Arab media revealed the details of the crackdown imposed by the Egyptian authorities on Emirati-funded institutions and research centers, claiming that they are neutral from their mission and playing an intelligence role in the country.
Political tension between Egypt and the UAE
Incredible opportunity ”Arab Post“The recent political tension between Cairo and Abu Dhabi has affected many Emirati projects in Egypt.
Among these projects are the media projects that Abu Dhabi established in Cairo after the overthrow of the late President Mohamed Morsi in 2013. Either directly, or through generous funding sources for them.
They are the projects that were termed centers to counter the ideas of the political Islam trend.
The UAE has provided more than $ 18 billion in support to Cairo since the ouster of the late President Mohamed Morsi until last year (2020). According to the statements of Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, UAE Minister of Development and International Cooperation.
Including nearly one billion dollars in funding for study centers and media platforms in Egypt, according to what Egyptian writer Wael Abdel Fattah mentioned in an article.
This comes in order to serve the Emirati agenda and control the direction of the main programs in the channels invested in them.
Monitoring UAE research centers
According to Egyptian sources, who were not disclosed by Arab Post, clear instructions were issued in Cairo to monitor the work of the study centers in Egypt. Funded by the UAE.
According to the source, this affected some other media outlets, after it was found that they were performing an intelligence function and deviating from the scope of the media work.
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Especially after it was monitored that the activities of some study centers are limited to the work of what is called a “case report” in research work. It is intended to monitor the attitudes of the Egyptian street towards certain political decisions, such as the position of the political leadership regarding the Renaissance Dam crisis. And measuring the popularity of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in the street, and other cases. Which the sovereign bodies considered as intelligence matters, not media matters.
The Egyptian move was preceded by Emirati decisions to cut spending on media projects it finances in Cairo. A reduction that began about 4 years ago. And it led to the dispensing of hundreds of Egyptian researchers and media professionals who collaborated with these media platforms.
The stated reason for the reduction each time was the economic conditions and the drop in oil prices, which is the first source of income in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
Sources within these platforms confirmed to “Arab Post” that the reduction in spending and the dismissal of workers and collaborators were not due to economic conditions, as announced.
However, due to the failure of these platforms to perform the task entrusted to them, which is to direct the Egyptian public opinion in a way that serves Emirati policy on specific local and regional issues.
The report quoted a researcher cooperating with one of these centers, underestimating the importance of the recent Egyptian steps, given that all centers are. The media established or funded by Abu Dhabi in recent years and since the revolution of the 25th of January 2011. From its first day, it has been in the grip of the sovereign bodies through the managers and supervisors of those centers. They are cooperating in one way or another with the sovereign bodies.
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He explained that the relationship between those centers and the security services in Egypt was good and existed from the beginning, and there was coordination. Continuing among themselves to confront the phenomenon of political Islam and extremism, as it was said at the time,
He added, “Even the website of Al-Dustour newspaper, headed by journalist Mohamed Al-Baz, is close to the regime and affiliated with the security services. A lengthy report was devoted to celebrating the opening of the “That Masr” website, which included statements by the center’s director. Its editor-in-chief is Salah al-Din Hussain. ”
He continued: “He is, according to his definition on the official website of the Believers Without Borders Foundation, a journalist writer specializing in Islamic groups and movements in Egypt.”
The researcher pointed out that these centers represented a clear threat to the Egyptian national security, and it could even be said that they represented a breakthrough for the Egyptian interior. Through the series of case reports that it was conducting to measure the reactions of the Egyptian street on various local and regional issues.
A preemptive move
He pointed out that Abu Dhabi preempted the Egyptian security steps by limiting the work of the media platforms of the Emirates.
Some of them were also closed, such as the Regional Center for Strategic Studies in Cairo, which was headed by Dr. Abdel Moneim Saeed, a well-known political researcher and former Chairman of Al-Ahram Board of Directors.
Instead of establishing centers in the open, the Emiratis have tended to collaborate with researchers in the “piece” system, where they are requested by phone from Abu Dhabi. Conducting specific studies or researches in return for attractive sums of money.
According to the researcher, the Emiratis ensure that the studies and “case reports” they need are completed in secret, away from the supervision of the security services. And its men who were supervising those centers in coordination between Abu Dhabi and the Egyptian sovereign bodies.
According to the report, among the dozens of centers, websites, newspapers and satellite channels that appeared in Egypt after the January revolution. It receives funding from the Abu Dhabi government. There is very little left of it that is still working.
Hundreds of Egyptians who cooperated with it were liquidated on the grounds of economic conditions, but the most prominent of which remains the Arab Center for Studies. And research run by Abdul Rahim Ali. Known for his close relations with the security authorities.
This was before those parties turned against him several months ago, when a phone call was leaked to him with his son-in-law, claiming about it. That no one in Egypt can approach him. And that he has documents indicting all officials in Egypt, if someone thinks. In prejudice to him, he even said in that recording verbatim: “Even Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi does not know the prosecution office.”
Although Abdel Rahim Ali traveled after the audio leakage spread to France, where he is still claiming treatment there, the center – according to one of the researchers working in it – is still working.
However, it operates at the lowest levels of activity after its funding decreased to less than 10% of what it was at the time of its establishment after the January 2011 revolution. This forced the center to abandon dozens of researchers and journalists cooperating with it, and to reduce the salaries and bonuses of those who remained.
The researcher added: “At the beginning of the establishment of the center, we were asked to study every week, and the financial compensation was generous, while now. The whole center produces only studies every month and sometimes every two months, just to continue receiving the meager funding it receives.
It is noteworthy that what the center is exposed to came a short time after the reduction of Emirati funding for the newspaper, which is headed by the board of directors and edited by Abdul Rahim Ali himself, which prompted the latter to lay off dozens of journalists working for the newspaper, and that was the second crisis that threatened the continuation of the center and the newspaper after it was close to Closure after the center was involved in a severe crackdown on Saudi Arabia during some disputes with the UAE in 2016.
In addition to the Arab Center, there are 3 active centers so far in Egypt. It is striking that the three centers are affiliated with the Emirati Believers Without Borders Foundation.
The first is the Dal Center for Research and Media Production, located in the upscale Garden City district of Cairo, and a research center branching out of it. Referred to as an electronic newspaper is a fossil newspaper.
The third place is the That Egypt Foundation for Studies and Research.
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