From One Historian of Egypt to Another: Political Comment and Teleology

18 Apr

In response to Khaled Fahmy’s latest post. (Dr. Fahmy is a historian at the American University in Cairo in the Department of History)

As a a scholar of nineteenth century history, you may term yourself a scholar of ‘modern’ Egypt in the academic sense (in academia, contemporary historians cover the present and recent past, modern historians of Egypt usually cover the period from Napoleon’s invasion to the turn of the century, or beyond) but why — other than demonstrating your command over your own period of expertise — do you believe that institution-building of the nineteenth century is a blueprint for what transpired during and after January 25, 2011? And why insist so specifically that Egypt’s military have NOT saved the country from the sort of bloodletting that Syria’s military engaged in (that is certainly the bottom line)? A contemporary historian would be compelled to admit that the human toll (deaths, torture, imprisonment, death by starvation, refugee numbers) resulting from Syria’s revolution is immensely higher than in Egypt, in absolute numbers and proportionally.

You wrote:

السيسي ومستشاريه مقتنعين فعلا بكده، ومعاهم قطاع كبير من الإعلاميين ال نجحوا في تصوير ٢٥ يناير على إنها مؤامرة من ناس مأجورة بايعة البلد ومش هاممها لو مصر بقت زي سوريا.

لكن الحقيقة غير كده.
Not only do you insist on this point, but you claim it is Field Marshall al-Sisi and his advisors who came to this conclusion, whereas in fact, this idea is asserted by vast numbers of people who would have preferred a civilian candidate if there were a viable one as well as individuals who haven’t yet decided who to support.

You return to Mohammad Ali Pasha’s period to speak of Egypt’s achievements in vaccinating against smallpox and teaching medicine. Then you rightly condemn the current disastrous situation in health care given the epidemics of hepatitis and bilharzia. I too studied with a biographer of Mohammad Ali Pasha, Afaf Lutfi al-Sayyid (Marsot). However, her use of these examples of early state development was usually to point out how Great Britain had de-industrialized and discouraged Egypt’s growth and development. Even that is besides the point at present.

While miracles are needed today, in both the sphere of public health, and reform of the judiciary (as you also point out), I don’t see why we must infer that the transitional government, or the one to be elected will necessarily be any worse than the Mubarak government which brought public health, the judiciary, and if I might add, the security sector and public education to their current sorry states, and which led to the violations of human rights alluded to here along with castigation of the military for retaining control over its own budget:

ولما كنا بنهتف ضد العسكر وبنقول “يسقط يسقط حكم العسكر” ما كناش بننادي بتسريح الجيش ولا بهزيمته. إنما كنا بنطالب بحقنا في إننا نتدرب بجد لما نتجند، وإن تجنيدنا ما يبقاش لحساب الهانم مرات البيه الضابط، وإن الجيش دوره ينحصر في الدفاع عن الحدود وما لوش دعوة بمحطات البنزين ولا بصوابع الكفتة، وإن ميزانية الجيش تبقى خاضعة لرقابة المجلس التشريعي علشان الناس تبقى عارفة فلوسها رايحة فين، وإن ضباط الجيش يعرفوا إن دي أموال البلد مش عرق الجيش، وإن ما فيش أي حد يحق له إنه يعذب المواطنين المصريين في المتحف المصري أو أي متحف تاني، ولا يكشف على عذرية البنات المصريات ال نزلوا يطالبوا بحقهم في حياة كريمة، ومؤسسات تخدمهم، وبلد محترم يحترمهم.

People might assume from the above that the military still conduct virginity tests, (they were partially outlawed. and while it is a shame that Samira Ibrahim’s case against the military failed, is that surprising in the context of disastrous treatment of detainees and prisoners for the last decades? How am I to understand the fact that you single out the military in the latter part of your essay, suggesting that they are ill-prepared to undertake any of the nation’s needed reforms and not the security forces of the Ministry of Interior for what you write is your inability to “be safe in our homes”?

Somehow the impression is given that Egypt is about to elect a military government, and not a civilian government. Why would a ‘modern historian’ choose to give such an impression?

Let’s return to this inaccurate insistence that Egyptian history runs in a unidimensional pattern. The military is not an individual. That numerous motivations may be at work in an organization, is a given. But this is no secret. There is no need to go on insisting that the praetorianism of the Egyptian state is as it was in the 19th century, or the 1950s and ’60s. And there are many aspects on which you are silent — for instance, the U.S. role in promoting the Muslim Brotherhood into seizing its political opportunity post-Feb. 11, 2011. It is likewise popular in many circles to discuss self-serving aspects of the military’s decision, exaggerating their stability and economic holdings.

From all this we don’t gain any new understanding of the two revolutions of 1/25/11 and 6/30/13, mostly because you discounted the phenomena of civilians acting en masse and populism.

In the years I lived and taught in Egypt, I heard many quasi-scholarly discussions begin by asking “Why don’t Egyptians rebel?” and involving grotesque Orientalist assessments of the Egyptian character. I answered by looking at the various theories of revolution we had developed up to that time from Marx to Ted Gurr’s argument in _Why Do Men Rebel_, and concluded that eventually Egyptians would rebel, as they did. This supposed passivity should no longer be part of the currently pressing question of “what did Egyptians gain/what will they gain from the revolution?” Neither should we remain mired in an externally-defined and teleological question, “why do Egyptians assent to the military”? While certain Western journalists obsessively resort to this trope, just as they or their editors love to include the word ‘Pharoah’ in their article titles, you, as a scholar must certainly must be able to discern that it is ahistorical to project consistency from one era (or decade, or period of a few years) onto another. And it is far too soon to conclude “the revolution has failed” or that the military will always dominate.

Here are Khaled Fahmy’s comments in full:
يمكن فعلا الواحد لازم يشرح بديهيات الأشياء.

إحنا فعلا رددنا هتاف “الشعب يريد إسقاط النظام”، وقولنا بعلو صوتنا “يسقط يسقط حكم العسكر”، وطالبنا بقوة ووضوح بضرورة إعادة هيكلة الداخلية. بس هل ده كان يعني إننا كنا عاوزين إننا نسقط الدولة ونجيبها الأرض؟ هل كنا عاوزين فعلا إن جيشنا ينهار؟ هل كنا بنطالب بتحطيم جهاز الأمن وإن البلد تبقى مفتوحة سداح مداح؟

السيسي ومستشاريه مقتنعين فعلا بكده، ومعاهم قطاع كبير من الإعلاميين ال نجحوا في تصوير ٢٥ يناير على إنها مؤامرة من ناس مأجورة بايعة البلد ومش هاممها لو مصر بقت زي سوريا.

لكن الحقيقة غير كده.

أنا ما أقدرش اتكلم عن غيري وأدعي إني عارف كل واحد نزل وهتف ليه ضد النظام والداخلية والجيش. ممكن أتكلم بس عن نفسي.

أنا دارس لتاريخ مصر الحديث، وشايف إنه تاريخ مشرف وجميل. شايف إن إحنا كشعب وكبلد عرفنا نحقق حاجات كثيرة، وبنينا دولة حديثة بمؤسسات حديثة. أنا بأدرس تاريخ المؤسسات دي، تحديدا: الجيش والقضاء والشرطة والمستشفيات (وبشكل أقل الصحافة والنقابات والجامعات). المؤسسات دي هي ال أعطت لمصر الريادة في المنطقة. ريادة مصر على جيرانها مش نتيجة السبعة آلاف سنة والأهرامات ومينا موحد القطرين والكلام ال بيرددوه في الإعلام والمدارس.

الريادة في العصر الحديث سببها إننا بدأنا في بناء مؤسسات الدولة الحديثة قبل جيراننا بماية أو ماية وخمسين سنة على الأقل.

لكن المشكلة إن المؤسسات دي فيها خلل جوهري: المؤسسات دي بتخدم نفسها مش بتخدمنا إحنا كمواطنين.

يعني مثلا: الداخلية مش بتحميني كمواطن لكنها بتمتهن كرامتي وبتعذبني في الأقسام والسجون. ونتيجة لإن ضباطها عارفين إنه لا رقيب عليهم فده خلاهم يهتموا بمصالحهم، ويتراخوا في الارتفاع بمستوى مهنتهم، ونتيجة ده كان تدهور مهارتهم في التحقيقات الجنائية، والنتيجة المنطقية لكل ده هو شعوري أنا كمواطن بعدم الأمان في بيتي.

القضاء نفس الحاجة. أنا دارس تاريخ القضاء المصري الحديث وطالع لي كتاب عن الموضوع ده كمان ثلاثة شهور. القضاء ده كان فعلا شامخ. بالميم فعلا وبجد مش تريقة. إنما ده كان من ماية سنة. النهارده القضاء ترهل وتراخي وتدهور. ما فيش فكر جديد، ولا عدالة ناجزة، ولا رقابة على القضاة. المحاكم منهارة، والعدالة بطيئة، والأحكام جائرة، والناس حقوقها ضايعة.

المؤسسات الصحية نفس الحاجة. أنا برضو دارس تاريخ المؤسسة دي. تاريخ ناصع، مشرف، يخلى الواحد فعلا يفتخر بيه. مصر كانت أول بلد في المنطقة تقوم بحملة ناجحة للتطعيم ضد الجدري، وكانت أول بلد في المنطقة تنجح في القيام بإحصاء عام ودقيق للسكان (سنة ١٨٤٨)، وكانت أول بلد في المنطقة تفتح مدارس طبية (القصر العيني) تدرّس الطب بناء على تشريح الجثث (مش كتب الأقدمين). والنتيجة: القضاء على الأوبئة من كوليرا لطاعون، إنخفاض معدلات الوفيات بين الأطفال، ارتفاع متوسط سن الوفاة، وتحسن ملحوظ في الصحة العامة. إنما ده كان برضه من ماية سنة. ده الوقت مستشفياتنا مرتع للمرض، شهادات الطب بتاعتنا مش معترف بيها في العالم، ومنظومة الصحة العامة منهارة، المرض بيفتك بصحة الناس: أغنياءهم وفقراءهم، والدولة بإهمالها هي ال بتتسبب أحيانا في نشر الأمراض والأوبئة، وخير مثال على ذلك مرض الكبد الوبائي ال كان من أهم أسباب انتشاره هذا الانتشار الرهيب استخدام إبر غير معقمة في مستوصفات وعيادات حكومية في الثمانينات في إطار الحملة القومية وقتها للقضاء على البلهارزيا.

