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Total number of comments: 30 (since 2013-11-28 15:54:36)

Tahar

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  • Egyptian authorities release CCTV Footage of Muslim Brotherhood Attack on 6 October Bridge
    • The Egyptians have a saying. It goes like this, though the translation won't do it justice, "He hit and complained, then he went on crying."

      That's exactly my reply to your comment.

    • You do realize Dr. Cole that this exercise of assigning the blame to someone is going to get harder and harder.

      Moreover, i tend to blame the one who does the shooting. Someone is being shot death, and the other is holding the gun, i blame the one holding the gun. I am sorry, maybe i am old fashion, but a rock against a machine gun, the machine gun wins 99.99% of the time. There is no balance here and we should not have a balanced analysis of this. The body count is clear: 70+ dead and 1000s of injured.

      Let's call it as it is: a massacre. The good news is this massacre won't be the last.

  • Propaganda Terms in the Media and What They Mean - Noam Chomsky
    • He could've been talking about the military coup in Egypt and how it is not a military coup for the left, but it is for the MB. And how the illiberal left goes out of its way to provide it with a blanket of legitimacy so it succeeds and fits their interests.

      I bet Noam Chowsky would rip apart the pseudo-liberal how cheered this coup.

  • Egypt's Revocouption Part Deux: Dueling Crowds leave 30 Dead
    • Dr. Cole, you need to update your body count. It's 75 according the NYT an AJE.

      Moreover, the MB organized protests in almost every city. So, please don't make them look like they couldn't mobilize enough people since you know very that it is not true.

  • Egypt: Military announces 'War on Terror,' Calls for Massive Demos Against Muslim Brotherhood
    • Responding with minimal force is not the hallmark of military regimes or actions. The body count tonight is in the 100s deaths and 1000s of injured.

    • 1-Free Morsi and all political prisoners (this will calm the street)
      2-Reinstate him to bring about some constitutional basis (because now, everything is on an ad-hoc basis, and Al-Sisi is making stuff up as he goes)
      3-Form a government of national unity with limited scope and prerogatives
      4-Set up a constituent assembly or convention (i prefer a convention because it's faster)
      5-Agree to the pre-coup plan of a constitutional referendum on a limited number of amendments (there are about 4 in total)
      6-Don't change the electoral law because that would open up another Pandora's box.
      7-Set a time table for the next legislatives
      8-Once the legislature is sworn in, Morsi steps down and the president of the legislature acting as an interim president for 2 months during a new presidential elections are organized.
      9-Hope for the best :)

      This is a giant compromise. Everyone loses something and gets something. No one gets everything.

      In my opinion, any other plan (including the one that says: let's ignore the streets and the MB, they will go away somehow) that excludes the MB and keeps Morsi in jail is inviable, unattainable, and would lead to more chaos and very likely to a total civil war.

      As Marina Ottoway said in her Wa-post piece, Egypt is sliding toward a renewed authoritarian rule under military tutelage. "But such a regime would have to be even more repressive than Hosni Mubarak’s because Islamists are more mobilized, more organized — and angry."

    • They have been in office for one year. One year, not 4. By this standard, Obama should have been removed in his first year as well as Hollande, Cameron, Clinton etc...

      Moreover, even if they sucked at governing (by the way, culture doesn't change by flipping a switch or in a matter of 12 months--culture is a very slow moving latent variable), there is no room for mob rule or military intervention in a civilian democratic governance. The "man on the horseback" (to borrow from Samuel Finer's great book on military coups "The Man on Horseback: The Role of the Military in Politics.") should stay in his little barracks. The only way to remove an elected executive/legislature is through the ballots, not the bullets and the canons. Moreover, the only thing that Morsi and Justice and Development Party can be accused of is majoritarianism (the same accusation can be extended to most governments in Europe--check the French constitution of the 5th Republic). Nothing else.

      If i have to say, Al-Sissi overdid it, and stepped way beyond his prerogatives. He's been issuing ultimata as if he is King Louis XIV. And now, he's and will be responsible for all this bloodshed.

      By the way, where are all those Human Rights organizations? Where did they go? Or is it ok to slaughter those we don't agree with?

