Is History Repeating Itself in Egypt?

A handout picture released on February 1, 2015, by Egypt’s Middle East News Agency (MENA) shows Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi delivering a speech during a meeting with security forces commanders, representatives of political parties and other public figures in the capital Cairo. AFP/MENA
Published Tuesday, February 10, 2015
Is history repeating itself in Egypt today, or are the same mistakes being committed again? About four years ago, the opposition called for boycotting the second round of elections, because candidates of the now-dissolved National Democratic Party (NDP) won a suspicious landslide victory, gaining 95 percent of parliamentary seats, even in districts where NDP candidates had lost popular support to candidates from the opposition and independent parties.
Cairo — This scenario repeated itself yesterday as nominations began. The Supreme Committee for Election opened up to nominations for parliamentary elections (a 10-day process), and one Ahmed Ezz — “one of the main reasons for the January Revolution” — submitted his application through his lawyer.
The call for boycott came even before the first round this time, as many suspect that the expected outcome of this election may resemble the previous one.
The fraud witnessed during the 2010 election was committed and overseen by the same Ahmed Ezz, the NDP’s secretary-general at the time, from an operations room in the party headquarters near Tahrir Square and Abdel Munim Riad Square. The boycott of the second round of elections revealed the fragility of Hosni Mubarak’s regime, which had ruled the country for 30 years. In those days, a number of opposition parties, including the Wafd Party and the currently banned Muslim Brotherhood, led the boycott . The most important result of the boycott, the January 25 Revolution, followed a few months after, in 2011.
The Constitution Party established by Mohammed al-Baradei recently joined the list of parties boycotting the 2015 elections, which includes the Egyptian Popular Current (headed by former 2014 presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi), The Socialist People’s Alliance Party and the Strong Egypt Party (headed by former 2012 presidential candidate Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh). The reason for the boycott, according to these parties, is the government’s rejection of their repeated demand to amend the electoral law in order to “build a political system based on a multi-party system and transfer of power.”
Amr Badr, a member of the Socialist People’s Alliance Party and a boycott supporter, said “boycotting is the solution, it is the best option in light of a regime that does not believe in the political parties that are counting on the January 25 Revolution.” Badr believes the “revolutionary wave” is coming, but he cannot predict its timing: “The make-up of the next parliament (if the elections are held in this manner) will inflame public sentiments as the political and economic oligarchs — who corrupted Egypt’s political life and against whom the revolution erupted in the first place — return.”

[T]he election will “expose the nature of the regime and will determine if it is an extension of the Mubarak regime or if there is some kind of change.” — Hassan Nafaa, political science professor

The Constitution Party, which joined the boycott recently, justified its decision saying: “The current political climate does not encourage political parties to participate in public life. There is a strong tendency to narrow and confine the political sphere to people with special interests, influence and money, in addition to ongoing severe human rights violations.”
Ezz running in the elections suggests that the same scenario may be crudely repeated. And he wasn’t the only symbol of the Mubarak regime — imprisoned after the January 25 Revolution only to be later acquitted — to be involved in the nomination process. The list of candidates (until the deadline for submitting papers to the relevant courts) is headed by Ahmed Ezz and his wife Shahinaz al-Najjar; but also Hussein Megawer, president of the Egyptian Trade Union Federation under Mubarak; another NDP figure named Ragab Hilal Hamida; and also Hani Sorour who was accused of supplying tainted blood bags [to Egyptian hospitals] but acquitted after several years of adjudication.
Hassan Nafaa, a political science professor, commented on the current electoral scene saying the revolution continues and it is taking different forms. He believes the election will “expose the nature of the regime and will determine if it is an extension of the Mubarak regime or if there is some kind of change.”
Nafaa however argues that “the revolution will not be like the one in 2011, especially now that Egypt is entering a period that resembles the Mubarak era in terms of the behavior of security agencies as they tighten their control over events, the return of the network of economic and political interests through parliament, and the strengthening of the military institution, through the presidency of former Secretary of Defense Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.” He adds: “Liberal forces have begun to realize that the current regime is not their regime… The power of the ruling regime will be determined in the next six months and in light of its confrontation with the Muslim Brotherhood.”
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

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The Arab Spring after 4 years

ماذا بعد_ 4 سنوات على الربيع العربي _ د صفوت حاتم ، د رفعت سيد احمد | المنار

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Cairo surprised by closure of Western embassies

