Egypt

Mubarak: Syria blocked Hamas Shalit deal

By Jennifer Lipman, February 10, 2011

A deal with Hamas to free captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was scuppered by Syria and Qatar, according to a cable released by WikiLeaks.

The document quoted a conversation in June 2009 between Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and US general David Petraeus alleging that Hamas was offered more than £31 million to block a prisoner swap.

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Muslim Brotherhood could rethink Israel-Egypt treaty

By Jennifer Lipman, February 9, 2011

If the Muslim Brotherhood takes power in Egypt, its first move could be to review the peace process with Israel.

Banned under President Hosni Mubarak, the Islamist group is understood to have the support of just a quarter of Egyptian voters, but is well-organised and has been vocal since anti-government protests erupted more than two weeks ago.

Mr Mubarak has promised to hold free elections in Egypt. If these go ahead, the Muslim Brotherhood are likely to field candidates.

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Hague to Israel 'no time for belligerence'

By Jennifer Lipman, February 9, 2011

William Hague has warned Israel that for the sake of the Middle East peace process “this should not be a time for belligerent language.”

The Foreign Secretary, currently on a three day tour of North Africa and the Middle East, called instead for “bold leadership” from the United States and “equally bold steps by Israelis and Palestinians”.

He made the remarks in response to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s comments about being willing to "reinforce the might of the state of Israel" should it prove necessary.

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Call for Israel to join NATO

By Jennifer Lipman, February 8, 2011

The president of the World Jewish Congress (WJC) has called for Israel to be admitted into NATO in order to guarantee its survival in the future.

Ronald Lauder, writing in German newspaper Die Welt, said: “Israel needs real guarantees for its security.

“European NATO member states – including Turkey – must admit the state of Israel into the Western alliance.”

Mr Lauder referred to the anti-government uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia and said they were reminders of how “unpredictable” developments in the Middle East were.

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Muslim Brotherhood: Egypt revolution not Islamist

By Jennifer Lipman, February 8, 2011

The Muslim Brotherhood has rejected the suggestion that there is an Islamist agenda to Egypt’s uprising.

A statement posted online by Khaled Hamza, editor of the Egyptian Islamist group’s English-language website, said: “The current uprising in Egypt is a revolution of the Egyptian people.

“It is by no means linked to any Islamic tendencies, despite allegations, nor can it be described as Islamic.”

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Hall of Infamy: Mohamed Morsy

February 4, 2011

"We are not against the Jews. We are against Zionism."

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Is this Egypt’s Israel moment?

By Lawrence Joffe, February 4, 2011

"It's 1938", Benjamin Netanyahu is fond of intoning. The idea being that Iran is the new Germany, Ahmadinejad the new Hitler. But maybe events in the Middle East are more like 1958, when military officers overthrew the discredited Hashemite monarchy in Iraq; Egypt and Syria fused into a new pan-Arab entity, the United Arab Republic (UAR); Muslim nationalists threatened the fragile status quo of Lebanon; and nationalists demanded that the young King Hussein be toppled.

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Hamas rushes police to Egyptian border

By Moeen Shamir, February 3, 2011

The news of the imminent demise of Egypt's government has prompted Hamas to rush dozens of policemen to Gaza's southern border.

In the border town of Rafah, tunnel owners said their business had declined since the unrest erupted in Egypt one week ago. "Smuggling is still going on, but it is very slow. Most of the goods are stuck on the Egyptian side of Rafah," said Abu al-Baraa, an owner of one of the tunnels.

Residents in the town said Hamas and Egyptian security forces were manning the border in large numbers to prevent any people - particularly extremists - from crossing over.

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One by one, dominoes fall across Middle East

By Nathan Jeffay, February 3, 2011

The Middle East unrest puts paid to the logic that what's bad for your enemy is good for you.

Between Jordan and the Mediterranean there are three governments which all have contempt for each other, but all of which, for different and sometimes contradictory reasons, view the latest developments with discomfort.

When the citizens of Tunisia took to the streets in December, analysts were talking of a possible domino effect across the region. Now there can be little doubt that this is happening.

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Egypt protests: start of a new Middle East?

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 3, 2011

The hundreds of thousands of protesters crowding Tahrir Square this week seemed to have little idea of what they wanted to happen next.

"We must have multi-party elections and then all Egyptians can decide what they want to happen," said Sayyed Nasri, a civil engineer from Cairo's Giza neighbourhood, who had come to the square every morning to join the call for democracy and the end of the 30-year rule of President Hosni Mubarak.

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