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Posts Tagged ‘Egypt

Egypt launches air raids on Libya after Christians killed.

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Nile News TV showing the remains of the bus.
By Ahmed Aboulenein | MINYA, EGYPT

Egyptian fighter jets carried out strikes on Friday directed at camps in Libya which Cairo says have been training militants who killed dozens of Christians earlier in the day.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said he had ordered strikes against what he called terrorist camps, declaring in a televised address that states that sponsored terrorism would be punished.

Egyptian military sources said six strikes took place near Derna in eastern Libya at around sundown, hours after masked gunmen attacked a group of Coptic Christians traveling to a monastery in southern Egypt, killing 29 and wounding 24.

The Egyptian military said the operation was ongoing and had been undertaken once it had been ascertained that the camps had produced the gunmen behind the attack on the Coptic Christians in Minya, southern Egypt, on Friday morning.

“The terrorist incident that took place today will not pass unnoticed,” Sisi said. “We are currently targeting the camps where the terrorists are trained.”

He said Egypt would not hesitate to carry out further strikes against camps that trained people to carry out operations against Egypt, whether those camps were inside or outside the country.

Egyptian military footage of pilots being briefed and war planes taking off was shown on state television.

East Libyan forces said they participated in the air strikes, which had targeted forces linked to al-Qaeda at a number of sites, and would be followed by a ground operation.

A resident in Derna heard four powerful explosions, and told Reuters that the strikes had targeted camps used by fighters belonging to the Majlis al-Shura militant group.

Majlis al-Shura spokesman Mohamed al-Mansouri said in a video posted online that the Egyptian air strikes did not hit any of the group’s camps, but instead hit civilian areas.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack on the Christians, which followed a series of church bombings claimed by Islamic State in a campaign of violence against the Copts.

Islamic State supporters reposted videos from earlier this year urging violence against the Copts in Egypt.

At a nearby village, thousands later attended a funeral service that turned into an angry protest against the authorities’ failure to protect Christians.

I leave it to ‘anti-imperialists’ to protest against the Egyptian action.


Written by Andrew Coates

May 27, 2017 at 12:35 pm

Glory to the Martyrs! We won’t forget the Palm Sunday massacres! Egyptian Revolutionary Socialists.

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Image result for attack on copts socialist

Glory to the martyrs
We won’t forget al-Qaddisayn
We won’t forget Maspero
We won’t forget Peter and Paul
We won’t forget Arish
We won’t forget the Palm Sunday massacres

YET ANOTHER bloody holiday for the Copts of Egypt. Once again churches are bombed and dozens of churchgoers are killed on a religious holiday. Once again the corpses of Copts lie with the debris of their icons and what is left of their churches. Once again, al-Sisi’s regime, its military rule and its police state fail to protect Coptic lives and churches.

Al-Sisi took power promising the Copts of Egypt that the days of fear, terror and sectarian violence were gone, and his regime would protect them from dark terrorism. Here we are in the fourth year since the coup, the third year of Sisi’s presidency, and the last four months alone saw the bombing of the Peter and Paul church, the killings and displacements of Christians in Arish and the two latest massacres in Tanta and Alexandria.

When a terrorist was allowed to go inside the Peter and Paul church and blow it up, the Coptic youth raged at the flagrant security failings and demanded the sacking of the interior minister. But al-Sisi intervened to prevent any talk of failings and naturally did not sack his interior minister. And now terrorists were able to attack a church barely a week after a bomb was discovered outside that same church! Here the security failings and the lack of accountability have become complicity with the crime.

We must remember that the few weeks before the January 2011 revolution saw large demonstrations of Coptic youths against the burning and bombing of their churches and the complicity of the security services. One sign of the political bankruptcy of the Mubarak regime was the abhorrent sectarian “deal” that counted on the Coptic Church to support the regime and contain the anger of Copts while giving free reign to the sectarian agitation of al-Azhar and the Salafists. Mubarak’s state was a particularly sectarian one, and al-Sisi’s state is based on the same sectarian principle.

