Tag Archives: Hamas

Testimony of Omar Suleiman on 9/14/11

23 Jun
Testimony of Omar Suleiman
Retired Chief of Staff and Vice President of the Republic
Courtesy of Rebel Economy.com
Session 9/14/2011
Testimony of Omar Suleiman
Retired Chief of Staff and Vice President of the Republic
 
Prosecuting Attorneys Present
Mustafa Soliman
Ashour Farag
Mustafa Khater
Wail Hussein
Ahmed Hussein
Some of the significant points are:
*President Mubarak’s cognizance of events.
*MOI’s knowledge of Hamas and bedouin attack in Sinai and (NOTE) claim that bedouin came in to Cairo along with 70 to 90 members of Hizbullah to conduct the prison break*the security establishment knew that the Muslim Brotherhood would not participate in the demonstrations of 1/25/11   But then MB “informed them” they would take part on 1/27

*the collapse of the police force necessitating deployment of the AF

 

*MOI’s knowledge of Hamas and bedouin attack in Sinai and (NOTE) claim that bedouin came in to Cairo along with 70 to 90 members of Hizbullah to conduct the prison break

 

*the security establishment knew that the Muslim Brotherhood would not participate in the demonstrations of 1/25/11 (why? The deal btw leadership and the govt)  But then MB “informed them” they would take part on 1/27

 

*the collapse of the police force necessitating deployment of the AF

 

*MOI’s knowledge of Hamas and bedouin attack in Sinai and (NOTE) claim that bedouin came in to Cairo along with 70 to 90 members of Hizbullah to conduct the prison break

 

*the security establishment knew that the Muslim Brotherhood would not participate in the demonstrations of 1/25/11 (why? The deal btw leadership and the govt)  But then MB “informed them” they would take part on 1/27

 

*the collapse of the police force necessitating deployment of the AF

 

*MOI’s knowledge of Hamas and bedouin attack in Sinai and (NOTE) claim that bedouin came in to Cairo along with 70 to 90 members of Hizbullah to conduct the prison break

 

*the security establishment knew that the Muslim Brotherhood would not participate in the demonstrations of 1/25/11 (why? The deal btw leadership and the govt)  But then MB “informed them” they would take part on 1/27

 

*the collapse of the police force necessitating deployment of the AF

 

*MOI’s knowledge of Hamas and bedouin attack in Sinai and (NOTE) claim that bedouin came in to Cairo along with 70 to 90 members of Hizbullah to conduct the prison break

 

*the security establishment knew that the Muslim Brotherhood would not participate in the demonstrations of 1/25/11 (why? The deal btw leadership and the govt)  But then MB “informed them” they would take part on 1/27

 

*the collapse of the police force necessitating deployment of the AF

Q: As chief of the Egyptian General Intelligence Service (EGIS), what social and economic developments did you and your agency observe on the Egyptian scene between 2004 and 2010, on through the parliamentary elections?
 
A: I’d like to quickly clarify that EGIS is responsible for gathering political, economic, and military information from abroad which enables the political leadership to take political, economic, and military decisions. As for the domestic environment, there is a body within EGIS that coordinates with the rest of the security establishment in gathering information. This agency is responsible for protecting foreigners, counter intelligence, and protecting confidential information. The agents therein gather intelligence on people present in Egyptian society. As for the question, intelligence from abroad indicated that the Egyptian economy was expanding and improving with time. However this improvement had not reached those of limited income and moreover there was unemployment. There were continuous complaints regarding spikes in prices and many demands to raise salaries. There were certain people who opposed the regime who sought to provoke the people. Starting in 2005, foreign operations began cooperating with NGOs based in Egypt to stir the emotions of the people against the regime. Beginning in 2005 there was an American program called Democracy and Good Governance which received funding. There had been an agreement with the Egyptian government regarding the allocation of these funds, however they violated the agreement, they being the American side, and they began funding these NGOs without any agreement with the Egyptian government. We lodged many complaints to the Americans but these were ignored. These NGOs trained many young men and women in mobilizing society, demonstrations, and civil disobedience. That continued until 2010, according to gathered intelligence. The state of discontent grew noticeably after the elections to the House of Representatives, especially when the political forces withdrew during the restructuring phase and the House of Representatives represented no political power in addition to numerous other criticisms that in turn led to even more discontent amongst the people.
 
Q: Did EGIS send any reports detailing what it had observed to the accused former president Hosni Mubarak? Did you ever present the contents of these reports to him directly, or did someone else, and if so, who?
 
A: We write monthly and quarterly reports on the security situation in the country. These are sent to the president of the republic by mail. In some meetings headed by the former president, I had mentioned this information to him directly.
 
Q: What came of these reports which were sent by mail or presented by you to the former president of the republic?
 
A: He ordered the government or ministers to carry out the reports’ recommendations.
 
Q: While you were chief, did EGIS observe any events prior to 25 January 2011? And what were the expectations held at that time?
 
A: Starting in 8/2010, we began to observe communications between the opposition movements and abroad. In addition there were directives to receive training in mass mobilization, protests, and police confrontation. Specifically there was a training session in Poland and in 1/2011. EGIS also observed another 3-day training session in Cairo for the same purposes. Because of these communications it was expected that there would be a demonstration on 1/25/2011.
 
Q: Did you personally communicate this information to the accused former president of the republic?
 
A: At the closing of the economic forum held in Sharm el-Sheikh on 1/19/2011 I told the former president of the necessity of convening a meeting to discuss this issue.
 
Q: Did you tell this to another official working in state intelligence?
 
A: EGIS shares intelligence with national security and the State Security Investigations Service in a routine manner.
 
Q: What was the former president’s response after hearing this information from you, that demonstrations would be held?
 
A: The former president convened a meeting through PM Ahmed Nadif and the meeting was held the next day.
 
Q: When EGIS learned of the demonstrations taking place on 1/25, did it also learn of the reasons behind them, the groups organizing it, its size, and its locations?
 
A: EGIS surveillance of Facebook revealed the groups behind the demonstrations to be mostly from the April 6 Movement and We Are All Khalid Said, and other political currents. We had become accustomed to seeing such demonstrations over the past several years.
 
