Egyptian Aak 2014 – Week 35 ( Aug 25- 31)

 

Ahmed Seif

 

(Cartoon about the late human right defender Ahmed Seif, via klmty)

Main Headlines

 Monday

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Wednesday 

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

 Sunday

 Good report

Good read

And

 Plus:

Photo Gallery

Poll:

Baseera’s latest poll claim 82 % of Egyptians approve of El-Sisi performance

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Gaza cease-fire might lead to indirect Egypt involvement

 

Gaza

( Kids in Gaza celebrate the ceasefire agreement, via Twitter)

 

I wrote this piece for Al-Monitor, warning that in the future a failed Gaza can easily end its existence as an autonomous entity, and snooker Egypt into a very tricky corner.

After seven weeks of confrontations in the Gaza Strip, a cease-fire has been reached. The details are still sketchy, and needless to say, it is still too early to judge if this truce will last. However, regardless of the durability of the new deal and its implications for Israel, it’s safe to say that a new reality may unfold in Gaza. The Palestinian Authority (PA) could return to the Gaza Strip, at least to run the Rafah border with Egypt. While this seems a benign move, it is not; it could open the door to a new scenario that was previously considered far-fetched — an indirect Egyptian involvement in the governance of Gaza.

First, it’s important to note that Egypt does not want to control Gaza. It only wants to contain its own problems and shield the Sinai Peninsula and the Rafah border from infiltration by radical militants from Gaza. Recently, Egypt has stepped up its operations to destroy most of the tunnels that Hamas and other groups have built underneath the Rafah border. Inevitably, however, tunnel destruction has aggravated an already shaky relationship between Egypt and Hamas, especially after the ousting of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi by the Egyptian army.

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Egyptian Aak 2014 – Week 34 ( Aug 18-24)

 Main Headlines

Monday

Tuesday

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Good Reports

Good Read

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Posted in Diary of Aak, Egypt, Gaza | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Egyptian Aak 2014 – Week 33 ( August 11-17) Rabaa Anniversary

Rabaa anniverssary

( Photo of Cairo clashes in the anniversary of Rabaa via AP)

Main Headlines

 Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

 Good Reports

Good read

Plus:

Photo Heritage

Book Review

  • Inside The Arab Revolution – a Book By Koert Debeuf. Nehad Ismail
Posted in Diary of Aak, Egypt | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Profile: Hamas’s Mohammed Deif

Hamas's Deif

A rare video image of Deif in 2005 via Ma’an News

The war in Gaza has brought the focus back on Hamas’s military wing, the Qassam Brigades, and its mysterious leader Mohammed Al-Deif. Here is a collection of old and new profile analyses about him from various sources. 

Posted in Gaza, Hamas, Palestine | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Egyptian Aak 2014- Week 32 ( August 4 -10)

Suez Canal

( Info-graphic of Suez Canal Project, via Al-Arabiya)

Main Headlines

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday 

Saturday

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 Good Reports

Good Read

Plus

Photo Gallery

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sisi, Islamic Jihad, and Gaza

Islamic Jihad and Hamas in Cairo

(Islamic Jihad and Hamas delegation in Cairo, via Twitter)

The war in Gaza has highlighted the tense relationship between Egypt and the Palestinian factions, mainly Hamas, in Gaza. However, it seems Cairo does not view all factions with one lens, and it is clear Egypt’s relationship with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad appears to be less acrimonious. Many pundits misjudged the nature of dynamics between Egypt and Israel, and viewed them as allies in the war in Gaza. Although Egypt and Israel may share some interests, they differ on many aspects of the Gaza conundrum, and Islamic Jihad is one of them.

 Israel regards all militant groups in Gaza as terrorists, a view to which Egypt does not necessarily subscribe. According to Hussein Ibish, senior fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine, Egypt’s effort to negotiate a truce is not a foreign policy question. “This is not an external affair,” Mr. Ibish said recently. “This is a national security issue that is domestic and internal from their [Egypt’s] point of view.” This is precisely why President Sisi cannot afford to burn bridges with all of Gaza’s factions. He needs, at least, one friendly faction.

 Can this faction be the Islamic Jihad? Yes. Following Hamas’ takeover of Gaza, Egypt’s favorite Palestinian group, Fatah, has become less influential inside the impoverished strip, and has been replaced by other militant groups such as the Islamic Jihad. President Morsi’s ousting in Egypt was a huge setback for Hamas, but surprisingly not the Islamic Jihad. A few days after the coup in Egypt, senior Islamic Jihad leader Khader Habib described the events there as an internal crisis his faction did not want to meddle in.

