Many columnists remain focused on ongoing electricity cuts and the attacks on journalists at the Media Production City while others continue to analyse the security situation in Sinai. President Mohamed Morsy, Prime Minister Hesham Qandil and the Muslim Brotherhood all, unsurprisingly, come in for their share of criticism.
So we do not plant thorns
Emad Al-Din Hussein
Hussein expresses his concern over the current ‘Eagle’ military operation taking place in Sinai following the recent attacks in Rafah. He calls on the armed forces to remain cautious as they are fighting against people who know the area intimately; the operation could lead to more losses than gains. In order to convince the Sinai inhabitants on the dire need to counter militants, the move must come as a part of a general developmental plan in the area.
Through this scheme, residents must be convinced their future lies with fortifying ties with their brothers in Al-Wadi and the Delta, not with the Israelis on the other side of the border. The other critical issue that Egypt’s military need to keep an eye on is the importance of safeguarding human rights while carrying out the operation. The Sinai community is known for its conservatism. The writer advises the forces to refrain from breaking into houses and detaining women and the elderly. Hussein recalls when former Minister of Interior, Habib Al-Adly, detained more than 3000 Sinai inhabitants and violated human rights after the Taba attacks, stating it is wise to be careful to avoid repeating a similar situation.
Violating freedoms alike Mubarak’s rhythm
Hamzawy condemns the recent attacks on prominent media figures, namely Youm 7 newspaper Editor-in Chief Khaled Salah, at the gates of the Media Production City. He chides President Morsy for his passivness towards the assault, which he considers to have been an attack on the image of the entire Egyptian media. It has always been expected from Morsy to act up for the rights of journalists and show more advocacies for freedom of expression. Hamzawy criticises how extremist religious figures and those who strive to spread rumors are left out of attacks whereas professional media figures are fiercely reviled.
The writer expected Morsy to have exerted the minimum efforts to show his nonacceptance of the attacks. He says at the least he could have held a meeting bringing together important media professionals to stress his support for freedom of expression and to show his belief in the primary role of a free media in the establishment of democracy. After the recent Rafah attacks, the writer anticipated that Morsy would shy away from the practices and decisions of his Muslim Brotherhood group. He condemns the recent appointment of new editors of Egypt’s largest newspapers whom are mostly known for their Muslim Brotherhood ties.
The criteria of independent decision
Recalling the Non-Aligned Movement in Tehran, Howeidi asks if President Morsy has received a phone call from the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asking him not to attend the summit. The writer says that while Egypt has not officially announced its nonattendance of the conference, the news has been on the pages of Saudi and Israeli newspapers sold in London. Howeidi wonders if this decision not to attend was influenced by the Israelis.
Howeidi admits he lacks complete information in this regard, but guesses that Morsy has been pressured, not only by Israel and Washington, but also by Arab countries to cut all ties with Iran. Backing up this argument, Howeidi cites the statements of former Minister of Foreign Affairs Nabil Al-Araby that places emphasis on the importance of normalising relations with Iran, as with other Arab states. He adds that pressure was exerted by military institutions to prevent any possible relations with Iran. Wrapping up his article, Howeidi mentions the Iranian example to show the instability affecting Egypt’s internal fronts. The writer finds the matter pushy enough towards revisiting foreign affairs files, especially after the 25 January revolution.
Qandil’s dark electricity
Analysing the reaction of Prime Minister Hesham Qandil towards the frequent power cuts, Mansour criticises him for a passive speech that lacked any real explanation for the outages. The writer compares Qandil to his predecessor, who used to inflame public opinion during the previous regime. Mansour chides Qandil for blaming ordinary Egyptians for the cuts and even warning them that the situation would likely be worse next year if they did not limit electricity. Qandil’s last speech failed to either explain his vision for solving the issue or how his Government plans to deal with the crisis.
Mansour is critical that the first Prime Minister after the revolution should appear too ‘handicapped’ to solve an internal problem that affects the daily lives of Egyptians. He chides his call for Egyptians to stay in one air-conditioned room amid the electricity crisis instead of explaining any coming steps towards ending the dilemma, which has been affecting institutions including hospitals and emergency centres. Qandil, then, cannot claim his affiliation to the 25 January revolution nor its aims, Mansour says. Instead, in Mansour estimation, he is proving day after day that he is an unqualified to resolve the predicaments in the road ahead.
Institutionalisation of violence
Perplexed by the current deregulation of political life in Egypt, Al-Shobaki warns that Egypt risks devolving into a failed state. When revolutionists hurled shoes at the ex-presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq, they were hailed by the same people who are now staunchly condemning those who threw their shoes towards the newly-appointed Prime Minister Hesham Qandil and several other figures during the funeral of the Sinai attack victims. The worst part came with the institutionalisation of violence as a legitimate tool to counteract and even silence political opponents.
This manifested in the Muslim Brotherhood’s encircling of the Media City and their physical assault on opponent media figures. While it was amazing that crowds gathered in front of the Presidential Palace demanding the ouster of an elected president who has roughly spent two months in office, nevertheless the violent response from Muslim Brotherhood supporters was disproportional. The calls by some anti-Brotherhood currents to burn down their headquarters have given the Brotherhood sufficient excuse to justify their violence against all their opponents, pretending that this is the general trend. Absent any constitution enjoying national accord, had it been modifications of the existing constitution or an entirely new one; the country will meet certain failure, one whose damage extent cannot be even predicted.