An Egyptian policeman stands guard outside the Canadian embassy in Cairo on December 8, 2014 after Canada joined Britain on closing its embassy in the Egyptian capital to the public for security reasons, with neither country providing details about any specific threat. AFP/Ahmed Sayed
Published Wednesday, December 10, 2014
The last thing the Egyptian regime needed was for powerful countries, like Britain and Canada, to close their embassies in Egypt. Such a reputation aggravates Cairo, which denies any factual reasons for the closure. The issue has raised the ire of the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, while diplomatic sources attributed the decision to exaggerated security fears.
Cairo – The embassies of the United States, Canada, Britain, and other countries are located In the upscale neighborhood of Garden City in downtown Cairo, just a few meters away from Tahrir Square, which is why the area is known as the embassy district. It is a diplomatic hub, around which the Egyptian authorities have imposed tight security measures since the events of September 11, 2001 until today. In addition to the high walls, and the surveillance and investigation of residents in surrounding houses, the government has banned the leasing of one of the towers overlooking the British Embassy garden. This means that the area is well-secured.
Here, cars are carefully inspected throughout the day, and more than 500 officers and soldiers protect the neighborhood. Residents, however, feel that their area has become akin to military barracks due to these measures. A bystander scoffs at the security concerns cited by the embassies of Britain and Canada given the tight security in place, despite the Ministry of Interior announcement that it has seized maps of diplomatic premises in Cairo from persons that were recently arrested.
The German Embassy announced that its consulate will be closed on Thursday, November 11. The US Embassy has also warned of the possibility of taking a similar decision based on the security situation, and the Australian Embassy has followed suit. This prompted Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab to go on an evening tour around the streets of Cairo, and take pictures with citizens to show that the security situation is stable. He made sure to take pictures just tens of meters away from the headquarters of the two closed embassies.

According to a diplomatic source in the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the closures are part of a general state of exaggerated fear by Western ambassadors in the Arab region.

Many took advantage of the situation to talk about security and political scenarios facing the regime. According to a diplomatic source in the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the closures are part of a general state of exaggerated fear by Western ambassadors in the Arab region. Nevertheless, the source expressed surprise that Britain and Canada have closed their embassies although they remained open in the past, even when clashes took place just a few hundred meters away, that is, in Tahrir Square.
The source told Al-Akhbar that the British Ambassador to Cairo, who supposedly “feels concerned about his safety,” was in the province of Minya in Upper Egypt a few days ago, where he met with officials at a church, although “Minya saw the most violent clashes between the Muslim Brotherhood and security members after the dismissal of former President Mohammed Mursi.” The source added that the ambassador also visited the city of Luxor and its ruins, which is “an indication of safety and freedom of movement in Egypt.”
Many circles in the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs have expressed surprise over the positions of these embassies, and wondered why the diplomatic corps did not send communiqués to the ministry containing the security assessments on the basis of which they decided to suspend their work.
Ibrahim Abdel Ghaffar, ambassador and former assistant foreign minister, says that the decision to close the embassies is normal given the general situation in the “Arab Spring countries,” pointing to the great concern by embassies since the killing of US Ambassador Christopher Stevens in Libya. He added that the closure of the British and Canadian embassies may be due to fear of reactions from the Muslim Brotherhood in light of the legal inquiry conducted in Britain on the group.
Ambassador Ahmed Najm, a former diplomat at the Egyptian Embassy in Canada, attributed the Canadian and British positions to security considerations, especially given the increased targeting of foreign citizens in Arab countries.
He told Al-Akhbar that the closure is not expected to last long due to the urgent needs of Canadian and British nationals in Egypt. He said that the decision is not in any way linked to the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood.
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Egypt: Will the Military Learn From the Brotherhood’s Suicide?

Egyption supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi perform evening prayer during their open sit in, in Cairo on, 30 July 2013 as Morsi supporters continue to protest outside Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque. (Photo: AFP – Fayez Nureldine)
Published Tuesday, July 30, 2013
The most basic lesson of the January 25 revolution in Egypt was lost on the Muslim Brotherhood. They seem to have missed the point that one of the key motivating factors that drove millions to the streets was to end dictatorship and authoritarianism. The revolts sought to break the idea of a power monopoly by any single party, group or person – regardless of their politics – in favor of governments that represent them in all their diversity.

Upon assuming power, the Brotherhood prepared to rule alone, believing that the people gave them that right by voting for them in the parliamentary and presidential elections. They didn’t even take advantage of the honeymoon period that usually accompanies revolutions of this kind, nor introduce policies that broke with the old order in any way, believing that if they allowed the opposition a little space in the media to express themselves, then that would be enough.They did not do much better when it came to repositioning Egypt regionally and internationally, turning their attention to matters of concern for the Brotherhood organization and involving themselves in waging peripheral battles in places like Libya, Sudan, Palestine, Syria, and Yemen, without achieving much of note.Before long, everyone was abandoning the Brotherhood, to the extent that they appeared small and isolated compared to the opposition, which managed to unite just about everyone else under its banner. The majority of Egyptians realized that their rule was an exact copy of the Mubarak regime, and on top of this, both the security situation and the economic outlook were worsening by the day.

This is when the armed forces became alarmed and sensed that the situation required their intervention. With the support of mass demonstrations on June 30, they moved in and deposed President Mohamed Mursi, propelling the country into another transitional period. But for this second revolution to be true to its January 25 predecessor, it must absorb the central lesson that no one force can rule exclusively and that power must be shared in a way that the full spectrum of Egyptian politics is represented.

Even the military must have a role, for it remains one of the few forces today that can maintain stability and prevent the descent into chaos. But such a role is very dangerous in the absence of a political force that can stand up to the military, be it in the streets or by wielding veto power in the political process.

The situation today is not at all similar to that of the 1952 revolution by the Free Officers. We are before a mass protest movement, whereby the army can play a supporting role and assist in achieving the demands of the revolution. But giving the military a blank check, even under the guise of fighting terrorism, would be a disastrous mistake.

The challenge today before the rebellious political forces is to prove that they are capable of managing the state, instead of standing on the sidelines welcoming the arrival of the army’s tanks.
Ibrahim al-Amin is editor-in-chief of Al-Akhbar.
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

من 25 يناير إلى 30 يونيو هكذا انتحر «الإخوان» فهل يتّعظ العسكر؟

عانت مصر، كما تونس، كما ليبيا، كما سوريا، كما دول الخليج العربي وسائر العالم العربي من عقل إقصائي يسيطر على الفئات الحاكمة. لم يكن شكل النظام مهمّاً، ولا حتى القوانين الأساسية، ولا أيضاً البنية الإدارية للدولة والمؤسسات، بل كان المهم، ولا يزال، العقل الإقصائي الذي يسيطر على غالبية الطبقة السياسية، وعلى المثقفين والنُخَب أيضاً، وأكثر من ذلك، على الفئات الشبابية الناشطة، وعلى الكوادر النقابية والمهنية… والأخطر، على مؤسسات الرأي العام، من سلطة الصحافة والرأي.

في مصر، رفض «الإخوان المسلمون» الإقرار بشروط عملية التحوّل في الحكم. اعتمدوا مبدأ إطاحة السلطة السياسية، علماً بأن الناس عندما خرجت في الشوارع، كانت تستهدف التخلّص من العقل التكفيري الذي سيطر على المؤسسة الحاكمة. لكن «الإخوان» اعتقدوا أن التفويض الذي أخذوه من الناس، إنما هو قابل للصرف على أيّ نحو. لم يلتفت هؤلاء إلى أنّ هذا التفويض إنما عكس رغبة الجمهور في مواجهة حكم فاسد ومتسلّط وتبعي وخائف، باع الدولة والسيادة وقوت الناس وداس كراماتهم، وضيّق عليهم الخناق ومنعهم حتى من التأفّف.

انشغل «الإخوان» في ترتيب حكم منفرد. لم يعرفوا سرّ عملية التحوّل في دولة بحجم مصر. لم يعرف هؤلاء أنّ ثورة 25 يناير كانت تشير بقوّة إلى احتجاج الجمهور على العقل الإقصائي، وأن الجمهور يريد حكماً ممثلاً له، يعني يريد عقلاً يقوم على مبدأ المشاركة والتفاعل، ويريد حكماً يعرف إزالة الأسباب العميقة المحفورة في قلب «العقل الوظيفي» داخل مؤسسات الدولة التي عاشت حوالى خمسة عقود وأكثر تحت رحمة العقل الفردي.

