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EGYPT ARMING WHILE REGIME IS SHAKING

June 21, 2001

"What Has Happened To The World?" Confused Egyptian Prison Guard

MID-EAST REALITIES - www.MiddleEast.Org - Washington - 6/20: Arab States, including Egypt, are arming at a growing pace. Even combined they are still no match to defeat Israel. But their detterence capabilities are growing, they might be able to seriously bloody Israel in years ahead, and this whole situation is one more factor propelling the Israeli Generals, foremost among them Ariel Sharon, to ponder the risks of a deadly strike now upon the Palestinians, even at the risk of regional war, rather than waiting for a day when the situation might be even more problematical and dangerous for them.

At the same time the Mubarak Regime is showing growing signs of confusion and desperation.. For years the Egyptian intelligentsia remained silent as the Egyptian State used near barbaric means of ruthless suppression and torture against nationalists of Islamic orientation. A police state of fear and lawlessness has come to characterize the underpinnings of the regime. Now far milder but nevertheless severe repression has come to a prominent member of their own circles -- Saad Eddin Ibrahim -- and the message is clear to all that anyone who speaks up and opposes the regime should fear for the knock at the door. As the New York Times article below suggests but does not say the Egyptian Secret Police and the Nazi Storm Trooers of yesteryear have very much in common -- and not just because S.S.I. is reminiscent of S.S.

EGYPT BUYS MISSILES FROM NORTH KOREA
By ELI J. LAKE and RICHARD SALE

WASHINGTON, June 18 (UPI) -- Questions about Egypt's efforts to acquire advanced missile technology from North Korea are likely to make the coming visit of Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmad Maher el-Sayed's to Washington an awkward one, administration officials and intelligence sources said Monday.

Despite denials from Egyptian officials, including President Hosni Mubarak himself, the latest U.S. intelligence reports suggest Egypt is close to obtaining the technology for the No Dong class missiles from North Korea, rockets with a range of 800 miles -- far greater than the best Scuds in the Egyptian arsenal, which can travel at most 300 miles.

A growing chorus of U.S. administration officials and lawmakers has privately raised concerns about Egypt renewing military ties with North Korea, and the sources said the Bush administration is likely to press Maher al-Sayed on this issue.

One U.S. intelligence official says recent reports estimate there are between 50 to 300 North Korean technicians on the ground in Egypt already working on the missile program. The source tells United Press International the Egyptians will have "wide exposure" to North Korean technology as a result of the program.

Another U.S. intelligence official tells UPI, "Egypt is pretty much going to get what Iran got" from the North Koreans. In Dec. 1993, Iran and North Korea signed an agreement to build a production line capacity for the No Dong inside Iran, though that missile had only been tested in 1993 and deployments were much later.

In an interview Friday, Egypt's ambassador in Washington dismissed the allegations his country was trying to attain the missile technology. "The allegations that we are developing a joint project with the North Koreans are false," Nabil Fahmy told UPI.

"We are denying the No Dong program." But other Washington analysts suspect things are different. Anthony Cordesman, the Arleigh Burke Chair for Strategic Assessment at the Center for Strategic International Studies in Washington, said he has reason to believe the Egyptians are pursuing some joint military projects with the North Korea. "The missile I think they have been working on with North Korea is along the lines of the Scud class with a range of about 500 kilometers (310 miles). But I've seen reports of more ambitious projects."

North Korea has missile arrangements with Iran, Libya and Syria -- three states the U.S. considers sponsors of terrorism. But Egypt is regarded as one of the leading American allies in the Arab world, and receives U.S. military aid approaching $1.3 billion a year.

The issue of Cairo's interest in North Korea's missile program has surfaced in Washington just when the Bush administration has signaled its intention of resuming bi-lateral contacts with Pyongyang that had been suspended in January when President Bush took office.

Bush had stated publicly that the North Korean leadership could not be trusted as an interlocutor. But earlier this month, the administration announced that it was prepared to resume talks on a broad range of issues including troop reduction in the demarcation zone separating the two Koreas, and halting Pyongyang's missile development. The North Koreans also agreed to a resumption of talks.

