Welcome to the Middle East Today

The Middle East has traditionally been important for the world economy. The Middle East situation today has an impact on all aspects of life in America and much of the world.

Only by understanding the motivations of the various factions in the Middle East can we hope to understand how to promote peace and national security for Middle Eastern nations, Europe, and the United States.

Jul 28, 2017

International Ranking of Basic Education in Egypt

Recently the International Economic Council evaluated the quality of basic education in 138 contires as of 2016,
Egypt ranked 134 out of the 138 countries. Such low ranking reveals that the Egyptian government is not considering basic education as number one priority, despite of the fact that more than one third of the 94 million Egyptians are classified as illiterates.
There are a number of factors that contribute to this problem. The two major factors are:
1. Not enough money is allocated to the educational budget to build more schools to meet the need of the high population increase. Egypt adds 2.6 million people to its population per year. The government allocates more money for energy subsidies than for education and health care.
2. There are not enough schools and class rooms to accommodate the influx of young students who have reached school age.
Recently, the minister of education stated publicly that the government needs to build 100,000 new classrooms.The number of students per class in the majority of public schools exceeds 170 students.
This, of course, is a major factor that contributes to the poor quality of education.
In any country, the dynamo of economic growth, depends on the quality of education and academic research.
I am of the opinion that the Egyptian government should rank education as  number one priority. 

Apr 8, 2017

The US Missiles Attack on Syria


The US missiles attack on al shuirat Syrian military base was in retaliation to the Syrian government air attack on khan shaikhoun. It is said that the Syrian government used poison gas which led to the killing of more than 100 innocents Syrians, many were children.
Both Russia and the Syrian governments condemned the US air attack stating that it was in violation of the UN Charter and international law. This US attack will lead to negative consequences.
The Syrian government denied the use of poisonous gas in its air raid. It bombed a hidden armament storage which stored gas bombs which was smuggled from Iraq to al Nusrah terrorist group who happen to be in control of khan shaikhoun.
The UN was investigating the Syrian attack and the US should have waited for the UN investigation report prior to the bombing.
It is a fact that the US government is consistent in its aggressive behavior and for its lack of consideration to the UN Charter or the international law.
Many Europeans governments, Turkey, Israel, Saudi-Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, the Emirates and Jordan supported the US attack. Russia and some Muslim countries condemned the attack.
The Egyptian government criticized the US air attack stating that the US should have waited for the UN investigation, but it refrained from either supporting or condemning the US air attack
I would like to conclude by stressing the fact that the US missile attack reflects the consisting aggressive behavior of the US government through history.

Apr 6, 2017

President El Sessi Made History


President El Sessi official visit to the US reflects president Trump new political foreign strategy towards the Middle East, which was ignored by president Obama.
President Trump warm reception of El Sessi was more than one expected from the usual political protocol.  There are reasons for such warm welcome.
Fist, president Trump objective is to bring a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, which has been going on for more than seven decades. This conflict contributed in many ways to the rise of international terrorism.
Egypt is the major political power in the Arab World and the most influential. President El Sessi could play an effective role vis a vis the Palestinians in order to reach a common solution with the Israelis regarding the eternal conflict.
Furthermore, the Egyptian president will be influential in obtaining political support from other Arab countries to support a peaceful settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. President Trump took this opportunity into consideration and encouraged president El Sessi to meet with political leaders of the American congress and the Pentagon. If president Trump strategy is successful in bringing an end to the conflict, the negative views of the majority of American and European people will change.
Second, president Trump’s positive attitude towards El Sessi is also attributed to Egypt’s role in fighting terrorism in Sinai
Terrorism has been a major issue before the US presidential election. Hence, after the election president Trump with the help of Egypt vowed to defeat ISIS and eliminate terrorism in the Middle East and hopefully worldwide.
Third, the American president encouraged the American Chamber of Commerce to urge American companies to invest in Egypt. This will help the Egyptian economy which is in dire need for economic help. It will enable Egypt to be a strong power in one of the most important geographical area in the world.
Fourth, the American Secretary of State, stated that Egypt is a safe country to visit, and encouraged Americans to visit Egypt rather than Turkey which is a dangerous place.
Fifth, president Trump new political strategy changed the US negative views of Egypt.