Q: Was the meeting actually held?
 
A: Yes, it was held the next day.
 
Q: Where and when did the meeting take place?
 
A: On 1/20. I said in a previous testimony that it was 1/22, but upon reviewing the schedule I found that the meeting had taken place on 1/20 at 1pm in Smart Village.
 
Q: Who was summoned to the meeting?
 
A: I asked the former president to call this meeting and he ordered the PM to organize it.
 
Q: What was the purpose and objective of this meeting?
 
 
A: To determine how the security establishment was going to handle the coming events.
 
Q: Who attended the meeting, and who presided over it?
 
A: PM Ahmed Nadif presided over the meeting, and in attendance were the heads of the security establishment, the minister of defense, the minister of interior, the chief of EGIS, the minister of information, and the minister of communications.
 
Q: Specify to the court the titles and names of the aforementioned individuals who attended the meeting.
 
A: PM Ahmed Nadif; Defense and Military Production Minister Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, commander of the AF; Interior Minister Habib el-Adly; Minister of Information Anas al-Fiqqi; Minister of Communications Tariq Kamel; and myself as Chief of EGIS.
 
Q: What topics were discussed between those gathered at the meeting?
 
A: I explained my point of view that there would be a demonstration on 1/25 and that we must be prepared for it. Fortunately all intelligence indicated that the Muslim Brotherhood would not take part in the demonstrations and that this demonstration would proceed like all of the others have over the past several years. Habib el-Adly presented us with some information regarding the demonstrations and the options available to the police in containing them. The minister of information spoke about the foreign organizations that had been infiltrating Egyptian society and what they would do at the ministry of information regarding coverage of the events.
 
Q: During this meeting, did the accused former IM Habib Ibrahim el-Adly say how the demonstrations planned to take place on 1/25 would be contained?
 
A: The aforementioned former IM explained that they would accompany the protests in the same manner as they had during previous demonstrations.
 
Q: Did the aforementioned former IM explain how past demonstrations had been contained?
 
A: He said that he would accompany the protests until they dispersed, because the intelligence we had said that demonstrators would hold sit-ins in various public squares and once night fell, they would return to their homes. The job of the IM was to protect the demonstrators and strategic locations.
 
Q: Again, did the discussions touch on how the situation would be handled, aside from protecting the demonstrators, if the situation devolved?
 
A: We only spoke about whether or not the Muslim Brotherhood would take part. The IM said that any demonstrations that included Brotherhood elements would be dispersed and demonstrators arrested.
 
Q: Was the accused former president of the republic made aware about the results of this meeting?
 
A: Usually whoever heads these meetings informs the president, however I do not know whether or not Ahmed Nadif informed him.
 
Q: On 1/25, in detail, how were demonstrators in Cairo and elsewhere in Egypt approached and dealt with?
 
A: According to EGIS intelligence, the police accompanied and protected these demonstrations until 8pm on 1/25. After that, around midnight, we have information that says that there was an order to disperse the crowds of demonstrators using peaceful means.
 
Q: What do you mean by “peaceful means?” And who was charged with dispersing the crowds in this manner?
 
A: Truncheons, water hoses, smoke, and all of the other tactics that the MoI is known to use.
 
Q: While you were watching the successive events which unfolded between 1/25 and 1/28, how were the demonstrations being conducted? And how were they being monitored and dealt with?
 
A: EGIS followed the events of 1/26 and 1/27 closely yet there were no momentous events. However from our observations of Palestinian activity, we noticed that there were communications between Hamas and Bedouins in the Sinai and that some groups had entered via the underground tunnels which straddle the Egyptian-Gazan border. They communicated with the Bedouins and agreed with them that they would provide them with ordnance in exchange for assistance in freeing their comrades from Egyptian prisons. That was on 1/27. Sure enough Bedouins began the prison break operation by sporadically attacking a police outpost in Sheikh Zuweid with firearms in the region that borders the underground tunnels, so that the police forces and border guards could not get close to the tunnels. Ordnance was smuggled through and the Qassam Brigades created a diversion so that the border guards would not pursue the smuggled ordnance. Thus the weapons, ammo, and explosives were successfully smuggled and given to the Bedouins. The Bedouins accompanied the smugglers to Cairo so as to storm the prisons in which Hamas elements were being kept. About 70 to 90 members of Hezbollah who were based in Gaza also joined them. On 1/28 after the Friday Afternoon Prayer, some of them were seen in Tahrir Square, while others were preparing to carry out the prison breaks with help from Bedouin known for smuggling in the nearby regions, especially in Wadi El Natrun. In addition, on 1/27 the Muslim Brotherhood informed us that they were going to take part in the demonstrations on 1/28 after Friday Afternoon Prayer. Thus hordes of people from all around Cairo began mobilizing and heading for Tahrir Square. All of the mosques in the vicinity of Tahrir Square were filing directly into the square in great numbers. At EGIS we assessed the situation and found that the situation was highly unstable and that numbers of this magnitude could easily cause big problems. We followed the situation closely and our assessment was proved correct when people from this vast crowd began clashing with police and setting fire to various buildings and objects. Crime rings and felons began to storm police stations. By midnight on 1/28, Hamas and Hezbollah had succeeded in freeing their comrades from prison. Many successive events eventually led to the police force leaving its posts and abandoning its duties in front of this massive crowd that was unprecedented in number. On the afternoon of 1/28, we learned that Habib el-Adly had asked the president of the republic to deploy the army, and at around 6pm on the same day, the AF began to establish a presence in the streets. By that time the police had almost entirely withdrawn and the overwhelming demonstrations walked unchecked and their chants for the first time began to include demands for the fall of the regime. The police force was broken at about 5pm on 1/28.
 
Q: Did you inform the accused former president of the republic about the degradation of the situation and advise him to take measures in order to confront this major event, as you said?
 
A: From what I know, the IM contacted the former president and requested the assistance of the AF and this demand cannot be made unless the situation is dire. The president met this request, which pays testament to the gravity of the situation.
 
