Archive | February 4th, 2011

Imperial Economics of the Egyptian Revolution

NOVANEWS

 

 by Michael Leon 

 

Pieter Bruegel’s Netherlandish Proverbs (The Topsy Turvy World) –

Just a matter of time before Americans begin asking what the Egyptian revolution means for them—Americans, the unthinking rabble who matter.

Economists are there to deliver the imperialist [and dumbed-down] perspective on the revolution after Americans dig out from a major blizzard and check their betting pools on the Super Bowl. So we can get back to business as usual in case this democracy craze were to cause some inconvenience.

For an amusing aside, read President Obama’s remarks which make clear that Mubarak has become a decided inconvenience … to us. President Obama uses the word, “change,” three times.

Perhaps readers can be forgiven for not taking that word at face value any more. Allusions to change seem more convincing coming from millions of Egyptians in the street.

From Nouriel  Roubini’s Global Economics.

By Rachel Ziemba and Ayah El Said

Editor’s note: For our most up-to-date coverage of the rapidly changing events in the Middle East and North Africa, see these RGE Critical Issues: “Mubarak Pledges Not to Run Again: Will it Be Enough for the Protestors?” “Will Ripples From Tunisia and Egypt Spread Through Middle East Governments and Markets?

Egypt’s future continues to hang in the balance. In a speech on February 1, President Hosni Mubarak announced that he will not run in the 2011 presidential elections and called for constitutional changes to allow for more democratic polls. Unimpressed with these promises—along with Mubarak’s previous moves to replace his cabinet and introduce a vice president for the first time in his 29-year rule—the protestors continue to call for his ouster.

Egypt’s political direction could have profound effects on regional stability—potentially involving, for example, theIsraeli-Palestinian conflict and efforts to contain Iran’s nuclear ambitions—with broad economic and financial ramifications. In “Egypt: Assessing the Ripple Effect,” we survey the implications of the continuing unrest in Egypt and identify the most vulnerable countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The recent economic and political developments do not bode well for Egypt’s debt, and this contagion could continue to spread within the region, leading to the persistent underperformance of local currency debt and equity markets. As we highlighted in a recent MENA Focus, political stresses in Egypt have pushed other vulnerable governments in the region to promise political reforms and increased government spending, which some of the oil importers, like Jordan, can ill-afford. We believe, though, that investors will continue to give special treatment to the region’s strongest economies, such as the small GCC countries, where wealth and government resources reduce some of the economic stresses.

Regarding wider implications, the oil market remains the key link between instability in the Middle East and the global economy. Although we see very little risk of an oil-supply shock through the Suez Canal— the canal and adjoining pipeline appear to be under the control of the armed forces—prolonged uncertainty could further pressure oil market sentiment in the short term, which more OPEC production could only partly offset. Further increases in the oil price above the US$100 per barrel mark could pose a significant risk to the global economy, as RGE Chairman Nouriel Roubini recently reiterated.

In Egypt itself, continuing unrest implies extreme downside risks for domestic growth, even under the most optimistic political scenario (outlined in “Political Upheaval on the Nile: Four Risk-Laden Outcomes”). At a minimum, we expect growth to slow significantly in the first quarter of 2011 from the 6.2% y/y pace of the fourth quarter of 2010, due to factory and bank shutdowns, a decrease in tourist inflows and ongoing curfews. As such, we expect growth for the year to come in well below the 5.9% we predicted in our 2011 Outlook, as almost all components of domestic demand will be adversely affected.

With the fiscal deficit widening, the increase in financing costs will temper growth and investment, hampering the government’s efforts to respond to the economic grievances that fueled the unrest. For the moment, Mubarak has returned to the old playbook: subsidies, subsidies and more subsidies, urging food price cuts and maintaining government price supports. Looking beyond the current stall, boosting employment and overall economic growth will dominate the policy agenda, and we expect the government to shift even more toward expansionary policy to support economic growth. Fiscal spending will increase, even though revenues will fall.

As fiscal expansion is constrained by a fiscal deficit over 8% of GDP, most support will come from the monetary policy side. We expect rate hikes to be further delayed as the government relies on subsidies to dampen price pressures. The depreciation bias to the EGP should remain as well, to support exports and competitiveness. Given the short-term risk of capital flight, the Central Bank of Egypt will be forced to use some of its official and unofficial reserves, but a weak pound will remain a key part of the policy mixture, as outlined in our latest Emerging Markets Quarterly.