      The way out of this crisis is clear: bring back Morsi. Stop this stupid baseless trial, and then negotiate an honorable exit for everyone. Someone needs to do the hand-holding exercise and keep the parties around the negotiation table; and that someone is us. That's the only way for the MB to leave the streets and for things to calm down. Otherwise, more blood will be slipped as i predicted it over and over.

    • First, Al-Sissi's speech was not really a call for massive protests against the MB, but a call for a civil war that pits Egyptians against Egyptians (by the way, it's better in Arabic--the translation doesn't do it justice)

      Second, what legitimacy does Al-Sissi have to make such call? Where is Adly Al-Mansour, the interim president, in all of that? Have we finally stopped pretending that this was not a military coup?

      Third, everyone that i know and who knows the MENA (scholarly knowledge) has vehemently condemned and denounced Al-Sissi's speech as reckless and dangerous. Even Egyptian scholars (on the left as well as the right side of the political spectrum), and Al-Azhar theologians have done so as well. Yesterday Al-Quaradawi went as far as almost issuing a fatwa ordering the military not to fire one bullet because "doing so is "haram mouharem"" (a cardinal sin). Mohamed Selim Al Awa (legal scholar and thinker, not an Islamist, was an advisor to Al-Sadat and even Mubarak) called Al-Sissi's speech one of the most troubling and dangerous speeches he has ever heard. Even Marina Ottaway published a good piece in the Wa-post yesterday saying that this was Nasser 1952 2.0 (link to washingtonpost.com). Add to that editorials in almost every serious newspapers from the French Le Monde to the Guardian, the Telegraph, Huffpost, Fareed Zakaria, everyone with a lick of sense called Al-Sissi's speech dangerous representing a descent toward civil war.

      Finally, the speech/call failed to bring the Egyptians to massively protest against their brothers/sisters and compatriots who happened to be supporters of Morsi. It clearly failed. I have been watching Al-Jazeera (English + Arabic), Al-Arabiya, Al-Magharibiya, and there are more pro-Morsi supporters in almost every important city in Egypt today protesting the coup/military rule that there are pro-Al-Sissi supporters. Today's failure of the pro-coup/Sissi protests is a serious blow to Al-Sissi. But i expect the events to turn bloody and very soon. Reports of serious gangs of baltajias in Cairo's streets (armed with knives) are lighting up my twitter fed (these reports are not from Islamists but from foreign correspondents). I hope i am wrong, but the old scenario of someone attacking/shooting someone else, which would unleashes the military...and we all know how that ends.

      In conclusion, Al-Sissi doesn't seek reconciliation or even a peaceful exit to this crisis. Al-Sissi and the military are in total control of Egypt, they are seeking to legitimize their political role via street protests. What a twisted political logic. Mob rule and anarchy of the streets replaced elections! The liberals in Egypt must be heartbroken now to finally see and realize that Al-Sissi played them for fools.

  • A Tale of Two Bombings: Libya too Weak, Egypt too Strong
    • I think you are using the concept of rational and irrational very wrongly.

      Being a rational actor is not about being mentally sane or intelligence. Actually, it has nothing to do with that at all. It is all about maximizing your utility (whatever that utility might be).

      So you argue that those who vote a certain way are wrong and idiots, well that assumes that you know the right way of voting. That's paternalism run amock.

    • To CDD: Being a rational actor is about maximizing the utility. That utility can be economic (as in voting your pocketbook) or it can be emotional/psychological (as in your PID or an issue you care about greatly).

      So, yes most voters at a certain level are rational. That's where Frank Thomas went wrong in his analysis.

    • What Dr. Cole seem sometimes to forget is that it is not enough to draft a secular clause--i.e., the equivalent of Establishment clause--in the Constitution, it is also important for that constitution to be ratified.

      As things stand, i don't think there is enough vote out there to ratify such a constitution with such a clause. Check the Pew Center Research Poll on this specific question in Egypt. There is overwhelming support for Article 2 of the Egyptian constitution--i.e., the article about the Shari'a as the basis of the law.

      We need to get back to reality here. Politics is about marshaling resources and applying them to get something done. It is not about dreaming and wishing for things.

    • If by just calling your opponent infidel terrorist gets you 20% of the vote, well that is the most rational vote maximizer move i have ever heard of. It would be totally irrational not to use it.

      Believe me, if the GOP and the Democratic party had something like this, they would use it 24/7.

      So, yes it is completely rational to call the other "infidel terrorists" to get 20% of the vote.