أما الجيش فحدث ولا حرج. الجيش المصري كانت له صولات وجولات، غزى السودان والجزيرة العربية وكريت واليونان والشام وجنوب الأناضول، وحقق انتصارات مدوية. لكن ده برضه من أكثر من ماية سنة. جيشنا الحديث سجله سجل هزائم وانكسارات. وأي هزائم وانكسارات!! ١٩٦٧. أنا ما عنديش أدنى شك إن من أهم الأسباب (ومش كلها علشان ما حدش يقول لي طب وأمريكا وموازين القوى والصهيونية) ال ورا هذا السجل الشائن للجيش المصري الحديث هو غياب الرقابة الشعبية عليه. أنا مش قصدي إن تبقى فيه مناقشة عامة للخطط العسكرية، إنما قصدي إن الشعب، بمجلسه التشريعي، وصحافته، ورأيه العام، ومجلس وزراؤه يبقى له دور رقابي على أداء الجيش. يعني أنا كمواطن مصري اتجندت وخدمت في الجيش (سنة 1986) عندي شكوك حقيقية في الجاهزية القتالية للجيش، لإني بصراحة ما شفتش أي علامة جوه الجيش لقوة قتالية محترفة. كل ال شفتهم ضباط ورتب وفلوس ما لهاش آخر، لكن كل ده مالوش علاقة بالحرب، ولا بالتدريب، ولا بالمناورات ولا بالتحضير لأي قتال من أي نوع، اللهم إلا إذلال المجندين ومسح كرامتهم. وبعد إنهاء خدمتي كل ال شفته من الجيش طرق وكباري ومطاعم وشركات ونوادي ومحطات بنزين “وطنية” وناس بتهلل وتقول تسلم الأيادي. طب والتدريب؟ والتسليح؟ والعقيدة الجهادية بتاعت المؤسسة دي؟ دي أسئلة مش مسموح لينا إننا نقرب منها، مع إنها أسئلة مهمة ومحورية وتخص أمن وسلامة المواطن خاصة إننا عايشين في منطقة من أخطر وأدمى مناطق العالم.

ده تحليلي أنا. أنا لما نزلت يوم ٢٥ يناير والأيام والأسابيع والشهور التالية كنت بأنزل مش علشان عاوز أجيب الدولة دي الأرض. بالعكس. أنا نزلت مع أصحابي وزمايلي ال أظن كانوا بيشاركوني حسرتي على البلد علشان ما كانش هاين علينا التدهور ال شايفينه حوالينا والخراب ال أصاب مؤسسات البلد.

إحنا لما كنا بنهتف بإسقاط النظام ما كناش عاوزين نسقط البلد، إنما كنا عاوزين نسقط النظام الّ خرّب البلد.

لما كنا بننادي بضرورة إصلاح القضاء كنا بنطالب بتحقيق العدالة وبإنهاء الفساد ال بيرتع في صفوف القضاة، وإن المواطن يبقى من حقه الحصول على حقوقه المغتصبة بسرعة وكفاءة ويسر.

لما كنا بننادي بضرورة إعادة هيكلة الداخلية كنا بنؤكد على حقنا في الشعور بالأمن في بيوتنا، وفي نفس الوقت بحقنا في إننا منتعذبش في الأقسام ولا إننا نتهان على إيد أي ضابط شرطة معدّي في الشارع.

ولما كنا بنهتف ضد العسكر وبنقول “يسقط يسقط حكم العسكر” ما كناش بننادي بتسريح الجيش ولا بهزيمته. إنما كنا بنطالب بحقنا في إننا نتدرب بجد لما نتجند، وإن تجنيدنا ما يبقاش لحساب الهانم مرات البيه الضابط، وإن الجيش دوره ينحصر في الدفاع عن الحدود وما لوش دعوة بمحطات البنزين ولا بصوابع الكفتة، وإن ميزانية الجيش تبقى خاضعة لرقابة المجلس التشريعي علشان الناس تبقى عارفة فلوسها رايحة فين، وإن ضباط الجيش يعرفوا إن دي أموال البلد مش عرق الجيش، وإن ما فيش أي حد يحق له إنه يعذب المواطنين المصريين في المتحف المصري أو أي متحف تاني، ولا يكشف على عذرية البنات المصريات ال نزلوا يطالبوا بحقهم في حياة كريمة، ومؤسسات تخدمهم، وبلد محترم يحترمهم.

The Muslim Brotherhood and Acts of Violence in Egypt

10 Apr

Mohamed Elibiary – a political figure entrusted with pursuing terrorism in the U.S. government , has repeatedly stated that the Muslim Brotherhood is unconnected with any acts of violence in Egypt.

The Muslim Brotherhood itself issued a statement disavowing any connection with violence today -

The statement omits mention of  President Morsi’s contacts with Mohammad al-Zawahri, the AQAM’s claim to jihad until Morsi is “returned” and the MANY acts of violence below.

Those who read English probably aren’t aware of the trial and evidence (here in links to parts of telephone transcripts) which explain the connection between the Freedom & Justice Party and the Muslim Brotherhood and the radical jihadists in the Sinai.

But even discounting that – which I cannot — what about all the daily acts of violence in Egypt which still have not ceased!

Similar claims are made by those associated with CAIR in the United States and the Muslim Brotherhood in the UK. Even liberal journalists are swallowing the fantasy that there are no acts of terrorism or violence or subtly (or not so subtly) suggesting they are staged, or describing them as “political violence,” and not terrorism. Quite a few academics (who I know because of my work on Islamist movements within Islamic studies) – notably from Georgetown and Qatar University, University of Arizona, University of Toronto have blasted any effort on academic lists to post or hold discussions about what is going on in Egypt, unless these are rants against al-Sisi/”military dictatorship” or continuing accusations regarding the violence at Rabaa or Nahda last summer. They even rejected the report of Egypt’s National Council on Human Rights – -without reading it, and without realizing that some on that Council had strongly deplored violations of demonstrators and journalists’ rights since June.

I do intend to post some material soon on the campaign in the Sinai and the impact of the political divide in Egypt on its own extremist militants. Until then, here is a brief list of some of the acts of violence since the Mansoura attack, should you need a link to make the point that the Ikhwan have incited violence. (Many but not all were tweeted by Marlyn Tadros at @virtualactivism. Why? Well, you might think these actions were reported by the New York Times, or Washington Post, or McClatchy, and certainly by Reuters or AP, or AFP or in the European news, but in fact not many were. This is why Egyptians have been saying that foreign journalists are mainly concerned with Muslim Brotherhood, or influenced by their supporters at home.)


The Ikhwan leadership could easily diminish this violence by explicitly calling for its supporters and allies to cease attacks on authorities.



Apr. 10 Granddaughter of Hassan al-Banna, a university professor struggles to protect the Muslim Brotherhood


Apr. 10 Committe leaves #Egypt with documentation of MuslimBrotherhood plotting in UK incuding Kemal Helbawi, N. Ibra;him and others


Apr. 10 Brotherhood’s leading businessmen, Youssef Nada claimed on AlJazeera that the Brotherhood has formed new secret leadership.


Apr. 10 An second explosion took place in al-Hasri square in 6th of October city just 50 meters away from the first explosion.


Apr. 10 A junior officer & policeman arrested for joining the jihadist group of Tharwat Shehata #Egypt


Apr. 9 Clashes today between ‪#MuslimBrotherhood (‪Ikhwan) students and police in ‪#AlAzhar, ‪#AinShams, and ‪#Suez Canal universities.

Apr. 9 US designates Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis a ‪#terrorist group. Pretends not to notice connection with ‪#Ikhwan ‪#Egypt ‪


Apr. 8 Allegations in the trial of Mohammed Morsi and an explanation of his connections with Ayman az-Zawahiri via his brother Mohammed



Apr. 8 Muslim Brotherhood students with weapons and fire inside of Alexandria Universityطلاب-الإخوان-في-معركة-بالأسلحة-النارية-بجامعة-الإسكندرية-.html


Apr. 8 Four Islamist militants reportedly killed in North Sinai by Bedouin ‪


Apr. 8 Freedom and Justice Party (Muslim Brotherhood) posts a photo of students breaking the 2nd gate at al-Azhar


Apr. 8 #Azhar female students burn tires and burn Mustafa al-Nahhas road #Egypt


Apr. 8 12 homemade bombs found at #AinShams University and defused #Ikhwan ‘peace’ #Egypt—handmade-bombs-found-on-Ain.aspx

Apr. 7 Al Azhar University dismisses 27 students for leading protests inside campus (with violence)


Apr. 7 Beltagy’s wife threatens al-Sisi



Apr. 6 #Egypt’s university students were busy in 1427 protests this fall — not in class!


Apr. 6 #Egypt’s Interior Ministry spokesman: Militants using foreign fighters who’ve been in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria in coordination with A #Ikhwan; and Ikhwan using students to engage in a 2nd type of violence –


Apr. 6 Prosecutor refers #Zawahiri (his brother) & 67 others to court for planning violent attacks. #Egypt



Apr. 6 Clashes today at #Cairo University, #Ain Shams University and #AlAzhar University between police and #Ikhwan students. #Egypt


Apr. 5 A plot to target al-Gorah airport in #Sinai was thwarted yesterday #Egypt


Apr. 5 Violence broke out in Aswan at a reconcillation meeting on Friday between two families and continued through Saturday. The army spokesperson said there was Ikhwan influence in the clash, but haven’t seen details which prove that, yet. 23 killed, 40 wounded.


Apr. 4 Security forces dispersed protesters across Cairo today.


Apr. 4 Yesterday “gunmen killed 2 young men in the village of Mahdiya, accusing them of collaborating with the army.” ‪ ‪


Apr. 4 Clashes between #Ikhwan & police in Matariyya. Another ‘peaceful’ Friday. #Egypt

Apr. 3 Policeman shot and killed near #Rafah #Sinai #Egypt


Apr. 2 Three bomb explosions outside ‪#Cairo University, security found a 4th bomb. (Anti-coup blames army/police then backed off that claim)


Apr. 2 Police arrested 7 ‪#Ikhwan a few hrs. b4 bombings ‪#Egypt‪ …


Apr. 1 #ikhwan allegedly attempted to murder #Coptic family and army officer son in #Sharqiyya#Egypt

April 1 #Ikhwan students at AinShams University beat up an al-Fajr journalist, took his camera & threatened female journalist

April 1 #Ikhwan student demonstrators headed for the Egyptian Ministry of Defense


Mar. 31 5 killed, 11 woundered and 79 arrested in terrorist Brotherhood protests ‪


Mar. 31 RT #Ikhwan’s “peaceful protesters” burn cars in #Azhar garage #Egypt


Mar. 31 An Ikhwan cell has been arrested in Alexandria for allegedly planning to cut hands and feet of Sisi supporters.


Mar. 31

RT Clashes between police and ‪#Ikhwan in ‪#Minya. 1 police injured, 5 arrested ‪#Egypt‪


Mar. 30 Members of Ansar al-Shari’ah fil Ard al-Kinana were arrested. They’ve taken credit for more than a dozen shooting incidents in Giza, Beni Suwayf and Sharqiyya


Mar. 30 Ikhwan students block Sudan St. behind Cairo University clashing with non-Ikhwan citizens and no police presence.طلاب-الإخوان-يقطعون-السودان-وغياب-ت/


Mar. 30 Violence escalated in front of Cairo University by Ikhwan students


Mar. 30 One killed, three more injured in an attack on a police bus western Sheikh Zuwayd today ‪#Sinai‫#


Mar. 27 Mayada Ashraf, a journalist for al-Dostour was killed in Ain Shams. 4 others were killed (this reports 3) and 10 wounded.

