EGYPT´S FY 2009 ESF: PROPOSED BUDGET FOR D&G
Ref ID: 07CAIRO3423
Date: 2007-12-06 15:07
Origin: Embassy Cairo
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SUBJECT: EGYPT´S FY 2009 ESF: PROPOSED BUDGET FOR D&G
REF: A) CAIRO 3343 B) CAIRO 3420
Classified by Ambassador Francis Ricciardone for reason 1.4 (d).
1. (C) SUMMARY AND INTRODUCTION: After a great deal of deliberation, in which Embassy Cairo participated fully, the inter-agency agreed to allot $66.5m for democracy and governance programs in Egypt for FY08 and $75m for FY09. These figures represent annual totals of our support for civil society — both US and Egyptian NGO´s — and also for programs carried out with the Government of Egypt in the areas of administration of justice, media reform and decentralization. We believe that the likely negative Egyptian response to this level of funding, and the inability of US and Egyptian NGO´s to spend at this level with intended results and required accountability, argue for reducing the FY09 D&G figure to $50m. If conditions change, or our projections prove too conservative, we could consider adding funds from other Egypt ESF sources. END SUMMARY. Read more…
An international relations theory professor once compared President Woodrow Wilson’s approach to democracy with that of President George W. Bush. Post-World War I, Wilson advocated for the self-governance of the peoples that were liberated from Ottoman rule. His approach could be compared to planting a tree: You introduce the seed of democracy, nurture it, and then watch it flourish. On the other hand, Bush’s post-9/11 approach to democracy was to remove any existing autocratic governing system that harbored hostility toward the U.S.—using force if needed—and replace it with a democracy. This is analogous to digging a hole and then planting a full-grown tree in it. Recent events in Tunis and Egypt, however, show how much better Wilson’s approach to instating democracy was Bush’s approach. Although the damage in Iraq and Afghanistan has been done, there still needs to be a change in policy concerning other autocratic regimes in the area.American foreign policy had little to do with the Jasmine revolution in Egypt. In fact, the American government was caught off guard and had barely any time to assess the situation. Joe Biden first expressed that he wouldn’t call Mubarak a dictator, but an ally;he later called Mubarak’s resignation a pivotal moment in history. The ambivalence of the American position might just have been the best thing that happened to the revolution. The movement was relatively peaceful—except for violent stunts instigated by Mubarak’s henchmen—and showcased the power of the people to initiate change.As with Tunisia, the events in Egypt are inciting other grassroots movements toward democracy in the Arab world, and the American government should welcome that. Demonstrations are taking place in Jordan, Bahrain, and Yemen, just to name a few. The State Department should pressure its autocratic allies into instituting fundamental changes to their oppressive regimes. If true democracy were to flourish in the Middle East, U.S.-friendly dictators cannot count on their Western allies to keep them in power, but need to become responsible toward their people.
The main excuse that kept Mubarak—and countless others—in power for three decades was that he was the lesser of two evils. Americans feared the rise of an Islamist fundamentalist regime in Egypt that would undermine the Camp David Accords. Although the U.S. did lose a major ally in the region, there are no indications that any democratically elected government would be hostile toward the U.S. Even the widely feared “Muslim Brotherhood” has worked to alleviate such fears by announcing that it will not field a candidate for presidency. The Brotherhood, a non-violent conservative Islamist movement, aims to create an Islamist state, but whether it has enough popular support has yet to be determined. If all goes well, Egypt should have a democratically elected government within six months.
Such apprehensions should not stop the U.S. from pushing toward reforms in other Arab nations that are witnessing peaceful protests calling for reforms. Arabs are calling for legitimate rights that include freedom of speech, better standards of life, and a fair judicial system. If the U.S. genuinely wants to spread democracy in the world, it should start by pressuring their allies into making concessions to their oppressed peoples as a first step to long-term change.
Condoleezza Rice once explained to Arabs that “the birth pangs of a new Middle East” was Israel’s anti-Hezbollah war on Lebanon. However, the 2006 war failed to change the status quo between the two countries, and her “new Middle East” was stillborn. New birth pangs now seem to have hit that region, but they don’t include missiles, bombs, and tanks. They are the dead and injured of Tahrir Square, Pearl Square, and all pro-democracy protests, and they will bring in the birth of a new Middle East.
Source: The Harvard Crimson
Under the title “A Tunisian-Egyptian Link That Shook Arab History” the New York Times ran a report about links between the Tunisian revolt, the Egyptian Revolution, Otpor, April 6 & Wael Ghonim.
