By Philip Whitfield
Too cute? You try. Two’s company, three’s a crowd (corny); Spin doctors (better); Whispering campaign (true); Rope a dope (scurrilous). What’s being spoon-fed? Battle lines drawn, littered through copy with adjectival innuendo: Al-Sisi’s campaign headquarters in the “upper class” Al-Tagammu (New Cairo) district…(snooty?). Worse: Sabahy, youngest of a peasant farmer’s 12 children (dissolute?).
Shabby sleight of hand, too. Al-Ahram, too lazy to research, opted to quote their own “political analyst” pundit, Emad Gad: “While most of the country’s more traditional forces are in support of Al-Sisi, the youth movements of the two revolutions of 25 January and 30 June have decided to rally around Sabahy.” By Gad, let’s be seeing your thesis statement. Here’s your title: Yawning gap: Truth or propaganda?
One obfuscator deserves another. Sabahy says a vote for him achieves eight ends: Housing, healthcare, food, free education, work, insurance, a fair wage and a clean environment. Balderdash. Running on vanilla keeps Sabahy out of the Big House – at least ‘til the votes come in. Then, no doubt recidivist coppers will bolt him up for five years’ hard labour like they did to now-Tweeter Ayman Nour.
The presidential election is a farce: The spy who came in from the cold versus the jailhouse poet – 17 times banged up for rhyming slang. He harvested 31,000 endorsements threshing in 17 governorates, whereas Sisi, without blinking an eye, gets 400,000 in 27, dumping 200,000 just for show. Headline: Pres. poll – no contest.
Weekend banner: 53-year-old to head Sisi’s youth commission. Ironic. There’re only 19 weeks between Sabahy (5 July) and Sisi (19 November)1954. Headline? Babes in the ‘hoods. The May poll will be a droll troll. Politics has served one useful purpose: throwing a blanket over what should have been the lead: Spies prize eyes. Or: Tantawi’s revenge.
I’ve been making my own proposals. Good Friday. Lamiaa flew from Dubai to hear mine. Dipping a toe into the water off The Nile Deck I spoke: What I’d really like to do with is to rest up after 50 years on the job, figuring out how to backspin onto the green or a pitch and run to the flag.
Who’ll look after the kids, she asked? Whose nappies come first? Depends or Pampers? When you tire of your Galaxy I’ll tuck you in. Cheap shot: SCAF has a beut of a galactic toy, EgyptSat-2 launched on Wednesday from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on the back of a Russian Dnepr rocket.
Jointly built by Egypt’s National Authority for Remote Sensing and Space Sciences (NARSS) and Ukraine’s Yuzhnoye Design Bureau it’s beaming down high-resolution snaps from any square metre of Egypt. Data is flooding in from 800 kms up – thick and fast to ground controllers in Cairo and Aswan 300-600 megs-a-second.
Just to get airborne, Egypt paid for enough fuel for a million Egyptians to drive to El Gouna and back 10 times. Keeping EgyptSat-2 in space for the next 20 years is more than the combined cost of fuel and bread subsidies.
Egypt’s earwig is capturing single-scene and stereo imagery 24/7. Get their PR: “The objectives include total coverage of Egypt’s land and maritime territory and their environs for mapping, environmental monitoring and disaster management.”
That’s gobbledegook for listening to every syllable of insurgents plotting evil. The scientists would have you believe they popped for a sticker price of $1,000 per dry mass kilo to get a spaceship that makes Google Maps seem as clunky as a Brownie Box Camera.
They say they’ll observe sand swirling around Al-Arish. I’ll wager this million-dollar baby has more in mind, given Hamas’ encroachment of the seif dunes. The NARSS web URL to surface sediments is part encoded WAR_projectsportlet. ‘Tween tripe and twaddle is truth. The trials are adjourned ad infinitum to give judges time to assess Eye sky glimpses, absent defence legal eagles.
Cast your mind back three years. The summer sun was a blistering 106F (41C.) Morsi was stymied. No Mubarak flunkies returned his calls. His virgin amateurs wilted. He blamed Mubarak’s holdover Tantawi, who threw him in jail a time or two. He hated him for fooling Tahriris SCAF was one of them. He cut him no slack. Tantawi was the one who putsched Mubarak on 11 February. Furious, Morsi’s Brothers wanted that ignominy to be theirs alone.
Once ensconced, Morsi figured out Tantawi was two steps ahead every day. He must be getting intel he didn’t. How? Tantawi kept his Eye EgyptSat-1, out of reach. In fact, Aly Sadek, chairman of the Egyptian Council for Space Science and Technology Research claimed on 23 October 2010 EgyptSat-1 had gone AWOL four months prior. History might amend that.
Morsi’s first opportunity to goose Tantawi came when Tantawi breezed in cool as a cucumber on 12 August. Bloated on palace grub, a sweating apoplectic, epileptic, benign-brain-tumoured Morsi yelled at him: Yalla imshi – vamoose. He did, driving over to give the bathroom key to General Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi his club pal, protégée and junior by 18 years.
Morsi’s bluff was a foolhardy toss of the dice. He believed Sisi was a closet Islamist. The only Islamist closet Sisi inhabited was a 250 metre squared Cape Cod-style Peace Centre Mosque in Carlisle, Pennsylvania during a year studying strategy with at the US Army War College. He’d walk over for Friday prayers and, from time to time with his wife and one or more of their three daughters, to hang out with Mike Williams (aka Muhammad Nur Abdullah) and others between Maghrib and Isha’.
One of 38 international fellows that year, Sisi was spied carrying On War, the treatise written by Carl von Clausewitz. He advocates: War is nothing but the continuation of policy with other means. Sisi told his adviser Dr Sherifa Zuhur – ex AUC, MIT and UCLA, now on the faculty of the Strategic Studies Institute America “had bitten off more than it could chew in Iraq and the War on Terror”.
Assuming office. Sisi got lashes off irrefutable Eye drops that Morsi was willingly hoisted out of jail and bundled into a Hamas van: Gobs of incriminating stuff – heaven-sent gifts from the Eyes of identifiable roughnecks popping cops and curb bombs.
The West’s chief spy in Egypt, who doesn’t carry an easy-to-tap Blackberry: told me Egypt’s sitting pretty intel-wise: They’ve got every spec of muck raked by phone, mobile, text and Internet. As of Wednesday, they’re over the moon. Sat-2 has an infrared sensing device and a high-resolution multispectral imager with eyes and ears on the miscreants.
Philip Whitfield is a Cairo commentator.