Shafiq Candidacy:

Regarding whether Shafiq will be eligible to run for president needs to take into account a number of key parameters including the passing of the disenfranchisement bill by parliament, ratification by SCAF, SPEC approval, constitutional court consideration and (most importantly) the deadline for the final candidate list.

  1. Earlier this month the “Disenfranchisement Law” (see below for details of text) was passed in parliament that barred Mubarak era top officials from participating in the presidential election as candidates.
  2. SCAF approved the “Disenfranchisement Law” (officially called the Corrupting of Political Life Law) on April 24th, 2012.  SCAF then sent it for a final vote in parliament (where one can assume it will be approved). 
  3. However, while approving there were rumors that they “may allow Shafiq to run”.  (
  4. On Tuesday, April 25th there were some rumors that SPEC had officially disqualified Shafiq (e.g. and 
  5. However, late on Tuesday Reuters reported that "the presidential electoral committee (SPEC) headed by Farouk Soltan accepts the appeal of former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq, allowing him to contest the presidential race," state news agency MENA reported. (
  6. While there is some discussion of the case being referred to constitutional court it does not seem that would have an impact as: “The Supreme Presidential Electoral Commission (SPEC) is not subject to judicial authority pursuant to Article 28 of the constitutional declaration and has full authorities either to accept or to eliminate presidential candidates.”(
  7. “In the meantime, Ahmed Shafiq received his presidential candidacy voting-symbol, the ladder, from the SPEC headquarters Tuesday afternoon .” (
  8. April 26th is the day the final list of candidates must be submitted by SPEC and that list cannot be challenged after that date.  This is illustrated by the fact that “legal experts say that if the amendment is published second, it might have no legal bearing on the candidate list, allowing Mr Shafiq to stand next month (  Moreover, “Youm al-Sabaa, said the law would be announced in an official gazette on Thursday and would take effect on Friday.” (   

So the official list of candidates is here (currently at 12) and Ahmed Shafiq is not one of those listed.  Additionally, the list of rejected candidates is here (  – yet it also does not include Ahmed Shafiq. 

The website is actually quite robust and detailed.  Sometimes the materials take a few days to post but it is quite thorough.  While this post focuses on “the Shafiq Question” –  there are some interesting links that I will post below for those interested.

The “Disenfranchisement Law” Details:
  • “The decree, numbered 17 for 2012, declared that “those who have worked for the past 10 years as the president, the vice president, prime minister, head of the deposed National Democratic Party, its political office or its general assembly, are banned by this law from practicing their political rights for 10 years, starting February 11, 2012,” read the decree that was published Tuesday.

Other tidbits from the website:
  • Detailed spreadsheet with Omar Suleiman’s signatures and the discrepancies by type and governorate (pretty good!)
  • Step by step documentation of how Abu Ismail’s mother’s US passport was confirmed (mainly foreign ministry requests)

The two changes below keeps the current active number of SCAF members at TWENTY-TWO and brings the former members to TWO…

Gain: General Taher Abdallah who is Head of the Engineering Agency / Commander of the Army's Engineering Department...  His two claims to fame were denying that SCAF had anything to do with the foreign funding case, in addition to recent discussions around low-income housing construction - allegedly costing LE1B from the army's budget per this Ahram article

Loss: Tarek al-Mahdy, current Governor of New Valley (appointed August, 2011) and former member of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, who served on General Supervisor of State TV at Maspero for SCAF .  He recently had a shootout (against some 19th century looking guns) in March 2012. (Started working on a profile on Tarek El Mahdy, click here including interviews, videos and news) 

Below is an interview circa May 2011 with General Taher Abdallah while he was still on SCAF.  He discusses the "evil forces" behind the chaos in Egypt and the "hidden hands" that are destructing Egypt. (I started the interview where the General starts talking).

A blog post documenting sourcing behind the other 22 member names can be found here

See full list of current and former SCAF members HERE ( 

Tarek El Mahdy SCAF Shootout in New Valley
Guns from Shootout with Tarek El Mahdy
Pretty sad - the chart/numbers speak for themselves... 
Female Representation in Parliament (Africa, Middle East and Egypt)
Data from Inter-Parliamentary Union ( and Al Masry Al Youm article for Egypt
Now just to compare global regions - we can see that the Arab countries fare quite poorly (and Egypt sits at the bottom of those unfortunately)... Also, interestingly, the Nordic countries are far ahead of the rest of the world in female representation, almost providing them equal opportunity (assuming a 50/50 population split)... For a full list of percent female representation by country please see here... A more detailed analysis (i.e. breakdown by upper and lower houses for a select subset of countries can be found here)
Just to compare to US congress see below, since US just tends to have very easily accessbile data (as illustrated by this report)
" expect the events of early 2011 to serve as a guarantee of good governance in the post-Mubarak era might be naïve. Indeed, to the extent that any post-Mubarak government fails to live up the expectations of the Egyptian citizenry, it might counter-intuitively make those citizens less likely to protest in the future."
Meirowitz (Prof. of Politics, Princeton) & Tucker (Assoc. Prof. of Politics, NYU) look at the role of the individual & past experiences in determining whether citizens will decide to participate in protests. (i.e. why are citizens willing to bear the cost of protesting once to remove a go, only to shrug their collective shoulders at that same scenario coming to place later?) -