Last Wednesday, Jack Pritchard, the U.S. envoy to the Korean peace talks met with the North Korea ambassador to the U.N., Li Hyong Chol, to discuss the modalities of further talks.

Egypt's military relationship with North Korea goes back to the early 70s, when Pyongyang sent an air battalion to Egypt as a sign of solidarity in its war with Israel in 1973.

But the relationship intensified after then-President Anwar Sadat signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1978 -- angering Egypt's Soviet patrons. North Korea stepped in to fill the gap by providing Egypt with much needed spare parts. Egypt's military museum in Cairo is alleged to have been designed by North Korean architects.

The latest unclassified CIA report to Congress on the acquisition missile technology says, "Egypt continues its effort to develop and produce ballistic missiles with the assistance of North Korea. This activity is part of a long-running program of ballistic missile cooperation between these two countries."

Ambassador Fahmy, however, dismisses the rather broad characterization, but confirms that there were such contacts five years ago. "The unclassified report talks about stuff from five years ago, it was a limited program and that's where it stopped," he says.

Still, Congress and the administration clearly need to be reassured. Congressional sources tell UPI that when Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon visited Congress in March he told an informal group of House and Senate lawmakers that Egypt was trying to acquire advanced Scud class missiles from North Korea.

Richard Murphy, former U.S. Middle East negotiator and senior Middle East Fellow with the Council on Foreign Relations warned "Not all intelligence reports are true." But he added, "if these reports are true, it could not provide Israel with a better excuse to use its own highy effective Jerico medium range missies."

One House staff member told UPI, "Given the concerns about North Korea's activities in the proliferation of ballistic missiles and the fact that theater missile defense was designed to counter that threat -- something like this does not help Egypt's image."

Indeed, Egypt's new foreign minister will be arriving in Washington Wednesday when questions are being raised about the size of the $1.3 billion annual U.S. military assistance package for Cairo.

In budget hearings in May, Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., then the chairman of the Senate panel charged with appropriating the foreign aid budget questioned Secretary of State Colin Powell on the size of the U.S. contribution to Egypt's military.

Powell countered that he thought it to be a sound investment. Other groups too, including Israel's powerful lobby in Washington, have privately begun expressing similar reservations questions about military aid to Egypt, according to several Congressional staff members. The military assistance package goes mainly for modernizing conventional forces liked armored and air divisions -- but not towards developing ballistic missiles.

MUBARAK REGIME IS NOW ON TRIAL IN EGYPT

By MARY ANNE WEAVER
[New York Times, 17 June]: Late one evening last summer, Saad Eddin Ibrahim, a prominent Egyptian-American civil rights advocate and one of the Arab world's leading social scientists, was working in his study - a spacious one, on a quiet, tree-lined street in the suburb of Maadi, one of Cairo's most fashionable neighborhoods. The room was bursting with books, stacks of papers, family photographs and half-finished cups of tea. On that particular evening, the 61-year-old professor of sociology was alone in the house: his American-born wife, Barbara, was out of town; his son, Amir, was out with friends; and his daughter, Randa, was at her own home with her husband and Saad Eddin's second, recently born grandchild. It seemed unusually quiet, the professor thought to himself. Evening prayers had recently ended at the adjacent Victory College mosque, and the worshipers had left. With their departure, all noise, all sounds, seemed to have come to an end.

A partly bald and bearded man of medium height and build, and an outspoken proponent of his views, he ensconced himself on the sofa and began to read. He may have fallen asleep, or simply been deep in thought; he can't quite recall. Whichever it was, he gradually became aware of a persistent drumlike pounding on his front door. Sleepily, he made his way down to the entrance foyer, opened the door and was abruptly jolted completely awake. A dozen armed guards from State Security Investigation, or S.S.I., stormed into the house, as 40 or so others cordoned it off. Some raided his study and eventually carted off scores of boxes of files and books, his computer - and the family safe. Others surrounded him. "Come with us," one of them said. "Come with us. You're under arrest."

