2013 - A Brief Review

2013 - A Brief Review

Those we have lost 

Margaret Thatcher - Dave Brubeck - Slim Whitman - David Frost - Larry Hagman - John Kerr - Peter O'Toole - John Tavener - Tom Clancy - Ray Dolby - Joe Conley - Bernie Nolan - Douglas C. Engelbart - Slim Whitman - Michael Winner - Richard Briers - Ray Harryhausen among many others

Significant events

February 12 – North Korea conducts its third underground nuclear test, prompting widespread condemnation and tightened economic sanctions from the international community.

February 15 – A meteor explodes over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk, injuring 1,491 people and damaging over 4,300 buildings. It is the most powerful meteor to strike Earth's atmosphere in over a century. The incident, along with a coincidental flyby of a larger asteroid, prompts international concern regarding the vulnerability of the planet to meteor strikes.

February 28 – Benedict XVI resigns as pope, becoming the first to do so since Gregory XII in 1415, and the first to do so voluntarily since Celestine V in 1294.

March 13 – Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina is elected the 266th pope, whereupon he takes the name Francis and becomes the first Jesuit pope, the first pope from the Americas, and the first pope from the Southern Hemisphere.

April 15 – Two Chechen Islamist brothers explode two bombs at the Boston Marathon in Boston, Massachusetts, in the United States, killing 3 and injuring 264 others.

July 3 – Amid mass protests across Egypt, President Mohamed Morsi is deposed in a military coup d'état, leading to widespread violence.

September 21 – al-Shabaab Islamic militants attack the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, killing at least 62 civilians and wounding over 170.

November 24 – Iran agrees to limit their nuclear development program in exchange for sanctions relief.

December 14 – Chinese spacecraft Chang'e 3, carrying the Yutu rover, becomes the first spacecraft to "soft"-land on the Moon since 1976 and the third ever robotic rover to do so.

Tom Daley - Something I Want to Say

Tom Daley - Something I Want to Say

Anthony Ogogo - Gold Speedos
'Numerous variations of this screen-grab from 'Splash !' were pinged around the virtual world.
It's 'our Tom' with Olympic boxer Anthony Ogogo.
"Are you thinking what we are thinking?" 
While some might think it amusing - it's also rather sad.
Tom sexuality has been up for debate for a long time - and I wonder if he even knows himself - even now ?
And perhaps one should worry about Tom, now he's become a Saturday 'teatime' TV 'superstar' and is regularly 'exposing himself' - meaning just by being himself - he'll just be the subject of ever more scrutiny - check Twitter for endless comments just on how he walks and talks.

Tom Daley 'checks out' Anthony Ogogo
And PR feeds and 'paparazzi shots' to the press about his possible 'friends' will ultimately only make it worse. 
It's already seeping in, slow as sludge - for now.
And who do you think writes the 'celeb mags' and tabloid gossip pages? 
It's gay guys, who think that being 'gay' is almost boringly normal - and that now it's being 'in the closet' that's a little 'queer' - or should we say odd.  
And meanwhile the poor boy is probably still dying inside, and silently 'screaming' - even although he deludes himself that he is 'happy' and 'safe' - after all, who is really 'happy' or 'safe'.

So many people will be saying 'Finally !' - or 'I told you so !' or something similar.
But Tom's little video bombshell is not really all it seems to be.
It gives the impression, with its 'wobbly' framing - and impromptu, of the cuff style, that it's Tom just having a personal chat with you.
In reality, of course it's a carefully crafted piece of publicity utilising an autocue.
Realising that Tom was inevitably soon to be 'outed' with a vengence, the video is a pre-emptive strike aimed at damage limitation.
Notice that Tom does not use the words 'gay' or 'coming out'.
He simply states that he has a relationship with a 'guy' - and he adds that he still 'fancies' girls.
Now it was obvious to many, from when Tom was a boy, that he was 'fay' and effeminate - and the bullying at school was from the other boys who perceived Tom as 'gay'.
In addition Tom never had a 'real' girlfriend - just girls who were friends.
Yet Tom (wisely) refuses to allow himself to be given a 'gay' label.
Career-wise, (in terms of advertising) of course, the 'gay' label would be financial suicide.
Only a small percentage of the population would describe themselves as 'gay', and so, for the advertiser, a 'gay' media/sports star would not have sufficient general appeal for them to be a profitable proposition.
However, an even smaller percentage of the population would label themselves 'bi-sexual' (although, in fact, bi-sexuality - to some degree is the normative sexual position), and so Tom is careful to avoid that term as well.
With great skill, he has obviously been advised to present his sexuality in terms of a positive 'relationship' - which just happens to be with a 'guy'.
In addition, the form of the relationship is not specified.
Comment in the media indicates that most people have taken the relationship to be a sexual one - a 'gay relationship', but Daley dosen't use the word 'gay' or sexual in the video.
The way is, therefore, open for him to 'flip-flop', and if things become problematic, to indicate it that the relationship in question was a 'platonic' (non-sexual or non-physical) relationship.
Daley admits in the first part of the video that he has been 'vague' when talking about some 'intimate' matters.
Probably the word 'devious' or 'misleading' would be more suitable.
In this video, however, which puportedly clears everything up, he is equally vague.
All he reveals is that he is having a 'relationship' with a 'guy', and that he feels happy and 'safe'.
The true nature of the relationship is not made clear, the identity of the 'guy' is not given (although his identity is obviously known), and the actual nature of Daley's sexuality is not indicated.
So everything is still very 'vague', and the video is a 'red herring' - a false trail intended to put to right the so called 'misquote'.
It would have been refreshing if Tom had simply said 'I'm gay (or bisexual), and having a gay relationship with .........' (and we all know who), rather than this carefully scripted ramble intended to make the event as anodyne as possible.
During an interview on 'The Jonathan Ross Show' to be aired on 7 December, Daley chose not to identify his lover - despite the fact that everybody knows his identity.
Daley gushed:
"I'd never felt the feeling of love, it happened so quickly, I was completely overwhelmed by it to the point I can't get him out of my head all the time."
In the words of the song - 'There may be trouble ahead.'

Tom Daley 'coming out' was the top trending topic on Twitter moments after the Youtube video appeared.  While the 19-year-old athlete has received supportive tweets – including from such famous gays as Neil Patrick Harris, Jason Collins and Stephen Fry – there has been an onslaught of negative feedback ranging from 'snarky' to homophobic slurs.

Here is a sampling:

@mashhorne: Told you all Tom Daley was a dirty fag!
@DrugFeud: I can’t believe Tom Daley is gay I’m not a fan of his anymore! he’s going to hell it’s Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve.

@DopeBieber: we all knew Tom Daley was a fag
@Brit_Probs: Tom Daley has announced that he likes men. In other news water is wet
@sickipedia: Tom Daley revealed that when he met his new boyfriend that something just clicked. Probably your knees on the way back up Tom.
@Official_Craig: Tom Daley came out as gay? That’s like the Pope declaring that he’s Catholic! #WouldNeverHaveGuessed
@revelectrique: Tom Daley coming out as gay, is like hitler coming out and saying, guys, I don’t really like them Jews that much
@Skobisco: Lmao ahahaha tom daley was a fag before he came out of Narnia, he’s a bigger fag now

For his part, Daley chose to address the support he has received tweeting: @TomDaley1994: Overwhelmed by all the support ! Means the world !

Dustin Lance Black

Dustin Lance Black
Dustin Lance Black (born June 10, 1974) is an American screenwriter, director, film and television producer, and LGBT rights activist. He has won an Writers Guild of America Award and an Academy Award for the 2008 film 'Milk'.

'Milk' is a 2008 American biographical film based on the life of gay rights activist and politician Harvey Milk, who was the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in California, as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Directed by Gus Van Sant and written by Dustin Lance Black, the film stars Sean Penn as Milk and Josh Brolin as Dan White, a city supervisor who assassinated Milk. The film was released to much acclaim, and earned numerous accolades from film critics and guilds. Ultimately, it received eight Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, winning two for Best Actor in a Leading Role for Penn, and Best Original Screenplay for Black.

Black is a Founding board member of the American Foundation for Equal Rights and writer of 8, a staged re-enactment of the federal trial that led to a federal court's overturn of California's Proposition 8.

Early Life

Black was born in Sacramento, California, and grew up in a Mormon (?) household, in San Antonio, Texas and later moved to Salinas, California when his mother remarried.
His father had been the Mormon missionary who had baptised Black's mother earlier.
Growing up surrounded by Mormon culture and military bases, Black worried about his sexuality.
He told himself, "I'm going to hell. And if I ever admit it, I'll be hurt, and I'll be brought down" .
He found himself attracted to a boy in his neighbourhood at the age of six or seven.
He says that his "acute awareness" of his sexuality made him dark, shy and at times suicidal. He came out in his senior year of college.
While attending North Salinas High School, Black began to work in theatre at The Western Stage in Salinas-Monterey, California, and later worked on productions including 'Bare' at Hollywood's Hudson Main Stage Theater.
Black attended the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Theater, Film, and Television (UCLA) while apprenticing with stage directors, taking acting jobs and working on theatre lighting crews.
He graduated with honours from UCLA's School of Theater, Film and Television in 1996.


In 2000, he wrote and directed 'The Journey of Jared Price', a gay romance film, and 'Something Close to Heaven', a gay coming-of-age short film.
In 2001, he directed and was a subject in the documentary 'On the Bus' about a Nevada road trip and adventure at Burning Man taken by six gay men.
Raised as Mormon, he was hired as the only such writer on the HBO drama series 'Big Love', about a polygamistic family.
He has written for all seasons, serving on season one as a staff writer, executive story editor in season two, and was promoted again, to co-producer, for season three.
Black had first visited San Francisco in the early 1990s, while AIDS was devastating the city's gay community.
Black said that, "Hearing about Harvey was about the only hopeful story there was at the time."
He had first viewed Rob Epstein's documentary 'The Times of Harvey Milk' when he was in college, and thought, "I just want to do something with this, why hasn't someone done something with this ?"
Researching Milk's life for three years, Black met with Milk's former aides, Cleve Jones and Anne Kronenberg, as well as former San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos, and began to write a feature film screenplay encompassing the events of Milk's life.
The screenplay was written on spec, but Black showed the script to Jones, who passed it on to his friend Gus Van Sant, who signed on to direct the feature.
Black is an old friend of 'Milk' producer Dan Jinks, who signed on to the biopic after he called Black to congratulate him and discovered that the project did not have a confirmed producer.
Black's film 'Pedro', profiling the life of AIDS activist, and reality television personality Pedro Zamora, premiered at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival.
Coming up, Paris Barclay is slated to direct his screenplay 'A Life Like Mine' and Gus Van Sant is set to direct his film adaptation of Tom Wolfe's book 'The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test'. Black directed his own script Virginia, starring Jennifer Connelly.

On February 22, 2009, Black won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for 'Milk' at the 81st Academy Awards.
He wore a White Knot to the ceremony as a symbol of solidarity with the marriage equality movement.
In his acceptance speech at the Oscar ceremony, he said:
... When I was thirteen years old my beautiful mother and my father moved me from a conservative Mormon home in San Antonio, Texas to California and I heard the story of Harvey Milk and it gave me hope. It gave me the hope to live my life, it gave me the hope to one day I could live my life openly as who I am, and that maybe even I could fall in love and one day get married...'
"I want to thank my mom, who has always loved me for who I am even when there was pressure not to...'
"But most of all, if Harvey had not been taken from us 30 years ago, I think he would want me to say to all of the gay and lesbian kids out there tonight who have been told that they are less than by their churches, or by the government, or by their families, that you are beautiful, wonderful creatures of value, and that no matter what anyone tells you, God does love you and that very soon I promise you, you will have equal rights federally across this great nation of ours.'
"Thank you, and thank you God for giving us Harvey Milk."
Black marched in the National Equality March and delivered a speech in front of the Congress Building to an estimated crowd of 200,000 LGBT rights activists on October 11, 2009.
In 2010, Black narrated 8: The Mormon Proposition, a documentary about the involvement of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) in California's Proposition 8.
Black accepted the award for best documentary for 8:The Mormon Proposition at the GLAAD Media awards in San Francisco and spoke out on discrimination in the LDS Church and meeting with the church to make it more LGBT-inclusive.
Black wrote the screenplay for J. Edgar, a biographical drama released November 11, 2011, directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
In 2011, Black wrote the play 8, which portrays the actual events in the Hollingsworth v. Perry trial and the testimony which led to the overturn of California's Proposition 8.
He created the play due to the federal court's refusal to allow release of video recordings from the trial and to give the public a true account of what transpired in the courtroom.
It is written and performed using original transcripts from the trial and journalist records, along with first-hand interviews of the people involved. "8" first opened at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre in New York City on September 19, 2011, and later broadcast to a worldwide audience on YouTube from the Ebell of Los Angeles Theatre on March 3, 2012.
The American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) and Broadway Impact, sponsors of "8", have now released and licensed the play for readings nationwide on college campuses and in community theatres free of charge.
Black appears as himself in the documentary film 'Hollywood to Dollywood' (2012).

Personal life

Black was the top entry on a list of openly gay influential people in The Advocate's "Forty under 40" issue of June/July 2009.
He was featured on the cover of the magazine.
He was one of the Official Grand Marshals in the 2009 NYC LGBT Pride March, produced by Heritage of Pride joining Anne Kronenberg and Cleve Jones.
On January 24, 2012, Black's brother Marcus died of cancer.

The New Nasser - وناصر جديد

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

This is the revolution’s understanding of religions: love, fraternity, equality.
With equality we can create a strong homeland that knows no sectarianism, only patriotism…
We as a government, and I as president, carry responsibility for everyone in this country,
whatever their religion, whatever their origins...
Gamal Abd El Nasser

Nasser’s speech came almost two decades after Egypt’s Free Officers Movement overthrew the monarchy, launching the July Revolution of 1952.
Sixty years later, many have connected the July Revolution with this year’s popular uprising in Egypt, which brought down another failed regime, and launched the January Revolution of 2011.
Some draw parallels between the emphases of both on ‘dignity, freedom, and social justice'.

There has been a determined drive by much of Egypt's  media to present Sisi as an independent, even anti-American, figure, and in this respect here has also been an effort to link him with Gamal Abdel Nasser, Egypt's popular Arab nationalist president of the 50s and 60s.
That is partly because Nasser repressed the Muslim Brotherhood - along with communists.
But it also reflects the fact that Nasser's reputation as a genuinely independent and progressive leader, who stood up to the West and Israel, is still strong in Egypt and across the region.
The two men can be seen together all over central Cairo, on banners, flags and on posters on sale to tourists and locals.

One is moustachioed, square-jawed, with short greying hair and an enigmatic smile; the other is clean-shaven, open-faced, most often in dress uniform, a clutch of medals on his left breast.
The first man is the pan-Arab nationalist former Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, hammer of the Muslim Brotherhood, who died in 1970.
The second is General Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, head of Egypt’s armed forces and, since the July coup that ousted the Brotherhood-backed President, Mohamed Morsi, the supreme power in the country.
In the coffee shops of Cairo, where political discussions have bounced off peeling walls since Nasser’s death, a vigorous debate is taking place over whether Gen.
Sisi has deliberately risen in the former’s likeness - and what parallels between the two men’s careers may mean for post-revolutionary Egypt.
While General Sisi has pledged stability as a central plank of the military-led government he will shepherd towards elections in nine months’ time, he has also tapped into themes that Nasser used to enshrine his legacy as one of modern Egypt’s most celebrated figures.

Gamal Abdel Nasser Mosque - Cairo
Despite the fact that 40 years have passed since his death, whenever there are bad times, people always conjure up Nasser's image.
Sissi has not got the same hold on the Egyptian consciousness - not yet.
In his public appearances since the July 3, 2013 coup, Gen. Sisi has mirrored Nasser’s key messages of nationalism, scepticism of western intentions, Arab dignity and strong leadership.
The latter has been seized on by a broad swath of the public that has struggled in the chaos of the revolution that brought down Hosni Mubarak’s presidency in January 2011.
There is a craving for a strong leader.
Nasser is still revered here, and there is this belief that only a strongman can sort out the mess that is Egypt.

While Nasser was credited in the Middle East as a figure who did much for Arab unity, he was also criticised, in most cases unjustifiably, for leading through a cult of personality and for doing little to develop civil institutions, or advance human rights.
The parallels between him and Gen. Sisi run deep.
Nasser had a background as an officer and became President with military support in 1956, after planning the revolution that had ousted Egypt’s last monarch, King Farouk, four years earlier.
General Sisi also has a revolution under his belt. And, while not currently an elected official, he is being talked about as a presidential candidate after the interim government ends.
A deep nostalgia for Gamal Abdel Nasser is the result of the Egyptian people’s awareness that the Army has embraced the people’s wishes, and made sure that the revolution could take place.
The question remains, however, to what degree can the new system of government fulfil the needs of the people, and will he be able to hold on to his image as a 'saviour'.

It is important here to make a distinction between General Sisi as a person, and the military institution he represents.
He has a good chance to prove himself now, and there is a sense that he represents the Egyptian national identity that the Brotherhood wanted to steal away.
Amr Moussa, Arab League former head and former Foreign Minister, said the groundswell of support for General Sisi drew a distinction between the stances taken by Nasser and his legacy.
It is not just a call for a return to Nasser, but also a return to nationalistic stands and attitudes.
The armed forces embrace these stands, and they are personified through General Sisi.
Ther is, therefor, a resurgence of the Nasserite movement, combined with a yearning for a sense of nationalism and support for the military.
It is unlikely that the armed forces and its chief are interested in playing politics immediately.
Six to nine months of transition in order to approve a constitution, and a return to civilian rule will be the order of the day.
However, even among General Sisi supporters there are those who doubt that he or the military will extricate themselves completely from playing a decisive role in civil affairs after new presidential and parliamentary polls.
And the deadly showdown with the Brotherhood  shows no sign of being conciliated.

The Arab world is now riven by the menace of sectarianism, and the possible  breakup of the region into smaller states.
It's afflicted by polarisation between secularism and Islamism, the wealth and influence of reactionary Gulf autocracies, and the constant military intervention and presence of Western powers.
A  21st-century Nasser, able to straddle the religious and secular camps, could be the unifying force to confront those challenges.
Nasser, the man the Brotherhood wanted to forget, is now very much part of the new Egyptian psyche.
It’s up to General Sisi, however, whether he leads by example, or just basks in the glory of the great Gamal Abd el Nasser.
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

Egypt in Turmoil

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
What is going on - and who to believe ?
al-ʾIkḫwān al-Muslimūn
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
'To understand Egypt you must know her history.' - Gamal Abd el Nasser

For a people who spend a lot of time saying 'salam alaykum' to one another these people seem, at least at the moment, to be far from peaceful.

السلام عليكم) is an Arabic greeting often used by Muslims around the world. It nearly translates to "peace be upon you".

So what is going on ? Why are so many people in Egypt apparently 'at each others throats ?
Well to start with we need to understand who the protagonists are in this violent conflict.
We can start with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Al-ʾIkḫwān al-Muslimūn

جماعة الإخوان المسلمين‎, الإخوان المسلمون - (The Society of the Muslim Brothers - al-ʾIkḫwān al-Muslimūn) is the Arab world's oldest, most influential and one of the largest Islamic movements, and is the largest political opposition organization in many Arab states.
The Muslim Brotherhood is an Islamic mass movement whose worldview is based on the simplistic belief that “Islam is the solution”, and on the stated aim of establishing a world order (a caliphate) based on Islamic religious law (Shariah) by forcibly destroying Western culture.

Hassan al-Banna
Founded in Egypt in 1928 as a Pan-Islamic, religious, political, and social movement by the Islamic scholar and schoolteacher Hassan al-Banna, by the end of World War II the Muslim Brotherhood had an estimated two million members.
Its ideas had gained supporters throughout the Arab world and influenced other Islamist groups with its "model of political activism - much of it violent".
The Brotherhood's stated goal is to install the Qur'an and Sunnah as the "sole reference point for ...ordering the life of the Muslim family, individual, community ... and state."
This is, of course, contrary to its supposed championing of democracy, which is simply a sham, used to obtain support from gullible Western governments.
The movement is known for engaging in extreme political violence, claiming responsibility for the installation of Hamas.
Muslim Brotherhood members are suspected to have assassinated political opponents like Egyptian Prime Minister Mahmoud an-Nukrashi Pasha.
The Muslim Brotherhood started as a religious social organization; preaching Islam, teaching the illiterate, setting up hospitals and even launching commercial enterprises.
As it continued to rise in influence, starting in 1936, it began to oppose British rule in Egypt , and the Brotherhood was responsible for many violent killings during this period.
After the Arab defeat in the First Arab-Israeli war, the Egyptian government dissolved the organisation and arrested its members.

Gamal Abd El Nasser
The Brotherhood, (for reasons better known to itself) supported the Egyptian Revolution of 1952, but after an attempted assassination of Egypt's president it was once again banned and repressed.
The Muslim Brotherhood has been suppressed in other countries as well, most notably in Syria in 1982.
The Muslim Brotherhood is financed by contributions from its members, who are required to allocate a portion of their income to the movement.
Many of these contributions are from members who work in Saudi Arabia and other oil-rich countries.

The Brotherhood's credo was and is, "Allah is our objective; the Quran is our law, the Prophet is our leader; Jihad is our way; and death for the sake of Allah is the highest of our aspirations."
One should particularly note the two last sentiments - jihad is our way and death for the sake of Allah is the highest of our aspirations. - marking this organisation out as a perverted 'death cult' and the events in August 2013 make this abundantly clear.
However, the Brotherhood has declared that it is in favour of democracy and freedom.
This, of course, is nonsense.

The Holy Quran
The extreme Islamic teaching that they 'secretly' follow states that all sovereignty is derived from Allah, and that His Word, as contained in the القرآن‎ (Holy Quran), effectively enshrines all the laws that are required for the establishment of a righteous society.

القرآن‎ (Quran) literally meaning "the recitation", also romanised Qurʼan or Koran) is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims believe to be the verbatim word of الله‎ (God - Allah). Muslims believe the Quran to be verbally revealed through angel Gabriel (Jibril) from God to Muhammad gradually over a period of approximately 23 years beginning on 22 December 609 CE, when Muhammad was 40, and concluding in 632 CE, the year of his death. Shortly after Muhammad's death the Quran was collected by his companions using written Quranic materials, and everything that had been memorized (?) of the Quran.

The only task for the ruler is to enforce the laws to be found in the Holy Quran, so there is no need for any form of law-making assembly (Majlis).
The only reason that a سلطان‎ (ruler) may be removed from his position of authority is if the majority of citizens believe that the ruler in not correctly enforcing the laws to be found in the Holy Quran.

Sultan (Arabic: سلطان‎ Sulṭān,) is a noble title with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic language abstract noun meaning "authority", "rulership" and "dictatorship", derived from the masdar سلطة sulṭah, meaning "authority" or "power". Later, it came to be used as the title of certain rulers who claimed almost full sovereignty in practical terms.

Such a view of political authority is hardly compatible with current views regarding freedom and democracy.

Rashid Rida
Muhammad Abduh
The founder of the ʾIkḫwān, Hassan Al-Banna, was influenced by Islamic reformers Muhammad Abduh and Rashid Rida, with the group itself being influenced by both Sufism and Salafism.

Rida preceded Abul Ala Maududi, Sayyid Qutb, and later Islamists in declaring adherence to Sharia law as essential for Islam and Muslims, saying:
'those Muslim rulers who introduce novel laws today and forsake the Shari'a enjoined upon them by God ... They thus abolish supposed distasteful penalties such as cutting off the hands of thieves or stoning adulterers and prostitutes. They replace them with man-made laws and penalties. He who does that has undeniably become an infidel.'

In the group's belief, the Quran and Sunnah constitute a perfect way of life and social and political organization that God has set out for man (see above).

سنة - Sunnah is the way of life prescribed as normative for Muslims on the basis of the teachings and practices of Islamic prophet Muhammad and interpretations of the Quran. The word sunnah is derived from the root (سن [sa-n-na] Arabic), meaning smooth and easy flow (of water) or direct flow path. The word literally means a clear and well trodden path. In the discussion of the sources of religion, sunnah denotes the practices of Muhammad that he taught and practically instituted as a teacher of the sharī‘ah and the best exemplar.

Islamic governments must be based on this system, and eventually unified in a Caliphate.

The Caliph (Arabic: خليفة‎ ḫalīfah/khalīfah) is the head of state in a Caliphate, and the title for the ruler of the Islamic Ummah, an Islamic community ruled by Shari'ah Law - which is derived from the Holy Quran. The word derives from the Arabic  خليفة Khalīfah, which means vice-regent - in other word,s vice-regent to Allah. Following Muhammad's death in 632, the early leaders of the Muslim nation were called Khalifat Rasul Allah, the political successors to the messenger of God (referring to Muhammad).

The Muslim Caliphate
The Muslim Brotherhood's goal, as stated by Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna, was to reclaim Islam's manifest destiny, an empire, stretching from Spain to Indonesia.
It preaches that Islam enjoins man to strive for social justice, the eradication of poverty and corruption, and political freedom to the extent allowed by the laws of Islam - which is, of course, - no freedom at all.
The Brotherhood strongly opposes Western colonialism, and Western culture and civilisation, and helped overthrow the pro-western monarchies in Egypt and other Muslim countries during the early 20th century.
On the issue of women and gender, the Muslim Brotherhood interprets Islam conservatively.
It calls for "a campaign against ostentation in dress and loose behavior", "segregation of male and female students", a separate curriculum for girls, and "the prohibition of dancing and other such pastimes ... "
The ʾIkḫwān is violently opposed to homosexuality or any same-sex activity.
The ʾIkḫwān is opposed to the involvement of Coptic Christians in the higher levels of the government.
The movement is also anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic.
The Muslim Brotherhood is a movement, not a political party, but members have created political parties in several countries, such as the Islamic Action Front in Jordan and Hamas in Gaza and the West Bank and the newly created 'Freedom and Justice Party' in Egypt.
These parties are staffed by Brotherhood members.
There are breakaway groups from the movement, including the Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya and Al Takfir Wal Hijra.

Ismailia - 1920s
Hassan al-Banna founded the Muslim Brotherhood in the city of Ismailia in March 1928 along with six workers of the Suez Canal Company, as a Pan-Islamic, religious, political, and social movement.
The Suez Canal Company helped Banna build the mosque in Ismailia that would serve as the Brotherhood's headquarters.
According to al-Banna, contemporary Islam had lost its social dominance, because most Muslims had been corrupted by Western influences.
Sharia law based on the Qur'an and the Sunnah were seen as laws passed down by God (see above) that should be applied to all parts of life, including the organization of the government, and the handling of everyday problems.
As such the ʾIkḫwān is a totalitarian organisation, and a Muslim form of fascism.
The ʾIkḫwān  founded social institutions such as hospitals, pharmacies, schools, etc.
Al-Banna held highly conservative views on issues such as women's rights, opposing equal rights for women, but supporting the establishment of justice towards women.
The Brotherhood grew rapidly going from 800 members in 1936, to 200,000 by 1938, 500,000 in 1948.

Post War

In November 1948, following several bombings and assassination attempts, the Egyptian government arrested 32 leaders of the Brotherhood's "secret apparatus", and banned the Brotherhood.
At this time the Brotherhood was estimated to have 2000 branches and 500,000 members or sympathizers.

Cairo Fire - 1952
Malik Farouk
In succeeding months Egypt's prime minister was assassinated by a Brotherhood member, and following that Al-Banna himself was assassinated in what is thought to be a cycle of retaliation.

In 1952, members of the Muslim Brotherhood were accused of taking part in the Cairo Fire, that destroyed some "750 buildings" in downtown Cairo – mainly night clubs, theatres, hotels, and restaurants frequented by British and other foreigners.
In 1952 Egypt's monarchy was overthrown by nationalist military officers, supported by the Brotherhood, however the Brotherhood opposed the secularist constitution of the coup leaders, and in 1954 they attempted to assassinate رئيس جمهورية مصر العربية‎ Egypt's President (Gamal Abdel Nasser), (this attempt was unsuccessful).

Anwar Sadat
Muhammad Naguib
Non royal rulers of Egypt - The first President of Egypt was Muhammad Naguib, one of the leaders of the Egyptian Revolution of 1952, who took office on 18 June 1953, the day on which Egypt was declared a republic. Since then the office has been held by four further people: Gamal Abd el Nasser, Anwar Sadat, Hosni Mubarak, and Mohamed Morsi. In addition, Sufi Abu Taleb acted as President between Sadat's assassination and the election of his successor, and Adly Mansour is currently acting as President after Morsi's overthrow. Following Mubarak's resignation, the position of President of Egypt was officially vacated and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, led by Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, assumed executive control of the state.

The Brotherhood was again banned, and this time thousands of its members were imprisoned.
Imprisoned Brothers were gradually released after Anwar Sadat became president of Egypt in 1970, and were sometimes enlisted to help fight Sadat's leftist opposition.
Brethren were allowed to publish the magazine 'Da'wa', though the organization remained illegal. 

