Author Archives: Omar

Omar

About Omar

I graduated from the University of Cambridge in economics. My special interests were social choice theory and monetary theory. I am a postgraduate of the School of Oriental and African Studies with a doctorate in monetary economics 1984. I left academic studies to work in the financial sector for a number of years (CEO Moseley Securities), and then to manage companies in the industrial sector in the Middle-East (CEO Egyptian Cotton Company). My work in the Middle-East led to a change of path to politics in that area since 2000. Since 2012 I have written articles on politics for current affairs journals, under my own name and under pseudonyms. My area of special academic interest is the idea of instrumental rationality, its use in the development of economic and social theories, especially neoliberal constructions, and the impact of these theories on our political life, on which subject I am writing a book. Parts of the book are appearing in various academic journals, beginning with Max Weber Studies vol. 16 (2).

Egypt blocks Algerian humanitarian-aid convoy into Gaza

Egyptian authorities had stopped an Algerian humanitarian-aid convoy from crossing into the Gaza Strip from Sinai, a Palestinian NGO said Friday.”Egypt’s decision to block the entry of the aid convoy is very unfortunate and does not reflect the positive spirit that has recently characterized Gaza-Egypt relations,” the National Committee for Breaking the Siege of Gaza said in a press statement.

On Friday, Egypt re-closed its border with the Gaza Strip after having opened it to Palestinian pilgrims for the last four days for their travel to Saudi cities of Mecca and Medina, Gaza’s border authority said.

Blockaded by Israel by air, land and sea since 2007, the Gaza Strip has seven border crossings linking it to the outside world. Six of these are controlled by Israel, while the seventh — the Rafah crossing — is controlled by Egypt, which has kept it tightly sealed for the most part since the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected leader, in a 2013 military coup

Remember Raba’a al-‘Adawiyya and Nahda

Remember how on 14 August 2013, Egyptian security forces raided two camps of protesters in Cairo: one at al-Nahda Square and a larger one at Rabaa al-Adawiya Square.

On November 14, FMA head Dr. Hisham Abdelhamid held a press conference and announced that the final death-toll for Rab’a was 627, including 377 bodies autopsied at the official morgue, 167 bodies identified in Iman Mosque Rab’a Square and another 83 bodies that were taken to different hospitals around Cairo. The quasi-official National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) released a report on the Rab’a dispersal in March 2014, in which it cited the figure of 624 civilians killed.

These figures, though, ignore compelling evidence of additional uncounted bodies in morgues and hospitals across Cairo documented by Human Rights Watch researchers and Egyptian human rights lawyers on August 14 and in the days immediately following the Rab’a dispersal. Based on an extensive review of evidence, which compared death lists put out both by the official FMA and quasi-official NCHR and human rights lawyers and other survivors, Human Rights Watch documented 817 deaths in the Rab’a dispersal alone. Human Rights Watch also reviewed evidence of a possible 246 additional deaths, documented by survivors and civil society groups. This evidence, in addition to credible reports of additional bodies taken directly to hospitals and morgues without accurate record or known identity, and individuals still missing from Rab’a, it is likely that over 1,000 protesters were killed in Rab’a alone.

Of course this count omits the bodies burned to cinders with flamethrowers and the many dead picked up by bulldozer sweeps and dumped in landfill on army land on the Suez road.

Tensions suddenly erupt between Saudi society and UAE anti-Islamic strategy

Abdel-Aziz bin Fahd has reacted strongly to UAE Ambassador Otaiba’s announcement that the UAE seeks secular government to be installed throughout the Arabian peninsula, which was clearly aimed at pushing Mohamed bin Salman (MbS) to take yet another leap in the dark by distancing himself from the Wahhabi establishment. Ex-King Fahd’s son said that ‘… we will die before we will allow our religion to be sidelined’. Given the powerful hold Mohamed bin Zayed (MbZ) of the UAE has over MbS, Otaiba’s announcement was not only a brazen attack on the Saudi establishment but a clear indication that MbS seems helpless in the face of UAE machinations, which is extraordinary for someone holding all the reins of power in Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, behind UAE Ambassador to Washington Otaiba’s statements about “secular” government, which upset Abdul-Aziz bin Fahd lies the influence of the UAE, or more precisely Abu Dhabi, in the US. Ziad Jilani and Alex Emmons discuss evidence of the shady relationships of the UAE with Beltway think-tanks: ‘One of the documents obtained by The Intercept [from ‘GlobalLeaks hackers of UAE Ambassador Otaiba] was an invoice from the Center for New American Security, an influential national security think tank founded in 2007 by alumni from the Clinton administration. The invoice, dated July 12, 2016, billed the UAE embassy $250,000 for a paper on the legal regime governing the export of military-grade drones. It was signed by Michele Flournoy, a senior Pentagon official under President Barack Obama; Hillary Clinton was widely expected to name Flournoy as her secretary of defense. Flournoy co-founded CNAS and, in addition to outside work as a management consultant, currently serves as the think tank’s CEO.’