Posted in Egypt1 Comment

Somebody please hand Ab-A$$ the revolver on the silver tray

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May God zap him with a thunderbolt! He rode roughshod over the Basic Law, hijacked the presidency and turned the peace pantomime into a bloody farce.

On his watch disunity became the name of the game while diplomatic skills were jettisoned, or more likely never mastered.

By Stuart Littlewood / STAFF WRITER

In all our joy and excitement for Egypt let us not lose sight of the grey and sinister blob that is Mahmoud Abbas.

He must be asking himself – fearfully – why he has so far escaped the purge while his bosom-buddies Hosni and Zine are sent packing in disgrace.

Some say Abbas isn’t a bad guy, he just lost his way. Actually there’s a long crime-sheet against him, too tiresome to catalogue in detail here.

A founding member of Arafat’s Fatah faction, he won the presidency of the Palestinian National Authority in 2005 in a dodgy and deeply lopsided contest – let’s not dignify it with the word ‘election’ – in which Israel seriously interfered to obstruct other candidates. He has overstayed his term by two years and is widely regarded as having no legitimacy and no popular mandate, yet he’s still propped up by the US and Israel and their hangers-on.

In 2007 he dissolved the Hamas-led unity government and appointed Salam Fayyad prime minister, a move that was almost certainly illegal under Palestinian Basic Law and designed to ensure the disunity and weakness that Israel so badly wanted to see.

He has been further undone by the Wikileaks revelations that the Israeli government “consulted with Egypt and Fatah prior to Operation Cast Lead, asking if they were willing to assume control of Gaza once Israel defeated Hamas”.

A true Palestinian patriot surely would not have kept silent about an evil plan to commit war crimes against his fellow countrymen!

It seems he also asked Israel to tighten the blockade of his countrymen in Gaza, even inviting the racist entity to re-occupy the crossing zone between Gaza and Egypt.

It looked suspiciously like he was trying to bury the Goldstone report when he withdrew Palestinian support for a vote in the UN Human Rights Council to have it sent to the General Assembly for possible action. Such a vote would have been a first step toward war crimes tribunals, and it is reported that he was warned by US officials that this would complicate efforts to restart the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks – by then hopelessly discredited anyway.

Abbas’s security squads, funded by the US, have been rampaging around the West Bank doing the Israeli Occupation Force’s dirty work, thuggishly suppressing all signs of resistance and rounding up Hamas members. And the PA has now abolished free expression by banning Palestinians from demonstrating in support of the Egyptians and the uprising in Tunisia.

Abbas phoned Mubarak to affirm his “solidarity” with him in the face of growing popular unrest and demands for him to quit. This was despite Mubarak having collaborated with Israel to help the rogue regime maintain its cruel and suffocating blockade of Gaza. Abbas also phoned the Tunisian President Zine el-Abidine bin Ali before he was ousted.

When he took up the post of president, Abbas would have sworn the following oath…

I swear to God almighty to be faithful to the Homeland and to its sacred places, and to the people and its national heritage, and to respect the Constitutional system and the law, and to safeguard the interests of the Palestinian people completely, as God is my witness.

May God zap him with a thunderbolt! He rode roughshod over the Basic Law, hijacked the presidency and turned the peace pantomime into a bloody farce. On his watch disunity became the name of the game while diplomatic skills were jettisoned, or more likely never mastered.

As for the national heritage and sacred places the loon’s negotiators were ready to hand them to the enemy on a platter.

In times gone by, a high ranking loser would recognize when the game was up and do the decent thing. He would retire to his study and close the door. The butler would bring a glass of best brandy and a loaded revolver on a silver tray, and discreetly withdraw. After a few moments’ reflection and penning a farewell note, the gentleman would blow his brains out and save everyone an awful lot of trouble.

The Palestinians had better have a credible Plan B in place when they hear the bang.

Posted in Middle EastComments Off on Somebody please hand Ab-A$$ the revolver on the silver tray

Zio-Nazi RUSHING TO AID C.I.A DOG

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Rights NGO claims that Israeli planes carrying crowd dispersal weapons have arrived in Egypt

Monday, 31 January 2011 14:20

Three Israeli planes landed at Cairo’s Mina International Airport on Saturday carrying hazardous equipment for use in dispersing and suppressing large crowds.

