- The simple answer to what brought Egypt’s economy to its knees: a mismanaged and slow transition.
- The long-winded version: Unwillingness on the part of the ruling powers to meet peoples’ demands in a manner that does not disrupt national economic affairs for prolonged periods of time. Coupled with haphazard decisions, unclear policies and a series of crisis management failures on the political and economic fronts, while creating a state of fear and chaos, this has caused uncertainty among investors and set off a domino effect of negative economic repercussions, all made worse by an extended and murky transition to civilian rule.
- It’s convenient to blame the mass protests for that, but logistically speaking, it was the measures taken by Mubarak’s regime that made it impossible for many sectors to function.
- The telecom cut, internet blackout and stifling curfews meant to put pro-democracy activists in the dark disrupted the regular work flow by handicapping communication, shortening operational hours and hampering the transportation of goods.
- The overall economy, beyond the volatile realm of speculation on listed stocks and the value of the currency, was more or less crippled by the government itself.
- government’s closure of banks and the stock market proved detrimental to capital flow.
- showed how the government’s confused hesitation and indecisiveness can cause unnecessary panic and uncertainty
- owever, they promptly closed days later after protests by workers in the public sector banks. Why all banks, public and private, around the country had to shut down for a whole week remains a mystery, but the move prompted more wariness about access to liquidity. Local businesses had trouble paying employees’ salaries.
- For almost two months the stock market remained closed despite frantic resounding calls by local and foreign investors, analysts and asset managers to open for trading and deal with the inevitable nosedive. What’s worse was the lack of clarity about the reasons behind the decision.
- “The greatest obstacle for investors at the start of 2011 was the restriction of capital flow, initially because of the closure of the banks, but chiefly in the unjustifiably long period during which the stock market was closed,” Roelof Horne, Africa fund manager at UK-based Investec Asset Management, told Daily News Egypt.
- “As long term investors…we took a view from the start that a peaceful uprising in Egypt calling for democracy and accountability was a reason to be more excited about the country, not to capitulate,” he said.
- The night Mubarak stepped down, Beltone Financial’s Angus Blair told DNE, “The army [council] has to realize that there has to be good microeconomic governance of Egypt.”
- Throughout the year, much of the reserves went to propping up the pound instead of letting it gradually devalue to its real rate.
- “Foreign reserves have dropped because they’ve burned through the reserves to prop up the currency. But if they stop doing that, then the value of the Egyptian pound nosedives and basic food prices will rise, that’s very sensitive politically,” Sabra said.
- Beltone Financial reported in the last quarter of 2011 that foreign investors began dumping Egyptian debt as a result of increasing concern over the country’s widening deficit, also citing a messy political transition.
- Selim, however, said that compared to costs incurred by Eastern European economies during their political transformation, “the pressure on the exchange rate and the depletion of reserves, as well as pressure on external and public finances — such costs in the short-term were not too drastic.”
- The result? Stagnant and murky economic policies that left investors, both local and foreign, scratching their heads.
- “The current interim government seems confined by its ‘care-taker’ status. Foreign tourists still don’t know if the country is safe. Investors fear reprisal actions against companies that could lead to shareholder losses.”
- This counters the propagated idea that protests are bad for the economy and slow down the mythical “wheel of production.”
- “It’s convenient for the military, using powerful tools such as state media, to portray protests as slowing down the economy…even if there is no real connection between the two,” said Eurasia Group’s Sabra.
- Expectedly, tourism numbers dropped drastically in early 2011, looked like they may recover by mid-year, but then faltered again after violent crackdowns on protests in October (Maspero), November (Mohamed Mahmoud) and December (Cabinet).
- While Cairo tourists are scarce, the Red Sea resorts performed better throughout the year.
- All the while, investors, both domestic and foreign, have repeatedly said that all they were looking for in 2011 was a clear timetable for the transition to an elected civilian power — they are still waiting.
- Similarly, Sabra said that the “biggest obstacle [to foreign investors] is lack of clarity about politics — investors by and large prize predictability above everything.”
- “It’s not for nothing that you’re now seeing the IMF engage more, because the military now has cover — there’s a parliament and transitional government so they can start to withdraw to the power behind the scenes and have the people up front taking those decisions,” he added.
- But lack of transparency around this issue is only fueling concerns.
- If confidence in the state to provide the most basic and most socially sensitive goods falters, analysts believe Egypt will see unrest of a different kind this coming year.
- The fundamentals of Egypt as an investment destination remain unchanged: a massive consumer market of mostly youth, skilled labor with a lot of unrealized potential, a strategic geographic location — as well as control of the vital trade route through the Suez Canal — and ample touristic treasures.
Great article at http://ow.ly/8F4RA, with some extracted points below:
In Egypt, governing authority shifted from the Mubarak regime to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), a group of military leaders who have dispensed justice through military tribunals, engaged in periodic crackdowns on critical media, raided the offices of civil society organizations, mistreated women activists, and engaged in violence against Christians. While a protracted election process, still under way at year’s end, was conducted with an adherence to fair practices that stood in vivid contrast to the sham polls of the Mubarak regime, the dominant forces in the new parliament will be Islamist parties whose devotion to democracy is open to question.
As 2011 drew to a close, officials in Egypt made headlines by conducting a series of raids on NGOs that monitor human rights and promote democracy. Most of the targeted organizations were Egyptian; a few were international groups (Freedom House was one of the latter). The authorities were insistent that the raids, which included the seizure of files and computers, were legal and technical in nature. Government officials emphasized and reemphasized that they believed human rights organizations had a role to play in a democratic Egypt. Their actions indicated otherwise.
