x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Morsi's rivals are the ordinary Egyptians

A badly thought-out political appointment is evidence of the Egyptian president's failure, an Arabic language commentator says. Other topics: Syrian sectarianism and an Ethiopian's view of Egypt.

The threat to Morsi is not the opposition, but the increasingly disappointed ordinary Egyptians

The Muslim Brotherhood were good in opposition. But in power, they have proven to be a fiasco to the point of being already at risk of a second revolution, Abdulrahman Al Rashed wrote in an article in the London-based daily Asharq Al Awsat.

A few days ago, Egypt’s tourism minister, Hisham Zaazou, tried to convince viewers of a foreign news channel that Egypt was still hospitable, and promised that the government would not interfere in the affairs of tourists.

Then all of a sudden, on Tuesday, President Mohammed Morsi appointed a fundamentalist associated with the group behind the 1997 Luxor massacre as governor of Luxor province, one of Egypt’s major tourist attractions.

What is the source of this inconsistency is the million-dollar question. It might be due to a lack of experience or the presence of multiple leaders within the ruling party, which still refuses to recognise the presidential system, taking the line of Brotherhood, with a guide, a deputy and collective leadership.

The Muslim Brotherhood has failed because they refuse to adapt, thus further widening the gap between them and others to the point of facing a second uprising, an unimaginable scenario a year ago following Mr Morsi’s win of the presidential vote.

Opponents of the Brotherhood are increasing by the hour. Earlier there were chiefly among the left and the revolutionary youth. Now, they are joined by the army, Copts, the media and intellectuals. Egypt’s stock market and employment rates reflect this disapproval.

Combined, these factors could bury, not just bring down, the government of Mr Morsi, who instead of reassuring his rivals at home, has added new rivals  abroad.

The West, which the opposition accuses of being in alliance with the Brotherhood, might as well turn against them, following the appointment of a minister from a group listed as extremist in the outside world, and whose leader is jailed in the US on terror-related charges.

Many are sceptical about the US stance, which they think is approving of the Brotherhood’s ascension to power, despite their anti-western literature. But Washington does not seem to mind as long as the Brotherhood is willing to cooperate with the international community. And the Brotherhood has not stopped offering reassurances to everyone abroad, including the Israelis.

But the real threat to Mr Morsi and his government is neither the opposition nor the West. It is the ordinary Egyptians who had expectations as great as the promises made to them following the revolution.

The government has failed to honour its promises, despite international loans. Now Egypt has become a widening chasm and the president is digging himself into it by enlarging the circle of his rivals, the writer concluded.

Ethiopian expresses grievance about Egypt

“I’m going to tell what most Ethiopians think: ‘Please stop treating us with superiority and racism.’” This, wrote Emad Eddine Hussein in the Cairo-based Al Shorouk, is what an Ethiopian he met in Addis Ababa told him after we got to know each other .

The man said that he loved Egypt and had visited it many times; he liked the spirit of its people, its sense of humour and its football achievements. Yet he hated that the same people look down upon Africans.

The Africans, and even the Noba people of Sudan and Egypt, are portrayed in a negative light, the Ethiopian man told the columnist, adding: “Check out the image of a caretaker in Egyptian movies, and you will see that the same, decades-long stereotype persists.”

He added that he would not argue about the Renaissance Dam and other political matters, asking: “Have you asked yourselves in Egypt, what do you know about us in Ethiopia and Africa?”

Nothing, the Ethiopian man said, but people in Africa knew a great deal about Egypt, from footballers to major actors to politicians.

“Some of us know about you,” the columnist said. But the Ethiopian man replied that this was just a minority.

“We don’t want any money from you. We want you to remember how Egypt treated us from 1952 to 1977 … back then, we felt you were Africans like us,” the writer reported.

Syrian Sunnis must not engage in retaliation

It is a mistake to mobilise Sunnis against Shiites under the pretext of responding to the grave political mistake of Hizbollah in joining the fight alongside the Al Assad regime, columnist Hussain Al Rawashdeh observed in the Jordan-based Addustour.

It is only natural that Arab nations do all it takes to back the Syrian people. But this should be under the right banner: politics, the writer noted.

The raging conflict is purely military- political. The Syrian people made it clear from the outset that they are against sinking into a religious or sectarian war, because their battle was solely against a tyrannical regime.

The fact that Hizbollah has entered the battle and brought Shiites to a confrontation with Sunnis does not at all justify Sunni scholars returning the favour. The Shiites, particularly Arab Shiites, must not bear the burden of Hizbollah leader Hasan Nasrallah’s doing, the columnist argued.

Tit-for-tat will only spell disaster for the nation, serving none but its enemies. Also, mobilising Sunnis based on sectarian grounds to fight in Syria will only feed off the arguments of Hizbollah, the regime and their allies to continue the war, just as the regime did when it used Al Qaeda and the Al-Nusra Front to make the world scared of terrorists coming to rule Syria, he said.


* Digest compiled by

Abdelhafid Ezzouitni