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.

Nov 17, 2017

Al Nahda Dam and Its Impact on Egypt

There is a saying by Herodotus known to Egyptians that the Nile is the gift to Egypt.
Without the Nile, Egypt cannot survive.
Dr. Noor el Din, an Egyptian water expert pointed out that Egypt need at least 93,000 cu.m  of water per year. The water available to Egypt presently is 62,000 cu.m. to use per year ( Sada el Watan, 11/14/2017).
During the past three years, the water ministers of Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt met to discuss issues related to the constructions of the Al Nahd Dam in Ethiopia and its impact on Sudan and Egypt.
They discussed the technicality of such project and its impact on the countries involved. Actually, the French company that is conducting a research on the impact of the Dam on the different countries, asked for clarification about the 1959 International Agreement that guarantee Egypt 55,000 cu.m. of water per year, and if it should continue to conduct such research or stop it.
Both Ethiopia and the Sudan water ministers said it should not include the International Agreement in their research! While Egypt’s minister insisted such research should be maintained and the International Agreement should be included.
There was no consensus and the meeting ended with no decision taken.
The policy among the three countries involved has been influenced by an outside force and secret polical agreements.
For example, the Ethiopian government offered free electrical power generated by the Dam to the Sudanese government in return for their support for the construction of the Dam.
It is known that the Sudanese president is member of the Muslim Brotherhood and does not support the Egyptian government.
Qatari government has been playing a negative role towards Egypt, along with Sudan and Ethiopia.
Furthermore, prince Tamim’s mother Sheikha Moza visited Sudan to support its president granted him one billion dollars to promote tourism in Sudan. She publicly stated that there are more historical antiquities in Sudan than in Egypt!!!
The Ethiopian prime minister was in Qatar recently to request a financial loan to continue the construction of the Dam. The loan was granted.
The technical and political consequences of the Dam’s construction is getting to be quite complicated.
The Egyptian government is in a strong legal position based on international law.
The issue should be taken to the International Court of Justice. Meanwhile, Ethiopia continues the building of the Al Nahda Dam and may be Egypt will have to face reality and  accept what the Ethiopian government proposes.

Nov 1, 2017

Qatari Government’s Support of Terrorism

On May 21, 2017, an Arab Islamic American Summit was held in Saudi Arabia. Among the discussed topics was about the Qatari government role supporting, with money and arms, terrorist organizations such as ISIS, and Al Nusra
among others.
President Trump stated during that Summit meeting, that was the beginning of the end of a  Qatar’s role in supporting terrorists
On July 27, 2017, four Arab states, Egypt-Saudi Arabia-Bahrain, the Emirates, broke diplomatic relationship with the Qatari government and began a policy of boycotting Qatar.
President Trump ignored his public statement regarding Qatar.
Actually, Secretary of State Tillerson, went to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the Emirates in order to convince them to change their policy towards Qatar. But, he failed.
Recently, since that Summit meeting, more information regarding Qatar’s role in supporting terrorist groups.
In October 2017, two academic centers focused on the issue of the support of Qatar to terrorists: The Hudson Institute in Washington and the French International Relations and Strategic Center in Paris.
Among the speakers that have participating in Washington, were two ex-government high officials, Leon Panetta who served as a Defense Secretary during the Obama administration.
Panetta stated that the Qatari government provided arms and financial support to ISIS, Al Qaeda, and  Al Nusra, as well as the Muslim Brothers in Syria Libya and Egypt.
The second speaker in Washington was David Petraeus, who served as Director of the CIA. He also stated that Qatar is supporting terrorist groups financially and with arms.
In Paris, the Director of the Center of International Relations, Fredrick Ansel, stated that governments around the world should realize that the Muslim Brothers do support terrorism.
The former Qatari Prime Minister, Hamad-ben Jassim has also stated that the Gulf Gang of Four, without naming them, supported ISIS, and Al Nusra’s terrorist activities in Syria through Turkey. ( theduran.com).
Furthermore, and ex-Qatari foreign minister admitted that the US coalition, including Qatar and Turkey. Supported terrorists to destroy Syrian(veternstorytoday.com). Many of those who were recruited by ISIS went to Syria through Turkey.
The Turkish press revealed that those who were recruited to go to Syria, were trained in Turkish military basis. They were then armed and sent to Syria through the Turkish borders. There, they were met by ISIS representatives and taken to where ISIS was in control.
Turkey, also bought, for their use, crude oil from ISIS that was transported by tankers from the oil fields in Syria.
ISIS were paid more than two billion dollars per year from the sale of oil to Turkey.