The January 2011 revolution shattered this sectarian “deal” and saw, for the very first time in modern Egyptian history, unity between the Christian and Muslim masses, not around hollow nationalist slogans like “Religion is for God and the Nation is for everyone,” or police-sponsored superficial alliances between the Coptic and Muslim religious leaders, but around a common revolutionary struggle for democracy, freedom and social justice.

But this unique revolutionary moment did not last long. The Muslim Brotherhood betrayed the revolution by siding with the Military Council (SCAF), which exploited sectarianism and inflamed it with the Maspero massacre. The secular opposition has also allied itself with the military to get rid of the Muslim Brotherhood, paving the way for al-Sisi’s 2013 coup.

Al-Sisi restored the bases of the Egyptian sectarian state and re-established the very sectarian and securitarian deals that Mubarak’s regime had set up; the Copts are once again paying the price with their blood. The security services’ incompetence and complicity are only part of the picture, and we must of course join the Coptic youths when they demand that the interior minister be sacked and put on trial for criminal negligence.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

BUT THE security failings are part and parcel of the political bankruptcy of the al-Sisi regime. Not only did the military rule and its security forces fail to protect the Copts and their churches, but this regime’s policies can only lead to more violence, bloodshed, terrorism and sectarianism. A regime that is based on tyranny, dictatorship and the suffocation of the political arena. A regime whose economic policies impoverish the majority for the sake of the same big businessmen who monopolized the country’s wealth in the Mubarak years and shared it with the generals. A regime that is based on sectarianism and uses the religious institutions, from the Coptic Church to al-Azhar Mosque, to gather support for the dictatorship. A regime that hasn’t made a single step to dismantle the systemic discrimination and persecution that the Coptic masses suffer, but on the contrary reinforces the discrimination and persecution, exploiting the sectarian card along with tyranny and repression in order to remain in power.

Once more, al-Sisi and the al-Azhar Imam will present their condolences to Pope Tawadros. And once more, they will talk of national unity and the evil plots against Egypt and other nonsense.

It is about time that we built an opposition that rejects all forms of sectarianism, be it coming from al-Sisi’s regime or groupings of political Islam. An opposition that doesn’t content itself with condemning terrorism and the terrorists and the failings and complicity of the security forces. An opposition that puts the struggle against sectarianism and the persecution of Copts at the center of its priorities.

Revolutionary Socialists.  (Egypt).

More from Socialist Worker (US).

Written by Andrew Coates

April 10, 2017 at 11:59 am

Islamists Massacre Egyptian Christians on Palm Sunday.

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A bomb exploded in a church north of Cairo that was packed with Palm Sunday worshippers, killing at least 21 people and wounding 50 others, officials said. France 24.

The attack in the Nile Delta town of Tanta was the latest in a series of assaults on Egypt‘s Christian minority, which makes up around 10 percent of the population and has been repeatedly targeted by Islamic extremists. It comes just weeks before Pope Francis is due to visit Egypt.

CBC TV showed footage from inside the church, where a large number of people gathered around what appeared to be lifeless, bloody bodies covered with papers. Health Ministry spokesman Khaled Megahed confirmed the toll from the attack in interviews with local and state-run media.

No one immediately claimed the attack (Blog Note, but there is little doubt that they were Islamists).

A local Islamic State affiliate claimed a suicide bombing at a church in Cairo in December that killed around 30 people, mostly women, as well as a string of killings in the restive Sinai Peninsula that caused hundreds of Christians to flee to safer areas of the country.

A militant group called Liwa al-Thawra claimed responsibility for an April 1 bomb attack targeting a police training centre in Tanta, which wounded 16 people. The group, believed to be linked to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, has mainly targeted security forces and distanced itself from attacks on Christians.

Egypt has struggled to combat a wave of Islamic militancy since the 2013 military overthrow of an elected Islamist president.

