Insulting the president

More 'insulting president' lawsuits under Morsi than Mubarak - Politics - Egypt - Ahram Online

I have a hard time believing this but Gamal Eid is a serious guy:

There were four times as many 'insulting the president' lawsuits during President Mohamed Morsi's first 200 days in office than during the entire 30-year reign of former president Hosni Mubarak. This is the claim made by Gamal Eid, human rights lawyer and executive director of the Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI).

Moreover, the number of such lawsuits during the Morsi era is more than during the entire period dating back to 1909 when the law was introduced (originally for 'insulting the king'), Eid said via Twitter.

They will have a full report on it tomorrow with the list of names.

MB figures to be ambassadors?

Muslim Brotherhood figures seek Egypt diplomatic posts - Politics - Egypt - Ahram Online

The nomination of Ahmed Mekki, former vice president, to head Egypt’s diplomatic mission in the Vatican this week might be a precedent by which the president would use his legal prerogative to appoint selected non-career diplomats to head some of Egypt’s key diplomatic missions overseas.

The diplomatic corps law grants the president a maximum of 10 head of mission postings to be appointed from outside the diplomatic corps each time nominations requests for heads of missions are issued by the state.

According to sources at the presidency, the foreign ministry, and the Muslim Brotherhood, topping the list of aspiring ambassadors is leading figure of the Brotherhood and its political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, Essam El-Erian.

El-Erian is eyeing the head of Egypt’s mission in Ankara, a key capital for Egypt under Brotherhood rule. The tenure of current Ambassador to Turkey Abdel-Rahman Salah should come to an end this summer.

Other posts that the Brotherhood appear to be eyeing are also countries with “special rapport” with the Muslim Brotherhood. These include Qatar, to which Egypt sent an ambassador a year ago.

Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s ambassador to Doha (he shares the same name as the Egyptian president) sent a written complaint to the foreign ministry in Cairo complaining that he is “mostly uninformed about the ongoings" of bilateral relations between Egypt and Qatar.

The complaint was written following a recent visit to Cairo by Qatari Prime Minister Hamad Ben Jassim of which the Egyptian ambassador knew nothing.

Interesting report. Some will no doubt cry Brotherhoodization but it's normal in many countries for a president to appoint political allies as ambassadors. Except in those cases they tend to have quiet postings to charming seaside countries like the Bahamas. Not appointments to key allies where you need an experienced hand.

P.S. In the case of Essam al-Erian, it might simply be an attempt to get rid of him inside of Egypt.

Hof: Is it too late for Syria

Syria: Is It Too Late? | Atlantic Council

Former US envoy to Syria Fred Hof, who seems borderline suicidal: 

Syria is dying. Bashar al-Assad has made it clear that the price of his removal is the death of the nation. A growing extremist minority in the armed opposition has made it clear that a Syria of citizenship and civil society is, in its view, an abomination to be killed. And those in the middle long begging for Western security assistance are increasingly bemoaning that it is already too late. Between the cold, cynical sectarianism of Assad and the white-hot sectarian hatred of those extremists among his opponents Syria already is all but gone, a body politic as numbingly cold and colorless as the harsh wintry hell bringing misery and hopelessness to untold numbers of displaced Syrians.

It might in fact be too late to save Syria from the diabolical ministrations of Assad and his enabling Salafist enemies. Indeed, the single-minded, self-centered destructiveness of foes who once cooperated in the killing of Iraqis and who now collaborate in the murder of Syria may be sufficiently powerful to block any effort at national salvation regardless of its source. By facilitating Assad's poison pill sectarian strategy Iran, Hezbollah, and Russia have facilitated the implantation of al-Qaeda (in the form of the Nusra Front) in Syria. By funneling arms and money to those calling for death to Alawites and the establishment of a Syrian emirate, donors in certain Gulf countries, Turkey, and elsewhere have advanced Assad's survival strategy with a toxic blend of tactical skill and strategic stupidity. As in “Murder on the Orient Express,” many hands have plunged the knife into a victim perhaps too far gone to be saved.

The article is not so much an argument that it's too late as that more involvement, with force, is what is needed from the US. Hof concludes;

Yet Syria's fate will likely be decided by men with guns. If a firm, irrevocable decision is in place that the United States will not play in this arena, then it may indeed be too late for Syria as the Assad/al-Qaeda tag team crowds out all other opponents from the ring, making Syria ungovernable, 22.5 million Syrians vulnerable, and neighboring states fully exposed to a catastrophe that could persist for decades.

