Archive for the ‘Egypt’ Category

US, UK and Canada protect Israel’s nuclear weapons

May 23, 2015

An Egyptian proposal for a nuclear weapons free Middle East as part of the UN nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) was blocked by the US, UK and Canada. The blockage was not unexpected since Israel which is not a signatory to the NPT had already indicated its opposition and on such matters Washington generally obliges Israel. The NPT 2015 conference ended without agreement and the US representative blamed the Egyptians – of course – for making a proposal that had no chance of success. The status quo continues and Israel can maintain all its nuclear warheads. The NPT conference will next be held in 2020.

It is not so surprising that all the western countries which created Israel and now protect its not-so-secret stock of nuclear warheads are the same powers who don’t want any possibility of Iran developing its own nuclear weapons. I can quite accept that Israel will want to protect its own interests. The position of the US and its allies is entirely expected but is also just plain hypocritical. But the myth of Israel not having any nuclear warheads can be put to rest for ever. If they didn’t have any there would be no point in blocking the Egyptian proposal.

Jerusalem PostAfter four weeks of negotiations on ways to improve compliance with the pact, there was no consensus among its 191 signatories. US Under Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller announced there was “no agreement” and accused some countries of undermining the negotiations.  Gottemoeller did not name any countries but diplomats said she was referring to Egypt. ……. 

Last month, Egypt, backed by other Arab and non-aligned states, proposed that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon convene a regional conference on banning weapons of mass destruction (WMD) as called for at the 2010 NPT review with or without Israel’s participation, without agreement on an agenda and with no discussion of regional security issues.

Those conditions are unacceptable to Israel and Washington.

Decisions at NPT review conferences, which are held every five years, are made by consensus. ……. 

Egypt’s proposals, Western diplomats say, were intended to focus attention on Israel. Washington and Israel say Iran’s nuclear program is the real regional threat. Iran says its program is peaceful. It is negotiating with world powers to curb it in exchange for lifting sanctions. Israel has said it would consider joining the NPT only once at peace with its Arab neighbors and Iran.

There were disagreements on other aspects of the NPT but delegates said the Middle East issue was the most divisive.

And in the meantime ISIS has announced that it is trying to get hold of one of the Pakistani warheads to be able to do something spectacular.

The Israeli nuclear stockpile of nuclear warheads probably lies between 100 and 400.

Estimates for Israel's nuclear weapons stockpile range from 70 to 400 warheads. The actual number is probably closer to the lower estimate. Additional weapons could probably be built from inventories of fissile materials.   http://fas.org/nuke/guide/israel/nuke/

Estimates for Israel’s nuclear weapons stockpile range from 70 to 400 warheads. The actual number is probably closer to the lower estimate. Additional weapons could probably be built from inventories of fissile materials.
http://fas.org/nuke/guide/israel/nuke/

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Religion, democracies and the “restraint” which kept the death-toll to only 275

August 15, 2013

The numbers killed in Egypt were well over 250 yesterday. According to the Muslim Brotherhood the number could be as high as in the thousands. But half of Egypt approves of the actions of the security forces.

The US and Europe don’t really know how to react to the chaos in Egypt. The US  will still not acknowledge that they are dealing with a “military coup”. They have all “deplored” the violence but are secretly relieved that the Muslim Brotherhood was removed from power.  A strange view of democracy prevails – a blend of wishful thinking and a very flexible definition of what constitutes democracy and the values to be upheld. The West is willing to go along with the military actions – which of course they publicly deplore – if it can ensure that the Muslim Brotherhood is not voted into power again. So if it is mainly members of the Muslim Brotherhood who have been killed then perhaps it is time to express one’s regrets and just move on.

What nobody wishes to acknowledge is that Religions and Democracies do not – can not –  mix. With all the failings and weaknesses of democracies, “religious parties” still lead to a fundamental clash between the supremacy of the laws of the majority and the supremacy of the perceived – or proclaimed – laws of god (or gods). As long as any country permits political parties which are religious in nature, then any kind of real supremacy of the laws of the majority is not feasible. The fanatics of any religious political party always claim the over-riding demands of their gods and the supremacy of such demands whether to conduct jihad or to burn down mosques. And this applies to Egypt as well as to Israel or Indonesia or Malaysia or India or Sri Lanka.  Around the world, there are many more Islamist political parties than there are for other religions but there are plenty of “Christian Democratic” parties in Europe and in other countries. All of these religious parties – without exception –  are fundamentally opposed to – and have values inconsistent with –  the supremacy of the laws of man (only the majority of course) over the laws of their gods.

The Arab Springs will not lead to any real “democracies” in the Middle East and North Africa as long as inherently self-contradictory “religious, democratic parties” are around. For there is no religious party – in any country – which would accept that the laws of man could override the imaginary laws of their imaginary gods.

According to Reuters,

Egypt’s interim prime minister defended the government decision to storm pro-Mursi demonstrations on Wednesday. He says they had no choice after attempts at mediation with Mursi supporters failed. 

”When freedom of expression becomes terrorizing the public, carrying arms, blocking roads and violating public property — it is not freedom of expression. It becomes aviolation of the people and the people. For the government to continue to operate, it has to be respected. That’s why we had to take a stand and say this cannot continue. It should be stopped.”

Security forces shot and killed scores of people. By evening the death toll was well over 200 and the number injured was around 2,000. Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi praised the way forces handled the operation.

“I have to take this opportunity to thank the police because it has behaved with high levels of self-restraint. There were human rights observers and everything was publicized and there was filming. And it turned out that there were weapons and ammunition and other illegal material.”

Now under curfew Cairo’s streets were markedly different from earlier in the day. Asked how long the situaton could last el-Beblawi offered no specific dates, saying the state of emergency would go on for as short a period as possible. would go on for as short a period as possible, adding that the government is eager to restore democracy.

Mubarak is still in Egypt

March 5, 2011

Though there have been reports that Former President Hosni Mubarak is in Saudi Arabia and undergoing chemotherapy for colon cancer, it seems that he and his family are still in Egypt.

Hosni Mubarak

Egypt’s ousted strongman Hosni Mubarak is at his residence in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh, a spokesman for the chief prosecutor’s office told al-Ahram daily on Friday, dismissing reports that Mubarak was in Saudi Arabia. “The deposed president and his family are still in Sharm El-Sheikh,” Egypt’s chief prosecutor’s office spokesman Abdel al-Said told al-Ahram.

Egypt on Monday imposed a travel ban on Mubarak and his family while prosecutors probed complaints about their wealth, estimated by Arabic media reports at up to 70 billion euros. The public prosecutor froze the bank accounts and assets of Mubarak and his family after complaints they acquired their alleged vast wealth through illegal means, the prosecutor’s office said.

The Egyptian Embassy in Riyadh has also denied reports that he was in Saudi Arabia.

Oil price drops as Mubarak steps down – will Saudi Arabia follow?

February 12, 2011

We are in for a period with very volatile oil prices as the Middle East enters the age of “people power”. It is quite unlikely that this wave of popular “revolt” will stop with Tunisia and Egypt. Yemen is already showing signs and Libya, Algeria, Morocco, Jordan and the Gulf States are all regimes with a potential for revolution. Saudi Arabia is the big one though for oil price.

But the events in Egypt with no clear political leader and with no retaliatory violence to deliberate provocation are both amazing and encouraging. There is a widespread political maturity that is quite fantastic after 30 years of authoritarian rule.

The Hindu reports:

Besides Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s stepping down, the rising dollar index and rally of U.S. stocks triggered oil selling and sent the price to a 10-week low. …

… Light, sweet crude for March delivery dropped 1.15 dollars to 85.58 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, its lowest settlement since Nov. 30, 2010. The crude oil price went up and down following Egypt’s fears and joys. The commodity had experienced an approximately 6 percent price increase since the crisis began on Jan. 25. Much of that move pertained to the uncertainty surrounding the leadership of Egypt. Although Egypt is not a main oil producer, it controls the Suez Canal, which is an important transportation route for oil from the Middle East.


The short term consequences for oil price when (and it has to be “when” and not “if”) the Saudis finally dismantle the anachronistic regime they have cannot be predicted. But the long-term consequences will probably be a reduction of the base price.

The key is when. It is also amazing in this information and “spying” dominated world that the entire intelligence community had no inkling  of what was coming in Tunisia and Egypt. Information was probably available but clearly no one made the correct analysis or drew the right conclusions.

The message of the shoes is clear

February 2, 2011

The mood of the demonstrators in Cairo is captured by the waving shoes in Tahrir Square as Mubarak announces he will not stand again — far too little, much too late.

The political message of shoe throwing or waving is quite unambiguous.

The shoes are out in Tahrir Square: image i.huffpost.com

In the meantime the duplicitous and corrupt Tony Blair praises Mubarak and reveals his view of democracy – “Democracy is Ok provided I like the result” !!!!!

“Blair said that meant there should not be a rush to elections in Egypt.”

It is incomprehensible for me that a corrupt and intellectually bankrupt lightweight such as Tony Blair with all his demonstrated failings could be “rewarded” by being made an envoy to the Middle East.

 


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