This tragedy cannot be blamed on Western intervention.

This tragedy cannot be blamed on ‘the West’.

There responsibility lies with those violent Islamists and jihadists whose hatred of Christians, and other non-Muslims, has already led to a mass exodus in the Middle East.

Our love and solidarity to all those suffering after this attack.

Written by Andrew Coates

April 9, 2017 at 11:35 am

Bans Start to Pour in Against Exodus Film.

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Bible criticised by religious authorities for inaccuracies.

Egypt has banned the film Exodus.

The statement read that the censorship board objected to the “intentional gross historical fallacies that offend Egypt and its pharaonic ancient history in yet another attempt to Judaize Egyptian civilization, which confirms the international Zionist fingerprints all over the film.” More here.

Morocco and the Arab Emirates have followed suite,

The United Arab Emirates have become the third country to ban “Exodus: Gods and Kings,” Ridley Scott’s $140 million film about the biblical story of Moses leading the Jews out of Egypt. The decision was made because of the film’s “many mistakes not only about Islam but other religions, too,” Juma Obeid Al Leem, director of media content tracking at the National Media Council, told the English-language newspaper The Gulf News. The announcement came on the heels of announcements that the film would not be shown in Morocco and Egypt because of its portrayal of Moses, as well as historical inaccuracies and giving “a Zionist view of history.” “Exodus,” produced by 20th Century Fox, was previously criticized for having white actors in the leading roles — including Christian Bale as Moses — despite being set in Egypt. It has had tepid results at the box office, taking in $52.5 million in domestic ticket sales since opening nationwide on Dec. 12, according to Box Office Mojo. It’s not the first time Arab countries have banned Hollywood films because of religion: Darren Aronofsky’s “Noah” was barred in several countries in the spring, and the animated movie “The Prince of Egypt” was forbidden in Egypt in 1998.

New York Times.


Written by Andrew Coates

December 30, 2014 at 5:57 pm

Parti de Gauche on Egypt.

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Parti de Gauche  (Jean-Luc Mélenchon) Condemns Repression in Egypt.


The Parti de Gauche  condemns the Egyptian Army’s massive repression against civilian supporters of the deposed President, Mohammed Morsi on the 14th of August. The result of this blood bath has been – according to the latest totals – hundreds of deaths, including women and children. This repression has been condemned internationally, notably by Equator, which has withdrawn its Cairo ambassador. The decision to eliminate   Morsi supporters, whether they are  peaceful or not, will set Egypt on the path of a duel to the death between the army and Muslim brotherhood, supported, alternatively,  by the Untied States, whose concern is to prevent the emergence of a force which will denounce the compromise – in place for the last thirty years – which secured their interests  and those of Israel.


One would have to be naive not to recognise the Muslim Brotherhood’s  will to pose as martyrs  is in order to further their fundamentalist Islamist ideas. The PG denounces their use of confessional divisions which have inspired attacks on Coptic churches. The Egyptian army’s actions however, do not show a a visible force capable of guaranteeing public institutions and security. In declaring a state of emergency, and in accusing all forms of opposition of terrorism, its leaders intend to keep a large part of the means of production in their hands, and to preserve their own interests. Already, on the pretext of fighting “terrorism”, the public authorities broke a strike of workers at the Suez Steel Plant, and have arrested their leadership.


The present face-to-face confrontation between the military and the Islamists has nothing to do with the aspirations of the Egyptian revolutionaries, who rose up for freedom and social justice. This chaos is the result of decades of neo-liberal and authoritarian policies which have weakened the workers’ organisations and trade unions. But, far from the media’s attention, these bodies have continued to engage in everyday struggles, for social rights, and against all forms of dictatorship. The Parti de Gauche gives its supporter to these forces, as well as those able to bring to the fore these aspirations politically, notably through the organisation of free elections.

Written by Andrew Coates

August 17, 2013 at 12:22 pm

Egypt: Down With Military Rule – Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste.

