Posts Tagged ‘president hosni mubarak’

Opinions Divided on PM-Designate Qandil

July 25th, 2012 Comments off

As I noted earlier today after the announcement was made, the new Egyptian Prime Minister-designate, Hisham Qandil, is something of an unknown quantity; Water and Irrigation Minister in the Sharaf and Ganzuri governments and a governnent technocrat up until then, he’s not the superstar symbolic uniter some hoped for; rather, most people had never heard of him. Opinions are divided; many see his youth as a positive factor after years of elderly technocrats in the job; but a faceless technocrat?  And some say he’s an Islamist, though not a member of an organized party; President Morsi may have kept his word not to appoint a Muslim Brother to the Prime Ministry, but did he appoint a fellow traveler?

Since many of those expressing an opinion know little about the man (and I know less), it may take some time to judge the choice, It was not, however, a dramatic stroke that unites the country in a difficult time. The headline at Egypt Independent’s live blog, “Hesham Qandil Who?,” seems best to capture the mood.

And note this, in Ahram Online’s report:

On 15 July Kandil travelled with President Morsi to the African Union summit in Ethiopia. The trip sought to rekindle Cairo’s relationship with its African neighbours after years of neglect under former president Hosni Mubarak.

Improving Egypt’s relationship with the Nile Basin countries is one of President Morsi’s priorities, according to his presidential programme.

Egypt’s relations with the other Nile Basin countries is certainly an issue, but did Morsi’s traveling to Ethiopia with him win him the Prime Ministry?

Morsi became President 25 days ago, talking about what a US politician would call an intention to “hit the ground running.” It took nearly a month to choose a Prime Minister, and the primary response so far has been, “Who?” Perhaps he has not yet gotten his sea legs or, more likely, he finds himself caught between the generals of SCAF and the Guidance Council of he Muslim Brotherhood (his “resignation” from the Brotherhood on ascending to the Presidency is not, so far as I know, taken seriously by anyone at all).

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Egypt’s ex-spy chief Omar Suleiman dies

July 19th, 2012 Comments off

FILE - In this Saturday, April 7, 2012 file photo, former Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman is escorted by police after he submitted his candidacy papers at the Higher Presidential Elections Commission, in Cairo, Egypt. Egypt’s state news agency says former spy chief and vice president Omar Suleiman died in US. Egypt’s Middle East News Agency said on Thursday, July 19, 2012 in a brief statement that Suleiman died in a US hospital early this morning. It didn’t give further details. (AP Photo, File)Egypt's former spy chief Omar Suleiman, deposed president Hosni Mubarak's top lieutenant and keeper of secrets, died Thursday, the country's official news agency reported. He was 76.

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Former Egyptian spy chief dies

July 19th, 2012 Comments off

Omar Suleiman, Egypt’s former intelligence chief and a close ally to ousted President Hosni Mubarak, dies in hospital in the United States.
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SCAF: Is Ruweiny being kicked upstairs or promoted?

July 11th, 2012 Comments off

Important news for Egypt Kremlinologists: New Central Military Zone commander appointed:

Celebrations were held Wednesday to mark the handover of leadership of the Central Military Zone to Commander Tawhid Tawfiq Abdel Samie.

The ceremony opened with a speech for outgoing Commander Hassan al-Roweiny, who was appointed assistant defense minister. Roweiny has reached the age of retirement.

Roweiny lauded the continuing support of the leaders of the armed forces, who he said helped the Central Military Zone carry out its mission and training activities after the 25 January revolution.

Roweiny is considered to be one of the most influential members of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. He told protesters in Tahrir Square in 10 February 2011 that their demands would be met.

The following day, former President Hosni Mubarak stepped down, handing power to the army.

But Roweiny later became a hated figure among revolutionary forces, especially after he accused the April 6 Youth Movement, one of the main youth groups that helped kick-start the uprising against Mubarak, of destabilizing the country. He alleged that its members are trained by foreign agents.

Two questions/consequences arise:

  1. This should mean that SCAF has a new member in General Abdel Samie, but does Ruweiny also stay on in his new capacity?
  2. Is this a promotion for Ruweiny, a way to keep him on despite his having reached the retirement age (and if that is being enforced, what about Tantawy?), or is this a way to demote him? 

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In Translation: Wael Qandil on uniting Tahrir

June 24th, 2012 Comments off

Wael Qandil, the managing editor of al-Shorouk, penned a powerful op-ed after Mubarak stepped down in February 2011. He’s been re-running it after the constitutional coup made by SCAF on June 17. We are seeing some signs of the unity he called for in the last few days, but no doubt around a different man that he had hoped.

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Hope Not Lost for Tahrir Square

Wael Qandil, al-Shorouk, 19 June 2012

The lines below were published in the early morning of Saturday, 19 February 2011, only one week after the fall of ousted President [Hosni Mubarak]. I hope the reader will allow me to republish this article because the events we are living through now resemble those very moments that followed the maturation of the first fruits from the tree of the revolution.

