Saturday, February 21, 2009

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The Red Sea Riviera, in Egypt's Sinai.

Sinai is part of Egypt. But Israel would like it to be part of Greater Israel.


Many tourists are now going to the Red Sea Riviera, in Egypt's Sinai.

The Sinai, which includes Sharm el Sheikh, is now Egypt's top tourism destination.

The problem is that the Bedouin, the largest group who live in the Sinai, have been treated badly by the Cairo government.

The Bedouin feel that Cairo has treated them in the same racist way that the Israelis have treated the Palestinians.

The Bedouin feel that their grazing grounds have been stolen to make way for hotels owned by people from Cairo.

The Bedouin have seen their camps and homes bulldozed by the rich guys from the capital.

And Israel may trick some of the Bedouin into involvement in acts of terrorism.

Israel would like the Sinai to become part of Greater Israel.






Matthew Teague, in the National Geographic, March 2009, National Geographic Magazine - NGM.com, reminds us that this area has seen several recent wars.

There were wars involving Israel and Egypt in 1956, 1967, and 1973.

Israel took over the Sinai in 1973, following the Six Day War.

Some of the Bedouin say they were treated better by the Israelis than by the folks from Cairo.

In 1979 Egypt and Israel signed a peace deal, and tourism was able to develop in the Sinai, to the advantage of the folks from Cairo and to the disadvantage of the Bedouin.

Reportedly, in 2002, a young dentist called Khalid Al Masaid formed Tawhid wa Jihad, Unity and Holy War.

Reportedly, in the spring of 2004, Iyad Salah, a follower of the dentist Al Masaid, had recruited a small group of conspirators.

In 2004 there were 'terrorist' attacks in TABA.

In 2005, there were 'terrorist' attacks in the area of Sharm el Sheikh.

In 2006, there were 'terrorist' attacks in the area of Dahab.


Greater Israel is to include the Sinai

Retired General Salah al-Din Salim, an Egyptian researcher at the Strategic Studies Institute in Cairo, said that it could not be ruled out that the Israeli Mossad was involved in the terror attack in Dahab.

"The Mossad's ability to penetrate the Bedouins in Sinai is known," Salim said in an interview with al-Jazeera. (Egyptian analyst: Can't rule out that Mossad was involved in ...)

Dr. Abdallah Al-Ash'al , former assistant to the Egyptian foreign minister and lecturer on international law at Cairo University , was quoted on the internet site http://www.islamonline.net/: "All of the signs indicate that Israeli hands were [behind the attacks]. The area is close to Israel, and Israel was the first to warn its citizens not to go to Sinai…" [5]

In the Egyptian Weekly Nahdat Misr, Dr. Abdallah Al-Ash'al said that Israel "is interested in embarrassing Egypt and in hurting Egyptian tourism, just as the Palestinian Intifada hurt Israeli tourism… It is in Israel's interest that there be an Egyptian response to what happened, since it wants Egypt to join the American campaign against terrorism… It is likely that Israel recruited some people in coordination with terrorist groups in order to hurt Egypt… Israel's goal in this operation was to bring terrorism back to Egypt…" [6]

General Fuad Allam , former deputy head of the Egyptian state security service , said to Nahdat Misr : "None of the suspects in these bombings – whether Egypt, Palestine, or Al-Qa'ida – have anything to gain [from carrying out the bombings], except for Israel. All of the evidence points to the conclusion that the Israeli Mossad is the first and last to gain from this operation… As for the Palestinian factions, no one suspects that they were involved in this incident – except for Israel, which accuses them – unless the Mossad got one of these factions involved [in carrying out the attacks]." [7]

Muhammad Abd Al-Fattah Omar , former assistant to the Egyptian interior minister , said to http://www.islamonline.net/: "For every action we need to search first for who stands to gain from it… Israel is the only one who benefits from these explosions. This is due to the fact that the only two [elements] that can enter the area with ease are the Israelis and their agents… The Israeli right was going through a crisis as a result of the American pressure on Sharon, after the veto that America cast [at the U.N.] to save Israel from the proposal to condemn it for the massacres it is conducting against the Palestinians in Gaza. [Israel] had no choice but to undertake an action that would ease the American pressure on the area and would put the ball in the Americans' court, at least until the elections…" [8]

