauded for taking back their freedom through almost entirely democratic means, but for making the world a little bit safer for everyone.

Creative Commons License
This work by Truthout is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.
0digg
DR. CYNTHIA BOAZ

Dr. Cynthia Boaz is assistant professor of political science at Sonoma State University, where her areas of expertise include quality of democracy, nonviolent struggle, civil resistance and political communication and media. She is also an affiliated scholar at the UNESCO Chair of Philosophy for Peace International Master in Peace, Conflict, and Development Studies at Universitat Jaume I in Castellon, Spain. Additionally, she is an analyst and consultant on nonviolent action, with special emphasis on the Iran and Burma cases. She is vice president of the Metta Center for Nonviolence and on the board of Project Censored and the Media Freedom Foundation. Dr. Boaz is also a contributing writer and adviser to Truthout.org and associate editor of Peace and Change Journal.

Posted in Truthout Articles | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Nonviolent Revolution Clarified: Five Myths and Realities Behind Egypt’s Uprising

Egypt police clash with youths; over 1,000 hurt

Posted by Admin on July 2, 2011

http://news.yahoo.com/egypt-police-fire-tear-gas-protesting-youths-082011998.html

By Patrick Werr and Yasmine Saleh | Reuters – Wed, Jun 29, 2011

CAIRO (Reuters) – Police in Cairo fired tear gas on Wednesday at hundreds of stone-throwing Egyptian youths after a night of clashes that injured more than 1,000 people, the worst violence in the capital in several weeks.

Nearly five months since a popular uprising toppled long-serving authoritarian leader Hosni Mubarak, Egypt‘s military rulers are struggling to keep order while a restless public is still impatient for reform.

The latest clashes began after families of people killed in the uprising that ousted Mubarak held an event in a Cairo suburb late on Tuesday in their honor.

Other bereaved relatives arrived to complain that names of their own dead were not mentioned at the ceremony. Fighting broke and moved toward the capital’s central Tahrir Square and the Interior Ministry, according to officials.

The Health Ministry said 1,036 people were injured, among them at least 40 policemen.

The ruling military council said in a statement on its Facebook page that the latest events “had no justification other than to shake Egypt’s safety and security in an organised plan that exploits the blood of the revolution’s martyrs and to sow division between the people and the security apparatus.”

Prime Minister Essam Sharaf told state TV he was monitoring developments and awaiting a full report on the clashes.

A security source quoted by the state news agency MENA said 40 people were arrested, including one U.S. and one British citizen, and were being questioned by military prosecutors.

Some said those involved were bent on battling police rather than protesting. To others, the violence seemed motivated by politics.

“The people are angry that the court cases against top officials keep getting delayed,” said Ahmed Abdel Hamid, 26, a bakery employee who was at the scene overnight, referring to senior political figures from the discredited Mubarak era.

By early afternoon, eight ambulances were in Tahrir, epicenter of the revolt that toppled Mubarak on February 11, and the police had left the square. Dozens of adolescent boys, shirts tied around their heads, blocked traffic from entering Tahrir, using stones and scrap metal.

Some drove mopeds in circles around the square making skids and angering bystanders. “Thugs, thugs… The square is controlled by thugs,” an old man chanted.

“I am here today because I heard about the violent treatment by the police of the protesters last night,” said Magdy Ibrahim, 28, an accountant at Egypt’s Banque du Caire.

TREATING WOUNDED

The clashes unnerved Egypt’s financial market, with equity traders blaming the violence for a 2 percent fall in the benchmark EGX30 index, its biggest drop since June 2.

First-aid workers treated people mostly for inhaling tear gas in overnight violence. A Reuters correspondent saw several people with minor wounds, including some with head cuts.

Mohsen Mourad, the deputy interior minister for Cairo, said the security forces did not enter Tahrir overnight and dealt only with 150-200 people who tried to break into the Interior Ministry and threw stones, damaging cars and police vehicles.

The Muslim Brotherhood‘s political party warned Egyptians that remnants of Mubarak’s rule could exploit violence to their ends. Presidential candidate Mohamed ElBaradei called on the ruling military council to quickly clarify the facts surrounding the violence and to take measures to halt it.

U.S. Undersecretary of State William Burns, visiting Cairo, said he hoped an investigation into the clashes would be “fair and thorough.”

Young men lit car tyres in the street near the ministry on Wednesday, sending black plumes of smoke into the air.

“There is lack of information about what happened and the details are not clear. But the certain thing is that Egyptians are in a state of tension and the reason behind this is that officials are taking time to put Mubarak and officials on trial,” said political analyst Hassan Nafaa.

Sporadic clashes, some of them between Muslims and the Christian minority, have posed a challenge to a government trying to restore order after many police deserted the streets during the uprising against Mubarak. In early May, 12 people were killed and 52 wounded in sectarian clashes and the burning of a church in Cairo’s Imbaba neighborhood.

A hospital in central Cairo’s Munira neighborhood received two civilians and 41 policemen with wounds, bruises and tear gas inhalation, MENA said. All were discharged except one civilian with a bullet wound and a policeman with concussion, it said.

Former interior minister Habib al-Adli has been sentenced to jail for corruption but he and other officials are still being tried on charges related to killing protesters. Police vehicles were stoned by protesters at Sunday’s hearing.

The former president, now hospitalized, has also been charged with the killing of protesters and could face the death penalty. Mubarak’s trial starts on August 3.

(Additional reporting by Dina Zayed and Sherine El Madany; Writing by Edmund Blair and Tom Pfeiffer; Editing by Peter Graff)

Posted in Economic Upheavals | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Egypt police clash with youths; over 1,000 hurt

Lebanon-Israel Tensions Rise over Offshore Oil and Gas

Posted by Admin on April 6, 2011

Map showing the Blue Line demarcation line bet...

Black Gold and Crisis Borders

http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/20110406/wl_time/08599206118700

By NICHOLAS BLANFORD / BEIRUT Nicholas Blanford / Beirut 24 mins ago

For most countries, the existence of a massive fossil-fuel deposit within its sovereign territory would be gratefully welcomed as an economic windfall. But the delight in Israel at the recent giant gas discovery off its northern coastline is tempered by the knowledge that it could provide the spark to ignite the next war between the Jewish state and its mortal foe to the north, Lebanon‘s militant Shi’ite Hizballah.

The stakes are enormous. Both Lebanon and Israel currently have little or no oil or gas deposits, and are dependent on neighboring countries for importing fuel and power. Israel presently relies on Egypt for most of its gas, but the durability of that arrangement has been cast into doubt following the ouster of Hosni Mubarak‘s regime. The Egyptian pipeline supplying gas to Israel and Jordan was blown up in January and only began operating again last week. (See TIME’s video “Israel’s Lonesome Doves.”)

Key to the tensions over the potential gas bonanza is that the maritime border between Israel and Lebanon has never been delineated because the two states are still technically at war.

