x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Big thank you to the great Egyptian people

A round-up of commentary in Arabic language newspapers.

"The most beautiful speech I've heard in my entire life was the one delivered by Gen Omar Suleiman, as he announced the 'former' president Hosni Mubarak's decision to step down," wrote Abdelbari Atwan, the editor-in-chief of the pan-Arab newspaper Al Quds al Arabi in his front-page column.

The speech was 12-words long, but its content had enough substance to soothe more than 350 million Arabs and pave the way for long-overdue democratic change.

"The fall of Mubarak and his regime marks the end of an era, the collapse of the so-called 'axis of moderation', the nullification of the Camp David accords - and appendices thereof - that were degrading to the Arabs and Muslims."

The revolution has brought back Egypt not just to its people, but to all the Arabs, as the pivotal state it once was, setting the power balance in the Middle East.

"The July 1952 revolution was led by the military and embraced by the people, liberating them from feudalism and forced labour. The January 25 revolution was set off by the people and protected by the military, in what amounts to an act of sincere recognition. A big thank you is due to the Egyptian people. Thanks also go to the honourable journalists of Egypt who sided with the people's legitimate cause and refused to keep up the lie."

What may Egypt be like post-Mubarak?

Hosni Mubarak stepped down, but now that the long-awaited change has happened, realistic questions must be asked about the face of the new regime and the new role Egypt will be playing on the regional scene, stated the Palestinian newspaper Al Ayyam in its editorial.

We're looking at a number of possible courses that post-Mubarak Egypt may end up taking. Firstly, the revolutionaries would remain vigilant and keep a close watch on how the military goes about introducing change, namely amending the constitution, dissolving the National Democratic Party and organising new presidential and parliamentary elections. If the military fulfils these key tasks with transparency and integrity, Egypt will come back strong economically and culturally, and will regain its prominent position in the region, pulling the rug from under Iran and Turkey.

Secondly, the potential lack of organisational forces capable of filling the vacuum left by the dissolved regime may leave the Muslim Brotherhood ahead in the prospective polls, which will drag Egypt back into conflict with the West, despite repeated assurances from members of the group.

Thirdly, Egypt may slip into systematic chaos fomented by regional powers or by domestic forces whose interests will be severely damaged by the regime change.

It is clear that the first scenario would work best for Egypt.

An upsetting moment for dictatorships

"The Egyptian uprising that soon turned into a revolution swept away the entire structure of the old ruling regime and imposed a new equation on the ground", observed the columnist Ali Hamade in the Lebanese daily Annahar.

The slogans that filled the squares of Egyptian cities were civic slogans that upheld social demands related to the citizens' political, civil and human rights. At no moment during the 18-day protests did we see serious ideological or revolutionary claims about foreign policies, which in itself was quite interesting.

"This was a revolt over dictatorship, corruption and oppression. Revolutionary Islam was completely absent. The issue of inheritance of rule was the main element that attracted popular opposition and was the driving engine for the opposition."

Egypt's revolution put an end to the Iranian revolutionary model where man is at the service of an ideology. This uprising has created a new Arab model that will reflect on all Arab territories.

After Egypt's 2011 revolt, the Arab world will never be the same again. Arab or even Islamic regimes will no longer be able to rule their peoples by fear under revolutionary or nationalistic slogans that have expired in the minds of people. When a civil society breaks the fear barrier, it can overturn equations and impose change. Mr Mubarak's fall in Egypt is reason for concern for many regimes across the region.

The peace agreement was the original sin

Since the first day of Egypt's intifada, Israel has been gearing up for the post-Mubarak phase. wrote the columnist Mostapha Zein in the pan-Arab daily Al Hayat. The event in itself represents a strategic change unprecedented in the Middle East since the Iranian revolution.

Israel was hoping that the revolution would not topple the post-Camp David symbols and heroes, when Egypt became a full partner in peace and the primary instigator for the acceptance of Israel among Arabs. The regime has demonstrated time and again its full commitment to the agreement, regardless of Israel's numerous infractions against peace.

It is natural then that the Egyptian people's revolution would frighten Israel as well as the US, for it won't be long until the people start requesting the annulment of the peace treaty.

The US-Israeli fear is justified. Following the peace treaty, Egypt became their primary ally in the Middle East, especially after the toppling of Iran's Shah who was the policeman of the Gulf region and, along with Turkey, was the protector of both countries' interests. Now that Ankara is no longer an ally, US is afraid of losing Egypt.

* Digest compiled by Achraf El Bahi and Racha Makarem