+++SOURCE: RB question more via Egypt Daily News 17 Feb.’13:”Egypt’s new democracy is ’12 percent’s coup’ “
SUBJECT: Any agreement between Islamists and opponents?
QUOTE: “the country has got under yet another minority rule”
FULL TEXT:As Egypt gets gripped by a new wave of deadly protests, analyst William Engdahl tells RT that the country has got under yet another minority’s rule and most Egyptians are against any kind of Sharia constitution which the Muslim Brotherhood promotes.
A fresh rally in Cairo was dispersed by water cannons and tear gas on Friday [15 Feb.]. Three weeks into the anti-goverment demos, over 70 people have died in clashes.
If the Muslim Brotherhood doesn’t step down, there isn’t going to be a
peaceful solution, says William F. Engdahl, the author of ‘Myths, Lies and Oil wars’. There are different ethnic religious groups in Egypt and only a coup by 12 percent, which is represented by the Muslim brotherhood, voted for the Sharia constitution, according to the writer.
RT: What we are seeing now is basically a protest against protest. Is there a way to reach an agreement between Islamists and opponents?
WE: I don’t believe so. What we’ve had in Egypt in the last two years is in fact a coup by 12 percent, the actual number of eligible voters who voted for this Sharia constitution, and that’s the Muslim Brotherhood. I have friends in Egypt that report on this directly, that the majority of Egyptians are dead-set against any kind of Sharia constitution. They want their democracy, they want to be able to breathe openly, and worship God in their own way and not be told what to do.
I think the interesting thing is what's now happening in Washington as the second Obama term began. Hillary Clinton was a strong supporter of the Brotherhood option in Egypt and Tunisia and elsewhere. She’s now gone and John Kerry is coming in as Secretary of State, we’re pending the new secretary of Defense, who made certain statements that irritated certain war hawk factions in Washington and elsewhere.I think what we’re seeing here is an Obama pivot.
The entire Muslim brotherhood experiment of the Arab Spring is turning out to be a catastrophe and they're pivoting their energies towards China and downgrading their support of figures like Morsi.
I think what’s playing out now is that the Muslim brotherhood is finished in Egypt. I don’t see any way that there’s going to be reconciliation. People smell that, they sense that, they feel that and that is what is driving this. So either the Brotherhood steps down peacefully and respects the will of the majority or it’s going to be bloody and ugly.
RT: Is the new wave of protests the beginning of a new revolution?
WE: ‘Revolution’ is a word used very loosely. The question is what the power structures are: what role will the military play if the Brotherhood is out of power, the business factions and so forth, what role will the religious groups play? Egypt has a strong Christian Coptic tradition; it has many different ethnic and religious groups. If those are allowed to share power peacefully that will be the deciding factor.
RT: There have been reports of pro-Muslim Brotherhood groups attacking protesters even peaceful ones. Does that mean that Egypt is becoming a militia state then?
WE: I think you have a lot of agent-provocateurs that try to hurt the cause of the democratic protest. So that’s to be expected. Where CNN zooms its camera in to make opportunity shots in Tahrir square and violence elsewhere, we don’t need to take that as a reality. CNN’s record on this is pretty black.
RT: Some anti-government groups have been accused of resorting to violence and anarchy. Is that really what they need to do to make their voices heard at this point? Is there any other way?
WE: Not at all. The violent incidents that are blamed on anti-government groups are most likely police provocateurs trying to paint the opposition black, but I don’t think that is the nature of the opposition. The vast majorities are peaceful and they want peaceful change
+++SOURCE: NBC News via Egypt Daily News 17 Feb.’13:”Russian nuclear bombers intercepted near Guam”,By Jim Miklaszewski and Courtney Kube, NBC News
SUBJECT:U.S. intercepts Russian nuclear bombers
QUOTE:” encounter ‘stayed professional’ and there was no incident”
FULL TEXT:Two Russian bombers, capable of carrying nuclear cruise missiles, circled the U.S. island of Guam in the Western Pacific this week, U.S. military officials told NBC News. U.S. Air Force F-15 jets scrambled from Andersen Air Force Base on Guam to intercept the bombers.
According to one military official, the Russian Bear bombers remained in international airspace, the encounter between the U.S. and Russian aircraft “stayed professional” and there was no incident. The official said it’s impossible to determine whether the Russian bombers carried any nuclear weapons.