The two gas fields off the northern Israel coast – Tamar and Leviathan – contain an estimated 8.4 trillion cu. ft. (238 billion cu m) and 16 trillion cu. ft. (453 billion cu m), respectively, sufficient to satisfy Israel’s energy needs for the next half-century. What remains unknown is if the fields stretch into Lebanon’s territorial waters. Even if neither of them do, Tamar and Leviathan are part of much bigger potential oil and gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean. Last year, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated that the Levant Basin Province, encompassing parts of Israel, Lebanon, Syria and Cyprus, could contain as much as 122 trillion cu. ft. (3.4 trillion cu m) of gas and 1.7 billion barrels of recoverable oil. (For comparison, Libya has gas reserves of 53 trillion cu. ft. [1.5 trillion cu m] and oil reserves of 60 billion barrels.)

The Israelis have a head start in the race to extract gas, having awarded the concessions to a joint U.S.-Israeli firm. Tamar is expected to go online in 2012 and Leviathan three years later. (See “Does Libya’s Oil Industry Reflect Its Fate?”)

The upheaval in Egypt has “awakened old fears among Israelis that their power supply rests in the hands of potentially hostile neighbors,” says Gal Luft, the executive director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security in Potomac, Md. “This jolt will force Israel to move much more expeditiously toward developing its own newly discovered fields in order to achieve energy independence.”

Meanwhile, Lebanon is moving on its interests as well. Last August, the country’s parliament approved a long-awaited draft bill on gas-and-oil exploration. Lebanon also is pursuing arrangements with neighbors Syria and Cyprus to delineate their respective maritime exclusive economic zones. Representatives of energy companies are already in Beirut lobbying for potentially lucrative oil-and-gas concessions. The prospect of oil and gas beneath Lebanon’s coastal waters could have immense benefits for a country with one of the highest debt rates in the world, around $52 billion, or 147% of gross domestic product. But progress has slowed down because of the collapse of the government in January and the delay in the formation of a new Cabinet due to political bickering.

“Oil exploration is the victim of the current political vacuum,” Nabih Berri, the parliamentary Speaker, said last week, noting that Lebanon’s three neighbors – Israel, Syria and Cyprus – were forging ahead with agreements on oil-and-gas surveys. (See pictures of life under Hamas in Gaza.)

Beirut has asked the U.N. to help mark a temporary sea boundary between Lebanon and Israel, a maritime equivalent of the “blue line” established by the U.N. in 2000, which corresponds to Lebanon’s southern land border. The U.N. has agreed to assist and the Israelis are studying the proposal. But the U.N. faces a potentially thankless task. The demarcation of the blue line 11 years ago was mired in mutual distrust and wrangling with neither the Lebanese nor Israelis willing to concede an inch of territory to the other. Without goodwill from both sides, the maritime boundary could be even more difficult to define given the complicated geography of the coastline.

Some have described the dispute over the gas fields along the Lebanon-Israel border as another Shebaa Farms, a reference to a small unpopulated mountainside along Lebanon’s southern border that is occupied by Israel but claimed by Lebanon. The Shebaa Farms has been a periodic flash point between Hizballah and Israel. But a foreign diplomat in Beirut said that parallels between the Shebaa Farms and the offshore gas fields are misplaced. “Forget the Shebaa Farms,” the diplomat says, “That was created as a point of tension between Lebanon and Israel.” The practicalities of energy needs, however, mean that the Lebanese will approach the gas fields practically – not politically. “The Lebanese are not being difficult [over the maritime boundary] because they have real economic interests here,” he says. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a potential for friction. He adds, “Unless there is a pragmatic arrangement, you could have a confrontation.”

It is perhaps no surprise then that the sudden interest in the potential fossil-fuel wealth off the Israeli and Lebanese coastline has turned the Mediterranean into a potential new theater of conflict between the Israelis and Hizballah. The Lebanese group already boasts an amphibious warfare unit trained in underwater sabotage and coastal infiltrations. Hizballah’s ability to target shipping – and possibly offshore oil-and-gas platforms – was demonstrated in the monthlong war with Israel in 2006 when the militants came close to sinking an Israeli naval vessel with an Iranian version of the Chinese C-802 missile. Hizballah fighters have since hinted that they have acquired larger antiship missiles with double the 72-mile (116 km) range of the C-802 variant. Last year, Hizballah chief Sheik Hassan Nasrallah warned that his organization now possesses the ability to target shipping along the entire length of Israel’s coastline. (See pictures of 60 years of Israel.)

In January, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the offshore gas fields as a “strategic objective that Israel’s enemies will try to undermine” and vowed that “Israel will defend its resources.” Last month, the Israeli navy reportedly presented to the government a maritime-security plan costing between $40 million and $70 million to defend the gas fields.

Upping the ante even further, Nasrallah promised last week that if Israel threatens future Lebanese plans to tap its oil and gas reserves, “only the Resistance [Hizballah] would force Israel and the world to respect Lebanon’s right.”

Then there is the recent passage of two Iranian navy vessels in the Mediterranean and the subsequent discovery last week by the Israeli navy of a smuggled consignment of arms and ammunition that included six C-704 antiship missiles believed destined for Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The missiles, though smaller than the C-802, could target Israeli shipping off Gaza as well as Israel’s Yam Tethys oil rig off the coast of Ashkelon. Citing the Iranian vessels and smuggled antiship missiles, security analyst Luft said, “Such activities could present real threats to exploration activities off Israel.” The potential oil and gas fields off the Lebanese and Israeli coasts look set not only to become a potential long-term source of wealth – but also a source of conflict in the years ahead.

Watch a video about the gas shortage in Iraq.

See TIME’s Pictures of the Week.

View this article on Time.com

Most Popular on Time.com:

Posted in Geo-Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Lebanon-Israel Tensions Rise over Offshore Oil and Gas

Egypt crisis: President Hosni Mubarak resigns as leader

Posted by Admin on February 14, 2011

Hosni Mubarak - World Economic Forum Annual Me...

People power

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12433045

12 February 2011 Last updated at 05:12 GMT

Vice-President Omar Suleiman made the announcement on state television

Hosni Mubarak has stepped down as president of Egypt, after weeks of protest in Cairo and other cities.

The news was greeted with a huge outburst of joy and celebration by thousands in Cairo’s Tahrir Square – the heart of the demonstrations.

Mr Mubarak ruled for 30 years, suppressing dissent and protest, and jailing opponents.

US President Barack Obama said that Egypt must now move to civilian and democratic rule.

This was not the end but the beginning and there were difficult days ahead, the US president added, but he was confident the people could find the answers.

“The people of Egypt have spoken, their voices have been heard,” Mr Obama said. “Egypt will never be the same again.”

“They have made it clear that nothing less than genuine democracy will carry the day.”

‘God help everybody’

Continue reading the main story 

President Hosni Mubarak

Hosni Mubarak
  • Elevated from vice-president when Anwar Sadat was assassinated in 1981
  • Supported Sadat’s policy of peace with Israel
  • Maintained emergency law for entire presidency
  • Won three elections unopposed
  • Fourth term secured in 2005 after allowing rivals to stand
  • Economic development led many Egyptians to accept continued rule
  • Survived 1995 assassination attempt in Ethiopia
  • Faced Islamist threat within Egypt, including Luxor massacre of 1997 and Sinai bombings
  • Regularly suppressed dissent, protests and political opponents

Announcing Mr Mubarak’s resignation, Vice-President Omar Suleiman said the president had handed power to the army.