وأكثر من ذلك، لم يعرف «الإخوان» سبيل الاستفادة من النشاط الشبابي اللافت والناشط في قلب مؤسسات «الإخوان» نفسها، وهو العقل التشاركي والتصالحي. ولم يعرف «الإخوان» استغلال «اللحظة الرومانسية» التي ترافق ثورات من هذا النوع، لأجل مدّ الجسور مع الشركاء الفعليين في الثورة. وبدل الذهاب نحو «عصرنة» فكرهم وأدواتهم، لجأوا إلى محاباة مشغّلي أدوات النظام، وإلى التحالف معهم، من الجيش والمؤسسات الأمنية، إلى إدارات الدولة المترهّلة، إلى البيروقراطية الحاضرة بعمق في الدولة، إلى مشغّلي الاقتصاد الريعي. واعتقدوا أنّ إفساح المجال أمام الآخرين من الشركاء للتعبير عن آرائهم في مقالة أو برنامج أو منبر، سيكون كافياً للحديث عن ثورة وتغيير.

أخطأ «الإخوان» أيضاً في رسم الإطار السياسي لموقف مصر الخارجي. ظنّوا أنّ التحالفات التقليدية مع القوى النافذة عسكرياً ومالياً في الإقليم والعالم، تكفي لضمان استقرار حكمهم. تعاملوا مع المسألة الوطنية على طريقة النظام السابق، وتجاهلوا حقيقة أنّ القضية الفلسطينية سوف تظلّ تمثّل حجر الزاوية في المسألة الوطنية العربية والإسلامية، وانشغلوا في لعبة سخيفة حول مستقبل الإسلام السياسي والبحث عن دور ريادي في الإقليم والعالم، من خلال تنظيم «الإخوان» نفسه، المحلي أو الإقليمي أو الدولي، وتورّطوا في مواقف وألاعيب، من ليبيا والسودان وفلسطين وسوريا واليمن، كلّها قادتهم إلى المزيد من الفشل، والمزيد من الانعزال.

وفي لحظة حقيقية، ليس فيها مؤامرة ولا إعداد خفيّ، بدا أنّ «الإخوان» فقدوا الحاضنة الأساسية لشرعية وجودهم في السلطة. فهم ظهروا وحدهم، أقليّة صغيرة في مواجهة أغلبية جمعت كل الآخرين، من الشركاء في الثورة، إلى الذين جاءت الثورة لتطيحهم، مروراً بالكتلة الكبيرة التي صوّتت لأجل التغيير… كل هؤلاء شعروا بقوّة أنّ حكم «الإخوان» ليس سوى نسخة طبق الأصل عن الحكم المخلوع، ولكن الأسوأ أنه حكم غير مستقرّ، بلا أمن وبلا أمان، ومع انهيار إضافي في الاقتصاد والإدارة والنفوذ والهيبة.
في هذه اللحظة بالذات، استفاقت المؤسسة العسكرية الأكثر نفوذاً داخل مصر إلى أن الظروف تدعوها، بل تناشدها، التدخل، فكان ما كان، من انقلاب حمته احتجاجات شعبية واسعة على حكم «الإخوان»، وجاءت النتيجة الأولى إسقاط حكم «الإخوان»، ودخول مصر من جديد في مرحلة انتقالية إضافية.

ماذا يفعل المصريون اليوم؟

 قد يكون ضرورياً فتح نقاش مبكر في سلوك القوى السياسية التي شاركت في احتجاجات 30 يونيو، وفي أداء السلطة العسكرية الحاكمة، وجماعة «الإخوان» داخل مصر وخارجها. لكن الأهم هو تأكيد أن إطاحة «الإخوان» ليس لها معنى يتصل بجوهر ما حصل في 25 يناير، إذا لم تقترن ببرنامج سياسي يلغي فكرة الإقصاء، ما يعني أن أي حكومة مقبلة يجب أن تكون ممثلة للجميع، وربما على طريقة لبنان، بمعزل عن مآسيه الكبيرة. لكن على القوى السياسية في مصر، وخصوصاً تلك التي ثارت على حكم «الإخوان» إدراك حقيقة أنه مثلما يصعب اجتثاث الذين عملوا مع السلطة السابقة، فإنه يصعب العمل على اجتثاث «الإخوان» من الحكم ومن العمل السياسي المركزي في الدولة، وأن الهدف الفعلي لاحتجاجات 30 يونيو هو استعادة جوهر 25 يناير، لجهة ضمان مشاركة جماعية تشمل الجيش كشريك فعلي في هذه المرحلة.

