Egypt’s War in the Sinai Peninsula: A Struggle that Goes beyond Egypt

By Yoram Schweitzer for the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) Feb 3:

Egypt is in the midst of a war that can be categorized as a low-intensity conflict. This category represents a common pattern of military campaigns in the early twenty-first century: sub-conventional wars fought by armies and security services belonging to states against armies of terrorilla- fully armed and hierarchical organizations that operate among civilian populations, combining guerilla and terror warfare tactics with the logic of terrorism. The civilians provide shelter and aid, whether under duress or in solidarity, and they always suffer the bitter consequences of the conflict.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi AFP PHOTOThe Jan. 29, 2015, attacks in northern Sinai by some 60 armed men killed 32 people. The attacks included rockets and mortar fire and at least three suicide bombings. There were concurrent attacks in Port Said and Alexandria. The offensive was carried out by Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, which in November 2014 pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS).

IS support for the group through funding and provision of weapons and personnel gives Egypt’s campaign in Sinai great importance. The success of the Sisi government in providing an effective response to the offensive by Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis will also affect the ability of other countries to contend with Salafist jihadi elements. Such success will also serve to hinder the impression of an unstoppable, threatening force created by IS conquests.

Egypt’s campaign in Sinai has tremendous significance for Israel since Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis has carried out attacks against Israel in the past and has declared that it will continue to operate directly against Israel. Therefore, any intelligence, operational, or political assistance that Israel can provide to the el-Sisi regime will serve Israel’s security interests.

The writer served as a consultant on counter-terror strategies to the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Defense, and as head of the Counter International Terror Section in the IDF. (Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)

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Egypt gives residents on Gaza border 48 hours to leave

This is the main front page headline of every newspaper in the world, right?? It definitely would be if it said “Israel” instead of “Egypt.”

Times of Israel (Oct 28) — Locals ask officials to extend deadline, as army prepares to destroy homes to build buffer zone after deadly attack.

Egyptian army soldiers seen in a watchtower on the Rafah border with the Gaza Strip, July 2013. (photo credit: Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Egyptian army soldiers seen in a watchtower on the Rafah border with the Gaza Strip, July 2013. (photo credit: Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Egyptian authorities on Tuesday ordered residents living along the country’s eastern border with the Gaza Strip to evacuate so they can demolish their homes and set up a buffer zone to stop weapons and militant trafficking between Egypt and the Palestinian territory, officials said.

The measure comes four days after Islamist fighters attacked an army post, killing at least 31 soldiers in the restive area in the northeastern corner of the Sinai Peninsula. After the attack, Egypt declared a state of emergency and dawn-to-dusk curfew there. Authorities also indefinitely closed the Gaza crossing, the only non-Israeli passage for the crowded strip with the world.

The buffer zone, which will include water-filled trenches to thwart tunnel diggers, will be 500 meters (yards) wide and extended along the 13 kilometer (9 mile) border.

Army officers spoke to the affected residents in person and initially gave them a 48-hour ultimatum to leave, but put that on hold after they protested, officials said. Residents groups are now negotiating with local officials to see if they can extend the deadline.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters.

The Egyptian army has waged a broad offensive in northern Sinai against Islamist groups, who have turned several areas into strongholds over the past three years, destroying many of the sprawling smuggling tunnels that connected the area with Gaza.

Egyptian media meanwhile has accused Gaza’s Hamas rulers of meddling in Egypt’s affairs, with some suggesting that the Islamic terror group is supporting fighters inside Egypt since the military overthrew Egypt’s elected president, the Islamist Mohammed Morsi, last year.

Hamas officials deny any interference and criticize Egypt for imposing stricter border crossing rules since then.

Since Morsi’s ouster, attacks against security forces in northern Sinai have escalated, something Egyptian authorities blame on Morsi and his allies. Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood group, which has been branded a terrorist organization in Egypt, denied links to violence. Another al-Qaida-inspired group called Ansar Beit al-Maqdis has claimed responsibility for a number of attacks.

No one claimed responsibility for Friday’s attack on the army post.

