Category Archives: Arab Spring

Muslim Brotherhood Is Gaining Ground In Egypt. Surprised?

Posted by Fullcouch on January 21, 2012, 11:10am

Anyone who is surprised by this must see the world from a proctologists point of view.

Al Jazeera – Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party wins 47 per cent of seats, with al-Nour party coming in second, officials say.

The Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), which represents Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, has won 47 per cent of all seats in the country’s election for the lower house of parliament, the election commission has said.

The FJP won 235 seats in the new People’s Assembly, Abdel Moez Ibrahim, the head of the country’s election commission, announced on Saturday.

It also secured 127 seats on party lists, while its candidates won another 108 in first-past-the-post constituency votes, where votes were cast for individual candidates.

The hardline Islamist Salafi al-Nour party has won 24 per cent of all seats on offer.

The liberal al-Wafd party won about seven per cent of the seats, according to the latest results. The remaining 22 per cent of seats were split amongst smaller political parties.

The election commission says that voter turnout was 54 per cent in the polls.

The FJP has named Saad al-Katatni, a leading Muslim Brotherhood official who has previously sat in parliament as an independent, as speaker of the assembly.

Katatni has told the Reuters news agency that he intends for the role of the assembly to “reconciliatory”.

“The priorities are meeting the demands of the revolution,including the rights of the injured and those killed in the
uprising,” he said.

New constitution

The landmark elections for the lower house of parliament, held in three stages, were the first since the fall of Hosni Mubarak, the former president, who was overthrown by a popular uprising in January last year.

Two-thirds of the 498 seats up for election were reserved for those belonging to registered political parties (refered to as ‘closed party lists’), while the remaining one-third of seats were contested by individuals.

Ten seats were reserved for appointees of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), the military council that has been ruling Egypt since Mubarak fell.

“This parliament, that has its opening session on Monday, has very limited powers,” reported Al Jazeera’s Sherine Tadros from Cairo, the Egyptian capital.

“The most important thing that it will be doing in the coming weeks and months, is setting up a 100-member body that will then write the constitution.”

Elections for the upper house of parliament will be held in February, after which the constituent assembly will be chosen.

A new president is to be elected by June under a timetable decided by the SCAF. Candidates can register for that election by April 15.

Muslim Brotherhood – Spearheading the “Arab Spring.”

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Five Myths About The Arab Spring

Posted by Fullcouch on January 15, 2012, 11:00am

Passivity is the new ideology. Obama heads to Egypt, tells them how it’s supposed to be done, then sits back and HOPES for CHANGE. Well, he got his change alright, and his hope was nothing more than an excuse for doing absolutely nothing. Remember the Green Revolution?

Washington Post – Five myths about the Arab Spring

1. Obama’s 2009 Cairo speech helped inspire the Arab Spring.

Nothing could be further from the truth. By the time of these rebellions, the Arab and Muslim romance with President Obama had long vanished. He had gone to Cairo in June 2009 promising a new American approach to the Arab-Muslim world. But embattled liberals in the Arab world (and in Iran) had already begun to see through him. While Obama pledged “a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, one based on mutual interest and mutual respect,” Arabs saw the new American leader’s ease with the status quo.

Obama set out to repair America’s relations with Syria and Iran, and gave George W. Bush’s “diplomacy of freedom” a quick burial. “Ideology . . . is so yesterday,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton bluntly proclaimed in April 2009, identifying Bush’s assertive foreign policy as a thing of the past. But as upheaval swept through Iran in the first summer of the Obama presidency, the self-styled bearer of a new American diplomacy ducked for cover.

The Arabs nearby were quick to see that Obama’s cosmopolitanism — the Kenyan father, the years in Indonesia — masked a political man focused on problems at home. The rebels in Tunisia and Egypt did not expect the U.S. cavalry to ride to the rescue. Even when the rescue mission for the Libyans came, it was late, and the push was from Paris and London, not Washington.

