Probably the most important analysis I have read so far on the uprising in Egypt. Must read.
Probably the most important analysis I have read so far on the uprising in Egypt. Must read.
- Jahanzeb Hussain
Unelected officials (who answer to the unelected Military Council) have more power than the elected representatives of the Egyptian people. The process is very opaque and the Military Council has its own sources of funding and it clearly coordinates its move with the US and Saudi Arabia (and Israel, the ally of both).
(Source : english.al-akhbar.com)
From his first months in office, President Obama secretly ordered increasingly sophisticated attacks on the computer systems that run Iran’s main nuclear enrichment facilities, significantly expanding America’s first sustained use of cyberweapons, according to participants in the program.
(Source : The New York Times)
Earlier this year, the Muslim Brotherhood announced that it was reneging on its promise not to field a candidate in the 2012 presidential election, held this week, arguing that it had been forced to seek executive power. The Brotherhood said that the parliament, in which it won a plurality of seats in early 2012, had no real authority. Even after the parliamentarians were seated, the military-led Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) retained the power to nominate the cabinet, and the generals continually intervened in the process of constitution drafting. There was something to Brotherhood’s point: days before the presidential election, Egypt’s highest court, headed by an appointee from the era of former President Hosni Mubarak, dissolved the legislature.
With the parliament losing power by the day, the presidency looked like a last refuge for the Brotherhood. And its candidate, Muhammad Mursi, appears to have won in a closely fought race. If the initial results hold up—at the time of this writing, the Electoral Commission is still reviewing the more than 400 appeals filed by the two campaigns—the victory will be in name only. Despite gaining executive authority in principle, Mursi will have little power in practice. After months of subtler maneuvering, the military did away with the charade of a democratic transition in a series of power grabs that bookended the presidential vote. The first salvo was the re-imposition of martial law on June 13. Then, just as the polls were closing on June 17, the generals issued a supplemental constitutional declaration that granted them legislative authority and reinforced their role in the drafting of a permanent constitution. Not to be reined in, the brass also exempted itself from civilian oversight, giving itself the right to appoint and promote its own leadership, manage its own economic projects, and conclude arms deals. Finally, on June 18, Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi announced the reestablishment of a national defense council, which puts the generals firmly in charge of Egypt’s national security policy.
The Brotherhood now faces a choice. It can seat Mursi and continue to legitimate a post-Mubarak transition that seems designed to advance the narrow interests of Egypt’s officer corps. Or it can return to the streets with the aim of unseating the military council.
Neither option offers the Brotherhood much benefit. Should Mursi take the oath of office as planned, it is unclear what authority he would actually have. The Egyptian military has already said that there will be no new parliamentary elections until a permanent constitution is drafted. The generals refuse to commit to a firm timeline, saying only that they hope to have a new constitution within four and a half months and a new parliament seated before the end of 2012. Operating in the absence of a permanent constitution and without a legislature, Mursi would have no authority to carry out the program of Islamic “renaissance” on which he ran, nor would he have any institutional allies. The ruling generals and the judiciary have shown no interest in Islamist-led change.
Moreover, should Mursi take up his position as the nominal president he will be exposing the Brotherhood to the familiar critique of intihaziya (opportunism. Many Egyptians already believe that the Brotherhood is happy to accommodate a military state when it means self-preservation, or when it gives them the opportunity to sideline their ideological competitors. In fact, this was the group’s pattern in the early 1950s and again during the 1970s, when the Brotherhood allowed itself to be used by the government as a tool to balance the secular left. The inclination toward intihaziya was visible in the run-up to the 2011-12 parliamentary elections, too. As the revolutionary groups battled security forces outside the Interior Ministry on the eve of the vote, the Brotherhood urged restraint. The fact that it then won a plurality reinforced the feeling that the group puts its political fortunes ahead of its principles.
On the other hand, should Mursi foreswear his post as the first freely elected president of Egypt after Mubarak, and the Brotherhood return to the streets, they may find that the moment for demonstrations has already passed. Sixteen long months after Mubarak was ousted, the star of the revolutionary youth has fallen considerably. Ordinary Egyptians appear weary of further unrest. Evidence of their exhaustion: only half of eligible voters turned out for the presidential runoff election, down considerably from the parliamentary elections. And around 48 percent of those who did show up voted for the stability candidate, Ahmed Shafiq, who did not bother to hide his connections to the previous regime. Egypt’s dismal economy exacerbates the fatigue; real per capita GDP contracted throughout 2011, and everyday Egyptians are feeling the pinch…
(Source : rand.org)
In other words, the Brotherhood are not necessarily the other side of the emperor’s coin. They can be stroked and bargained with, and lavished with false praise, and – as long as they do not try to dissolve the army and the security apparatus which has tortured them (literally) for so long – may well work within the system of the “deep state” which is emerging in Egypt.
(Source : independent.co.uk)
I disagree with her decision because I don’t understand what the principle behind her decision is. If her book was printed in Israel, it would have allowed her to get her message across to the Israelis. Why did she have to refuse that ? Once I read an article about Edward Said and it said that he wrote back to Zionism and presented to the Israelis a counter-narrative and the Palestinian perspective and experience of Zionism. Would Said refuse to have his work published in Israel? No. His entire career was about engaging with Zionism, mainly through literature. It’s in this tradition of the great Edward Said that Alice Walker should have published her book in Israel. Said was Palestinian and he never refused and turned down a chance to talk or write to the occupier. One can’t be more catholic than the Pope - Alice Walker’s stance on Israel in this case is absurd.