U.S. long-range radars and satellites tracked the two bombers as they took off from northeastern Russia and headed south on a long-range flight that required “multiple refueling.” Japan also scrambled fighter jets as the bombers passed near but did not enter Japanese airspace.
U.S. military officials say “it’s highly unusual but not unprecedented” that Russian bombers would fly training missions in the vicinity of Guam. According to one official, “It wasn’t provocative but it certainly got our attention.” U.S. long-range B-52 bombers, also capable of carrying nuclear weapons, are based at Guam.
Since Vladimir Putin reclaimed the Russian presidency, U.S. officials said the number of such flights in the vicinity of the Aleutian Islands and Alaska have increased, but encounters with U.S. aircraft have remained “generally very professional.”
The two Russian Bear bombers flew near Guam at about the same time President Barack Obama delivered his State of the Union message. Military officials refused to speculate about the timing.
The interception was first reported in the Washington Free Beacon.
+++SOURCE: Saudi Gazette 17 Feb.’13;”Syria opposition slams Hezbollah
‘intervention’ “,Agence France Presse
SUBJECT: Hezbollah accused by rebel Syrian National Council
BEIRUT — The main bloc of the Syrian opposition on Sunday[17 Feb.] accused staunch Damascus ally Hezbollah of "militarily intervention" in Syria, calling it a danger to regional peace and security.
The Syrian National Council (SNC) said members of the powerful armed movement on Saturday[16 Feb.] attacked "three Syrian villages in the Qusayr region near the Lebanese border."
The operation in Homs province led not only to "civilian casualties and the exodus of hundreds of people," but also "stoked sectarian tensions" in the area, the SNC said in a statement.
The SNC said Hezbollah was employing "heavy weapons openly and under the auspices of the Syrian regime army."
This is a "serious threat to Syrian-Lebanese relations and regional peace and security," it said, adding that the Beirut government has a
responsibility to end this "aggression."
Lebanon was dominated politically and militarily by its larger neighbor
Syria for three decades, and the small Mediterranean country is sharply divided over the Syrian revolt which erupted in March 2011.
Hezbollah and its allies in the ruling coalition back Assad's regime, but the March 14 movement and its allies support the rebellion.
The Shiite party, Lebanon's most powerful military force, occasionally
announces the death of one of its fighters killed "carrying out his jihadist duty," but without clarification.
In October 2012, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah acknowledged that party members had fought Syrian rebels, but said they were acting as individuals and not under the party's direction.
On Saturday[16 Feb.], the Local Coordination Committees — a grassroots network of activists on the ground in Syria — reported fighting between rebels and members of Hezbollah around Qusayr.
It said they were trying to break into the rebel-held city, which has been under daily army bombardment for the past year. — AFP
+++SOURCE: Naharnet (Lebanon)17 Feb.’13:Bahrain Says it Arrested Alleged
Terror Cell Tied to Iran, Lebanon”,Agence France Presse, Associated Press
SUBJECT: Bahrain blames Iran.Lebanon terror cell
QUOTE:”Bahrain is home to the U.S. Navy’s 5th fleet.”
FULL TEXT: Bahrain's interior minister said police have arrested eight members of an alleged terrorist cell linked to Iran and Lebanon following widespread clashes in the Gulf nation during protests marking the second anniversary of an Arab Spring-inspired uprising.
A statement Sunday[17 Feb.] on the ministry's website said the suspected terror network received training and financial support from Iran, Iraq and Lebanon — references to Iranian-backed Shiite groups such as Hizbullah and others.
Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid bin Abdullah al-Khalifa said the eight
"moved between Iran, Iraq and Lebanon and received training in using arms and explosives as well as financial aid."
"Details about the case will be announced as soon as the investigation is completed," he said.
Sheikh Rashid also denounced the "escalation in violence" in the kingdom where a protester and a policeman were killed during Shiite-led protests to mark the second anniversary of the 2011 uprising there on Thursday.
He said "terrorist acts had taken place over the past three days" in which "two people were killed and 75 policemen were wounded," adding that "there has been an escalation... with the use of firearms" and explosives.
Bahrain's Western-backed Sunni monarchy has frequently accused Shiite power Iran and its allies of aiding the uprising by Bahrain's majority Shiites. Iran denies the charges.
Bahrain courts have previously convicted suspects for alleged coup plotting and links to Iran and Hizbullah, but no clear evidence has been made public.
Bahrain is home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet.
Sue Lerner - Associate, IMRA
IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis