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Location: Douglas, Coffee Co., The Other Georgia, United States

Sid in his law office where he sits when meeting with clients. Observant eyes will notice the statuette of one of Sid's favorite Democrats.

Monday, June 08, 2015

The administration neglects to say our ally (former strong ally) is one of few Middle East countries in control of its destiny: Obama Administration Criticizes Egypt in Report to Congress

From The New York Times:

CAIRO — Egypt is moving away from democracy, stifling freedom of expression, arresting thousands for political dissent and failing to hold the security forces accountable for “arbitrary or unlawful killings,” the Obama administration has determined in a formal report to Congress.
The administration concludes in the same report that Egypt is nevertheless too important to national security to end the roughly $1.5 billion a year it receives in American aid, most of it military. But after making that conclusion, the report proceeds to recite a discordant litany of the Egyptian government’s abuses and failings, apparently seeking to stop just short of the kind of embrace Washington once gave the strongman Hosni Mubarak.
Quietly submitted to Congress on May 12 without public announcement, the report captures the awkwardness of Washington’s rapidly shifting views of Egypt: first backing President Mubarak, then the 2011 revolt that ousted him, and now rebuilding ties with a new strongman, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
Western diplomats are increasingly seeking to make the best of their relationship with Mr. Sisi, the former general who led a military takeover here two years ago, deposing the elected president, even amid reports that his government is tightening its crackdown on dissent.
“America is making the same mistake it did when they were supporting Hosni Mubarak,” said Mohamed Lotfy, a human rights advocate who was stopped last week at Cairo’s airport to prevent him from traveling to Germany during a visit there by Mr. Sisi.
By crushing hopes for peaceful and democratic political change, “Sisi is creating a new generation of terrorists, and exporting them to Syria and Iraq,” Mr. Lotfy said, while the United States has damaged its credibility in the region by “contradicting its values — or at least the values that it tries to export in speeches.”
Activists suggest that the Egyptian government may be cracking down now in anticipation of a call for a general strike by one of the activist groups that kicked off the revolt against Mr. Mubarak in 2011. It may also be preparing for potential protests at the end of the month, on the second anniversary of Mr. Sisi’s ouster of President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood.
In recent weeks, the Egyptian police have detained at least three leaders of the left-leaning April 6 group, which has tried to call for the general strike on Thursday, and rights groups say several other activists have been rounded up or disappeared as well.
Mr. Lotfy said his group, the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms, was tracking the disappearances of 10 people, and Mona Seif, another activist, said she had confirmed 17.
Magdy Ashour, an Islamist activist who was featured in a documentary about the 2011 uprising called “The Square,” has also been detained, according to news reports.
Negad el-Borai, a prominent human rights lawyer, said he expected to be arrested as well, having been called in three times in recent weeks for interrogation about his opposition to torture and his previous work for human rights groups.


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