2. These are Facebook and Twitter revolutions.

Facebook and Twitter enabled young dissidents to get around entrenched autocracies and communicate with one another. When CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked Wael Ghonim, the young Google executive who was the face of the revolt in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, what was next after Hosni Mubarak fell, Ghonim replied: “Ask Facebook.” But it was ordinary men and women who sacked the pharaoh.

These rebellions have been fueled by traditional sparks: crowds coming out of mosques after Friday prayers in the embattled cities of Syria; the test of wills between brutal regimes and those brave enough to challenge them; and young people in Daraa, Homs and Hama conquering the culture of fear and taking on despotism.

Mohammed Bouazizi, the young Tunisian street vendorwho set himself ablaze in December 2010, didn’t have a Facebook page. He had a sense of righteous anger and despair. We should rein in the technophilia: Internet penetration in the Arab world is still modest.

3. The Obama administration threw Hosni Mubarak under the bus.

The Egyptian president was the author of his own demise. Washington had assumed that Mubarak would ride out the storm. As Egyptians came together to topple the dictatorship, the Obama administration was hobbled by confusion, expressing a presumptuous intimacy with the man while most Egyptians had nothing but contempt for him. Mubarak had long been the pillar of America’s relations with the Arab world. Remember that just a few weeks before he fell, Clinton said that the Egyptian regime was “stable.”

America should not write itself into every story: There are forces in distant nations that we can neither ride nor extinguish. Egypt, a patient land, had given Mubarak three decades. In return, the ruler toyed with his people and belittled them. He sat at the apex of a lawless regime and never designated a legitimate successor. (Even the most obtuse could see that he intended to bequeath power to his pampered son.) He had risen out of the armed forces, and the officer corps came to see that dynastic ambition as a brazen affront. In this Egyptian drama, those at the White House and in Foggy Bottom were mere spectators.

4. Saddam Hussein’s fall in Iraq inspired the Arab Spring.

Having supported the Iraq war, I would love to make this connection. But Iraq, contrary to the hopes and assertions of conservative proponents of the war, is not relevant to the Arab Spring.

When the protests began in late 2010, Iraq no longer held the Arab world’s attention. There was bloodshed in Iraq’s streets, there was sectarianism, and few Arabs could consider Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki a standard-bearer of a new political culture. The Iraqi story was burdened with two handicaps: The despotism had been decapitated by American power, so it was not a homegrown liberation. And the new Iraqi order had empowered the Shiite majority. The Sunni “Arab street” was not enamored of the political change in Iraq; it had passionately opposed the American war and had no use for Baghdad’s new Shiite leaders.

Tahrir Square inspired other uprisings because Egypt is the trendsetter in Arab political and cultural life. Iraq is a place all its own; very few, if any, Arabs elsewhere can relate to the upheaval in that country.

5. The rebellions will further damage prospects for the Arab-Israeli peace process.

It’s true that hooligans overran the Israeli Embassy in Cairo after Mubarak’s fall. But Arab-Israeli accommodation hardly flourished in the time of the dictators. Despite a peace treaty that was the precondition of American patronage of his regime, Mubarak kept Israel at arm’s length. During his three decades in power, he went to Israel once — to attend the funeral of the slain prime minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995. Mubarak’s reign was an incendiary mix of anti-modernism, anti-Americanism and anti-Zionism. The 1979 Camp David peace treaty between Israel and Egypt was kept, but it was a cold peace with no intimacy between the two countries.

And no praise ought to be showered on the kind of “peace” that Damascus has observed with Israel since the 1973 October War. The Syrian-Israeli border has been quiet, but Syria has had the Lebanon-Israel border from which to harass the Jewish state. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s recent statement that the fall of Bashar al-Assad’s regime would be “a blessing for the Middle East” is on the mark.

The leaders of the Arab rebellions may not be fervent, public advocates of peace with Israel, but they have emerged out of the recognition that the dictatorships used the conflict with Israel as a convenient alibi for their own political and economic failures. Does anyone truly believe that the people of Homs dread Israel more than Assad’s tyranny?

Five myths about the Arab Spring

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