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Iran Commentary Criticizes Mursi Government for Neglecting Public Demands
Tehran-e Emruz online
February 18, 2013

A protester, who opposes Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi, walks with two pieces of bread tied at his head during a demonstration against Mursi and members of the Muslim Brotherhood at Tahrir Square in Cairo February 15, 2013. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Commentary by international issues "expert" Davud Ahmadzadeh headlined: "The Egyptians` Lose-Lose Game"

After the collapse of Mubarak`s power-mongering regime and the fulfilment of certain civil demands, the people of Egypt did not imagine that the days after the January 2011 revolt would be witness to the expansion of increasing political tensions among various movements and the subsequent bipolarization of the Egyptian society (Islamist-non-Islamist), thus constituting a bitter fate for them. But the reality of the land of the Nile indicates that not only class division and blatant poverty among the masses have not reduced, the conflict between the Muslim Brotherhood under the leadership of Mohammad Mursi, the liberal left-wing pro-Nasser faction, and Coptic and Christian minorities, over complete monopoly of power and the imposition of will on the opponent by those involved in the conflict, have further complicated the political situation. Instead of the rule of the law and tolerance among those in agreement with and opposed to Egypt`s existing system, we are witnessing the domination of the cycle of violence and absolute political chaos in this crisis ridden country. Mursi`s opposition are accusing him of ignoring the rights of other political groups and monopolization of power, and basically, society`s intellectual and reform seeking faction, led by prominent individuals such as Elbaradei, Amr Mussa, and Hamdeen Sabahi, who have been organized within the format of the National Salvation Front, consider the president to be an inexperienced individual with populist policies. In their opinion, the dismissal of the opposition from the country`s high-ranking judicial posts and insistence on the enforcement of Islamist opinions in the preparation of Egypt`s new Constitution, in addition to giving an open hand to the extremist Salafi group, have meant that the scope of opposition to actions by the Muslim Brotherhood has greatly increased.

Fundamentally, as far as the government`s opposition is concerned, the Brotherhood had no effective presence in the widespread public revolt in January 2011 and the driving force behind this uprising was organized and led by the April 6 Youth Movement and other political groups. The Muslim Brotherhood was one of the last political groups that joined the flood of people in Al-Tahrir Square, only after the position of the revolutionaries had been confirmed. On the other hand, the Brotherhood`s allies, meaning the Salafi movement, not only failed to support the uprising, the Salafi leaders believed the overthrow of the oppressive ruler to be unlawful. However, by complying with the military institution ruling Egypt and in the absence of a united opposition, the Brotherhood was able to use this unique opportunity to implement power and form a government. Nevertheless, the power of Egypt`s ruling Islamist faction is facing serious challenges both domestically and abroad. Having obtained the presidential seat and the approval of the referendum for the new Constitution, the Muslim Brotherhood is pursuing two completely separate policies. On the domestic scene, it has confronted the opposition and insists on the rightfulness of its actions; a fact that is clearly manifested in the suppression of the opposition and the arrest of critics and journalists. According to statistics from human rights organizations, the number of journalists arrested and imprisoned during Mursi`s two-year rule has been much higher than previous periods, and Mursi has only submitted to the opposition`s demands when international pressure and pressure from independent human rights groups increased.

With his balanced approach, Mursi was going to offer a moderate version of Islam, which was reconcilable with democracy but the presence of extremist Salafis within the layers of power, and their emphasis on radicalizing the domestic situation, confronting religious minorities, and enforcing Islamic edicts to the letter throughout society, has distorted the image of the Muslim Brotherhood and Mursi personally, among his hardheaded liberal opposition.

In the current situation and on the verge of the fat eful parliamentary elections, Mursi lacks the capability to distance himself from the Salafis. In order to possibly overcome the movement opposed to the government, he needs an unwritten ally. On the other hand, in order to prevent the increase in street protests by the opposition, Mursi has resorted to the iron fist and has brought the Egyptian army into play. The giving of political and economic concessions to a military institution, in addition to widespread activities by security forces, who continue to play a key role in the country`s important decisions, has changed the domestic balance in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood. The latter`s performance in this short time proves the point that by learning from the past, they want to create a coalition among various political movements and establish a balance between key and defining elements within the power structure, in order to continue to manage the country.