 دعوة‎ (Da‘wah‎) means the proselytizing or preaching of Islam. Da‘wah literally means "issuing a summons" or "making an invitation", being the active participle of a verb meaning variously "to summon" or "to invite" (whose triconsonantal root is د ع ى). Muslim Brotherhood has focused on a methodology of building grassroots institutions and funding welfare projects.

During this time, more radical Qutb-inspired Islamist groups blossomed, and after he signing a peace agreement with Israel in 1979, became confirmed enemies of Sadat.

President Anwar Sadat Assassinated
President Sadat and Hosni Mubarak
moments before the Assassination
Sadat was assassinated by a violent Islamist group Tanzim al-Jihad on October 6, 1981, shortly before he had Brotherhood leaders (and many other opposition leaders) arrested.

President Hosni Mubarak
The Assassination of Anwar Sadat occurred on 6 October 1981. Anwar Sadat, the President of Egypt, was assassinated during the annual victory parade held in Cairo to celebrate Egypt's crossing of the Suez Canal.
A fatwā approving the assassination had been obtained from Omar Abdel-Rahman, a cleric later convicted in the US for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. The assassination was undertaken by members of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad. In conjunction with the assassination, an insurrection was organized in Asyut in Upper Egypt. Rebels took control of the city for a few days and 68 policemen and soldiers were killed in the fighting. Government control was not restored until paratroopers from Cairo arrived. Sadat was buried in the Unknown Soldier Memorial, located in the Nasr City district of Cairo. Islambouli and the other assassins were tried, found guilty, sentenced to death, and executed by firing squad in April 1982.
At first, Sadat was succeeded by Sufi Abu Taleb, who remained as the Acting President of Egypt until October 14, 1981, when Sadat's former Vice President, Hosni Mubarak, became the new Egyptian President.

Again with a new president, (Hosni Mubarak), Brotherhood leaders (Supreme Guide Umar al-Tilmisani and others) were released from prison.

محمد حسني السيد مبارك‎ (Muhammad Hosni El Sayed Mubarak - born 4 May 1928) is a former Egyptian President, leader and military commander.
He served as the fourth President of Egypt from 1981 to 2011.

Mubarak cracked down hard against radical Islamists, but offered an "olive branch" to the supposedly 'more moderate' Brethren.
The brethren reciprocated, going so far as to endorse Mubarak’s candidacy for president in 1987 (?).
The Brotherhood dominated the student associations of Egypt, and was famous for its network of social services in neighborhoods and villages, however, the government did not approve of the Brotherhood's renewed influence (it was still technically illegal), and resorted to repressive measures starting in 1992.
In the 2000 parliamentary elections, the Muslim Brotherhood won 17 parliamentary seats.
In 2005, it won 88 seats (20% of the total compared to 14 seats for the legally approved opposition parties) to form the largest opposition bloc.
It lost almost all but one of these seats in the much-less-free 2010 election, which was marred by massive arrests of both Brethren and polling place observers
Under Egypt's emergency law Brethren could only stand as independents, but were easily identified since they campaigned under the slogan - 'Islam Is the Solution'.
During and after the 2005 election the Brethren launched what some have called a "charm offensive."
Its leadership talked about its `responsibility to lead reform and change in Egypt.`

Coptic Pope Shenoda
It addressed the `Coptic issue`, insinuating that the Brethren would do away with Egypt's decade's old church building-permit system that Coptic Christians felt was discriminatory.
Seeing this campaign as a direct threat to its position as an indispensable ally of the west against radical Islamism, the Egyptian government rightly introduced an amendment to the constitution that removed the reference to Islam as `the religion of the state,` and would have allowed women and Christians to run for the presidency.
Brotherhood MPs responded by walking out of parliament rather than voting on the bill.
In addition, the movement has also reportedly played into the government's hands provoking non-Islamist Egyptians by staging a militia-style march by masked Brotherhood students at Cairo's Al Azhar University,complete with uniforms and martial arts drills, reminding many of the Brotherhood's era of 'secret cells'.
Two years later the Egyptian government amended the constitution, skewing future representation against independent candidates for parliament, which are the only candidates the Brotherhood can field.
The state delayed local council elections from 2006 to 2008, disqualifying most Muslim Brotherhood candidates.
The Muslim Brotherhood boycotted the election.
The government incarcerated thousands of rank-and-file Muslim Brotherhood members in a wave of arrests and military trials.

After the Revolution

Following the 2011 Egyptian revolution, and fall of Hosni Mubarak, the group was legalized.
The Brotherhood supported the constitutional referendum in March 2011 which was also supported by the Egyptian army, and opposed by Egyptian liberals.
On 30 April 2011, it launched a new party called the 'Freedom and Justice Party'.

Ahmed Shafiq
Mohamed Morsi
In the First Egyptian elections after Mubarak, the candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Morsi, won the election with 51.73% of the vote – over his competitor Ahmed Shafiq, the last prime minister under Mubarak's rule.
In late November 2012, offices of the Muslim Brotherhood were burned in response to Mohamed Morsi's move to outlaw challenges to his presidential authority.
On 3 July 2013 Mohamed Morsi was arrested and detained by the military following a period of widespread protests of millions of Egyptian citizens demanding the resignation of Morsi due to his failure to unite the country or lead effectively.
Thousands protested demanding the continuation of Morsi as Egypt's president.
Clashes between the protests resulted in at least 500 deaths to date.

Sayyid Qutb - the Evil Genius of the ʾIkḫwān

سيد قطب‎;
Sayyid Qutb
سيد قطب‎; - Sayyid Qutb ( also Said, Syed, Seyyid, Sayid, or Sayed; Koteb, Qutub, Kotb, or Kutb) (9 October 1906 – 29 August 1966) was an Egyptian author, Islamic theorist, poet. Complete with his 'Hitler mustache' he was also extreme mysoginist and 'closet homosexual' - and the leading member of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in the 1950s and 60s.

Sayyid Qutb, like all members of the Brotherhood, was a staunch Anti-Semite. In 1950 he published a book "Our Struggle against the Jews", which forms a central part of today's Islamist Antisemitism.

In 1966 he was convicted of plotting the assassination of Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser and was executed by hanging.
Ma'alim fi al-Tariq

Author of 24 books, including novels, literary arts critique and works on education, he is best known in the Muslim world for his work on what he believed to be the social and political role of Islam, particularly in his books 'Social Justice' and the infamous 'Ma'alim fi al-Tariq' (Milestones).
His supposed 'magnum opus', 'Fi Zilal al-Quran' (In the shade of the Qur'an), is a 30-volume commentary on the Qur'an.
During most of his life, Qutb's inner circle mainly consisted of influential politicians, intellectuals, poets and literary figures, both of his age and of the preceding generation.
Even though most of his observations and criticism were leveled at the Muslim world, Qutb is also known for his intense disapproval, one might almost say hatred,  of the society and cultures of Europe and the United States, which he saw as obsessed with materialism, violence, and sexual pleasures.

Qutb published an article entitled "The America that I Have Seen." He was critical of many things he had observed in the United States (in the 1940s) : its materialism, individual freedoms, economic system, racism, brutal boxing matches, "poor" haircuts (?) - superficiality in conversations and friendships,  restrictions on divorce, enthusiasm for sports, lack of artistic feeling, "animal-like" mixing of the sexes (which "went on even in churches").
Qutb noted with disapproval the sexuality of American women:
'the American girl is well acquainted with her body's seductive capacity. She knows it lies in the face, and in expressive eyes, and thirsty lips. She knows seductiveness lies in the round breasts, the full buttocks, and in the shapely thighs, sleek legs - and she shows all this and does not hide it.'
He also commented on the American taste in arts:
'The American is primitive in his artistic taste, both in what he enjoys as art and in his own artistic works. “Jazz” music is his music of choice. This is that music that the Negroes invented to satisfy their primitive inclinations, as well as their desire to be noisy on the one hand and to excite bestial tendencies on the other. The American’s intoxication in “jazz” music does not reach its full completion until the music is accompanied by singing that is just as coarse and obnoxious as the music itself. Meanwhile, the noise of the instruments and the voices mounts, and it rings in the ears to an unbearable degree… The agitation of the multitude increases, and the voices of approval mount, and their palms ring out in vehement, continuous applause that all but deafens the ears.'

Qutb concluded that major aspects of American life were primitive and "shocking", a people who were "numb to faith in religion, faith in art, and faith in spiritual values altogether".
His experience in the U.S. is believed to have formed in part the impetus for his rejection of Western values and his move towards Islamism upon returning to Egypt.

Muslim Brotherhood Extremist Islamists
Qutb is undoubtedly a key originator of Islamist ideology, and an inspiration for violent groups such as Al Qaeda - this is the legacy of the Muslim Brotherhood.
His political views were expressed in his prison-written Islamic manifesto 'Ma'alim fi-l-Tariq' (Milestones), where he advocated a political system that is the opposite of dictatorship—i.e. one with no government (?).
Qutb's also stated that "physical power" and jihad had to be used to overthrow governments, and attack societies, "institutions and traditions" of the Muslim—but according to Qutb jahili—world.

جاهلية‎ (Jahiliyyah "ignorance") is an Islamic concept of "ignorance of divine guidance" or "the state of ignorance of the guidance from God". The root of the term jahiliyyah is the I-form verb jahala "to be ignorant or stupid, to act stupidly".
Use of the term for modern Muslim society is usually associated with Qutb - namely that reappearance of Jahiliyya is a result of the lack of Sharia law, without which Islam cannot exist; that true Islam is a complete system with no room for any element of Jahiliyya; that all aspects of Jahiliyya ("manners, ideas and concepts, rules and regulations, values and criteria") are "evil and corrupt".
Non-Muslim societies are also termed jahili (Arabic: جاهلي‎ ǧāhilī ). The state of Jahiliyya requires the overthrow of the secular state and replacing it with Islamist sharia law.

Al-Azhar - Cairo
The ulema of Al-Azhar University school took the unusual step following his death of putting Sayyid Qutb on their index of heresy, declaring him a "deviant" (munharif).

Osama bin Laden
Qutb influenced Islamist insurgent/terror groups in Egypt and elsewhere.
His influence on Al Qaeda was felt through his writing, his followers, and especially through his brother, Muhammad Qutb, who moved to Saudi Arabia following his release from prison in Egypt and became a professor of Islamic Studies and edited, published and promoted his brother Sayyid's work.
Osama bin Laden was a close friend of Sayyid's brother, Muhammad Qutb.
Bin Laden regularly attended weekly public lectures by Muhammad Qutb, at King Abdulaziz University.


The Egyptian Armed Forces

'To understand Egypt you must know her history.' - Gamal Abd el Nasser

The second group in the conflict are the Egyptian Army.

Omanli Armasi
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
Muhammad Ali Pasha
Following his seizure of power in Egypt, and declaration of himself as Khedive of the country, Muhammad Ali Pasha set about establishing a bona fide Egyptian military.
Prior to his rule, Egypt had been governed by the Ottoman Empire, and while he still technically owed fealty to the Ottoman Porte (Government), Muhammad Ali sought to gain full independence for Egypt.
To further this aim, he brought in European weapons and expertise, and built an army that defeated the Ottoman Sultan, wresting control from the Porte of the Levant, and Hejaz - so Egypt had an empire, and was a 'colonial power, even if only in a very limited way.
The Egyptian Army was involved in the following wars during Muhammad Ali's reign:
Greek War of Independence, Egyptian–Ottoman War (1831–1833), Egyptian–Ottoman War (1839–1841)
In addition, he utilised his army to conquer Sudan, and unite it with Egypt, and Egypt was involved in the long-running 1881-99 Mahdist War in the Sudan.

Tel El Kebir as the
British saw it
The Battle of Tel El Kebir
In 1882 Great Britain defeated the Egyptian Army at Tel El Kebir, in September, and took control of the country.

The Battle of الكبير - Tel el-Kebir was between the Egyptian army led by  أحمد عرابى (Ahmed Urabi), and the British military fought near Tel-el-Kebir. After discontented Egyptian officers under Urabi rebelled in 1882, the United Kingdom reacted to protect its financial and expansionist interests in the country, and in particular the Suez Canal - the perenial concern of the British with their overiding concern for the Indian Empire.

أحمد عرابى - (Colonel Ahmed Orabi or Ahmed Urabi - April 1, 1841 – September 21, 1911).
He was an Egyptian army general, and nationalist who led a revolt in 1879 against Tewfik Pasha, the Khedive of Egypt and Sudan, and the increasing European domination of the country. The revolt was ultimately crushed in 1882 when the United Kingdom invaded at the request of Tewfik, thereby commencing the 40 year British occupation of Egypt. Orabi was the first Egyptian national political and military leader to rise from the fellahin (common or farming people).

The purpose of the invasion had been to restore political stability to Egypt (sound familiar ?) under a government of the Khedive and international controls which were in place to streamline Egyptian financing since 1876.

Map of the Ottoman Empire
Heraldric Rendering of the
Crown of the Khedive of Egypt
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
The term Khedive (from classical Persian, khodây, "lord") is a title largely equivalent to the English word viceroy. It was first used, without official recognition, by Muhammad Ali Pasha (Turkish: Kavalalı Mehmet Ali Paşa, General Muhammad Ali of Kavala), the Wāli (Governor) of Egypt and Sudan, and vassal of the Ottoman Empire. The initially self-declared title was officially recognized by the Ottoman government in 1867, and used subsequently by Ismail Pasha, and his dynastic successors until 1914.

It is unlikely that the British expected a long-term occupation from the outset; however, Lord Cromer, Britain's Chief Representative in Egypt at the time, viewed Egypt's financial reforms as part of a long-term objective.

Egyptian Soldiers at the Citadel - Cairo
Cromer took the view that political stability needed financial stability, and embarked on a programme of long term investment in Egypt's productive resources, above all in the cotton economy, the mainstay of the country's export earnings.
With finances and capital away from the Egyptian and Royal controls and placed instead in European and Coptic control during British occupation and later control, Egypt developed into a regional commercial and trading destination. Immigrants from less stable parts of the region including Greeks, Jews and Armenians, began to flow into Egypt.
During this time the Egyptian Army was under the control of the Khedival government, but also under the influence of the British, adopting British traditions and methods.

Coat of Arms of the
Sultanate of Egypt
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
Flag of the Sultanate of Egypt
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
In 1914 as a result of the declaration of war with the Ottoman Empire, of which Egypt was still nominally a part, Britain declared a Protectorate over Egypt, and deposed the Khedive, replacing him with a family member who was made Sultan of Egypt by the British.

Sultan (Arabic: سلطان‎ Sulṭān,) is a noble title with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic language abstract noun meaning "authority", "rulership" and "dictatorship", derived from the masdar سلطة sulṭah, meaning "authority" or "power". Later, it came to be used as the title of certain rulers who claimed almost full sovereignty in practical terms.

British occupation ended nominally with the Great Britain's 1922 declaration of Egyptian independence, but British military domination of the Egypt lasted until 1936.

 فؤاد الأول‎  - King Fuad I 
Royal Arms of Egypt
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
In deference to the growing nationalism, and at the suggestion of the High Commissioner, Lord Allenby, Great Britain unilaterally declared Egyptian independence on 28 February 1922, abolishing the protectorate, and establishing an independent Kingdom of Egypt -  المملكه المصريه.
The first King of Egypt was فؤاد الأول‎ (Fuad I - Fu’ād al-Awwal; 26 March 1868 – 28 April 1936).
Sarwat Pasha became prime minister.

Fuad was first Sultan and later King of Egypt and Sudan, Sovereign of Nubia, Kordofan, and Darfur. The ninth ruler of Egypt and Sudan from the Muhammad Ali Dynasty, he became Sultan of Egypt and Sudan in 1917, succeeding his elder brother Sultan Hussein Kamel. He substituted the title of King for Sultan when the United Kingdom recognised Egyptian independence in 1922. His name is sometimes spelled Fouad.

King Farouk I
Malik Farouk Inspects the Egyptian Army
British influence, however, continued to dominate Egypt's political life and fostered fiscal, administrative, and governmental reforms.
Britain retained control of the Canal Zone, Sudan and Egypt's external protection.
King Fuad died in 1936, and Farouk inherited the throne at the age of sixteen.
Alarmed by Italy's recent invasion of Ethiopia, he signed the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty, requiring Britain to withdraw all troops from Egypt, except at the Suez Canal (agreed to be evacuated by 1949), however, the Egyptian Army continued to be strongly influenced by both British and Turkish military traditions.

The Egyptian Army on Guard
at the Abdin Palace
Egypt, it should be remembered, was for much of its history strongly influenced by the customs and traditions of the Ottoman Empire.
It should be remembered that the eventual inheritors of the effects of the Ottoman Tanzimat were the Ottoman military, and this inheritance was passed on to all the military successors to the Ottomans in the various territories ruled by the Turks - including Egypt.

Ottoman Empire
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
تنظيمات (Tanzimât) refers to the reorganization of the Ottoman Empire, was a period of reformation that began in 1839 and ended with the First Constitutional Era in 1876. The Tanzimât reform era was characterized by various attempts to modernize the Ottoman Empire, to secure its territorial integrity against nationalist movements and aggressive powers. The reforms attempted to integrate non-Muslims and non-Turks more thoroughly into Ottoman society and included the reorganization of the army and a regular method of recruiting, levying the army, and fixing the duration of military service (1843–44).

It is for this reason that most of the regimes that followed the demise of the Ottoman Empire were eventually controlled by a modernising, westernised, secular (non-religious) military - and this was the case with Egypt.

General Muhammad Naguib
The Egyptian Free Ocfficers
Nasser, Sadat and Hakim Amer
After the defeat of the Egyptian army in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, a revolutionary organisation was created secretly by the Egyptian officers under the name of 'Free Officers'.
This Free Officers group, led by  محمد نجيب‎ - Muhammad Naguib and  جمال عبد الناصر حسين - Gamal Abdel Nasser, overthrew King Farouk in the Egyptian Revolution of 1952.

Naguib's full name was Mohamed Naguib Yousef Qotp Elkashlan; he was born on 20 February 1901 in Khartoum, Sudan, which was united with Egypt at the time. He was the eldest of nine children of an Egyptian, Youssef Naguib, and a Sudanese woman Zohra Ahmed Othman. His family"Elkashlan" was popular in Egypt at that time of its Scientific personalities like Saad Elkashlan and Abdulsamad Elkashlan. He came from a long line of army officers, as his father was serving in the Egyptian army in Sudan.

Flag of Egypt - 1952
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
The Free Officers then forced the British troops based in the Suez Canal to leave Egypt in what became known later as Anglo - Egyptian Treaty (1954), marking the end of Britain's military presence in Egypt.
Nasser soon ousted Naguib and appointed himself president, taking the title  رئیس‎ Rais.

 رئیس is a title used by the rulers of Arab states in the Middle East and South Asia. Swahili speakers in East Africa may also use it for president. It is translated as president in Arabic, and wealthy in Persian. In Urdu, the word 'Rais' is also used as the opposite or antonym of Nouveau riche, or a person who has acquired considerable wealth within his or her generation. From Persian this word came into Urdu and means a person belonging to the aristocracy. 
The adjective 'Azam' great, is also added to mean 'the great rais'.

Nasser and Field Marshal Hakim Amer
During the Cold War, the army actively fought in the Suez Crisis, known in Egypt and the Arab World as the 'Tripartite Aggression', the 'North Yemen Civil War' from 1962 to 1967, the 1967 'Six Day War', the 1969-1970 'War of Attrition', the 1973 'October War', and the 1977 'Libyan-Egyptian War'.

محمد عبد الحكيم عامر‎ (Mohamed Abdel Hakim Amer - 11 December 1919 – 14 September 1967) was an Egyptian general and political leader. Amer was born in Astal, Samallot, in the Al Minya Governorate. Amer played a leading role in the military coup that overthrew King Farouk in 1952 and which brought General Muhammad Naguib and Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser to power. 

Since the 1980s the army has built closer and closer ties with the United States, as evidenced in the bi-annual 'Operation Bright Star' exercises.
Today conscripts without a college degree serve three years as enlisted soldiers.
Conscripts with a General Secondary School Degree serve two years as enlisted soldiers.
Conscripts with a college degree serve 14 months as enlisted or 27 months as a reserve officer.
On 31 January 2011, during the Egyptian Revolution of 2011, the 9th, 2nd, and 7th Divisions of the Army were ordered into Cairo to help restore order.
The Egyptian Army still uses an British style ceremonial outfit, and a desert camouflage overall implemented in 2012.
The Egyptian Armed Forces are the largest in Africa, and the Middle East, and is the 11th largest in the world, consisting of the Egyptian Army, Egyptian Navy, Egyptian Air Force and Egyptian Air Defense Command.

قوات الأمن العام و الأمن المركزي 
قوات الأمن العام و الأمن المركزي 
In addition to the Army there is the Egyptian Border Guard Forces, the Egyptian National Guard, which comes under the control of the Ministry of Defence, and  قوات الأمن العام و الأمن المركزي  - Quwwāt al-Amn al- Amm wa Quwwāt al-Amn al-Markazī - General Security and Central Security Forces.
In 1969, a decision was made to create the Central Security Forces from well trained and equipped police forces on large scale, covering the whole country under the command of the Ministry of Interior (Egypt), to conduct special police operations in response to operational needs.

 General Abdul Fatah al-Sisi
The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, the senior uniformed officer, is General Abdul Fatah al-Sisi.
Unlike the armed forces of many other countries, the Armed Forces of Egypt are also influential in business, engaging in road and housing construction, consumer goods, resort management, and vast tracts of real estate. Much military information is not made publicly available, including budget information, the names of the general officers and the military’s size (which is considered a state secret).
It is reliably estimated, however, that as much as 40% of the Egyptian economy is controlled by the Egyptian military.