يمثل الجيش في هذه اللحظة مركز الثقل في مواجهة متطلبات إدارة دولة بهذا الحجم. لكن تجربته تحتاج الى مراجعة، وطبيعته تمنع تطويرها في عقود قليلة، بل يمكن الرهان على آليات تنتجها السلطة السياسية تحفظ الجيش كمؤسسة، وتسحب منها عصب الانقلاب والتسلط لناحية الرقابة الخفية والعون على منع الفوضى. لكن في حالة مصر اليوم، يمثل حكم العسكر كارثة كبرى ما لم يكن هناك قوى سياسية قادرة ليس فقط على رفع الصوت احتجاجاً، بل تملك حق الفيتو داخل مؤسسات القرار. وهذا هو بالضبط جوهر ثورة 25 يناير، وهو يفترض أن يكون هدف احتجاجات 30 يونيو.

المهم أننا اليوم لسنا في لحظة تشبه عام 1952. عندما قاد جمال عبد الناصر انقلاباً كان ثورة بحد ذاته، ونقل مصر داخلياً وخارجياً من ضفة المهمل الى ضفة المنتج والقادر. نحن اليوم أمام حركة احتجاج شعبية واسعة، يمكن الجيش أن يكون عنصر حماية لها، وداعماً لوصولها الى مطالبها. لكن لا يمكن بأي حال القبول بفكرة التفويض المطلق، ولو تحت عنوان مكافحة الإرهاب، خصوصاً عندما تتسلق الفلول المنابر بطريقة تثير الغثيان.

سقط «الإخوان» ولا أسف عليهم، لكن سقوط مصر هو الكارثة. وتفادي هذه الكارثة هو بيد من يقدر اليوم على استعادة حضوره عنصراً فاعلاً في إدارة الدولة المدنية، لا مجرد هاتف أو مصفّق ينتظر وصول المدرعات!

Egypt To Where ..? محمد حسنين هيكل مصر الى اين؟

Egypt To Where ..?  محمد حسنين هيكل 4-7-2013

Qatar and the Brotherhood: Losing the Crown Jewel?

A supporter of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak holds a poster of Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, an Israeli flag and a logo of the Al Jazeera channel with the words reading: “Down Hamad” outside Moustafa Mahmoud Mosque in Mohandessin neighborhood in Cairo in this 18 February 2011 file photo. (Photo: Reuters – Amr Abdallah Dalsh)
Published Monday, July 8, 2013
Doha – The collapse of the Muslim Brotherhood’s rule did not just impact its supporters in Egypt. In Qatar, it caused a tremor inside the whole ruling establishment, destroying the political bridges it had built to exert influence in the country.
Qatar was the mother whose milk fed the Islamist groups. It spent billions to install them in power – observers estimate that Qatar paid more than $17 billion to Arab Spring countries – especially the deposed president Mohamed Mursi. This could be the beginning of the decline of the role of Qatar under the new Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.It seems clear that Saudi Arabia trumped Qatar in Egypt. At least this is how its leaders felt. This could bring the conflict between the two countries to square one, but in favor of Saudi, as is apparent from the official Qatari silence concerning Egypt. Qatar’s press is also confused about Egypt as it can’t stop wailing about the overthrow of Mursi’s ‘democracy’.

On the other hand, Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz was quick to commend the situation, even before the military read its statement on the removal of the president. King Abdullah congratulated the army for “fulfilling the will of the people.”

Today, Qatar’s men who had Egypt under their grip for a whole year are now on the country’s most wanted list, following the orders of the south Cairo prosecutor to apprehend the Brotherhood’s spiritual guide, Mohamed Badie; his deputy, Khairat al-Shater; and members of the Guidance Office, on charges of inciting the killing of demonstrators and spreading sectarian strife.

In his first speech after assuming the rein in Qatar, Emir Tamim maintained that his country “rejects sectarianism in the Arab world and does not support any particular political current against the others.” But how will this translate on the ground?