By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK and DAVID E. SANGER
Published: February 13, 2011
The Egyptian revolt was years in the making. Ahmed Maher, a 30-year-old civil engineer and a leading organizer of the April 6 Youth Movement, first became engaged in a political movement known as Kefaya, or Enough, in about 2005. Mr. Maher and others organized their own brigade, Youth for Change. But they could not muster enough followers; arrests decimated their leadership ranks, and many of those left became mired in the timid, legally recognized opposition parties. “What destroyed the movement was the old parties,” said Mr. Maher, who has since been arrested four times.
By 2008, many of the young organizers had retreated to their computer keyboards and turned into bloggers, attempting to raise support for a wave of isolated labor strikes set off by government privatizations and runaway inflation.
After a strike that March in the city of Mahalla, Egypt, Mr. Maher and his friends called for a nationwide general strike for April 6. To promote it, they set up a Facebook group that became the nexus of their movement, which they were determined to keep independent from any of the established political groups. Bad weather turned the strike into a nonevent in most places, but in Mahalla a demonstration by the workers’ families led to a violent police crackdown — the first major labor confrontation in years. Read more…
Under the title “Revolution U: What Egypt learned from the students who overthrew Milosevic”, Foreign Policy published an 8 pages investigation about the History of CANVAS, Otpor & their relation to April 6 Movement in Egypt, written by Tina Rosenberg in February 16, 2011.
The pages referring to Otpor’s relation with April 6 Movement and Mohamed Adel are Pages 1, 2 & 8.
Early in 2008, workers at a government-owned textile factory in the Egyptian mill town of El-Mahalla el-Kubra announced that they were going on strike on the first Sunday in April to protest high food prices and low wages. They caught the attention of a group of tech-savvy young people an hour’s drive to the south in the capital city of Cairo, who started a Facebook group to organize protests and strikes on April 6 throughout Egypt in solidarity with the mill workers. To their shock, the page quickly acquired some 70,000 followers. Read more…
By Tim Ross, Matthew Moore and Steven Swinford, 28 Jan 2011
The American government secretly backed leading figures behind the Egyptian uprising who have been planning “regime change” for the past three years, The Daily Telegraph has learned.
The American Embassy in Cairo helped a young dissident attend a US-sponsored summit for activists in New York, while working to keep his identity secret from Egyptian state police.
On his return to Cairo in December 2008, the activist told US diplomats that an alliance of opposition groups had drawn up a plan to overthrow President Hosni Mubarak and install a democratic government in 2011.
He has already been arrested by Egyptian security in connection with the demonstrations and his identity is being protected by The Daily Telegraph.
The disclosures, contained in previously secret US diplomatic dispatches released by the WikiLeaks website, show American officials pressed the Egyptian government to release other dissidents who had been detained by the police.
Source: Telegraph UK
On the 27th of January, 2 days after the revolution started, and one day before the famous Friday 28 (The Day of Rage), Western Media reported the surfacing of an Anonymous flyer that gives a blueprint for the revolution. This caught our attention later on, because it negated those who said that there was no “planning” and that the revolution was a spontaneous occurrence.
The presence of such a flyer suggests careful planning, and the full knowledge of what was going to take place. It is simply a recruitment and rallying communiqué and ultimately proves that there were schemers and plotters. Now we are not against the presence of those, but the important question is why didn’t they come out after the revolution? And why is everyone who was involved in the revolution trying to prove that it wasn’t planned?!!
Anyhow, we first picked up the news about the flyer on The Guardian.uk, which wrote of: “Anonymous leaflets circulating in Cairo” that provide “practical and tactical advice for mass demonstrations, confronting riot police, and besieging and taking control of government offices.”
The booklet/flyer was titled “How to revolt cleverly” (كيف تثور بحدائة) and it consisted of 26 pages of tactical advices and black & white illustrations (probably to facilitate photocopying), arranged in a neat and straight layout, the booklet is signed only by: “long live Egypt”.
The booklet also includes aerial photographs with approach routes marked and diagrams explaining crowd formations. It advises demonstrators to wear clothing such as hooded jackets, running shoes, goggles and scarves to protect against teargas (a piece of advice which we received over facebook and proved very handy on the 28th of Jan), and to carry dustbin lids – to ward off baton blows and rubber bullets – first aid kits.
A key point which highlights the degree of preparation was that the booklet instructed recipients to redistribute it by email and photocopy, and not to use social media such as Facebook and Twitter, which (supposedly) were being monitored by the security forces. The booklet asked protesters in Cairo to gather in large numbers in their own neighborhoods first, to avoid getting detected by police forces and state security, and then move towards key installations such the state broadcasting HQ on the Nile-side Corniche and try to take control of it, “in the name of the people”. Other priority targets listed were the presidential palace and police stations in several parts of central Cairo.
This is an article written by Egyptian Activist Hossam el-Hamalawy (Aka 3arabawy) and published on Netherlands Aid blog, April 27, 2011.
It offers a witness evidence that the Revolution was not as Non Violent as the media portrayed it and as some Egyptians (and westerners) like to think, however, the more striking is his opinion on the violence, towards the end of the article, the “activist” justifies & encourages violence against Egyptian Police forces!
Here is 3arabawy’s full article:
“Suez was dubbed as Egypt’s Sidi Bouzid during the 18 day uprising. The city witnessed some of the bloodiest crackdowns by the police, and also some of the fiercest resistance by the protesters. In the video above, shot on the Friday of Anger, January 28, the revolutionaries in Suez after storming the police stations and confiscating the rifles, are using them to fight back the police.
One of the biggest myths invented by the media, tied to this whole Gene Sharp business: the Egyptian revolution was “peaceful.” I’m afraid it wasn’t. The revolution (like any other revolution) witnessed violence by the security forces that led to the killing of at least 846 protesters.
But the people did not sit silent and take this violence with smiles and flowers. We fought back. We fought back the police and Mubarak’s thugs with rocks, Molotov cocktails, sticks, swords and knives. The police stations which were stormed almost in every single neighborhood on the Friday of Anger–that was not the work of “criminals” as the regime and some middle class activists are trying to propagate. Protesters, ordinary citizens, did that.
Egyptians understand well what a police station is for. Every family has a member who got abused, tortured or humiliated by the local police force in his/her neighborhood. And I’m not even talking here about the State Security Police torture factories. I’m talking about the “ordinary police.”
Other symbols of power and corruption were attacked by the protesters and torched down during the uprising. Revolutionary violence is never random. Those buildings torched down or looted largely belonged to Mubarak’s National Democratic Party.
In a number of provinces like in North Sinai and Suez, arms were seized by protesters who used them back against the police to defend themselves. State Security Police office in Rafah and Arish, for example, were blown up using RPGs, hand grenades and automatic rifles, while gas pipelines heading to Jordan and Israel were attacked.
Am I condemning this violence? Totally not. Every single revolution in history witnessed its share of violence. The violence always starts on the hands of the state, not the people. The people are forced to pick up arms or whatever they can put their hands on to protect themselves.
May all our martyrs rest in peace. Their blood will not go in vain.”
Source: Netherlands Aid blog
New AnarchitexT release:
TGD III: كن مصري , the 3rd video in “The Great Deception” Political awareness Series.
This time it is a message of unity, and peace, for a better future… For Egypt.
لم ثرنا في 25 يناير؟
ثرنا ضد الظلم
ثرنا ضد الجهل
ثرنا ضد القهر
لنتذكر دائماً أننا ثرنا
من أجل مصر
لم ثرنا في 25 يناير؟
ثرنا ضد الظلم
ثرنا ضد الجهل
ثرنا ضد القهر
Ref ID: 09CAIRO1977
Date: 2009-10-19 08:03
Origin: Embassy Cairo
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TAGS: PREL PGOV KDEM PHUM EG
SUBJECT: EGYPT: POLITICAL ACTIVISTS SUGGEST CHANGE
UNLIKELY TO COME IN ELECTIONS, URGE CONTINUE U.S. PRESSURE
AND ADVOCATE FOR “TRANSITIONAL GOVERNMENT.”
REF: CAIRO 1140
Classified By: Ambassador Margaret Scobey for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)
1. (C) Key Points
– Political activists at an Ambassador-hosted lunch were pessimistic that the upcoming elections would offer opportunities for real change.
– Most agreed that voter apathy and low voter turnout in previous elections can be explained by the absence of a ”political culture,” pressure from security services, and a lack of confidence that either the NDP or the opposition could effect needed change.
– One participant advocated an opposition boycott to send the message the election process is flawed. Several called for international monitoring. Others advocated for a caretaker government that would lead the transition to democracy.
– The group reflected the general perception that U.S. support for democracy in Egypt has waned. Several participants urged that the U.S. avoid the impression of support for Gamal Mubarak’s succession to the presidency, suggesting any signal would be read as an explicit endorsement.
2. (C) Comment: General pessimism, sometimes veering into cynicism, about the upcoming election season and complaints about possible U.S. support for Gamal Mubarak’s succession are common themes of our engagement with political activists in this context and others. Many are nostalgic for the political opening of 2005 and suggest GoE efforts since then have successfully closed some of that political space. End Comment.
3. (C) Ambassador hosted a lunch October 4 with representatives from opposition political parties, academics and journalists. Visiting National Security Council Senior Director for Global Engagement Pradeep Ramamurthy also joined the lunch. Discussions focused on the state of internal political affairs and the upcoming national election cycle. Participants expressed pessimism that the 2010 parliamentary and 2011 presidential elections present an opportunity for real change. A frequent public commentator on internal political issues and foreign affairs, Dr. Hassan Nafaa, said prospects for change were constrained by recent amendments to the constitution that reduced the role of the judiciary and ”tailored” presidential candidate qualifications to fit Gamal Mubarak. He added that lack of accountability within the current system along with the GoE’s control over the election process hampers internal watchdog efforts.
