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The Muslim Brotherhood’s Initiative as a Reform Program

Sayed Mahmoud Al-Qumni
On March 3, 2004, Mr. Махди Акеф, the leader and guide of the Muslim Brotherhood launched the Brotherhood’s Initiative to Participate in Awaited Democratic Reform, presenting the Brotherhood as a political faction that deems itself competent to participate. The Brotherhood presented itselfnaturallyin the best possible light, which is everyone’s right. And on May 8, 2004, Dr. Essam Aryan, a Brotherhood luminary well known due to his appearances on the local Egyptian satellite station, Dream TV, said this initiative is a comprehensive, complete program for soon converting the Brotherhood into a political party.
демократија, in its liberal sense, means rule by the people, legislating laws for themselves according to their conditions. It doesn’t just mean elections. More importantly, and to lay the foundations for elections, democracy is a pluralistic political system that guarantees citizenspublic and private freedoms, especially freedom of expression and opinion. It also guarantees their human rights, especially freedom of religion. These are absolute freedoms, without any limitation or monitoring. The democratic system allows peaceful change of power in society and is based on a separation of powers. The judicial branch, especially, must be totally independent. Democracies adopt the free market economy that is based on competition, and that encourages individual initiatives. Democracies are based on channels of dialgoue and peaceful understanding among citizens. In dealing with local and international conflicts, they avoid military options as much as possible. Along with those who believe in democracy, it confronts the mentality of terrorism and violent fundamentalist dogmatism. Democracies oppose absolutist ideas that claim to own the absolute truth, and defend relativistic and pluralistic principles. By doing so, they provide all religions the right to be active safely, except opinions that aim to confiscate freedoms or impose themselves on other parties by force or violence. So democracies are concerned with freeing religion from the monopoly of one interpretation or one sect.
In summary, democracy is a group of regulatory and legal measures for society that humankind has reached after a long history of conflict to refine authorities where religious figures cannot impose their will. Religious authorities were disengaged from the
authorities of the state, to guarantee the state’s neutrality toward all religions. This is what allows for freedom of religion and opinion, and freedom of worship for all in total freedom and equality. This prevents conflict in the name of religion, which leads to the security of the state and its citizens.

On March 3, 2004, Mr. Махди Акеф, the leader and guide of the Muslim Brotherhood launched the Brotherhood’s Initiative to Participate in Awaited Democratic Reform, presenting the Brotherhood as a political faction that deems itself competent to participate. The Brotherhood presented itselfnaturallyin the best possible light, which is everyone’s right. And on May 8, 2004, Dr. Essam Aryan, a Brotherhood luminary well known due to his appearances on the local Egyptian satellite station, Dream TV, said this initiative is a comprehensive, complete program for soon converting the Brotherhood into a political party.Democracy, in its liberal sense, means rule by the people, legislating laws for themselves according to their conditions. It doesn’t just mean elections. More importantly, and to lay the foundations for elections, democracy is a pluralistic political system that guarantees citizenspublic and private freedoms, especially freedom of expression and opinion. It also guarantees their human rights, especially freedom of religion. These are absolute freedoms, without any limitation or monitoring. The democratic system allows peaceful change of power in society and is based on a separation of powers. The judicial branch, especially, must be totally independent. Democracies adopt the free market economy that is based on competition, and that encourages individual initiatives. Democracies are based on channels of dialgoue and peaceful understanding among citizens. In dealing with local and international conflicts, they avoid military options as much as possible. Along with those who believe in democracy, it confronts the mentality of terrorism and violent fundamentalist dogmatism. Democracies oppose absolutist ideas that claim to own the absolute truth, and defend relativistic and pluralistic principles. By doing so, they provide all religions the right to be active safely, except opinions that aim to confiscate freedoms or impose themselves on other parties by force or violence. So democracies are concerned with freeing religion from the monopoly of one interpretation or one sect.In summary, democracy is a group of regulatory and legal measures for society that humankind has reached after a long history of conflict to refine authorities where religious figures cannot impose their will. Religious authorities were disengaged from theauthorities of the state, to guarantee the state’s neutrality toward all religions. This is what allows for freedom of religion and opinion, and freedom of worship for all in total freedom and equality. This prevents conflict in the name of religion, which leads to the security of the state and its citizens.