In fact, the behavior of the Egyptian authorities, now and under Mubarak, reflects a deep-seated hostility to NGOs that support democracy and human rights. This in turn points to a broader institutional continuity between the current Egyptian state and the old regime that will present major obstacles to democratic development in the coming months and years, and similar dynamics may play out in other countries where authoritarian rule is being defied.
The way I see it: If somebody robs my house, steals my identity, applies for loans in my name supposedly to fix the house and then uses it to buy himself drugs and nice shoes - then don't think it should be my responsibility to ensure all those people that granted him loans are paid back - ESPECIALLY when they knew that the money was not being spent in the best interest of the "homeowner" (i.e. citizen)
A glance at Egypt’s public finances reveals a disturbing fact: the interest that the country pays on its foreign loans is larger than its budget for education, healthcare, and housing combined. Indeed, these debt-service costs alone account for 22% of the Egyptian government’s total expenditures.
This debt was incurred during the 30-year reign of the deposed president, Hosni Mubarak. In international law, debt that is incurred without the consent of the people, and that is not used to their benefit, is referred to as “odious”; as such, it is not considered transferable to successor regimes. The reasoning is simple and logical: if someone fraudulently borrows money in my name, I am not expected to pay it back, and neither should a country’s population when an unrepresentative leader borrows in their name and to their detriment.
The beneficiaries of this largesse are now mostly sitting in prison awaiting trial. The rest of Egypt, however, only felt this money in the form of an ever-expanding state apparatus that solidified Mubarak’s rule, crushed dissent, and repressed millions. When Egyptians rose up against Mubarak in January, they were confronted by weapons paid for with borrowed money.
Is it fair to expect Egyptians to continue paying for their previous repression and impoverishment at the hands of Mubarak and his cronies? Since this money clearly benefited Mubarak but not his people, should it not be Mubarak, rather than his victims, who is held responsible for it?
The type of regime Mubarak was running had been clear for many years, and it was also clear how the money was being used. A prudent lender should have considered these facts before making the loans. So the banks and international institutions that lent money to Mubarak should bear the responsibility of their choice to bankroll his repressive regime.
An Egyptian precedent would bring awareness and sobriety to an entire generation of lenders that is not accustomed to considering this type of risk, and that may even be unfamiliar with the doctrine of odious debt. Repressive regimes would find it harder to borrow, which would, in turn, make it harder for them to repress their people, and make it easier and cheaper for responsible and legitimate governments to secure important funding when they need it.
It is well established in international law that a political transition, even from an oppressive regime to a popularly legitimized one, does not in itself break the continuity of state-to-state debt obligations, even where the transition involves state succession. At the same time, state practice, the rulings of international tribunals and the writings of most academic authorities reflect acceptance of some equitable limits to the sanctity of state-to-state debt agreements. The international law obligation to repay debt has never been accepted as absolute, and has frequently been limited or qualified by a range of equitable considerations, some of which may be regrouped under the concept of “odiousness”. This is consistent with the accepted view that equity constitutes part of the content of “the general principles of law of civilized nations,” one of the fundamental sources of international law stipulated in the Statute of the International Court of Justice.
The concept of “odious debt” regroups a particular set of equitable considerations that have often been raised to adjust or sever debt obligations in the context of political transitions. A survey of such transitional situations in the past or present indicates that the way in which the “odiousness” is argued as a ground for limiting obligations, which varies from one transitional context to another, and may differ depending on whether the transition involved, is for instance a secession, whether it arises from war or decolonization or simply a political revolution.
In a number of the situations in question, tribunals or other States have rejected or questioned claims to adjust or sever debt obligations based on considerations of “odiousness.” However, this has usually been because of doubts on the facts as to whether the debt in question was “odious” or actually conferred some benefits on the population or the new regime. In none of these situations was a claim of odious debt rejected on grounds that international law simply does not countenance alteration in state-to-state debt obligations based on any equitable considerations whatever. In some situations, the debtor State made overly broad claims to repudiation of debt obligations (the case of attempted Soviet repudiation of Tsarist debts and more recently the Islamic Republic of Iran’s attempted repudiation of pre-revolutionary debts before the Iran Claims Tribunal).
Political transitions pose complex, multi-faceted challenges for the transitional regime, from accountability for wrongs of the past, to establishing a framework of legal stability and economic reconstruction. Dealing with odious debt from the prior regime usually involves political as well as legal considerations. Even where a strong legal argument exists for repudiation of some or all debt based on considerations of odiousness, a transitional regime may well prefer to negotiate a voluntary adjustment in obligations with its creditors or even to continue to repay the debt. South Africa is a case in point. Such decisions do not detract from the availability of considerations of odiousness as a legal basis for alteration of debt obligations, but rather simply testify that transitional justice is political, and not just legal.
PLEASE SEE HERE FOR LATEST VERSION - THIS IS OUTDATED! (http://www.ducoht.org/1/post/2012/04/scafs-musical-chairs-the-current-22-plus-2-former-members.html)
Up to 21 at this point based on what I have come across...
Youtube website video: (can't seem to find that video where they are all around the half-circle table - think that's the only time I have seen them all present! There were tons of them on youtube but can't seem to find any of them recently..!)
