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Thread: Stand with Egypt. Sign the petition.

  1. #51
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Basically, according to this analysis by Stratfor, Egypt is a basket case.

    Egypt: Persistent Issues Undermine Stability


    JULY 4, 2013 | 0501 Print Text Size

    A protester carries a poster of ousted Egyptian presidents Mohammed Morsi and Hosni Mubarak in Tahrir Square. (GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP/Getty Images)


    Egypt's crisis goes much deeper than the recent political chaos. With the leader of the Supreme Constitutional Court taking over the presidency at the behest of the military, the new government will likely represent a coalition of interests facing many of the same challenges that brought about Mohammed Morsi's downfall. Egypt's population has grown well beyond the means of the state to support its needs, and even a strong state will struggle to ensure sufficient supplies of basic staples, particularly fuel and wheat.


    Underlying the question of what political structure will emerge from this week's crisis, the fundamental fact is that Egypt is running out of money. Dwindling foreign reserves point to a negative balance of payments that is sapping central bank resources. At the same time, Egypt's reliance on foreign supplies of fuel and wheat is only growing. Egyptian petroleum production peaked in 1996 and the country first became a net importer in 2007. Government fuel subsidies are an enormous burden on state finances and, throughout the past year, failures to pay suppliers and a shortage of foreign exchange available to importers have caused supply shortfalls and price spikes throughout the country.

    The government has a few options, including backing off subsidies in hopes that higher prices will help reduce consumption and therefore cut down on the net drain on state finances. That route carries a high risk of a major political backlash, so it is more likely that the government will continue, if not increase, its commitment to using state funds to guarantee sufficient supply and low prices.

    The second major challenge stems from Egypt's extreme vulnerability to international food markets. Though dire warnings of food shortages have been frequent in the media, they have not yet appeared with any significant frequency within Egypt. However, this is not to say that they will not eventually appear. Bread is a staple of the Egyptian diet, and Egypt relies on imports for more than half of its wheat consumption. Although farmland within Egypt is increasingly dedicated to growing wheat, there is simply not enough arable land for Egypt to feed its population.

    In fact, although Egypt is a vast country geographically, most of it is uninhabitable desert. Population growth is accelerating in Egypt's densely packed urban centers, threatening to worsen these underlying challenges. Population growth in 2012 hit its highest levels since 1991, reaching 32 births per 1,000 people and bringing the country's population to 84 million, according to initial government estimates. This represents an increase of 50 percent from 1990, when the population was just 56 million. Egypt's fertility rate is currently 2.9 children per woman and is expected to remain above the replacement ratio of 2.1 for at least the next two decades. As a result, the United Nations projects the Egyptian population to exceed 100 million by 2030. This means that Egypt will have a growing pool of young people of working age in the coming decades, creating substantial challenges for the Egyptian state to provide them with economic opportunities, or at the least sufficient basic goods.

    Ousted Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak faced similar problems, and growing poverty and joblessness are arguably among the root causes of the uprising in 2011 that unseated him. The wave of protests that challenged Morsi, who became the first democratically elected president in the country's history, should be understood as a continuation of this swelling trend. While previous governments in Egypt have been able to leverage strategic rent from foreign countries interested in maintaining stability in Egypt, which is the linchpin between the Middle East and North Africa and the manager of the Suez Canal, the country has become increasingly peripheral to the strategic needs of major powers.

    As a result, although Egypt has been able to secure some limited funding from regional players such as Qatar, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Libya, it remains locked in negotiations with the International Monetary Fund over some broader, more sustainable financial relief. It is possible that the new government will find a level of stability that the increasingly isolated Muslim Brotherhood leadership was unable to sustain in the face of rising disputes with former coalition partners and a firmly obstructionist judiciary. However, the military's decision to unseat Morsi underlined the instability inherent in Egypt's political system and may make it even more difficult for Egypt to return to the good graces of financial markets or Western powers. In any case, mounting demographic and economic pressures mean that the job of managing Egypt's economic challenges will become incrementally more difficult with each passing year and for each faction that occupies the presidential palace.

    Read more: Egypt: Persistent Issues Undermine Stability | Stratfor
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  2. #52
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Egypt's new PM appeals for national dialogue
    Egypt's Hazem el-Beblawy calls for an end to divisions, as interim president appoints committee to redraft constitution.

    Last Modified: 20 Jul 2013 20:14

    Egypt's interim President Adly Mansour issued a decree creating a committee to tackle the constitution [Reuters]
    Egypt's interim Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawy has appealed for a return to dialogue between the country's political parties, still in tumult following the overthrow of president Mohamed Morsi.

    "Now I see we have to return to harmony. Divisions can not last," Beblawi said in an interview with state television on Saturday.

    Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood has denounced the ousting of the president as a military coup and has said it will not enter into any dialogue until he is restored to power.

    Beblawy said the post he accepted was "a heavy burden, but it is an important mission, and I feel honoured".

    [Admin: This is an important development that has implications for other countries going along the same path to take note. If civil society is prepared, they can take part.]

    Earlier on Saturday, Egypt's interim president appointed a committee of experts to amend the constitution that was suspended following the military's overthrow of Morsi, the presidency said.

    Under a decree issued by the caretaker president, Adly Mansour, the committee, which consists of four university professors and six judges, will begin its work on Sunday.

    The committee members will have 30 days to make their amendments, which will then be presented to a 50-person body representing different groups in Egyptian society.

    The larger panel will include members of political parties and trade unions, religious officials and army officers, and will in turn have another two months to make final changes to the draft before submitting it to the president.

    Mansour will then have 30 days to call a referendum on the charter.

    Al Jazeera's Nicole Johnston, reporting from Cairo, said he dedicated time to speaking about both the economy and the security situation.

    "The interim government seems focused on how to push forward its reputation both locally and internationally as well. It has been a full day of politics."

    Ousted president Morsi's government adopted the controversial previous constitution by referendum in December 2012 with a majority of 64 percent, but a voter turnout of just 33 percent.

    Opposition politicians and members of Egypt's Coptic Christian community denounced the Muslim Brotherhood-drafted text, which was also criticised by UN rights chief Navi Pillay for curtailing certain rights, including those of non-Muslims.

    Egypt's caretaker president issued a charter last Monday outlining the timetable for the constitutional reforms, as well as fresh parliamentary and presidential elections due to be held early next year.

    Shortly after it was announced, Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood rejected the temporary charter as a decree enforced by "putschists".

  3. #53
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Don: No Arab Spring-like conditions in Malaysia

    First Published:7:01am, Aug 09, 2013
    Last Updated:8:00am, Aug 09, 2013

    by Meena Lakshana

    KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 9): A revolution akin to the Arab Spring will not occur in Malaysia in the near future, a lecturer from an Islamic university said on Monday.

    Dr Maszlee Malik, a lecturer with the International Islamic University Malaysia, said the Egyptian revolution was precipitated by socio-political factors different from that of Malaysia.

    He said a revolution in Malaysia "will never happen".

    "The psyche of the people, the nature of our society and even the climate here is so different from that of Egypt," he toldfz.comafter speaking at a forum titledEgypt at the Crossroads at the Kuala Lumpur-Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH).

    "Most Malaysians lead a very complacent life. Nobody is going to give that up for a revolution," he added.

    The 2011 revolution in Egypt saw millions of people storm the streets to demand that its autocrat ruler Hosni Mubarak stepped down as president after decades at the helm of the country.

    The uprising saw the Muslim Brotherhood gain prominence, and its leading member Mohamed Morsi was elected as president in a democratic election, one of the most keenly contested the country saw.

    However, after just a year in office, Morsi was ousted by a military coup on July 3 after mass demonstrations called for Morsi's resignation following accusations that he was becoming increasingly authoritarian and pushing an Islamist agenda without weighing secular interests.

    The constitution was suspended and Chief Justice Adly Mansour was placed as interim president until fresh elections are held.

    Both Pakatan Rakyat and Barisan Nasional (BN) have used the context of the Egyptian revolution before and during the 13th general election to rally supporters behind both coalitions.

    Pakatan leaders had justified the revolution in Egypt as being necessitated by decades of authoritarian rule amid increasing poverty, rampant corruption and erosion of human rights.

    However, they did not condone such a violent revolution here, and instead urged Malaysians to support the need for change by exercising their rights at the polls.

    BN leaders had cited the instability which erupted as a negative consequence of the revolution, leading to the crippling of the Egyptian economy which had stagnated due to the chaos.

    However, leaders of both coalitions have expressed regret that a democratically elected president was removed from office through military force.

    Maszlee said for PR, it was using the context of the revolution to fuel change in the country through the ballot.

    "Pakatan leaders were very clear that they were not going for that (revolution). Instead, the (Malaysian) Spring was about the 13th general election," he said.

    On the other hand, Maszlee said, BN's actions were "merely a manipulation of facts and events".

    "They always like to manipulate facts and events to justify their position. As an academician, I personally think it is not good," he added.

    He said in the one year Morsi was president, he managed to increase Egypt's economic growth rate from 1.8% in the 2011-2012 fiscal year to 2.2% in 2012-2013.

    Egyptian factors

    IIUM lecturer Dr Alaa Hosni Ahmed who also spoke said that the revolution in 2011 hinged on a number of factors.

    Alaa, who is from Egypt, said that the widespread injustice and inequality as well as deterioration in standard of living were major triggers.

    "Some 45% of the 83 million population was living under the poverty line. The salary of an ordinary civil servant was a mere US$50 (RM163) a month, while a general in the army could earn as much as US$1 million (RM3.2 million)," he said.

    "Retired army generals are given 1ha of land, appointed as governors in a constituency or to a top position in a company.

    "Since the military coup in the 1960s, more than 25,000 people have been detained," he added.

    He said the authority's neglect of civil rights also drove millions of people to the streets in 2011, calling for Mubarak's resignation.

    Alaa said the real revolution occurred in 2011, and the recent military coup, which army generals have justified on the basis that they purportedly acted based on the people's wishes, was a mere "photoshop revolution".

    "From the time Morsi came to power, the army didn't cooperate with him. In fact they started trouble in the Sinai region, just to show that the country was not stable under his rule," he said.

    "The deep state of crisis in Egypt, which was started by Mubarak, also did not help Morsi. Every one hour there would be a power outage, petrol was dumped in the desert so that when people went to fill their vehicles at the petrol station, there would be no supply," he added.

    The media too initiated a campaign of tarnishing Morsi's government, he said.

    Alaa said the military coup did not act solely in the interests of the people, but only staged the coup d'etat to protect the interests of the United States and Israel in the region, as espoused by famed academic Tariq Ramadhan.

    In a speech at Harvard University on July 9 made available, Ramadhan said: "The fall of Mubarak was a military coup d'etat that allowed a new generation of officers to enter the political scene in a new way, from behind the curtain of a civilian government.

    "The American administration had monitored the entire process (presidential election): its objective ally in Egypt over the past 50 years has been the army, not the Muslim Brotherhood. The latest revelations (International Herald Tribuneon July 5 andLe Mondeon July 6) confirm what was already clear, the decision to overthrow Morsi had been made well before June 30."

    Further, according to international media reports, army General Abdul Fatah al-Sisi was not only trained by the United States army but also liaises with the American government, said Ramadhan.

    "TheNew International Herald Tribuneinforms us that General al-Sisi is well known to the Americans, as well as to the government of Israel, with which he 'and his office', we are told, continued to 'communicate and to coordinate' even while Morsi occupied the presidential palace. Al-Sisi had earlier served in the Military Intelligence Services in the North Sinai, acting as a go-between for the American and Israeli authorities," he said.

    "It would hardly be an understatement to say that Israel, like the United States, could only look favourably upon developments in Egypt," he added.

