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troung
05 Dec 11,, 03:39
Is it too late to say "ooops"?

Egypt's ElBaradei: Liberals 'decimated' in vote
APBy MARJORIE OLSTER and SARAH EL DEEB | AP – 55 mins ago
Egypt's ElBaradei: Liberals 'decimated' in vote - Yahoo! News (http://news.yahoo.com/egypts-elbaradei-liberals-decimated-vote-213503368.html)

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's top reformist leader said Sunday the liberal youth behind the country's uprising have been "decimated" in parliamentary elections dominated by Islamists and expressed concern about the rise of hard-line religious elements advocating extremist ideas such as banning women from driving.

Mohamed ElBaradei, a Nobel Prize laureate and possible presidential candidate, said he hopes moderate Islamists will rein in the extremists and send a reassuring message to the world that Egypt will not go down an ultraconservative religious path.

"The youth feel let down. They don't feel that any of the revolution's goals have been achieved," ElBaradei told The Associated Press in an interview on the same day electoral authorities announced that Islamist parties captured an overwhelming majority of votes in the first round of elections last week. "They got decimated," he said, adding the youth failed to unify and form "one essential critical mass."

The High Election Commission announced that the Islamic fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party garnered 36.6 percent of the 9.7 million valid ballots cast last week for party lists. The Nour Party, representing the more hard-line Salafi Islamists, captured 24.4 percent.

The tallies offer only a partial indication of how the new parliament will look. There are still two more rounds of voting in 18 of the country's 27 provinces over the coming month and runoff elections on Monday and Tuesday to determine almost all of the seats allocated for individuals in the first round. But the grip of the Islamists over the next parliament appears set, particularly considering their popularity in provinces voting in the next rounds.

ElBaradei said he thought the combined strength of the two top-placed Islamist blocs surprised everyone, probably even the winning parties themselves.

"The outcome so far is not the greatest one," he said, summing up the mood of the country's educated elite as well as average Egyptians as "angst."

The new parliament will be tasked, in theory, with selecting a 100-member panel to draft the new constitution. If Islamist parties dominate, more liberal forces worry the constitution will be greatly influenced by the religious perspective.

In a move that angered the Islamist groups, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which took control of the country after Mubarak's fall in February, has suggested that it will choose 80 of those members.

ElBaradei said writing the constitution that respects human rights, dignity and freedom of expression should be based on a consensus among all the players, and not on a parliamentary majority.

"In my view, it is all in the hands of SCAF right now," he said, hoping the ruling generals will help promote the consensus.

However, ElBaradei was highly critical of the military rulers, saying they have "royally mismanaged" the transition period.

He also raised concerns about statements by some Salafi elements questioning whether women should be banned from driving, as they are in Saudi Arabia, or branding the novels of Egypt's Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz, as "prostitution."

"I worry of course that some of the extreme stuff coming out from some of the Salafis ... when you hear that literature of somebody like Mahfouz is equal to prostitution, if you hear that we are still debating whether women are going to drive their cars, if we are still discussing whether democracy is against Shariah," or Islamic law, ElBaradei said.

"These are of course sending shockwaves, statements like that. I think the Brotherhood in particular, and some of the Salafis, should send quickly messages of assurance both inside the country and outside the country to make sure that society continues to be cohesive to make sure that investment will come in."

He said the statements "will have tremendous economic and political implications." Moderate Islamists need to "make clear that some of these voices ... are on the extreme fringes and they will not be the mainstream."

The focus on safeguarding religious principles should be mindful of rampant poverty and illiteracy, not "about what people are going to dress, to drink," he said.

Salafis are newcomers on Egypt's political scene. They long shunned the concept of democracy, saying it allows man's law to override God's. But they formed parties and entered politics after Hosni Mubarak's ouster in February, seeking to enshrine Islamic law in Egypt's new constitution.

By contrast, the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's largest and best organized political group, was officially banned under Mubarak but established a nationwide network of activists. After Mubarak's fall, the group's Freedom and Justice Party campaigned fiercely, their organization and name-recognition giving them a big advantage over newly formed liberal parties.

ElBaradei said the Muslim Brotherhood's strong showing was not unexpected, given that Egypt is emerging from decades of brutal dictatorship that smothered civil society. He said one in every three Egyptians is illiterate and nearly half subsist in deep poverty.

"It should not be a surprise people are voting with their gut. People lost their sense of identity with the state. They identify with religion," ElBaradei said.

He said the Brotherhood has been working for many years providing basic needs for health care and other social services the government failed to deliver and they were well known throughout the country.

In contrast, the liberal youth groups behind the uprising failed to form a cohesive, unified front. He said they only formed political parties two months ago.

He predicted the Muslim Brotherhood will prefer to form an alliance with the liberals rather than the Salafis to get a majority in parliament. The liberal Egyptian Bloc — which came in third with 13.4 percent of the votes — could counterbalance hard-line elements.

Nevertheless, ElBaradei agreed the first elections since Mubarak's fall were free and fair and said the massive turnout of about 60 percent lent it legitimacy.

However, he said it will not produce a parliament that represents Egyptian society. ElBaradei said he expects few women, youths or Coptic Christians, a minority that constitutes about 10 percent of Egypt's 85 million citizens.

The rise of the Islamists has also caused concern in the U.S. and Israel, which has a long-standing peace treaty with Egypt it fears might be in jeopardy. But ElBaradei said he does not foresee any radical changes in Egypt's foreign policy because the country still depends heavily on foreign assistance and cannot afford to isolate itself. Egypt is one of the largest recipients of U.S. foreign aid.

He said Egyptians are looking more to Turkey as a model for a moderate Islamist state rather than Saudi Arabia and its strict imposition of Islamic law.

ElBaradei said Egypt has progressed since the revolution but the economy and law and order have deteriorated sharply.

"We are now a freer country," he said. "People lost their sense of fear. ...We are empowered as a people."

He said he is advising the liberal youth groups not to give up and to view this as a "long haul" process and to start preparing for the next elections, overcome their ideological differences and work together.

"We'll have to keep fighting," he said, adding that "the revolution is still a work in progress."

He predicted protesters will return to Cairo's Tahrir Square to keep pressing their demands.

"If you have the second wave of the revolution, it will be an angry one," he said.

(This version CORRECTS Corrects word to "perspective" instead of "perceptive" in 8th paragraph. AP Video.)
@yahoonews on Twitter, becom

Double Edge
05 Dec 11,, 12:06
Is it too late to say "ooops"?
Nah, its too early


In a move that angered the Islamist groups, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which took control of the country after Mubarak's fall in February, has suggested that it will choose 80 of those members.


But ElBaradei said he does not foresee any radical changes in Egypt's foreign policy because the country still depends heavily on foreign assistance and cannot afford to isolate itself. Egypt is one of the largest recipients of U.S. foreign aid.

He said Egyptians are looking more to Turkey as a model for a moderate Islamist state rather than Saudi Arabia and its strict imposition of Islamic law.

You say oops if after the next elections whoever the ruling party happens to be refuses to step down if they lose. That would be five years from now.

Mihais
05 Dec 11,, 12:56
Nah, its too early


You say oops if after the next elections whoever the ruling party happens to be refuses to step down if they lose. That would be five years from now.

The guys play the game of thrones.They're doing it for decades.They aren't quitters and don't give damn about democracy.In 5 years we won't debate the merits of alternating power in Egypt,we'll talk about un-fvcking the situation.

The army isn't proposing anything.The generals are proposing and the ultimate card they have is the ability to shoot people.The only problem is their card is slipping.Troops won't shoot their families,thus the power the army has is waning.The islamists have a proven capability to march hundreds of thousands in the streets and they won't give their opponents for decades a chance to keep much of the old power.They'd be foolish to allow the generals and the elites a chance to recover.

This will end with lots of blood.

Double Edge
05 Dec 11,, 14:00
The guys play the game of thrones.They're doing it for decades.They aren't quitters and don't give damn about democracy.In 5 years we won't debate the merits of alternating power in Egypt,we'll talk about un-fvcking the situation.
We ?

What will the Egyptians themselves be doing about it. They've learnt they can overthrow a dictator. What could be more ressassuring than that.


The army isn't proposing anything.The generals are proposing and the ultimate card they have is the ability to shoot people.The only problem is their card is slipping.Troops won't shoot their families,thus the power the army has is waning.The islamists have a proven capability to march hundreds of thousands in the streets and they won't give their opponents for decades a chance to keep much of the old power.They'd be foolish to allow the generals and the elites a chance to recover.

This will end with lots of blood.
Give examples of the bolded bit ie Islamists holding back opponents for decades.

The only aura the Islamists have is when they are persecuted. How have the Islamists fared in Pakistan of all places. Religion alone isn't going to create jobs nor put food on the table. Egypt needs an administration that can enhance foreign investment, create jobs & grow their economy. Egypt's economy is one quarter the size of Turkey for similar population count. There is a lot of growth potential here

Egypt does not produce enough oil so they're going to have to develop an open mind towards the long term. They will have to become pragmatic.

If there are Islamists in power they will be just that, in name only.


Nevertheless, ElBaradei agreed the first elections since Mubarak's fall were free and fair and said the massive turnout of about 60 percent lent it legitimacy.
This is the most signficant sentence in troungs article.

cyppok
06 Dec 11,, 00:12
There won't be a 5 years from now. There will be a big civil war due to economy going down the drain. This division and conquest for political leadership only works if the economy does not collapse.

Egypt relied on tourism, Islamists in power tourism=dead from Europe etc... at least.
Millions of people need food, money shortages and subsidies out the window, people riot out of necessity since the ability to survive is well gone...
Capital flight, yes happening as we speak.
Egypt's Economy Reels as Capital Flees - Businessweek (http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/egypts-economy-reels-as-capital-flees-12012011.html)

The gross domestic product contracted an annual 4.2 percent in the quarter through March and grew only 1.8 percent in the fiscal year ended in June. Egypt’s benchmark stock index is down more than 44 percent this year, and the government is paying almost 15 percent to borrow for nine months on domestic markets.
Doesn't matter who wins, there is no more room to monopolize and rob the populous the economy simply is imploding.

Egypt may ask the International Monetary Fund for the $3 billion loan the country rejected earlier this year. Private banks are hurting. “The banking sector has been affected by the government’s borrowing needs, which overcrowds the money available to the private sector,” says Said Hirsh, Middle East economist at Capital Economics, the London-based consultant. A currency crisis, says Hirsh, has erupted as foreign investors flee the bond market. The central bank has had to spend nearly 40 percent of its reserves to keep the Egyptian pound at the current rate. “This is unsustainable,” Hirsh says.


Tourism, valued at about $12 billion annually, dropped 35 percent in the first half. At least increased shipping drove earnings up 11.7 percent for the state-owned Suez Canal Authority, to $3.5 billion, in the first three quarters. Remittances, valued at about $8 billion annually, have flowed steadily from Egyptians working outside the country. Those abroad can see their families at home need help.

Double Edge
06 Dec 11,, 00:38
There won't be a 5 years from now. There will be a big civil war due to economy going down the drain. This division and conquest for political leadership only works if the economy does not collapse.
Ya mean like the 'civil war' in Greece whose economy is in the drain.

Where are these rebels going to get weapons to wage this civil war btw ? knock over an army bunk. That is when the army will move in and straighten out the matter quickly, wont be pretty. Bad idea.


Egypt relied on tourism, Islamists in power tourism=dead from Europe etc... at least.
Tourism is down right now because there is unrest due to lack of an adminstration. That situation isn't going to last for ever obviously.

Its not clear to me why Islamists in power are going to discourage tourism. Would imagine they would face a lot of domestic opposition with that, if tourism is what Egypt relies on.


Millions of people need food, money shortages and subsidies out the window, people riot out of necessity since the ability to survive is well gone...
Capital flight, yes happening as we speak.
Egypt's Economy Reels as Capital Flees - Businessweek (http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/egypts-economy-reels-as-capital-flees-12012011.html)

Doesn't matter who wins, there is no more room to monopolize and rob the populous the economy simply is imploding.
This needs to tracked upto the general election and resultant effect after.

There is theory i heard some time back and that is the Saudis wanted this experiment to fail and are throwing money at it with that aim in mind.

Too early to call.

Aryajet
08 Dec 11,, 02:55
This will end with lots of blood.
MB and Salafies holding seats? Bad combination. No one kills muslims like muslims. Iraqi "shia death squad" comes to mind.

Aryajet
08 Dec 11,, 02:57
Give examples of the bolded bit ie Islamists holding back opponents for decades.
Islamic republic of Iran, may be?

S2
08 Dec 11,, 03:42
There's a fair chance that demographics would reveal the educated youth of Egypt to be many of the sons and daughters of the local through national elite. It can be fairly questioned just how committed they are to reaching into the nooks and crannies of Egyptian society and repeatedly delivering their message. Doing so will be necessary to combat an established conservative presence. Doing so, however, will be frustrating, difficult and dangerous.

Grossly stereotypical and more than unfair but you can't lead from the driver's seat of a BMW. I have a hard time imagining from where they'll draw a legitimate source of political power. If it is upon these youth to whom El Baradai is pinning his hopes for Egypt's future, then he and others will likely be severely disappointed.

troung
12 Dec 11,, 22:47
Its not clear to me why Islamists in power are going to discourage tourism. Would imagine they would face a lot of domestic opposition with that, if tourism is what Egypt relies on.

Get your head out of the sand, who the hell is going to visit a place where you might get jailed for acting like a Westerner? No booze, beaches or broads...


There is theory i heard some time back and that is the Saudis wanted this experiment to fail and are throwing money at it with that aim in mind.

This is a Wahabi Winter.


What will the Egyptians themselves be doing about it. They've learnt they can overthrow a dictator. What could be more ressassuring than that.

Worked well for Iran thirty years ago...

==========

There's a fair chance that demographics would reveal the educated youth of Egypt to be many of the sons and daughters of the local through national elite. It can be fairly questioned just how committed they are to reaching into the nooks and crannies of Egyptian society and repeatedly delivering their message. Doing so will be necessary to combat an established conservative presence. Doing so, however, will be frustrating, difficult and dangerous.

Stop it! The media told me that they all wear skinny jeans and tweet just like us - no way could that merely be the children of the 1 percent...

troung
24 Dec 11,, 07:22
I thought this was funny. Posted it for the sheer humor of watching the supporters dance around the fact they were totally wrong about the protesters and Egypt. Do these blockheads not realize the trendy liberals lost in a landslide? Seventy percent of the people utterly rejected living in the same millennium as them.


The Despair of Egypt
By Thanassis Cambanis
The Despair of Egypt - Thanassis Cambanis - International - The Atlantic (http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2011/12/the-despair-of-egypt/250407/)
Dec 23 2011, 7:14 AM ET 4

How the country's politicians, activists, elites, its sponsors in Washington, and most of all the military have failed it at a critical moment

rage despair-body.jpg

Reuters

The state of the revolution in Egypt is today, for me and probably many others watching it closely, cause for rage and despair. The case for despair is obvious: the dumb, brute hydra of a regime has dialed up its violent answer to the popular request for justice and accountability, and has expanded its power. The matter of rage is more complicated: in Egypt, Tunisia, and other Arab countries, it was righteous anger -- forcefully but strategically deployed -- that brought fearsome police states to their knees. The outrages of Egypt's regime are still on shameless display. The only question is whether the fury they provoke will make a difference.

When we see the Egyptian soldier enthusiastically stripping a female protester while another kicks her abdomen, rage is a natural response. So too when we see soldiers and their plainclothes henchman cheerfully chuck rocks and chairs from a fifth-floor roof, and in at least one case, piss down below on their fellow Egyptians peacefully protesting in front of parliament, drawn to the streets in part because of the dozens of their comrades already killed by the state. Most enraging of all is the self-righteous, imperious lying that accompanies the industrial-scale state abuse of its citizens. General Adel Emara hectored the Egyptian reporters who tried to question him about last week's outrages in Tahrir Square, including the blue bra sequence.

Like the American generals in the early years of the Iraq occupation who complained that the nay-saying media was telling mean, inaccurate stories about their swimming success, Emara blamed the media. The Supreme Council for the Armed Forces was protecting the nation and the demonstrators downtown were spreading chaos. "The military council has always warned against the abuse of freedom," he said, apparently without irony. In statements this week, the military has incredibly claimed that the bands of hundreds or thousands of unarmed protesters are actually a plot to overthrow the state -- a grotesque reversal of the truth.

The new prime minister, Kamal Ganzouri, blamed the "counter-revolution" and "foreign elements" for the demonstrations. He also promised no violence would be used against them, even as security forces shot more than a dozen people and beat hundreds of others. No shame here, but perhaps some ulterior plan to discredit protest entirely. An angry response might be the only one possible, the only way potentially to thwart this colossus. Remember the original protests a year ago in Tunisia and Egypt: people billed them as "Days of Rage."

Why the violence against demonstrators, against women, against foreigners? Apparently the SCAF believes it can intimidate people into submission, that it can succeed where its authoritarian predecessor Hosni Mubarak failed. The death tolls of this year, and the arrest of 13,000 civilians brought before military trial, are measures of the repressive reflexes of the current military rulers. On November 19, police set upon a small group that had camped out on the edge of Tahrir Square, beating them and destroying their tents -- and sparking two weeks of street battles that left at least 40 dead and 2,000 wounded. More recently, on December 16 security forces attacked a follow-on protest in front of the parliament building and the ongoing fighting has killed at least 16 people and critically wounded hundreds.

There are few plausible explanations for the recent spasms of violence against nonviolent demonstrators. It's hard to imagine why state security attacks civilians during periods of calm, sparking new protests and reinvigorating the revolutionary movement. Perhaps the military has a strategy designed to discredit protesters and revolutionary youth, allowing or even engineering street violence which they can then use in the state media to portray activists as hooligans. Or, perhaps, the police and common soldiers have developed such an intense hatred for the demonstrators -- who let us remember, succeeded at putting the security establishment on the defensive for the first time in 60 years -- that whenever they confront a protest their tempers flare and they lash out.

There's also a theory that the police, and even some parts of the army, are simply in mutiny, disregarding the SCAF's orders. Some believe that the SCAF genuinely believes that all protesters are saboteurs, foreign agents, and traitors out to gut the Egyptian state. Some also suggest that the SCAF is simply incompetent, and that each sordid episode of protest, massacre, political agreement, and betrayal is an act in a bumbling melodrama starring a cast of senescent, befuddled generals, most of whom lived their glory days in military study abroad programs in Brezhnev's Moscow.

Whether there's a plan or no plan, some of the results are becoming clear. The Muslim Brothers and the Salafis, who dominated the election results so far, have essentially supported the SCAF's vague schedule to transfer power to a civilian president by summer. Liberals have coalesced around a new demand for a president to be elected immediately and take over by February 11, the one-year anniversary of Mubarak's resignation. The SCAF has continued its divide and conquer tactics, undermining all dissent in public while meeting in private with politicians from all parties.

All power still rests in the hands of the military, which has designed an incomprehensible transition process clearly engineered to exhaust any revolutionary or reformist movement. (Before Egypt can have a new government with full powers, the military believes there must be a referendum, two elections of three rounds each for a legislature, another referendum on a constitution, and then a presidential election. That doesn't include runoffs and do-overs.)

Meanwhile there's a debate underway about who "lost" the revolution, as if the demonstrators and liberal Egyptians could have gotten it right and changed Egypt over the last 12 months. Steven Cook partly blames the protesters for "narcissism" and "navel-gazing," claiming they lost the opportunity to engage the public because they were too busy on Facebook and Twitter. Marc Lynch writes that the protesters have not captured the imagination of the wider public, though he (correctly) holds the SCAF responsible for bungling the transition so far.

Perhaps the most depressing read this week is a dark and self-critical essay by the revolutionary, blogger, and failed parliamentary candidate Mahmoud Salem, better known by his blog pseudonym Sandmonkey. He now believes that he and his fellow revolutionaries blew a chance to connect with Egyptians during the brief, hopeful moment after Mubarak quit; that, Salem argues, is when people were willing to change. Now that moment of possibility has evaporated.

One common thread runs through these writings, and through much of the critique of the uprising: that the revolutionaries never bothered to try to reach "the people." There is some truth to that claim. Some of the most talented organizers among the original January 25 revolutionaries quickly turned their focus to party politics. Their efforts might bear fruit within one or two election cycles -- five to ten years -- but theirs is a dreary and inside job of crafting party platforms, opening branch offices, and recruiting staff and members. Another crucial cadre of revolutionaries were radical by conviction; it was by design, and not by accident, that they invested their energy in street protests and in forging links with labor activists, in order to spread the revolution into the workforce. That's not to say that the remainder, who number at best a few thousand, didn't try to engage the Egyptian public; they've been trying, but they haven't been too successful. They go on television, they write newspaper columns, they hold press conferences. In August and September, they put on Revolutionary Youth Coalition road shows, where they went to towns and neighborhoods across Egypt to explain the goals of the protests. Even without a budget, however, they could have done that kind of outreach, in cafes and poor neighborhoods, every week since February 11; instead, much of their time was tied up in Tahrir protests whose utility made less and less sense even to sympathetic Egyptians.

The revolutionary youth alone hold promise for Egypt's politics of accountability, rule of law, minority rights, and civilian control over the army -- the unpopular but important bulwarks of a more liberal order. It would be a mistake to focus too much on public opinion of the protests, or even the gatherings' size. What matters is their impact. The military, in fact, has set the parameters. Since February, they have scorned those who negotiate with them in good faith at polite meetings. The only concessions the generals have made -- including, last month, their agreement to schedule presidential elections a year and a half earlier than they'd originally wanted -- came as the result of violent protests in Tahrir Square. Perhaps the revolutionaries found it simple to flood Tahrir in response to every crisis; but it was the generals who taught them that protest was the only tool that actually worked.

So when it comes to blame, save it for the military, the actor driving events and the sole authority responsible for Egypt. The act, now ragged, has the generals pretending to be reluctant rulers, eager to hand over the keys if only a responsible captain would materialize to steer the ship of state. The rest of the players in Egypt merit mere disappointment: the mediocre politicians; the Muslim Brothers who repeatedly passed up the opportunity to take a moral, national position rather than defend their narrow institutional self-interest; the activists who failed to weave a national culture movement in the aftermath of January 25; the Egyptian elites who didn't invest their money and influence in revolutionary causes; the civil servants and state institutions that slavishly serve whoever is in power; and Washington, which has utterly failed to persuade its billion-dollar welfare ward, the SCAF, to behave responsibly.

Is Egypt's revolution dead, beguiled by its own hype, endlessly occupying and fighting over meaningless patches of pavement while the rest of the country forgets about their utopian aims? "Symbols are nice, but they don't solve anything," Mahmoud Salem writes. "There is a disconnect between the revolutionaries and the people. ... Our priorities are a civilian government, the end of corruption, the reform of the police, judiciary, state media and the military, while their priorities are living in peace and putting food on the table."

Can persistent revolt eventually beget genuine revolution, like wind carving a valley through granite? I'm of two minds. The women's marches this week fill me with hope. With determination and creativity, Egyptian women flooded the streets to shame their oppressors and reclaim the righteous narrative fraudulently hijacked by the SCAF. "Egypt's women are a red line," they chanted, and for once, the SCAF issued a formal apology. But another recent encounter, a private one, fills me with despair. A man I've known for some time, who used to work in the tourist trade and whose financial well-being teeters precariously between Spartan and destitute, confided in me that he saw only one option to provide for his children in the new Egypt: to rob an armored truck. At first I thought he was kidding, but he was not. "Don't worry," he assured me. "I have a plan. No one will get hurt. The bank can afford to lose the money. I will be able to be strong again for my children."

I hope I dissuaded him, but for my friend and presumably many like him, this year of political turbulence has been more terrifying than inspiring, for reasons only tenuously connected to the SCAF's abuses, the missed opportunity for a cultural revolution, or the birth of a new Arab politics. The junta's propaganda habitually describes critics as unpatriotic, counter-revolutionary, or "not Egyptian," eager to present a uniform mold of the "true Egyptian." On the contrary, however, the proud marching women and the marauding soldiers are all Egyptian, just like the perplexed revolutionaries and the would-be bank robber. All of them will be aboard for the voyage.

===========

Muslim Brotherhood’s FJP sticks to SCAF roadmap
The Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists are accused of turning their back on the popular uprising by revolutionaries, but they continue to receive widespread popular support
Sherif Tarek, Thursday 22 Dec 2011
Muslim Brotherhood (http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/29927/Egypt/Politics-/Muslim-Brotherhood%E2%80%99s-FJP-sticks-to-SCAF-roadmap.aspx)
Supporters of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood 'The Freedom and Justice Party' participate in a march in support of the party ahead of parliamentary elections, in Cairo (Photo: Reuters)

The latest statement issued by the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), the political party founded by the Muslim Brotherhood, concerning the latest series of clashes, has triggered a fresh wave of criticism against the Islamists, who once again appear to critics to be in agreement with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF).

In the early hours of 16 December the military staged a crackdown on a three-week sit-in front of the Cabinet building in downtown Cairo. Several shocking human rights violations at the hands of military personnel towards demonstrators over the past few days were documented in videos and photographs that were broadly circulated on the internet, causing both local and international criticism of soldiers’ brutal treatment of Egyptian citizens.

The revolutionary political forces, including the Revolution Youth Coalition, called on the ruling SCAF to immediately step down and hand over power to a civilian administration. According to these forces, civilian rule is necessary in order to stop the bloodshed and push towards the transition to a full-scale democratic system, an aim that seems increasingly out of reach under military rule.

In the statement, published on 21 December on the Muslim Brotherhood’s English website, the FJP, in common with many parties and politicians, demanded an instant end to the violence and compensation for the families of martyrs and the injured. Additionally, the FJP calls on the SCAF to “identify the ‘hands’ that disrupt Egypt’s security and fuel crises,” referred to by Deputy Defence Minister Adel Emara during a press conference held on Monday.

In the same statement, however, the Brotherhood party also rejected outright the widespread suggestions for the speaker-elect of the People’s Assembly to temporarily assume the role of president, or to bring forward the presidential elections to 25 January.

The FJP statement points out that the eruption of protest coincides with the voting stages of the ongoing parliamentary elections, insinuating that there is intentional disruption of the electoral process. The statement makes it clear that there should be no disruption of the electoral process and that demands to bring foward presidential elections will not only fail to solve the current crisis, but also contravene “the requirements approved by all parties in the Constitutional Declaration – which provides for elections of the People’s Assembly, then the Shura Council [the upper house of parliament], drafting the new constitution, and finally the presidential elections.”

In a flurry of activity on social networking sites, particularly Facebook and Twitter, some observers pointed out that the Constitutional Declaration actually stipulates the presidential elections should take place before drafting the constitution. Others reiterated the view that the Brotherhood are selfishly concerned about the ongoing parliamentary elections, in which they have amassed the largest amount of votes so far.

Mohamed Salah, an expert on Islamist movements and head of Al-Hayat newspaper’s office in Egypt, said the FJP’s critics are indeed numerous, and yet, they are outnumbered by the Brotherhood’s followers, a fact from which the party derives sufficient power to declare its views without fear of significant rebuke.

Salah told Ahram Online, “Of course the Freedom and Justice Party is eager to see the roadmap implemented, that would be in their best interest. From my perspective, a lot of people want that too, especially those whom we call the ‘couch party.’”

The “couch party” is a term used to refer to those who are not politically active. Salah elaborates, “These couch party people are not necessarily supporters of SCAF, but they just want tensions to cool down and would love to see a little bit of stability. They believe what the Brotherhood is after and they do have faith in them.”

With regard to the FJP’s electoral success so far, Salah says, “it was clear from the results of the [first two rounds of the] parliamentary elections that the Brotherhood’s popularity is vast. I would say they knew they would be slated by the anti-SCAF people for their statements, but many others trust them and would back them up.”

Since March of this year, the Brotherhood and the SCAF appear to have had a behind-the-scenes deal or accommodation, from which both sides would benefit. That, at least, has been the conclusion drawn by many critics in the liberal and pro-democracy camp.

Salafist contradictions

The Salafist Al-Nour Party, the second biggest winners in the first two rounds of the parliamentary elections, has also been facing harsh criticism from the same political liberal current for some of their comments on the ongoing turmoil.

Several scenes over the past few days, during which at least 14 have been killed and several hundred injured, would in theory be particularly provocative for Al-Nour Party. Among these incidents are the obscene assault that saw three military policemen part strip an unknown veiled young woman. They dragged her through the street and continued to kick and beat her viciously as her upper body was stripped to her undergarments.

Other incidents that might be expected to inflame the Salafists include reports that medium-sized metal frames with verses of Quran emblazoned on them were among the furniture, rocks and missiles that military soldiers and other plain-clothed people were hurling from the top of the Cabinet buildings onto protesters below.

Moreover, Emad Effat, a prominent Azhar cleric who had been supportive of the Cabinet sit-in, was shot dead at the protests on 16 December. There were allegations that he was shot from point blank, but Forensics Chief Ehsan Kamil Georgi announced on Wednesday the medical reports suggest that the bullets that had penetrated his body had been shot from distance by a “sophisticated” firearm.

These incidents have not, however, elicited an enraged response from the Nour Party.

In general, the reactions of the Nour Party towards the clashes have been relatively contradictory, with some cautiously condemning the SCAF for the violence, while others have directed their criticism towards the protesters, women in particular.

“Those in Tahrir Square are not protesters, but a group of thugs who increase strife in the country, and the military council has to come down hard on them,” Abdel Karim Abou Gadida, one of the Salafist leaders in Marsa Matrouh Governorate, said in a press conference on Wednesday. “And how come some decent girl accepts to stay 20 days in the streets and sleep under tents around male youth?”

On the same day, Nader Bakar, a prominent Nour Party spokesperson, told Al-Hayat TV during a live interview: “We deplore the beating and dragging of the protesters, these brutal excesses are disgraceful for sure.”

Salah cites lack of experience as the main reason behind these contradictions. He suggests that because “Al-Nour Party is newly founded, its members do not have a lot of experience as politicians. That is why not all their statements are similar, unlike the Brotherhood whose spokespersons usually give the same stance every time, even without coordination.” He added, “and let’s not forget the media usually focus on the negative comments of the Salafists.”

In the women’s protest march on Tuesday when thousands denounced military brutality against female demonstrators, many hit out at “those who pretend to be real Muslims and showed no sympathy for the female victims,” mainly referring to the Nour Party and the FJP.

troung
24 Dec 11,, 07:34
Was the Arab Spring a Victory for Extremism?: Jeffrey Goldberg
December 23, 2011, 8:23 PM EST

By Jeffrey Goldberg

Dec. 23 (Bloomberg) -- There was a time in Cairo, just a few months ago, when it was considered slightly outre to suggest that Egypt’s religious conservatives might take advantage of Hosni Mubarak’s demise to engineer their way into power.

We were told that battalions of tweeting secularists were steering this revolution, and that the people of Egypt did not want sharia, or Islamic law, to govern their lives. They simply wanted freedom. This was Selma on the Nile.

One night in a ragged, badly lit cafe just off the square, one of the revolution’s “Google kids” -- not an actual employee but someone who could plausibly be employed by Google - - explained to me how the Mubarak regime manipulated Western opinion. “They wanted you to believe that the only thing stopping the Muslim Brothers from taking over the whole country was them,” he said. “This is how they scared you. Then you gave them guns they used to kill us.”

Both statements were true. Mubarak did invoke the specter of Islamism to Western visitors; a dozen years ago he told me, “My people expect a firm hand. If we don’t lead strongly, they will turn to the mosque for leadership.” And the regime’s thugs did deploy American weaponry against the demonstrators in Tahrir Square and elsewhere in Egypt. This was America’s shame. It is also a shame -- a lesser shame, a shame of poor analysis--that the Arab Uprising went entirely unpredicted in Washington and elsewhere. To compound the shame, few people, even in the midst of the uprisings, forecast the rise of Islamist parties to power not only in Egypt but also in Tunisia, Morocco, Libya, and coming soon, in Syria, when the Assad regime finally falls.

Dignity and Respect

In many ways the Arab Uprising -- or Arab Awakening, or Arab Spring; freedom means we can call it what we want -- should thrill the American soul. Millions of Arabs, their fear of torture and persecution finally conquered by anger at the regimes that oppressed them, rose up and, in countless acts of astonishing bravery, defeated or are attempting to defeat the despots and the massive secret police apparatuses under their command. The protesters sought dignity and respect and the freedom to choose their own path, and these are things that resonate with Americans. Then came a problem. It turns out Mubarak was right. The only thing standing between Egypt and the rise of fundamentalist Islam was … Mubarak. The path the Arab people seem to want, at least for the moment, is the path of Islam. The big news out of Cairo late this fall was not the Muslim Brotherhood’s triumph in parliamentary elections, even though the Brotherhood-affiliated party took 37 percent of the popular vote. The main news was made by the more extreme Nour Party, which is affiliated with Egypt’s Salafists. The Salafists, who believe that the world should be made over to look as it did during the time of the Prophet Muhammad, took almost 25 percent of the popular vote. In other words, the majority of voters in the Arab world’s most populous country chose either a party whose motto is “Islam is the Solution” or a party that believes that medieval Arabia is an appropriate state model. There have been two predictable Western responses to the rise of Islamism in Egypt and across the Arab world: panic and rationalization. Panic is self-explanatory: The Muslim Brotherhood and its more radical cousins are, generally speaking, anti-Western, anti-Semitic, hostile to Christians in their midst, and have a view of women that most Westerners find abhorrent. It is not difficult for creative minds to place the Muslim Brotherhood on a continuum that ends at al-Qaeda, even though al-Qaeda was created in part as a corrective to what Osama bin Laden & Co. viewed as the unforgivable moderation of the Brotherhood. The panic felt in some quarters is precisely what men such as Mubarak, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia, and even the late-stage Muammar Qaddafi in Libya hoped to cultivate in their Western interlocutors.

Rationalizing Fundamentalism

The other predictable response among Westerners has been to rationalize the rise of Muslim fundamentalism by arguing that the Muslim Brothers and even the Salafists are not the bogeymen we think they are. Scratch a Muslim Brother, the argument goes, and you’ll find the Middle Eastern analog of a European Christian Democrat. This argument elides the misogyny and anti- Semitism of Islamists, not to mention their embrace of various baroque and pathetic conspiracy theories, including the notion that the attacks of 9/11 were plotted by the Mossad or the CIA. On the other hand, the Egyptian Brothers no longer have to look to Iran to see how Islamists govern; they can look, and are looking, to Turkey, where the ruling AKP party has come closest to maintaining a commitment to traditional Islam without turning its back on the West or completely cutting off the oxygen to liberal-minded secularists.

A set of less predictable responses to the upheaval in the Middle East would include, at the outset, a strong dose of analytical humility. No one knows how these newly empowered Muslim political parties might govern. Never having governed before, the parties themselves don’t know. There are reasons for conditional anguish: The (now contracting) economy of Egypt can’t afford to be led by people who believe “Islam is the solution,” and it certainly can’t be brought into the 21st century by leaders who want to build a bridge to the 7th. But no one has yet offered compelling proof that the Brotherhood would break Egypt’s treaty obligations or press its views through violence.

Another less predictable response might come in the form of fatalism: What will happen in the Middle East is going to happen. The crisis in the region this year was, indirectly, of America’s making: On the advice of the camp of cynics known as foreign policy realists, successive U.S. Administrations believed that the best American policy in the Middle East was to make alliance with the most amenable Arab despots, who would ensure stability. Well, stability turned out to be chimerical. The Arab masses, less interested in geopolitical stability than in dignity and free expression, have rebutted the realist argument.

Military Hangs On

All this assumes Egypt’s brutal military will actually cede power to elected parties. Either way, the outcomes won’t be determined by the U.S. The people of the Arab world are going to spend the next 10 (or 20 or 30) years deciding for themselves how they wish to be governed. It will often be messy and unpleasant, but in the end, once they complete their experiments in theocratic rule (or revert back to other forms of authoritarianism), I’m reasonably sure (as an American optimist, rather than as a fatalist) that they will turn to a type of liberal democracy informed by faith, but without the intolerance associated with fundamentalism.

This is not to say the West must ignore the Arabs as they sort out the future. The U.S. still has the ability to shape certain outcomes -- the intervention in Libya is a case in point -- and protect those who need protecting. (The aggrieved Christians of Egypt spring to mind.) And the U.S. should work more assiduously to speed Assad’s downfall in Syria, which would leave America’s main nemesis in the Middle East--Iran--without an Arab friend. The uprisings offer opportunities for the U.S. None is greater than the chance to see the Arab world find its way to freedom, if we only have the patience and fortitude to watch as it detours through fundamentalism.

(Jeffrey Goldberg is a Bloomberg View columnist and a national correspondent for the Atlantic. The opinions expressed are his own. This article appears in the Dec. 26 issue of Bloomberg Businessweek.)

--Editors: Romesh Ratnesar, Josh Tyrangiel

To contact the writer of this article: Jeffrey Goldberg at goldberg.atlantic@gmail.com.

To contact the editor responsible for this article: Timothy Lavin at tlavin1@bloomberg.net.


Was the Arab Spring a Victory for Extremism?: Jeffrey Goldberg - Businessweek (http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-12-23/was-the-arab-spring-a-victory-for-extremism-jeffrey-goldberg.html)

Double Edge
24 Dec 11,, 14:13
Think of the MB as conservatives and the salafis as the extreme right.


Get your head out of the sand
Which part of 'Too early to call' did you not understand ?

You do realise this election was for the constituent assembly and that they have yet to have a general election. Nobody has even seen what consitution they come up with but lets not let the little pesky details come in the way, eh.


who the hell is going to visit a place where you might get jailed for acting like a Westerner? No booze, beaches or broads...
Assuming this has been permitted upto now what makes you think its going to dissapear overnight. A bunch of mullahs that were banned by the military for decades is going to change all this ? heh.

I will repeat it again, if tourism is important to Egypt they are not going to mess with it. They establish enclaves where this behaviour is tolerated. Its not a 100% washout is it.


This is a Wahabi Winter.
The Saudi idea was to buy votes through cheap meat & other assorted services. This is where the salafis got their numbers.

Not heard your congress critters discussing scaling back aid to Egypt have you ? So what will ~$1 billion annual aid get you in exchange.

That means western money vs saudi money. Egypt is too important to fail :)


Worked well for Iran thirty years ago...
Iranians have yet to unseat their dear leader unlike the Egyptians.

troung, couple of things I want you to clarify as its unclear to me:
- Do you believe the military will allow free & fair general elections in the future or will they put that off. Because then tourism remains the same as under Mubarak.

- Whether you think the Islamists are going to turn Egypt into Saudi Arabia.

Going by the military's behaviour it does not seem to matter whether one is liberal or Islamist. The army has been hammering everybody in the interests of law & order and there are several instances of going beyond.

troung
24 Dec 11,, 17:41
Which part of 'Too early to call' did you not understand ?

What part of 'head in the sand' doesn't translate?