Mar 27 Egyptians and Ikhwan clashed in Dakahliyya and police and Ikhwan clashed in Faisal st. al-Haram, Giza. Shots were fired in clashes between Ikhwan and police in Mahalla. Ikhwan demonstrations in Qena and three demonstrations in Fayoum were dispersed by police by using tear gas; they also dispersed demonstrators in Madinat Nasr with tear gas.

Mar 27 Ikhwan fired at police in Helwan and police used tear gas. Heavy clashes.


Mar. 27 4 killed in clashes between armed MBs & security forces. Includes a journalist and a Coptic woman (stabbed) ‪


Mar 27 Persons unknown burned an #AlSisi campaign tent set up in #PortSaid#Egypt


Mar. 26 – Field Marshall al-Sisi formally resigns as Min. of Defense, meets with the military and then announces his candidacy as President. Gen. Sedky Sobhy becomes Min. of Defense.

Mar. 26 1 killed and 30 injured at #Cairo Univ. and #Zagazig Univ.

Mar. 26 Ikhwan students demonstrating in front of Cairo University, chanting against army and police.

Mar. 25 A new Ikhwan movement called Execution claims it has kidnapped a policeman and have details about 5000 others.

Mar. 25 30 June investigative committee says Copts in Upper Egypt are still mistreated, suffering kidnappings and unable to rebuild burned churches.

Mar. 25 A bomb was found at the entrance to the police station at Shubra al-Khayma and was defused.



Mar. 25 Ikhwan destroyed army-run warehouse distributing food to the poor in #Fayyoum#Egypt


Mar. 25 Today unknown persons burned MobiNil’s tower in #Bahaira#Egypt


Mar. 25 #Ikhwan surround Helwan police station. Police fire shots in the air and disperse them.


Mar. 25. ‪#Ikhwan supporter publishes call on FB for a Muslim Brotherhood army to confront ‪#Egypt’s police & army


Mar. 25 12 injured as Ikhwan and police clash in Sharqiyya. Ikhwan torched police truck


Mar. 25. Ikhwan wearing masks with Rabaa sign burn the electricity main in Mahalla.


Mar. 25. Militants blow up gas pipeline again in southern Arish.


Mar. 24. #Bedouin killed by militants in #Sinai for cooperating with #Egypt’s army/security.


Mar. 24. School in #Qalubiyya closed today when incendiary device discovered #Egypt


Mar. 24 Ikhwan burn a school to protest death sentences handed down by a judge in Minya.,7340,L-4502752,00.html


Mar. 24. Unknown gunmen (suspected to be Islamic militants) shoot and kill a policeman on his way to work in al-Arish.


Mar. 23. RT Two homemade bombs deactivated in #Cairo University. #Egypt


Mar. 21 8 Ikhwan arrested during violent clashes in Suez. Ikhwan also throw fireworks on AlHaram St. in Giza. 1 killed in Haram, unconfirmed reports that one person killed in Alexandria where there were also clashes, and clashes in Bahaira, Minufiyya, Gharbiyya and Fayoum. ‪


Mar. 21 Police in alFashn, Bani Sweif, foiled an attempt to blow up a branch of the National Bank. They found 2 explosive devices inside bank.


Mar. 20 ‪Ikhwan throw rocks at British consul’s police escort & injure a woman in ‪#Bahaira‪#Egypt‪ …


Mar 19 3 students killed today in clashes between pro-Morsi & police in universities across Egypt. Protests at Cairo University met with tear gas.


Mar 19 5 Ansar Jerusalem fighters killed in clashes at Qanatir al-Khayriyya


Mar 18. Police trucks arrive after #Ikhwan students demonstrateing at al-Azhar block roads in the area. blockمدرعات-الشرطة-تصل-محيط-جامعة-الأزهر/


Mar. 18 Ansar al-Shari3a says it murdered policemen because Morsi was deposed and for arrested Ikhwan women.


Mar 18. Campaign called Batel calls for mobilization on Mar. 19th to bring back Morsi



Mar 18 Police raid pro-Rabaa conference in Garden City in Cairo and hold the attendees.

(The above was also disputed today)

Mar. 18 #Ikhwan at #AlAzhar beat a campus security police unconscious & kidnap him off the campus.

Mar 16. Two men arrested planting bombs at high voltage towers in Giza supplying electricity to Haram, Faisal and other areas wo men arrested planting bombs at high voltage towers in Giza supplying electricity to Haram, Faisal and other areas ‪ …

Mar. 15 Gunmen kill six army police officers in an attack near Cairo

Mar. 14. Shaikh Moza of Qatar denied Saad Eddin Ibrahim’s claims about her support of 30 June & re alJazeera being run by Ikhwan


Mar 14. Ikhwan clashed with people on al-Haram street and burned a store.


Mar. 14 Police used tear gas in Shoubra al-Khayma to disperse crowed which tried to block their truck


Mar. 14. Police dispered Ikhwan protesters today at Ain al-Shams; the protesters destroyed the cameras at the Matariyya Institute nearby.


Mar. 14 Pro-MB cleric Abdel Maksoud on Rabia TV says it’s peaceful to burn houses, cars of policemen nad terrorize opponents of the Muslim Brotherhood http://youtube/s6yDuGzjMuQ

Mar. 13 Saudi Arabia arrests the Ikhwan’s (Muslim Brotherhood’s) al-Shaer


Mar. 13 Terrorist group Ansar Beit al-Maqdis disguised as Egyptian army and standing at a checkpoint in Rafah

Mar. 13 Gunmen attacked an army bus in al-Amiriyyeh in eastern Cairo, killing a soldier. These are believed to be Ikhwan cells, or at least, its supporters. Ansar Beit al-Maqdis later claimed responsibility.



Mar 12. Saudi Arabia closes al-Jazeera’s office over Qatar’s support for Muslim Brotherhood.


Mar. 12 T #Ikhwan students demonstrating in front of #Cairo University #Egypt

Mar. 12. Dahi Khalfan says Gulf-based Ikhwan are funding the rebellion in Egypt.


Mar. 12 Ikhwan students gathered in front of Grand Imam’s house protesting arrest of female students.

طلابالإخوانبالأزهريحتشدونأمامبيتالطيباحتجاجًاعليمحاكمة 5 طالبات‪ …


Mar. 12 Interpol arrested Akram al-Shaer arrested in ‪#SaudiArabia and Mohammad Qabouti in ‪#Kuwait‪#Ikhwan‪#Egypt‪ …


Mar 10 Unknown gunmen try to kill a policeman in Sharqiyya

Mar 9 #Ikhwan burn OnTV truck in front of ‪#Cairo Univ ‪#Egypt‪ طلاب-الإخوان-يشعلون-النيران-في-سيارة/‪#9iZKYQBIc9HFVqKJ.99


Mar 9 13 arrested at a bomb workshop in the Sinai in Arish city


Mar 8 A bomb exploded today near the refugee center in October City. #Egypt


Mar 8 #Ikhwan students march against the return of campus police and for the release of other detained #Ikhwan students


Mar. 8 #Ikhwan students destroy electronic gates outside Mansoura University


Mar. 8 Ikhwan women in Alexandria chant “US save them from violence” (yesterday, they were chanting against the US in Cairo)


Mar. 7 Hayat journalist harassed and attacked on live TV as she was covering Ikhwan demos in Alf Maskan


Mar 7 Ikhwan dead in Alf Maskan as gunfire exchange with police begins. ‪#egypt

Mar 7 Police car torched on 26th of July axis to October 6th in front of Hyper one market by an MB demo

Mar 7 Police secretary killed in al-Arish #Egyptدماء-شرطي-مصري-تسيل-في-شمال-سيناء-برصاص-مسلحين.html


Mar 7 RT 5 police killed & 7 injured in #Matariyya #Egypt


Mar 7 RT #Ikhwan burned police truck in Faisal St. #Haram #Egypt


Mar 7 Clashes between Ikhwan/pro-Ikhwan and security in Fayyum, Minya and Alexandria (since Ikhwan had organized protest demos today)


Mar. 6 Armed gunmen fire on pro-Sisi marchers in Shaykh Zuwaid


Mar. 6 National Council for Human Rights completes a report on police brutality in the Rabaa and Nahda dispersals & releases a video showing armed gunmen.


Mar 6. Unidentified person(s) ignite a police car at Manial.


Mar 5 10 militants killed & 43 arrested in Sinai – according to Egyptian Army spokesman


Mar 5 Israel says it seized a Gaza-bound rocket shipment coming from Iran.


Mar 5 Bomb explodes near courthouse compound in Qena. No injuries.


Mar. 3 Attacks on police across Egypt – in addition to those below in Giza and Beni Souef, there were attacks in Mansoura and the Aswan


Mar. 3 Police sergeant shot dead by ‘unknown’ gunmen in Beni Souef #Egypt


Attack on an ambulance in #Giza kills 1 policeman & wounds 1 #Egypt


Mar. 2 Clashes broke out outside Imbaba police station between police and the army as army was charged to secure the station.


Mar. 2 Three devices (bombs/proto-bombs) found on train to Banha and in Shubra station and were defused ‪


Mar. 2 8 Ikhwan were arrested for the burning of Samaloot police station. They had 2 bombs in their possession.

ضبط 8 إخوان متهمين بحرق مركز سمالوط بحوزتهم قنبلتان محليتا الصنع ‪ …


Mar. 2 Mohammed Zammar (Ansar ash-Sham) was released with other 5 Islamists in a swap. He was imprisoned for being MB member ‪

Mar. 1 10 extremists killed, 11 arrested in Northern Sinai (in Arish, Rafah and Shaykh Zuwaid)


Mar. 1 After clashes, police arrested 10 pro-Muslim Brotherhood in Ain Shams, Marg and Walli and a 13 year old was killed in clashes in the Matariyya area of Cairo. 2 police were injured. The rioters threw a bomb at security forces which was defused, and set a microbus on fire.


Feb. 28 2 dead, 16 injured in clashes between supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and police at demonstrations in Cairo, Alexandria – and also 5 injured in Minya.


Feb. 28 A fruit vendor was beaten up by Ikhwan with chains & knives bec he asked them to stay away from his shop



Feb. 24 Arrests made of 8 Muslim Brotherhood members for using social networking sites to promote violence. Sites include Molotov Movement Against the Coup


Feb. 24 Bombs found inside court & registry at Kafr al-Dawwar


Feb. 22 Attackers on a motorbike shot an NSA officer in Zagazig (who died).


