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.

Oct 23, 2018

The Cairo Water Conference




Recently, Egypt sponsored an internal conference “Cairo Water Week” which began on October 14-18, 2018.
Seventy nations participated represented by high officials, as well as the United Nations,  and the FAO. In addition, water experts and scientists took part in the conference.
The objective of the conference was to create awareness on water shortage in the Arab World and to discuss the possibility of conserving water in light of the high population increase.
The attendees also discussed the negative future consequences of Global weather changes and its impact on the region.
The director of the Arab League, Mr. Abu el Gheet, and the head of the Arab Water Council, Dr. Abed Ilati, they both recognized the water shortage in the Arab World and called for its conservation.
Six Arab countries are classified as water poverty stricken. The individual water share in those countries is 500cu.m/year. According to the UN scale, the average water need is 1000cu.m/person/per year.
None of the Arab states can be classified as self-sufficient in food production. Sudan is the only country that can be classified as self-sufficient in food production. It can be the bread basket of Africa. Ironically, Sudan rely on the import of wheat. This is due to the corruption of its government.
Egypt is classified as the number one nation in wheat import due to the fact that more than 90% of its land is barren desert, and also due to water shortage.
Egypt gets 56 million cu.m. of water from the Nile River. This equals to 90% of the water consumed annually in Egypt. In addition, another 1.2 billion cu.m. per year from rain fall.
According to the Egyptian minister of irrigation and water resources, Dr. Aded Ilatti, Egypt is water poverty stricken. The average water consumed is 500 cu.m. per person in a year.
The discussion should also be viewed in light of Egypt population increase (Masrawi.com 10/18.2018).
Experts at the Conference provided technical information and discussed the possibility  of water management.
The second focus in the conference was the UN report, that global weather changes will negatively impact North Africa and the Arab World regions the most.
In the next fifty years, the temperature will increase, rain fall will decrease, desertification will increase. Furthermore, the sea level will rise causing flooding to countries where the land is below sea level.
Egypt will be among the countries where part of the country will be covered by sea water.
Kolne university in Germany issued a scientific report stating that more than 49  cities along the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean will disappear from the rise of water level, Turkey, Greece and Britain are among the countries that will be affected (al nahar 10/19/2018).
The Conference provided important information, specially to the Egyptian public.

Aug 5, 2018

El Sessi Official Visit to Sudan


Egypt relies on the import of 60% of its wheat. Due to the meager availability of water, Egypt cultivates only 5 to 6 million feddans, of acres.
Sudan, on the other hand, has regular rain. It was estimated that the regular annual rain fall in Sudan was estimated to be 1000 billion cu.m., in addition to rivers water.
Hence, both Egypt and Sudan complement each other regarding cultivation.
Egypt possess the know-how and most modern methods of cultivation. It also has the means of building roads to transport agricultural products to central stations in order to be shipped to various places.
While writing this post, the Sudanese press reported that there is bread shortage in the Sudan which is causing a political crisis.
In my opinion it is time for the Sudanese president, Omar el Basheer, to implement the Egyptian agricultural project.
Keep in mind that the Arab world spend between $35 to 38 billion per year on food import for  its 400 million people.
It is estimated that by the year 2050 the Arab population would reach 700 million people.
Sudan will become the bread basket not only for the Arab world, but also for the whole of Africa.
Recently, President el Sessi of Egypt, went on an official visit to Sudan (7/20/2018). The visit lasted two days. Several projects were discussed between the Egyptian president and the Sudanese president. They agreed on the following projects:
1.     Connecting the Egyptian electrical network to that of Sudan. Egypt will provide 900 kw of electricity.
2.     Connecting the Egyptian railways system with the Sudanese railway system. This will facilitate transportation of trades between the two countries. It will be beneficial to both Egypt and Sudan.
3.     Increase Egyptian investments in industrial projects which will be of benefit to both countries. Egypt already invests close to $3 billion in industrial project in Sudan.
4.     The cultivation of agricultural lands which has been discussed for the past fifty years and it has never been implemented.
It has been estimated that Sudan’s agricultural lands to be 200 to 250 million feddans. Inspite of  that Sudan cultivates only 40 million feddans and it relies on the import of wheat.



May 17, 2018

International Outrage over Gaza’s Killing


Since the creation of the Jewish state in 1948, Israel’s political strategy has been consistent, to drive the Palestinians from their land in order to implement Eretz Israel or greater Israel. More than five million Palestinians were driven out of their homes and were classified as refugees. In addition, more than 500 villages were demolished so that none of those refugees could come back to their homes. This has been classified as ‘ethnic cleansing’ by the Israeli historian I. Pappe.
After the 1967 war with Israel, hundreds of homes were also demolished.
In addition, more than 350 Jewish settlements were illegally built in the occupied Palestinian West Bank, and where more than 500,000 Jewish settlers are now living. This is, of course, in violation of the UN Resolution 242 which stipulates that Israel has to leave the occupied land and go back to the 1967 political boundaries.
Recently, the US has moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem which is also a violation of the UN Resolution 242.
It should be stressed here that US foreign policy, not only regarding the Palestinians and Israelis policy, has always been influenced by the Israel political strategy, but also the policy toward Arab states in general.
During the past weeks while Israel was celebrating its 70th birthday, Palestinians were peacefully demonstrating along the Gaza/Israel borders. The Israeli army reacted by shooting and killing 61 Palestinian demonstrators, among them an 8-month child.
More than 2700 Palestinians were injured by Israeli bullets. The Gaza strip has been blockaded for more than60 years. It is a concentration camp where Palestinians are incarcerated and controlled by Israelis, a type of Holocaust.
This super aggressive Israeli’s policy towards the Palestinians for the past 70 years has been encouraged and supported by the US government.
I am concluding by two statements. One made by Senator L. Graham saying “we are not doing enough for Israel.” The second by the previous speaker of the Senate, H. Reid who asserted that this is the most corrupt congress in the history of the US.

