From the archive of Abdelrahim Ali
Why must we admit that Egypt is in danger? What the government will not disclose
I read what President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said during the celebration of the first anniversary of the Suez Canal in a different way. I pondered between the lines, and although he was frank in talking about the crises surrounding us, he did not say everything.
By the nature of my political work, I often meet with senior state officials, who allude from afar to the joints of crises, but they always refrain from going into details. I gather the complete information from the tip of their tongues and pause a little to draw a picture, and after it ends, I realize that it is painful and poses an imminent danger from every direction.
Very early on, I realized that regimes and governments have their necessities, and people have choices. Those responsible do not disclose much of what they know because they have many accommodations that prevent them from approaching the shore of details inhabited by demons, which is something we cannot blame or attack them for.
Here we have another task, to put before public opinion what we have of information that makes us admit there is a danger, which is the first step in dealing with it on the ground, instead of hiding behind flimsy justifications that will not benefit as much as they destroy and will not be treated as much as they make us go around in vicious circles.
For many months, the political discourse has tried to point out that Egypt is being subjected to a major conspiracy. Those who stand around it wish to bring this steadfast country to its knees and starve this tenacious people who made their destiny with their own hands and reject any violation of their freedom and independence.
I will not repeat to you here much of what was stated in the president's political speech, and I will not ask you to hear again what was said and published in the newspapers and discussed on television programs. I will put before you the facts, whose sources I trust, and leave the matter to your conscience.
Attempting to bankrupt Egypt… examine Qatar
Activists on social media networks got involved in an empty talk void of any content or truth about what they called the bankruptcy of Egypt, and they began accusing Minister of Investment Dalia Khorshid of having stated this. I will not go into what the minister said here, who did not mean any of this at all, but between you and me there is talk about trying to bring Egypt to its knees financially, and here we must examine the Qatari role.
In the Central Bank of Egypt’s (CBE) statement issued on Sunday, July 7, a clear indication was received that one of the reasons for the decline in the cash reserve by the value of $2 billion was the payment of $1.02 billion in the value of dollar bonds owed to the State of Qatar, and before that we had paid another $2 billion.
Paying here is not a crisis at all. The Egyptian administration decided to return to Qatar everything it paid, because it realizes that this small emirate does not stop working directly and indirectly to harm Egyptian national security.
But Qatar appears in the picture to occupy the ugly side of it. One of the reasons for the dollar crisis is that Qataris buy dollars from Egyptians working abroad for 16 pounds in order to prevent them from transferring hard currency into Egypt, and it was natural for the Egyptians’ remittances to drop from $19 billion to $11 billion, so we lost $8 billion dollars at once.
The Brotherhood played a major role in this stage of the conspiracy, and we can monitor their movements in the following:
First: The group asked members of the organization to withdraw their deposits in pounds and buy dollars, so 50% of it was smuggled abroad from the end of 2013 until mid-2014, and the other 50% was exploited in trading between buying and selling by stifling the market.
Second: In return, the government pumped dollars into the banks, 30% of which were withdrawn under the name of importing to some Brotherhood companies, and their loyalists. The dollar crisis was exploited by buying shares listed on the London Stock Exchange through international depository certificates in Egyptian pounds inside Egypt, and supplying its division in London in dollars at less than 30% of its price in Egypt.
Third: The organization assigned a group of members in the Gulf to open offices in Kuwait to buy the dollar at 40% higher than its price in Egypt through import and export offices to Qatar to stop the transfers of Egyptians, which I mentioned.
Fourth: The electronic stock exchange network was hacked by manipulating the increase in supply (sale) times when any success was announced, and days later the same shares would be bought after their price had decreased, and then re-sold again in case of success.
This is in addition to ongoing meetings in Qatar, London, Turkey and Alexandria that we have discussed in details in previous issues.
Tourism and terrorism… closing all doors at once
Of course, we will not blame Qatar for all the reasons for the dollar crisis. It is only part of the reason. It is no secret to anyone that tourism is completely non-existent, which means that Egypt is already deprived of $22 billion annually.
Before we argue about the reasons for the deterioration of tourism, because some like to hold the Egyptian administration all responsible, without realizing that it was the terrorism that was imposed on us that led to the complete cessation of tourism, we just have to remember the major events, the crash of the Russian plane in Sinai, and the bombing of the Egyptian plane coming from France.
Terrorism is indeed a major battle that drains the army and police and consumes many resources, and you can imagine that every missile fired at the terrorists, their blocs and gatherings costs the state nearly $70 million.
Some imagine that the battle against terrorism is just a picnic waged by the army and police without any burdens, without noticing those who say that this honorable battle waged by our most honorable sons had a role in our economic crisis. We are a country at war, even if many deny this, due to a disease in themselves or a goal they seek to achieve.
Even if some say that the security services do not play their full role, and that terrorism is behind clear security gaps, I will say to them, what do you say then about what happened in France, Germany and Belgium? Those who portray to the world that their security measures are very precise, these countries have paid a heavy price in the face of terrorism, and no one talked about security gaps, for the simple reason that terrorism can strike anytime and everywhere, without anyone wanting it. Its tools have changed, and according to the testimony of strategic and security experts, the Egyptian security's confrontation with terrorism is the best in the world.
Accordingly, we must stop exporting frustration and despair and attacking those who are fighting this battle, which seems to be prolonged because there are those who stand behind it and want it to continue.