Feb. 21 A knife attack kills a Christian woman in upper Egypt.


Feb. 21 Car belonging to the Tahrir Channel was burned) on Haram [street] and Ikhwan supporters were dispersed by security forces in the Arish area of Haram afte.

Feb. 21 Beni Swayf, police aborted an attempt by 2 MB terrorist organization members to set fire to a police officer private car. He was injured & hospitalized. MB member Ahmed Ihab was arrested and the other member Belal Nehad Akasem, son of the leading MB member Nehad Alkasem in Beni Swaif. (source Min. of the Interior)

Feb. 21 Ultras Ahlawy clash with police and burn a police car after al-Ahli wins Africa Super Cup. 24 injured.



Feb. 21 Police vehicle set on fire early in the am. In Alexandria.


Feb. 20 Bomb squad investigating a device reported in Coptic graveyard in Damas, Meet Ghamr.


Feb. 20 Policemen will get 30 percent of their basic pay as risk compensation, effective 1 March

Feb. 20 Three drive-by shootings in #Sharqiyya within 24 hours #Egypt

Feb. 20 Some professors who either were Ikhwan or supporting them are fired by Cairo University and students involved in violent actions as part of protests were expelled.فصل-دراج-والأستاذ-المتورط-في-سحل-ضابط-بجامعة-القاهرة.html

Feb. 20 6 jihadists killed in the Sinai by armed forces.

Feb. 19 RT #Egypt al-Zomor and Abd al-Meguid, ‘former’ terrorists seek asylum in the UK

Feb. 18 2 arrested for bomb manufacturing and other offenses in Mohandiseen and Giza.

Feb. 18 Cairo University expels 350 & Rabaa tshirts etc. forbidden #Egypt #Ikhwan


Feb. 18 RT Cairo U. refers Pakinam Sharqawi (for involvement in the summer riots) and Seif Abd al-Fattah (for being employed by presidency w/o permission from the university) to investigation


Feb. 18 Unknown assailants fire on police checkpoint at Assiut wounding a policeman and a passerby


Feb 17 Army conscript shot by smugglers on the Egyptian-Israeli border south of Rafah.


Feb. 16 Egypt tourist bus blast killed 4: Three South Korean tourists, the Egyptian busdriver and injured nearly all 33 on board. Bus blew up after it entered Egypt from Israel. ‪ …


Feb. 15 3 children and 1 adult injured by an explosion in Medinat Nasr behind a police station


Feb. 14 Bomb thrown in front of Talibya police station – bomb squad tries to defuse


Feb. 13 Yesterday 2 security at #Saqqara died as 2 gunmen fired on them.

Feb. 13. 3 arrested near the bomb-throwing at al-Warraq (yesterday aren’t Ikhwan but an independent cell.)

Feb. 12 A policeman standing guard outside Mar Guirguis Church is fatally shot

Feb. 12 Three people on a motorcycle throw a bomb in a street in al-Warraq which was defused by the Egyptian bomb squad. ‪


Feb 12 Detained Egyptian ‪@USEmbassyCairo employee’s name appeared in e-mails 2top MBs that leaked to media ‪


Feb. 12 108 Ikhwan who were arrested during violent clashes in Minya have been released on bail.

Feb 10 Men on motorbike kill a policeman in Isma’iliyya


Feb. 10 Ikhwan clash with teachers in Sharqiyya because teachers were gathering signatures to challenge the Ikhwan in the (teachers) syndicate


‪Feb. 10 Egyptian authorities accuse Muslim Brotherhood of forming an armed wing:


Feb. 9 More details on Muslim Brotherhood’s formation of a military wing


Feb. 8 Egypt’s army spokesman says airstrikes in Sinai Peninsula kill 16 armed fighters with ties to Muslim Brotherhood ‪


Feb. 8 New group calling itself Ajnad Misr on a Facebook page claims responsibility for Friday’s bombs in Cairo.


Feb. 7, Riot police stabs officer to death yelling “Halal, Allahu Akbar”

Feb 7 Two bombs injure 4 at checkpoint on Fri. am


Feb. 7 Ikhwan carrying rifles in Feisal, Giza


Feb 5, 2014. Muslim Brotherhood release home addresses of police officers.تقارير-وتحليلات/620083-35-ألف-ضابط-بالداخلية-يبحثون-عن-التأمين


Feb. 4, 2014. The Ikhwan burn the home and car of an al-Sisi supporter in Sharqiyya who had killed an Ikhwan member after a previous clashالأخبار/قلب-مصر/366160-عناصر-الإرهابية-يحرقون-منزل-وسيارة-مؤيد-للسيسي-بالشرقية


Feb. 4, 2014. A Muslim Brotherhood member (or supporter?) arrested in Beni Souaif with an RPG.


Feb. 4, 2014. Clashes in Fayyum between Ikhwan and police and 3 civilians are injured as a consequence.الحوداث/حوادث/366140-إصابة-3-في-اشتباكات-عنيفة-بين-الإخوان-والشرطة-بالفيوم


Feb. 4, 2014. Two soldiers injured in a bomb explosion in central ‪#Sinai. Bomb went off on the road as their truck drove by.


Feb. 4, 2014 Security thwarts a terrorist plot to try to blow up a beacon [lighthouse] in the Suez Canal


Feb. 4, 2014 2 explosive devices containing large amounts of TNT were found near a school in Badr City, New Cairo. Bomb squad defused them


Feb. 4, 2014 Jihad movement breaks away from the Coalition to Support Legitimacy (the group of pro-Morsi jihadist groups) says the coalition failed.


Feb. 4, 2014 Copts complain they are making jizya payments to Islamist extremists, still fear for their lives & police not doing anything.


Feb. 4, 2014 A new movement called HanRa3bku (We’ll Scare You) starts and attacks police in Assiut


Feb. 2, 2014 Bomb defused near the fence of military installation in Hurghada


Feb. 2, 2014 15 year old arrested at #Ikhwan march in possession of 9 hand grenades .


Feb. 2 Statement of suspects in Virgin Mary incident in court (one trained by Zawahiri [brother]) other against leaders who don’t support shari`ah


Feb. 1 4 Ikhwan members arrested in Alexandria – 2 trying to set police cars on fire and 2 others filming them.


Feb. 1 An Ikhwan dissident claims Ikhwan are trying to force the police into violence against them. Says Ikhwan planning commemoration of Battle of the Camel (which they were NOT victims in) on Feb. 11


Feb 1 One of the Islamists who threw kids off a building in the summer, is at his trial trying to lead prayer. (Weeks later, he was later convicted)


January 31 Bomb (a soundbomb) went off at residence of Belgian Ambassador to Cairo

January 31, Two rockets exploded over Eilat as Israel’s Iron Dome defense system intercepted them. ABM claimed responsibility.


January 30, Senior officer’s Lt. Col. Amr Hassan (a senior prosecutor) car blown up by Molotov cocktails and a bomb in Minya, in upper Egypt. AMB claims responsibility.


Jan 25 Ikhwan attack police with weapons and Molotovs


Jan. 24 4 Explosions rocked Cairo killing 5, car bomb near police headquarters, at a metro station in Dokki, police station near Talbia and at a movie theater, killing one

Jan. 20 Two blasts heard near Eilat. At least one was a rocket fired from the Sinai.

The Egyptian Military’s Holdings – Speculations.

4 Apr

Giovanni Piazzeze quotes me in the article below in (I’ve given him 3 interviews, but this is the 1st article I’ve seen) — I am not surprised by Robert Springborg’s opinion.  (He is employed at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey whereas I am independent, meaning my opinion is not vetted by anyone in the military’s Public Affair’s office.  I do not know if the NPS’s PAO is as invasive as the one at the U.S. Army War College (where I was)  or if the command cares as much about what is written, I doubt it).  Just know that Springborg has signed a petition asking the US to interfere in Egypt against “the coup”  & wrote disparaging articles about both Sedki Sohbi and al-Sisi (the latter based on Andrew Bostom’s FOIA request to the Army War College to obtain al-Sisi’s paper (which I’ve had here all along, pretty funny how he tries to make him seem like an Islamist in his effort to help Islamists).

Arguments that Egyptian military is so wealthy that it enacted the revolution to protect its  own holdings – well that’s the kind of argument that Jadaliyya likes. But it just does not hold up to scrutiny.  As I tried to explain to Giovanni (not included below) much of the critique of military industries is based on a general laissez-faire liberal capitalist stance in which there should be no government-owned industries as they are inherently inefficient.   However, they provide employment to thousands in Egypt.