"However, a third conclusion from the model is a bit less obvious. Namely, we find that the one-shot deal scenario may be more likely when citizens have less certainty about the nature of the universe of potential governments. To put this more intuitively, in an established democracy, we might expect that citizens generally believe the quality of the government will be “good.” (By “good” we don’t necessarily mean that the government is above average for the governments in that country, but only that it meets some basic threshold such as competently executing government policy, not being corrupt, not stealing from the population, etc. Governments that fail to meet this threshold could be considered “bad.”) Thus in an established democracy, when by misfortune citizens happen to get the odd “bad” government, it is worth a potentially costly effort (i.e., an extended protest) to replace that government, because you are confident your replacement will probably be good.

In a new regime, however, citizens may have much less confidence about the universe of potential governments, i.e., whether in general most governments are good or most governments are bad. Consider the case of Ukraine in 2005 following the Orange Revolution. Citizens have observed a number of bad governments. This may be because (a) non-democratic governments are bad or (b) most Ukrainian politicians are corrupt. At the time of the Orange Revolution, Ukrainians may have been motivated to protest because they believed (a) to be the case, and thus switching to a more democratic system would usher in a period where governments would be generally good. However, if 2005-2010 reveals nothing more than a series of bad, democratically elected, governments in Ukraine, then Ukrainian citizens may come to believe that they are simply living in a world where all Ukrainian governments are bad. And if that’s the case, why bother protesting again?

Which brings us back to Egypt. If political developments proceed as expected, then at some point in the near future Egypt will have democratic elections. My post today should be taken as a warning that to expect the events of early 2011 to serve as a guarantee of good governance in the post-Mubarak era might be naïve. Indeed, to the extent that any post-Mubarak government fails to live up the expectations of the Egyptian citizenry, it might counter-intuitively make those citizens less likely to protest in the future. Thus the stakes for Egypt’s initial post-Mubarak governments may be even higher than we already expect."

I think this can also be expanded to describe our failure at enacting a variety of changes, not just changes in government...

Unless one fundamentally believes that people in this region (or the developing world as a whole) are inherently inferior to those in the currently democratic, developed nations then the full UNIVERSE OF POTENTIAL GOVERNMENTS"/SOLUTIONS EXISTS exists for us as well– and there is no fundamental reason we should not have access to that whole universe! I'm sick of hearing people’s ideas put down because “the West doesn’t even have that”… I don’t recall the men of the renaissance only aspiring to achieving parity with the Ottomans or Chinese, or the US founding fathers limiting themselves to what the UK had…

Fundamentally, it also comes down to stop giving ourselves excuses… when we are abroad and the streets are clean, people stand in lines, etc we think “Tab why can’t we do this?” and a myriad of problems arise: lack of education, people are lazy, etc. etc… The answer needs to be “WE CAN DO THIS” and the thinking should be on how to enact that, instead of wasting mental energy as to why it CANT be done… 

Yeah, it won’t happen overnight but having the belief that we actually can reach there is the first step… It sounds cheesy but I do believe we live with this strange complex about our ability vis-à-vis that of Western nations/people..

Much of the summary provided by this excellent piece on the Wall Street Journal by one of the authors

Interview with Victim on Feb. 11, 2011
“You think I can’t destroy you just like that?” He clapped his hands together. 

“If God came down and tried to take you by the hand, I would not let him. You are under my control. Let me show you something that will convince you.” 

“Now you are going to tell me that you planned a terrorist attack”, Suleiman persisted. 

Came across this website earlier which had a pretty unique story about Omar Suleiman from a torture victim of his... Of course, no way to verify the validity of the statements but the Australian courts finally acknowledged that the victim had been taken to Egypt for rendition...
Australian citizen Mamdouh Habib was captured and tortured in the years after September 11 in both Egypt and Guantanamo Bay.  

Excerpts from Mamdouh Habib's book that reference Suleiman are extracted below:


The guard quickly told me that the very big boss was coming to talk to me, and that I must be well behaved and co-operate. Everyone was nervous. I have since found out that the boss was Omar Suleiman, head of all Egyptian security. He was known for personally supervising the interrogation of al-Qaeda suspects and sending reports to the CIA. In the beginning, he was often present during my interrogations. He must have thought that he had a big fish when I was sent to him by the Americans and Australians.