"I looked out of the door," Saad Eddin said a few weeks ago, as we sat in the open-air cafe of my Cairo hotel one late April afternoon. "It was like the siege of Stalingrad. Armored cars surrounded the house. Guards were posted everywhere. Why had so many people come to arrest one harmless intellectual? Why didn't they just make a phone call? I would have come."

It was a little before midnight when Saad Eddin Ibrahim was bundled into an armored car and driven about three miles, high above Cairo, into the Mokattam Hills to the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies. Established by Saad Eddin 12 years before - and named for the great medieval Islamic scholar - the center had emerged as a leading exponent of democratic reform and intellectual freedom in the Arab world.

As the armored car continued to climb the sinuous mountain road, Saad Eddin glanced out of the window. "I could see the whole motorcade," he said. "There were at least 10 cars ahead of me and another 10 behind: bright lights in the darkness. There are so many layers, so many conflicting images, in all of this, and it was that night that I first saw the contrast, the physical part - two starkly different images, one romantic, one harsh. Caravans in the desert, I thought, as I looked at the twinkling lights, or the carts of death, during the French Revolution, taking their victims to the guillotine."

It was June 30, the last day of the fiscal year, and Nadia Abdel Nour, the financial manager of the Ibn Khaldun Center, had worked late that night supervising the closing of the books. A genteel, attractive woman of 50 or so, with luminous dark eyes, she is a Sudanese refugee and the sole support of her large refugee family. At around 8 p.m., as she waited at a nearby bus stop, her neatly ordered world began to fall apart.

"They grabbed me from behind, blindfolded me, threw a bag over my head," she later said. She had no idea who they were. She was terrified. "I thought I was being kidnapped!" she said with a shudder.

"When we arrived at Ibn Khaldun, I found her there," Saad Eddin said. "She was outside the center. She was sobbing and shaking. She was still blindfolded. She had no idea where she was, or why."

As Saad Eddin and Nadia Abdel Nour watched in bewilderment, dozens of S.S.I. officers began tearing the Ibn Khaldun Center apart. Others surrounded the building, blocking all access roads. Still others took up positions around it, their automatic assault weapons drawn. Many of their faces were partly concealed by visored helmets, and it was impossible to know who they were.

All across Cairo that evening, lawyers and economists, students and social workers were arrested and taken off to high-security prisons. By the following week, 28 officials and employees of the Ibn Khaldun Center, along with representatives of the League of Egyptian Women Voters, had been swept up. Most remained in prison for two months. During that time, not one of them - not even Saad Eddin Ibrahim - was charged. They were held under Egypt's draconian emergency laws, which President Hosni Mubarak has renewed every three years for the 20 years of his presidency.

It was nearly dawn when Saad Eddin Ibrahim and his 20-car security escort were ushered through the gates of S.S.I. headquarters -- where he was held through the following night. For 14 hours, Saad Eddin was interrogated about his work, his public lectures and his dozen or so books. Interrogators came and went from the windowless spartan room. Some were from the office of the public prosecutor, others from S.S.I. After that ordeal, he was transferred to the high-security section of the Tora prison complex in South Cairo, one of the country's most dreaded detention sites. He would spend six weeks there before being released on bail.

"My first interrogation ended at about 8 o'clock that night," Saad Eddin said. "It was just twilight when I arrived at Tora Mazra'at. An elderly, white-haired police corporal was sitting at a desk. He peered at me over his half-glasses: 'Dr. Saad Eddin Ibrahim?'

"I thought he was reading a newspaper, but it was too early for that, and then he said: 'I'm Ali Hamdan. I was a private here 20 years ago, when you came to do research. It was a long time ago.' He paused for a moment and then he asked, 'What has happened to the world?'

"I saw the human face of Egypt that night in this old man," Saad Eddin said. "Previously, I had seen the brutal face of the state. There have been so many faces of Egypt in all of this, so many threads. There I stood in handcuffs, and I had to comfort this old man."

