Khaled Moussa al-Omrani

Egyptian opposition branded "terrorist"

CAIRO (IPS) - The Egyptian government is now accusing the Muslim Brotherhood of links to Palestinian resistance groups and of establishing “global networks.” Recent months have seen a host of government accusations — which critics say are fabricated — against opposition groups it claims have ties with Hamas, Hizballah, and the ever-elusive al-Qaeda. “The government is making up so many charges of ‘terror networks’ and ‘Islamist cells’ that it’s hard to keep track of them all,” Islamist lawyer Montasser al-Zayat told IPS

Obama talks democracy, endorses dictatorship

CAIRO (IPS) - Egyptian officials are lining up to praise US President Barack Obama’s address to the Islamic world delivered in Cairo last Thursday. But local campaigners for political reform say the speech was disappointingly light on the issues of democracy and human rights. “Obama spoke very briefly and in very general terms on these two subjects,” opposition journalist and reform campaigner Abdel-Halim Kandil told IPS. “Despite the hype, Obama’s speech was little more than an exercise in public relations.” 

Israeli strikes threaten Egyptian border towns

CAIRO (IPS) - Residents along Egypt’s border with the Gaza Strip are still awaiting compensation for property damaged by air strikes during Israel’s recent onslaught against the Hamas-run enclave. “The Egyptian government wasn’t responsible for the damage, which came entirely as a result of Israel’s assault on Gaza,” Governor of North Sinai Mohamed Abdel Fadil Shousha told IPS. “The situation, therefore, is complicated.” 

Egypt's dubious claims spark row with Hizballah

CAIRO (IPS) - Egyptian authorities announced earlier this month the discovery of a Hizballah “cell” allegedly planning to carry out violent operations in Egypt. Although Hizballah General Secretary Hassan Nasrallah insists the group was only tasked to assist the Palestinian resistance in Gaza, the government has used the episode to launch a blistering media campaign against the Lebanese Shia resistance group. 

Dahlan comeback to Gaza fails

CAIRO (IPS) - The recent onslaught against the Gaza Strip — and Israel’s failure to achieve its military objectives there — left Palestinian resistance group Hamas politically stronger than ever. Concurrently, it dealt a possible death blow to the faction within Fatah led by strongman Mohammed Dahlan, long known for its closeness to Israel. 

Palestinian unity talks failing

CAIRO (IPS) - Reconciliation talks between rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah in Cairo this week yielded an agreement to hold national elections early next year. The two sides, however, remain deadlocked over the proposed terms of a national unity government. “Talks are at a standstill on the issue of the government,” a member of the Palestinian delegation was quoted as saying Sunday on 15 March. 

Border areas bombed again

CAIRO (IPS) - Almost two months after the attacks on the Gaza Strip, the border area between the battered coastal enclave and Egypt continues to come under frequent Israeli aerial bombardment. Israeli officials say the strikes target cross-border tunnels used to smuggle weapons to Palestinian resistance factions. 

Gaza reconstruction aid fettered by political motives

CAIRO (IPS) - A conference held this week in Cairo devoted to the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip succeeded in raising more than 5 billion dollars from international donors. But some critics say the issue is being used as a means of isolating Gaza-based resistance faction Hamas. “Reconstruction efforts are being exploited to further weaken Hamas and coerce it into changing its position vis-a-vis the Zionist occupation,” Essam al-Arian, leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s largest opposition movement, told IPS

Solidarity with Gaza brings jail

CAIRO (IPS) - Magdi Hussein, secretary-general of Egypt’s suspended Socialist Labor Party, has been sentenced to two years in prison by a military tribunal. Hussein, along with two others, was charged with “infiltrating” into the Gaza Strip following Israel’s recent campaign against the coastal enclave. Protests against his arrest continue to be ineffective. 

Fatah and Hamas on an uphill road to rapprochement

CAIRO (IPS) - Representatives of rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas met in Cairo this week for talks aimed at national reconciliation and the formation of a unity government. “Egypt hopes this meeting is the real start of a new period ending the state of division which has gone on too long,” Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, Egypt’s point-man on Palestinian affairs, was quoted as saying.