Iranians have yet to unseat their dear leader unlike the Egyptians.

They did (the Shah) and they have gotten the Mullahs, just like Egypt is on the way to get.


Going by the military's behaviour it does not seem to matter whether one is liberal or Islamist. The army has been hammering everybody in the interests of law & order and there are several instances of going beyond.

The Mullahs are sitting back because they have this in any election. Islamists represent the people of Egypt, not the tweeters.


Assuming this has been permitted upto now what makes you think its going to dissapear overnight. A bunch of mullahs that were banned by the military for decades is going to change all this ? heh.

The Egyptian public stands beside the Mullahs not the tweeters.


Not heard your congress critters discussing scaling back aid to Egypt have you ? So what will ~$1 billion annual aid get you in exchange.

That is aid for the armed forces, so unless they pull an Algeria the army will be run by the Mullahs.


I will repeat it again, if tourism is important to Egypt they are not going to mess with it. They establish enclaves where this behaviour is tolerated. Its not a 100% washout is it.

No they probably won't as they secure power. And who would wish to go somewhere where the issue is more then likely in doubt at best?
==========
People might finally learn why we didn't want people from this part of the world to vote.

===========

Egypt: Islamists consolidate gains in 2nd round of parliamentary elections

By Associated Press, Updated: Saturday, December 24, 9:46 AM
Egypt: Islamists consolidate gains in 2nd round of parliamentary elections - The Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle-east/egypt-islamists-consolidate-gains-in-2nd-round-of-parliamentary-elections/2011/12/24/gIQA9JEMFP_story.html)
CAIRO — Islamist parties have consolidated earlier gains in Egypt’s multistage parliamentary elections, winning nearly 70 percent of the seats determined so far, according to results announced Saturday.

Election commission chief Abdel-Moez Ibrahim announced results from the second round of three rounds, which was held Dec. 14-15, followed by a run-off this week. The second round was held in nine provinces, and Ibrahim said turnout reached 65 percent.

Based on the results he gave, the Muslim Brotherhood says it won around 86 of estimated 180 seats up for grabs in the round, or 47 percent.

The Al-Nour Party, the political arm of the ultraconservative Salafi movement, won around 20 percent of the vote.

The secular and liberal forces that largely drove Egypt’s uprising against former leader Hosni Mubarak were trounced, failing to turn their achievement into a victory at the polls. The secular alliance of Egyptian Bloc and youth Revolution Continues won less than 10 percent of the seats.

The results mirror those from the first round of voting, held in late November, when the two blocs together won nearly 70 percent.

A third round of voting is to be held Jan. 3-4. It is not expected to alter the result and could strengthen the Islamists’ hand.

The exact numbers of seats won by each group is not immediately known because of the complicated voting system Egypt is using. Some seats are determined by a direct competition between candidates, while others are divvied out in proportion to each party’s percentage of votes. The commission is to announce the actual numbers of seats at the end of the entire vote.

The commission on Saturday also suspended announcement of results for few seats because of lawsuits filed by candidates citing irregularities.

The election is the first since Mubarak’s Feb. 11 ouster and is the freest in Egypt’s modern history. The 498-seat People’s Assembly, the parliament’s lower house, will be tasked, in theory, with forming a 100-member assembly to draft a new constitution.

But its actual role remains unclear. The military council that has ruled since Mubarak’s fall says the parliament will not be representative of all of Egypt, and should not have sole power over the drafting of the constitution. Last week, the military appointed a 30-member council to oversee the process.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Mihais
24 Dec 11,, 17:54
People might finally learn why we didn't want people from this part of the world to vote.

===========


Looking at what the rest of us put in office I'd say we need to cul the herd ourselves.Voting is great,but is also the great equalizer between idiots and not so idiots.That's not so great.

Dude,let DE be the eternal optimist.I don't think he's wrong about tourism and such in the short run.However the Christians there are likely toast and the Egyptians will play a big part in the future Ragnarok.

troung
24 Dec 11,, 18:36
Dude,let DE be the eternal optimist.I

Optimists were those people who at the start thought the tweeters were anything more than a essentially fringe minority of Egypt. Delusion is for people who still hold out hope after the Islamists crushed everyone at the ballot box.

============
This was wrongheaded optimism...
http://www.worldaffairsboard.com/arab-protests-2010-2011/58726-chances-egyptian-muslim-brotherood-taking-power.html


I think the idea that the MB can win is mubarak-era thinking. We are now in the post-mubarak era. And the MB isn't the only alternative to his regime. Therefore if ppl have real choice the story should be different as there will be alternatives to choose from. If they have elections they should have intl monitors so it can be shown to have been conducted in as transparent a manner as possible. Baradei has countered the perception of the MB portrayed in the press, i'm not sure to what extent he's being an opportunist there or whether its genuine. These ppl have just fought one regime, they aren't going to settle for another military or religious one. What was the role of the MB in this current uprising ? Not identifiable AFAICT. That means they are on the same playing field as the other parties.



The MB are not taking control of the country.

Mihais
24 Dec 11,, 19:00
C'mon man,don't preach to the choir.I had my disagreement with DE about the whole affair.But since he's on my buddy list I won't call him delusional.No better friend etc...:) So far,we ,the doomsayers are on the path to victory.Problem is a response is not yet visible.we can be right all the way.Talk is cheap.Action is needed.For the ''optimists'' this is easy.They'll do nothing,hoping the Arabs will sort their affairs and become like ''us''.For the ''realists'' things are tougher.They also do nothing,because doing what's needed requires a complete remodelling of our societies in the first place.Societal delusion no. 1 is that all people are the same.Delusion 2 is that democracies never go to war with other democracies.Delusion 3 is that democracy=freedom.Delusion 4 is that mob rule=the finest thing since icecream in a hot summer day.

Double Edge
24 Dec 11,, 21:35
What part of 'head in the sand' doesn't translate?
I note you did not answer the two points i asked you to clarify.


They did (the Shah) and they have gotten the Mullahs, just like Egypt is on the way to get.
Where is it preordained that it will turn out like Iran ?

Iran is a theocracy, Sunni's dont do that sort of thing. The closest you get was the Taliban, that too successful only when supported by their neighbour. I don't see any Talibs in Egypt do you.

You think this is '78. I'm not sure if its '68 or '89, would like to think its the latter :)


The Mullahs are sitting back because they have this in any election. Islamists represent the people of Egypt, not the tweeters.
Like communists the people of China ie in name only. According to your earlier article the salafis already think the MB are sellouts.


The Egyptian public stands beside the Mullahs not the tweeters.
Yes, what i want to know is what that translates into exactly. You don't seem to be able to tell us that other than we must approach this with loads of fear & foreboding. That part of your narrative comes through very clear.

Help me to understand why broads, booze & beaches matters more than jobs. Because i don't think the man on the street is going to when he has less to put on the table.

I see another angle to this type of reporting. It puts whatever adminstration that eventually materialises in Egypt on their toes. They have to constantly show they are not or will not do what they are portrayed to be if they hope to attract any of the much needed capital from abroad that Egypt needs. They will have to moderate their actions if not their rhetoric if they hope to be successful in office. If not they're out come the next election cycle. This is why i think what happens in the future election cycle is more important.


That is aid for the armed forces, so unless they pull an Algeria the army will be run by the Mullahs.
Interesting you mention that, the Algerians put an Islamist party in power but at the time the west ie France was not prepared for that so of course the military had to step in. This brings me to the next point. Whether the west is today prepared for the same or whether its still stuck in the old school thinking that encouraged by the dictators themselves was they were the only thing that stood betwen fanatical Islam and stability.

I know for a fact that you support this view, i think that the time for that thinking is over. There would have been no Arab spring otherwise.


No they probably won't as they secure power. And who would wish to go somewhere where the issue is more then likely in doubt at best?
oh, there will be no doubt it either happens or it does not. How long for.


People might finally learn why we didn't want people from this part of the world to vote
Here we go. The main weakness in your thinking. Democracy is not meant to work everywhere. Why ? because its cultural :biggrin:

...or as Wolfowitz put it, non-muslims telling the world how good muslims ought to behave.

I would rather these people came to power, fail and be relegated to the streets like in Pakistan where they never seen to get more than 15% of the vote. This aura of Islamist party needs to be put to the test and seen for what it really is.

Oh and thanks for bringing up my early comments on the subject. Its still not clear to me whether the military in Egypt will go back to the barracks after the election is over. So des the MB take over the country or merely share in the power.


The election is the first since Mubarak’s Feb. 11 ouster and is the freest in Egypt’s modern history. The 498-seat People’s Assembly, the parliament’s lower house, will be tasked, in theory, with forming a 100-member assembly to draft a new constitution.

But its actual role remains unclear. The military council that has ruled since Mubarak’s fall says the parliament will not be representative of all of Egypt, and should not have sole power over the drafting of the constitution. Last week, the military appointed a 30-member council to oversee the process.
Bingo!

Double Edge
24 Dec 11,, 22:02
C'mon man,don't preach to the choir.I had my disagreement with DE about the whole affair.But since he's on my buddy list I won't call him delusional.No better friend etc...:)
Am always interested in throwing ideas at the Mihais meat-grinder :biggrin:


So far,we ,the doomsayers are on the path to victory.
Define this victory. Is it like the domino theory of the cold war. If so you do see the irony. One was the fear of illiberalism by communism and therefore had to be opposed or contained. Here the people are getting a chance to vote and that itself is being held in question. In the good old days it might have made sense to have dictators in power as that meant less chances for communism to take hold but am not seeing the wisdom of that same thinking today.

In a replay of Uncle Joe at the Pope, how many divisions does Islam have :)

Look, my position here stems from the fact i grew up in an Arab country and never thought i'd see the day where these people rose up against their authoritarian leaders and demanded to be first class citizens. Of course i want to see this movement carried through to its logical conclusion.


Problem is a response is not yet visible.we can be right all the way.Talk is cheap.Action is needed.For the ''optimists'' this is easy.They'll do nothing,hoping the Arabs will sort their affairs and become like ''us''.
Won't quite say become like you but peole dont stay dumb & powerless for long.


For the ''realists'' things are tougher.They also do nothing,because doing what's needed requires a complete remodelling of our societies in the first place.Societal delusion no. 1 is that all people are the same.Delusion 2 is that democracies never go to war with other democracies.Delusion 3 is that democracy=freedom.Delusion 4 is that mob rule=the finest thing since icecream in a hot summer day.
1. not the same but rather for different people to work together. Allowing for safety valves so different people can blow of steam via protests & elections. A dictatorship on the other hand tries to make everyone the same.
2. not a supporter of this one.
3. more freedom than with any other system, ultimately more stable which is the main reason why it gets promoted and should be promoted.
4. democracy is mob rule, whereas rule by law and with the appropriate protections mitigates away from mob rule. Whatever constitution the Egyptians come up with will be crucial.

Oh and i can make a realist argument to support my views here.

Classical political realism holds that it is fundamentally the nature of man that pushes states and individuals to act in a way that places interests over ideologies

NUS
24 Dec 11,, 22:59
Societal delusion no. 1 is that all people are the same.Delusion 2 is that democracies never go to war with other democracies.Delusion 3 is that democracy=freedom.Delusion 4 is that mob rule=the finest thing since icecream in a hot summer day.

Mihas for the president of EU! :wors: (Or dictator, if you like it more.)


3. more freedom than with any other system, ultimately more stable
Roman Republic (and later Empire) lasted for 500 years each, feudal empires are not far from Romans in stability. And i will be extrimly surprised if current form of liberal democracy will survive next 10 years.

troung
25 Dec 11,, 04:45
Like communists the people of China ie in name only. According to your earlier article the salafis already think the MB are sellouts.

One exterme party which got about half of the vote is thought soft by another more extreme party which got twenty percent. They both totally crushed the people you support and thought had a chance.


You think this is '78. I'm not sure if its '68 or '89, would like to think its the latter

Your thinking is totally muddled. Islamists are winning.


Bingo!

Your bingo point is the vain hope that the unpopular and unelected army will somehow trump the will of the people of Egypt by fiat. Back to square one.


I would rather these people came to power, fail and be relegated to the streets like in Pakistan where they never seen to get more than 15% of the vote. This aura of Islamist party needs to be put to the test and seen for what it really is.

They have not left in Iran and will not leave in Egypt once they get in power.


If so you do see the irony. One was the fear of illiberalism by communism and therefore had to be opposed or contained. Here the people are getting a chance to vote and that itself is being held in question. In the good old days it might have made sense to have dictators in power as that meant less chances for communism to take hold but am not seeing the wisdom of that same thinking today.

You are wrong - this would be let letting all of our allies fall to Communism and then claiming it as a win.


Yes, what i want to know is what that translates into exactly. You don't seem to be able to tell us that other than we must approach this with loads of fear & foreboding. That part of your narrative comes through very clear.

They have already voted, they don't stand beside the pie in the sky crap about freedom and a liberal state that the media shoveled out, they voted for Mullahs.


Whether the west is today prepared for the same or whether its still stuck in the old school thinking that encouraged by the dictators themselves was they were the only thing that stood betwen fanatical Islam and stability.

They were.


Oh and thanks for bringing up my early comments on the subject. Its still not clear to me whether the military in Egypt will go back to the barracks after the election is over. So des the MB take over the country or merely share in the power.

You claimed then the MB were effectively nobodies, today they are the largest party in Egypt. Short of the army annulling the results and a bloody civil war the MB is going to be taking charge. Either Mubarak round 2, the Taliban, or the next Pakistan.

==============
Had the media done their jobs and reported rather then mentally masturbated maybe the stakes would have been clearer.

Double Edge
25 Dec 11,, 16:37
One exterme party which got about half of the vote is thought soft by another more extreme party which got twenty percent. They both totally crushed the people you support and thought had a chance.
MB got 36.6 % of the vote, still a way from half. Together with the salafis they make up 61%.

40 million of Egypts 70 million lives in poverty, so this is where those votes came from. Maybe they think the Islamists are the only party that isn't corrupt to the hilt and can deliver. These guys are always the first to the scene in any crisis the way missionary groups deliver services in African countries with dysfunctional governments.


Your bingo point is the vain hope that the unpopular and unelected army will somehow trump the will of the people of Egypt by fiat. Back to square one.
Err no, it means there is a control and the army acts as a moderating presence just like in Turkey. This play is open for now, how much of a dampner do they play or not.


They have not left in Iran and will not leave in Egypt once they get in power.
They stay in power so long as they deliver. There is no chance of a theocracy.

You never did nor do you have a say in what happens in post revolutionary Iran but thats not true for Egypt.


You are wrong - this would be let letting all of our allies fall to Communism and then claiming it as a win.
Ah, i see, once the Islamists win they trash whatever got them into power and hold on into perpetuity. Never mind about that empty plate, just pray and all wishes will be granted. Which ever party that comes to power in the genral elections a year from now will have an unenviable enormous task ahead of them.

Who says the army goes back to the barracks ? they still remain the wildcard.


They have already voted, they don't stand beside the pie in the sky crap about freedom and a liberal state that the media shoveled out, they voted for Mullahs.
And democracy means when mullahs dont get the vote somebody else replaces them. yes ? otherwise you'd have your point. But thats five years into the future hence too early to call.


They were.
Their time was over


You claimed then the MB were effectively nobodies, today they are the largest party in Egypt. Short of the army annulling the results and a bloody civil war the MB is going to be taking charge. Either Mubarak round 2, the Taliban, or the next Pakistan.
Never said the MB were nobodies. Have said i did not expect them to win as much as they did which i will concede.

Interesting, no possibility of a Turkey in your outlook.

Would suggest you watch your own intelligence commitee hearing on the MB which i posted many months back here. Lot less hype and more background.


Had the media done their jobs and reported rather then mentally masturbated maybe the stakes would have been clearer.
It was quite a momentous event. Of course idealism is going to get the upper hand. Its after the revolution that the hard work begins.

Why did the west allow these movements to proceed and at times actually go out of their way and promote it ie Libya. What is the game here. That tells me the west is ready for these sorts of govts and that it ain't that big a deal. This is why i think your worldview is outdated.

Double Edge
25 Dec 11,, 16:48
Roman Republic (and later Empire) lasted for 500 years each, feudal empires are not far from Romans in stability.
Fine, but the fashion changed last century towards more representation. Almost went to the brink of WW3 in defense of the idea.


And i will be extrimly surprised if current form of liberal democracy will survive next 10 years.
You're referring to the 17 in the EC. Yes, if they get appointed leaders then you will be technically right. This will still cause less unrest relatively spekaing than if the Euro failed. It will be a compromise to buy time, time for Europe to grow again.

But thats only for those 17 countries not the rest of the world.

troung
25 Dec 11,, 17:18
Ah, i see, once the Islamists win they trash whatever got them into power and hold on into perpetuity. Never mind about that empty plate, just pray and all wishes will be granted. Which ever party that comes to power in the genral elections a year from now will have an unenviable enormous task ahead of them.

Where have you been you entire life? I'm serious, I tried to copy and paste that a few times but your delicate thoughts floated off my screen.


And democracy means when mullahs dont get the vote somebody else replaces them. yes ? otherwise you'd have your point. But thats five years into the future hence too early to call.

Bullshit cop out. That assumes they lose and puts the issue far into the future to duck the fact that you and others like you were horribly wrong and now wish to change the goal posts.


Err no, it means there is a control and the army acts as a moderating presence just like in Turkey. This play is open for now, how much of a dampner do they play or not.

That won't last. Hasn't lasted in Turkey as shown by events, and won't last long in Egypt unless they pull an Algeria and annul the results. And its down right hypocritical for you to jump for joy months ago and now say all is well in the land of skinny jeans and twitter as long as the army suppresses the public's will.


Interesting, no possibility of a Turkey in your outlook.

Nope.


It was quite a momentous event. Of course idealism is going to get the upper hand. Its after the revolution that the hard work begins.

They should have honestly reported on the people to inform the American public as to if we should have been cheering this BS on or supporting an ally.


Why did the west allow these movements to proceed and at times actually go out of their way and promote it ie Libya. What is the game here. That tells me the west is ready for these sorts of govts and that it ain't that big a deal. This is why i think your worldview is outdated.

Sakorzy stepped on his own dick and recognized them too quickly and the media sold up the rebels as good people. Their horrible conduct and terrorist ties showed how badly their supporters lied to the world.

========
A broken clock is at least right twice a day - these protests smoked out a lot of people who failed to even manage that. All of the crap about pro-western youth and other BS has instead put our actual enemies into power across the region.

Double Edge
26 Dec 11,, 13:54
Where have you been you entire life? I'm serious, I tried to copy and paste that a few times but your delicate thoughts floated off my screen.
Try and rephrase then.


Bullshit cop out. That assumes they lose and puts the issue far into the future to duck the fact that you and others like you were horribly wrong and now wish to change the goal posts.
No cop out troung.

Now that the Islamists have a 61% say in how the constitution gets drafted we accept and deal with it. Its as you say, the Egyptians have spoken.

Five years to the next election how are they going to fare. Meanwhile what are these parties going to do to uplift their long time suffering people. Egypt's economy is one quarter the size of Turkey for similar head count. Lots of scope for improvement here.

I will repeat again, in a democratic setup the party in office has to work to stay in office otherwise they are out or will be forced into a coalition govt. This is the bigger and more important difference compared to the past.


That won't last. Hasn't lasted in Turkey as shown by events, and won't last long in Egypt unless they pull an Algeria and annul the results. And its down right hypocritical for you to jump for joy months ago and now say all is well in the land of skinny jeans and twitter as long as the army suppresses the public's will.
What hasn't lasted in Turkey ? the AKP won for the first time since ages. The CHP is in opposition now. You mean to tell me the AKP is going to be a permanent fixture from now on. Get real.

I would not be in favour of the Egyptian army pulling an Algeria.

Am not saying all is well, stop reducing my position into a simplistic stereotype. The liberals have suffered a temporary setback. Many said the Islamist parties were the best organised to take advantage of the situation. What you neglect is see is that over time other parties can also build up support. The whole point of a democratic setup is choice where none existed in the past.

What matters is elections remain open & free from rigging.


Nope.
We shall see


They should have honestly reported on the people to inform the American public as to if we should have been cheering this BS on or supporting an ally.
There were numerous articles posted here expressing doubts over the outcome. The skeptical reports were in the minority.

You have a problem with free & open elections in that part of the world. You do not believe democracy will work with those people. The biggest antidote to Islamic terror presented itself on a silver platter and you reject it. Does not say much about your confidence in the ideas you were willing to defend with much blood & treasure does it. And you accuse me of moving the goalposts !!

There is a HUGE difference between imposing democracy and allowing it to spring up from grassroots which is the latter case in Egypt.


Sakorzy stepped on his own dick and recognized them too quickly and the media sold up the rebels as good people. Their horrible conduct and terrorist ties showed how badly their supporters lied to the world.
Ah, but your govt along with a signficant number of others recognises the NTC as well.

There is a bigger game at play here. Jury is still out on why Libya was liberated. There does not appear to be any valid military reason for it.

You can say that with Gaddafi gone the sense is that the people should be empowered. Gaddafi in place threatens to destabisise the peoples movements in Tunisia & Egypt and from there the wider Arab world. That to me is the longer game being played here as opposed to getting overly worked up with short term Islamist victories which are in no way permanent. You did not install an Islamist dictatorship in these countries.


A broken clock is at least right twice a day - these protests smoked out a lot of people who failed to even manage that. All of the crap about pro-western youth and other BS has instead put our actual enemies into power across the region.
In a free & open setup all sorts of characters will crawl out from the woodwork. The idea is for them to compete with others on a level playing field. You can shape the outcome if you keep an open mind and stay engaged.

Mihais
26 Dec 11,, 14:50
DE,the issue isn't democracy,is geopolitics.They can make a Switzerland over there,our interests will diverge .Space under the sun is a relatively rare commodity.And by us I mean the West,just to make clear my stance.
What they will make there however is another topic.Troung,myself and all the sceptics have little faith in the sustainability of a democracy there.Yes,the 1% overthrew the dictator.Egypt has generations before it catches Iran in creating an educated middle class and we all witnessed 2009.The tweeters will get stomped by the stupid masses if they'll try to move against an established islamic government.Majority wins and as the good Colonel said once,every society is a democracy,by ballot or by bullet.Fists suffice in this case.
Egypt has long to catch Turkey,but the islamists aren't conditioned by that.All they need is literally to put bread on the table,not a car in the garage or a PC in every house.Putting bread requires only a little less inefficiency and corruption and the Islamic parties tend to be just that.Look at Hezbollah and Shabaab.They were given crappy cards to play,but they played them well,to their credit.Egypt has higher standards than S Lebanon or Somalia,but the principle stays the same,IMO.

Lets see how many of the generals today will keep their job a year or two from now.Even more important,lets see what kind of colonels will get promotions.As for the junior officers and the rank and file,they can't be much different than the rest of the nation.Discipline has it's limits.

Btw,if you don't mind,in where did you grew?What amuses me to no end is how different people reach vastly different conclusions based on the same intel.I guess circumstances dictate which one is the right.In good times,your ilk prospers,while the paranoids like me suffer in silence.Now,however,Eris rules the world,not Harmonia:biggrin:

Mihais
26 Dec 11,, 15:04
Mihas for the president of EU! :wors: (Or dictator, if you like it more.)


Roman Republic (and later Empire) lasted for 500 years each, feudal empires are not far from Romans in stability. And i will be extrimly surprised if current form of liberal democracy will survive next 10 years.

I'd like to be dictator of EU.To tear it down.They'll make cheesy movies after me,in which my character will be flawless(I'm not) and he'll get the super model about 10 minutes into the movie,just by looking at her.In real world you need to chase her long and hard,besides them not being all that good looking.:biggrin:

It's way off-topic,but IMO the democracy of today is obsolete.We have the technical means to spread the power more widely and make the decision process more adapted to the speed of modern society.We can literally return to the Athenian origins of democracy,where practically every citizen had the opportunity to be at least once a member of the executive body.Besides voting for all matters of public interest in real(or almost real )time.

Double Edge
26 Dec 11,, 20:43
Here's a sobering post (http://www.sandmonkey.org/2011/12/20/underneath/) from Sandmonkey after a two month hiatus, he was out campaigning and managing campaigns. It raises the question of whether the military will go in to the barracks or not. And whether the elections were really free & fair.

The Egyptian model for now seems to give the military even more power than in Turkey. Take a look at the dynamics between the various groups expressed.

troung goes on about putting enemies into power but at the same time does not realise that the military is the biggest enemy of the MB, having persecuted them for decades.


So many times I have met people who are terrified at the electoral successes of the Islamic parties in the election, and while they acknowledge that there “must be a deal” between the SCAF and the Islamists, they sit back with a knowing smile and tell me : “But you know what? The SCAF are not stupid. They will screw the Muslim Brotherhood over. They are just waiting for the right moment and they will destroy them. You just wait and see!”

I tell them that they are disgusting for thinking this way. That they are like a raped woman who is rooting for her rapist to rape the other woman who got away so that she wouldn’t be the only raped one.


So, why would the military be “helping” the Salafi Noor Party get votes? Well, mainly because they invented them. It was a match made possible by State-Security, who probably alerted the military of how reliable were the salafis in their previous “cooperation” to scare the living shit out of the population into submission and supporting the regime. Remember the All Saints church attack, the one that happened this New Year? Remember the documents proving that our very own State Security had arranged it to take place to force the Coptic population to support Mubarak? Yeah, it’s kind of like that. Only on a higher level.

Ensuring that the Salafis have a big chunk of the parliament (one that is neither logical or feasible considering their numbers in Egypt) achieves two goals:

1) Provide a mechanism for the security apparatus to keep the Muslim Brotherhood in check if they ever thought of using religion as a weapon against SCAF (As far as the salafis are concerned, the MB are secular infidels) and

2) to really frame the choice in our (and the international community’s) heads between a “Islamist country or a military regime”, because, let’s face it, The MB are not scary enough for the general population. But the Salafis? Terrifying shit. You add to that the piece of news that the average Egyptian duty-free buying alcohol limit over night went from 4 bottles to a single bottle, and that they now have a “women only” queue in the Airport, and you have the Upper-class and Upper-middle class – alongside with the west- pissing in their pants and psychologically ready to accept military rule over Islamic one.

A fake and a false choice, especially that new parliament will have no power what so ever over anything.



I love it when a fellow revolutionary asks me : ” I don’t understand what’s going on. Why are the Police/Military shooting and killing people and prolonging street conflicts in Mohamed Mahmoud/ ElQasr Eleiny? What do they want? What’s the big plan?”

Well, to put it simply, The Big plan is the same as the immediate plan: they want you dead. It’s not that they want to kill opposition; they want to kill the opposition, literally. This country ain’t big enough for the both of you, and they have everything to lose. And they have guns. And the media. And all the keys of power. And you want to overthrow them. How do you think they will react to that? Give you cookies?


Here is a fun fact:
- about 40% of the people head to the polls not knowing who they will vote for, and are simply there because they are afraid of the 500LE fine they must pay for abstaining to vote;

- about another 50% go to the polls with a piece of paper that has the names & symbols of the people they will vote for, people that they don’t know, or their history or anything about them. They simply asked their friends and they told them that these are “good people to vote for”, and this is true across the board in all classes, upper and lower, uneducated and educated.

And you can’t blame them really, because each district has over 100 candidates fighting over 2 seats and only 4 weeks to campaign. If you are the average new voter, there is no time to meet or evaluate or educate yourself about all of them in order to choose objectively between them. I know people that voted for me simply because I was the only candidate they met. I am not kidding.


Tahrir became an international symbol, thanks to the foreign media, and everyone believed that the regime was brought down because of the people in Tahrir, even though every revolutionary knows that the regime was brought down because the revolution was at every square in the country, not just Tahrir. But, amazingly, we also believed the Hype that the media created. We believed in the Symbol, and it became a fixture in our thinking. If there is a problem, go to Tahrir. Hell, centralize the entire revolution into Tahrir, and instead of going to every other square and concentrating our bases in the country, we demanded – like the chauvinist Cairiens that we are- for them to come to us. That as long as we have many numbers in Tahrir, we will get somewhere, we will bring down the regime.

But here is the truth: Tahrir is not a magical land, one which if we occupy we can hold all the magical keys of our kingdom and bring down the evil regime of whomever is in Power. Tahrir is a square. A piece of land. A symbol, but a piece of land nonetheless. And just because it worked before, it doesn’t mean it will work again. We are like an old married couple trying to recapture the magic of their early days by going to the same place they went to on their honeymoon, or dance to the same song they fell in love to, and discovering that it’s not working because there are real problems that need to be resolved. Symbols are nice, but they don’t solve anything.

Too early to call ?

Double Edge
26 Dec 11,, 21:21
DE,the issue isn't democracy,is geopolitics.They can make a Switzerland over there,our interests will diverge .Space under the sun is a relatively rare commodity.And by us I mean the West,just to make clear my stance.
Agree with the bolded bit, question is whether it can be managed or not. If you assume the worst then no. But is that right view to take so early on without a cold war backdrop.

Another point to mention when comparing Iran vs Egypt. Would Khomeni have ever risen to prominence if not for '53 and a dictator installed. Thats not happened in Egypt (yet). If it does then you turn Egypt into Iran.


What they will make there however is another topic.Troung,myself and all the sceptics have little faith in the sustainability of a democracy there.Yes,the 1% overthrew the dictator.Egypt has generations before it catches Iran in creating an educated middle class and we all witnessed 2009.The tweeters will get stomped by the stupid masses if they'll try to move against an established islamic government.Majority wins and as the good Colonel said once,every society is a democracy,by ballot or by bullet.Fists suffice in this case.
Egypt has long to catch Turkey,but the islamists aren't conditioned by that.All they need is literally to put bread on the table,not a car in the garage or a PC in every house.Putting bread requires only a little less inefficiency and corruption and the Islamic parties tend to be just that.Look at Hezbollah and Shabaab.They were given crappy cards to play,but they played them well,to their credit.Egypt has higher standards than S Lebanon or Somalia,but the principle stays the same,IMO.
Also agree. But how will they put food on the table with the funds they have. Will it be enough, they have to keep on generating more and in doing so raising the standards across the country. As opposed to a military dictatorship that can get away with a lot more because it has guns. Though as we've seen there are limits to that power.


Lets see how many of the generals today will keep their job a year or two from now.Even more important,lets see what kind of colonels will get promotions.As for the junior officers and the rank and file,they can't be much different than the rest of the nation.Discipline has it's limits.
Will the army go back to the barracks ?


Btw,if you don't mind,in where did you grew?What amuses me to no end is how different people reach vastly different conclusions based on the same intel.I guess circumstances dictate which one is the right.In good times,your ilk prospers,while the paranoids like me suffer in silence.Now,however,Eris rules the world,not Harmonia:biggrin:
I don't know who is right just supporting the position that maximises freedom. Anything that messes with it is to be opposed.

Dreadnought
26 Dec 11,, 22:56
All I see are two pages of threads to prove the very same point as to what most in the west dont believe in..... Allowing religion to inhibit politics as law. Once you do, you are doomed as a democracy in many cases. A religious influence in the common good?, Yes, absolutely & positively no matter which or how many that may be. But as rule of law? Not a chance. You will remain piss poor as a nation and you will never see the full potential and knowledge of your people or younger generations to come. Same old men with the same old idealisms. Women are not equal, cant drive, be seen with etc etc etc. Question their authority and you know what will happen.

If the people agree to be led by those who execute religion in the name of fear, control, removing your individual rights, laws etc then you deserve exactly what you get.

However at that point can you really call it your "faith" or "religion" anymore then you call it your "government"? Think about it.

Its all about power and what better way to control then to use religion as a tool of power. Look around the past several decades and conflict are awash in it.

Religion is a spiritual belief and a faith, no matter which you choose to follow or even if you choose to follow one. It is not civilian law nor should be used to control a population, their communication with the outside world as a whole or learning ability nor be used to either kill or torture you as a human being. We are all different, no matter which culture or hemisphere you are from.

troung
27 Dec 11,, 00:22
What hasn't lasted in Turkey ? the AKP won for the first time since ages. The CHP is in opposition now. You mean to tell me the AKP is going to be a permanent fixture from now on. Get real. + The Egyptian model for now seems to give the military even more power than in Turkey. Take a look at the dynamics between the various groups expressed.

The Turkish Army was more then simply a junta. They had Attaturk first as a leader then as a symbol, a huge victory over several nations before they set up, and a damn good message. The Turks made a solid foundation. The Egyptian Army doesn't have any of that. They will either follow the will of the people of Egypt or have to machine gun them.


Another point to mention when comparing Iran vs Egypt. Would Khomeni have ever risen to prominence if not for '53 and a dictator installed. Thats not happened in Egypt (yet). If it does then you turn Egypt into Iran.

The MB will win at the ballot box.


You can say that with Gaddafi gone the sense is that the people should be empowered. Gaddafi in place threatens to destabisise the peoples movements in Tunisia & Egypt and from there the wider Arab world. That to me is the longer game being played here as opposed to getting overly worked up with short term Islamist victories which are in no way permanent. You did not install an Islamist dictatorship in these countries.

The "peoples" movements voted in our enemies who are Islamists.


I don't know who is right just supporting the position that maximises freedom. Anything that messes with it is to be opposed.

And yet you are hoping the military stomps on the will of the Egyptians.


Here's a sobering post from Sandmonkey after a two month hiatus, he was out campaigning and managing campaigns. It raises the question of whether the military will go in to the barracks or not. And whether the elections were really free & fair.

A useful idiot saying woe is him. It is awesome to think that someone can live in a nation and seemingly have never have rolled down the window of his BMW.

We lost a regional ally in exchange for the hopes that the Army will machine gun those protesters who ten months ago we were lied to about.

Double Edge
27 Dec 11,, 17:58
All I see are two pages of threads to prove the very same point as to what most in the west dont believe in..... Allowing religion to inhibit politics as law. Once you do, you are doomed as a democracy in many cases. A religious influence in the common good?, Yes, absolutely & positively no matter which or how many that may be. But as rule of law? Not a chance. You will remain piss poor as a nation and you will never see the full potential and knowledge of your people or younger generations to come. Same old men with the same old idealisms. Women are not equal, cant drive, be seen with etc etc etc. Question their authority and you know what will happen.

If the people agree to be led by those who execute religion in the name of fear, control, removing your individual rights, laws etc then you deserve exactly what you get.

However at that point can you really call it your "faith" or "religion" anymore then you call it your "government"? Think about it.

Its all about power and what better way to control then to use religion as a tool of power. Look around the past several decades and conflict are awash in it.

Religion is a spiritual belief and a faith, no matter which you choose to follow or even if you choose to follow one. It is not civilian law nor should be used to control a population, their communication with the outside world as a whole or learning ability nor be used to either kill or torture you as a human being. We are all different, no matter which culture or hemisphere you are from.
Applicable in Saudi Arabia and Gaddafi's Libya. Egypt & Tunisia are much more nuanced.

Writing Constitutions in the Wake of the Arab Spring | Foreign Affairs | November 30, 2011 (http://www.foreignaffairs.com/print/133981)

November 30, 2011
SNAPSHOT
Writing Constitutions in the Wake of the Arab Spring

The Challenge of Consolidating Democracy
Anthony Billingsley
ANTHONY BILLINGSLEY is a Lecturer at the University of New South Wales in Australia. He is the author, most recently, of Political Succession in the Arab World: Constitutions, Family Loyalties, and Islam.


The wave of revolutions that ousted dictators in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya continues its sweep through the Middle East. In the countries that experienced upheaval first, however, the revolutionary phase has already given way to the process of democratic consolidation. One of the most important aspects of this phase will be the development of new constitutions to formalize each country's future political arrangements.

Even before this year, the nature of constitutions in the Arab world varied widely. In Saudi Arabia and Muammar al-Qaddafi's Libya, for example, the Koran stood in as constitution, with more technical matters, including succession and the nature of consultative councils, covered by a basic law. Other countries, such as Egypt and Tunisia, developed relatively secular constitutions in the 1980s.

All the codes, however, had two major features in common. First, they generally detailed the aspirations of the state, for example, to be part of the Arab Umma and uphold the principles of Islam. Such constitutions are in direct contrast to the U.S. one, which aims to limit the state. Second, like Western constitutions, Arab constitutions tended to be laden with strong guarantees for civil and political rights. The Jordanian and Egyptian canons, for instance, contained extensive sections outlining the rights of freedom of speech and assembly.

Of course, the first mandate of the Arab constitutions -- to empower the state -- routinely trumped the second -- to protect the people. Arab governments often ignored their generous legal protections for human rights, generally under the cover of emergency legislation that sidelined all or part of the code in order to give governments a free hand against "dangerous" opponents. This reflected many Arab governments' zero-sum understanding of the political process.

That said, the pre-revolutionary Arab constitutions were not empty documents. They formalized and legitimated government processes, power structures, and political understandings among factions of society. The Jordanian constitution, for example, has a long section dealing with the relationship between Jordan and the Palestinians. And even Syria recognized the importance of the constitution. In 2000, when Bashar al-Assad was tapped to succeed his father as president, the regime went through a long process of amending the constitution to make him eligible. In this case, it was important to the Syrian government that Assad's ascent to power and the formalities of the law tallied.

As the Arab spring turned to the Arab summer and fall, moreover, many beleaguered regimes turned to constitutional reform to appease their citizens. In Morocco, King Mohammed VI amended his country's constitution to recognize Tamazight, the Berber language, as an official language of Morocco alongside Arabic. The House of Saud, too, promised to allow women to vote in the next round of municipal elections.

It is too soon to tell exactly what forms the post-revolutionary constitutions of Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya will take. But each country's provisional codes, and the players involved in drafting new ones, offer some clues.

Tunisia remains the great hope for those who long for a democratic Arab world. The country successfully navigated its first big democratic challenge: the elections that took place last month. The vote reflected a genuine commitment to democracy, human rights, and the protection of minorities. And the military kept out of the political process. The popular new parliament will now draft a constitution to back the country's political progress with legal substance.

Of course, one of the major winners of the Tunisian elections was the Islamist party Al-Nahda. This should not have come as a surprise. Just as Christian Democrat parties are prevalent in Europe, parties that profess adherence to Islam are popular in overwhelmingly Muslim. Religion could well find expression in the new constitution. All this may not, however, be cause for concern; Tunisia's old regime persecuted members of Al-Nahda. That past experience might make the party more interested in formalizing -- and implementing -- human rights protections, even if only as a safeguard in the event it loses power again.

Of greater concern is the ambiguity among elements of the political elite toward the status of women. The law regulating the October elections required parties to give women a prominent place in their candidate lists. Many parties completely ignored this mandate. Even so, female candidates performed well, winning 24 percent of the vote and 49 of the 217 seats in the new assembly. This result may strengthen the hand of those seeking to incorporate gender equality into the new constitution.

The prospects for general human rights in the new Tunisian system also look somewhat promising. Because of the disparate nature of power in the country, no one group -- not even the armed forces -- holds enough power to be able to ignore the concerns of the others. Like Al-Nadha, each group might well promote the rule of law as a means to protect their own interests. Ultimately, however, the effectiveness of the rule of law will depend on the willingness of the country's political elite to play by the rules. An early indicator of their intention to do so will be how they deal with emergency law in the new constitution. A positive sign will be if the document requires the government or president to seek parliamentary approval before resorting to emergency measures and places a strict time limit on that approval process.

In Egypt, the future appears less promising. The new parliament that forms after this week's elections will be torn by competing interests and hemmed in by the military. Some factions, including the young veterans of Tahrir Square, advocate a total restructuring of the political system and rewriting of the constitution. But the more powerful ones, the military, the Muslim Brotherhood, and their opponents, seek mainly to amend the charter with protections for their own interests.

Although Egyptian protesters succeeded in driving former President Hosni Mubarak from office, the military retained its central place in the country's political system: The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces remains the ultimate power in the land. Moreover, even as concern over the military's attitude toward human rights and inter-communal relations grows outside Egypt, the institution retains considerable respect among the Egyptian people. Even the recent unrest in Egypt has been focused on the Supreme Council and its Chairman, General Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, rather than the institution of the armed forces itself. What the military wants, therefore, will have great bearing on the elections and on the country's new laws.

Indeed, in April, the Supreme Council issued a declaration [1] that addressed some relatively uncontentious constitutional issues: the commitment to habeas corpus, a ban on torture, a guarantee of freedom of expression. The declaration also bore many features in common with the social aspects of the last few Egyptian constitutions. For example, although Egypt's earliest constitutions described Islamic law (sharia) as "a" principal source of legislation, under former President Anwar Sadat, this wording changed to "the" principal source. The Supreme Council's declaration retained Sadat's wording, possibly in recognition of the Muslim Brotherhood, which, in the guise of its Freedom and Justice Party, is expected to fare well in elections. The declaration also established Islam as the state religion, but like Mubarak was wont to do, bans parties based on religious grounds. The move made few waves, but it indicated that the military had no intention of sitting on the sidelines of the constitutional process.

That intention became clearer in mid-November, when the Supreme Council released a set of draft constitutional provisions [2] that would give the military immunity from civilian supervision and empower the armed forces power to approve legislation proposed by the parliament. This went well beyond the "Turkish model" -- parliamentary sovereignty limited by military oversight -- that has been widely suggested, and precipitated a crisis in the military's relations with the civilian population and a new round of protests.

The constitution that emerges over the next year will likely lay out a parliamentary system. It will be influenced by Islamic ideas but will be characterized by the need for the dominant parties to form coalitions if they are to govern. It is unlikely, and probably undesirable, that a single party will be able to secure a simple majority in the parliament. This should lead to some compromise and moderation among the most extreme parties. But while certain human rights will be codified in the new code, the parties might be forced to focus on the political status of the civilian government and religious rights. The future status of Egyptian women is thus cause for concern. The Supreme Council already set aside some Constituent Assembly seats for women, but gender is not listed in the declaration's provisions banning discrimination. Women were also excluded from the preparations for the recent elections.

Finally, Libya's future is the least clear of all. The country has no history of the rule of law and no experience with a competitive political process. Under Qaddafi, sharia was the formal basis of law and was frequently applied to matters of family law. In questions relating to the role of government, however, the regime tended to wield power arbitrarily, with little attempt to cloak its actions in legal cover.

Nevertheless, despite international concerns about the outsized influence of hard-line Islamist groups trying to do away with democracy, Libyans appear to be genuinely committed to an open system. Libya's draft constitutional charter, which the rebel government in Benghazi penned in early August before Qaddafi fell, is encouraging. The document prohibits discrimination on the grounds of race, religion, and political opinion. The charter also guarantees women "all opportunities" to participate in the political, economic, and social spheres.

These are important and encouraging achievements. There is a danger, however, that they will be swept away by the eruption of tribal and regional rivalries and the struggle for power among various militia groups. If the new constitution is to succeed in providing a firm legal basis for the new government, competing groups will have to suppress their ambitions and accept the principle of a united Libya. This is the challenge that faces all Arab countries and has proven to be the biggest obstacle to constitutional rule.

The destiny of democracy in Arab countries is tied to the rule of law and the nature of the countries' constitutions. But constitutions are political instruments, and their creation will be part of a dynamic and complicated battle to define each nation's future. Ultimately, the impact of the new constitutions will depend on the willingness of major political forces to abide by the rules of the game, as spelled out in their constitutions. It will be necessary for the different forces involved in the current revolutions to realise that their interests are best served by systems that are based on the rule of law and to accept the need for compromise if that is to work. But that is a tall order, indeed.


Links:
[1] http://egyptelections.carnegieendowment.org/2011/04/01/supreme-council-of-the-armed-forces-constitutional-announcement
[2] http://www.constitutionnet.org/files/2011.11_-_constitutional_principles_document_english.pdf

Double Edge
27 Dec 11,, 21:40
The Turkish Army was more then simply a junta. They had Attaturk first as a leader then as a symbol, a huge victory over several nations before they set up, and a damn good message. The Turks made a solid foundation. The Egyptian Army doesn't have any of that. They will either follow the will of the people of Egypt or have to machine gun them.
Ataturk was a visionary, he was a bonus to have but not an indispensable requirement to create a secular democracy. The basic minimum is for the rule of law to be established and for all concerned parties to abide by it. That's it. Next they have to work on building institutions to sustain and strengthen the system.

Having good leaders helps but otherwise the laws & the institutions keep the system moving along.


The MB will win at the ballot box.
But they won't have a landslide win, they will have to work with coalitions.


And yet you are hoping the military stomps on the will of the Egyptians.
There is a big difference between moderating and stomping. The latter is what SCAF is perpetrating at the moment.


The "peoples" movements voted in our enemies who are Islamists.
Time to get to know the enemy.

Salafis and Sufis in Egypt.pdf | CEFIP | Dec 2011 (http://carnegieendowment.org/files/salafis_sufis.pdf)


U.S. lawmakers have warned that they will not fund a government run by a “terrorist organization.”

Such responses suggest an effort to marginalize Egypt’s new Islamist leaders. This approach will most likely prove unwise, as the democratic process, political involvement, and electoral accountability will continue to moderate Salafi views and policies over the long term. Overturning their electoral gains will reverse this trend and further empower these groups by placing them back in the seat of opposition.


Islam plays an undeniably important role in Egyptian life, and the vast majority of Egyptians approve of it. Gallup polls have shown that 44 percent of Egyptian women and 50 percent of men believe that Sharia should be the only source of law. This might alarm observers. But, unlike Western reactions when the word “Sharia” is invoked, the overwhelming majority of Egyptians associate the term with laudable ideals like social, political, and gender justice.


Salafism, however, has leapt into salience since the revolution as one of the most effective mobilizers. Salafi political parties have been the most energetic, albeit controversial, parties on the scene. They now have a real stake in the democratic process.

This development has caused great alarm in Egypt and among outside observers. Salafis’ austere and uncompromising understanding of Islamic law and worship frightens many and raises palpable concerns about an Iranian-style theocracy. Such concerns might lead some to conclude that opposing or repressing Salafi political ambitions would be a prudent course.

Political suppression of Salafis would most likely prove unwise. Echoing the experience of Islamists in Turkey, and of Salafis in Kuwait, real involvement in an open democratic system leads to significant mitigation in Salafi positions. The need to mollify public concerns, engage women in the electoral process, and centralize political messaging has resulted in both a rapid maturation and moderating discipline within Salafi ranks.

Furthermore, the Egyptian media, and the foreign media who cite them, have demonstrated a tendency to paint Salafis inaccurately as the bête noire of the new Egypt. As one leading former Brotherhood member observed, “The Salafis are the new ghoul that the regime and its NDP remnants are using to scare people after the Brotherhood proved not scary enough.”

Recent announcements, however, suggest that having a stake in Egypt’s political future continues to moderate Salafi stances, including announcements by the head of the al-Nour party that it will not require women to wear headscarves, nor close the beaches.

Dreadnought
27 Dec 11,, 22:57
All the codes, however, had two major features in common. First, they generally detailed the aspirations of the state, for example, to be part of the Arab Umma and uphold the principles of Islam. Such constitutions are in direct contrast to the U.S. one, which aims to limit the state. Second, like Western constitutions, Arab constitutions tended to be laden with strong guarantees for civil and political rights. The Jordanian and Egyptian canons, for instance, contained extensive sections outlining the rights of freedom of speech and assembly.

This IMO, is where they are beyond f@#ked up. "We the People" make up said state. Without the People there is no state. No state equals no government. No one to rule, in their case no one to control. Without those words "We, as in a nation" that indicates it was meant to be a dicatorship or theocracy from the very first words. In other words all else comes before those it governs.

You can keep it!:tongue:

troung
27 Dec 11,, 23:05
But they won't have a landslide win, they will have to work with coalitions.

So you admit you were hopelessly wrong?


Ataturk was a visionary, he was a bonus to have but not an indispensable requirement to create a secular democracy. The basic minimum is for the rule of law to be established and for all concerned parties to abide by it. That's it. Next they have to work on building institutions to sustain and strengthen the system.

They wouldn't have had it without an Ataturk and without those conditions they set up shop under. The Egyptian army isn't in the same situation which spawned the Turkish system.


Political suppression of Salafis would most likely prove unwise. Echoing the experience of Islamists in Turkey, and of Salafis in Kuwait, real involvement in an open democratic system leads to significant mitigation in Salafi positions. The need to mollify public concerns, engage women in the electoral process, and centralize political messaging has resulted in both a rapid maturation and moderating discipline within Salafi ranks.

Wake me up when the Mullahs leave Iran.


Recent announcements, however, suggest that having a stake in Egypt’s political future continues to moderate Salafi stances, including announcements by the head of the al-Nour party that it will not require women to wear headscarves, nor close the beaches.

I am never in shock that people will believe everything they hear so long as it fits in with their delusions.


There is a big difference between moderating and stomping. The latter is what SCAF is perpetrating at the moment.

You are hoping an unelected armed body prevents the people of Egypt from exercising their rights, and yet pretend to be some big supporter of freedom...

Double Edge
02 Jan 12,, 19:34
So you admit you were hopelessly wrong?
Wrong about what ?

Wrong in how many would win yes, already conceded.

Which stems from being too fearful of the rise of political Islam. The correct way would have been to accept that eventuality and deal with it. This is the difficult nut to crack.

The connundrum that if western style democracy was allowed to take hold in the Arab world it 'may' lead to anti-western govts. This is just thrown at you and its a worst case scenario. And therefore there must never be democracy in the Arab world because we will be powerless in that case.

The first assumption adopts a confrontationalist position by thinking all Islamists are the same. They're not, the salafis & the MB have different starting points and their views diverge. This is not a good/bad taliban argument because all islamists are not taliban.

The second assumption is that the people will willingly accept a religious autocracy . But all they want is better governance and the chances for that increase if they have a representative govt.

There is no claiming of victory once an Islamist party comes to power. They have the same task as any other party any where else and that is whether they can improve the lot of their people. Otherwise they go.


They wouldn't have had it without an Ataturk and without those conditions they set up shop under. The Egyptian army isn't in the same situation which spawned the Turkish system.
Implying what ?

There should be no democracy in Egypt until an Ataturk materialises.


Wake me up when the Mullahs leave Iran.
Show how Egypt will necessarily turn into Iran. All you've done is assert it with a couple of other possible outcomes


I am never in shock that people will believe everything they hear so long as it fits in with their delusions.
What delusion ?

That Egypt and for that matter the wider arab world should never have a representative govt.


You are hoping an unelected armed body prevents the people of Egypt from exercising their rights, and yet pretend to be some big supporter of freedom...
How much power does the army in Turkey hold ?

Do you think the turkish army can intervene if the AK party decides to push their luck. They already did so twice in the past with former islamist parties, MSP (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Salvation_Party) in '80 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1980_military_coup) & WP (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welfare_Party) in '97 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1997_military_memorandum_(Turkey)). And twice again even with secular parties, DP (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democratic_Party_(Turkey,_historical)) in '60 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democratic_Party_(Turkey,_historical)) and JP (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justice_Party_(Turkey)) in '71 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1971_Turkish_coup_d'état). Already 3 coups and one soft one.

Does this still mean Turkey is more deserving of democracy than Egypt.


We lost a regional ally in exchange for the hopes that the Army will machine gun those protesters who ten months ago we were lied to about.
That policy shift, was made by Bush as early as 2004 in the below address.

President Bush Discusses Importance of Democracy in Middle East | Feb 04 2004 (http://merln.ndu.edu/archivepdf/nss/WH/20040204-4.pdf)

Mihais
02 Jan 12,, 19:57
Bush at least had a grand idea.He didn't had the means to implement it,nor he did thought the consequences,but he had something.

Deal with political Islam?Of course,Sir.Right away.Montjoie Sant Dennis.Charge. Oops,sorry,that's so retrograde on my part.We need a more modern approach.Contact,12 o'clock.Fire on my mark. .:cool:

They can do whatever they want.We'll end killing each other until the day we leave the planet.Then we'll kill each other using spacecrafts.Until then,we,at our level,can only watch the snowball growing.Being in a position to influence things won't happen for another 2-3 decades,if ever.Mind you,I don't care if they pull an Ataturk,a Finland or just another Talibanistan.It doesn't really matters.We're back in the 700-800's.

Double Edge
03 Jan 12,, 13:17
Bush at least had a grand idea.He didn't had the means to implement it,nor he did thought the consequences,but he had something.
But is Bush's idea outdated ? the same conditions as well as outcomes still applies.

He did have the means, US did not leave Iraq with yet another military junta in charge but facilitated elections and accepted the result.

Facilitating Benazir's entry into Pakistan after Mushrarraf is another instance of pushing for democracy.

And Libya is the most recent example of this policy in action.


Deal with political Islam?Of course,Sir.Right away.Montjoie Sant Dennis.Charge. Oops,sorry,that's so retrograde on my part.We need a more modern approach.Contact,12 o'clock.Fire on my mark. .:cool:

They can do whatever they want.We'll end killing each other until the day we leave the planet
Haha, but you had to deal with Saddam twice so supporting dictators has its limits.

By deal with it the idea i had in mind was to weave them into a web of economic interdependency. This will work with countries that do not have enough oil to export like Egypt. Do a Nixon. China stoppped being 'red' after that.

Instead of viewing this development as the 'new threat' rather see it as the 'new challenge'.

There are 3 stages involved here

Liberalisation --> Democratisation --> Democracy

China only did the first stage upto now.

The Egyptians have not properly implemented the first stage or their economy would not be as anorexic as it is presently. At the same time its dangerous to presuppose a linear progression from authoritarianism to liberal democracy in the middle east.

The Strategic Implications of Political Liberalization and Democratization in the Middle East | 2005 (http://www.carlisle.army.mil/usawc/parameters/Articles/05autumn/zambelis.pdf)


Then we'll kill each other using spacecrafts.Until then,we,at our level,can only watch the snowball growing.Being in a position to influence things won't happen for another 2-3 decades,if ever.Mind you,I don't care if they pull an Ataturk,a Finland or just another Talibanistan.It doesn't really matters.We're back in the 700-800's.
Assumes that the present electoral success of egyptian Islamists necessarily translates into popular support for an Islamist agenda. And that the army will allow it to happen.

You represent the western sceptic's viewpoint. The Arab sceptic viewpoint is with Mubarak gone only the head was removed whilst his appartus remained untouched.

Your viewpoint is the more optimist :)

Mihais
03 Jan 12,, 17:52
Not going to disagree just for the fun of it.They say that,indeed.
Mankind and its history start to become boring.What the Arabs say now was said before,by others.In the 1790's,in the 1920's&30's,in the 1980's and many other times.I don't care about a particular moment and stage.I try to watch the trend.

China wanted to show USSR the mid finger just as much as US wanted to create a second front for the USSR.There's no third actor between us and them.ME and Europe,under their various representations never walked side by side since the dawn of history.There was rider and there was a horse.Who's the rider is important and often that was long and hard to find out.

Double Edge
04 Jan 12,, 16:44
Mankind and its history start to become boring.What the Arabs say now was said before,by others.In the 1790's,in the 1920's&30's,in the 1980's and many other times.I don't care about a particular moment and stage.I try to watch the trend.
Lets see if i can catch your train of thought here

1790 - French revolution and rise of Napoleon
1920 - rise of communism & the Bolsheviks
1930 - rise of fascism with Hitler and Mussolini
1980 - rise of Khomeni and theocracy

2011 - arab spring, after wards ? either more liberalisation or back pedalling towards the old military regime.

So it would seem you're saying that every time there is a revolution there are high hopes only to have them dashed afterwards. Well, the egyptians already had that with Nasser in 1950 with his big promises. What's happened now is sixty years overdue.

To follow Iran is to follow a path of economic & political isolation. In other words worse off than with Mubarak. Iran might huff & puff all it wants but its not really setting itself up as a model to be followed. Its debatable whether others could achieve the same even if they tried given how unique the Iranians are.


China wanted to show USSR the mid finger just as much as US wanted to create a second front for the USSR.There's no third actor between us and them.
True but in the 1990s the former Soviets were bending over backwards to join the system they shunned for so long but in secret always traded with anyway. The goal of co-opting first the Chinese & then the Russians into integrating into the worlds economic system was achieved. Their fundamental objection ie choice of economic system had been removed.

Not saying that trade will take away reasons to go to war but today they both have many more reasons not to get into conflict than in the past. Because now they are a part of the system and rather important powers at that. Their stances consequently since have moderated compared to earlier.


ME and Europe,under their various representations never walked side by side since the dawn of history.There was rider and there was a horse.Who's the rider is important and often that was long and hard to find out.
What you're saying goes beyond religion in that its almost cultural, going back as far as roman times and carthage or pharoahs. Your're looking into the distant past to predict the future. In the olden days these were the two biggest fish in the pond, but thats not the same today is it.

Your point is regardless of what happens in the future, S.Europe & n.africa will be in opposition because thats the way it always was. It does not even matter whether egypt is islamist or not. The threat is if egyptians (and by extension the rest of n.africa as well) better themselves, then this grouping of n.african nations will be a threat in the future to s.europe.

Did i get you right ?

If so you're making a broader point, namely can emerging powers continue to do so peacefully.

Mihais
04 Jan 12,, 19:57
To be honest,I didn't thought about those who had risen,but those who fell.General rule in such momentous events is that the old elite dies before a new elite rises.All the revolutions comparable with this pan-Arabic one started with the idea of liberalisation,continued with terror and internecine war and found relative stability under a charismatic leadership.This guy is the one that starts to look around.

This one is only a year old.Rome wasn't build in a day and even God needed 6 days to make the world.If my guess on the trend is the right one(only idiots have unshakable convictions) we still have decade to chat.;)




What you're saying goes beyond religion in that its almost cultural, going back as far as roman times and carthage or pharoahs. Your're looking into the distant past to predict the future. In the olden days these were the two biggest fish in the pond, but thats not the same today is it.

Your point is regardless of what happens in the future, S.Europe & n.africa will be in opposition because thats the way it always was. It does not even matter whether egypt is islamist or not. The threat is if egyptians (and by extension the rest of n.africa as well) better themselves, then this grouping of n.african nations will be a threat in the future to s.europe.

Did i get you right ?

If so you're making a broader point, namely can emerging powers continue to do so peacefully.

Yep.You got me.I wouldn't call it culture,though.Too ambiguous term.Geopolitics,that generate a certain strategic culture.You're right we ain't alone anymore.The more,the more merry the party.But they're the closest dance partner.

Emerging powers and peace?For every one interested in peace there are many more that aren't .
Mind you,I'm not arguing there's war starting on May 6th,2019,1 PM :biggrin:.Not even that we're bound for a repeat of WW2 .Conventional military actions are just a part of the spectrum.

troung
07 Jan 12,, 20:01
Brotherhood: We did not promise to honor Israel peace treaty - Israel News, Ynetnews (http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4172297,00.html)

Brotherhood: We did not promise to honor Israel peace treaty

Egyptian Islamist movement denies US State Department claim it had promised to honor 1979 peace deal. 'No one has the right to speak for Egyptian people,' party official says

Roi Kais
Published: 01.07.12, 10:53 / Israel News


The Muslim Brotherhood denied on Saturday that it had assured Washington it would uphold the 1979 Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty.


US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters on Thursday that the Islamist movement, the clear victor in the first round of elections for the Egyptian Parliament, pledged to honor the various treaties signed by previous Cairo governments, including the peace deal with Israel.


Nuland insisted that the various political parties in Egypt have offered the US "good guarantees" that the peace treaty will be observed. She stressed that Washington fully expects all of Cairo's political factions to honor the previous regime's international agreements.


According to Essam al-Erian, deputy head of the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice party, the accords "are under the responsibility of the people and state institutions, and it would not be right for anyone to speak on behalf of the Egyptian people."


Speaking to the London-based Arabic newspaper Al-Hayat, al-Erian said, "We are not in a position to give assurances."



Rashad al-Bayoumi, the Brotherhood's second in command, told Al-Hayat las week that "the Muslim Brotherhood will not recognize Israel under any circumstances and might put the peace treaty with the Jewish state up to a referendum."



The Brotherhood, he added, "did not sign the peace accords… We are allowed to ask the people or the elected parliament to express their opinion on the treaty, and (to find out) whether it compromised the people's freedom and sovereignty. We will take the proper legal steps in dealing with the peace deal. To me, it isn't binding at all. The people will express their opinion on the matter."


The Muslim Brotherhood won more than a third of the votes in the last stage of elections for Egypt's lower house of parliament, according to partial results on Friday, showing the Islamists are set to dominate the legislature.



Banned under deposed President Hosni Mubarak, the Brotherhood has emerged as a major winner from the uprising that toppled him, exploiting a well-organized support base in the first free legislative vote in decades.



The Brotherhood's party list won 37.5% of the vote in the third and final stage of voting. Repeating a pattern seen in previous rounds, the hardline Islamist Nour Party list came second in most of the districts after this week's vote, results on its party website showed.



The Islamists now look set to wield major influence over the shape of a new constitution to be drafted by a 100-strong body that the new legislature will pick, though the Brotherhood has promised that Egyptians of all persuasions will have a say.

Mihais
07 Jan 12,, 20:29
Troung,are you a devout Muslim? I'll bring the wine,you bring the popcorn while we watch the match.Pay's on DE.;)

GO,GO Bigross.:Dancing-Banana:

Doktor
07 Jan 12,, 20:46
Troung,are you a devout Muslim? I'll bring the wine,you bring the popcorn while we watch the match.Pay's on DE.;)

GO,GO Bigross.:Dancing-Banana:

Can I join? I'll bring some Kosher, Halal and other food with ham an bacon :biggrin:

Mihais
07 Jan 12,, 20:49
Nope.You're too much in league with BR against your foe(YF).Go and fight with him.But leave the food. :biggrin::biggrin:

Doktor
07 Jan 12,, 20:50
I will just watch, eat and drink. Promise.

Mihais
07 Jan 12,, 20:57
So much for friendship:tongue:. And that's why we're all in such a mess.All we do is watch TV,eat and drink.Few get up from the couch to do a push-up ,let alone actually fighting for something.

Seems that I'll have to give BR a hand.Jews being full of money,I may not completely disinterested,but I won't say that in public.:biggrin:

p.s Why do I have to be serious even when I'm joking?Thinking a bit,all this life is a big joke.

troung
15 Jan 12,, 07:35
Lol - he quit because he was going to lose. Thanks for a nuclear Iran though.


Egypt's ElBaradei ends presidential bid in protest
Associated PressBy SARAH EL DEEB | Associated Press – 1 hr 28 mins ago
http://news.yahoo.com/egypts-elbaradei-ends-presidential-bid-protest-195053511.htmlMohamed ElBaradei speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in his home in Giza, on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt. Egypt reform leader Mohamed ElBaradei said Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012 that he won't run for president to protest military rule. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue, File)

FILE - In this Sunday, Dec. 4, 2011 file photo, pro-reform leader and Nobel peace …

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's reform leader Mohamed ElBaradei has withdrawn from the presidential race, saying a fair election is impossible under the military's grip nearly a year after Hosni Mubarak's ouster. Many fear that the ruling generals will push through a candidate of their own to preserve their power.

The Nobel Peace laureate's pullout is a slap to the military and the credibility of its plans for Egypt's transition. He was seen as the most pro-revolution of the candidates and the strongest advocate of deep change in a country long under autocratic rule. His participation, therefore, gave a degree of legitimacy to the military-run election process.

But in a statement Saturday, ElBaradei made clear that he saw no hope that the presidential election due by the end of June would bring a real end to the military's rule, and he added a sharp criticism that the military has behaved as if Mubarak's regime never fell.

"I had said from the start that my conscience will not allow me to run for president or any official position unless there is a real democratic framework, that upholds the essence of democracy and not only its form," he said.

The military council, headed by Mubarak's defense minister of 20 years, "has insisted on going down the same old path, as if no revolution took place and no regime has fallen," he said.

ElBaradei's decision could energize the anti-military protest movement, which has been in disarray and has failed to present a unified alternative path to a transition to democracy. In a meeting with ElBaradei after his announcement Saturday, some activists expressed hope that he was now stepping forward to become a forceful, crystalizing leader for the movement.

In an apparent attempt to keep the move from helping fuel antimilitary protests on the Jan. 25 anniversary of the start of the uprising that toppled Mubarak, the military council asked ElBaradei not to announce his decision until later, a person close to ElBaradei said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss a private interaction.

Many of those who organized the protests feel that the military is keeping the structure of Mubarak's regime and its own power in place. They fear that the Muslim Brotherhood, which is poised to dominate the new parliament, will cede the military's continued influence over the executive in return for a freer hand in writing a new constitution.

"To have total change, we must work from outside the system," ElBaradei said in a video released later Saturday. He said he would work to unify youth groups, reclaim the goals of the revolution and address social justice, freedom and economic development.

The 69-year-old ElBaradei, who received the Nobel for his work as head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog, has been a frustrating figure for some activists amid Egypt's upheaval.

He had a significant role behind the scenes in putting together the network of youth activists that launched the 18-day uprising that ousted Mubarak. He has been sharply critical of the military's handling of the transition since.

But he has resisted pressure to step forward as the leader of the movement, which some feel needs a figure to unify and guide it. His reluctance gave him a Hamlet-like reputation that frustrated some activists. Many Egyptians in the broader public saw him as aloof or arrogant, or too "foreign" because of his decades living abroad.

Given that image, even some supporters worried he could not win the presidential race.

Presidential elections are key because the ruling generals have promised to hand over power to the winner.

But many activists and observers believe the military wants to ensure the race produces a president who will support its interests and allow it to have a strong voice in politics even after it formally steps aside.

The military has already tried to prevent or limit civilian oversight of its budget under the future system. After decades of military men serving as president in Egypt, the generals are unlikely to want a civilian president who might try to rein in their considerable influence over the state, economic interests or seek radical changes.

At least half a dozen other candidates have stepped forward, including ex-Arab League chief Amr Moussa, a former foreign minister under Mubarak and a popular figure. Another figure in the race who would likely be looked on favorably by the generals is Ahmed Shafiq, a former air force pilot who was a longtime friend of Mubarak and prime minister at the height of the anti-Mubarak protests.

Moussa said he hoped ElBaradei would continue his efforts to rebuild Egypt.

"I regret ElBaradei's withdrawal from the race, and I value his role and participation in the developments that Egypt has witnessed recently," Moussa said on his Twitter account.

Also running is an Islamist, Abdel-Moneim Aboul-Fottouh, a longtime liberal within the Muslim Brotherhood who has gained support among the pro-revolution crowd. Aboul-Fottouh was dismissed from the Brotherhood because he entered the presidential race after the group said it would not field a candidate.

The powerful Brotherhood continues to say it will not endorse a contender in the race. Its focus has instead been on increasing the powers of parliament, where it has emerged as the biggest faction from Egypt's nearly complete, multistage elections. A chief role of parliament will be to put together a panel to write a new constitution.

Mahmoud el-Hetta, the activist who had first floated the idea of ElBaradei as a presidential candidate in 2009, said he was distraught at first over the withdrawal decision. But after the meeting with him Saturday, el-Hetta reconsidered.

"He has once again turned things upside down, and has embarrassed other presidential candidates who have a weak chance because the military council has weakened the idea of a president," he said. "This would revive the idea that the revolution is not over and wins the heart of the youth groups."

Issandr el-Amrani, an analyst on Egypt and columnist, said ElBaradei's withdrawal is "quite an indictment for the transition."

"ElBaradei has never acted like a politician and has always acted like the moral conscience of the country," he said.

ElBaradei has long been critical of the military's handling of the transition. The process has often been confused and nonsensical with shifting timetables — for example, presidential candidates will begin campaigning even before the constitution is written defining the president's role.

ElBaradei and other liberals feel the transition has now become solely an issue between the military and the Brotherhood. The military council "only needs to negotiate with the Muslim Brotherhood. He rejects that ... it is not an inclusive process," el-Amrani.

His decision to stand down from elections, and thus — in the revolutionaries' eyes — to not play the army's game, may restore some of his standing.

Activist and blogger Omar Elhady wrote on his Twitter account: "ElBaradei's withdrawal proves he is a respectable and devoted man. I had stopped supporting him as president a while back. Now I see him as a national leader above official positions, and feared by presidents."

But some saw in his withdrawal a blow to the youth camp who could have found in him a rallying point in the upcoming elections.

"This is very upsetting," said Khaled Abdel-Hamid, a member of the Socialist Alliance, a youth party that contested the parliamentary elections and who also attended the stormy meeting with ElBaradei Saturday. "We lost a candidate that could have proved a challenge to the military council. He pulled out and didn't tell us what is the alternative."

troung
21 Jan 12,, 22:04
L-0-l

egypt's islamists secure 75 percent of parliament
associated pressby aya batrawy | associated press – 1 hr 44 mins ago

Egypt's Islamists secure 75 percent of parliament - Yahoo! News (http://news.yahoo.com/egypts-islamists-secure-75-percent-parliament-165637737.html)

cairo (ap) — final results on saturday showed that islamist parties won nearly three-quarters of the seats in parliament in egypt's first elections since the ouster of authoritarian president hosni mubarak, according to election officials and political groups.

The islamist domination of egypt's parliament has worried liberals and even some conservatives about the religious tone of the new legislature, which will be tasked with forming a committee to write a new constitution. Overseeing the process will be the country's mubarak-era military generals, who are still in charge.

A coalition led by the fundamentalist muslim brotherhood won 47 percent, or 235 seats in the 498-seat parliament. The ultraconservative al-nour party was second with 25 percent, or 125 seats.

The salifi al-nour, which was the biggest surprise of the vote, wants to impose strict islamic law in egypt, while the more moderate brotherhood, the country's best-known and organized party, has said publicly that it does not seek to force its views about an appropriate islamic lifestyle on egyptians.

The two parties are unlikely to join forces because of ideological differences, but both have a long history of charity work in egypt's vast poverty-stricken neighborhoods and villages, giving them a degree of legitimacy and popularity across the country in areas where newer liberal parties have yet to get a foothold.

The liberals who spearheaded the revolt that toppled mubarak struggled to organize and connect with a broader public in the vote, and did not fair as well as the islamists.

The egyptian bloc, which is headed by a party founded by christian telecom tycoon naguib sawiris, said it won 9 percent of the seats in parliament. Egypt's oldest secular party, the wafd, also won around 9 percent.

Newer parties, such as the liberal revolution continues party won 2 percent, as did the islamist center party, which had been banned from politics under mubarak.

The results leave the liberal groups with little ability to maneuver in parliament, unless they choose to mobilize the street in protests or work on key issues with the dominant islamist groups, said mohamed abu-hamed, the deputy leader of the liberal free egyptians party.

"the most important element that led islamists to win is their use of islamic language in their outreach," abu-hamed told the associated press. "they pressured people's religious conscience"

abu-hamed vowed that the egyptian bloc will take to the streets and hold sit-ins inside parliament if the new legislator passes laws that discriminate against minorities or oversteps its boundaries.

The final tally, which includes at least 15 seats for former regime figures, comes as little surprise since election results had been partially announced throughout the three stages of the vote, which took place over several weeks across the country. Egypt's elections commission acknowledged that there were voting irregularities, but the election has been hailed as the country's freest and fairest vote in living memory.

The muslim brotherhood, which was banned from forming a party under mubarak but allowed to field candidates as independents, did not secure any seats under widely-rigged elections held just two months before the start of the jan. 25 uprising that led to the former president's ouster.

The united states long shunned islamist groups like the muslim brotherhood and turned a blind-eye to the arrest and torture of salafis, who now comprise the bulk of al-nour party's constituents, under mubarak, who was a longtime u.s. Ally.

However, top u.s. Officials from the state department have recently met with the muslim brotherhood's leaders, who have in turn assured western officials that they respect minority rights and support democracy.

A white house statement said that president barack obama called egypt's ruling military leader, field marshal hussein tantawi, on friday and welcomed the historic seating of the lower house of egypt's parliament, which is set to convene for the first time on monday.

Mihais
21 Jan 12,, 22:23
''A white house statement said that president barack obama called egypt's ruling military leader, field marshal hussein tantawi, on friday and welcomed the historic seating of the lower house of egypt's parliament, which is set to convene for the first time on monday. ''


Gents,that's why being a politico means being and acting lower than a worm.

Double Edge
22 Jan 12,, 00:26
Gents,that's why being a politico means being and acting lower than a worm.
Or you could say he knew exactly what was going to happen but it would not be politically expedient to admit to it.

troung laments how we got spun by the media. I give him credit for posting articles that showed there were Islamists waiting in the wings. oh how they went completely against the grain of the mainstream narrative.

Had posted one article earlier from an indian journalist that toured arab countries over the summer and he mentioned how his hosts wife in Syria was upset she would have to wear a scarf in the future whereas in the past it did not matter. This journalist could not understand why western media was celebrating what to him being there himself on the spot appeared to be the rise of the islamists.

The western press spun it as the 'arab spring' and a flowering of democracy in a region that never had any. The rise of the islamists was played down.

A conspiratorial take would be that the western press does the bidding of its ruling adminstrations, OTOH the profit motive says that a story that keeps the punters coming back for more sells better.

Either way, rise of the islamists is a moot point for western adminstrations (US, UK & France). These administrations dont believe there is any need for undue concern. Why they believe that will be interesting to find out.

troung
22 Jan 12,, 04:37
These administrations dont believe there is any need for undue concern. Why they believe that will be interesting to find out.

No they simply messed up horribly - had the media coverage been more balanced who knows how our elected leaders would have reacted to replacing a regional bulwark with te MB.


The western press spun it as the 'arab spring' and a flowering of democracy in a region that never had any. The rise of the islamists was played down.

You bought it hook line and sinker.


A conspiratorial take would be that the western press does the bidding of its ruling adminstrations, OTOH the profit motive says that a story that keeps the punters coming back for more sells better.

No the easier line is reporters fell so madly in love with the idea of skinny jeans wearing college students who like twitter and friendbook, that they ignored the bearded Taliban-ish people who made up the protests.

S2
22 Jan 12,, 06:10
I've got to wonder how anybody can be surprised that Islamists are having their way? They are better organized, amidst uneducated and conservative general populaces whom are easily swayed and cowed, and facing largely an opposition of either hardline right-wing extremist militarists or panty-waist liberals that aren't ruthless enough to organize, communicate publically and execute a viable alternative. Not so the islamists.

So be it. This is absolutely necessary-if only to permit these islamists all the room needed to fail miserably over time. Iranians already know this, for example. Until, however, the people are as fed up with these loons as they've been with the past loons nothing shall change. When it does some decade in the future, those discredited will be swept into the dust-bin of history.

It's their time. Over the next fifty to one hundred years we'll see what they do with the opportunity and we'll learn to adjust, accommodate or fight as required. Equally, our own societies will be tested to see which system absorbs the other. Western liberalism is being insidiously attacked now in Europe by these same islamist forces. One or the other shall win...or there will be, alternatively, a right-wing extremist reaction to the encroachment of Islam. If so, in some respects we'll have lost our own moral compass in preference to stark self-preservation.

Long predicted by some but nothing ever stays the same. It would be interesting to view the landscape at the start of the 22nd century.

Mihais
22 Jan 12,, 08:00
A conspiratorial take would be that the western press does the bidding of its ruling adminstrations, OTOH the profit motive says that a story that keeps the punters coming back for more sells better.

I'll take the conspiratorial part,thank you very much,having some ideas how the bastards operate.And the 2 don't exclude each other.


Either way, rise of the islamists is a moot point for western adminstrations (US, UK & France). These administrations dont believe there is any need for undue concern. Why they believe that will be interesting to find out.

THESE administrations won't lift a finger if/when the hordes of darkness will be outside their ivory towers.No need for undue concern.:)

Double Edge
22 Jan 12,, 13:01
No they simply messed up horribly - had the media coverage been more balanced who knows how our elected leaders would have reacted to replacing a regional bulwark with te MB.
If you saw it you mean to tell me your pros did not ?

Second, you make the assertion that your adminstration bases its foreign policy on whatever happens to be fashionable in the media. Sound credible ?

Third you elected representative do not give a damn what you think, they will willy nilly commit blood & treasure to any foreign adventure of their choosing no matter how weak the premise.

So there are two things here..
- what troung thinks his adminstration should do or not
- what troung's adminstration does

The latter ought to be what we base our thinking upon and is what we have to live with.

What happened to all those hearings open as well as closed where the related house & senate committees (foreign, armed services & intelligence) get experts to tell them how to interpret developments around the world. What about the congressional research services your decision makers have access to.

I offer you Libya to back up my statement. Cannot view Libya in isolation to what was happening in Egypt & Tunisia. Libya was a supporting action. Without Egypt & Tunisia there would be no intervention in Libya. Would be just like any number of Arab protests over the decades that have occcurred but were ignored in the western press.

Hilary, Susan Rice & Heather <something> at the NSA were instrumental in influencing Obama that supporting UN resolutions 1970 & 1973 were in US interest. Libya has even fewer state institutions than Egypt does, has a much longer road to building a sustainable democracy than Egypt yet US, UK & France were all gung ho about regime change there. You just taught them their first lesson in pushing for an accountable govt, by force if necessary.

Either your SECSTATE is smoking some real good stuff or she & her advisors knows something you don't. What do you think ?

Will mention RoccoR does not support my line of thinking here that 'adminstration knows best'. Suppose you reach that conclusion after decades of experience and the wisdom that comes along with it. Fine, nobody is infallible but they are accountable and politicans never do anything unless they can blame it on somebody else, they are all about CYA. You don't commit a billion on a lark. These are only your elected representatives we are talking about and the US is not some tinpot banana republic.


You bought it hook line and sinker.
With reservations.

