In a move that has sent shockwaves throughout Egypt, the Coptic Pope, Tawadros II, travelled to Jerusalem Thursday at the head of a distinguished delegation of bishops from the Coptic Church. The short flight from Cairo to Tel Aviv can be measured in minutes; the psychological distance stretches back decades.Read more
Back in the heady days when the Western world was still enthralled by what was then known as the Arab Spring, the 2012 Egyptian presidential elections represented a watershed – if albeit a mixed one, given the victory of the Muslim Brotherhood candidate, Mohammed Morsi. The coming-to-power of Morsi provided one of the clearest signals that the “Arab Spring” was turning out to be an Islamist spring. But as it occurred by democratic means, hardly anyone could object.Read more
The WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with senior editor Lee Smith on Hamas's attack tunnels, Operation Protective Edge, the Iranian factor, and what the media gets wrong about Israel's involvement in Gaza.Read more
The reluctance of Hamas’s “military wing”—a misnomer for the more extreme elements of its extremist leadership—to accept the cease-fire designed by Egypt is, well, logical. Let’s admit it. They do not wish to accept defeat, and the Egyptian terms are a defeat for Hamas.Read more
In spite of a string of worrisome human rights and freedom of expression violations, the Obama administration is holding out hope that Egypt's government lead by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is still headed for democracy.Read more
Maggie Flick of Reuters is reporting that:
Three Al Jazeera journalists were jailed for seven years in Egypt on Monday after a court convicted them of helping a "terrorist organisation" by spreading lies, in a case that has raised questions about the country's respect for media freedom.
Yes, that would raise questions. But:Egyptian officials have said the case is not linked to freedom of expression and that the journalists raised suspicions by operating without proper accreditation. Read more
Two years ago, Islamist political posters plastered Giza's impoverished Omraniya neighborhood. But two weeks ago, as Egyptians went to the polls for the seventh time since the 2011 uprising, a military man's banners monopolized the wall space. "Abdel Fatah al-Sisi knows how to fix the country," shopkeeper Shaaban Hamdy, a Sisi supporter, told me in Cairo last week. Hamdy voted for Mohamed Morsi during the 2012 presidential elections, seeing the Muslim Brotherhood leader as "something new, not the same old [regime]." Yet despite regretting that decision, Hamdy acknowledged that Sisi might not be Egypt's final answer either. "If he fails," Hamdy said, "the people will come again and change him."Read more
If Israel believed that exposing an Iranian arms transfer to terrorists in Gaza was a public relations coup that might make the White House think twice about making a deal with the regime in Tehran over its nuclear weapons program, then Jerusalem has fundamentally misread the Obama administration. Perhaps just as ominously, it shows that the government of Israel doesn’t understand the new media environment.Read more
Earlier this morning Israeli commandos boarded an Iranian vessel in the Red Sea carrying an arms shipment destined for Gaza and the Sinai. According to Reuters, the Panamanian-flagged cargo vessel Klos C was boarded in international waters without resistance from its 17-strong crew, who may have been unaware of the cargo they were carrying. Israeli Defense Forces spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Lerner told reporters that the ship was carrying dozens of M302 rockets. "The M302 in its most advanced model,” said Lerner, “can strike over 100 miles, and if they would have reached Gaza, ultimately that would have meant millions of Israelis underRead more
A recent spate of newspaper articles suggests a concerted media campaign targeting Turkey’s foreign intelligence service, the MIT, its director, Hakan Fidan, and almost surely his boss as well, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In a piece published by the Wall Street Journal and another by the Washington Times, Fidan is said to be supporting al Qaeda affiliates in Syria fighting against forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.Read more
The anti-Christian violence in Egypt is "a modern pogrom," David Brog, the executive director of Christians United for Israel, says in a statement.
"Events in Egypt this week highlight yet again the tragedy facing the Christians of the Middle East. Once again, Christians are being targeted for murder. Once again Christian schools, businesses and churches are being attacked. And once again, the world is largely silent," Brog says.Read more
According to the Wall Street Journal, Israel, along with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, is gung-ho for the Egyptian army’s bloody campaign against the Muslim Brotherhood. This, the Journal reports, “has pulled Israel into ever-closer alignment with those Gulf states.” Yes, concurs, the New York Times, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE support “the Egyptian military and sought to push back against Western entreaties that it temper its actions against the Brotherhood and the ousted government of President Mohamed Morsi and his supporters.”Read more
The boss joined This Week on Sunday to discuss Egypt, law and order, and politics:
Unfortunately your browser does not support IFrames.Read more
Earlier this week, Maurice Bonamigo had strong words for the White House on its Egypt policy. “The Obama administration failed to assess the situation in Egypt,” Bonamigo told Egypt’s flagship English-language media organ, the Egypt Independent. “It did not appreciate the power of the Egyptian people calling for freedom. I am surprised by Obama’s stance.”Read more
This morning President Obama announced that he is cancelling this year’s joint military exercise with Egypt, Operation Bright Star. It’s a symbolic gesture intended to show that, should the army continue to pursue its present course, the White House may eventually decide to suspend military aid. But cancelling Bright Star also underscores American impotence. The administration reportedly warned Egypt’s military regime against a violent crackdown, an admonition to which, with 638 now confirmed dead after yesterday’s nationwide confrontations with Muslim Brotherhood supporters, the army obviously turned a deaf ear.Read more
President Obama delivered about an 8 minute statement on Egypt this morning, then went straight to the links. Via the pool report:Read more
President Obama delivered a short audio-only statement on Egypt this morning, from his rented-vacation home on Martha's Vineyard:
In the statement, President Obama cancelled a planned joint U.S.-Egypt military exercise and called for "Egyptian authorities to respect the universal rights of the people. We call on those who protest to do so peacefully."
Obama did not say that U.S. aid to Egypt would change.
The president answered no questions.Read more
White House deputy press secretary Josh Earnest released this statement on the ongoing violence in Egypt:Read more
For most of those who were so hopeful when the Great Arab Revolt downed the dictator Hosni Mubarak two years ago, the travails of Egypt’s fledgling democracy have been depressing. Many in the West expected the country’s hodgepodge of secularists—the young men and women who were the cutting edge of the demonstrations, first against Mubarak, then against his freely elected Muslim Brotherhood successor, Mohamed Morsi—to do better than they did at the ballot box, where Islamists so far have triumphed.Read more
The WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with senior editor Lee Smith on Secretary of State John Kerry's peace tour, Egypt, Syria, and Iran.Read more
In assessing Egyptian defense minister Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi’s decision to remove President Mohamed Morsi from office July 3, there are two key points to keep in mind. The first concerns the army, and the second concerns what is now, given the escalation of violence over the last two weeks, its rival in the field, the Muslim Brotherhood.Read more
Since forcing Egypt’s first elected president from office two weeks ago, Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has become a folk hero. Popular songs praising the 58-year-old head of Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces fill the airwaves, while hagiographic portraits of the man who saved the revolution stir the emotions of his newly minted fans. They affectionately call him “Field Marshal of the People”—even though the career military officer is not a field marshal but holds the rank of colonel general. The fact that Egyptians are so eager to lavish him with titles and other adornments fit for a culture hero suggests that we are watching the birth of a personality cult.Read more
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