Терористички и екстремистички движења на Блискиот исток

Ентони Х.. Кордесман

Тероризмот и асиметричната војна се едвај нови карактеристики на блискоисточната воена рамнотежа, и исламски
екстремизмот е тешко единствениот извор на екстремистичко насилство. Постојат многу сериозни етнички и секташки разлики
на Блискиот исток, и овие одамна доведоа до спорадично насилство во рамките на дадените држави, а понекогаш и до големи граѓански
конфликти. Граѓанските војни во Јемен и бунтот Дхофар во Оман се примери, како што се долгата историја на граѓанскиот
војна во Либан и насилното сузбивање на исламските политички групи што се спротивставија на режимот на Хафез ал-
Асад. Зголемената моќ на Палестинската ослободителна организација (ПЛО) доведе до граѓанска војна во Јордан во септември
1970. Иранската револуција во 1979 беше проследено со сериозни политички борби, и обид за извоз на теократска
револуција што помогна во активирањето на Иранско-ирачката војна. Бахреин и Саудиска Арабија имаа граѓански судири меѓу нив
Сунитски владејачки елити и непријателски шиити и овие судири доведоа до значително насилство во случајот на Саудиска Арабија.
Таму исто така, сепак, е долга историја на насилниот исламски екстремизам во регионот, понекогаш охрабрени од
режими кои подоцна станаа мета на самите исламисти кои првично ги поддржуваа. Садат се обиде да го искористи исламскиот
движења како контра на неговото секуларно спротивставување во Египет само за да биде убиен од едно такво движење по неговото
мировен договор со Израел. Израел сметаше дека е безбедно да ги спонзорира исламските движења потоа 1967 како бројач на
ПЛО, само за да се види брзото појавување на насилно анти-израелски групи. Северен и јужен Јемен беа сцената на
државни удари и граѓански војни од раните 1960-ти, и тоа беше граѓанска војна во Јужен Јемен што на крајот доведе до колапс
на неговиот режим и неговото спојување со Северен Јемен во 1990.
Падот на шахот доведе до преземање на исламистите во Иран, и предизвика отпор кон советската инвазија на Авганистан
исламистичка реакција која сè уште влијае на Блискиот исток и целиот исламски свет. Саудиска Арабија мораше да се справи
востание во Големата џамија во Мека во 1979. Религиозниот карактер на ова востание споделуваше многу елементи
на движењата што се појавија по советското повлекување од Авганистан и Заливската војна во 1991.
Алжирските напори да се потисне победата на исламските политички партии на демократски избори во 1992 беа проследени со
граѓанска војна што трае од тогаш. Египет водеше долга и во голема мера успешна битка со сопствениот исламски
екстремисти во 90-тите години на минатиот век, но Египет успеа само да ги потисне ваквите движења наместо да ги искорени
нив. Во остатокот од арапскиот свет, граѓанските војни во Косово и Босна помогнаа да се создадат нови исламски екстремистички кадри.
Претходно Саудиска Арабија страдаше од два големи терористички напади 2001. Овие напади се случија врз Националната гарда
Центар за обука и касарната на УСАФ во Ал Хобар, и се чини дека барем еден бил резултат на исламски
екстремисти. Мароко, Либија, Тунис, Џордан, Бахреин, Катар, Оман, и Јемен видоа тврд исламист
движењата стануваат сериозна национална закана.
Иако не е директно дел од регионот, Судан водеше 15-годишна граѓанска војна, која веројатно чинеше над две
милиони животи, и оваа војна беше поддржана од тврди исламистички елементи на арапскиот север. Сомалија исто така
оттогаш е сцена на граѓанска војна 1991 што им овозможи на исламистичките ќелии да работат во таа земја.а