1. SIS Website from 2/18/2011: (total of 14)
Field Marshal Mohamed Tantawi, former Minister of Defence and Military Production
Lt. General Sami Annan, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces
Admiral Mohab Memish, the Commander of the Maritime Force
Air Marshal Reda Hafez, the Commander of the Air Force
Lt. General Abdel Aziz Seif, the Commander of the Air Defense Forces
General Hassan al-Rwini, the Commander of the Military Central Zone
Staff General Ismail Othman, the Director of the Morale Affairs Department
General Mohsen al-Fanagry, the Assistant Defense Minister
Staff General Mohammed Abdel Nabi, the Commander of the Border Guard
Staff General Mohammed Hegazy, the Commander of the Third Field Army
Staff General Sobhy Sedky, the Commander of the Second Field Army
The commanders of the northern, southern and western zones (3 additional)
[Birth Years: Tantawi (1935), Annan (1948), Hafez (1952), Seifeddin (1949)]
2. Amnesty International Report (http://goo.gl/e1qvO)
For a total of 16...
3. Youm7 (http://allafrica.com/stories/201112050301.html)
4. Foreign Affairs magazine, September/October 2011, "Commanding Democracy in Egypt"
5. Wikipedia (says they are 18)
A total of 18 members including Six other military commanders (possibly including the four chiefs of staff of the four branches of the Egyptian Armed Forces).
Has names for the regional military zone commanders:
From 12/19 Press Conference about Parliament Building
"But only advisors apparently"
From Carnegie Endowment (Jan 5th, 2012): http://ow.ly/8vqJm
"A list of the nineteen members of the SCAF is provided below, with the first eight being the most outspoken:"
For a total of 21!
In case you want to skip the below rambling/methodology, click HERE for charts
There was not much discrepancy in the voting percentages based on the socio-economic status. The biggest discrepancy seems to be between extreme vs middle socio-economic groups (i.e. the "rich" and "very poor" categories voted relatively similarly while the "middle one", "middle two" and "poor" categories voted relatively similarly).
The strongest area where this held true was in Wafd voting - where the "rich" and "very poor" voted at about half the percentage as the other groups. The above correlation seemed to hold true for Islamic vs Secular and for percent voting for liberal parties, albeit weaker.
The only real discrepancy in this was with regards to Salafi vs Non-Salafi votes in which the "rich" group was clearly outstanding when compared to the rest (-10% salafi).
Analysis of voting orientation based on demographics
The voting districts were classified into socio-economic groups based on the work of Ahram Center and DEDI to classify the voting districts into socio-economic groups including "rich", "middle one", "middle two", "poor" and "very poor" based on:
• Share of 15-44 year olds
• Share of illiterate
• Share of university and above graduates
• Share of unemployed
• Share of public sector workers
Then, political parties were coded based on their orientation (see table)
From the Guardian article: http://goo.gl/dh4XT
“Boutros-Ghali has been living openly in London despite being convicted of corruption and profiteering in Egypt. An Interpol "red notice", which seeks information about a suspect, was issued after he fled the country but he cannot be arrested by police in the UK until Egypt issues an international arrest warrant.”
From Egyptian Independent paper: http://goo.gl/xYREq
The Egyptian Embassy in London has renewed its official request for the extradition of former Finance Minister Youssef Botrous Ghali on five occasions, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Amr Roshdy on Wednesday.
He explained that in April 2011, Egypt's judicial authorities submitted a request demanding Ghali's arrest through the London embassy. The request, according to Roshdy, was renewed in May, coinciding with the Egyptian embassy's efforts to detect the runaway minister's movement.
Roshdy said the Foreign Ministry made a similar request in July 2011 after Ghali was sentenced in absentia to 30 years in prison on corruption charges. Roshdy said that the Egyptian Embassy had also notified the UK Home Office of three international arrest warrants issued against the former minister.
Egypt and the UK do not have an extradition agreement.
SCAF Commanding Democracy in the Middle East (Foreign Policy article great overview of mentality, strategy, concerns, etc.)
Read this in August/September but really a great, comprehensive overview
Full article available here or here
1. Hopes to create a system that’ll preserve its power by reducing chances any single political group rises & is using its mythic status & public fear of instability. (Also using single-member seats, farmers/workers provision, governor placement and using the media.)
2. Don’t fear Iranian-style coup as much as MB growing into a political force like the AKP in Turkey which can gradually wrest power from the army.
Even more dangerous, perhaps, is the new electoral law put in place by the SCAF that maintains a system of single-member districts for half the seats in the lower house of Egypt's parliament with the other half to be chosen based on a party-list system (I think this has been changed to 75% list based since publication). Although it may seem like a minor technicality, this law is harmful to Egyptian democracy. For one, it will aid local power brokers. These officials typically ran as independents under the prior regime, only to join the NDP after the election to secure patronage for their districts. A system of single-member districts will cement this kind of pattern by reducing campaigns to competitions over which candidate can best win resources for his region. The military prefers this to proportional representation, which would foster party identification by allowing voters to choose between parties campaigning on national platforms. It would also introduce Egyptians to new political forces that might challenge the SCAF's authority, particularly in less developed areas of the country where local power brokers still rule.
The military is also working to secure its influence over parliament by maintaining a provision that reserves half the seats in the lower house of parliament for what the electoral law calls "farmers" and "workers." First adopted by former Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser as a means of empowering the masses, the provision eventually came to be used by retired military officers and internal security personnel as a way to enter government, by qualifying as farmers or workers. Indeed, Amr Moussa, a presidential candidate who has served as Egypt's foreign minister and as secretary-general of the Arab League, has conceded that "in reality 90 percent of the ‘farmers'" are former military officers. On taking office, these legislators typically joined the parliament's Defense and National Security Committee, the only body in the Egyptian government that even nominally supervises the military, further diluting what little civilian oversight there was.
