Mar 30, 2018

The Egyptian Presidential Elections - 2018

The Egyptian presidential elections started on the 26 the of March and ended on the 28th of March.
The Election Committee stated that as of March 28th more than 25 million Egyptians casted their voted. President El Sissi received 92% of the votes.
It was reported that during the election more than 650 foreign journalists were present, in addition to 65 foreign observers were allowed to watch the voters during the election. Not a single violation was reported.
Prior to the elections, negative publicity has been circulating, and there were false anticipation which can be attributed to the following factors:
1.   As is the case in all societies, you always find opportunists who have no loyalty or attachment to their country, and hope for negative consequences. For example, there are 104 registered political parties. Some members of those parties ran in previous elections, and Egyptians ignored them completely. The public has no confidence in those parties. On the other hand, most Egyptians support and trust the army, a feeling that has prevailed since Mohamed Ali, the ruler of Egypt 200 year ago, and who created the first army composed of Egyptians. Hence, the pessimist minority, who did their best to discourage Egyptians from participating in the election, have failed. The jubilation of the public among those who participated in the election was a reflection of the Egyptians’ enthusiasm in taking part in this election.
2.   In spite of the fact that more than one third of the Egyptian public are illiterate, their political awareness is amazing. This was apparent in the TV interviews conducted by journalists in different part of the country and broadcasted instantly. Most of the people interviewed were aware of the progress accomplished by president El Sissi’s government during the past four years. The economic hardship people were experiencing did not dampen their enthusiasm.
During my visit this year to Egypt (January-February 2018) some Egyptians, I talked to, said “Egypt is experiencing some difficulties during this transitional period, but the situations will be better in the near future.” For example, the economy is growing at the impressive rate of 5.2%/year. This rate of growth was confirmed by the International Bank. Other achievements are reflected in the large amount of foreign investments and in the constructions of many factories all over Egypt. In addition, there was great improvements of the infrastructures. Thousands of kilometers of paved new roads bridges were constructed, as well as the renovations and building of the sewage systems. Millions of new dwelling units, new towns, new hospital were build. The production of electrical power has exceeded 26,000 Mega Watt. Furthermore, the Egyptian government is focusing on the construction of large sun panels, and passive wind fan for the production of energy. The Suez canal project, which was constructed in one year, created a two ways traffic. This has cut on the number of hours ships had to wait to enter the canal. All of the above accomplishments in the past four years, is not only impressive, but is paying off. The public is aware of the government’s achievements and was eager to vote for a second term for El Sissi. Actually, some Egyptian scholars interviewed on TV recently, stated that a total of eight years for El Sissi is not enough to complete his futuristic plans for Egypt.
The majority of the public in Egypt are aware of El Sissi accomplishments. But, Western powers, more specifically Western media and more specifically American, are ignoring the economic progress in Egypt. They have a negative attitude towards Egypt. In general, the Western mass media has lost its objectivity reporting about Egypt.

Mar 10, 2018

Recent Reforms in Saudi Arabia

Very important political and cultural changes were introduced in the past few months in Saudi Arabia, which is considered the most conservative Arab and Islamic state. The changes were introduced by prince Mohamed bin Salman. Such changes were considered as quite daring political reforms.
The new political reforms are as important if not more than the Spring Revolution of 2010-2011, which took place in Arab World.
Prince Salman issued a firm order to the Islamic Wahabi conservative leadership to accept the new reforms or to keep their mouth shut.
Some of the first critical reforms was pertinent to women’s status and role, politically and socially.
First, Beit al ta9a law, whereby the husband has the authority to force his wife back to her home in case she left it due to disagreements with her husband.
Second, women were permitted to drive.
Third, women were allowed to apply for government jobs.
Fourth, women were permitted to participate in various sport events.
Such reforms broke the traditional religious and cultural barriers that prevented more than half of the Saudi population from exercising rights.
The above-mentioned reforms will ultimately lead to drastic changes in one of the most conservative Islamic state.
Furthermore, religious diversity was also taken into consideration. A Coptic Christian group was allowed to build their own church. This was never permitted previously.
Hence, changes were introduced in the economic, political as well as religious arena.
Such changes will enable the Saudi Arabian government, under the leadership of Prince Salman, to play a more effective political and economic role in the Arab world as well as worldwide.