    • And civil rights and liberties were somehow protected by the generals?

      Moreover, i don't know what rational means really the way you are using it. Rational is about maximizing one's utility, and if someone votes for AKP and that vote maximizes his/her utility, therefore that voter is a rational actor.

      Furthermore, i think we need to stop insulting voters by calling them irrational and idiots when they vote for the other camp. If voters vote for the other guys, that means that the other guys did a better job than you at getting their message out, recruiting voters, increasing their PID, mobilizing their base and getting them to the polls--and that is democracy.

    • Just watched General Al-Sissi's speech, and it reminded of another famous speech--not the wording, but the overall tone and the overall message. Do you remember Gaddafi's speech of "Street by street. House by house"? It has been dubbed the "Zanga Zanga, Dar Dar" speech. Well, it is almost the same message that Al-Sissi delivered in his speech today. It is very irresponsible of him to deliver such an irresponsible and dangerous speech at a very critical and extremely dangerous times. If he was looking for more blood, well this speech would do it.

      Gaddafi inflamed the passions of Libyans with that speech (on both sides of the civil strife), Al-Sissi just did the same.

      Moreover, if Egypt is led by a civilian government (as they are arguing) why is Al-Sissi giving speeches, setting policies, and urging Egyptians to fight other Egyptians? Isn't that the role of the so-called civilian president that he nominated?

  • Are Extremist Buddhists in Burma attacking Helpless Muslims? (Walton)
  • Top Ten Ways Egypt Actually Does deeply Matter to the United States
    • Dr. Cole, correction on # 7:

      7. If devotees [i wouldn't use the word "devotees", but supporters or partisans as for any other political party] of political Islam give up [i wouldn't say "give up" but forced to give up] on democracy because THE [NOT their] president, Muhammad Morsi, was deposed in Egypt, and if they turn instead to violent politics (i.e. to terrorism), that change would certainly have a huge impact on security in the United States.

      If anyone is causing violence, it is the military that deposed a legitimately elected president in a cold, well-planned and calculated coup. The street in Cairo/Egypt was manipulated to act through purposefully staged shortages of fuel, goods, and services. The WSJ piece was extremely clear about that in exposing how the coup d'etat was planned months prior to July 3rd.

      Having said that, what kind of rock solid guarantee do the Islamists have to participate in future elections? Is it going to be the same thing--i.e., if they won, would the military intervene another time and depose the president and cancel the majority in the parliament? They have none, and that's why they are going to stay in the streets until the military acts violently and kills a bunch of them live on tv like it has already done.

      There is one more point that you also should have noted: the delegitimization of the liberal/secular wing in the Arab/Muslim countries. This group has shown very little regard to the rule of law and respect for democratic institutions and democracy. Liberals/seculars have allied themselves with the greatest threat to democracy in any democratic regime, and that's the military. I highly advise you to read Federalist Paper #10 by James Madison in which he talks and guards against what he calls "factions"--or in this case fundamentalists or radicals from both sides of the political spectrum--with interests contrary to the rights of others or the nation as a whole. He does not advocate military coups, but he advocates for more democracy, more debates, and more participation.

      Democracy, as we know it, is pretty much finished and done in Egypt. It's pure hardcore electoral authoritarianism now.

  • Egyptian PM Biblawi: Egypt had Left the "Arab Group" to Join the "Islamic Group"
    • By the way, the biggest mistake that the military junta will ever make is to prosecute Morsi. No one will ever believe that he is guilty of anything. The evidence that military junta presents will have no meaning whatsoever. It's beyoond a despicable move and the military will only succeed at extremely polarizing the situation to a very dangerous situation. They are playing with fire, literally.

      And if this is only a negotiation tactci to force Morsi to agree to something, well it's not a good one.

  • Murderers where the Victim was White are Far more Likely to be Punished in US (Graph)
    • That's more that troubling. Is it due to poor legal representation? Biased prosecution and police work? Something is not normal here that indicates structural and institutional race-bias.

  • Egypt: Rebellion Movement Pressures President, PM to Pare Claimed Powers
    • I am looking at the live fed from Egypt's different cities, and i have to say that you have to be extremely committed to flood the streets and gather in squares and places in enormous numbers during the day in Ramadhan with a 90F temperature. That is not easy to do. I can't go an hour without drinking something or easting something. These folks are protesting out there like it's nothing.

      If they can do that while fasting, well they are not going to go anywhere.

  • Aljazeera's Conspiracy Theory about Obama and Egypt is Brainless Mush
    • I hate to disagree with you, but the US had no active involvement in the events that have been taking place in Egypt. More importantly, the US has no interest whatsoever in seeing Egypt drifts into a long protracted civil strife. It's the last thing the US needs/wants really.

      I called what happened on July 3 a coup from the get go (even before the 48 hour ultimatum), although my friend Cole here hesitated and we had our differences over this these last few days.

      Moreover, CNN, MSNBC, the NYT, and Wapost (most major news outlets) called it a coup from the start. And it was silly to pretend otherwise. As Justice Potter said it, "I know it, when i see it," and it walked like a coup, talked like a coup, therefore it was a coup.

      Granted some politicians (especially in the senate) have been dancing around and have hesitated calling it a coup for obvious reasons, but they are all coming around. The massacre outside the Republican Guard (check the Amnesty International Report of the massacre, it's pretty damning and accuses the Egyptian military of deliberate murder basically: link to amnesty.org) has definitely, in my opinion, hurt the military junta and is slowly changing public opinion in Egypt and internationally.

      Tomorrow will be another big day of protests--the MB is labeling it "The Day of Anger" or "Al-Zahf a'ala Al-Cahira" which can be translated as "The Exodus to Cairo"--and if the military makes another mistake and pro-Morsi supporters are shot and/or killed, it will pretty much be over for this military Junta. Already, the new power grad by Adly Monsour has already been labeled as tyrannical by the opposition, and it's obvious that the military is backed into a pretty tight corner.

      The more we look into the events, the months and weeks preceding the coup, the more we see the hands of the pro-Mubarak clan involved in it. They created fuel shortages (check the NYT piece on that) and created a climate of insecurity for all Egyptians for one purpose: to make Morsi as unpopular as possible.

      As i said it before, only negotiations can solve this crisis and those negotiations cannot exclude the MB as a major and active partner. And for the MB to join the negotiation table, rock solid guarantees have to be extended and backed by the US and the international community. Other than that, we will be looking at a long civil strife.

    • I agree, it is pure garbage and bad journalism. Nevertheless, that does not excuse how Al-Jazeera journalists have been threated by their Egyptian colleagues and by this military junta. Journalists booing journalists and kicking them out of a press conference, that's the first time i saw this in my entire life.

      You said the other day that Morsi was a poor steward of the economy, and i said that it was impossible to turn around the economy in one year. Well, the NYT today has a very interesting piece about the shortages of fuel and lack of police in the streets of Cairo under Morsi. It seems that all those shortages were purposefully created and have miraculously disappeared.

      Here is the link: link to nytimes.com

  • The Rebellion Movement Denounces Mansour's Constitutional Principles as Dictatorial
    • “It is now officially a coup,” said Nathan Brown, a political scientist specializing in Egyptian law at George Washington University.

      Justice Potter said in a very famous ruling "I know it, when i see it." And it was a clear coup for the ultimatum.

      More news from Egypt, Al-Azhar is rebelling against General Al-Sisi. Sheikh Dr. Hassan Al-Shafi’i senior advisor to Sheikh Al-Azhar (basically like the highest cardinal that works closely with the Pope) issued a very strongly worded statement to General Al-Sisi. He also warned a Al-Sisi.

      Here is the link to video if you would like to watch it (i translated some of the things he said): link to laseptiemewilaya.wordpress.com

  • Egypt: 8 Wounded in Clashes as Salafi Fundamentalists Object to Elbaradei as PM
    • The military has 2 options before it: 1) keep on their security crackdown and bring back the security apparatus of the deep-state, which we have started to see these days with reported kidnapping and fake islamists with fake beards running (caught on camera)--If the security apparatus of the deep state fully comes back, we would see summary executions, assassination, fake terrorist bombings, torture and all the horrible things that come with it. This will plunge Egypt into a protracted civil strife, and turn Egypt into the new mecca of international Jihad.

      Option 2) is to sit down and negotiate with the MB--and no negotiation will be fruitful before Morsi is freed, which will be an impossible condition for the military to fulfill.