I was sitting in a chair, hooded, with my hands handcuffed behind my back. He came up to me. His voice was deep and rough. He spoke to me in Egyptian and English. He said, “Listen, you don’t know who I am, but I am the one who has your life in his hands. Every single person in this building has his life in my hands. I just make the decision.”

I said, “I hope your decision is that you make me die straight away.”

“No, I don’t want you to die now. I want you to die slowly.” He went on, “I can’t stay with you; my time is too valuable to stay here. You only have me to save you. I’m your saviour. You have to tell me everything, if you want to be saved. What do you say?”

“I have nothing to tell you.”

“You think I can’t destroy you just like that?” He clapped his hands together.

“I don’t know”. I was feeling confused. Everything was unreal.

“If God came down and tried to take you by the hand, I would not let him. You are under my control. Let me show you something that will convince you.”

The guard then guided me out of the room and through an area where I could see, from below the blindfold, the trunks of palm trees. We then went through another door back inside, and descended some steps. We entered a room. They sat me down.

“Now you are going to tell me that you planned a terrorist attack”, Suleiman persisted.

“I haven’t planned any attacks.”

“I give you my word that you will be a rich man if you tell me you have been planning attacks. Don’t you trust me?” he asked.

“I don’t trust anyone”, I replied.

Immediately he slapped me hard across the face and knocked off the blindfold; I clearly saw his face.

“That’s it. That’s it. I don’t want to see this man again until he co-operates and tells me he’s been planning a terrorist attack! he yelled at the others in the room, then stormed out.

The guard came up to me, upset that I hadn’t co-operated.

I said to him, “You have to let me go soon; it’s nearly 48 hours.”

He looked at me, surprised, and asked, “How long do you think you’ve been here?”

“A day”, I replied.

“Man, you’ve been here for more than a week.”

They then took me to another room, where they tortured me relentlessly, stripping me naked and applying electric shocks everywhere on my body. The next thing I remember was seeing the general again. He came into the room with a man from Turkistan; he was a big man but was stooped over, because his hands were chained to the shackles of his feet, preventing him from standing upright.

“This guy is no use to us anymore. This is what is going to happen to you. We’ve had him for one hour, and this is what happens.”

Suddenly, a guy they called Hamish, which means snake, came at the poor man from behind and gave him a terrible karate kick that sent him crashing across the room. A guard went over to shake him, but he didn’t respond. Turning to the general, the guard said, “Basha, I think he’s dead.”

“Throw him away then. Let the dogs have him.”

They dragged the dead man out.

“What do you think of that?” asked the general, staring into my face.

“At least he can rest now”, I replied.

Then they brought another man in. This man, I think, was from Europe – his exclamations of pain didn’t sound like those of someone from the Middle East. He was in a terrible state. The guard came in with a machine and started to wire up the guy to it. They told the poor man that they were going to give him a full electric shock, measuring ten on the scale. Before they even turned the machine on, the man started to gasp and then slumped in the chair. I think he died of a heart attack.

The general said that there was one more person I had to see. “This person will make you see that we can keep you here for as long as we want, all of your life, if we choose.”

There was a window in the room, covered by a curtain. The general drew back a curtain, and I saw the top half of a very sick, thin man. He was sitting on a chair on the other side of the glass, facing me.

“You know this guy?” the general asked.

“No”, I replied.

“That’s strange – he’s your friend from Australia.”

I looked again, and was horrified to see that it was Mohammed Abbas, a man I had known in Australia who had worked for Telstra [Australian telecommunications company]. He had travelled to Egypt in 1999, and had never been seen again.

“He is going to be your neighbour for the rest of your life.”

It was then that I knew I was in Egypt, without a doubt. They then took Abbas away and closed the curtain.


After the first interrogation with Suleiman, I believed the Egyptians weren’t interested in where I had been; they only wanted me to confess to being a terrorist and having plotted terrorist attacks so they could sell the information to the United States and Australia. I decided then that I wouldn’t answer questions or explain anything; but, as a consequence, I was badly tortured in Egypt.


The Egyptians didn’t like Maha [Habib’s wife] at all. One day, I overheard Omar Suleiman saying to someone, “I would love to bring Maha here.” I have no idea when this was but the memory of these few words is very vivid in my mind. Fortunately, though, Suleiman could never have gotten hold of Maha, because she is Lebanese born and an Australian citizen. Suleiman, before my release from Egypt, often threatened that he would get me back if I ever said anything bad about Egypt.


This is in reverse chronological order (latest addition at top) with the first, original 14-body group identification from the government at bottom of post…

SCAF profiles I am trying to build  - still in progress though - can be found here (

Current Count: 23 (assuming Etman still a member)

Multiple News Reports

Meet General Mahmoud Nasr - assistant defense minister for finance and also a SCAF member.  The man emerged in December (but I didn't notice until he came up again recently with some statements regarding the military budget, state expenses, etc. (which will be disputed in a blog post soon)...This brings me to a total of 23! (getting closer to that Economist cited number of 24 - although they gave no details as to names so unsure if we are counting the same people).  