The International Network for Rights and Development has claimed that Israeli logistical support has been sent to Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak to help his regime confront demonstrations demanding that he steps down as head of state. According to reports by the non-governmental organisation, three Israeli planes landed at Cairo’s Mina International Airport on

Saturday carrying hazardous equipment for use in dispersing and suppressing large crowds.In the statement circulated by the International Network, it was disclosed that Egyptian security forces received the complete cargoes on three Israeli planes which were, it is claimed, carrying an abundant supply of internationally proscribed gas to disperse unwanted crowds. If the reports are accurate, this suggests that the Egyptian regime is preparing for the worse in defence of its position, despite the country sinking into chaos.

On Sunday 30 January, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed Israeli government ministers in a public statement saying: “Our efforts aim at the continued maintenance of stability and security in the region… and I remind you that peace between the Israeli establishment and Egypt has endured for over three decades… we currently strive to guarantee the continuity of these relations.” Netanyahu added, “We are following the events unfolding in Egypt and the region with vigilance… and it is incumbent at this time that we show responsibility, self-restraint and maximum consideration for the situation… in the hope that the peaceful relations between the Israeli establishment and Egypt continue…”

The Israeli prime minister urged Israeli government ministers to refrain from making any additional statements to the media.

Posted in EgyptComments Off on Zio-Nazi RUSHING TO AID C.I.A DOG

The Mu-Barak Song-Ya Mu-Barak! Get Out!

NOVANEWS
 

 

Get Out Mubarek! –

Get Out Mubarek!

 

In honor of his highness, the dicktator of Egypt, Hosni Mubarek on the eve’s of his ouster, I present to you “Ya Mubarek”, a punk rock song dedicated to the dishonor that is a man who could NOT get his fat friggin’ greed and ego out of the way for people to live in freedom and liberty…..such a friggin loser, this fat ass has to hold on till they drag him out by his bits and pieces. What a loser!

Get Out Mubarek!

By Jonny Punish, 2011

It-la It-La Ya Mubarek (Get Out, Get Out Mubarek!)
Yalla Yalla Ya Mubarek (Hurry, Hurry Mubarek!)

Cairo’s burning and he can’t see the flame
The beople screaming and he thinks it’s a game
While the kids cry out says he’s not to blame
It’s too late – he’s deaf – that’s the name of his game

It-la It-La Ya Mubarek
Yalla Yalla Ya Mubarek
It-la It-La Ya Mubarek
Yalla Yalla Ya Mubarek

Sing Democracy it sounds so lame
When a foggy bottom man pays the cash to claim
Support oppression the dictator became
A thug – he’s done – that’s the name of his game

It-la It-La Ya Mubarek
Yalla Yalla Ya Mubarek

Posted in EgyptComments Off on The Mu-Barak Song-Ya Mu-Barak! Get Out!

Zionist Richard Cohen: Egyptian Democracy Is ‘ Aa nightmare’

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All power to the people day and night –

Longtime Washington Post-neocon columnist is terrified of the prospect of Muslims governing their own country. Cohen’s column is the most hilarious notion written on Egypt since reading that Israel is advising the world to refrain from criticizing Mubarak.

By Alex Pareene in Salon

Nothing saddens Richard Cohen more than the sight of hundreds of thousands of Egyptians peacefully protesting. The longtime Washington Post columnist is sad because those childish Arab Muslims might end up with a democracy, but they don’t know how democracy works. Here is how democracy works: We like it unless “the people” want something that complicates our current foreign policy objectives.

For live updates, see Al Jezeera.

Cohen is just broken up about this. “Egypt, once stable if tenuously so, has been pitched into chaos.” “The dream of a democratic Egypt,” he says, “is sure to produce a nightmare.” It is sure to. Such a nightmare it will be. Just not anywhere near as pleasant as these last 30 years of “stability” have been, for everyone.

Cohen is totally an expert on Egypt and Muslims, because he is a longtime opinion columnist for the Washington Post, and not at all a blinkered idiot. Egypt “lacks the civic and political institutions that are necessary for democracy,” he tells us. And you can’t argue with that. I mean, do Egyptian newspapers even run syndicated Richard Cohen opinion columns? Do they have “Dancing With the Stars,” to teach them how voting works?

My take on all this is relentlessly gloomy. I care about Israel. I care about Egypt, too, but its survival is hardly at stake. I care about democratic values, but they are worse than useless in societies that have no tradition of tolerance or respect for minority rights. What we want for Egypt is what we have ourselves. This, though, is an identity crisis. We are not them. 