Dr. Dhiaa Rashwan, from the Egyptian Al-Ahram newspaper's Center for Diplomatic and Strategic Studies , said: "The events in Sinai were not planned by Islamists, neither Egyptian nor Al-Qa'ida… The one who gained the most from this operation was Israel, and the one who was hurt most was Egypt. In Taba there is no population from which an Islamist movement could spring, it has only tourists and security forces, and thus there is no Islamist activity in this sensitive region. In addition, the intensive security presence prevents the importing of such huge quantities of explosives…

"This operation is the [work] of a security apparatus, or else was carried out in cooperation with a major security apparatus, and the one who gained the most was Israel, and thus one should attribute [the operation] to Israel. For the Israeli security [apparatuses] it is easy to carry out an operation on lands adjacent to its borders and then to retreat into Israel, whereas it would be difficult for it to carry out such a thing deep in Egyptian lands." [9]

(1996: Gunman kills 19 Greek tourists outside Cairo hotel
1997: Nine German tourists killed in a bomb attack at Egyptian museum in Cairo
1997: Gunmen kill 58 tourists and three policemen at Hatshepsut temple in Luxor
2004: Bombings in Taba and Ras Shitan kill 34
2005: Two attacks on tourists in Cairo, leave three dead
2005: Bombings in Sharm El-Sheikh kill 64, mostly tourists Complete list)

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

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Tunisia and child sacrifice

Tunisia is full of history.

The Carthaginian Empire

If you go on holiday to Tunisia, it is worth learning a little bit about the Carthiginians, a people who allegedly went in for child sacrifice.

Tunisia was once ruled by the Carthaginians, who are thought to have come originally from the Lebanon area.

The Carthaginians are said to have come originaly from Phoenicia, also known as Canaan, where Lebanon is today.

In Sousse, Carthaginian crematoria contain the ashes of hundreds of 'murdered' children.

Archeological Museum, Sousse / Sousse Museum

Allegedly, these children were strangled in sacrifice to the gods in times of national or personal misfortune.

Carthage was criticized by its neighbors for child sacrifice.

Plutarch (c. 46–120) mentions the practice. The Hebrews mention the practise.

Both the Romans and the Hebrews saw the Phoenicians as enemies and so they cannot necessarily be trusted in this matter. It was King Herod "The Great Child Killer" who destroyed all the first born.

The killing of children was common in ancient Greece and Rome but for economic rather than religious reasons. (Life in Carthage by Gilbert and Colette Charels-Picard pp149-50)



This building in Monastir was one of the filming locations for Monty Python's Life Of Brian.

It has been argued that the reports of Carthaginian child sacrifice were Roman inventions, used to justify the Roman destruction of Carthage.

These Carthaginian cemeteries may have been used as graves for stillborn infants or children who died very early.

Modern archeological excavations have been interpreted by some as confirming Plutarch's reports of Carthaginian child sacrifice. (Kelly A. MacFarlane, University of Alberta, Hittites and Phoenician)

In a single child cemetery called the Tophet, an estimated 20,000 urns were deposited between 400 BC and 200 BC, with the practice continuing until the early years of the Christian period.

The urns contained the charred bones of babies and 2-year-olds.

But most the child urns found in Carthage contain bones of fetuses, therefore of still born babies.

These remains have been interpreted by some to mean that after the birth of stillborn babies, the parents would sacrifice their youngest child.

In bad times (war, poor harvests) cremations became more frequent.

Bad times might have inspired the Carthaginians to obtain divine intervention via child sacrifice.

Or bad times may simply have increased child deaths from natural causes.


Roman amphitheatre at El Djem, by Kaptain Kobold

Professor Piero Bartoloni, Head of the Department of Phoenician-Punic Archaeology at Universita' di Sassari, Italy, relates: "In ancient times, for every ten children that were born, seven died within the first year and out of the remained three, only one became an adult. Now I ask: is it reasonable that, with such a high level of infant mortality, these people killed their own children?"

According to those who criticised the Phoenicians, children were sacrificed to the god Baal Hammon and the godess Tanit.

According to the critics:

Carthaginians began to buy children for the purpose of sacrifice or even to raise servant children instead of offering up their own.

However, in times of crisis or calamity, like war, drought or famine, their priests demanded the flower of their youth.

Special ceremonies during extreme crisis saw up to 200 children of the most affluent and powerful families slain and tossed into the burning pyre.

The few Carthaginian texts which have survived make absolutely no mention of child sacrifice, though most of them relate to matters entirely unrelated to religion, such as the practice of agriculture.

In 146 B.C., Rome wiped the Carthaginian capital off the map.



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