Kerry offers $450 million to rescue Egyptian economy

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | MARCH 4, 2013

Shortly before ending his first visit to Cairo, the new Secretary of State of the United States, John Kerry, said that in his meeting with President Mohamed Morsi he pledged to provide 450 million dollars (350 million euros) in aid to the Arabic country. With various regions declared in default, the government and the opposition unable to resolve their differences, and an economy on the brink of bankruptcy, the troubled Egyptian transition is going through one of its most delicate phases.

In a statement, Kerry linked financial assistance to the promise of the Islamist President to accelerate negotiations to close a loan with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) worth 4,800 million dollars. “In light of the dire need and confirmation of President Morsi who aims to complete the process with the IMF, the U.S. will now provide the first $190 million of our promise of $450 million in budget support”, read the text.

As we have already informed readers, the so-called Arab Spring was simply an attempt to seize non-aligned nations to bring them under the debt-based system that governs most of the world. Egypt is the first nation to succumb under the IMF plan to further destroy economies as it did with other third wold nations. The IMF plans to destroy economies was revealed by former insider, Joseph Stiglitz and reported on by investigative journalist Greg Palast.

The funds lent by the U.S. are said to come as rain in May for the Egyptian public coffers. The most populous Arab country has a soaring budget deficit exceeding 10%, and foreign exchange reserves have reached a critical level. Kerry described the aid as “a good faith effort to encourage reforms and help the Egyptian people at this difficult time.” But in reality, the loan is a down payment to guarantee American rights to exploit Egypt for all it has gotten.

During the past two months, the Egyptian pound has depreciated by 10%. If the country does not increase its foreign reserves soon, Egyptians believe the country will face a sharp devaluation of its currency, which could cause a social explosion. Egypt is the largest importer of wheat in the world, so a slump in the Egyptian pound would lead to a price increase of basic products such as bread. The decay of the Egyptian economy, just as it has been done with many other third world and developing nations is part of the calculated, preplanned and controlled destruction orchestrated by the IMF.

Besides a battered economy, Egypt suffers a serious political and social stability, as Kerry could experience in his own flesh. His departure from Cairo had to be delayed about two hours because a group of amateur football club fans of Ahly blocked the road leading to the airport. The action was intended to pressure the court which issued a verdict on the slaughter of Port Said Stadium, which resulted in the death of  74 fans. It is important to remember that Egypt’s current situation is a result of Western interventionism, after countries such as the United States and a handful European powers fully supported the overthrow of their former puppet Hosni Mubarak. The same script was followed later in Libya and is now being used in Syria.

Protests in Port Said are not new. In fact, the city has become the epicenter of a recent wave of protests. Yesterday clashes escalated  between police and protesters, leaving three civilians and two policemen dead and hundreds wounded, according to the Egyptian Ministry of Health. The port city has been experiencing a general strike for the past two weeks as a result of police brutality that claimed the lives of 40 people back in in late January.

The new head of U.S. diplomacy tiptoed by the country’s internal political conflict. “Clearly, we need to work harder and make compromises to restore unity, political stability, and good health of the Egyptian economy,” Kerry said at the end of a visit that has had a busy schedule. Besides President Morsi, the former senator met with the army chief, the Foreign Minister and representatives from the opposition and civil society.

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Arab Spring in Egypt: Mission Accomplished by Western instigators

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | FEBRUARY 12, 2013

The efforts to destabilize the Middle East paid off rapidly for the Western instigators who supported and financed it from afar. Egypt, Libya and Syria exploded into street fights that ended up with the fall of their respective governments. After that, the Western instigators did what they know best: let the locals light their nations on fire until the time comes to offer humanitarian assistance, as they’ve done in Mali, which is followed by the arrival military force.

This week, the Egyptian opposition organized two marches that will take place today in Cairo to mark the second anniversary of the fall of the regime of Hosni Mubarak and to call for the resignation of the current president, Mohamed Morsi.

In a statement, the main opposition groups announced today that the marches will leave the Fatah Mosque at 17.00 local time (15.00 GMT) in Ramsis Square, and from Sayeda Zeinab in the direction of Tahrir Square.

The Islamist opposition said that the demonstrations are intended to vindicate “the fall of the regime (of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood) and to demand justice for the martyrs”, after the recent riots that have left more than fifty dead in Egypt.

“It’s the second anniversary of the resignation of the dictator (Mubarak), and it’s the right time for the revolutionary forces to achieve their demands for freedom and social justice and to join in a single front to lead the revolution to victory”, said the note issued by the opposition.

Among the groups signing the text are the Constitution Party of Nobel Peace Prize Mohamed ElBaradei, Egypt Popular Current Party, from leftist presidential candidate Hamdin Sabahi,  Free Egyptians Party such as Al Wafd, and opposition movements like Kefaya.

Opponents recalled that two years have past since that day when “all people in Tahrir Square waited breathlessly for the speech which announced the resignation of the dictator Hosni Mubarak.”

On 11 February 2011, the Egyptian people celebrated the end of “thirty years of repression, corruption and sabotage,” said the statement, which criticized the movement led by Morsi since June.

The organizers of the march will stress that Morsi “has broken the confidence for telling lies and breaking promises” and during his tenure has become the cause for the  “shed the blood of the Egyptians.”

As for the recent unrest and complaints against the police for the way they attacked demonstrators, the text said that “the new system has created new forms of torture, kidnapping and repression.”

In the past two weeks, more than fifty people have been killed in Egypt and a thousand were injured in clashes between protesters and security forces that began on Jan. 25 during the commemoration of the second anniversary of the revolution that overthrew Mubarak.

Yesterday, a group of protesters blocked access to a government building known as Mugama, in Tahrir, according to local media. Government opponents said they will not let the building open until the Mugama brings about justice for the recent “martyrs” who died in protests, forms a national salvation government and amends the Constitution.

After cheating the people in Egypt, Libya and Syria into believing that the west intended to help overthrow their dictators, now the leaders of western instigators are sitting on the sidelines, waiting for three nations to collapse on themselves to extract every single resource possible, install a new puppet dictator, as it has happened in Egypt, and declare Mission Accomplished.

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Morsi calls for talks with opposition to end civil unrest in Egypt

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | JANUARY 28, 2013

Egyptian President, Mohamed Morsi has had to learn quickly as the leader of Egypt. Morsi, who after being elected attempted to illegally give himself more power than he was supposed to have, rapidly found out that the Egyptian people had not revolt against Mubarak simply to welcome a new dictator.

The Egyptian leader, went from wanting power over other government branches to waving the white flag and calling on the opposition to sit down and hold talks with him today in Cairo. Morsi believes that new meetings will show his willingness to be inclusive, which may help  pacify the Eastern region that for the past four days has been on fire with a series of disturbances that claimed more than 50 lives.

Violence on the streets is seen sporadically in different parts of the country, but it almost always such violence has a very high price. One person died from a gunshot to the chest in the iconic Tahrir Square in Cairo. Meanwhile, the Army is stationed in the streets of Port Said and Suez, by order of the government, which has declared a state of emergency in those two cities and Ismailia.

The meeting will be held at 18.00 Egyptian time at the presidential palace, where Morsi expects to meet with several Islamist groups such as the Party for Freedom and Justice, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, which supports Morsi, along with other secular organizations, the Constitution Party and the Social Democratic Party.

In a televised address to the nation on Sunday night, Morsi said he believes that “dialogue is the only way to bring stability to Egypt” and that the violence seen in recent days is “alien to the Egyptians and the revolution. ”

While Morsi called on the opposition to renounce violence seen in the context of the second anniversary of the riots that deposed Hosni Mubarak, his detractors have called for a demonstration today to commemorate the so-called “Friday of Rage”, which occurred on January 28 2011, when the revolutionaries managed the withdrawal of the armed forces and took Tahrir Square, where the hottest concentrations of  Egyptians set down since the protests began. Opponents joined with the National Salvation Front and called for Morsi to repeal the recently passed Islamist constitution, approved by referendum in December.

The curfew, between 21:00 and 06:00, is in force in Port Said, Ismailia and Suez, the three provinces where the government declared a state of emergency. In Port Said, the main focus of violence, riots started by the death sentence of 21 accused in the killing that took place in a  football stadium of the Al Masry soccer team, which killed 74 fans of the visiting team in February last year.

In the rest of the nation the riots were due to protests by the opposition for what it considers a hijacking of the democratic principles of the revolution by the Islamist Government led by Morsi. The government called for parliamentary elections for next April, but the opposition already said it will boycott them if Morsi does not repeal the Constitution and creates a national unity government.

For the fifth consecutive day, riots have occurred intermittently between youth groups and the security forces on the outskirts of Tahrir Square, in Kasr al-Aini Street and Yusef el-Guindi. In their attempts to disperse the youths, mostly using stones and petrol bombs, police used tear gas and shot pellets.

One person has died from the wounds in the chest by one of these missiles. According to the newspaper Al Ahram, it was a pedestrian walking in Tahrir that suddenly found himself in the middle of an altercation.

Soon after it arrived from the global forum in Davos, the Egyptian prime minister, Hisham Kandil, made a surprise visit to the police forces deployed around Tahrir Square. According to police sources, Kandil urged the police to use force against those who attack the institutions and state property.

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Egypt: New breeding ground for government-sponsored Terrorism

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | DECEMBER 24, 2012

The tumultuous post revolutionary Egypt already has its new Constitution. According to unofficial results published by the local press, those who voted for the new ruling document gained even more support in the second phase of the referendum which is sponsored by Islamists. However, the victory has been questioned due to numerous reports of irregularities in the vote count. The new Egyptian constitution is hardly a step that enables a smooth transition to stability.

Strong participation in major Islamist strongholds, increased support for the Constitution to 71%, about 15 points higher than in the first part of the referendum. In the southern provinces of Beni Suef, and Qena it reached 85%. Adding both days, the average hit 64%.

Islamist leaders have welcomed the completion of a milestone that they qualify as “historic”. “We hope that the adoption of the new constitution is a historic opportunity to unite all political forces on the basis of mutual respect,” said Murad Ali, a spokesman for the Freedom and Justice Party (JLP), the electoral arm of the Muslims Brotherhood. According to current regulations no qualified majority was necessary to ratify the draft of the constitution.

However, the opposition considers the process illegitimate. “There has been widespread irregularities that have altered the result … We will file a complaint to the Attorney General documenting them,” said in a statement the National Salvation Front, the main opposition coalition that brings together political figures such as Nobel Peace Prize Mohamed ElBaradei and former presidential candidates Musa Amr and Hamdin Sabbahi.

Due to the speed of the call to the polls, no international organization monitored the referendum, but officials highlight the presence of some twenty Egyptian NGOs, most of which publicly requested a repeat of the voting due to fraud. Among the most common violations cited by observers was conducting campaign in mosques as well as inside polling stations, and the lack of judges to ensure the cleanliness of the vote.

The Electoral Commission is examining the allegations before offering the official result of its query. The chances that the commission calls for a repetition of the process, however, are almost null. During the presidential election, no tangible evidence was presented to support accusations of fraud, but the judicial authorities who monitored the elections and concluded that the irregularities were minor and posed no decisive threat to the result of the voting.

Judging by statements issued in recent days, the Islamists seem to be aware of the need to increase social support for the Constitution. “The articles rejected by the opposition are a few. We are willing to negotiate with them to make amendments and approve them in the new parliament,” says Ashraf Ismail, leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in the province of Beni Suef.

Beyond the high percentage collected by the no, there is another very significant fact: participation was just over 30%, the lowest figure of all votes taken after the fall of Hosni Mubarak. In presidential elections, almost half of the census usually exercise their right to vote. “A Constitution that is only supported by 20% of the census, compared with 80% who disagree or boycott it does not enjoy sufficient consensus to be legitimate,” says analyst Abdel Magid.

If there is one important result being obtained in this supposed legitimate, open referendum is that a strong minority is getting away with their agenda. A it happens in all democracies, a small portion of the Egyptian society is easily becoming the dominant party in the country; a party that will perhaps become the new ruling group to stay in power for many years to come and that will operate under the mandate of an even smaller group.

The opposition, formed mainly by secular parties, defied the process over the weekend. “We will continue fighting to bring down this Constitution through peaceful means,” proclaimed Amr Hamzawy, a rising political figure among liberals. The results of any of the five appointments to the polls since the fall of Mubarak have led politicians to seek consensus. On the horizon is already shaping the next battle: the legislative elections scheduled for within a couple of months.

But this referendum could serve to end the demonstrations of recent weeks, some of which led to pitched battles between Islamists and seculars that resulted in a dozen deaths. With its entry into force, the Constitution repealed the decree which granted almost absolute power to Mohamed Morsi, one of the origins of the current political crisis. Until the election of the new People’s Assembly, the legislature will pass from the hands of Morsi to the Senate, where various Islamist groups have a wide majority.

Broadly speaking, it can be concluded that Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood have had their way on the pulse with the opposition. If everything goes as planned, Egypt is on its way to becoming another theocracy, where the Muslim Brotherhood will have Sharia Law as its guide to rule over everyone in the country. In gone unchallenged, this type of Islamist radicalism runs the risk of becoming another source of western hating, government-sponsored terror state which will be a perfect excuse for military industrial complex forces to intervene and invade in the near future.

One of the possible lessons of the current constitutional battle is the confirmation that the Islamists are a strong social minority that has the ability and the potential to decide the fate of Egypt without the consent of an important part of society. Although Morsi had to return power he had unlawfully taken before, his temporary power grab worked as a distraction to confuse an important portion of the population that after rejecting the current process have left important decisions in the hands of Morsi’s supporters.

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Santa gets early to Egypt as U.S. gives Morsi’s Military 20 new F-16s

AP | DECEMBER 11, 2012

The Egyptian military on Monday assumed joint responsibility with the police for security and protecting state institutions until the results of a Dec. 15 constitutional referendum are announced.

The army took up the task in line with a decree issued Sunday by President Mohammed Morsi. The Islamist leader on Monday also suspended a series of tax hikes announced the previous day on alcohol, cigarettes and other items.

The presidential edict orders the military and police to jointly maintain security in the run-up to Saturday’s vote on the disputed charter, which was hurriedly approved last month by a panel dominated by the president’s Islamist allies despite a boycott of the committee’s liberal, secular and Christian members.

The decree also grants the military the right to arrest civilians, but presidential spokesman Yasser Ali said it was nowhere near a declaration of martial law.

“It is merely a measure to extend legal cover for the armed forces while they are used to maintain security,” Ali told The Associated Press.

There were no signs of a beefed up military presence outside the presidential palace, the site of fierce street clashes last week, or elsewhere in the capital on Monday.

Still, Morsi’s decision to lean on the military to safeguard the vote is widely seen as evidence of just how jittery the government is about the referendum on the draft constitution, which has been at the heart of days of dueling protests by the opposition and Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood backers. The two sides clashed in Cairo last week, leaving at least six people dead and hundreds wounded in the worst violence of the crisis.

Both the opposition and Morsi’s supporters have called for mass rallies on Tuesday.

The opposition has rejected the referendum, but has yet to call for a boycott or instead a “no” vote at the polls.

“A decision on whether we call for a boycott of the referendum or campaign for a `no’ vote remains under discussion,” Hossam Moanis, a spokesman for the National Salvation Front grouping opposition parties and groups told the AP on Monday. “For now, we reject the referendum as part of our rejection of the draft constitution.”

The military last week sent out several tanks and armored vehicles in the vicinity of the presidential palace in Cairo following protests there by tens of thousands of Morsi’s critics. It was the first high-profile deployment by the military since it handed power in June to Morsi, Egypt’s first freely elected president.

Morsi on Saturday rescinded decrees issued Nov. 22 granting him near absolute powers and placing him above any oversight, including by the courts. He has, however, insisted that the referendum will go ahead on schedule.

Judges have gone on strike to protest Morsi’s perceived “assault” on the judiciary and have said they would not oversee the Dec. 15 vote as is customary for judges in Egypt. Judges of the nation’s administrative courts announced Monday they were conditionally lifting their boycott of the vote, but they said their supervision of the process was conditional on bringing an end to the siege of the Supreme Constitutional Court by Morsi’s supporters.

In exchange for their supervision, they also demanded assurances that authorities would crack down on vote canvassing outside polling stations and offer life insurance policies to the judges.

Morsi’s deputy, Mahmoud Mekki, has said the vote could be staggered over several days if there were not enough judges to oversee the referendum.

The court was widely expected to dissolve the panel that drafted the constitution in a session scheduled for Dec. 2. The siege of the Nile-side building in Cairo’s Maadi district began Dec. 1.

In a surprise move, Morsi on Monday rescinded a series of decrees issued the previous day to raise taxes on a wide range of items and services, including alcohol, cigarettes, mobile phones, services offered by hotels and bank loans.

The state-owned daily Al-Ahram said the Sunday decrees to raise taxes were issued by Morsi. On Monday, the official MENA news agency carried a statement from Morsi’s office saying the president has decided to “suspend” the tax increases.

“The president does accept that citizens shoulder any additional burdens except by choice,” the statement said. Morsi, it added, has ordered a public debate on the increases to gauge popular reaction.

“The people will always have the loudest voice and final decision,” it added.

It was not immediately clear why Morsi changed his mind about the tax hikes in a matter of hours, but the about-face appeared to have more to do with inexperience rather than a bid by the president to appear sympathetic with the majority of Egyptians who struggle daily to make end meet as the economy’s woes deepen. A popular backlash against tax hikes could hurt the chances of the Morsi-backed draft constitution being ratified in the referendum.

Egypt and the IMF last month have reached an initial agreement for a $4.8 billion loan to revive the country’s ailing economy. The deal, agreed after nearly three weeks of negotiations in Cairo, will support the government’s economic program for 22 months, the IMF said in a statement.

Egyptian authorities said at the time that it intended to raise revenues through tax reform, using the resources generated from new taxes to boost social spending and investment in new infrastructure.