Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Don't blame Egypt, just the Brotherhood

The Egyptian state doesn't meddle in neighbours; affairs, an Egyptian scholar writes, but the Muslim Brotherhood does. Other topics today: Morsi's plans and Assad's speech.

UAE arrests: making a distinction between 'Muslim Brotherhood' and 'Egyptian state'

"It's after a lot of hesitation that I'm writing on this subject, for fear of taking sides," wrote Ahmed Youssef Ahmed, director of the Cairo-based Institute of Arab Research and Studies, in yesterday's edition of the UAE newspaper Al Ittihad.

"I belong to one of the two parties to the crisis, and the publisher of these words belongs to the other. But I overcame my hesitation and resolved that, as I endeavour to be objective, I might contribute some useful ideas."

Mr Ahmed, who is Egyptian, was referring to the recent arrests of 11 of his countrymen who live and work in the UAE and who were accused by local authorities of holding secret meetings as Muslim Brotherhood affiliates, raising and funnelling funds to the parent organisation in Egypt and working to recruit new members, including Emiratis, to expand their network.

UAE authorities said that they have "compelling evidence" on the basis of which they have levelled those accusations, the writer noted.

Also, the arrests did not come out of nowhere. Before they happened, the chief of Dubai Police, Lt Gen Dahi Khalfan Tamim, had warned on several occasions that the Muslim Brotherhood was active in the UAE, the writer added.

"So is this a crisis between Egypt and the UAE or, rather, between the Muslim Brotherhood and the UAE?" he asked.

Implicating the name of "Egypt" - which includes the nation and the people - in this crisis is inaccurate. "The state of Egypt will never get involved in a crisis like this," the author said.

"It may be pertinent to note here that the state of Egypt, even at the zenith of its leadership role in the Arab world in the 1950s and 60s, has never slipped into the pitfall of meddling in the internal affairs of other Arab nations in the manner that is causing the current crisis."

The problem, though, is that the Muslim Brotherhood now hold the reins of power in Egypt, the writer observed. This has led to a confusing overlap that framed the crisis as between Abu Dhabi and Cairo.

But can the Muslim Brotherhood, in principle, do what they are accused of doing? "The clear answer is: 'Yes'," the writer said.

The Muslim Brotherhood is a transnational movement more than 80 years old, he said. Their role in fomenting the 1948 revolution in Yemen to topple the tyrannical Imamate rule there, however well-intentioned it might have been, is just one proof of the organisation's cross-border agenda.

"There is no doubt in my mind that [the Brothers] are considering the possibility of creating a geographically seamless 'Islamist' bloc including, besides Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Hamas in Gaza, and Sudan, as they see the time is ripe for this kind of project," the writer said.

Assad's speech signals an 'inward departure'

Syrian President Bashar Al Assad's speech on Sunday brought myriad reactions. Washington dismissed it as "detached from reality". But in an article for the London-based Asharq Al Awsat, Egyptian journalist Emadeddin Adeeb said: "I completely disagree with the US reaction."

US logic dictates that the speech should have reflected the deteriorating battlefield situation of Al Assad's forces, which must translate into negotiation flexibility. But this isn't the logic of the Baath party. Rather than demonstrate willingness to negotiate or concede, the Baath rationale prescribes indefinite intransigence; drawing power from continuous rejection not acquiescence.

In view of this reasoning, Al Assad's speech could be interpreted as a confirmation of his determination to remain in power, while he is finalising the project of an Alawite state that would be located in the Syrian coastal region.

Al Assad is still standing, but he is getting ready to "depart inwardly".

"With a bill of 60,000 fatalities, half a million casualties and 3 million displaced Syrians, Bashar can't possibly leave the Syrian territories to go anywhere," observed the writer.

The war in Syria is an ethnic-cleansing operation that aims to change the country's map.

The question here is whether the powers that be are willing to negotiate for a part of Syria or if they intend to preserve the country at its historic borders.

A bearded version of Mubarak's regime

What is unfolding in Egypt is not a conflict between guardians of Islam and promoters of atheism, scriptwriter and journalist Bilal Fadl wrote in the Cairo-based independent paper Al Shorouk.

"It is a face-off between those who seek to produce a bearded version of [former leader Hosni] Mubarak's regime and those insisting upon bringing down all forms of dictatorship," he noted.

"It is a conflict between a logic of 'let's calm down guys' and that of 'the revolution is on' - a conflict wherein the elected, bearded government is using the same dirty weapons once used by the shaved oppressive regime: accusations of treason, intimidation, defamation, added to the deadliest and favourite: takfir [accusations of apostasy]," he continued.

Once in power, the Muslim Brotherhood flip-flopped their position of being anti-US hegemony, and opted for superficial modifications of Mubarak's policies to avoid any risks or confrontations.

Day after day, the Brotherhood's tone becomes more conciliatory with Mubarak-linked businessmen; at the same time, they are keen to retain their coalition with the most extreme hardliners.

The Brotherhood is using religion to retain Mubarak's special-interest network, reaping its fruits while giving the people scraps to ease their anger.

* Digest compiled by Translation Desk

translation@thenational.ae

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Ali Benflis, opposition leader and main rival to Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika speaks to the press after casting his vote in the presidential elections at a polling station in Algiers on. Former prime minister Benflis ran against Bouteflika in 2004 but lost heavily, charging the vote was rigged 10 years ago and has said fraud will be his ‘main adversary’ during the election. Patrick Baz / AFP Photo

Best photography from around the world, April 17

The National View's photo editors pick the best images of the day from around the world.

 Above, the private pool of Ocean Heights' five-bedroom penthouse flat. Courtesy Christie’s International Real Estate

In pictures: Penthouse flat is height of Dubai luxury living

A five-bedroom penthouse in Ocean Heights in Dubai Marina is on sale for Dh25 million and comes with a private pool and an unparalleled view of Dubai.

Video: Local reactions to a national fishing ban

A federal fishing ban has been imposed by the UAE federal government, but local authorities are taking diiferent approaches to implementing the ban. Two fishermen tell two very different sides of the story. Produced by Paul O'Driscoll

 Southampton owner Katharina Liebherr is pictured before the Premier League match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England, on March 1, 2014. Glyn Kirk / AFP

New Southampton owner leading club’s resurgence from the shadows

Katharina Liebherr keeping with family tradition and letting others dominate the spotlight

 The new Bentley GT Speed convertible on display at a press event of the New York International Auto Show. Jason Szenes / EPA

In pictures: Hot cars at New York International Auto Show

With more than 1 million visitors annually, the New York International Auto Show is one of the most important shows for the US car industry. Here are some of the vehicles to be shown in this year’s edition.

 The cast of Fast & Furious 7, including Michelle Rodriguez and Vin Diesel, centre, on set at Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

Fast & Furious 7 filming in full swing at Emirates Palace

Filming for Fast & Furious 7 has started and we have the first photos of the cast and crew on set at Emirates Palace hotel this morning. Visitors staying at Emirates Palace say they have been kept away from certain areas in the grounds.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National