    Read more:

  4. #54
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Al-Masri Al-Yom, Egypt

    January 25 and America

    By Hilmi Al-Namnam

    We should refrain from depriving ourselves the ability to succeed by attributing our achievements to the United States.

    Translated By Mitch Bacci

    17 December 2013

    Edited by Bora Mici

    Egypt - Al-Masri Al-Yom - Original Article (Arabic)

    There is a tune now ringing out to us. Its melody carries the theory that the Jan. 25 revolution was nothing more than an American conspiracy to overthrow former President Hosni Mubarak. This theory echoes candidly and directly at times and is implicitly indirect at others. Those who hold this opinion claim that American funding was behind some civil society groups and some of the January revolution’s most celebrated activists. Overlooking details and making generalizations, we can argue that American funding played a role in the uprising. In fact, this phenomenon precedes the events of the January revolution by years. However, this does not mean that Jan. 25 was a conspiracy or should be considered an American product.

    Similar to this previous theory, a number of people strongly insisted that the July 23 revolution of 1952 was an American conspiracy. Both Marxists and Islamists claimed this was the case, although the former later altered their initial assertion. It seems that there are those who insist on stripping Egyptians of any achievement they make and attributing it to others. There are even some who consider the war of October 1973 and the great crossing of the Suez Canal "a game" between Sadat and the Americans. I believe that those who insist on linking every successful act to the United States and conspiracy theories should reconsider their assumptions. Taking several events into account, we can say that it is in fact difficult for the U.S. to instigate a revolution.

    To be more precise, American politics and culture are not favorably disposed to revolutions, and Americans themselves are not generally pleased with them. Although the idea that the U.S. takes after the fate and divine will of God is present in every place and at every time — particularly in our countries — this is a great delusion. Rather than instigating events, the U.S. tries to intervene and direct them in a way that serves or minimizes harm to its own interests. It does this by means of propaganda and by exploiting the weakness and delusions of others. In taking over an event and controlling its trajectory, the U.S. makes it seem as if it is caused the event. What occurred in January 2011 was most certainly of Egyptian origin. The U.S. did not plan it, nor did the Central Intelligence Agency expect it. Likewise, the Egyptian intelligence service did not anticipate or prepare for what happened in January 2011. The January revolution was undertaken purely for Egyptian reasons, foremost being the issue of hereditary succession that was evident in Mubarak’s usurpation of governmental institutions. Other factors include the dire social crisis, unemployment and rising poverty rates. However, the election fixing of 2010 and what transpired in Tunisia hastened the revolution. At the time, Egyptians also faced the psychological dilemma posed by their feelings of regional leadership and desire to be at the forefront of the Arab uprisings. Therefore, when the Tunisians launched the December 2010 revolution against President Zayn al-Abidin, Egyptians realized that the situation in Egypt was no better than that in Tunisia. This set in motion Egyptian ambition and stirred up their genetic predisposition to lead the region.

    The spark was released on Jan. 25, and during the first days of the uprising, the American administration stood by President Mubarak. However, once the determination of the Egyptians to continue protesting, decline of the police and army’s complete support for the people were clear, the American position changed in an attempt to direct events and prevent further eruptions. The problem with the Jan. 25 revolution is that after it nearly succeeded, following the battle of the camel, imposters attempted to take it over and redirect the movement to serve their own interests. The Muslim Brotherhood, several activists, as well as American and European financiers, all attempted to manipulate the movement for their own benefit. All tried to present themselves as having played an instrumental role in initiating the revolution, and many believed their claims. As a result, when it was revealed that some might have either received American funding or made mistakes, such as torturing citizens in Midan Al-Tahrir, people began to see the adverse effects of the revolution and believe that it was an American conspiracy.

    Everyone should be held accountable for his or her actions, errors or crimes. As for the revolution, it was a popular action, carried out by the Egyptian people as a whole. Therefore, we should refrain from depriving ourselves the ability to succeed by attributing our achievements to the United States. America does not create events but merely jumps on the opportunity to direct them. This is what happened during the Jan. 25 revolution, and it is now necessary to reclaim the revolution of June 30 from similar suspicions.

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