I plan on trying to assess and shed light on some of his comments in the near future given the mysterious nature of military finances.

December link ( recent comments (

Department of Defense and Daily News Egypt

Must have missed this SCAF member -  Staff Major General Ibrahim Al-Noshy! haven't seen his name elsewhere but while reading a department of defense communique highlighting US-Egyptian military meetings over recent days they were listing people that US personnel met with and there was a name I hadn't seen before – commenting that he was “chief of the Egyptian Army’s training authority”. After a bit of searching, found this article that lists him as a SCAF member and in charge of Sinai affairs.

This brings me to a total of 22! (Although, as a reader pointed out a few weeks back THIS ( Economist article had the number at 24 but listed no names so unclear who.)

From Carnegie Endowment (Jan 5th, 2012):

"A list of the nineteen members of the SCAF is provided below, with the first eight being the most outspoken:"


Major General Mukhtar al-Mulla: Assistant defense minister

Major General Adel Amara: Assistant defense minister (he was only highlighted as an advisor before but Carnegie puts him as a proper member)

Also had different names for the commanders of regional armies (Western, Northern and Eastern)

For a total of 21!

From 12/19 Press Conference about Parliament Building

"But only advisors apparently"

"Adel Emara"

"Kato" (hitler oven dude - old video of him:

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).


Major General Mohamed Saber Attia - Chief of Operations for the Armed Forces

For a total of 19.!

Has names for the regional military zone commanders:

Major General Hassan Mohammed Ahmed - Commander of the Northern Military Zone

Major General Mohsen El-Shazly - Commander of the Southern Military Zone

Major General Mahmoud Ibrahim Hegazy - Commander of the Western Military Zone


Foreign Affairs magazine, September/October 2011, "Commanding Democracy in Egypt"

In May, General Mamdouh Shahin, a member of the SCAF (legal affairs)

For a total of 18!

Youm7 (

Adds Maj. Gen. Mamdouh Abdul Haq, a member of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) said in a meeting at "90 minutes TV program" on 3/12/2011

For a total of 17!

Amnesty International Report  (


Major-General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Head of Military Intelligence 

Mohammed Said al-Assar, Assistant Defence Minster

For a total of 16!

Egyptian State Information Services 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)]
Went through those leaked STRATFOR email a few weeks back and had taken these notes so figured I would post them up here for anybody who is interested... This is not comprehensive but rather just some of the more interesting details that emerged (mainly focused around Middle East, but some random outlandish stories included as well).  For disclosures sake (not that it matters) I did subsribe to STRATFOR for one year following the Jan25 uprising in Egypt as they provided good daily news bulletins and frequent updates/reports - although the Egypt focused content decreased substantially following the parliamentary elections... Without further ado: 
  1. Russia-Israel-Georgia-Mexico-Iran weapons trading/espionage ring – this adds some additional credence to the whole Iran taking over a US unmanned drone and landing it safely per the code swaps and drone hacks
  2. Examples of Mexican-Israel corruption
  3. View from  an IDF source who was an old high school buddy of a STRATFOR employee
  4. Egypt – Post Mubarak – nothing groundbreaking but a summary of STRATFOR’s views that it was a palace coup and not a true revolution of the people (i.e. without army desiring removal of Mubarak nothing would have happened)
  5. On Hamas’ role/view on Egyptian revolution
  6. Libyan Contact – correspondences between an employee of SCG International who was on the ground around September 2011
  7. Hugo Chavez health issues and Venezuela transition plus some tidbits around Iran and George Friedman’s advice on how to secure a source
  8. Feeling that global elite are lost:  These emails are from 2010 and also have much discussion about Kissinger believing Iran is about to go to war which obviously turned out to be false…
  9. Halliburton alleged dirty games
  10. Crazy discussion about Israeli commandos using Kurdish elements (or Jewish citizens) within Iran to bomb nuclear infrastructure in November, 2011
  11. STRATFOR’s Middle East source (Lebanese military apparently) and a Hamas member gave this overview of Syria claiming that Iran is reaching out to the US on controlled regime change
  12. Other
          a. Interesting case of Wachovia (seemingly knowingly) participating in the handling of
             $125B of Mexican drug money each year between 2004-2007
          b. Interesting correspondence around Flotilla sabatoge… Nothing groundbreaking but just
             clearly they are supportive of Israel’s position (i.e. writing “Nice move” when the
             sabotage was successful
          c. Apparently, Democrats were ballot stuffing in US elections but McCain decided to be
             the bigger man

