Rebranding the caliphate –a never-ending dystopian myth

Call for Turkish Caliphate

 

If not now, when?   if not you, who?

With the image of pious Erdogan reciting the Quran in Hagia Sophia, and his head Mufti holding the sword of conquest it is no wonder that slogan appeared on social media.

The dream of an Islamic caliphate is not new. Ever since the birth of the mother group of political Islam, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, the Quran and the sword have been used as logos symbolizing the dream of retrieving the caliphate. Watching the sword and the Quran live on TV from Hagia Sophia has rekindled the yearning for the caliphate within the Islamist social sphere, and portrayed it as a potential reality, not just a distant nostalgia.

But what kind of caliphate do the Islamists want?

Rather than providing a clear, detailed portfolio of their aspired project, most Islamists tend to indulge in selling their desired outcomes of Islamic rule, and reject the qualities of other modes of governance. In particular, all Islamists assert their rejection of what they see as “Un-Islamic aspects” of Western modernity and Western “imperialism.” Moreover, they also reject the already crushed ISIS Caliphate, as they see it as a cynical exploitation of the concept they cherish.

Turkish writer Yusuf Kaplan wrote in the staunchly pro-Erdogan newspaper, Yani Safak:  “A caliphate is a multilateral, multi-layered, multifunctional institution that not only has a political dimension but also an administrative, economic, cultural and intellectual one. From time to time, it takes on religious dimensions as well.”

Kaplan added a caveat to his Utopian fancy; he asserted that a caliphate has to be independent of the control of imperialist powers and “their puppets and satellites”. This is a cynical way to evade revealing the detail of his proposed project that fits with Erdogan’s opposition to declaring a caliphate, at least for now.

Kaplan is not alone. Most Islamist visionaries and thinkers have avoided delving into the thorny details of their caliphate project, and how their proposed “multilateral, multi-layered, multifunctional institution” will govern the Muslim world and provide its subjects with a fair and just Islamic doctrine. Will that happen via an absolute caliph? A constitutional caliphate? A symbolic caliph?

The idea of a modern caliphate is not new. Nostalgic Muslim thinkers in the late 19th and early 20th century contemplated the concept of a caliphate ruled by ​​a “fair, firm, pious Muslim tyrant,” who  could implement an administrative, political, and social system that unites all Islamic countries. The idea of ​​a fair tyrant was popular among some, for example through writings by Abdul Rahman Al-Kawakibi in his book (Natures of Despotism), Jamal El-Din al-Afghani, Muhammad Abdu, and others.

They interpret the idea of ​​tyranny as “firmness, strength, and justice” and claim it differs from the Western concept of tyranny, which means “exclusivity by rule.” And how firmness does not mean injustice and abuse. Later, those ideas inspired Arab nationalists like Nasser and Saddam Hussein, and we all know their disastrous outcomes. The idea that an Islamist caliph will and can perform better than those Arab nationalists is mere dystopia, as Islamists fail to set a clear mechanism that will prevent their caliphs from slipping into the path of injustice after they come to power.

In fact, if the history of Muslim caliphs is our guide, we can say with certainty how the Umayyad, Abbasid, or Ottoman Empire did not witness a single case in which the Muslim peoples were able to prevent unjust rule. On the contrary, everyone who revolted against the unjust ruler was branded a traitor and an apostate. This is the same method President Erdogan is now following with his political opponents, from Kurds to seculars.

The application of justice is also a major dilemma in the concept of the caliphate. The Islamists reduced the concept of justice in the application of Sharia rulings, but they ignored how Muslim societies were from the beginning, from the Umayyad era until the end of the Ottoman caliphate – class societies par excellence. In the history of the Muslim caliphs we have not heard about a blacksmith who came to power or a carpenter who managed the affairs of his city.

The problem of young Islamists is how they dream of societies in which they are the leaders, the rich and mighty people. But they do not consider what their situation would be if they became slaves or servants in the palaces of their dreamed caliphs.

To evade the thorny pitfalls of an absolute caliphate, many modern Islamists advocate a “constitutional caliphate” citing the early tenure of Sultan Abdul Hamid II when he established a general assembly. But they forget how Sultan Abdul Hamid disrupted the constitution and returned the country to absolute authoritarian rule later, and they decline to explain what would prevent any future successor from doing the same. How can Erdogan’s fans expect fairness and justice from their beloved leader, who cites Hitler’s rule as an example of effective government?

