Tag Archive | Egypt

Egypt’s Ramadhan Street Banquet: Free Iftar Brings Hope*

Egypt’s Ramadhan Street Banquet: Free Iftar Brings Hope*

Every Ramadhan, many Egyptians collaborate to fund and organise Iftar tables for the less fortunate as a form of charity

During Ramadhan, many people are compelled to organise free food banquets for the breaking of the fast (MEE/ Mohamed el-Raai)

 

By Leena ElDeeb

Minutes before the call to maghreb (sunset) prayer, people get ready to break their fast at one of many iftar tables set up in the streets of Giza province near Cairo.

Volunteers rush to finish placing hot plates filled with chicken, veal, rice, vegetables and an assortment of glossy pickles, as people are already seated and eager to start eating after hours of refraining from food and drink.

Egyptians eagerly await for the maghreb (sunset) prayer to break their fast (MEE/ Mohamed el-Raai)

 

Cold traditional drinks such as sobia, which is a mix of milk, vanilla and coconut, amar al-deen, which is made from concentrated apricots, and karkadeh, a sweet hibiscus drink, are served to quench the thirsty throats of Egyptians that have been without liquid under the scorching sun all day.

In Omraneya, a suburb of Giza, 12-year-old Islam Sameh is seated at a table for four at Ma’edet Rahman – Arabic for Banquet of Compassion –  across the street from the public hospital for respiratory diseases.

 “I come here every day. I like the food here; even when dad cooks, I come here,” Sameh tells MEE. He lives with his father and two younger siblings in Sakiet Mekky, which is walking distance from where the feast is taking place.

Sameh’s favourite subject at school is math. When he grows up, he dreams of becoming a police officer like his grandfather.

“Oh look, here are my siblings,” Sameh cheerfully calls out as Nourhan, 12 and Ibrahim, 9, run to the table to greet their brother.

They are followed by their middle-aged uncle who has just parked his tuk-tuk outside.

When the call to maghreb prayer echoes from neighbouring mosques, the conversation about their day comes to a halt and they start to devour the delicious veal, gravy and rice on their plates.

An Egyptian child sits next to family while filling his bread with warm food (MEE/ Mohamed el-Raai)

 

Mohamed Mahmoud, one of the volunteers, tells MEE that many of the people join the banquet on a daily basis.

“Families, individuals, and sometimes even Christian families join [the banquet of compassion],” he says, adding that once people finish their meals, they usually leave to give their space for others eager to eat a warm meal.

The spirit of giving usually rises during the Islamic holy month, where fasting increases Muslims’ sympathy towards the less fortunate who cannot afford food or drink.

A volunteer serves Kunafa, a traditional Middle eastern dessert, at a banquet of compassion in Sayeda Zeinab suburb in Cairo (MEE/ Mohamed el-Raai)

 

Every year many Muslims are driven to organise free iftar dinners targeting the less fortunate, those working long hours or several jobs to make ends meet in the country’s deteriorating economy and others who cannot make it home for iftar. But the banquets of compassion are open to everyone whether they are Muslims or not, to create a sense of community.

Those stuck in a car or in public transport during iftar are often stopped by young men and women offering free juice and dry dates to individuals not able to make it home in time to break their fast.

“I get really happy when I see them on my way home. Their presence is a very delightful, and makes me feel the warm Ramadhan atmosphere,” says 22-year-old Farah Sadik.

Nesreen El-Mohtady is a mother of three young girls and in charge of cargo and transport at a cement company. For the last five years, she has been raising funds and organising the Omraneya banquet with the help of her driver Mohamed Mahmoud, whom she has known for more than 20 years.

She raises around EGP 65,000 (US$3,591) every year from generous donors to host 80 people every Ramadhan. Mahmoud’s mother and wife cook the food served in this banquet, which is set up in the hospital’s former parking lot.

Egyptians gather together for Iftar outside the famous Sayeda Zeinab mosque (MEE/ Mohamed el-Raai)

 

“The neighbourhood is very cooperative and almost everyone volunteers to help,” says Mohtady.

The local supermarket donates a box of cooking oil and some give away bags of sugar. According to Mohtady, a Christian man has offered them a free place to cook in for around four years.

Prices skyrocket

In April, the annual inflation rate in Egypt grazed 33%, overtaking 44% for edible goods. Egypt has seen unprecedented price increases since the authorities allowed the Egyptian pound to float last November, all part of a reform plan linked to a $12bn IMF loan.

“Two weeks before Ramadhan, prices skyrocket,” Mohtady tells MEE.

“Especially because everything doubled after the flotation of the local currency.”

Mohtady tries to beat the increase in prices by shopping for food around one month before Ramadan even starts, and paying deposits to rent the tables for the banquet upfront.

She also purchases a calf and at least 20 chickens and borrows a freezer to store them until Ramadhan. The location of Mohtady’s banquet is convenient for the families of patients getting treated at the hospital across the road.

“The hospital only provides the patient with free meals for Iftar, so the parents or the accompanying family come down to eat the free Iftar that the Ma’eda [banquet] serves here,” she says.

Traditional drinks served at Iftar include sobia, which is a mix of milk, vanilla and coconut, amar al-deen, which is made from concentrated apricots, and karkadeh, a sweet hibiscus drink (MEE/ Mohamed el-Raai)

 

Mohtady’s youngest daughter is sitting on her lap, while being spoon-fed rice and Molokheya, a traditional Egyptian dish, as they join the people for iftar.

I want to teach my daughters a lesson of equality. I want them to grow up with mindsets that are free from classism,” she says, adding that she tries to join people in the banquet for iftar at least twice during Ramadhan.

Mohamed El-Gazar, a civil engineer, tells MEE about his experience volunteering and helping organise another banquet in a village in the Nile Delta province of Sharqiya.

“The workload is divided among several volunteers; everyone pitches in with something; who has a car would run errands delivering groceries for example, who knows merchants and stores would buy items on the shopping list for a good bargain; and who knows how to cook would be responsible for the cooking,” Gazar says.

“We also used to deliver meals to houses of those we know are in need.”

Other Egyptians explained what the “banquets of compassion” mean to them in Ramadhan.

“I feel like that is what Ramadhan is all about, sharing the same food, laughter and good talk with strangers who become friends from diversified classes and backgrounds,” Aya Yakout, a college senior, tells MEE.

Others who can afford to buy their own food prefer not to participate in the banquets in order to leave their spot for someone in need.

“I would like to join, so I could sit with different people, in a different atmosphere, to get to know them better, listen to their stories and feel their joys and pains. Because of that I would be more grateful for the good things in my life that I take for granted and sometimes even feel ungrateful for,” 22-year-old Reem Ismail tells MEE, adding that she would rather join the banquets as a volunteer, so people that are more in need can benefit from the food on offer.

Torah’s banquet of compassion

Not far from the notorious Torah prison on the outskirts of Cairo, another banquet is being prepared, where many prison workers await the cue to break their fast.

The high-security prison, also known as al-Aqrab prison, has held many high-profile prisoners such as former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who was briefly held in the prison’s hospital. In March he was acquitted of conspiring in the killing of hundreds of protesters during the 2011 uprising.

Other prominent political activists have also been detained in the prison including Alaa Abdel-Fattah, who has been confined in the prison’s walls since 2014 for violating Egypt’s controversial 2013 protest law.

Two of the young men seated at Torah’s Banquet of Compassion are 30-year-old Adel Ibrahim and his 35-year-old colleague Ramadan Mahmoud. Originally from Kafr El-Sheikh, in the Nile Delta, they travelled around 132 kilometres to work as builders, mending and rebuilding the prison’s high walls.

The banquet – organised and funded by a high-ranking police officer – targets blue-collar workers and officers who work in the neighbouring prison and do not live with their families, such as Ibrahim and Mahmoud.

Today’s feast consists of rice, peas and meat. The men, who are exhausted by the end of the day from their physically demanding jobs, appreciate the fact that they can get a free warm meal and have a sense of community, even far away from their families.

Due to a deteriorating economy, more and more Egyptians are having a hard time making ends meet (MEE/ Mohamed el-Raai)

 

Mohtady cannot stop thinking about what the less fortunate will do following Ramadhan. She hopes one day to launch a small project that will keep on giving.

“I dream of a food cart in the street that serves homemade food [like] rice, vegetables, pasta and a piece of chicken or veal,” she tells MEE.

“The food would also be served for free for those in need, and for the ones who could afford to pay, the cost would be EGP 10 ($US.55) or whatever they can afford. But red-tape governmental procedures make this dream very difficult to achieve.”

Source*

Related Topics:

Walking 616 Miles while Fasting, and Still Smiling*

Inner Dimensions of Ramadhan Fasting*

25,000 Free Ramadhan Meals for Syrians Chechen Leader Promises*

Ramadhan amongst the Rubble of Gaza*

West Bank Charity Continues Ancient Duty to Feed the Hungry*

Working and Staying Sane in Ramadhan*

Muslim Americans Boycott White House Ramadan Dinner*

The Right of Fasting

Surprising Benefits of Eating at Night*

Prophet Muhammed (SAW) on Ramadhan

Saudi Arabia Cuts Ties with Qatar for Not Wanting War with Iran*

Saudi Arabia Cuts Ties with Qatar for Not Wanting War with Iran*

 

That latest round of anger among Saudi Arabia and its allies over the Qatari state media has continued to grow, and over the weekend Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Egypt all announced they are totally cutting ties with the Qatari government over the latest row.

The Saudi-dominated GCC gets furious at Qatar once in a while over their state media, which often takes positions contrary to the rest of the alliance, and the Saudis in particular. This tends historically to center on Qatar not being as hostile to the Muslim Brotherhood as the Saudi royal family and Egypt’s military junta are.

This last time also centres on the Qatari Emir being quoted in the state media as opposing military confrontation with Iran, with officials across the GCC suggesting this applies some untoward relationship with the Iranian government.

This new severing of ties is a much bigger deal that previous ones, however, with Saudi Arabia announcing that they are closing all Qatar’s border crossings, and all three nations barring air and sea travel to and from Qatar. While it probably will ultimately be resolved by closing a few media offices, the tensions are likely to linger far beyond that.

Source*

Related Topics:

Hacked Emails Show Top UAE Diplomat Coordinating With Pro-Israel Think Tank Against Iran*

After Riyadh Summit, Sunni Unity Crumbles*

How Saudi Arabia is Sponsoring Religious Eugenics*

Wahhabism, Saudis and the Divided Ummah*

Top 10 Ways Islamic Law Forbids Terrorism*

Royal Mint Bullion Achieves Shari’ah Standard on Gold Compliance*

Former ICC Prosecutor says Israel Will Be Convicted of War Crimes*

The Foundation of the West is Finally Shaking, Its Future Unсertain*

Egypt Court Quashes Life Sentence against Brotherhood Leader*

Egypt Court Quashes Life Sentence against Brotherhood Leader*

High court overturns life sentence handed down in retrial of Mohamed Badie for ‘planning violent attacks’ on Monday

Mohamed Badie raises his hands from behind the defendant’s cage following his first conviction in 2015 (AFP)

 

Egypt’s high court on Tuesday overturned a life sentence against the Muslim Brotherhood’s supreme guide Mohamed Badie only a day after he had been sentenced to 25 years in prison for “planning violent attacks” during a retrial on Monday.

Badie was part of a group of 37 people accused of conspiring to stir unrest during protests that followed the July 2013 military-led removal of Egypt’s former president, Mohamed Morsi, who hailed from the Brotherhood.

The court had condemned Badie to a life term along with Mahmoud Ghozlan, a Brotherhood spokesman, and Hossam Abubakr, a member of its guidance bureau, while 13 defendants were sentenced to five years in jail.

The court on Monday acquitted 21 others, including Gehad Haddad, an international spokesman for the Brotherhood said.

The retrial and appeal came after Egypt’s court of cassation scrapped a 2015 ruling under which Badie and 13 others were condemned to death, and 34 defendants given life terms.

Badie is being prosecuted in more than 35 trials, according to his lawyers. He received three death sentences in other cases but those rulings have also been scrapped.

The court of cassation has cancelled scores of death sentences against Morsi supporters including against the deposed president himself.

Source*

Related Topics:

Mohamed Morsi Life Sentence Quashed by Egypt Court*

Draft Law Would Require Egyptian Social Media Users to Register With Government*

Egypt Busts Int’l Organ Trafficking Network*

Egypt’s after Nubian Land*

Egypt Says No to Saudi, Drafts Generals and Pilots to Fight alongside Syrian Army against ISIS*

Cats on a Hot Tinned Roof in Egypt*

Israel Conducted Drone Raids in Egypt’s Sinai*

U.S. Withdraws Troops from Sinai, Warns of Coming Egyptian Coup*

Draft Law Would Require Egyptian Social Media Users to Register With Government*

Draft Law Would Require Egyptian Social Media Users to Register With Government*

By Afef Abrougui

Sixty Egyptian members of parliament recently approved a draft law on “the regulations of using and exploiting social media networks.” If adopted by the parliament, the law would require social media users in Egypt to register with a government authority in order to use social media websites including Facebook and Twitter.

The law would establish a department tasked with granting citizens permission to use social media. Within six months of the law’s adoption, users would have to register on the department’s website with their real names and state ID numbers to be able to use social media networks. Failure to do so could bring punishment of up to six months in jail and a fine.

The six-article draft law, which was circulated by local media including Youm7 and Egypt Independent, defines social media as “any application that works via the internet and is used to communicate with others via voice, video messages and text.”

It is unclear how the law would be enforced once adopted, as the draft does not indicate how Egyptian authorities could impose registration on users or to detect those who do not register, given that the Egyptian government does not currently have the ability to regulate social media companies at this level. But the bill’s sponsor MP Riyad Abdul Sattar told Al-Monitor that registered users will get a username and a password from the telecommunication ministry “to get through the firewall blocking Facebook.”

This could mean that Egypt plans to create a national-level firewall around Facebook, through which they could then require Egyptians to submit identity information in order to access the network. But no such plans are known to exist, as of yet.

Local experts are skeptical about the technical feasibility of the proposal. Ramy Raoof, senior research technologist at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), told Global Voices:

I highly doubt the technical capabilities and understanding of any authority in Egypt towards tech-related matters. In my opinion, the same way they think of controlling physical public and private spaces by force is how they imagine it could be done online. If I will take them seriously, this means they are going to deploy a strong monitoring system to filter out citizens who apply for an approval or don’t, and this means a crazy system to monitor people’s activities and also referring them to trial. It is not realistic at all technically — but in Egypt everything is possible

To become law, the bill will first need to be discussed by the parliament’s legislative and constitutional committees before it is referred for plenary debate. Whether its adoption and enforcement are successful or not, the bill is “consistent with the pro-military mindset in the parliament that is set maximize control and make sure no different narrations are present on the scene,” Raoof said.

Last year, MP Tamer El-Shahawy proposed an anti-cyber-crime bill which would prescribe a life prison sentence for those convicted of “threatening public order” and “incitement to protest”.

Source*

Related Topics:

Egypt Busts Int’l Organ Trafficking Network*

Cats on a Hot Tinned Roof in Egypt*

Egypt’s Parliamentary Elections without Voters*

Israel Admits Role in Overthrow of Egypt’s Mohamed Morsi and Installation of President Al-Sisi*

215 Forced Disappearances in Egypt within the Past Two Months*

Egypt Adopts Controversial Anti-Terrorism Law*

Four Fates for Egypt*

A Worldwide Coalition against Surveillance is Expanding*

 

Akhenaten Must be Turning in his Grave*

Akhenaten Must be Turning in his Grave*

Akhenaten is one of the most famous rulers in the Land of Pharaohs and he still remains a unique and controversial figure in history of his country.

He ruled over Egypt for seventeen years during the 14th Dynasty.

Akhenaten born as Amenhotep IV, was the son of Amenhotep III, the Magnificent, the ninth ruler of the Eighteenth Dynasty and Queen Tiye who was of non-royal origin and Amenhotep III’s Great Royal Wife.

Akhenaten’s father ruled for about forty years and his rule is believed to have been successful.

At the height of the 18th Dynasty, the eldest son of King Amenhotep III, Crown Prince Tuthmosis died unpredictably, making his younger brother Akhenaten – who at the time still had his original name, Amenhotep IV – next in line for the throne.

Pharaoh Akhenaten’s Early Years of Reign

Not much is known about the young Akhenaten, only that he spent much time in Memphis or in his father’s palace city Malkata, near Medinet-Habu, on the west bank of Luxor. When he became king he was already married to Nefertiti, his beautiful life-companion, advisor and co-ruler. Most probably he was already the father of a daughter Meritaten “Beloved of Aten” and the choice of his daughter’s name makes us wonder.

At what age did he become fascinated with the new god?

Akhenaten’s Dream and a Sudden Dramatic Change In Ancient Egypt

At the beginning of his kingship, Akhenaten still used his name Amenhotep IV. There is some evidence that he initially paid tribute to both aspects of the sun god: Aten and Amun-Re. In his early years as king, portrayed on one of the pylons in the temple of Karnak, his new god Aten, was identified with Re-Horakte, depicted as a falcon with a sun-disc on his head.

Interestingly, in the Nubian town of Sesebi, where Akhenaten established a temple, the god Aten in falcon form is depicted in the company of all traditional Egyptian gods.

His image as pharaoh was the image of the king with all his human weaknesses; he did not hide imperfections of his body, elongated face and slanting eyes, on the contrary, he rather glorified and exaggerated them.

In his 4th or 5th year of rule, the young pharaoh began the great passion of his life. He changed his name from Amenhotep (“peace of Amon”) to Akhenaten and announced that Aten appeared to him in a dream and told that he was the supreme and only god. From this moment, Akhenaten openly began to express his dissatisfaction with every old Egyptian tradition.

Was it only a dream he had or did he have another, special motif to replace more than 2,000 deities of Egyptian pantheon?

Why was Akhenaten determined to limit the priests’ role and power in ancient Egypt?

Did he have an unknown agenda that he only revealed to his closest advisers?

Belief in One Supreme God – One And Only

As a result, he began methodical eradication of all signs related to Amun-Re cult. He withdrew funding from all temples of “false gods”. Taking money and power away from what was, at the time, a very powerful and wealthy priestly class, created chaos, discontent and protests.

Akhenaten – The Founder of the City Of Amarna

In his 6th year of reign, the pharaoh found a perfect place for his new capital. This piece of land, located on the east bank of the Nile River, belonged to no-one and referred to no god.

Examples of “The Amarna Letters”, discovered in 1887. There are 382 known clay cuneiform tablets, whose contents shed light on Egyptian relations with Babylonia, Assyria, the Mitanni, the Hittites, Syria, Palestine and Cyprus. They are important for establishing both the history and chronology of the period.

He called it – Akhetaten (“The Horizon of the Aten”) and established the city devoted to the god, whose depiction showed an image of the sun with rays radiating from it. Aten was regarded by Akhenaten as being the creative force of the universe that was manifested by the sun.

Clearly, the god itself – had no image.

The traditional capital of Thebes was replaced by city of Akhetaten (now referred to as Amarna or Tell el-Amarna), with the king’s palace and the Great Temple of the Aten.

Rock-cut tombs were built in the neighbouring cliffs to the south and north and several roofless temples, so that rays of the sun would directly fall on the worshipers. Akhenaten moved with his family and other prominent and trustworthy citizens to the city.

The City Was Abandoned Shortly after Akhenaten’s Death

The city of the god Aten was abandoned shortly after his death. Archaeologists have gathered a lot of evidence that the place was intentionally destroyed. After his death, the traditional pantheon of gods was quickly readopted.

