Iran Commentary Says Egyptian Revolution Not Completely Realized
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Protesters storm an office of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi`s Muslim Brotherhood Freedom and Justice party and set fires in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, Egypt, Friday, Nov. 23, 2012. State TV says Morsi opponents also set fire to his party`s offices in the Suez Canal cities of Suez, Port Said and Ismailia. Opponents and supporters of Morsi clashed across Egypt on Friday, the day after the president granted himself sweeping new powers that critics fear can allow him to be a virtual dictator. (AP Photo/Amira Mortada, El Shorouk Newspaper)
Commentary by Fiyaz Zahed: “The Honeymoon is Over!”
It seems that the cease-fire between HAMAS and the Zionist regime, which took place because of Muhammad Mursi`s effective mediation and role, has given him and the Muslim Brotherhood such confidence that he finds the occasion appropriate for advancing his objectives. Currently, Egypt is going through a sensitive period. The experience of the more than 50-year rule of generals, military domination, and a president, who was jokingly towing the title of president and was in reality an unbridled dictator, could be cause for much concern. Revolutionaries such as Egypt have the aptitude to cause concerns about the government gaining more dominion and power. It is interesting to note that since the French Revolution up to now, all revolutions, although seemingly formed due to the ever increasing power of former governments, in fact lead to the establishment of stronger governments afterwards. Analyzing this in the most optimistic fashion, we can imagine that because governments enjoy more popular support, they unavoidably have the power to exert greater control.
Currently, it seems that Egypt`s honeymoon is ending due to the conflict between forces and various currents in the country and the complexities of administering a government and political system are showing their true nature. Muhammad Mursi is the Muslim Brotherhood`s first and main choice for the presidency. On the other hand, he was unsuccessful in restraining Egypt`s Judicial Council and prosecutor-general. Mursi needs to show that he is a man for all seasons, not a mere spare tire. On the other hand, the uprising in Egypt has not disassembled the institutions and government of the Husni Mubarak era. Therefore, we can avoid predicating the name Egyptian Revolution, because if a revolution is defined by three elements -- violence, complete overthrow, and a long time -- and these are the conditions for a revolution to be realized, there has been limited violence committed and the political makeup has been untouched in Egypt. The military continues to be a determining force and the former system`s political figures were even Mursi`s main rivals in the elections that resulted in his presidency.
(Description of Source: Tehran E`temad Online in Persian -- Website of pro-reform Tehran daily that supported Mehdi Karrubi and then Mir Hoseyn Musavi)
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Jordan: Article Views Lack of Reaction From Washington on Mursi`s Decisions
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
People watch as protesters burn items ransacked from an office of the Muslim Brotherhood`s Freedom and Justice Party in Alexandria November 23, 2012. Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi`s decree that put his decisions above legal challenge until a new parliament was elected caused fury amongst his opponents on Friday who accused him of being the new Hosni Mubarak and hijacking the revolution. Police fired tear gas in a street leading to Cairo`s Tahrir Square, heart of the 2011 anti-Mubarak uprising, where thousands demanded Mursi quit and accused him of launching a “coup”. There were violent protests in Alexandria, Port Said and Suez. REUTERS/Stringer
Article by Urayb al-Rantawi: “Washington and Mursi.”
The New York Times has noted that the White House has refrained from leveling criticism against the new constitutional declaration issued “unilaterally” by Egyptian President Muhammad Mursi, as Obama`s administration settled for a timid statement issued by the US State Department expressing concern with the steps and calling for dialogue and stability.
According to multiple US sources, the reason for the US “overlooking” Mursi`s decision is due to the role played by the MB president in passing the calm, for which he earned a flood of commendations and praise, most of which came from the White House, the Elysee, and 10 Downing Street, and some of which was reiterated by Peres, Netanyahu, and Barak. Even Lieberman, who is known for his extreme hatred for Arabs and his desire to bomb the High Dam (Aswan Dam), did not conceal his satisfaction with the performance of the Egyptian president!
Michele Dunne, former researcher at the Carnegie Endowment (for International Peace) and the US National Security Council, believes that Mursi would not have embarked on his recent escalatory steps if not for his certain self-confidence as a result of his role during the offensive on Gaza. He had tried before and failed, when he was forced to restore the prosecutor general to his positions hour after dismissing him.
The London-based Al-Sharq al-Awsat cites Daniel Greenfield of Freedom House as saying: “Either Mursi obtained the approval of the White House prior to making his decision, or it is assumed that he has demonstrated his importance during the negotiations for Obama, and he was convinced that the US President would not dare to protest such a measure. It is likely to be one or the other, and in both cases, the issue raises concern.”