Facing such a tricky question, the Erdoganists have a ready-made answer: “Turkey is a democratic country.” This is a fallacious response that overlooks Erdogan’s authoritarianism; it also ignores how the current Turkish system is built on secular rather than religious foundations, and if the Justice and Development Party loses the upcoming elections, the next president will not adopt the caliphate doctrine.

In truth, the idea of ​​electing a caliph itself is a comical idea, because it takes away the doctrine of the caliphate from the basis of its establishment and turns it into a system that is not very different from any secular system.

This is precisely why most of Erdogan’s Turkish fans advocate a softer version of the caliphate, in which they see Turkey as a soft power, and other Muslim societies revolving in its orbit, connecting via strong cultural, economic, and political bonds.

Most of the advocates of Turkey’s soft power, however, vehemently reject Arab nationalism, but they have no problem with Turkish nationalism. They only pay lip service to equality of races within the Turkish sphere, but subtly consider the Turkish race as superior to others. Such superiority has triggered several revolts among Arabs and other citizens of the medieval Ottoman Caliphate against their past caliphs.

The concept of a Muslim Caliphate provides a valuable sense of historical continuity for those who believe Islam is a faith as well as a political system. Nevertheless, the branding of the caliphate is a project that will always be doomed to failure. For over a century Islamists have failed to formulate a clear framework and practical mechanisms to implement their dream into a workable  reality that could avoid its past pitfalls. It is easy to hold a sword from a bygone era, and blame Western imperialism; however, it is difficult to have the intellectual honesty to admit the many fallacies behind what this sword represents and what it can, or cannot, achieve.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Middle East, Turkey | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

This Week in Egypt: Week 31 ( July 27-Aug 2)

Top Headlines

  • Egypt says Turkish seismic survey plans could encroach on its waters
  • Eni, BP, Total hit gas at Bashrush prospect about 11 km offshore Egypt
  • Somaliland recognition quest is boosted By Ethiopia And Egypt scramble for Hargeisa
  • Egypt’s Sisi approves ban on retired army officers standing for election 
  • Egypt’s budget deficit falls to 7.8% in FY 2019/20
  • Kuwait says will review decision to suspend flights to Egypt

 

Pyramids

Main Headlines

 Monday

Tuesday

 Wednesday

Thursday

  • Egypt Shuqair-Mostorod crude oil pipeline resumed pumping
  • Egypt’s M2 money supply is up 47% year-on-year in June
  • No restrictions on travel to Egypt from UK

Friday

Saturday

  • Egypt says Turkish seismic survey plans could encroach on its waters
  • Kuwait bans flights to 31 ‘high risk’ countries due to coronavirus, including Egypt
  • Egypt reports lowest coronavirus daily figure since May 3
  • UAE official tells Turkey to stop meddling in Arab affairs over Libya

Sunday

Reports

  • Egypt grapples with women’s freedoms online as #MeToo re-emerges. Farid Farid
  • Nile dam row: Egypt fumes as Ethiopia celebrates. Magdi Abdelhadi
  • Cairo’s cafes that never sleep forced to close early. Nadeen Ebrahim
  • With ouster of priest accused of pedophilia, Coptic Church mobilizes against sexual abuse. Kuwait Nardine Saad
  • Qatari investments continued in Egypt despite political tensions. Mohamed Saied

From Twitter

 

 

Plus

  • Egyptian public figures react to Elon Musk’s comment on pyramids built by aliens
  • Egypt invites Elon Musk to visit Giza Pyramids following controversial tweet
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This Week in Egypt: Week 30-2020 ( July 20-26)

Top Headlines

  • Egypt says Sisi and Trump agree on need to maintain Libya ceasefire 
  • Egypt and France conduct naval drill in Mediterranean
  • Egypt’s Sisi discuses Libya, East Mediterranean developments with Greek PM
  • Ethiopia wants non-binding agreement on GERD
  • Egypt rejects unilateralism compromising right to Nile water, Sisi tells South African counterpart
  • Egyptian military foils terrorist attack in North Sinai
  • Zero new coronavirus cases are recorded in Red Sea and South Sinai