Mar 23, 2017

The Chicken Came Home to Roost


Yesterday, March22, 2017, a terrorist attack occurred in front of the British Parliament.
A vehicle and knife attack let to the injury of 40 people. A policeman and the terrorist were killed.
I used to above title because of Tony Blair, an ex-prime minister and president George W. Bush.
They ordered the invasion of Iraq without any justification. This    unjust war let to the killing of more than one million Iraqi and 4500 American soldiers.
The political, physical and economic Iraqi settings were completely destroyed.
Actually, the Iraqi invasion that started in 2003 and lasted until 2011 led to the rise of ISIS.
Hence, both Tony Blair and George W. Bush are to be considered as war criminals.
Rarely does the Western media refers to the fact that the rise of international terrorism is in fact the result of the Iraqi invasion.
Political leaders commit war crimes and are rarely held accountable for it, and It is the innocent people who end paying the price for such horrendous crimes.

Mar 10, 2017

International Women's Day


The International Women’s Day is a reminder of gender equality. Sadly, the majority of world societies have failed to achieve such goal.
In general women are still discriminated against and are not equally treated with men, even in the USA.
The Arab world is not different. Women are left behind despite the fact that Islam does not differentiate between men and women, as it is apparent in some Qur’anic verses.
Recently, the Egyptian Census Department (February 2017) revealed the recent result which depict the total number of Egyptian living in Egypt. It was estimated at 91 million people, of which 51% are women, and 49% are men. Furthermore, the survey states that 33% of women are illiterate, while 17.3% of men are illiterate. Hence, this demonstrates that more than half of the Egyptian population cannot read or write.
The percentage of families headed by women is 18.1%, and 27.3% are economically supported by women, despite the fact that only 22.5% of women are employed.
Religion is not the reason for the gender inequality in Egypt, but rather tradition and culture which is the cause for this inequality. Actually, Islam as a religion, does not differentiate between gender.

Feb 19, 2017

Israel and American Foreign Poilcy


During the past week, the media began to speculate the outcome of the meeting between President Trump and Mr. Netanyahu regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  The discussion focused on the issue of one or two states solution.

In my opinion, the President provided some suggestions, but Netanyahu smiled and will continue his aggressive annexations of Palestinian lands in the occupied West Bank.  Such policy has been in violation of U.N. Resolutions and International Law.  Prior to the creation of the Israeli State the first Israeli prime minister, Mr. Ben Gorion in a public speech to the Jewish Zionist Community stated that; they should accept whatever the U.N. will give them, it will be the first stage of the implementation of “Eretz Israel” which means greater Israel. 

Since 1948, the Israeli government began to implement that policy.  Such aggression is reflected in the following:
1. Israel, has demolished more than 600 Palestinian villages
 2. Israel, demolished thousands of homes in the occupied West Bank since the 1967 war,  3. Israeli government built more than 350 Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, where more than 450,000 Jewish Settlers are living.
 4. Hundreds of homes were demolished in East Jerusalem which led to more than 222,000 Jewish settlers living in East Jerusalem.
 5. Israel annexed more than half the Palestinians lands. Such aggressions are an act of violation which the Israeli government committed since 1948, and is in total violation of the U.N. Resolutions and International law. 

This type of political conflict took place with the direct and indirect support of the American Government.  The U.S. used its veto power at the U.N. security council more than 50 times to prevent the passages of any resolutions against Israel.  It is of interest to notice that only in the last two weeks of his presidency, President Obama allowed the passage of one resolution condemning Israel for its aggression in the West bank. 
 He instructed the U.S. representative not to veto a resolution that was supported by a majority of the member in the U.N. security council condemning Israeli violation of increasing settlements in the occupied lands. 

American Foreign Policy especially in the Middle East, since 1948, has been a major contributing fact to the rise of International