Al‑Nour Party

The third group in the conflict are the Salafists

حزب النور‎
Ḥizb Al‑Nūr
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

حزب النور‎ - (Ḥizb Al‑Nūr) ("Party of The Light") is one of the political parties created in Egypt after the 2011 Egyptian Revolution.
It has an ultra-conservative Islamist ideology, which believes in implementing strict Sharia law.
It has been described as the political arm of the 'Al-Da‘wa Al-Salafiyya' - (Salafi Call Society), and by far the most prominent of the several new Salafi parties in Egypt, which it has surpassed by virtue of its long organizational and administrative experience and its supposedly "charismatic leaders".

The roots of the 'Salafi Call Society' go back to 1977, when the Muslim Brothers dominated the Islamic Group at Alexandria University. In reaction, students with Salafi convictions formed the “Salafi School,” arguing against the Muslim Brotherhood’s ideology and domination of Islamist activism.
By mid-1985, the Salafi School was calling itself the “Salafi Call Society.” It had its own educational institution, the 'al-Furqan Institute', a magazine entitled 'Sawt al-Da‘wa' (the Voice of the Call), and a complex social-services network. The Zakat Committee (Islamic tithe) was in charge of funding and administering orphanages, support of widows, relief work, and free health clinics and other community facilities.

un-Islamic, though they were concerned with politics from an Islamic point of view relating to daily Egyptian life
ياسر البرهامى
Yasser El Borhamy
The Salafis in the past had refused to take part in politics because they believed that the democratic system that existed at the time was
After the revolution, the Salafis decided to take part in politics in order to protect the Islamic identity of Egypt, based on the fundamentals of Islam, the Quran and Sunnah.
Leading Salafi preacher ياسر البرهامى - Yasser El Borhamy switched to the political participation side after Mubarak's ouster, saying "Islam must become involved of all aspects of life, even the political, and the Islamic movement must unite".
In the 2011–12 Egypt parliamentary elections, the Islamist Bloc led by Al‑Nour party received 7,534,266 votes out of a total 27,065,135 correct votes (27.8%).
The Islamist Bloc, of which Al Nour was a member, gained 127 of the 498 parliamentary seats contested, second-place after the Muslim Brotherhood's 'Freedom and Justice Party'.
Al‑Nour party itself won 111 of the 127 seats.
From January 2013 the party gradually distanced itself from Mohammad Morsi's Brotherhood government, and came to join the opposition (?) in the July 2013 coup which ousted Morsi.

Al‑Nour Party is an ultra-conservative Islamist party, maintaining a strict version of Islam, known as the Salafi methodology.
Salafis believe they are practising Islam as it was practiced by the Prophet Muhammad, his companions, and the first generations.
Their main source of governance is strictly based on the Quran and the Sunnah.
The religious foundation and structure of Al-Nour party is based almost entirely on the Salafi interpretation of Islam.
Al-Nour believes the principles of Islamic Sharia should be the main source of legislation, however, the party promises that it will allow Christians to have their own separate laws for their internal matters - although it would be interesting to see if this promise was kept if they ever attained power.
Although initially an political ally of the Muslim brotherhood's 'Freedom and Justice Party', the al-Nour Party soon came to join the mainly secular opposition, and were an active force in the 2012-2013 Egyptian protests that resulted in the 2013 ousting of President Morsi.
Following what Al-Nour described as a "massacre" on the dawn of 8th July, when pro-Morsi demonstrators were attacked and at least 54 were left dead, Al-Nour in protest withdrew from talks to choose an interim prime minister.
Nevertheless al-Nour has not expressed support for the return of Mohammad Morsi to power.
The party has advised the interim government on ministerial candidates.

Coptic Christians

And then, of course, there are the Coptic Christians.

Coptic Cross
Coptic Flag
اقباط - The Copts are the native Christians of Egypt
They are a major ethno- religious
group in Egypt and the largest Christian group in Egypt.

Pope Saint Cyril VI
of Alexandria
Kyrillos VI

Christianity was the religion of the vast majority from 400–800 A.D., and the majority after the Muslim conquest until the mid-10th century, and remains the faith of a significant minority population.
Historically they spoke the Coptic language, a direct descendant of the Demotic Egyptian, spoken in the Roman era, but it has been near-extinct, and mostly limited to liturgical use since the 18th century.

Coptic Clergy
They now speak Arabic.

Copts in Egypt constitute the largest Christian community in the Middle East, as well as the largest religious minority in the region, accounting for an estimated 10% of the Egyptian population.Copts in Egypt constitute the largest Christian community in the Middle East, as well as the largest religious minority in the region, accounting for an estimated 10% of the Egyptian population.

Most Copts adhere to the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria.
The remainder of around 800,000 are divided between the Coptic Catholic, and various Coptic Protestant groups.

Coptic Service in Cairo
Under Muslim rule, Christians were second-class citizens, who paid special taxes, and had no access to political power.
The Copts were cut off from the main stream of Christianity, but they were allowed to practice their religion relatively unmolested.
Their position improved dramatically under the rule of Muhammad Ali in the early 19th century.
He abolished the Jizya (a tax on non-Muslims), and allowed Egyptians (Copts as well as Muslims) to enroll in the army.
Pope Cyril IV, 1854–61, reformed the church and encouraged broader Coptic participation in Egyptian affairs.
Khedive Isma'il Pasha, in power 1863-79, further promoted the Copts.
He appointed them judges to Egyptian courts and awarded them political rights and representation in government. They flourished in business affairs.
Copts participated in the Egyptian national movement for independence, and occupied many influential positions.
Some prominent Coptic thinkers from this period are Salama Moussa, Louis Awad and Secretary General of the Wafd Party Makram Ebeid.
Gamal Abdel Nasser, in power 1952-70, declared Egypt an Arab country for the first time, ignored the Christians, evicted Europeans, fought Britain, France and Israel, curried favour with the Soviet Union, and nationalized property and industry.
Much of the land he confiscated was owned by Copts and given to Muslims.
The Copts were severely affected by Nasser's nationalization policies because, though they represented about 10–20% of the population, they were so economically prosperous that they held more than 50% of the country's wealth.
In addition, Nasser's pan-Arab policies undermined the Copts' strong attachment to and sense of identity about their Egyptian pre-Arab, and certainly non-Arab, identity; permits to construct churches were delayed, Christian religious courts were closed, and the regime confiscated land and Church properties from Copts.
As a result, many Copts left their country for Australia, North America, or Europe.
Anwar Sadat, in power 1970-81, was a more favorable to the Copts, but in reaction to his more moderate policies the Muslim Brotherhood gained strength, and the Copts began emigrating to the West.
Hosni Mubarak, in power 1981-2011, provided some protection, but after his fall the Muslim Brotherhood launched murderous assaults on the Copts, who increasingly immigrated.

Pope Shenouda III
 Bishop Tawadros
The last head of the Coptic Orthodox Church, Pope Shenouda III of Alexandria, died 17 March 2012.
On 4 November 2012, Bishop Tawadros was chosen as the new pope of Egypt's Coptic Christians.
His name was selected from a glass bowl containing the three short-listed candidates by a blindfolded boy at a ceremony in Cairo's St Mark's Cathedral.
In August 2013, several Coptic churches have been attacked, with at least nine of them set aflame, by Sunni Muslims.
Not surprisingly, Copts do not support the Muslim Brotherhood or the Salafi 'Nur Party'.

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