But on the foreign scene, contrary to the deceptive slogans adopted during the initial days of power, the Muslim Brotherhood has not been seeking idealism and the creation of new security arrangements in the region. On the contrary, within the format of a conservative Islamist movement, they not only approved of past treaties, Mursi has set out to exchange ambassadors and send friendly letters to the leaders of Israel in order to guarantee this regime`s security. In a new turnabout from his previous standpoints, Mursi has announced that he is not seeking to establish Islamic rule in Egypt. On the other hand, with regard to the Syrian crisis, Cairo has tried to support Bashar Assad`s opposition and to declare the establishment of a Brotherhood government in this country to be in the interests of the West and the region. The need for foreign capital and continued economic aid, have meant that Mursi has adopted the policy of collaboration with the West and a number of conservative Arab countries. Nevertheless, it seems that despite Cairo`s efforts to turn into the center of the Arab world and to manage the regional crisis, this country has not yet become a determining player in this field.

It seems that the Muslim Brotherhood and the opposition have begun a lose-lose game within a complicated rivalry, and neglect of public satisfaction and failure to respond to people`s demands, particularly in the economic field, can prepare the climate for the start of extensive street unrests and uprisings by the poverty-stricken masses. At the same time, as one of the country`s main sources of national revenue, the tourism industry has been seriously damaged as a result of political tensions, and continued survival of the land of the pharaohs has become dependent on international aid in the form of the International Monetary Fund and the West. Therefore, nowadays, the people of Egypt are insisting on the point that "bite my heart but do not take my bread away." Undoubtedly, the climate of existing widespread insecurity will result in lack of political legitimacy for the Brotherhood.

Without a doubt, the current situation is not in the interests of any of the political groups. Consequently, instead of engaging in radical thinking in arranging political games and insistence on one another`s elimination, it is better for both the Brotherhood and the movement opposed to them to adopt the path of compromise and rationality through new dialogue. The establishment of a national unity government, which would be considered the voice of all of Egypt`s political groups, refraining from the theorization of violence by both the opposition and the supporters, and submitting to the win-win game while taking national interests into consideration, can be effective in restoring the lost elixir of calm to today`s Egyptian society. Sparks of hope have been created along this path and agreement between leaders of Salafi groups and members of the National Salvation Front for the reduction of tensions, can be a fundamental step in finding a way out of Egypt`s numerous political, security, and economic problems.

(Description of Source: Tehran Tehran-e Emruz online in Persian, Internet version of conservative daily aligned with Tehran mayor Qalibaf; URL:

© Compiled and distributed by NTIS, US Dept. of Commerce. All rights reserved.

Egypt: Writer Denounces Muslim Brotherhood, Salafi `Hypocrisy` About Violence
Al-Hayah Online
February 18, 2013

Article by Abdallah Iskandar: "Gandhi and Mandela in Egypt!"

In the Egyptian political scene the dilemma of the Muslim Brotherhood regime competes with the irony of the powers supporting it. This competition embodies the roots of the crisis.

The president is elected by the people, and he is supposed to be the president of all, above all, listening to all, and observing the common denominator of the interests and demands of all. However, in reality, the president has exhausted quickly this popular mandate, and has returned to be the representative of his group, the Muslim Brotherhood, and to express this faction under the banner of the guide and his council.

In addition to the recurrent experience since the presidential elections, this reality is manifested again in the stance of the Muslim Brotherhood toward the dialog with the opposition powers, and in clinging to a government that has failed at all levels. In both cases the Muslim Brotherhood assumes that any dialog outside their agenda means that it has to offer concessions in power to other groups, and that any ministerial change means sacrificing some portfolios, especially those undertaken by Muslim Brotherhood members who have failed abominably in managing their ministries.