 Major-General Sameh Seif El-Yazal, Director of Al-Gomhoria’s Center for Political and Security Studies in Cairo, stated that all the Palestinians arrested in Sinai and Egypt over the past few years were not members of the Islamic Jihad movement. “Islamic Jihad did not harm Egypt’s national Interests,” he said in a TV interview on Rotana Masriya TV on August 4. El-Yazal’s statement contradicts Egyptian army claims last year that terrorist elements in Sinai were using heavy weapons belonging to the Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip. This contradiction may be a misjudgment by El-Yazal, but it can be a deliberate tactic by the Egyptian leadership; part of Sisi’s standard policy of maintaining good relations with one Islamist faction, at least, just like his alliance with the Salafi Nour Party in Egypt. There are indications that Salafi Nour party has good relation with Islamic Jihad, and it could have played a rule in smoothing the relations between Egypt and Islamic Jihad ___ although, there are no strong evidences to support this assumption.

 Like all his predecessors, Sisi does not want to inherit Gaza, but he does want to maintain the impoverished strip within his regional influence. Sisi has managed to secure an initial victory by heading negotiations in Cairo between Israel and a united Palestinian delegation that includes not just Hamas, but also the Islamic Jihad and the Palestinian authority. All the previous negotiations (in 2008 and 2012) were mainly with Hamas; therefore, Sisi has actually managed to dilute Hamas within a wider group that is mostly friendly to him.

The outcome of the negotiations means little to President Sisi, as all scenarios are not bad for him. If a deal is reached, he can claim credit for its success. However, if the talks fail, it is not such bad news: Sisi will not just blame Israel and Hamas for the failure of the talks; he will also happily watch Israel sink more into the Gaza swamp. Israel’s occupation of Gaza will actually be Egypt’s best possible outcome. It will relieve the Egyptian authority from the headache of who and how to run the Rafah border between Gaza and Sinai, and will be perfect for Sinai’s security by ending the smuggling of weapons and militants from Gaza.

 Even in a potentially nightmarish third scenario of a continuing war of attrition between Hamas and Israel, the implications for Sisi are not all negative. He will continue to play for time until Hamas or Israel decides to compromise and meet again in Cairo to forge an agreement. Within that context, other groups such as the Islamic Jihad are important for Sisi. He needs eyes and ears inside the strip. The leaked news that Hamas has executed its former leader, Ayman Taha, for allegedly spying for Egypt, will possibly prompt Sisi and his intelligence apparatus to find alternatives, not necessarily inside Hamas, but at least inside Gaza. Even if the Islamic Jihad refuses to play ‘the spy role,” the fact that they are friendly to Sisi will put psychological pressure on Hamas.

 The Gaza crisis has highlighted President Sisi’s sheer pragmatism and ruthlessness. He does not judge the Palestinian factions by their ideology or tactics, nor does he treat Israel as a friend or foe. These are all irrelevant issues ____ the goal for Sisi is not for Israel to win or for Hamas to lose, but for the conflict to be a win-win for his Egypt. Sisi is, and will always be, a political realist motivated by what he perceives as his national interests.

Posted in Egypt, Gaza, Middle East, Palestine | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments

Egyptian Aak 2014- Week 31( July 28- Aug 3)

 

Eid prayer in Egypt  1

( Eid prayer in Egypt, via Aswat Masryia)

Main Headlines

 Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

Good Reports

Good read

Plus

Video

Photo Gallery

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Egyptian Aak 2014 – Week 30 ( July 21-27)

 

Sisi and Kerry

(Photo via Reuters)

Main Headlines

 Monday

 Tuesday

 Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

 Sunday

 Good report

Good read

Book Review

 Review of Galal Amin’s Book: Whatever Happened to Egypt’s Revolution? By Eric Trager

Video

 Plus:

And, another July 23 in Egypt

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Special Edition: Gaza

Gaza

Photo via AP

After 18 days of bloodshed, Israel and Hamas have agreed to a 12- hours pause in Gaza. I took this opportunity, to collect articles that are, in my opinion, worth reading about the crisis in Gaza. 

And you may be interested to read my piece, Gaza, the Gordian knot

Photo Essay

Poll:

  • Gaza conflict: West Bank Palestinians Divided and Ambivalent. Arab World for research and development.

Plus:

Video

Finally

Posted in Gaza | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments