Dec 23, 2012

The newThe new constitution and the polarization of Egyptian society

Since the fifth day after the start of the January 25th Revolution, the strategy of the Muslim Brotherhood and their political arm, “The Justice and Freedom Party”, has been based on lies and deception. Such a strategy is not based on intelligence, rationale, or clever thinking. The revolution ended by replacing one authoritarian regime with another.

The new constitution has been ratified by 63% of voters, according to the national election committee. There have been reports issued by journalists, human rights organizations, and some judicial observers, that claim that the election was rigged by representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood at polling stations. It has also been reported that some Copts were prevented from entering polling stations. Others waited in line for more than eight hours and in the end were unable to vote.

It is unfortunate to point out that President Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood supporters have played an exclusive role by preventing opposition political groups from participating in drafting the constitution, which has led to the following results:

First, the committee that drafted the constitution did not represent the majority of the Egyptian population. 75% of the 100 members were representative of Islamist political groups. The other 25% were not able to participate, which led them to resign from the committee.

Second, the committee that drafted the constitution was illegally appointed by the dissolved parliament that consisted of a majority of Islamist political members. As a matter of fact, during his political campaign, President Morsi promised to dissolve that committee and create a new one that would be more representative of the various segments of the Egyptian population.

After his election, Morsi failed to implement what he promised those who elected him. This was not the first violation, nor was it the last of the Muslim Brotherhood’s lies.

Third, the new constitution ahs been poorly drafted and does not represent all groups within Egyptian society. The constitution has been framed by more Islamic criteria than secular ones.

Fourth, minorities such as Copts, women and children are not protected or treated equally.

Fifth, the newly approved constitution will lead to a new stage of conflict, which will further enhance instability and increase violence in Egyptian society.

Sixth, the new constitution has polarized the split of Egyptian society into two major political opponents: conservative Islamists vs. liberal secular Muslim and Christian groups. This is the result of the Muslim Brotherhood’s political strategy that is based on excluding others from sharing political power.

Seventh, 30% only of the eligible voters have participated in the election. From a legal point of view, the new constitution should be rejected and a new one should be drafted. Moreover, the drafting committee should represent the Egyptian society as a whole.

The Muslim Brotherhood monopolized Islam to achieve political control. For how long will such a policy continue? Ti

Nov 25, 2012

Political Polarization in Egypt

The recent military flare up in Gaza between Hamas and the Israeli military forces led to the killings of more than 160 Palestinians and more than 1,200 injuries. Adding to the devastation was the destruction of homes and public and economic facilities. President Morsi of Egypt played an important mediator role between the feuding parties, which led to a truce and a ceasefire.

President Morsi gained recognition from the U.S. government and other western powers for his efforts. Right after this achievement, President Morsi committed a political blunder by issuing constitutional decrees granting himself unlimited political power and preventing any legal possibility of interfering in any decision he makes. He also froze Egypt’s Higher Constitutional Court and promised to reorganize it after the ratification of a new constitution and the election of a new parliament. Furthermore, he ordered a new trial for all previous officials, including Hosni Mubarak and the top ranking officials who were set free by Egyptian courts.

Morsi also gave political immunity from outside interference to Maglis al-Shura and the constitutional committee. Both are dominated by a majority membership from the Muslim Brotherhood. He also appointed a new public prosecutor to replace Mubarak’s appointment of Mahmoud. Abdel Meguid

These actions were condemned by the Egyptian Judicial Council and considered an interference with the independence of the Egyptian judicial system. Some judges in various Egyptian governorates have declared publicly that they will not preside in courts in protest of President Morsi’s decisions. In the meantime, the Egyptian public prosecutor Mahmoud Abed al-Megid whom Morsi removed will challenge the legality of the president’s decision.

President Morsi accused high-ranking officials in the judicial system of not performing their official functions, including the Egyptian general prosecutor. The rationale used by President Morsi is that the official decree he made is to ensure the protection of the revolution from the followers of the previous regime. He referred to the dangers of the revolution due to the slow progress being made in the economic sector because frequent protests scare foreign investors.

The rationale used by President Morsi as a justification for the official decree he issued was rejected by nearly all-secular political parties, whose numbers exceed 26 groups. They accused the president of trying to create a dictatorship and pave the way for the Muslim Brotherhood to dominate Egyptian society. President Morsi’s political agenda has contributed to the political polarization of Egypt.

President Morsi’s political actions enhanced protests that have been calling on Morsi to resign even before he issued the new decrees. In addition, nearly all secular political parties and groups have joined the young protestors in Tahrir Square, rejecting Morsi’s political agenda and continuing the call for his resignation.

The headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood in Alexandria, Port Said and Ismailia and other headquarters were attacked by protestors. In the meantime, the followers of the Muslim Brotherhood organized their followers in front of the presidential palace in support of President Morsi’s decisions. They also called for protests to take place on November 27th in support of the president.

Let me conclude by pointing out that President Morsi’s political decision has exceeded his legal authority. Such decrees should have been left to the future elected Egyptian parliament to deal with.

Finally, it is important to point out, as I did in several previous posts, that the Muslim Brotherhood and their political arm, “The Freedom and Justice Party”, have been following a strategy based on lies and deception from the beginning of the Egyptian Revolution. Their intentions and political strategy have begun to appear to the Egyptian public. At the end, they will be the losers.

