Libya-Egypt Border Suspicions Hit Port’s Trade

March 04, 2014  By MarEx


The port of Tobruk prior to the Libyan civil war

Mutual suspicion with neighbor Egypt threatens to halt a revival in the fortunes of Libya‘s eastern port of Tobruk, officials there said.

New restrictions on travelers and goods passing the nearby land border are hitting container volumes, said Nasser Zgogo, operations manager at the port.

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Egypt’s Economy and the Fall of the Beblawi Government

March 4, 2014 Mohammed Samhouri عربي

No Egyptian government will be stable unless it successfully addresses the country’s many interrelated economic troubles.


The unexpected resignation of the entire interim cabinet of Egypt on February 24 should serve as a reminder of just how acute and intricate the economic crisis is that faces the country since Mubarak’s ouster three years ago. The latest manifestation of this crisis came in the form of escalating waves of labor strikes that hit several parts of the country in recent weeks: doctors, pharmacists, public transport employees, low-ranking policemen, pensioners, post office employees, workers in the textile industry and

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The New Islamists

How the most extreme adherents of radical Islam are getting with the times.


The following is an excerpt from the book The Islamists Are Coming: Who They Really Are,  which will be released on April 18 by the U.S. Institute of Peace and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

The longstanding debate over whether Islam and democracy can coexist has reached a stunning turning point. Since the Arab uprisings began in late 2010, political Islam and democracy have become increasingly interdependent. The debate over whether they are compatible is now virtually obsolete. Neither can now survive without the other.


In Middle Eastern countries undergoing political transitions, the only way for Islamists to maintain their legitimacy is through elections. Their own political culture may still not be democratic, but they are now defined by the new political landscape and forced in turn to redefine themselves — much as the Roman Catholic Churchended up accepting democratic institutions even as its own practices remained oligarchic.

At the same time, democracy will not set down roots in Arab countries in transition without including mainstream Islamist groups, such as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Ennahda in Tunisia, or Islah in Yemen. The so-called Arab Spring cleared the way for the Islamists. And even if many Islamists do not share the democratic culture of the demonstrators, the Islamists have to take into account the new playing field the demonstrations created.

The debate over Islam and democracy used to be a chicken-and-egg issue: Which came first?  Democracy has certainly not been at the core of Islamist ideology. Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood has historically been strictly centralized and obedient to a supreme guide, who rules for life. And Islam has certainly not been factored into promotion of secular democracy. Indeed, skeptics long argued that the two forces were even anathema to each other.

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“Khairat al-Shater on “The Nahda Project”

Coat of Arms of Egypt, Official version. Gover...

Coat of Arms of Egypt, Official version. Government Website (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Hudson Institute has published an important translation of a lecture given by Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood presidential candidate Khairat Al-Shater (aka Khairat El-Shater) on April 21, 2011 whose titled is translated as ”Features of Nahda: Gains of the Revolution and the Horizons for Developing.”

The preface to the translation correctly characterizes the lecture as “perhaps the single most important elaboration to date of not only Al-Shater’s worldview and politics, but of the MB’s plan for the future of Egypt and the region more generally in the post-Mubarak era.” According to the translator’s notes:

Translator’s Note: After his release from prison in March 2011, the Deputy Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) Khairat Al-Shater was reportedly tasked by the Brotherhood’s Guidance Council to perform a comprehensive review of the movement’s overall strategy in post-Mubarak Egypt. This new strategy, which is supposed to reflect the fact of the MB’s rise as the most powerful political force in Egypt today, has often been referred to as “The Nahda Project.” (Nahda means “Renaissance” or “Rise”.) We know very little about Al-Shater as politician. He has been described as the “Iron Man” of the Brotherhood movement. As one of Egypt’s most successful businessmen, his prestigious stature within the MB’s ranks might be attributed to his financial support to the movement.  His prestige also derives from the enormous personal suffering that he has endured for the MB’s cause: He has spent more than half of the past two decades in prison, and his property has been confiscated twice in the same period. Al-Shater, moreover, has very strong business ties across the region: in Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, among other places. He is also said to be a major supporter of Hamas.  When the Muslim Brotherhood sought to bring down the present Prime Minister Kamal El-Ganzouri and his cabinet, it was not surprising that their nominee for the office was Khairat Al-Shater. When, more recently, the Brotherhood failed to force their will on the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, the movement decided to renege on all of their reassuring promises since the outbreak of the Egyptian Revolution in 2011 and run a candidate in the upcoming presidential elections. Once more, this candidate was Khairat Al-Shater. Therefore, the importance of Al-Shater and his project cannot be exaggerated. The following text is a complete English translation of a lecture Al-Shater gave in Alexandria, Egypt on April 21, 2011. The lecture, which is entitled “Features of Nahda: Gains of the Revolution and the Horizons for Developing,” is perhaps the single most important elaboration to date of not only Al-Shater’s worldview and politics, but of the MB’s plan for the future of Egypt and the region more generally in the post-Mubarak era.