Carl Levin, chairman of the US Senate Committee on Armed Services, called on the Obama administration to be careful in its relations with the Egyptian president, “because we of course do not want to see a tyrant elected democratically replacing a tyrant not elected democratically, which was the case before.” However, he added that “Mursi presents the United States with challenges and opportunities,” for “the Egyptian president could have a major influence in stopping the violence in Gaza. If Egypt assumes some of the actual responsibility for the success of the cease-fire and if it will prevent these rockets from reaching Gaza through these tunnels, and it seems it is moving in this direction, this could create a real difference in terms of what it is taking place in Gaza and the attacks on Israel.”
These US stances and statements take us back to two issues, which we have always run into within the context of “questioning” and “guessing.” The first is old and concerns whether or not Washington would accept from the MB rule today what it accepted from Mubarak`s regime yesterday; namely, supporting peace with Israel and protecting its security in exchange for “turning a blind eye” to reform, democracy, and human rights. The second is new, and pertains to what is undeclared from the recent “understandings for a truce” in Gaza, especially the details pertaining to the Egyptian-Israeli understandings on the Egyptian “sponsorship” and “guarantee” for the agreement on one hand, and the nature of the commitments made by Cairo, in terms of preventing the smuggling of weapons to the Gaza Strip, and liquidating the world of tunnels and their multi-purpose trades.
Of course, it is natural to remind that there are those in Washington who continue to express a higher level of caution and skepticism of Mursi and the group, and there is fear that the president`s pledges to maintain the calm and the security of Israel stems from the “political disguise” or the “double standards in the rhetoric” of the brotherhood, as a continuation of the US school of thought that “affirms” the MB trend`s inability to transform into a civil-democratic movement, with an Islamic authority, along the lines of the brotherhood in Turkey; namely, the Justice and Development Party. Robert Satloff of the Washington Institute (of Near East Policy), who is known for such stances, sees that the “honeymoon” between the brotherhood and Obama will not last long, and warns Obama that Mursi will not be able to break away from his ideological roots.
However, John McCain, republican senator and former presidential candidate, warns of the possibility of establishing an Islamic state in Egypt or the return of the military hold on this country, if President Muhammad Mursi does not back down on the recent constitutional declaration he issued, which gives him absolute authority. He called on the Obama administration to “seriously consider using the aid provided by the United States to Egypt as a means to pressure President Mursi into abandoning the recent constitutional declaration, which has forced the country into a new crisis.”
Thus, we stand before a stage of instability and lack of a clear vision for the US policy on Egypt, that would cope with the “difficult political transformation” experienced by Egypt. The US policy regarding Egypt in general, and its brotherhood in particular, will certainly continue to fluctuate until further notice between the edges of fear and wagering. The fear is that the Egyptian revolution will end in a “revised and expanded image” of the Islamic revolution in Iran, where the “general guide” will replace the “velayet-e faqih” there. The wager is on a MB role in maintaining Egypt`s peace with Israel, and including Gaza and HAMAS under its umbrella, obligations, and provisions. Is this not exactly the circle in the center of which the MB Group is standing now, where one of its leaders is striving to solidify his authority and power under a thick cover of commitment to the calm, peace, and Camp David, like no one has done before, while his group is at the same time trying to maintain its ideological slogans and terms of reference, which have given it the position of the “backbone” of the opposition in Egypt for 30 years or more.
(Description of Source: Amman Al-Dustur Online in Arabic -- Website of Al-Dustur, major Jordanian daily with pro-Palestinian line; partially owned by government; features relatively influential contributors such as Yasir al-Za`atirah, Urayb al-Rintawi, and Mahir Abu-Tayr; URL: http://addustour.com)
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Iran: Commentary Supports Mursi`s Decree For Defending Egyptian Revolution
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Commentary entitled: “A Return to Dictatorship or the Rescue of the Revolution”
The Egyptian President Muhammad Mursi (or Mohamed Morsi) on Thursday (22 November 2012) evening issued a new decree according to which all the new decrees that he would issue before the approval of the new Egyptian constitution would have to be obeyed and even the judiciary has no right to annul them. The retrial of leading government officials under (former Egyptian President) Hosni Mubarak`s regime, the deposed Egyptian dictator, and the dismissal of the prosecutor general of the country are among the new clauses of the new decree. Hardly an hour had passed since the issuing of that decree when reactions to it started. Some people welcomed that decree and others strongly opposed it. The opponents of the government that are composed mainly of liberals, leftist groups and some of the remnants of the former regime described the issuing of that decree as “a criminal act”, and “a return to former dictatorship in Egypt”, and called Mursi “the new Pharaoh”. On the other hand, the coalition of the Islamists that supports the government described Mursi`s new decision as a “revolutionary stance”, with the aim of “implementing the wishes of the Egyptians and protecting Egypt from the remnants of Hosni Mubarak`s regime”.
In order to explain the reasons why Mohammad Mursi, the first Egyptian president who has been elected by people`s direct vote and who is in charge of the revolutionary government in that country, has issued that decree it should be pointed out that, contrary to what happens in the course of most social revolutions, the 25 January (2011) revolution in Egypt, due to its complex nature, was not able to result in the complete collapse of political, judicial, military and security organizations in Egypt. What we noticed after the popular uprisings in the year 2011 was in fact a transfer of power only at the top of the pyramid of the executive power. Although as the head of the government Mubarak had controlled all the state responsibilities in Egypt, nevertheless, one cannot deny that with the removal of Mubarak no changes were made in judicial, military and security organizations in Egypt.
