x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Egypt stares into the abyss

Arabic editorials also comment on the waning influence of the United States and King Abdullah's visit to Ramallah.

Egypt, on the brink pandemonium

The situation in Egypt is sliding into the danger zone where not only the revolution is threatened but the entire country and its neighbours, said the columnist Mamoun Fandi in the London-based Asharq Al Awsat daily.

It is important at this point that we recognise what got us to the verge of the abyss, and how we can stop the seemingly inevitable confrontation, he said.

The revolution started to put an end to the state of emergency that allows the state to take drastic measures outside any established legal boundaries. Although it was declared that the state of emergency was removed, there was no statement by the military council to that effect.

The revolution started to put an end to the system of political, cultural and physical bullying.

The revolution started to bring down the 1971 constitution with all of its liberty-binding articles.

However, months have passed and the people have yet to know if the old constitution is effectively abolished or not.

"The revolution is going in one direction and the military in another. The general impression at the moment is that the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces stands in opposition to the revolution."

Egypt faces havoc and it seems that the SCAF doesn't have the desire nor the political imagination to rescue the country from the crisis. It continues to implicate the army in the murder of Egyptians.

A second victory for the Egyptian revolutio

Tuesday's million-strong protests in Egypt's Tahrir Square succeeded in pressuring the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) into responding to most of the protesters' demands, said the pan-Arab newspaper Al Quds Al Arabi in its editorial.

As General Mohammed Hussein Tantawi announced the council's acceptance of the cabinet's resignation and the announcement of a date for presidential elections, in addition to a number of other concessions, it still failed to convince the majority of protesters in the square. The statement, in their opinion, was too late and didn't offer an express apology for the most recent atrocities committed against the people.

A new cabinet will be formed with the task of managing the transitional period, but the scope of its authority raises many a question. How powerful will its head be and how much liberty will he be afforded in making decisions and selecting ministers away from the SCAF's influence?

"The ruling military council failed to offer a smooth transitional period. It committed the abominable crime of allowing protesters in Tahrir Square to be shot at and thus repeating the very sin that sparked the revolution in the first place."

The Egyptian people were clear in their demand for the army to transfer power to a civil body. It would be difficult for them to stop their movement before this demand is met.

US star is on decline in run-up to elections

"When the leaders of a nation start to indulge in talking, with or without context, about their nation's greatness, you can be sure, dear reader, that the nation in question is in decline," noted Manar Al Shourbagi, an Egyptian academic, in an opinion article carried yesterday in the Dubai-based newspaper Al Bayan.

That is what has been happening in the United States in the lead-up to next year's presidential elections. And since the US president Barack Obama cannot cover up the economic recession, because it directly affects regular Americans, his talk about the "greatness" of the US these days is more on culture and values, on the one hand, and international standing, on the other.

"Yet the US is regressing on both counts," the writer said. It is no secret that the US has lost a great deal of its credibility on the moral level, due to its record of military faux pas and human rights violations.

As to its international influence, it is continuously shrinking - to the extent that Washington has become "isolated and incapable" of exercising any kind of consequent pressure on, say, the Unesco when a vote this month admitted Palestine as its newest member, against US-Israeli wishes.

It's just that "US politicians always manage to convince the American public of otherwise," the writer said.

King's visit implies Palestine is sovereign

The visit by King Abdullah II of Jordan this week to the Palestinian Authority chief, Mahmoud Abbas, comes as a show of Amman's support to Palestinian sovereignty, stated the West Bank-based newspaper, Al Quds, in an editorial yesterday.

The school of thought in Israel that maintains Jordan must be the "alternative state" of all Palestinians has been given a blow.

"Jordanian-Palestinian relations are deeper and greater than what a newspaper article could cover. And despite the fact that this relationship has its highs and lows and moments of stagnation, the fraternal, social and geographical bond at its core remains immune to political alterations inside and outside the region."

King Abdullah's first visit to Ramallah - which also comes as a boost to efforts for reconciliation between Fatah and Gaza - amounts to "a renewed pledge" to preserve and push forward this relationship with the Palestinians as a sovereign people.

Rejecting the "alternative state" idea, King Abdullah said many times before that "Jordan is Jordan and Palestine is Palestine … and we in Jordan know what our direction is and our perspective is clear on the protection of the future of Palestine," Al Quds quoted the Jordanian monarch as saying in previous statements.

* Digest compiled by The Translation Desk