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  • 07/31/15--15:18: DSC09555-1 [Flickr]
  • Kodak Agfa posted a photo:


    BlueMoon 2015 in Giza, Egypt

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  • 07/31/15--15:18: DSC09560-1 [Flickr]
  • Kodak Agfa posted a photo:


    BlueMoon 2015 in Giza, Egypt

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  • 08/01/15--04:19: The Not-So-Blue Moon
  • Here is the Not-so-Blue Moon as captured in Giza last Night.
    The Blue Moon 
    Another shot for the moon

    Of course Blue Moon is not a true blue Moon .
    The Moon can turn blue in certain atmospheric conditions like for instance volcanic eruptions as well in certain illustrations like this 😇

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    Another belated post that should have been finished and published from a couple of weeks ago. I have been suffering from a bad blogger’s block and I pushed myself to finish it sooner, but I failed.

    On 21 July 2015 , US-based intelligence affairs website “Site Intelligence Group” published news that “an audio attributed to former Egyptian special forces officer-turned Jihadist calls Muslims for Jihad” was released online. The words “former Egyptian special forces officer-turned Jihadist” attracted the attention of Reuters and soon it released the news about in the world.
    According to the news former Egyptian special forces-turned Jihadist Hisham Ali Al-Ashmaway ; aka Abou-Omar , the Emir “Prince” of Al-Morabtoon” group released that 6-minutes audio speech on the occasion of Eid El-Fitr calling the people to join Jihad against El-Sisi.
    Later Egyptian journalists searched and found that account “@OmanOman53Oman2” published a link of an audio file of that alleged speech at SendSpace Website.

    Hours later and the audio file became a video file that found its way on the YouTube with “Al-Morabtoon” watermark.
    Here is a copy of the video uploaded by Toto Koko on 22 July. Yes “Toto koko”
    Hisham Al-Ashamawy speaks in an audio message.
    Now interestingly the name of Hisham Al-Ashmaway and his background were already known for couple weeks now in Egyptian media as leading figure in “Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis” {ABM} but I think we should first stop at some important remarks in the video or the audio message. 
    • It started with an introduction from an old speech by Al-Qaeda leader Ayman El-Zawahiri and Al-Qaeda black flag is there.This is Al-Qaeda affiliated group announcement, not an ISIS-affiliated group.
    • The speech by the former special forces officer is simply about the importance of Jihad as in fighting tyrannies and calling the Muslims to fight Sis whom he compared to Moses’ pharaoh.
    • He also slammed El-Sisi’s media as the Pharaoh’s wizards who stood against Moses in Egypt. “According to Quran , the pharaoh’s wizards believed in God eventually so I do not know why Islamists keep using this reference”
    • He mentions that there is injustice in the following Islamic countries: Burma “which is not a Muslim country but its Muslim minority suffers from huge discrimination and autocracies by its junta”, Palestine, Iraq and Levant. He did not mention Yemen nor Libya, two countries with very strong Al-Qaeda presence.  
    • When you play the 6-minutes audio file in any audio player or just watch the video on YouTube , you will notice that the album art is two photos showing Abu-Omar aka Hisham Al-Ashmaway in his days as an army officer and allegedly at the current time as a Jihadist fighter in some place despite his face is not clear.
    A screen shot showing the Before and After Al-Ashamawy

    • There is a small Nasheed in the end about Al-Aqsa Mosque.
    • Al-Ashamawy did not claim the responsibility of any past operation in that release.
    • The most important remark that the audio and then the video statements introduced Hisham El-Ashamawy as the Emir or as the leader of a new Jihadist group called Al-Morabtoon.

    This is the second Jihadist  group in North African holding the same name. The first one is located in North Mali and the Sahara and it is affiliated to Al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghrab too.
    “Al-Morabtoon” in Arabic means in Islamic and Arabic culture “Those who are ready for battle at a fortress”, Historically the term originated from Morocco where it became associated with the Al-Moravid Dynasty“ we pronounce them Al-Morabtoon in Arabic” .   
    Now recently “Al-Morabtoon” has a new reference as it refers to that group of Palestinians from all ages in Jerusalem currently protecting Al-Aqsa Mosque night and day against the attack of radical Jewish settlers. This is why I find interesting that Al-Ashamawy and his group use this name and refer to Al-Aqsa mosque in his message at the same time.
    It is like using the old rhetoric of Islamist Jihadist movements to attract supporters using the Palestinian cause instead of Big caliphate and Saw movies propaganda

    And Hisham says here I am Egypt !!