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Meet The Brotherhood’s Enforcer: Khairat El-Shater”

Logo Muslim Brotherhood

Logo Muslim Brotherhood (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Egyptian media outlet Ahram Online has published a profile of Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leader Khairat El-Shater titled “Meet the Brotherhood’s enforcer: Khairat El-Shater.” The article begins:

The name and face of the Muslim Brotherhood leader, businessman Khairat El-Shater, has dominated the political sphere for weeks now, and for good reason.The multimillionaire has unrivaled leverage within the organisation and its political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, and enjoys enormous influence over the Brotherhood’s Guidance Bureau and Shura Council, the two highest bodies within the group. But what has really gripped the attention of pundits and the media have been the slew of leaks from the Brotherhood that El-Shater may be the organisations’ candidate for president, despite earlier promises that it would not be fielding a nominee. The obsesion is justified. At 62 it is El-Shater, and not the Supreme Guide Mohamed Badei, who really runs the Muslim Brotherhood. Ask anyone in the organisation why the leadership is at war with Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh, one of the group’s most popular figures until he broke rank, announced his candidacy for the presidency and was immediately expelled, and the answer is El-Shater. Why did the Brotherhood punish Abul-Fotouh’s supporters within the organisation and expel those who joined his presidential campaign? Because of El-Shater. Who has been the driving force behind the Brotherhood’s tactics and public discourse since Mubarak’s ouster? It is El-muhandis – the engineer – as El-Shater likes to be called. He was, after all, once an assistant professor at El-Mansoura University’s Faculty of Engineering.

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Egypt’s liberals face squeeze ahead of parliamentary elections

Initially at the vanguard of the revolution, the country’s secular forces are failing to make political headway

Jack Shenker in Cairo, Saturday 26 November 2011 18.22 GMT


A newspaper seller waits for customers in Tahrir Square. Photograph: Bernat Armangue/AP

What now for Egypt‘s beleaguered liberals? Ahead of disputed parliamentary elections, the secular forces that featured so prominently during the first months of the revolution are struggling.

With one foot in the sphere of formal politics and the other in the politics of the street, they are failing to make headway in either direction. The liberals are being derided in Tahrir Square as having sold out to the supreme council of the armed forces (Scaf) by agreeing to participate in a flawed “transition” proceeding at a snail’s pace; and outgunned by the organisational firepower of the Islamist parties and remnants of Hosni Mubarak‘s old ruling NDP, both of which look set to sweep the board when voting stations open their doors on Monday.

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Analysis Brief Issue Guide: The Arab Uprisings

October 21, 2011

Author Jonathan Masters, Associate Staff Writer


A female protester wears a Tunisian flag in front of the prime minister’s office during a demonstration in downtown Tunis. (Courtesy Reuters)

Tunisians take their next step toward democracy on Sunday, casting ballots for an assembly that will draft a new constitution and pave the way for long-awaited presidential elections. Neighbors in the region and observers around the world wait expectantly to gauge the outcome of the landmark vote and whether it will augur well for the next chapter of the Arab Spring. The following materials provide expert analysis and essential background on some of the central issues facing the countries in the throes of this historic transformation.



In Egypt and Tunisia, women are both hopeful and fearful about what the Arab revolutions might mean for them. But as constitutions in these countries are being rewritten, women hope to push their own liberation.

CFR Analysis: Tunisia’s Upcoming Elections

Tunisians confront a daunting array of choices as they head to the polls. However, the elections will be but the first step in a political process that is only just beginning, says CFR’s Isobel Coleman.

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