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From the Nouveau parti anticapitaliste site (originally from A l’econtre, Switzerland)

Extracts (adapted),

The army, more openly than ever, now has its hand on the levers of power of  the country. This is what the Western powers fear.

The military is faced with at least three difficulties.

Firstly, to be able properly to control the  security situation across the country – even if they will declare tomorrow that the police , in conditions of political polarisation (largely of their own creation), went “over the top”.  This is paving the way for ‘confessional’ clashes. This direction has been already indicated by the attacks against the Copts at  Sohag.

Next, after the failure of negotiations they will seek a “compromise” as their Western mentors demand. An attempt has already been made by Sheikh Al-Azhar who had tried to bring together – before August the 14th –  the interim government, the military and Muslim Brotherhood  The latter declined the invitation of a the Sheikh,  somebody who had  criticised  their policies in government.

Finally,  to meet the social and democratic demands of the people, even if a segment of the population seems to have presently given Sissi the mandate to exclude the Muslim Brotherhood.

To add to this is there is the trial of Morsi, which has been  postponed for 15 days. Egyptian  “justice” has bright prospects, one might say.  It has to settle a whole series of legal processes,  (Mubarak and his family, as well as Morsi) … and, something everyone has forgotten, the charges against those  who killed the martyrs of the revolution of 2011.

All the ‘western’ representatives will therefore insist that the government regains its ‘civil’ appearance.  Prime Minister Hazem Beblawi, has committed himself, at around 20 o’clock this Aug. 14, to re-open the electoral process  in early 2014.

John Kerry – U.S. Secretary of State, engaged in the interminable negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli government (busy expanding its settlement programme, as is its tradition during such talks)  has asked the army to organise elections. He has declared that the way the Muslim Brotherhood was “dispersed”was “regrettable”. He has no doubt reassured the Egyptian military and the police.. For now we will not dwell on other parts of the regional puzzle, as they appear difficult to put together.  This is not the case, no doubt, for the experts in  “anti-imperialism”,  who live in a world where everything is controlled by “conspiracies” hatched in the White House. In this case nobody seems able to control the mechanics of the “plot”.

(Udry CA, August 14, 2013, 21 hours)

The NPA publish this article with this (which I take from the Links site):

Egypt: Revolutionary Socialists on the latest massacre in Cairo

Down with military rule! Down with Al-Sisi, the leader of the counter-revolution!

Statement by the Revolutionary Socialists, Egypt

August 14, 2013 — The bloody dissolution of the sit-ins in Al-Nahda Square and Raba’a al-Adawiyya is nothing but a massacre—prepared in advance. It aims to liquidate the Muslim Brotherhood. But, it is also part of a plan to liquidate the Egyptian Revolution and restore the military-police state of the Mubarak regime.

The Revolutionary Socialists did not defend the regime of Mohamed Mursi and the Muslim Brotherhood for a single day. We were always in the front ranks of the opposition to that criminal, failed regime which betrayed the goals of the Egyptian Revolution. It even protected the pillars of the Mubarak regime and its security apparatus, armed forces and corrupt businessmen. We strongly participated in the revolutionary wave of 30 June.

Neither did we defend for a single day the sit-ins by the Brotherhood and their attempts to return Mursi to power.

But we have to put the events of today in their context, which is the use of the military to smash up workers’ strikes. We also see the appointment of new provincial governors—largely drawn from the ranks of the remnants of the old regime, the police and military generals. Then there are the policies of General Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi’s government. It has adopted a road-map clearly hostile to the goals and demands of the Egyptian revolution, which are freedom, dignity and social justice.

This is the context for the brutal massacre which the army and police are committing. It is a bloody dress rehearsal for the liquidation of the Egyptian Revolution. It aims to break the revolutionary will of all Egyptians who are claiming their rights, whether workers, poor, or revolutionary youth, by creating a state of terror.