1. Russia-Israel-Georgia-Mexico-Iran weapons trading/espionage ring ( – this adds some additional credence to the whole Iran taking over a US unmanned drone and landing it safely per the code swaps and drone hacks
  • This is the interesting part, though. Idra had an offer to sell UAVs to Georgia (this was happening during and after the war).The reason Georgia needed the UAVs is because the UAVs they had bought from Israel had been compromised by the Russians. The Russians got the data link for the UAV (there is some suspicion that the Israelis after the war may have given this to them. Remember all the intense mtgs b/w the Israelis and the Russians where the Russians got the Israelis to back off of defense deals to Georgia in return for Russia backing off Iran?). Anyway, the Georgians gave Idra a picture of one of their crashed UAVs. The source explained though that if the UAV were targeted, it would have been blown to pieces pretty much (it's like the size of a car basically). But the picture he saw showed the UAV intact. He inquired and basically what happened was that the Russians acquired the data link to hack into the system and force the UAV into the ground. I think they may have crashed another one too.
  • Here is the most interesting part: I inquired more about the compromised Israeli UAVs. What he explained was that Israel and Russia made a swap -- Israel gave Russia the 'data link' code for those specific UAVs; in return, Russia gave Israel the codes for Iran's Tor-M1s. 
  • I asked about the S-300 (source tracks a lot of defense deals for Jane's). He doesn't think the Russians will give it to the Iranians. Besides, he said... Israel and Turkey have been collaborating very closely on the S-300s. He explain how about 8 years ago when Russia sold S-300s to Greece to base in Crete (which were supposed to protect Cyprus), Russia delivered those with a carrier so that Turkey wouldn't try to sink them. (things got a bit noisy so i may have misheard some of this). The gist of what he said is that Turkey has been cracking the S-300 since the Crete sale and has been sharing intel on the S-300 with the Israelis to ensure that they retain an advantage over Iran should Iran get them from the Russians. as far as the Georgian UAVs go, they were interested in the Mexican ones because the Mexican UAVs had something (forget the name. it was auto-something' that basically backs up teh UAV system in case someone hacks into it and immediately returns the UAV to base.
2. Examples of Mexican-Israel corruption (
  • There is a private Mexican company called Idra that the government funded to make UAVs. They are actually pretty high standard according to him and beat out the Israeli UAVs in testing. My friend was consulting Idra at the time and so he was privy to a lot of deals that were on the table. This is the story --
  • The Mexican government is now paying some $25m (? can get the #s later) for UAVs from Israel. Idra is basically like WTF, but the reason is basically corruption. There is a deal b/w the Mexican interior ministry and the Israelis where they're getting a hefty kickback.
3. View from  an IDF source who was an old high school buddy of a STRATFOR employee ( – overall comes across as arrogant and condescending…
  • When I tried to explain that we typically scoff at calling it the Arab Spring as well, I was cut off, so that I could hear another lecture about how horrible Arabs were.
  • Source is in D.C. frequently for meetings with DIA. When I asked if they are often trained by the Americans, the response was a smirk and, "We like to think we don't need the Americans to train us." IDI, source said, is "more creative" than American counterparts
  • Source openly said that none of this shit would be happening right now had Obama not abandoned Mubarak like he did.
  • Because Obama abandoned Mubarak, source lamented the fact that Egypt was no longer the leader of the Arab world. This does not mean source believes the MB is on the verge of completely taking power in Egypt - (I specifically asked if that was the belief the IDI holds) - but it does mean that there is a steep drop in faith that the SCAF has ability to maintain the status quo. Overall I found the message on Egypt a bit confusing.
  • Source says they jokingly refer to AQAP as "AQHP" after the HP printer bombs that got seized on those DHL flights a few years back.

4. Egypt – Post Mubarak ( – nothing groundbreaking but a nice summary of STRATFOR’s views that it was a palace coup and not a true revolution of the people (i.e. without army desiring removal of Mubarak nothing would have happened)