Q: What is your assessment of how the police establishment handled the events?
 
A: No one among us expected this many people to take part in the demonstrations and it would have been impossible for the police to do its duty of protecting the demonstrators and property by itself with this many people. The AF needed to be deployed. The police presence in the squares was dwarfed by the size of the demonstrations and was incapable of dispersing or protecting crowds of that size, especially considering that there were elements which were clashing with the police forces. It stayed like this for three days and thus the powers of the police were exhausted and they were unable to continue.
 
Q: Did EGIS ever communicate any advice or points of view regarding the manner in which the demonstrations were being handled and what mechanisms or tactics should be tried after the police failed to contain the crowds?
 
A: Usually when the police forces collapse the only solution is to deploy the AF. As soon as I learned that the IM had requested from the president to deploy the army, my role was over.
 
Q: Did the accused former president issue any orders or directives regarding the manner in which the demonstrations should be confronted?
 
A: I do not know what the president discussed with the IM, but over the past several years he has known that containing demonstrations involves the use of shields, gas, and water.
 
Q: Does containing demonstrations involve using projectiles, including live ammunition?
 
A: According to EGIS intelligence, riot dispersal units are not equipped with firearms.
 
Q: If the situation devolves, is it permissible, in your assessment, that the demonstrators be confronted using firearms?
 
A: I know that the riot dispersal units are charged with driving persons away, and when they fail they collapse.
 
Q: What do you mean by riot dispersal?
 
A: Riot dispersal that takes place at demonstrations.
 
Q: Do you mean to say the CSF?
 
A: It is a part of the CSF.
Q: Did EGIS, with you at its head, record the presence of snipers belonging to the police?
 
A: I don’t know.
 
Q: Many of the causalities among the demonstrators were clearly caused by projectiles or firearms. How do you explain that?
 
A: It could have come from forces other than the police riot dispersal units.
 
Q: What do you suppose these forces could have been if not policemen?
 
A: Unfortunately I do not have the powers in EGIS to gather such intelligence.
 
Q: Are you able to determine who is responsible for the injuries and deaths among the demonstrators?
 
A: I went to the president’s office and told him that he should form a fact finding commission that could uncover the reasons behind this large number of injuries and deaths.
 
Q: What specific measures did you undertake between 1/25 and 2/11 to determine the reasons behind the injuries and deaths that befell the protestors?
 
A: Unfortunately on the evening of 1/28 the police forces collapsed entirely and the AF needed a certain amount of time to diffuse out into the streets and take control of command operations. During the time between 1/28 and 1/31 there was a perfect security vacuum, during which there was an assassination attempt on my life. We did not manage to apprehend the culprit despite the fact that some people were killed. The collapse encompassed all sections and divisions of the MoI. When Mahmoud Wagdy took over as IM on 1/31 he had a very difficult job in front of him. Moreover the process required for determining the cause of injury and death would have been extremely difficult and obtaining the proper documentation would have taken much time to produce results. I asked the former president to form a fact finding commission and it was formed.
 
Q: Did you learn what conclusions this commission came to or the perpetrators it identified regarding the cause behind the injuries and deaths of some demonstrators?
 
A: This commission was active until the day my service ended on 2/11/2011 with the resignation of the former president of the republic. I followed the commission closely and it was summoning many witnesses, however the commission never came to a concrete decision regarding who determinately killed or injured the protestors.
 
Q: Meaning that in your capacity as either vice president or chief of EGIS, you never learned the true cause behind the injuries and deaths of some demonstrators?
 
A: The intelligence that EGIS had procured had to do with the deaths and injuries that occurred as a result of the prisons and police stations being stormed. As for the deaths and injuries of 1/28, the entire police apparatus had withdrawn and collapsed, and moreover we were not able to gather enough information to say determinately who was behind the killings and injuries.
 
Q: In their testimonies to the public prosecutor in this courtroom, some witnesses testified to having seen CSF policemen wielding rifles capable of firing rubber bullets and tear-gas canisters. Do you think that injuries or deaths could have been caused by the policemen using these weapons?
 
A: From my personal understanding, if a projectile strikes a vulnerable area then it could feasibly be fatal. Water cannons sometimes can be fatal in the same manner. I know that the CSF is armed with truncheons, tasers, and tear-gas.
 
Q: Can you say with certainty that the CSF, using the weapons with which they were armed, was the cause of the injuries and deaths?
 
A: If CSF was the only force present then they could not have been equipped with fire arms or projectiles. However it is possible that there were other forces present with CSF and I cannot say for certain.
 
Q: What do you mean by other forces?
 
A: Possibly from the local precincts or something.
 
Q: Can you definitively determine the extent of responsibility the former president of the republic bears in terms of political responsibility considering that he was ruling the country when injuries and deaths occurred in the demonstrations that took place on a national scale?
 
A: I cannot definitely say however everything that the president was asked to do to protect the country he did. When the police collapsed and the IM requested the assistance of the AF, he immediately approved the request. When political concessions were demanded of him, he immediately complied. This was all that was asked of him until he resigned.
 
Q: Can you determine – given you were by the president’s side – that he knew of the violations that the demonstrators had sustained during the attempts to contain the demonstrations, which led to the matter spiraling out of control and violent clashes that in turn caused injury and death among many demonstrators on a national scale?
 
A: From 1/31, the day I took charge, I was authorized by the president to make calls of a political nature to protect the regime and the country. From 1/31 until 2/11, there were no clashes between police and protestors.
 
Q: However the question is: Can you say in front of the court that the president was aware of what had taken place in the demonstrations and in Egypt at large regarding the injuries and deaths of protestors?
 
A: The fact that he approved the formation of a fact finding commission implies that he was aware.
 
Q: Upon learning of these facts, did the former president inquire as to the cause of these injuries and deaths?
 
A: He was waiting for the commission’s report.
 
Q: Did the former president ever indicate to you during a side conversation or any time that he was aware of the culprit responsible for the injuries and deaths or demonstrators?
 
A: He never once spoke with me about this topic.
 
