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Middle East Press (11 Jan 2017 NewAgeIslam.Com)



Iraqi Shiite Militias: New Age Islam's Selection, 11 January 2017





New Age Islam Edit Bureau

11 January 2017

Iraqi Shiite Militias

By Dr. Khaled M. Batarfi

Emboldened By Syria, Is Putin Trying To Make Libya A Russian Satellite?

By Dr. Azeem Ibrahim

The Difference Journalists Can Make In Conflict Zones

By Raed Omari

The Middle East Under Trump

By Osama Al-Sharif

The Egyptian-Saudi Islands Issue

By Mohammed Nosseir

Compiled By New Age Islam Edit Bureau

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Iraqi Shiite Militias

By Dr. Khaled M. Batarfi

Jan 10, 2017

AKRAM Al-Kaabi, secretary general of ‘Al-Nujaba’ Shiite militia in Iraq is threatening your country. He promised, once done with Daesh (the so-called IS) in Mosul, to take the war to Syria, then to Saudi Arabia,” my colleague from Sky News Arabia points out. “I am sending you a link to his speech and we need your comments,” he requested.

I watched the YouTube video of Al-Kaabi’s public address to what looks like religious and military leaders. It was even worse than expected. According to him “the road to Jerusalem goes through Makkah and Madinah, Hejaz and ‘our’ eastern region.”

I wasn’t surprised. Soon after Iranian clergy, Ayatollah Khomeini, returned to Tehran in a French airliner, with US, France and UK blessings, he announced his grand vision. It includes exporting “Islamic” revolution to the world, starting with neighbors, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, then “liberating” Makkah, Madinah, the eastern region and Bahrain. In the final stage, all the world should be ruled by Shiite Islam and its grand imam, in Tehran. What Al-Kaabi and Al-Houthi and company are calling for is old news. With Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut and Saana under their control, they feel the grand dream is about to be realized.

In my Sky News interview, I also reminded my audience of what Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said two weeks ago at a press conference in Riyadh: “The so-called ‘popular militia’ is a religious organization, which carries out mass killings in Iraq with support of Iranian generals headed by Qassem Suleimani. The existence of such armed groups threatens the unity and security of Iraq,” he warned.

Al-Jubeir called for the dissolution of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (Al-Hashd Al-Sha’abi) and also urged Iran to refrain from igniting sectarian strife and from its hostility toward Saudi Arabia

In response, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi angrily refused Al-Jubeir’s call for the dissolution of PMUs and advised Saudi Arabia to “solve its problems away from Iraq.”

Iraqi Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Ahmed Gamal, stated that “Recurrent abusive remarks and accusations by the Saudi foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir, of the heroes and sacrifices of Al-Hashd Al-Shaabi reflect that Saudis maintain their tense approach on Iraq, which is made on narrow and sectarian backgrounds.”

Gamal added that the PMUs remain “a national, courageous combat force that operates within the limits of the law enacted by the parliament, and is one of the official security formations of the state.”

In November, the Iraqi parliament approved a law giving full legal status to Al-Hashd Al-Shaabi fighters. It recognized the PMUs as part of the national armed forces, placed the volunteer fighters under the command of Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi and granted them the right to receive salaries and pensions like the regular army and police forces.

With PMU leaders’ threating to fight in Syria and attack Saudi Arabia, the Iraqi government must clarify its position. If these actions, calls and comments do not represent its policies (and I believe they don’t), the government should make its stand crystal clear and rein in those maverick gang leaders.

It is not enough for the prime minister and supreme leader of the Iraqi armed forces to plead with the militia not to venture outside Iraq’s borders, like he did recently. They are either under his command obeying his orders, or under Iranian control, as Al-Jubeir maintained, and should be dissolved. We cannot have a worse situation than that of Hezbollah. At least, the Lebanese government is not claiming control or paying the bills. This is more like in Yemen. And that is the same road Al-Houthi took to overthrow the legitimate government.

In case the Iraqi government is not capable of dissolving or ruling Al-Hashd Al-Shaabi, it should say so. This way, the rest of us could deal with them as we did with Daesh, Al-Qaeda and Hezbollah. Terrorists should not receive government’s cover and support. They cannot wear soldiers’ uniforms, carry state-issued arms and receive salaries. That is exactly why the world regards Iran as a rogue regime and terrorism-sponsoring state. We cannot accept for another Arab nation to go that way. Aren’t Syria and Yemen enough?