In this sense, the Muslim Brotherhood takes an arbitrary attitude in interpreting the popular poll in a way that gives itself the right to monopolize the entire authority, and withholds it in any form from the others, whatever the size of their popular representation might be, and whatever the extent of correctness in their demands might be. This has been reflected in the popular demonstrations, where the Muslim Brotherhood supporters consider that they defend their organization in the street, together with the field violence that accompanied this, in addition to the political violence, which, the group considers to be its means to continue to monopolize authority.

It seems that the Muslim Brotherhood, adhering to one of their old traditions, considers that complaining a great deal and accusing the others are sufficient to exonerate the group and attract an audience who sympathize with the wronged. Thus, the Muslim Brotherhood media tools have kept pouring accusations on the opposition and the demonstrators of using violence in order to change "what the polling box has introduced."

Here the political hypocrisy is coupled with irony, even if it has a bitter taste. The "Salafis" of the group come out in a demonstration in support of the president and against violence, but their nature prevails, and hence they raise photographs of Umar Abd-al-Rahman, the prime promoter of violence in Egypt, the one who issued fatwas allowing bloodshed, looting, and assaulting Copts, and who is convicted in the United States of crimes of terrorism, and photographs of Usama Bin Ladin, who turned violence into international institutions on the basis of the fatwas of Umar Abd-al-Rahman.

Perhaps these "Salafis" wanted to convince the others to renounce violence and terrorism, but they did not find anyone to be an authority on this other than Abd-al-Rahman and Bin Ladin, and hence the Salafis` demonstrations for rejecting the violence of the Egyptian opposition, which is practicing its right to express its opinion after the Muslim Brotherhood monopolized the decision making and rejected any serious dialog, turned into a promotion of the fiercest type of violence our region has witnessed in the recent decades.

These Salafis would have won a modicum of credibility, whether in their theoretical "Revisions" or in their joining peaceful political action and abandoning violence and terrorism, had they raised photographs of Mahatma Gandhi or Nelson Mandela. But returning to the authority of violence, through Abd-al-Rahman and Bin Ladin, means that they justify for themselves using lethal violence while they prevent the others from using even peaceful expression.

The Muslim Brotherhood might use the pretext that they are not responsible for the activities of the Salafis, but this pretext f alls flat for historical reasons related to the ideological link between the origin and the branch, and for objective reasons related to the Muslim Brotherhood`s decision - through the president - to release the "jihadis," who were spending imprisonment sentences for acts of violence which they take pride in committing.

(Description of Source: London Al-Hayah Online in Arabic -- Website of influential Saudi-owned London pan-Arab daily. URL:

© Compiled and distributed by NTIS, US Dept. of Commerce. All rights reserved.

Iran Editorial Says Islam`s `Enemies` Benefiting from Muslims Killing Muslims
February 18, 2013

Editorial by Hadi Mohammadi: "The Problems of Islamic Unity and the Obligation of Muslim Reformers"

The day of 17 Rabi` al-Awwal is the anniversary of the birthday of a great man who was the messenger of a divine religion 14 centuries ago; a religion that was the harbinger of unity and unanimity on the axis of monotheism, not just for Muslims, the pious, Arabs, foreigners, but also for all mankind and for all ages.