Nov 17, 2012

Religious fanaticism is a Byproduct of ignorance

On November 13, 2012, Mr. W. Al-Ibrashi on Dream TV Channel hosted controversial Islamic Sheikh Morgan, who was among the followers of Bin Laden in Afghanistan. Sheikh Morgan has been threatening to destroy Egyptian antiquities such as the Sphinx and the Pyramids. He is under the illusion that such antiquities are being worshipped, something that is in violation of Islamic beliefs. Sheikh Morgan is a fanatic ignorant and dangerous person, not only for Egypt but also for world stability, by his own admission. He was involved in the destruction of the largest Buddha statue in Afghanistan, so he says. It is of interest to notice that during the talk on Al-Ibrashi’s program, none of the participants raised the possibility that the destruction of the Buddha statue in Afghanistan led to the ugly violence that has been taking place against the Muslim minority by Buddhists in Myanmar.

It is also amazing that such an extremist and ignorant man like Sheikh Murjan is left to issue threats against Egyptian antiquities. This person should be prosecuted and put behind bars, because he has already created fears that will impact the Egyptian tourist industry. Tourism is the major source of revenue for Egypt, which has already been negatively impacted by the lack of security during the past 18 months. Sheikh Morgan is a dangerous person to be left free and if President Mursi’s government is afraid to prosecute him, then he should be sent to Myanmar and I am sure he will be tried there for the offenses he committed against their beliefs.

It is interesting to notice here that the day following the airing to this program, the channel Dream was taken off the air!!!!!

Oct 29, 2012

The Syrian Tragedy

The Spring Revolution, which started in December 2010 and spread to Egypt, Yemen, Libya and Tunis, has led to the removal of corrupt governments in all of these states. However, the revolution in Syria, which began in March 2011, is still going on and has led to the killings of more than 30,000 people. At the time the rebellion started, I stated that Bashar al-Assad, the president of Syria, would only leave office through a military coup or by being killed. During the past 20 months, more than 30,000 soldiers and officers have defected from the regular army and formed the Free Syrian Army to fight Assad’s regime. During that period, Syria’s human resources, its economy and physical structure have been the target of destruction by both sides.

In the mean time, the Syrian Spring Revolution has turned into an international conflict where regional states as well as super powers have been drawn into the conflict.

At the regional level the alliances with or against has been influenced by religious sectarianism (the Sunnis vs. the Shiaa). The Syrian regime is controlled by the Alawite – a Shiaa offshoot – and is being supported by Iran, Iraq and the Shiaa segment of the Lebanese population, led by Hassan Nasserallah.

On the other side, the Persian Arab Gulf States, led by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, are ruled by Sunni regimes that have been the backbone supporters of the forces fighting the Syrian regimes. Money and arms have been sent by both states to the rebel forces.

It is of interest to point out that the conflict between the two major sects of Islam dates back to more than 1400 years ago.

The foreign interferences by states from outside the region include the U.S. and some West European states such as Britain, France and Germany. They support the rebel forces and call for the removal of Bashar al-Assad’s government.

The opposing group consists of Russia and China, who support Assad’s regime and call for peaceful dialogue.

Unfortunately, such foreign interference is destabilizing the region and is serving the interests of these superpowers and not the Syrian people who are bleeding to death. As a result of such interferences, the U.N. has been attempting to stop the war among the feuding groups and is calling for a ceasefire and a peaceful transitional period.

The first attempt under Kofi Annan failed. Another attempt was initiated by the U.N. under the direction of Al-Akhdar Ibrahimi. During the past few weeks of discussion with some of the political leadership on both sides, an agreement of ceasefire was accepted, which started at the beginning of the Islamic holiday on October 26 and will be effective during the following four days. Unfortunately, on the first day of the ceasefire, a car bomb exploded in Damascus and an exchange of fire in several Syrian cities between the regular government army and the opposing forces shattered the ceasefire agreement. 167 were killed. I am of the opinion that some of the militant Islamic groups such as al-Qaeda and the Salafis are not supportive of such agreements.

The U.N. envoy al-Ibrahimi was hoping to convince the leadership on both sides to extend the ceasefire with the hope of finding a solution to stop the war and establish a transitional government that will lead to a free election.

The success of such a hopeful strategy is unlikely for the following reasons:

First, there are too many players in the Syrian political arena. Several political Islamist groups, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, the Salafis, al-Qaeda and others who are involved want to control the future Syrian government. Second, the various civil political groups, including the Syrian Free Army with fragmented leadership, is seeking to control the future transitional government that will influence the direction of the election in Syria. The struggle has already started between Islamism and secularism. Third, the Syrian conflict began to negatively impact neighboring states such as Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq, where more than 300,000 Syrian refugees are located. Fourth, the impact of the Syrian civil war on neighboring states, especially in Lebanon, ignited the conflict between the supporters and the enemies of the Syrian regime, which based on sectarianism.

The latest assassination of Weesam al-Hassan, the head of the secret Lebanese security division, has been attributed by some politicians to the Syrian government.

Also, a few days ago, the Jordanian government arrested several Salafis in Amman who were accused of planning to start a series of explosions in public places similar to 9/11. In turkey, the press reported protest movements against the government interference in the Syrian conflict. Furthermore, there has been shelling taking place on both sides.

I would like to conclude by pointing out that there is no light at the end of the tunnel. The conflict will continue until Bashar Assad is killed. He will not leave his office peacefully. In the mean time, the bloodshed will continue and man y innocent civilians will pay the price.

Even after the removal of the Assad regime, the struggle will continue between the Islamisists and the secularists.

Oct 27, 2012

Qatar Prince’s visit to Gaza

The recent visit of the Qatari emir sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani to the Palestinian Gaza Strip reflects the important political, economic and psychological strategies.

First, it was  the first trip by a head of an Arab state to Gaza since the Israeli government imposed its embargo in 2007. Since then, that strip of land (which is nearly 25 miles long and around 8 miles wide), where nearly 1.6 million Palestinians reside, has been treated by the Israeli government as sub-human. Recently, the Israeli press exposed the Israeli government’s brutalities to even limit the amount of food that is permitted to enter the Gaza Strip, which hardly meets the minimal requirements for survival. This embargo has been criticized worldwide and was even condemned by international human rights organizations, including Israeli ones. Furthermore, the Israeli embargo has been labeled as a violation of international law by the International Court of Justice.