Since the revolution, the generals have sought to maintain control over key instruments of power, especially provincial governorships, to complement their top-down control. Governors are appointed by the regime and oversee all local development projects, making them central players when it comes to distributing patronage. In the Mubarak era, roughly three-quarters of the governors came from the military or the internal security and intelligence services. After the revolution, many expected the SCAF to increase the number of civilian governors. Yet just the opposite has occurred. In April, the transitional government actually increased the number of posts held by former military or security officers. In the face of popular criticism, the military is now considering allowing governors to be directly elected, but it has yet to make a final decision. (Has this been decided? Haven't heard anything.)The military has also found willing allies among parts of the media, which have questioned whether the "shaky hands" of civilian leaders can impose law and order in such unstable times. Although some of these security concerns are legitimate, this coverage has conditioned the public to believe that handing power to civilian leaders risks destabilizing the country.
Above all, the generals are determined to preserve stability and protect their privileged position. They recognize that ruling the country directly threatens their position by potentially provoking instability, exposing them to public criticism, and dividing their ranks. And they want to avoid being blamed for Egypt's growing economic and social problems, such as double-digit inflation and unemployment, continued labor unrest, and a rise in crime. As a result, the SCAF is eager to hand power over to an elected government — but only to preserve its power and perks, not out of some deep-seated belief in democracy.The generals, then, seem to be seeking not a genuinely open and representative political system for Egypt but rather one that will allow them to retain the final say over the country's foreign policy and avoid civilian oversight. The elected government, in their vision, would carry the burden of day-to-day rule — and bear the brunt of any public displeasure.Although the military did not to seek to overthrow Mubarak, this year's demonstrations gave it an opportunity to restore its central position. Since ousting Mubarak and ascending to power, the SCAF has deftly channeled lingering public outrage over corruption toward those who have threatened its own power, such as Mubarak's business cronies and members of his formerly ruling National Democratic Party (NDP).The generals now hope to create a system of carefully shaped democratic institutions that will preserve their power and reduce the chances that any single political group can challenge them. The SCAF's decision to legalize banned political parties and allow the formation of new ones can, to some extent, be understood in this light. Although the move did represent a concession to popular demands, it also diffused political power — something that clearly benefits the military.The generals understand, of course, that they cannot operate as if the revolution never happened, and they realize that they risk further unrest if they fail to meet some of the protesters' demands. Thus, the SCAF has instituted presidential terms limits, strengthened judicial oversight of elections, and created a more transparent process for the registration of political parties. It has also promised not to run one of its own in the country's presidential race and to maintain the long-standing policy whereby military and internal security personnel — up to 1.5 million people — abstain from voting. Yet the military ultimately wants an Egyptian government that does not threaten its position. It is attempting to build a system more democratic than Mubarak's but still beholden to its interests, betting that in a desire for stability, many Egyptians will accept this compromise.The SCAF has carefully directed the course of Egypt's transition by empowering political forces that do not oppose its dominance or are too vulnerable to try. It has courted two main partners: the established opposition parties, such as the Wafd Party, which have criticized the military on certain policies but have demonstrated loyalty by not questioning its right to rule, and, more important, the Islamists, including the Muslim Brotherhood, who share the SCAF's desire to limit the growth of liberal forces (albeit for different reasons) and have considerable power to mobilize the street.
The Brotherhood helped build public support for the March referendum that mandated elections this fall and has reliably backed the SCAF in the months since. For example, when critics accused the military police of using live ammunition on April 8 to clear Tahrir Square of protesters pressing for a civilian-led transition, and the SCAF claimed that the bullets had come from counterrevolutionary snipers intent on driving a wedge between the people and the army, the Muslim Brotherhood's leader, Mohammed Badie, endorsed this conspiracy theory and condemned all attempts to "bring about division or subversion between the people and its army."Even when it did join protests against the generals in early July, the Brotherhood agreed to participate only after youth groups dropped their public demand for a faster transition to civilian control and agreed to focus instead on speedier trials for former officials and security personnel accused of killing protesters during the revolution. And when youth demonstrators chanted for the removal of Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, leader of the SCAF, the Brotherhood called on the protesters to "appreciate the role of the military in protecting the revolution rather than criticizing it."The SCAF views the Muslim Brotherhood as an attractive partner not because of any ideological affinity but because the party is both publicly popular and legally vulnerable. The Brotherhood's leaders understand that to cement its place in Egyptian politics, they must convince the military that they pose no threat to the basic order, which makes them keen to demonstrate their loyalty.
Washington's most obvious leverage is the $1.3 billion in aid that the United States provides the Egyptian military each year, estimated to cover up to 80 percent of its procurement costs. Even if the United States were to vigorously campaign for democracy, it would still have limited power to shape events on the ground given the weakness of liberal democratic parties in the country, the reverence for the military in Egyptian society, and popular distrust of U.S. intentions. Even the $1.3 billion in security assistance buys little clout, since the generals view it as a reward for maintaining peace with Israel, an attitude that the United States can do little to change.Since 1973, by carefully cultivating and protecting its own mythology, the Egyptian military has maintained unparalleled popularity, with public approval ratings hovering around 90 percent.But this steady diet of praise has made the generals hypersensitive to criticism. For example, when over 1,000 people died in a ferryboat accident in the Red Sea in 2006, critics accused the military of failing to deploy quickly enough to rescue them. Rather than submit itself to public examination, however, the military reportedly tampered with the parliamentary investigation that followed and made sure that it did not receive any of the blame. In the postrevolutionary era, the SCAF has demonstrated the same aversion to public criticism.The United States must also prevent the SCAF from hiding behind its relationship with Washington. For example, when General Shahin insisted that the military receive special protections under the new constitution, he justified his position by arguing that the U.S. military is given the same privileges under U.S. law — an obvious falsehood. The Obama administration should have publicly disputed Shahin's disingenuous comparison by noting that in the United States, unlike Egypt under current SCAF rule, military budgets are in the public domain, national security issues are subject to congressional oversight, and, most important, the military executes, rather than makes, national security policy.The military is gambling that its mythic status in Egypt and public fears of instability will allow it to create a political system to its liking.
