Tag Archives: Hosni Mubarak

Political Islam Fails Egypt’s Test

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LONDON — Heba Morayef voted for Mohamed Morsi last year. The Muslim Brotherhood candidate was an unlikely choice for a liberal Egyptian woman, the director of the Human Rights Watch office in Cairo, but she loathed Hosni Mubarak’s old guard, wanted change and believed Morsi could be inclusive.

“I have been extremely conflicted this past week,” Morayef told me. “I don’t support the military or coups. But for me as a voter, Morsi betrayed the trust that pro-reform Egyptians placed in him. That is what brought 14 million people into the streets on June 30. It was not so much the incompetence as the familiar authoritarian agenda, the Brotherhood trying to solidify their control by all means.”

Morsi misread the Arab Spring. The uprising that ended decades of dictatorship and led to Egypt’s first free and fair presidential election last year was about the right to that vote. But at a deeper level it was about personal empowerment, a demand to join the modern world, and live in an open society under the rule of law rather than the rule of despotic whim.

In a Muslim nation, where close to 25 percent of Arabs live, it also demanded of political Islam that it reject religious authoritarianism, respect differences and uphold citizenship based on equal rights for all.

Instead, Morsi placed himself above judicial review last November, railroaded through a flawed Constitution, allowed Brotherhood thugs to beat up liberal opponents, installed cronies at the Information Ministry, increased blasphemy prosecutions, surrendered to a siege mentality, lost control of a crumbling economy and presided over growing sectarian violence. For the Brotherhood, the pre-eminent Islamist movement in the region, the sudden shift from hounded outlaw to power in the pivotal nation of the Arab world proved a bridge too far.

Read more » The New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/05/opinion/global/political-islam-fails-egypts-test.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0

Déjà Coup?

By Tarek Radwan | July 04, 2013

Things in Egypt are moving quickly—too quickly for comfort. Since General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s announcement warning of a forty-eight hour window to solve Egypt’s political problems, government officials and ministers jumped the sinking ship, as Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood found themselves in a struggle for political survival after rocketing to the top of the political food chain only a year earlier. And then the army dropped its hammer. Morsi no longer rules Egypt and the revolution appears to have returned to square one after the fall of Hosni Mubarak.

After only four days of mass anti-Morsi protests and counter protests, violent clashes that left eighteen dead and hundreds wounded, and extreme rhetoric and rumors on all sides, the Egyptian military rolled out its armored personnel carriers and troops in an effort to control key state institutions and protest areas. Mohamed ElBaradei, a leader of the National Salvation Front (NSF) and appointed negotiator between the military and Morsi’s political opposition, spoke to a crowd of millions about a rejuvenated revolution, just as the Egyptian presidency released a statement rejecting what they view as a military coup. Secularist and anti-Morsi protesters celebrated well into the night but Islamists decried an attack on their legitimately elected president and their faith. The question remains: Is military intervention a step forwards or a step backward for Egyptian democracy?

The complexity of what the world is witnessing in Egypt cannot be understated. Its international partners cannot ignore what Islamists are lamenting: Morsi is the first freely elected, civilian president in Egypt’s history. Neither can observers disregard that a forcible removal of Morsi from office by the military is the very definition of a “military coup,” regardless of the individual or group that replaces the incumbent. However, the view that a military coup is an inherently obstacle to democratic development needs to be reexamined in light of the massive popular outrage that has poured out into the streets of Tahrir, the Presidential Palace, and across the country.

Many analysts and government officials struggle with an apparent catch 22: support the Egyptian army’s action and risk hypocrisy in light of calls for democratization, or condemn Morsi’s ouster and risk accusations of standing against the will of millions of Egyptian citizens. Is there a middle ground? Why do so many feel the impulse to celebrate a return to military control? The answer lies in the disastrous mismanagement of Egypt’s transition at the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood. Morsi has directly contributed to the most intensely polarized political environment in recent memory. He and the Muslim Brotherhood have practiced exclusionary politics when political consensus proved too difficult, or simply a meaningless pursuit in their calculation. These misguided policies led to a pattern of human rights violations that limited free expression, exacerbated sectarian tensions, and supported government impunity. The political crisis compounded the economic crisis, as the fiscal and budgetary deficits trickled down to the poor and middle class whose need for food and fuel outweighed faith in an Islamist system.

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Egyptian President Mursi reverses parliament dissolution

Egypt’s President Mohammed Mursi has ordered parliament to reconvene, a month after it was dissolved.

Mr Mursi, whose Muslim Brotherhood won most seats, said the chamber should reconvene until a new election is held.

The military had enforced a court order last month dissolving parliament because party members had contested seats reserved for independents.

The military council is meeting for an emergency session to discuss the presidential decree. The BBC’s Jon Leyne in Cairo says Mr Mursi’s decision may put him on a collision course with military leaders.

The military took over the reins of power last year, after the revolution that ended strongman Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule. ….

Read more » BBC

Egypt a ticking time bomb – Eric Margolis

As battered air travelers struggle to recover from Iceland’s volcanic big bang, another explosion is building up. This time, it’s a political one that could rock the entire Mideast, where rumours of war involving the U.S., Syria, Israel and Iran are intesifying.

President Hosni Mubarak, the U.S. – supported strongman who has ruled Egypt with an iron hand for almost 30 years, is 81 and in frail health. He has no designated successor. Mubarak, a general, was put into power with U.S. help after the 1981 assassination of President Anwar Sadat by nationalist soldiers. Sadat had been a CIA “asset” since 1952.

Egypt, with 82 million people, is the most populous and important Arab nation and Cairo the cultural centre of the Arab world. It is also an over crowded madhouse with eight million people whose population has tripled since I lived there as a boy. Not counting North Africa, one in three Arabs is Egyptian.

Egypt was once the heart and soul of the Arab and Muslim world. Under Sadat’s predecessor, the widely adored nationalist Jamal Abdel Nasser, Egypt led the Arab world. Egytians despised Sadat as a corrupt western today and sullenly accepted Mubarak. After three decades under Mubarak, Egypt has become a political and cultural back water. In a telling incident, Mubarak recently flew to Germay for gall bladder and colon surgery. After billions in U.S. aid, Mubarak could not even trust a local hospital in the Arab world’s leading nation.

The U.S. gives Egypt $ 1.3 billion annually in military aid to keep the generals content and about $ 700 million in economic aid, not counting secret CIA stipends, and vast amounts of low cost wheat. Mubarak’s Egypt is the cornerstone of America’s Mideast Raj (dominion). Egypt’s 469,000-man armed forces, 397,000 paramilitary police and ferocious secret police keep the regime in power and crush all dissent.

Though large, Egypt’s military is starved by Washington of modern weapons, ammo and spare parts so it can not wage war against Israel. Its sole function is keeping the U.S. backed regime in power. Mubarak has long been a key ally of Israel in battling Islamist and nationalist groups. Egypt and Israel  collaborate on penning up Hamas-led Palestinians in Gaza.

Egypt is now building a new steel wall on the Gaza border with U.S. assistance. Mubarak’s wall, which will go down 12 meters, is designed to block tunnels through which Gaza Palestinians rely for supplies. While Washington fulminates against Iran and China over human rights, it says nothing about client Egypt – where all elections are rigged, regime opponents brutally tortured and political opposition liquidated.

Washington could quickly impose real democracy to Egypt where it pulls all the strings, if it wanted.  Ayman Nour, the last man who dared run in an election against the eternal Mubarak – “pharaoh” to Islamist opponents – was arrested and tortured. Now, as Mubarak’s health fails, the U.S. and Israel are increasingly alarmed his death could produce a political eruption in long repressed Egypt.

Mubarak has been trying to groom his son, Jamal, to succeed him. But Egyptians are deeply opposed. The powerful 72-year old intelligence chief, Gen, Omar Suleiman, an ally of the U.S. and Israel, is another army or air force general for the job. Egypt’s secular political opposition barely exists. The regime’s real opponent remains the relatively moderate, highly popular Islamic Brotherhood. It would win a free election hands  down. But its leadership is old and tired. Half of Egyptians are under 20.

Mohammed El-Baradai, the intelligent, principled, highly respected Egyptian former UN nuclear chief, is calling for real democracy in his homeland. He presents a very attractive candidate to lead post-Mubarak Egypt.

Washington hopes it can ease another compliant general into power and keep the security forces loyal before 30 years of pent-up fury at Mubarak’s dictatorship, Egypt’s political emasculation, thirst for change and dire poverty produce a volcanic eruption on the Nile.

eric.margolis@sunmedia.ca

Courtesy: Toronto Sun, April 25, 2010

India can help stabilize South Asia

New Delhi: Coming from a country that was one of the first victims of .. terrorism, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak is acutely aware of its destructive power. That’s the reason, on his first visit to India in 25 years, Mubarak is calling for a greater role by India in ensuring that terror wracked Pakistan and Afghanistan emerge as stable nation states.

Indeed, the stability of these two nations is crucial for the security.. Mubarak said during an interaction. “Innocent victims of terror are everywhere. In India, we lost the Gandhis, Indira and Rajiv. In Pakistan, we lost Benazir Bhutto. In Egypt, we lost Sadat just to mention a few examples, he said.

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