The ghoul of corruption that no one can control
Corruption, in one sentence, is one of the aspects of the great conspiracy against Egypt. It is the curse that destroys any hope for development. If you say that the Egyptian administration is not serious about fighting corruption, I will tell you the reality says the exact opposite.
Just review what happened in the case of the corruption of wheat and its silos. This case revealed the extent of massive corruption. The owner of one of the silos himself admitted that there were 56 million pounds of miscalculation, and in one of the silos affiliated to the Ministry of Supply, corruption of 173 million pounds was discovered, and what was hidden was greater, of course.
The Minister of Supply implicated the government and the presidency when he said that there is no corruption in the issue of wheat, but actually the files of this case are now on the president’s office. I know that he will interfere in it himself, and I think that the fact-finding committee formed by the parliament to clarify what happened in this case played a major role in exposing corruption.
When I demanded the formation of a neutral committee to investigate the wheat facts, I did not challenge the committee formed by the parliament. On the contrary, I know the fabulous effort they made, and my goal was to fill the gaps for those who want to corrupt its work or accuse it of what is not in it. Therefore, from the beginning the committee was formed from the supervisory authorities only, including the General Intelligence, the Administrative Control, the Engineering Authority of the Armed Forces, specialized university professors and an international company specialized in this field.
The reality says that the wheat business amounts to 16 billion pounds, paid by the state, of which nearly five billion goes to the pockets of the corrupt, which requires us to look for these people and to confront them with what they have done against this country.
Do I ask you, for example, to review oversight reports about businessmen who seized state lands and do not want to return it again or pay for it? If we count the billions of these lands, we will find that this country has been subjected to the largest looting in history, and I think it is time for this looting to end completely.
In light of this depletion of state resources, you can imagine that the budget for the reform of sewage and water networks in one governorate needs the budgets of entire countries, and this is the file that Engineer Ibrahim Mahlab, the president’s advisor for major national projects, is working on now.
Malicious arms that tamper with Egyptian national security
The war on terrorism at home is not the only war. The international parties that play in the region do not want stability for Egypt, and we can provide much evidence of that.
In Ethiopia, the Renaissance Dam is on the verge of operation, and experts expect that, in just two years, Lake Nasser could completely dry up if the dam is operated. I will not go into a long talk about what happened regarding the dam many years ago, because we are facing a reality now, and we must admit it and face it. Crying about the past is not at all wise.
Near Ethiopia, Turkey plays with a clear methodology in the countries of the Egyptian depth in Africa, and it does not do so in secret and does not talk about its own interests. Rather, the moves indicate that what Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is doing in Africa has no aim but to harm Egyptian interests, and we only have to count the number of Turkish companies recently established in African countries.
In Libya, the situation is confused and ambiguous, and even if I say that the United States has already started striking ISIS, I will explain to you what happened. Washington has already struck ISIS, but in Sirte, and left the Brotherhood in Benghazi. The American strategy, which plays on all the ropes, led the strikes away from the Brotherhood, because they envision or are already working to help the Brotherhood, and they do not want to lose a powerful ally.
Where did the Gulf aid go?
There are those who play a lot on this tune, enumerating the billions that came to Egypt from the Gulf countries, and they ask where these funds went and what we did with them.
Here, I have something to say. The Gulf aid has stopped as a result of internal crises in some of its countries. These crises posed huge challenges, and we cannot forget the huge impact of the decline in the price of oil, and for the calculations of some of those countries, there were promises of 100 billion, but they reached only 18 billion.
Egypt was in dire need of this aid, but it did not sell itself to anyone. There were those who wanted to follow the Egyptian decision, and the Yemen issue fully bears witness to that, and we do not want to separate it, because Egypt came out of it without retreating from its principles.
Recognizing the danger is the first step in treatment
We are in complete danger, and we must admit that. The president sometimes alludes to this, the government sometimes hints, but we put before you what we have, and the question is: What is the solution? Is there an alternative?
I need to tell you that we are all in dire need of joining hands and bearing the difficulties facing us, because if we do not do so, the fate is lonely, and no one will bear it.
There are those among the remnants of the January 25 revolution who work diligently to spoil everything, and there are also among the sons of the June 30 revolution who believe that they have been excluded by those who deal harshly with this country and are not concerned with them much or little, and they are wrong, as no one wanted to destroy the January 25 revolution, and no one has been excluded from the June 30 camp. We are all sons of one nation, and this one nation is in crisis. It is in our interest not to continue.
The big conspiracy targets the unity of the Egyptians and takes the way to that by questioning the patriotism of the president and his achievements, which we should not accept, because it is not real at all.
We are before a president who is already working alone in the face of corruption and terrorism, and it is in the interest of all of us not to leave him alone.
Here, I present more ideas than presenting solutions, because the matter needs an in-depth discussion. The president is actually without political backing. Has the situation now become urgent to discuss this matter? Is there anyone who is fit for this task, and if there is, why should he do it, and if there isn’t, then why not look for one?
I am not writing an article as much as I am raising a cry to everyone. This country is in danger, and only we will save it, provided that we stand in one row, with one hand behind a political leadership that mourns and realizes the extent and size of its patriotism and sincerity towards this country. Consider this an invitation from me for us to think together, because the homeland needs hearts to gather for its love, minds to think for it, and arms to support it, so work from now on, otherwise we will never work.