For an updated version (more graphical, better organized, etc.) please see here
All from wikileaks cables, excerpts from larger pieces but other parts were mainly about Gaza, Iran, etc which are also very interesting but figured it would be too much and distract from domestic issues - reading through those though, his stances on foreign policy issues are worth reading (e.g. Feb, 2008: You must try to convince Israel to stop cutting off humanitarian supplies to the Palestinians, Tantawi said. "Not all Gazans are Hamas." The trouble is that when Israel tightens the siege around Gaza, "thousands of innocent men, women, and children suffer." AND Sept, 2006:Tantawi then asked for U.S. help in getting Israel to"calm down" and stop hindering the delivery of humanitarian supplies to the Palestinian people.) - can provide links if desired.
Written by US diplomats so take it for what its worth - while not the most telling of information, unfortunately, the lack of transparency makes it hard to find more "legitimate" information from other places...
While this is about Tantawi, will try to create a similar one about other SCAF members who are cited/discussed..
Back to Al Mosheer:
Decision-making within MOD rests almost solely with Defense Minister Tantawi. In office since 1991, he consistently resists change to the level and direction of FMF funding and is therefore one of our chief impediments to transforming our security relationship. Nevertheless, he retains President Mubarak's support. You should encourage Tantawi to place greater emphasis on countering asymmetric threats rather than focusing almost exclusively on conventional force.
Tantawi added that any country where the military became engaged in "internal affairs" was "doomed to have lots of problems." He stressed that countries must clearly stipulate the military's duties in their constitution and militaries should not deviate from those defined responsibilities.
While the Pakistanis were "difficult," Tantawi said that Egypt was still trying to "work with them." (Note: Tantawi previously served as the Egyptian Defense Attach to Pakistan and was also responsible for Afghanistan. End Note)
Tantawi began by providing a brief overview of regional security concerns. Tantawi said that Egypt was "keeping an eye" on the situation in Sudan because of the Nile's crucial role in Egyptian security and stability. He also expressed concerns over Iran. He noted Egypt maintained a good relationship with Israel and was cooperating on a number of different issues, including border security.
DNI Blair expressed U.S. concern over cyber security threats from hackers and other countries. Tantawi shared these concerns and hoped the U.S. and Egypt could cooperate to combat this threat.
Tantawi said that Egypt had good relations with China, which mostly focused on economic issues. Although Egypt had "some" military relations with China, they did not discuss terrorism or security issues within the Gulf.
Defense Minister Tantawi keeps the Armed Forces appearing reasonably sharp and the officers satisfied with their perks and privileges, and Mubarak does not appear concerned that these forces are not well prepared to face 21st century external threats. EGIS Chief Omar Soliman and Interior Minister al-Adly keep the domestic beasts at bay, and Mubarak is not one to lose sleep over their tactics. Gamal Mubarak and a handful of economic ministers have input on economic and trade matters, but Mubarak will likely resist further economic reform if he views it as potentially harmful to public order and stability. Dr. Zakaria Azmi and a few other senior NDP leaders manage the parliament and public politics.
(Little take on Mubarak: Mubarak is a classic Egyptian secularist who hates religious extremism and interference in politics. The Muslim Brothers represent the worst, as they challenge not only Mubarak's power, but his view of Egyptian interests. As with regional issues, Mubarak, seeks to avoid conflict and spare his people from the violence he predicts would emerge from unleashed personal and civil liberties. In Mubarak's mind, it is far better to let a few individuals suffer than risk chaos for society as a whole.)
Comment: Tantawi's physical and mental health has long been rumored to be deteriorating. During the meeting, however, Tantawi appeared in good health and was engaged and quick-witted throughout the conversation.
September 2008: (this entry mainly comes from one source, blacked out "XXXXX", so again, take it for what its worth given the single source and his closeness to the US)
Since Abu Ghazalah (defense minister pre-1989 who allegedly was fired because he was charismatic and getting popular support), XXXXXXXXXXXX noted, the regime has not allowed any charismatic figures to reach the senior ranks. “(Defense Minister) Tantawi looks like a bureaucrat,” he joked. XXXXXXXXXXXX described the mid-level officer corps as generally disgruntled, and said that one can hear mid-level officers at MOD clubs around Cairo openly expressing disdain for Tantawi. These officers refer to Tantawi as “Mubarak’s poodle,” he said, and complain that “this incompetent Defense Minister” who reached his position only because of unwavering loyalty to Mubarak is “running the military into the ground.” He opined that a culture of blind obedience pervades the MOD where the sole criteria for promotion is loyalty, and that the MOD leadership does not hesitate to fire officers it perceives as being “too competent” and who therefore potentially pose a threat to the regime.
Reform: In the cabinet, where he still wields significant influence, Tantawi has opposed both economic and political reforms that he perceives as eroding central government power. He is supremely concerned with national unity, and has opposed policy initiatives he views as encouraging political or religious cleavages within Egyptian society. In a speech on March 9, Tantawi said one of the military’s roles is to protect constitutional legitimacy and internal stability, signaling his willingness to use the military to control the Muslim Brotherhood in the run-up to the April 9 municipal council elections. On economic reform, Tantawi believes that Egypt’s economic reform plan fosters social instability by lessening GOE controls over prices and production. Tantawi rejects any conditioning on Egyptian FMF on human rights or any other grounds. Before this year he thought that FMF was inviolable and regarded ESF as a layer of protection against possible cuts to FMF. He will argue that any conditions on military assistance are counter-productive. He will also state that the military is not behind human rights problems in Egypt and that U.S. Congressional human rights conditionally is mis-targeted.