They continue: ‘The UAE has one of the most repressive governments in the world. The Gulf dictatorship brutally cracks down on internal dissent and enables abusive conditions for its massive migrant labor force. It also plays a key role in the bloody war in Yemen, running a network of torture prisons in the “liberated” parts of the country. That makes it all the more shocking that the UAE is so rarely criticized by leading U.S. think tanks, who not only ignore the Gulf dictatorship’s repression, but give a privileged platform to its ambassador, Yousef Al-Otaiba. Otaiba is a deeply influential voice in U.S. foreign policy circles, and is known in Washington for using his pocketbook to recruit allies.’ Read their full article here.

Normalising extra-judicial killings of opposition youth in Egypt

The Egyptian Ministry of Interior Ministry is no longer interested in covering up extra-judicial killings in firefight scenarios as has been the case up until now. The killings in cold blood are now blatant and the Egyptian government officials involved are unapologetic.

The first such incident involved the discovery of student Tharwat Sameh last Monday on a desert road near Cairo whose body clearly displayed the ugly imprints of torture, a mere two days after his arrest in October 6 City. The second involved the simple announcement by the Interior Minister of the “liquidation” of Omar Abdel Baki, charged according to state newspapers for demonstrating and incitement to violence.

These incidents represent an unprecedented escalation in the cases of physical liquidation of dissidents which have totalled 222 since January. The gross affront to any form of decency by the Egyptian junta has grown apace since the events surrounding the torture and summary execution of Italian student Giulio Regeni attracted little comment or response from the EU and the US, who continue to blindly back the junta. This impunity is the direct cause of the new hellish environment. 

But enough is enough and the call by lawyer Haytham Abu Khalil to increase external pressure on the Egyptian Junta for its crimes against humanity comes at a crucial juncture.

أهمية أعادة المصلين للأقصى و هزيمة الخطة الإسرائلية

في وقت أن الشرق الأوسط في حالة فوضى و أن التشرذم بين العرب أدى إلى نتيجة أنهم أصبحوا عاجزين تماما و أن الأردن ليس قادرة على قيام بمسؤولياتها, الشعب الفلسطيني قام لوحده بالدفاع عن المقدسات و على رمز العدالة و الاستقلال الأساسي في منطقتنا و في العالم

The bubble and the reckoning

Benjamin A Smith writes: This is the “everything bubble,” where a broad-based collection of stocks are just plain expensive. In most cases, not eye-poppingly expensive like we saw in internet stocks two decades ago. However, it’s expensive enough that collectively, the market is the second priciest on record.

A widely-followed indicator confirms as such. The “CAPE” ratio is an acronym for “Cyclically Adjusted P/E” ratio. It compares a stock’s price performance relative to earnings over a 10-year period. It’s highly regarded because it smooths out earnings volatility and adjusts for inflation. Right now, it’s screaming “sell.”

In the history of the stock market, the CAPE ratio has only been more expensive between June 1997 to September 2001. It’s topped over 30 now, breaking even the gaga days of the 1920’s mania. Along with it, the “Panic-Euphoria Model,” which is the S&P 500 forward P/E-to-volatility ratio, is also at its second highest point in history, showing how euphoric investors are really feeling. By almost any measure, the market is historically expensive. (Source: “Probably Nothing,” Zero Hedge, June 18, 2017.)

Yet, investors seem to be sleepwalking their way into unreality. Record inflows into U.S. equities keep occurring, allowing this magic levitation ride to push forward. Sell-inducing volatility surges only last a session or two, then die off. U.S. stock have climbed the biggest wall of worry in history, and show no signs of quitting. Equity overvaluation, the threat of trade wars, tepid growth, record public debt…the list goes on. Read full article here