Mr Suleiman said on state TV that the high command of the armed forces had taken over.

“In the name of God the merciful, the compassionate, citizens, during these very difficult circumstances Egypt is going through, President Hosni Mubarak has decided to step down from the office of president of the republic and has charged the high council of the armed forces to administer the affairs of the country,” he said.

“May God help everybody.”

Later an army officer read out a statement paying tribute to Mr Mubarak for “what he has given” to Egypt but acknowledging popular power.

“There is no legitimacy other than that of the people,” the statement said.

The military high command is headed by Defence Minister Mohamed Hussein Tantawi.

US diplomatic cables published by Wikileaks described Field Marshal Tantawi as “aged and change-resistant”, but committed to avoiding another war with Israel.

Mr Mubarak has already left Cairo and is in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh where he has a residence, officials say.

In Cairo, thousands of people gathered outside the presidential palace, in Tahrir Square and at state TV.

They came out in anger following an address by Mr Mubarak on Thursday. He had been expected to announce his resignation but stopped short of stepping down, instead transferring most powers to Mr Suleiman.

Cairo's Tahrir SquarePlease turn on JavaScript. Media requires JavaScript to play. 

 

Click to play

Protester: ‘I’ll tell my children we made this revolution possible’

“The people have brought down the regime,” they chanted in reaction to the news of his eventual resignation less than 24 hours later.

Opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei said: “This is the greatest day of my life.”

“You cannot comprehend the amount of joy and happiness of every Egyptian at the restoration of our humanity and our freedom.”

The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s banned Islamist opposition movement, paid tribute to the army for keeping its promises.

“I salute the Egyptian people and the martyrs. This is the day of victory for the Egyptian people. The main goal of the revolution has been achieved,” said the Brotherhood’s former parliamentary leader, Mohamed el-Katatni.

Continue reading the main story 

At the scene

Yolande Knell BBC News, Cairo 


It is hard to know where to look as you walk through central Cairo. Everyone in this mega-city has spilled out onto the streets to party.

Soldiers lift small, smiling children onto their tanks to pose for photos, whole families are flying flags and wearing matching hats in red, white and black as they walk along the Corniche by the Nile, and motorcyclists precariously weave their way through the crowds yelling “Egypt, Egypt”.

The excited din from Tahrir Square, the scene of the massive protests against President Mubarak that began on 25 January, can be heard from miles off. It is packed with huge crowds.

The demonstrators’ barricades that had controlled entry to the square have been dismantled, and security checkpoints at which people showed identification and had their bags searched have all gone.

Some people are already packing up their tents in the campsite nearby. They have achieved what they set out to do.

Ayman Nour, Mr Mubarak’s rival for the presidency in 2005, described it as the greatest day in Egypt’s history.

“This nation has been born again. These people have been born again, and this is a new Egypt,” he told al-Jazeera TV.

Meanwhile Amr Moussa, a former Egyptian foreign minister, announced that he would leave his post as secretary general of the Arab League “within weeks”, the Egyptian news agency Mena reported. He hinted that he might stand for president.

The BBC’s Jon Leyne in Cairo said the announcement caught everyone by surprise: all over the city, drivers honked their horns and people fired guns into the air.

But the army takeover looks very much like a military coup, our correspondent adds.

The constitution has been breached, he says, because officially it should be the speaker of parliament who takes over, not the army leadership.

‘Historic change’

There was jubilation throughout the Middle East and North Africa, including in Tunisia, where people overthrew their own president last month.

A military spokesman on state TV Please turn on JavaScript. Media requires JavaScript to play. 

 

Click to play

A military spokesman on state TV ‘salutes’ Hosni Mubarak’s service

For the Arab League, Mr Moussa said events in Egypt presented an opportunity to build a national consensus.

Meanwhile, Iran described the recent events as a “great victory”.

A senior Israeli official expressed the hope that Mr Mubarak’s departure would “bring no change to its peaceful relations with Cairo”.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he respected the “difficult decision” taken in the people’s interests, and called for an “orderly and peaceful transition”.

European Union leaders reacted positively to the news of Mr Mubarak’s resignation.

Foreign policy chief Baroness Ashton said the EU “respected” the decision.

“It is important now that the dialogue is accelerated leading to a broad-based government which will respect the aspirations of, and deliver stability for, the Egyptian people,” she said.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron said this was a “really precious moment of opportunity to have a government that can bring the people together”, and called for a “move to civilian and democratic rule”.

Continue reading the main story 

Mohamed Hussein Tantawi

  • Head of higher council of Egyptian armed forces
  • Minister of defence since 1991
  • Commander-in-chief armed forces since 1991
  • Appointed deputy prime minister 31 Jan 2011
  • Born 31 Oct 1935

German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed the “historic change” in Egypt.

US Vice-President Joe Biden said Egypt had reached a pivotal moment in history.

The anti-government protests that began on 25 January were triggered by widespread unrest in Egypt over unemployment, poverty and corruption.

They followed a popular uprising in Tunisia which brought about the downfall of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.

Posted in Geo-Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Egypt crisis: President Hosni Mubarak resigns as leader

China’s wheat crop at risk, world wary

Posted by Admin on February 14, 2011

Wheat Field [E-X-P-L-O-R-E-D]

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/china/Chinas-wheat-crop-at-risk-world-wary/articleshow/7490455.cms

Subodh Varma, TNN, Feb 14, 2011, 12.34am IST

NEW DELHI: There is bad news on the global food front. In an alert issued this week, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) warned that more than two-thirds of China‘s gigantic wheat crop may be under risk “because of substantially below-normal rainfall” this winter.

The affected areas in the northern plains of China produced over 75 million tonne of China’s total production of 112 million tonne of wheat last year. Any shortfall in Chinese production would have serial effects on availability and prices of wheat around the world.

Global food prices have been silently climbing upward through the past six months and with production and consumption very finely balanced, any disruption in production may wreak havoc with prices. Already, food prices are touching the record levels set in 2008 although prices of rice—the world’s largest staple food— are still below those levels.

High food prices have been feeding growing restlessness and anger in a swathe of countries including West Asia. Egypt had experienced an 18.5% rate of inflation driving up prices of all food commodities except bread which is subsidized by the government to the tune of $1.5 billion annually. This was a major contributory factor to the 18-day uprising that dislodged the three-decade-long dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak. Protests against high food prices have taken place in Oman, Israel and Jordan and have contributed to political unrest in Yemen, Tunisia and Algeria.

Wheat flour prices were 16% higher than a year ago in China driven by fears of drought. The Chinese government has announced a $1.96-billion package to fight drought, including attempts to create artificial rain by cloud seeding.

Apart from staples, sugar prices are running at 30-year highs. Weather-related disruption in Australia, Brazil and China has caused international refined sugar prices to reach 35.6 cents per pound. The average price for sugar in 2010 was 27.78 cents per pound. The last time sugar prices reached these sky-high levels was in 1980.

Meanwhile, the World Sugar Committee, representing leading traders, wrote to the ICE futures commodity exchange blaming parasitic speculators for the high prices of sugar.

Nervous governments across the world are trying to stem the tide in different ways. Several countries in West Asia are stocking up on foodgrain. Iraq, where agricultural production has declined considerably, has placed orders for 300,000 tonne of wheat from the US, with options for another 100,000 tonne. Jordan and Lebanon submitted tenders for 100,000 tonne and 22,500 tonne respectively. Algeria, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia too placed large orders recently. Others, like Russia, have banned exports. Vietnam has devalued its currency, the dong, by 9% to curb inflation.

All these point to an impending crisis in food availability and prices that could lead to further turmoil globally.

Posted in Press Releases | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on China’s wheat crop at risk, world wary

Tens of thousands march against Yemen president

Posted by Admin on February 4, 2011

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110203/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_yemen

SANAA, Yemen – Tens of thousands of demonstrators, some chanting “down, down with the regime,” marched Thursday in several towns and cities in Yemen against the country’s autocratic president, a key U.S. ally in the fight against Islamic militants.

Police opened fire and tear gas to break up one of the marches, witnesses said, and security officials confirmed a demonstrator was critically wounded by police fire. Two others were also hurt in the eastern town of Mukalla, but further details were not immediately available.

In the capital of Sanaa, scuffles and stone-throwing briefly erupted between thousands of anti-government demonstrators and supporters of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has ruled for more than 30 years. However, police stepped in and there were no reports of injuries.

Security forces deployed in large numbers around the Interior Ministry and the Central Bank, and military helicopters hovered over some parts of the city.

Anti-government protests have erupted in several Arab countries in recent weeks. In Egypt, embattled President Hosni Mubarak is trying to cling to power until the end of his term in September, despite more than a week massive street protests demanding his immediate resignation.

In Yemen, protests erupted in several towns Thursday after Saleh moved earlier this week to defuse demands for his ouster by pledging not to seek another term in 2013 and not to allow his son inherit power.

Anti-government protesters said they don’t trust Saleh and demanded that he quit immediately.

“Thirty years of promises and thirty years of lies,” read one banner raised by marchers in Sanaa. Protesters chanted: “Down, down with the regime.”

In a counter demonstration, supporters of the president carried banners warning that the opposition was trying to destabilize Yemen.

Mohammed al-Sabri, a spokesman for a coalition of opposition groups, said hundreds of thousands took to the streets Thursday. He said the opposition is ready to engage in a dialogue with the president, but wants concrete proposals for change.

“We welcome this decision (not to seek another term), but if the people want the president to leave, we will adopt their demand,” al-Sabri said. “We have had political demands which we discussed with the regime for the past three years, but unfortunately failed.”

He said peaceful protests would continue for the next three months.

The United States has taken a sharp tone on Egypt, urging Mubarak to move swiftly to meet the demand for democratic reform. But it has cautiously praised pledges of reform in Yemen.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley on Wednesday welcomed Saleh’s “positive statements.”

The Yemeni president is seen as a weak but increasingly important partner of the United States, allowing American drone strikes on al-Qaida targets and stepping up counterterrorism cooperation.

In Brussels, Yemen’s foreign minister, Abu Bakr al-Qirbi, warned that interference from outside countries — of the sort in Iraq, Afghanistan or Pakistan — would be counterproductive.

He said frustration of the young generation was widespread across the Arab world, including in his country. “I think the frustrations of younger generations are universal in the Arab world,” al-Qirbi told The Associated Press in Brussels, where he had come to seek development aid.

However, he said Yemen’s government never severed contacts with opposition parties and civil groups, and for that reason it was better placed to hold a constructive internal dialogue than other countries in the Middle East.

In Yemen, where the population is overwhelmingly very young, unemployment is 35 percent and poverty is endemic. About 40 percent of the population lives on less than $2 (euro1.45) a day.

Saleh’s government controls little of the impoverished country beyond the capital; it is facing a serious challenge from a secessionist movement in the south and a rebellion in the north.

The U.S.-born radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, thought to be hiding in Yemen, is believed to have inspired and even plotted or helped coordinate recent attacks on the U.S. Those include the failed Christmas Day 2009 bombing of a Detroit-bound airliner and the unsuccessful plot to send mail bombs on planes from Yemen to the U.S. in October.

Al-Awlaki also is believed to have inspired the deadly 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas, and had ties to some of the 9/11 hijackers.

In Thursday’s marches, thousands of anti-government protesters also took to the streets in the city of Aden. They defied security forces and armored personnel carriers that tried to close the main streets to prevent them from gathering.

Protesters there shouted: “People want the downfall of the regime, the downfall of the president.”

All big shops in Sanaa and Aden closed their doors and major companies hired guards to protect against possible looting.

Protesters also scuffled with security forces in the town of Jaar in the southern province of Abyan, where al-Qaida militants have been active.

Posted in Economic Upheavals | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Tens of thousands march against Yemen president

Gunfire pounds anti-Mubarak protest camp in Cairo

Posted by Admin on February 3, 2011

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110203/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_egypt

CAIROHeavy automatic weapons fire pounded the anti-government protest camp in Cairo‘s Tahrir Square before dawn on Thursday in a dramatic escalation of what appeared to be a well-orchestrated series of assaults on the demonstrators. At least three protesters were killed by gunfire, according to one of the activists.

The crowds seeking an end to President Hosni Mubarak’s nearly three decades in power were still reeling from attacks hours earlier in which Mubarak supporters charged into the square on horses and camels, lashing people with whips, while others rained firebombs and rocks from rooftops.

The protesters accused Mubarak’s regime of unleashing a force of paid thugs and plainclothes police to crush their unprecedented nine-day-old movement, a day after the 82-year-old president refused to step down. They showed off police ID badges they said were wrested from their attackers. Some government workers said their employers ordered them into the streets.

The violence intensified overnight, as sustained bursts of automatic gunfire and powerful single shots rained into the square starting at around 4 a.m. and continuing for more than two hours.

Protest organizer Mustafa el-Naggar said he saw the bodies of three dead protesters being carried toward an ambulance. He said the gunfire came from at least three locations in the distance and that the Egyptian military, which has ringed the square with tank squads for days to try to keep some order, did not intervene.

Footage from AP Television News showed one tank spreading a thick smoke screen along a highway overpass just to the north of the square in an apparent attempt to deprive attackers of a high vantage point. The two sides seemed to be battling for control of the overpass, which leads to a main bridge over the Nile.

In the darkness, groups of men hurled firebombs and rocks from the bridge, where a wrecked car sat engulfed in flames. Others dragged two apparently lifeless bodies from the area.

Egypt‘s health minister did not answer a phone call seeking confirmation of the number killed.

Click image to see photos of anti-government protests in Egypt

At daybreak, the two sides were still battling with rocks and flaming bottles of gasoline along the front line on the northern edge of the square, near the famed Egyptian Museum.

Demonstrators took cover behind makeshift barricades of corrugated metal sheeting taken from a nearby construction site and Mubarak supporters seemed to hold their ground on the overpass. Between them stretched a burning no-man’s-land of smoldering cars, hunks of concrete and fires.