UP TO 300 N. KOREANS IN EGYPT FOR MISSILE PROGRAM

WASHINGTON - World Tribune, 21 June: Cairo is proceeding with plans to buy North Korean missile engines and up to 300 North Korean technicians are in Egypt for the missile program according to new intelligence reports.

The engines are for the No-Dong missiles, which has a range of between 1,000 and 1,300 kilometers.

The number of North Koreans are said to have increased over the last two years both in Egypt and in neighboring Libya. Much of Egyptian missile development is said to be taking place in Libya, Middle East Newsline reports.

The latest intelligence reports, the officials said, undermine Egypt's credibility and some members of Congress are threatening to review all U.S. aid to Cairo unless the No Dong sale is terminated. The issue was raised last month by then chairman of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee Sen. Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmad Maher has arrived to a frosty welcome from the Bush administration and Congress due to the reports that Cairo has accelerated cooperation with North Korea in the development of intermediate-range weapons.

Maher is scheduled to meet U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell today and National Security Council Adviser Condoleezza Rice and congressional leaders on June 22. This is his first official visit to the United States since he became foreign minister.

Officials said Egypt has pledged that it does not cooperate with North Korea and said some of Washington's allegations refer to cooperation that ended in 1996.

Still, Maher will not be extensively questioned regarding the North Korean missile sale. U.S. officials said Maher, who assumed office last month, is not regarded as the right address for such concerns by Washington.

Instead, the officials said, the issue will be raised when Egyptian Defense Minister Hussein Tantawi arrives in Washington later this year. Tantawi is expected to discuss Egyptian request for F-16s and other U.S. weapons.


June 2001


Magazine






TURKEY HEADING TOWARD "SOCIAL EXPLOSION"...i.e., "REVOLUTION"
(June 30, 2001)
In geostrategic and military terms, the unnamed U.S.-Israel-Turkish military alliance that emerged full-blown during the last decade -- of course with the Turks using the "peace process" as the excuse for such close relations between Turkey and Israel -- was one of the most important developments.

WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTIONS EMERGING
(June 29, 2001)
In a sense there is an arms race under way at this time of a different kind -- a race for whether weapons of mass destruction will be used in a serious and ongoing way should a new war break out first in the Subcontinent over Kashmir or in the Middle East over Palestine.

LABOR AND LIKUD MORE ALIKE THAN DIFFERENT - MER FLASHBACK
(June 29, 2001)
Long before what was to happen with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak (remember him?), MER was informing who he really was and what to really expect. Same with regard to Shimon Peres. Expect the same cutting-edge information and analysis in the months ahead.

Washington Scene: THE HISTORICAL MOMENT
(June 27, 2001)
The Middle East region totters now between further repression and oppression, terrorism and war. The outcome in the short term is indeterminate of course. But the winds and directions are clear; however much camaflouged by the politicians and the usually gullible mass media.

THREATCON DELTA ORDERED TODAY
(June 22, 2001)
One day they will probably get Osama bin-Laden, former confident of King Fahd in Saudi Arabia, former CIA asset against the once mighty Soviet Empire, now arch nemesis of the American Empire.

"ALGERIA IS IN CRISIS"
(June 22, 2001)
"The Battle of Algiers" left North Africa biggest country terribly bloodied and traumatized. This time it was French imperialism and the French military that did the dirty horrifying deeds.

EGYPT ARMING WHILE REGIME IS SHAKING
(June 21, 2001)
Arab States, including Egypt, are arming at a growing pace. Even combined they are still no match to defeat Israel. But their detterence capabilities are growing, they might be able to seriously bloody Israel in years ahead...

ARAFAT'S FLUNKIES
(June 20, 2001)
There are many reasons the Palestinian people are suffering so terribly, worse by the year in fact, and are now endangered by the possibility of a second "nakba" (disaster).

"THE SECOND HALF OF 1948"
(June 20, 2001)
Official declarations and many reports in the Israeli media indicate that the Israeli military and political leadership are aiming, eventually, at a total destruction of the Palestinian authority, and, with it, the process of Oslo, which is now dominantly considered by them a 'historical mistake'.