Oct 1, 2017

The 2017 Census Report

During the last week of September 2017, the Census Department began releasing the result of the 2017 census survey.
Abu Bakr el Guindi, director of the Census Department, stated that the population increase in Egypt is the most dangerous threat society is facing.
At present, Egypt population exceeds 104.2 million people, close to 10 million are living outside of Egypt.
Egypt’s rate of population growth is 2.5% per year. This requires 7.5% economic growth to maintain economic stability.
The average number of children per family is 3.5. The number of people under the age of 15 is 34.2% of the total population, and those of the age between 15-35 is equal to 34.5%. This reflects that more than two third of Egypt’s population is under 35 years of age. This classify the Egyptian society as a youthful one. The number of people who get married under the age of 18 is 18.3.
This reflects that the government is ignoring the crime committed by public officials, and the religious authority. For instance, unfortunately the ma’zoun certifies the marriage contract of people under the age of 18 with the father’s consent.
Recently a mother reported the marriage of her 12 years old daughter in mithabib village, in el gharbiya governorate.
The investigation by the government authority of that specific case revealed that the mosque’s Imam of the village conducted 27 illegal marriages in this village in violation of the marriage law that specifies girls should not be married before the age of 18.
There are 4618 government certified ma’zun in Egypt, and many of them violate the marriage law in Egypt. Such violation contributes to the population increase. Furthermore, it affects the life of many young girls negatively.
Egypt need a new a stern criminal law that punishes those who performs such marriages. They should be committed to prison for life. Moreover, there should be a reward for those who inform the government of such marriage violations.

Sep 24, 2017

The Problem of Illiteracy in the Arab World

The UN has designated the month of September of each year to work towards the elimination of world illiteracy. It calls for governments that have a high rate of illiteracy to reexamine their educational strategy and introduce new methods to help to lower the illiteracy rates.
Illiteracy in the Arab world is still very high. It is estimated that half of the nearly 400 million
people cannot read or write.
A quick look at Egypt where one fourth of the total Arab population reside demonstrate the educational dilemma that Egypt faces.
1.     The official illiteracy rate exceeds 33% of the total population. In addition, I will add another 15-20% of people who finished middle and high schools who are functionally illiterate.
2.     The new minister of education stated publicly that the government needs to build 100.000 new class rooms in order to cut by half the average number of students per class room which is 160 students.
Even if the above is implemented, the problem still exists. How could one effectively educate 80 students in a class room?
It has been reported that nearly half a million students were not admitted to school’s due to the lack of space (Masr el Arabia 9/24/207).
I would like to stress the fact that the educational budge set by the government is very low and could not meet the educational challenge which Egypt is facing.
Due to the poor quality of teaching, millions of families rely on private tutoring to help their children. The cost of such tutoring has been estimated to be between 16-20 billion Egyptian pounds per year. This encourages some teachers to perform poorly in their classes in order to earn more money from private tutoring.
The rate of illiteracy in the rest of the Arab world varies. For example, in Jordan, Lebanon, the Gulf States, and Tunisia have the lowest rate of illiteracy in the Arab world.
It is a well-known fact that no society progresses economically without good education as well as scientific research.

Sep 22, 2017

The UN Human Right Report

The UN Human Rights organization has recently issued its annual report. It revealed that Turkey and Israel are the most abuser of human rights. It also listed China, India, Pakistan, Minimar and Venezuela are also abuser of human rights (Al Nahar Newspaper,9/22/2017).
Andrew Gilmore, Assistant Director of Human Rights organization, stated in the Report that there are cases individual kidnapping, and jailing without trial, and disappearance of some people.
The Report was indeed a surprise to me because it did not listed Egypt as abuser of Human Rights
On the other hand, private Human Rights Organization, that is, non-governmental, do focus on Egypt
It is a fact that those private organizations are paid by Qatar to turn the world opinion against Egypt.
It is a well- known fact that the Qatari government has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to support terrorism world- wide.

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.