Nell’Egitto paralizzato dagli attentati terroristici e dal crollo dell’economia, concetti come stabilità politica e sicurezza economica sono divenuti i capisaldi di qualsiasi dibattito. Se la responsabilità della prima ricade sull’esercito e la polizia, la seconda, almeno in teoria, dovrebbe dipendere dai capitali degli azionisti e dal coinvolgimento d’imprenditori pubblici e privati. Tuttavia, in Egitto una fetta importante dell’economia nazionale è sotto il controllo dell’esercito, slegata da qualsiasi norma generalmente applicabile agli uomini d’affari presenti nel paese. Sin dal 1952 l’esercito ha avuto un ruolo determinante. Dapprima a livello politico, con esponenti delle forze armate inseriti nelle posizioni ministeriali più importanti. Successivamente a livello economico, quando la firma del trattato di pace con Israele nel 1979 non rendeva più necessario il mantenimento di un esercito numeroso. L’effetto potenzialmente destabilizzante generato dal trattato era di lasciare molti membri dell’esercito senza un’attività lavorativa.
Così Mubarak, succeduto a Sadat nel 1981, decise di creare l’Organizzazione Nazionale per i Prodotti di Servizio, il cui fine era quello di assorbire la massa di persone estromesse dalle forze armate attraverso la creazione di entità commerciali e manifatturiere. Insieme al Ministero per la Produzione Militare e all’Arab Organization for Industrialization (AOI), formano l’ossatura attorno a cui è stato costruito l’impero economico dei militari egiziani. Molte di queste attività sono esentate dal pagamento delle tasse, ricevono numerose agevolazioni fiscali e possono essere collocate praticamente ovunque, stando a una legge approvata nel 1991 secondo cui l’esercito può requisire per motivi di sicurezza nazionale le terre di cui ha bisogno. Non solo, dunque, le aziende che producono armi e mezzi militari, ma anche le fabbriche di beni di consumo quali acqua, pasta, olio, carne, elettrodomestici, automobili ed altro ancora. Nel corso degli anni l’esercito ha esteso i propri interessi anche nel ramo della sanità, del petrolio, del gas, del cemento e del turismo.
Esistono tuttavia delle incognite sul peso dei militari nell’economia egiziana, a partire dalla percentuale del Pil generato dalle loro aziende, su cui circolano cifre comprese tra il 5 e il 40%. Proprio pochi giorni fa, il Financial Times ha pubblicato un articolo in cui il generale Mohammed Amin, capo del dipartimento degli affari finanziari dell’esercito, riferiva che la quota del Pil in mano alle forze armate non raggiungesse neanche l’1% (1,75 miliardi di dollari). Graeme Bannerman, direttore del Middle East Institute, ritiene che “solo l’11% dell’economia sia nelle mani dell’esercito”. Anche Sherifa Zuhur, esperta di questioni mediorientali e che ha avuto tra i suoi allievi anche il generale Al-Sisi, è convinta che le cifre diffuse da molti media siano esagerate “Non mi sorprenderei se le cifre menzionate da Amin fossero un po’ più grandi, ma non di molto. Probabilmente la vera ricchezza dei militari egiziani risiede nel possesso della terra e nella partecipazione di ufficiali ed ex ufficiali nella gestione d’imprese commerciali. Un fatto, questo, riscontrabile anche negli Stati Uniti, ma con una differenza sostanziale. Negli Stati Uniti gli ufficiali in pensione vengono riassunti da compagnie private, mentre in Egitto vengono ricollocati all’interno di aziende di proprietà dell’esercito stesso”. Di parere diverso è invece Robert Springborg, che ha insegnato per anni alla Naval Postgraduate School di Monterey “Non esistono numeri ufficiali perché né il governo né i militari hanno mai reso pubblici questi dati. Ritengo, però, le cifre al ribasso sottostimino il ruolo dei militari nell’economia egiziana. Tutti sanno che l’esercito è responsabile per la maggior parte dei progetti infrastrutturali del paese, oltre ad avere un ruolo fondamentale nel settore degli idrocarburi, dei trasporti e dei consumi. I soli contratti edilizi fruttano centinaia di milioni di dollari”.
Al di là delle percentuali, variabili e poco indicative poiché non ufficiali, il problema risiede nella qualità, più che nella quantità, dell’economia dei militari. Già in passato, in un articolo pubblicato su Foreign Policy, Zeinab Abul Magd, docente presso l’Oberlin College, ha denunciato l’inefficienza e il clima di corruzione attorno alle forze armate. Opinione condivisa anche dallo stesso Springborg “La gestione delle attività economiche da parte dei militari è subordinata ai rapporti di potere che intercorrono tra i suoi membri. Per questo è un sistema intrinsecamente inefficiente e corrotto”.
Mercoledì sera il generale Al-Sisi ha ufficialmente dichiarato di essere pronto a candidarsi. Se, come ci si aspetta, sarà lui a vincere, dovrà affrontare una serie di problemi irrisolti. Dagli scioperi che hanno paralizzato il paese alla svalutazione della moneta e all’aumento dei prezzi (+69% dal 2010 per ciò che concerne bevande non alcoliche e cibo). Senza dimenticare la minaccia degli attentati terroristici e i rapporti con gli altri paesi, soprattutto con gli Stati Uniti. Cambiamenti che richiedono uno sforzo corale e che il prossimo presidente, a prescindere da chi sarà, non potrà raggiungere da solo.

Now Google translator is particularly bad with the double negatives but this will give you an idea:  

In Egypt paralyzed by the terrorist attacks and the collapse of the economy, concepts such as political stability and economic security have become the cornerstones of any debate. If the responsibility falls first on the army and the police , the second , at least in theory, should depend on the capital of the shareholders and the involvement of public and private employers . However , Egypt is an important part of the national economy under the control of the army, without ties to any rule generally applicable to businessmen in the country. Since 1952 the Army has played a crucial role . First, at the political level , with members of the armed forces included in the most important ministerial positions . Subsequently, at the economic level , when the signing of the peace treaty with Israel in 1979 did not make it no longer necessary to maintain a large army . The potentially destabilizing effect generated by the Treaty was to leave many members of the army without employment.
So Mubarak , who succeeded Sadat in 1981 , he decided to create the National Organization for the Products service , whose aim was to absorb the large numbers of people driven out by the armed forces through the creation of business entities and manufacturing . Together with the Ministry of Military Production and to the Arab Organization for Industrialization (AOI) , form the backbone around which was built the empire of the Egyptian military . Many of these activities are exempt from paying taxes , they receive numerous tax benefits and can be placed almost anywhere , according to a law passed in 1991 that the army can requisition for reasons of national security of the land it needs. Not only that, therefore , the companies that produce weapons and military means, but also factories for consumer goods such as water, pasta, olive oil , meat, household appliances, automobiles and more. Over the years, the army has also expanded its interests in the field of health care, oil, gas , cement and tourism.
However, there are uncertainties about the weight of the military in the Egyptian economy , from the percentage of GDP generated by their companies , over which numbers between 5 and 40 % . Just a few days ago , the Financial Times published an article in which General Mohammed Amin , head of the department of financial affairs of the army , reported that the share of GDP in the hands of the armed forces did not reach even 1% (1, 75 billion dollars). Graeme Bannerman , director of the Middle East Institute , believes that ” only 11 % of the economy is in the hands of the army .” Even Sherifa Zuhur , an expert on Middle East issues and that he had among his pupils also the General al- Sisi , is convinced that the figures published by many media are exaggerated “I would not be surprised if the figures mentioned by Amin were a bit ‘ bigger , but not by much. Probably the real wealth of the Egyptian military lies in the possession of the land and in the participation of officers and former officers in the management of commercial enterprises. A fact that is also reflected in the United States , but with one major difference . In the United States retired officers are summarized by private companies , while in Egypt are relocated within companies owned by the military itself. ” A different opinion is instead Robert Springborg , who has taught for years at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey “There are no official numbers because neither the government nor the military has never made ​​this information public . However, I believe the figures downward underestimate the military’s role in the Egyptian economy . Everyone knows that the army is responsible for most of the infrastructure projects in the country, as well as having a key role in the hydrocarbon sector , transport and consumption. The only construction contracts earn hundreds of millions of dollars. “
Beyond the percentage variables and just as indicative unofficial , the problem lies in the quality , rather than quantity, the economy of the military. In the past , in an article published in Foreign Policy , Zeinab Abul Magd , a professor at Oberlin College, has denounced the inefficiency and corruption of the climate around the armed forces. Opinion is also shared by the same Springborg ” The management of economic activities by the military is subordinate to the power relations that exist among its members . For this is an inherently inefficient and corrupt . “
Wednesday night the General Al- Sisi has officially declared to be ready to apply . If , as expected , he’ll win , will face a number of unresolved issues . By the strikes that paralyzed the country to currency depreciation and rising prices ( +69 % since 2010 as regards non-alcoholic beverages and food). Not to mention the threat of terrorist attacks and relations with other countries , particularly the United States. Changes that require a collective effort , and that the next president, regardless of who will not be able to reach alone.

From Russia and Egypt to Obama’s Vision (If one exists) By Sherifa Zuhur

17 Feb


1. Spent the day today responding to Prof. X – or rather biting my tongue.  Prof. X has  especially objected to a previous post I wrote at this blog about a former Fellow of the War College, Gen. al-Sisi and a post by an eyewitness to the so-called Nahda massacre (i.e. the ending of the Nahda demonstrations.)  I stand by what I wrote.  

The professor-student relationship is a very tenuous one.  We don’t shape anyone’s minds, we merely have an opportunity to offer certain thoughts on certain topics.  I’ve had many fabulous students who I admire greatly – including some journalists now working in Egypt, a WHO official, an environmental specialist, an expert at the United Nations, aides to politicians, and my military/governmental ‘students’ were in a special category as working professionals at the time of their studies.  