    Egyptian mainstream media began to mention the name of Hisham El-Ashamawy publicly exactly on 1 July when Pro-regime and very close to presidency TV host Ahmed Moussa said on his daily show on Sada El-Balad channel  that El-Ashamawy was the primary suspect in the assassination of late Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat late June.
    On 2 July, we found Pro-regime websites and newspapers like Al-Watan quoting unnamed security sources about how Al-Ashamawy was involved in the assassination and who he was. Al-Watan also published a 15-facts-you-do-not know about him.
    Later that day a media gag order was imposed on the investigation into Barakat’s assassination by the current acting Prosecutor-general.
    Nobody spoke about the guy since then till that audio release of Al-Morabtoon after two weeks of the gag order. 
    Now those are the concrete facts we are sure from in Egypt seriously speaking.
    • Hisham Ali Mossad Al-Ashamawy joined the Egyptian armed forces in the 1990s where he was selected to join the Special forces aka “The Thunderbolts” .
    • His rank was lieutenant colonel
    • He is a 35 years old married man who used to live in Nasr City. He is married or used to be married to a teacher at Ain Shams University.
    • He is a Salafist Jihadist.
    • He is currently standing a trial in absentia in front of the Cairo Criminal court among 213 defendants in the case known in the media as “The Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis”.
    • He is currently accused 54 criminal acts, among which are forming and running a terrorist organization which aims to disrupt the rule of law and prevent state institutions from carrying out their duties.
    • His photo is shown in the Egyptian official state TV as Terrorist Hisham Ali Al-Ashamawy.
    A screenshot for Hisham from Egyptian State TV 
    • He caught the military intelligence’s attention in 2000 when he had a fight with a Quran reader in some mosque because he made a mistake in the Quran recitation. A Fact everybody knows in Egypt that since the assassination of Sadat, the military intelligence in Egypt keeps an eye on religiously committed officers.
    • He leads now allegedly Al-Qaeda affiliated group.
    • He is a main suspect in the attempt to assassinate former minister of interior Mahmoud Ibrahim , the attacks against military checkpoints and points in Farafra “July 2014 , 22 army personnel killed” and North Sinai “including the February 2015, at least 28 army personnel killed” 
    Other than that we got three different stories on how he changed from an army officer to someone recognized by the state as a terrorist.

    The first story

    After the fight with the Quran reader and the military intelligence’s investigation in to the incident, Al-Ashamawy was transferred in to an administrative office job in the armed forces. Despite being transferred , Al-Ashamawy did not stop and began to adopt and spread radical thought.
    He stood a military trial in 2007 and then he was discharged in 2011 by a military court order.
    After that he began to meet with Jihadists in some mosque in Mataria before forming an “Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis”cell in Cairo at a Mosque built by his father in Nasr city with former police officers where he supervised the training of the recruits. Allegedly he travelled to Syria according to security source in April 2013 where he got training about explosives “ I think he does not need more training” and then returned back allegedly to participate in Rabaa sit-in “despite the fact Salafist Jihadists are against the Muslim Brotherhood and considered Morsi infidel” 
    This is somehow the semi-official version spread in the mainstream media.

    The second story

    It says that Al-Ashamawy was serving in North Sinai till 2009 when his father died while he was in the service and he could not see him for one last time. He got extremely depressed and then he went deep in religion and got radicalized eventually. He got fired in the same year.

    The third story

    It says that despite religious radical views of Hisham Al-Ashamawy, he continued working in the armed forces where he was transferred or rather demoted from Special forces to the The popular defense forces so he could revise his beliefs. The popular defense forces are a branch made in the armed forces since 1956 Suez war in order to train the public on popular resistance ..etc.
    In 2012 He left the army.
    This story is actually the testimony of his wife or ex-wife who is an eye-witness in the “ABM” trial.
    This version is popular on Facebook pages because it raises questions on how the army let that man continue to work as an officer till 2012.

    Back to the statement ,  Al-Ashamawy wanted to declare his defection from ABM and his support to Al-Qaeda to the world as he did not want his name to be associated with the Islamic State and its Sinai-based affiliated group anymore.
    I think he did not found a new group but rather took that group in ABM rejecting ISIS back to Al-Qaeda.
    Back in November 2014 when the group declared its allegiance to Levant-based Islamic State and its pseudo Caliph, a faction of it denied that and it seemed that there was a fight between the two branches till majority of ABM agreed to join ABM Franchise for financial support after couple of months. 
    Now Al-Ashamawy has become another legend now with stories online on how he was not in North Sinai all that time and was actually in Libya receiving treatment. I mean you read posts and articles about how he was special forces genius who got training in the United States and then turned into a villain with action adventures and you feel “okay here we go again”.