Q: The court repeats the question regarding who you believe caused the injuries and deaths, and if they resulted from the use of projectiles and firearms.
 
A: I don’t know.
 
Q: Medical reports from the investigation revealed that all of the injuries sustained by demonstrators all resulted from projectiles or firearms. Those asked in the investigation stated that they had been injured by policemen using firearms or projectiles. So how do you explain these statements from those injured?
 
A: Police are typically armed with projectiles. So if there were definitely injuries caused by projectiles then it would have been from police projectiles. As for injuries from live rounds shot from firearms, this is a strange occurrence that does not occur except for in cases of self-defense.
 
Q: Can you definitively determine the extent of responsibility that the accused former IM Habib el-Adly bears regarding the confrontations between the police and the protestors during which some were injured and others killed?
 
A: I cannot definitely determine the extent of responsibility.
 
Q: On what basis cannot you not definitively say?
 
A: Because this is not within my purview as chief of EGIS.
 
Q: Generally speaking as a passive observer of the events, can you say whether former President Hosni Mubarak or former IM Habib el-Adly is responsible for the injuries and deaths?
 
A: As a passive observer, what happened in Egypt was bigger than the police establishment was capable of handling and this led to a security vacuum. It could be that the injuries occurred without any directives as a result of the chaos. But this is not the intelligence of the chief of EGIS.
 
Q: Did EGIS intelligence reveal anything regarding the true relationship between former President Mubarak and the accused Hussein Kamal al-Din Salem?
 
A: Former President Mubarak went to Sharm al-Sheikh in the early 1990s so as to put the destination on the international tourist map. He encouraged business men to invest in Sharm al-Sheikh to this end, and Hussein Salem was among these business men: that is when the president’s relationship with him started.
 
Q: What were the extents of that relationship, and could it be classified as a friendship?
 
A: Encouraging investments is one thing, and friendship is another thing. I don’t know whether or not there was friendship between the president and Hussein Salem. However many occasions and events such as conferences were held at hotels owned by Hussein Salem and others.
 
Q: Were compliments ever exchanged between the former president and the accused Hussein Salem?
 
A: In my capacity as a subordinate to the president, it is not my job to monitor the personal behavior of the president.
 
Q: What intelligence do you have regarding the villas which the accused Hussein Salem gave to the accused former President Hosni Mubarak and the accused Alaa Mohamed Hosni Mubarak and the accused Gamal Mohamed Hosni Mubarak?
 
A: There is no intelligence in this regard because EGIS does not concern itself with such matters. From my personal knowledge, yes, Hussein Salem used to build many villas in Sharm al-Sheikh in the Golf area and that, yes, he did sell five villas to the president but I never inquired about the details, such as the price.
 
Q: Do the sales contracts of these villas represent an exploitation of the former president’s powers along with an exploitation of the influence of the two other aforementioned accused persons?
 
A: It is personal knowledge, not EGIS information, that Hussein Salem had wanted the president to own property in Sharm al-Sheikh so that Sharm al-Sheikh could continue to be a promising tourist destination.
 
Q: Do you think that the price at which those villas were sold are in keeping with the real price of any one of those five villas?
 
A: I don’t know.
 
Q: What information did EGIS collect while under your leadership regarding the contract to export gas to Israel?
 
A: There had been an agreement between former President Anwar Sadat and President Carter to provide Israel with petroleum products, and a volume of 2 million tons annually was agreed upon and transactions were based on global prices. That was in 1979 with the signing of the Camp David Accords and this petrol has continued to be sold to Israel. However, with the increases in domestic consumption in Egypt, we were not able to continue exporting the original volume so the amount of annual exports to Israel was significantly reduced. There were communications between Egyptian General Petroleum Co (EGPC) in Egypt and Israeli electric companies regarding providing these companies with natural gas from Egypt. Some messages were exchanged between the Israeli companies and the EGPC. With regards to the peace process, the Israelis place much significance on normalization, and commercial exchange between Egypt and Israel is an indication of normalization, the goal of which is the preservation of the peace and realizing creating mutual interests for both sides. Around 2000, when Atef Abid was PM, the Council of Ministers approved proposing gas export initiatives to a number of Mediterranean countries, including: Spain, Italy, France, Jordan, Israel, and Lebanon. The timing worked for the foreign parties and Egypt and three projects were agreed to: liquefying the gas and exporting it, exporting gas via pipeline, and exporting gas via pipelines that would run though Turkey and Israel, in addition to another Arab pipeline which would go to Jordan and, in future, extend to Syria and Lebanon. From what I remember this was in November 1999 or 2000. Mr. Hussein Salem proposed to the investment panel that a gas export company be established. In the past Mr. Hussein Salem had done business with the Israelis with the MIDOR project which is an oil refining operation. Mr. Hussein Salem with EGPC and the Israelis with Merhav, who were the same people who partook in the MIDOR project, together founded the East Mediterranean Gas Company (EGM) and they had a security clearance to do so. EGIS closely follows companies such as this one because they realize certain objectives: creating mutual interests, supporting the peace process, increased leverage, and other objectives. We began following this important project closely until the Palestinian uprising in 2000 when the project was put on hold and would stay as such until there was a rapprochement between the Palestinians and Israelis. EGIS began to promote this project as a point of contact between the Israelis and the Egyptian government, and in 2005 a contract was signed between EGM and an Israeli electric company and gas began flowing into Israel starting in 2008. Former President Hosni Mubarak in 2008 issued a decree to the government to raise the price of gas above US $3. He sent me on a mission to visit PM Ehud Olmert and I told him of the importance that he use his influence to facilitate amending the gas agreement because the president had decided that no gas would be sent to Israel unless prices were raised. This is the story of the gas exports to Israel according to EGIS.
Q: Investigations uncovered that the debentures from the sale and export of natural Egyptian gas to the state of Israel belonged to EGM, in which the accused Hussein Salem holds a majority stake, and that these debentures were from the former Egyptian Minister of Petrol, the accused Amin Sameh Samir Fahmy, whose case has been transferred to criminal court. Investigations revealed that the accused former president helped the minister by authorizing his company to sell gas at a price below global commercial prices, a move undertaken by the accused former president so that the accused Hussein Salem could realize profits. What is your personal or professional understanding of these events?
A: My professional understanding is that the president did not involve himself in setting prices or anything else of that sort and that the minister of petroleum was not among those who set the prices, rather it is a technical panel within EGPC which sets the prices in accordance with global standards. The former president never involves himself in setting prices. The minister of petroleum got approval from the Council of Ministers regarding the prices, volumes, and exports to Israel. The former president learned about the export of gas to Israel from the minister of petroleum. He had determined his stance towards this issue long ago back in the days of PM Rabin, and the president was not shown the export contract, having only learned about it from the minister of petroleum.
 
