x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Brotherhood between myth and reality

A round-up of news from the Arabic press.

"The article titled Five myths about the Muslim Brotherhood by researcher Lorenzo Vidino in the Washington Post has sparked controversy at a time when the Arab world is undergoing significant political changes," observed Abdul Rahman al Rashed in a commentary for the pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al Awsat.

"I think the Muslim Brotherhood has every right to access to power even in a pivotal country like Egypt as long as this is in a legal framework on a par with other political powers."

Vidino pointed to that also, yet "I disagree with him in presenting the movement as a victim of a series of myths aimed at intimidating the West in order to isolate it politically."

It is true that political regimes have threatened the world through the Brotherhood during periods of political turmoil by unfairly accusing it of being an instigator of terrorism.

Yet not all accounts are a myth. The movement sought to enhance its image as a group that believes in freedom when the US supported democratic reform in the Middle East. Then, it found a window to possibly gain power democratically. The truth, however, is that Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt or elsewhere is a political movement that has a clear goal, which is, beside accessing power, using the religious reference and imposing senior clerics on the legislative power. In the process, it will exclude others.

Iranian regime swims against the tide

Hashemi Rafsanjani, president of the Council of Experts in Iran, remarked that extremists who continue to ignore the people's role are dangerous, noted Abdullah Iskandar in an opinion piece for the London-based daily Al Hayat.

Although Rafsanjani acknowledged this fact, he withdrew his nomination for the position of president of the Council of Experts. He thus left room for those whom he described as radicals and dangerous. He probably acted in this way to save himself, rather than out of concern for ordinary Iranians.

Even though the council has no executive role, the presence of Rafsanjani, known for his pragmatic stance, can ensure a balance between different currents among the conservatives. So by excluding him after months of pressure, radicals toppled the last sensible link in the regime's chain, and now put themselves at a distance from the popular demands.

The fall of Rafsanjani is also significant since it marked his failure in playing the buffer role between the opposition and the regime following the latest presidential elections.

It is also a clear signal to the green opposition that the authorities will not change their position and will continue oppressing any dissenting movement, ignoring the ongoing events in the Arab region.

Israel tries to avoid the heat of revolutions

"As was expected, the effects of Arab revolutions have reached Israel, which is hurrying to protect itself from their repercussions," wrote Hosam Kanafani in an opinion piece for the UAE newspaper Al Khaleej.

The first reaction by the Israelis was the prime minister's initiative to provide for terms that accept establishing a temporary Palestinian state before discussing the final status settlement on an open schedule.

This is no new plan. It was recalled now as a preemptive measure to contain the rising Arab anger towards Israel.

It is also a proactive attempt to reward the US for its veto against a UN resolution condemning Israeli settlement policies in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Mr Netanyahu vowed to accept a temporary state and withdraw from some isolated and remote settlements. He did so although he knew the Palestinians would not accept his proposal. Yet, he deemed it necessary to placate further US demands.

According to news releases, he asked for a "Marshall Plan" designed for the Arab region, the aim being to contain the unstoppable revolutionary movement. The defence minister Ehud Barak, in his turn, asked for more US military aid to promote Israel's security, as he considers it threatened by the latest Arab uprisings. He has also grown concerned about the future of the Camp David accord signed with Egypt.

New provisions for working at home

Some departments of the public sector in the UAE are adopting a new programme that gives employees the opportunity to conduct work from the comfort of their homes without the need to be in an office, wrote Mohammed Issa in the Emirati newspaper Al Ittihad.  It is still too early to judge the effectiveness of this new practice, although some are concerned about its impact on Emiratisation plans.

Employees will complete all their tasks from home, going to the office only to discuss weekly plans or for briefing sessions.

The programme has already been applied in many developed countries around the world and has posted positive outcomes.

Besides helping to reduce traffic and pollution, as many employees don't leave home every morning to go to work, the programme allows working parents to spend more quality time with their families. Studies have shown that the programme has helped reduce teenage problems and minimised divorce rates in the communities where it was implemented.

But the question is: can we truly adopt this kind of programme? Its success requires a deep  understanding of the working from home concept. The home worker's time should be sacred and it necessitates special cultural awareness.

* Digest compiled by The Translation Desk

translation@thenational.ae