Friday, March 27, 2015

Operation Decisive Storm : Day 2

Day Two from Operation Decisive in the Middle East with lots of updates and news.
President Mansour Hadi arrived safely from Saudi Arabia to Sharm El-Sheikh.
Egypt's President El-Sisi with President Mansour
at Sharm El-Sheikh airport "Egyptian Presidency" 
On Saturday the Southern Sinai resort city will host another one of those historical Arab summits.In my life time I witnessed several of those historical Arab Summits including that one in Baghdad and what followed it from an Iraqi invasion to Kuwait. Of course this history is well known.
Anyhow it is expected that the Saudi King himself will attend the opening of the Summit and will address the nation. Riyadh had a busy Friday even more than Sharm El-Sheikh as Prince Mohamed Bin Salman met with a number of high ranking defense officials in the countries participating in the Yemen Legitimacy coalition.
The young minister of defense met from Egypt the General Intelligence chief Khaled Fawzy.
Mohamed Ben Salman and Khaled Fawzy "SPA"
Now I am surprised that Egypt’s minister of defense or Chief of Staff did not go with Fawzy. I am even more surprised that the ministry of defense has not published a real statement about our military role. Instead the ministry of foreign affairs is doing this role.I do not know what to say.
Anyhow the Egyptian frigates have arrived on Friday to Ban El-Mandab strain. Till this moment the Egyptian media is repeating the claims that the Egyptian navy vessels made the Iranian vessels shit in their pants. 
US department of state secretary John Kerry spoke with the GCC leaders and I think that he agreed with them on what is next in a way or another.
In a very interesting development Pakistan seemed to be reluctant to participate militarily like the rest of the countries in the coalition after it was announced that it would participate by ground troops. On Friday Pakistani minister of defense Khawaja Asif stated that Pakistan would not participate in the military operation in Yemen but would defend Saudi Arabia if it is in any danger facing its territorial integrity. Asif said in front of the Pakistani parliament that Pakistan “was not prepared to take part in any conflict that would divide the Muslim world on sectarian lines.” I really respect those words and respect the fact the minister of defense in Pakistan speaks to the parliament about that matter in the first place.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Dummies guide to what Happened in the past 48 in the Middle East

Okay from where shall I start ??  May be 24 hours earlier.
One unusual Wednesday
News came from the Unhappy Yemen that Iranian-backed Houthi fighters stormed Aden. The Northern Yemeni Militant group aided by troops loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh stormed the presidential palace but they did not find Yemeni president Mansour Hadi.
Instead they captured his minister of Defense Mahmoud El-Subaihi and put a 20 million Yemeni Riyal “Nearly $100,000” bounty for president Hadi. I do not recall that in our miserable modem Arabic history we have  seen something like that , I mean a bounty for arresting a president !!
The announcement on Al Yemen official channel
which is controlled by Houthis 
For more than several hours we did not know where Hadi went. News reports spoke that he was still there in Aden while other reports spoke that he fled to Saudi Arabia through the sea. Either ways all sources confirmed that the legitimate president of Yemen was going to attend the upcoming Arab Summit in Sharm El-Sheikh next Saturday.

Later the Yemeni foreign minister declared in statement to Sky News Arabia TV channel that Gulf states and Egypt would participate in a military operation to liberate Yemen. After couple of hours
Egypt’s ministry of foreign affairs’ spokesperson said that the reports about a co-joint military operation were inaccurate and the situation of Yemen would be discussed later in the Arab Summit in Sharm El-Sheikh this week.The Yemeni FM backtracked his statements and then said that it was the Yemeni government that asked for the the GCC's help as well Egypt’s.

Pro-Sisi Supporters online claimed that Egypt would not help the Gulf states and stand against Iran as long as the Gulf states above them Saudi Arabia would not help Egypt in Libya. The Pro-Sisi supporters can not forget that Saudi Arabia left their President alone facing failure in Security Council in his quest for a military intervention in Libya resolution. Little they know.

On Wednesday there was a new fact in the Middle East , now Iranian-backed fighters are standing on the Southern borders of Saudi Arabia after controlling Iraq on the Northern Eastern borders. Whether you like it or not but Iran got a controlling influence in Syria , Iraq and Yemen. This is a new fact. We were waiting to know the next step for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Decisiveness Thursday
At nearly 2 AM Cairo Local Time Kuwaiti former tabloid journalist/Pro-Mubarak/Sisi/Current Military spokesperson Fajr El-Saeed announced on her official twitter account that the Gulf States would start a military operation against Houthis in Yemen.
 She was not bluffing as it turned out that Stratfor Global intelligence sent to its subscribers a report that the Kingdom would start strikes against Houthis that night.  

Talk to Me about Political Irony : From Habib El-Adly to Zakaria Abdel Aziz

Today Mubarak’s Former minister of interior Habib El-Adly returned to his home as a free man while former head of judges club and reformist judge Zakaria Abdel Aziz has been referred to a disciplinary committee in the ministry of justice  for participating in the storming of State security “SS” headquarter in Nasr City in March 2011 !!
Habib El-Adly "L" and Zakaria Abdel Aziz "R" 
Oh yes Mubarak’s notorious minister of interior  Habib El-Adly is now a free man and has returned back to his home , to his luxurious villa in October after being acquitted in all the trials he was facing. I do know what to say for real.
On the same day the ministry of justice announces that the minister of justice decided to refer reformist justice and former head of judges club Judge Zakaria Abdel Aziz to disciplinary committee for participating in the famous storming of state security “SS” headquarter in Cairo on 5 March 2011 along with 25 January protesters.
The judge who became an opposition figure after heading the battle of judiciary independence starting 2005 during Mubarak’s rule was reported to the ministry by a bunch of other judges for allegedly storming the the SS headquarter long with the protesters during the January revolution.
Interesting the storming of State security headquarter did not happen during the early 18 days of the revolution but it happened during SCAF's rule in March 2011.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

#GERD Declaration of principles : Transparency is needed

Today Egypt’s president Abdel Fattah El-Sisi signed with the Sudanese president and Ethiopian PM a Declaration of Principles agreement in Khartoum  over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam “GERD” and the dispute over the Nile Water share of the downstream countries specifically Egypt.
For hours we did not know what those principles are and what they meant back in Cairo while the media was praising the president and his wisdom as usual.
In Khartoum
Needless to say in prefect normal circumstances such an agreement needed to be discussed by a parliament publicly before the president would take a decision that would affect Egypt’s national security in the future.
You cannot  expect the people to accept that deal even if it were initial one without questions when the mainstream media back in Cairo has been inciting against the dam and Ethiopia for years !!!
We have to ask questions.
I do not know if Abdel Fattah El-Sisi understands very well that the final agreement will affect his great great grandchildren before the rest of the population. This deal is much more important than the Muslim Brotherhood and that universal conspiracies against him  altogether.We can survive terrorism and economic crises after all.
Now the Principles are available online in Arabic and English .

Sunday, March 22, 2015

When The Daughters of the Nile Decided to strike in 1954

From 51 years ago Egyptian feminist and political activist Doria Shafik ended her 8- days hunger strike and sit-in along other ladies at the Journalists syndicate in Cairo after taking a promise from General Mohamed Naguib , Egypt’s President then in a written statement that Egyptian women’s political rights above them the suffrage right in Constitution in the what can be considered one of the most important feminist and civil rights victories in the 1950s.
Suffrage protests after 1952 , you can see Doria Shafik in the middle
wearing black ensemble "Dutch National Archives"
I remembered that strike through rare photos I found at the Dutch National Archives and I wondered why nobody remembered that important event let alone Doria Shafik properly as political figure more than the same old paragraph in the newspapers about that Middle class elegant feminist in March, the women’s month. 
The 1954 women’s strike at the journalists syndicate was an important Chronicle in our modern history. 
Doria Shafik , a long time feminist in Egypt was furious that the Constituent assembly did not include women’s political rights in the draft constitution of the First Republic. It seemed that the members of assembly broker their promises earlier to her to include those rights.
Ladies protested for their  political
right in early 1950s "Dutch National Archives" 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Happy Mother’s Day 2015 : What’s your mom’s name ?

Happy Mother’s Day to all Mothers in the Arab world celebrating it especially in Egypt.
An Egyptian peasant mother in one of the villages of Giza in 1950
By Rene Burri-Magnum Photos 
I like the fact that some news websites and some users on the social media began to ask this year the daring question that many men consider as an insult in our region : What is the name of your mother ? 
Many young Egyptians as well Arabs are participating in #MyMothersNameIs
Give your mom back to her name
This was part of UN Women campaign “in Egypt and I think it is great. Mom’s names are not insults. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Celestial Chronicles : Partial Solar Eclipse in Egypt

And Egypt witnessed that partial Solar Eclipse seen in most of Europe and part of North Africa. Yes it was a small partial Solar Eclipse but still it is a partial solar Eclipse. It started from 11:15 AM and ended at 12 : 30 PM. I took couple of photos using my mobile phone and X-Ray image while wearing my sunglasses. This is what I got and it is not the best. I cropped the image by the way.

Partial solar eclipse 2015
I did not use my Camera because I do not have filters to protect it and I did not take any risk. The X-Ray image and the iPhone were quick solution