Washington interlocutors should be prepared to meet an aged and change-resistant Tantawi. Charming and courtly, he is, nonetheless mired in a post-Camp David military paradigm that has served his cohort’s narrow interests for the last three decades. He and Mubarak are focused on regime stability and maintaining the status quo through the end of their time. They simply do not have the energy, inclination or world view to do anything differently. Nonetheless, for the benefit of Tantawi’s omnipresent aides, we should focus discussions on the future and how to operate as strategic partners as we face the challenges of that future together.
Civil Defense: The Red Sea ferry accident in February 2006 embarrassed the Mubarak government and cost more than 1000 lives. Tantawi will bring to Washington his mandate from President Mubarak to integrate the military into crisis response management. On this he needs and will be grateful for our help -- a small but important advance against the MOD’s staunch resistance to engagement with us in shifting their priorities and transforming their forces. ASD for Homeland Defense McHale has suggested including Egyptian representatives in U.S.-based civil emergency exercises
During their hour-long meeting on December 31, DefMin Tantawi told the Ambassador and visiting CODEL Voinovich (Senator Voinovich, R-OH; Rep. Turner, R-OH; Rep. Pearce, R-NM; Rep. Bishop, R-UT; Rep. Gingrey, R-GA) that conditioning Egypt's FMF assistance will harm bilateral relations and would be rejected not only by Egypt's military members, but by all Egyptians. "This (conditioning) is bad for U.S.-Egyptian relations." The average Egyptian sees such conditioning of military aid as U.S. interference in Egypt's internal affairs, Tantawi said. (C) Senator Voinovich said that he understood Tantawi's concern, and stressed that the conditioning can be waived by the Secretary of State; "I hope this can be worked out." Unfortunately, Voinovich said, there are certain members of Congress who do not consider all the ramifications of the U.S.-Egypt relationship. "They don't see the big picture." Turning to the issue of tunneling and smuggling under Egypt's border with Gaza, Voinovich opined that "the sooner we solve that problem, the better for our relationship." Senator Voinovich asked if the Saudis saw Iran in the same way, and if they communicated their concerns directly to the Iranians. Tantawi said that the Saudis try to be helpful. "We and the Saudis are close," he said. "We share views and have the same attitudes."
On September 16, Minister of Defense Field Marshal Tantawi and the Ambassador discussed the impact of the FMF debates on the overall relationship, the state of mil-to-mil relations, border security, the under-disbursement of FMF in FY07, and the peace process. Tantawi said that the U.S. and Egypt must work to strengthen the mil-to-mil relationship despite occasional differences on individual issues. He also warned that Egypt's history with colonialism, occupation and war still impacts Egypt's foreign relations.Tantawi said that the assistance debates impact not only the military and other government officials, but also the Egyptian people, who are "intelligent and sensitive." Referring to the 2007 amendment by Representative Obey, Tantawi said that "those in Congress who would try to pressure Egypt through the military on issues regarding the judiciary, police or borders should know this will not work." President Mubarak was very angry about this development, Tantawi explained -- it was carried out as though Egypt is weak and can be ordered to do things. "It could have been handled another way," he said, again highlighting the sensitivity of the Egyptian people to what they perceive as foreign interference. Tantawi then recounted that when he was a boy, a British officer ordered him to leave the public sidewalk in central Cairo and to cross the street so as to be out of the way. "This was in my own country," Tantwai said; "I was not doing anything wrong." "Colonialism, the wars and Israeli occupation of Sinai are historic issues that we can't leave behind." Border security, the Ambassador said, remains a high priority for the USG, and asked the Minister to increase to 750 the number of Border Guard Forces (BGF) on the border with Gaza and to do everything else possible to stem smuggling. Tantawi repeated his long-standing request that Israel agree to allow Egypt to deploy another border guard unit (with equipment), noting that the current number of troops is insufficient to patrol the 14 kilometer border with Gaza, and even less the 28 kilometer Mediterranean Sea coast of Zone C.
Currently, there is no obvious contender from among the officer corps, Egypt's traditional presidential recruitment grounds. Minister of Defense Tantawi, a contemporary of Mubarak's, appears to harbor no political ambitions. Like Soliman, he could play a role in clearing the way for Gamal, if he calculates that is in the best interests of the country; conversely, he could also be a key player in preventing Gamals ascendance. We have heard some limited reports of Tantawi’s increasing frustration and disenchantment with Gamal (ref b). In the event of a national leadership crisis, it is near inconceivable that given Mubarak's personal manipulation of the office corps, that another military officer could emerge from obscurity to assert himself as a candidate. But Tantawi and his senior coterie are not necessarily popular at mid and lower ranks, so the possibility of a mid-20th century style coup of colonels cannot be entirely discounted.
CENTCOM Commanding General John Abizaid, accompanied by the Ambassador, met on August 30 with Egyptian Minister of Defense Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi to review U.S.-Egyptian mil-mil relations and discuss the regional situation. Abizaid and Tantawi agreed that the U.S.-Egyptian relationship is very strong; but, added Tantawi, "we want even more." General Abizaid thanked Tantawi for Egypt's cooperation in areas as diverse as granting overflight clearances to facilitating usage of the Suez Canal. Tantawi said it was important for the U.S. to remember that, while Egyptian political and military leaders understood the value of the U.S.-Egyptian relationship, "the simple people do not see it." We need to work together to convince them, too. The key, according to Tantawi, is the reinvigoration of the peace process. "It is not a peace process just for the Palestinians and Israelis, but for the region as a whole."