The holding of parliamentary and presidential elections also failed to reduce the power of the three above-mentioned organizations in Egypt. The dissolution of the lower House, acts of obstructionism against the process of the approval of the constitution, and attempts for leading the country within the framework of the laws left over from Mubarak`s days were the main goals of those three organizations. Creating obstacles on the path of reforms in the government on the excuse that they were contrary to the constitution and to the laws left over from Mubarak`s time in the judiciary, the continuous threat of a military coup d’état by the armed forces, and the supervision of the activities of the revolutionary government by security organizations in favor of Hosni Mubarak`s foreign allies were some of those steps taken against the new government.
By recognizing the existing realities in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood government adopted a conservative attitude in its policies. Nevertheless, it seems that necessary plans had been prepared for the implementation of gradual and step-by-step reforms. Mursi`s recent decree can be understood within that context. Confronting the structures left behind from the former regime required appropriate amount of time and prioritization. Egyptian president`s office decided to issue that decree at a time when due to his efforts to establish a ceasefire in Gaza Muhammad Mursi enjoyed a good level of public support both at home and abroad. On the other hand, the events of the past few months in the Egyptian armed forces, including the death of Omar Suleiman, the (former) head of Egypt`s intelligence organization, the dismissal of Husayn (or Hussein) Tantawi, the minister of defense (chairman of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces), the removal of Sami Annan, the chief of staff of the Egyptian armed forces, and rescinding the decree of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces that was ruling over Egypt that had made the legitimacy of the orders of the president dependent upon the approval of that council, had reduced the possibility of a military threat against the government.
A look at Muhammad Mursi`s decree that has five (as published) clauses shows that, contrary to the claims of his political rivals, such a decision rather than being a return to Mubarak`s era has been aimed at completing the process of the revolution. In the first article of that decree, the Egyptian president has called for reopening the investigation of those “responsible for deaths and injury of the demonstrators during the Egyptian revolution and for all other offenses committed against the revolution.” According to the second article of the decree, “all the orders that are issued by the president since coming to power right to the end of the legal expiration of the present constitution and the election of the next parliament” will be final and have to be carried out, and no organization has the right to rescind them. In that article it has been pointed out that one cannot create obstacles on the path of the implementation of the president`s orders, also all the moves that have been made for annulling the president`s decrees are null and void. The third article of the circular is about the prosecutor general of the country. According to this article, the president appoints the prosecutor general every four years from among the members of the judiciary. According to this article, the prosecutor general has to be at least 40 years old. In this article it has also been specified that this decree would be implemented in the case of the current prosecutor general as well.
The first three articles of that circular show that the shortcomings of the Egyptian judiciary in dealing with those responsible for the killing of the people during the revolution, as well as dealing with those accused of economic corruption in that country under the former regime have forced the president to act in view of the religious and moral commitment that he feel towards the people. He feels that as the only person elected by the people in the political system after Mubarak`s era he should strengthen his political weight against “the establishment” or those who have been left behind from the period of the former dictatorship.
The fourth article of Muhammad Mursi`s decree concerns the Constituent Assembly that is in charge of preparing the next constitution, and in this regard the legal deadline for the drawing up of the constitution has been increased by two months, namely it has been extended from six months to eight months. In the fifth article of the circular it is pointed out: “No judicial authority has the right to dismiss the parliament or the Constituent Assembly that is in charge of preparing the next constitution.”
These are some of the articles that demonstrate the efforts of an action-oriented government for the speedier approval of the new constitution of revolutionary Egypt. Earlier on, the Egyptian constitutional court whose members had been appointed by Mubarak, by dissolving the parliament elected by the people, had tried to control the drawing up of the new constitution, in the same way that in the past by preparing a draft constitution the Military Council had tried to ensure for itself a position above the law.
The political groups that are opposed to the government, which include the liberals and leftist groups, in view of their failure in the parliamentary and presidential elections in that country and people`s leaning towards the Islamic groups had tried to form a coalition with the remnants of the former regime in order to create problems on the path of the preparation of the new constitution. As a result, they had tried to increase their bargaining capabilities with the government on political issues by encouraging a large number of people to go to the streets. Nevertheless, pragmatism is the main characteristic of the new Egyptian government. We should now wait to see what price Muhammad Mursi and his circle of advisors are prepared to pay in order to implement new political reforms in contemporary Egypt.
(Description of Source: Mashhad Khorasan Online in Persian -- website of centrist daily published in Mashhad, backed by the powerful Martyrs Foundation; strongly supports Khomeyni`s economic ideals of total independence and self-sufficiency; URL: http://www.khorasannews.com)
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