So at this point, is this an argument for going after, with full force, both the Assad regime and sectarian militias? Hof does not answer that satisfactorily, nor does he address the issue that if it's a choice between two bad things, which is the lesser evil (and it might very well be the Assad regime, the only one that has officially been written off).

(And to be fair, my own solution-which-will-not-happen: Turkish invasion and control of the country for at least five years, ruthless disarmament campaign.)

The Brotherhood in power, cont.

Brotherhood Struggles to Exert Political Power in Egypt - NYTimes.com

David Kirkpatrick writes:

Mr. Morsi still appears to exercise little day-to-day authority over the judiciary, the police, the military and the state-run news media.

“If you think of the main pillars of the bureaucracy, the Brotherhood has not gotten control of them yet, and I don’t think they will completely,” said Hani Shukrallah, 62, the left-leaning editor of an English-language state news Web site who was recently was asked to retire by its new management. “There are so many people who are very difficult to bring to heel,” he said. “I think we are in for several years of turbulence where state power is diffused.”

Although Mr. Morsi has the legitimacy of a democratic election, he has inherited the still-intact remnants of Mr. Mubarak’s authoritarian state, built on fear, loyalty and patronage, and much of it permeated by a deep distrust of the Islamists.

It is very true and important to highlight the difficulties the Morsi administration has had to get effective control of the bureaucracy — that part of government that implements decisions taken by the presidency, parliament, and the courts. Some parts of the state bureaucracy are in a state of passive aggressive rebellion, like the police. Others, like the military and the intelligence services, can act semi-independently because that is the nature of the deal that Morsi has negotiated. 

But it is odd to lament that the president of a country that is supposedly trying to democratize exercises "little day to day authority" over the judiciary and the state media. He's simply not supposed to, yet  has tried to intimidate the judiciary and is putting his yes-men in the media rather than either dissolving state media (i.e. privatizing it) or reforming it to make it independent. We don't  wonder aloud why David Cameron can't control the BBC or the Lords Justices, after all.

The quote he has there from Supreme Court Justice Maher El-Beheiry is apt in this regard:

The president of the court sneered with disdain at a lawyer for the Muslim Brotherhood trying to address the reconfigured bench, stripped of 7 of its 18 members. “As if you left a court to be spoken of like this!” Judge Maher el-Beheiry snapped. He had already declared that the court, perceived as an enemy of the Islamists, “can never forget” the Brotherhood’s protests against it during the constitutional debate.

Like it or not, the challenge of post-Mubarak Egypt is not so much Mubarak holdovers who are plotting (what are they plotting, exactly, bringing him back?) as the centrifugal forces that are pushing state institutions towards corporatism and an obsession with autonomy. It's not an altogether unhealthy thing, but often goes too far. And the challenge for Egypt's first post-Mubarak president is managing these forces and institutions in a manner that asserts his constitutional authority without antagonizing them. That kind of skill in a politician is usually called statesmanship, and thus far Morsi has not shown much of it.

Do read the piece, which has glimpses of a wide range of the state machine that is in semi-rebellion against Morsi and the Brotherhood, sometimes for bad and sometimes for good reasons. 

Mauritania’s Society on the Mali War: Niet!! « Dekhnstan

Mauritania’s Society on the Mali War: Niet!! « Dekhnstan

Nasser Weddady gives the Mauritanian perspective:

Mauritanian public opinion remains dead set against their country’s involvement in Mali. Across the political and social spectrum, not a single meaningful voice called for Mauritania to intervene militarily. Worse, Mauritanian Salafis implicitly endorsed the Jihadis in Mali with an incendiary fatwa. Thus, it is no longer possible to present the Malian war as a foreign matter, it has become an internal political battle. Despite all of this, The “president” General Aziz unilaterally put the country on the path to war.

In the best tradition of a tribal chief, General Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz made a potentially fateful decision in a meeting with his French counterpart.  He told the Gauls’ chief François Hollande, that should the chief of the Malians ask for his help, he shall oblige. So is the mindset governing the country’s destiny. This should be a cause for serious concern for anyone contemplating a Mauritanian entry in the conflict.

General Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz’s meeting on Tuesday with François Hollande in Abu Dhabi shook the country’s political class out of its wait-and-see posture. Till that point, only the local branch of the Muslim Brotherhood had declared -unsurprisingly- its vehement opposition to what it calls “the French invasion” of Mali.

As customary with General Aziz, he did not bother issuing any communiqués about the substance of his meeting with the French president. He even excluded his press adviser from the meeting altogether. Mauritanian state media reported the meeting as a routine discussion.  It was rather François Hollande who dropped the bombshell during this own press conference: “Mauritania is ready to take its responsibilities vis-à-vis the terrorist threat should the Malian state issue such a request.”

I wonder how this all works with the Maghrebi regional dynamics, with Mauritanian being allied with Morocco, vis-a-vis Algeria.

Shatz on Bab al-Shams

Opening the Gate of the Sun « LRB blog

Adam Shatz writes on the latest repression of peaceful protests, on their own land, by Palestinians in the face of Israeli encroachment that is subsidized by American taxpayers:

At 2.30 on Sunday morning, the Israeli army removed 250 Palestinians from Bab al-Shams, a village in the so-called E1 corridor: 13 square kilometres of undeveloped Palestinian land between East Jerusalem and Ma’ale Adumim, an Israeli settlement in the West Bank with a population of 40,000. Israel has had designs on E1 for more than a decade: colonising it would realise the vision of a ‘Greater Jerusalem’, and eliminate the possibility of a contiguous Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. After the UN vote to recognise Palestine as a non-member observer state, Binyamin Netanyahu declared that Israel would build 4000 new settler homes in E1. The high court issued a six-day injunction against his order to ‘evacuate’ Bab al-Shams, but Netanyahu was in no mood to wait. Once the Palestinians had been driven out, the land was declared a closed ‘military zone’.

It was another bleak day in the story of Palestinians trying to hold onto their land in the face of Israeli expansionism. But it was also something else. Bab al-Shams was no ordinary village, but a tent encampment set up by Palestinian activists, a number of them veterans of the Popular Resistance Committees who have been organising weekly demonstrations against the ‘separation fence’ in the villages of Bil’in and Nil’in. Several journalists noted that the residents of Bab al-Shams used the same tactics as Israeli settlers: pitching their tents, laying claim to the land, establishing ‘facts on the ground’. But the differences were more significant than the resemblances. The pioneers of Bab al-Shams were Palestinians, not foreigners. When settlers establish wildcat outposts, they know that the authorities may chastise them for it but will nonetheless soon supply them with electricity and water, and even build roads and access routes on their behalf. The people of Bab al-Shams knew that an IDF demolition crew would appear in due course: less than three days, as it turned out. 

On "Homeland"

Nuance, Depth and the Relative Islamophobia of Homeland « Christian Christensen

I watched the newish TV show Homeland a few months ago, and stopped after a few episode. It wasn't because I found it lacking in its depiction of Islam (caricatural approaches are so rife that I'm pretty oblivious to that) as much as that I did not think it was that entertaining. But here's a take on the show and its treatment of Islamic fundamentalism and that perennial classic of American popular entertainment and political paranoia, the enemy who looks like one of us (for this I prefer the "Invasion of the Bodysnatchers" movies):

When critics hail Homeland, they would do well to ask themselves how they would react to a program where a Muslim captive at Guantanamo Bay succumbs to Stockholm Syndrome, converts to Christianity, returns to Kabul/Tehran/Riyadh, rises through the political ranks to a position of authority, and, with the help of a radical Christian CNN journalist, plots a campaign of terror in his home country at the behest of a Christian extremist. I think I can guess some of the words used to describe such a program, but “nuanced” and “grounded” would not be among them.

"Nobody wants to do what's in the country's interest"

Yesterday afternoon I found myself crossing the increasingly bedraggled expanse of Tahrir Square (where a permanent encampment of protesters has lived since last month's confrontation with Morsi and where a mild Mad Max vibe now prevails) to go hear about how the Egyptian ecomony is doomed.

At a media roundtable on the Egyptian economy at the American Univerity in Cairo's downtown campus, professors from the university predicted that the pound will fall to 7LE to the dollar; that growth will be no more than 2% of GDP; that foreign and domestic investment will remain low (private investment is currently 16% of GDP, whereas to promote growth it should be at 20-25%) and that inflation and social tension will rise. 