Many international peace movements have tried to break the Israeli embargo by sailing to the shores of Gaza on the Mediterranean Sea, and were intercepted by the Israeli Navy and stopped.

Therefore, the Prince of Qatar visit not only broke the embargo, but also raised the hopes of Palestinians politically and economically. Prince Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani pledged to give $400 million to help the people of Gaza and build new homes for the Palestinians who lost their dwellings as a result of the Israeli invasion of Gaza in 2007, as well as numerous air bombardments that took place frequently. Also, the money given to Hamas is to help its economy, which has been crippled by the Israeli embargo, which led to very high unemployment and poverty impacting more than half of its population.

It is unfortunate that the Qatari prince’s visit to Gaza was not supported by Mr. Mahmoud Abbas, the head of the Palestinian authority in the occupied West Bank. That negative reaction did not surprise me, since the majority of the members of the Fatah are politically corrupt. The history of that organization, which was started by the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, was an authoritarian and corrupts organization that lacked the basic principles of democracy, accountability and transparency.

At the beginning, the Palestinian people, as well as millions of people in the Arab world, were hoping that the Arafat authority would create a democratic political model of government that might influence other authoritarian political leaders in the Arab world to imitate. Unfortunately, that hope never materialized from day one. Political and economic corruption continued and still is part of Mahmoud Abbas’ authoritarian rule.
Some political individuals w ho were part of the regime were accused of corruption but not a single one was investigated to be prosecuted. Some even left the West Bank before any investigation. Until the death of Arafat, he was the only person receiving money contributed to help the Palestinians to run their own affairs. Nevertheless, Arafat did not have any policy to show how the funds were spent.

An example was given by the previous Prime Minister Qurai about the money given to Suha, the wife of Arafat. Arafat sent her $30,000 per month to support her while she lived in Paris. That such an amount of money was sent while thousands of malnourished Palestinian children lived in refugee camps is nothing but an act of corruption.

In the recent municipalities elections, which were held in the West Bank (October 2012), the majority of voters did not participate, which was described by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz as a slap on the face for Abbas.

It seems to me that the history of Palestinian politicians over the past (at least) eight decades reflects nothing but a struggle for power. During the last eight years, many attempts by some heads of Arab states to bring the Palestinian leadership (Fatah and Hamas) together have failed. In the mean time the Zionist regime continues to expand in the West Bank, in addition to practicing a policy of ethnic cleansing. It is about time for the Palestinian people to start their Spring Revolution and remove their corrupt leadership.

Oct 14, 2012

Recent Violence in Tahrir Square

The recent violence and increasing tensions in Egypt, reflected in Tahrir Square (October 12, 2012) where more than 110 people were injured, is attributed to the following factors.

The first factor is the recent court decision to release 23 people from prison and dismiss the accusations against them due to a lack of evidence. Some of the accused were high-ranking government officials in the Mubarak regime who were accused of killing and injuring protestors in “The Camels’ incident” in Tahrir Square a few days before the fall of Hosni Mubarak.

The supporters and opponents of current president Mursi called for a protest in Tahrir Square to protest the court decision. In the mean time, President Mursi issued a presidential order to relieve Egyptian Chief Prosecutor Mr. Abdel Maguid Mahmoud from his position. He also appointed him as an Egyptian ambassador to the Vatican. The prosecutor rejected the order by saying that the law provides him with immunity and no person has the right to remove him, unless he wants to retire or leave office. Mr. Abdel Maguid Mahmoud was appointed to office by the previous president Hosni Mubarak.

The rumor behind the reason for his removal is that incriminating evidence related to the deaths of some protestors was removed, leading to the dismissal of the case against the 23 people accused of being responsible for the Camels’ incident.

In the mean time, the judicial Egyptian Council met with the chief prosecutor as well as with President Mursi deputy Mahmoud Maki to discuss the case.

The judicial council has requested that the president withdraw his decision and let the chief prosecutor continue in his position.

Mahmoud Maki made a public statement to the press that the president respected the request of the judicial council and will reverse his decision regarding the chief prosecutor.

The consequences of such a situation raised questions (pro and con) regarding the case of Abdel Maguid Mahmoud.

Some judges stated publicly that many cases were submitted to the chief prosecutors for prosecution and were rejected without investigation. If such allegations are true, then the people responsible in the Ministry of Justice to maintain the ethical standard of the judicial system and its independence should investigate such situations. Nevertheless, President Mursi committed a blunder. He should have proceeded with his decision regarding the resignation of the chief prosecutor.  After all, one of the main demands of the revolution was the dismissal of the chief prosecutor who was responsible for the prosecution of Mubarak’s opponents and the cleansing of the judicial system for corruption.

The second factor that contributed to the increasing tension between the supporters and opponents of President Mursi is the proposed draft of a new constitution. When he assumed his new role after the election, President Mursi promised to dissolve the committee that was appointed by the Egyptian parliament before it was dissolved by the Egyptian Higher Court to draft a new constitution. The majority of the committee’s members were from Islamic political groups, which reflected unjustified representation of all segments of Egyptian society.  However, he failed to do so. The Egyptian media reported that the drafting of the new constitution would be presented to the public for ratification. The circulating news revealed that the proposed new constitution is short of equal representation of all segments of Egyptian society. If such rumors turn out to be true, it will lend more support to the opponents of President Mursi and support the belief that he and his party, the “Freedom and Justice Party”, as well as the Muslim Brotherhood, have been following a policy of deception since they joined the January 25th Revolution five days after it started. Such a political strategy, especially on the part of the Muslim Brotherhood and other political Islamist groups such as the Salafis, are contributing to the rising tensions among various groups in Egypt. Such negative political consequences will create barriers in the way of economic progress, which the country needs badly.

President Mursi has the capability to put an end to such a strategy and to implement the objectives of the Egyptian Revolution. 

Sep 20, 2012

One Egyptian Pound Tax

It is of interest to read an article in the Egyptian newspaper Al-Wafd (Sept. 17, 2012) in which the Minister of Treasury Mr. Mutaz al Saeed proposed a tax of “one Egyptian piaster” per talking minute on cellular phone users. He is proposing that the tax be collected by phone companies and turned into the treasury ministry to help lower the Egyptian budget deficit that has reached 170 billion Egyptian pounds.

I posted similar proposals on my blog on December 4, 2009 and May 27, 2010. According to government statistics, there are more than 80 million cellular phone users in Egypt. I proposed a one Egyptian pound tax per cellular phone per month to be collected by phone companies and turned in to the government.

If such a proposal is implemented, it will net nearly one billion Egyptian pounds per year to be used to improve the educational system and facilities that are currently in very bad shape.

The proposed tax will not create a burden on the average user. This suggestion is more important than the one proposed by the minister of treasury. Education is the backbone of progress in any society.

Sep 16, 2012

A Follow Up on Islamophobia

Islamophobia continues to infiltrate the U.S. The recent showing of a film reflecting negatively on prophet Muhammad and Islam created an upheaval in Arab and Islamic countries.

The protests in Libya against this offensive film led to the killings of the American ambassador and three U.S. staffers. It was reported by the Wall Street Journal that the producer of the film is an Israeli American citizen living in California. According to the article, Mr. Sam Bacile raised five million dollars from 100 Jewish contributors to finance and produce the film, the aim of which is to show the destructive aspects of Islam. There are very few Egyptian-American Copts connected to Zionist groups and who have participated in the production of this audacious film.

The negative campaign against Islam, which has created Islamophobia especially in the U.S., is the work of Jewish Zionist organizations and Christian Zionist evangelical organizations. The purpose of such a religious-political campaign is to widen the gap between Christians and Muslims for the benefit of Israel.

It is about time the American people and U.S. government put an end to such a negative political strategy. The first amendment of the American constitution, which guarantees the freedom of speech, has been abused by some individuals and politically oriented groups. The Justice Department should investigate the motives behind the production of the film, which is offensive to more than 1.2 billion Muslims around the world, and especially, which led to the murdering of Americans.

The American government spends many billions of taxpayers’ dollars every year to protect the American national interest. The production of such an offensive film hurts and puts in danger the American national interest, despite the official statements made by the Secretary of State that the U.S. government has nothing to do with the production of the film (which provoked the death and injuries of many). I regret to say that the members of the U.S. congress do not have the courage to put an end to the abuse of the first amendment in the American constitution.

Expansion of Israeli Hegemony

It was reported, recently, that the German government agreed to sell two submarines to Egypt.
As it is always the case, the Israeli government, as usual, issued a threatening political campaign against Egypt and Germany for sales of two submarines. Germany has already sold a submarine to Israel and no questions were asked. However, the Israeli government is trying to prevent a similar sale to Egypt. The Israeli government issued an aggressive call to Egypt to stop the purchase of the submarine, threatening to stop American foreign aid to Egypt.

The political vulgarity and ethnocentricity of Israeli politicians is very difficult to ignore. First, it is the American taxpayers who support American foreign aid, not Israeli taxpayers. It should be stated clearly that the American taxpayers have given Israel more than $180 billion since 1948 in foreign aid. Furthermore, the Israeli threats also reflect that American foreign policy is formed in Israel not the U.S. Second, it is true that Israeli controls the U.S. congress due to the influence of AIPAC and other Jewish American organizations. Some members of the U.S. congress have pointed out that the Israeli government gets what it wants, no questions asked.

For that and other reasons, Israel for the past six decades has been biting the hand that feeds it and causing damage to the American national interest. Furthermore, Israel has been the major cause of world terrorism.

It has just come up in the news that the German government is reconsidering the sale of submarines to Egypt!  Of course this is due to the pressure from Israel.

Aug 14, 2012

President Morsi Facing Challenges

The turns of political events during the past few days in Egypt reflect very significant and important changes.
           First, President Morsi’s new strategy, by sending new troops and military equipment to Sinia as a result of the terrorist attack against an Egyptian Military post which led to the killing of 16 soldiers, was an important and strategic decision. The president promised to  clear Sinia from the terrorists. He visited the area twice during the past few days and met with the people and Egyptian troops to enhance their moral. President Morsi’s action enhanced his image especially among his opponents.
           Second, President Morsi’s political action to dismiss nearly a dozen of his army’s top generals and replace them with new ones was important. The military positions, such as the Secretary of Defense, the Military Chief of Staff, and others positions being filled by new, young generals reflects an end to the remnants of the old, previous regime.
           Third, the military changes that took place also reflect very important strategies. The military changes mark the end of the Egyptian Military influence over the civilian political leadership which has been going on for more than six decades. This signifies the beginning of a new and real democracy in Egypt.
           Fourth, at the present time, President Morsi is in control of the executive power as well as the legislative one until a new election of parliament takes place after the writing of a new constitution.
The new political accomplishment of President Morsi was welcomed by brood segments of the political and civil groups. The removal of the military influence from the political stage was a major demand by the revolutionary forces since the fall of Mubarak on February 11, 2011.
However there are still many challenges facing the president, such as:
1.      The shortage of electrical power
2.      The absence of security and the spread of violent acts all over Egypt
3.      The shortage of clean drinking water
4.      The continuous increases in the daily cost of living
5.      The problems of poverty and unemployment
6.      The problems of poor health care services and frequent attacks on physicians and hospitals
7.      the problems of poor education and the illiteracy rate especially among the younger generations (15-30 years old), is estimated at 17 million illiterate

These are among the most pressing problems President Morsi faces. He is in a race with time and needs the support of all the Egyptians in order to start real political, economic, and social reforms. However, in order to obtain a strong public support there should be freedom of expression which is one of the most important feature of democracy.

Jul 21, 2012

The Revolution Stalled

The Muslim Brotherhood, which was established in Egypt in 1928, played a significant political role, especially prior to the 1952 revolution. Since that date, the Muslim Brotherhood party has been prevented from participating in the political arena of Egypt, which began during the J. Abed el Nasser government.

However, they stayed in contact with the Egyptian grass roots, providing a wide range of educational, healthcare services and economic aid to the poverty-stricken segment of the population.

Since the January 25th revolution, the Muslim Brotherhood has committed many political blunders by trying to take over nearly all governmental authorities, despite the fact that they were not the ones who initiated the revolution.

I would like to illustrate and focus on some points that reflect the mistakes of their negative political strategy.

First, the Muslim Brotherhood joined the young people’s revolution on the 5th day after it started. This reflects that when they were assured of its success, they joined the protestors.

Second, after they joined, they began to demand the fall of Mubarak’s regime like the other groups, but began to assume the major role in al-Tahrir square.

They tried to send a message that they are the major political force that led to the fall of Mubarak’s regime on February 11, 2011.

Third, the Egyptian Higher Military Council played a constructive role by not turning their guns against the protesters. The military was eager to remove Mubarak in order to prevent his son Jamal from inheriting his position. The young protestors did them a big favor. Furthermore, the military also has their own secret political agenda to maintain their political influence that they established during the previous six decades.

Fourth, the Muslim Brotherhood is the largest and best-organized political group in Egypt. The military council was aware of it and began to plan with the Muslim Brotherhood leaders to stop the revolution.

Fifth, the political greed of the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood led them to disregard the young Egyptians who were the vanguards of the revolution. They have joined the military council by ignoring the revolutionary demands for further reforms. The negative reactions of both the military and the Brotherhood were reflected in the harsh treatment the protestors experienced at the following sites: Masparo Square, Mohamed Mahmoud Street, the Ministry of Interior, and the headquarters of the prime minister. In all of these clashes, many young protestors were killed by the security forces.

Sixth, the Muslim Brotherhood insisted on having the parliament election before drafting the new constitution. They predicted that they will have a large share of the parliament seats and that it would put them in a better position to draft the new constitution according to their political-religious philosophy. As a result of the election, they were demanding the appointment of 50-60% of the members of the committee in charge of writing the constitution, which is supposed be written by 100 members. Their demands contributed to the delay of the drafting of the constitution.

Seventh, the blunder committed by the newly elected president Morsi, who issued a decree to the members of the dissolved parliament to return and conduct their duties as usual. President Morsi’s decision was a challenge to the Egyptian Constitutional Higher Court who issued its verdict that the parliamentary election was conducted in violation of the election law.

Even when the members of parliament met, they sent a request to the appeals court to revoke the decision of the Constitutional Higher Court authority regarding dissolving the parliament. The Court of Appeals rejected that request by saying it is not pertinent to their jurisdiction.

Dr. Morsi’s decision was inspired, in my view, to test the authority of the Egyptian Higher Military Council’s authority. However, the impact of his decision led to more resentment on the part of the general public, who began to lose more confidence in the Muslim Brotherhood’s sincerity and political ability to run the country.

President Morsi’s decision to reinstate the parliament was not only a challenge to the legality of Egyptian Constitutional Higher Court, but an insult to the judicial system and an act of defiance of Egyptian law. President Morsi violated the oath of office according to the Egyptian constitution.

Many of Egypt’s constitutional experts have opposed President Morsi’s decision, and much of Egypt’s mass media has allied itself with the judicial system and the Egyptian military. President Morsi should resent that order and should start focusing on many of the problems facing Egypt, especially the deteriorating economy that is at the edge of collapsing.

President Morsi should detach himself from the Muslim Brotherhood and start acting as the political leader of all Egyptians. After all, he only received less than one third of the eligible Egyptian votes. I wish President Morsi the success he needs badly.

Jul 11, 2012

The First Democratic Libyan Election

On July 7th, 2012, the Libyan population experienced their first free and democratic election in more than five decades. There are 2.8 million eligible voters in Libya who were free to elect 200 members of a council whose responsibility will be to draft a new constitution, elect a new prime minister and government and set a time for the election of a new parliament. The transitional government allocated 100 members to be elected from the western region, 60 members from the eastern region and 40 members from the southern region.

The allocation of such members was not accepted, especially in the eastern region of ben Gazi, which was the center of the revolution that led to the collapse of the previous dictator M. Gadhafi. The people in that region resented the decision of the transitional government because it gave them less numbers than those in the western region. For that reason, more than 100 voting precincts were destroyed out of 1554 precincts nationwide.

The higher election committee pointed out that due to the lack of poor security in the country, they have placed 13,000 soldiers in charge of protecting voting places nationwide.

It was reported on July 8, 2012 that 60% of the illegible voters have exercised their rights. According to the projected result of the election, the United National political parties under the leadership of Mahmoud Jibreel emerged as the major winner against the Muslim Brothers.

The result of the first Libyan election reflects a very important political trend which is the opposite of the trend that took place in Egypt, Tunisia, and Morocco, where political Islamic parties emerged as the winners in the recent political elections.

During the last four decades of Gadhafi’s authoritarian regime, political parties were not allowed to be formed. 

