Saudis to Muslim Brotherhood: Drop Dead
"The uneasy modus vivendi between the Muslim Brotherhood and the military most likely will fail, and probably sooner than later," I argued July 9, and the aftermath of the terrorist execution of sixteen Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai peninsula supports this conclusion. The funeral service for the dead soldiers erupted in rage against the Brotherhood, Al Ahram reports today from Cairo:
In a tense scene, hundreds of Egyptians gathered at Al-Rashdan Mosque in Cairo's Nasr City district around midday on Tuesday to attend the funeral service held for the 16 Egyptian guards killed at the Egypt-Gaza border on Sunday. Security forces were heavily deployed around the mosque, and several of the surrounding streets were blocked off.
Getting close to the mosque, Ahram Online found families of the killed soldiers, as well as some public figures, mourners and many angry protesters. The group was split between those who had made it inside the mosque to pray for the killed soldiers and the rest who waited outside in anger, chanting almost without pause, and at times fighting with each other.Protesters mainly chanted against President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, describing them as "betrayers of the country" and claiming that the Brotherhood collaborated with Hamas, which they accuse of involvement in the killing of Egyptian soldiers. "Down with the rule of the Supreme Guide of the Brotherhood" and "The Brotherhood are agents and betrayers" were among the slogans that were chanted. The infuriated protesters also kicked out any citizen whom they suspected to be a member of the Islamist group. Most bearded men were labelled as members of the Brotherhood and were forced to leave.
Crucial to understanding Egypt's internal wrangling between the Brotherhood-dominated elected government and the military in the wings is the harsh reality of Egypt's economy: the country is nearly dead broke, and close to the point where it no longer can finance its $36 billion annual trade deficit. Egypt imports half its food, and is the world's largest wheat importer. Wheat and other food prices went through the roof due to the American drought and poor harvests elsewhere. Egypt is almost out of money. It also has trouble financing its enormous internal budget deficit (around 12% of GDP). The most likely outcome will be a substantial currency devaluation before year-end, with a sharp rise in food and energy prices, all of it laid at the door of the Muslim Brotherhood. The military will consolidate its grip over Egyptian politics in one fashion or another. As I wrote in the cited July 9 post: "The economic context is necessary to make sense of Egypt's politics: it points to an important conclusion, that no path exists to stable rule by the Muslim Brotherhood."
The most important news to come out of Egypt in the past several weeks was yesterday's central bank announcement that foreign exchange reserves fell sharply during July. Liquid reserves fell by a quarter, from $7.8 billion to $5.9 billion. Al Ahram reported:
Egypt's net international reserves fell in July after inching up for three months in a row. Figures from the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) published on Tuesday showed that Egypt's foreign currency reserves stood at some $14.42 billion by the end of July, down from $15.53 billion in June.
The CBE said on its website that the fall was due to maturing Egyptian bonds and payment of the Paris Club member countries' debt totaling some $1.64 billion.
Source. Central Bank of Egypt
Saudi Arabia, that is, didn't peel off a single dinar for the flailing Egyptians during the month of July, despite Prime Minister Morsi's high-profile trip to Riyadh during the middle of the month. With liquid reserves below $6 billion (the rest is gold, credits at the IMF, and a few other illiquid items) Egypt can pay for another two months' of its trade deficit. The Saudis do not want to feed the mouth that bites their hand.
A great deal of wishful thinking arose from Morsi's visit about a new Saudi-Egyptian rapprochement, supposedly motivated by common opposition of the two Sunni Muslim countries to Iran, for example, by Prof. Fouad Ajami in Tablet. The Saudis fear the Muslim Brotherhood, though, as much as they fear Iran: the Brotherhood's updated Islamism combines traditional religious authority with the organizing methods of modern totalitarian parties, and represents the most credible internal challenge to the Saudi monarchy. Saudi Arabia supported deposed Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and bitterly rued his overthrow.
Evidently the Egyptian Supreme Council of the Armed Forces and its Saudi backers intend to let the Morsi government take the blame for Egypt's impending economic disaster. The assault on Egypt's prime minister at the soldiers' funeral may mark the decline of the Islamist organization. The only friend the Muslim Brotherhood has left is the Obama administration, which cannot–in an election year–give the Morsi government what it needs the most–enough money to get through the next few months.
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by Khaled Abu Toameh
It is important to note that these cease-fire demands are not part of Hamas's or Islamic Jihad's overall strategy, namely to have Israel wiped off the face of the earth.
Many foreign journalists who came to cover the war in the Gaza trip were under the false impression that it was all about improving living conditions for the Palestinians by opening border crossings and building an airport and seaport. These journalists really believed that once the demands of Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad are accepted, this would pave the way for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
To understand the true intention of Hamas and its allies, it is sufficient to follow the statements made by their leaders after the cease-fire announcement this week. To his credit, Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas's leader, has never concealed Hamas's desire to destroy Israel.
Hamas and its allies see the war in the Gaza Strip as part of there strategy to destroy Israel. What Hamas and its allies are actually saying is, "Give us open borders and an airport and seaport so we can use them to prepare for the next was against Israel."
by Burak Bekdil
A front-page headline was particularly revealing: They (Israel) bombed a mosque in Gaza! Including the exclamation mark!
A quick internet search, if you typed "mosque bombing Shiite-Sunni," would give you 782,000 results on July 16.
Why did we not hear one single Turkish voice protest the death of 300,000 Muslims in Darfur?
Hamas's Charter is must-read fun.
by Bassam Tawil
What is sad is that the Gazans have not yet been able to free themselves from the yoke of Hamas.
The world seems not to understand that Hamas, like ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood, does not exist in a vacuum. It is one cog in the radical Islamist wheel that threatens the Arab and Muslim world and the major cities of Europe.
The Western world also seems not to understand that it has to incapacitate or totally neutralize the countries funding terrorism, such as Iran, Qatar and Turkey, for whom the Palestinian problem is only a pretext on the way to destroying the Western world as we know it and replacing it with only Islam.
by Burak Bekdil
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu-Zuhri said: "All Israelis are legitimate targets." What would the Palestinian death toll have been if Mr. Netanyahu's spokesman declared all Palestinians as legitimate targets?
Underdog-nation romanticism tells us Israel should not respond when under rocket attack because it is capable of intercepting the rockets.
That there are fewer Israeli casualties does not mean Hamas does not want to kill; it just means, for the moment, Hamas cannot kill.
by Soeren Kern
Austria figures prominently in a map produced by the IS that outlines the group's five-year plan for expanding its caliphate into Europe, and has emerged as a central hub for jihadists seeking to fight in Syria.
"The spectrum of recruits for the conflict in Syria is ethnically diverse. The motivation, however, appears to be uniformly jihadist." — Austrian intelligence agency BVT.
"Allah also gives you the opportunity to wage jihad in Austria." — Austrian jihadist Firas Houidi.
"We are proud that Allah has chosen us. We feel like lions." — Austrian jihadist Abu Hamza al-Austria.