The economic policies of the current government were treated with ridicule -- starting with a recent announcement that they will create 800,000 jobs this year (most jobs "created" since the revolution by the government have meant giving permanent posts to functionaries on temporary contracts -- and we all know how the Egyptian bureaucracy needs to be strenghtened) and ending with their promise that new Sharia-compliant Islamic bonds will raise $200 million. Economics professor and disgruntled social observer Galal Amin, in particular, eschewed economic jargon and tore into the situation with refreshing candor and avuncular charm. "I don't see why we even need to have conferences to discuss fixing the economy, guys" he said, "when they can raise $200 million by creating a new kind of bond." 

According to Amin -- although the economy wasn' t great before the revolution -- the basis of Egypt's economic crisis is political, caused by "a lack of security and a lack of trust," which the prevailing political discourse does not help. Investors, Christians, tourists -- none of them are confident in Egypt anymore. And the Islamist government obfuscates. "They don't just not tell the truth," about the economy, he said. "They say the opposite of the truth." 

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Mali and the Maghreb

Geoff Porter emails:

Over the last several days there has been lots of analysis about AQIM and about how the situation in Mali and France’s bombing campaign came to be, so there’s not much point in going over that ground again. Instead, it might be helpful to look forward to what the French campaign is about (and what it’s not), as well as to look north to the implications for North Africa.

Until 2012, AQIM in the Sahara had been a relatively successful criminal organization – kidnap for ransom, smuggling, narco-trafficking, etc – but it was not a very good or very committed salafi jihadi terrorist organization. From 2008 until 2012 it prioritized making money over ideology. It was intertwined with local populations to the extent that they provided cover and support for illicit activities, but it did not try to impose its salafi jihadi ideology on the population with which it interacted. In general, its roughly 500 fighters existed on the margins of an already marginal region. It was troublesome, but it did not pose a strategic threat to local governments or Europe or the US. That obviously changed in 2012 with the influx of Libyan weapons, the Tuareg rebellion, the collapse of the government in Bamako and its control of the northern half of Mali. AQIM went from a criminally inclined, underperforming Al Qaeda affiliate with dubious loyalty to controlling a large territory and running a “terrorist safe haven” in a country that was an ally to both France and the US. And it placed AQIM and the other Islamist organizations with which it has tensely shared power – Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) and Ansar al-Din – squarely in France’s sights.

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Congress' non-condition conditions to Egypt

I just came back from a press conference by a delegation from the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee led by John McCain and Lindsey Graham. It was interesting because of the context: the furore over Morsi's 2010 comments about Jews, the economic crisis Egypt is facing, the recent debacle over the constitution and the future of Egypt's fledging democracy. My basic takeaway from the press conference is this. The main concerns expressed by the senators are:

  • Security and Sinai
  • Egypt's relationship with Israel
  • Amending the recently approved constitution
  • Signing a deal with the IMF

The background to this in the US is a pending $489m aid package (update: reports differ, others are saying $189m as part of a $450m total but I swear I heard $489m), in the form of direct budget support, the Obama adminsitration would like to fast-track and more generally acute concern about the state of the Egyptian economy and a desire to see an IMF deal that would unblock US and other aid but also commit Egypt to eonomic reforms. Perhaps the clearest indication of this was when Senator Graham said:

The Egyptian economy is going to collapse if something is not done quickly. ...  It's difficult for US taxpayers to invest in this country if the IMF does not approval a loan [to Egypt].

American politicians, especially compared to the Obama administration, are pretty tone-deaf to Egyptian sensibilities. One shuddered when Graham told the Egyptian journalists present "you're going to have to showcase your best behavior" to get US support.

What the senators want seems pretty clear. Aside from an IMF agreement and all it entails, they want stronger security operations in Sinai — not jut to control the terrorism issue there but also end weapons smuggling to Gaza. They also want — and they want pretty far in saying this short of spelling it out — President Morsi to make amends, publicly, for his remarks on Jews being "the descendants of apes and pigs." They also made it pretty clear they'd like to see amendments to the constitution to ensure greater respect for human rights, empowerment of women, protection of minorities and a more clearly defined (or delimited) role for religion. And similar stuff in the electoral law being currently finalized. At least you can't say they are not addressing issues of democratic governance and human rights.