More than 31 years ago, when the Islamic Revolution was going through the initial years of its victory, at the recommendation of the revolution`s elders and the approval of his Eminence Imam Ruhollah Khomeini, the flag-bearer of Islamic unity in our age, the discrepancy between the two Shiite and Sunni dates for the Prophet Mohammad`s (peace be upon him) birthday, was named unity week. But but now that 1,434 years have passed since Mohammad`s emigration from Mecca to Medina, which was itself rooted in unity among Medina`s constantly warring tribes, and the three decades that have passed since this week was named, what is the situation concerning solidarity among Islamic nations? How far have the people, who pray five times a day upon hearing the divine call of God`s Prophet (pbuh) in the direction of a single Kiblah and hold the divine book of the final prophet dear, used the redemptive teachings of this book as the motto for their actions? More than 60,000 Muslims, including women, men, children, and old people have been killed and hundreds of thousands have been injured or made homeless as a result of a bloody war that has engulfed Syria for the past two years. Unfortunately, no non-Muslim soldier has been seen in this fruitless war and all those who have been killed or are engaged in killing are Muslims. Although the flames of this war were stoked by foreign countries and continue to be so, once again unfortunately, in addition to the frontline of the conflict, it is the region`s Muslim countries that have lined up against one another, and it is the enemies of Islam and the Zionists who are profiting the most and enjoying this commotion. After Saddam Hussein, Iraq has yet to see a single day go by safely and happily without the suicide bombers` vests and the excommunicated Muslims` explosive cars, and it is currently on the verge of a great and worrying sedition among Sunnis and Shiites, which is more dangerous than ever before. Two years ago, during such hours, Egypt was experiencing its first hours without a dictator, and today it must be witness to bloody conflicts where 74 people are killed in a soccer match, 21 individuals are condemned to be executed for this crime, around 50 people lose their lives during the protests against this decree, and Cairo`s Al-Tahrir Square continues to have its casualties. Al-Qa`ida and the Taliban have put all of us to shame and instead of forcing the occupiers out in Afghanistan and Pakistan, they are sacrificing ordinary and defenseless individuals for their beliefs and objectives that are far removed from Islam. Regrettably, they have also raised the black flag of "there is no God but the one true God and Mohammad is his true prophet." In Mali, Somalia, and... (as published), news and pictures indicate the killing of Muslims at the hands of Muslims. Undoubtedly, the role played by yesterday`s colonialists and today`s imperialists must not be overlooked in these crimes and seditions. However, to attribute all the blame for these problems to enemies may be the easiest thing to do but it is in fact a kind of self-deception.

In the majority of these regions, all that turns into ashes is the Islamic world`s humanitarian and material resources, at the hands of the Muslims themselves. What is even more painful is the excuse used for these killings, which is mainly religious and has roots in their right for absolutism and the excommunication of the opposing side. Even more regrettable is the fact that even within the Islamic Republic, as the harbinger of Islamic unity among various sects, there may not be physical and bloody conflict, but what is heard from behind platforms and pulpits and read through pens and writings, seems to beat the drums of separation, conflict, and reproach rather than encouraging love among the people.

One may even be able to claim that the spirit of the grand Prophet is in torment and under pressure from all this conflict, division, and the killing of Muslim brothers at one another`s hands. Although thanks to Islamic awakening, the basis for which was the Islamic Revolution, the Islamic nations have taken big steps toward unity and have obtained unpredictable successes from this forward moving action, one can safely say that this achievement has been endangered once again. The prospect of solidarity among Islamic nations may be murky with the smoke of separation and division, the breath of Muslims may have reached its lowest ever value, and our constant enemies` efforts to stoke the fire of sedition and division continue, but wise Muslims and those who assess the interests of Muslims have the responsibility to provide the grounds for friendship and closeness, first in their own countries, even if it may involve martyrdom seeking and the sacrifice of their credibility and reputation. By raising awareness and opening up the climate of sound dialogue, without violent behavior and street protests - as we have witnessed and continue to witness in certain countries -they must move towards unity and in the next stage, proceed to expand this dialogue and agreement throughout the Islamic world. This is because the only way to obtain honor and success in the Islamic world, in the face of all enemy attacks and conspiracies, is to bring Muslims closer together and to activate those institutions that carry the title of Islamic; whose lack of effectiveness is more prominent these days than ever before. The definition of joint and vital interests for the Islamic world, in line with the use of various fields and territorial wealth unique to Islamic countries, including spiritual, material, and humanitarian resources, are in the interests of all Muslims and their daily progress can help brighten future prospects a little.

(Description of Source: Mashhad Khorasan in Persian -- hardline conservative daily published in Mashhad and Tehran since 1949; currently managed by Khorasan Art and Culture Institute, an affiliate of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamene`i`s office;)

© Compiled and distributed by NTIS, US Dept. of Commerce. All rights reserved.


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