x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Egypt violence more serious this time

Arabic newspaper say that the events in Egypt indicate either a military coup or another revolution, only more violent. One columnist says that Israeli force a result of Arabs' inaction. Other topics discuss volatility of oil prices and Iranian moves

The events in Egypt point to a military coup or a second revolution more violent than the first

Wednesday's violent events in Al Abbassiya square in the centre of Cairo that left twenty people dead and hundreds wounded only reveal how precarious the situation is and how feeble security has become as Egypt enters a dark tunnel of instability on more than one level, said the London-based newspaper Al Quds Al Arabi in its editorial.

"Opening live fire on a group of people staging a peaceful protest in front of the Ministry of Defence to complain about the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces' practices was a desperate attempt to create turmoil and spread chaos in the aim of derailing the revolution to serve the interests of the former corrupt regime," opined the paper. "Scaf is to be held solely responsible for this perilous slide into instability."

As a matter of fact, the military council has been dragging its feet in transferring power and wasting time by rejecting requests by the parliamentary majority to form a government to replace Al Janzouri's government. Scaf has been resisting popular demands to revoke some of the security apparatus's ultimate powers and all of these factors combined contributed to, or rather accelerated, the alarming deterioration that transpired in the square.

"The big dilemma that some are trying to circumvent is that an agreement, or maybe even an alliance, exists between various internal, regional and international powers that don't want to see Egypt under an Islamist form of rule that could break away with the US or revoke the peace agreements with Israel," suggested the editorial.

The US official and non-official delegations that have flocked to Egypt recently bring with them as many allurements as threats: allurements in the form of big investment offers and financial aid in return for a promises to continue the same policies of the former president, and threats to besiege Egypt diplomatically and to undermine its security should it reject the offers.

The goons that attacked the protesters in the square act upon specific directives from internal powers that are serving external agendas. There are powers that have an interest in creating conflicts between the military and the people which would eventually throw the country into a civil war and cause the postponement of the presidential elections scheduled to take place in three weeks.

The biggest fear at the moment is that the army would take the latest violent events as a pretext to execute a military coup that would reinstate the emergency law and dissolve the parliament and eventually annul the elections.

On the other hand, the popular response to a possible military coup or to another procrastination by the military to hand over power may lead to a second revolution far more aggressive than the first.


Volatility of oil prices and Iranian moves

Given that geopolitical instability plays a major part in fluctuations of oil prices, the imposition of strict sanctions against Iran's oil industry could exacerbate the geopolitical risk, said Mohammed Al Assoumi in an opinion article published in the Emirati newspaper Al Ittihad.

"These sanctions came at a time when the Iranian economy is on the wane due to its increasing military spending and its commitment to backing Syria economically; Iranian oil revenues are expected to decline in the second half of this year, as the embargo on Iran's oil comes into force".

Strictly speaking, the Iranian oil boycott has already started with major countries such as Japan and South Korea cutting their oil imports from Iran.

In a bid to make up for this reduction, Iran has sought to create turbulence in the Arab Gulf. When successive threats to close Strait of Hermuz went unheeded, the provoking visit by the Iranian President Ahmadinejad to the UAE's islands came to send several messages namely that oil supplies are on the line.

"Just as happened with previous threats…, the message sent through Ahmadinejad's visit to Iranian-occupied Abu Musa Island will fail to scare the world with the potential impact of oil suspension in the Gulf," the writer noted.


Israeli force a result of Arabs' inaction

Israel is a permanent member at any negotiating table over the Middle East, to say the least, wrote Sobhi Zaetar in the Saudi newspaper Al Watan.

"This Israeli presence does not come out of the blue," he said. "Israel, being an occupying power, is an undeclared member of the NATO, coalescing with NATO's policies in Iraq and Afghanistan, and recently Libya".

Being an occupying country, Israel is a key player in the solutions being put forward for the crises in the Middle East. Without Israeli consent, no solution can be passed, "No halting of settlement, no establishment of a viable Palestinian state alongside Israel and no return of Palestinian refugees".

The USA and Western countries at large played a major part in Israel's military force on which it banks to enhance its political presence.

The Palestinians, on the other hand, rely on the Arab League's resolutions. But if the Arab League "had amassed aids and donations endorsed to back and liberate and return Palestinians, it would have far and away surpassed what Israel has received since its usurpation of Palestine".

"Israel seems stronger while Palestine and the Arabs are up to their ears in details," the writer concluded.

* Digest compiled by The Translation Desk