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Muslim Brotherhood gave $25 million to al-Qaeda for support in Egypt, says former jihad leader

Nabil-NaimJihadWatch (April 11) — Yesterday on Haya TV, Nabil Na‘im, a former leader of Egypt’s Islamic Jihad and close confidante of current al-Qaeda leader, Ayman Zawahiri—who also helped found Egypt’s Islamic Jihad—asserted that, during the reign of former president Muhammad Morsi, Zawahiri was given $25 million from Muslim Brotherhood leader Khairat al-Shatter to organize, fund, and assemble the jihadi groups “in order to support the Brotherhood.”  (For more on the Muslim Brotherhood/Al-Qaeda relationship, click here).

It should be noted that al-Shatter, though not a member of Morsi’s government—only a leader of the Brotherhood—was, after being imprisoned after the revolution, asked for personally by John McCain during his visit to Egypt some months back, when he pushed for Brotherhood reinstatement.  Also, U.S. ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson was reportedly seen visiting Shatter often.

Earlier, Na‘im, the former Jihad leader had said that attempts by the U.S. to “reconcile” Egypt with the Muslim Brotherhood was “nothing but a conspiracy by the American administration,” and that the Brotherhood, when in power, had betrayed Egyptian sovereignty, adding that ousted president Morsi granted Egyptian citizenship to more than 60,000 Palestinians, many of whom were in the ranks of the jihad.

Egyptian Court Sentences 529 Brotherhood Members to Death

Cairo University students supporting the Muslim Brotherhood.

Cairo University students supporting the Muslim Brotherhood.

Newsmax (March 24) — An Egyptian court sentenced 529 members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood to death for murder and other offences on Monday, in a sharp escalation of a crackdown on the movement that is likely to fuel instability.

Family members stood outside the courthouse screaming after the verdict – the biggest mass death sentence handed out in Egypt’s modern history, defence lawyers said. Supporters set fire to a nearby school in protest, state television reported.

Turmoil has deepened since the army overthrew Egypt’s first freely elected president, Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood, in July. Security forces have killed hundreds of Brotherhood members in the streets and arrested thousands.

Most of the defendants at Monday’s hearing were detained during clashes which erupted in the southern province of Minya after the forced dispersal of two Muslim Brotherhood protest camps in Cairo on August 14.

Islamist militants have also stepped up attacks on the police and army since Mursi’s ouster, killing hundreds and carrying out high profile operations against senior interior ministry officials.

“The court has decided to sentence to death 529 defendants, and 16 were acquitted,” defence lawyer Ahmed al-Sharif told Reuters. The condemned men can appeal against the ruling.

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Video: What happens when a blonde girl walks through Cairo University campus?

In video, female student seen walking through campus as men whistle and shout at her; dean says girl to blame for “unconventional” attire.

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The Jerusalem Post (March 19) — A video of a female Egyptian university student walking through the Cairo University campus while being whistled and shouted at by male students has caused an international and viral backlash against sexual harassment in Egypt, Saudi television station Al Arabiya reported on Wednesday.

The young girl, with long blonde hair and a pink shirt, pink shoes and jeans, can be seen in the video, uploaded to YouTube, walking through the university campus as a group of men gather around her and whistle and shout profanities at her.

The Saudi television channel reported that a group of men also attempted to remove her clothing, which cannot be seen in the clip.

University guards were forced to escort her until the she was safely off campus.

Adding to the controversy, the Dean of Cairo University Law School, Gaber Nassar, described the student’s outfit as “a bit unconventional” and implied that she was responsible for the harassment it caused.

“This girl entered the university wearing an abaya (loose cloak) and then took it off in the faculty, and appeared with those clothes, that caused, in reality — but this doesn’t justify at all [the incident],” Nassar said on private Egyptian channel ONTV.

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Egypt’s el-Sissi heads to Moscow for rare visit: Military leader will reportedly finalize $2 billion arms deal with Russia

As the US resigns as the World’s Police, watch as other nations take its place. Do you want to live in a world where Russia or China call the shots?

“Egypt’s el-Sissi heads to Moscow for rare visit,” The Times of Israel, February 12, 2014:

Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi

Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt’s army chief headed to Moscow on Wednesday amid reports of a $2 billion arms deal in the making that would significantly expand Russia’s military influence with a key US ally in the Middle East.

The visit by Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi is a rare one for the Arab nation’s military commander — and his first outside the country since he rose to prominence after the popularly-backed coup that ousted Islamist president Mohammed Morsi last July.

In Moscow, el-Sissi was scheduled to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin and speak at a joint press conference with his Russian counterpart, Egypt’s state news agency MENA reported.