2. Here is some information from an interview today on the 2/2 Egyptian-Russian ‘deal’.

Q.  On the cooperation agreement between Egypt and Russia
SZ My understanding is that there may be a military cooperation agreement & that in turn could lead to an economic agreement – for now it is simply to be an intergovernmental commission on trade  and economic cooperation -
– but certainly it will be unlike that of the Nasserist era.   The agreement dates back to the Russian officials’ visit to Egypt in November 2013.  Had the U.S. not suspended military aid to Egypt, then Egypt might not have been as eager for this alternative source of aid, but anyway it is to be financed by Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. as is not a ‘gift’ of aid as in the U.S. – Egyptian arrangment.
Q. Undoubtedly Putin is trying to increase his role in the area. He sells weapons to Syria (without mentioning other clients like Sudan or Algeria) and is going to have an important role even in Egypt. How U.S. perceives the Russian strategy in Middle East?
SZ  Generally, the U.S. sees Russia’s strategy in the Middle East as adversarial but multi-stranded.  For ex. the interest of Russian middlemen in oil futures is not necessarily synonymous with official policy – but in general we can speak of politics, arms, and markets.  The entire world has changed since the previous Arab Cold War in which the U.S.-Soviet enmity played out to some degree in a block of states allied with the U.S. who were opposed to others with more favorable relations with the USSR or Eastern bloc.
Q  According to some reports and analysis, Putin would have pledged $2 billions of military aid (Mig, anti-aircraft systems and anti-tank missiles among these). Firstly, may you tell me, specifically, which weapons Russia will sell to Egypt?
 SZ.  One cannot be specific  when the deal hasn’t yet been officially announced.   Yes, there were statements made by a Russian official (and published in al Akhbar which given its orientation,  may or may not be accurate.  These quoted Mikhail Zavaly (senior official with Russia’s arms export agency Rosoboronexport ) who said Russia was offering “modern helicopters, air defense equipment and the modernization of previously purchased military equipment,” Then Vedomosti printed that  negotiations were ongoing about the sale of MiG-29M/M2 fighter jets, low range air defense systems and Kornet anti-tank rockets.
- Are those new weapons well suited from a strategical point of view to fight the jihadist and terrorist security threat the Egyptian state is facing right now in Sinai and in mainland Egypt?
SZ No.  The fighter jets – known as Super Fulcrum are  supposed to be better suited for other types of attacks; the Syrian air force wanted to order them (the reports don’t give specifics) they have a longer range & can hit multiple targets.  One might expect Egypt to want Apache helicopters or drones which Israel is using in the Sinai.  Air-defense systems would be intended to protect Egypt against Israel most probably, and have no utility in the Sinai in the current situation.    Although it is true that the Israeli’s employ Iron Dome & that system has protected Eilat and other areas from rocket attacks.
 The campaign in the Sinai is a counterterrorist effort which differs from conventional warfare.
- How will Egypt finance such a purchase?
SZ Apparently Saudi Arabia and the UAE would pay Russia on behalf of Egypt.
Q – Sisi relies on Saudi’s and Gulf states’ financing. As you know, last July the Saudi prince Bandar had a meeting with Putin where he tried to convince the Russian leader to stop financing al-Assad in Syria (letting him understand his control on jihadist groups in Chechenia). How do you see the fact that it is now Saudi Arabia that is paying for the Russian weapons sold to Egypt? Especially with reference to the Syrian Great Game.
SZ I hope you do not print the various reports about what Prince Bandar is and isn’t doing – I don’t know that the above is accurate in the least.  Saudi Arabia’s official position on Syria is quite different; it wished to protect Syrian civilians and move towards a transitional government.
There is no “Syrian Great Game” – there is a genocide against the civilians of that country.  Saudi Arabia, which had allowed Syrian expatriates to organize charity and aid has been accused of doing much more of course, and now funds groups in the FSA and beyond.   Now, very sadly this conflict has continued instead of reaching a negotiated settlement by the world community.  Anyway,  we can speculate that Morsi might have involved Egypt militarily, but Egypt’s current government apparently has no intention of intervening in Syria.
-   Will the deal bring more costs for Egypt as it has to “adapt” once again to Russian weapons or given the nature of the Egyptian military industry – specialized in “linking or adapting” the two weapon systems Egypt will have economical advantages?
Egypt already has many outdated Russian tanks, submarines and systems, which were either updated, or replaced or remain obsolete.  It also has Western manufactured aircraft and naval systems.  There is no need to link the various types of weapons or military craft; they merely need to function.  There are no economic advantages to having outdated weaponry, nor to having materials exclusive to one national manufacturer – the issue here is really political – it is advantageous to have more than one source of weapons available to Egypt.
-And who does really benefit from this deal? Is it something that mostly benefits the military-industrial complex?  It will undoubtedly benefit Russia’s military-industrial manufacturers, just as the U.S. deal over many years benefitted the U.S. manufacturers.
- Do you think that Obama has, somehow, progressively lost interest in the area (or part of that area) because of other priorities? If that’s the case, what are those other priorities?
Obama, rather strangely, announced at the very beginning of his first term that he would be disengaging from the Middle East and communicated to DoD (Dept of Defense)  that the focus would shift to Asia.  This message might have been lost as he also simultaneously said he would “engage’ diplomatically with the region in a new manner – to contrast with Pres. Bush.  No-one knew what that meant, exactly.  He has supported covert warfare in Yemen, Somalia, and elswhere in Africa, and in Pakistan – but withdrew from Iraq and plans to withdraw this year from Afghanistan.  This diminished funding for engagement in the Middle East, even though the Arab spring brought about much unanticipated activity and new threats, including in Iraq – now destablized to the point that its government had to request external assistance in current campaigns there to resecure areas threatened once again by jihadist insurgents.
In Egypt, Obama’s administration, and the State Dept. as well as certain U.S. senators/congresspersons have angered and alienated Egyptians since 30th of June by insisting on restoration of the “rights” of the Muslim Brotherhood.  Now, Kerry, as Sec. of State has been rather more diplomatic about this, but is outshouted by U.S. media and DC-centered think tanks continuing a very sharp attack on the Mansour-Beblawi government and Egypt’s sovereign rights to determine its own policy vis-a-vis any given political group.  The Egyptian view is that matters are gradually stabilizing since there is a new, much-improved Constitution, and presidential and parliamentary elections will follow.  Obama’s views on Egypt are somewhat of a mystery, one hopes it is not true that the U.S. had planned for moderate Islamists to dominate the region from Tunisia to Egypt to Yemen to (if Assad were overthrown) to Syria. Apparently his administration regards the rapprochement with Iran as a great feather in its cap, although Iran retains centrifuges and an ability to produce nuclear materials and has thoroughly and poisonously aided Syria’s Assad.   It does not seem likely that events in the Middle East will quiet down so some similarly dramatic effort could be made in Asia, but maybe that is the president’s intended foreign policy goal before his term ends.
The following was published a few days ago in al-Ahram

Syria Update, January 14-15, 2014. Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur

15 Jan

Syria Update, January 14-15 2014.  (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies.  By Sherifa Zuhur)

Tuesday’s death toll:  183 killed including 40 civilians, and of those 7 were children.

UN aid teams abandoned delivery of aid to Yarmouk after the Syrian government insisted that it use a dangerous route to the southern entrance of Yarmouk.

At least 10 and perhaps as many as 26 people were killed Wednesday morning in a car bomb in Jarablous in Aleppo province  attributed to ISIS



Starvation as a weapon of war in Yarmouk (and elsewhere)


SANA reported that Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad today (Wednesday) in Damascus Syria.  The two have been speaking about the United Nations conference scheduled for next week in Montreux, Switzerland.  In the meeting Assad slammed Wahhabism and Saudi Arabia.

John Kerry’s message to the Friends of Syria  –

Refugees and Relief:

UK gives amnesty to 1500 Syrian refugees.


Bulgarian neo-Nazis attack and threaten immigrants in Bulgaria including Syria’s estimated 10,000 refugees.


Oxfam says donor funds must go to Syria and the impacted neighboring countries.




Aleppo  province,Aleppo+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=R9DLUKfTFoWO0QHBuIHABA&ved=0CC8Q8gEwAA


At least 10 and perhaps as many as 26 people were killed Wednesday morning in a car bomb in Jarablous attributed to ISIS

On Wednesday morning, violent clashes took place between ISIS and Islamic battalion fighters and rebels near the town of Ratian, Jarablous, areas near the city of A’azaz, and the eastern countryside of Aleppo province . 3 mortars fell on Hrietan.


Tuesday, Islamist and rebel (other FSA) battalions took over Kafar Kalbin and Kafra, after clashes with ISIS.  The regime’s security services tortured to death one man from Darat Izza  A rebel attack killed 2 regime soldiers stationed at a checkpoint in the Salaheddin neighborhood, of Aleppo.  Regime forces bombarded areas of Bustan al-Qasr and a mortar fell on the Meridian area.


Damascus province:,Damascus+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=_s_LUPTwHqWw0AHTtYDQAg&ved=0CC8Q8gEwAA


So far, 49 civilians reported to have died from malnutrition or lack of medical supplies in the besieged Yarmouk camp; which has been choked by the regime for several months. Several mortars fell on Halab street, the Qusoor neighbourhood and the Adawi area causing injuries.


Also on Yarmouk (English and Greek subtitles):


Dara`a province,Daraa+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=u9DLUPDfIcXq0gGRwIHADQ&ved=0CC8Q8gEwAA


There was an airstrike in Dael (by the regime) here is a video of the aftermath:  There was fierce artillery shelling of Jiza, and rebels destroyed a Doshka at the Nawa road frontline.


Regime shelling wounded a fighter at Inkhel:



Deir az-Zur province:,Deir+ez-Zor+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=WtLLUJL5NanI0QGozIH4Bw&ved=0CDMQ8gEwAA


Regime forces bombed the city of Deir az-Zur after midnight yesterday.





Hama province,Hama+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=CdPLUKKbIqyF0QHB94HQAw&sqi=2&ved=0CIEBELYD


Regime forces are launching a raid and arrest campaign in the village of Zor Assors and shelling the village of al-Jwayz.    Violent clashes took place today (Wednesday) between the FSA and Assad’s forces at Muwak on the outskirts of Hamah and there was artillery shelling in the area.


Hassake province,+Syria,+google+maps&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x400976912dee2dfb:0x1735b67e4a2454b0,Al-Hasakah+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=UMLTUOKtN4ra0QG9-oHYBg&ved=0CC8Q8gEwAA

39 fighters of the YPG were mourned today in Qamishli.  They were killed in clashes against ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamist rebel fighters near Tal-Brak and Tal-Hamis in the countryside near Qamishli from the end of December to the 7th of January 2014.  The YPG has retreated from the area now controlled by ISIS and other allied groups.

Homs province:,Homs+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=BFPRUM6RBaTI0AHw1ICoCQ&ved=0CDMQ8gEwAA

On Tuesday,  mortars hit the Alawite village of Fella, injuring at least 3 civilians.  Regime bombardment on the Houla area,killed 2 men and others were injured.  Clashes between rebels and regime forces supported by the NDF took place near the town of  al-Usiya.  Gunfire was heard on the Homs – Tartous road near the town of al-Mazra’a, followed by regime gunfire.  Regime forces hit the town of al-Ghento with heavy machine-guns.

Regime forces carried out raids and arrests in the Ghouta neighbourhood.  Regime bombardment on the al-Wa’er neighborhood killed one man.

40 (here given as 65) died trying to break the siege of Homs.

Rebel mortar attacks on the 12th of Jan. in Homs.

Idlib province:,Idlib+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=51PRUIiREsaB0AHN_YD4BQ&ved=0CC8Q8gEwAA

Islamic fighters carried out an ambush on ISIS on the north side of Saraqeb killing a Belgian commander in ISIS, known as the Amir of Saraqeb was killed, and another foreign ISIS fighter.  A third foreign fighter was injured and transported to Turkey.

Islamic movement fighters were killed and 10 others seriously injured (late Monday) by a large ISIS suicide car bomb explosion targeting a checkpoint and military motorcade between Ram Hamdan and Zardana   Assad’s forces shelled several areas in the northern neighborhood of Ma`arat al-Nu`man.

Latakia province:,Latakia+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=ghv_UOaOOMGW0QH88YDYDw&ved=0CC0Q8gEwAA

Regime forces bombarded villages near the town of Salma  on Tuesday. One ISIS fighter was killed in the northern countryside.

Quneitra province,Quneitra+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=Ch77ULCILuyP0QG67YDoDQ&ved=0CC0Q8gEwAA

On Tuesday, the villages of the southern countryside of Quneitra were bombarded by regime forces, killing at least 4 civilians and injuring 17.  Clashes resumed near the town of al-Samadaniya al-Sharqiya, and regime forces continued bombardment there and brought in reinforcements from the National Defense Froces militia. There were reports that regime detained 15 civilians from the village of Shura, near Sa’sa’ town, and that regime forces were stationing themselves in houses there.


Raqqa province:,+Syria&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x153719cee4c60ce7:0x9d4657e00e899ab6,Ar-Raqqah+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=PJ_bUKrTBObF0AGMuYHwBw&sqi=2&ved=0CC8Q8gEwAA

On Wednesday, it was learned that ISIS executed 2 civilians from Yabesa, five days ago. The two had been traveling from this Kurdish village to Tal Abyad to buy bread when ISIS took them.  Their bodies were found near the village of Talsolah, with their hands tied behind their backs and they had been tortured.

The ISIS has released many Islamic fighters today.

Further ISIS attacks:

On Tuesday, regime forces have advanced towards the western barrier of the 17th division, the base was under the control of an islamist movement but it retreated days ago. Members from the division were observed planting landmines by the western barrier. ISIS has granted control over the Tal Abyad border crossing to a local council from the city (Turkey had closed the crossing earlier. Meanwhile ISIS took full control of the city Raqqah city following several days of clashes.

On Sunday, ISIS recaptured much of its territory.


14 Syrian rockets hit Arsaal in eastern Lebanon yesterday.

Gordon Brown speaks about the education aid needed for Syria’s refugees:

Lebanon’s prime minister, Najib Mikati calls for safe havens inside of Syria and for help with Syria’s refugees inside of Lebanon.

