x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Morsi' family members need to behave well

A minor incident involving the Egyptian president's son should remind his relatives to prudently obey the law, Egyptian papers say. Other topics: Iraqi troops in Syria, and progress by UAE women.

Morsi must prevent his family members from abusing his power, and establish the rule of law

A son of Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi had an altercation on Friday with a guard at the president's residence in Zagazig.

The guard was allegedly insulted and intimidated by Abdullah, the president's youngest son, after the man was denied entry, because the car he was driving did not have a presidential plate.

Egyptian media blame Mr Morsi and his son for the incident. The Cairo-based Al Shorouk newspaper carried two articles on the topic yesterday.

The president has a good opportunity to show Egyptians, supporters and opponents that no one is above the law, wrote Wael Kandil.

He must ensure that his son follows the law before calling on other people to respect it, the writer said.

It is not enough that the president's elder son has apologised for his younger brother's offence. In fact, even the president's apology would not be enough.

Even if the officer were to accept the apology, the whole of society has the right to ask if, in light of the incident, Egypt is "really serious about establishing a state that abides by the rule of law", Kandil wrote.

This is not the first time the president's son has become involved in such an altercation. The difference, this time around, is that he went too far.

So the president must order an honest investigation into the case and get the offender punished if he is proven guilty.

Following this incident, Egyptians asked Mr Morsi: "are we in all equal before the law?"

On the same subject, Emad Eddine Hussein wrote that Mr Morsi might just denounce the incident as an attempt by the media to enmesh him.

This would not come as a surprise to many Egyptians, considering that the president's party and organisation are convinced that all that is published in newspapers about him is part of an organised campaign, spearheaded by members of the counter-revolution, against all efforts of the president.

But the fact is, the writer said, that the activities of some of the president's immediate family members are proving to be a burden for him.

Remember that it was Abdullah, the same son of the president, who once called opponents of his father "mules", and assaulted a correspondent for El wady in Al Sharqia governorate.

Mr Morsi and his children must realise that presidents' families around the world are put under the microscope. People will not ask who is at fault, the son or the officer. Rather they will accuse the well-connected individual of abusing his father's powers.

The president must ask his children to learn a lesson from the fate of Hosni Mubarak's sons. Ironically, it took 20 years of Mr Mubarak's rule for Egyptians to hear of his sons, but only 20 weeks of Mr Morsi's to hear about his.

Iraqi troops cross the Syrian border

Recent video footage showed Iraqi forces crossing the Syrian border to Al Yarubiya town in the north-east of Syria. The following day, the Iraqi government admitted sending troops into Syria, on the grounds that combat has reached Iraqi areas.

"[Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri] Al Maliki's involvement changes the Syrian war's nature, from a proxy war to a direct confrontation to support the Assad regime's forces," wrote the columnist Abdul Rahman Al Rashed in the pan-Arab newspaper Asharq Al Awsat.

This is indeed a large-scale regional war. Bashar Al Assad's entire armed forces are supported by troops from Iran and thousands of Hizbollah fighters, in addition to Russian experts and advisers. Now, Mr Al Maliki's forces stand against the Syrian people, who are left to fend for themselves.

Justifying his support for Mr Al Assad, the Iraqi prime minister claimed that the regime's fall would jeopardise Iraq's stability.

"This is an exaggeration," said the writer.

"Collaborating in the war would be far more threatening to Iraq than neutrality."

This development only proves that Mr Al Maliki has become a puppet in Iran's hands. Just like Hassan Nasrallah, the chief of Hizbollah in Lebanon, he has no way of refusing a request from the all-powerful Iranian Revolutionary Guards.


UAE women made progress in short time

UAE women have every reason to celebrate International Women's Day on March 8, given the tangible progress they have made in terms of social and professional standing - and in such a short time, wrote Dr Fatima Al Saayegh, of UAE University, in the opinion pages of the Dubai-based newspaper Al Bayan yesterday.

Some people with ill intentions, however, try to portray women in this country as "marginalised" and "deprived of their civil rights", the writer noted.

"The truth is, anyone who tries to picture UAE women in this light must be ignorant of the status they have reached today and what they have gained under the Union [of the seven Emirates more than 40 years ago]."

UAE women have proven their dynamism and ability to adapt to modern times without losing sight of their core values and traditions, she said.

"Women in the UAE have proven their social flexibility … preserving the bulk of their culture's social values while keeping abreast of the advance of modernity." This is not to claim that an Emirati woman "has superpowers", the writer conceded. "Like other modern women, she is faced with a number of structural challenges … which might consist of impediments to her progress if she fails to overcome them."

* Digest compiled by the Translation Desk