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In Translation: Atwan on the Gulf and the Brothers

Our In Translation series is back in 2013 thanks to the support of Industry Arabic, the translation service you should use for your professional, academic, NGO or whatever needs in Arabic. Please check them out.

What better way to start the year than to look at the big picture in the region. The war of words from the UAE against the Muslim Brotherhood this month — with senior Egyptian officials making the trip to Abu Dhabi to appeal, unsuccessfully, for the release of 11 Egyptians accused of setting up a Muslim Brotherhood franchise in the UAE — has highlighted yet again the wider apprehension of Gulf rulers about the rise of the movement in the region. This echoes the same rulers’ reluctance (apart, arguably, from Qatar) to embrace the 2011 uprisings. In the piece below, the editor of al-Quds al-Arabi (the only Arabic-language London-based paper that is not controlled by Saudi Arabia, which normally adopts a more Arab nationalist line than its counterparts al-Sharq al-Awsat and al-Hayat) maps out the regional dynamics of the tension between the Muslim Brotherhood and Gulf autocrats.

I particularly like the paradoxes he highlights, from these autocrats’ traditional reliance on ultra-conservative sheikhs for their legitimization (and how some of these sheikhs are now getting out of control, largely because of social media) to the Brotherhood’s undemocratic methods of operation as a secret society to the fact that they represent the strongest force pushing for more formal democracy, such as an elected parliament.

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Should journalists interview people as they are being tortured?

I would think probably not, but the editor of The Atlantic apparently thinks that's ok:

Ibrahim al-Halabi was confused by my questions. He could neither tell me how he landed himself in a makeshift prison cell nor respond to even simple queries, like what job he held. The 27-year-old had been picked up at a routine checkpoint in the city of Aleppo by rebels from the Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighting the Syrian regime. When he could not provide identification papers, they arrested him.

My broken Egyptian Arabic was probably not to blame for the troubled communication, because another inmate offered logical responses to the same routine questions. But with Ibrahim, they only elicited a bewildered gaze.

On the rare occasion when he did speak, Ibrahim provided contradictory responses. At times he said he worked in a textile factory. Other times he said he was unemployed. Once he even admitted that he had worked for the regime's paramilitary, known as the shabiha, albeit for only two days. Ibrahim was clearly scared. His left hand never stopped shaking. Red spots on his forehead and nose covered the marks where his captors had beaten him. When Ibrahim refused to speak, a fighter yelled at him "Liar! Shabih! Dog!" before intensifying his pain with several slaps to the face.

It'd be one thing if the journalist had witnessed the torture. But he appears to have been given the interview opportunity by the man's detainees and the guards are helping him get answers out. The comments thread is on fire in the article.

Yep, the same magazine which runs blog posts sponsored by the Church of Scientology and whose Middle East content is produced by the (pro-Israel think tank and advocacy group) Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

More links (and audio) on Mali

Some recent articles on Mali and background pieces, as well as a clip from yesterday's World at One on BBC Radio 4, featuring UN Special Envoy to the Sahel Romano Prodi and Sahel specialist Jeremy Keenan.

 

 

The intervention was necessary. The drama of the Islamist offensive should not be underestimated—a successful assault on Sevaré would have meant the loss of the only airstrip in Mali capable of handling heavy cargo planes, apart from that in Bamako. The fall of Sevaré would in turn have made any future military operation a nightmare for West African or other friendly forces, and it would have chased tens of thousands of civilians from their homes. These would only have been the most immediate effects. After Sevaré, nothing would have stopped an Islamist advance on Segu and Bamako, although it is unclear to me that the Islamists would have any strategic interest in investing Mali’s sprawling and densely populated capital.

On Mali

From today's Le Monde

The situation in Mali, where France has launched a military strike because of the risk that the capital, Bamako, or its surroundings could fall into rebel hands (rebels here including jihadist groups) is incredibly complex. Beyond the question of the secessionist north and the junta that staged a coup against a democratically elected government last year, what is happening in Mali has far-reaching consequences for all the countries in the Sahel region. From those that may be as fragile as Mali is (Mauritania) to countries who appear to be playing on all sides of the conflict to have their cake and eat it too (Algeria). This consequence, in part, to the Libyan civil war is going to be with us for years.