TELEGRAPHING WHAT I S TO COME
(June 19, 2001)
Arafat had two roles he had been assigned. That's why none other than former "terrorist" Arafat was the most frequent visitor to the White House during the years 1993 through 2000.

SHARON'S LONG MARCH: NEXT TO WASHINGTON THEN TO THE ATTACK
(June 19, 2001)
Ariel Sharon is proving what others before him, including Generals Patton and MacArthur of American legend, learned about modern warfare. There's a heavy messure of political theatrics and personal legend involved in making war, more so now than ever in this age of instant TV and the Intenet.

SHARON Coming To US Again To Coordinate War Plans
(June 19, 2001)
Sharon is coming to the States again next week. Only a firm "absolutely not" from the Americans is likely now to prevent much further brutal subjugation of the Palestinians; quite possibly the exiling again of Yasser Arafat.

SON OF IMPORTANT ISRAELI FAMILY REFUSES OCCUPATION MILITARY SERVICE
(June 17, 2001)
Coordinated non-violent but serious civil disobedience -- there in the Middle East, in Europe, and in the United States -- that is what today's situation desperately calls out for.

ARIEL SHARON - WAR CRIMINAL?
(June 15, 2001)
Years ago the former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kurt Waldheim, was brought before a mock international court through a joint effort of Home Box Office (HBO) in the USA and a major British TV network. The question before the court was whether Kurt Waldheim was possibly guilty of war crimes ...

PREPARING FOR DESTRUCTION
(June 15, 2001)
"If a cease-fire does indeed take hold, then all the better... If Arafat rejects the document or professes to accept it, but does not fulfill his part of the bargain, Israel will win more points in the court of world opinion and a more conducive political backdrop will be created for a military response to Palestinian violence."

ALGERIANS FIRE INTO DEMONSTRATING CROWDS TODAY
(June 14, 2001)
The Berbers in Algeria, the brutal civil war in Sudan, the Palestinians in the once Holy Land, the Kurds in Iraq and Turkey, the ongoing Kashmir crisis -- all conflicts exploding throughout the greater Middle East region today in 2001, all conflicts the legacy of Western colonial policies of yesteryear and American imperial policies of today.

MARCH TO WAR CONTINUES: ISRAEL WARNS IRAN AGAIN
(June 14, 2001)
There are major historical and military reasons why Ehud Barak and Bill Clinton (representing of course huge constituencies who at the time pushed them to pursue the policies they did) pressed Yasser Arafat so hard to sign an agreement at Camp David.

THE SO-CALLED "AGREEMENT"
(June 13, 2001)
There is no real "agreement". There is a dictate. Yasser Arafat is in no position anymore to do much other than what his American handlers tell him to do; a day of reckoning he brought on himself by so many mistakes and so much corruption over such a long time.

Another Muslim Rep Foolishly Plays To The Cameras On Behalf of the Regimes
(June 13, 2001)
A week ago outside the State Department one of the latest Muslim organization reps to grab for the cameras -- Khalid Turaani -- declared in loud tones how the time had finally come for "civil disobedience" and how he and the other leaders of the assembled Muslim "client organizations" were going to get arrested in a peaceful protest ...

HASHEMITE KINGDOM CLOSES BORDERS TO PALESTINIANS
(June 13, 2001)
The Hashemite Regime has always, right from the start, been in deep collusion with the Israelis and since World War II with the CIA. This latest step to close off Jordan to Palestinians -- to essentially put a seal on the jar which now contains the Palestinians ...

CIA TELLS ARAFAT WHAT HE HAS TO DO AND WHAT IT WILL DO FOR HIM
(June 12, 2001)
When the Director of the CIA is himself involved so extensively, goes on site half way around the world for a lengthy stay, and the situation is so critical he has to publicly acknowledge his role ...

CLOVIS MAKSOUD DID IT TWENTY YEARS AGO, APPEARING WITH SHIMON PERES
(June 11, 2001)
Those who know Raghida Dergham know what she is, and its certainly not a truly independent journalist. She's been an opportunist for a very long time, and she's used her sexuality to climb the ladder with backing from one influential Arab diplomat or royal along the way for a long time now.