Q: Was the accused former President Hosni Mubarak aware of the price included in the contract and did he approve it before the contract was signed? Or did he learn of it after the contract was signed during its implementation phase. And what is your perspective on this price?
 
A: These details were not made known to the president.
 
Q: Who specifically is responsible for setting the price of the gas exported to Israel in accordance with the concluded contract between the two sides?
 
 
A: A technical panel within EGPC that is formed to set the prices for each country to which gas is exported.
 
Q: You mentioned that the accused former president issued a decree or directive that stated that the price must be above US $3, so does this mean that he decided to lower the price that was stated in the contract.
 
A: During the time the contract was signed with Israel petrol prices were at their normal levels. However from 2006 to 2008, global prices of petrol increased and thus the price of the gas we were selling became depressed. So the former president issued directives to correct domestic and exported gas prices so as to bring them in line with global levels.
 
Prosecution
 
Q: Did EGIS record the number of individuals who communicated with foreign organizations and who attended the training sessions in Poland and Cairo?
 
A: I don’t remember truthfully, but the public prosecutor could request them from EGIS.
 
Q: Did EGIS take any measures against these individuals?
 
A: No, just surveillance.
 
Q: Were there any measures taken against the Bedouin elements or other elements which you recently mentioned to the court?
 
A: The Bedouins paved the way for the smuggling operation by asserting control over the roads and surrounding areas which enabled the smuggling and the attack on the outpost in Sheikh Zuweid. They asserted their control over this region: we in EGIS gather intelligence.
 
Q: Why were the measures necessary to prevent that not taken?
A: EGIS’s powers in this case were limited to informing the border guard and the police, which have the power to prevent such an event, of some piece of intelligence. However the number of Bedouins and their ability to gain control prevented government forces from engaging them with counter measures.
 
Q: Can you remember the specifics surrounding your request of the accused former president to form a fact finding commission regarding the injuries and deaths among the protestors?
 
A: I think he issued a national decree to form such a commission on 2/1 or 2/2.
 
Q: From your military experience, is it possible for policemen to use firearms or projectiles, not including cases of self-defense, without approval from their superiors, top-most of them being the IM?
 
A: If conscripts were armed with projectiles then there was some intention to use them at some point. They wouldn’t arm conscripts with projectiles if they didn’t plan to use them. If policemen are armed with projectiles, they must appeal to their superiors for orders to fire the projectiles and fire in a manner that complies with the orders of the commander. As for firearms, they are not used except for in cases of self-defense.
 
Q: What measures should the police leadership have taken once they had realized the size and scope of the crowds of demonstrators?
 
A: The police assessed the situation incorrectly when they decided to continue to confront the demonstrators. When the IM saw that the police could no longer contain the crowds, he requested the deployment of the AF.
 
Q: What transpired during the meeting held on 1/30 that included yourself, the accused former president, the field marshall/minister of defense, and the chief of staff?
 
A: The president told me to be there at 9am on 1/30 in the operations center of the AF and that we would meet there at that time. We went into the operations center and the Chief of Staff Sami Anan and a few other officers began assessing the deployment of the AF, what had happened so far, and what would happen next, given that the deployment of the AF at that time took between 48 and 72 hours. The president was content with the deployment, seeing how AF units were distributed to the most sensitive locations and this was the overarching objective regarding deploying the AF across the entire country.
 
Q: How was it that gas was exported to a company in Israel which was founded by the accused Hussein Salem, and whose idea was it to found it?
 
A: It was Hussein Salem’s idea to found it. EGPC submitted a request to form the company to the investment body and the matter proceeded via the Council of Ministers until the contract was eventually signed.
 
Q: Did the accused former president play any part in naming the company which the accused Hussein Salem owned? Did he ever suggest changing the name to another name, which was not accepted by the accused Hussein Salem?
 
A: EGM was the company that worked to export gas to Israel and after the stoppage that resulted from the Intifada in Palestine, Hussein Salem sought to change the name to East Company for Gas. He was the primary share holder along with EGPC. After that the former president ordered him to forfeit the company to the Egyptian public sector and to stay with the original company he had founded, i.e., EGM for connecting pipelines to Israel. Hussein Salem was not happy with this and he did not want anyone saying that he was working with Israel.
Recess then the session reconvened in the absence of Mustafa Khater.
 
Civil Prosecutors
 
Q: What did EGIS do, given that it is charged with protecting the homeland, when it learned of reports that there had been communications, according to the intelligence that reached EGIS, that there was an international and domestic push to provoke the people against the government?
 
A: When I previously answered this question I said that EGIS is an information gathering service and it does not take measures.
 
Q: Is EGIS not involved in the decision making process?
 
A: Of course it is: when I inform other agencies then I am involved.
 
Q: What decision was made regarding what you learned from this information given that you were involved in the decision making process?
 
A: There are several other agencies involved in regards to this matter. For instance the government sends a directive to the minister of international cooperation to speak with the American embassy about immediately terminating funding to these NGOs, or a directive to other agencies that are monitoring the activities of these organizations: these are the procedures.
 
Q: Is it possible to prove the information which you provided in your report in this regard?
 
A: Who would be the one proving it? I can’t talk about EGIS work with them.
 
Q: Did EGIS monitor these NGOs?
 
A: Yes, in the usual manner in which EGIS conducts surveillance.
 
Q: Was the government aware of the project for supporting Democracy and Good Governance as you reported?
 
A: Yes.
 