  • As (now deposed) President Mubarak aged, however, an internal challenge arose to the military oligarchy in the form of the former president’s son, Gamal Mubarak, who wanted to transform Egypt from a military oligarchy into a more traditional Egyptian dynasty. Doing this required the breaking of the militarya**s hold on the economy. Gamal and his allies -- often with the express assistance of international institutions like the World Bank -- worked to privatize Egyptian state assets to themselves. This process was a direct threat to the military’s political and economic position at the top of Egyptian society. The military also viewed Gamal, who never completed his military service, as a political neophyte, incapable of understanding and managing the country’s security imperatives.
  • The result was the Arab Spring. In the months leading up to the January demonstrations, Egypt’s top generals were delivering very stern ultimatums to the president to abandon any hope of passing the reins to Gamal while looking at their options to unseat Mubarak via more unconventional means. The military strategically positioned itself early on in the demonstration as the honest broker and guardian of the protesters, taking care to avoid a violent crackdown on the demonstrators while Mubaraka**s internal security forces were vilified on the streets.
  • Such a light hand was not due to lack of capacity, but due to lack of need. The demonstrations provided the generals with the means to dismantle the Mubarak legacy, the biggest liability to their own livelihood, while maintaining the paramount role of the military. 
  • But perhaps the most central indication that the revolution was misconstrued comes from the participation levels. On the day that Mubarak ultimately stepped down the protests reached their peak. By the most aggressive estimate only 750,000 people -- less than 1 percent of the population of densely populated Egyptian’s took to the streets. In true revolutions such as that which overthrew Communism in Central Europe or the shah in Iran, the proportion regularly breached 10 percent and on occasions even touched 50 percent. In short, Egypt’s Arab Spring was a palace coup, not a revolution.
  • But the military’s Mubarak removal strategy did not come without risks. The military would much prefer to return to the days of ruling behind the scenes while leaving day to day governing to a civilian government that ultimately answers to the generals. But the political opening that the military helped to create has also greatly complicated matters: the military must now employ a much more complex balancing act at home to altogether keep the civilian government impotent, the opposition divided and foreign funding flowing toward a half-hearted democratic transition.
  • With trade and tourism severely curtailed as a result of Egypta**s political unrest, the military must place extra effort in keeping up democratic appearances with the west now that the country is once against dependent upon the economic largess of outside powers. In dealing with the opposition at home, the military is no stranger to divide-and-conquer tactics and has maintained a robust intelligence service to keep tabs on already severely divided opposition.

5. On Hamas’ role/view on Egyptian revolution (
  • Hamas will have to do more than a public relations campaign to break out of isolation. The Egyptian military, which shares Israel’s interest in keeping Hamas contained and the Sinai buffer clear of foreign threats, remains the biggest obstacle to Hamas’ strategic objective of dominating the Palestinian political scene without Egyptian and Israeli shackles. Hamas would like to see a political evolution in Egypt that results in an Egyptian Islamist government friendly to Hamas and hostile to Israeli interests. This is an ambitious agenda, but is one likely worth working toward from the point of view of the Hamas leadership. The best chance that Hamas has in accelerating this evolution is by creating a crisis of legitimacy for the Egyptian military by drawing the military into a conflict with Israel. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways, and there is no shortage of militant proxies that have benefited from the Egyptian military’s political distractions to expand their area of operations in the Sinai. Israel is already frustrated by the Egyptian military’s slackened control over the Sinai and tends to revert to a more preemptive regional posture when neighborhood threats cross a certain line. Add to this the potential for Iran and Syria to exercise their militant proxy options to take the attention off regime change campaigns in Damascus, and Egypt could find itself in the midst of a Sinai crisis with Israel that both sides have spent the past 33 years desperately trying to avoid.
Although this strikes me as a bit simplistic given their overarching assumption of Hamas being an offshoot of Muslim Brotherhood since, if that is the case, Hamas would also have an interest in Egypt succeeding economically in the transition so that their parent organization (the Muslim Brotherhood) could benefit from the positive sentiment.  Also, it seems to me SCAF could do a decent enough job in making sure that the MB gets the blame for any wars of aggression (i.e. we have been in control since 1973 and nothing happened – you get rid of military president and look!)


6. Libyan Contact – correspondences between an employee of (see website here – covers operations, logistics, intelligence, Iraq/Afghanistan, etc.) who was on the ground around September 2011…

Fred Burton: Interesting. You guys lending the opposition a hand? I would hope so.
James Smith: Certainly are. They need it. At the request of a usg committee and the rebs. Been there since no-fly.
Fred Burton: Tactical and intel support too?
James Smith: No, mainly tac ground training and psd for key figures.
Fred Burton then shares some article about potential assassintation of rebel leaders and asks if the threat is real/credible
James Smith: Completely.  Last week of August I was at a house here (32DEG 52.552'N / 13DEG 8.512'E) owned by a man last name Hakin (like the MOD Hakin but not the same man).
After midnight we recv'd ph call from anonymous caller telling him to get ready for a vehicle to come by to pick him up and take him to a pos so he could pickup some money.
    We then called a contact at MOD and ran it by them, they knew of the ruse somehow and said it was a trap aimed at the real Hakin (MOD head) and that we should vacate asap. We grabbed weapons, go-bag and moved out of the house on foot down the streets (can't drive this area due to roadblocks at every corner) to a safe(r) house. I happened to be solo that night. I moved him to the top of the house (3rd deck), barricaded the door on ground and the access to the roof, then put him down and maintained overwatch of the street below from the roof til dawn. This happens frequently here. Definite threat to NTC and lower level brigade leadership as well.