Тероризмот и асиметричната војна се едвај нови карактеристики на блискоисточната воена рамнотежа, а исламикстестремизмот е тешко единствениот извор на екстремистичко насилство. Постојат многу сериозни етнички и секташки разлики на Блискиот исток, и овие одамна доведоа до спорадично насилство во рамките на дадените држави, а понекогаш и до големи граѓански конфликти. Граѓанските војни во Јемен и бунтот Дхофар во Оман се примери, како што е долгата историја на граѓанската војна во Либан и насилното сузбивање на исламските политички групи што се спротивставија на режимот на Хафез ал-Асад во Сирија. Зголемената моќ на Палестинската ослободителна организација (ПЛО) доведе до граѓанска војна во Јордан во септември 1970 година. Иранската револуција во 1979 беше проследено со сериозни политички борби, и обид за извоз на теократска револуција што помогна во активирањето на Иранско-ирачката војна. И Бахреин и Саудиска Арабија имаа граѓански судири меѓу нивните сунитски владејачки елити и непријателски шиити и овие судири доведоа до значително насилство во случајот на Саудиска Арабија. Таму исто така, сепак, е долга историја на насилниот исламски екстремизам во регионот, понекогаш охрабрени од страна на режими кои подоцна станаа мета на самите исламисти кои првично ги поддржуваа. Садат се обиде да ги користи исламските движења како контра на неговото секуларно спротивставување во Египет, за потоа да биде убиен од едно такво движење по договорот за мир со Израел. Израел сметаше дека е безбедно да ги спонзорира исламските движења потоа 1967 како бројач на ПЛО, само за да се види брзото појавување на насилно анти-израелски групи. Северен и јужен Јемен беа сцени на корупции и граѓански војни од раните 1960-ти, и тоа беше граѓанска војна во Јужен Јемен што на крајот доведе до распад на неговиот режим и нејзино спојување со Северен Јемен во 1990 година. Падот на шахот доведе до преземање на исламистите во Иран, и отпорот кон советската инвазија на Авганистан предизвика исламистичка реакција која сè уште влијае на Блискиот исток и целиот исламски свет. Саудиска Арабија мораше да се справи со востанието во Големата џамија во Мека во 1979. Религиозниот карактер на ова востание споделуваше многу елементи на движењата што се појавија по повлекувањето на Советскиот Сојуз од Авганистан и Заливската војна во 1991 година. 1992 следеше граѓанска војна што трае од тогаш. Египет водеше долга и главно успешна битка со сопствените исламиксестремисти во 90-тите години на минатиот век, но Египет успеа само да ги потисне ваквите движења отколку да ги искорени. Во остатокот од арапскиот свет, граѓанските војни во Косово и Босна помогнаа да се создадат нови исламистички екстремистички кадри. Саудиска Арабија претрпе порано од два големи терористички напади 2001. Овие напади се случија во Центарот за обука на Националната гарда и касарната на УСАФ кај Ал Хобар, и се чини дека барем еден бил резултат на исламиксестремисти. Мароко, Либија, Тунис, Џордан, Бахреин, Катар, Оман, и Јемен видоа дека тврдокорните исламистички движења стануваат сериозна национална закана. Додека не се директно дел од регионот, Судан водеше граѓанска војна во траење од 15 години, што веројатно чинеше над дваесет милиони животи, и оваа војна беше поддржана од тврди исламистички елементи на арапскиот север. Оттогаш, Сомалија има и сцена на граѓанска војна 1991 што им овозможи на исламистичките ќелии да работат во таа земја.

Commentary: Hollow ring for democracy

Арно DE BORCHGRAVE

WASHINGTON, June 24 (UPI) — The White House’s crusade for democracy, as President Bush sees it, has produceda critical mass of events taking that (Middle Eastern) region in a hopeful new direction.And Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice just toured the area, making clear at every stop whenever the United States has a choice between stability and democracy, the new ideological remedy would sacrifice stability.

Veteran Mideast hands who have dealt with five regional wars and two intifadas over the past half century shuddered. Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger first among them.

For the U.S. to crusade in every part of the world to spread democracy may be beyond our capacity,” he says. The U.S. system, he explains, “is the product of unique historical experiences, difficult to duplicate or to transplant into Muslim societies where secular democracy has seldom thrived.If ever.

If stability had been sacrificed for democracy, the former national security adviser and secretary of State to Presidents Nixon and Ford could not have negotiated major Arab-Israeli disengagement agreements: Sinai I, Golan and Sinai II. Without the undemocratic, benign dictatorial figure of Anwar Sadat at the helm in Egypt, or without the late Syrian dictator and master terror-broker Hafez Assad, yet another page of war history would have been written.

With a democratic parliament in Egypt in 1974, presumably dominated by the popular Muslim Brotherhood, Sadat could not have made his spectacular, death-defying trip to Jerusalemand suddenly become the most popular leader in Israel. A peace treaty between Egypt and Israel and between Jordan and Israel were possible only because absolute rulersSadat and the late King Hussein, led both Arab countries.

Sadat knew his courageous act of statesmanship was tantamount to signing his own death warrant. It was carried out in 1981 — by Islamist extremistson worldwide television.

Rice proudly proclaims it is no longer a war against terrorism but a struggle for democracy. She is proud the Bush administration no longer pursues stability at the expense of democracy. But already the democracy crusade is not only encountering speed bumps, but also roadblocks on a road to nowhere.

The much-vaunted Palestinian elections scheduled for July have been postponed indefinitely.

In Lebanon, the ballot box has already been nullified by political machinations. Gen. Michael Aoun, a bright but aging prospect who came back from French exile to take on Syria’s underground machine, has already joined forces with Damascus. While denying any deal with Syria, the general’s henchmen concede he was compensated munificently for his retirement years in Paris from his post as army chief of staff and his time as premier. Aoun collected $22 million, which included compound interest.

In Egypt, Rice, presumably attempting to confer respectability on President Hosni Mubarak’s challengers, took time out to receive a known political charlatan who has over the years been exposed as someone who forged election results as he climbed the ladder of a number of political parties under a variety of labels.

Even Mubarak’s enemies concede Ayman Nour fabricated and forged the signatures of as many as 1,187 citizens to conform to regulations to legalize his Ghad (Tomorrow) party. His career is dotted with phony academic credentials, plagiarism, a staged assassination attempt on himself, charges of embezzlement by his Saudi media employer, and scads of document forgeries.

Rice had canceled a previous trip to Egypt to protest the indictment and jailing of Nour pending trial. And before Rice’s most recent accolade, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright had also gone out of her way to praise Egypt’s master political con man. Makes you wonder what kind of political reporting is coming out of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.

With this double-headed endorsement by the United States, Nour is losing what little favor he still has in Egypt. He is now seen as a U.S. stooge, to add to a long list of failings.

The Muslim Brotherhood, which is outlawed but tolerated since it renounced terrorism, is more representative of Egyptian opinion than Nour. There is also the Kifaya (Enough) movement that groups Egypt’s leading intellectuals. But they declined to meet with Rice.

The United States is seen throughout the Arab world as synonymous with Israel. This automatically limits the Bush administration’s ability to win friends and influence people. Those making the most out of U.S. pressure to democratize are organizations listed by the United States asterrorist.Both Hamas in the Palestinian territories and Hezbollah in Lebanon are now mining opportunities both above and underground. Islamic legislators in Jordan petitioned King Abdullah to allow Jordanian Hamas leaders, evicted six years ago, to come home. The king listened impassively.

It took Europe 500 years to reach the degree of political maturity witnessed by the recent collapse of the European Union’s plans for a common constitution. Winston Churchill said democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried. But Churchill also said, “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.This still applies in the souks of the Arab world, from Marrakech to Muscat.

The Problem of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood

Џефри Azarva

Самуел Tadros

On June 20, 2007, САД. Department of State’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research convened ameeting ofU.S. intelligence officials to weigh the prospect of formal engagement with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood,1known in Arabic as al-Ikhwan al-Muslimin. The session was the result of several years of discussion aboutengaging the group considered by many to be the fountainhead of Sunni fundamentalism.Although the Bush administration established a diplomatic quarantine of the Brotherhood afterSeptember 11, 2001, members of the U.S. House of Representatives held several meetings in Egyptin the spring of 2007—almost three months before the State Department meeting—with MuhammadSaad al-Katatni, an independent member of the Egyptian parliament and the head of its Brotherhoodaffiliatedbloc. On April 5, 2007, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) broke with conventionand met with Katatni at the Egyptian parliament building and at the residence ofU.S. ambassador to Egypt Francis J. Ricciardone. Then, on May 27, 2007, a four-member U.S. congressionaldelegation led by Representative David Price (D-N.C.) met with Katatni in Cairo.Following Hoyer’s visit, САД. Embassy in Cairo dismissed Egyptian criticism that his meetingspresaged a reversal of U.S. policy.2 In November 2007, Ricciardone also played down themeetings when he claimed that U.S. contacts with nominally independent Brotherhood members did“not imply American endorsement of the views of the individual parliamentarians or their politicalaffiliates.”3 Despite this reassurance, the meetings with Katatni are indicative of opinion leaders, bothinside and outside the U.S. government, warming inevitable. Yet while the movement, established by Hassan al-Banna in 1928, constitutes the most organizedand well-funded opposition in the country today—the byproduct of both its charitable services and da’wa (literally“call to God,” or preaching) network that operate outside state control—any examination of its rhetoricand political platforms shows U.S. outreach to be premature. Despite its professed commitment to pluralismand the rule of law, the Brotherhood continues to engage in dangerous doublespeak when it comes to the mostfundamental issues of democracy.

Reneging on Reform: Egypt and Tunisia

Џефри Azarva

On November 6, 2003, President George W. Bush proclaimed, “Sixty years of Western nations excusingand accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe—because in the longrun, stability cannot be purchased at the expense of liberty.” This strategic shift, coupled with the invasionsof Iraq and Afghanistan, put regional governments on notice. The following spring, Tunisia’s president, ZineEl Abidine Bin Ali, and Egypt’s president, Hosni Mubarak—stalwart allies in the U.S.-led war on terrorismand two of North Africa’s most pro-American rulers—were among the first Arab leaders to visit Washingtonand discuss reform. But with this “Arab spring” has come the inadvertent rise of Islamist movementsthroughout the region. Now, as U.S. policymakers ratchet down pressure, Egypt and Tunisia see a greenlight to backtrack on reform.

What Happened to the “Arab Street?

Neha Sahgal



Why do opposition movements engage in protest under some circumstances but not inothers? Why did the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt organize large scale protest during the 2005regime initiated political reforms while remaining largely off the streets during the United States’led war in Iraq in 2003? There is a common notion among Western public opinion and policymakers that United States’ policies in the Middle East have led to greater political activismamong Islamic fundamentalists. Yet, while citizens around the world protested the war in Iraq,Egypt remained largely quiet. The lack of protest and other acts of opposition were surprisinggiven the history of Arab-anti colonial struggle, the 1950s street politics in Egypt that broughtNasser to power and the flourishing civil society organizations in the region exemplified byIslamist parties, non governmental organizations and professional syndicates. More importantly,with the 2005 regime initiated political opening in Egypt, the country’s largest oppositionmovement, the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood organized high levels of protests anddemonstrations exposing undemocratic practices of the current government and seeking greaterpolitical freedom. The year 2005, was marked by a “wave of contention” in Egypt standing instark contrast to the lack of mobilization against the Iraq war. Clearly, Muslim Brotherhoodprotest activity is guided by factors other than the prevalence of “anti-Americanism.”Scholars of contentions politics have developed and tested various theories that explainand predict protest behavior. Strain and breakdown theories explain protest as an outcome ofeconomic conditions while resource mobilization theories have stressed the role of material andorganizational constraints in organizing protest. Yet others have argued that protests are spurredby structural changes, на пример, divisions or breakdown in the government. In this paper, Iargue that explaining the protest behavior of one group should take into account the group’sinteraction with other opposition actors. Opposition groups operate in a dense network of allies,adversaries as well as counter movements. Therefore their strategies influence each other intangible ways. I present an analysis of how the 2005 political opening in Egypt led to changes inlegal parties such as al-Ghad and al-Wafd that were allowed to contest presidential andparliamentary elections. Further, the new movement Kifaya, originally formed to expressopposition to the Iraq war, also gained momentum as an anti-Mubarak, pro-democracy alliance.The changes in the parties that were allowed to contest elections and the emergence of newmovements altered the socio-political context for the “officially banned, yet tolerated,” MuslimBrotherhood. The Brotherhood tried to reassert itself as the main voice of political opposition inthe country by organizing greater protest activity and in this way established similarity with legalopposition parties. While legal opposition parties remain weak and ineffective in Egypt, andnewer opposition movements are still small in their membership, they may still influence eachothers’ strategies in tangible ways.