Egypt-Turkey: Long, turbulent history


Initially published in Islamist Gate 


Ottoman Sultan Selim I, the conquerer of Egypt
“History does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme.” This famous quote by Mark Twain is highly relevant to the relationship between Egypt and Turkey. Egypt’s decision to expel the Turkish ambassador from Cairo has a historical precedent. In 1954, Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser expelled the Turkish ambassador in the presence of relatively similar events, but under dissimilar circumstances.
Undoubtedly, the tense relationship between Turkey and Egypt reflects the current policy of the leadership in both Egypt and Turkey. The two countries are now acting like rivals. Even their two powerful men, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Egypt’s military chief Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, were locked in a popularity competition for the Time 2013’s Person of the Year poll .  However, this tension is also indicative of a widespread messiness in the region that has its…

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IAVA – Vets to Congress: #FinishThe4 | Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America

This week, veterans from all over the country are coming to DC to tell Congress that they can\’t leave for vacation without doing 4 simple things:

1. Fully fund the VA in advance (HR 813 and S 932)

2. Combat sexual assault in the military by passing The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY 2014 and the Military Justice Improvement Act (MJIA)

3. Charge in-state tuition for all veterans using GI Bill (HR 357 & S 944)

4. Ratify The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

This will only cost Congress 105 minutes this week. For less time than it takes to watch a movie, Congress can change the narrative on 2013 and make a huge difference in the lives of veterans and military families.

via IAVA – Vets to Congress: #FinishThe4 | Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

Pope advances sainthood causes, including Puerto Rican schools pioneer Rafael Cordero

Repeating Islands


Pope Francis advanced the sainthood causes of 13 candidates, including the “father of Puerto Rican public education” and the Canadian founder of a religious order dedicated to helping unwed mothers, Xavier Rocca reports for The Catholic News Service.

During a meeting Dec. 9 meeting with Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, the pope signed decrees recognizing that Rafael Cordero Molino and Mother Rosalie Cadron-Jette lived the Christian virtues in a heroic way and are venerable.

Cordero, who was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 1790, and died there in 1868, founded and operated a free school for poor children of all races.

Mother Cadron-Jette, who was born in Lavaltrie, Quebec, in 1794, and died in Montreal in 1864, was a midwife who founded the Sisters of Misericorde.

The pope also recognized eight other people as venerable, including Sister Orsola Mezzini, an Italian who died…

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‘Floating university’ docks in Cuba for first time in nine years

Repeating Islands


A cruise ship sailed into Havana harbor this morning with 568 American college students on board, officially ending a nine-year hiatus from Cuba’s shores, Mary Murray reports for NBC News.

After being prohibited from including Cuba as a stop on its “Semester at Sea” program by the U.S. government due to increased restrictions in educational travel to the island nation, the University of Virginia, the program’s current sponsor, was issued a U.S. Treasury license this year.

Students from more than 200 U.S. schools are taking part in this year’s program.

Between 1999 and 2004, the program made 10 stops in Havana and met with then-president Fidel Castro seven times.

But the Treasury Department revoked the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) license that permitted the group to organize travel to Cuba, and it was eliminated from the syllabus.

The nautical study abroad program provides students with a campus aboard the…

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US turns its back on Afghan interpreters? | World | DW.DE | 10.12.2013

Death list

An Afghan officer warned Shinwari that he had been placed on a Taliban death list.

\”When the Taliban found out that I saved an American life – not one, but a couple of lives – and that I\’m supporting the American mission, they added my name. They have to kill me if they find me,\” Shinwari says.

In late November, a former interpreter for the German armed forces in Afghanistan was murdered in Kunduz. Dschawad Wafa\’s corpse was discovered in his car just over a month after the last German troops had left the northern Afghan province. Reports followed that the translator\’s name had stood on a list of local Afghan workers for whom Germany\’s federal government was set to provide entry visas due to threats of retaliatory attacks from the Taliban.

via US turns its back on Afghan interpreters | World | DW.DE | 10.12.2013.