No. We are not them, at all. Because they are Muslims. We all know Americans could handle democracy because we were super good at respecting the rights of minority groups. But the Egyptians are sometimes resentful of or even violent against minority groups, so no democracy allowed for them. (While some Coptic Christians worry that a more Islamic Egyptian government would be less friendly to Copts, demonstrators are stressing an inclusive, nationalist message, and there’s evidence that Christians are themselves involved in the protests. The right-wing CBN has even filed a report on the growing “bond” between Christians and “their Muslim neighbors” in Egypt.)

Live from Cairo: Democracy; sorry neocons!

Cohen is concerned that the Muslim Brotherhood — which “runs the Gaza Strip” under the name “Hamas,” he tells us — will take control of Egypt and attack Israel, at which point “the mob currently in the streets will roar its approval.” That “mob” certainly does seem pretty bloodthirsty. They clearly want all-out war with the region’s sole nuclear power. Pretty sure that’s what these demonstrations are about.“I’m actually pretty cool with Mubarak but I really wish we were waging war against Israel right now” — An Egyptian protester.

Cohen seems to understand that the Brotherhood, while involved in the demonstrations, did not organize them, and he has been told that the majority of the demonstrators have no ties to the group, but he thinks that might just be because they are sneaky. “It has been underground for generations — jailed, tortured, infiltrated, but still, somehow, flourishing. Its moment may be approaching.” Scary!

And why should we all be super-scared of them? “The Islamists of the Brotherhood do not despise America for what it does but for what it is.”Thanks, Richard Cohen, for explaining who these Islamists are, and what they despise about us. It’s not our lengthy history of propping up the dictator who brutally repressed them — they hate us for our freedom. (You may compare Richard Cohen’s history of the Muslim Brotherhood to that an an actual expert on the subject, if you wish.)

This column is so full of winning lines, I have to stop myself from quoting the entire thing. There is literally an “I like democracy, but” part: “Majority rule is a worthwhile idea. But so, too, are respect for minorities, freedom of religion, the equality of women and adherence to treaties, such as the one with Israel, the only democracy in the region.”

I’m sorry, I can edit that one to more clearly express Cohen’s actual point: “Majority rule is a worthwhile idea. But so, too … [is] respect for… Israel….”

These are the last lines:

America needs to be on the right side of human rights. But it also needs to be on the right side of history. This time, the two may not be the same. 

The “right side of history” might not be the “right side of human rights.” Got it? Sometimes you have to be on the “wrong side” of “human rights,” and history will totally understand.

Poor Egypt. Maybe you will be grown-up enough in the eyes of Richard Cohen to handle a democracy someday, but right now, it’s just not in the cards.

Posted in EgyptComments Off on Zionist Richard Cohen: Egyptian Democracy Is ‘ Aa nightmare’

Dorothy Online Newsletter

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Posted By: Sammi Ibrahem

Chair of West Midland PSC

 

Dear All,

This was intended to be number 5 yesterday, but somehow or other got omitted.  Sorry.  Thanks to Ann for calling my attention to this.  The sad part is not that the person refused Israeli citizenship is the famous Barbara Streisand’s cousin.  The sad part is that he is Jewish, but even that isn’t enough, notwithstanding that Israel, theoretically, is for all Jews.  The sad part is that the country becomes more and more theocratic and dogmatic.  Neither is good for its citizens.

Today I probably will be forwarding materials in separate messages rather than compiling a single message.  I apologize, but as these are mostly from organizations which need our help, it is better that you have their requests directly rather than from me.

As for Egypt, BBC and CNN on line and on TV cover the goings on fairly thoughroughly, and the electronic edition of the Guardian has a site constantly updated with the latest news regarding the protests in Egypt.

All the best,

Dorothy

(forwarded by Stan H, who comments “apparently being ultra-right wing isn’t enough”)

Haaretz,

February 3, 2011

Israel refuses to let Barbara Streisand’s cousin make aliyah

Dale Streisand, 57, was reportedly denied new immigrant status on the grounds that his Facebook profile indicated he had been involved in Christian missionary activity in the past.

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/israel-refuses-to-let-barbra-streisand-s-cousin-make-aliyah-1.340949

By Nir Hasson

The Interior Ministry and the Jewish Agency rejected a request from singer Barbra Streisand’s cousin to come and live in Israel .

Dale Streisand, 57, was reportedly refused new immigrant status on the grounds that his Facebook profile indicated he had been involved in Christian missionary activity in the past.
Streisand, who is Jewish, lived in the United States until a year ago, when he moved to the Philippines after getting married.
Last August he submitted a request to live in Israel . Streisand told Haaretz he had been thinking about doing so for three years, but his wife is now pregnant and he wanted the baby to be born in Israel .
Dale Streisand (right) with his wife and daughter. 

In November, he was told his application was under consideration but that there was a problem because he had married a citizen of the Philippines . He was then told that there was not any problem with his wife, but that his application had been rejected because he believes that Jesus is the messiah. Evidence of this, they told him, was found on his Facebook profile in the form of a link to a Christian missionary website.

Streisand said the Jewish Agency wrote him in an e-mail telling him it respected his right to hold any religious belief he choses, but that his request would have to be relayed to the Interior Ministry.
Streisand said he did not know how the link appeared on his Facebook page. He said he has also deleted his entire Facebook profile, including the links in question. He created a new profile, in which the Israeli flag served as his primary profile photo and he lists Chabad of the Philippines and the right-wing settler radio station Arutz Sheva among his Facebook friends.

His previous Facebook page, he claims, was taken out of context. He explained to Haaretz that one of his friends had sent him a link titled “Click if you love Jesus,” and that there were a few other things from his past that were found, but they had no connection to who he is today.

He said he is a Jew and has a right to live in Israel .

Streisand also told Haaretz that he is a newly Orthodox Jew, is studying Torah and that he wants to live in Israel and raise his children here.

He also cited the reputation of his famous cousin, iconic singer Barbra Streisand, and her proud identification with Judaism and contributions to philanthropic causes in Israel .

However, earlier this week Dale Streisand said he received a laconic letter from the Jewish Agency saying the Interior Ministry had concluded that he is not entitled to immigrate to Israel .

According to the Law of Return, the interior minister may deny a Jewish person the right to immigrate if they have a criminal record, endanger public health or state security, or if they “work against the Jewish people.” The High Court of Justice has in the past upheld the decision not to grant immigrant status to a Jewish person who has been proven to have converted.
The Jewish Agency released a statement saying the Interior Ministry determines individuals’ right to immigrate according to the Law of Return.

“The Jewish Agency, which assists the Interior Ministry in examining the right to immigrate, referred Mr. Streisand to a meeting with representatives of the Interior Ministry, who were not persuaded that he bears the right to immigrate,” the agency said. “It was never claimed that Mr. Streisand is not a Jew by birth. Obviously, an individual’s relationship with Christians does not revoke his right to immigrate.”

The Interior Ministry issued the following response: “The Jewish Agency has been authorized by the Interior Ministry to approve immigration requests for those who claim they have the right to immigrate and can prove it. Only in cases where the Jewish Agency encounters issues that it cannot solve on its own, are the documents and the agency’s recommendation transfered to the Population and Immigration Authority. We then make the decision based on that information.”
The ministry added that the right to immigrate is determined by Israel ‘s Law of Return.

Posted in Nova NewsletterComments Off on Dorothy Online Newsletter

Book: Israeli Rejectionism

NOVANEWS

 

Pre-ordering’s great for three reasons:

  1. You pay less and delivery is included in the price

  2. You receive your book from our advance print run, so you can read it weeks before anyone else

  3. Our inhouse post elves often get carried away when dispatching pre-orders and add bonus treats like badges, pencils and even free books to the packages

Israeli Rejectionism

A Hidden Agenda in the Middle East Peace

ProcessZalman Amit and Daphna Levit Pre-

order now for priority shipping in the first

week of February 2011. The Palestine-Israel

conflict is one of the longest running and

seemingly intractable confrontations in the

modern world. This book delves deep into the

 ‘peace process’ to find out why so little progress

has been made on the key issues. Zalman Amit

and Daphna Levit find overwhelming evidence

of Israeli rejectionism as the main cause for the

failure of peace.

They demonstrate that the Israeli leadership has

always been against a fairly negotiated peace and

have deliberately stalled negotiations for the last

80 years. The motivations behind this rejectionist

position have changed, as have the circumstances

of the conflict, but the conclusion has remained

consistent –peace has not been in the interest of the

 state of Israel.

A fascinating read, and particularly timely as the

Obama administration tries once more for a peace

settlement, this book draws on a wealth of sources –

including Hebrew documents and transcripts – to

show that it is the Palestinians who lack a viable

 ‘partner for peace’.

Zalman Amit was born in Palestine and grew up in

a newly created Israel. He is Distinguished Professor

Emeritus at Concordia University in Canada and is

the author of four books and over 300 articles.

Daphna Levit taught finance and economics at the

Universities of Tel Aviv and Ben Gurion. She has

edited and contributed to numerous books on

Middle Eastern Politics.

Posted in LiteratureComments Off on Book: Israeli Rejectionism

News**News**News

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by crescentandcross  

 

Mu-Barak Rules Out Stepping Down, Warning of ‘Chaos’

 

 

‘US using protests to divide Egyptians’

 

 

Senate Passes Resolution Calling on  Zionist Hosni Mubarak to Begin Transfer of Power in Egypt

 

 

Egyptians warned against ‘secularism’

 

 

Senators Question Intelligence Agencies’ Anticipation of Egypt Uprising

 

 

‘Iraq war ordered 15 days after 9/11′

 

 

Two explosions kill 12 in Turkey

 

 

US Intelligence Warned Obama of Egypt Instability at End of 2010

 

 

Jimmy Carter Sued for $5 Million for Criticism of Israhell

 

 

‘Egyptian youth seek credible leader’

 

 

Thousands support ‘day of rage’ against Hamas

 

Posted in WorldComments Off on News**News**News

News**News**News

NOVANEWS

by crescentandcross

  

  

Suriname recognizes Palestinian state  

Mu-Barak: I’ll Leave in Sept; Egyptians: Get Out Now  

UN Human Rights Chief: 300 Reported Dead in Egypt Protests  

Egypt’s revolution inspires Gaza’s youth  

Jordan’s king appoints new PM after protests  

Abusing Palestinian Children  

Egypt’s Revolution: Obama Backing Regime Change?  

Santorum Likens Egyptian Opposition to bin Laden  

‘FBI violated law thousands of times’  

Larijani: Israhell walking on razor’s edge  

Mu-Barak should not run again: Obama  

US Orders Non-Essential Personnel Out of Egypt  

Israhell urges West: Make sure new Egypt regime honors peace deal  

Hamas worried upheaval in Arab world will spill into Gaza  

‘Religious democracy, Imam’s legacy’  

U.S. Senate Democrats reject Tea Party leader’s call to cut Israhell aid  

Iran: Egypt uprising imperils Israhell  

Muslims want to change the way Hollywood tells their stories  

Yemen president says won’t extend presidential term  

Study: Coup possible in Morocco, Saudi Arabia too  

Obama: Egypt’s transition must begin now  

‘Iran, Russia cautious about Stuxnet’  

‘Lebanon bound by agreements with Iran’  

Iran Majlis backs Egypt revolution

 

 

Posted in WorldComments Off on News**News**News

The Torture Career of Mu-Barak New Soon-to-be-Ex Vice President

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Zionist Omar Suleiman

Omar Suleiman and the Rendition to Torture

 

By Stephen Soldz in CounterPunch

In response to the mass protests of recent days, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has appointed his first Vice President in his over 30 years rule, intelligence chief Omar Suleiman. When Suleiman was first announced, Aljazeera commentators were describing him as a “distinguished” and “respected ” man. It turns out, however, that he is distinguished for, among other things, his central role in Egyptian torture and in the US rendition to torture program. Further, he is “respected” by US officials for his cooperation with their torture plans, among other initiatives.

Katherine Hawkins, an expert on the US’s rendition to torture program, in an email, has sent some critical texts where Suleiman pops up. Thus, Jane Mayer, in The Dark Side, pointed to Suleiman’s role in the rendition program:

Each rendition was authorized at the very top levels of both governments….The long-serving chief of the Egyptian central intelligence agency, Omar Suleiman, negotiated directly with top Agency officials.  [Former U.S. Ambassador to Egypt] Walker described the Egyptian counterpart, Suleiman, as “very bright, very realistic,” adding that he was cognizant that there was a downside to “some of the negative things that the Egyptians engaged in, of torture and so on. But he was not squeamish, by the way” (pp. 113).