The fighting began more than 12 hours earlier, turning the celebratory atmosphere in the square over the previous day into one of terror and sending a stream of wounded to makeshift clinics in mosques and alleyways on the anti-government side. Three people died in the violence on Wednesday and 600 were injured.

Mustafa el-Fiqqi, a senior official from the ruling National Democratic Party, told The Associated Press that businessmen connected to the ruling party were responsible for what happened.

The notion that the state may have coordinated violence against protesters, who had kept a peaceful vigil in Tahrir Square for five days, prompted a sharp rebuke from the Obama administration.

“If any of the violence is instigated by the government, it should stop immediately,” said White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.

The clashes marked a dangerous new phase in Egypt’s upheaval: the first significant violence between government supporters and opponents. The crisis took a sharp turn for the worse almost immediately after Mubarak rejected the calls for him to give up power or leave the country, stubbornly proclaiming he would die on Egyptian soil.

His words were a blow to the protesters. They also suggest that authorities want to turn back the clock to the tight state control enforced before the protests began.

Mubarak’s supporters turned up on the streets Wednesday in significant numbers for the first time. Some were hostile to journalists and foreigners. Two Associated Press correspondents and several other journalists were roughed up in Cairo. State TV had reported that foreigners were caught distributing anti-Mubarak leaflets, apparently trying to depict the movement as foreign-fueled.

The scenes of mayhem were certain to add to the fear that is already running high in this capital of 18 million people after a weekend of looting and lawlessness and the escape of thousands of prisoners from jails in the chaos.

Soldiers surrounding Tahrir Square fired occasional shots in the air throughout Wednesday’s clashes but did not appear to otherwise intervene and no uniformed police were seen. Most of the troops took shelter behind or inside the armored vehicles and tanks stationed at the entrances to the square.

“Why don’t you protect us?” some protesters shouted at the soldiers, who replied they did not have orders to do so and told people to go home.

“The army is neglectful. They let them in,” said Emad Nafa, a 52-year-old among the protesters, who for days had showered the military with affection for its neutral stance.

Some of the worst street battles raged near the Egyptian Museum at the edge of the square. Pro-government rioters blanketed the rooftops of nearby buildings and hurled bricks and firebombs onto the crowd below — in the process setting a tree ablaze inside the museum grounds. Plainclothes police at the building entrances prevented anti-Mubarak protesters from storming up to stop them.

The two sides pummeled each other with chunks of concrete and bottles at each of the six entrances to the sprawling plaza, where 10,000 anti-Mubarak protesters tried to fend off more than 3,000 attackers who besieged them. Some on the pro-government side waved machetes, while the square’s defenders filled the air with a ringing battlefield din by banging metal fences with sticks.

In one almost medieval scene, a small contingent of pro-Mubarak forces on horseback and camels rushed into the anti-government crowds, trampling several people and swinging whips and sticks. Protesters dragged some riders from their mounts, throwing them to the ground and beating their faces bloody. The horses and camels appeared to be ones used to give tourists rides around Cairo.

Dozens of men and women pried up pieces of the pavement with bars and ferried the piles of ammunition in canvas sheets to their allies at the front. Others directed fighters to streets needing reinforcements.

The protesters used a subway station as a makeshift prison for the attackers they managed to catch. They tied the hands and legs of their prisoners and locked them inside. People grabbed one man who was bleeding from the head, hit him with their sandals and threw him behind a closed gate.

Some protesters wept and prayed in the square where only a day before they had held a joyous, peaceful rally of a quarter-million, the largest demonstration so far.

Egyptian Health Minister Ahmed Sameh Farid said three people died and at least 611 were injured in Tahrir Square on Wednesday. One of those killed fell from a bridge near the square; Farid said the man was in civilian clothes but may have been a member of the security forces.

Farid did not say how the other two victims, both young men, were killed. It was not clear whether they were government supporters or anti-Mubarak demonstrators.

After years of tight state control, protesters emboldened by the uprising in Tunisia took to the streets on Jan. 25 and mounted a once-unimaginable series of demonstrations across this nation of 80 million. For the past few days, protesters who camped out in Tahrir Square reveled in a new freedom — publicly expressing their hatred for the Mubarak regime.

“After our revolution, they want to send people here to ruin it for us,” said Ahmed Abdullah, a 47-year-old lawyer in the square.

Another man shrieked through a loudspeaker: “Hosni has opened the door for these thugs to attack us.”

The pressure for demonstrators to clear the square mounted throughout the day, beginning early when a military spokesman appeared on state TV and asked them to disperse so life in Egypt could get back to normal.

It was a change in attitude by the army, which for the past few days had allowed protests to swell with no interference and even made a statement saying they had a legitimate right to demonstrate peacefully.

Then the regime began to rally its supporters in significant numbers for the first time, demanding an end to the protest movement. Some 20,000 Mubarak supporters held an angry but mostly peaceful rally on Wednesday across the Nile River from Tahrir, responding to calls on state TV.

They said Mubarak’s concessions were enough. He has promised not to run for re-election in September, named a new government and appointed a vice president for the first time, widely considered his designated successor.

They were bitter at the jeers hurled at Mubarak.

“I feel humiliated,” said Mohammed Hussein, a 31-year-old factory worker. “He is the symbol of our country. When he is insulted, I am insulted.”

The anti-Mubarak movement has vowed to intensify protests to force him out by Friday.

State TV said Vice President Omar Suleiman called “on the youth to heed the armed forces’ call and return home to restore order.” From the other side, senior anti-Mubarak figure Mohamed ElBaradei demanded the military “intervene immediately and decisively to stop this massacre.”

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke with Suleiman to condemn the violence and urge Egypt’s government to hold those responsible for it accountable, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said.

___

AP correspondents Sarah El Deeb, Hamza Hendawi, Diaa Hadid, Lee Keath, Michael Weissenstein and Maggie Michael contributed to this report.

Posted in Economic Upheavals | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Gunfire pounds anti-Mubarak protest camp in Cairo

Egypt crisis: Israel faces danger in every direction

Posted by Admin on February 2, 2011

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/israel/8296776/Egypt-crisis-Israel-faces-danger-in-every-direction.html

The Egyptian crisis is ringing alarm bells in Jerusalem, writes David Horovitz.

Protesters take part in an anti-Mubarak protest at Tahrir square in Cairo

Protesters take part in an anti-Mubarak protest at Tahrir square in Cairo

The Middle East is in ferment at the moment – but despite the general excitement, the outcome could be a grim one for Israel, and for the West more generally.

In the past few weeks, we have seen a president ousted in Tunisia. We’ve seen protests in Yemen. We’ve seen Iran essentially take control of Lebanon, where its proxy, Hizbollah, has ousted a relatively pro-Western prime minister and inserted its own candidate. We’ve seen the King of Jordan rush to sack his cabinet amid escalating protests. We’ve seen reports that similar demonstrations are planned for Syria, where the president, Bashar Assad, will find it far harder to get away with gunning down the crowds than his father did in 1982. And most dramatically, we are seeing the regime in Egypt – the largest, most important Arab country – totter, as President Mubarak faces unprecedented popular protest, and the likelihood that he will have to step down sooner rather than later.