Q: Does the president or the PM determine the price of exported gas or that of domestically consumed gas?
 
A: It is a technical procedure that is conducted in the ministry of petroleum and nowhere else.
 
 
Q: Was there training for young Egyptian men from various parties within and without Egypt? What measures did EGIS take in light of this?
 
A: The training had to do with democratic activism and NGOs, and the state does not impede such activities, however we do monitor them.
 
Q: Does EGIS conduct surveillance on business men and send these reports to the president of the republic?
 
A: When such information is requested I request it from the Administrative Control Authority because it is not within EGIS’s purview.
 
Attorney Abu Lahyia
 
Q: Did clandestine elements of EGIS report any intelligence regarding injuries and deaths from police firearms on 1/28?
 
A: Until the evening of 1/28, there was no report of injuries or deaths among the demonstrators in Tahrir Sq. or in any other public areas.
 
Q: Do the contents of the tape recordings which EGIS sent have to do with the period between 1/25 and 1/28?
 
A: The recordings are the property of the Egyptian Museum, not EGIS.
 
Q: Is it within the powers of the IM to issue an order to use live rounds without first appealing to the president of the republic?
 
A: Neither the president of the republic nor the IM can order live rounds to be fired. They can only be used in cases of self-defense.
 
Q: Who fired projectiles or live rounds in Suez which led to the fatalities?
 
A: I don’t know.
 
Q: Does EGIS, another agency, or you personally have any other information that has not been heard in the case?
 
A: No.
 
Q: Given that the IM had resigned, why was he summoned to attend the meeting?
 
A: The president wanted to understand the status of the police and Mr. Habib el-Adly was still in the MoI. He then waited for a while but then it was too difficult for the IM to attend because of a large demonstration in front of the MoI. He spoke with him about the status of the police and I submitted a report to the president that the police had collapsed and was no longer capable of upholding security.
 
Q: Do you rely on the police for the gathering of intelligence?
 
A: There are many agents that gather intelligence, and some of them are included amongst the police.
 
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Syria Update, April 6, 2013 (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)

7 Apr

Syria Update, April 6, 2013. (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)

Death toll: More than 120 killed today including 54 civilians (and including 15 children).

The Syrian revolutionary forces in the southern part of the country are acquiring MANPADS according to Brown Moses (the British blogger) who suggests this area will become the next Aleppo. http://brown-moses.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/early-signs-of-aleppo-isation-of.html

The Syrian regime is using rape to terrorize, injure and demoralize Syrian women — an instrument of war byhttp://www.thestar.com/news/world/2013/04/06/syrian_women_who_fled_to_jordan_tell_of_horrific_rapes_back_home.html

A new campaign for prisoners of Bashar al-Assad: Behind Bars But Free
https://www.facebook.com/BehindBarsButFree

Bashar al-Assad gave an interview to two Turkish journalists posting it on his Facebook page. He was first asked to confirm that he is alive and in Syria and then decried the Arab League. He then warned that “”The whole world knows that if Syria is partitioned, or if terrorist forces take control of the country, there will be direct contagion of the surrounding countries,” promising a domino effect of instability. http://uneditedpolitics.com/syrian-president-bashar-al-assad-full-interview-on-turkish-tv-4513/

Four Italian journalists were kidnapped in northern Syria near the border:
http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2013/04/06/Four-Italian-journalists-abducted-in-north-Syria-by-rebel-group-.html

Here is the Free Syrian Army’s statement to the Muslim Brotherhood of 31 March 2013 in case you weren’t aware of it. https://www.facebook.com/notes/hassan-i-hassan/fsa-statement-to-syrias-muslim-brotherhood/10151402734104092 also see
http://www.alarabiya.net/ar/arab-and-world/syria/2013/03/31/قيادة-الجيش-الحر-تتهم-الإخوان-المسلمين-بتعطيل-الثورة-.html
and
http://www.all4syria.info/Archive/76815
The above were published primarily in media outlets which are ambivalent or hostile to the opposition and are included here just to provide a fuller picture.

Refugees and Relief:
UNICEF said yesterday that it will soon run out of funds for Syrian refugees and projects that their numbers will soon rise to 1.2 million in Jordan. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=pz3t5AfXyNI

Syria’s Kurds are divided into different factions. Certain factions are cooperating with or, indeed, part of the Syrian opposition. This article considers what they may gain or lose in the Syrian conflict. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/syria-live/syrias-kurds-deeply-divided-may-determine-the-wars-outcome/article10431937/

Aleppo province: https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=map+of+aleppo+province&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x152ff85ac00b17c9:0xf68ea3d8dc74b61b,Aleppo+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=R9DLUKfTFoWO0QHBuIHABA&ved=0CC8Q8gEwAA

15 civilians (9 children, 3 women, 3 men) were killed by the Syrian air force’s bombardment of Sheikh Maqsoud, a largely Kurdish neighborhood. Later in the day, five Syrian government troops were killed during a YPG attack on the regime checkpoint by the southern entrance to the Sheikh Maqsoud neighbourhood. YPG forces had earlier clashed with regime forces in the area.
Violent clashes also took place in the Ashrafiya, Bustan al-Qasr, Layramoun and Karm al-Jabal neighbourhoods with losses on both sides. Clashes took place by the Kweiris military airport, reports of losses on both sides.

Getting across the street in Bustan al-Qasr

The Nusra Front and regime forces engaged in clashes al-Azza village. The regime forces are trying to take over this village to break the siege on the Aleppo airport. Regime forces bombarded al-Sfeira city and parts of the town of Hayyan, no reports of casualties.