      The military created a catch-22 situation by removing Morsi. They overreached, as all military in the world would do, and committed themselves to do something they clearly cannot do.

      As of now, their best option is to worsen the situation, to make it as bloody as possible so they could completely eliminate the MB as a negotiating partner and/or as even a political possibility or option. This path is horrible, costly, economically unsustainable (without US foreign aid), and will result in the death of democracy in Egypt and the Arab world. Moreover, this path has serious regional ramifications.

      There are no winners in Egypt's crisis as of now, unless the military goes back to their barracks, and leaves politics to civilian politicians so negotiations could start without pre-conditions (i would add, Al-Sissi should be court martialed as a confidence building measure). That's where we, the United States, have to play a role by bringing everybody to the table and by making sure that the negotiations lead to the resolution of this crisis that the military clearly created.

      The longer this situation endures, the deeper Egypt sinks. And no one has any interest in seeing Egypt sinks.

  • Brotherhood, Army risk Civil War: 30 Dead, Hundreds Wounded
    • Do you realize what you are saying? Do you realize that you sounding like an extremist--more extremist and radical than all MB members combined?

    • Well, it wasn't a coup, and even it is a coup, it's just one case.

      I have never met an Arab or a Muslim (from Morocco to Pakistan) who loves his army or the military. The only people who love the military are members of the ruling and privileged class.

    • Two serious developments took place today:

      1) Al-Quaradaoui issued a fatwa-like declaration (Technically, it's not a fatwa--it's more than a very powerful a statement and less than religious edict) condemning this transitional military junta government, the coup, and calling on Al-Sissi to back off and bring back Morsi. Al-Quaradaoui might not be very powerful within Islamist circles, but he is still very popular with the regular folks and has a serious impact on Al-Azhar rank & file.

      2) Al-Nour Party is not happy with AlBaradei and it is threatening to leave the military junta coalition. If this happens, it would be a serious blow to the military junta. However, i suspect that the real reasons might not be or has nothing to do with Al-Nour Party dissatisfaction with the nomination of Al-Baradei as a PM, but it has to do with the base of the party that has been literally enraged by the more of its leadership. Members of the base literally lit up their leadership on facebook and twitter and on religious forum going as far as calling them "khawana" (traitors). So to stop the bleeding and stop the base from walking out and joining the MB, Al-Nour party might very well throw a big monkey wrench into the military junta coalition government.

    • When you say "the conflict factionalized and divided them," them is in reference to the Algerians in general or the Islamists? Honestly, I am not sure what you are talking about.

    • The parliamentary model with PM didn't keep the Royal Thai Army to oust the PM, fire the parliament, cancel the Constitution and stay in power until their people kicked them out again.

      As far as military coups, the parliamentary system doesn't seem to be immune from coups.

    • According to Hamza Hendawi & Maggie Michael, from Associated Press, Morsi's advisers saw the writing on the wall on June 23rd. Al-Sissi went to Morsi and asked him to step down. Morsi refused, but was opened to offer concessions, other than resigning. Al-Sissi didn't want to hear it. Morsi reached out to some sympathetic officers in the 2nd Field Army based in Port Said and Ismailia on the Suez Canal to create some leverage over Al-Sissi, but Al-Sissi shut him down completely.

      According to this piece, Al-Sissi wanted Morsi to leave no matter what.

      Here is the link: link to guardian.co.uk

    • I hate to disagree with you, but the civil war/violence in Algeria was not sectarian-based or laden. And the neocons had no role whatsoever in Algeria.

      Algeria has and will always be in the French sphere of influence (it's sort of a French Monroe Doctrine), not the American one. As the French would say, Algeria is "la chasse gardée de la France"--i.e., it's its backyard.

      In Algeria, the military intervened for several reasons. The chief among them was to protect their economic interests (just like the Egyptian military) and to avoid future prosecutions--the FIS campaigned hard on the promise of "dragging all the generals to jail and holding them accountable." The specter of the Iranian generals hanging from electric poles was frightening enough to them to make them move and cancel the 2nd round before it was too late. Thus, creating civil strife for the next 20 years or so.

      Moreover, the Saudis (read, Wahhabis) have never had a warm and fuzzy relations with the MB--especially the MB post-1980s. However, the Saudis have excellent relations with the Salafis who are now part of the Military Junta coalition Post-Morsi.

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