Many historians claim that Akhenaten was a careless, incompetent and unsuccessful ruler. Their claims are most probably based on evidence in form of the Amarna Tablets, which contain governmental documents and correspondence confirming his incompetence.

Was he perhaps too much focused on his religion? Is his religious legacy living in the Rosicrucians’ beliefs, which say there is one divine force behind all things?
Source*

Related Topics:

Our Conception of God isn’t Big Enough*

ISIS Destroys 2,000-year-old Legendary ‘Gate of God’ in Iraq*

Atheism and Rediscovering God*

Waiting for God?*

School Teacher Tells Students to Deny God Is Real or Receive Failing Grade*

Mathematics – God’s Language for Nature*

The Windsor-Bush Bloodline Traced Back to the Roman Caesars and Egyptian Pharaohs*

U.K. Scientists Use Brain Stimulation to ‘Make You Stop Believing In God’*

Rewriting Noah/Nuh: NWO Agenda while Deleting Religious Thinking*

Atheists, Whatever They Say to the Contrary, Really Do Believe in God*

Evolution: God’s Game

Ushering in the New ‘god’*

The Signs of God’s Existence

Finding God in a Particle!

In the Beginning was/is Consciousness*

Arguing God from Being?

U.S. Bans Most Electronic Devices on Flights from 8 Muslim Countries*

U.S. Bans Most Electronic Devices on Flights from 8 Muslim Countries*

They are not the same nations targeted in the failed “Muslim Ban.”

By Kenrya Rankin

Less than a week after two federal courts blocked the Trump Administration’s second attempt at restricting entry to the United States for the nationals of six predominately Muslim countries, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued a mandate that regulates the travel of people from another set of mostly Muslim countries.

As of today (March 21), people flying into the U.S. on direct flights from 10 airports in Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates must check electronic devices larger than a phone—including tablets, laptops, e-readers, cameras, gaming devices and portable DVD players—before boarding. Travelers will still be allowed to carry smartphones and essential medical devices on board. The eight countries are different from the ones targeted in the “Muslim Ban.”

Per CNN, the impacted airlines are Egyptair, Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways, Kuwait Airways, Qatar Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Royal Jordanian Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines and Turkish Airlines. U.S. officials said that no U.S. carriers are included in the indefinite ban because they do not fly directly to the States from the impacted airports. The carriers have 96 hours to comply, or they risk losing permission from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly into the country. The rule will be “reviewed” on October 14.

CNN reports that officials say there is no specific terrorist plot that they are trying to thwart, but that: “the move is partly based on intelligence that they believe indicates Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is close to being able to hide explosives with little or no metal content in electronic devices in order to target commercial aircraft.”

Reuters reports that on a press conference call, DHS spokesperson Gillian Christensen said the agency “did not target specific nations. We relied upon evaluated intelligence to determine which airports were affected.”

Source*

U.K. joins U.S. electronics ban on flights from several Middle East, African countries

U.K joined the U.S large electronics ban on some flights from Middle East and African countries. The U,K has announced a cabin baggage ban on laptops on passenger flights from six Middle East and North African countries.

According to a statement issued by the U.K government:

Phones, laptops and tablets larger than 16.0cm x 9.3cm x 1.5cm not allowed in the cabin on flights to the U.K. from Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Tunisia.

KTG understands that the U.K. ban will affect also the British Airways.

The U.K. restrictions, which also apply to tablets, DVD players, portable game consoles and phones over certain size, come after a similar U.S. Department of Homeland Security ban.

Passengers will not be able to fly from these countries with phones, laptops, tablets larger than 16cm in length, 9.3cm width & 1.5cm depth.

— Jack Moore (@JFXM) March 21, 2017

Flights on nine airlines from 10 airports in eight Muslim-majority countries are subject to the U.S. move.

U.S. officials said bombs could be hidden in a series of devices.

The ban affects large electronic devices including laptops, tablets and DVD players. They would not be permitted in aircraft cabins but would be allowed in checked baggage.

Phones are exempt from the U.S. restrictions.