Stephen Grey, in Ghost Plane, his investigative work on the rendition program also points to Suleiman as central in the rendition program:
To negotiate these assurances [that the Egyptians wouldn’t “torture” the prisoner delivered for torture] the CIA dealt principally in Egypt through Omar Suleiman, the chief of the Egyptian general intelligence service (EGIS) since 1993. It was he who arranged the meetings with the Egyptian interior ministry…. Suleiman, who understood English well, was an urbane and sophisticated man. Others told me that for years Suleiman was America’s chief interlocutor with the Egyptian regime — the main channel to President Hosni Mubarak himself, even on matters far removed from intelligence and security.

Suleiman’s role, was also highlighted in a Wikileaks cable:

In the context of the close and sustained cooperation between the USG and GOE on counterterrorism, Post believes that the written GOE assurances regarding the return of three Egyptians detained at Guantanamo (reftel) represent the firm commitment of the GOE to adhere to the requested principles. These assurances were passed directly from Egyptian General Intelligence Service (EGIS) Chief Soliman through liaison channels — the most effective communication path on this issue. General Soliman’s word is the GOE’s guarantee, and the GOE’s track record of cooperation on CT issues lends further support to this assessment. End summary.

However, Suleiman wasn’t just the go-to bureaucrat for when the Americans wanted to arrange a little torture. This “urbane and sophisticated man” apparently enjoyed a little rough stuff himself.

Shortly after 9/11, Australian citizen Mamdouh Habib was captured by Pakistani security forces and, under US pressure, torture by Pakistanis. He was then rendered (with an Australian diplomats watching) by CIA operatives to Egypt, a not uncommon practice. In Egypt, Habib merited Suleiman’s personal attention. As related by Richard Neville, based on Habib’s memoir:

Habib was interrogated by the country’s Intelligence Director, General Omar Suleiman…. Suleiman took a personal interest in anyone suspected of links with Al Qaeda. As Habib had visited Afghanistan shortly before  9/11, he was under suspicion. Habib was repeatedly zapped with high-voltage electricity, immersed in water up to his nostrils, beaten, his fingers were broken and he was hung from metal hooks.

That treatment wasn’t enough for Suleiman, so:

To loosen Habib’s tongue, Suleiman ordered a guard to murder a gruesomely shackled Turkistan prisoner in front of Habib – and he did, with a vicious karate kick.

After Suleiman’s men extracted Habib’s confession, he was transferred back to US custody, where he eventually was imprisoned at Guantanamo. His “confession” was then used as evidence in his Guantanamo trial.

The Washington Post’s intelligence correspondent Jeff Stein reported some additional details regarding Suleiman and his important role in the old Egypt the demonstrators are trying to leave behind:

“Suleiman is seen by some analysts as a possible successor to the president,” the Voice of American said Friday. “He earned international respect for his role as a mediator in Middle East affairs and for curbing Islamic extremism.”

An editorialist at Pakistan’s “International News” predicted Thursday that “Suleiman will probably scupper his boss’s plans [to install his son], even if the aspiring intelligence guru himself is as young as 75.”

Suleiman graduated from Egypt’s prestigious Military Academy but also received training in the Soviet Union. Under his guidance, Egyptian intelligence has worked hand-in-glove with the CIA’s counterterrorism programs, most notably in the 2003 rendition from Italy of an al-Qaeda suspect known as Abu Omar.

In 2009, Foreign Policy magazine ranked Suleiman as the Middle East’s most powerful intelligence chief, ahead of Mossad chief Meir Dagan.

In an observation that may turn out to be ironic, the magazine wrote, “More than from any other single factor, Suleiman’s influence stems from his unswerving loyalty to Mubarak.”

If Suleiman succeeds Mubarak and retains power, we will likely be treated to plaudits for his distinguished credentials from government officials and US pundits.  We should remember that what they really mean is his ability to brutalize and torture. As Stephen Grey puts it:

But in secret, men like Omar Suleiman, the country’s most powerful spy and secret politician, did our work, the sort of work that Western countries have no appetite to do ourselves.

If Suleiman receives praise in the US, it will be because our leaders know that he’s the sort of leader who can be counted on to do what it takes to restore order and ensure that Egypt remains friendly to US interests.

We sure hope that the Egyptian demonstrators reject the farce of Suleiman’s appointment and push on to a complete change of regime. Otherwise the Egyptian torture chamber will undoubtedly return, as a new regime reestablishes “stability” and serves US interests.

Posted in EgyptComments Off on The Torture Career of Mu-Barak New Soon-to-be-Ex Vice President

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