I no longer subscribe to the false dichotomy that in the muslim world there is either a choice of military dictatorship or religious theocracy. Good muslims are supposed to be quiet and not take an interest in matters of state so long as their leaders are muslim but we've seen some changes to that of late. There should be no islamist parties at all in this case, isn't it. The very fact that they exist means they are willing to compromise on their core beliefs. What else will they compromise on when the lure of political power beckons. Works both ways if you have a balanced take.

Why is it not possible for an islamist party or any other for that matter to operate within a secular framework. Only if you believe democracy as an idea is not universal and cannot work everywhere in bringing about an accountable and representative govt.

You will say look at the results in Egypt, and the landslide the Islamists got will ensure there will never be a secular framework but the army will be the spoiler here. They certainly interfered in Turkey even in Pakistan. Yes, they will trample on the wishes of the people should they perceive a threat to the state, neither of our countries precludes a state of emergency from being declared and it actually happend in my country and yours had a civil war. Neither of these events sells us short when it comes to being committed to democratic ideals.

That your Preisdent congratulated chief of SCAF on a job well done means he expects them to keep on doing their job as arbiter of last resort ;)


No the easier line is reporters fell so madly in love with the idea of skinny jeans wearing college students who like twitter and friendbook, that they ignored the bearded Taliban-ish people who made up the protests.
They were superficial and not very probing in their work.

Double Edge
22 Jan 12,, 13:33
I'll take the conspiratorial part,thank you very much,having some ideas how the bastards operate.And the 2 don't exclude each other.
Thought only peole in the ME and my region believe anything so long as there is a some conspiracy involved. This is the dominant way of thinking in societies that are not transparent enough either because of secrecy or incompetent media.

You can point to Murdoch's nexus with British politicians but what is the extent, we dont know yet other than speculation.


THESE administrations won't lift a finger if/when the hordes of darkness will be outside their ivory towers.No need for undue concern.:)
Iraq

troung
22 Jan 12,, 18:02
They were superficial and not very probing in their work.

You ate it up.


You will say look at the results in Egypt, and the landslide the Islamists got will ensure there will never be a secular framework but the army will be the spoiler here. They certainly interfered in Turkey even in Pakistan. Yes, they will trample on the wishes of the people should they perceive a threat to the state, neither of our countries precludes a state of emergency from being declared and it actually happend in my country and yours had a civil war. Neither of these events sells us short when it comes to being committed to democratic ideals.

The army has no real ideology to support their political control and are a bunch of dolts out to protect their estates - the MB will edge them out the way things are going. Each election invalidates the army more and more and their transparent attempts to not have anyone look over their shoulder while they skim from the military budget won't win over any converts.


Second, you make the assertion that your adminstration bases its foreign policy on whatever happens to be fashionable in the media. Sound credible ?

Yeap.


Good muslims are supposed to be quiet and not take an interest in matters of state so long as their leaders are muslim but we've seen some changes to that of late.

What? If you are not a member of a religion - you shouldn't discuss what they are supposed to do under said religion to follow it properly.


. Yes, they will trample on the wishes of the people should they perceive a threat to the state, neither of our countries precludes a state of emergency from being declared and it actually happend in my country and yours had a civil war. N

LOL - that's a coup not a state of emergency.


I offer you Libya to back up my statement. Cannot view Libya in isolation to what was happening in Egypt & Tunisia. Libya was a supporting action. Without Egypt & Tunisia there would be no intervention in Libya. Would be just like any number of Arab protests over the decades that have occcurred but were ignored in the western press.

We threw our diplomatic and military weight behind actual terrorists - we put Islamists into power.


Fine, nobody is infallible but they are accountable and politicans never do anything unless they can blame it on somebody else, they are all about CYA. You don't commit a billion on a lark. These are only your elected representatives we are talking about and the US is not some tinpot banana republic.

Despite years of failures the state department is yet to be purged like it should be of career officials.


I no longer subscribe to the false dichotomy that in the muslim world there is either a choice of military dictatorship or religious theocracy

LOL - but yet you keep your fingers crossed that the Egyptian army will invalidate the will of the Egyptian people.


Either your SECSTATE is smoking some real good stuff or she & her advisors knows something you don't. What do you think ?

They are deluded and poorly educated on the issues and got sold a bad bill of goods by snake oil salesmen. Hillary only is Sec-State because she slept with Bill at least once and because of that Obama sent her overseas to age another 4 years. They sat on their asses because of the reports of social media using teeny-boppers who wanted to be just like us - and ignored the fact the majority of the protesters sure as hell didn't agree with the liberals. Had they any knowledge on the people of the region and how they thought no way would we have rallied around this crap.
==========
LOL HRW is a joke. It will be funny to watch them duck away from their MB support once they are fully in the drivers seat.


Rights group urges West to get over Islamist aversion
Rights group urges West to get over Islamist aversion | Reuters (http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/22/us-arab-spring-group-idUSTRE80L07920120122)

By Louis Charbonneau

NEW YORK | Sun Jan 22, 2012 4:02am EST

(Reuters) - Western democracies should overcome their aversion to Islamist groups that enjoy popular support in North Africa and the Middle East and encourage them to respect basic rights, Human Rights Watch said in a report on Sunday.

HRW executive director Kenneth Roth said in the group's annual report that the past year's Arab Spring pro-democracy uprisings across the region have shown it is vital for the West to end its policy of backing "an array of Arab autocrats" in exchange for supporting Western interests.

The West should also be more consistent in supporting pro-democracy forces in the Arab world and elsewhere, he said in HRW's 690-page report on human rights abuses worldwide.

"The international community must ... come to terms with political Islam when it represents a majority preference," he said. "Islamist parties are genuinely popular in much of the Arab world, in part because many Arabs have come to see political Islam as the antithesis of autocratic rule."

"Wherever Islam-inspired governments emerge, the international community should focus on encouraging, and if need be pressuring, them to respect basic rights - just as the Christian-labeled parties and governments of Europe are expected to do," he said in the introduction to the report.

He added that the international community "should adopt a more principled approach to the region than in the past. That would involve, foremost, clearly siding with democratic reformers even at the expense of abandoning autocratic friends."

Islamist blocs have emerged as major political forces in both Tunisia and Egypt.

HRW praised the United States and European Union for their tough stance on the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's brutal crackdown on protesters, which eventually led to a U.N. Security Council authorization for military action to protect civilians.

The NATO intervention in Libya's civil war led to Gaddafi's ouster and death at the hands of rebel forces.

After initially hesitating over Syria, Roth said the United States and EU imposed sanctions on President Bashar al-Assad's government for a crackdown on pro-democratic demonstrators that has killed at least 5,000 civilians, according to U.N. figures.

"Elsewhere, however, the Western approach to the region's uprisings has been more tentative and uncertain," Roth said.

AU: 'DICTATOR'S SUPPORT CLUB'

HRW said Washington was reluctant to abandon Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak, seen as key to maintaining regional stability and peace with Israel, until his ouster was a foregone conclusion. It then hesitated to press Egypt's ruling military council to hand power over to an elected civilian government.

France was equally reluctant in Tunisia, Roth said.

"Similarly, Western governments imposed no meaningful consequences for killing protesters on the government of Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh, whom they viewed as a defense against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula," he said.

They also failed to take a strong stance against Bahrain, partly out of "deference to Saudi Arabia," which dislikes the idea of a democracy near its shore and worries that Iran is meddling in the Shia-majority nation of Bahrain, Roth said.

Western democracies "said little when monarchies have taken anti-democratic actions, such as the adoption of new repressive laws in Saudi Arabia and the imprisonment of five democracy activists in the United Arab Emirates," he said.

The Arab League has also been inconsistent. Even worse has been the African Union, which he called "shamefully complacent."

"Ostensibly founded to promote democracy, it has acted like a dictator's support club, siding with whichever government happens to be in power regardless of its conduct," he said.

"As the revolutions proceeded in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya the AU was at best irrelevant, at worst unhelpful."

Roth also criticized Russia and China, which vetoed a European-drafted U.N. Security Council resolution on Syria in October that would have condemned the crackdown on pro-democracy protesters and threatened Damascus with possible sanctions.

Moscow's and Beijing's "partners in indifference" on Syria were Brazil, India and South Africa, which along with Russia and China comprise the powerful BRICS emerging-market bloc.

(Editing by Vicki Allen)

S2
22 Jan 12,, 19:55
"...They sat on their asses because of the reports of social media using teeny-boppers who wanted to be just like us - and ignored the fact the majority of the protesters sure as hell didn't agree with the liberals..."

Wholly accurate. There is no moderate middle ground here. That's been long-silenced in the mid-east. Lot of yapping but, when things get serious and the gloves come off, the panty-waists melt like butter in a hot skillet. Not so the far extremes. They FIGHT. And so that's where the struggle will be defined until somebody with ballz and a plan figures how to raise a voice that won't get shot off or stomped down.

troung
23 Jan 12,, 02:06
Too late to call a mulligan?

Egypt lawmakers call for balance of power

Parties wary of muslim brotherhood’s powerful presence in the new parliament

By Habiba Abdel Aziz, Community Journalist
Published: 23:29 January 22, 2012

gulfnews : Egypt lawmakers call for balance of power (http://gulfnews.com/news/region/egypt/egypt-lawmakers-call-for-balance-of-power-1.969683)

Dubai: On January 23, the Egyptian parliament, having gone through three electoral phases, will meet for its first session earlier than planned at the behest of Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, just two days before the anniversary of the popular uprising.

The mechanics of the upcoming parliament cannot on it’s own predict Egypt’s future during those six months. Gulf News spoke with members of the Egyptian Parliament, representing different parties, who addressed the key points surrounding the process and the people behind it.

Expectations

Esaam Sultan, vice chairman of the Al Wasat Party and parliament member, believes that the parliament can accomplish a great deal in six months with regard to avenging those who were injured and honouring the dead. Next on their list of priorities is meeting the demands of the revolution and writing a constitution that unites all political parties.

The Al Wasat Party, according to Sultan, believes a balance must exist between the parliament and Egypt’s future president, so that neither camps can overpower the other.

On the other hand, Dr Mohammed Al Beltagy, secretary-general of the Freedom and Justice Party, said that this upcoming phase is all about transition: “I’m hoping we transition into the post-revolution phase with ease, where the parliament has both judicial and legislative power.”

Imaad Gad, a political analyst with Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, was in disagreement: “It is going to depend on the procedural session, where the jobs and positions are distributed fairly.”
Amin Eskander, founding member of Al Karama Party, agreed with his fellow Parliament member on this point.

According to Hosni Hafez, the media spokesperson of Al Wafed Party, if all parties consider Egypt as their “number one priority”, they shouldn’t disagree on the best way to proceed with a much-needed peaceful transition.

When asked about the presidential hopeful the party will consider backing, Sultan, and Al Beltagy said all candidates stood a good chance to win at this point.

For Gad, Amr Mousa, former Secretary-General of the Arab League, had the best shot, unless former minister of information Mansour Hassan decided to nominate himself.

Al Wafed Party, represented by Hafez, is yet to announce its candidate, while Eskandar believes that Hamdeen Sabahi, currently the leader of the Dignity Party, should become president given his long history of fighting governmental corruption and oppression, as well as the projects he founded to help elevate the living standards of the poor.

Muslim Brotherhood

Like all other political parties and activists on the scene, Al Wasat Party had it’s own outlook on the role the Muslim Brotherhood played throughout the past year.

Sultan told Gulf News: “The Muslim Brotherhood played an effective role, but they also had their failings. On the one hand their participation in the revolution is one of the reasons why the protesters were able to topple the regime. On the other hand, the elections witnessed violations on their part, and some of their statements were misplaced. I recall one of their speakers suggesting the families of the killed should receive money and drop the case they filed against Hosni Mubarak and Habib Al Adly.”

Al Beltagy said: “The stands the Muslim Brotherhood made throughout the past year were decided on good faith. Yes we made mistakes, but it’s bound to change once we’ve realised that some of the decisions we made were not well thought through. Organisations are bound to make mistakes, and hold themselves accountable for them.”

Gad had a different take on the matter: “The Muslim Brotherhood were not with the revolution until January 28, but then they sat down with Omar Sulaiman before the ousting of Mubarak and then with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) post the revolution and secretly came to agreements that best suited them.”

Eskandar agreed with Gad. He said: “I was hoping the majority elected showed more maturity and responsibility. This parliament was supposed to represent the revolution and reflect the new Egypt the people were hoping for. The Muslim Brotherhood did leave the people of Tahrir at a critical hour, the organisation not being present in the streets weakened the revolution.”

“This parliament, which people took to calling the ‘revolution’s parliament’, has only six female representatives and six Christian members - both are a part of this country as much as everyone else, both took part and came out in droves to support the revolution, both bled for this country and yet neither are properly represented in the parliament.”

Islamists’ presence

Sultan addressed the issue of a dominant Islamist presence in the parliament and it’s affect on people’s daily lives.

He said: “No one can silence the voice and the demands of the people, and no one can control the parliament regardless of them being a majority. As for their dealings with SCAF there are no secrets and this point, we can’t really say how the Freedom and Justice Party as well as Al Nour party will handle SCAF.”

Al Beltagy believes that to speak of Egypt’s future is to speak of the Freedom and Justice Party’s plans to accomplish just that - a free and democratic country.

He said: “We’re speaking of democratic Egypt that wishes to grant it’s people freedom, justice, and security. A country where citizens freely speak their mind. It’s a decades-long dream, and now that we’re in a place that guarantees that we accomplish that, that’s exactly what we’re aiming to accomplish.”

Gad was not as optimistic. He said: “It depends on the constitution, and the fact is, personal freedom is protected by the law. What the people feared was how far Al Nour party is willing to go, but given that their union with the Freedom and Justice Party failed, and the fact is that the Freedom and Justice party is seeking union with other liberal parties, I’d say that, that concern is unfounded.”

Hafez has personally met with the youth of Al Nour and the Freedom and Justice Party and said that they left a positive impression.

He said: “I haven’t sensed any selfishness in the youth belonging to either party. Both parties wish to accomplish something great for the country.”

Eskander warned that the Muslim Brotherhood has to tread carefully. He said: “Given the fact that they pulled out from the streets and focused on the elections, this is not a bad thing. The problem is that in countless instances, they completely disregarded the common man for what they believed is best, and if they continue to do so, they will create a gap of communication that is not easily crossed.”

SCAF

A few days from now, the people will again take to the streets and while some will support the SCAF, others will stand against it. The candidates stated their opinions on the matter.

According to Al Beltagy, the Muslim Brotherhood’s ties with SCAF ends with the presidential elections.

He said: “With a president in office, they will have to hand over power completely and leave the Egyptian political scene for it’s people. My main concern is the people - they’re the ones to decide what happens, the will of the people toppled over three governments in one year. No one expected the people to be able to force their way through. I believe in our people and their ability to carve out this country’s future at all costs.”

Hafez agreed: “If SCAF handed over power to the parliament now, how will we secure the country until the presidential elections? We have a deadline, and if all parties maintain it, we will cross this transitional period as smoothly as we can.”



Agreement on roles and duties

During the first session, the parliament is expected to come to an agreement with regard to the roles and duties certain members are expected to perform, and a parliament head will be elected along with his two deputies.

Next, the parliament is to put together the constituent assembly, whose sole purpose is write the new constitution. The assembly will be made out of a 100 members from all walks of life, with some belonging to political parties and others to unions.

Last but not least, the parliament will have to set down the rules and guidelines that will govern the upcoming presidential elections, starting with the qualifications of the presidential hopefuls and ending with the means by which the people will elect their candidate.

Once the rules are in place, the presidential nominations will be officially announced on April 15. The elections will take place on June 10 and a president will be announced on June 27.

Double Edge
23 Jan 12,, 18:51
The army has no real ideology to support their political control and are a bunch of dolts out to protect their estates - the MB will edge them out the way things are going. Each election invalidates the army more and more and their transparent attempts to not have anyone look over their shoulder while they skim from the military budget won't win over any converts.
Can i quote on this in the future when we can better see how the chips fall ?

You are stating the army will move aside and let the civvies rule. Army has stated that they will do just that once the elections are over. We will see.


Yeap.
How about turning it on its head. The administration uses the media as an instrument of its foreign policy. Media needs the adminstration more than the other way around.


What? If you are not a member of a religion - you shouldn't discuss what they are supposed to do under said religion to follow it properly.
Tell that to the Brit prof from Oxford whose Carnegie report states it, linked to earlier.

Note that this is just the strict Islamist view, might not have been clear in my comment.


LOL - that's a coup not a state of emergency.
Regardless, its trampling on the peoples wishes.


We threw our diplomatic and military weight behind actual terrorists - we put Islamists into power.
The question is to understand why. See my next post ;)


Despite years of failures the state department is yet to be purged like it should be of career officials.
What about the argument that career people are more invested in their job over temps.

Career army officers over contractors / mercenaries.


LOL - but yet you keep your fingers crossed that the Egyptian army will invalidate the will of the Egyptian people.
As a last resort.


They are deluded and poorly educated on the issues and got sold a bad bill of goods by snake oil salesmen. Hillary only is Sec-State because she slept with Bill at least once and because of that Obama sent her overseas to age another 4 years. They sat on their asses because of the reports of social media using teeny-boppers who wanted to be just like us - and ignored the fact the majority of the protesters sure as hell didn't agree with the liberals. Had they any knowledge on the people of the region and how they thought no way would we have rallied around this crap.
==========
LOL HRW is a joke. It will be funny to watch them duck away from their MB support once they are fully in the drivers seat.
Might not have agreed with the liberals but were unanimous that their leader should go and he did. That's something new in that part of the world. Usually the protesters get mowed down with whatever and it gets silenced & forgotten.

Double Edge
23 Jan 12,, 19:05
Dealing with Islamists is old hat for Washington

Washington’s Secret History with the Muslim Brotherhood | NY Review of Books Blog | Feb 05 2011 (http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2011/feb/05/washingtons-secret-history-muslim-brotherhood/)

As US-backed strongmen around North Africa and the Middle East are being toppled or shaken by popular protests, Washington is grappling with a crucial foreign-policy issue: how to deal with the powerful but opaque Muslim Brotherhood. In Egypt, the Brotherhood has taken an increasingly forceful part in the protests, issuing a statement Thursday calling for Mubarak’s immediate resignation. And though it is far from clear what role the Brotherhood would have should Mubarak step down, the Egyptian president has been claiming it will take over. In any case, the movement is likely to be a major player in any transitional government.

Journalists and pundits are already weighing in with advice on the strengths and dangers of this 83-year-old Islamist movement, whose various national branches are the most potent opposition force in virtually all of these countries. Some wonder how the Brotherhood will treat Israel, or if it really has renounced violence. Most—including the Obama administration —seem to think that it is a movement the West can do business with, even if the White House denies formal contacts.

If this discussion evokes a sense of déjà vu, this is because over the past sixty years we have had it many times before, with almost identical outcomes. Since the 1950s, the United States has secretly struck up alliances with the Brotherhood or its offshoots on issues as diverse as fighting communism and calming tensions among European Muslims. And if we look to history, we can see a familiar pattern: each time, US leaders have decided that the Brotherhood could be useful and tried to bend it to America’s goals, and each time, maybe not surprisingly, the only party that clearly has benefited has been the Brotherhood.

How can Americans be unaware of this history? Credit a mixture of wishful thinking and a national obsession with secrecy, which has shrouded the US government’s extensive dealings with the Brotherhood.

Consider President Eisenhower. In 1953, the year before the Brotherhood was outlawed by Nasser, a covert US propaganda program headed by the US Information Agency brought over three dozen Islamic scholars and civic leaders mostly from Muslim countries for what officially was an academic conference at Princeton University. The real reason behind the meeting was an effort to impress the visitors with America’s spiritual and moral strength, since it was thought that they could influence Muslims’ popular opinion better than their ossified rulers. The ultimate goal was to promote an anti-Communist agenda in these newly independent countries, many of which had Muslim majorities.

One of the leaders, according to Eisenhower’s appointment book, was “The Honorable Saeed Ramahdan, Delegate of the Muslim Brothers.”* The person in question (in more standard romanization, Said Ramadan), was the son-in-law of the Brotherhood’s founder and at the time widely described as the group’s “foreign minister.” (He was also the father of the controversial Swiss scholar of Islam, Tariq Ramadan.)

Eisenhower officials knew what they were doing. In the battle against communism, they figured that religion was a force that US could make use of—the Soviet Union was atheist, while the United States supported religious freedom. Central Intelligence Agency analyses of Said Ramadan were quite blunt, calling him a “Phalangist” and a “fascist interested in the grouping of individuals for power.” But the White House went ahead and invited him anyway.


By the end of the decade, the CIA was overtly backing Ramadan. While it’s too simple to call him a US agent, in the 1950s and 1960s the United States supported him as he took over a mosque in Munich, kicking out local Muslims to build what would become one of the Brotherhood’s most important centers—a refuge for the beleaguered group during its decades in the wilderness. In the end, the US didn’t reap much for its efforts, as Ramadan was more interested in spreading his Islamist agenda than fighting communism. In later years, he supported the Iranian revolution and likely aided the flight of a pro-Teheran activist who murdered one of the Shah’s diplomats in Washington.

Cooperation ebbed and flowed. During the Vietnam War, US attention was focused elsewhere but with the start of the Soviet war in Afghanistan, interest in cultivating Islamists picked up again. That period of backing the mujahedeen— some of whom morphed into al-Qaeda—is well-known, but Washington continued to flirt with Islamists, and especially the Brotherhood.

In the years after the September 11 attacks, the United States initially went after the Brotherhood, declaring many of its key members to be backers of terrorism. But by Bush’s second term, the US was losing two wars in the Muslim world and facing hostile Muslim minorities in Germany, France, and other European countries, where the Brotherhood had established an influential presence. The US quietly changed its position.

The Bush administration devised a strategy to establish close relations with Muslim groups in Europe that were ideologically close to the Brotherhood, figuring that it could be an interlocutor in dealing with more radical groups, such as the home-grown extremists in Paris, London and Hamburg. And, as in the 1950s, government officials wanted to project an image to the Muslim world that Washington was close to western-based Islamists. So starting in 2005, the State Department launched an effort to woo the Brotherhood. In 2006, for example, it organized a conference in Brussels between these European Muslim Brothers and American Muslims, such as the Islamic Society of North America, who are considered close to the Brotherhood. All of this was backed by CIA analyses, with one from 2006 saying the Brotherhood featured “impressive internal dynamism, organization, and media savvy.” Despite the concerns of western allies that supporting the Brotherhood in Europe was too risky, the CIA pushed for cooperation. As for the Obama administration, it carried over some of the people on the Bush team who had helped devise this strategy.

Why the enduring interest in the Brotherhood? Since its founding in 1928 by the Egyptian schoolteacher and imam Hassan al-Banna, the Brotherhood has managed to voice the aspirations of the Muslim world’s downtrodden and often confused middle class. It explained their backwardness in an interesting mixture of fundamentalism and fascism (or reactionary politics and xenophobia): today’s Muslims aren’t good enough Muslims and must return to the true spirit of the Koran. Foreigners, especially Jews, are part of a vast conspiracy to oppress Muslims. This message was—and still is—delivered through a modern, political party-like structure, that includes women’s groups, youth clubs, publications and electronic media, and, at times, paramilitary wings. It has also given birth to many of the more violent strains of radical Islamism, from Hamas to al-Qaeda, although many of such groups now find the Brotherhood too conventional. Little wonder that the Brotherhood, for all its troubling aspects, is interesting to western policy makers eager to gain influence in this strategic part of the world.

But the Brotherhood has been a tricky partner. In countries where it aspires to join the political mainstream, it renounces the use of violence locally. Hence the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt says it no longer seeks to overthrow the regime violently—although its members there think nothing of calling for Israel’s destruction. In Egypt, the Brotherhood also says it wants religious courts to enforce shariah, but at times has also said that secular courts could have final say. This isn’t to suggest that its moderation is just for show, but it’s fair to say that the Brotherhood has only partially embraced the values of democracy and pluralism.

Youssef Qaradawi

The group’s most powerful cleric, the Qatar-based Youssef Qaradawi, epitomizes this bifurcated worldview. He says women should be allowed to work and that in some countries, Muslims may hold mortgages (which are based on interest, a taboo for fundamentalists). But Qaradawi advocates the stoning of homosexuals and the murder of Israeli children—because they will grow up and could serve as soldiers.

Qaradawi is hardly an outlier. In past years, he has often been mentioned as a candidate to be the Egyptian branch’s top leader. He is very likely the most influential cleric in the Muslim world—on Friday, for example, thousands of Egyptian protesters in Tahrir Square listened to a broadcast of his sermon. He has also declared those demonstrators who have died defying the government to be martyrs.

That is an indication of the Brotherhood’s growing influence in the wave of protests around the region. In Egypt, the Brotherhood, after a slow start, has become a key player in the anti-government coalition; on Thursday, the new vice president, Omar Suleiman, invited the Brotherhood for talks. In Jordan, where the group is legal, King Abdullah met with the Brotherhood for the first time in a decade. And in Tunis, the Islamist opposition leader Rachid Ghanouchi, who has been a pillar of the Brotherhood’s European network, recently returned home from his London exile.

All of this points to the biggest difference between then and now. Half a century ago, the West chose to make use of the Brotherhood for short-term tactical gain, later backing many of the authoritarian governments that were also trying to wipe out the group. Now, with those governments tottering, the West has little choice; after decades of oppression, it is the Brotherhood, with its mixture of age-old fundamentalism and modern political methods, that is left standing.

* The appointment book and details of Ramadan’s visit are in the Eisenhower presidential archives in Abilene, Kansas. See my book A Mosque in Munich, pp. 116-119, for details of the visit. On the use of the Brotherhood post-9/11, see pp 222-228.

February 5, 2011, 10:15 a.m.

troung
24 Jan 12,, 02:13
What about the argument that career people are more invested in their job over temps.

Nope our diplomatic corps has been a 5th column for decades. Should have dealt with them decades ago.


Note that this is just the strict Islamist view, might not have been clear in my comment.

Doesn't apply if one doesn't believe their leaders are proper Muslims.


Might not have agreed with the liberals but were unanimous that their leader should go and he did. That's something new in that part of the world. Usually the protesters get mowed down with whatever and it gets silenced & forgotten.

The MB took down Mubarak, the liberals in a few years will rue the day - just like liberals in Iran did.


How about turning it on its head. The administration uses the media as an instrument of its foreign policy. Media needs the adminstration more than the other way around.

The media mentioned skinny jeans so much you would swear the writers were queer - they essentially lied (as they do constantly) about the state of affairs. They lied about Vietnam, about Egypt, Libya, Iraq and the list goes on and on. On the plus side soon enough they will be full of stories about how these regimes abuse women worse then the last group of thugs.


You are stating the army will move aside and let the civvies rule. Army has stated that they will do just that once the elections are over. We will see.

Much of the indication is these guys aren't steely eyes killers but pot bellied crooks out to protect their skim. Add in the fact their military aid comes from the USA and our media will shit on them if they start machine gunning... dumb, corrupt, and shackled...

Double Edge
24 Jan 12,, 22:32
Nope our diplomatic corps has been a 5th column for decades. Should have dealt with them decades ago.
Can you elaborate so we get a better idea of what you are saying.

So far let me tell how it sounds like to me.

Its ok to be critical of your govt
Its ok to disagree with the present adminstrations policy on idealogical grounds. You've not done that though you've outright called what they did wrong.

Earlier i thought you said they were incompetent which seemed a bit much. Still they make policy and we all have to live with it.

Now you are borderline charging them with treason. Very radical.

Without a better understanding of where you're coming from its difficult to know what to make of your comments.

How to distinguish your pov from a run of the mill opposer to the Iraq war say ?

You must have opposed Iraq because following your train of thought the same could be said about who succeeded Saddam ie an adminstration that would not necessarily see eye to eye with your interests.

Libya was a sideshow in comparison to Iraq. This game began with Iraq. Technically it began with Afghanistan but that was not a war of choice.

Only talking about post cold war developments here or did you also disagree with your adminstrations policy when it was countering communism by toppling regimes.


Doesn't apply if one doesn't believe their leaders are proper Muslims.
hah, thats the Islamists excuse. Let see how far they can go with that line.


The MB took down Mubarak, the liberals in a few years will rue the day - just like liberals in Iran did.
Iran has oil & gas, serious amounts of it. What has Egypt got. Just people & the Suez.


The media mentioned skinny jeans so much you would swear the writers were queer - they essentially lied (as they do constantly) about the state of affairs. They lied about Vietnam, about Egypt, Libya, Iraq and the list goes on and on. On the plus side soon enough they will be full of stories about how these regimes abuse women worse then the last group of thugs.
Was watching the Doha debates last weekend on the BBC and it was hosted in Istanbul this time. The motion put to vote was that the Arabs deserved better than the Turkish model and the motion won. Turkey apparently has over a 100 journalists banged up.


Much of the indication is these guys aren't steely eyes killers but pot bellied crooks out to protect their skim. Add in the fact their military aid comes from the USA and our media will shit on them if they start machine gunning... dumb, corrupt, and shackled...
As opposed to ignoring it in the past. Something is different this time.


LOL HRW is a joke. It will be funny to watch them duck away from their MB support once they are fully in the drivers seat.
Bruce Riedel said the same over a year back.

Don't Fear Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood | Brookings | Jan 28 2011 (http://www.brookings.edu/opinions/2011/0128_egypt_riedel.aspx)

troung
25 Jan 12,, 02:27
hah, thats the Islamists excuse. Let see how far they can go with that line.

Your comment about how good Muslims are supposed to be quiet was idiotic - no two ways about it. Only the steely eyed killers with AKs and suicide vests really are conformable arguing religion - non-Muslims just end up making fools of themselves.


Iran has oil & gas, serious amounts of it. What has Egypt got. Just people & the Suez.

And the liberals who came out on the street are going to end up in prisons or in the west with egg on their face once the MB locks in power.


Now you are borderline charging them with treason. Very radical.

Yeap should have purged them during the Cold War - not too late now to fire the entire diplomatic corps. We have a silly policy in East Asia with dead weight "allies", watched Islamists replace regional allies in the Middle East, throw feces at Iran but give Pakistan F-16s to house the Taliban and kill Americans, won't move on corruption in Afghanistan because "without" an effete douche who would hang from a lamp post the moment we leave we think we couldn't hang there and we just put terrorists in charge of Libya. The people who run our foreign policy fall into two groups - stupid or out an out traitors. Surprisingly Donald Trump was right about something - our diplomats never seem to win anything for us.


Was watching the Doha debates last weekend on the BBC and it was hosted in Istanbul this time. The motion put to vote was that the Arabs deserved better than the Turkish model and the motion won. Turkey apparently has over a 100 journalists banged up.

Umm yeah and not a single damn was given that day anywhere...


As opposed to ignoring it in the past. Something is different this time.

Yeah idiots in the west who accidentally cheered the Islamists on thinking it would lead to twittering fools setting up douchbagistan.


Bruce Riedel said the same over a year back.

A dumbass. HRW gets to support the MB and hope no one remembers when they criticize them in a few years.

Double Edge
25 Jan 12,, 18:47
Your comment about how good Muslims are supposed to be quiet was idiotic - no two ways about it. Only the steely eyed killers with AKs and suicide vests really are conformable arguing religion - non-Muslims just end up making fools of themselves.
Its not my comment. The source is the author of the carnegie report. Look it up on the previous page.

Clearly shows the difference between what is said and actually done :)


And the liberals who came out on the street are going to end up in prisons or in the west with egg on their face once the MB locks in power.
And then what ?

A replay of what used to go on during the military regimes except this time its not the islamist behind bars. On balance no effective difference between the two regimes. Is that what you are getting at. Economy still in shambles but everybody happy because now there is a real muslim in charge.


Yeap should have purged them during the Cold War - not too late now to fire the entire diplomatic corps.
1) We have a silly policy in East Asia with dead weight "allies",
2) watched Islamists replace regional allies in the Middle East,
3) throw feces at Iran but give Pakistan F-16s to house the Taliban and kill Americans,
4) won't move on corruption in Afghanistan because "without" an effete douche who would hang from a lamp post the moment we leave we think we couldn't hang there and
5) we just put terrorists in charge of Libya.

The people who run our foreign policy fall into two groups - stupid or out an out traitors. Surprisingly Donald Trump was right about something - our diplomats never seem to win anything for us.
Anyone else besides Donald Trump that shares these views. The problem is not enough people believe this or have yet or things would have changed. You've not had a serious foreign policy debacle which would catalyse the change you want. I'd have thought OBL would have been that point but guess not. So if the system ain't broke why fix it.

1) What should the ideal US policy in East Asia be ? They would accuse you of ignoring them for the last five years and only recently addressing it.

2) No choice or thats what the NY Book Review blog post tells me.

3) This one was slowly working its way in Congress, loads of rhetoric but no tangible results to show for. For all intents & purposes the relationship is stalled but there is no rollback and there won't be any unless more incidents occur. And thats unlikely given how fluid things currently are in Pakistan.

Otherwise your Iran policy seems about right. Now there's a surprise. Your media hypes it up like a conflict was imminent yesterday but your adminstration does not comply :)

4) I would be surprised if you exited Afghanistan without any bases left behind.

5) Jury is still out on that one by which i mean the intervention.


A dumbass. HRW gets to support the MB and hope no one remembers when they criticize them in a few years.
His name gets mentioned a lot, i've disageed with his hype about Pakistani nukes falling into terrorist hands. And he goes and writes a book about it.

Double Edge
26 Jan 12,, 00:10
How about the Polish model ?

Zakaria: Post-Communist lessons for the new Middle East | GPS Blog | Jan 22 2012 (http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2012/01/22/zakaria-post-communist-lessons-for-the-new-middle-east/)

As Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya transition from dictatorship to democracy, you'd think they'd look to America as a model for their new governments. But they don't. America is still too controversial in the Arab world.

Instead, many of the countries transformed by the Arab Spring are looking in a surprising place for inspiration.

Where is this new city on a hill?

Take a look at the man landing at the airport in Tunis, Tunisia: It's Lech Walesa. He's the man whose actions 30 years ago in the Gdansk shipyard in Poland helped cause Communism to crumble across Eastern Europe. Walesa was in Tunisia to pass on the lessons he had learned.

In fact, Poland is a good model for these countries. It's a country that started out with many problems - political and economic - but gradually overcame them. Today's Arab revolutionaries want to see how they did it. They are studying the Eastern European experience, and particularly the Polish path.

Poland is cooperating in various ways. It has started hosting conferences to share its knowledge. In fact, it uses a U.S.-made computer game to train Arab and East European civil servants. It's called "SENSE", or the Strategic Economic Needs and Security Exercise. SENSE simulates a virtual country emerging from authoritarian rule. It trains participants to make democratic decisions and allocate resources. Years after training on it, Warsaw is now passing on its own experience to the Arab world.

Poland's political and economic success have given it a sense of confidence and a new profile on the international stage. It's a member of NATO. In fact, it now holds the rotating presidency of the European Union. Beyond Europe, Poland has also been one of Washington's most loyal allies: Poland was among the largest contributors of troops to the War in Iraq, and it still has troops in Afghanistan.

But perhaps the biggest reason for poverty-stricken nations like Egypt to pay close attention to Poland is that it is a very rare breed in today's world, especially in Europe. Poland has a strong economy - the sixth biggest in the European Union now and the only European Union country to avoid a recession altogether. None of its banks needed to be rescued.

Its economy grew 4% last year, and is on track to grow 3% in 2012. Why, you'll ask. How did it survive the turmoil in the Euro Zone? One answer is that it has strong domestic demand and has been pouring money into infrastructure projects.

But the real - and fortuitous - reason is that Poland has yet to be allowed in to the Euro Zone - it continues to use zlotys instead of the euro. So unlike Greece or Italy, it was able to devalue its currency to stay competitive.

The irony is Warsaw continues to see its destiny as being tied to the common currency. More than half its exports go to the EU - a majority of it to Germany, its main trading partner. Poles reason that being part of the same currency would encourage foreign direct investment in Poland. And it's not just about economics. After yearning for decades to be part of Europe, its leaders now feel a resurgent Poland could be a full-fledged member of the European community.

But perhaps Poland should look at England, Sweden, and Switzerland - all European countries, all with strong economies - but with their own currencies. That might be the model to emulate. In any event, no Arab country is likely to give up its currency anytime soon - no matter what Poland will do.

troung
26 Jan 12,, 02:45
Instead, many of the countries transformed by the Arab Spring are looking in a surprising place for inspiration.

What feel good BS - the Islamists are not looking at Poland nor would they. Journalists should have a finger broken everytime they write a stupid article like that. At least Fareed wouldn't be able to type.


A replay of what used to go on during the military regimes except this time its not the islamist behind bars. On balance no effective difference between the two regimes. Is that what you are getting at. Economy still in shambles but everybody happy because now there is a real muslim in charge.

Yeap just like Iran. The twitterers will be looking quite stupid once the MB secures power.


The problem is not enough people believe this or have yet or things would have changed.

Not enough people pay attention so these idiots fail in peace.


2) No choice or thats what the NY Book Review blog post tells me.

....


4) I would be surprised if you exited Afghanistan without any bases left behind.

To protect Karzai from Pakistan's vassals - well thought out policy. Thank God we have career diplomats and foreign policy experts running our foreign policy....

Double Edge
26 Jan 12,, 16:03
What feel good BS - the Islamists are not looking at Poland nor would they. Journalists should have a finger broken everytime they write a stupid article like that. At least Fareed wouldn't be able to type.
As opposed to those that write chicken little nonsense about global warming, peak oil, rise of the islamists, the collapse of the $, US, euro, EC, the west, Pakistan, China, etc :biggrin:

Advocates on both sides have to exaggerate their positions for effect. Trick is to be able to spot & account for it.


Yeap just like Iran. The twitterers will be looking quite stupid once the MB secures power.
The future in other words. No doubt about whats happened so far but the future is an open question.

Its unclear whether the election success of the Islamists translates into electorial support for an islamist agenda. Or did they get voted in because they were seen as the cleanest party out there.

EIther way, when their term is up the next elections decide whether they stay or go.


Not enough people pay attention so these idiots fail in peace.
Or the problem isn't as big that it only gets mentioned at election time.
Or that the problem is so big that the only time it can be mentioned is during election time.

Either way its very contentious. You're implicating a lot of people here. Nexus between vested interests over the people, that of big money, of the media, collusion with think tanks etc. None of which have an incentive to spill the beans because the system does their bidding.


....
Ah, Iraq & Libya were both about choice so how can it be about no choice.

Both were explicit actions.

But did the US have any say over whether Mubarak should step down and over the ensuing developments ?

All i've heard there is how Obama wants to be on the right side of history.


To protect Karzai from Pakistan's vassals - well thought out policy. Thank God we have career diplomats and foreign policy experts running our foreign policy....
hehe, what about expanding US influence in central asia. Karzai's already said he'll be stepping down after his term concludes.

Why do you post under a Kyrgyz flag btw ?

troung
28 Jan 12,, 18:41
All i've heard there is how Obama wants to be on the right side of history.