 

Sukhoi

( First batch of the Egyptian air force Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets)

Main Headlines

 Monday

  • ‪Egypt says Sisi and Trump agree on need to maintain Libya ceasefire
  • Egypt’s parliament unanimously gives a mandate for military intervention in Libya if necessarily
  • Turkey sent missiles used against Syrian Army to Libya for upcoming Sirte battle
  • Turkey: We are not seeking a confrontation with Egypt or France in Libya
  • Davutoglu: Confrontation With Egypt In Libya Will Not Be Good For Turkey

Tuesday

Wednesday

  • Ethiopia makes controversial statements on filling GERD one day after agreeing to continue AU-sponsored negotiations
  • Turkey says any Libya ceasefire deal requires Haftar withdrawal
  • Zero new coronavirus cases are recorded in Red Sea, South Sinai in the Last 24 Hours
  • Egypt extends operating hours of cafes, restaurants until midnight from July 26

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

  • Egypt rejects unilateralism compromising right to Nile water, Sisi tells South African counterpart
  • Egypt and France conduct naval drill in Mediterranean: Military spokesperson
  • Egypt’s Sisi, Ukraine’s Zelensky discuss Libyan crisis
  • Six defendants are referred to criminal court over sexual abuse of Egyptian TikTok teenager
  • Egypt’s South Sinai, Red Sea nature reserves to reopen with half-price tickets

Sunday

Read

Reports

From Twitter

 

 

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Reblog: Erdoğan setting the stage for invalidating the Lausanne Treaty

This is a brilliant piece by Turkish writer Yavuz Baydar, published in, in Ahval, on Erdogan’s intention after converting Hagia Sophia to a mosque. Republished here with permission. 

 

Erdogan hagia sophia

(Photo via Ahval)

A spectre is haunting Europe, the spectre of Turkish expansionism, set in motion by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Islamist government and its ultra-nationalist allies stakeholding his iron rule. All the powers of old Europe, with the exception of France, have entered into a holy alliance to duck this spectre:  the EU and ECB, Germany’s Angela Merkel and the U.K.’s Boris Johnson, Italy’s Giuseppe Conte and Spain’s Pedro Sanchez, The European Commission’s Ursula von de Leyen and the EU’s Josep Borrell, the Council of Europe, the European Court of Human Rights and NATO.

I have rephrased the famous introduction to Communist Manifesto, to underline the magnitude of the current and massively underestimated drama, of which Turkey is at the epicentre.

A militarised regime is taking shape in Anatolia as the world watches on at the expense of the well being of Turkish people. This regime is pursuing an expansionist order determined to stretch the country’s legal borders by means of a brute force.

If you think the recent reconversion of the Hagia Sophia into a mosque – a sad affair even in defiance of the verses of holy Quran – is just about the 6th century iconic site, think again.

The groundbreaking decision by the Erdoğan – Bahçeli alliance on the monument is only one major stone laid on the path to their plans pertaining to the centennial of Turkish Republic in 2023. Theirs is part of a major political choreography, based on bringing out of Pandora’s Box the ghosts of wars of the past. Let the borders of modern Turkey, drawn after the WWI go up for debate again and let the so-called National Pact (Misak-ı Milli), which is about reclaiming lands that now belong to Turkey’s southern and western neighbours, be brought to life, this alliance says.

The fact that the AKP cadres and pundits unleashed damnations and curses on the Lausanne Treaty even before the dust had settled on the Hagia Sophia reopening ceremony on Friday should be a wake up call for the world. That is if anyone is paying any attention to the constant escalation of the internal power rhetoric in Turkey.

It wasn’t a coincidence that Erdoğan and Bahçeli chose a specific date for the Hagia Sophia cemenony: The anniversary of the Lausanne Treaty, which was signed on July 24, 1923. So, it isn’t a puzzle anymore when Turks – in sympathy or opposition to the strongman of their country – kept hearing the phrase, ”a historic parenthesis that must be closed”. The parenthesis is the history of Turkish Republic, as envisioned and launched by its founding father, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Opening the gates of Hagia Sophia as a mosque at the same time paves the way for such a closure.