A key stumbling block for any effort to bring Gamal Mubarak to the presidency could be the military. Each of Egypt's three presidents since the republic was established in 1952 were drawn from the military's officer corps, and the military has historically been the ultimate guarantor of the president's rule. Gamal Mubarak did not serve as a military officer (and it is not clear whether he ever completed, even "on paper," his national military service) and unlike his father, can not take the military's support for granted. This factor is often cited by our contacts, who believe that Soliman, the intelligence chief with a military background, would have to figure in any succession scenario for Gamal, if only as a transitional figure. Another theory is that some other military officer could emerge from obscurity as a presidential contender. (Defense Minister Tantawi is acknowledged to be frail and without any political ambition.)
Joseph told Tantawi that the U.S. would like to expand the areas of U.S.-Egyptian cooperation and said the Administration will work proactively to educate Members of Congress on Egypt's valuable contributions to regional stability in order to ensure the continuation of military assistance. Joseph cautioned that Congress will look closely at a range of issues including, for example, Egypt's support on Iran, its efforts to help counter weapons of mass destruction, its role in Darfur, and the pace of democratic reform. In this context, there are certain things that Egypt must do to build support in Congress. (C) Tantawi responded that while bilateral relations with the U.S. have always been good, Egypt and the Egyptian people resent the perception in Congress that Egypt must earn its assistance. "Our respect is being violated and our dignity is threatened," Tantawi said. In Tantawi's view, the impact on the relationship, and especially on the armed forces, is very bad. "If we agree that, as equals, we both gain from the relationship, we can better cooperate to achieve our interests," Tantawi said. "Don't spoil the relationship by threatening our military assistance" because this form of pressure "will not work." After complaining about the U.S. decision not to release new defense systems, Tantawi asked Joseph (again) to tell Congress of Egypt's value and argued that Egypt's cooperation with the U.S. has been steadfast. Egypt even disposed of the former USSR-donated chemical weapons it received decades ago just because the U.S. requested it, Tantawi argued.
March 1st 2006:
Summary: During his March 5-10 visit to Washington, Defense Minister Tantawi will seek Administration support for the current level of FMF funding. Tantawi feels that any USG concerns about the pace of democratic reform should be kept distinct from the mil-mil relationship, which he considers the cornerstone of the bilateral relationship.MoD management: On the internal front, Tantawi and his advisors have been unreceptive to suggestions that the Defense Ministry consider a transformation plan, as is done in the U.S. military. Tantawi and his advisors have declined numerous offers of briefings on transformation as it impacts staffing, doctrine, training, and equipment. Decision-making at the Ministry is hierarchical, with Tantawi's personal approval required for nearly all decisions, including, for example, who will attend low-level training. Although we can continue to encourage the Ministry to reevaluate its procedures in light of changing national and regional dynamics and modern practices, absent a change in leadership, it is unlikely that MoD will act. (C) International Medical Center: One sensitive issue on the slate is whether the treatment of third country patients at the FMF-funded International Medical Center (IMC) violates Section Three of the Arms Export Control Act of 1976. Because the USG funded the IMC for the treatment of members of the Egyptian military and their families, State is exploring whether the IMC's treatment of third country patients is illegal. One of Tantawi's advisors is working with post to collect the information needed to make this determination. Tantawi will not raise this issue himself in any meetings.
March 19th 2006:
Summary: On March 19, the Ambassador and Defense Minister Tantawi discussed Iraq, Sudan, the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), and Tantawi's impressions of his recent visit to Washington. Tantawi reaffirmed the GOE view that for now, U.S. troops must remain in Iraq. On his meetings in Washington, Tantawi said he was concerned by the discussion about potentially drawing down the U.S. presence in the MFO (Multinational Force in Sinai) and reassured by the Administration's support for maintaining the current level of FMF. Tantawi also said Egypt is committed to maintaining strong but "quiet" counter-proliferation cooperation with the U.S. Tantawi said formally joining the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) would be counter productive as it would certainly arouse domestic political opposition, particularly from the new parliament. End summary.On FMF, Tantawi said he was pleased with the assurances he received from the Administration on the need to maintain the same level of funding for the coming year. Although Tantawi said his meetings with members of Congress were positive, he expressed concern over Representative Obey's apparent change of heart. Tantawi explained that because Obey had always been a "friend" of Egypt, he was surprised and disappointed to hear the Congressman raise questions about Egypt's FMF.
Democratic Reform: Tantawi told the Ambassador that the GOE is working to strike a balance between openness and stability. Noting the MB-Hamas link, Tantawi said the GOE is watching this closely to control, but not crack down on, the MB. He complained that the MB gets away with criticizing the GOE extensively and said there is no way to respond. He invited the Ambassador's "advice." The Ambassador urged the GOE to use increased openness to advantage -- not necessarily for "dialogue" with the Islamists but rather for debate: voices of secular opposition to the MB needed to be heard, whether from within the ruling party, or from a strengthened democratic opposition, or both. Tantawi said that this will all come with time and at a pace appropriate for Egypt. The Ambassador countered that the MB seems to be advancing its agenda at a faster pace to meet what appears to be popular demand for change.
