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Posts Tagged ‘Amr Moussa’

Rubin Reports: What Do Egyptians Want? A Democratically Elected Islamist Dictatorship

Sunday, May 13th, 2012

http://rubinreports.blogspot.com/2012/05/what-do-egyptians-want-democratically.html

Yes, friends, it’s once again time for that exciting game of Spin the Polls by the Pew Foundation. Here are the rules:

Rule 1: Pew does a good job on the poll itself.

Rule 2: The Pew analysis ignores or misunderstands the implications of the poll.

Rule 3: The Western media and government misread the poll, often misinterpreting the results into the exact opposite of what they actually mean. They then adopt the wrong policies.

Rule 4: If correctly interpreted the polls are a gold mine that can help us comprehend the present and predict the future.

Some years ago, for example, I analyzed a Pew poll. The poll showed that people in Arab countries had a low opinion of al-Qaida. It was then interpreted as meaning that they were moderate. In fact, as I wrote the poll showed a shockingly high level of support for revolutionary Islamism, especially in Egypt and Jordan.

Once again we have the misleading spin beginning with the headline: “Egyptians Remain Optimistic, Embrace Democracy and Religion in Political Life.”

If I were writing the headline it would be: “Egyptians Want Radical Islamist State More Than Anything Else.”

To be fair to Pew, the lead of their analysis is something very significant that couldn’t have been imagined before now: “Opinions of the U.S. and President Obama continue to be overwhelmingly unfavorable.” This is somehow spun, however, to imply that there is no real crisis and that U.S. policy need not be reexamined or changed.

After all, the Obama Administration’s role in helping to overthrow not just President Husni Mubarak (a reasonable action) but the entire regime brought no gain for the United States whatsoever. Instead it helped bring to power an anti-American regime likely to destabilize the region and bring war.

The poll concludes that Egyptians still want the same type of relationship with the United States. But what does this mean other than continuing to take U.S. aid money? Using America as a scapegoat—as Middle Eastern dictatorships have done now for more than a half-century, it won’t be long before hate-America rallies, demagogic anti-American speeches, a lack of cooperation on issues, and violence-inciting broadcasts or articles become routine.

You won’t be surprised to hear that two-thirds of Egyptians want to throw out the peace treaty with Israel. The U.S. Congress has properly determined that this would lead to an end of U.S. aid. So what will the next Egyptian government do? Simple, don’t throw out the treaty formally but just break it in every way possible.

What’s most critical is how Egyptians think of their own country. Here’s a very revealing apparent contradiction. Read carefully. The Pew poll’s headline says that Egyptians are optimistic but that they also believe the economic situation is not good. Half of them claim things have gotten worse since Mubarak fell. Why then do 53 percent (albeit 65 percent) believe the country is headed in the right direction?

The answer is that they are happy with the political direction—toward radical Islamism—but do not think it will improve their material lives. They make a distinction between material benefit and spiritual-ideological preference. Such a choice is never understood in the West, especially by those who argue that everyone wants the same things in life, so an Islamist regime must deliver prosperity or fall, and consequently that radicals must moderate in order to fill their people’s stomachs.

Remember what Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, architect of Iran’s revolution, said back in 1979: People in the West don’t understand that we didn’t make this revolution to lower the price of watermelons.

No, the substitute for such material success is repression plus finding the right scapegoat and subsidizing certain key constituencies (notably the military), which brings us back to the need to build antagonism against the United States, Israel, and the West in order to distract from the economic mess, doesn’t it?

Another apparent contradiction is equally revealing. When asked whether they preferred to model Egypt on Saudi Arabia or Turkey regarding religion’s role in government, thy chose Saudi Arabia by a 61 to 17 percent margin. Note that Western pundits and experts keep insisting that there is some kind of Turkish model of moderate Islamism. Aside from the fact that Turks aren’t Arabs, this is a sign of the base of support for a fully sharia state. Remember that as Sunni Muslims, Egyptians are not going to cite Iran as their model. And when they are talking about Saudi Arabia they are not indicating its basic alliance with the United States but its extreme form of Islamic rule in domestic life.

When asked if Egypt’s laws should strictly adhere to the Quran, 60 percent said yes while another 32 percent said it should follow the values and principles of Islam more generally. Let’s say that this 60 percent (see the Saudi model, above) is the firm base for Islamist rule. This is less than the 75 percent the Islamists received in the parliamentary elections, suggesting that 15 percent of these voters are not so totally for an Islamist society.

Rubin Reports: An Islamist President for Egypt?

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Originally published by Rubin Reports http://www.rubinreports.blogspot.com/2012/02/is-egypt-about-to-elect-islamist.html

 

Registration as presidential candidate in Egypt will begin March 10. The military moved it up from April 15 to show that it is handing over power to the civilians. As I’ve said before, I’ve never seen any evidence that the army is not going to turn over control of the country to a new, elected president. All of the mass media and political hysteria to the contrary, the generals don’t want to hold onto the government.