For once, I am tentatively sympathetic to the idea of international intervention, since at least it is UN-sanctioned and demanded by the local government (although of course its legitimacy is scant.) Letting Bamako handle the situation itself hardly seems to be a solution, and the regional solution I would prefer does not seem to be forthcoming since every neighbor is either too weak or too reluctant to do anything. But I am withholding judgement here, since I know next to nothing about the situation. It just seems worth highlighting, though, as this war is not likely to get much attention in English, anyway.

There is also this remarkable piece in the NYT, which makes you want to hit your head against a wall:

For years, the United States tried to stem the spread of Islamic militancy in the region by conducting its most ambitious counterterrorism program ever across these vast, turbulent stretches of the Sahara.

But as insurgents swept through the desert last year, commanders of this nation’s elite army units, the fruit of years of careful American training, defected when they were needed most — taking troops, guns, trucks and their newfound skills to the enemy in the heat of battle, according to senior Malian military officials.

“It was a disaster,” said one of several senior Malian officers to confirm the defections.

Then an American-trained officer overthrew Mali’s elected government, setting the stage for more than half of the country to fall into the hands of Islamic extremists. American spy planes and surveillance drones have tried to make sense of the mess, but American officials and their allies are still scrambling even to get a detailed picture of who they are up against.

Now, in the face of longstanding American warnings that a Western assault on the Islamist stronghold could rally jihadists around the world and prompt terrorist attacks as far away as Europe, the French have entered the war themselves.

For the last decade, I've followed from afar these US counter-terrorism efforts, mostly thinking that the US was being swindled by the Algerians and others for whom "training" translates into securing US backing for their own agendas. But this seems really half-arsed. What guarantee is there that the French will fare better? Well, there isn't.

Some other pieces offering background on what's been happening in Mali, where the incompetence seems to be in abundance of supply on all sides:

"Pigeon investigated by police"

Pigeon investigated by police | Egypt Independent

Is this a joke?

State and private media showed special interest in a carrier pigeon carrying paper and microfilm that was found on Sunday.

According to the state owned news agency MENA, the pigeon was found by a security guard in Shubra al-Kheima, north of Cairo, who reported it to the police.

The pigeon as well as both the paper and the microfilm were sent, amid high security, to the Crime Laboratory.
 Written on the paper was “Islam Egypt 2012.”

State TV quoted a senior official at the Qalyubiya Security Directorate as saying that they are checking the contents of the microfilm. The directorate assigned two senior officers, General Mohamed al-Qusairy and Brigadier General Usama Ayesh, to conduct the investigations on the pigeon

Carrier pigeons were used in ancient times as a messengers, as well as during the First World War. One French pigeon received a medal for doing its job despite being injured.

The myth of the Islamist winter

The myth of the Islamist winter

Oliver Roy:

The Islamists are obliged to search for allies, as they control neither the army nor the religious sphere. And if they are able to find allies among the Salafists – the religious conservatives – and the military, these two groups are nevertheless not prepared to allow them to become dominant. The Islamists have to negotiate. There is a classical logic of power at work here: the dominant political group finds it hard to accept that power could change hands and so seeks to preserve its position by any means necessary. Moreover, there is no revolutionary dynamic among the populace that would allow it to prevail by appealing to sentiment in the street.

It is interesting to consider the precise nature of this authoritarian turn because it bears little resemblance to the “Islamic revolution” often associated with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and al-Nahda, the Renaissance Party, in Tunisia. It is, on the contrary, a conservative and paradoxically pro-western “counter-revolution”. Consider Egypt. If the president, Mohamed Morsi, is denounced in Tahrir Square as the new Mubarak (and not the new Khomeini), it is because his opponents have grasped that his aim is to establish an authoritarian regime using classical means (appealing to the army and controlling the apparatus of the state).

The electoral and social base of the Egyptian regime is not revolutionary. Instead of trying to reach a compromise with the principal actors of the Arab spring, Morsi is attempting to get all the supporters of the new order on his side. The coalition he is building is based on business, the army, the Salafists and those elements of the “people” that are supposedly tired of anarchy.

Links 6-12 January 2013

Above, a recent performance by an Umm Kulthoum hologram in front of a live audience. Quite remarkable. I'd go if they did this with the historical concerts.

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