No matter how hard they may try to contain it, splinter it, or bring it under control there is no need to worry about the revolution as long as there is Tahrir Square in Cairo, and the Square of Forty in the Suez, and al-Manshiyya Square in Alexandria, and others like these in all of Egypt’s governorates.

Any attempts by the pirates to implement their plans will be scattered by the wind, for the [Egyptian] people are creative, genius, and civilized. The Egyptian people have demanded the greatest degree of change and reform. Regardless of how much they try to stop the wheels of change from spinning, no one can prevent the revolution from completing its due course.

What I mean is that those who toppled the ruler of the old regime are also capable of putting a stop to those who keep trying, however pathetically, to turn back the hands of time to the moments before the 25th of January 2011. There is no doubt that the great crowds that met once again in revolution squares yesterday listened well to the martyrs’ whispering blood spilt on the ground. I believe that the crowds will neither forget them nor disappoint them; they will not give anyone the opportunity to undermine this moment of cohesion and union around the utmost demands for which the Egyptian people’s revolution occurred. The youth started this revolution and all Egyptians embraced it, except for that cabal or bunch of grim faces that erased all the glorious features from Egypt’s face.

Moreover, it is now essential for the revolutionaries to come together to support one man in order to continue on this path. The most difficult work is still to come. Attempts to quell and break the revolutionary ranks will not stop. We hear every day from the councils of the secretaries, trustees, and swindlers as well, who try to appear in the picture and [thereby] disrupt the communal spirit, to break it up into revolutionary kiosks, boutiques, and salons.

What is certain is that we need a revolutionary coalition that brings together all the movements and [ideological] currents that made this revolution possible, from the utmost right to the utmost left and everything in between from across the entire political spectrum. In fact, those that first lined up together in a single, united entity were able to create a clear program for complete change. He who wishes to help by way of this entity, you are welcome; and he who does not want to help, then it is better for him to keep quiet and suffice with sympathy [for the cause]. These individuals must not [be allowed] to create other entities that interfere with this coalition and contaminate this extraordinary state of cohesion.

I know that everyone who went to Tahrir Square between the January 25 and February 11 has a share in the revolution and contributed to its success. Objectivity, however, requires one to admit that this blessing is thanks to the men and youth who organized, came together in droves, proposed a plan for action and set the bar for demands. They neither bargained nor did they secretly – or publicly – negotiate before they achieved their greatest demands. It is of utmost importance that we leave them to continue this journey, without anyone disturbing them or leading Egyptians to believe that the revolutionaries are split.

The blood of the innocent martyrs is calling upon you and encouraging you to swear on the souls of those who have fallen defending this dream that you will not quarrel and be dispersed like dust in the wind. Their blood beseeches you to be aware that the remnants of the former regime still continue to hiss, incite chaos, and destructively defend their survival and corrupt ways.

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Egypt’s Mubarak ‘health worsens’

June 20th, 2012 Comments off

Egypt’s jailed ex-President Hosni Mubarak remains in a critical condition in an army hospital following a sudden deterioration of his health.
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Mubarak on Life Supportm Adding to Confusion in Egypt – Businessweek

June 20th, 2012 Comments off

The Guardian

Mubarak on Life Supportm Adding to Confusion in Egypt
By Tarek El-Tablawy on June 19, 2012 Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was being kept alive on life support after his condition deteriorated seriously, according to a former senior Egyptian military officer. Mubarak, 84, was being treated at a
Egypt's Mubarak on life support amid
Mubarak In Hospital Following StrokeWall Street Journal
Ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak fighting for life after reported strokeSydney Morning Herald
Globe and Mail –Times of India –USA TODAY
all 1,408 news articles »

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Egypt’s Mubarak ‘close to death’

June 20th, 2012 Comments off

Reports from Cairo say former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is critically ill and may be close to death, after he was moved from prison to an army hospital.
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The Revenge of the Leftovers in Egypt

June 15th, 2012 Comments off

The Egyptian constitutional court on Thursday threw the Egyptian Revolution for a loop. There are howls of outrage about a soft coup, or a counter-revolution. The specter of Algeria haunts the Nile Valley this morning. But more likely we are seeing a replay of Turkey 1997. Either way, the remnants of the old regime of Hosni Mubarak, derisively called fuloul or ‘leftovers’ in Arabic, are trying to make a comeback.

Two issues were before the court. The first concerned the parliamentary elections of November-December 2011. The electoral law had set aside a third of seats for independents, in an effort to avoid dominance of that body by well-organized remnants of the regime of deposed president Hosni Mubarak and by the even better-organized Muslim Brotherhood.

In fact, many “independents” who ran and won had the backing of the parties, especially the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party and the Salafi Nur Party.

The court found that the parties had subverted the intent of the law, and in so doing had invalidated the entire elected parliament. It ordered that parliament be dissolved and new elections held.

About 46 percent of seats in the parliament were held by the Muslim Brotherhood party, and another 24 percent were captured by the hard line fundamentalist Salafis. This outcome may well have been a fluke. Voters appear to have been trying to ensure that the Mubarak regime did not reestablish itself, so they put the fundamentalists in the parliament. But when the parliament predictably began making noises about banning alcohol and swimming suits, the public reaction was negative. While the fundamentalists will do well in any free and fair election, it is not clear that they can repeat their dominance of parliament so handily.

There is certainly a case to be made that the Muslim Brotherhood behaved badly. Its leaders knew what they were doing when they ran candidates as “independents.” Once it got a working majority in parliament, the Brotherhood gave every evidence of seeking to make itself the one party in a new one-party state. It tried to stack the Constituent Assembly charged with writing a new constitution with its members. And, after promising not to run a presidential candidate (so as to reassure the electorate that it wasn’t trying to dominate both the executive and the legislature), its leaders abruptly changed their minds and put up a presidential candidate. Moreover, the man they put forward, Khairat al-Shater, is an allegedly corrupt businessman whose corruption cases caused him to be ruled ineligible. The Brotherhood was charged with using its dominance of parliament to dole out patronage to relatives of its MPs and officials.

The court found that the laws passed by this invalid parliament would stand unless any of them was successfully challenged on constitutional grounds.

The other issue before the court was a law excluding members in the last two Mubarak cabinets from running. That law would have excluded Gen. Ahmad Shafiq, one of the two current presidential candidates and the favorite of the military establishment.

The court found that the political exclusion law was worded in an arbitrary and unfair manner, and so found it unconstitutional.

As a result, Ahmad Shafiq can run for the presidency against the Brotherhood candidate, Muhammad Mursi (an engineer trained at the University of Southern California).

Given that there is neither a parliament nor a constitution, and given Egypt’s tradition of strong presidential rule, whoever wins the elections scheduled for early next week could be extremely powerful. He will almost certainly have an outsized say over the final shape of the Constituent Assembly that will write the new constitution. And, he might well be able to set new rules for the next parliamentary elections that will shape that body.

If the winner is Ahmad Shafiq, the likelihood is that he will revive the secret police and censorship practices and attempt to forbid demonstrations, taking Egypt back to the pre-revolution status quo. If the winner is Mursi, he is likely to attempt to use his vast powers to promote his fundamentalist vision of Egyptian society. He, however, will face checks and balances from the largely secular military.

The military has more or less declared martial law, a troubling estate in which to have a democratic election.

Still, the court’s rulings do not necessarily amount to a restoration of the ancien regime. If the new president calls early parliamentary elections, ait is unlikely that the Brotherhood and Salafis can be completely marginalized if the elections are fair. Shafiq had pledged to appoint a fundamentalist prime minister from the Brotherhood if he won the presidency, and he may well try to soothe raw nerves in this way. It would also be a way to split the Brotherhood from the New Left.

The Egyptian left, moreover, is resurgent. Nasserist candidate Hamdeen Sabahi did very well in the first round of the presidential election in May, and very nearly got into the run-offs. The leftists might well be able to assert themselves as a credible parliamentary bloc if they actually try this time to do parliamentary politics.

One danger of the court’s decision is that it could push the Muslim fundamentalists to take up arms and engage in guerrilla actions. Millions of their votes, after all, have been invalidated, which could make a persona angry. In 1991, the Algerian military dismissed parliament and cancelled the results of the election, throwing the country into a 15-year civil war between the secular military and the disappointed fundamentalists in which as many as 150,000 persons were killed.

The Algeria scenario is, however, unlikely in Egypt. The Muslim Brotherhood has been playing politics in the framework of the military regime since about 1978, and likely its politbureau will view the court ruling as a temporary setback. They have proved they can get out the vote, and have a shot at either dominating any new parliament or being indispensable coalition partners. Moreover, if he wins, Shafiq may actually be canny enough to give them the prime minister posting (which is not very powerful in a presidential system) and some cabinet seats.

The New Left will likely be galvanized by a Shafiq victory. They had become one-note johnnies with their Tahrir demonstrations, which alienated a lot of Egyptians from them, and they need to widen their political repertory and try to win seats in parliament. They won’t see it this way, but the court ruling has given them a second chance at winning some serious representation in the legislature.

If the courts and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) imagine that they can put the revolutionary genie back in the bottle, they are likely to find themselves sorely disappointed. The Egyptian people have thrown off the jackboot and the secret police, and they don’t have to put up with these things if they do not want to. In 1997, the Turkish military made a soft coup against Muslim fundamentalist prime minister Necmettin Erbakan and his party was declared incompatible with enforced Turkish secularism. His party, however, reformulated itself as the AKP or Justice and Development Party, and went on to win the 2002 elections. It is still in power a decade later, and it has gradually put constraints on the secular military. Long-term victory and acquisition of authority is through the ballot box.

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Egypt court clears Mubarak aides for election

June 15th, 2012 Comments off

Egypt's Constitutional Court has rejected the "political isolation law" that barred former president Hosni Mubarak's associates from politics.
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