    Al-Ashamawy is not the first army officer to go this route and surely he won’t be the last. We got a quite bloody history to be precise when it comes to army and police officers who joined radical terrorist organizations since 1970s. I definitely need to need a post about that.

    We should be more than worried when we see an army officer joining a terrorist organization and yes we should raise questions on why officers like Al-Ashamawy went that way.

    Yes, army and police officers are no different theoretically speaking from any other citizen who is brainwashed or adopts a certain radical ideology, they are human beings after all. They are Egyptian citizens who breathe the same air and subjected to the same culture, politics, economy and media by the end of the day despite the existence of that military life barrier.
    Realistically speaking , a defected or ex-officer whether from army or police joining a terrorist organization is much more dangerous than an average civilian citizen in any country thanks to his military and security expertise and knowledge.
    After all, You got a man from inside your enemy camp that will help you not only to bring down his camp because he knows every inside out but he also will train your men professionally.
    I do not have doubt that he stood behind many of those attacks against army checkpoints in Sinai.
    Again I will repeat that historical fact; when Islamic Jihad had a cell inside the Egyptian army, the Egyptian president was assassinated in a military parade.  I think this example is the best evidence for what I want to say.
    I am worried that now we got a competition between Al-Qaeda and ISIS in Egypt.
    I am worried , very worried that both groups will target that New Suez canal inauguration whether by big operations in Sinai or outside. They won’t come near to Suez canal  with the security measures I believe.  I am worried about the fact that we could be repeating Sadat scenario once again especially with that dream El-Sisi dreamt from 20-years ago.
    May God protect this country for real.
    By the way, I will seize the opportunity and say that all the laws issued above them protest law against Pro-democracy peaceful activist did not stop terrorism as you can see.

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    Do you remember what happened in the German University in Cairo following the death of student Yara Tarek in March? 
    Do you remember when the security forces arrested in May three students from the GUC student union for the protests and sit-in over the death of their colleague? 
    Well despite the three students were released later after huge news that reached to the level of
    contacting the German Patron Universities and meeting with officials from the German embassy in Cairo , there has been unfortunate update last week regarding this issue.
    The GUC administration has decided to expel one student permanently for his involvement in the sit-in.
    Student Karim Nagib , the vice-president of the Student Union is permanently fired.
    Student Hazem Abdel Khalek , the president of the Student Union is suspended for a year and half.
    Student Hisham Al-Ashram , the former President of the student Union is suspended for one year
    Student  Mohamed Tayel is suspended for one year
    Student Omar Moslam is suspended for one year
    Student Mahmoud Essam is suspended for half a year.
    Student Alaa El-Attar is not allowed to use the University's services.
    According to GUC's Insider newspaper, the students were demanded to apologize for what they had done during the Yara Tarek's sit-in but they refused because they did not do anything wrong.
    The students stood for their rights and in return they are being punished.
    You can read more about it here. 
    I think I said it before, this is more than Yara Tarek issue, it is about teaching the students and youth in Egypt not to dare to stand for their rights.

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  • 08/03/15--13:07: August 03, 2015 at 10:07PM

  • New Suez Canal celebrations in #Tahrir square. #Egypt #Cairo #downtowncairo #Blogger #Citizenjournalism August 03, 2015 at 10:07PM via Instagram

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    Kodak Agfa posted a photo:

    New Suez Canal celebrations in #Tahrir square. #Egypt #Cairo #downtowncairo #Blogger #Citizenjournalism

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  • 08/03/15--13:10: August 03, 2015 at 10:10PM

  • This building has been renovating for ages. I do not know what is but it follows the ministry of culture in #Egypt #Cairo #Citizenjournalism #Blogger August 03, 2015 at 10:10PM via Instagram

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    Kodak Agfa posted a photo:

    This building has been renovating for ages. I do not know what is but it follows the ministry of culture in #Egypt #Cairo #Citizenjournalism #Blogger