Passengers on some 50 flights a day from some of the busiest hubs in the Middle East, Turkey and North Africa would be required to follow the new U.S. rules.

The airlines affected by the ban are:

Royal Jordanian, Egypt Air, Turkish Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Kuwait Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad Airways.

They have been given 96 hours, beginning at 07:00 GMT on Tuesday, to ban devices bigger than a mobile phone or smartphone from cabins, US officials said, adding that the ban had no end date.

According to BBC, the U.K. announcement and would affect direct flights from several Middle East cities. The BBC home affairs correspondent said that  the move was “obviously part of co-ordinated action with the U.S.”.

The Department of Homeland Security said extremists were seeking “innovative methods” to bring down jets.

The attempted downing of an airliner in Somalia last year was linked to a laptop device, and it appears the security precautions are an attempt to stop similar incidents.

Turkey seeks reversal of laptop ban

The Turkish government has said the U.S. ban is wrong and should be reversed.

Turkey said Tuesday it would ask the United States to reverse a ban on electronic devices larger than mobile phones in the cabin of flights from 10 airports in Turkey, the Middle East and North Africa.

“We particularly emphasise how this will not benefit the passenger and that reverse steps or a softening should be adopted,” Transport Minister Ahmet Arslan told reporters, saying the decision was not right for Turkey or the US.

Airlines hit by the ban include flag-carrier Turkish Airlines, which has the highest foreign sales of any Turkish company. The airline’s profits have already been hit by a slew of terror attacks in Turkey in 2016.

Arslan said Turkish officials were speaking to their relevant American counterparts regarding the ban, which applies to direct flights to the US.

The minister said he hoped there would be a “positive” outcome from the talks, which began Monday.

“Annually, 80 million flights take off from Istanbul and in my opinion, people should not confuse it” with less high-profile destinations, Arslan added.

“In that sense, we already take all kinds of security measures.”

Arslan said that passengers head to the U.S. for many reasons including developing bilateral trade, adding that the ruling could negatively affect travellers’ comfort.

It comes back to the old world and the planes was carrying them again! #electronicsban #flighttravel pic.twitter.com/oIvAM9G0bi

— George Robert (@mertennikell) March 21, 2017

Of course, many now wonder why the ban affects few selected countries and airlines and it is not global.

Experts say the new electronics ban seem illogical and at odds with basic computer science.

The ban affects flight to US and UK not the other way around.

As if a terrorist would not think to fly X airline from a high risk country to an A city, buy a laptop there and catch a flight to the high security countries.

The economic impact on the travel business will be immense. Sounds rather like an airlines war, imho.

Related Topics:

San Francisco Police Department Cut Ties with FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force*

If Terrorism is Such a Grave Threat, Why Does the FBI Keep Manufacturing Plots?

U.S. Government Agents ‘directly involved’ in many U.S. Terror Plots*

U.S. Moves to Arm Terrorists in Syria with Anti-Aircraft Weapons*

Trump Will Sign Order to Build Wall, Ban Refugees, Muslims*

Trump To Continue Bankrupting The U.S. Through Foreign Wars*

Trump Signs New Travel Ban Executive Order*

Egypt’s U-Turn on Iraq and Syria*

Egypt’s U-Turn on Iraq and Syria*

By Peter Korzun

The Middle East geopolitical scenarios are going through rapid changes with new factors emerging on the regional chessboard.

Cairo’s foreign policy has been given a new twist. It has been announced recently that Egypt is set to receive one million barrels of petroleum per day from Iraq. Saudi Arabia had informed Egypt that shipments of oil products expected under a $23 billion aid deal were been halted indefinitely, suggesting a deepening rift between the countries. From now on, Egypt will enjoy as much oil as it needs at a lower cost, compared to Saudi pricing.

Egyptian President Al-Sisi rejected the Saudi-backed efforts to overthrow the regime of Bashar Assad. He is also reaching out to former-Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh and to his Houthi allies Saudi Arabia is fighting since March 2015. Cairo opened diplomatic channels with the pro-Iranian Lebanese Hezbollah, fighting on the side of President Assad in Syria against the rebel groups supported by Riyadh.