So, just read this morning: Last week, however, a committee formed of the central bank's governor, as well as ministers of finance, planning, industry and supply, indicated that foreign borrowing has become a necessity for the Egyptian economy to cover the deficits in budget and the balance of payment, along with the drop in international reserves. The borrowed amount will range from $10 billion to $12 billion, the committee indicated. http://english.ahram.org.eg/News/30881.aspx
And earlier in November that "Deputy Prime Minister Hazem El Beblawi had said in a Nov. 18 interview that Egypt may ask the IMF for the $3 billion loan it rejected earlier this year as domestic borrowing costs soar."The below is FROM LAST MAY! (and just to keep track we have received $0.5B from Qatar and Saudi, each, and nothing else despite the over $20B "offered" http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/283fbe50-9e68-11e0-8e61-00144feabdc0.html?ftcamp=rss#axzz1QMlDUVxd
Around October "Egypt is in talks with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for $5 billion in loans to finance the budget deficit" http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-11-30/egypt-may-seek-3-billion-loan-from-imf-as-debt-costs-soar.html
Below is from last May... (just to keep track, of which Saudi and Qatar have each given us $0.5B from the over $20B offered to us globally)... Still perplexed as to why we rejected IMF loan, it does seem to good to be true but apparently we gave up on taking advantage of that!
Problem: $10-12 billion balance of payments gap for the fiscal year that begins on 1 July, economists say.
The International Monetary Fund agreed Sunday to lend Egypt $3 billion with few stated conditions to help the country mend its ailing economy.
Egypt's finance minister, Samir Radwan, and the deputy director of the IMF's Middle East and Central Asia Department, Ratna Sahay, at a news conference announced a 1.5% interest rate on the one-year loan, which is to be paid in full within five years.
The loan's terms mark a departure from the more forceful conditions the IMF usually imposes in the form of austerity measures, such as increased taxes and lower subsidies.
Ms. Sahay and Mr. Radwan said the terms of the loan were part of a "home-grown" financial plan designed for the most part by Egypt's transitional government and aimed at improving living conditions for Egypt's poor.
Imposing rigorous reform conditions would be inappropriate, they said, given that Egypt's unelected transitional government lacks a firm mandate for economic change.
"Of course the IMF in Egypt is usually linked to conditionality—this is the history of the IMF," Mr. Radwan said. "This [loan] does not require any kind of conditionality as it did in the past."
Despite the IMF's praise for the budget proposal, both Ms. Sahay and Mr. Radwan said they had reservations, particularly concerning the budget's 26% spending increase on subsidies for "essential commodities." But the goals of the loan focus on ensuring social stability in the short term, Ms. Sahay said.
"As we can see with Egypt, one of the biggest drivers of the government is social justice," Ms. Sahay said. "If that is the priority of the government and the Egyptian people, we respect that priority."
2.Qatar: $10B+ (in addition to treasury purchases)
a."I believe these projects, when implemented, will surpass $10 billion, and they will be productive products in Egypt," al-Ahram quoted Ambassdor Saleh Al-Buainein as saying.
b.Samir Radwan had earlier mentioned that Qatar's government was prepared to finance a port in the western outskirts of Alexandria at Malahat, which it said would be the world's largest, al-Ahram said.
3.Saudi: $4 billion that includes a $1 billion deposit at the Central Bank of Egypt and $500 million in bond purchases
4.USA: $2B that includes up to $1B in debt and guarantee another $1B in borrowing to finance infrastructure and job creation.
5.World Bank: $6B over 2 years ($1.2B in already existing support)
a.The support includes $1 billion for Egypt’s budget this year linked to governance and openness reforms with a further $1 billion available next year dependant on progress. The balance would be made up of investment lending for specific projects, financing for private businesses and political risk and guarantees. The Bank is already working on a $200 million support program for labor intensive public infrastructure and is disbursing another $1 billion over the next 24 months from existing loans.
6.EBRD: 2.5B Euros for the region
لماذا كانت الاستثمارات القطرية في مصر قبل ذلك ضعيفة؟
الاستثمارات القطرية في مصر لم تكن ضعيفة فقد جاوزت500 مليون دولار في الفترة السابقة, والأمر الآخر أنه مع احترامي للإجراءات المتبعة في مصر.. كان يوجد بطء في تعاملها مع الدول فقد كانت مصر تشجع الاستثمار بطريقة كلاسيكية بينما تحتاج المشاريع ورجال الأعمال الي جو عام واضح وتنفيذ سريع وشفافية في الطرح بين الجانبين, وهذه الفوائد تستفيد منها الأطراف كلها علي المستوي الثنائي أو علي مستوي العالم كله.. ولذلك نتمني علي مصر في المرحلة المقبلة أن تركز علي قوانين الاستثمار وتسهيل عملية الاستثمار وتخصيص الاستثمار المطلوب وتحديده لنعرف ماذا تريد مصر من العالم؟ وما هي أولويات المشاريع التي تحتاج إليها؟ أعتقد أن هناك رغبة كبيرة في الاستثمار من جانب قطر ودول عربية كثيرة
وكان وزير المالية الدكتور سمير رضوان قد كشف عن استعداد الحكومة القطرية لتمويل إنشاء أكبر ميناء في العالم بمنطقة الملاحات بالإسكندرية.
The North African nation attracted $2.3 billion in direct foreign investment in the first half of the current fiscal year, he said. Egypt used to receive between $7 billion and $8 billion annually before the revolution that toppled President Hosni Mubarak in February.
The EBRD is already considering a request by Egypt to become a country of operations and Morocco, another EBRD shareholder, has more recently expressed a similar interest in becoming a recipient of investments by the Bank.
Further political decisions will be taken in the weeks and months ahead. EBRD President Thomas Mirow has indicated that the Bank would have the capacity, eventually, to invest as much as €2.5 billion a year in that region.