Jul 5, 2012

The Syrian Tragedy

More than 16 months have passed since the Spring Revolution, which was sparked by a young teenager in Dere3a-Syria, which led to the Syrian uprising. Since then, more than 16,000 people have been killed by the brutality of the Syrian regime under the leadership of Bashar al Assad.

The Syrian uprising has been politicized internationally and attempts by the U.N. have been initiated to stop the bloodbath taking place on a daily basis.

So far, these attempts, sponsored by the U.N. and supported by the leading world superpowers and the Arab League, have failed to produce any positive results.

The Syrian president has opted for the military approach over the political one, which called for his resignation and the establishment of a transitional government until a free election takes place.

Nevertheless, all such efforts led nowhere. Recently the Arab League sponsored a meeting that took place in Cairo, where nearly 250 members from various Syrian opposition groups attended to establish a united front to meet the challenges of the brutality of the al Assad regime.

The meeting was attended by foreign ministers of Turkey, Iraq, Qatar and Egypt. All spoke and urged the leadership of the Syrian opposition groups to created a united national front that would strengthen the struggle of those fighting the Syrian army inside Syria. Even the new president of Egypt, Dr. M. Morsi, sent a message that was read by Egyptian foreign ministers, urging the group to forget their differences and unite in support of their cause.

The major friction between the various groups is attributed to one major policy. One group has been calling for a foreign intervention to stop the bloodbath, which, in addition to killing 16,000 Syrians, has created over 150,000 refugees in neighboring states, such as Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon.

The second major group opposes foreign intervention and is calling for a political solution to the problem in the interest of the country as a whole. Their rationale is influenced by the fact that the regime is supported by two major powers, Russia and China, in addition to Iran, who has been sending weapons to the Syrian government and preventing the U.N. from adopting sanctions against Syria. For that reason and others, the military approach will take a long time and at the end will be disastrous for Syria.

It was reported on July 3rd that 215 members were among the participating groups that have signed an agreement supporting the political approach as the best way to face the challenge. The adopted document called for the removal of Bashar al Assad’s regime and the punishment of those responsible for the killings of many civilians in very inhumane and brutal ways.

In the meantime, the Free Syrian Army, whose number has been estimated to be between 30,000 and 70,000, opposed the Arab League’s meeting and are fighting the Syrian army in various areas of Syria. The Free Syrian Army consists of soldiers who have deserted the Syrian army in protest of the brutality against unarmed civilian protestors.

The Free Syrian Army is getting armaments from the Arab Gulf states, but they are not strong enough to meet the threat of army tanks and airplanes. Nevertheless, their influence in the long run will have a positive impact and will encourage more defectors from the Syrian army.

In a previous post written more than a year ago, I pointed out that the only effective way to remove al Assad’s regime is through a military coup. Unfortunately, the fact is that the Chinese and Russian governments are part of the international political game and are using the Syrian tragedy to send a message to the U.S. and its western allies to stop interfering in the internal affairs of foreign states. What is going on under the Syrian umbrella is a continuation of the Cold War era. It is a tragedy that the Syrian population is paying a heavy price for it.

Jul 1, 2012

The President of the Second Egyptian Republic

During the past few days (June 29-30) a few important events took place in Egypt. The first event took place in Tahrir Square on the 29th of June, when President M. Morsi addressed hundreds of thousands of Egyptians who were cheering for him. He took the first unofficial presidential oath, where he emphasized that the people of Egypt are the real authority. He stressed the fact that no other authority supersedes the people’s power and he promised to serve them faithfully and complete the unfinished objectives of the January 25th Revolution.

The second important event, which took place on June 30th, where President Morsi took the official oath in front of the members of the Egyptian constitutional higher court. After the oath, Morsi became the first official freely elected president of the second Egyptian Republic.  Egypt is entering a new stage of life under a freely and democratically elected president who will be responsible to the people who elected him.

The third important event was President Morsi addressing a large group of governmental and non-governmental officials at Cairo University. In his address, he expressed his appreciation at being elected to serve the Egyptian people. He admitted that Egypt faces many challenges, economically, politically and socially. He asked for the support of Egypt to progress and assume its true role as a progressive and modern nation.

The president stressed the fact that Egypt will regain its leading political role in the Arab world and Middle East region. He emphasized the need for the Palestinians to regain their rights and for the blood shed to stop in Syria. The president stressed that the security of the Arab world would be part of Egypt’s security as well.

Furthermore, he emphasized that Egypt will respect all agreements and treaties signed by previous Egyptian governments. Egypt will cooperate with foreign powers, but will not permit foreign interferences in Egyptian internal affairs.

In his address, President Morsi stressed his appreciation and thanked the Egyptian armed forces for their protection of people and support of the revolution.

On the national level, he promised to support social justice for all and that he would not permit any discrimination against people based on religious or ethnic affiliations. He said there would be equal treatment for all, especially for women who have been deprived of it.

He also stressed the pressing need for educational reform and more scientific research because it is the key to Egypt’s future progress.  Industrialization and tourism need to be revitalized in order to create new jobs for the unemployed millions of Egyptians.

President Morsi concluded his address at Cairo University by asking for the support of his political opponents as a must in order for Egypt to overcome the difficulties in the road ahead. President Morsi is a fighting personality and will not give up easily.

The third official ritual on that day was the official transfer of power from the hands of the Egyptian Higher Military Council to the newly elected President Morsi. The official ritual was held at the Egyptian Army Hikestep, where representative segments from the Egyptian army were present at the military base. During that meeting, General Tantawi, who is the head of the Armed Forces, performed the official ritual of transferring the political leadership to the newly elected president as they promised previously.

President Morsi thanked the Egyptian armed forces for their commitment of protecting Egypt and its people. He also stressed his support of the Egyptian army and its needs without any reservations. Such public support removed the circulating negative rumors between the newly elected president and members of the Egyptian Higher Military Council.

The new president seems to go to the extreme to accommodate the military, despite the fact that briefly before his election, they stripped the incoming president of many important political functions.

I still believe that the Egyptian Higher Military Council will not surrender their authority, regardless of who is in the president position. Time will tell. At the end of the ritual, General Tantawi presented President Morsi with the shield of the armed forces. It is considered the highes

Jun 24, 2012

The New President of the Second Republic of Egypt

The Egyptian Constitutional Higher Court has announced Dr. Mohamed Morsi as the winner of the presidential election.

True and democratic election has taken place in Egypt. More than 51.7% of the eligible voters have exercised their right for the first time in their life, and voted for Dr. Morse while 48.3% voted for Dr. Ahmad Shafik. The new Egyptian political model will definitely have an impact on the rest of the Arab world.

The advantage of Dr. Morsi being the first president of the second Egyptian Republic gives the Egyptian society a fresh start. It also reflects an end to the influence of the previous regime that Dr. Shafik represented.

Dr.Morsi has already declared, prior to the official election’s results, that he will nominate an independent prime minister. That is a prime minister who is not affiliated to his party “Freedom and Justice” and neither to the Muslim Brothers. I sincerely hope that he will implement what he has promised the Egyptian people.

 Regardless of the fact that the Egyptian revolution of January 25 is not completed, the result of the latest elections, however, will lead the new president to focus on the much needed revolutionary demands of the economic, political and social reforms. “Bread, Freedom, and Social Justice” was the slogan of the young, vanguard of the Egyptian Revolution.

I hope Dr. Shafik’s supporters will join their forces to support Dr.Morsi for the benefit of all Egyptians.

Jun 23, 2012

Revolution or Military coup

In a previous post (October 30, 2011), I pointed out that the Egyptian revolution of January 25th was stalling and that it might turn into a military coup. Such an assessment has now turned into a reality. The Egyptian military, which has been in power for more than sixty years, is not ready to give it up.

The revolution came as a blessing for the Egyptian military generals, who were known to be unsupportive of Jamal Mubarak inheriting his father’s position. That fact and others encouraged the Egyptian military not to turn their guns against the protestors.

After the collapse of the Mubarak government on February 11, 2011, the Egyptian Higher Military Council began to prepare for a counter-revolution to stop any further revolutionary demands for political, economic, and social reforms.

The young Egyptian protestors were chanting, “Bread, freedom, and social justice.” The army generals who control between 20%-30% of the Egyptian economy anticipated a threat to their interests and the special privileges they have been enjoying for many decades without accountability.

The military general turned to the Muslim Brotherhood, who is the oldest and most organized political group, for an undeclared partnership for political support. Both groups have their own hidden agenda to implement, regardless of their impact on the others, but their               priority supersedes any other issue, except stopping any further demands by the revolutionary forces. For that and other reasons, both the Egyptian military and the Muslim Brotherhood joined forces and began to call on the protestors to stop their protests in Tahrir Square in order for the revolution to succeed and the economic wheel to start turning.

The Muslim Brotherhood did not condemn the killings of the young protestors in front of the Myspairo Square, the Mohamed Mahmoud Street, the Ministry of Interior, and in front of the prime minster’s headquarters. Many young Egyptian protestors were killed during the peaceful protests at these sites. The Military council always blamed a third unknown party for the killings.

In the meantime, the Muslim Brotherhood turned its face to the other side and was preparing to implement their hidden agenda. They were under the illusion that they have a religious-political mandate to lead the nation despite the fact that they were not the ones who began the revolution. They succeeded in pressuring the military general to postpone drafting a new constitution, electing a new parliament instead. They have succeeded in doing that. Second, the Muslim Brotherhood have also misled the Egyptian public on several occasions prior to the election, and they announced that their candidates would run in only 30% of the districts. They then said they would run in 50% of the districts and prior to the election they ran in all the districts. The Muslim Brotherhood, through their political party “The Freedom and Justice Party” ended up winning 46% of the pertinent seats, and the Salafi Muslims won 24% of the seats. Both political Islamic groups ended up controlling nearly 2/3 of the parliament seats.

The second blunder that the Muslim Brotherhood committed is their demand to control 50-60% of the committee designated to draft the new constitution, which was supposed to consist of 100 members. Their aim was to create a new constitution that meets their political objectives, but it did not materialize. The third blunder that the Muslim Brotherhood committed was also their first announcement that they would not have a candidate run for the position of president. They then ended up having a candidate run – Dr. M. Mursi – run. He received nearly 5.5 million votes and was the leading candidate. Dr. M. Shafik came in second out of the 13 candidates. Unfortunately, neither candidate was the desired one by the majority of the Egyptian population for the following reason:

First, Mr. Mursi represents the Muslim Brotherhood, which has lost credibility with many Egyptians for not being honest in terms of their public policy. Their reputations during more than one year in parliament are negative. No major accomplishment was made by them, despite the fact that they controlled parliament. For example, instead of focusing on major problems that the nation faces, such as the high unemployment and poverty rates, low wages, corruption, the continuous increases in food prices, and the shortages of gas for cooking and petrol for cars, some of their members are concerned with other insignificant issues such as decriminalizing female genital mutilation, stopping the production and consumption of liquor, and prohibiting tourists from wearing bikinis at Egyptian beaches. Such behavior on the part of the political Islamist parties caused many Egyptians to discredit them, politically speaking.

Finally, the blunders committed in parliament led the Egyptian Military Council to turn against them. The military council gave the Muslim Brotherhood enough rope to hang themselves with during the right moment. During the election of the members of parliament, members of the military council were aware that the Muslim Brotherhood violated the election law. However, they waited for more than a year to raise the issue.