However, the reaction by the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists in attacking Christians and their churches, is a sectarian crime which only serves the forces of counter-revolution. The filthy attempt to create a civil war, in which Egyptian Christians will fall victims to the reactionary Muslim Brotherhood, is one in which Mubarak’s state and Al-Sisi are complicit, who have never for a single day defended the Copts and their churches.

We stand firmly against Al-Sisi’s massacres, and against his ugly attempt to abort the Egyptian Revolution. For today’s massacre is the first step in the road towards counter-revolution. We stand with the same firmness against all assaults on Egypt’s Christians and against the sectarian campaign which only serves the interests of Al-Sisi and his bloody project.

Many who described themselves as liberals and leftists have betrayed the Egyptian Revolution, led by those who took part in Al-Sisi’s government. They have sold the blood of the martyrs to whitewash the military and the counter-revolution. These people have blood on their hands.

We, the Revolutionary Socialists, will never deviate for an instant from the path of the Egyptian Revolution. We will never compromise on the rights of the revolutionary martyrs and their pure blood: those who fell confronting Mubarak, those who fell confronting the Military Council, those who fell confronting Mursi’s regime, and those who fall now confronting Al-Sisi and his dogs.

Down with military rule!
No the return of the old regime!
No to the return of the Brotherhood!
All power and wealth to the people


Written by Andrew Coates

August 15, 2013 at 11:21 am

Gilbert Achcar: Warnings on the ‘long-term’ Revolutionary Process in the Arab World.

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Gilbert Achcar: “Social-imperialist” says Weekly Worker.

This very recent interview with Gilbert Achcar (which I cannot find in English) is extremely important.

From Gauche Anticapitaliste (Extracts).

The revolutionary process in the Arab region continues to surprise the media. How do you analyse the recent events in Egypt and Tunisia?

While there are qualitative changes that have taken place,  but the fact that there are twists and turns in the process is not surprising. We must  understand that what began in late 2010-early 2011 is a revolutionary long-term development. The idea that the electoral victories of the forces of Islamism (intégrisme islamique) in Tunisia and Egypt would close down the changes under way proved completely wrong.

These forces were doomed to failure since, they, like the regimes they replaced,  had  no response to the serious social and economic problems that caused the uprisings. They are a continuation of neo-liberal policies and therefore can not solve these problems which have only got worse.

The revolutionary process can take surprising forms, but we will continue to pass from upheaval to upheaval in the region as a whole, before the situation stabilises. This,  would require, according to a positive hypothesis,  a profound change in the social nature of the region’s governments and their move towards policies based on the interests of working people .

How do you see the battle going on today in Egypt?

In Egypt today, we must distinguish  two levels: the manoeuvres and conflicts between those concerned with  political power, and the underlying wave of popular discontent. The second has been unleashed, but like the the unrest  of  2011, has ended in  a military intervention.

Mubarak, had already been dismissed in February 2011 by the military, which then placed the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces at the top of the executive. This time, they kept their distance from a repetition of  the past operations, having burnt their fingers trying to govern the country in a state of upheaval.  This is because any government carrying out neo-liberal policies is bound to wear itself out rapidly.  But while civilians have been appointed to head the executive one can not hide the fact that it is the army that has the power.

However, it is a very right-wing view of democracy to adopt the the argument that the army intervened against a democratically elected government. That is to say that elected officials have carte blanche to do whatever they want for the term of office, even if they blatantly betray the expectations of their constituents. A radical conception of democracy involves the right to recall  elected representatives.

It is this form that the movement took in  Egypt with the petition calling for Morsi to go and for new elections to be held. The youth movement “Tamarrod” (Rebellion), gathered in a few months an impressive number of signatures for their petition calling for this, a much higher total  than the number of votes Morsi obtained in his election to the presidency. From this point of view, his dismissal was entirely legitimate.