This path was already opened by the murky coup attempt of July 15, 2016,  followed by a massive coup by Erdoğan, the declaration of a state of emergency, five days later. Ever since then, the construction of the new regime has been taking place with an uninterrupted series of decrees, decisions, alliances and arbitrary rulings.

The rapid escalation of moves in foreign policy is also a major part of the grand design. Operations into Iraqi Kurdistan are aimed at establishing a permanent zone, with more bases. In Syria, the steady military build-up points to the same ambition. But the real push of the regime, including in the oil rich war-torn country of Libya, is visible within Ankara’s so-called Blue Homeland doctrine, now in the stage of determined implementation.

Deeply discontent with the EU’s foot-dragging on Turkey’s decade-long accession process, using the botched coup as a pretext for all thing anti-Western, and seeing a great window of opportunity in a world of disorder, Erdoğan and his partner, Bahçeli, apparently see the revisiting of the Lausanne Treaty as very timely. The geometrically growing rift with Greece and Cyprus over the hydrocarbon sources and naval borders must also be seen in that context, in order to be correctly understood.

Does history repeat itself? A comparison between the German resentment of the Versailles Treaty, that ended the WWI in 1919, and the Erdoğan government’s bullying push to create the same sort of sentiments among Turks across the political spectrum may sound far-fetched, but is actually quite accurate.

Many observers outside Turkey seem unable to see the big picture, and if they ever did, they would easily detect an identical myth-building taking shape in Turkey, like Germany’s ”dolchstosslegende,” stab-in-the-back myth.

Its first discreet missives are already in the air through social media and pro-government columns, as Hagia Sophia opens as a mosque.

According to the stab-in-the-back myth, the German right claimed that Germany actually did not lose WWI, but was betrayed at the table by the civilian leaders. Similarly in Turkey, we are bound to hear more and more that Turkey did not lose WW either. Just look at Gallipoli and the Liberation War between 1919-22 – it was the Turkish delegation guided by Atatürk, who fitted Turkey with ”the strait jacket called the Lausanne Treaty”.

The fact of the matter is that this notion, in a historically bizarre twist, unites Turkey’s Islamists, a large portion of secular nationalists hostile to the EU and the United States, the extreme-right and ”Grey Wolves”, Pan-Turanians, and ex-officers who once were Erdoğan’s sworn enemies and prisoners, who nowadays remain at his service through offering Blue Homeland doctrine.

One can see similarities with 1930’s Germany, whose mixed political constellations against the Versailles Treaty gave birth to Hitler and his monster regime.

So, we are faced with the spectre in Turkey today, but the European apathy to what is taking place in the country is astonishing. The main reason for what will surely develop into a new European folly is clear: Behind closed doors, major EU representatives agree that Erdoğan regime is lesser of two evils. If Erdoğan’s fall will wreak havoc in Turkey, they maintain, incomparable to what happened to the former Yugoslavia, causing millions of Turks to flee west on to EU soil.

So, the Erdoğan regime is considered ”fine,” as it offers stability, even though the entire country -(to quote the main opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroglu – is ”an open-air prison.”

Thus, let us remain paralysed, they say, while they continue to appease Erdoğan, pretending everything is just fine. And let us watch, as Turkish irredentism gets ready to challenge the international order in the Eastern Mediterranean through militarised foreign policy.

We know what the German resentment to Versailles Treaty did to the world, and it is now time to once again fasten our seatbelts.

Let us start studying what Lausanne Treaty was about, as we will need the information. Turkey’s political system is no longer on which we are familiar with. It has changed. Its motto ”peace at home peace abroad” is history, with the word ”peace” being replaced by ”war.” Just so you know.

 

 

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This Week in Egypt: Week 29-2020 (July 13-19)

Top Headlines

  • AU-brokered GERD talks end with no deal
  • African Union to hold mini-summit on GERD
  • Egypt’s Sisi meets Libyan tribesmen after eastern call to intervene
  • Egypt offers reusable face masks in state subsidy scheme 
  • Egypt reports lowest daily coronavirus figure since late May

 Main Headlines

 Monday

  • ‪AU-brokered GERD talks end with no deal
  • Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Greece, Cyprus, Bahrain urge UN not to register Turkish maritime boundaries deal with Libya’s GNA

Tuesday

  • ‪Libya’s eastern-based parliament has called for Egypt to directly intervene to counter Turkish backed GNA
  • Egypt offers reusable face masks in state subsidy scheme

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

Reports

  • Rising water level in Ethiopian Nile Dam brings unease to the region. Samuel Gebre and Michael Cohen
  • Shorter hours, cleaner air? Egypt may extend its COVID-19 evening curfew. Menna Farouk

Read

 From Twitter

 

Plus

 

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Turkey, Egypt, and the Libyan Discourse

 

Sisi Sidi Barrani phopto

( Sisi ‘s visit to Sisi Barrani airforce base June 2020- Photo via twitter)

 

Sidi Barrani in north-western Egypt is a sleepy town that is just a quick stop for travellers heading to Libya. Yet the little town has a unique military history, especially during World War II and even after. In 1977, Libya’s Gaddafi dispatched troops and raided the Egyptian border. Egyptian President Sadat responded with airstrikes and sent forces into the Libyan territories to deter Qaddafi and teach him a lesson. The incident prompted Sadat to expand and develop the military base in the area.

Earlier this month, the Egyptian Armed Forces, including the Navy and Air Force, commenced large-scale military exercises near the Libyan border dubbed HASM (decisiveness) 2020. These exercises came days after Egyptian President El-Sisi asserted that “Libya’s Sirte and Jufra are a red-line,” in a direct response to Turkish statements made hours earlier demanding that Libyan National Army forces led by General Haftar withdraw from Sirte and Jufra.

A few weeks later, the Egyptian president repeated his remarks in a meeting with Libyan tribal chiefs. “Egypt will not allow Libya to become a new hotbed for terrorism or outlawed elements, even if it means that Egypt has to intervene directly in Libya.”

Despite the frank Egyptian statement, many within Turkey’s corridors of power laughed off the idea of an Egyptian intervention, even ridiculing Egyptians’ abilities and intentions. It is alarming to see how the Turkish invented narratives that are preventing Turkish policy makers from grasping the mind-set of the Egyptian leadership.

Three issues have contributed to such a situation.

First is the idea of illusion traders. In order to prove their relevance in the Middle East’s political sphere, Turkey-based Arab Islamists have relentlessly spread misinformation about the domestic situation in Egypt. Since 2013, Arab Islamists have convinced Turkish policy makers that they are still popular within Egypt while spreading baseless claims that the Egyptian army is weak and divided and the Egyptian president is just bluffing. Rather than scrutinizing such claims, Turkish leadership welcomed them because they fit with their own ideological vision.

Second is the myth of two fronts. A particularly common recent argument is that the Egyptian army is too preoccupied with fighting terrorism in Sinai. However, this is a fundamentally flawed myth that fails to grasp the stark difference between Sinai’s war scene and the Libyan one. It also ignores how Egypt has, to a larger degree, controlled the insurgency in Sinai and how ISIS has failed to control any town or even village in the area. In fact, one can argue that years of engagement with terrorist groups in Sinai has helped the Egyptian army engage skillfully with Libyan militias, who lack the luxury of Sinai’s geographical complexity and cannot easily hide in the barren Libyan deserts.

Third is the mediocre assessment of the Egyptian army’s capabilities: It is easy to draw false conclusions from the shallow assessment of the Egyptian military’s past and present engagements. It is true that Egypt has had bad military setbacks in the past; nonetheless, it reflected on these setbacks and learned from all of them. One of the biggest lessons was the war in Yemen in the sixties, when Nasser embarked on a war of choice and ideologically motivated pan-Arabism in a country thousands of miles away without an exit strategy. It was interesting to see how Egypt’s Sisi mentioned a planned exit strategy from Libya when he repeated his Sirte–Al-Jufra red line while addressing Libyan tribal chiefs in Cairo.

Cairo learned from its past mistakes in Yemen, but interestingly, Turkey seems happy to embark on a scenario similar to Yemen’s in Libya. Replace pan-Arabism with the so-called Mavi vatan, or “blue homeland,” and one can see the Yemen nightmare is awaiting Turkey in Libya. Transferring sophisticated military weapons and recycling Syrian militias thousands of miles away from Turkey are not cost-free endeavours. Imagine repeating that for years to come. Libya could easily become a draining black hole for Turkey, unlike any military involvement by next-door Egypt.

Over the last six years, Egyptian armed forces have destroyed 10,000 SUVs loaded with terrorists on the Egyptian–Libyan border, which is precisely why Egypt sees the civil war in Libya as a threat to its national security. Cairo may have mistakenly relied on General Haftar and his campaign within Libya’s densely populated western regions, but Egypt is now redefining its strategy to counter Turkish intervention. The Sirte–Jufra line is not only a red line for Egypt, but also a trap for Turkey, drawing it into to what will be seen as an aggressive assault on the east while pinning the Egyptian intervention—rightly so—as a defensive war.

Turkey’s lack of understanding of Egypt’s modern history and its insistence on viewing it exclusively from a historic Ottoman perspective could cost it dearly in Libya. It is time for Turkey to abandon its ideological dogma and rely on rational thinking when shaping its Libyan adventure. Even if Turkey successfully breached the Egyptian Sirte-Jufra redline, it will face angry tribes and chronic unrest.

A huge difference exists between inventing myths and believing them; the former can be a successful PR game whereas the latter can sow the seeds of a military disaster.

 

Posted in Egypt, Libya, Middle East, Turkey | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

This Week in Egypt: Week 28-2020 ( July 6-12)

Top Headlines

  • Egypt raises army readiness in anticipation of Libya showdown with Turkey
  • GERD talks see continued disagreements
  • Egypt keeps domestic fuel prices unchanged
  • A member of staff at the German government press office is suspected of working for Egyptian intelligence
  • EU officials confirm no restrictions on travel to Egypt
  • Egypt will require new cars to operate on natural gas
  • Eleven people were drowned off the coast of northern Egypt

 Main Headlines

 Monday

  • Multiple Egyptian women file official complaints against accused rapist Ahmed Bassam Zaki
  • Egypt’s military production minister dies
  • Egypt reports first drop below 1,000 new COVID-19 cases since May 27
  • Air Arabia Abu Dhabi to start operations with flights to Egypt
  • Egypt’s private economic activity ebbs at slower rate in June

Tuesday

Wednesday

  • ‪Egypt keeps domestic fuel prices unchanged
  • Russia is working on immediate Libya ceasefire with Turkey -Ifax
  • Egypt will not allow militias to threaten its security: FM Shoukry at UN Security Council meeting on Libya

Thursday

  • Egypt’s annual headline inflation rises to 5.6% in June
  • Khartoum airport partially opens to flights from Egypt, Turkey and UAE

 Friday

  • Egypt raises army readiness in anticipation of Libya showdown with Turkey
  • A member of staff at the German government press office is suspected of working for Egyptian intelligence for Egyptian intelligence

Saturday

  • Egypt has rejected a request by Ethiopia to postpone a settlement on points of disagreement on GERD
  • Eleven people were drowned off the coast of northern Egypt
  • Egypt grounds kites for ‘safety’, ‘national security’

Sunday

 Reports

  • Fears at Nile’s convergence in Sudan that new dam will sap river’s strength. Reuters
  • Nile Dam row: Egypt and Ethiopia generate heat but no power. Damian Zane
  • Egyptian naval drill was message to Turkey to Turkey. Seth Frantzman
  • ‘Sensational’ Egypt find offers clues in hunt for Cleopatra’s tomb. Dalya Alberge

From Twitter

 

Obituary

  • Ragaa el-Gedawy, cherished star of Egyptian cinema, dies at 85

Sports

  • Mohamed Salah scored twice, keeps Liverpool on track for points record

Plus

  • ‪Egypt’s National Library and Archives put periodicals online for free

 

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This Week in Egypt: Week 27- ( June 29-July 5)

Top Headlines

  • Egypt reopens airports and welcomes tourists to pyramids after COVID closure
  • Egypt says no breakthrough reached on second day of AU-sponsored GERD talks
  • Turkish defence minister and chief of staff visited Tripoli
  • Unidentified warplanes hit Libya’s al-Watiya airbase where Turkey may build base
  • Egypt arrest an alleged serial rapist 
  • Egypt sets date for senate elections in August
  • Veteran Egyptian actress Ragaa El-Gedawy dies from coronavirus at 81

 

Rafale 

Main Headlines

Monday

  • ‪Egypt’s foreign minister warns unilateralism in GERD dispute will heighten tensions
  • Libya’s NOC confirms international talks on resuming oil output

Tuesday

  • Egypt discovers gold deposit in the southeast of the country
  • Egypt’s M2 money supply is up 17.24% year-on-year in May

Wednesday

Thursday

  • Egyptian aviation sector lost around EGP 1 billon monthly during flight suspension: Official
  • Egypt’s coronavirus cases surpass 71,000
  • Canadian who was arrested in Egypt early in 2019 returns home, after release, needs medical treatment

 Friday

  • GERD talks between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan resume on Friday
  • Turkish defence officials hold talks in Malta
  • Turkish defence minister and chief of staff arrive in Tripoli
  • Egypt’s National Council for Women calls on victims to make official reports after rape allegations against man go viral

Saturday

Sunday

 Reports

Read 

From Twitter

 

 

https://twitter.com/egypttodaymag/status/1277706023860666371?s=21

 

Art

Photo Gallery

Sports

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This Week in Egypt: Week 26-2020 ( June 22-28)

Top Headlines

  • Sudan says it is ‘deeply’ concerned about GERD filling without prior deal in letter to UN Security Council
  • Sudan says Ethiopia will not fill Nile dam without reaching deal
  • Ethiopia says to fill Nile dam in July even if ‘no agreement reached’
  • Turkey dismisses Egyptian warning of Libya intervention
  • Egypt’s Eva Pharma begins producing COVID-19 drug Remdesivir

 Main Headlines

Monday

  • Turkey dismisses Egyptian warning of Libya intervention
  • France “will not tolerate” Turkey’s role in Libya, Macron says

Tuesday

Wednesday

  • Egyptian actor’s trans son is sued for Instagram post about LGBT+ activist’s suicide
  • Egypt is looking to sell majority stake in Arab Investment Bank
  • France calls on EU to discuss relationship with Turkey

Thursday

  • Sudan says it is ‘deeply’ concerned about GERD filling without prior deal in letter to UN Security Council
  • Egypt’s Eva Pharma begins producing COVID-19 drug Remdesivir
  • Egypt’s central bank keeps benchmark rates on hold
  • Egypt’s national carrier to resume flights from July
  • Turkey says Libya’s GNA demands Haftar withdraw from Sirte and Jufra

Friday

  • Clock ticks on push to resolve Egypt-Ethiopia row over giant Nile dam
  • Sudan says Ethiopia will not fill Nile dam without reaching deal
  • IMF board approves $5.2 billion, 12-month loan program for Egypt

Saturday

  • Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan hope for Nile dam deal in weeks
  • Ethiopia to fill controversial Blue Nile dam despite protests from Egypt, Sudan
  • More than 90% of issues in Nile dam negotiations are resolved, AU chief says
  • Egypt eases restrictions despite surge in virus infections
  • Egypt’s Sisi tours Armed Forces medical isolation facilities

Sunday

  • Egyptian belly-dancer has been given three-year jail term for ‘inciting debauchery’
  • Egypt’s Sisi urges promoting religious liberty, tolerance among students
  • Egypt will manufacture train coaches comparable in quality to those provided by the Russian-Hungarian company
  • Two more Egyptian MPs test positive for coronavirus

Read

  • A decade of dispute: The battle over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. Mada Masr
  • Beating the drums of war? Egypt’s national security threat and the Nile dispute. Menna Shaker
  • Angered by anti-Morsi rally in Tahrir, Erdoğan ordered TV station to cover Muslim Brotherhood protests in Egypt. Nordic Monitor
  • Who was Huda Shaarawi? Google Doodle pays tribute to pioneering Egyptian feminist.  Sophie Prideaux

From Twitter

 

Plus

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A Letter To Ethiopia

 

Ethiopia’s Meklit Berihun wrote a letter in the Africa Report “Dear Egypt’,  regarding the Ethiopian Dam crisis, In response, I wrote a rebuttal in the same outlet, highlighting the risks of the dam on Egypt, “Dear Ethiopia”

 

 

Aftica Report photo

 

Dear Ethiopia,

Thank you for your letter.

The fate of our two countries has been linked since ancient times, as described in Herodotus’s book An Account of Egypt, Egypt is the “gift of the Nile,” “it has soil which is black and easily breaks up, seeing that it is in truth mud and silt brought down from Ethiopia by the river.”

It is sad you question Egypt’s African identity. It may sound surprising to you, but the vast majority of Egyptians are proud Africans. In 1990, my entire family was glued to the television, showing our support for Cameroon against England, in the World Cup. Last year, Egypt hosted the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.  Many Egyptians supported Senegal and Nigeria, who played Arab teams, in the final rounds because we see ourselves as Africans.

Unfortunately, I do not believe that you — our African brothers — appreciate the potential disastrous impacts of your Grand Renaissance Dam (GERD) on our livelihood in Egypt.

Two factors, geography and climate, can neither can be disputed nor dismissed. The Nile basin in Egypt is mostly rainless, while its southern parts and the highlands of Ethiopia experience heavy rains.

As Prof Khaled Abu Zeid wrote, there is a vast difference in natural climatic conditions between upstream and downstream in the Nile Basin. Egypt’s annual renewable water resources provide about 570 m3 per person per year, which is below the water scarcity limit of 1000 cubic meter per person per year. On the other hand, Ethiopia’s renewable water resources provide about 8100 m3 per person per year.

Therefore, I find it astonishing that you compare your GERD project with our High Aswan Dam, missing the stark reality that our High Aswan Dam did not affect any other country. When we built it, we sought to optimise the use of its water without reducing the water share in any other country. Can you say the same about GERD?

How can you celebrate your GERD project, knowing you are denying millions of innocent Egyptian children access to water and potentially exposing them to thirst and even death during severe droughts?

You mentioned colonialism, asking, “How can we hold on to something whose origins — colonisation — you so despised?” The worst example of colonialism is when one power controls and denies others their basic water rights.

It is striking that Ethiopia is expecting Egypt to “share carrying the burden that [Ethiopia believes] it has done for thousands of years.” Ethiopia, a home of 20 lakes, yet you have the nerve to dictate to Egypt how it should use its only source of water: the Nile River.

Ethiopia’s economic grievances are mostly the legacy of decades of authoritarianism, not those of Egypt. The genocidal regime of Mengistu Haile Mariam was responsible for an estimated 1,200,000 to more than 2,000,000 Ethiopian deaths.

Shifting the debate to Egypt’s military budget and our “informal economy” will not help build trust or good relations between our countries. Neither our informal economy nor our military budget can be converted to cubic meters of extra water supplies.

Egypt adapted to our harsh water conditions for years. Furthermore, Egypt’s Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation established a National Water Resource Plan in 2017 with the aim of safeguarding and optimising our water resources.

It is funny that you mentioned mosques. Perhaps you are not aware that, last year, our Ministry of Military Production collaborated with the Religious Endowment Ministry to fit all our mosques with water-saving tapes.  The Egyptian government also has plans to increase desalinization and recycle sewage water and line canals. It has already started enforcing restrictions on planting water-intensive commodities, like rice, but all those efforts are not enough to offset the GERD reservoir’s filling period.

It is cheap populism to dwell on past colonialism and ignore the course of the present negotiations. For years, Egypt negotiated with Ethiopia in good faith, with the hopes of reaching a fair deal on GERD that serves the interests of both countries.

But as Ezzat Ibrahim wrote, the brazenness with which the Ethiopian proposal aimed to jettison all agreements and understandings that the three parties (i.e., Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia) had previously reached over the course of their negotiations, which have dragged on for almost a full decade, is surprising. This includes the understandings reached during the negotiating rounds brokered by Washington and attended by the World Bank.

My dear Ethiopia, the Nile for Egypt is a matter of life and death. Is it too much for Egypt that hosts 20% of the Nile Basin countries’ population, with 97% of its land as desert, to benefit from only 3 % of the Nile Basin’s rainfall, as Prof Khaled Abu Zeid asked?

The essence of “truth, balance, order, and justice” is on Egypt’s side in the dispute over your GERD. Water hegemony will not benefit Ethiopia. Ethiopia has other water sources besides the Nile; we Egyptians don’t.

Egypt maintains that an agreement can be achieved, but that it “has to be negotiated in good faith.” Our water security is neither a political game nor an economic one, but a basic human right that we cannot abandon. Your well-being cannot be built on the sufferings of our children.

With love,

An Egyptian

 

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