Dr. Khaled M. Batarfi is a Saudi writer based in Jeddah.

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Source: saudigazette.com.sa/opinion/iraqi-shiite-militias/

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Emboldened By Syria, Is Putin Trying To Make Libya A Russian Satellite?

By Dr. Azeem Ibrahim

10 January 2017

The Syrian civil war is all but concluded. And the result must be described as a complete success for Vladimir Putin. No other party in the conflict can claim to have gained as much from the conflict as Putin has. Not even President Assad himself. And President Putin has every intention to capitalize on this success.

By all accounts, it seems he now intends to use the momentum gained in Syria to win the civil war in Libya as well. In many ways, Libya is a similar conflict to the one in Syria: there is an ongoing conflict between a faction feebly supported by the West, one intransigent faction that can rely on steadfast Russian backing, and ISIS in the middle, trying to expand into yet another failed state.

But there are also significant differences to Syria. While the Western-backed, West of the country is governed by the de jure government, the Russian backed East holds most of the advantages: a better organized “government” under Marshal Khalifa Haftar, a better equipped and better trained army, control over most of the country’s oil fields, and consequently, a much healthier fiscal position, in no small part due to Russian help in capitalizing the oil assets and assistance in organising a rival monetary system.

In Syria, Russia had to do all the heavy lifting to bring the Assad government back from the brink of collapse. They did that, and Assad is now all but unassailable. In Libya, however, a much smaller Russian contribution should be enough to resolve the conflict swiftly, as the Russian-backed side is already holding the upper hand.

Redeployment?

What is more, this will likely happen now because two other circumstances have aligned in Haftar’s favor. First, Putin now has leeway to redeploy forces from Syria as the conflict there winds down. And indeed, troops can be very conveniently deployed from Russia’s greatest prize in Syria, the port of Tartus.

And secondly, the main pillar of support for the government in the West, the support of our countries, has all but evaporated. In the United States, an extremely Russia-friendly Donald Trump is about to take over the Oval Office later this month.

In the UK, Prime Minister David Cameron who was one of the leaders of the intervention which brought down Qaddafi, has since lost his office in the wake of the Brexit Referendum, while his successor, Theresa May, has little scope for any interventions in foreign affairs beyond the Brexit negotiations.

And in France, the other leader of the intervention, Francois Hollande, is due to leave the Presidency by May, as he is not standing in the presidential election this spring, while whoever succeeds him will also likely be too busy with Europe to have time to worry about Libya. All in all, it seems there is little in the way of Libya becoming a Russian satellite for the foreseeable future.

The Oil Fields

Indeed, the only ways in which the conflict in Libya might endure longer than this year is either if the Pentagon manages to wrest some operational independence from President Trump and decides that it is worth preventing Russia from claiming the prize of Libyan oil fields – a scenario that is really quite remote; or, if Putin decides that maintaining a state of instability in that region is more beneficial to Russian interests than a swift resolution of the conflict.

And this last scenario is the one to watch. Putin has benefited immensely from the way in which the wave of refugees from Syria into Europe has destabilized the political edifice of the European Union, and the internal politics of many European member states.

That flow of refugees has been, to a large degree, already stemmed. But the other major route of refugee flows into Europe has been through Libya, and if the conflict there is finally resolved, the new authorities will likely want to stop the movement through their country of so many migrants from countries farther to the south. The security of their own country will depend on it.

But Russia would likely not be too keen to see this refugee route also close down. Putin may calculate that the benefits of continued refugee pressures on Europe outweigh the benefits of a stable and reliable ally in the Maghreb.

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Azeem Ibrahim is Senior Fellow at the Centre for Global Policy and Adj Research Professor at the Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College. He completed his PhD from the University of Cambridge and served as an International Security Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and a World Fellow at Yale. Over the years he has met and advised numerous world leaders on policy development and was ranked as a Top 100 Global Thinker by the European Social Think Tank in 2010 and a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum

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Source: english.alarabiya.net/en/views/news/middle-east/2017/01/10/Emboldened-by-Syria-Putin-may-try-to-make-Libya-a-Russian-satellite-.html

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The Difference Journalists Can Make In Conflict Zones

By Raed Omari

10 January 2017

Media rights group Reporters Without Borders’ latest report says that 58 journalists were killed across the world in 2016 in the line of duty. In its annual report, the France-based press freedom group says that 19 and 10 journalists were killed in war-torn Syria and Afghanistan respectively, followed by nine in Mexico and five in Iraq.

That the number of journalists killed in 2016 is fewer than the 67 in 2015 is attributed to the fact that many of them avoided conflict-ridden countries, mainly Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan and Burundi. That is why almost all of those killed in 2016 were local journalists.

“The violence against journalists is more and more deliberate,” RSF Secretary General Christophe Deloire said, adding, “they are clearly being targeted and murdered because they are journalists.” RSF also urged the new UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to appoint a special representative for the protection of journalists.

The RSF 2016 report, and several such reports, suggest an alarming prospect for journalists that even full-fledged democracies are failing to observe and address. The first is the disinclination to report from war-torn countries because of the lack of protection. This means that the truth is not being reported from places where truth needs to emerge. With little being done to protect journalists, one can conclude that deliberate attempts are being made to silence them as happened frequently during the 1960s, 70s and the 80s.

The fear or inability of journalists to report from dangerous territories has given rise to what we call “citizen journalists” in conflict-torn countries, like Syria. They have become the sources of information that even well-established news outlets immensely rely on for their coverage. However, even citizen journalists are not safe and many of them have been deliberately targeted.

In countries like Syria and Iraq, where the conflict has become extremely complicated, journalists need to be on the side of the powerful to keep themselves safe. This is why reporters belonging to some media outlets, needless to mention them, haven’t been hurt even as they continue to report from these countries.

But what such well-protected news channels do in Syria and Iraq aren’t within the tenets of journalism and even those with limited knowledge of what good journalism is can point that out. In other words, they simply broadcast one-sided stories.

International Law

We have reached this stage because of the international community’s failure to protect journalists by drafting strict laws that hold any party hurting or harassing them accountable. Journalists need a UN body to protect them and ensure their safety in war zones. This lies at the heart of international human rights that guarantee peoples’ right to knowledge.

While it is true that the international humanitarian law provides journalists with protection as “citizens” but there are only two explicit references to media personnel in Article A (4) of the Third Geneva Convention and Article 79 of Additional Protocol I, which stipulate that that journalists are entitled to all rights and protections granted to civilians in international armed conflicts. According to legal experts, the same remains true in non-international armed conflicts by virtue of customary international law.

Syria

Absence of professional journalists in Syria which – according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), has been the most dangerous place in the world for journalists – has one way or the other added complications to the ongoing war. In Syria, it is unclear who is fighting whom and who is winning. It is also true that the suffering of the Syrian people is less in regions which have been accessed by journalists.

Several countries opposed to the Assad regime have been threatening to sue for war crimes. However, the lack of well-documented data due to the absence of professional media outlets and human rights organizations makes it a difficult proposition.

According to the New York-based CPJ, a total of 107 reporters and media personnel have been killed in Syria since 2011. In a report it released some months ago, the Syrian Network for Human Rights said that that 463 media activists had been killed either by regime forces or armed groups. The monitoring group also said that 1,027 media workers were arrested or abducted between March 2011 and April 2015.

Iraq

Since June 2014, when Mosul fell to ISIS, Iraq’s second largest city was literally closed to the world. This was also the case with Syria’s Raqqa. Now because journalists covering the military operations in Mosul are enjoying protection, the world has started to know about the city, suffering of its people, developments on the ground and also about the unbearable atrocities being committed by ISIS.

The world’s reaction to Mosul operation and the international community’s response to the suffering of the tens of thousands of citizens fleeing the battlefields is a lot more convincing than in Syria thanks to the sleepless journalists covering the war and its consequences there. Such is the noble cause of journalism that the modern world is still unable to appreciate.

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Raed Omari is a Jordanian journalist, political analyst, parliamentary affairs expert, and commentator on local and regional political affairs. His writing focuses on the Arab Spring, press freedoms, Islamist groups, emerging economies, climate change, natural disasters, agriculture, the environment and social media. He is a writer for The Jordan Times, and contributes to Al Arabiya English. He can be reached via raed_omari1977@yahoo.com, or on Twitter @RaedAlOmari2

Source: english.alarabiya.net/en/views/news/middle-east/2017/01/10/The-difference-journalists-can-make-in-conflict-zones.html

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The Middle East under Trump

By Osama Al-Sharif

11 January 2017

Barack Obama’s presidency is in its waning days, and the US and the rest of the world are bracing for the unknown under a man who has befuddled his allies even before his foes. Donald Trump will take over a sharply divided country, and will immediately face foreign policy challenges where off-the-cuff and oversimplified solutions will not do.

It is fair to say that the world, and much of the US, is disappointed with Obama. His charisma and optimistic promises for a better world enthralled millions of people from all regions and backgrounds. But even Obama, the prudent leader and intellectual with a quasi-philosophical approach to issues, overestimated his personal appeal and the power and influence of the US.

Obama leaves a different world than the one he inherited: Bitterly divided as underlined by the rise of populist movements in Europe and at home, vulnerable to global terrorism and extremism, economically weaker, uncertain over the future, and entangled by regional crises — especially in the Middle East — with global social, cultural and political ramifications.

Yet Obama managed to pursue a course that put America’s immediate interests first. He fulfilled a promise to drastically cut back US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, avoided getting trapped further in dishevelled conflicts — especially in Syria — following the messy outcome of NATO’s intervention in Libya, and while failing to deliver on his promise to secure an independent Palestine by the end of his term, he tried to stay on the right side of history by condemning Jewish settlement activities and supporting the two-state solution.

His success in concluding the Iran nuclear deal will be viewed more favorably by his successor, although his utter failure in checking Iran’s regional expansion will debunk that deal’s credibility.

On Russia, Obama appears to have underestimated President Vladimir Putin’s determination to oversee Moscow’s resurgence as a regional player — especially in Eastern Europe and Central Asia — and as a global power broker, Syria being the obvious example.

Domestically, Obama’s biggest achievement was mending the US economy and saving the American auto industry. He was a classic Democratic president, although many will debate his failure to narrow the gap between rich and poor, and to understand the depth of the socio-economic crisis that ripped America’s heartland and gave rise to Trump’s populism.

For the Middle East, Obama’s presidency was particularly disappointing for different reasons. Conservative Arab governments believe he initiated America’s untidy withdrawal from the region, allowing Iran to inflate its influence in Iraq and Syria and meddle in the internal affairs of Gulf states and Yemen.

His reluctance to adopt a clear and decisive strategy on Syria has frustrated Washington’s allies, including Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Even in the war against Daesh, many believe the Obama administration could have done more to avert its phenomenal territorial spread in Syria and Iraq.

For Israel, even though he signed the largest-ever military aid package, Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu projected Obama as misled on Iran and on Israeli settlements. Equally frustrated with Obama is Egypt’s current regime, which faults Washington for facilitating the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood to power after the Jan. 25 revolution that toppled trusted ally President Hosni Mubarak.

Trump, who has denounced many of Obama’s Middle East policies, may soon discover that there is no easy way to chart a markedly variant course on many issues. His pro-Israel stand, which will immediately translate into a major departure from decades-long US policy on East Jerusalem and West Bank settlements, provides no solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It will certainly complicate the conflict, and trigger major battles at the UN, the International Criminal Court (ICC) and other fora.

His vow to swiftly crush Daesh will soon be tested on the ground. Military victories will bring no end to religious extremism and the gaping Sunni-Shiite divide, which is being pushed by radical Iranian leaders.

In Syria, Trump may well support Putin’s recent initiatives to seal a negotiated political deal. However, his administration will have to find ways to assure US regional allies, including Israel and Turkey, that Iran’s permanent presence in Syria will be checked or even reversed.

Trump will be pressed by his national security team to maintain or beef up the US military presence in the Arabian Gulf to ward off Iran’s rising threat. Again, this will test Washington’s relations with its Gulf allies.

Obama has left a complicated Middle Eastern inheritance to his successor, and Trump’s quick and often rudimentary response to evolving crises in this region will send mixed and contradictory messages to both allies and foes.

The biggest test will be the shape and context of US leadership abroad, and whether Trump will opt for a return to an interventionist approach or lean toward an isolationist path. Obama’s reserved approach to global affairs will soon give way to a more incoherent, and in many cases impulsive, one.

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Osama Al-Sharif is a journalist and political commentator based in Amman.

Source: .arabnews.com/node/1037226/columns

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Iran after Rafsanjani

By Parisa Hafezi

11 January 2017

The death of former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani deprives Iran’s reformers of a powerful ally, boosting anti-Western hard-liners before a presidential election which will determine how open Tehran is to the world.

The loss of Rafsanjani’s skills as a factional powerbroker also means rivalries in Iran’s unwieldy dual system of clerical and republican rule could grow unchecked, testing the stability of the system.

His death on Sunday heightens concerns for reformers at a time when morale is rising among hard-liners because of Donald Trump’s election as US president. They believe Trump will adopt tough policies hostile to Iran and that this will undermine reformers’ attempts to build bridges with Washington.

“Rafsanjani was a key equilibrating power in Iran’s complex political system,” said a senior Iranian official who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter. “His absence as a counterweight against hard-liners could harm the moderates and the establishment altogether,” the official said by telephone.

Rafsanjani, a pragmatist who favored liberal political and economic policies, died of a heart attack aged 82. He was buried on Tuesday. Rafsanjani was a companion of the Islamic Republic’s late founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, and one of the pillars of the 1979 Revolution. Following Khomeini’s death, he played a role in the selection of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as supreme leader, Iran’s most powerful figure.

His death removes an important ally behind the scenes of fellow pragmatist President Hassan Rouhani, who is expected to seek re-election in May.

Rouhani’s election win in 2013 and his success in ending the more than decade-long nuclear dispute with the West have weakened the hard-liners. If the hard-liners regain the presidency, they would be expected to tighten restrictions on social and political freedoms.

A close aide said Rafsanjani had “always acted as a go-between whenever political infighting intensified and could harm the Islamic Republic.”

“No one has his political and revolutionary credentials to replace him ... his death has created a major political vacuum in Iran,” Tehran-based political analyst Saeed Leylaz said by telephone.

This could enable Khamenei to tighten his grip on the governing hierarchy. Although Khamenei is suspicious of the West, he tries to stay above politics by balancing the interests of his hard-line allies and their political rivals.

Empowering Hard-Liners

As supreme leader, Khamenei inherited powers that include command over the armed forces and the ability to appoint many senior figures, including the heads of the judiciary, security agencies and state radio and television.

“The leader will be extra careful to avoid any involvement in political infighting ... But he will give his full support to enforcement of the revolutionary ideology,” a former official who is close to Rouhani said by telephone.

Under Iran’s system of “velayat-e-faqih,” or rule by a religious jurist, the supreme leader has vast power and should stay above the day-to-day political fray.

Vocal on both domestic and foreign policy initiatives, Rafsanjani called for open policies at home and abroad and supported the moderate opposition that disputed the result of 2009 presidential election which Khamenei had validated.

“His over 50 years of friendship with the leader gave him a unique position to express his ideas and procure equilibrium when political infighting intensified ... his loss is a blow to the moderate camp,” said his aide. “His absence will radicalize the atmosphere.”

Rafsanjani, with a political career spanning over half a century, held most of the top positions in Iran’s political structure, including parliamentary speaker, armed forces commander and president from 1989 to 1997.

Analyst Meir Javedanefar said that “sooner or later, competing hard-liner and moderate forces will reach a near equilibrium.”

“As without it, the ensuing imbalance could undermine the stability of the Nezam (establishment). This is a scenario which all supreme leaders would want to avoid, be they Khamenei or his successor,” said Javedanfar, a lecturer at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya in Israel.

Crucial Elections

Most analysts say Rafsanjani’s death is a political blow to the pragmatist-moderate coalition, as he was the leading force behind Rouhani’s election win.

“This will weaken Rouhani, who has also failed to deliver his other promises like boosting the economy,” said Jamshid Pajouyan, a professor at Iran’s Allameh Tabatabai University.

Gary G. Sick, an American academic and Middle East affairs analyst, said the outcome of the election depended on Rouhani’s “ability to persuade Iranians that they are better off with the nuclear agreement ... and that he is capable of defending Iran’s interests better than any alternative choice.”

Many ordinary Iranians have lost faith in Rouhani because he has not been able to improve the economy despite the lifting of sanctions in January last year under the nuclear deal reached with six major powers in 2015. The deal curbed Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of most sanctions.

Activists and rights groups say Rouhani’s focus on improving relations with the West and bolstering the economy have prevented him from delivering his campaign promises of easing of social and political restrictions.

“I am sorry for Rafsanjani’s death but I have to think about my children. The life is so expensive. The prices are going up every day,” said government employee Mohammad Hosseinzadeh.

“Rouhani promised so many things but ... look at us. We are poorer than before. But I will still vote for him because we have to choose between bad and worse.”

Trump, a Republican, said during his election campaign that he would abandon the nuclear deal. He will be inaugurated on Jan. 20.

“A hostile US policy will be favored by hard-liners. They will pressure Rouhani even if he wins the vote. It means he will be in office but not in charge,” said analyst Hamid Farahvashian.

Fearing economic hardship might cause the collapse of the establishment, Khamenei gave his blessing to the deal. But he has criticized the failure of the agreement to deliver swift economic improvements.

Partly because of remaining unilateral US sanctions, major European banks and investors are holding back from doing business with Iran despite lifting of many sanctions.

Source: .arabnews.com/node/1037216/columns

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The Egyptian-Saudi Islands Issue

By Mohammed Nosseir

11 January 2017

Most international crises arise and persist not out of evil intentions, but due to poor handling and management, principally the fault of overlooking policy-implementation consequences. Border disputes involving historical claims and arguments are common among many countries.

The demarcation of maritime boundaries in the Red Sea between Egypt and Saudi Arabia symbolizes this phenomenon. Cairo signed an accord without considering the current political dynamic in Egypt, which refuses to accept the agreement. This has left Egypt and Saudi Arabia in an awkward situation.

We Egyptians are born and raised with a cultural attachment to our national soil, which epitomizes our identity and sense of belonging. The long years of war and conflict with Israel further strengthened our veneration of this sovereignty issue.

The close ties between Egypt and Saudi Arabia are the most long-lived and deep-rooted in the region. Two million Egyptians live and work in the Kingdom, in addition to an equal number who visit for religious purposes yearly. Nearly half a million Saudis study and invest in Egypt.

Egypt has come to be known worldwide as a strong state that was strengthened and reinforced during the three-decade rule of former President Hosni Mubarak. Nevertheless, the country has changed completely, for better or worse, since the 2011 revolution.

We are not yet a democracy, but we are a strong, vibrant nation with a new political dynamism that Mubarak’s four successors have failed to deal with. The era of Gamal Abdel Nasser, when a clear majority of citizens blindly and sincerely supported a strong, popular leader, is long past.

President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, who is probably both the articulator and victim of the current ruling mechanism that often addresses political issues from a unilateral perspective, would have done better to advocate for the maritime border agreement in a completely different manner.

The government recently sent the accord to Parliament for ratification, further complicating our internal dispute. The State Council had ruled that the maritime border agreement was legally invalid.

El-Sisi’s opponents not only rejected the agreement, but broke the anti-demonstration law and were sentenced to prison terms.

Egypt is still going through a difficult and challenging political transition, in which the drawbacks have been greater than real progress on the ground. We are experiencing a very polarized state of affairs, which was clearly further inflamed with the signing of the accord. Activating the agreement will compound our polarization.

Meanwhile, to maintain solid relations, we should distance our neighbors from involvement in our internal debate. The deep-rooted relationship between Egypt and Saudi Arabia should prompt both governments to exert every effort to reach a fair settlement.

Egypt and Saudi Arabia must try to ensure that this dispute is as short-lived as possible. The deep, long-standing bilateral relationship must be salvaged without leaving either party feeling bitter.

The most appropriate course to adopt to sustain and strengthen the relationship is to freeze implementation of the accord for a few months, until citizens of both countries make genuine efforts to establish a constructive dialogue on this contentious issue. Egyptian and Saudi citizens should work together to ensure they are properly and completely convinced of the true ownership of the islands.

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Mohammed Nosseir, a liberal politician from Egypt, is a strong advocate of political participation and economic freedom. He can be reached on Twitter @MohammedNosseir.

Source: .arabnews.com/node/1037221/columns

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/middle-east-press/new-age-islam-edit-bureau/iraqi-shiite-militias--new-age-islam-s-selection,-11-january-2017/d/109674




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