Apr 9, 2018

The US Presence in Syria


During the last week of March 2018, president Trump mad a public statement regarding the American military involvement in the Middle East. He pointed out that during the past 17 years the US government spent more than 7 trillion dollars as a result of the military forces involvement in wars in the region.
What did we get as a result of the involvement, did president Trump ask? Nothing, nothing, nothing. He further stated “we need to bring our soldiers back from Syria.
The security and military advisers, immediately, issued a public statement that maintained “war against ISIS is not completed. The withdrawal of the troupes will be delayed until the mission is completed.” At the same time American soldiers were sent to Syria at the request to General Foley.
American soldiers were sent to Syria without the permission of either the UN or the Syrian government. Actually, the US government has violated international law.
The US, through its history, has fought in more that 40 unnecessarily wars.
President Trump delayed the withdrawal of American soldiers from Syria. His decision was not only influenced by the military, but also by other foreign governments such as Israel, and Saudi Arabic. Both governments referred to the presence of Iranian soldiers and Hezbollah militia in Syrian, hence US soldiers should not leave Syria.
General Mattis stated publicly that US soldiers will remain in Syria to prevent Iran from Staying indefinitely in Syria. It will threaten American interest in the region.
Actually, Russian presence in Syria is nothing new. The Russians have been there for more that 50 years, and with the blessing of the Syrian government.

Mar 30, 2018

The Egyptian Presidential Elections - 2018



The Egyptian presidential elections started on the 26 the of March and ended on the 28th of March.
The Election Committee stated that as of March 28th more than 25 million Egyptians casted their voted. President El Sissi received 92% of the votes.
It was reported that during the election more than 650 foreign journalists were present, in addition to 65 foreign observers were allowed to watch the voters during the election. Not a single violation was reported.
Prior to the elections, negative publicity has been circulating, and there were false anticipation which can be attributed to the following factors:
1.   As is the case in all societies, you always find opportunists who have no loyalty or attachment to their country, and hope for negative consequences. For example, there are 104 registered political parties. Some members of those parties ran in previous elections, and Egyptians ignored them completely. The public has no confidence in those parties. On the other hand, most Egyptians support and trust the army, a feeling that has prevailed since Mohamed Ali, the ruler of Egypt 200 year ago, and who created the first army composed of Egyptians. Hence, the pessimist minority, who did their best to discourage Egyptians from participating in the election, have failed. The jubilation of the public among those who participated in the election was a reflection of the Egyptians’ enthusiasm in taking part in this election.
2.   In spite of the fact that more than one third of the Egyptian public are illiterate, their political awareness is amazing. This was apparent in the TV interviews conducted by journalists in different part of the country and broadcasted instantly. Most of the people interviewed were aware of the progress accomplished by president El Sissi’s government during the past four years. The economic hardship people were experiencing did not dampen their enthusiasm.
During my visit this year to Egypt (January-February 2018) some Egyptians, I talked to, said “Egypt is experiencing some difficulties during this transitional period, but the situations will be better in the near future.” For example, the economy is growing at the impressive rate of 5.2%/year. This rate of growth was confirmed by the International Bank. Other achievements are reflected in the large amount of foreign investments and in the constructions of many factories all over Egypt. In addition, there was great improvements of the infrastructures. Thousands of kilometers of paved new roads bridges were constructed, as well as the renovations and building of the sewage systems. Millions of new dwelling units, new towns, new hospital were build. The production of electrical power has exceeded 26,000 Mega Watt. Furthermore, the Egyptian government is focusing on the construction of large sun panels, and passive wind fan for the production of energy. The Suez canal project, which was constructed in one year, created a two ways traffic. This has cut on the number of hours ships had to wait to enter the canal. All of the above accomplishments in the past four years, is not only impressive, but is paying off. The public is aware of the government’s achievements and was eager to vote for a second term for El Sissi. Actually, some Egyptian scholars interviewed on TV recently, stated that a total of eight years for El Sissi is not enough to complete his futuristic plans for Egypt.
The majority of the public in Egypt are aware of El Sissi accomplishments. But, Western powers, more specifically Western media and more specifically American, are ignoring the economic progress in Egypt. They have a negative attitude towards Egypt. In general, the Western mass media has lost its objectivity reporting about Egypt.

Mar 10, 2018

Recent Reforms in Saudi Arabia


Very important political and cultural changes were introduced in the past few months in Saudi Arabia, which is considered the most conservative Arab and Islamic state. The changes were introduced by prince Mohamed bin Salman. Such changes were considered as quite daring political reforms.
The new political reforms are as important if not more than the Spring Revolution of 2010-2011, which took place in Arab World.
Prince Salman issued a firm order to the Islamic Wahabi conservative leadership to accept the new reforms or to keep their mouth shut.
Some of the first critical reforms was pertinent to women’s status and role, politically and socially.
First, Beit al ta9a law, whereby the husband has the authority to force his wife back to her home in case she left it due to disagreements with her husband.
Second, women were permitted to drive.
Third, women were allowed to apply for government jobs.
Fourth, women were permitted to participate in various sport events.
Such reforms broke the traditional religious and cultural barriers that prevented more than half of the Saudi population from exercising rights.
The above-mentioned reforms will ultimately lead to drastic changes in one of the most conservative Islamic state.
Furthermore, religious diversity was also taken into consideration. A Coptic Christian group was allowed to build their own church. This was never permitted previously.
Hence, changes were introduced in the economic, political as well as religious arena.
Such changes will enable the Saudi Arabian government, under the leadership of Prince Salman, to play a more effective political and economic role in the Arab world as well as worldwide.