Which is how people end up failing.


Or the problem isn't as big that it only gets mentioned at election time.

People focus on ex-wives not on the problems with our entrenched idiots who run foreign policy. Hard to put that into a thirty second ad.


Advocates on both sides have to exaggerate their positions for effect. Trick is to be able to spot & account for it.

Something you failed to do - "Mubarak era thinking" :whome:


The future in other words. No doubt about whats happened so far but the future is an open question.

Saying the future is far off in this case is just a way for you to duck the fact you really know little about the people of the area and what they would best identify with. You thought they were ready to be led by tweeting hipsters and talked about "Mubarak era thinking".


Its unclear whether the election success of the Islamists translates into electorial support for an islamist agenda. Or did they get voted in because they were seen as the cleanest party out there.

:rolleyes:


EIther way, when their term is up the next elections decide whether they stay or go.

:rolleyes:


In Egypt, fights erupt at huge rally

Aya Batrawy,Sarah El Deeb, Associated Press

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Muslim Brotherhood supporters and secular protesters hurled bottles and rocks at each other and got into fistfights in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Friday as their political differences boiled over at a rally by tens of thousands marking an anniversary in the uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak.

The scuffles, in which there were no reports of injury, were the first time the two sides have come to blows over resentments that have been rising between them since they worked together during the 18 days of protests against Mubarak a year ago.

Now they are locked in a competition to shape the transition. The differences do not focus on the Brotherhood's religious agenda - though it worries many in the other camp. Instead, the divisions are over the military, which has ruled since Mubarak's fall, and ultimately whether dramatic change will be brought to Egypt's long-autocratic system.

The "revolutionaries," the leftist and secular activists who launched the anti-Mubarak revolt, now demand that the ruling generals quit power immediately and have vowed protests to force them out. The Brotherhood, meanwhile, has vaulted to political domination by winning the largest bloc in the new parliament and has been willing to let the military follow its own timetable for stepping down.

The revolutionaries suspect the Brotherhood will strike a deal with the ruling generals - giving them a future say in politics to ensure the Brotherhood's hold on authority and influence on the writing of a new constitution, effectively shelving serious reform. They also bristle over what they see as the Brotherhood's attempts to monopolize the political scene.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/01/27/MNL11MVKRB.DTL#ixzz1kmO8hL40

Double Edge
28 Jan 12,, 20:19
Which is how people end up failing.
Its a meaningless soundbite, what it exactly entails isn't clear. You can see in it whatever you want.


People focus on ex-wives not on the problems with our entrenched idiots who run foreign policy. Hard to put that into a thirty second ad.
Figure you're talking mainly about how the occupations of Iraq & Afghanistan went and the outcomes. The interference of the adminstration with the military over how things had to be done. There had to be been some serious issues for McChrystal to have quit in as acrimonous a manner as he did. Seemed very unprofessional but i wonder if people will see it that way or rather as he intended them to see it. A FUBAR situation on the ground as well as with the office.

This you put down to career diplomats at the state dept. The old hands, experts on various regions.

I'm sure there is broad agreement that both those outcomes weren't satisfactory, however what is to be done to fix the situaiton is likely to be divisive provided you even get a consensus on it. Its a messy turf battle.

How did Iraq & Afghanistan compare to Vietnam ? Fewer american casualties, more effective regime change taking into account tech improvements , otherwise...


Something you failed to do - "Mubarak era thinking" :whome:
Have already qualified it.

Its more than rose tinted 'viva la revolucion' :)


Saying the future is far off in this case is just a way for you to duck the fact you really know little about the people of the area and what they would best identify with. You thought they were ready to be led by tweeting hipsters and talked about "Mubarak era thinking".
Its an admission that i cannot predict the future with the same amount of confidence & accuracy that you claim to possess.

And all you have to show for it is one assertion. A declaration in effect.


:rolleyes:
You're being presumptious.

Egypt will become the next Iran is your assertion. That means a regime that is necessarily at odds, irreconcilable odds at that, with Israel & western interests. Never mind anything else just that these two are essential components of any egyptian foreign policy. That this outcome is inevitable.

In short you've made up your mind and have already written the situation off.

How open will you therefore be to challenges on that assertion :)

I don't say it will be a smooth ride, its going to be messy & rocky. Thats the nature of democracy, the fight for an accoutable govt is a long & arduous one.

All sorts of creatures that have been under rocks are going to crawl out and interfere with the process. We will just have to deal with it. The Egyptians will have to come to terms with and deal with it. Ultimately this should produce a more stable & predictable adminstration in Egypt and the surrounding region. That is the optimist outlook. One that I think is apt because its too early to be otherwise at this point. No need to throw in the towel yet.

troung
28 Jan 12,, 20:40
Its a meaningless soundbite, what it exactly entails isn't clear. You can see in it whatever you want.

He wants to be popular and trendy right now - that's not how one leads.


Its an admission that i cannot predict the future with the same amount of confidence & accuracy that you claim to possess.

But you tried - talking here about how wonderful things would be and how he MB wasn't going to win. You were wrong, are still wrong and will keep on being wrong - because you are a pie in the sky dreamer who though because you and media types liked the secular hipsters everyone else must as well.


Its more than rose tinted 'viva la revolucion'

Dude that's all it was. No thinking took place at all - just glassy eyed slogans. It's is a cruel world out there - closing your eyes and covering your ears won't make it go away. If you were a nineteen year old Americans who had never left California this conversation would make some sense...


A giant awakes
RUTH POLLARD CAIRO
28 Jan, 2012 12:24 PM
http://www.myallcoastnota.com.au/news/world/world/general/a-giant-awakes/2435817.aspx?storypage=0
IT HAS been called a sleeping giant, a vast, secretive organisation that has been forced to live and work underground for most of the past 84 years. But since the fall of Hosni Mubarak's brutal 30-year rule last February, the Muslim Brotherhood has emerged as a powerful force in Egyptian politics.

Its newly formed Freedom and Justice Party was this week confirmed as winning 47 per cent of the vote in lower house elections. Raising alarm in the West and suspicion from liberal, secular and Coptic Egyptians, the Brotherhood's dominance in Egypt's new parliament (in which women's representation has dropped from 12 to 2 per cent), coupled with a strong showing from the ultra-conservative Salafist bloc, has changed the face of Egyptian politics overnight.

Cautious and disciplined, the movement that was formed in 1928 by Hasan al-Banna aimed to regain some ''dignity and status'' for Egyptians who were repressed by British rule. It has since spawned hundreds of other Islamic movements, branches and affiliates in about 70 countries across the Arab and Muslim world.

The Brotherhood's original mission was to Islamise society through promotion of Islamic law, values and morals, the Council on Foreign Relations says, combining religion, political activism and social welfare. Its slogans have included ''Islam is the solution'' and ''Jihad [struggle] is our way''.

But getting beyond the vague religious doctrines and ancient mission statements, and into the specifics of what the Brotherhood is about - how it is financed, who its members are, how its decisions are made - is, for now, all but impossible.

In his office in the elaborately decorated new Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in the Cairo neighbourhood of Muqattam - all heavy velvet drapes, marble-topped tables and gold leaf trim - the movement's chief spokesman, Dr Mahmoud Ghozlan, has little to say about financial matters.

''We don't give the numbers,'' he says matter-of-factly. ''In the Mubarak era it was very dangerous to give numbers or lists of members because it was very easy to arrest these people. Maybe after a while we will announce all of these things.''

He says the group has hundreds of thousands of members in Egypt, all required to pay 7-10 per cent of their salaries to the movement. The wealthy businessmen on their books pay much more. It is as much detail as we will get.

Ghozlan acknowledges the country faces enormous challenges. ''The previous regime left huge, complicated problems for Egypt in all aspects of life. Egypt now needs two processes, first to purify itself from the remnants of the ex-regime, and the second to rebuild the country.''

Yet it is difficult to see how Egypt can tackle its most entrenched problems - high unemployment, dwindling foreign reserves, poor international investment, corruption and a population desperate for a better life - when its major political movement cannot speak openly about its own organisation.

Keeping its secrets, it seems, is one skill in which the Brotherhood has been forced to excel.

''The Brotherhood was founded as a legal organisation back in the late 1920s, but it lost its legal status - essentially it was banned as an organisation in the late 1940s,'' says Nathan Brown, professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University and a senior associate with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. ''That means that for over half a century it has … continued to operate, but it has done so essentially off the books and sometimes underground.''

Over the past two decades it has been ''loosely tolerated by the Mubarak regime'', he says, with periodic crackdowns. ''So what that means is that questions about the movement's finances, about the number of its members, certainly the identity of its members, some of its internal decision-making structures, all those are considered by the Brotherhood 'off limits' to people from outside the organisation.''

When Mubarak fell on February 11, the Brotherhood was finally able to step out from the shadows of 80 years of opposition and into the political arena.

''There can be no question that genuine democracy must prevail,'' one of its spokesmen, Mohammad Mursi, wrote in The Guardian as Mubarak's regime teetered on the edge of collapse. ''While the Muslim Brotherhood is unequivocal regarding its basis in Islamic thought, it rejects any attempt to enforce any ideological line upon the Egyptian people.''

Six months ago, it formed a legally recognised political party - the Freedom and Justice Party, whose secretary-general, Mohamed Saad al-Katatni, has been elected as the speaker of parliament - and it now faces a very different political environment.

''Suddenly they are going to operate in a system which is much more open, and where answering the question 'Who's funding you?' [with] 'It's none of your business' doesn't wash any more. The Brotherhood will clearly have to make adjustments to the new environment, but the leaders of the old organisation were still very much schooled in the old ways of secrecy and handling internal matters very, very far from external scrutiny,'' Brown says.

Khairat al-Shater, a multi-millionaire Egyptian businessman whose financial interests span electronics, manufacturing and retail, is known as the Brotherhood's money man. Like much of the movement, he is a devotee of a free market economy and a strong advocate of privatisation and attracting new foreign investment to Egypt. He is believed to be one of a handful of businessmen who helped to finance the Freedom and Justice Party's decisive electoral victory and is now tasked with helping to craft the party's economic policies.

Al-Shater was accused by the Mubarak regime of being the above-ground, legitimate financial arm of the Brotherhood when it was not a legally recognised organisation, says Nathan Brown. ''The regime said he was putting in his own name on Muslim Brotherhood financial concerns - he, of course, denies this.''

But, Brown notes, as the Brotherhood gradually moves its operations above ground, it will no longer have ''to resort to legal subterfuge and, as a result, we might get a slightly better sense of their finances''.

''There are certainly very deep suspicions of the Brotherhood on all different kinds of grounds, including the financial ones,'' he says.

Could the secrecy surrounding political donations and the potential influence of those donations corrupt what is recognised, to date, as a relatively clean movement?

''I don't think so. There are certainly some very wealthy businessmen who support the movement but … up to now their Brotherhood associations have cost them rather than rewarded them.''

Brown says there has always been talk of foreign funding for the Brotherhood - mostly from the Gulf states - although there has been little conclusive evidence of its scale. ''In the 1950s, when the Brotherhood was crushed in Egypt, a lot of its leaders went abroad and a lot went to the Gulf, so my sense is it is Egyptians who got wealthy working in the Arabian peninsula who are making the donations.''

Despite renouncing violence decades ago after its early forays into assassination and bombing campaigns, the Brotherhood's importance as a springboard towards more radical Islamic movements for individuals such as al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is well known. The late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was often spoken of as a member, although there is no evidence he ever joined the movement, just that he fought alongside its volunteers in Palestine in 1948.

Speculation about its other alumni is ongoing, although direct links are difficult to make. ''We are talking about a trans-national movement … which has branches all over the world - any [Brotherhood] chairman in any other country will be subjected to the measure and the principle of the leadership here in Egypt,'' says Dr Hala Mustafa, commentator and editor-in-chief of the journal Democracy.

Soon after the Brotherhood's humble beginnings in 1928 in Egypt, its founder, al-Banna, inspired Muslims in other countries to found their own chapters in the Arab world and as far away as Indonesia, Brown says.

In nearby Tunisia - the first country to depose its leader in the people's revolutions that have rolled across the Middle East and North Africa in the past year - the moderate Islamist Ennahda Party took power in elections late last year. While Ennahda is not officially affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, it is associated, Brown says, and the two watch each other closely. So, too, the Islamist party in Morocco.

''These movements … study each other and actually are, many of them, formally but loosely linked to a sort of international brotherhood organisation.''

However, the West must look at these parties and movements individually, Brown says, in order to get an accurate understanding of what each chapter stands for. A case in point is Hamas, the Palestinian group that controls Gaza. ''Hamas has an armed wing, while the Brotherhood in Egypt renounced the violence half a century ago.''

Brown says that for a lot of the Brotherhood in Egypt, Gaza is little more than a charity case. ''It is also important to recognise that not all Islamist movements are Brotherhood movements,'' he says, citing the Salafist movement in Egypt, which is a competitor of the Brotherhood and now forms the second-largest bloc in the Egyptian parliament.

On the key question of Israel, there is a perceptible difference between the way the Muslim Brotherhood deals with the Camp David accords and the 1979 peace treaty with Israel, and the way the Freedom and Justice Party tackles the same issue.

The party - faced with the enormity of the problems confronting Egypt after the corruption and cronyism of 30 years under the Mubarak regime - would rather talk of anything else but the Israeli treaty, Brown says.

Ghozlan, the Brotherhood spokesman, is more forthcoming. ''We think this treaty is imposed on us from outside our country. And we think it is an unjust treaty. Because it removes our sovereignty in Sinai … we cannot built an airport there, we cannot send our troops inside the Sinai to protect our borders.

''We think that the Israelis do not respect [the treaty], because they have [undertaken] many attacks against our soldiers without any justification. We have to review it again, if the people want that, via the parliament. And we call Israel to respect it, also.''

But as Martin Indyk, former US ambassador to Israel and vice-president of the Brookings Institution, wrote this week after a visit to Cairo, the Brotherhood leaders ''understand they have to make a choice between feeding the people and fighting Israel, and for the time being they have made a conscious choice of bread over bombs''.

Despite playing a front-line role in Egypt's revolution, however, women are now in an even worse situation than during Mubarak's reign, when they held 12 per cent of seats in the last parliament. More than 370 women ran as candidates in the elections, which began on November 28 and ran over two months. When the results were announced this week, the extent of their failure was laid bare - women hold just 2 per cent of seats.

Part of the problem was the major parties' decision to run female candidates a long way down the ticket. And when the Salafi parties included women on their candidate lists, their faces were replaced with pictures of flowers on campaign posters, after the party leadership deemed the display of photographs of women in public inappropriate.

Hala Mustafa has real concerns about how long the Muslim Brotherhood's public statements professing moderate policies on women and minorities will last in a parliament where more conservative elements are at play. ''I see many experiences around me in the Middle East … in Iran, in Afghanistan, in Sudan. After a very short time, they [Islamists] go back to focus on their moral agenda, watching women, excluding them, marginalising them, talking about separation between the two genders, banning alcohol, interfering in the personal lives of people … also excluding or marginalising minorities with different religion.

''I hope, but I am not sure, that they [the Muslim Brotherhood] will present a different model.''

There is no doubt the next six months will be politically unstable in Egypt, where key players will ''fight for control of the steering wheel'', Brown says. ''But if the military actually does follow the timetable it has promised and stand down following the presidential elections in the middle of the year, what you will have is a popularly elected president … and the Brotherhood and its allies being able to put together something close to a majority in parliament - then you will have stability.

''There are all kinds of things that could go wrong, but the fact that the military has managed things so badly to date makes me think it is more likely that they will at least leave most civilian political and economic affairs alone.''

This, however, is not common wisdom among Egyptians, who just see disorder and chaos ahead. Like many analysts, Ed Husain, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, says the Muslim Brotherhood and the rise of political Islam is not necessarily a phenomenon to be feared.

In his blog, The Arab Street, Husain wrote this week that ''secular-minded Egyptians must not be too harsh on themselves'' about their poor showing in the recent elections.

''It is because of their success that the Muslim Brotherhood has gone from assassinating Egypt's prime minister in 1948 and creating jihadi training camps in the 1940s, to now embracing parliamentary democracy.''

But, he notes, Egypt's liberals have a long way to go before they come close to presenting an alternative to the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party. ''Egypt's liberals should join political parties and undertake the political hard grind necessary to win hearts and minds. Activism on Facebook and Twitter alone does not win elections - networks, narratives, resources, and leadership are crucial.''

And, at the moment, the Muslim Brotherhood possesses these qualities in spades.

Ruth Pollard is Middle East correspondent.

Double Edge
29 Jan 12,, 01:20
You were wrong, are still wrong and will keep on being wrong - because you are a pie in the sky dreamer who though because you and media types liked the secular hipsters everyone else must as well.
Time for you to tell us what to expect with the MB in charge. Try to say more than 'its going to be like Iran'.

Will Farsi become the national language in Egypt now ? what ?

Otherwise i don't see anything new in the article you posted. Looks balanced to me.

troung
29 Jan 12,, 02:27
Time for you to tell us what to expect with the MB in charge.

They will move from the warm and "touchy feely" front they are putting up after they are on firmer feet and push their radical agenda.


Will Farsi become the national language in Egypt now ? what ?

Nice try Baghdad Bob.

troung
31 Jan 12,, 04:27
....


Egypt gets dumped by its Washington lobbyists
Posted By Josh Rogin Saturday, January 28, 2012 - 9:04 AM Share
Egypt gets dumped by its Washington lobbyists | The Cable (http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/01/28/egypt_gets_dumped_by_its_washington_lobbyists)
All three of the lobbying firms representing the Egyptian government in Washington, D.C., dropped Egypt as a client late Friday amid widespread criticism of the ruling military council's raid of U.S. NGOs in Cairo and its refusal to let American NGO workers leave the country.

The Livingston Group, run by former Rep. Bob Livingston (R-LA), the Moffett Group, run by former Rep. Toby Moffett (D-CT), and the Podesta Group, run by Tony Podesta, unanimously severed their combined $90,000 per month contract with the Egyptian government, Politico reported late Friday, quoting Livingston directly. The three firms had formed what is known as the PLM Group, a lobbying entity created to advocate on behalf of the regime of former President Hosni Mubarak, who was deposed in February 2011 after 18 days of massive street protests. According to the disclosure filings, Egypt has paid PLM more than $4 million since 2007.

The trio came under fire last week for circulating talking points defending Egypt's Dec. 29 raid of several NGOs working to train political parties in Egypt, including three organizations partially funded by the U.S. government. The groups had been working in Egypt for years without being technically registered with the government, but now stand accused of fomenting unrest against the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which has been ruling the country since Mubarak's ouster.

"It is bad enough when the actions of American lobbyists conflict with U.S. national interests. It is far worse when their influence-peddling undermines American values, as the Egyptian government's lobbyists in Washington are doing in this instance," said Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) in a Jan. 24 statement. McCain is the chairman of the board of the International Republican Institute (IRI), one of the groups that had their Cairo offices raided. The other two groups were the National Democratic Institute, whose board is chaired by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and Freedom House.

The anger in Washington against the Egyptian government reached a boiling point when it was revealed Jan. 26 that U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood's son Sam LaHood, the head of IRI's Cairo office, had been barred from leaving Egypt by the government along with five other U.S. citizens.

"To have an American lobbyist lobbying for a government where these activities are taking place -- is there no shame in this town?" said Rep. Frank Wolf on Thursday.

On Friday, Sam LaHood told NPR that he and the other Americans trapped in Egypt could face criminal charges, lengthy trials, and years of prison time.

"If we are referred to trial," LaHood said. "The trial could last up to a year ... and the potential penalty is six months to five years in jail."

The lobbying groups buckled under the public pressure, recognizing that they couldn't influence the SCAF's actions in this case and that their association with the military council was harming their broader image. For years, these firms have been defending the Egyptian military's $1.3 billion annual aid package on Capitol Hill and lobbying for non-military aid to go through the government, and not directly to independent organizations as many democracy advocates urged.

The Cable reported that in late 2010, Bob Livingston personally called Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) to get him to kill a Senate resolution calling for greater respect for human rights and democracy in Egypt. Wicker placed a hold on the resolution and it died in the Senate.

Egypt's lobbyists were also responsible for negotiating an endowment the Egyptian government wanted from the Obama administration. But the Mubarak regime demanded the money be given with no annual Congressional oversight, and the negotiations broke down.

Congress did place new restrictions on military aid to Egypt in the most recent appropriations bill passed in December, as a way of pressing the SCAF to move faster toward handing over its executive powers to an elected government.

According to the legislation, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton must certify that the Egyptian government is living up to the 1979 Egypt-Israel peace treaty and that the SCAF is supporting the transition to civilian rule. Multiple congressional aides told The Cable Friday that the aid is now in serious jeopardy.

"Needless to say, this whole crisis is going to make it a lot more difficult for the secretary of state to meet the certification requirements to continue providing assistance to Egypt," one senior Senate aide told The Cable. "People up here are completely seized with this issue. They're putting their friends in a really awful spot."

Another senior Senate aide noted that the Obama administration is doing a lot of work behind the scenes to deescalate the crisis, which is threatening to do long-term harm to the official U.S.-Egypt relationship.

President Barack Obama brought up the raids in a call last week with SCAF leader Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, according to the White House. Clinton, U.S. Ambassador Anne Patterson, Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns, National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, and Lahood have been working the phones hard, calling contacts in Egypt to send strong messages and implore them to change course. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Labor, and Human Rights Michael Posner was in Egypt on Jan. 26 and met with high-level Egyptian officials.

"Since the NGO raids in late December, the Obama administration has repeatedly provided paths for the SCAF to deescalate this crisis. Instead they keep escalating -- doubling down on a bad bet that, in the end, will prove ruinous to them," the Senate aide said. "Three weeks ago no one in Congress thought there was a chance in hell that aid to the Egyptian military could ever come under serious threat. It is now an increasingly and shockingly real prospect."

Ironically, McCain and Lieberman had been among the U.S. leaders most supportive of the SCAF and its role in maintaining stability during Egypt's fragile transition.

Many in Washington believe that the SCAF is being heavily influenced on this issue by one civilian Egyptian official, Fayza Abul-Naga, the minister of international cooperation and a holdover from the Mubarak era. In a speech this week, she disavowed the SCAF's previous promises to return the NGOs' raided possessions and cease harassing them as she lashed out at the American NGO groups.

Lorne Craner, the president of IRI, said in an interview Friday with The Cable that there is bad blood between Abul-Naga's ministry and the NGO groups. "Some people say that the people who used to get the money, for example the minister of international cooperation, resent the fact that they are not getting all of the funding," Craner said.

Meanwhile, the Americans and several of their locally hired staffers are enduring hours-long interviews as they await a possible arrest, which would only escalate the crisis.

"Things have gone from bad to worse," Craner said. "You start to think about Americans getting arrested on the streets of Cairo and sitting in a cage in some Cairo court ... And these are our allies."

UPDATE: On Sunday the Egyptian Embassy in Washington issued a statement claiming they dumped the PLM Group, not the other way around:

Double Edge
31 Jan 12,, 23:37
"It is bad enough when the actions of American lobbyists conflict with U.S. national interests. It is far worse when their influence-peddling undermines American values, as the Egyptian government's lobbyists in Washington are doing in this instance," said Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) in a Jan. 24 statement.
And there you have it. Washington supports the new regime.


Congress did place new restrictions on military aid to Egypt in the most recent appropriations bill passed in December, as a way of pressing the SCAF to move faster toward handing over its executive powers to an elected government.

According to the legislation, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton must certify that the Egyptian government is living up to the 1979 Egypt-Israel peace treaty and that the SCAF is supporting the transition to civilian rule. Multiple congressional aides told The Cable Friday that the aid is now in serious jeopardy.
Could this be why the MB said the peace treaty should be put to a referendum.

troung
02 Feb 12,, 00:45
Egypt Islamists stop protesters on way to parliament - Yahoo! News (http://news.yahoo.com/egypt-islamists-stop-protesters-way-parliament-174958735.html;_ylt=AkBUwRHoIqb0g2cd8wBC0tvyWed_;_ ylu=X3oDMTRva3V1ZDkyBGNjb2RlA2dtcHRvcDEwMDBwb29sd2 lraXVwcmVzdARtaXQDTmV3cyBmb3IgeW91BHBrZwM0Yjk1YjAx Yy03YWI3LTNjMjAtYjU2Zi1lMzhhODNjYjg0YjUEcG9zAzIEc2 VjA25ld3NfZm9yX3lvdQR2ZXIDZGIwZDUxMTAtNGMzYi0xMWUx LWFjZGYtNWJmNzMyNDhmMmQ0;_ylg=X3oDMTMzMjdrcmcyBGlu dGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDNTM0NDY0MTctZGJjNS 0zYjM3LWExMGUtZmQ1MDU3NTZhMTc2BHBzdGNhdAN3b3JsZHxh c2lhBHB0A3N0b3J5cGFnZQR0ZXN0Aw--;_ylv=3)

Egypt Islamists stop protesters on way to parliament
AFPAFP – 17 hrs ago

Hundreds of Egyptian protesters demanding the end of military rule were prevented …

Hundreds of Egyptian protesters demanding the end of military rule were prevented on Tuesday from reaching parliament by backers of the Muslim Brotherhood, which holds the majority in the assembly.

"We are standing here as a human shield, because if the protesters go any further, they will clash with the police. They want to enter parliament, what do you expect me to do?" Muslim Brotherhood member Hamdy Adbdelsamad told AFP.

Behind him, anti-military protesters chanted against the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces that took power when Hosni Mubarak was ousted by a popular uprising last year.

Activists had called for a march from Cairo's Tahrir Square -- the symbolic heart of the Egyptian uprising -- to parliament to press the newly-elected MPs to implement the goals of the revolution.

They want the ouster of the military junta, an end to the military trials of civilians, the restructuring of the interior ministry and a guarantee of freedoms and social justice.

Islamist and secular protesters stood side by side in Tahrir Square during the 18 days of protests that toppled Mubarak in early 2011.

But tensions have risen between them since parliamentary elections propelled the long-banned Muslim Brotherhood to the centre stage of politics, with its Freedom and Justice Party now controling 47 percent of the assembly.

Secular protesters accuse the Islamists colluding with the ruling military to maintain their new-found power.

"Badie, you are selling the revolution!" the anti-military protesters chanted, in reference to Mohammed Badie, the Islamist movement's supreme guide.

"The Muslim Brotherhood youth are blocking all roads to the parliament, preventing the anti-military protesters... There are huge numbers of them standing in rows like militias," one anti military protester told AFP.

Riot police was also deployed near the parliament building were MPs were holding a session.

After several hours, protesters decided to abandon their plans to reach parliament and headed to the state television building in the Maspero district, another focal point of the protests.

Since January 25, pro-democracy groups have organised a series of rallies and protests to mark one year since the uprising that toppled Mubarak and left the military in power.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, led by Mubarak's ex-defence minister Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, has pledged to hand power to civilian rule by June when a new president is to be elected.

The military enjoyed hero status at the start of the uprising last year for refusing to shoot on demonstrators, but became the target of protester wrath over human rights abuses and the stifling of dissent.


The Tahrir Square illusion
By DANIEL NISMAN 02/01/2012 21:28
http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Op-EdContributors/Article.aspx?id=256076
Egypt's SCAF continues to rule not in spite of the citizens, but with their compliance.
Egypt's Tantawi talking with journalists By REUTERS
Despite the media’s love affair with the anti-Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) activist movement, the Egyptian revolution has already been secretly decided.

After the tense buildup to the anniversary of the revolution, Egypt’s new ruling elite can breathe a sigh of relief. While tens of thousands of liberal activists swarmed Tahrir Square against the military leadership, they failed to reignite the nationwide anger which led to the ousting of Hosni Mubarak on January 25 of last year.

It seems clear that after a year of political unrest, sectarian violence, civil strikes and economic turmoil, the majority of Egyptians have opted to ensure their security, even if it means forgoing the original goals of the revolution. This security has been achieved by the emergence of a new balance of power, carefully negotiated against the backdrop of parliamentary elections, between the Muslim Brotherhood and the ruling military council.

This shadowy agreement first became evident in November 2011, when liberal activists engulfed downtown Cairo in rioting, threatening stability before the onset of parliamentary elections. While the media flocked to Mohammed Mahmoud Street to capture romantic images of stone-throwing youth, Muslim Brotherhood leaders secretly met with SCAF officials to decipher a way to end the violence in a mutually beneficial manner.

It was during these behind-the-scenes meetings that the two parties allegedly reconciled their previous differences over the nature of Egypt’s constitution, agreeing in turn to each do their part to ensure stability in the country.

The Muslim Brotherhood would agree to support the SCAF’s timetable for transfer of power, pledging to refrain from contributing to any protest movement which might arise. For its part, the SCAF agreed to allow what would be a Brotherhood-dominated parliament to decipher the constitution while reportedly ensuring a presidential system which would ensure the military’s continued influence in government.

As reports of the agreement began to trickle in through local media, the Muslim Brotherhood staunchly denied their participation. However, the course of their actions since November provide a telling indicator that Egypt’s most influential faction is now in cahoots with increasingly unpopular military council.

When riots flared again in December 2011, the Brotherhood came out in support of the SCAF’s timetable for presidential elections, going against calls made by liberal politicians. Just as Egypt appeared divided over the SCAF-induced celebratory nature of the revolution’s anniversary, the Muslim Brotherhood openly held supportive rallies in Tahrir Square opposite thousands of secular and liberal activists who were calling for its removal from power.

Given the media’s fascination with Egypt’s seemingly continuous revolution, one would think that the Muslim Brotherhood’s support of the much-hated SCAF would detract from its popularity. The Brotherhood’s subsequent success in parliamentary elections and ever-growing popularity proves that the Egyptian reality is not consistent with the media’s portrayal.

In reality, the Brotherhood’s agreement with the SCAF did not draw the ire of the average Egyptian due to the simple fact that much of the population simply wishes for a restoration of security. The instability and uncertainty in the wake of Mubarak’s ousting has not only put many Egyptians out of work, but has also caused many residents to fear for their personal safety in a growing security vacuum. As such, the outrage of the educated liberal elite over issues like imprisoned bloggers has continuously failed to resonate with a population which is finds itself struggling to survive. In their eyes, the destabilizing violence caused by these groups’ pursuit of liberal-democratic governance has only contributed to their hardship, effectively becoming more of a nuisance than a legitimate struggle.

The Brotherhood, like the average Egyptian, still views the military as the only entity capable of keeping the country afloat. For a group which desperately needed such security for its rise to power during the lengthy polling period, an agreement to cooperate with the SCAF was clearly a well calculated move.

As Egypt moves forward into the second year since of its rebirth, liberal activist groups are likely to continue drawing media attention through colorful demonstrations in Tahrir Square. Outside of Cairo, meanwhile, the average Egyptian has reconciled with the idea that ensuring personal security under a military-influenced government is preferable to the prolonged instability that comes from pursuit of liberal democracy.

Since Mubarak’s ousting, the liberal activists who first took to the streets to spark the uprising have consistently claimed that the revolution has been stolen from under their noses. Embodying that sentiment is their latest protest on January 27, which has been dubbed “Friday of Anger.” Their anger, however, need not lie with the military government or the Muslim Brotherhood. As with any undemocratic regime, the SCAF continues to rule not in spite of the Egyptian people, but with their compliance.

Daniel Nisman works for Max Security Solutions, a geo-political risk consulting firm based in the Middle East. He specialized in North African and Egyptian affairs.

troung
02 Feb 12,, 01:44
Egyptian officials look to set up Islamic index - FT.com (http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/b9500cec-4c2d-11e1-b1b5-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1lBEksMWX)


February 1, 2012 6:45 pm
Egyptian officials look to set up Islamic index

By Heba Saleh in Cairo

Egypt’s newly-elected Islamists say they want to introduce an index of companies that comply with sharia law as part of a wider move towards an Islamic economy.

Officials from Freedom and Justice, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, and from Nour, a party of ultraconservative Salafi Islamists, argue that such an index would encourage a slice of investors who, they allege, have shunned the bourse for fear that it might somehow contravene religious law.
More
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Egyptians mark anniversary of protests

Finance experts from the two parties say they envision the creation of an index of sharia-compliant companies as part of a new Islamic economy, with banks and insurance companies that adhere to Islamic principles working alongside conventional institutions.

Under Hosni Mubarak, the president ousted by a popular uprising last year, the Egyptian authorities looked askance at Islamic finance and severely limited its expansion, probably associating it with attempts by its political opponents in the Muslim Brotherhood to enhance their influence in society.

The FJP and Nour together occupy some two-thirds of the seats in Egypt’s new parliament, and are expected to emerge as the winners in elections for the Shura council, the upper chamber in the country’s bicameral assembly. Staggered Shura elections started on Sunday and will continue until the end of February.

“We want to reassure people that we want to increase the number of investors on the bourse,” said Tarek Shaalan, a member of Nour’s economic committee. “But how can I attract foreign investors to the Egyptian stock exchange when locals stay away from it? One reason why Egyptians don’t invest in the market is because they want halal [religiously acceptable] investments.”

Mr Shaalan, who teaches economics at the American University in Cairo, says he has researched “a cluster” of Egyptians who worked abroad and built up savings. He found that they had five times as many investments outside the country than at home and that compliance with sharia was a reason they preferred stock markets in Gulf countries.

“We [Islamists] represent 75 per cent of the population,” he said. “That’s what the population wants. These are actual needs and this system will do no harm to other [forms of investment]. Already many Egyptians do not want to work in banking because they consider it a usurious sector.”

But Mr Shaalan said the introduction of the index would have to wait until there were enough sharia-compliant companies on the exchange. The conditions range from the nature of a company’s business to whether it pays interest on credit from conventional banks.

Mohamed Gouda, an official of the FJP said that an Islamic index would draw more investments from the Gulf Arab region. He said an “Islamic supervisory authority” working with the bourse would set the standards for sharia-compliant companies. “Through presence in the market, [Islamic financial instruments] will be able to impose themselves, and customers will . . . consider them better than what already exists,” he said.

Egyptian brokers, however, are sceptical that significant demand exists for Islamic instruments. Hisham Tawfik, who heads Arabeya Online for Securities Brokerage, said some brokers had already devised their own indices of sharia-compliant companies, but that in his experience investor interest was “tiny”.

troung
31 Mar 12,, 21:11
Lol


egypt's brotherhood fields presidential candidate
associated pressby maggie michael | associated press – 17 mins ago
Egypt's Brotherhood fields presidential candidate - Yahoo! News (http://news.yahoo.com/egypts-brotherhood-fields-presidential-candidate-190426828.html)
cairo (ap) — egypt's muslim brotherhood, already in control of almost half the seats in parliament, announced on saturday it was fielding its own presidential candidate, reversing an earlier decision not to do so and setting the stage for confrontation with the nation's ruling generals and the group's secular and liberal critics.

A win by its candidate, the group's chief strategist and deputy leader khayrat el-shater, gives the formerly outlawed islamist movement a strong grip on the future of this mainly muslim nation whose longtime leader hosni mubarak, a staunch u.s. Ally, was ousted a year ago.

The announcement at a cairo news conference ended months of speculation about whether the brotherhood would seek to round off its success in legislative elections with a bid for the country's most powerful office in the presidential race set to start in may.

Egypt's press describe el-shater as a multi-millionaire businessman and one of the brotherhood's main financiers.

The movement's decision to finally nominate one of its own is likely to escalate the group's confrontation with the council of military generals, who are accused of seeking to preserve the army's privileges and are likely not to want too much power concentrated in the hands of a single group.

It will also widen the gap with liberals and secularists, who fear that the movement — which has largely espoused moderate rhetoric in the past year — will implement a hardline islamist agenda once it has solidified its political position.

Already, islamists enjoy a comfortable majority on a 100-member panel tasked with drafting a new constitution for egypt, which has raised serious alarm among the nation's large christian minority and liberals.

Mahmoud hussein, the group's deputy leader, said the decision was made in the face of "attempts to abort the revolution," after the military council refused several requests by the brotherhood to appoint a cabinet of ministers.

"we don't want to reach a confrontation that affects the path of the nation," mohammed morsi, top leader of the group's political arm said.

But such a confrontation is likely. The move reverses a pledge made by the group's leaders not to contest presidential elections to reassure liberals and western countries fearful of an islamic takeover.

The group won close to half of parliament seats in the country's first post-revolution elections in november. That victory was largely due to the brotherhood's grassroots movement, however, and it is unclear how el-shater will do against other candidates who might have greater name recognition and stronger television presence, such as ex-arab league chief amr moussa.

El-shater also faces off against two other islamist candidates, although the impact of him splitting the islamist vote is lessened because the top two candidates in the first round of balloting will go on to a run-off.

El-shater, who is in his early sixties, joined the brotherhood in 1974. He has been jailed four times for a total of seven years on charges relating to his membership in the brotherhood, which was outlawed more than 50 years ago.

However, hussein said that there are "no legal obstacles" in front of el-shater to contest the election.

Double Edge
05 Apr 12,, 03:25
Where Will the Muslim Brotherhood Take Egypt’s Economy? | Yale Global | Feb 06 2012 (http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/muslim-brotherhood-take-egypts-economy)

Where Will the Muslim Brotherhood Take Egypt’s Economy?

Mohamed El Dahshan
6 February 2012

The Muslim Brotherhood is Egypt’s largest opposition group, so it’s no surprise that its political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, secured nearly half the votes in parliamentary elections. Campaign rhetoric proposed alcohol restrictions, gender-segregated beaches, and revision of Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel. Ready to step into power, Islamists already have more pressing matters: an investigation of 43 employees, including 19 Americans, who work for human-rights and political NGOs and are accused of being aided by foreigners without official permission; the subsequent downturn in US-Egyptian relations; and a wave of unrest, violence and impatience for elected civilians to replace the transitional military government. The party must secure alliances with extremist or moderate groups to secure a majority, reports economist Mohamed El Dahshan, and in the meantime, economic planning is a work in progress. He concludes that viable, consistent economic policies could go a long way in reassuring investors, entrepreneurs and international aid donors relieving poverty; and eliminating corruption. – YaleGlobal


Egypt’s Islamists scramble to develop economic policy staying within the dictates of religion

CAIRO: Egypt’s new parliament is taking seat amid ongoing protests on the streets, deteriorating relations with the US over impending trial of NGO workers and threats that the US might review $1.3 billion in Egyptian military aid. Thus, it’s essential to read into the economic policy the Muslim Brotherhood will devise to redress an economy battered by a year of severe mismanagement by the ruling military junta and its successive transitional governments.

The Brotherhood’s political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, or FJP, won 47 percent of the seats in the Egyptian parliament in January 2012, and concerns about that accession to power largely concentrate on secondary issues – sartorial restrictions, alcohol prohibition, gender-segregated beaches – leaving little room for serious policy discussion. At times concerns were raised about the Brotherhood’s perspective on Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel.