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    Kodak Agfa posted a photo:

    kasr Al Nil bridge Nil covered in those lights hanged all over the bridge to celebrate the inauguration of New Suez Canal on Thursday #Citizenjournalism #Blogger #Cairo #Egypt

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  • 08/03/15--13:34: August 03, 2015 at 10:34PM

  • kasr Al Nil bridge Nil covered in those lights hanged all over the bridge to celebrate the inauguration of New Suez Canal on Thursday #Citizenjournalism #Blogger #Cairo #Egypt August 03, 2015 at 10:34PM via Instagram

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  • 08/04/15--15:23: The Good Civilian
  • Last week the head of Egypt’s Military academy said a very important statement that reveals a lot when it comes to the Egyptian Military Mindset.
    In an interview with Daily Al-Masry Al-Youm , Major General Esmat Mourad spoke about the graduation of students from the Military academy answering a question about the students’ qualification to join directly the Egyptian armed forces. Here is what the man said.
    Within days the Military academy graduates a student that knows how to differentiate between humanity , compassion , work and commitment “!!” , that student like other 100,000 fighters graduated from the Military academy in the past 40 years. Everybody works and follow the orders. The students of Military academy know very well that they will be the leaders of the future from ministers, governors , ambassadors , Presidents and managers thanks to their sacrifices and their serious work. 
    The Major General forgot the most important job for those graduates that they have to know  , their main job to be precise is to protect Egypt as military officers  before becoming ministers, governors, ambassadors, presidents and managers. He forgot to say they would be Egypt’s professional fighters and defenders in the first place before they would presidents, ministers, governors.
    Realistically speaking the Egyptian Military academy did graduate most of Egypt’s presidents, governors, Public sector companies managers, ambassadors and ministers in the past 60 years. We had three civilian presidents in those 60 and something years, two of them were interim and the third was ousted by the army.
    Of course, the graduates are appointed in those positions for security reasons as we all know and because Egypt’s rulers prefer trustworthy over experience.
    That quote of Major General Mourad reveals a lot.

    At the same time we find PM Ibrahim Mahlab saying in a TV interview that University graduates should not seek jobs in the government or the public sector and they should work any job even as Toktok drivers or carpenters.   You can imagine how the two statements made many people angry.  The cabinet Spokesperson later said that the PM did not mean any disrespect to the University graduates and that he only meant that they should start work anything and not to wait for the government to find them jobs.
    Unfortunately both the PM and his Spox ignore the fact that the University graduates do work as toktok drivers , carpenters and plumbers due to poverty and unemployment.
    Amazingly I do not recall reading any statements for Egyptian officials predicting or speaking about how the future political leaders of this country will be from university graduates !!
    Anyhow, if you think that quote was controversial then you have to read what the head of Suez Canal Authority and former Egyptian Navy forces Commander Mohab Mamish said in media statements on Sunday.
    Mamish added in his statements on Sunday that it was the
    first time for him to deal and work  with Civilian Youth at the New Suez canal project and he found them extremely brave and disciplined in field !!
    Wow , after all that time he suddenly realized that the civilian youth were brave and can be relied on !! Not to mention that he is speaking about civilians as if they were alien race or as if they come from another country, not his fellow Egyptians whom he actually serves and used to get paid for most of his life from their taxes !!!!
    Former Vice Admiral Mamish with all boys and civilian band
    Wama today
    The most dangerous part in that quote is that Vice Admiral Mamish discovered for the first time that there are courageous civilian youth as if this is something strange or unexpected !!
    I do not know what to say for real !!!  The army and military live in the same country, in the same society  and they do not live in a Ghetto.
    Mamish is a star now in the media frenzy about the inauguration of the new Suez Canal .
    Indeed, it is a civilian state.

