The recent Israeli attacks on Gaza have grabbed the attention of columnists across the country, and more than one writer has praised Egypt’s intervention and support to Palestine. On another note, some columns have criticised the recent ministerial decision to ban the live airing of Egyptian satellite channels like Dream TV, censuring the Muslim Brotherhood’s move.
The importance of presidential elections after the new constitution
Saad Al-Din Ibrahim
Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper
Since the new constitution draft defines a set of authorities to the president of the state, Ibrahim suggests holding new presidential elections after passing the constitution. He argues that the new constitution furnishes the legislative, executive and judicial authorities with powers that could vary from the existing ones.
Therefore, new presidential elections should be mandatory to rebuild a stronger Egypt. When Ibrahim proposed the idea in front of two Islamist leaders, both of them rejected the suggestion, stating that Morsy has already been elected for four years. Ibrahim responded that the currently dissolved parliament had also been elected for four years.
In order for Egypt to re-establish its institutions, Ibrahim believes that probably the only solution is to repeat all elections that have already taken place. Commenting on the constitution, the writer suggests an alternative secular constitution to face off with the Muslim Brotherhood designed document. Egyptians would then have the option of choosing between two documents instead of falling in the trap of a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ that imitates the experience of the 19 March constitutional referendum.
The law between “Dream” and “Abdel Rahim”
Mosalem criticises the recent ministerial decisions to ban the live airing of Dream TV and to ignore the administrative court decision to return Al-Gomhuria former editor-in-chief Gamal Abdel-Rahim to his position. In the writer’s opinion, it has become easier for the Muslim Brotherhood rule to limit freedom of expression than to feed Egyptians’ hungry mouths.
It would be naive to believe the Ministry of Information’s statement that it works to implementing the law, writes Mosalem. Minister Salah Abdel-Maqsoud has probably forgotten that Dream TV allowed several media figures like Magdy Mehana, Mona Al-Shazly, Wael Al-Ibrashy and Ibrahim Eissa to oppose Mubarak’s regime and crystallise the role of the opposition even more.
With the recent decisions to restrict the airing of Dream TV, Mosalem believes the move signifies the Muslim Brotherhood’s desire to control the most important institutions, including the media. Further channels will be vulnerable to challenges according to Mosalem, which will hinder media development.
The Egyptian giant awakes
Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper
Praising the recent Egyptian initiatives supporting Gaza, Salmawi writes that Egypt has only now recovered its strong position in the Arab world. After the diplomatic letter that was sent to our ambassador to Israel, the president has ordered the withdrawal of the envoy amid the recent violence hitting the Gaza strip.
Two years ago, Egypts’ role in the region was at a lowpoint, states Salmawi. However, after Prime Minister Hesham Qandil visited Gaza, accompanied by a large delegation, the country’s status as a regional power was manifest.
Describing Egypt as a once-sleeping giant, Salmawi commends Egyptians for gathering in Tahrir Square to express their frustration towards the incidents. The move led him to conclude that the entire country will unify its efforts to help put an end to the bloodshed in Gaza. The writer believes that recent presidential decisions in reaction to the Israeli attacks on Gaza does not mean anything more than proving to the Arab region that Egypt will not remain passive seeing its brothers being violently attacked. Egypt will not allow foreign hands to kill innocent civilians in Gaza, writes Salmawi.
What’s happening in Gaza: two axes with the Brotherhood in between
Moataz Abdel-Fattah conducts an in-depth analysis of the possible repercussions for Egypt’s future foreign policy under the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood after the current crisis in Gaza. He examines the situation in light of the regional power semantics, and warns the current leadership from slipping into the trap of uncalculated military confrontation with Israel.
The difficult outcome of unconditionally supporting Hamas will be regarded by the United States and Israel as an allegiance with the Iran-Hamas-Hezbollah axis; the primary regional enemies of the Hebrew state. On the other hand, post-revolutionary Egypt is hardly expected to maintain passive or active neutrality in the face of the current Israeli assault on Gaza.
Abdel-Fattah states that those who wished to see Mitt Romney elected president of the United States direct their scepticism towards Barack Obama on the grounds that there is no hope to find suitable peace partners in the region. Their viewpoints were further consolidated by the rise of Islamists in the wake of the Arab spring. While Syria’s position in the Iranian axis has been jeopardised, the neo-conservatives predict that Egypt is on its way to fill Syria’s vacuum.
Abdel-Fattah calls for the establishment of an Egyptian-Turkish-Gulf axis, and for the formation of a “Blue-Ribbon” style committee to set out Egypt’s foreign policy in the coming decades.
Emad Al-Din Hussein
The key to the constitution is in the hands of America
Using historical reasoning, Hussein examines the nature of the relations between the Muslim Brotherhood and the United States. While the standard line portrays such relationship as one of mutual distrust and suspicion, Hussein suggests the total opposite.
He recounts the covert coordination between the Iranian ayatollahs and the CIA, whereby the former received Israeli weapons and utilised them against Saddam Hussein, while allocating the revenues of the deal to fund the Sandinista rebels in Nicaragua. This Iran-Contra scandal was revealed despite of the declared staunch anti-American discourse of the mullahs.
Accordingly, Hussein sees that the US’s mere approval of the Muslim Brotherhood’s rule and their acceptance of the IMF loans to the Egyptian government constitute sufficient proof that the Islamist movement has been actively engaged in “deep coordination” with the US administration.
The price the Brotherhood will have to pay in exchange is foreseen to be in the form of human rights improvements, up to the level that does not jeopardise the security of Israel. Hussein speculates that the US administration will even be in the position to dictate some of the constitution clauses to safeguard its interests in the region. He calls for a moderate and balanced constitution, which not dictated by any external party.