Interview with the Palestinian Economist Adel Samara about the Gaza Strip and Egypt
” Egypt produces only 39% of its food needs and imports 85% of its wheat from Russia and Ukraine. Egypt enjoyed a lot of income from Russian and Ukrainian tourism and the Suez Canal, but both were hurt and hampered by Covid19 and NATO’s war against Russia. Unfortunately, the regime did not invest the loans in productive sectors (except gas where it is self-sufficient) but in restaurants, cafes, buildings… etc. This absorbs the loans and did not produce enough monetary liquidity to pay the loans and debt servicing ” ….more on Gaza STRIP in the link:
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Interview with the Palestinian Economist Adel Samara about the Gaza Strip and current Egypt
Q1: What do you think about president al Sissi policy? Is it true that they are collaborating with Zionist in the Rafah frontier?
Adel: Egyptian Regime absolutely collaborating with the Zionist Ashkenazi Entity – ZAE on every level especially in Rafah at the cost of the health of sick people, students travel to study, export-import …etc. The regime applies the recommendations/policies of US imperialism at all levels. But Hamas and all people in Gaza can’t protest openly because Egypt is the lung of Gaza especially because of the determination of geography.
Q2: Is it true that they want to destroy Gaza and forced the Palestinians to migrate to Egypt (Sinai)?
Adel: Here there are several scenarios.
1-The ZAE produced a plan by Israeli retired general Giora Eiland suggesting an expansion of the Gaza Strip to annex 1000 square km from Sinai to make it the Palestinian state as a final solution to the conflict.
2- Another by bin Salmans’ plan to transfer the Palestinians to his new city called Neom on the shore of the Red Sea.
3- An invasion of Gaza by armies of the Palestinian Authority (PA) , the Zionist Ashkenazy Entity (ZAE) , Egypt, and ZAE to uproot Hamas’ regime.
4- Qatar and Turkey planning to make Gaza an Islamic Emirate, financing it and minimizing the army struggle by bribing the society.
5- I don’t think Egypt needs more than two million people!
All those scenarios are inside the US policy for the region.
But for Hamas itself, is divided between the militants who insist on military struggle and the political leadership looking for compromise through negotiations. It is important to know that lately, Hamas realized that it is for its reputation to be closed to Syria and the resistance coalition.
Q3– What do you think about the military power in Egypt?
Adel- It is a very complex issue. What we hear is that it is a strong army with good jet fighters a lot of tanks…etc. But, it is controlled by leaders/generals who are Americanized like Sisi. I mean that they depart the main doctrine of the Egyptian army during Nasser’ era.
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What is more dangerous is that the army became a company; a huge one controls/owns most of the economic sectors not only military industries. It is bribed by the regime. Accordingly, this army never has the will of fighting. This might be clear since nothing is done against Ethiopia’s control of Nile waters. The same is for the army’s acceptance of the recognition of the ZAE and normalization with that Entity.
It is to enjoy the privileges of a bribe to protect the regime.
Q4- Do you see them as collaborators of NATO imperialism? Or a barrier to FMI/Corporations because of the economical power they have in Egypt- they have around 50% of the GDP?
Adel: It must be both. There is no conflict of interest between the two parts. The generals are fighting for their privileges. In the last month, a lot of news was noting that Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia United Arab Emirates are building Arab NATO including the ZAE. Despite formal deny from the rulers, I think they did really. For sure the ZAE will or really part of it.
Q5- Do you think that president Al Sissi’s policy is more progressive for the workers and sovereign than the muslim Brothers?
Adel: It is a tragedy to compare badly with the worst. In a dependent economy occupied by the army, there are no rights for the workers because the surplus produced by the workers is confiscated. The problem is that the workers still did not fight. Thirty percent of the people live on $3 a day. Sure those are workers and poor peasants. This is nearly the poverty line estimated by the World Bank.
The muslim brothers whom I call Forces of Politicized Religion FPR did not stay long to judge their position towards workers. Both Brothers and Sisi are representing the comprador class of its two parts, the one whose wealth was gained from Saudi Arabia when they escaped from Nasser’s regime and returned when Sadat became ruler, and the one that gains wealth from the Open Door policy since the beginning of Sadat era until today. Both branches of the capitalist comprador class are in the end exploiting the workers and all of the people.
Al Sissi policies are better than brothers for women, but for sure he did not mean that it is by chance. If the brothers continue, all Egyptian women will dress black and stay at home for male enjoyment and child breeding.
But, to understand better what I wrote above, it is important to see the economic situation of Egypt.
By May 30th this year Egypt devalues the exchange rate of its currency by 16% and rose interest rates by 1% aiming to attract US dollars from the investors who left Egypt, but for sure devaluation will never encourage imports from a country that did not produce commodities that needed for the world market.
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Inflation rose to 10% after it was in 2021 only 5%. Prices, in general, rise especially during Covid19 time and later the Russian war of defence against NATO.
Egypt produces 39% only of its food needs and imports 85% of its wheat from Russia and Ukraine. Egypt enjoyed a lot of rent from Russian and Ukraine tourism and from the Suez Canal, but both were harmed and hindered by Covid19 and the Russian war. Unfortunately, the regime did not invest the loans in productive sectors but in restaurants, Coffees, buildings…etc. This absorbs the loans and did not produce enough money liquidity to repay the loans and debt services.
As long as state revenue from the canal and tourism decreased, the regime went again to IMF for more loans which did not spend on productive investments.
Egypt again asks IMF for loans in 2016. The loan for this year is $20 billion; in addition to a Saudi deposit of $3 billion, 2.8 billion from Germany, $ 600 million from African Development Bank, and $600 million from the World Bank. Egypt increases the interest rate so as to attract investors, but did not invest in the productive sector.
The exchange rate of its currency was reduced to 15 and finally 18 for one dollar, and roses the bills of electricity, water …etc, stopped subsidy for the poor that is why poverty rose from 28 to33% of the society.
The irony is that spending on luxury goods increased. The state built a large fishing lake which costs a lot despite the fact that there are a lot of small ones. The informal sector represents 40%of of the GDP according to TWT, a World Auditory company. Eighty percent of small and medium companies are working illegally. 36% of the state spending is for public debt service and the state still looking for more loans.
The regime collects taxes without providing services. And mainly collects from the poor and lower middle classes.
Foreign debt until 2012 is $137 billion and $26 billion of it for non-Egyptians. The total debt of foreign and local currency is $370 billion.
Abu Dabi paid Egypt $1, 3 billion and paid $2 billion to buy part of Egyptian government shares, and the Saudi sovereign fund deposit $2 billion to Egypt’s government.
Thanks to Dr Adel Samara responses
Bureau D’information Alba Granada North Africa, September 2022.
The opinions and views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Kana’an’s Editorial Board.