Egypt

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  • Chemical and Biological Weapons in Egypt and Libya

    Egypt has for long possessed chemical weapons (CW) and biological weapons (BW), and was unable to make much progress in the nuclear weapons (NW) domain, at least as yet, Qaddafi's Libya on the other hand produced CW, developed BW, neared nuclear capacity as well, eventually, but shifted to total deproliferation in due course.

    Post-Morsi Egypt: Saudi Manoeuvring and Iranian Dilemma

    The issue brief analyses the changing patterns of relationship of Saudi Arabia and Iran, the two major players in the Gulf, with Egypt in the backdrop of the removal of Morsi.

    September 27, 2013

    The Islamist Challenge in West Asia: Doctrinal and Political Competitions After the Arab Spring

    The Islamist Challenge in West Asia: Doctrinal and Political Competitions After the Arab Spring
    • Publisher: Pentagon Press
      2013

    Following the Arab Spring, the West Asia-North Africa (WANA) region is witnessing interactions between the various strands of Islamism-Wahhabiya in Saudi Arabia; the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and its affiliates in other Arab countries, and the radical strand represented by Al Qaeda and its associated organisations - in an environment of robust competition and even conflict. This work examines these issues in some details. It provides an overview of the political aspects of Islamic law – the Sharia, as it evolved from early Islam and, over the last two hundred years, experienced the impact of Western colonialism. This book draws on a rich variety of source material which has been embellished by the author’s extensive diplomatic experience in the Arab world over three decades.

    • ISBN 978-81-8274-737-1,
    • Price: ₹. 695/-
    • E-copy available
    2013

    Ravi Mittal asked: Why does the US support Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt?

    Rajeev Agarwal replies: I don't think the US supports the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. In fact, as per some analysts, the US, along with other major stakeholders in the region like Saudi Arabia, could be behind the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

    The US did support the people’s revolution in Egypt in January 2011, but at that time Muslim Brotherhood was not a recognised or overt political entity. It was much later after the installation of the interim government under the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) in Egypt that Muslim Brotherhood formed the Freedom and Justice Party. They later won the parliamentary and the presidential elections in Egypt.

    However, contrary to the US expectations, President Morsi attempted to chart out an independent course for Egypt without being wholly dependent on the US. It attempted to forge better ties with Iran, supported the cause of Hamas in Gaza Strip and even put peace treaty with Israel on the edge.

    The Muslim Brotherhood, meanwhile, was expanding its influence elsewhere in the region too, which couldn't have been to the liking of the US. In short, Muslim Brotherhood’s growing influence could have been one of the major contributory factors to its ouster in Egypt. Thus, the US cannot be seen to be supporting the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

    Akshay Shinde asked: Can the return of military rule in Egypt be seen as the failure of Arab Spring?

    Gulshan Dietl replies: The present situation in Egypt does look like a reversal of the process that began on December 18, 2011. Muhammad Morsi, the democratically-elected president, is overthrown and is being held in an undisclosed location with serious charges levelled against him; his supporters, mainly the Muslim Brotherhood, have come under severe crackdown; more than 2,000 of them have been arrested; the Muslim Brotherhood itself is facing dissolution as a registered non-governmental organisation; some prominent journalists, lawyers and trade unionists are detained; Christians are under threat and some of their churches and monasteries are ransacked and looted. To top it all, Hosni Mubarak, the target of the Arab Spring in Egypt, is released from the prison and is now under house arrest – a highly symbolic move indicating a reversal to the pre-Spring order.

    The return of the military rule in Egypt, however, needs to be looked at in a broader perspective. None of the post-Spring states have so far achieved what the Spring set out to do. Egypt is firmly under the military rule, the government in Tunisia is facing popular protests on a daily basis, there is no real government in Libya, and Yemen is slowly turning into a haven for fugitives. The states that did not see a regime change are also in ferment: Syria in a state of civil war, ruthless persecution of the protesters in Bahrain, as also various forms of demonstrations, marches, sit-ins, rallies, strikes, etc., in mild to severe forms in most of the Arab states.

    The revolutions are messy and unpredictable. As long as the cauldron of discontent is simmering, and the regimes are responding either by suppressing it or by accommodating it, the Arab Spring will go on. The methods may not be similar and the outcomes may not be uniform in different states. And it may be a very long process as well.

    Anasur Rahman asked: Why is Saudi Arabia, being a Wahhabi Sunni-dominated nation, opposed to the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt, unlike Qataris, and supports the interim regime there?

    Gulshan Dietl replies: The Brotherhood is primarily political seeking to confront the imperialist West as also the godless regimes in West Asia. The Saudis, on the other hand, follow Wahhabism, which is primarily religious seeking to purify Islam and restore it to its original glory. At the peak of pan-Arab ideology across the Arab world, Saudi Arabia had provided asylum to the members of the Muslim Brotherhood who sought refuge from Nasser’s Egypt or Hafez al-Assad’s Syria. Since then, the Saudis and the Muslim Brotherhood have been on divergent paths. Beyond the ideological differences, there are serious political considerations. The onset of “Arab Spring” has seen the ascendance of Muslim Brotherhood in post-Spring states. Egypt has always been an influential regional power in West Asia. The Muslim Brotherhood there could be an inspiration for pro-democracy movements and consequently a threat to stability in the Kingdom. The former Saudi Minister of Interior Prince Nayef was reported to have said, “The Muslim Brotherhood is the cause of most of the Arab World’s problems and has done vast amounts of damage in Saudi Arabia.” Unsurprisingly, therefore, the Saudis have generously supported the interim regime in Egypt.

    The Saudi-Qatari rivalries run deep in spite of the fact that both follow Wahhabism, are rich in energy resources, are ruled by monarchies and have strategic ties with the US. Qatar has a small population and an enormous wealth. In the circumstances, the “Arab Spring” did not manifest itself in Qatar. In fact, it provided the country an opportunity to project its role in the region and beyond. The new ruler of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim al-Thani, is expected to bring about reconciliation between the two royal dynasties.

    Egypt poised for a long political battle ahead

    The removal of Morsi is a setback to the nascent democratic experiments in the post-Mubarak Egypt. The decision of the army seems to have been influenced more by the popular sentiments on the streets rather than the rule of law.

    July 13, 2013

    Ouster of President Morsi and its Implications

    The Islamic Brotherhood, vastly experienced in handling stress situations, is not going to take the ouster of its nominee and the democratically elected President with any sense of resignation.

    July 09, 2013

    With Eyes Wide Shut: The Continuing and Inexplicable Pursuit of Regime Change

    All that the western powers have achieved so far with regime change is to propel into powerful positions an assorted lot of Islamists as well as autocrats with medieval beliefs and a penchant for terrorism.

    January 23, 2013

    New Egypt’s Democracy Woes - Challenges for President Morsi

    It is only when and if the three authorities – legislature, executive and the judiciary – interact and work in tandem with one another can effective and inclusive governance begin and Egypt’s flailing economy sputter back to life.

    January 10, 2013

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