x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Brotherhood won't give up without a fight

The Egyptian Islamists have coveted power for too long for them to give up easily, an Arabic-language newspaper columnist notes. Other topics: Sinai and the Al Aqsa mosque.

Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood won't relinquish the power it fought for without bloodshed

Abdullah Iskandar, managing editor of the pan-Arab daily Al Hayat, asks: will the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt push for an extensive bloody confrontation to claw its way back to power?

Political and practical indications confirm that the Brotherhood won't hesitate to let all hell break loose in retaliation for the way power, which they won after a century of struggle, was snatched from their hands, Iskandar continued.

Before ascending to power, the Brotherhood launched one of the biggest and most hypocritical propaganda campaigns, claiming to defend the precepts of democracy and pluralism.

But these beliefs seem to have disappeared into thin air when Mohammed Morsi - backed by the Brotherhood's supreme guide, Mohammed Badie - was barricaded in the presidential palace last week refusing to listen to millions of Egyptians urging him to reformulate the transitional period in a way that allows the participation of all of Egypt's political elements.

The writer asked: "Where was the voice of reason when the Brotherhood took unreasonable measures to entrench their authority and circumvent any possibility of power rotation?"

The Islamic group hoped that, for cultural reasons, the West would fall for their hypocrisy. In western democracies, the ruler is determined through the ballot box, and the Brotherhood played that card to draw out a western rejection of the current post-Morsi transitional period because it came about via a "military coup".

The Brotherhood has learnt from experience that many a political battle is won through legal organisations that monitor human rights violations. The group's best bet to portray itself as a victim, and win the sympathy of such organisations, is to make it seem as if the new transition-period authorities and the military are committing human-rights infractions, including arbitrary arrests and shooting at protesters.

"The greatest service the West, and primarily the United States, could do to Egypt and its people to guarantee future stability is not to meet the Brotherhood's propaganda halfway," the writer said.

"Democracy, in the Islamist group's present vernacular, means taking over power again or starting armed disobedience, which can already be seen throughout Egyptian cities."

It is a form of escalation that threatens to tear through the fabric of a population that tends historically towards peace, coexistence and stability. The only form of widespread violence and terrorism that has been witnessed in Egypt came at the hands of Islamists, the writer said.

Acts of violence by the Muslim Brotherhood and their allies fall into a new strategy that aims to give the country just two options: the Brotherhood in power or civil war.

Events in Sinai may be orchestrated by Israel

In the midst of last week's events in Egypt, all eyes are focused on Cairo and a few other major cities, but little attention is given to events unfolding in Sinai despite their significance, observed Amjad Arrar in the Sharjah-based paper Al Khaleej.

One day after the Mohammed Morsi was deposed, an armed offensive in Sinai left a number of Egyptian military officers dead and others injured following a series of coordinated attacks on police and army posts. Al Areesh airport came under heavy fire.

Sinai is host to insurgent groups that have been a headache to the Egyptian army in the past, especially because the area is geographically removed from central control.

"However, there's an important element that warrants close attention: Sinai was under Israeli occupation for 15 years, which gave Israel ample time to establish agent cells and information- gathering units in it. Some of these cells are given sedition-stirring missions to be executed at the right moment," the writer suggested.

A few months ago, 17 Egyptian soldiers were killed by "anonymous" perpetrators in Rafah at the border with Gaza. At the time, the Israeli press tried to imply that a group from Hamas had led the attack.

"Surely, no Palestinian faction would assail Egyptian soldiers or think about jeopardising Egypt's security regardless of any differences with its regime," Arrar said.

Israelis keep pressure on Al Aqsa mosque

Israel has been carrying out all types of offensives on the grounds of the holy Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem in a clear strategy to get the Palestinians out, and to get the world accustomed to such infractions, noted the West Bank-based newspaper Al Quds in its editorial on Sunday.

In recent months, official and partisan Israeli voices have been calling for the establishment of a temple in place of the mosque.

Despite tepid signs of dissatisfaction from prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his party over such statements, facts on the ground indicate that the raids on Al Aqsa are carried out at the behest and with the support of the Shin Bet intelligence agency.

Such recurrent statements must be seen as a wake-up call in the dormant Arab and Islamic nations that are preoccupied with other matters and neglecting the grave dangers that threaten this most significant Islamic site, the writer observed.

"It is an alarm siren for all those who still entertain hopes for a political solution through negotiations," he added.

Israelis continue to fight against everything Palestinian. They are blatantly falsifying reality and distorting the past. Their calls to build the temple are a clear indication of their real plans for the city of Jerusalem, the writer concluded.

* Digest compiled by Racha Makarem