It is tempting to be smug. Egypt’s blink-of-an-eye descent into instability underlines afresh the uniqueness of Israel, that embattled sliver of enlightened land in a largely dictatorial region. Those who like to characterise it as the root of all the Middle East’s problems look particularly foolish: the people on the streets aren’t enraged by Israel, but because their countries are so unlike Israel, so lacking in the freedoms and economic opportunities that both Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs take
for granted.

Yet the country is deeply concerned. The main worry is over a repeat of the events in Iran a little over 30 years ago, when popular protest ousted the Shah, only to see him replaced by a far more dangerous, corrupt, misogynist and intolerant regime. Iran is plainly delighted by what is unfolding. With peerless hypocrisy, a government that mowed down its own people less than two years ago is encouraging the same spirit of protest in Egypt. Its allies in the Muslim Brotherhood are well placed to fill any leadership vacuum – and, for all the group’s dubious claims to be relatively moderate, it embraces leadership figures deeply hostile to Israel and to the West. The Muslim Brotherhood, it should not be forgotten, gave birth to Hamas, the terrorist group which now runs Gaza, after killing hundreds in its takeover.

The danger for the Egyptians is that, when the protests are over, their brave efforts will have replaced Mubarak not with a leadership more committed to freedom and democracy, but quite the reverse. Yet for Israelis, it underlines the challenges we face when it comes to peacemaking.

Our country, it is often forgotten, is 1/800th of the size of the Arab world, only nine miles wide at its narrowest point. We are not some territorial superpower that can afford not to care if there is hostility all around: we desperately need normalised relations with our neighbours. But if we do a lousy deal, with a regime that is either unstable or not genuinely committed to reconciliation, the consequences could be fatal.

Israelis, I believe, would make almost any territorial compromise in the cause of genuine peace.
But where both the Palestinians and the Syrians are concerned, we’re far from certain that we have a dependable partner. And as the Egyptian experience is demonstrating, even our most concrete certainties can turn fluid overnight.

For half of Israel’s lifespan, our alliance with Egypt has been central to our foreign policy and military strategy. To achieve it, we relinquished every last inch of the Sinai desert – and, until this weekend, we scarcely had a reason to question that decision. Yes, it’s been a cold peace: there’s been no profound acceptance of Israel among ordinary Egyptians, or the country’s media and professional guilds. Yet Egypt under Mubarak has been less critical of Israel than most other Arab states, gradually intensifying the effort to prevent the smuggling of missiles, rockets and other weaponry into Hamas-controlled Gaza. The absence of war on our Egyptian border has also freed our strained military forces to focus on other, more threatening frontiers.

Over the past two years, as Turkey has moved out of the Western orbit, our other vital regional alliance has slipped away. Now Egypt could also be lost – at a time when Iran and its nuclear ambitions cast an ever greater shadow over the region, and over Israel’s future.

But perhaps the most profound concern is over the reversal of momentum that the Egyptian protests could come to represent. For a generation, Israel has been trying to widen the circle of normalisation – to win acceptance as a state among states. We made peace with Egypt, then with Jordan. We built ties with Morocco and the Gulf. We have reached out to the Syrians and Palestinians.

Now, for the first time in more than 30 years, we see that momentum reversing. We wonder whether Egypt will continue to constitute a stable partner. We worry about the potential for instability in Jordan. We see that all our borders are now “in play” – that the Israel Defence Forces must overhaul their strategy to meet the possibility of dangers in every direction.

We had hoped that the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty of 1979 would come to be the defining event of the modern era. Now, we fear that our world will be defined by another event from that year: Iran’s dismal Islamic revolution.

David Horovitz is editor-in-chief of ‘The Jerusalem Post’

Posted in Geo-Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Egypt crisis: Israel faces danger in every direction

US FOREIGN POLICY IN THE MIDDLE EAST SINCE 1991

Posted by Admin on January 30, 2011

“Critically assess the impact of US foreign policy on the Middle East since 1991: how does the post-Cold War global order affect Middle East politics, and how does conflict in the Middle East affect the ‘New World Order’?”

Table of contents:

Part I: Summary;

Part II: Background to and nature of American policy in the Middle East since 1991;

Part III: Impact of American policy in the Middle East;

Part IV:  Conclusion.

————————————————————————————————————

Part I:

Summary:

The Middle East has always been critical to American interests: it is a region in which all but one country, Israel, are autocratic. This country, the only non-Islamic country in the region, is the target of constant war with most other countries in the region. This makes it the most volatile region in the world. While American policy was aimed primarily at using some countries led by Israel as a bulwark against communism in the Cold War years, the end of a bipolar world saw a radical shift in American policy towards the Middle East. This was brought about by the threat it saw to its most vital interest –oil in the region as a result of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait; at the same time, with the sudden demise of the hitherto counterbalancing factor, the Soviet Union, the stage was now set for a decisive policy. One country in the region had attacked another and had set sights on America’s most precious interest in the region at a time when the latter was being anointed the sole superpower in the world. This presented the occasion for America to spell out its new policy, primarily aimed at the protection of its oil interests. Though spelt out in a jiffy, the guiding principle of the new policy was simple –with oil and the prevention of its usurpation by another state as the leitmotif of its Middle East policy, America spelt out its doctrine for the region, the ‘New World Order’, an imperious dictum according to which no state has the right to lay claim to what it considers its right to a scarce, exhaustible resource. Since all these happened at the confluence of the end of the Cold War and the potential threat to its interests, the Middle East turned out to be the stage on which America enacted its ‘New Global Order’. Since this is the arena in which America spelt out its policy after becoming the sole superpower, it is only natural that the post-Cold War world gets profoundly affected by whatever America does in this region.  Anything that America considers its interests in the region has a huge, marked bearing on the world. Its supplementary policies, such as the advancement of democracy and the destruction of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), impact the region greatly, as the ongoing example of a post- Saddam Hussein Iraq shows. However, in the process of safeguarding that interest, America has embarked on a dangerous endeavour. It is a policy fraught with dangers; for all the might it may use in pursuing its policy, it has to reckon with the local sentiment that would be a crucial element in guiding its policy. A sound example of the bottlenecks associated with this design is the daily dose of conflict it is facing in Iraq. In trying to aggrandise the country’s oil resources beneath the garb of promoting democracy, America may well be treading a potentially hazardous path. This paper argues that the American policy of planting democracy in societies that do not have the necessary preconditions and institutional frameworks to accepting and absorbing the system could mean risking a backlash. This could seriously undermine its ‘New World Order’ if other countries start emulating Iraq’s example.

