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Posts Tagged ‘Aboul Fatouh’

Egyptian Presidential Candidates Agree: Time to End Egypt’s ‘Subordinated’ Relation with US

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

In anticipation of the historic Presidential elections being held today, the Egyptian Independent offered a survey of the foreign policy platforms of the candidates. Despite their differences, they speak in one voice about the need to restore Egypt to its rightful place of primacy in the Arab world and their hostility towards Israel.

In an article titled, “Foreign policy, a blank slate for candidates to draw on,” Mohamed Elmeshad reviewed the positions of the main candidates: Former Muslim Brotherhood official Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsy, former Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Moussa, former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq, Lawyer Khaled Ali, and Hamdeen Sabbahi of the Dignity party. Elmeshad cites the Israel-Palestinian conflict and Egyptian-American relations as among the main issues in the campaign. The unifying theme for all of the candidates was the sense that Egypt has fallen into a state of “political subordination, especially to the US, on issues such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and has lost much of its former regional significance.”

Calling sentiments in Egypt “decidedly anti-American,” Elmashad states that the candidates all evince a desire to liberate Egypt from its subordinate relationship with America, and reset it on the basis of “mutual interest.” Independent candidate Aboul Fotouh, one of the two frontrunners, spoke of the need for greater independence to return Egypt to its role of regional leader. Moussa, the other frontrunner, seemed more cautious about implementing a total reorientation in Egypt’s foreign policy, stating vaguely that the January 2011 revolution must have “positive reflections on Egypt’s foreign policy.” Morsy, who has the benefit of the Muslim Brotherhood’s structure and organization, has focused his foreign policy platform on the even vaguer “achieving international leadership.”

On the topic of the Camp David Accords, Aboul Fotouh, Morsy, Ali, and Sabbahi all agreed that Egypt must honor its treaties, “but all hold the view that Israel has not kept its end of the bargain, which could potentially nullify the agreement.” Sabbahi is the most radical regarding relations with Israel, and when discussing the issue, refers to Israel as the “Zionist entity.” Elmashad wrote that the above candidates are also entertaining the “possibility of unilaterally supporting Palestinians by opening the Rafah border crossing and working with Islamist Hamas.”

Elmashad suggests that Moussa is also more cautious about shifting to a unilateral policy vis a vis the Palestinians, preferring instead to operate within existing agreements to advance the Palestinian cause. But Elmashad also quoted Moussa as saying that it was “an ethical obligation” for Egypt to be more vocal in its support of the Palestinians. Moussa, known as a staunch nationalist, has placed much emphasis on implementing a “new Arab order, through which Egypt would return to its regional leadership.” He also advocates see closer relations with Turkey and Iran.

It is unlikely that there will be a clear winner in the first round of the Presidential election today, meaning that there will be another round in the form of the run-off. But whoever comes out victorious in the end, we can be sure that challenges lay ahead for Egypt’s relationship with the US and Israel.

Rubin Reports: A Sentence by the State Department Sentences The World to Disaster

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

http://www.rubinreports.blogspot.com/2012/05/sentence-by-state-department-sentences.html

If I’ve ever seen a single sentence that spells disaster in the Middle East it’s this one:

“`People say things in a campaign and then when they get elected they actually have to govern,’ [U.S. State Department] spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.”

The specific context of this statement were remarks by the Obama Administration’s favorite Egyptian presidential candidate, Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, in a debate. He called Israel racist, an enemy of Egypt, and a state based on occupation (that is, has no right to exist), then calling to alter the Egypt-Israel peace treaty.

Pay no attention to the man in front of the curtain, says Nuland, he doesn’t really mean it.

The problem with this, like hundreds of other statements by the currently dominant worldview in the West, is that almost nobody is around in the mainstream media or academia to say – Wait a minute! In fact, I can make a very strong counter-argument that would persuade most people if they were allowed to hear it.

So let us parse Ms. Nuland’s sentence, which does accurately reflect U.S. foreign policy today and is indeed a death or prison sentence for many people in the Middle East. Nothing is easier, of course, than finding examples of politicians who did not keep their election promises. But that’s not what we are dealing with here. No, the case here is:

Do radical ideological movements say things in their campaigns to gain power, including election campaigns, which disappear due to the pragmatism forced by the need to govern?

Examples please?

I’ve heard this argument before, most notably in 1978-1979, when the Islamist revolution descended on Iran. The Islamists have won every election since and have not been moderated by the need to govern. On the contrary, they have used their extremism to continue to govern.

For example, from the New York Times, February 16, 1979, an op-ed by Richard Falk:

“The depiction of Khomeini as fanatical, reactionary and the bearer of crude prejudices seems certainly and happily false.…To suppose that Ayatollah Khomeini is dissembling seems almost beyond belief.…Having created a new model of popular revolution based, for the most part, on nonviolent tactics, Iran may yet provide us with a desperately-needed model of humane governance for a third-world country.”

It is only poetic injustice that Falk, a man who totally misjudged the Iranian radical threat, has now been made by the UN the judge of Israel, which is facing that same threat.

The same kind of thing was said throughout the 1990s. Yasir Arafat will be moderated by having to pave roads and collect the garbage. Power is inevitably moderating and ideology is meaningless. No, that’s not true and history shows it isn’t true.

Were the Communists moderated by being in power? Well not in the USSR, maybe a bit after 70 years. And not in China, well yes more than a bit after only about a half-century. We’re still waiting for Cuba and North Korea, both between five and six decades old. Add in such examples as the Taliban in Afghanistan, the Ba’th Party in Syria or Iraq, and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

It is important to understand why this isn’t true. There are some dangerously false assumptions in Ms. Nuland’s simple sentence.

She is assuming that radical movements are saying things to please voters in the same way that American politicians do. But American politicians are overwhelmingly unideological. Deep down, few of them think that ideas matter.

But what if they sincerely and passionately believed that every plank on their platform was ordered by the supreme being and that this was in fact the only reason their political party existed?

Suppose their rivals were willing and able to destroy their careers or even kill them if they showed they were phony in their devotion?

And suppose a large portion of the masses took all of this seriously and meant to hold them to their promises?

And suppose they truly believed themselves that instituting Sharia law–perhaps at most with a slightly more liberal interpretation here and a few exceptions there–was the only way to govern?

In other words, there are lots of reasons for radicals to remain radicals in government. And, after all, that is what usually happens.

Rubin Reports: How Egypt’s Presidential Election Will Change the Middle East and the World

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

http://www.rubinreports.blogspot.com/2012/04/how-egypts-presidential-election-will.html

What might well be the most significant election in Middle East history is about to transpire, yet the situation and its implications are simply not understood abroad. On May 23-24, with a probable run-off on Jun 16-17, the most important country in the Arabic-speaking world is almost certainly going to choose a revolutionary transformation that will ensure continuous earthquakes of war, suffering, and instability for decades to come.

Of the dozen candidates only three are important and the question is which of them will end up in the run-off:

–Muhammad Mursi, head of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party.

–Abdel Moneim Aboul Fatouh, a former Muslim Brotherhood leader who resigned to run for president.

–Amr Musa, a radical nationalist who combines being an anti-American, anti-Israel demagogue with some real experience in government and some sense of realism and restraint. He has proclaimed the Egypt-Israel peace treaty to be dead. If you don’t have a peace treaty that means you are in a state of [three letter word being with "w" and ending with "r"]. There are also, among the more serious of the also-rans, a leftist, an old regime supporter, three liberals, and another Islamist. The mainstream Western view of the election is bizarre and very damaging. In this fantasy, Aboul Fatouh is portrayed as the liberal candidate. If he wins, everything will be just fine and dandy. You can go back to sleep.

What evidence is adduced for this picture? Basically, none. The idea is that his moderation was proven because he defied the Brotherhood to run for office. Yet the reality is the exact opposite. The Brotherhood refused to run a candidate at a time when it was following a cautious strategy, wanting to show that it wasn’t seeking total power and could co-habit—at least for five years—with a non-Islamist president.

By declaring his candidacy, Aboul Fatouh was in fact taking a more radical approach. Later, when the Brotherhood felt more confident after winning almost half the parliamentary seats it became more aggressive.

Most important of all, Aboul Fatouh is the candidate endorsed by Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the Qatar-based anti-American, anti-Semitic hardliner. Qaradawi would never endorse anyone who was actually “moderate” much less “liberal.”

There are three factors likely to determine the outcome of the first round:

–What proportion of Muslim Brotherhood (parliamentary) voters will support Mursi? Perhaps a quarter or more of the Brotherhood voters backed the group not so much because they wanted an Islamic state but because they thought the Brotherhood was more honest, would govern better, and so on. Will they stick with the Brotherhood for the presidency or will they go for Aboul Fatouh or even Musa?

–Having no candidate of their own, who will the Salafi support? Since their goal is to provide a more radical alternative to the Brotherhood, some —but not all— of the leaders will probably go for Aboul Fatouh. But what about their voters, who have almost no organizational loyalty—in contrast to the Brotherhood voters—and will presumably support the man they see as the one with the most radical Islamist vision? Few of these people will back Musa.

—Who will support Musa? There is no nationalist bloc in Egypt today. Might Musa emerge as the secularist candidate uniting those voters (only 25 percent we should remember) who don’t want Islamism? No. The Christians and liberals don’t look at Musa as their man and will probably split their vote among three competing liberal candidates who don’t have a chance.

The result may well be an Islamist versus Islamist run-off. In any event, it is likely that by the end of the year Egypt will have an Islamist president, parliament, and Constitution. Laws will be drastically altered, women’s rights will disappear, and Hamas would be backed up if it attacked Israel.

Once in power, an Islamist government would eventually appoint similar people to run the military, the religious establishment, the schools, and the courts. Those who don’t like it will head for the West in droves.

The alliance with America would be over, whatever cosmetic pretense of friendship remained and despite however much money the Obama Administration pumped in. And the whole region will be sent a signal that this is the era of revolutionary Islamism and jihad at a time when America is weak or even—as many moderate Arabs believe—siding with the Islamists.

In the West, no one in power is prepared for this revolution, an upheaval that will rival or exceed the 1979 one in Iran for its impact.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/rubin-reports/rubin-reports-how-egypts-presidential-election-will-change-the-middle-east-and-the-world/2012/05/01/

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