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    The country is living those historical moments of inaugurating the New expansion in the Suez Canal and you can feel over-enthusiasm in the mainstream media as if we dig a true canal that connect between the Red Sea and Mediterranean again
    That hysteria reached to the level of claiming that the idea of the New Suez Canal “Yes the regime calls the expansion and bypasses as a New Canal” was better than the idea of the original Suez Canal in Youm7 !!!
    I do not know what logic is that but without the Old Suez Canal, there would be no so-called New Canal or expansion or bypass.
    The first Suez Canal: de Lesseps's idea, France Money and Eugenie
    was the star of the inauguration
    The new Suez Canal: An Egyptian paid digged by Egyptians with their
    money and Egypt is the star of the inauguration 
    Yesterday  we found out that Minister of investment Ashraf Salaman saying on air that one of the scientists told him that the digging of the new expansion in the canal was equal 100 times the construction of the great pyramid !!! We do not know till this day how the Great pyramid was constructed in the first from 3200 years B.C.
    It is not a new Suez Canal for real, it is more of an expansion or rather a bypass like any other expansions and bypasses done in the Suez canal since the 1940s.
    Now the ironically the Suez Canal exposes the lack of creativity of the Egyptian government and officials in Egypt’s Modern History  when it comes to the naming of the Suez Canal’s extensions as the New Suez Canal. Oh yes, El-Sisi’s New Suez Canal is the not the first New Suez Canal.
    That was an issue of Akher Sa’a Magazine in 1949 speaking about how the Suez Canal gave a birth to a New Suez canal aka The Farouk I Canal which was a bypass.
    The New Suez Canal in 1949 !! 

    In 1980 , thanks to a special issue of famous Kuwaiti monthly magazine “Al-Arabi” we know that there was another expansion in the Suez made by the Suez Canal Authority in that year. It was called The New Suez Canal surprisingly !!
    "Scans from @Fatima on twitter"

    Here was tan AP raw video report about the 1980 Suez Canal’s expansion digging.
    Yes, this video shows the start of digging not the inauguration of the project. That expansion, which is located in Port Said was inaugurated months later by President Sadat. The famous presidential Yacht “El-Mahrousa” carried President Sadat in that expansion with his distinguished guests.
    New Suez Cannel Channel project in 1980
    There is a big frenzy about the New Expansion with huge overestimation approved by the regime as part of its propaganda.
    The new expansion of the Suez canal’s economic fruits and importance won’t be determined now, not to mention the revenues of Suez canal itself are determined by the international movement of trade as far as I understand.
    The International economy is booming then the international trade will boom and more ships will pass from Asia to Europe and vice versa. Thus, the revenues of Suez Canal will boom. This is what I understand.
    El-Sisi showing the world that he is in control gaining more international acceptance and support more about economic achievement. He also wants to show that he can achieve big promises and projects in no time.
    You can read this Bloomberg report by Ahmed Feteha to know more about the new expansion of Suez Canal.
    Here is also an infograph report from Ahram Online about the project. Mada Misr also addresses the Myths of the New Canal as well.
    The regime should be realistic and honest with the people. Whether we need a new expansion or bypass or not, the new expansion is a mega project but it is not the greatest nor it would turn Egypt into a Gulf state.
    For Me what I am interested in really is that the Suez canal zone development project with its industrial hubs. The work in that project should start on Saturday already.
    And for Arabic speakers you can watch this video from Shawky’s Balcona

     Suez Canal 2.0

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  • 08/07/15--06:32: August 07, 2015 at 03:32PM

  • Field Marshal Tantawy #Mosque #Egypt #Cairo #Citizenjournalism #Blogger #Mosque August 07, 2015 at 03:32PM via Instagram

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  • 08/07/15--06:37: August 07, 2015 at 03:37PM

  • Field Marshal Tantawy #Mosque in New #Cairo.It is constructed and owned by the Egyptian armed forces #Blogger #Citizenjournalism #Mosques August 07, 2015 at 03:37PM via Instagram

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    Kodak Agfa posted a photo:

    An Egyptian couple married at Field Marshal #Tantawy in New #Cairo #DailyLifeCairo #Weddings #Citizenjournalism #Blogger

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  • 08/07/15--06:47: August 07, 2015 at 03:47PM

  • An Egyptian couple married at Field Marshal #Tantawy in New #Cairo #DailyLifeCairo #Weddings #Citizenjournalism #Blogger August 07, 2015 at 03:47PM via Instagram

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    Kodak Agfa posted a photo:

    At a marriage ceremony in #Cairo #DailyLifeCairo #DailyLife #babies #Egypt #Weddings

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    Kodak Agfa posted a photo:

    An Egyptian wedding at Field Marshal #Tantawy in  New #Cairo #Egypt #Weddings Mabrook/Congrats @passant.darwish #DailyLife #Blogger #Citizenjournalism

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  • 08/07/15--10:40: August 07, 2015 at 07:40PM

  • An Egyptian wedding at Field Marshal #Tantawy in New #Cairo #Egypt #Weddings Mabrook/Congrats @passant.darwish #DailyLife #Blogger #Citizenjournalism August 07, 2015 at 07:40PM via Instagram

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