NGOs pledge 14 million in Syrian relief campaign

Western countries’ intelligence representatives have reportedly been meeting with representatives of the Syrian government, despite the sanctions on Assad’s government in efforts to stem any backblow of jihadists to the West (or perhaps in the other direction?)

Human Rights Watch issues a warning that Islamist fighting groups in Syria are eroding the rights of women and girls, enforcing Islamic dress rules, and disallowing free movement of women to work or school.

UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon warned that nearly half of Syrians needed humanitarian aid in his address to a one day donor conference being held in Kuwait City:

Donors have pledged nearly $1.3 billion at this meeting:

A new academic book on Syria’s television.



“Why Muslims (and Others) Should Talk, Write and Do Something About Honor Crimes.”

6 Jan

“Why Muslims (and Others) Should Talk, Write and Do Something About Honor Crimes,”

Sherifa Zuhur, Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies

I wrote this in response to a confusing discussion about honor crimes which causes me to fear that the anti-feminist and pro-Islamist bent of academia is diminishing our ability as scholars to come up with new approaches to longstanding social problems.

Some years ago, I discovered a wonderful body of volumes on Islamic law and legal codes in modern Middle Eastern and other Muslim countries at the Cleveland- Marshall School of Law library, thanks to the collecting of David F. Forte.  In it were some invaluable sources about Islamic criminal law and the formation of modern penal codes in various Muslim countries, and I also found and read Lama Abou Odeh’s dissertation which focuses on honor crimes. Her work was very helpful to me in writing a summary of information for a very interesting Turkish group of activists working on legal reform in the Middle East as part of a network called Sexual Rights are Human Rights (note the controversial title & the product written to help them is available here:  )

The discussion of honor crimes began predictably by claiming that Muslims are no worse than anyone else in their oppression of women, and meandered to the inquiry: “Is Islam to blame for this situation?”

Since the practice of honor crimes continues to impact Muslim women, let us instead ask what can be done to impact this community and others like it to mitigate this practice. And since activists have recommended changes to laws, creating shelters or using protective custody, police training and more, we should continue to examine whether these endeavors are fruitful — now that police receive trainings (if they are) – and ask why these crimes continue.  Islam is not a person and cannot approve of the wickedness of human beings in misusing its name.   If people believe that “Islam” allows family vengeance for sexual misbehavior, then those misapprehensions must be addressed from childhood on.  If people instead believe that it is their Arab (or Pakistani, or Ethiopian, or Yemeni, Bangladeshi, etc.) “local values” which have been violated, then the error in such enshrined values must be addressed.

When a community posts a petition in five mosques in Deir al-Ghusun demanding that a family “reinstate the cultural and religious morals in his family” in complaint of his daughter’s behavior, everyone in that community and that family understood that an honor crime was demanded and would occur.

Yet I now respond to scholars who take on the discourse of defense attorneys and argue that the community did not specifically call for a murder.   There was no need to do so, their intent is clear as daylight in the community’s definition of family honor which is constraint of females’ sexual behavior and reputation – all of which show how serious this problem is.  No police training, shelters, no harsher laws, media coverage were able to convince the family or community that their daughter has rights as a human being that outweigh their need to restore their honor.

This specific form of femicide linked to beliefs about women’s sexual behavior should be  a grave source of concern for those who study Muslim or Middle Eastern societies.   It should not be regarded as an unpleasant and unavoidable encounter which they revisit each year in classrooms or dismiss in publications.  Religion, culture and statutory discrimination under modern as well as tribal laws and shari`ah all combined to failed to criminalize, or wrongly exonerate the act of killing a female “antecedent” for honor (defined as sexual honor).  Just because Islamophobes like Pam Geller or the owner of the Atlas Shrugged site,  ‘Orientalists” or “neo-Orientalists” highlight or use women’s issues including honor killings in Muslim societies as a way of castigating “Islam”, we scholars should not cease analyzing these phenonena.

To some of the points raised:

** No, we cannot call these “intimate partner” murders because  they are often premeditated, carefully planned and enacted by brothers, fathers, and even mothers, and not only spouses, or spurned fiancés.

**There is a definitional problem with the term “honor killing”  in that a) killings of young women suspected of sexual activity before marriage (please note:  many are found to be virgins after being murdered as rumor and gossip are as damaging as actual zina`) b) those who try to escape from an arranged or impending arranged marriage and c) wives who are alleged adulterers (or again, merely breaking some other restriction like going outside the home, or being seen with another man) are all victims of honor crimes.  This confusion is relevant to the laws which exonerated or diminished sentences in cases of crimes of passion/or honor.

**Other customs such as mahr, expectations of virginity at marriage, the high costs of marriage, long engagement periods, arranged marriages gone awry, and more, (cousin’s presumed ‘rights’ to marry a cousin who might prefer someone else), beliefs that women should not drive, should not work, must wear hijab/niqab etc. also impact situations which develop into honor crimes.

**No, the numbers of honor crimes are not statistically insignificant.

One number frequently cited in many NGO-type of sources is about 5,000 killings per year.  However, this number primarily concerns category a) above because of the confusion over the meaning of honor crimes.  For several reasons their numbers could be as high as 10,000 per year or at least in certain years.   Honor crimes greatly increased in war situations in response to rape or other forms of sexual violence, so consider how many may have occurred in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, etc.  Just recently trials were held regarding the war crimes in Bangladesh in the ‘70s and  Also, in earlier sources authorities/police commented that the main non-natural cause of death for women (in Sudan, Iraq, Jordan, Palestinian territories — but the problem also involve Eastern Africa, Southeast Asia, Muslim states of the former USSR, the Middle East and South Asia) is honor crimes.  However, the police and coroners do not necessarily label such cases; they have to rule many deaths accidental, they can’t always identify victims whose families haven’t reported them missing, not all bodies are found, and there may be political reasons to suppress statistics.  One would have to go over all homicides of women in each country (they aren’t separated out for cause of death).  Like families whose honor has been “blemished” and do not report women missing, communities often know about missing women, and side with the murderers.

**Honor crimes may follow rape.  If rape carried no stigma for the victim, families would not pursue this course of action.  The older laws (and some existing ones) allowed a rapist to marry his victim, surely an unfair solution to the woman.   Defining honor as sexual honor and continuing to put a high monetary value on virginity are also at the root of the problem.

*Islamic or not.  Quite a few people who should know better were taught that honor crimes have no basis in fiqh, but this is really incorrect. Scholars were well aware of honor crimes and understood the links to `urf in all of the secondary categories of crimes in Islam (which demand rights to equal injury, talion or dhiyya.    We can’t be shocked that tribal councils condemn girls to rape when their male relatives offend, insult or molest a woman of another family, or marry them off in exchange marriages.   We cannot say such crimes are not “Islamic” in that the aim to control female sexuality is bolstered by laws and practices believed to be Islamic (whether they truly are or not or should be or not are different questions).  Also there is a definite link to the exonerations provided in modern criminal law for ‘crimes of passion’ as Lama Abu Odeh and others have explained.  Whether the ‘fault’ lies in the tribal/clan practices of killing the women whose honor was taken, or in the Ottoman code- or Napoleonic code-derived laws which allowed men the right to enact violence on female antecedents is by now a very complicated question.

In 2009, I was part of the United Nation DAW’s project on “traditional harmful practices” against women.  Honor crimes have a connection to traditional exclusions of women from public space; or FGM, early marriage, kidnapping.  Data was introduced showing the practice does impact women in Southeast Asia, and Muslims outside of the Middle East – Pakistan and Afghanistan, of course, but also Eastern Africa and other Muslim societies in Africa.  Egregious honor crimes have  also been committed by Muslims against Muslims in the U.S., UK, Canada, Sweden, etc.   Since the practice goes back to `urf, it is not surprising that it is also committed against non-Muslims who live in Muslim-dominant societies (i.e. Egypt, Jordan, Palestine) or in mixed societies (Ethiopia).  This sort of broad-brush discussion is not as useful as examining honor crimes in their local setting, because the response by law enforcement, or the community can’t be well-understood.  My paper from that (and only brief sections concern honor crimes)

*Are Islamists discouraging the discussion of honor crimes & other violence against women? I mentioned a little about Islamist groups’ approaches to honor crimes and violence against women in Sadiqi and Ennaji, ed. Gender and Violence in the Middle East (Routledge 2011).  For ex. the Hamas govt. instituted a hotline so women could call in to request police assistance with physical abuse.  For the most part, Islamists who enacted any type of programs to address violence against women did so by using techniques or programs used in the West.

However, ‘shaming’ the husband by calling the police could result in divorce or another beating, or even a murder, if the underlying social attitudes are not addressed.   And traditionalists as well as Islamists may believe in negotiating with abusers with the result that women are returned to their communities (and their deaths).  In Egypt, last year the Morsi government went to great lengths to disavow the U.N’s approach to violence against women, which was quite appalling.  The salafists are not supportive of reforms benefitting women, and would like to constrain them further.  Certainly some Islamists are aware that measures should be taken to protect women, but those speaking to their political base more frequently condemn feminists or anything that parallels “Western-style reform.  Would they move against lengthening sentences for murderers? Hopefully not.

*Social attitudes.  We know how individuals and families rationalize such violence.  There are pragmatic reasons:  Where murderers can have their sentences excused or reduced, they will continue to murder, hence the effort to reduce those exonerations which entered either Ottoman law or those laws modeled after French law.  And, peer- or community-influenced reasons:  Many studies have now been conducted showing that people are aware of honor killings and approve of them, just as some approve of physical violence against women and girls (which we now term family violence).  In Eisner and Ghunaim (2013), 40% of Jordanian boys and 20% of girls (N=456 ninth graders in Amman) believed that an honor crime against a daughter, sister or wife can be justified and is “morally right.” Such beliefs correlate with insistence on female chastity and other patriarchal beliefs.  (Aggressive Behavior, 9999, 1-13, 2013 and link on study  There have been many other such studies.  Also larger studies like Pew Forum’s 2013 study included a question on honor killings indicating that many people in certain countries thought it was justified when a woman committed the (sex-related) “crime.”. This study doesn’t cover all of the Muslim world – but did show high support in Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt and Jordan.

Communities are aware of, and many believe women deserve to be physically abused, (women as well as men).    Again, there are multiple studies but here is just one

The fact that families believe they ‘own’ women’s bodies and may abuse them is another part of the rationale underlying honor crimes.  Numerous links show male Islamic scholars recommending ‘physical discipline’ of women (wives, daughters, sisters, etc.).  Many also privilege the male’s position in marriage and cite numerous hadith re. women’s duty to please her husband, put his needs ahead of hers, endure his nastiness and never seek to retaliate “as Allah curses these women.”

