Clayton Swisher from Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit explores the corrupt deals that plunged Egypt into an energy crisis and now leave it facing dependency on Israel.
Egypt’s Lost Power broadcasts on Al Jazeera English on Monday, June 9th at 2000 GMT, and 1900 GMT on Al Jazeera Arabic.
In Egypt’s Lost Power, Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit reveals the hidden story of Egypt’s oil and gas industry. It describes how tycoons cashed in as a nation lost out – and provides compelling new evidence that the Arab world’s most populated country may soon become energy dependent on Israel.
The documentary describes how Egypt – once a major natural gas exporter – made a series of deals from so corrupt that it has devastated the nation’s energy sector. What’s more, the country that it sold gas to from 2008 to 2012 at below market prices – Israel – is now in possession of massive gas reserves that it intends to sell to Egypt.
Sources in Tel Aviv describe how, after the overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi, Egypt made clandestine approaches to the Israeli government in order to “ensure the flow of gas” to Egypt.
Former Israeli Energy Minister Yosef Paritzky told the program: “Egypt needs gas. We can sell it. What else can be better?”
More than a dozen industry specialists, including former and current officials, were interviewed over the course of this five-month investigation.
Investigative reporter Clayton Swisher tracked down and located fugitive billionaire Hussein Salem in Madrid as well as his former business partner (and former Mossad officer) Yossi Maiman outside his offices north of the Israeli capital, Tel Aviv.
The program examines Egyptian government records, court filings, and corporate records and discovered that powerful energy companies are now suing Egypt in numerous international arbitration courts.
The investigation also addresses how deliberately generated gas shortages played a role in the toppling of Egypt’s first democratically elected President, Mohammed Morsi.
Edward Walker, a former U.S. Ambassador to Egypt and Israel, tells the show that many in Washington welcomed last year’s coup. “He’s attractive because he’s not Morsi. And the concern has always been to maintain and sustain the relationship between Egypt and Israel. So it was not really in our interest to see them (the Muslim Brotherhood) succeed.”
Admiral William Fallon, a former head of U.S. Central Command rejected the policy of promoting democracy in the Middle East. “It isn’t just about having elections. That’s wonderful,” he told Egypt’s Lost Power. “But what comes after the election? If there’s not a framework for making government work to accomplish things, then it’s very hollow”.
Former Israeli Ambassador Oded Eran, an advisor to the Knesset, welcomed a new energy relationship with Cairo. “If we can get into an agreement…supplying gas to Egypt, this will also cement the relations, political and economic, between Israel and Egypt.”
Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit’s previous scoops include the Palestine Papers, The Bin Laden Files, What Killed Arafat?, and Killing Arafat.