Will the young sheikh take off the robe of “Emir of the Arab Spring” inherited from his father, who had turned it into autumn? Will he make a wise reassessment of Qatar’s role in the region and its relationship with Islamists who get out of control if they are disobeyed?

Neutrality an Option?

Tamim maintained, “Qatar is on the side of the Arab people and their aspirations to live in freedom and dignity, away from corruption and tyranny.” He repeated the motto of his predecessors: “Qatar will remain the Kaaba of the oppressed.”

As for Egypt, an official source in the foreign ministry spoke to the country’s news agency about the necessity of national cohesion and achieving the goals of the January 25 revolution. It seems the Qatari government is treating the situation realistically.

A Qatari journalist considered the statement one of “wisdom and caution that will shape the features of the new emir’s policy concerning Arab and international affairs.”

There are some in the new emir’s leadership who see that it would be wise to be neutral or adopt a reformist policy concerning internal political crises of neighboring countries. However, the miserable performance of Mursi and the Islamists undermined their image in Egypt, Jordan, Palestine, Syria, and Tunisia.

The political project that had hidden under the veil of religion now stands naked. This is a bad omen for the political future of the new emir, who will not be able to survive if he continues to extend his hand to the Islamists seeking power in the region.

Some say that the new emir is gradually working to put an end to the “suicidal” and “confrontational” approach of the former foreign minister. He will set the tempo for external investments and their impact on political issues. This is in addition to the haphazard nature of some investments in Western countries, especially France and Britain.

Some analysts believe that Tamim will try to emulate the UAE and compete with it in attracting foreign investment and international tourism.

Observers said, “After the fall of Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad, who was also head of the committee overseeing the Syrian situation, Qatari policies will change under Tamim. There are those in Qatar today who understand that the war in Syria is no longer confined to that country and is a real and existential threat to the region.”

Syria Chaos

After the exchange of power in Qatar, several predictions have surfaced. However, one question remains. Where is Qatar heading under its new ruler? Will this small sheikhdom still exert the same influence on the Arab and International levels, something that exceeds its real size by thousands and surpasses the role set by its external sponsors?

The reality is that Syrian steadfastness against the siege, in addition to popular anger toward Qatar’s role in spreading chaos, has imposed new facts on the US, forcing it to be convinced of the fiasco in Syria. Therefore, it must get rid of the tools that failed to fulfill its murderous desires.

The first step was the meeting of the “NATO Islamists” in Cairo to transfer control to Saudi, through Yusuf al-Qaradawi’s apology and declaration of obedience to the Kingdom. This was followed by a US security delegation visit to Doha, which informed Sheikh Hamad of the need for change that would keep Prime Minister Hamad away from the Arab files. And so it was.

Today, Qatar can only count its losses with the fall of the Brotherhood in Egypt. It had invested billions to expand its sphere of influence. However, Qatari investment was faced by wide opposition and raises several questions in Arab Spring countries, due to their disturbing support for political Islam currents.

While Qatar faces the shock of the collapse of its allies, many questions have been raised about the ties that bind Qatar and the Islamists today. Will the fall of the Brotherhood in Egypt be the divorce papers between Qatar and the hegemonic project of political Islam in the region?
What about the support to armed groups in Syria, such as al-Nusra Front?

What is the future of the Arab Spring mufti Qaradawi?



By the way, where is Qaradawi?

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

Obama Backing ElBaradei?

Franklin Lamb

Beirut

Al-Manar

USA: Mohammad ElBaradei (L), US President Barack Obama (R)According to well-connected Washington sources, including a Congressional staffer whose job description includes following political events in Egypt, once it became evident that Egyptian President Mohammad Mursi might well be ousted by Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed  Forces (SCAF), it did not take Mohammad Mustafa ElBaradei, the Sharia legal  scholar, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, and for 12 years (1997-2009) the Director  General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) very long to  contact the Washington, DC law firm of Patton Boggs. That was this past Tuesday.

The very next day, ElBaradei’s representatives  reportedly also made contact with the Conference of Presidents of Major  American Jewish Organizations which claims to represent the 52 largest  American Jewish groups. ElBaradei, perhaps the current front-runner to  replace his long-time nemesis, Mohammad Mursi, moved fast to organize some key allies in Cairo and Washington to pick-up where his earlier failed  Presidential campaign left off in January 2011.