The Egyptian Higher Constitutional Court responded to the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood violated the election law for parliament. The Court issued its verdict by dissolving the parliament.

The military council was waiting for such a decision and issued its order by implementing the court decision and closed the door of parliament.

Furthermore, two days before declaring the winner in the second round of elections for the presidential position, the military council issued a new binding rule to limit the authority of the newly elected president before the official announcement of who will be the winner. They announced their decision to create a new committee that will draft a new constitution in no more than three months. The military council assumed the legislative power as a result of the constitutional court verdict of dissolving parliament. The media announced that Dr. Mursi is the winner with 51.5% of all the votes cast after completing the counting. The Muslim Brotherhood, who has been waiting for more than eighty years, is ready to take over the government. Dr. Mursi gave a short speech thanking the Egyptian people for their support. He also stated that he would be the president for all Egyptians and that they will all be treated equally, regardless of their religious affiliation. He will be president of a civil, free, and democratic government.

Dr. Mursi should be given the chance to run the new government and every Egyptian should support him. He will implement what he said in his speech.

Finally I will say that the Egyptian military strategy was implemented with success. The revolution’s meager success so far is very significant for the following reasons. First, it removed the blanket of fear from authoritarian regimes so that political dictators do not emerge again. Second, Egyptians have experienced democracy and free elections for the first time in more than sixty years. Third, people began to experience the feeling of being free and expressing themselves without being prosecuted.

There are still more reforms that need to be implemented. Let us hope it will be accomplished by the incoming new government. The projection of Dr. Mursi as the winner was made before the official result of voting was made.

Jun 4, 2012

The Syrian Tragedy

The Arab Spring Revolution in Syria has turned into a civil war, drawing several national and international powers into the conflict.

More than a year ago, in 2011, I wrote that the only way for the spring revolution to succeed in Syria is if a military coup takes place to remove Bashar al-Assad from power.  Such a possibility is a remote one.  Since Hafez al-Assad assumed the presidency as a result of a military coup more than 30 years ago, he followed a security strategy by appointing relatives, friends, and mainly members from his Alawaii minority group into high and important positions in the army and other security institutions to prevent the possibility of a military coup against his regime.  For example, Bashar’s brother Maher is the commander of the national presidential guard.  It is known to be the most powerful and biggest regiment in the Syrian army.  No other regiment is permitted to come close to Damascus.  In 1981, an attempt of rebellion by the Muslim Brotherhood took place in Hama City, which led the Syrian army, under Rifaat al-Assad to attack the rebels.  It was reported that between 20,000 and 30,000 people were killed as a result of the heavy bombardment of the city.  Nevertheless, during the past year, a few hundred soldiers and officers have split from the regular army in protest of the brutality of the security forces against the Syrian protestors all over the country.  Those who deserted the army have created a freedom fighter force against the ruling regime.  They have created the “Free army” and its members are from the Muslim Sunni majority in Syria who constitute among 75% of the total population.  The Alawites, who control the government, constitute only 10-15% of the total population.  The Alawites are an offshoot of the Shiaa Muslim population, who constitute a minority group in Arab Islamic countries in the Middle East.  Only in Iraq and Iran do the Shiaa constitute a majority of the population.  The conflict between the Sunnis and the Shiaa has been going on for hundreds of years.

Unfortunately, the civil war in Syria is now turning into a conflict between the Sunni majority, who are calling for freedom and democracy from the ruling minority, who are in full control of the country.

Countries in the region with a dominant Shiaa majority, such as Iraq and Iran, are supporting the Syrian regime with armaments and even security forces sent by Iran to Syria.  Also, it was reported that the borders between Iraq and Syria are wide open for all sorts of help in support of the regime.  On the other hand, Arab Sunni regimes, especially in Gulf region, have been supporting the Sunni Muslim uprising in Syria.  The Saudi government has been the leading force in their support, by arming and financing the rebels in Syria.  They have also pulled their diplomatic missions from Syria.  The Syrian uprising has already created a political conflict between Sunnis and Shiaa in the Middle East region.

The impact of the Syrian conflict is turning into an international one, drawing more countries into the conflict and forcing them to take a stand, especially after the Houla Village massacre committed against unarmed civilians by the Syrian army.  It has been reported that more than 100 people, including many children, were shot to death.  The killing was condemned by the U.N.  However, Russia, China, and Iran have been defending the Syrian regime and are against foreign intervention in Syria.  The U.S. and most western European countries are supportive of the Syrian uprising.  The U.S. government in particular has been working with the Saudi government in providing armaments to the Syrian rebels, in additional to financial support.

Also, the Russian government has been sending armaments to Syria and is playing a role as a supporter of the Syrian regime.  It seems to me that the Russian government, which has a naval base in Syria, is now playing a new role, especially since the collapse of the previous communist regime.  The Syrian conflict is now providing a new arena for both super powers, the U.S. and Russia, to use the Syrian conflict as an excuse to flex their muscles on the international political stage.  However, I doubt very much that foreign military interference like the one that took place in Libya will take place in Syria.  It will be a destructive war for Syria and its people as a whole.

The Russian and Chinese governments who are permanent members of the U.N. Security council have rejected many attempts to impose sanctions on Syria by using the veto power.  The Arab League has attempted to play a role in bringing a peaceful settlement to the conflict, but has failed so far.  Also, the U.N. has attempted a similar approach by asking the previous U.N. Security General, Mr. Kofi Annan, to lead a mission in Syria that lead nowhere.

The Syria situation is getting worse and innocent civilians have paid a heavy price.  It has been estimated that more than 12,000 people have been killed so far.  There is no possible solution in sight to this conflict.