For the first time in its modern history, Egypt has been placed under the tutelage of an Islamist party. And more than cultural attitudes, its economic policies may signify the most profound changes for the country.


Within the Muslim Brotherhood’s FJP, competing ideologies wrestle over economic planning.

For much of its 85 years of existence, the Muslim Brotherhood was a banned opposition party. As such, it didn’t have to develop consistent economic policy. FJP’s economic policy today is a confusing series of ideas, mostly aimed at its conservative constituency. Short of a complete economic plan, FJP works from a series of clippings.

Trying to discern a pattern from those clippings, one is struck by two competing ideologies wrestling within the economic policymaking:

One is an interventionist tendency reflecting the organization’s traditional hierarchical structure. For example, Abdel Hafez El Sawy, now leading the FJP’s Economic Council, criticizes Egypt’s “unproductive and rentier economy” while emphasizing the need to encourage productivity by selecting “prime” sectors.

The other is a group of Islamist industry and trade leaders headed by Khairat Al-Shater, multimillionaire businessman who found himself imprisoned by the Mubarak regime, assets twice confiscated. He is now a FJP strategist and senior leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. Al-Shater and others, such as his partner Hassan Malek or Safwan Sabet of household brand Juhaina fame, would argue for a liberal, market economy with a business-friendly climate. Al-Shater is already tasked with leading the massive “Renaissance Project” for FJP, a long-term plan to fix the economy, public administration, health and education. The project, awarded a generous budget, is at the heart of FJP’s strategy.

Alongside such laudable generalities as restoring trust in the economy and self-sufficiency in strategic goods, FJP advocates for a mixed-basket of policies that include an export substitution industrial policy in cooperation with the private sector; controlling budget deficits and public debt, while rationing public spending; increasing the minimum wage, an original demand of Tahrir Square protesters; strengthening competition and anti-trust legislation; introducing a progressive income tax; and raising the ceiling for tax exemptions.

The interventionist and free-market tendencies explain why commercial banks and the stock market won’t see their business threatened. Despite declarations of “moving to an Islamic economy” – one where interest-free Islamic finance replaces conventional commercial banking – embedded in the party platform, the Brotherhood and its businesspeople know that Islamic banking accounts for less than 4 percent of the local banking industry, estimated at $193 billion. They don’t want to frighten depositors and borrowers. The government will likely encourage banks to offer Islamic financial products to clients.

Most striking about FJP’s top-down approach is the perception of poverty alleviation as a form of charity.

Most striking about FJP’s top-down approach in a nation where 25.2 percent of the population lives below the poverty line is the perception of poverty alleviation as a form of charity, not a necessary outcome of economic growth. This is a remnant of the Brotherhood’s past far-reaching organized charity work. The source of their grassroots support is a historical perception of how development is “done,” as per the electoral program, with “permanent and continuous financing” through charity. Tellingly, the poverty-alleviation section of the electoral program is under “social justice,” not “economic development.”

So how will government finance charities and balance the national budget? Here, the FJP fumbles, offering little about fiscal policy in its electoral program. The FJP seems to plan on methodically going through all of the country’s pockets.

One potentially deep pocket is several billion in government “special funds” – slush funds not supervised by the government or included in the state budget. Another would be to cut energy subsidies for industry, a $3.3 billion reduction – both ideas of the previous transitional government.

The FJP also estimates that “reviewing all oil and gas export deals” could provide $18 billion to state coffers – a wildly hypothetical estimate, as it assumes trade partners, most notably Israel, will agree on changing terms of agreements.

Some Brotherhood leaders have floated the idea of repossessing previously state-owned land from owners who obtained it through corruption – a fair demand, but complicated, considering the reaction of investors to limited repossessions conducted by the transitional government in 2011.

Another improbable source of income, hinted at by FJP, is making zakat – yearly alms that Muslims should pay to help the less fortunate, amounting to 2.5 percent of wealth – compulsory not voluntary.

The Brotherhood, increasingly engaged in visible politicking with the army, is unlikely to touch the deep pocket of the military budget any time soon. With the help of US largess, $1.3 billion per year – in effect, unlikely to be revised downward – the military’s massive economic interests range from production of ovens and mineral water to beach-condo rentals. Such budget details are not public, though it’s estimated that the army’s economic interests represent a staggering 30 percent of the Egyptian GDP.


The Brotherhood’s economic policy may represent little change from the past two decades.

Ironically, a revenue-generating sector that seemed most threatened from the Brotherhood’s ascent – tourism – might escape unscathed. "No citizen who makes a living from [tourism] should feel concerned", FJP officials stated, attempting to ease worries of the almost 1 in every 9 Egyptians whose livelihood depends on the industry. Many fear that the Islamist parties in the parliament will push for prohibitions on alcohol consumption and swimwear. Extremists, mostly in the Salafi wing, exacerbate such fears by issuing statements comparing Pharaonic statues to forbidden pre-Islamic idols.

The FJP promises to protect tourist sites, open new markets and improve tourism infrastructure. While restrictions on activities like alcohol consumption might befall Egyptian nationals, and that’s unlikely, tourists should notice no big changes. :Dancing-Banana:

How the Brotherhood’s budget turns out depends on how parliamentary alliances coalesce. Existing tensions between liberal and Islamist parties will be replaced by common interests; the Brotherhood will find good allies in economic policy in smaller pro-market parties across the aisle.

To be viewed as moderates, the Brotherhood will attempt to distance itself from the extremist Salafi groups. Nevertheless, punctual alliances, notably on issues deemed religious, will likely be created with the Salafi contingent. The latter has already voiced its support to compulsory zakat collection, for instance.

The end result will be a stumbling, learn-as-you-go pragmatic pro-market economic policy with a strong welfare component. Deregulation will slow. Relations with international donors won’t change.

At the end of the day the Brotherhood’s economic policy may represent little change from the past two decades, as Egypt’s economic policy maintained massive subsidization while conducting, or at least promising, pro-business reforms.

Investors at home and abroad remain wary. The FJP-led government’s main challenge, then, is to reassure investors and entrepreneurs of its commitment to a market-based economy, while fulfilling its commitment to relieve poverty through charity and social programs while eradicating the corruption that has soured Egypt’s economy and vilified the market economy in the eyes of Egyptian citizens.

Mohamed El Dahshan is an economist and a writer. eldahshan.com

Double Edge
12 Apr 12,, 18:34
Aid to Egypt restored because US jobs depend on it.

Once Imperiled, U.S. Aid to Egypt Is Restored | NY Times | March 23, 2012 (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/24/world/middleeast/once-imperiled-united-states-aid-to-egypt-is-restored.html?_r=1&sq=egypt%20foreign%20aid&st=cse&scp=2&pagewanted=print)

Once Imperiled, U.S. Aid to Egypt Is Restored
By STEVEN LEE MYERS
March 23, 2012

WASHINGTON — An intense debate within the Obama administration over resuming military assistance to Egypt, which in the end was approved Friday by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, turned in part on a question that had nothing to do with democratic progress in Egypt but rather with American jobs at home.

A delay or a cut in $1.3 billion in military aid to Egypt risked breaking existing contracts with American arms manufacturers that could have shut down production lines in the middle of President Obama’s re-election campaign and involved significant financial penalties, according to officials involved in the debate.

Since the Pentagon buys weapons for foreign armed forces like Egypt’s, the cost of those penalties — which one senior official said could have reached $2 billion if all sales had been halted — would have been borne by the American taxpayer, not Egypt’s ruling generals.

The companies involved include Lockheed Martin, which is scheduled to ship the first of a batch of 20 new F-16 fighter jets next month, and General Dynamics, which last year signed a $395 million contract to deliver component parts for 125 Abrams M1A1 tanks that are being assembled at a plant in Egypt.

“In large part, there are U.S. jobs that are reliant on the U.S.-Egypt strong military-to-military relationship,” a senior State Department official said, speaking on condition of anonymity under rules set by the department. In deciding how to proceed, the official said, Mrs. Clinton and her colleagues “were looking at our overall national security goals, as well as any domestic issues.”

Mrs. Clinton’s decision to resume military assistance, which has been a foundation of United States-Egyptian relations for over three decades, sidestepped a new Congressional requirement that for the first time directly links arms sales to Egypt’s protection of basic freedoms. No new military aid had been delivered since the fiscal year began last October, and Egypt’s military has all but exhausted funds approved in previous years.

Mrs. Clinton’s decision provoked sharp criticism from lawmakers across the political spectrum, as well as human rights organizations. Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, criticized it as “beyond the pale.”

Referring to Egypt’s recent decision to prosecute four American-financed international advocacy organizations, Mr. Paul added, “It sets a precedent that America will not punish its aggressors but instead give them billions of our taxpayers’ dollars.”

Mrs. Clinton used her authority under the new law to waive a requirement that she certify Egypt’s protection of human rights. That she would not certify that the military had complied was in itself a rebuke to Egypt’s transitional military leaders, who have moved slowly to yield power and to lift a decades-old state of emergency, but it nonetheless allows the Egyptian military to continue to arm and equip its forces.

“The secretary’s decision to waive is also designed to demonstrate our strong support for Egypt’s enduring role as a security partner and leader in promoting regional stability and peace,” the State Department’s spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland, said in a statement. Both the military assistance and an additional $250 million in economic and political assistance also required Mrs. Clinton to certify that Egypt was upholding the Camp David peace accords with Israel, which she did on Friday.

The statement and continuing military and other assistance to Egypt, senior administration officials said, rewarded the extraordinary progress the country has made since the overthrow last year of its autocratic president, Hosni Mubarak. Egypt has elected a new Parliament in a vote widely seen as free and fair, and it has scheduled a presidential election in May, with a runoff to follow in June.

“We’ve seen more progress in 16 months than we’ve seen in 60 years,” the senior State Department official said.

Even so, the debate within the administration was unusually fraught, officials said, especially after Egypt had imposed a travel ban on seven Americans who were charged as part of the case against the American organizations.

Some in the State Department, echoing the concerns from Capitol Hill and human rights advocates, argued that the administration should have withheld new military aid until the case was fully resolved and the presidential election held.

Mrs. Clinton, officials said, favored a partial waiver, allowing some, but not all, of the assistance to begin. That would maintain leverage over Egypt’s generals to transfer political power to a newly elected government without jeopardizing existing military contracts.

A looming deadline for payments, however, forced the issue before then, and the White House and Pentagon pressed for a waiver, officials said. A White House spokesman referred questions to the State Department, and the Pentagon did not respond to requests for comment.

The military assistance to Egypt underscores a point Mrs. Clinton and other officials have made when it comes to foreign aid in general: much of it comes back to American corporations and organizations for equipment or services.

“Lockheed Martin values the relationship established between our company and the Egyptian customer since the first F-16s were delivered in the early 1980s,” said Laura F. Siebert, a spokeswoman for the company, which is based in Fort Worth.

The M1A1 components are built in factories in Alabama, Florida, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, several of them battleground states in an election that has largely focused on jobs. Because the United States Army plans to stop buying new tanks by 2014, continued production relies on foreign contracts, often paid for by American taxpayers as military assistance.

Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, who added the certification requirements to legislation authorizing military aid to Egypt, called the decision to waive them regrettable, and the resumption of aid “business as usual.”

Double Edge
12 Apr 12,, 18:41
Once the lolly flows the natives cease to be restless and politicians perform on cue.

For now, all's quiet on the western front (Israel's that is) :)

Brotherhood lawmaker: No vote on Egypt-Israel peace deal | Washington Times | April 5, 2012 (http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/apr/5/brotherhood-lawmaker-no-vote-egypt-israel-deal/)

Brotherhood lawmaker: No vote on Egypt-Israel peace deal
By Ben Birnbaum-The Washington Times Thursday, April 5, 2012

A lawmaker from Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood said Thursday that there would be “no referendum” on the country’s peace treaty with Israel.

“We respect international obligations, period,” Abdul Mawgoud Dardery, a lawmaker from the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), told The Washington Times.

Asked if a Brotherhood-led government would put the 1979 Camp David Accords to a referendum, as many of the Islamist group’s leaders have promised, Mr. Dardery said no.

“No referendum at all concerning international obligations,” he said. “All our international agreements are respected by the Freedom and Justice Party, including Camp David.”

“These are ideas being circulated within Egypt,” Mr. Dardery said of a potential referendum. “That is not the stand of the Freedom and Justice Party.”

But Mr. Dardery added that the Brotherhood expects “all parties” to respect the Camp David Accords. “We will never be the first to break with the international agreements,” he said.

On Thursday, FJP presidential candidate Khairat al-Shater filed papers with Egypt’s High Presidential Elections Commission.

The Brotherhood had promised not to field a presidential candidate but changed course Saturday, citing threats to democracy from the military council that has ruled Egypt since the ouster of longtime President Hosni Mubarak last year.

Mr. Dardery said the military’s calls to dissolve the parliament threatened to take “Egypt back to square one, where the president has sweeping powers, so we really wanted to make sure that democracy road is protected by the people of Egypt.”

Mr. Dardery is in Washington with other FJP representatives for meetings with White House and State Department officials.


© Copyright 2012 The Washington Times, LLC.

Double Edge
25 Apr 12,, 21:22
An earlier important development

Egypt court suspends constitutional assembly | BBC | Apr 10 2012 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-17665048)

A court in Egypt has suspended the 100-member assembly appointed last month to draft the country's new constitution.

Several lawsuits had demanded Cairo's Administrative Court block the decision to form the panel as it did not reflect the diversity of Egyptian society.

They said women, young people and minorities were under-represented. Islamists from the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party and the Salafist Nour party, which dominate parliament, have a near-majority.

Liberals and secularists fear some of them would like to amend the constitution so that it follows the principles of Islamic law more strictly.

The new document will also determine the rights of Egypt's religious and ethnic minority groups and the balance of power between the president - previously the supreme authority - and parliament.

Once the assembly has produced a draft, it will be put to a referendum. It had been hoped that would take place before May's presidential election.

'Unrepresentative'

The Administrative Court did not give the reasons for the ruling to suspend the constitutional assembly, stating only that it had halted "the implementation of the decision by the speaker of parliament" to form it and had referred the question of its legitimacy to a legal adviser.

Campaigners nevertheless celebrated outside the court when news came through of the ruling, which followed complaints by political groups and constitutional experts over parliament's decision to select the assembly itself and to allocate half the seats to sitting MPs.

The complaints said both moves violated Article 60 of the constitutional declaration adopted in a referendum last year - which does not state how the assembly should be appointed - and would also give Islamists unmatched influence over the constitution-drafting process.

"The constituent assembly is unrepresentative of Egyptians," said the advisory council of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.

"A new constitutional declaration should be issued... specifying how the constituent assembly is formed. Article 60 of the current declaration was so vague that it has left the assembly in the hands of one force."

The Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party said it would appeal against the court's decision, describing it as "political".

Secular and liberal parties have already withdrawn from the assembly, believing that their presence was only conferring legitimacy on it. Some members are planning to draft an alternative with all parts of society.

Al-Azhar University, one of Sunni Islam's most important institutions, and the Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt have also announced a boycott.

The FJP disputes that Islamists, who control 70% of the seats in parliament, dominate the constitutional assembly. It says only 48 members are Islamists - 36 from parliament and 12 others.

troung
26 Apr 12,, 23:59
A cold one?


Egypt’s women urge MPs not to pass early marriage, sex-after-death laws: report
Egypt (http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/04/25/210198.html)
Wednesday, 25 April 2012
The parliamentary attacks on women’s rights has drawn great criticism from women’s organizations in Egypt. (File photo)
The parliamentary attacks on women’s rights has drawn great criticism from women’s organizations in Egypt. (File photo)
inShare81

By Abeer Tayel
Al Arabiya

Egypt’s National Council for Women (NCW) has appealed to the Islamist-dominated parliament not to approve two controversial laws on the minimum age of marriage and allowing a husband to have sex with his dead wife within six hours of her death according to a report in an Egyptian newspaper.

The appeal came in a message sent by Dr. Mervat al-Talawi, head of the NCW, to the Egyptian People’s Assembly Speaker, Dr. Saad al-Katatni, addressing the woes of Egyptian women, especially after the popular uprising that toppled president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.

She was referring to two laws: one that would legalize the marriage of girls starting from the age of 14 and the other that permits a husband to have sex with his dead wife within the six hours following her death.

According to Egyptian columnist Amro Abdul Samea in al-Ahram, Talawi’s message included an appeal to parliament to avoid the controversial legislations that rid women of their rights of getting education and employment, under alleged religious interpretations.

“Talawi tried to underline in her message that marginalizing and undermining the status of women in future development plans would undoubtedly negatively affect the country’s human development, simply because women represent half the population,” Abdul Samea said in his article.

The controversy about a husband having sex with his dead wife came about after a Moroccan cleric spoke about the issue in May 2011.

Zamzami Abdul Bari said that marriage remains valid even after death adding that a woman also too had the same right to engage in sex with her dead husband.

Two years ago, Zamzami incited further controversy in Morocco when he said it was permissible for pregnant women to drink alcohol.

But it seems his view on partners having sex with their deceased partners has found its way to Egypt one year on.

Egyptian prominent journalist and TV anchor Jaber al-Qarmouty on Tuesday referred to Abdul Samea’s article in his daily show on Egyptian ON TV and criticized the whole notion of “permitting a husband to have sex with his wife after her death under a so-called ‘Farewell Intercourse’ draft law.”

“This is very serious. Could the panel that will draft the Egyptian constitution possibly discuss such issues? Did Abdul Samea see by his own eyes the text of the message sent by Talawi to Katatni? This is unbelievable. It is a catastrophe to give the husband such a right! Has the Islamic trend reached that far? Is there really a draft law in this regard? Are there people thinking in this manner?”

Many members of the newly-elected, and majority Islamist parliament, have been accused of launching attacks against women’s rights in the country.

They wish to cancel many, if not most, of the laws that promote women’s rights, most notably a law that allows a wife to obtain a divorce without obstructions from her partner. The implementation of the Islamic right to divorce law, also known as the Khula, ended years of hardship and legal battles women would have to endure when trying to obtain a divorce.

Egyptian law grants men the right to terminate a marriage, but grants women the opportunity to end an unhappy or abusive marriages without the obstruction of their partner. Prior to the implementation of the Khula over a decade ago, it could take 10 to 15 years for a woman to be granted a divorce by the courts.

Islamist members of Egyptian parliament, however, accuse these laws of “aiming to destroy families” and have said it was passed to please the former first lady of the fallen regime, Suzanne Mubarak, who devoted much of her attention to the issues of granting the women all her rights.

The parliamentary attacks on women’s rights has drawn great criticism from women’s organizations, who dismissed the calls and accused the MPs of wishing to destroy the little gains Egyptian women attained after long years of organized struggle.

rj1
27 Apr 12,, 20:03
To be a little less than serious for a minute, I don't really get the draw of "farewell intercourse".


Zamzami Abdul Bari said that marriage remains valid even after death adding that a woman also too had the same right to engage in sex with her dead husband.

How can said woman make the penis stand up without blood flow to it?

On Egypt overall, it represents "the will of the people", for better or worse. I side with the points made early on about the Twitterers and bloggers not realizing how small a part of the population they truly were. It is something I notice with a lot of people on the internet that they're incredibly delusional. I hope most of us realize how small and insignificant we are in the grand scheme of things, but you find message boards even outside of politics of people for example going to this event and they're going to plan some protest or some chant so the owner guy will do what all the fans on that message board want and they ridicule the owner for not listening to them when it's clear so many of them want it, and then in a building of 20000 it's 3 or 4 people and after chanting for a few seconds realize no one's joining in and stop.

Double Edge
28 Apr 12,, 13:22
To be a little less than serious for a minute, I don't really get the draw of "farewell intercourse".
Point is, nothing has been passed to this effect as yet.

They're 'thinking' about it :)

How many batshit crazy bills have you seen floating about that never see the light of day.


I side with the points made early on about the Twitterers and bloggers not realizing how small a part of the population they truly were. It is something I notice with a lot of people on the internet that they're incredibly delusional. I hope most of us realize how small and insignificant we are in the grand scheme of things, but you find message boards even outside of politics of people for example going to this event and they're going to plan some protest or some chant so the owner guy will do what all the fans on that message board want and they ridicule the owner for not listening to them when it's clear so many of them want it, and then in a building of 20000 it's 3 or 4 people and after chanting for a few seconds realize no one's joining in and stop.
Whether you're a 'delusional' liberal or a hardline islamist, Egypt, with all its chaos is just too unpredictable

SCAF just stopped the constituent assembly, what will they do next.

rj1
30 Apr 12,, 20:22
Whether you're a 'delusional' liberal or a hardline islamist, Egypt, with all its chaos is just too unpredictable

It is, but we are allowed to speculate. My speculation is that these Egyptian liberals appear about as popular as American Greens or Libertarians (two groups that seem to exist a lot more on the internet than they do in real life and in real life have no power).

Where's their power? They have none. They don't have legislators, they don't have votes, and they don't have guns unless they back the military, which they're not going to without becoming hypocrites. And then what is going to happen? El-Baradei will criticize the Europeans and Americans for not doing anything? F*ck off (to him). If you have control of the country, your party decides what's going to happen, that's true if you're in Egypt just as if you're in the Netherlands. So the party in power is just not going to use their power? That has not happened often in the history of the world. It doesn't happen in the U.S. at least anymore and I know it doesn't happen in your country based off what a couple of my co-workers from India tell me about the politics there.

Here, I'll put this in other terms. The hardline Islamists right now are the Indian cricket team. The liberals are the U.S. cricket team. Officially, the result of the game is in doubt until it's over, but a person can look at it ahead of time and know who's going to win. I'd love to be wrong, but none of El-Baradei's bowlers can pull off a hat trick and none of his batters are getting a century.

The other route is the military decides to overthrow them in a coup, which is all very Turkish, but that then plays into the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood and other like-minded groups in the region because they can say the military is not upholding the rule of democracy.

Double Edge
30 Apr 12,, 21:34
More recent developments

More disqualified candidates: elections make even less sense now | El Dahshan Blog | April 17, 2012 (http://eldahshan.com/2012/04/17/elections-disqualified/)

Egypt’s presidential elections will take place less than four weeks from now and we still don’t know who’s running. As I’ve said before in this column (this sentence is fast becoming a fixture of my assessment of Egyptian politics): if it sounds ridiculous, that’s because it is.

So far the list of candidates being served up by the Electoral Commission seems as changeable as the menu du jour of a capricious chef. The Commission’s website, with no irony whatsoever, is displaying a blank candidate list on its homepage with the date “26 April 2012″ [its still blank as of today] in small characters below it, the date the final list is to be announced.

Over the weekend, the electoral commission disqualified 10 of 23 presidential candidates for not fulfilling the conditions to run for election. The commission gave them two days to submit appeals. By law, the decisions of the commission are final.

The three critical candidates to be disqualified are:

Omar Suleiman, Mubarak’s intelligence chief, chief enforcer and vice president during the last days of his reign, was disqualified for failing to achieve the required geographical distribution of his signed declarations of support. He was short one governate. (He’s shown in the poster held by one of his supporters in the image above.)

Hazem Salah Aboul Ismail, a niche television preacher who skyrocketed to the rank of a serious contender thanks to a fiery religious speech that sharply attacked both the West and Egypt’s current military-dominated government, was disqualified because his deceased mother turned out to have acquired U.S. citizenship before she died. The electoral law requires that the candidate and both of his or her parents should be Egyptian nationals.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s Khairat El-Shater was removed for having served a criminal sentence under Mubarak. It’s widely believed that the charges in question were trumped-up, just the sort of thing the old dictatorial regime used to discredit its opponents. But the crime still counts as a crime, and so it falls under the election law prohibitions.

Two days before the commission made it decision, a new law was passed banning Mubarak-era officials from running for office, which would affect both Suleiman and Ahmed Shafiq, Mubarak’s last prime minister, who is also running in the elections. (In order to come into force, however, the law needs to be approved by the ruling military junta, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which is unlikely to approve it.)

While none of the disqualified has conceded, we’re now left to puzzle out the rest of the field. Just to be clear: the three disqualified candidates were the front-runners in the election, so now we have to sort out the most likely contenders from the second-rank figures who are left. Chief among these are Amr Moussa, former Arab League secretary general and Mubarak’s Minister of Foreign Affairs for a decade; Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, a long-term Muslim Brotherhood leader who was expelled last year for deciding to run again the organisation’s wishes; then, bringing up the rear, are Khaled Ali, lawyer and activist, and Hamdeen Sabahy, a Nasserite journalist.

And already the Muslim Brotherhood is scrambling to put forward its backup candidate, Freedom and Justice Party President Mohamed Morsi — earning him the moniker of “the spare wheel” in social media circles.

Now what? With the three frontrunners gone (pending appeal, of course), voters and political groups are scrambling to identify their second-best choicse. Amr Moussa, who dominated opinion polls in 2011 but whose thunder was stolen by Islamist and army candidates, emerges as the most likely beneficiary of the disqualifications. He’ll probably be making an effort not to seem too giddy in the coming days. Abdel Moneim Aboul Foutouh, who despite his decades-long membership in the Muslim Brotherhood is widely seen as the closest thing to a “revolutionary” candidate as we’re going to get, will have to work diligently to try to poach some of Shater’s and Abou Ismail’s supporters, especially since the Muslim Brotherhood appears to be dragging its feet with regards to Morsi’s nomination.

The entire process looks remarkably haphazard, a bit like an election for class president. Minus the well-developed electoral programs, of course.

There is one thing to be said in favor of the electoral process, though: for the first time in decades, we don’t know who will win the elections months before they’ve taken place.

Double Edge
01 May 12,, 18:03
Profile of a promising candidate

Abul Fotouh: an Islamist who stakes claim to Egypt middle ground | Al Arabiya | May 1 2012 (http://english.alarabiya.net/save_print.php?print=1&cont_id=211401)

Tom Perry, Reuters CAIRO

Abdul Moniem Abul Fotouh was jailed by Hosni Mubarak but has emerged as a front-runner for his old job as president of Egypt, staking claim to the political center in this nascent democracy with a moderate Islamist platform that has found broad appeal. A senior figure in the Muslim Brotherhood until he parted ways with the group last year, he is part of the generation of Islamist activists that spawned al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. Both doctors, they spent time in adjoining jail cells in 1981. For the most part, that’s where the similarities end. Abul Fotouh presents himself as a champion of moderate Islam, yet he has been able to win the backing of hardliners thanks partly to a political brain which many say sets him apart from the Brotherhood. Even some liberals, impressed by his reformist zeal, say they could vote for the bespectacled 60-year old.

With his presidential bid, he is charting new waters for the Islamist mainstream, reaching out to the tens of millions of Egyptians who played no role in politics in Mubarak's days but are expected to flock to the polls for the May 23-24 vote.

“It’s the Egyptian mainstream I am banking on, the ones I have been working to win over since I started my campaign, who make up more than 90 percent of Egyptians ... who understand (Islamic) sharia law correctly,” he said in an April 23 television interview. “Wherever we look out for people’s interests, we serve them, we are implementing God’s law.”

If the sketchy opinion polls that are available are anything to go by, Abul Fotouh is doing well. A poll published on Monday by a state-run research center showed him second to ex-Arab League chief Amr Moussa and polling well ahead of Mohammed Mursi, the candidate fielded by the Muslim Brotherhood.

Abul Fotouh was expelled from the group last year over his decision to seek the presidency - a move that defied its wishes.

At that stage, the Brotherhood had decided against running. Abul Fotouh’s departure from the Brotherhood seemed an inevitable step for a reform-minded politician who had been at odds with the conservatives who still run the movement.

“He is not afraid of anyone,” said Mohammed Habib, a former deputy head of the Brotherhood, recalling two occasions in 2009 when Abul Fotouh had clashed with Mahdi Akef, then the leader of the group. “He is brave and decisive,” added Habib, who also left the group last year and plans to vote for Abul Fotouh.

As a student leader in the 1970s, Abul Fotouh is remembered for confronting President Anwar Sadat in a debate, famously telling him he was surrounded by hypocrites.

In 1981, he was arrested by the Sadat government in a crackdown against dissidents. Under Mubarak, his activism landed him in jail twice for a total of more than six years.

Campaigning under the slogan “Strong Egypt,” Abul Fotouh has stressed the need to finish the country’s unfinished revolution by rooting out remnants of the Mubarak era from the state.

He pledges to increase health and education spending, to make Egypt’s army the most powerful in the region and to turn its economy into one of the 20 strongest in the world. His program says he will adhere to Islamic law.

Like other candidates, he has called for a review of Egypt’s 1979 peace treaty with Israel, which he says was “imposed” on Egypt.[with $2B/annual, this must be some imposition :biggrin:]

While the Brotherhood has faced broad criticism for alienating other parties in the year since Mubarak was toppled, Abul Fotouh is credited with reaching out across the political spectrum.

His efforts appear to be paying dividends. While the Brotherhood’s Mursi has tried to cast himself as the only Islamist in the race, Abul Fotouh managed to convince leading hardline Salafi groups they should endorse him instead.

The Nour Party, a Salafi group that won a fifth of the seats in parliament, has endorsed him. So too has al-Gamaa al-Islamiya, a Salafi group that took up arms against the state but disavowed violence in 1997.

The Wasat Party, a centrist party run by ex-Brotherhood members who left in the 1990s, has also endorsed Abul Fotouh.

A member of the Brotherhood’s executive board from 1987 to 2009, Abul Fotouh still commands respect in the group. His candidacy is also endorsed by Sheikh Yousef al-Qaradawi, a cleric held in high regard by Brotherhood followers.

“In terms of ideology, there is little difference to me between Mursi and Abdul Moniem. As for the organization, of course there is a difference, but the idea is the same,” Helmi al-Gazzar, a Brotherhood member of parliament, told Reuters.

Habib, the former Brotherhood leader, said much of Abul Fotouh’s Islamist vision tallied with the Brotherhood’s, though he was more liberal than some of its members on issues such as the right of Christians and women to seek the presidency.

In a recently published book, Abul Fotouh reflects on how he had once been hostile towards Sufism, or Islamic mysticism, but moderated his views after meeting Sufi Muslims at university.

Some of his critics say Abul Fotouh is trying to be all things to all people. But he says there has been no change in his views since he quit the Brotherhood.

In his April 23 interview, Abul Fotouh said: “I have not changed my principles or ideas regardless of my administrative link: whether I was Brotherhood or now I am outside the administration of the Brotherhood.”

He added: “I don’t think there is a fair liberal, or a fair Salafi, or a fair leftist, who says Dr. Abdul Moniem says one thing and hides another.”

RoccoR
02 May 12,, 19:37
Double Edge, et al,

While I have often written about the evolution of terrorist and terrorist organizations, usually evolving in the direction of a better ideology, one has to be very cautious of the Tiger that Changes its Spots.


Profile of a promising candidate

Abul Fotouh: an Islamist who stakes claim to Egypt middle ground | Al Arabiya | May 1 2012 (http://english.alarabiya.net/save_print.php?print=1&cont_id=211401)

Abul Fotouh was expelled from the group last year over his decision to seek the presidency - a move that defied its wishes.

At that stage, the Brotherhood had decided against running. Abul Fotouh’s departure from the Brotherhood seemed an inevitable step for a reform-minded politician who had been at odds with the conservatives who still run the movement.

While the Brotherhood has faced broad criticism for alienating other parties in the year since Mubarak was toppled, Abul Fotouh is credited with reaching out across the political spectrum.
(COMMENT)

We should not be too anxious to hop on the band wagon of Abul Fotouh. In fact, we should keep our distance and our mouth shut. The US is notoriously poor at picking good foreign leaders. One needs only look at al-Maliki (Iraq) and Karzai (Afghanistan); both of whom attended power under the US watch and are miserable leaders.

Most Respectfully,
R

Double Edge
09 May 12,, 05:46
Saudi embassy would never have been threatened under the ancien regime.

Its a brave new world now :Dancing-Banana:

Saudi Arabia to reopen Egypt embassy after protests | BBC | 4 May 2012 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-17960084)

Saudi Arabia to reopen Egypt embassy after protests

Saudi Arabia has announced it will reopen its embassy in Cairo after it was shut last week following protests.

The Saudi ambassador was recalled after protesters gathered to demand the release of an Egyptian human rights lawyer being held in the kingdom.

According to state news agency SPA, Saudi King Abdullah ordered the reopening of the embassy and consulates in Alexandria and Suez from Sunday.

A high-level Egyptian delegation had visited the kingdom to defuse tensions.

Egyptian human rights lawyer Ahmed al-Gizawi was detained on arrival in Saudi Arabia in early April and accused of insulting King Abdullah.

His family says he had gone to perform a pilgrimage, but Saudi authorities say Mr Gizawi was found by airport officials to be carrying drugs - allegedly more than 20,000 anti-anxiety pills - in his luggage.

Safety fears
Egyptian activists say he was held after lodging a complaint against Saudi Arabia for its treatment of Egyptians in its prisons.

Many Egyptians work in Saudi Arabia and some claim they have been mistreated under Saudi law.

After the protest outside the Saudi embassy in Cairo, the Saudis recalled their ambassador and closed the embassy and consulates citing safety concerns.

A high-level delegation led by Egyptian parliament speaker Saad al-Katatni and the head of the consultative council Ahmed Fahmi travelled to Saudi Arabia to meet the king and try to defuse the situation.

However, there has been no word yet on the fate of Mr Gizawi who is thought to still be in custody in Saudi Arabia.

Observers say this has been the worst diplomatic falling-out between the two regional allies since Saudi Arabia severed ties after Egypt signed a peace deal with Israel in 1979.

Double Edge
09 May 12,, 06:06
The US is notoriously poor at picking good foreign leaders. One needs only look at al-Maliki (Iraq) and Karzai (Afghanistan); both of whom attended power under the US watch and are miserable leaders.
The idea here is that it will be the Egyptians that pick their leader. Don't think the US will say or do anything anything before that.

Fotouh is a mixed bag, he has a bit of everything that might prove enticing. That is whenever the Egyptians get around to having their elections.

RoccoR
09 May 12,, 16:18
Double Edge, et al,

My concern is the American endorsement, and it tainting a candidate.


The idea here is that it will be the Egyptians that pick their leader. Don't think the US will say or do anything anything before that.

Fotouh is a mixed bag, he has a bit of everything that might prove enticing. That is whenever the Egyptians get around to having their elections.
(COMMENT)

I suspect that the Egyptians, now a bit free of government oversight, will express their true nature, and show their true colors. With that in mind, the US should stay well away, for Egyptians just might inadvertently install a embryonic semi-repressive regime; for which they will later regret.


The Brotherhood later backtracked on their decision and announced Khairat al-Shater as their candidate – the man who is widely believed to be responsible for Abul Fotouh’s expulsion from the Brotherhood, according to al-Ahram report.

The Muslim Brotherhood's main candidate, Mohammed Mursi, suffered a blow on Saturday when an influential hardline Salafi movement endorsed his main Islamist rival Abul Fotouh for president.

The Nour Party of the Salafi movement, which espouses a puritanical version of Islam, on Saturday endorsed Abul Fotouh for the presidency, according to Reuters.

SOURCE: Egypt (http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/04/30/211159.html)


(COMMENT)

Abul Fotouh is a version of "The Muslim Brotherhood Lite." He is dragging Sharia (Islamic law) into the mix as a platform principle. Being supported by the Nour Party of the Salafi should tell you something. This could easily drag Egypt into dark times.

It looks like (to me) that the Egyptians are going to blow their opportunity at creating a new 21st Century government and instead, elect a party to power that will eventually usher in a Salafis Government operating on the Quran and Sunnah; a lesser restrictive version of Iran.

The US would be wise to put in place a set of travel restrictions and the planning for backdoor evacuations.

Most Respectfully,
R

Double Edge
09 May 12,, 20:45
My concern is the American endorsement, and it tainting a candidate.
Has the US officially endorsed anybody ?


I suspect that the Egyptians, now a bit free of government oversight, will express their true nature, and show their true colors. With that in mind, the US should stay well away, for Egyptians just might inadvertently install a embryonic semi-repressive regime; for which they will later regret.
My turn to return the favour, Rocco :)

The Transformation of Political Islam in the Arab Awakening | MEPC | Apr 11 2012 (http://www.mepc.org/hill-forums/transformation-political-islam)

(Transcript) (http://www.mepc.org/hill-forums/transformation-political-islam?transcript)


I’m speaking here of what I take to be a need to reconfigure the conversation on political Islam on Capitol Hill and in the broader public discussion at large.

To my mind, it tends to be kind of be polarized.

Either you have people saying, oh, groups like the Muslim Brotherhood are pretty much the same as Hamas or just a little bit different. And they have concerns about the Brotherhood that’s really associated with broader regional security issues, terrorism and such.

And on the other hand you have people saying, oh, no, no, no, they’re fine — they’re democrats, you know? They’ve evolved, they’ve changed, they’re committed to democracy.

You know, neither of these two poles is that helpful.

There are issues and questions that need to be raised about these groups, but we need to recalibrate the conversation so that it’s actually focusing on the questions we need to be worried about. And to my mind, these are really questions ultimately, at the end of the day, about commitment to human rights, commitment to political pluralism. That’s kind of where this conversation needs to be going on.


Abul Fotouh is a version of "The Muslim Brotherhood Lite." He is dragging Sharia (Islamic law) into the mix as a platform principle. Being supported by the Nour Party of the Salafi should tell you something. This could easily drag Egypt into dark times.


DR. MANDAVILLE: I think this Shariah question is crucial, and it’s one where some of these parties have been the most ambiguous in terms of giving full detailed answers to questions that are asked of them. And so you know, we continue to ask them, you know?

My point is that when Americans hear this term, their minds rush first to the cutting off of the hands’ of thieves and the stoning of adulterers and apostasy-type issues. And those exist, but they’re part of this very narrow penal code, the Hadud, which is not even implemented in most countries whose constitutions claim Islam is a source of legislation. That’s very rare.

So my point is just that when Muslims hear the term Shariah, that’s not where their mind goes first. Where their mind goes first in terms of practical, specific provisions more has to do with issues of personal status code, whether, you know, issues relating to marriage, family law and inheritance will be governed according to the specific provisions of Shariah.

So there is this disjuncture in how those issues are viewed here and in the Muslim-majority world.


Have we entered a post-Islamist age? On the face of it, that’s a counterintuitive point to raise because wait, these Islamist groups are doing phenomenally well politically. They are, you know, sweeping the elections. How can we be in a post-Islamist period?

Well, what those who are proponents of the post-Islamist thesis would put forward is the idea that yes, fine, these groups are politically prominent. But they’re no longer ideologically distinctive. I.e., in order to render themselves politically palatable to a critical mass, they’ve had to evacuate from their political discourse and from their political praxis much of the Islamic content; i.e., that which has made them ideologically distinctive has had to be shed in order to kind of find mass acceptance.


It looks like (to me) that the Egyptians are going to blow their opportunity at creating a new 21st Century government and instead, elect a party to power that will eventually usher in a Salafis Government operating on the Quran and Sunnah; a lesser restrictive version of Iran.
Depends on the make up of the next constituent assembly, the previous one was tossed out for being unrepresentative.


The US would be wise to put in place a set of travel restrictions and the planning for backdoor evacuations.
This sounds a bit extreme.

RoccoR
09 May 12,, 21:52
Double Edge, et al,

This is a much more sophisticated conversation on the parties and their meaning to us. There is the difficulty in trying to use terms and descriptions that are not distinctively different.


Has the US officially endorsed anybody ?

My turn to return the favour, Rocco :)

The Transformation of Political Islam in the Arab Awakening | MEPC | Apr 11 2012 (http://www.mepc.org/hill-forums/transformation-political-islam)

(Transcript) (http://www.mepc.org/hill-forums/transformation-political-islam?transcript)
(COMMENT)

Thanks, I always like to listen to these experts who take it a bit more serious than the average American. But I am also reminded that our Policies made by the Gray Haired in the CIA (like Frank Anderson) and the DOS have not been on the bullseye for quite some time.

We see that Peter Mandaville is a bit skittish and careful on what he says about Egypt. And, I agree.

Relative to the Muslim Brotherhood, they evolve. But they have components of the old guard, the moderates, and the youngest new Brothers that have splintered-off.


Depends on the make up of the next constituent assembly, the previous one was tossed out for being unrepresentative.
(COMMENT)

The new political Islam is more scary than I've ever seen.

And it is very scary that the decisions of government and the basis of legislation should be based on Islam and Shari Law. The fact that the Egyptians are even thinking along that lines leads me to believe that they want religion to play a role on the public.


This sounds a bit extreme.
(COMMENT)

We need to be prepared, especially if we get it all wrong in terms Policy and understanding who the players are.

The Egyptian tends to like an "Authoritarian Government" - and that may work for them in the beginning, but "Authoritarian Governments" tend to have an entropy that move from benevolent to corrupted. Seldom does it work in reverse. And if what I suspect is true, that the US Foreign Service is contacting members of the various parties that tend to attract the US, we will leave a gradually growing footprint. And that will be held against us if the transition makes matters worse.

But our Foreign Service has not changed the (less than positive) perceptions that the Egyptians hold (and the Arabs in general) in the last two decades. Any position we take, will be assumed to be the wrong position.

Most Respectfully,
R

Double Edge
10 May 12,, 10:41
The new political Islam is more scary than I've ever seen.

And it is very scary that the decisions of government and the basis of legislation should be based on Islam and Shari Law. The fact that the Egyptians are even thinking along that lines leads me to believe that they want religion to play a role on the public.
What if i told you that in India, when it comes to personal matters for muslims, Shariah is already in place, albeit an indianised version of it.

Its unclear to me how these parties plan to implement Shariah in government. That is yet to be defined and the place it will manifest itself will be in the constutution.The ideas there are evolving and there are a number of factions. Islam in this sense isn't crystallised and ready to be implemented cookie cutter style across the board.

Mandaville talks about human rights & pluralism as the main factors to note. When it comes to human rights i think the Islamists are going to be pro-active in defining & defending them as they have been on the receiving end for decades from authoritarian secular govts of the past. However maintaining pluralism is going to be a challenge.

The Egyptian economy is in a weak state and their first priority will be to stabilise it and create an environment that will attract investments from abroad. The Saudis can only give them so much. Egypt needs to attract funds from around the globe and I believe that will have a moderating effect. Egypt does not have rich oil deposits so it needs to be ready to bargain & compromise.

The army is the defacto president of Egypt. They can intervene whenever they see fit. They may step aside from civilian affairs when the new government comes into being but their power & influence is not to be ignored.


We need to be prepared, especially if we get it all wrong in terms Policy and understanding who the players are.

The Egyptian tends to like an "Authoritarian Government" - and that may work for them in the beginning, but "Authoritarian Governments" tend to have an entropy that move from benevolent to corrupted. Seldom does it work in reverse. And if what I suspect is true, that the US Foreign Service is contacting members of the various parties that tend to attract the US, we will leave a gradually growing footprint. And that will be held against us if the transition makes matters worse.

But our Foreign Service has not changed the (less than positive) perceptions that the Egyptians hold (and the Arabs in general) in the last two decades. Any position we take, will be assumed to be the wrong position.
This is going to be a learning process for everybody. Still I think the US has a few aces in its hand. They have had close links with the military there for over three decades, i don't think that influence is going to vanish overnight. Had read in another article that Egypt is the biggest importer of wheat in the world and a substantial part of that comes from US Aid.

US gives Egypt guns & food, not exactly the configuration that will allow them to kick the US anytime soon. I think a Republican administration will be better suited to deal with an 'Islamist' govt in Egypt as they are both conservative.

RoccoR
14 May 12,, 17:03
Double Edge, et al,

I apologize for the tardy response.


What if i told you that in India, when it comes to personal matters for muslims, Shariah is already in place, albeit an indianised version of it.
(COMMENT)

This is not quite the same as being the basis for legislation; which in turn, creates law. It is not at all like it being imbedded in the Constitution of Iraq and Afghanistan; both unproven states and deeply troubled. Both, with leadership that is corrupt. It is certain nothing like Iran, which is a state that is seriously imposing government enforced religious law to the degree that it retards development. India does not cheapen their personal moral code by imposing it as public Law, or enforce it through religious thugs.


Its unclear to me how these parties plan to implement Shariah in government. That is yet to be defined and the place it will manifest itself will be in the constutution.The ideas there are evolving and there are a number of factions. Islam in this sense isn't crystallised and ready to be implemented cookie cutter style across the board.
(COMMENT)

Agreed, but in the embryonic state, I think the US should be invisible; not merely less visible. It should gradually reduce its footprint and prepare for the worst. If it doesn't happen, than nothing lost. But if it does happen, that a new Iranian style government emerges, than we should not be caught behind the power curve.


Mandaville talks about human rights & pluralism as the main factors to note. When it comes to human rights i think the Islamists are going to be pro-active in defining & defending them as they have been on the receiving end for decades from authoritarian secular govts of the past. However maintaining pluralism is going to be a challenge.
(COMMENT)

Agreed. It will be an evolutionary change.


The Egyptian economy is in a weak state and their first priority will be to stabilise it and create an environment that will attract investments from abroad. The Saudis can only give them so much. Egypt needs to attract funds from around the globe and I believe that will have a moderating effect. Egypt does not have rich oil deposits so it needs to be ready to bargain & compromise.
(COMMENT)

I agree that this is the direction they should pursue; but I don't believe that the current candidates for power and influence in Egypt have the best interest of the people in mind.


The army is the defacto president of Egypt. They can intervene whenever they see fit. They may step aside from civilian affairs when the new government comes into being but their power & influence is not to be ignored.
(COMMENT)

Yes, but I don't think a shadow military government, where in the political power resides through military oversight of the civilian leadership, is in the best interest of the people either. But then again, the Egyptian will decide.


This is going to be a learning process for everybody. Still I think the US has a few aces in its hand. They have had close links with the military there for over three decades, i don't think that influence is going to vanish overnight. Had read in another article that Egypt is the biggest importer of wheat in the world and a substantial part of that comes from US Aid.
(COMMENT)

Learning process --- yes.

The US should not be in the game at all. If it is to be a true Egyptian democracy, of the people and by the people, the US should keep its hands off entirely. Heaven knows that the US couldn't even help a little country like Haiti, and Iraq is a mess, with Karzai and Afghanistan as corrupt as any government can be. No, the US should reduce its diplomatic advise and governmental suggestions to an absolute minimum. Least it create yet another failed state, or a country turning t the dark side; and then be accused of foreign intervention.


US gives Egypt guns & food, not exactly the configuration that will allow them to kick the US anytime soon. I think a Republican administration will be better suited to deal with an 'Islamist' govt in Egypt as they are both conservative.
(COMMENT)

It should not be a case where the US is even in the position of being an unwanted guest. If we determine that the Egyptians see America in that light, we should exercise good manners and be wise enough to excuse ourselves before if becomes an issue. We shouldn't be trying to be a part of the change, merely and outside observer.

Most Respectfully,
R

Double Edge
14 May 12,, 21:45
This is not quite the same as being the basis for legislation; which in turn, creates law.
Article 2 of the existing Egyptian constitution already states that Sharia is to be used as one of the sources of legislation. Egypt has a mixed legal system in place right now.

Going by a recent debate (http://moftasa.net/node/2779)held between the two leading presidential candidates, it would appear the debate is over the degree that sharia is to play in the new system.

Whose sharia are they going to use here ? there are numerous interpretations depending on where one is to be found in the ideological spectrum.

Take a glance at the chapter on Egypt from the book Sharia Incorporated to get a background on Egypt's legal system today.

Chapter 2:Sharia and national law in Egypt , Sharia Incorporated, 2010 | Google Books (http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=8ep7cX3ma0sC&lpg=PP1&pg=PA51#v=onepage&q&f=false)

The chapter concludes...


in Egypt’s legal system a form of compromise has been found between sharia and Western law. This does not mean that a new system of laws has appeared.

The critical element appears to be that national law and legislation must be authentic, and in the eyes of many Egyptians this means that it must be Islamic. Until now, one finds introduction of nominal authentic Islamic legal principles only in personal status law; all other legislation is considered Islamic by virtue of not contradicting principles of sharia.

Whether authentic or symbolic, Egypt mostly uses sharia for adapting legislation to current and new situations, in part because of international pressure to adhere to international treaties and conventions.

If existing laws already conform to sharia then where is the scope for further introduction ?

KSA is the only country that has a classic sharia system in place. It does not have a parliament or legislature and instead relies on religious scholars to draw up laws. The ruler has limited authority to make changes and this creates a challenge for reform.

Can you see Egypt tossing out what they have and opting for a Saudi model ? I think inertia will win out :)

Right now Egypt cannot even decide on the makeup of the constituent assembly (http://egyptelections.carnegieendowment.org/2012/03/13/who-will-write-the-egyptian-constitution) so i think its unlikely they are going to go about tinkering around with existing laws in place. All this talk about sharia rings hollow to me, its just making politics.

getting an objective take on this subject is a tricky affair, as its highly politicised. Either you find reports of an alarmist nature or muslim sources that are no better than propaganda. Both do an excellent job of playing to the readers ignorance.

Youtube intro for the above book (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eu1yF_nhvVc)


I think the US should be invisible; not merely less visible. It should gradually reduce its footprint and prepare for the worst. If it doesn't happen, than nothing lost. But if it does happen, that a new Iranian style government emerges, than we should not be caught behind the power curve.
Define worst according to you ?

It would seem to me that you are suggesting that Egypt goes the Saudi way, via Sharia. What else ?


I agree that this is the direction they should pursue; but I don't believe that the current candidates for power and influence in Egypt have the best interest of the people in mind.
They will act like the politicians we know & hate. Big on talk, short on delivery :biggrin:

After a few cycles, the Egyptians will come to realise its best to keep religion out of politics and politics out of religion like in other more mature countries. They will start to demand their govt deliver on Turkish like growth.

Any power games by Egypt in the region will have to wait until they can stand on their feet. They are crawling right now. The chaos that a new system will bring in will delay things even further.


Yes, but I don't think a shadow military government, where in the political power resides through military oversight of the civilian leadership, is in the best interest of the people either. But then again, the Egyptian will decide.
Sure, its not the classical way things are done in a democracy, but there is a trend here in muslim republics, if one looks at Pakistan & Turkey. The army acts as the defacto guardian.

Egypt's govt could start to cut the defense budget and weaken their forces gradually. This is something that is yet to be worked out. Whether SCAF will allow it or not.


Learning process --- yes.

The US should not be in the game at all. If it is to be a true Egyptian democracy, of the people and by the people, the US should keep its hands off entirely. Heaven knows that the US couldn't even help a little country like Haiti, and Iraq is a mess, with Karzai and Afghanistan as corrupt as any government can be. No, the US should reduce its diplomatic advise and governmental suggestions to an absolute minimum. Least it create yet another failed state, or a country turning t the dark side; and then be accused of foreign intervention.


(COMMENT)

It should not be a case where the US is even in the position of being an unwanted guest. If we determine that the Egyptians see America in that light, we should exercise good manners and be wise enough to excuse ourselves before if becomes an issue. We shouldn't be trying to be a part of the change, merely and outside observer.

Most Respectfully,
R
You want the US to stop giving military aid to Egypt ?

Then the US will lose the leverage it presently has with the Egyptian military and might make the Egyptians question the validity of the Camp David accords. This could play right into the hands of your opponents.

RoccoR
15 May 12,, 06:12
Double Edge, et al,

A number of people keep say that we will lose our leverage. In fact, that is completely the wrong angle to play. For better or for worse, right or wrong, good or bad, it is time for the Egyptian People to decide their own fate and choose their own destiny.

The US should not be looking for "leverage" at all. We should not even suggest that.


Article 2 of the existing Egyptian constitution already states that Sharia is to be used as one of the sources of legislation. Egypt has a mixed legal system in place right now.
(COMMENT)

Yes, I am well aware of the introduction of religious law into the Constitution. In fact, both the Iraqi and the Afghan Constitutions have such a clause. You can see how well that is working out.





If existing laws already conform to sharia then where is the scope for further introduction ?
(COMMENT)

As Einstein says; doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.


Can you see Egypt tossing out what they have and opting for a Saudi model ? I think inertia will win out :)
(COMMENT)

Having been to Kuwait, I'm not impressed. But I actually do agree that Egypt is not going to move forward in society and will adopt a model similar to Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Afghanistan. Turkey is about the only successful country with a secular Constitution.

It is for that reason that we should stay as far away as we can.

Right now Egypt cannot even decide on the makeup of the constituent assembly (http://egyptelections.carnegieendowment.org/2012/03/13/who-will-write-the-egyptian-constitution) so i think its unlikely they are going to go about tinkering around with existing laws in place. All this talk about sharia rings hollow to me, its just making politics.

getting an objective take on this subject is a tricky affair, as its highly politicised. Either you find reports of an alarmist nature or muslim sources that are no better than propaganda. Both do an excellent job of playing to the readers ignorance.


Define worst according to you ?
(COMMENT)

In 1979, I was part of Task Force Waterman and played my (less than) minor role in the evacuation of Iran when Islam-o-mania took root and won the day. It was almost overnight that the temperament towards Americans changed. While I am not saying the sky is falling, and Egypt will turn on us the same as the peaceful people of Iran did; I am saying that if we get involved in the internal politics - we will pay the price.


It would seem to me that you are suggesting that Egypt goes the Saudi way, via Sharia. What else ?
(COMMENT)

We don't know, and that is the reason we need to be prepared. When you were last in Saudi Arabia, I'm sure you noticed that we are not a beloved people. And if it were not for the strength of the King, Americans would be undoubtedly mistreated. Egypt could turn that way quickly.


After a few cycles, the Egyptians will come to realise its best to keep religion out of politics and politics out of religion like in other more mature countries. They will start to demand their govt deliver on Turkish like growth.
(COMMENT)

I'm not sure this is at all true. Turkey is a secular state. But it will be interesting to see what happens.


Any power games by Egypt in the region will have to wait until they can stand on their feet. They are crawling right now. The chaos that a new system will bring in will delay things even further.
(COMMENT)

I agree.



You want the US to stop giving military aid to Egypt ?

Then the US will lose the leverage it presently has with the Egyptian military and might make the Egyptians question the validity of the Camp David accords. This could play right into the hands of your opponents.
(COMMENT)

The Camp David Accords were about 50% successful. While the accords didn't answer the Palestinian autonomy issue, Egypt recovered it territory and Israel got a peace agreement. But, in terms of the Accords themselves, the US had to pay>


The agreement also resulted in the United States committing to several billion dollars worth of annual subsidies to the governments of both Israel and Egypt, subsidies which continue to this day.


AND

It was agreed that: The site of negotiations would be done under a United Nations flag at a mutually agreed upon location. Again, both parties must adhere to principals and provisions of UN Resolution SC 242. Unless otherwise mutually agreed, terms of peace would be implemented between two and three years of the treaty being signed.

The entire agreement also included provisions in which the United States would commit to provide several billion dollars of annual subsidies to both governments of Israel and Egypt, subsidies that would continue, and would be given as a mixture of grants and aid packages from 1979 to 1997.

SOURCES:

Camp David Accords - New World Encyclopedia (http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Camp_David_Accords)
An overview on the Camp David Accords - by Douglas Black - Page 3 - Helium (http://www.helium.com/items/1559811-framework-for-peace-israel-egypt-peace-accord-camp-david-explained-camp-david?page=3)


The US portion of the Camp David Accords ended more than a decade ago (in 1997), with the last of the bribery payments (several billion dollars) to both sides. Nothing lasts forever.

Plus, were are not counting the variants to the UNSC Res 242 & 338. That is an entirely different discussion. The "Framework for Peace," a section within the Camp David Accords has been manipulated and worked for the more than a decade, and still no real results in the direction of the expected outcome.

So I doubt that the Camp David Accord is of much value now. We've got about as much as we're ever going to get out of it, unless we can come-up with another briber that was better than the last.

Most Respectfully,
R

Double Edge
15 May 12,, 23:13
Yes, I am well aware of the introduction of religious law into the Constitution. In fact, both the Iraqi and the Afghan Constitutions have such a clause. You can see how well that is working out.
Elaborate


As Einstein says; doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.
My point was I think they are using 'introduction of sharia' merely as a slogan.


Having been to Kuwait, I'm not impressed.
Elaborate


But I actually do agree that Egypt is not going to move forward in society and will adopt a model similar to Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Afghanistan. Turkey is about the only successful country with a secular Constitution.
KSA is unique. It is not similar to Iraq & Afghanistan.

Until i see some concrete moves from Egypt in this direction I don't have a comment.


In 1979, I was part of Task Force Waterman and played my (less than) minor role in the evacuation of Iran when Islam-o-mania took root and won the day. It was almost overnight that the temperament towards Americans changed.
What factors would you say contributed to that overnight change in temperament ?

Could it have been avoided, in hindsight.


While I am not saying the sky is falling, and Egypt will turn on us the same as the peaceful people of Iran did; I am saying that if we get involved in the internal politics - we will pay the price.
I get the impression that you continue to allude to american involvement here.

Has there been any since Mubarak ?


We don't know, and that is the reason we need to be prepared. When you were last in Saudi Arabia, I'm sure you noticed that we are not a beloved people. And if it were not for the strength of the King, Americans would be undoubtedly mistreated. Egypt could turn that way quickly.
Tom Lippman had a few words to say about this. In a word he puts it down to non-immigrant visas. The US perception of KSA took a nosedive after 9-11. The Saudis felt let down as a result at the collective stigmatisation.

Its been very difficult to get visas for Saudis to go to the US, then if they succeed, they get the 2hr 'treatment' at JFK. He thinks if things were improved here perceptions might change.


I'm not sure this is at all true. Turkey is a secular state. But it will be interesting to see what happens.
Whatever they implement will have to have the support of the people, in marked contrast to the days of yore.


The Camp David Accords were about 50% successful. While the accords didn't answer the Palestinian autonomy issue, Egypt recovered it territory and Israel got a peace agreement. But, in terms of the Accords themselves, the US had to pay>

The US portion of the Camp David Accords ended more than a decade ago (in 1997), with the last of the bribery payments (several billion dollars) to both sides. Nothing lasts forever.
The cash payments might have stopped but military & other aid still continues to this day.


Plus, were are not counting the variants to the UNSC Res 242 & 338. That is an entirely different discussion. The "Framework for Peace," a section within the Camp David Accords has been manipulated and worked for the more than a decade, and still no real results in the direction of the expected outcome.
The first framework is still being worked on but the second one is in force and has been successful in maintaining the peace between Israel & Egypt.


So I doubt that the Camp David Accord is of much value now. We've got about as much as we're ever going to get out of it, unless we can come-up with another briber that was better than the last.
I don' think this means Egypt can walk away from it without a cost.

Some people view it as a cold peace but that is still better than no peace.


A number of people keep say that we will lose our leverage. In fact, that is completely the wrong angle to play. For better or for worse, right or wrong, good or bad, it is time for the Egyptian People to decide their own fate and choose their own destiny.

The US should not be looking for "leverage" at all. We should not even suggest that.
Abruptly cutting off aid to Egypt would be a bad move.

Double Edge
16 May 12,, 18:59
A Man for All Seasons | Foreign Policy | May 9 2012 (http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/05/09/man_for_all_seasons_fotouh_egypt?page=full)

Egypt's presidential front-runner is a fascinating political chameleon. But does he have enough real support to win the upcoming election?

BY SHADI HAMID | MAY 9, 2012

In January, Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh was a long shot to become Egypt's next president. When I walked into the Islamist candidate's basement in a far-flung Cairo suburb -- which was doubling as a "backup" headquarters -- it made me think back to the early, insurgent days of Barack Obama's campaign, when Hillary Clinton was still the presumptive Democratic nominee. The basement, with its large spare rooms, was packed with young volunteers. It had a chaotic, bustling feel. Aboul Fotouh's supporters may have hailed from radically different backgrounds, but they believed, above all, in the candidate. They wanted to transcend the old battle lines of "Islamist" or "liberal" and reimagine Egyptian politics in the process.

What those grand ambitions mean in practice is, at times, unclear. As Aboul Fotouh has risen to front-runner status in the first ever competitive presidential election in Egypt's history, he has become the Rorschach test of Egyptian politics. Liberals think he's more liberal than he actually is. Conservatives hope he's more conservative.

It's an understatement to say that the Aboul Fotouh campaign is a big-tent movement. A former leader in the Muslim Brotherhood and, for decades, one of Egypt's most prominent Islamist figures, he has become the standard-bearer of many of the young liberals who led Egypt's revolution -- including Google executive Wael Ghonim. He is also, however, the preferred candidate of the country's hard-line Salafi groups, including the al-Nour Party and its parent organization al-Dawa al-Salafiya, one of Egypt's largest religious movements. This is all the more impressive considering that, unlike the United States or most European countries, the primary political cleavage in Egypt has little to do with economics and much more to do with religion.

Aboul Fotouh's success stems in part from his ability to neutralize this religious divide. One of his messages -- and one that has appeal for liberals and hard-line Islamists alike -- is this: We are all, in effect, Islamists, so why fight over it? As he explained to a Salafi television channel in February, "Today those who call themselves liberals or leftists, this is just a political name, but most of them understand and respect Islamic values. They support the sharia and are no longer against it." In a creative attempt at redefinition, Aboul Fotouh noted that all Muslims are, by definition, Salafi, in the sense that they are loyal to the Salaf, the earliest, most pious generations of Muslims.

Aboul Fotouh is able to make this argument, and make it sound convincing, in part because of who he is. He is the rare figure who has been, at various points in his career, a Salafi, a Muslim Brother, and, today, a Turkish-style "liberal Islamist." In the 1970s, he rose to prominence as a leader and founder of al-Gamaa al-Islamiya, the religious movement that wrested control over universities from the once dominant leftists. In his memoirs, Aboul Fotouh recalls the early Salafi influence on his ideas: He and his fellow students aggressively promoted sex segregation on campus. At one point, they tried to "prove" to the Muslim Brotherhood's leader at the time, Umar al-Tilmisani, that music was haram, or forbidden by Islam.

Over the course of the decade, Aboul Fotouh developed close relationships with those who would later become the leading lights of Salafi thought. After the 2011 revolution, Aboul Fotouh, then in the process of splitting with the Brotherhood, was one of the few politicians to take Salafists seriously. It helped that he knew them. While the Muslim Brotherhood tended to treat Salafists as immature, younger brothers in the Islamic family, Aboul Fotouh exaggerated their power -- he once claimed that Salafists outnumbered Muslim Brothers 20-to-1 -- and pledged to seek their vote. Respect, it turns out, can go much further than ideological proximity.

But the ideological tensions within the Islamist camp remain, even if Aboul Fotouh's message tends to paper them over. According to him, all Islamists agree on the usul (the "fundamentals") but differ on the furu (the "specifics") of religious practice. In his February interview on Salafi television, he estimated, implausibly, that Islamists agree on 99 percent of the issues.

Thus far, his liberal supporters have dismissed such comments or explained them away. Part of it is the lack of alternatives. The other front-runner, former Foreign Minister Amr Moussa, is seen as felool, a derogatory term used to describe "remnants" of the old regime. Part of it, however, is that they really seem to believe Aboul Fotouh is who they want him to be. Although Aboul Fotouh is adamantly an Islamist, he has also broken with his former organization, the Muslim Brotherhood, and other Islamists on key issues. Last year, for instance, Aboul Fotouh asserted that a Muslim has the right to convert to Christianity -- a particularly controversial position for a presidential candidate to take, given that most Sunni scholars hold that the punishment for apostasy is death.

Aboul Fotouh has often insisted on the dangers of mixing preaching and party politics, a position that appeals to liberals as well as some Islamists. When I met with him in 2010 at the height of the Mubarak regime's repression -- and just months before the most rigged parliamentary elections in Egyptian history -- he spoke at length about the need to separate the two. The Muslim Brotherhood, he said, can deal with political issues but should leave competition over power to political parties.

"Putting religion and political authority within one hand is very dangerous. That's what happened in Iran," he told me, peppering his measured Arabic with choice English words for added emphasis. "Historically, famous preachers were not part of the power structure. It's these [autocratic] regimes who put the two together -- putting al-Azhar [the preeminent center of Islamic learning] under the control of the state."

Aboul Fotouh consistently valued the Muslim Brotherhood's social and evangelical work over its accumulation of political power. In July 2008, I asked him what would happen if Hosni Mubarak's regime shut the Brotherhood out of parliament. Faced with the prospect of even more repression, he seemed surprisingly calm. "The Muslim Brotherhood is a social movement in the first place. Its presence in parliament is useful and good, but lack of parliamentary representation does not have an existential effect on the Brotherhood. From 1970 to 1984, we weren't in parliament, and they were 14 of the most active years for the Brotherhood's work of preaching and education."

In this respect, Aboul Fotouh is an old-school Islamist, seeing himself as a faithful heir to Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna's legacy. According to its bylaws, the group's original aim was "to raise a generation of Muslims who would understand Islam correctly and act according to its teachings." Until 1934, the bylaws forbade direct political action. Decades later, General Guide Tilmisani, fearing party politics would corrupt the Brotherhood's soul, prevented the organization from contesting parliamentary elections for many years.

There is a tension, however, between Aboul Fotouh's sometimes liberal pronouncements and his essentially majoritarian understanding of democracy. When I sat down with Aboul Fotouh for the first time in the summer of 2006, I wanted to understand his philosophy of government, to the extent that he had one. He repeatedly emphasized that the people, represented by a freely elected parliament, are the source of authority. On the thorny question, however, of what Islamists would do if parliament passed an "un-Islamic" law, he dismissed the concern: "The parliament won't grant rights to gays because that goes against the prevailing culture of society, and if [members of parliament] did that, they'd lose the next election," he explained. "Whether you are a communist, socialist, or whatever, you can't go against the prevailing culture. There is already a built-in respect for sharia."

This notion has a long pedigree in Islamic thought: Prophet Mohammed is believed to have said, "My ummah [community] will not agree on an error." Likewise, Aboul Fotouh was confident that once Egyptian society was free, the best ideas would rise to the top. There was little need, then, to regulate society from the top down. On their own, without government getting too much in the way, Egyptians would do the right thing. And this would inevitably help Islam. "What happens in a free society?" Aboul Fotouh went on. "I hold conferences and spread my ideas through newspapers and television to try to bring public opinion closer to me.… We have confidence in what we believe."

If people are looking for a consistent strain in Aboul Fotouh's thought, it is this: that Islam has already won out and will continue to win out. Islam is a source of unity and national strength rather than one of division. Depending on where exactly an Egyptian voter stands, this is either reassuring and somewhat banal, or mildly frightening, particularly for the country's Christian minority.

Nevertheless, it is an idea with analogues elsewhere in the region, most notably in Turkey and Tunisia, where "moderate" Islamists came to power by tapping into a religious mainstream that had lost faith in the secular project of previous decades. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for example, used democratization to strengthen the place of Islam in public life. He embraced European Union accession talks while knowing full well that the required liberal reforms would weaken the military's influence and empower Islamic currents in a country where the right to openly express religious values had been severely curtailed. In Tunisia, Rached Ghannouchi and his al-Nahda party have backed off from demands that Islamic law be enshrined in the Tunisian Constitution, perhaps knowing that Islamization of Tunisian society is already well under way, regardless of what the Tunisian Constitution says.

Indeed, the same attacks that follow Aboul Fotouh's counterparts in Turkey and Tunisia will be used against him: that he is a proponent of "stealth Islamization" and that he remains faithful to the project of applying sharia. The critics might be right. If Aboul Fotouh becomes president, there will be a battle -- between his liberal, revolutionary supporters and his Islamist backers -- over the direction his presidency takes. Now that the major Salafi organizations have endorsed him, they are likely to have significant influence in an Aboul Fotouh administration, pushing his presidency to the right on social and moral issues.

But though Salafists are a critical bloc of support for the Aboul Fotouh campaign, they have little presence in the candidate's inner circle and campaign organization, which is composed mostly of ex-Muslim Brotherhood members, liberals, and revolutionary youth. One of Aboul Fotouh's closest aides is Rabab El-Mahdi, a Marxist political science professor, who says her "biggest project" is ending the Islamist-secularist divide and focusing on the bread-and-butter issues that actually matter in people's lives. Another is the 30-year-old Ali El-Bahnasawy, a self-described liberal who is Aboul Fotouh's media advisor. He told me that the Salafists' endorsement was "amazing" and credited them for realizing that "Egypt needs to end the polarization in the country now." For him, this is the essence of Aboul Fotouh's appeal. "We need someone," Bahnasawy said, "who can talk to the Islamists and speak their language and talk to the liberals and gain their trust as well."

The popularity of Aboul Fotouh's campaign is partly a reaction to growing polarization in Egypt, where fears abound of an "Algeria scenario" of annulled elections, dissolved parliaments, and military coups. But just as the high hopes of the Obama campaign were dashed by the political compromises inherent in governing, an Aboul Fotouh administration may find it difficult to transcend the basic realities of Egyptian political life. If he wins, his supporters will soon find that the divisions between Egypt's feuding political currents do not dissipate quickly, if at all.

It is perhaps telling that Aboul Fotouh's rise comes at a time when religious belief has become an easy substitute for real discussion on economic recovery, security-sector reform, or how to fight income inequality. For the vast majority of Egyptians, the debate over sharia has been utterly beside the point. It is an elite debate and, in some ways, a manufactured one. As Aboul Fotouh will be the first to say, all major political forces support Article 2 of the Egyptian Constitution, which states that the "principles of the Islamic sharia are the primary source of legislation." Even the most "secular" party -- the Free Egyptians -- took to campaigning in rural areas with banners reading "The Quran Is Our Constitution." Meanwhile, it was the Salafists, and not the more moderate Muslim Brotherhood, who entered into serious negotiations over forming a parliamentary coalition with liberal parties. As a senior official in the Salafi al-Nour Party once put it to me, "Here in Egypt, even the liberals are conservatives."

Sharia has become the "hope and change" of Egyptian politics -- all say they like it, but no one quite knows what it means. As the most powerful man in Egypt and with a bully pulpit to match, Egypt's first revolutionary president will have a fleeting opportunity to redefine the meaning of Islam in public life.

In the introduction to his electoral program, Aboul Fotouh, the candidate, embraces the application of sharia. But there's a caveat: "The understanding of implementation of Islamic law is not, as some people think, about applying the hudud punishments [such as cutting of the hands of thieves]," the program reads. "In its complete understanding, Islamic law has to do with realizing the essential and urgent needs of humankind." The program then goes on to list combating poverty and fighting corruption as two fundamental components of applying Islamic law. For Aboul Fotouh, sharia is both everything and nothing all at once. For now at least, that seems to be exactly the way he wants it.

Shadi Hamid is director of research at the Brookings Doha Center and a fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution.

Double Edge
16 May 12,, 20:30
A cold one?

You's been hoaxed :biggrin:

Necrophilia law ? | Egypt Independent | May 9 2012 (http://www.egyptindependent.com/opinion/necrophilia-law-how-western-media-savors-islamophobia)

There was never any bill in the Egyptian Parliament that authorized necrophilia, nor was the question ever raised. Instead the whole story has turned out to be based on a bizarre chain of rumors, with journalists seeing what they want to see and hearing what they want to hear, without any fact checking.


The story came to life two weeks ago when the controversial columnist Amr Abdel Sami wrote a column addressing necrophilia in the Egyptian state-owned newspaper, Al-Ahram. In the article, he warned of the Islamization of Egyptian society, specifically what he considered an alarming Salafi success in the parliamentary elections. To heighten the acuteness of his argument, he gave some examples of what such a development might lead to. Among several things, he alluded to a statement from the controversial Moroccan Sheikh Zamzami Abdul Bari, in which the sheikh proposed that it would be halal for a man to have intercourse with his wife after death. It should be noted that Zamzami is infamous for his startling fatwas, having earlier embraced consumption of alcohol for pregnant women, for example. 



Abdel Sami proceeded to state that he was afraid that a proposal like this could be presented in Egypt. He also mentioned that the president of the National Council of Women had sent a letter to the (now dissolved) Constituent Assembly, addressing the importance of protecting women's rights in the new constitution.The day after, Tuesday, the well-known TV host Jaber al-Qarmouty discussed the column in his TV show on the private satellite channel ONTV. After reading the passage concerning necrophilia aloud several times, he also wondered whether the proposal could be introduced as a bill in the Islamist-controlled Egyptian Parliament. Without having any further proof other than the column itself, he asked rhetorically whether Abdel Sami had some access to secret discussions concerning the proposal, as basis for his speculation about the alleged necrophilia bill. Qarmouty’s own assumption on Abdel Sami’s access to “sources” only gave the false story more credibility. 



The day after, the reputable Saudi-owned news channel Al-Arabiya brought up the matter on their English website. By now, all the little fallacies had been synthesized, and the last twist added to articulate yet another bold headline: “Egyptian women urged parliamentarians to reject the draft laws that allow child marriage and sex after death.”



What is puzzling about the spread of this hoax story is that it could not have been that difficult for journalists to fact check it. When we contacted Ziad Bahaa Eddin, MP for the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, he replied within an hour, stating that no such “ludicrous” bill had ever been discussed or brought up in Parliament. But Al-Arabiya has a large audience and many took note of the astounding “news,” which consequently spread around the globe. Soon, the same fallacious story was published by news outlets in the West, such as the Daily Mail, the Huffington Post and the influential American feminist e-zine, Jezebel.

When we got in contact with Sweden’s biggest morning newspaper, Dagens Nyheter, which had also published the necrophilia rumor, they were quick to defend their publication. They argued that they had “trusted the source of the story in earlier occasions” and that they did not see “why they would be dishonest in this case.” Only after being presented with extensive proof that the news was fabricated did they remove the article, and admitted that the whole story was “quite embarrassing.” No such apology has been published by the Daily Mail, the Huffington Post or Jezebel, and none of them has removed their articles to this day. Their adjustments amount to insignificant disclaimers on how the story “provoked widespread skepticism.”

The fact remains, however, that around the world, people are left with the idea that ​​crazy Egyptian Islamists are advocating necrophilia as characteristic of their faith.

Helena Hägglund is a freelance journalist based between Cairo and Stockholm. Sam Carlshamre is an Arabic PhD candidate at Lund University.

RoccoR
17 May 12,, 01:21
Double Edge, et al,


Elaborate
(COMMENT)

In Iraq, Constitutionally, no law can contradict Islam (Section 1, Article 2); just as it is with Afghanistan (Chapter 1, Article 3).

The US needs to quit daydreaming about the development of an allied democracy that genuinely wants to establish a positive relationship with the US and join the 21st Century.


My point was I think they are using 'introduction of sharia' merely as a slogan.
(COMMENT)

Maybe I am misunderstanding, but I don't believe that the talk of Sharia Law is merely a slogan. I really believe that Islam with be integrated into the law such that one day, a fanatic will come to power and raise the religion to a level similar to Iran's government. Sharia Law is not a slogan, it is a dangerous outcome; and when it explodes, the US needs to be as far away as it can be.



Elaborate
(COMMENT)

I've actually met with Kuwait Nationals in other than an official capacity (still on my best behavior). There is a world of difference. They are as about as friendly as the Saudi's; and not easy to make friends with. You don't want to have even a minor event with them.


What factors would you say contributed to that overnight change in temperament ?
(COMMENT)

It really doesn't matter; but in reality, more of the Iranians really didn't care for Americans to start with --- they just exercised good manners. When Islam (via the Ayatollah) took control, it was as if all the pent-up emotions were released all at once.


Could it have been avoided, in hindsight.
(COMMENT)

Again, this is a case of US Policy and its implementation, and the US association of a harsh and non-benevolent leadership.


I get the impression that you continue to allude to american involvement here.

Has there been any since Mubarak ?
(COMMENT)

Oh yes! The State Department and the Administration believes that the events now unfolding in Egypt are as important and critical to the US as they are to the Egyptians. They could characterize this as a foreign-policy crisis. The US government is particularly interested in the NGO's under pressure by the Egyptian Government.

Already there have been incidents of NGO employees being trapped in Egypt, banded from departure. The complexion can turn ugly, and quick. But we got them out by paying a $4M bribe (officially a voucher as a bond which will be forfeited).


Abruptly cutting off aid to Egypt would be a bad move.
(COMMENT)

Don't worry, we do the same things over and over again. Military Aid is nothing more than a legal form of a bribe to maintain a quasi-ally. The State Department and Congress will not change its spots over night. It will continue the bribery payments, not because Egypt is such a good ally, but because it is the only way to maintain a dialog conduit.

Most Respectfully,
R

Double Edge
17 May 12,, 18:10
I get the impression that you continue to allude to american involvement here.

Has there been any since Mubarak ?


Oh yes! The State Department and the Administration believes that the events now unfolding in Egypt are as important and critical to the US as they are to the Egyptians. They could characterize this as a foreign-policy crisis. The US government is particularly interested in the NGO's under pressure by the Egyptian Government.
The Egyptian regime charges (http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/architect-of-egypts-ngo-crackdown-is-mubarak-holdover/2012/02/07/gIQAk9mgxQ_print.html)..


..the groups of operating illegally, sowing unrest and working to carry out a U.S. plot to destroy Egypt.

The first applies as these groups are unregistered, the remainder are yet to be substantiated by the Egyptians and remain allegations.

An additional charge is that these groups received more (http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContentPrint/1/0/33938/Egypt/0/Minister,-parliamentary-rights-committee-discuss-N.aspx) than their permissible annual budget of $20 million.


U.S. government had tripled pro-democracy aid to Egypt, to $65 million. Already, a chunk of it had been assigned: more than $30 million to two veteran U.S. nonprofit organizations that train budding politicians; about $4.5 million to a State Department program for grass-roots groups; millions for election infrastructure.
The real figure is $65 million in total.

As to whether these groups (NDI, IRI, Freedom House) are 'interfereing' in Egypt i find this statement (http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/egypts-plan-to-charge-19-americans-highlights-tense-relationship-with-activists/2012/02/06/gIQAAmrDvQ_print.html)by the NDI president convincing.


“We don’t go in and try to unseat anyone or push opposition to the authorities,” Wollack said. “We teach how elections are run; we teach political parties, without picking sides, how to engage the public. In Egypt, we’ve worked with virtually every party in their new parliament. The programs we’ve run in Egypt since the revolution, ironically, have been to support the very political process the country has defined for itself.”


After the fall of Hosni Mubarak, the work of pro-democracy groups exploded in Egypt. U.S. funding for the NDI, for example, grew from hundreds of thousands of dollars to $7 million a year. Its modest staff went from a small Cairo office with two international workers to three offices manned by 12 international workers and more than 50 Egyptians.

In May, new political parties were springing up by the day. Groups such as the NDI were flooded with requests for training and advice as they struggled to make sense of the country’s complicated new electoral system.

“The biggest challenge was just responding to the needs,” Hughes said. “It seemed like every time you picked up the paper, a new party was born. Things were changing incredibly fast.”

and by the IRI director


“People who are isolated fall into apathy; they feel they cannot change anything. But we can say, ‘Let me tell you what happened in Serbia,’ ” said Julija Belej Bakovic, IRI regional director for Asia and a former student activist in Serbia. “There is light at the end of the tunnel.”


Bakovic said the Egyptian and other governments that have moved against the NDI and the IRI are afraid of their own people, not the intervention of foreigners.

“They target American organizations to scare their own people into submission,” she said.
I don't see this as some nefarious CIA plot but rather a very pro-egyptian people move by Obama and i fully agree (http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/in-egypt-us-government-seeks-a-few-good-democrats/2011/06/28/gIQAlAFaKI_print.html) with it.


The stakes were high: For 30 years, the U.S. government had relied on President Hosni Mubarak to help maintain peace in the Middle East and fight terrorism. “Our impression is that the Egyptian government is stable,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Jan. 25.

Within weeks, Mubarak’s reign was over and the U.S. government was repositioning itself. “The United States stands ready to help in every way possible to translate what happened in Tahrir Square into the new reality for Egypt,” Clinton said March 16.

But that's not how the Egyptian minister Faiza Abou el-Naga sees it, incidentally she is the one who coordinates international aid with Egypt. She is a holdover from the previous regime and is trying to paint this as some sovereignty issue.


“It touches on the sovereignty of a given country,” the minister said. And why did Egypt need pro-democracy funding anymore, she wondered aloud. “The situation has fundamentally changed,” she said.

She goes into it in her own WAPO Op-ed here (http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/why-egypt-moved-against-unregistered-ngos/2012/03/05/gIQAEHrf1R_print.html).


After years of giving the Egyptian government substantial control over the way its share of U.S. aid was spent, Congress in 2004 demanded that some money earmarked for democracy-building activities be dispersed without moving through Abou el-Naga’s ministry. Part of that money went to groups such as NDI and IRI, which trained and advised opposition figures.
So she lost control of that money, it increased and she created a stink over it. She saw the chance to make a power play as well as a name for herself.


In February 2008, Abou el-Naga demanded that the United States stop funding four American and six Egyptian NGOs that had received money for democracy and governance work, according to a U.S. diplomatic cable published by WikiLeaks. It included one that had published a children’s book called “Ali the Human Rights Activist.” Thousands of copies were seized by security forces, the cable said.

When the Obama administration ramped up efforts to support civil society groups and political parties after last year’s revolution, publicizing grants and holding workshops to help applicants apply for money, Abou el-Naga was furious.

These groups have been operating in Egypt for years unregistered without any issue its only after Mubarak's fall that the state dept figured they needed more funding because there was an obvious need for it.


U.S. officials who backed democratic reform in Mubarak’s Egypt over the past decade had been hopeful that his fall would spell the end of Abou el-Naga’s career and the rigid restrictions the regime placed on American aid earmarked for pro-democracy programs. U.S. trainers and funding would be sorely needed and welcome in the new Egypt, they reasoned, as nascent political parties and those that had been oppressed by the autocratic government geared up for the country’s first free elections.

“When the regime changed, we all thought, Faiza will be gone,” said a senior U.S. official who worked in Egypt, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to be interviewed. “Man, were we wrong. She’s more powerful than ever.”


Senior members of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist group whose political party won the most seats in parliament, have endorsed the crackdown. Egypt’s ruling generals also appear to be backing it.
Am not sure what the intent of the MB was with endorsing this move by the regime. Whether they want to ride the populist wave that was created over this or something else. The larger point to me here is that this is a move made by the regime and not the MB. Whether the MB will resort to similar tactics remains to be seen whenever they are in office but for now 'guilty by association' does not fly with me.


Already there have been incidents of NGO employees being trapped in Egypt, banded from departure. The complexion can turn ugly, and quick. But we got them out by paying a $4M bribe [I](officially a voucher as a bond which will be forfeited).
When the regime starts playing to populists for their own gains anything is possible. This incident seems to be under wraps for now. I'd put it down to the hiccups of a developing democracy. Imagine there will be more. If heads remain cool they will be forgotten. The Saudis appear to have a binary notion for their diplomacy judging by their reaction, its either 'on' or 'off'. They are not used to facing opposition at home let alone from abroad.


Don't worry, we do the same things over and over again. Military Aid is nothing more than a legal form of a bribe to maintain a quasi-ally. The State Department and Congress will not change its spots over night. It will continue the bribery payments, not because Egypt is such a good ally, but because it is the only way to maintain a dialog conduit.
If they can be bought, that is cheaper than fighting them.

Hilary has it right


Clinton has said the situation has been made more difficult by the transition that Egypt is going through after the ouster of Hosni Mubarak as president. “They don’t have an executive that would have such authority to be able to determine what is and is not the policy of the new Egyptian government,” she told the BBC in a weekend interview.

RoccoR
18 May 12,, 14:30
Double Edge, et al,

This is a tough topic because of all the variables and all the possibilities that arise from these variables.




Oh yes! The State Department and the Administration believes that the events now unfolding in Egypt are as important and critical to the US as they are to the Egyptians. They could characterize this as a foreign-policy crisis. The US government is particularly interested in the NGO's under pressure by the Egyptian Government.
The Egyptian regime charges ..

(COMMENT)

That is a great perspective to promote, given that Congress was annoyed. And I think that the Department of State, DOD, and the CIA wanted to adopt that "Hosni Mubarak Holderover Theory" as a matter of convenience. But the fact is, the regime of Hosni Mubarak was pro-American Aid to begin with. It was only the anti-government elements that were anti-American.

No, this cover story doesn't pass the smell test. If anything, the Hosni Mubarak Holdovers would have tended to be helpful, not a hindrance.




Already there have been incidents of NGO employees being trapped in Egypt, banded from departure. The complexion can turn ugly, and quick. But we got them out by paying a $4M bribe (officially a voucher as a bond which will be forfeited).

When the regime starts playing to populists for their own gains anything is possible. This incident seems to be under wraps for now. I'd put it down to the hiccups of a developing democracy. Imagine there will be more. If heads remain cool they will be forgotten. The Saudis appear to have a binary notion for their diplomacy judging by their reaction, its either 'on' or 'off'. They are not used to facing opposition at home let alone from abroad.


AND

If they can be bought, that is cheaper than fighting them.

Hilary has it right
(COMMENT)

The entire relationship between the US and Egypt is based on "aid" of one sort or another (AKA: money). And those that are worried that America will lose and ally if US Aid disappears know that it is not a genuine friendship between the states or the people; but monetarily dependent to the highest bidder.

The US foreign policy that promotes alliances that are totally monetarily dependent is a poor policy - that is both defective and dangerous. Just like a personal friendship, it has to be based on something more than greed; a vice in itself.

As to combat fear, the US should back away if it believes that, in order to maintain a peaceful relationship, it must continue the "parasitic relationship." If the peace is dependent on monetary gain, than the true nature of the relationship is adversarial, merely masked by money. It's like a 1920's Gangland Protection Racket; if you don't pay the hood, then something bad will happen. And as any street kid will tell you, that's the time to confront the aggressor. You tell them to jump - or - stay at home.

No, Secretary Clinton has it wrong; completely wrong. This is just bleeding tax dollars away from US domestic infrastructure repairs and jobs. I don't believe that Egypt is a strategic threat or national security interest. If the US slowly backs away, then it is unlikely that they will become a combative aggressor. We will gain by dis-entangling ourselves and create an alternative for domestic spending.

The bottom line; don't buy your friends. You earn friendship and respect, you don't purchase it like a box of Cracker Jacks.

Most Respectfully,
R

Double Edge
18 May 12,, 21:42
That is a great perspective to promote, given that Congress was annoyed. And I think that the Department of State, DOD, and the CIA wanted to adopt that "Hosni Mubarak Holderover Theory" as a matter of convenience. But the fact is, the regime of Hosni Mubarak was pro-American Aid to begin with. It was only the anti-government elements that were anti-American.

No, this cover story doesn't pass the smell test. If anything, the Hosni Mubarak Holdovers would have tended to be helpful, not a hindrance.
Consider that this aid in particular was going towards strengthening opposition parties, any and all of them. Could the regime have seen & interpreted this as the US dumping them after years of good relations ?


The entire relationship between the US and Egypt is based on "aid" of one sort or another (AKA: money). And those that are worried that America will lose and ally if US Aid disappears know that it is not a genuine friendship between the states or the people; but monetarily dependent to the highest bidder.

The US foreign policy that promotes alliances that are totally monetarily dependent is a poor policy - that is both defective and dangerous. Just like a personal friendship, it has to be based on something more than greed; a vice in itself.
At the time the camp David accords started the cold war was still on. Nasser had played (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aswan_Dam)the US off the soviets in the fifties to get the best deal. When Egypt was in the soviet camp they amassed enough arms to cause the 6 day war & yom kippur.

If the Soviets could buy Egypt off so could the US. Imagine the windfall if Egypt actually agreed to make peace with Israel against the wishes of the entire Arab world. Why should Israel give back the entire Sinai in exchange. That's exactly what happened.


As to combat fear, the US should back away if it believes that, in order to maintain a peaceful relationship, it must continue the "parasitic relationship." If the peace is dependent on monetary gain, than the true nature of the relationship is adversarial, merely masked by money. It's like a 1920's Gangland Protection Racket; if you don't pay the hood, then something bad will happen. And as any street kid will tell you, that's the time to confront the aggressor. You tell them to jump - or - stay at home.
You are questioning the utility of continuing aid to Egypt here. It has helped in the past but is it still required today. The answer given for this year is that US jobs depended on it.

MNNA (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Major_non-NATO_ally) status applies to a number of countries besides Egypt.


No, Secretary Clinton has it wrong; completely wrong. This is just bleeding tax dollars away from US domestic infrastructure repairs and jobs. I don't believe that Egypt is a strategic threat or national security interest. If the US slowly backs away, then it is unlikely that they will become a combative aggressor. We will gain by dis-entangling ourselves and create an alternative for domestic spending.

The bottom line; don't buy your friends. You earn friendship and respect, you don't purchase it like a box of Cracker Jacks.
There will always be carrots on offer in IR. They act as tools of persuasion.

The costs incurred of discontinuing aid to Egypt have to be balanced with the benefits accrued from said aid.

It was worth it in the past, whether its still worth it today remains to be seen.

An old essay from '96.

American Aid to Egypt, 1975-96: Peace Without Development | MEPC | Winter 1996 (http://www.mepc.org/journal/middle-east-policy-archives/american-aid-egypt-1975-96-peace-without-development)


Egyptians experience "growth without development," especially in the rural economy. Richard Adams discusses this phenomenon in agriculture and attributes it to the government's determined policy of control of agriculture instead of management of it. While much of this control has diminished since 1987, the policy is maintained over industry, tourism, financial markets, oil production and so on.

Control, for example, over agriculture is a technique used to maintain law and order and to extract a surplus, ostensibly for national development purposes. This is in fact a political technique designed to thwart opposition to the government as it caters to a potentially disruptive urban population, for example, by insuring low-cost food. This technique of subsidizing urban populations — in food, housing, transportation, energy, health care, education, job security — to ensure political stability (even if at the expense of farmers) takes priority over economic development. (As will be demonstrated below, this priority is espoused by many of Egypt's foreign patrons as well.) the result is not so much a satisfied population as a minimally pacified one.

To manage, as opposed to control, is to seek to increase the flow of surplus (e.g., out of agriculture) by qualitatively changing the social and economic character of production. Economic growth has occurred in Egypt's agricultural sector (as well as in industry and the service sector). But "development, in the sense of qualitative changes in the units of economic production, has not taken place. As a consequence, rural poverty and inequality have been slowly increasing."


The White House and the American embassy have often taken up the GOE's position, overriding their own AID mission, that political stability is primary and that Egypt should not be pushed too far, too fast. The White House (under presidents Carter, Reagan, and Bush) has given this same message to the IMF time and again, forcing it to back down on its demands for economic reform.

Egypt has sufficient political clout in Washington to fend off those who seek to press it too hard on economic reasons alone. This clout is manifested in the increasing competition between the AID mission office and the U.S. embassy in Cairo as these two entities of the State Department pursue often conflicting goals. AID focuses on what is economically rational and the U.S. embassy sees what is politically possible and supposedly best for continued Egyptian stability. As the political consistently wins out over the economic, AID loses.

Conflicting goals are primary causes of the failure of U.S. aid to Egypt to have more of an impact on development. With massive sums of aid available, far too many objectives are pursued simultaneously — often at odds with one another. AID continues to get caught up in international American conflicts over how foreign aid should be spent. And it lacks the power to resist manipulations of the aid program by Congress, the White House, and the departments of Agriculture and Commerce. Different agencies want to use this program to promote differing goals: economic development, political stability and continued peace with Israel. Still others say the program should be geared toward promoting American business in Egypt and the developing world generally. The USDA, for example, would rather find markets for American farmers' products than help another country compete with them.

Double Edge
22 May 12,, 15:18
In Iraq, Constitutionally, no law can contradict Islam (Section 1, Article 2); just as it is with Afghanistan (Chapter 1, Article 3).

Sharia Law is not a slogan, it is a dangerous outcome; and when it explodes, the US needs to be as far away as it can be.
And in Egypt the leader that introduced that clause was Sadat in the 70s. That sharia would be a major source of inspiration. Been like that for over thirty years now in Egypt. His rule saw a window of liberalisation which closed following his assasination. But he was the one that released the MB from jail. This was a critical turning point in their development as they let go of their previously more violent stance. This move created a number of smaller spinoffs that wanted to continue the armed resistance but the MB at this point was no longer in the fray.

So I ask again where is the scope here for 'further introduction' of Sharia. The public view the MB as less corrupt who established themselves in schools, health care & social services. Areas where the govt wasn't very helpful. That is the reason private efforts had to be made and they were efficient at it. This is how they grew their support base. Not very different to what Christian missionaries have done the world over.

This is why i continue to view their statements as slogans.


The US needs to quit daydreaming about the development of an allied democracy that genuinely wants to establish a positive relationship with the US and join the 21st Century.
Promotion of democracy IS fighting terrorism which is a national security imperative. This policy dates back to Bush. Rightly or wrongly, the determination was made at the time that terrorism is fueled by a lack of democracy.

Commencement Address at the University of South Carolina in Columbia | May 9, 2003 (http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=407#axzz1vVyeZKsj)

The present administration is just continuing with the same policy and its much easier to see with the case of the NGOs than enforced at gunpoint as in Iraq or Afghanistan. This used to be a black joke earlier, that if regimes did not behave then the US would come over and 'spread democracy'.

Its not so funny in the present Egyptian context.

The US needs to improve its reputation in the middle east, to be seen as a credible supporter of democracy. There are just too many examples of double standards at play that affect that perception. So i perceive the NGO effort as a step in a positive direction.


Maybe I am misunderstanding, but I don't believe that the talk of Sharia Law is merely a slogan. I really believe that Islam with be integrated into the law such that one day, a fanatic will come to power and raise the religion to a level similar to Iran's government.
Where is the need for a fanatic to take over when the Islamists are already in office. Once in office they lose their radicalism and become more domesticated. Radicalism is directly proportional to the degree of authoritarianism experienced. There may be fringe groups but they will lose their legitimacy in the current environment.

If anything, i think a coup by the army is more likely. They're the only group with the record, experience & power to pull it off.

As for the comparison with Iran, Egypt's was never a mullah led revolution. The Shah alienated the clerics whereas in Egypt they were co-opted to the point they were seen as an extension of the state. This is the case in a number of other gulf countries as well.

So how can these mullahs now or later insert themselves into the mix and direct things as they did in Iran. Besides there is no outstanding debate in Egypt like there was in Iran about whether clerics should be in charge.

Another issue i've been thinking about is the possibility of increased sectarianism. With Islamists in office its possible that more radical elements can try to mess with Copts in the hope those in office will protect their backs. I can see the liberals going absolutely nuts over this. Should it happen it has to be viewed as just opportunistic politics at play rather than some hidden agenda to cleanse Egypt of Copts.

Because Copts have a longer history in Egypt than the Muslims do. Copts are a sizeable minority making up 10% of the population. The sectarian divide between the two communities isn't as stark as it is in say Iraq or Afghanistan, Lebanon or Syria.

This will be one of a number of tests the new regime will face in implementing the rule of law.

The source for this idea comes from developments in my own country over the years and its taken me a long time to see it in this manner.


It really doesn't matter; but in reality, more of the Iranians really didn't care for Americans to start with --- they just exercised good manners. When Islam (via the Ayatollah) took control, it was as if all the pent-up emotions were released all at once.
It does matter, if you're going to be drawing comparisons with Iran.


Sharia Law is not a slogan, it is a dangerous outcome; and when it explodes, the US needs to be as far away as it can be.
Iran blew up, Egypt in comparison merely popped. That too in copycat fashion after Tunisia.

There was a lot of pressure building up in Iran and had been for many years. This is where the potential for an explosion comes from.

Can you show similar in Egypt ? then do so but otherwise your concern is unfounded. I've seen this narrative often, fears are raised but rarely with any sound basis other than easy generalisations.

RoccoR
22 May 12,, 17:31
Double Edge, et al,

There is nothing yet, that shows you are wrong. I advocate for being prepared and divorcing the US from further involvement.


... ... ...

Can you show similar in Egypt ? then do so but otherwise your concern is unfounded. I've seen this narrative often, fears are raised but rarely with any sound basis other than easy generalisations.
(COMMENT)

I bend to your argument. It can't be proven wrong until the adverse event occurs. You are probably correct, in that there is no cause for alarm. I leave with these quotes:



Voting in Egypt as "Holy War" -- Its Only Value, to Empower Sharia
by Raymond Ibrahim May 22, 2012]

If the non-Islamic candidates win, it will only be "by cheating," at which point "the Islamist organizations" will resort to "armed action" and such presidents will suffer the same fate as Anwar Sadat [assassination].

Despite the fact that some in the West portray Islam and democracy as being perfectly compatible, evidence continues to emerge that many countries in the Middle East, democracy and elections are various means to one end: the establishment of a decidedly undemocratic form of law—Islamic, or Sharia Law.

An Egyptian cleric, Dr. Talat Zahran, proclaimed that it is "obligatory to cheat at elections, a beautiful thing" -- meaning that voting is a tool, an instrument, the only value of which is to empower Sharia.

Another cleric, Hazim Shuman, who has his own TV program, issued a fatwa that likened voting for Islamist candidates to a "jihad," or a holy war, adding that paradise awaits whoever is "martyred" during the electoral campaign.
SOURCE: Voting in Egypt as "Holy War": Its Only Value, to Empower Sharia :: Gatestone Institute (http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/3071/voting-in-egypt)


-- AND --


Cairo, May 14 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Egypt's constitution should be based on the Quran and the Islamic Sharia law, presidential candidate from the Muslim Brotherhood Mohamed Morsi said.

"The Quran is our constitution, the Prophet is our leader, jihad is our path and death in the name of Allah is our goal," Morsi said in an election speech to Cairo University students.

Today Egypt was close as never before to the triumph of Islam at all state levels, he said.

"Today, we can establish Sharia law because our nation will acquire well-being only with Islam and Sharia. The Muslim Brothers and the Freedom and Justice Party will be the conductors of these goals," he said.

SOURCE: http://india.nydailynews.com/business/04e4979020044ecd5089f184e7ab1feb/egypt-presidential-hopeful-wants-sharia-law-based-constitution


Once I pass-on my credentials (waiting for an e-mail address to answer a challenge), I will be leaving WAB. I want to extend my appreciation for your discussions. I have found them quite valuable and you quite patient in your descriptive analysis.

Many Thanks...

Most Respectfully,
R
e-mail: Rocco Rosano (roccorosano@yahoo.com) roccorosano@yahoo.com

Double Edge
22 May 12,, 18:44
I bend to your argument.
Bend is not good. To straighten is better :biggrin:


Once I pass-on my credentials (waiting for an e-mail address to answer a challenge), I will be leaving WAB. I want to extend my appreciation for your discussions. I have found them quite valuable and you quite patient in your descriptive analysis.
Would say the same, discussing these affairs with someone of your experience has been challenging & rewarding.

Prefer you remain with WAB :)

If you really are who you claim to be then you should pass any test with flying colours

Re: the gatestone article by Raymond Ibrahim. Wiki tells me he is a Copt. If ever there are any sectarian issues, he will be shouting from the rooftops about it. I understand where he is coming from but would be reserved in what i took from it.

Would highly recommend reading relevant chapters from the book 'Sharia Incorporated' from Leiden Uni.


Despite the fact that some in the West portray Islam and democracy as being perfectly compatible, evidence continues to emerge that many countries in the Middle East, democracy and elections are various means to one end: the establishment of a decidedly undemocratic form of law—Islamic, or Sharia Law.
‘In France I saw Islam but no Muslims; in Cairo I see Muslims but no Islam.’ --Azharite, Muhammad Abduh (1849-1905)

Abduh a later pioneer in the area of modernisation of the sharia, who upon his visit to France came to the conclusion that modern European societies had created a social order that was much closer to the Quranic ideals than Muslim societies had achieved thus far.


Similarly, according to Al-Wafd, last Friday, May 18th, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, one of if not the most authoritative clerics in the Islamic world, "called on all Egyptians to vote for one of the Islamist candidates." He specifically named the three Islamists, Muhammad Mursi (candidate of the Salafist party), Abd al-Mun'im Abu al-Futuh (candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood's political wing), and Muhammad al-Salim al-Awwa. Qaradawi described them as "best for Egypt" because they will "apply the Islamic Sharia and achieve justice."
Mursi is the MB's replacement candidate after Shater was disqualified.

Futouh as we know is ex-MB and is running as an independent.

Dunno who the third candidate is.


Further, during his Friday sermon, Qaradawi said that it is "mandatory for every Egyptian to go and vote for the presidential elections," calling it a form of "obligatory testimony" on behalf of Islam, and quoting Koran 2:283 as proof: "and do not conceal testimony, and whoever conceals it, his heart is surely sinful; and Allah knows what you do."
Good, then there will be a broad turnout


Sheikh Osama Qassim, however, a member of Egypt's notorious Islamic Jihad, which also seeks to install Sharia law, focused on the non-Islamist candidates—he specifically named Ahmed Shafiq and Amr Mussa—saying that if they win the presidential elections, it will only be "by cheating," at which point "the Islamist organizations" will resort to "armed action" [code for Jihad], adding that such presidents will suffer the same fate of Anwar Sadat [assassination], but that this time, the struggle will see "the Islamists achieve complete domination" in Egypt.
The presidential elections and how fair & free they are will be critical here. There should be no controversies tho i expect the losing candidates will try their luck here.

I hope Egypt will take the efforts to make sure it will be the most transparent election they have ever had. The earlier parliamentary elections were undisputed and open. If there are disputes there should be fora where such can be contested.

Re:the other article


Egypt's constitution should be based on the Quran and the Islamic Sharia law, presidential candidate from the Muslim Brotherhood Mohamed Morsi said.
The existing one already is. That Egypt would toss out the existing constitution wholesale and start on a blank sheet seems a stretch to me. However civil law & penal law are not sharia based but they already comply with Sharia.

This is Mursi just posturing.


"The Quran is our constitution, the Prophet is our leader, jihad is our path and death in the name of Allah is our goal," Morsi said in an election speech to Cairo University students.
KSA is the only muslim country that says the Quran is their constitution. And consequently do not have a consitution. Its just a basic ordinance.

I highly doubt Mursi, should he win will forego drafting a consitution and follow the Saudi model.

He does not have a say in whether the constitution gets drafted or not, in the first place.


"Today, we can establish Sharia law because our nation will acquire well-being only with Islam and Sharia. The Muslim Brothers and the Freedom and Justice Party will be the conductors of these goals," he said.
Saying what any politician would say.

Double Edge
31 May 12,, 17:54
The first round of the presidential elections concluded last week. The turnout for the first phase was only 46%. In the parliamentary elections held earlier it was 57%.

There are two front runners, Mursi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohamed_Morsi) (MB) & Shafeeq (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ahmed_Shafik) (Mubarak era).

Mursi campaigns on the religious front, Shafeeq campaigns on stabiity and he got enough votes to be a contender.

This outcome has been a letdown for the Egyptians because the two do not inspire much confidence. Mursi is uncharismatic & the other made a mess of the national airline when he was minister for civil aviation. For him to win would be a bad irony as he was appointed PM by Mubarak in response to the protests. He served a total of 33 days.

Unrest is feared if either wins.

If Mursi wins, will there be a coup.

If Shafeeq wins, will the opposition make charges of vote rigging & run to the street and start more protests. It also brings into question the meaning of the revolution.

The election is scheduled for mid June.

Tense times ahead.

Carter was one of four international monitors present during these elections, his group was barred access at some points and only got their clearances late so they cannot make any critical comments on how the election was held. But they were present when the counting was done and had visited a few booths. They did not see any evidence of any candidate being singled out or helped. Though there are a few reports of irregularities. It is essential that the next & final round be as transparent as possible.

Double Edge
01 Jun 12,, 16:46
Here is one answer from a CSMonitor interview (http://m.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Global-Viewpoint/2012/0529/Interview-with-Turkey-s-Abdullah-Gul-Egypt-should-embrace-secularism/(page)/2) that President Abdullah Gul of Turkey had to say about Egypt..


Is Turkey’s system, in which a Muslim-oriented party governs within a secular framework, a template for Egypt and the other liberated Arab states as they put together their constitutions?

Gul: What is unfortunate for the Arab and Maghreb countries is that their interpretation of secularism has been based on the French model, which is a “Jacobin” model of imposing a kind of irreligiousness.

When you speak of secularism to Muslim communities of the region, it is misunderstood because of this French implication. In practice, the implementation of secularism in the Arab and Maghreb countries has meant fighting against Islam in the name of secularism. So, we have to understand this sensitivity.

On the other hand, if you use the Anglo-Saxon interpretation of secularism, as practiced in the United States or the United Kingdom, it is something that people should feel comfortable with. All it means is a separation of the state and religion, of the state maintaining the same distance from all religions and acting as the custodian for all beliefs. It is based on respect for all faiths and the coexistence of plural beliefs.

I can tell you from my conversations with the leaders in Egypt or Tunisia, including those with a religious identity, that they are very open-minded and comfortable with this Anglo-Saxon sense of secular government.

They understand that what we are doing in Turkey is focusing on fundamental freedoms. Freedom to practice one’s own religion is one of the most fundamental of freedoms. We are lifting the barriers, that’s all.

This implies should the MB get into office they are going to try & tweak the civil law (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egyptian_Civil_Code) system of French origin that is in place. But as mentioned earlier it already provides for islamic interpretations..


“in the absence of any applicable legislation, the judge shall decide according to the custom and failing the custom, according to the principles of Islamic Law. In the absence of these principles, the judge shall have recourse to natural law and the rules of equity.”

Double Edge
05 Jun 12,, 14:00
People crowded around vans in the large sun-baked parking lot, listening to stereos blaring Judge Ahmed Refaat’s long and flowery pronouncement of the verdict. When Refaat read out that Mubarak was sentenced to life, a huge roar erupted, reminiscent of celebrations on the night of his ouster on 11 February 2011.

Some chanted “God is Great” as others knelt to the ground in thanks. Young men began singing football songs and there was a jovial atmosphere. That quickly soured. As news came out that Gamal and Alaa Mubarak had been acquitted, along with Adly’s six aides, people became incensed. Clashes began with Central Security Forces standing guard.

The Mubarak supporters were also angry. They chased photographers and anyone who approached them. One irate man attacked a car. Eventually, the Mubarak supporters left, being heavily outnumbered by the anti-Mubarak protesters on the other side.

Mubarak gets life | Egypt Independent | Jun 2 2012 (http://www.egyptindependent.com/news/fury-follows-joy-outside-mubaraks-courtroom)

PYnL5oUePM8

Double Edge
15 Jun 12,, 12:41
There is a lot of commentary regarding this SCC's ruling on Thursday. It's getting spun as a victory for the counter-revolutionary forces and phrased as a soft coup. The upcoming presidential elections scheduled for this weekend are in doubt as well.

The two main points are that

- officials from the previous regime would not be barred from running for office so Shafiq can continue to run. In effect striking down as unconsitutional the political isolation law recently passed.
- one third of parliament (lower house) is to be dissolved as they constitute single winner seats and are illegal.

Cannot as yet see anything wrong with either of these two rulings. As they represent the rule of law over what the mob would prefer. So will just stick to this article about the ruling and leave any further commentary for later after things settle.

Court rules political isolation and election laws unconstitutional | Egypt Independent | Jul 14 2012 (http://www.egyptindependent.com/news/update-court-rules-political-isolation-and-election-laws-unconstitutional)

Court rules political isolation and election laws unconstitutional
Egypt Independent
Thu, 14/06/2012 - 14:53

The Supreme Constitutional Court ruled Thursday that a law governing parliamentary elections is unconstitutional in a landmark case that could result in the dissolution of Parliament.

It is unclear whether new elections will be held for single-winner seats, which make up one-third of Parliament and were deemed to have been elected illegally, or if the entire legislature may be disbanded.

Following an approximately three-hour hearing, Egypt's highest court also struck down the Political Isolation Law that strips top ex-officials of political rights, allowing former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq to continue his bid for president.

Acting as the country’s executive power, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces amended the parliamentary elections law several times. At issue is the last amendment, which reversed an earlier stipulation that parties could not compete for single-winner seats in the elections that began last fall.

Protesters outside the court erupted when the verdict was announced, chanting "The people want the judiciary to be purged." They said that the ruling promises a "second revolution." People's Assembly Speaker Saad al-Katatny of the Freedom and Justice Party was among those elected in a single-winner race.

Before the ruling, liberal MP Mohamed Abou Hamed wrote on Twitter that he hopes Parliament is dissolved, as the current body is "not worthy of Egypt."

The Supreme Constitutional Court's decisions cannot be appealed.

Shafiq’s lawyer, Shawqy al-Sayed, told the court in his arguments that the Political Isolation Law represents an unprecedented case in Egypt’s political history and that it deprives those who are subject to it of their most basic constitutional rights.

He called the law "selective and vengeful," noting that it applies only to some of those who held posts within the dissolved National Democratic Party in violation of the constitutional principle of equality.

After his arguments, the court took a recess for deliberation and then reconvened.

The law, which was passed by Parliament and then approved by the ruling military council in April, bars former President Hosni Mubarak and anyone who served as vice president or prime minister or at the helm of his National Democratic Party during the last 10 years of his rule from running for office, as well as removing other political rights.

Shafiq was briefly disqualified from the race after the law was passed, but the Presidential Elections Commission reinstated him upon appeal and referred the law for constitutional review. The referral itself has also been the subject of debate, with some questioning whether the commission acted beyond its legal bounds.

In a non-binding report, a panel of court commissioners recently said that the elections commission is an administrative institution that does not have the jurisdiction to act as a legal body and refer the law for review. The panel said the constitutional court should not rule on the case for this reason, but that if it did, it should strike down the law.

Meanwhile, dozens of protesters gathered Thursday outside the Supreme Constitutional Court in the Cairo neighborhood of Maadi, chanting in support of the law. For some, Shafiq’s exclusion was the last chance that a liberal candidate could be reinstated.

His potential removal from the race has been the subject of much speculation in recent months as to whether elections would be re-conducted or third-place candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi would be allowed to take his place in the runoff against Mohamed Morsy.

Traffic on the Nile Corniche was paralyzed, with cars lined up for several kilometers, prompting police to redirect vehicles to alternative routes. Tight security measures were imposed in the surrounding area and hundreds of soldiers and Central Security Forces, with their armored vehicles, lined up around the court.

Wasat Party MP Essam Sultan, who drafted the Political Isolation Law, as well as a number of judges, are observing the session. Supreme Constitutional Court head judge Farouk Sultan is among them, but will not preside over the review because of his position at the helm of the Presidential Elections Commission.

Versus
22 Jun 12,, 22:37
You owe me, Double Edge :)

Double Edge
23 Jun 12,, 00:16
You owe me, Double Edge :)
Oh ?

Versus
23 Jun 12,, 19:58
Oh ?
Just kidding, my comment was regarding the bortherhood rise to power, from antoher thread where you said that the situation is 50%-50%.

Double Edge
23 Jun 12,, 20:33
Oh , yes i conceded that one a while back. But the results of the presidential election have not been announced yet.

Versus
24 Jun 12,, 17:51
Oh , yes i conceded that one a while back. But the results of the presidential election have not been announced yet.

They are now,
Muslim Brotherhood's Morsi declared Egypt's new president - CNN.com (http://edition.cnn.com/2012/06/24/world/africa/egypt-politics/index.html) :)

Double Edge
24 Jun 12,, 18:32
The presidency is largely a figurehead position, as the country's military rulers maintain much of the control over the country.
Do not underestimate the power of the counter revolution.

Versus
24 Jun 12,, 19:26
So what we have to look for in the future?
Most likely the civil war in Egypt,closing down the Suez straight,oil prices going up,European economy crumbling,attacks on Israel,Siriya vs Nato and Balkans re igniting again. Culmination will be, as usual, the Iran.

Double Edge
24 Jun 12,, 19:29
Let things happen first :)

How long is this phase going to last. or will there be a coup.

Versus
24 Jun 12,, 19:33
Let things happen first :)

How long is this phase going to last. or will there be a coup.

I would guess that it will start within next 6 months, but I am not in the field so I don't know for sure.

Doktor
24 Jun 12,, 19:40
So what we have to look for in the future?
If we had a crystal ball, we'd be billionaires.


Most likely the civil war in Egypt,


closing down the Suez straight,
While civil war raging? Whichever side is gonna do that that is signing their own defeat.


oil prices going up,
It might go up temporarily, but the demand will go down very fast.


European economy crumbling,
You mean more?


attacks on Israel,
From Egypt? With a civil war raging? Hardly.


Siriya vs Nato
How is Egyptian elections gonna spark this?


and Balkans re igniting again.
Same as above.


Culmination will be, as usual, the Iran.
When was Iran a culmination.

Versus
24 Jun 12,, 19:46
If we had a crystal ball, we'd be billionaires.




While civil war raging? Whichever side is gonna do that that is signing their own defeat.


It might go up temporarily, but the demand will go down very fast.


You mean more?


From Egypt? With a civil war raging? Hardly.


How is Egyptian elections gonna spark this?


Same as above.


When was Iran a culmination.

That is why we have analysts, not the fortune tellers :) Events are linked,my good Doktor.

Versus
26 Jun 12,, 21:30
And by the way,Doktor,regarding the Balkans,what do you think of this?
Wesley Clark Seeks Licence For Oil in Kosovo :: Balkan Insight (http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/wesley-clark-seeks-licence-for-oil-in-kosovo)
Where the pipline will go?Trough Albania,with all those mountains,don't think so...

Doktor
27 Jun 12,, 05:45
Close to this maybe?

Albania (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albania%E2%80%93Kosovo_Highway)

Versus
27 Jun 12,, 06:59
Close to this maybe?

Albania (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albania%E2%80%93Kosovo_Highway)

Let's move this discussion to the morgue thread, this one is about Egypt.

bigross86
29 Jun 12,, 14:18
Hey, here's a question: Say the Egyptians decide they don't want to uphold and keep the peace treaty with Israel, how will they go about transferring the Sinai back into Israeli hands?

Mihais
29 Jun 12,, 14:46
You have yet to prove you're as good as your grandpas and they have to prove they're as useless as theirs.

Doktor
29 Jun 12,, 14:51
You have yet to prove you're as good as your grandpas and they have to prove they're as useless as theirs.

:hug:

bigross86
29 Jun 12,, 15:49
You have yet to prove you're as good as your grandpas and they have to prove they're as useless as theirs.

Irrelevant. It's a simple question. If the Egyptians choose not to abide by the peace treaty anymore, how will they go about giving the Sinai back to Israel?

Doktor
29 Jun 12,, 17:13
Irrelevant. It's a simple question. If the Egyptians choose not to abide by the peace treaty anymore, how will they go about giving the Sinai back to Israel?

There is nothing simple in that question To translate you, they mean we won't obey what we think is bad for us, and will keep all the benefits that are good for us like Sinai, US aid, etc.

If it ever happens, it will be up to Israel to:
a) bring the issue to the court, and if they win hoping for a force majeur to implement it, or
b) use military options to take it back

What Mihais said is still valid.

Double Edge
29 Jun 12,, 18:43
Hey, here's a question: Say the Egyptians decide they don't want to uphold and keep the peace treaty with Israel, how will they go about transferring the Sinai back into Israeli hands?
Discussed this earlier and Rocco mentioned there were two components to the camp david accords.

The first which is what you're referring to requires Israel's agreement to change, Egypt can't just rescind it on their own. The alarmist articles i've seen neglect to mention this point.

The second component which deals with Palestine has not had much progress.

Egypt could try to push for more with that.

tbm3fan
05 Jul 12,, 06:47
With a new government are some now taking advantage of it to enforce their version of morality in what was typically a fairly secular country? Would the military react to this if it is happening out in the rural areas.

Student murder stokes fears of Egypt's Islamists - SFGate (http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Student-murder-stokes-fears-of-Egypt-s-Islamists-3683761.php)

Double Edge
05 Jul 12,, 07:40
With a new government are some now taking advantage of it to enforce their version of morality in what was typically a fairly secular country?

The murder of a university student by suspected militants as his girlfriend looked on is fueling fears in Egypt that vigilante groups seeking to enforce a strict interpretation of Islam’s teachings may be feeling confident with an Islamist president in office to take over the streets.
yes i would think its possible and was expecting it. Even the settling of scores.

The media will be playing this up whenever it occurs. How the Copts are concerned etc.


Would the military react to this if it is happening out in the rural areas.
Depends on the scale. If its isolated incidents then its a law & order issue. A new balance will have to be found as the power equation is slightly changed.