Jan 14, 2017

Corruption

Corruption is considered to be a global universal cultural trait. The United Nations Transparency International estimated the global corruption to the public at $1.4 Trillion per year. The Middle East and North African countries share was estimated at $400 billion per year.
            Egypt is ranked at the Transparency Scale 68 out of the 168 countries.
I am not surprised at such ranking. The Egyptian press almost on a daily basis refers to corruption cases in both the public and the private sectors. Unfortunately, corruption takes place at all government levels. Former president Mubarak, his two sons and a group of corrupted high government officials  are well known to the public, which is known as the Swiss Banks Frozen Funds which exceeds one billion Euros.
            Another classic example is the latest and big corruption scandal committed by two high rank government officials. One committed suicide while in jail and the other, Gamal Al Laban, whose large amount of money found in his house was confiscated by the government.  It was estimated at 24 million Egyptian pounds, 4 million USD, 2 million Euros, and 1 million Saudi riyal. Such large amount of money is collected as bribes through government contracts.
            Recently, the minister of interior issued the yearly report on corruption. The report revealed that the number of crimes committed during the year 2016 was 1400 criminal corruption cases. The criminals are being prosecuted for financial bribes and other administrative crimes.
            Such crimes increased by 61% during 2016 by comparison to 2015 according to the report. Furthermore, another report by the “Partnership Association Transparency”  revealed that 51 cases of corruption were committed by government officials during the month of December 2016.
            The daily cases reported by the Egyptian press regarding corruptions  reflects that the legal system is not adequate enough to discourage such illegal acts. Strong legal indictments, even death, should be implementable. Such harsh penalty might not stop corruption totally, but it will decrease it.

Jan 8, 2017

Special Government Departmental Funds

Recently the Treasury Department sent a report to the Egyptian parliament regarding the special financial boxes. During the past few years, there has been so much talk in public about public officials misusing that fund. The money in such boxes is not part of the yearly government budget. The report sent to parliament estimated the money at 52 billion Egyptian pounds in 7,282 special boxes. The best and most effective policy for such funds is to close such boxes and allocate the 52 billion pounds to build badly needed schools all over Egypt.
According to the Ministry of Education, there are over 47,000 schools in Egypt, and many are unfit as a place for learning. Furthermore, he stated that Egypt needs to create more than 50,000 new classrooms to cut the number of students per classroom by half. He said that the number of students at present per classroom exceeds 140 students. Such a situation will lead to poor education and an increase in the illiteracy rates. There are hundreds of villages with no schools. I have seen some schools with no roofs, windows, or even chairs for students to sit on.
            No society will progress economically and socially without a progressive education system which should be available for every person. The situation of the educational system at the lower level reflects a disgrace for the society at large due to the meager government budget allocated to education.
Special Government Departmental Funds

Recently the Treasury Department sent a report to the Egyptian parliament regarding the special financial boxes. During the past few years, there has been so much talk in public about public officials misusing that fund. The money in such boxes is not part of the yearly government budget. The report sent to parliament estimated the money at 52 billion Egyptian pounds in 7,282 special boxes. The best and most effective policy for such funds is to close such boxes and allocate the 52 billion pounds to build badly needed schools all over Egypt.
According to the Ministry of Education, there are over 47,000 schools in Egypt, and many are unfit as a place for learning. Furthermore, he stated that Egypt needs to create more than 50,000 new classrooms to cut the number of students per classroom by half. He said that the number of students at present per classroom exceeds 140 students. Such a situation will lead to poor education and an increase in the illiteracy rates. There are hundreds of villages with no schools. I have seen some schools with no roofs, windows, or even chairs for students to sit on.
            No society will progress economically and socially without a progressive education system which should be available for every person. The situation of the educational system at the lower level reflects a disgrace for the society at large due to the meager government budget allocated to education.

Foreign Political Interference

During the past few months, prior to the election of the United States president, the mass media was focusing on Russian interference in the American election. The Los Angeles Times reported (1/17/2017) that president Obama slapped Russia for meddling in the United States presidential election. He ordered dozens of Russian diplomats to leave the United States.
            It is of interest to notice that what the Russians have done was not unusual by comparison to what the United States has been doing for many years. The United States has a long history of attempting to influence presidential elections in many countries. According to database amassed by D. Levin of the Carnegie Mellon University, the United States interfered 81 times in the presidential election of foreign countries between 1946 and 2000.
            In my judgment, such political interference by the United States government is still going on. I have witnessed the American interference in the presidential election in Egypt during 2013. The United States was supporting Dr. Mursi who was the Muslim Brotherhood candidate, against General Shafik. According to the Egyptian press, the United State ambassador, A. Peterson, called Shafik and told him he was not the winner. The result of the election was delayed several days. At the end, Mursi was declared as the elected president. Nevertheless, most Egyptians were aware that Shafik was the winner.