One begins by claiming Islam “honors” women by instituting beatings.  Is he supposed to beat her heavily, or kill her? No. Of course, this cleric deviates from reality here in claiming men can only beat their wives if they refuse to sleep with them.  Men beat women for a wide variety of reasons;

**Honor crimes are often hideous crimes.

One honor crime detailed in WWHR’s study on the reform of the penal code in Turkey  involved incredible torture of the victim who was pregnant out of wedlock with twins.  One of activists’ strategies there, as in other countries was  to try to tighten laws so that murderers don’t have any certainty of a brief sentences.  My understanding from Turkish activists was that they faced strong opposition to instituting penal code reform by the AKP, but it was accomplished.  How judges and others resistant to changes in their discretionary powers are to be reached is less clear.

Of deep concern is the fact that even when laws are less discriminatory to women, i.e. in the West; honor crimes are difficult to prosecute.  If Palestina (Tina) Issa’s 1989 killing had not been recorded by the FBI, her father might have prevailed with a self-defense argument and her mother might not have been convicted.

*Ten or twenty years after social scientists said honor killings had diminished, they continued.  They are often linked to rape as in this case in Syria.  One argument is that the clan or tribal values are rural-linked; well cities in many Middle Eastern and Islamic countries are full of migrants from the countryside (but it does not appear that long-time urbanites necessarily drop their attitudes concerning women’s honor).   In Syria, before the revolution an estimated 300 girls/women died per year in honor crimes (now the numbers could be much higher)  In this case, a 16 year old girl, Zahra was killed by her brother who said he was ‘ghasalat al-arr, washing away the shame.’  His family held a party the night he killed his sister to celebrate.  He would have erased her memory, but for Zahra’s husband who brought a civil case against him.  Ten months earlier, Zahra had been pressured into accompanying a man because of rumors her father was having an affair.  He took her to Damascus and raped her.   While in protective custody, her brother looked for a husband.  He told the other family she had been kidnapped, and Fawaz married her.  Only 5 weeks later, she was dead.  The case brought to life efforts to reform Article 548 of the penal code.  Fawaz resisted pressured to drop his case.    The journalist in the piece below comments: “In shawarma sandwich shops and juice stalls [in Damascus] most men had heard of Zahra, but more than half of them believed that the practice of honor killing is protected — or outright required — by Islamic law. A man named Abu Rajab, who ran a cigarette stall, described it as “something that is found in religion” and added that even if the laws were changed, “a man will kill his sister if he needs to, even if it means 15 years in prison.”

When I was in a visiting position in Cleveland, Ohio one of my students alerted me to two killers of a young woman, Mathel Dayem – -she and they were part-time students on our campus.

The two young men were holding court with their admirers on campus, after murdering her due to mistakes by the prosecutor and the rules of double jeopardy.  This was a working-class Palestinian family and even in the U.S. justice system her family could not obtain remedy.  Had she been living in her area of origin, who knows if her mother and immediate family would have even supported her.  The local imam, Fawaz Damra had married Mathel to her cousin (the one who killed her) despite her and her family’s ambivalence ot him.  She broke off the relationship, returned home and to work, then he and his cousin began threatening her, and then gunned her down in the street.  It really bothers me that Damra, the imam told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that it was Islamophobic to report on “honor killings” — that there ” is no such thing.”

When Amina and Sarah Said’s father killed them in Texas, another community leader, Mohammed Elmougy defended the practice saying  “the way we view it, we don’t look at it as violent … We look at it as a deterrent.”

At least 2 large American Muslim organizations condemned honor killings after Aasiya Hasan’s husband beheaded her. This was supposed to result in a wide campaign against violence against women.  But the topic is simply not discussed in many mosque communities, especially small ones.  Can women call in and report abuse or that they fear being killed?  There aren’t resources and why should women perceive any benefit to this over calling the police.

Aisha Gill, an attorney in the UK was part of a project to further criminalize honor crimes there where they involve girls from a variety of national origins.   Layla Pervizat wrote her dissertation on honor killings, and here also suggests a multifaceted approach to them:

I hope that this trend or fad of calling those who engage in research on such ‘harmful practices impacting women “Orientalists” and so forth will cease.  Islamophobes have their information from the media.  Should the media really not report such cases? If 5,000 or even 10,000 deaths (or if we don’t even have the resources to determine the actual numbers) aren’t sufficient to see this as a serious problem, it must mean that (as with the huge death toll mounting in Syria) that the issue has no urgency, or that violence against women has become normalized.

Syria Update, January 1, 2014 – Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur

1 Jan

Syria Update, December 31, 2013 – January 1, 2014   (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies.  By Sherifa Zuhur)

Death toll

On 28/12/13  185 Syrians were killed including 90 civilians,

130,433 Syrians killed from 18/3/2011 when the first protestor was  shot and killed in Dar’a until 30/12/2013.  The dead include 46,266 civilians (including 7,014 children and 4,695 women).


Disarmament teams gave up & ships returned to port, #Syria‘s chemicals not destroyed by 12/31/13 deadline.


A missile fired by Assad’s regular forces hit a bus in Aleppo today.


Could the war in Syria last another 10 years?


Syria’s government said invitations to the Geneva II conference had not been sent out as planned by December 28th. Blamed the delay on oppositions delay in attendance list.




An older woman describes hunger, lack of medicine, medical treatment, the cold and deprivation under the siege by Assad’s forces.


Ten videos on Syria from 2013 collected by Brown Moses which made a difference


Syria is the deadliest country in the world for journalists according to the International Federation of Journalists – worse than Iraq.  108 journalists were killed in 2013 in Syria.




Refugees and Relief:   In support of the Refugee Council’s effort to settle Syrian refugees in the U.K.




Aleppo  province,Aleppo+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=R9DLUKfTFoWO0QHBuIHABA&ved=0CC8Q8gEwAA


A missile fired by Assad’s regular forces hit a bus in Aleppo today.



Violent clashes were fought between regular forces and forces of the revolution in the neighborhood of Maysaloon.  Regular forces bombarded areas in the town of  Tadaf


More than 517 people were killed in two weeks of continuous ‘barrel bombs’ dropped on Aleppo by helicopters and air force. This included 471 civilians, of these 151 children, 46 women, 34 revolutionary fighters and 12 ISIS fighters.


On Saturday, 64 civilians and 4 rebel fighters were killed. One of the rebel fighters died during clashes with regime forces in al-Rashdeen. Snipers killed two other rebel fighters in Salahadin and al-Khaldiyye neighborhoods.  Of the civilians, 25 were killed by (the so-called barrel bombs on the Tariq al-Bab neighborhood (3 women, 4 children and a young journalist. 14 civilians were killed in an airstrike on al-Maysir neighbourhood, including 4 women and 4 children. Regime bombardment killed three children in the city of A’zaaz.  Two civilians died from their injuries from airstrikes on al-Mash’had and al-Haidariyye a few days ago. 15 civilians, amongst them 5 children, were killed in an airstrike on areas in al-Marjeh neighbourhood about a week ago.



Damascus province:,Damascus+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=_s_LUPTwHqWw0AHTtYDQAg&ved=0CC8Q8gEwAA


Regular forces bombed areas in the city of Yabroud and the Rima area near Yabroud.


Clashes between the regular forces and the FSA:

On Saturday, 6 civilians and 10 rebel fighters were killed.  One rebel fighter was killed in clashes with regime forces in Jobar.  8 fighters were killed in clashes in al-Dameer, eastern and western al-Ghouta, and al-Reef al-Junoubi.. Two children died from injuries incurred by a rocket on Douma several days ago.


Dara`a province,Daraa+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=u9DLUPDfIcXq0gGRwIHADQ&ved=0CC8Q8gEwAA


On Saturday, 2 civilians and 1 rebel fighter were killed.  Regime bombardment on Mukhayam Daraa and the town of Oum Walad killed 2 men.



Deir az-Zur province:,Deir+ez-Zor+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=WtLLUJL5NanI0QGozIH4Bw&ved=0CDMQ8gEwAA


Assad forces bombarded areas in the neighborhood of the old airport.  Information was received about Jabhat Nusra’s bombing of 3 buildings where regime forces were stationed in the neighborhood of Jebailah with casualties among the regular forces. A car bomb  for the bombing of fighters Front victory three buildings stationed forces the system in the neighborhood Jubailah .  A car bomb blew up a commanding officer in the town of Asharh


On Saturday, 13 rebel fighters were killed. One of them was killed in clashes between regime forces and NDF fighters in  the village of al-Jafra village.  The others were killed in clashes with regime forces, among them a 14 year old rebel fighter and a rebel commander.



Hama province,Hama+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=CdPLUKKbIqyF0QHB94HQAw&sqi=2&ved=0CIEBELYD


Regular Syrian forces bombed areas in the town of Kafrzeita.  There were violent clashes between regular forces and revolutionary fighters dominated by the latter for several days.



Hassake province,+Syria,+google+maps&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x400976912dee2dfb:0x1735b67e4a2454b0,Al-Hasakah+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=UMLTUOKtN4ra0QG9-oHYBg&ved=0CC8Q8gEwAA  Clashes took place between the fights and protection units of the Kurdish YPG and National Defense Forces near the train station in the city of al-Hassakeh.  A fighter died and two were wounded.



Homs province:,Homs+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=BFPRUM6RBaTI0AHw1ICoCQ&ved=0CDMQ8gEwAA


Five died after a mortar shell fell on Saha Hajj al-Atef in the neighborhood of Karam al-Shami in the afternoon.  The old areas of Homs were bombarded by regime forces.  A surface-to-surface missile fell on the neighborhood of Waer.



Idlib province:,Idlib+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=51PRUIiREsaB0AHN_YD4BQ&ved=0CC8Q8gEwAA


Some hopes and dreams for 2014 in Idlib


On Saturday one civilian and 3 rebel fighters were killed or died of injuries. 2 fighters were killed in clashes with regular forces in Reef Homs. 1 man from the Sarmin town was tortured to death in the regime’s prison.


Raqqa province:,+Syria&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x153719cee4c60ce7:0x9d4657e00e899ab6,Ar-Raqqah+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=PJ_bUKrTBObF0AGMuYHwBw&sqi=2&ved=0CC8Q8gEwAA


On Saturday, 2 civilians and 1 rebel fighter were killed. 1 rebel fighter died of wounds received earlier in clashes with regular forces near the 93rd division in the A’in I’ssa area. 2 children were killed by shells that fell on the al-Tabaqa.






Lebanese army uses anti-aircraft defense on Syrian helicopters bombing Lebanese territory yesterday


Soyuzneftegaz has signed a 90 million dollar deal with Damascus to explore offshore energy in the Mediterranean; an additional reason for Putin to continue supporting Assad.


Syria asks the U.N. Security Council to prosecute Turkey and all countries supporting militants who are fighting the Assad government.


Russia will install Iskander surface (nuclear) missiles to Syria (according to Israeli sources)






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