There are other occasions where I have disagreed with her. First, I don’t think that Israel should be compared to Apartheid South Africa because White South Africa was actually a lot worse than Israel’s occupation of Palestine. Above all, Palestine is a case on it’s own therefore I don’t understand why it should be compared to other atrocities in order to attract attention to it. The Palestinian suffering stands out on its own and it doesn’t have to be compared to anything else, otherwise it just discredits and compromises the Palestinian cause. I also don’t agree with her when she says that a two-state solution is not possible because Israel won’t allow it, therefore there has to be a single state. As if Israel is going to allow that.
- Jahanzeb Hussain
Indeed, in the spring of 2005, Iran, in negotiations with European powers, offered to convert its enriched uranium to fuel rods, which would have precluded the country from using it for nuclear weapons. That was rejected by Britain at America’s insistence, says Mousavian. Later, in 2010 and 2011, Iran offered to limit its enrichment to 5 percent if the West would provide fuel rods for peaceful nuclear uses. Shortly thereafter, Russia put forth a “step-by-step” plan designed to break the impasse. Both times the United States balked, leading Russia’s then prime minister Vladimir Putin to suggest publicly that the West’s real design was regime change in Iran (a prospect guaranteed to generate powerful nuclear incentives in Tehran).
(Source : nationalinterest.org)
- Jahanzeb Hussain
But in the weeks that followed, Al-Jazeera’s image as a news leader for Arab Spring coverage grew tainted as its tone toward uprisings in other countries showed signs of inconsistency. Uprisings in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern provinces, for example, were downplayed while protests in Iran received notable attention by the broadcaster amid growing tensions between Iran and the Sunni sheikhdoms of the Gulf. Most significant was its coverage of Bahrain in March last year, when protests in the tiny Gulf kingdom prompted intervention of the so-called Peninsular Shield, the military wing of the six member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), of which Qatar is a member. It is worth noting that protests in Bahrain, which continue today, were underreported by most networks, Arab and foreign, which dedicated most of their resources to coverage of Egypt and Libya. Also, Al-Jazeera English has since produced May Ying Maya Welsh’s documentary, “Shouting in the Dark,”candidly examining the situation in Bahrain. The film, which earned numerous awards including the UK Foreign Press Association’s Documentary of the Year Award the George Polk Award in Journalism and the 2012 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for international television, aired only once on Al-Jazeera English, and never on Al-Jazeera Arabic). The film’s nomination by the prestigious British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) award thrust the network into the spotlight globally, after an online poll by Radio Times sparked a battle with “hate tweets” being directed at Al-Jazeera.
Since the late Libyan President Muammar Qadaffi maintained chilly relations with several leaders in the Arab world, particularly the Saudi king, many Arab heads of state were quick to denounce his heavy-handed response to protests and sought to cooperate with international efforts to help overthrown him. Qatar’s response to the escalating crisis in Libya began to reflect on Al-Jazeera’s coverage, particularly after the government committed warplanes in March 2011 to help NATO-led forces enforce a United Nations mandate to protect Libyan civilians.
Within weeks of Qatar’s involvement, the network began using the horizontal tri-color flag on the Libyan revolution chyron, instead of the solid green flag of the Qadaffi regime. The extent of Qatar’s role in Libyan transitional affairs, well before the fall and death of Qadaffi, drew particular concern given the backgrounds of key opposition figures which reportedly ranged from individuals who fought in Afghanistan in the 1980s to those who served jail sentences under Col. Qadaffi. The governments of Qatar and, to a lesser extent, the United Arab Emirates, became so engrossed in Libyan transitional affairs that they invited opposition members to use their countries as operational hubs.
Just a few weeks after the Libyan uprising kicked off, the Qatari government took yet another bold move in its opposition of Col. Qadaffi. The emirate invited opposition rebels to launch a television news station in Doha, The network, called “Libya TV” was funded entirely by the Qatari government, and recruited its staff via Facebook. The Guardian reported in March 2011 that Qatari police prevented journalists from approaching the Doha studio to speak to staffers as it was being built. While it was essential to give a voice to opposition groups whose voices were muted inside Libya, Qatar’s entrepreneurial venture with Libyan opposition figures further cast a cloud of bias, by association, over Al-Jazeera.
A similar stance was taken by the network amid the Syrian uprising to overthrow President Bashar Al Asaad, who has maintained an alliance with Iran, to the chagrin of many Arab governments. Qatar has recently teamed up with other Arab Gulf regimes to offer assistance to Syrian opposition fighters in the way of a salary and weapons. A number of Al-Jazeera employees in the Beirut bureau, including correspondent Ali Hashem, who covered both the Syrian and Libyan uprisings, resigned in March, citing the network’s bias. In an interview, Hashem cited a shift in policy toward coverage of the events in Syria and said it had become increasingly difficult to maintain this bias and neglect other important angles of the story. English-language daily Al-Akhbar released leaked emails, allegedly hacked and released by the Syrian Electronic Army, in which Hashem and another colleague, anchorwoman Rula Ibrahim, discuss “widespread disaffection within the channel” over its coverage of Syria.
A second leaked memo written by Ibrahim Helal, director of news at Al-Jazeera Arabic, dated 15 March 2012 with the title “Our Coverage of Syrian Affairs” further highlighted the shift in his stance compared to memos he had sent staffers when he assumed the role in November 2011. Al-Akhbar reported in March 2012 that the memo “bars criticism of foreign intervention and the Free Syrian Army and encourages giving members of the opposition more airtime, especially from minorities.”
(Source : jadaliyya.com)