Patton Boggs, the K Street, NW Washington DC law firm, which last year had  550 lawyers and 120 lobbyists and is arguably the firm closest to the White House and most likely to secure for its clients what they want from the approximately 5000 key dcision makers in the US Capitol. The other nearly  11,800 federally registered lobbyists in Washington (there were only 300 as recently as when Lyndon Johnson was US President) lag far behind Patton Boggs in terms of political influence. Patton Boggs new client wants the Pentagon and the White House to squeeze Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) who deposed President Mursi and arrange for himself to be appointed the interim President of Egypt pending early elections. What ElBaradei’s representatives are reportedly offering the White House in exchange for Obama’s discrete assistance, is that the 1979 Camp David Accord, including all its elements, will be observed. In addition, Egypt under ElBaradei can be expected to toughen its stance on Iran’s nuclear program including publicly adjusting some of his pre-2012 comments on Iran that the White House and Israel criticized as being “soft on the Islamic Republic.” Also being promised by ElBaradei’s agents is that security cooperation between Egypt and Israel will grow stronger. ElBaradei’s objective is to secure Barack Obama’s personal support during his jockeying for the expected forthcoming Egyptian presidential election. Once again the Obama administration was caught by surprise as the “Arab spring,” still in its infancy, increasingly portends ill for Western-installed potentates in all the Sykes-Picot artificially created “countries.”

According to Congressional insiders, Obama reportedly has some doubts. Those following events in Egypt will likely recall his praise of Mursi after the two former University Professors had a chance to sit together and get to know one another. “I like this man,” Obama reportedly told some staff members, “he thinks like me.”

When Mursi was deposed, Obama lamented:

“We are deeply concerned by the decision of the Egyptian armed forces to remove President Mursi and suspend the Egyptian constitution. I now call on the Egyptian military to move quickly and responsibly to return full authority back to a democratically elected civilian government as soon as possible through an inclusive and transparent process, and to avoid any arbitrary arrests of President Mursi and his supporters.”

Meanwhile, the SCAF, at the urging of ElBaradei’s team, is paying sweet lip service regarding Obama’s expressed concerns. Shortly before the words were uttered by Minister of defense, Brig. Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the State Department received a copy of the speech with the first paragraph highlighted to assuage Obama:

“The armed forces will not interfere in the realm of politics or governance and will not overstep the role that it is assigned in a democracy, which stems from the desire of the people.” Those words sound good also in Foggy Bottom.

Patton Boggs talking points to the Congress and Obama Administration are that President Mursi had more than a year to show progress to the Egyptian people, with both institutional political legitimacy derived from their election victories, and that he enjoyed strong popular support when he assumed full power from the armed forces in June 2012 but that he failed badly and the new government — hopefully led by ElBaradei — will now act more efficiently to move the country towards credible and legitimate institutions of governance. ElBaradei’s campaign, as reported in the July 4th edition of the New York Times also worked hard to convince the White House of what he called the necessity of forcibly ousting President Mursi, presenting several arguments that included documentation that Mursi had bungled the country’s transition to an inclusive democracy and wasted a year without following thru on any of his pledges. Some Congressional analysts believe that one of Mursi’s biggest mistakes resulted from a deliberate policy of accommodation and not, as is commonly believed, confrontation. He allowed the military to retain its corporate autonomy and remain beyond civilian control. Furthermore, he included in his cabinet a large number of non-Muslim Brotherhood figures who abandoned him within months when the going got tough, thus presenting to the public an image that the government was on the verge of collapse. Some have suggested that Mursi should have brought the military to heel soon after he assumed power and was at the height of his popularity, just as the military was at its lowest point in public perception. Monday morning quarterbacking is now rampant to explain Mursi’s failures. What the Muslim Brotherhood and Mohammad Mursi’s supporters do in the coming days at Tahir Square and across Egypt will likely determine the route and the ultimate success of ElBaradei growing juggernaut. Meanwhile, as of today, it appears that President Barack Obama may well help usher Mohammad ElBaredei into Egypt’s Presidential Palace. If the Obama administration has success there will be joy in Tel Aviv, and at Patton Boggs’ victory party, where a good number of the invited guests will almost certainly be carefully vetted by AIPAC.

Source: Al-Manar Website
06-07-2013 – 17:32 Last updated 06-07-2013 – 17:32 |
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