By contrast the big problem is that rather than organising the broad movement to overthrow Morsi by means of mass struggle – a general strike, civil disobedience – we saw the opposition leaders, both liberal and left agree with the military and applaud the  coup. This action’s ultimate logic is to capture the potential for popular mobilization and impose a return to hard-line ‘order’, which has been confirmed by the actions of the military. This is extremely serious. In this respect there is a strategic gap on  the majority of  Egyptian left. The army’s image has been restored, and the commander in chief of the army (Al-Sissi) has been covered with praise.

Al-Sissi is the  strong man of the new ‘ancien regime’. Although only Defence Minister, he allowed himself to call on the people to demonstrate in support of the army –  completely ignoring the new government.

Today, even the youth of  Tamarrod have begin to worry – rather late. They have fallen into a  trap of their own making.  The coup has allowed the Muslim Brotherhood to rejuvenate ,  posing as martyrs, and the victims of a military coup. They reconsolidated their social base, albeit minority – it is now clear – but important. The military action has polished their image anew.

The position of the Islamist movements who occupied the place of the old regimes in Tunisia and Egypt has quickly deteriorated , but the weakness of the left is now equally a big problem …

Apart from the revolutionary left that remains marginal in Egypt, most of the left have put their forces behind  the  National Salvation Front . Most of those who originate in the traditional Communist movement and  those from the Nasserist current, which remains the left with the most influence on the people at large, have  participated in the process of  mystifying the role of the army. This is all the more unfortunate in that these forces were in the streets against the army in the months leading up to the election of Morsi!

Hamdeen Sabahi, the Nasserist leader, explained a few days before June 30, that it had been  a mistake to have shouted a year earlier “Down with the military government,”. In this respect he drew the wrong lessons from history. This is a real error, to repent and to say now that we should be applauding the army.

What do you think of Tunisian plans to end the power of Ennahdha?

Unfortunately, there is a risk that Tunisia will develop into a similar scenario to Egypt: a left that does not have the political insight to fight on a left-wing agenda, and is preparing to build alliances even with the parts of the former regime. These links are  present in Nidaa Tounès [“Call of Tunisia” – an initiative launched by Beji Caid Essebi, former Minister of Defence and Foreign Affairs under Habib Bourguiba, a lawyer specializing in arbitration cases – become party recognized and authorised in July 2012]. Such an approach ultimately benefits the Islamist forces who have a golden opportunity to denounce the agreements  of the left with remnants of the former regime. This allows the Muslim Brotherhood or Ennahdha to pose as bearers of the legitimacy and continuity of the revolution.

There is a problem of political representation of the working classes in the revolution?

Yes,. The problem is that instead of trying to win hegemony in the mass movement – fighting primarily on social issues- which would unite against it supporters of neo-liberalism ranging from fundamentalists to men of the old regime and even the Liberals, the Tunisian left has made a short-sighted alliance with sections of the old regime.

In a country like Tunisia, in my opinion, the trade union Federation, the UGTT (General Union of Tunisian Workers) is a socially hegemonic force and can easily become the politically dominant one. But a wall is erected between union struggles and the political.Tunisia’s left now heads the UGTT. But rather than launch the union federation into the political battle, with a strategy of forming a workers’ government, this left  seems to be moving towards alliances – against its own interests –  between its different political groups organised in the Front Populaire, on the one hand, and the Liberals and the remnants of the former regime, on the other.

More here.

Interview with Gilbert Achcar, led by Jacques Babel.  Interviewed Monday, July 29 by Jacques Babel. Published on Alencontre.org

Achcar’s  political conclusion can be summarised simply,

The left must assert a third, independent, way, against the old regimes and against the Islamists (Intégristes), to satisfy the social demands of those who who created these uprisings.

How far the Arab left is in a position to do this, is, one may say, quite a question. 

See also,

The neoliberal policy of Egypt’s new president Mohamed Morsi looks very much like a continuation of that of Mubarak. It is increasing social tensions.

by Gilbert Achcar

Written by Andrew Coates

August 11, 2013 at 12:22 pm