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Times of Israel correspondent Avi Issacharoff, one of the best journalists in the world covering Gaza and Sinai, says that the attack on the tourist bus in Taba, Egypt indicates something we’ve written about before — the pro-Muslim Brotherhood terrorists in Egypt are smart enough to go after Egypt’s two biggest money-makers:
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The attack on the tourist bus is the latest in a series of dozens of strikes from extremist Muslim groups meant to damage one of the two most important income sources in Egypt — tourism. In Cairo, it’s clear that the terrorists would not stop at just tourism, but are already gunning for the primary income source, the Suez Canal. This is what is generating the sense of urgency in military operations in the Sinai.
Tuesday, February 18th, 2014 at 8:42 AM | Stand For Israel
The small sect of Christians known as the Copts have inhabited Egypt since, essentially, the dawn of Christendom. To be sure, it hasn’t always been easy. But now, writes Samuel Tadros at the Hoover Institution blog, this ancient community is threatened as never before — which leaves us to wonder and worry whether or not there will be any Christians left in Egypt:
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The Islamists’ goal is not the annihilation of Copts. Copts are not likely to face a holocaust in the future, though local pogroms are all but guaranteed. The Islamists’ goal is to subjugate Copts to their notions of their proper place as dhimmis under benevolent Islamic rule. It is for Copts to accept dhimmitude, live by it, and embrace it. Copts will be allowed to live in Egypt, tolerated as second-class citizens recognizing and accepting their second-class status. Any attempt by Copts to break those chains of dhimmitude and act as equals is frowned upon as an affront to the supremacy and primacy of Islam in its own land.
Monday, February 10th, 2014 at 8:37 AM | Stand For Israel
Elliott Abrams, writing at The Council on Foreign Relations, essentially advocates (without directly saying so) cutting off U.S. aid to Egypt due to Egypt’s ongoing repression of civil liberties of groups including the Muslim Brotherhood. While the military regime in Egypt may be preferable for dealing with the U.S., the West, and — above all — Israel, Abrams believes that the military can’t make the reforms to Egypt’s economy necessary to stave off future political volatility. It’s a good long-term argument with a potentially ugly short-term:
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A wave of prosperity could in theory calm the political situation, at least temporarily, but the immense challenges facing Egypt’s economy make any quick fixes impossible; the restive political environment makes it unlikely that the public will swallow painful economic reforms while their political rights are squelched.
Monday, February 3rd, 2014 at 8:55 AM | Stand For Israel
Eric Trager, Egypt expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, circles back to the excellent work he did three years ago during the protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square to see where the country is now. Following Mubarak and the Muslim Brotherhood and the coup to replace them, Trager says the only law in contemporary Egypt is that nothing is permanent:
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Within Egypt, the defining feature of the past three years has been fear, not democratization. And those who are most powerful on paper have typically been the most fearful.
Tuesday, January 28th, 2014 at 8:42 AM | Stand For Israel
Ehud Yaari, writing at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, notes that Israel has essentially been looking the other way as Egypt piles more troops into the Sinai (beyond the number their peace treaty with the Jewish state allows) to combat Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas terrorists and those smuggling goods into Gaza:
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Considerable Egyptian army forces are now constantly deployed in central and eastern Sinai (Areas B and C of the peninsula, respectively), in a manner and scope never envisaged by the teams that negotiated the treaty more than three decades ago. Going forward, this new reality on the ground is unlikely to be reversed and is bound to have profound consequences for Egyptian-Israeli security cooperation, Cairo’s ongoing counterterrorism campaign, and the fate of Hamas in the neighboring Gaza Strip.
Tuesday, January 21st, 2014 at 8:32 AM | Stand For Israel
Walter Russell Mead, writing at The American Interest, says that the presence of anti-Semitism in a society tells us something important about that society’s future – or lack thereof:
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Rabid anti-Semitism coupled with an addiction to implausible conspiracy theories is a very strong predictor of national doom; Nazi Germany isn’t the only country to have followed these dark stars to the graveyard of history. Many liberal minded Americans (though loathing both anti-Semitism and chowderheaded conspiracy thinking themselves) don’t like to look this truth in the eye. It leads to some very uncomfortable reflections about the potential for democracy in many countries beyond Egypt, and casts a dark shadow over the prospects for the development of a stable and prosperous Palestinian state. It suggests that there are narrow limits on what we can expect from diplomacy with Iran.
Monday, December 30th, 2013 at 9:01 AM | Stand For Israel
Not to toot our own horn, but we told you back in July that the Suez Canal would become an issue in Egypt’s ongoing difficulties. Now, David Schenker writes at the LA Times that it’s actually happening. After an attack on a Chinese vessel at the end of August, traffic through the canal is taking another hit as is the Egyptian economy.
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Now the third pillar of the economy, Suez Canal revenue, which amounts to nearly $5 billion a year, is at risk. In 2012, more than 17,000 vessels transited the canal. Lately, fewer ships are utilizing the passage, and last year, revenue declined 5%. The first half of this year saw a 6.6% drop in traffic, prompting Egyptian authorities to raise fees.
Monday, September 23rd, 2013 at 8:52 AM | Stand For Israel
In the ongoing debate about what America’s role should be in Egypt, Washington Institute for Near East Policy Executive Director Robert Satloff writes that doing nothing is better, at this point, than doing something. Intervening by engagement or disengagement (the revocation of aid) would not serve U.S. interests at this point, Satloff writes.
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Egypt’s military forced Obama, like his predecessors, to prioritize U.S. interests, and he, too, put interests first, values second. With all the generals’ faults, the chances for the emergence of effective, and eventually elected, civilian government may be greater with the military in control than with Morsi and the Brotherhood, but that should be recognized for what it is — a pretty low bar.
Friday, August 23rd, 2013 at 8:52 AM | Stand For Israel
Writing at The Weekly Standard, Lee Smith has an interesting take on the ongoing discussion over whether or not the U.S. should continue aid to Egypt. The $1.3 billion, he argues, isn’t the point. The point is that aid is a tangible symbol of the projection of American power which guarantees the peace treaty with Israel which guarantees a semblance of regional stability.
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Unlike Americans on both sides of the debate who enjoy the luxury of large swaths of the globe separating them from the region, Israelis can scarcely afford the illusion of imagining that their security now rests with the army of Egypt. It rests with the peace treaty, which is underwritten less by the $1.3 billion in aid that the United States provides Egypt than by America’s ability to project power. Insofar as the White House believes it has little ability to shape the outcome in Egypt, it is telling, among others, the man who now runs the most populous Arab state that the United States is a bystander.
Thursday, August 22nd, 2013 at 8:57 AM | Stand For Israel
Max Boot, writing at Commentary, notes that – while the attacks on Coptic Christian churches in Egypt that we’ve covered here at SFI are awful – the fact is that the Egyptian army is doing little to protect them because it suits the army’s purpose to have the world-wide Christian community angry at the Muslim Brotherhood.
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The Egyptian military is eager to publicize attacks on Copts to delegitimize the Brotherhood as a pack of terrorists—a criticism that resounds especially loudly in majority-Christian countries such as the United States. But the army, while eager to denounce church burnings, is doing little to stop them.
Thursday, August 22nd, 2013 at 8:42 AM | Stand For Israel