Part II:

Background to and nature of American policy in the Middle East since 1991:

The importance of the Middle East to American foreign policy can never be overstated– it is this region that has the greatest say in America’s fuel-driven economy, being the biggest source of American energy supply. It is also the venue of major conflicts, both active and dormant. Situations in countries in the region such as the imminently explosive Lebanon, the ever-active struggle for existence in Israel, the resurgence of fundamentalist Islam, and the American perception that it is the epicentre of Islamic militancy make it a highly volatile region. (Amirahmadi, 1993, p. 3)

American foreign policy in the Middle East has undergone a dramatic transformation necessitated by the political, social and economic changes in the region in the years since 1991. The first major test of American foreign policy in the Middle East unfolded as the end of the Cold War was accompanied by the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. As a result, the focus of American involvement in the Middle East shifted from a fear of interstate aggression, the last of which caused the Gulf War, to concerns brought about by issues such as terrorism, the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and social tensions exacerbated by a fall in oil prices. In the backdrop of these developments, American foreign policy is focussed on advancement of its interests in six areas: countering terrorism, countering WMD proliferation, the maintenance of stable oil prices, the support of regimes that are friendly and efforts at ensuring their stability, ensuring Israel’s security, and protection and promotion of America ‘s core values –human rights and democracy. (Bensahel & Byman, 2003, pp. 1 & 2) American post Cold War security objectives in the region can be summarised in the following: “[t]he interests of the United States in the Persian Gulf region have been very simple and consistent: first, to ensure access by the industrialized world to the vast oil resources of the region; and second, to prevent any hostile power from acquiring political or military control over those resources…[o]ther objectives, such as preserving the stability and independence of the Gulf states or containing the threat of Islamic fundamentalism, were derivative concerns and were implicit in the two grand themes of oil and containment. Preoccupation with the security of Israel (is) a driving factor in U.S. Middle East policy…” (Sick, 1999, p. 277) Israel has provided the pivot of the American strategy calculus. A militarily strong, democratic Israel situated in the heart of the Middle East, in the midst of hostile Arab neighbours served America’s geostrategic interests from the time of Israel’s existence. Added to this, the influence of a strong Israeli lobby in the US has created in the American foreign policy establishment a strong commitment to the existence and security of Israel. (Lesch, 1999, p. 354) The pursuit of these objectives came to be called the ‘New World Order’, and took shape when George Bush Sr. was president. He laid out his vision of a ‘New World Order’ in the backdrop of the Gulf War. Simply put, it is the articulation of “…a new world order defined not by the presence of peace and stability but by the fact that there is only one superpower; and that superpower must decide whether or not it is in its national interest to play an activist role in the effort to achieve peace and stability in many parts of the world.” (Zogby, 1993)

The New World Order was spelt out in response to a sudden event –the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. The Soviet Union had just disintegrated, and just when the American administration was groping to find focus on what policy it could lay out, the rather unexpected invasion presented a chance for the then administration to spell out a policy that few had anticipated had such clarity. George Bush Sr. found in this event the perfect occasion to spell out his vision of a world order. “…[T]he American response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait was ultimately justified in terms of a vision of world order and of the leading role America would play in the achievement of that order. A grand design that prior to the crisis had remained unarticulated and partially obscured even to its architects was now laid bare.” (Tucker & Hendrickson, 1992, p. 31) Thus, the Gulf War provided the ideal setting for America to “…crystallize positive feelings about a new era into a more palpable vision and approach while advancing its national interests and asserting its global primacy. “(Miller & Yetiv, 2001, p. 56)

Part III:

Impact of American policy in the Middle East:

On the whole, America’s policies towards the Middle East have been less than welcome in the major countries of the region. Since the primary focus of the ‘New World Order’ has been on the procurement of oil and the resolution of the Israel- Palestine problem, the impact of these two aspects is taken up:

A) In relation to oil: At the time of the conception of the ‘New World Order’, while America vowed to lay the countries of the Eastern Bloc on the road to democracy, in the Middle East, its policy was aimed at establishing its hegemony.  (Kuroda, 1994, p. 53) In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, there is a growing realisation in the American establishment that the promotion of democracy in the countries in which it plans to enact a policy of ‘twin containment’, Iran and Iraq, is a strategic imperative. Since then, the US administration has moved in to work on these areas with added thrust. In pursuit of these policies, the brute force that America is exhibiting has not gone down well in these countries. (Tucker et al., 2002) If the progress American policy in Iraq, which constitutes the prime example of American engagement, and the case in which America has invested considerable resources is any indication, the picture is far from pleasing –in the area of WMD, American efforts have come to a huge naught, for the administration has simply failed to find any, or to implicate Saddam Hussein of any involvement in the 9/11 attacks and to the Al Qaeda. The lone silver lining of this policy is that it is certain not to return the country to a dictatorial or theocratic government. American policy has not been any more effective in Iraq’s neighbour, Iran. A central player in the American scheme of things in the region, Iran has started using the nuclear threat to avert an Iraq-like situation in its country. With its presidential elections round the corner, it is difficult to predict whether the hardliners or the reformists are going to be returned to power. (Clark, 2004) America’s policy of coercive appropriation of the region’s only major resource has had another parallel, though highly profound impact. In order to break free from what is perceived as the American stranglehold over their resources, many countries have started cooperating with each other to exploit the oil-rich Caspian region. Based on the idea of excluding America from the pipeline grid, this brings several countries from even outside the periphery of the Middle East in close ties with each other. This could spell a total alteration of the geo-strategic dynamics of the region. This idea involves not only countries of the regions such as Iran, it also brings into its embrace some former Soviet republics and China, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Myanmar. This has stimulated America into fostering friendly regimes in the Caucasus. (The Hindu, 10th April 2005, p.10) These events have been rooted in America’s policy in the Middle East.

B) In relation to the Arab-Palestine issue: In the absence of the Soviet factor, American policy in the Middle East has become more intrusive; American policy could have a positive impact if its moves towards establishing its policy are perceived as being salutary. A prime test case of this policy is the way its role is seen in the Israeli-Palestine issue. (Cantori, 1994, p. 452) The immediate years after the Gulf War led to a hyperactive engagement in the region under president Bill Clinton, for whom resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict was a principal goal. In his presidency, America assumed the role of an ‘honest broker’ in bringing about a peaceful settlement of issues bedevilling the region. However, before substantial headway was made, a new regime took guard under Bush Jr., under whom the same vigour was not enforced. American interventionism, which became low-key under the new dispensation, has led to suspicion in Arab quarters that America, with its uncompromising tilt towards Israel, has not been the ‘honest broker’ that it promised to be. This has led to a feeling that the American administration has no clear-cut, comprehensive policy towards resolving the Arab-Palestine conflict. (Lukacs, 2001, p. 32) “The problems of devising and implementing a coherent regional strategy were reflected in and exacerbated by the inherent tension generated by Washington’s goals…American diplomatic, economic, informational, and military efforts rarely, if ever, were simultaneously applauded by both Israelis and Arabs. Instead, the norm was that whatever the United States did to support one side was frequently denounced by the other” (1996, p. 122) Its obsession with obtaining fuel has generated a feeling that America is losing its leverage in the region by failing to go the distance in promoting one of its ideals in the region, peace between Israel and Palestine. One of the major impacts of this policy has been that most of the peace accords set to be implemented to end this dispute and those between the various countries in the region have gathered dust, with the result that the situation on the ground has hardly changed. (Lukacs, 2001, p. 32)

Part IV:

Conclusion: In this section, an analysis is made of how the cherished American policy in the region can go awry if tardily implemented, or in the event of an outbreak of war or a backlash against American policy, because there exist real and plausible causes for either or all of these in the region.

