President Morsi demands medical attention during court appearance

Kidnapped Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi called on authorities to give him access to medical care during a court appearance on Friday.

Morsi, who has been in jail since he was overthrown in a coup in 2013, demanded that he be admitted to a private hospital at his expense to do the necessary medical examinations, reported Arabic media.

The court reportedly refused his request because Morsi had previously refused to sign the prison doctor’s medical report, an allegation Morsi challenged as false.

“My health condition is in critical condition and deteriorating day after day,” Morsi said in court. “I demand a medical examination at my own expense and under the supervision of specialised doctors. I want to be admitted immediately a private hospital,” Morsi added.

The socialisation of the Egyptian economy in favour of the military clique accelerates

التعقيب على مشاريع الجيش و المزارع السمكية و اثرها على الاقتصاد .

Posted by Emad Elwakil on Sunday, 19 November 2017

Egypt’s military plunder the state’s assets to start new businesses, in a wide variety of sectors, which are both not profitable and drive existing, normally operating, private sector entrepreneurs into the wall.

 

The KRG now backs a united Iraq

Following my earlier post about Iraq coming together under Abadi, Nerchivan Barzani issued a declaration through a government spokesman supporting a united Iraq: “We respect the interpretation of the Supreme Court for Article 1 of the Constitution. At the same time, we affirm our belief that this should be the basis for initiating a comprehensive national dialogue to resolve disputes by applying all constitutional articles’.

Iraq coming back from the brink of annihilation is a geopolitical miracle, although the ground for this success story was laid in Astana and the snowballing cooperation by regional powers over Syria. Progress will continue to be made in unifying by Abadi, partly because of his new national credibility, and partly because everybody now wants a united Iraq and nobody is playing funny games behind the backs of others (not even – right now- in regard to Iraq at least – the US).

The collapse of the Hariri “mansion”

Madawi al-Rasheed writes about the uneasy post-civil war truce between the ‘mansions’ of the various sectarian leaders in Lebanon, in an allusion to the familial structures of medieval Italian city states, and the explosive potential of the mysterious departure to Saudi Arabia and subsequent resignation from the post of Lebanese Prime Minister of the Sunni leader, Saad el-Hariri.

“Today the famous central “Solidaire” area is a dying hub of finance and entertainment beyond the means of most Lebanese. The Solidaire Park is a legacy of the vision of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri (Saad’s father) who represented the Sunnis in Lebanon, as a dual national of both Saudi Arabia and Lebanon, while at the same time nurturing his Saudi Arabian interests. Under post-civil war reconstruction efforts, he emerged as a financial tycoon who, in the neoliberal vein, wiped out small traders and businessmen in favour of global capitalism.

With his assassination in 2005, his son Saad became the face of Sunni power in Lebanon, albeit that this power declined in the face of the rise of Hezbollah. Money earned in Saudi Arabia was translated into philanthropy in Lebanon. Patron-client relations became the core of the Sunni za’amat, leadership, like other sectarian leadership.

Saudi Arabia seems to have lost its historical importance in Lebanon as Iran consolidated its presence there. So the last card Saudi Arabia can play to snub Iran was to summon Saad Hariri, its man in Beirut, to Riyadh where he surprisingly and unexpectedly read his resignation letter on the same night that Mohammed bin Salman started his anti-corruption purge.” Read full article here.

Mass arrests: Replay of Egypt Sept. 1981 in Saudi Arabia

His tool is the new “anti-corruption committee” as Mohamed bin Salman (MbS) arrests Prince Mutaib bin Abdullah, removing him from his post as leader of the National Guard; something he has been itching to do since launching the Yemen War for the sole purpose of consolidating his power over the country’s armed forces.

The new committee puts itself above and beyond the law, it is “exempt from laws, regulations, instructions, orders and decisions while the committee shall perform the following tasks: … the investigation issuance of arrest warrants, travel ban, disclosure and freezing of accounts and portfolios, tracking of funds, assets, and preventing their remittance or transfer by persons and entities who ever they might be. The committee has the right to take any precautionary measures it sees, until they are referred to the investigating authorities or judicial bodies”.

MbS also arrests 10 other princes, as well media moghuls Al-Walid Bin Talal (Rotana), Walid Al Brahim (MBC) and Saleh Kamel (ART), whilst freezing their assets. This puts MbS at the head of all of the Saudi media outlets. His arrest of Bakr bin Laden, and his recall of Saad el-Hariri from Lebanon (the Bin Laden group and Saudi Oger being the Kingdom’s two largest contractors)would appear to be part of MbS’s massive wealth grab. Hariri’s explanation that he is fear for his life in Lebanon, and cannot go back, is cover for the fact that he is under house arrest in Riyadh.

All this follows the arrests of many intellectuals, writers and activists as a pre-emptive measure to hinder potential opposition to new secularisation policies.  While this early phase of arrests was purely political, the quality of wealth grab clearly evident in this second phase points to failure of Riyadh’s Plan A in that regard: the invasion and absorption of Qatar. It would appear that all these arrests have been organised for MbS by operatives of his adviser and confidante, Mohamed bin Zayed of Abu Dhabi, whom he is relying on as an outside force unconnected to Saudi society and therefore not subject to any pressures to resist the crown Prince’s orders.

These events are an ominous replay of September 1981, when Anwar el-Sadat ordered a highly unpopular roundup of more than 1500 people, including many Islamic Jihad members in Egypt, but also the Coptic Pope and other Coptic clergy, intellectuals and activists of all ideological stripes, who were protesting the manner of his headlong peace deal with Israel.

Consuming the world: a hotter, wetter more violent US – and not so gradually

US Climate Science Report

Wuebbles, D.J., D.W. Fahey, K.A. Hibbard, D.J. Dokken, B.C. Stewart, and T.K. Maycock (eds.). U.S. Global Change Research Program, Washington, DC, USA

The climate of the United States is strongly connected to the changing global climate. The statements below highlight past, current, and projected climate changes for the United States and the globe.

Global annually averaged surface air temperature has increased by about 1.8°F (1.0°C) over the last 115 years (1901–2016). This period is now the warmest in the history of modern civilization. The last few years have also seen record-breaking, climate-related weather extremes, and the last three years have been the warmest years on record for the globe. These trends are expected to continue over climate timescales.

This assessment concludes, based on extensive evidence, that it is extremely likely that human activi­ties, especially emissions of greenhouse gases, are the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century. For the warming over the last century, there is no convincing alternative explanation supported by the extent of the observational evidence.

In addition to warming, many other aspects of global climate are changing, primarily in response to hu­man activities. Thousands of studies conducted by researchers around the world have document­ed changes in surface, atmospheric, and oceanic temperatures; melting glaciers; diminishing snow cover; shrinking sea ice; rising sea levels; ocean acidification; and increasing atmospheric water vapor.

For example, global average sea level has risen by about 7–8 inches since 1900, with almost half (about 3 inches) of that rise occurring since 1993. Human-caused climate change has made a substan­tial contribution to this rise since 1900, contributing to a rate of rise that is greater than during any preceding century in at least 2,800 years. Global sea level rise has already affected the United States; the incidence of daily tidal flooding is accelerating in more than 25 Atlantic and Gulf Coast cities.

Global average sea levels are expected to continue to rise—by at least several inches in the next 15 years and by 1–4 feet by 2100. A rise of as much as 8 feet by 2100 cannot be ruled out. Sea level rise will be higher than the global average on the East and Gulf Coasts of the United States.

Changes in the characteristics of extreme events are particularly important for human safety, infrastruc­ture, agriculture, water quality and quantity, and natural ecosystems. Heavy rainfall is increasing in intensity and frequency across the United States and globally and is expected to continue to in­crease. The largest observed changes in the United States have occurred in the Northeast.

A new totalitarian adventure in the Arabian desert

A precog being inducted into Saudi citizenship

Mohamed bin Salman has called for ‘Moderate Islam’ in Saudi Arabia. The words will mean nothing and will be the cause of much social instability, until some kind of process has taken place, where Saudi society has come to an understanding. Simply introducing a secular lifestyle into a previously rigid religious environment would be explosive. However, if a new process of dialogue about Saudi religious reformation has begun, the signs are not good, given that a large number of activists, clerics, professionals and even poets, not all of whom are radicals or critics of his new vision, have been jailed by Bin Salman in the latest wave of detentions a couple of months ago.

As Madawi al-Rashed explains: “For a religious reformation to take hold, it has to be the product of debates within Islamic circles, completely free from state control from above. Liberation theology is not always born in the courts of autocratic monarchs and princelings. But the prince has in mind something else, a royal theology that criminalises criticism, dissent, and even peaceful activism.”

A harbinger of what is to come is the scathing attack by the Supreme Council of Muslim Scholars (SCM), the highest religious body in Saudi Arabia, on the International Union of Muslim Scholars (ISU), a non-governmental organization headed by Dr. Yusuf Qaradawi, last Thursday. The SCM, under pressure from Bin Salman called the ISU a “partisan” organisation, directed by “political agenda”. If, by political agenda, the Saudi body meant the openness of the ISU to pluralism and democracy, then they would have been right. Now the Saudi body, ever seeking royal pleasure, and desperately trying to maintain a role for itself in the new Saudi totalitarian adventure launched by Bin Salman, has warned Saudis to stay away from the ISU and all organisations outside the Kingdom like it.

While the religious police in Saudi Arabia (the institution of which contradicts the most basic rights under the Qur’an) will be prohibited from monitoring Saudis indulging their inclinations, they will now acquire a new role in monitoring their political thoughts. Given Bin Salman’s science fiction vision of the future, he will probably engage Tom Cruise as an adviser to train “precogs” for the Kingdom’s very own “pre-crime” unit. Presumably the SCM will be engaged in the difficult task of generating the “majority reports” from conflicting precognitions as fatwas.

 

Political prisoners in Egypt are really all convicted burglars

It remarkable how all European governments are unwilling to condemn Sisi, and how even Emily Thornberry dodged the question posed to her about him in an interview with David Hearst and Peter Oborne, who asked: “Irrespective of his record in office, Mohammed Morsi is Egypt’s first democratically elected president and he is languishing in prison along with over 40,000 other political prisoners. Egypt appears to be under absolutely no pressure about any of this. Don’t you as a democratically elected politician feel some responsibility to him?

Thornberry replies: I hear what you saying. I have been focusing more on the potential changes in the law, introducing 15 year sentences for being homosexual in Egypt. When I have been thinking about Egypt I have been concerned about those sort of changes and the way [Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-] Sisi is tightening his grip on Egypt and the way that Egypt is changing and not necessarily for the better. The way in which the British government seem to be intensely relaxed about Sisi and where he is taking the country – it brings you back to my central theme that foreign policy should be about more than contracts.

Thornberry wants to see a recognition of Palestine, which is fair enough. However, even if Palestine is recognised by a British Labour government, it is unlikely to lead to a real state. On the other hand, democracy in the largest Arab country by far would lead to a seriously new reality in the Middle East. Perhaps that’s what she wants to avoid. But, perhaps that’s being too unkind: clearly, being antagonistic towards Sisi, Israel’s policeman, in the light of pushing for more Palestinian rights and a relaxation of the siege of Gaza, requires biting one’s tongue on the Sisi question.