Iraq will provide Egypt with 1 million barrels of Basra light oil each month. The agreement involves extending an oil pipeline from Iraq to Egypt via Jordan. In December, Iraqi petroleum minister Ali al-Luiabi met with the heads of major oil and natural gas companies in Cairo, inviting them to contribute into developing the industry in his country.

Egypt is about to train four Iraqi army units on war against terrorism, in the light of the rapprochement between Egypt and the Iraqi-Iranian axis in the region.

It also mulls sending peacekeeping troops to Syria during the coming days to support the ceasefire agreement under the auspices of Russia, Iran, and Turkey. It has been reported that a unit of Egyptian ground forces might deploy to Syria this month. Last October, Syrian National Security Bureau head Ali Mamlouk visited Cairo to meet Khaled Fawzy, the head of Egypt’s General Intelligence Service. The two sides agreed to coordinate political positions and strengthen cooperation in «the fight against terror».

Egypt is a predominantly Sunni nation. Its open support of the Russia-backed coalition in Syria is a game changing event of fundamental importance. It makes the sectarian interpretation of the Syria’s conflict not valid anymore.

Middle East Observer quotes Nziv Net, an Israeli outlet close to intelligence sources, saying that

«Egypt has sent a group of officers to Syria for the first time since the relations have frozen during Morsi’s reign».

Last December, Ibrahim al-Eshaiker al-Jaafari, the Iraqi Foreign Minister, called on Egypt to participate in «a strategic project to fight terrorism», which includes Iran.

In September, Egyptian Foreign Minister Samih Shoukry met for the first time with his Iranian counterpart, Jawad Zarif, during their visits to New York to attend the U.N. General Assembly.

In October, Egypt backed a Russian-backed motion in the U.N. calling for a ceasefire in Syria. The move angered Saudi Arabia, which suspended oil shipments to Cairo.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi publicly affirmed his support for the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The relations between Russia and Egypt have been on the rise. In February 2015, Egypt signed a breakthrough agreement on establishing a free trade zone with the Russia’s Eurasian Economic Union.

The progress in military cooperation is tangible. Egypt signed arms deals with Russia worth up to $5 billion by 2015 to include 50 MiG-29M combat aircraft, Buk-M2E and Antey-2500 long range air defense systems and about 50Ka-52K helicopters for Egypt’s new Mistral-class assault ships bought in France. The ships will receive the originally planned Russian helicopters and electronics suite.

The two countries signed several agreements for the renovation of military production factories in Egypt. A protocol is signed to grant Egypt access to GLONASS, the Russian global satellite positioning system. In September, Minister of Defense Sedky Sobhy visited Russia to discuss the issues related to long-term close security relationship. Last October, the militaries held a joint exercise.

Egypt is the most populous country in North Africa and the Arab world, the third-most populous in Africa and the fifteenth-most populous in the world. Last year, the country’s population has just reached 92 million. Its policy shift is well-substantiated. Cairo is fighting the Islamic State on the Sinai Peninsula. The fierce fighting there seldom hits media headlines but the IS poses a grave threat to Egypt. IS militants can also strike Egypt from Libya. The IS presence in Libya brings Egypt and Algeria together as the two great nations face the same threat.

The emerging Iran, Iraq, Russia and Turkey alliance may also include Algeria. In response to the growing menace, Algiers is strengthening ties with Moscow. It has recently purchased 14 Su-30MKA fighters and 40 Mi-28 «Night Hunter» attack helicopters from Russia. Last February, Russia and Algeria laid out a roadmap for deepening bilateral economic and military cooperation during Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s visit to Algeria.

Russia’s cooperation with Egypt, Algeria and other countries of the Middle East and North Africa reflects Moscow’s growing clout in the region.

With the Astana process making progress, other large and influential actors, such as Syria, Iraq, Egypt and Algeria, may join the emerging Russia, Iran, Turkey coalition to make the Middle East-North Africa (MENA) region face tectonic and dramatic changes.

Source*

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