Egypt's deputy prime minister and defence minister Abdul Fattah Al Sissi is expected to step down in the coming days to pave the way for his nomination in the upcoming presidential elections, Egyptian media reported.
Al Wafd newspaper reported that his exit will be part of a government reshuffle in the second half of January that will also see vice president Ziyad Baha’ Al Deen leave his post.
This is not a good sign. Military men should stay out of politics. Has the Egyptian army learned any lesson? The coup was popular and necessary, it was not a preplanned operation but a reaction to a spontaneous public demand. General Sisi served as a safety valve during a period of extreme crisis. He served his function rightly at that moment in time in July.The paper cited "political sources with connections to ruling cirlces", adding that the country’s Supreme Council for the Armed Forces decided in a meeting on Tuesday to select Lt Gen Sidqi Subhi to replace Al Sissi as defence minister.
But it is not a good idea when a general who used his power to oust an elected president then decides to run for his position, especially in an revolutionary epoch when the people are stirring, the future is uncertain, the economy is stagnant or falling, and regional events are engulfing many diverse countries.
Sisi is giving the Muslim Brotherhood propaganda ammo by running for president, it erodes his disinterested image as a guardian of the country and turns him into another power-hungry hypocrite.
2. An excerpt from, "Sisi Republic" by As'ad AbuKhalil/Angry Arab, Al Akhbar English, January 2:
Bizarrely, without any charisma, Sisi has inspired millions of Egyptians. Many are able to project their own hopes and desires onto him. Nasserists see a Nasser in him while Sadatists see a Sadat. Sisi is cable to enjoy the support of the Saudi regime and the Syrian regime. Never before have the Saudi and Syrian regimes agreed on anything in Arab politics as they do in the case of support for Sisi.3. An excerpt from, "Syrian rebels launch fierce offensive against al Qaeda fighters" by Dominic Evans, Reuters, January 4:
How is it that Sisi enjoys the support of Israel – and Zionists were instrumental in lobbying US Congress to release military and economic aid to the regime – and the Syrian-Iranian camp. Gulf Cooperation Council countries are showering the new regime with cash and only Qatar – the sponsor of the Muslim Brotherhood – has dissented. The United States and EU after some initial hesitation, threw their support behind the coup perhaps after realizing that he was more serious about helping Israeli in the imposition of the siege of Gaza than Hosni Mubarak himself.
Syrian rebel factions battled fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) across north-west Syria on Saturday in the heaviest clashes between President Bashar al-Assad's opponents in nearly three years of conflict, activists said.There is only one way to seriously damage the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shām, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and that is to put pressure on the intelligence agencies and governments that are systematically supporting this terrorist group: Saudi Arabia's intelligence agency, Turkey's MIT, Mossad, CIA, MI6, and Germany's BND.
The apparently coordinated strikes against the ISIL come after months of increasing resentment of the powerful al Qaeda-linked group, whose radical foreign jihadis and have alienated many ordinary Syrians in rebel-held territory.
One group of fighters battling ISIL was the newly formed Mujahideen Army, an alliance of eight brigades who accused the al Qaeda affiliate of hijacking their struggle to topple Assad.
They said ISIL fighters were "undermining stability and security in liberated areas" through theft, kidnapping and trying to impose their own brand of Islam, and vowed to fight them until ISIL was disbanded or driven out of Syria.
Their spread inside Syria has been matched across the border in western Iraq, where ISIL has tightened its grip in the Sunni Muslim province of Anbar.
The group also claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in southern Beirut which killed five people on Thursday, saying it was the start of a campaign targeting Hezbollah.
These petty terrorist groups that are ravishing Syria, Iraq, and the whole Middle East would be nothing without the money, training, and arms that have been handed to them by the intelligence agencies of the West and Saudi Arabia. They are like the tail of the snake that grips and stings you, and squeezes a society of its life and joy, but obsessing about the tail is stupid and counter-productive, the solution is to grab the head and cut it off.
The biggest blow to Al-Qaeda's war propaganda and self-image is 9/11 truth. Every Muslim, every anti-Al Qaeda activist, every pro-peace voice, should press on this point until his dying breath.
4. An excerpt from, "Hundreds Dead as Fallujah Falls to al-Qaeda" by Jason Ditz, Antiwar.com, January 4:
After well over 100 people were killed Friday fighting continued apace in Fallujah, with the military reporting another 55 al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) fighters killed today, along with unknown numbers of civilians and security forces.Why is untrained police fighting hardened and heavily armed terrorists? Doesn't Maliki realize he has an army that he can use, or are his hands tied for political reasons? Maliki and Assad are in the same boat, they need to get together in an emergency meeting, get their armies together, and deal with this problem holistically and cooperatively. Sitting on your hands only leads to death and destruction. Saddam was brutal and oppressive, especially towards the Kurds in the north, but at least he was able to secure the rest of the country.
The mess that was emerging yesterday is now more or less a complete disaster, with Anbar Provincial Police confirming the city of Fallujah is now entirely under AQI’s control, and that police are positioned outside the city hoping to eventually make some effort to unseat them.
“The walls of the city are in the hands of the police force, but the people of Fallujah are the prisoners of AQI,” reported police chief Hadi Razeij. Parts of the nearby capital city of Ramadi have also fallen, though the extent of that is still unknown.
5. An excerpt from, "Five questions and answers on the latest violence in Iraq" by Jamie Tarabay, Al Jazeera America, January 2:
Al-Qaeda-linked fighters attacked the key Iraqi cities of Fallujah and Ramadi in Anbar province on Thursday, sweeping through the streets and torching police stations. Iraqi security forces are battling to take back the cities, which have become Sunni strongholds amid increasing sectarianism in the country.
In the latest fighting, a group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Greater Syria (ISIS) was apparently reacting to a decision made earlier this week by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to break up a Sunni sit-in.
The violence comes amid fears that Iraq’s rapidly escalating sectarianism will turn into civil war. The death toll for 2013 rivals the figures from 2006 and 2007 — when sectarian fighting was at its most feverish, tit-for-tat attacks drove millions of people from their homes and at least a million refugees left the country.
The civil war in neighboring Syria and the thousands of refugees who have poured over the border into Iraq have stoked sectarian tensions and allowed militant groups to gain footholds in the region.