The FSA shells regime stations yesterday: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJWWqohVtG4&feature=youtu.be

Damascus province: https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=map+of+damascus+province&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x1518e6dc413cc6a7:0x69e5b88ad5b0817b,Damascus+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=_s_LUPTwHqWw0AHTtYDQAg&ved=0CC8Q8gEwAA

Clashes resumed near the Jobar neighborhood close to al-Abbasiyin, and rockets fell on the area. The regime forces bombarded the Yarmouk camp where there were reports of injuries, including children. 1 man was killed by the rockets launched into the Kafarsouseh neighborhood. The regime shelling of al-Asali killed one man.
The opposition launched several mortar shells into central Damascus, targeting government and security buildings which are in populated civilian areas. A mortar fell on the Tishreen sports field in the Baramka area. Mortars fell near the al-Thawra newspaper building by the Kafarsousa roundabout and around Panorama on the Harasta road. The Syrian regime bombarded theMadniya and Bour Sa’id areas of the Qadam neighborhood and also bombarded Hajar al-Aswad, killing one man.
Violent clashes took place by the southern ring road by the city of Zamalka, with losses on both sides and Zamalka was heavily shelled. The Syrian air force shelled the outskirts of Yabrud 3 civilians, including a woman, were killed by the bombardment on al-Eteiba, and clashes took place. The town of Kafarbatna was also bombarded.
Dara`a province: https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=map+of+daraa+province&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x15195fa1016e8de7:0xff6b41761235d49c,Daraa+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=u9DLUPDfIcXq0gGRwIHADQ&ved=0CC8Q8gEwAA

Syrian rebels opposition captured the Umm al-Mayathin military checkpoint in Daraa province near the Jordanian border.

The Syrian military bombarded the town of Kaheel. Intermittant clashes took place in the al-Karak neighbourhood of Dar`a. 1 man from the town of Tafas was tortured to death after the regime forces detained him for several days. 3 opposition fighters from this province were killed in clashes today.

Deir az-Zur province:

https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=Dayr+Az+Zor+province+map&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x1548153314d3dbad:0x9d5a68804221c27f,Deir+ez-Zor+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=WtLLUJL5NanI0QGozIH4Bw&ved=0CDMQ8gEwAA

The Syrian regime continued its military campaign on Deir al-Zur yesterday for the 295th consecutive day.
Shelling by mortars and rockets launchers targeted Alhaweeqa, Al-Jbeileh and Hamidiya neighborhoods. MiG fighter jets flew over the city. Violent clashes took place between FSA and the regime forces in Al-Jbeileh. Regime forces launched a campaign of raids in Villat Al-Baladiyeh and Al-Qussour neighborhoods.

Despite the shelling people carried out protest in support of the free Syrian people all around the country.

Protest in the city of Deir al-Zur

Protest in Mayadin city

Several other protests focused on the poor treatment of Syrian refugees outside of Syria.

Fatima Al-Ali Al-Hajer, age 52 from Mou Hassan city died yesterday as a result of the shelling of Hamidiya on 4/4/13 Deir Ezzor city on April 4, 2013; First Lieutenant Sulaiman, vice commander of Muhammad Al-Baqr brigade; originally from Marratt, died on 4/4/13 due to an injury he sustained during the storming of brigade 113.
Maryam Khalaf Al-Abdullah; originally from Mayadin was killed by regime forces who targeted a bus coming from Damascus to Deir al-Zur on April 5, 2013. In the same incident, Abeer Jamal Salih Al-Sulaiman; originally from Mayadin was killed and also Khaldoun Jamal Salih Al-Sulaiman; and Ahmad Al-M’haid, originally from Mayadin.

Hama province: https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=hama+governorate&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x15248293d5052f19:0x6e6de1581c39ed96,Hama+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=CdPLUKKbIqyF0QHB94HQAw&sqi=2&ved=0CIEBELYD

Regime forces bombarded the Tariq Halab neighborhood of Hama, killing one person and causing injuries and clashes took place there since morning with losses on both sides. A mortar rocket fell on the Sawa’eq neighborhood.

The Syrian air force shelled eastern Jabal Kafra’ in the southern part of the province. Syrian regular forces fired on the town of Bseirin, from checkpoints in the neighboring villages resulting in casualties.

Hassake province
https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=AlHasakah+Governorate,+Syria,+google+maps&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x400976912dee2dfb:0x1735b67e4a2454b0,Al-Hasakah+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=UMLTUOKtN4ra0QG9-oHYBg&ved=0CC8Q8gEwAA

The Syrian air force bombarded the town of Tal Hamis, killing a woman and a young man There are reports of further casualties (children).

Homs province: https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=homs+governorate+google+map&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x15230eeab10528a7:0x65655b88027a8699,Homs+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=BFPRUM6RBaTI0AHw1ICoCQ&ved=0CDMQ8gEwAA

The Syrian military bombarded the Maramla and al-Mashjar al-Junubi areas of Talbisa, and the town of al-Ghento. An opposition fighter from the al-Qusoor neighborhood was killed in clashes in the countryside of Homs. Syrian regular forces shelled the Khaldiya, Jourat al-Shayyah, and Old neighborhoods of Homs.

The Syrian air force bombarded the villages around the city of al-Qseir are airforce bombardment; 1 man was killed by the bombardment on the village of al-Hamidiya.

Idlib province: https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=idlib+governorate+google+map&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x152500e6cc6ed27b:0xe59a7e2f651fc24c,Idlib+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=51PRUIiREsaB0AHN_YD4BQ&ved=0CC8Q8gEwAA

Multiple rocket launchers hit the towns of Binnish and Ma’artharma was bombarded, causing injuries and property damage. The opposition bombarded the al-Nimr military checkpoint by the city of Khan Sheikhoun; deaths of Syrian regular troops were reported and a tank was damaged. The opposition also attacked the Khazanat Sharqi checkpoint in Khan Sheikhoun with losses on the Syrian military side. Military helicopters bombarded the town of Mar’and, causing injuries and damaging homes.

Latakia province:
https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=latakia+governorate+google+maps&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x15241c8bc2bf561f:0xdbb2edac5c45c32b,Latakia+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=ghv_UOaOOMGW0QH88YDYDw&ved=0CC0Q8gEwAA

The Syrian military shelled the towns of al-Tafahiya, Ein al-Ashra, and al-Sukariyawere and several people were injured.

Umm Abed, a nurse who once worked in a military hospital treating wounded Syrian soldiers switched sides and now treats injured civilians, and opposition fighters. http://www.mb.com.ph/article.php?aid=6511&sid=1&subid=6#.UWC1ImCmK5I

Quneitra province: https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=Quneitra+governorate+Google+maps&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x151eb4afcd3e069f:0xbcbbd63808a65623,Quneitra+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=Ch77ULCILuyP0QG67YDoDQ&ved=0CC0Q8gEwAA

12 captured MANPADS (by the revolutionary forces) in Quneitra http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VxEsGCuHt8&feature=youtu.be

Raqqa province: https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=map+of+ar-raqqah+province,+Syria&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x153719cee4c60ce7:0x9d4657e00e899ab6,Ar-Raqqah+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=PJ_bUKrTBObF0AGMuYHwBw&sqi=2&ved=0CC8Q8gEwAA

The air force bombarded the northern suburbs and neighborhoods of the city of Raqqah and the area around the 17th division.

International:

Lebanon’s new prime minister, Tammam Salam supports the Syrian revolution. http://www.naharnet.com/stories/en/78528-pm-designate-tammam-salam-in-an-interview-on-lbci#43635

Hamas has denied that any of its members in its military wing in Syria have been training rebel fighters as was recently claimed by the The Times. Hamas says that although it stands with the Syrian people and supports their legitimate demands, that does not translate into participating in the armed conflict
Pro-revolution Lebanese attack Syrian fuel tankers:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/militants-in-lebanon-aim-new-attacks-at-syrian-fuel-supplies/2013/04/06/80ae30e6-9c7f-11e2-a941-a19bce7af755_story.html

Anti-Muslim Brotherhood sentiments from Lebanon: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2013/Apr-04/212490-syrias-muslim-brotherhood-influential-organized-but-mistrusted.ashx#axzz2PiFkAysX

Turkey’s Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davatoglu denied Bashar al-Assad’s claims that Turkey has made a pact with Israel against Damascus: https://now.mmedia.me/lb/en/nowsyrialatestnews/claims-of-turkey-israel-pact-against-syria-groundless-turkish-fm-says

The White House stated yesterday that President Obama would host regional leaders from Jordan, Turkey, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates over the next few weeks to discuss the Syrian situation.
The US government also announced that President Obama will meet with Jordan’s King Abdullah II on April 26, and with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on May 16.

Russia has sharply criticized the United Nation’s probe into the use of chemical weapons in Syria, likening it to the prologue to war in Iraq. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/06/jwsyria-crisis-chemical-russia-idUSL2N0CT09X20130406

Thinking about Gaza. Sherifa Zuhur. November 20, 2012

20 Nov

“Thinking about Gaza. “ Sherifa Zuhur November 20, 2012

I have been posting almost exclusively on Syria, although I’ve been posting and following the current Israeli campaign against the people of Gaza, and tracking events all over the Middle East and the Islamic world. I chose to do this on Syria, because much of the news media is excluded, or unable to travel in Syria and some outlets of information are not available in English. People are paying too much attention to the threat of foreign salafist fighters and not enough attention to the daily suffering of Syrians.

However, what has happened in Gaza is important on several levels. On one level – which I have no space or energy to comment on today – Israel has, with this campaign, attempted to reassert its regional position, and ability to wage campaigns against Palestinians without any serious challenge from the international community and without any military or political consequence from local powers – such as Egypt, Turkey, or Iran. Israel is reasserting its free hand and military superiority.

On another level, we have again witnessed the insidious nature of Israel’s military and psychological strategy against the Palestinians, and determination to outweigh, censor, and out-PR protests in the international arena – the only place where a pushback would make any difference.

Don’t be fooled. No matter which party Gazans might have elected in 2006 and no matter what concessions that party made, or didn’t make, Israel’s determination to confine, punish and continuously destroy their capacity for resistance is fierce. Resistance is the key word here. The reason that Hamas was elected, and the reason that Israel has waged assassinations galore, air strikes and the invasion in 2008-9, even the true cause of Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza is that it wishes to obliterate Palestinians’ ability to resist Israeli political, military, security and land- and water-seizing demands.

It is always best to simplify our thinking. What scared Israelis more than any other events in the last seven decades? The two intifadhas. Why? They expressed resistance. An unexpected, lingering resistance that, according to all key strategists (group and individual thinkers) should have been wiped out ages ago, along with Palestinian expectations or fantasies that other Arab nations would help them achieve repossession of their land and properties, or even, simple justice – some repossession, return or remediation and political and human freedoms. Simple freedoms, like the right to move or travel from one place to another. The right to elect their own representatives.

Whatever its faults, overreach, and inability to deal with other Palestinian parties fratricidal tendencies and betrayals, Hamas symbolized a group that continued to call for resistance.

I won’t even address the silly argument that the US President has bought into – that Israelis are being bombarded by rockets day and night and have a right to not be shelled “by another country.” Just state that in reverse, Obama – Palestinians had rights that were violated, and now they have rights to not be shelled, bombarded, and vaporized by ‘another country.’ Qassam rockets are not the reason for the current conflict.

Instead, Israel sought to provoke a new wave of “resistance” and did so by first attacking a teenager, and then assassinating Ahmad Jabari, the Hamas leader who had just prior to his death, received a (presumably false) treaty proposal. Palestinians launched rockets in response. Yes. As for a time, they launched suicide attacks, or knifings in the Second Intifadha and youths learned to throw stones and burn tires in the First Intifadha.

Don’t believe for one minute in the parity of the two forces as is being claimed by the Western and Israeli media and our foolish and negligent governments.

Gaza is nothing but a large Yarmouk camp, with a beautiful beach, a beautiful sky and people with no prospects, no assurances, and most importantly, no sovereignty.

Complying, giving in, negotiating, has not brought about sovereignty. So why are we so surprised that the language of resistance persists?

This little blip of an air campaign has cost 116 Palestinian lives and 900 have been injured – so far 3 Israelis were killed. For the Israelis – for Netanyahu, this campaign is important to bolster his showing at the polls as a person/party who will supply that impossible quality — “security” – to Israelis. But the reason that absolute security is impossible to guarantee is because it is at the expense of another people’s sovereignty and human rights.