x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Egypt a setback for Islamists across the region

The expulsion from office of Mohammed Morsi will dash the hopes of Islamists across the region, a columnist says. Other pieces: violence in Egypt, despair in Syria.

Collapse of Brotherhood rule in Egypt spoils the hopes of other Islamists across the Arab world

William Burns, the US deputy secretary of state, arrived in Cairo on Monday for a two-day visit. The same day, demonstrations by supporters of the deposed president, Mohammed Morsi, and of the Muslim Brotherhood, spiralled into violent clashes with security forces, columnist Rajeh Al Khouri noted in the Lebanese daily Annahar.

Seven people died in this latest fighting, and more than 200 were injured.

The US envoy arrived with one essential piece of advice for the new leaders: don't push the Muslim Brotherhood into underground action, Al Khouri wrote.

However, the matter isn't dealt with at the sole discretion of the Egyptian army, which clearly explained that its intervention, widely seen as a military coup, was merely aimed at preventing civil strife.

Brotherhood leaders from all over the Middle East reportedly met in Istanbul this week at the invitation of the Islamist Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to look into the repercussions of the hard blow the Brotherhood was dealt in Egypt and the chances of getting Mohammed Morsi back into power.

The "meeting of wailers" represented the Brotherhood in 80 countries. Its closing statement reaffirmed Morsi's legitimacy and called for his reinstatement.

"The recent seismic events in Egypt didn't only bring down the Brotherhood; they destroyed the plan for a new Middle East under Brotherhood stewardship and US partnership," the writer said.

Mr Morsi's government was elected, but the 33 million Egyptians in the streets to oppose the Brotherhood's authority overturned the election results.

The Brotherhood's collapse in Egypt ended the broader group's plans to win power throughout the Middle East. In Tunisia, where Islamist rulers are gearing up to deal with their own version of Egypt's Rebel movement, Rashid Al Ghannushi, leader of the Islamic Ennahda Party was quoted saying: "We will feel the repercussions of what Egypt's Brotherhood has done across all Arab countries."

Army chief Abdel Fattah Al Sisi has been trying to convince Washington that the Islamist faction's warnings of civil war are just empty threats.

It seems that the perspective in the emergency operations centre in Washington has indeed changed.

That is why Mr Burns was sent to Cairo with a new suggestion for a road map that curtails any possibility of Mr Morsi's return to power while ensuring the end of the turmoil that has threatened to repeat the Algerian experience and bring Egypt to ruin.

The game is over for Mr Morsi. Efforts now should be focused on persuading the Muslim Brotherhood to participate once again in the public domain, the writer concluded.


Will Egypt's Islamists resort to violence?

Will the Muslim Brotherhood or their supporters resort to violence in response to the abrupt end of their rule only one year after they took office? That's what Emad Eddine Hussein asked in an article in the Cairo-based newspaper Al Shorouk.

The writer answered affirmatively, noting that the easiest decision a desperate person can make is to end his life and in the process kill the people he dislikes.

But the Brotherhood cannot really bear the heavy cost of using violence. They lost political power, and in their year-long rule lost almost much support. Will they now venture into losing the entire country?

The moment the Brotherhood decides on violence, they will lose what remains of people's sympathy. The majority of Egyptians already disdain the Brotherhood for its failures in government.

The Brotherhood's decision to block some roads and squares is already taking an immense toll on its popularity, and this will get worse if they dare use violence.

The Brotherhood should remember that the public once sympathised with them, but turned against them when they grew violent in the early 1990s.

Trying that again means committing political suicide, the writer said. They would be classified as a terrorist organisation at home and abroad. They cannot fight the people, the army, the police, the political forces and civil society.

World's inertia means Syrian crisis goes on

The Syrian crisis is attracting an increasing number of militant groups, from Hizbollah and the Al Nusra Front to the Islamic State of Iraq group, the Dubai-based newspaper Al Bayan said in its editorial yesterday.

This threatens to sink the country and the region still deeper into the unknown, the paper said, but the international community is still uncertain about how to rescue the Syrian people from a conflict that has killed tens of thousands in 30 months.

"The world's silence has not only allowed Hizbollah and other sectarian militias from all around the region to get involved in the conflict, it has also encouraged the Pakistani Taliban to declare their descent upon Syria to set up camps there and finish the regime," the newspaper said.

Since the uprising turned from peaceful protests to a guerrilla war against the regime, the Syrian people have reiterated that they did not need anyone to fight on their behalf. Instead, they said they need logistical and material support, the paper noted.

"The international community's indecision is bringing further destruction on Syria and on Syrians, not to mention an entire generation that will suffer from the repercussions of this destructive war," the paper said in conclusion.


* Digest compiled by The Translation Desk