x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Founding children lead the revolution in Egypt

A daily roundup of the region's news translated from the Arabic press.

As soon as the Jordanian monarch and the Yemeni president announced reforms in their countries, the US president was prompt to congratulate them, wrote Tareq al Homayed, the editor-in-chief of the London-based daily Asharq al Awsat. Why did Mr Obama applaud them? And did he have a role to play in the events?

"Of course not. It is true that the Americans have a vested interest in the stability of our region's states, including Egypt, for the purposes of war and peace. But what is also clear is that the US administration is seeking to add the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt and the reforms in Jordan and Yemen to its list of achievements that would showcase it as a patron of democracy in our region."

However, this is far from the truth. The US didn't have an idea about what happened in Tunisia. They refuse to believe that it was the sons of Egypt themselves that started this reformist movement. This time, it wasn't the founding fathers who led the reform but rather the founding children, Egypt's youth, whereas the US seems to be stumbling in Iraq and Afghanistan.

At this juncture of events, the US would be best advised to let the region's countries decide their own fates. There should be an agreement on common frameworks of democracy that allow people to choose the practices that best befit them and their aspirations.


Ex-US defence chief has only one regret

The former US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld refuses to apologise for the invasion of Iraq and insists that he took the right decisions while in office, as shown in excerpts of his memoirs that were published in a number of American newspapers earlier this week.

The pan-Arabic daily Al Quds al Arabi commented on Mr Rumsfeld's memoirs in which he claims that he is proud of his achievements in Iraq and that his only regret is that the former US president George W Bush didn't accept his resignation from office following the Abu Ghraib torture scandal.

"We don't know what achievements Mr Rumsfeld is referring to. His war in Iraq left one million widows and more than four million orphans. Add to that, it created a major shift in the region's strategic balance".

The former official fabricated false pretences to back his aggression that killed 5,000 US troops and taxed the US treasury with a trillion dollar war budget. All that and his sole regret is the torture of Abu Ghraib.

The decision to wage war on Iraq was taken in the aftermath of 9/11.

"It is most unfortunate that most of the officials who were directly involved in the war such as George W Bush, Tony Blair and Donald Rumsfeld all refuse to apologise for their crimes and camouflage the truth in their memoirs."


Algeria launches new era of security reform

It is certain that the announcement of a project to lift the state of emergency in Algeria after 19 years is in fact an announcement of a new political openness and a departure from circumstances that arose in reaction to the anti-terrorism laws of a certain time, observed the Dubai-based daily Al Bayan in its editorial.

The announcement will give Algerians a much-needed dose of oxygen to promote genuine democracy, especially since the emergency law has fed political and social tensions for many years.

It is true that Algerian citizens still lack basic life necessities, but the lifting of the state of emergency is an important and commendable step for it will eventually lift the psychological barrier between the people and the ruling elite. It will be even more important once it takes place within the framework of additional reforms, constitutional and institutional, for the greater benefit of Algeria and the Algerians.

When the news comes from the Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika himself, it can be interpreted as an indication that Algeria has finally overcome the stage of security phobia. Terrorism was defeated on security and popular levels; whatever remains can be dealt with under specific anti-terrorism laws and procedures without the need for a comprehensive state of emergency.


Egyptians do not want US or Iranian influence

When the attitude of the US president and major EU leaders converge with that of Iran, this calls for a review of the events in Egypt, observed the columnist Saleh al Qallab in the Jordanian daily Al Rai.

The young generation that created the uprising via Facebook is worried that their revolution is being kidnapped and that parties that were absent, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, are reaping the rewards of their efforts.

It is most interesting that, unlike the norms of similar popular uprisings, not one cry against the US or Israel was heard. Not one outcry was voiced against the US occupation of Iraq and not one US or Israeli flag was burned.

The question that arises here is: will this Egyptian situation signal the beginning of a power-sharing agreement between the US and Iran, or does it herald more competition and conflict in the Middle Eastern area?

Everything is possible, but the Americans and the Iranians must take into consideration that the Egyptian people are proud of their history and their country and will refuse any interference in their internal affairs, which would lead to more hostility towards the US and Iran in Egypt - and indeed in the Middle East region.


* Digest compiled by Racha Makarem