American policy in the Middle East, spelt out in its ‘New World Order’ axiom, is in the process of evolution; hence, at this stage, the events that have been unfolding in the region offer, at best, an indication of things to come. In the overall sense, even if the policy in the Middle East is clear, its result is still in an inchoate stage, and constitutes a mixed bag. Yet, a few patterns can be discerned:

A new urgency has been brought about by the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. In the aftermath of this event of seminal importance, the Bush administration has been looking at its foreign policy through an altogether different prism. The US has now adopted the aggressive stance by which it categorises countries as either its friends or abettors of terror. On account of this thinking, the world has been polarised more than during the Cold War. The US is finding that it is a lot easier to take on one country at a time and mould it to its will, than taking on amorphous, seamless terrorist groups that can carry out terror attacks on just about any part of the world at will. (Rahman, 2002) This is the foremost example of how the Middle East gets affected by the nuances of the ‘New World Order’.

Some of America’s staunchest allies (apart from Israel) and most bitter rivals in the region have had Islamic forms of governance. Examples of these two extremes could be Saudi Arabia and Iran. The establishment in America is inclined to think, as some in the media are, that terrorism is rooted in and is inextricably linked to Islam. (Esposito, 1993, p. 188) Any American policy towards the region that is seen as being antithetical to Islam, (which is a very likely outcome on account of American predisposition towards Israel) is sure to antagonise public opinion in the region against America, if it does not take the sensitivities of the local populace. Gawkily implemented policy in the region in the backdrop of the strong religious flavour could seriously dent America’s efforts at gaining a foothold in the region; in addition, it could unite the region against American hegemony.

In this setting, it is all the easier for the countries in the region to line up in defence of one of their brethren. With the battle lines, so to speak, clearly drawn, mostly the result of America’s own policy, oil, nuclear blackmail and Islam could easily prove to be the uniting factors against America. Emulation of the Iraqi example by other countries could very well lay the region on the road to total chaos. American policy at preventing interstate conflict may have succeeded as of now, but there is no guarantee it will endure if it goes overboard in implementing its policy. Thus, the potential for an all-out conflagration in the region against America is very real. If this materialises, American objectives spelt out in its ‘New World Order’ could go haywire.

In order to pre-empt this scenario, America needs to become more amiable and resort to less arm-twisting in the implementation of its policy: “[i]n the years to come, the liberation of U.S. foreign policy from the protracted political impasse of the post-cold war era will likely require the restoration of consensus regarding the country’s appropriate role in foreign affairs. In the absence of such a consensus, the likelihood remains that U.S. policy will continue to be driven by crises overseas, (as in) the Middle East.” (Hook, 1998, p. 326)

Written By Ravindra G Rao

References

 

 

Amirahmadi, H., (Ed.). (1993), The United States and the Middle East : A Search for New Perspectives, State University of New York Press, Albany, NY.

 

Bensahel, N. & Byman, D. L., (Eds.). (2003), The Future Security Environment in the Middle East: Conflict, Stability, and Political Change, Rand, Santa Monica, CA.

 

Bhadrakumar, M.K., 2005, ‘The great game for Caspian oil’, The Hindu, 20th April 2005, p.10. This article can be accessed online at http://www.hindu.com/2005/04/20/stories/2005042002371000.htm

 

Cantori, L. J. (1994), “The Middle East in the New World Order”, in The Gulf War and the New World Order International Relations of the Middle East, Ismael, T. Y. & Ismael, J. S. (Eds.) (pp. 451-464), University Press of Florida, Gainesville, FL.

 

Clark, W. (2004), “Broken Engagement: The Strategy That Won the Cold War Could Help Bring Democracy to the Middle East-If Only the Bush Hawks Understood It”, Washington Monthly, Vol. 36, p. 26+, Retrieved April 21, 2005, from Questia database, http://www.questia.com.

 

Esposito, J. L. (1993), “Islamic Movements, Democratization, and U.S. Foreign Policy” in Riding the Tiger: The Middle East Challenge after the Cold War, Marr, P. & Lewis, W. (Eds.) (pp. 187-207), Westview Press, Boulder, CO.

 

Hook, S. W. (1998), “The White House, Congress, of the Paralysis of the U.S. State Department after the Cold War”, in After the End: Making U.S. Foreign Policy in the Post-Cold War World, Scott, J. A. (Ed.) (pp. 305-326), Duke University Press, Durham, NC.

 

Kuroda, Y. (1994), “Bush’s New World Order”, in The Gulf War and the New World Order International Relations of the Middle East, Ismael, T. Y. & Ismael, J. S. (Eds.) (pp. 52-69), University Press of Florida, Gainesville, FL.

 

Lesch, D. W. (Ed.), (1999), A Historical and Political Reassessment A Historical and Political Reassessment, Westview Press, Boulder, CO.

 

Lukacs, Y. (2001), “America’s Role – as the Israeli-Palestinian War of Attrition Enters Its Second Year, an Intense Debate Is Taking Place over the Content Scope, and Future Direction of America’s Policy in the Middle East” World and I, Vol. 16, p. 32, Retrieved April 21, 2005, from Questia database, http://www.questia.com.

 

Miller, E. A., & Yetiv, S. A., (2001), “ The New World Order in Theory and Practice: The Bush Administration’s Worldview in Transition”, Presidential Studies Quarterly, Vol.31, No.1, p. 56. Retrieved April 21, 2005, from Questia database, http://www.questia.com.

 

Rahman, S.,  (2002), “Another New World Order? Multilateralism in the Aftermath of September 11”, Harvard International Review, Vol. 23 No.4, p. 40+, Retrieved April 21, 2005, from Questia database, http://www.questia.com.

 

Sick, G., (1999), “The United States in the Persian Gulf: from Twin Pillars to Dual Containment”, in A Historical and Political Reassessment A Historical and Political Reassessment, Lesch, D. W. (Ed.), (pp. 277-290), Westview Press, Boulder, CO.

 

Tucker, R. W., & Hendrickson, D. C., (1992), The Imperial Temptation: The New World Order and America’s Purpose, Council on Foreign Relations Press, New York.

 

Tucker, R. W., Howard, M., Schmitt, G., Mearsheimer, J. J., Joffe, J., Chace, J., Gungwu, W., Kupchan, C. A., & Hassner, P. (2002), “One Year On: Power, Purpose and Strategy in American Foreign Policy”, The National Interest,  p. 5+. Retrieved April 21, 2005, from Questia database, http://www.questia.com.

 

(1996), “The United States and the Middle East: Continuity and Change”, in U.S. Foreign and Strategic Policy in the Post-Cold War Era: A Geopolitical Perspective, Wiarda, H. J. (Ed.) (pp. 107-126), Greenwood Press, Westport, CT.

 

Zogby, James, “It’s the economy, stupid! –And it’s the World, Too!”. Available: http://www.aaiusa.org/wwatch_archives/011193.htm (Accessed 2005, April 05)

Posted in Rated R | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on US FOREIGN POLICY IN THE MIDDLE EAST SINCE 1991