4. (C) Journalist and human rights activist Hisham Kassem said police scrutiny limits the public’s interest in politics and strips the opposition of its technocrats who fear the effects of their participation on their livelihood. What remains are those who are defiant in the face of these tactics along with those whose politics are limited to “Down with Mubarak” slogans. Kassem also said without a real ”political system,” power is concentrated within a presidency that often leaves the population guessing about its intentions. The state should be pushed to lift its pressure on the opposition and expand freedom of the press. Dr. Hossam Eissa, member of the Nasserite Party and Law Professor at Ain Shams University went further, calling all opposition political parties, including his own, “part of the regime.” He advocated for an opposition boycott of the elections as the best way to send a message that the elections are not truly competitive.
5. (C) Many noted the lack of a political culture. According to a nephew of the former president, Anwar Esmat El-Sadat,
(Note: A former NDP MP, Sadat now leads an NGO and the currently unregistered Reform and Development Party. End
Note.) the lack of a political culture is exacerbated by pressure from the regime and opposition infighting. He called for international observers to help “protect our votes.” Editor of &Democracy8 Magazine (published by the Al-Ahram Center for Strategic Studies) Hala Mustapha called for a “revival of social and political dialogue.”
6. (C) Some suggested a “transitional period” was needed to develop that culture and implement needed reforms. Osama Al Ghazali Harb, former NDP member, leader of the opposition Democratic Front Party and editor of the “Siyassa Dawliyya” (or Foreign Affairs) Magazine published by the Al Ahram Foundation, said that because Egypt lacks a real political system it needs a transitional period to “build it from scratch.” Dr. Eissa said Egypt’s history suggests that change comes from within government and not as a result of external pressure from civil society. He called for a two
year transitional government led by a respected political outsider like Mohammed El Baradei.
7. (C) Participants expressed concern about U.S. democracy promotion efforts and cautioned against support for succession. Osama El Ghazali Harb noted the perception that U.S. support for political activists had waned and told the Ambassador U.S. support for democratization efforts remains critical. This he said includes avoiding the appearance of supporting Gamal Mubarak. Dr. Eissa said he and others had been very concerned about the possibility of a meeting between Gamal Mubarak and President Obama while in Cairo, something they would have seen as an explicit sign of support. Dr. Nafaa also suggested to the Ambassador that the U.S. avoid the appearance of supporting Gamal Mubarak. He added that the U.S. should understand that if Gamal becomes president, it is because he was “imposed not elected.”
8. (C) The Ambassador reiterated throughout the lunch that the current administration had not diminished its concern for democracy promotion, that a non-confrontational approach did not mean that the U.S. had abandoned advocacy, and that funding for civil society continued. The Ambassador also stressed repeatedly that the U.S. would not take a position on who would be the next president of Egypt, but that we would continue to encourage a free, fair, and transparent electoral process.
Reuters, By Marwa Awad and Hugo Dixon
In early 2005, Cairo-based computer engineer Saad Bahaar was trawling the internet when he came across a trio of Egyptian expatriates who advocated the use of non-violent techniques to overthrow strongman Hosni Mubarak. Bahaar, then 32 and interested in politics and how Egypt might change, was intrigued by the idea. He contacted the group, lighting one of the fuses that would end in freedom in Tahrir Square six years later.
The three men he approached — Hisham Morsy, a physician, Wael Adel, a civil engineer by training, and Adel’s cousin Ahmed, a chemist — had all left Egypt for jobs in London.
Inspired by the way Serbian group Otpor had brought down Slobodan Milosevic through non-violent protests in 2000, the trio studied previous struggles. One of their favorite thinkers was Gene Sharp, a Boston-based academic who was heavily influenced by Mahatma Gandhi. The group had set up a webpage in 2004 to propagate civil disobedience ideas in Arabic.
At first, the three young Egyptians’ activities were purely theoretical. But in November 2005, Wael Adel came to Cairo to give a three-day training session on civil disobedience. In the audience were about 30 members of Kefaya, an anti-Mubarak protest group whose name means “enough” in Arabic. Kefaya had gained prominence during the September 2005 presidential elections which Mubarak won by a landslide. During these protests, they had been attacked by thugs and some women members had been stripped naked. Bahaar joined Adel on the course and his career as an underground trainer in non-violent activism was born.
Adel taught activists how to function within a decentralized network. Doing so would make it harder for the security services to snuff them out by arresting leaders. They were also instructed on how to maintain a disciplined non-violent approach in the face of police brutality, and how to win over bystanders. Read more…