Has the Brotherhood’s success in parliamentary elections gone to its head? Has the weak international response to its ascendancy emboldened the Islamists to seek total power now rather than go slow and be patient? It’s starting to look that way.

The Muslim Brotherhood has announced once again that it will not run a candidate for president in the elections projected for June. “The Muslim Brotherhood will not support Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh or any candidate,” says Muhammad al-Badi, the leader of the Brotherhood.

But this is misdirection. The Brotherhood’s influential spiritual advisor Yusuf al-Qaradawi is supporting Abul-Fotouh. And guess what? The Brotherhood is going to support Abul-Fotouh “unofficially.” How? Simple, through the “independent” Justice and Development party supporting an “independent” presidential candidate. Brotherhood leader Muhammad al-Badi now says that the president must have an “Islamic background” and by that he rules out any “secular” candidate.

Egyptian voters who backed the Brotherhood–giving it 235 seats, or 47 percent of those in parliament–will vote for someone. The Brotherhood doesn’t own their votes but presumably most of them will support an unofficial Brotherhood candidate.

The Salafists, with 121 seats, almost 25 percent of parliament, will probably have their own candidate.

While this seemed impossible last year it is now conceivable that the two leading presidential candidates will be Islamists and thus Egypt will have an Islamist president. That would mean the timetable for turning the country into an Islamist Sharia state could be expedited significantly. It’s up to the Brotherhood to decide whether to move cautiously toward state power or floor the accelerator.

If the reported plan for the election is accurate, the rules drawn up by the military help the Islamists. To qualify as a presidential candidate, a hopeful must receive the endorsement by 30 members of parliament. Only four parties have that many–the Brotherhood’s front group, the Salafists, the Wafd, and the Egyptian Bloc (Free Egyptians Party). Can individual Brotherhood members endorse a candidate without facing party discipline? Again, since the Brotherhood’s party is nominally independent of the Brotherhood, al-Badi’s statement does not restrict its freedom of decision.

According to the Egyptian media, each party can nominate one candidate. While some among  the 80 members of small parties or independents could band together in some combination to nominate someone, the maximum number of candidates would be restricted to five, probably less.

Who will sponsor Amr Moussa, a man who has no party? He probably doesn’t want to be associated with the liberal and largely Christian Free Egyptians Party. That would be the kiss of death for any presidential candidate. And he certainly isn’t a Wafd guy. So how will his candidacy be launched? And if he doesn’t run is there anyone who can beat the Islamists? Perhaps only if the Islamists want to be beaten, that is – the Brotherhood wants to be cautious. Increasingly, it appears that they want to win.

There are three serious Islamist candidates and they have few differences between them:    Hazem Salah Abu Ismail, Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, and Muhammad Salim al-Awa. The Brotherhood likes Aboul Fotouh, a high-ranking official who resigned from the group to run for president, and presumably the Salafists will back one of the other two, perhaps more likely Abu Ismail. Al-Awa is a long-time collaborator with al-Qaradawi but the powerful cleric gave Aboul Fotouh the nod as the more electable candidate.

The only strong alternative to these men is Amr Moussa, the radical nationalist former foreign minister and Arab League head who is simultaneously an experienced diplomat and pragmatist; a rabble-rousing populist; and a strongly anti-American, anti-Israel figure. He is the great hope for a more pragmatic though still radical regime.

But he is no threat to the Islamists. If he is elected president in June, he will be 76 not long after. The Brotherhood could easily rationalize the idea that he is a transitional figure. By the time the second election is held, projected for 2018, the Islamists would be ready to put their own man into office.

Perhaps another non-Islamist candidate will appear but who could possibly have the charisma and national appeal to come in second, much less be in first place?

I estimate—based on public opinion polls, and this is a very rough estimate—that around 25 percent of the Brotherhood voter base, who voted for the Brotherhood out of a belief it could solve problems rather than an ideological Islamist conviction, might be ready to support Amr Moussa. Yet if the Brotherhood runs a good campaign, especially against a less appealing candidate, they could hold onto those voters, too.

Leading Egyptian Presidential Candidate: Peace Treaty Will Remain ‘in place’

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Former Arab League Secretary-General and Current Egyptian presidential hopeful, Amr Moussa, said in an interview with the Arabic Daily Asharq Al-Awsat that he did “not think there are any circumstances that will lead to [the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty's] cancellation.”

He added: “I do not think this will happen, and I do not think it would be wise for this treaty to be cancelled. The treaty will continue so long as each party respects it.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/leading-egyptian-presidential-candidate-peace-treaty-will-remain-in-place/2012/01/17/

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