MAP of location mentioned:

7. Hugo Chavez health issues and Venezuela transition plus some tidbits around Iran and George Friedman’s advice on how to secure a source - also, examples of how militaries all over the world enjoy their luxuries (
  • Guess who has been most cooperative with us lately? The military elite. These guys have been living the good life. They love women... lots of women. THey love booze. They love bora bora. They are easy to bribe. They dont care about chavez. they care about maintaining their current lifestyles. We've seen a lot of these military elite reach out to us lately, trying to insulate themselves in a post-Chavez scenario.
  • This is why you'll see Chavez investing a lot of time and money in developing the militia. They're his best insurance policy. The more of a problem the militia can create on the streets, the more the military elite will hestiate before acting against him or his potential successor.
  • The intent of the ley de precios is very simple. The money laundering schemes in food, pharmaceuticals, energy parts, etc. etc. have gotten worse./ Completely unchecked. This price controls law is the government's way of controlling opposition campaign spending. Very straightforward - they have the legal justification to intimidate corporations into cutting back their support for the opposition, or else, their company is taken over. This will allow the state more control of the private sector.
  • we were talking a bit about a recent PdVSA-Iran joint venture. They shifted their main base of operations from Caracas to Ankara, though. This has become a trend lately, where a lot of Iran's sanctions circumventing oeprations in VZ are quietly being relocated to Turkey. Part of Turkey's balancing act with Iran.
  • Remember that there are four key players propping up the regime - China, Cuba, Russia, Iran. All four are split on how to manage a post-Chavez regime.
  • From George Friedman himself: If this is a source you suspect may have value, you have to take control od him. Control means financial, sexual or psychological control to the point where he would reveal his sourcing and be tasked.

8. Feeling that global elite are lost.  These emails are from 2010 and also have much discussion about Kissinger believing Iran is about to go to war which obviously turned out to be false…

  • One sense I'm getting here is that the American elite, along with Europe's, China's and just about everyone but Russia's his suffering from three problems: First, none are really aware of the political pressures on other elites. Second, they completely misunderstand the alienation of the publics, three, except for Volcker, they think this can be handled by the elites among themselves. We have a crisis of the elites, in my view.
  • Friedman: Turkey would break with israel and the united states. It would be an opportunity erdogan is looking for.  Iran would become more visible but not more powerful. A year after the attack its underlying weakness would still be there and its dependence on turkey greater.  In my view the ourtcome of this is turkish power. But remeber, my insight is not that israel will attack. Its that Kissinger thinks they will attack. Huge difference.

9. Halliburton alleged dirty games (
  • I had lunch yesterday in Houston with former-Federal Judge Sam Kent (the first Federal Judge found guilty of serious crimes in the US) and he told me why he thinks he was prosecuted. (For those who haven't followed this, he was found guilty on perjury & sexual misconduct. Yes, he slept with those two women, but it was consensual - they were old affairs and long over.)
  • What Sam said was that "isn't is strange that the Justice Department begins sniffing around for dirt to throw at me just weeks after I ruled a heavy case against Halliburton. Then a small set of affairs turn into an untrue situation and then spun up into an unprecedented case against a Federal Judge."
  • Of course, I told him he was nuts to rule anything against Halliburton. I also told him that this sounds like a John Grisham plotline.
10. Crazy discussion about Israeli commandos using Kurdish elements (or Jewish citizens) within Iran to bomb nuclear infrastructure in November, 2011? (
  • Chain starts of with news reports of blasts in Iran (confirmed by Iran) and quotes Ehud Barak: “I don't know the extent of the explosion," he told military radio, asked about the incident. "But it would be desirable if they multiply."
  • Then, a source claims: “I think this [push for war] is a diversion. The Israelis already destroyed all the Iranian nuclear infrastructure on the ground weeks ago. The current "let's bomb Iran" campaign was ordered by the EU leaders to divert the public attention from their at home financial problems. It plays also well for the US since Pakistan, Russia and N. Korea are mentioned in the report.  The result of this campaign will be massive attacks on Gaza and strikes on Hezbollah in both Lebanon and Syria.”
  • When asked to clarify response, source re-confirmed, saying: Israeli commandos in collaboration with Kurd forces destroyed few underground facilities mainly used for the Iranian defense and nuclear research projects.  Despite the reports in the media and against any public knowledge, the promoter of a massive Israeli attack on Syria is the axis India-Russia-Turkey-Saudi Arabia. The axis US-Germany-France-China is against such an attack from obvious reasons. Not many people know that Russia is one of Israel's largest military partners and India is Israel's largest client. If a direct conflict between Iran and Israel erupts, Russia and Saudi Arabia will gain the advantages on oil increasing prices. On the other hand, China and Europe are expected to loose from an oil crisis as a result of a conflict. Based on Israeli plans, the attack on Iran will last only 48 hours but will be so destructive that Iran will be unable to retaliate or recover and the government will fall. It is hard to believe that Hamas or Hezbollah will try to get involved in this conflict.  In the open media many are pushing and expecting Israel to launch a massive attack on Iran. Even if the Israelis have the capabilities and are ready to attack by air, sea and land, there is no need to attack the nuclear program at this point after the commandos destroyed a significant part of it.  If a massive attack on Iran happens soon, then the attack will have political and oil reasons and not nuclear. It is also very hard to believe that the Israelis will initiate an attack unless they act as a contractor for other nations or if Iran or its proxies attack first. With the revealed of the new UN report the Israelis have green light to take care of the Iranian proxies in Gaza and Lebanon now with the entire world watching Iran. I think that we should expect escalations on these fronts rather than an Israeli attack on Iran.
  • Continued discussion: Ah. As stick said, they would more likely use proxies. But if not, special operations forces do often move undetected. Don't think of them as going in on a helicopter, think of them as going in with a group of migrant workers crossing the border.  There used to be a lot of jews in Iran, not so much anymore, that's who I would recruit form.
  • Response: There are still about 20,000 Jews in Iran (Tehran and Esfahan mostly), but IMO, they are far too scared of being accused as Israeli spies too actually help Israel out.
  • After someone cites Stuxnet as an analogous previous Israeli attack: Penetrating a major military installation and causing a blast is a totally different ballgame. Not saying it can't happen. But we can't assume that because they did stuxnet that they are capable of doing this blast as well. It is a huge leap in capabilities.
  • And finally Fred Burton closes with: “p.s. I'm offended that we may believe an Iranian before a Jew”
11. STRATFOR’s Middle East source (Lebanese military apparently) and a Hamas member gave this overview of Syria ( claiming that Iran is reaching out to the US on controlled regime change