According to the state-owned daily Al-Ahram, the purpose of el-Sissi’s visit was to conclude a $2 billion arms deal funded mainly by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Gen. Hossam Sweilam, a retired Egyptian army general who maintains close contact with the military, also said the deal would be finalized in Moscow.

The visit comes nearly three months after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Defense Minister Sergei Shogiu visited Cairo.

Moscow has been trying to expand its influence in Egypt at a time when Egyptian-US relations soured in the aftermath of Morsi’s ouster and the subsequent crackdown on his Islamist supporters that has left hundreds dead and thousands arrested. The United States has been Cairo’s chief foreign backer and benefactor since the 1970s.

El-Sissi , who overthrew Morsi after days of mass street protests demanding he step down, is widely expected to announce he will run for president in elections likely due in late April.

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Egypt orders deposed President Morsi to trial for conspiring with Hamas, Hezbollah

The Jerusalem Post (Dec 18) — Egypt’s public prosecutor ordered former President Mohamed Morsi and 35 other Islamists to stand trial on charges including conspiring with foreign groups to commit terrorist acts in Egypt and divulging military secrets to a foreign state.

The charges leveled against Morsi and other top Muslim Brotherhood members on Wednesday could result in their execution.

Morsi is already standing trial for inciting violence during protests outside the presidential palace a year ago when he was still in office. He was deposed in July by the army following mass protests against his rule.

In a statement, the prosecutor said the Brotherhood had committed acts of violence and terrorism in Egypt and prepared a “terrorist plan” that included an alliance with the Palestinian group Hamas and Lebanon’s Hezbollah. There was no immediate comment from Hamas or Hezbollah.

The charge sheet called it “the biggest case of conspiracy in the history of Egypt”. It accused the Brotherhood of carrying out attacks on security forces in North Sinai after he was deposed on July 3.

It said the Brotherhood had hatched a plan dating back to 2005 that would send “elements” to the Gaza Strip for military training by Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

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Why the Brotherhood Targets Christians — Remember the Maspero Massacre

By Andrew C. McCarthy for PJMedia, August 21 — A pogrom against Christians — torching Churches and killing believers — is perfectly consistent with the Muslim Brotherhood’s Islamic supremacist ideology. But there are many despicable things, consistent with that ideology, that are not on display at the moment. By contrast, the Brothers and their sympathizers are very consciously and very publicly besieging Christians due to a key tactical calculation: In Egypt, framing a dispute as “Islam v. the Enemies of Islam” works.

The pogrom tells us more about Egypt than it does about the Brotherhood. It is convenient to make the Brothers into the all-purpose villain here, and to comfort ourselves in the notion that if they could be defeated our problems would be solved. But doing so misses the main point: the Muslim Brotherhood is a product of Egypt’s Islamic supremacist culture, not the other way around. The Brothers are an effect, not a cause.

Have you seen the other news coming out of Egypt the last few days? For all the blather about how the armed forces were responding to “the will of the people” in ousting Morsi, polling now shows that only 26 percent of Egyptians support the military coup, with a whopping 63 percent against it. This reaffirms what I contend in Spring Fever: The Illusion of Islamic Democracy — Egypt is a substantially Islamic supremacist country, a fact the mainstream media is obscuring by myopically focusing on the quarter of the population that is not. (As Egypt has a population of 84 million, and its decidedly minority secular elements tend to live in the cities, it is an easy thing for the media to make about 20 million people look like a groundswell.) Remember, this is the same Egypt that only eight months ago approved a sharia constitution by a two-to-one landslide. The spread in the polling that shows deep opposition to Morsi’s removal mirrors what we’ve seen in the several elections since Hosni Mubarak’s toppling in early 2011: The Islamic supremacist position is favored, usually by somewhere between a two-to-one and a four-to-one margin.

Meanwhile, even the “Tamarod movement” — the campaign that the media laughably portrays as the emerging secular, progressive Egyptian majority — wants to cancel the peace treaty with Israel. And the Egyptian press reports (e.g., here) that the new Egyptian constitution being drafted by the transitional government installed by the armed forces will maintain the former constitution’s Article 2, which establishes Islam as the state religion and enshrines sharia as “the main source of legislation.” Any attempt to repeal or alter those provisions in favor of commitments to equality and the protection of minority rights would result in exactly the murderous rioting and attacks on Christians that we are seeing now.

The problem with Egypt is not the Brotherhood, it is the culture. Secular democrats are a distinct minority and there is no prospect that that will change any time soon.

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National security expert explains ‘vortex of instability and violence’ that could be next for Egypt

An incredibly insightful and powerful monologue you won’t hear anywhere in the mainstream media.

TheBlaze’s national security expert Buck Sexton, who warned of the protests that led to the ouster of Egypt’s former President Mohammed Morsi the week before they happened, appeared as a guest host on Glenn Beck’s television program Monday to explain what’s next for the embattled country.

“The true freedom-seekers in the Middle East are in an almost impossible situation,” he said. “Any time they rise up, jihadists will just hijack the revolution away from them.  They’ll take it away from the secularists, from the ‘Twitterati’ of Tahrir.  The liberals, those people who believe in women’s rights, they’ll take it away from them with ruthless violence.”

That’s not to say there won’t be some semblance of unity before that, however.  “They’ll pretend to stand alongside them, only to turn on them afterwards,” Sexton asserted.

He proceeded to explain how a “root fallacy” of the Arab Spring revolutions has been focusing on the overwhelming number of protesters.

“It’s not about who has the numbers,” he said. “It’s about who has the most conviction. This is a basic revolutionary principle…from the Jacobins to the Bolsheviks to the Ayatollahs — you don’t need the most people, you need the most [committed], and the most [ruthless].”

“Radicals don’t seek to convince others, they seek to control them. Why do you think they show videos of themselves eating dead soldiers’ hearts or chopping the heads off of priests, or what we’re seeing today in the streets of Egypt?”

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What’s next for Egypt?

TheBlaze’s national security adviser Buck Sexton, who traveled to Egypt and Jordan just over a week ago to gain a greater perspective of the realities on the ground, called into the Glenn Beck radio program on Tuesday to weigh in on the latest alarming developments in Egypt.

After a series of demonstrations on a scale not seen since the “Arab Spring” revolution that ousted longtime leader Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s powerful military declared Monday that the country’s elected president, Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, has only 48 hours to make peace with the protesters before it intervenes.

“This is déjà vu all over again,” Sexton said.  “They have not had a democracy for very long. Already, [they’re] seeing that street protests don’t necessarily lead to Jeffersonian democracy…There’s a lot of hard work that goes into creating a civil society…that hard work has not been done.”

So what’s next for the most populous country in the Arab world?

Fireworks burst over opponents of Egypt’s Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, July 2, 2013.

Fireworks burst over opponents of Egypt’s Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, July 2, 2013.


Sexton asserted that while many may be happy to have the U.S.-backed military step in to rid the country of the Brotherhood, it effectively tells the rest of the country that democracy and elections are a failure.  Apparently if you get a mob together, the military will step in and depose the elected government.

So who does that leave looking like they’ve remained true to their values all along?

Beck and Sexton pointed to the hardline Islamists, known as Salafists.

“There are crazier people than the Muslim Brotherhood,” Sexton warned, “and by the way they won substantial seats in the last round of parliamentary elections.”

This is not to say a theocracy is the desired end of the public face of the protests, largely concentrated in Cairo and Tahrir Square.

But “what holds it together there is various forms of Islam,” Sexton said, “[and] any consideration they may have given to democracy will probably be gone now.”

The two predicted that the military will not necessarily facilitate the transfer of power to the hardline Islamists.  More likely, they will hold elections and the Salafists will win…

“It is bad news for Israel, and is death for hundreds of thousands if not millions of people all across the globe when this thing shakes down,” he added.

Watch the complete interview, below:

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Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Hezbollah conspired in Morsi’s jailbreak

Mideast-Egypt_HoroCAIRO (AP) — An Egyptian court on Sunday said Muslim Brotherhood members conspired with Hamas, Hezbollah and local militants to storm a prison in 2011 and free 34 Brotherhood leaders, including the future President Mohammed Morsi.

The court statement read by judge Khaled Mahgoub named two members of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood — Ibrahim Haggag and Sayed Ayad — to be among the alleged conspirators in the attack on Wadi el-Natroun prison on Jan. 29, 2011.

It is the first statement by a court that holds members of the three Islamist groups — the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, the Palestinian Hamas, and Lebanon’s Hezbollah — responsible for a series of jailbreaks during the chaos of Egypt’s 2011 uprising. Two other prisons in which Hamas and Hezbollah members were held were also attacked.

Morsi and other Brotherhood leaders have maintained that they were freed by local residents. Hamas, the Palestinian chapter of the Brotherhood, has denied involvement in the attacks on prisons.

The court statement is likely to further fuel opposition to Morsi’s rule just a week before his opponents are scheduled to stage massive protests to force him out of office. The planned June 30 demonstrations mark his first anniversary in office as Egypt’s first freely elected leader.

The past year has seen growing polarization as Egypt struggles with a host of problems that many accuse Morsi of failing to effectively tackle. They include surging crime, rising prices, power cuts, fuel shortages and unemployment.

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Hot mic catches Egyptian politician discussing ‘war’ with ‘enemies’ Israel and America

Egypt’s Magdi Ahmad Hussein, chairman of the Islamic Labor Party, didn’t know the meeting was on live TV

Egypt’s Magdi Ahmad Hussein, chairman of the Islamic Labor Party, didn’t know the meeting was on live TV

The Blaze — Just last month, Secretary of State John Kerry quietly sent Egypt an additional $1.3 billion, even though Egypt has failed to live up to democracy standards. That largesse didn’t stop a prominent Egyptian politician from talking about Egypt’s “enemy” the United States in what some pundits are classifying as a classic and embarrassing “hot mic” moment.

President Mohammed Morsi gathered a group of politicians last week who thought they were speaking privately at a parliamentary meeting. But as seen in an Egyptian television video of the meeting — excerpts of which were later translated by the Middle East Media and Research Institute (MEMRI) — they were actually on live television, cringingly discussing secret ways to stop Ethiopia’s Nile River dam project which threatens water flowing to Egypt.

The participants learned they were on live TV only after Magdi Ahmad Hussein, chairman of the Islamic Labor Party, suggested that all present vow not to leak any information to the media. Before being told he was on television, Hussein described the U.S. as an enemy [emphasis added]:

I’m very fond of battles. With the enemies, of course – with America and Israel, but this battle must be waged with maximum judiciousness and calm. Even though this is a secret meeting, we must all take an oath not to leak anything to the media, unless it is done officially by sister Pakinam [el-Sharkawy, a Morsi aide]. We need an official plan for popular national security, even if we…

President Morsi says out for the benefit of all in the room, “This meeting is being aired live on TV,” a comment which prompts laughter all around.

Here is video of the hot mic moment, courtesy of MEMRI:

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Kerry quietly approves $1.3 billion in arms to Egypt

US Secretary of State John Kerry, left, shakes hands with Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi at the Presidential Palace in Cairo, Egypt, in March.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, left, shakes hands with Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi at the Presidential Palace in Cairo, Egypt, in March.

The Times of Israel reports today:

US Secretary of State John Kerry quietly approved sending $1.3 billion in arms to Egypt in May, waiving the requirements of a US law meant to promote democratic development in the post-revolutionary country.

Pursuant to the law, for the $1.3 billion to flow, the secretary of state must certify that the Egyptian government “is supporting the transition to civilian government, including holding free and fair elections, implementing policies to protect freedom of expression, association and religion, and due process of law.” The law also requires that Egypt honor its peace treaty with Israel.

Really? Let’s recap who the Muslim Brotherhood really is:

Egyptian President Morsi joins preacher in prayer for dispersal of the Jews:

German TV compares the Muslim Brotherhood to Communists and Nazis

Muslim Brotherhood official says Israel will be wiped out within 10 years

Aide to Egypt’s Morsi: “The myth of the Holocaust is an industry that America invented”

Morsi grants himself far-reaching powers, orders retrial of Mubarak Regime (AP)

Egyptian reporter given a disturbing look inside the Muslim Brotherhood’s ‘torture chambers’

Maybe, just maybe, the US shouldn’t give them billions in aid together with tanks and jets.

Muslim Brotherhood official says Israel will be wiped out within 10 years

‘There will be no such thing as Israel,’ Muslim Brotherhood’s Essam al-Aryan says after creating uproar by calling on Jews to return to Egypt ‘to make room for Palestinians’

Muslim-Brotherhood-G-620x402A top Muslim Brotherhood official is calling for Egyptian Jews to return to Egypt to make room for Palestinians who will take their place when Israel is decimated within a decade.

“Palestine houses people who conquered it and those occupiers have previous homelands,” Essam al-Aryan, an adviser to Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi, wrote on Facebook,according to the Israeli Ynet News. “There will be no such thing as Israel, instead there will be Palestine which will be home to Jews, Muslims and Druze and all of the people who were there from the start. Those who want to stay will stay as Palestinian citizens. Those who conquered Palestine will have to go back to their countries.”

…“I want to enable the Palestinians to return to their land,” he said. “I call upon the Jews, Egypt is worthier of you than Israel.”

The comments set off a storm of controversy across Egypt, with a Muslim Brotherhood spokesman disavowing the statements, saying, “Egyptian Jews are criminals who must be punished for what they did to Egypt and the Palestinians.”

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A chilling report recently published in the Egyptian newspaper, al-Masry al-Youm, reveals that the torture chambers once utilized by the Hosni Mubarak regime to tamp down protesters are being put to the same if not greater use by the country’s new, self-proclaimed dictator, Mohammed Morsi.

Despite the Obama administration and worldwide media’s insistence that the election of the Muslim Brotherhood leader was a watershed moment for democracy in the Middle East, it would seem those hopes are on a rapid downward trajectory as reports of savage beatings and brutality against Egyptian protesters, abound.

This disturbing revelation came to light just days ago when an al-Masry al-Youm reporter, with the help of a Brotherhood-owned and operated television station, was given an exclusive tour of the torture chambers. While one might think the decision to grant a journalist access to such a chilling look into the way the Muslim Brotherhood treats its critics as counter-intuitive, it makes perfect sense. After all, what could possibly ever serve as better warning for those even thinking of resisting Morsi’s push for a totalitarian regime based on sharia law than to know what will happen to them if they do?

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U.S. giving Muslim Brotherhood Egypt tanks and fighter jets

This is great [sarcasm]: the Egyptian military will be all set when it goes to war with Israel. “Muslim Brotherhood inherits U.S. war gear,” by Rowan Scarborough for The Washington Times, December 6:

For Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood-dominated government, more battle tanks and jet fighters are on their way from the United States.

Cairo’s military link to Washington has remained intact, meaning the U.S. will continue to modernize the biggest military in Africa — even as President Mohammed Morsi has decreed near-absolute power for himself and his supporters and opponents battle outside his palace.

Analysts say Egypt’s military buildup presents risks for Washington — and Israel — with the growing influence of the Brotherhood, whose overriding goal is to establish Shariah, or Islamic, law worldwide.

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Robert Spencer: Egypt and the Death of the “Arab Spring”

In FrontPage this morning I discuss Egypt’s new constitution and how it contrasts with the high hopes the mainstream media had for the “Arab Spring,” which was a fiction from the beginning:

Nearly two years after the “Arab Spring”  began in Egypt, the nation’s Muslim Brotherhood president has arrogated to himself dictatorial powers, and is ramming through a new constitution that will effectively extinguish the last vestiges of Egyptian democracy and establish Egypt as a Sharia state. Just as I said back in January 2011, when the uprisings against Mubarak began, for the people in Egypt who had real power to affect change, the “Arab Spring” was never about democracy and pluralism, despite the ululations of the Western press; it was always about imposing Islamic law upon Egypt. And now, with the new constitution, here we are.

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Morsi flees palace as protests in Cairo turn violent

CAIRO (AP) — A protest by at least 100,000 Egyptians outside the presidential palace in Cairo turned violent on Tuesday as tensions grew over Islamist President Mohammed Morsi’s seizure of nearly unrestricted powers and a draft constitution hurriedly adopted by his allies.

Crowds around the capital and in the coastal city of Alexandria were still swelling several hours after nightfall. The large turnout signaled sustained momentum for the opposition, which brought out at least 200,000 protesters to Cairo’s Tahrir Square a week ago and a comparable number on Friday. They are demanding the Morsi rescind decrees that placed him above judicial oversight…

The violence erupted when protesters pushed aside a barricade topped with barbed wire several hundred yards from the palace walls. Police fired tear gas, and then retreated. With that barricade removed, protesters moved closer to the palace’s walls, with police apparently choosing not to try and push the crowds back.

Soon afterwards, police abandoned the rest of the barricades, allowing the crowds to surge ahead to the walls of the palace complex. But there were no attempts to storm the palace, guarded inside by the army’s Republican Guard.

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