CALAMITY AHEAD
(June 10, 2001)
"A whole nation is now huddled around one tribal bonfire to lament its bitter fate, mourn its dead and ignore the dead of the other side. As usual, it views itself as the victim, turns the enemy into Satan and waits, inactive and bravely unthinking, for the calamity that is about to befall it and for which it is in no small measure to blame."

WAR POSSIBLE WARNS TOP SAUDI
(June 10, 2001)
Normally one of the last places one would turn for truthfulness, integrity, and information would be the Saudi royal family. Currently headed by a former playboy who drank, gambled, and womanized his life away in Beirut and London -- before assuming the throne -- it is the Saudi "royal family which epitomizes the "client regime" realities that have so fractured, weakened, and prostrated the whole region once known as "the Arab world."

CHRISTIAN LEADERS: WRONG TIME, WRONG ADVICE, WRONG REASONS
(June 8, 2001)
"Be assured of our prayers for you and the President and all others in the Administration as you seek to forge a fair and just policy for the two peoples and three faiths who share a common religious heritage in the land we hold as holy."

THE CRUEL REGIMES OF ARABDOM
(June 7, 2001)
There are huge cultural gulfs between East and West, old world and new world. And of course the West is extraordinarily dominant these days not only it terms of financial and military might, but also in terms of cultural influence and "moral" standards.

SHARON'S RISE
(June 7, 2001)
"In reality the Zionist and Hashemite leaderships continue to plot how to control and repress the Palestinians in ever more crafty and ever more duplicitous ways."

ARAFAT 4 YEARS AGO - MER FLASHBACK
(June 6, 2001)
Last year MER first carried information about the increasingly close CIA, Shinbet, and Mossad connections with Yasser Arafat's "Palestinian Authority".

MUSLIM ORGS EMBARRASS THEMSELVES AT STATE DEPT
(June 5, 2001)
With much press fanfare (they just love to play to the cameras) leaders of half a dozen Muslim American groups held a press conference gathering across from the State Department today.

DESPITE THE LULL, WAR CLOUDS LOOM
(June 4, 2001)
Despite the lull, there are many ominous signs of impending major attacks against the occupied Palestinians about to take place; and there is a real possibility of regional war.

EGYPTIANS THREATEN WAR!
(June 4, 2001)
When the American Secretary of State cancels long-planned foreign travel and publicly warns of the "abyss" from which "there may no return" you can bet the situation behind-the-scenes is far more dangerous and explosive than is publicly realized.

SHARON'S HAWKS PLAN FOR WAR
(June 3, 2001)
Peter Beaumont, foreign affairs editor, reports on Israel's growing mood for full-scale hostilities in the aftermath of 17 deaths in a nightclub suicide bomb attack

24-HOURS AND COUNTING
(June 2, 2001)
"Americans should not travel to Gaza at the present time and those who live there should depart to a safer location when they can do so." U.S. Embassy, Israel

HATED RAJOUB GETS READY
(June 2, 2001)
With the days of Yasser Arafat maybe coming to an end one way or another, with Feisal Husseini passed from the scene, with the other Palestinian tough guys bottled up in Gaza, the frontrunner strong man to "control" the Palestinian people throughout the West Bank and Jerusalem appears to be Jibril Rajoub.

ARAFAT'S LEGACY
(June 2, 2001)
Yasser Arafat was hired, courted, and well-paid to control his own people and lead them, however much they tried to resist, to the Apartheid-style arrangement the Israelis always had in mind with the so-called "Oslo Peace Process".

ISRAELIS PLANNING BLITZKRIEG?
(June 1, 2001)
For a long time now we have been desperately warning about what the true Israeli intentions are. We have also been warning that the Palestinians are not at all prepared for these eventualities, neither with the terrible leadership provided by the "Palestinian Authority" nor for the world-wide information and public relations battle that accompanies all major developments in our world these days.




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