Date 2011-12-13 16:02:19



Others MessageId: <>



Reva's note - this is extremely interesting, especially the bolded part below. DOes Iran really think it can convince the US to collaborate with them on regime change in SYria in such a way that will end up in Iran's favor? the whole point of the US focusing in on Syria is to contain Iran in the first place. This sounds like the Iranians are getting to be in an increasingly desperate position. Always be wary of source bias, but why would a HZ source want to spread info on the weakness of the Syrian regime and the lack of options for Iran? I do believe the part about Iran preferring a palace coup over the Turkish strategy of building up an opposition via FSA.

SOURCE: ME1 and ME1386
SOURCE DESCRIPTION: ME1 and member of Hamas politburo

Marhaba Reva,

I strongly believe that Asad's regime will fall in 2012. The conventional wisdom that Asad will survive, because both Iran and Israel view him with favor, is a thing of the past. The situation in Syria has reached the point of no return. It is true than nine months of demonstrations have not brought down the regime but, by the same token, regime brutality and heavy handedness have not quelled the uprising. If anything, the level of hostilities and army defections is on the rise.

The breaking point will come when the military establishment realizes that Asad must go. There are signs that the military establishment is beginning to disintegrate. I talked to [ME1386] and he told me that Alawite officers and enlisted men are beginning to join the ranks of the FSA. This represents a major development. Alawite officers are divided since many of them are unhappy about the use of excessive force against Sunni protesters. Alawite officers are aware that Asad is trying to find an asylum for himself and his family should his regime become unslavageable. This is upsetting many Alawites who are coming to realize that Asad will abandon them. If so, they reason that it would be suicidal to continue to win the wrath of the Sunnis. Walid al-Muallim offered to resign but Asad turned down his request. This is a clear indicator that many of Asad's men are realizing that they are putting a vain fight against the burgeoning uprising.

The Iranians are weighing in the situation in Syria very carefully. One must read beyond the public statements of the Iranians, especially ayatollah Khamenei. Both Khamenei and Ahmadinejad have concluded that Asad's regime cannot be rescued. It is perfectly understood that the regime in Damascus will fall along lines similar to the Libyan model. There will have to be a coup in Damascus, be it a military or political one.

One must not dismiss the pragmatism of Khamenei. Iran appears to be willing to use its influence in Syria to stage a coup, provided that it is able to ensure that the new leadership will continue to pursue excellent relations with Tehran. The Iranians have approached the Americans on this. In the past, Iran collaborated with the U.S. on the ouster of Saddam Hussein and Iran won big in Iraq. The Iranians would not mind working again on ousting Asad if they can secure good results in Syria. Syria's contiguity to Iraq allows Iran to play a direct role in the affairs of Damascus.

The Iranians feel they need to act on Syria soon because the Turks have their own plans for Syria and are not coordinating with the Iranians. He says the Turks are moving slowly but systematically. Iran does not want to allow Turkey to take over Syria. Whereas the Turks are coordinating with the Brotherhood and the FSA, the Iranians prefer a palace coup in damascus in order to maintain their ties with Asad's successors. What is delaying action in Syria is the fact that the U.S. has not yet decided on the shape of the post-Asad political system. Nevertheless, he insists that Asad's regime will fall, although the future of Syria after the regime change remains nebulous.

12. Other: