Sunday, February 26, 2017

Escape From North Sinai : The Tip of the iceberg

As you may have known many Christian Egyptian families fled Al-Arish city after a terrorist killing spree targeting them in the city.
The families fled North Sinai's Al-Arish city leaving their homes, work and schools as in the past 4 weeks seven Christians were killed and slaughtered brutally in the biggest city in North Sinai by "militants.
Usually, the main suspect we have in North Sinai when it comes to militants is Anser Beit Al-Maqdis or what is commonly known as the "Sinai Province of Daesh".
The displaced families fled to Ismailia governorate, the nearest and most favorite place for Sinai locals to stay in away from the ongoing war on terrorism. They took a shelter at the Evangelical church in Ismailia at first.
Roger Anis- Christians fleeing North Sinai
This old man told journalists that he did not leave his house
during the Israeli occupation "Roger Anis" 
On Friday, the government began to act and the governor of Ismailia began to host some of the displaced families in Ismailia Youth hostel as well empty apartments. The Orthodox Church opened its doors and helped in hosting the families in apartments.
Donations are collected in bank accounts opened by the Orthodox Church to help the families who are mostly from the working class and low middle class.
Activists and journalists say we are dealing with more than 80 families and the number is increasing. The Orthodox Church said officially that there were 100 families from Al-Arish
The parliamentary affairs minister told the parliament that the government rehoused 118 families on Sunday.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Sinai and that easy alternative for Israelis

On Thursday, the Egyptian foreign ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abu-Zaid said in a media statement that Sinai peninsula was an Egyptian territory and that no foreign official spoke with his Egyptian counterparts about establishing a Palestinian state there ever.
The statements of Abu-Zaid came two days after Israeli minister Ayoob Kara stunned the Egyptian social media with his tweet on Tuesday.

The first Druze-Israeli minister in the Israeli cabinet history said that Trump and Netanyahu should adopt El-Sisi's Plan to have a "Palestinian State in Sinai and Gaza instead of Judea and Samaria {West Bank} and that clears the way for peace with the Sunni coalition".

I know that it would be a matter of time after that the tweet that Egypt official deny that El-Sisi
Gaza and Sinai
The suggested so-called Palestinian state in Gaza and
part of Sinai from some Israeli website 
proposed such plan but instead two days later we find the MOFA spokesperson saying that Sinai is an Egyptian territory and that no foreign official spoke with his Egyptian counterparts about Sinai as substitute land for the West Bank.

First, it is untrue that no foreign official spoke with his or her Egyptian counterparts even historically.

In 1953 during the Eisenhower's administration, US ambassador Eric Johnston was sent to Egypt and to Jordan to discuss the resettlement of Palestinian refugees in Jordan valley and in Sinai and it seems the plan failed as the Arab League rejected it along with the Palestinians.

Since then this easy alternative to solve the Palestinian refugees has been on the table for foreign diplomats as well Israelis who did not give up bringing it up in the 1960s and 1970s

In 2004, Israeli National security council chief major general Giora Eiland proposed a plan where Egypt to give 600 square kilometers to the Palestinians in Sinai whereas Israel to give Egypt 200 square kilometer in Negev desert. Needless to say, it was rejected.

In 2009, US envoy to the Middle East Dennis Ross reportedly suggested this suggestion and was rejected as well.
In 2010, Israeli PM Netanyahu proposed that plan on Mubarak and the ousted president rejected it according to Mubarak's own audio leaks in 2011.

So it is untrue that resettling Palestinians was not discussed between Egyptian and foreign officials.

 Second, I wished that the denial of such outrageous claim would come from the Egyptian presidency and not from the Egyptian foreign ministry because in the end El-Sisi is involved and it is not the first time.

Friday, February 17, 2017

It is a matter of time to see MP Sadat outside the Parliament for real

It is only matter of time to see MP Mohamed Anwar El- Sadat expelled from Egypt's House of Representatives "HOR".
On Sunday, the Egyptian House of Representatives' Ethic committee recommended that MP Anwar El-Sadat should be stripped of his parliamentary membership in what can be the latest escalation between the Parliament and the veteran MP.
The leader of the Development and reform party is officially found guilty by the Ethics committee of allegedly sending secret state information to the Inter-parliamentary union , leaking the draft NGO law to foreign embassies and faking the signature of 15 MPs.
This saga started last August and you can see this coming following the decision of Sadat to resign as head of the Parliament's human rights committee.
Things escalated between him and parliament speaker Ali Abdel Aal.
MP Anwar El-Sadat and Parliament speaker Abdel Aal 
In January, MP El-Sadat questioned the parliament speaker on why the parliament spent LE 18 million from the House of Representatives' budget to buy three cars for three members including Abdel Aal himself.
El-Sadat revealed that those three cars were not included in the original HOR's annual budget for the year 2015/2016 but they were added later as a 'loan' from the National investment bank.
The outspoken MP stated that the three cars were bought in February 2016 slamming the decision to purchase those cars when the Parliament owns too many cars in a time of an economic crisis.
It turned out that the parliament purchased one of the most expensive armored cars for its speaker.

This was the last straw when it comes to the confrontation between the two men in January.
Some say that El-Sadat intended to expose this matter publicly knowing that he may get expelled eventually.

Angry like hell, Abdel Aal vowed to hold those who leaked the parliament's budget to the media "!!!" accountable and that leaking that budget was a "national security" matter.
Sooner photos of Ali Abdel Aal's parliamentary cars found their ways to the media and the speaker warned us that those who took photos of his cars were actually making it easier for terrorists to assassinate him !!
According to Bitawqit Masr TV show on Al-Araby TV, the Parliament allocates six Mercedes-Bens cars to Ali Abdel Aal alone !!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

A Full moon in a cold night

Many parts of the world saw an ice/cold/snow Moon on Friday. I missed taking a photo of that cold/snow/ice moon on Friday due to technical reasons but I did not miss taking a photo of another full bright moon on Saturday in Egypt.

A full moon in a cold night

I do not know if it is still considered cold moon or not but it was really cold when I took the photo and actually hours later we had thunder and rains reportedly in Cairo and Northern Delta !!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Shutting Down El-Nadeem Center : The end of one hell of a week "Updated"

Earlier Thursday, Egyptian security forces shut down by force El-Nadeem Center for the Rehabilitation of victims of torture in Downtown Cairo.
El-Nadeem Center
The door of the center sealed with red wax
"El-Nadeem Center"

According to its co-founder Aida Seif El-Dawla, the security forces went and shut down the center with red wax on the staff's off-day.

It is worth to mention that Seif El-Dawla who is a renowned human rights activist has been barred from travel in November.
The Egyptian authorities tried to close the center before last year at the same time !!

Since 1993, El-Nadeem provided help to victims of torture and abuse. I do not know what to say for real.

On Friday, the Center issued a statement about what happened to reveal that El-Nadeem staff appealed against the decision of the health ministry to close the center and its clinic in front of the Administrative council and up till now the court has not issued its verdict on the appeal.

It is interesting that center added in its statement that the Government's lawyer did not present a single paper to court against their appeal.

The EU commented on the closure of El-Nadeem Center later Thursday stating that "It is a development of particular concern".
I do not expect the US Department of State or White House to comment as they used to do before for an obvious well-known reason.

Amnesty international slammed the decision of the Egyptian security.
Needless to say, Egyptian political activists are supporting El-Nadeem center.

Most activists look to what happened as another crackdown on the NGOs especially human rights NGOs.

The news of El-Nadeem came in the end of a week that witnessed frustrating developments when it comes to torture cases.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Egypt's Internet trolls :The fake Twitter accounts syndrome

This is the second post in a series I dedicate to Egypt's internet trolls mainly from Pro-regime trolls and their fake news machine.
This post is short compared to the first post in the series
In the past few weeks, there was a huge campaign against former vice-president Mohamed ElBaradei whether in the Pro-regime mainstream media or the social media.

It started days before the end of 2016 when London-based Al-Araby TV channel announced that it was going to air a 5-part interview with ElBaradei starting 7 January on a weekly basis.
This is his first TV interview ever since the resignation from his position as the Vice-president of Egypt in August 2013 over the forcible Pro-Morsi sits-in dispersal.

The interview is covering his life and his views starting from the 1960s until our current time.
As soon as the channel released the promo of the TV interview and the Pro-regime supporters as well mainstream media went mad.
It was madness especially it was only a promo but the Nobel peace prize winner said in it that the "a fortress commander" aka a military commander could be great as a military but would fail as education minister.

Since then and days before the interview, one would see on daily and weekly basis anti-ElBaradei hashtags reaching to Egypt's top trends sometimes.

At first, I did not pay attention but then I used to get engage especially when you see a stupid hashtag like "ElBaradei destroyed Iraq !!" and it was the start.

A hashtag launched on 1 January by the self-claimed "Twitter leader" Hamada caught my attention

Hamada claims to have the ability to launch top trending hashtags every day.
He launched "#ElBaradei_destroyed_Iraq" spreading the Pro-regime lie that the former head of the IAEA was the reason behind the invasion of Iraq which is untrue historically.
A tweep made me pay attention to those retweeting the tweet and how many of them were fake accounts.
Out of 106 retweets, you can see that there are fake accounts sharing the same bios with similar twitter handles if not the same retweeted that tweet spreading false information.
Those fake accounts were the start of an online trail to me specifically "abdo" aka "@3pr7man" and twin brothers as well the "V4Vendetta" twitter accounts sharing the same bio and the same second half of their handle "x1e".

The retweets and who made them
It is like they are generated by the same bot.
I traced "3pr7man" accounts and it turned out that they go back to 18-years old high school student called Abdel Rahman who just like 'Hamada" above is known allegedly for making top trends. He is also the founder of some hashtag called "#Cabinet_Team" where teenagers follow each other and increase their fellowship on twitter.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Seen in Alexandria : Old Bahary Buildings "1"

Egypt's Alexandria old buildings

And Alexandria has got its share from beautiful old European style buildings that are trying to survive against time, greed and modernity after all.
Here is a beautiful building I noticed on my way in the famous Bahary quarter in Alexandria during that short spring break in 2016.  
Source: Instagram 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

What we know about Trump's Companies in Egypt

As US President Donald Trump issued his infamous executive order to ban nationals of seven Muslim countries from entering the United States for at least 90 days, people around the global why those seven countries in particular.
The executive order that has been turning the world upside down literality bars all people coming from Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Iran, Libya, Somalia and Yemen whether refugees or immigrants or just visitors for at least 90 days.

Many people asked a very good question on why those countries specifically were chosen out of 50 Muslim-majority countries especially in the executive order Trump mentions 9/11 attacks.
The 9/11 attacks hijackers came from Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Lebanon. None of those countries are on the ban list.
Trump's executive order
Trump signing one of his executive orders last week "AP 
Some again asked why he did not include those countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia in the list. It is a legitimate question*.
According to the White House secretary Sean Spicer those seven countries on the travel ban list were initially identified as "countries of concern" under the Obama administration.

That answer was not convincing for some who raised very serious accusation that Trump got business interest in three countries of the 9/11 attackers origin countries: Saudi Arabia, UAE and Egypt.
It turns out that Trump got companies in Egypt "2", Saudi Arabia "4" and UAE  "at least 2".
Yes, the business tycoon president is said to own two companies in Egypt and this was a surprise for me !!

I have not known before that the American business tycoon has business in Egypt or even has visited it publicly before.

According to an early Bloomberg report, Trump owns "possibly" in Egypt according to his files in the Federal Election Commission: Trump Marks Egypt and Trump Marks Egypt LLC
I have not heard about them before. No one had heard of them already in Egypt. There is more