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Middle East

Daily highlights of Arab press headlines

Summary of stories making headlines in Arabic newspapers.

Last updated: 16 Apr 2014 17:56
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Khalil al-Anani: Who runs the Muslim Brotherhood?
(Al-Hayat, London)

The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood movement is going through one of the toughest and most acute crises since its inception more than 80 years ago.

The source of the crisis is not only the repression and exclusion attempts by the Egyptian incumbent regime aided by its allies and supporters, but also the growing split between the group’s leadership and its grassroots movement.

Perhaps this is the first time in the history of the "Brothers" in which the magnitude of repression and subjugation reached the lower echelons of the movement in a manner that has undermined its ability to think and act.

Despite the fact that the movement’s history went through frequent waves of repression and subjugation by the authorities, under these circumstances, the repression has exceeded mere attempts to weaken and break the will of the group, into attempts to disband and put an end to its political and social existence.

Fahmi Howeidy: Politics is postponed until after presidential elections
(Al-Shorouk, Egypt)

The Egyptian society has been sharply divided in a manner that has never been experienced in its modern history. Polarisation, coupled with reciprocal tension and hatred, is no longer confined to the political elites, but has reached deep into the social life of villages and towns. This, I believe, is posing an open threat to social coexistence and tranquility.

The continuation of protests through the last nine months merits attention because it is abnormal. The surge in the number of protests in campuses nationwide has prompted one of our great intellectuals, Bahaa Tahir, to suggest a two-year suspension of classes at the universities...

No one can ignore, or forget the cases of the more than 3,000 people who have been killed in the last few months, as based on reports by independent sources (the Wikithawra website has posted 3,248 people killed during the period from July 3, 2013 and up to April 3, 2014). Now can anyone claim that no political crisis exists in Egypt?

Fahd al-Khitan: Who kidnapped the Jordanian ambassador?
(Al-Ghad, Jordan)

The moment it was announced that ambassador [Fawaz] al-Eitan was abducted, a wave of speculation circulated about the identities of the kidnappers and their demands.

Three weeks earlier, Libyan news outlets warned about a plot to kidnap the Jordanian ambassador in Tripoli. It is not clear yet whether the Libyan authorities had taken the news seriously or if they had notified the Jordanian ambassador and the Foreign Ministry.

New developments in the story emerged on Tuesday afternoon as a new fact was disclosed: a Libyan extremist group had kidnapped the ambassador in order to put pressure on the Jordanian authorities to release a Libyan citizen named Mohamed al-Darsi, who is serving a life sentence at a Jordanian prison on charges of taking part in "terrorist" activities.

All the stories remain to be mere speculation, unless a party claims responsibility for the kidnapping and puts forth its demands, or the official Jordanian side discloses its contact with the kidnappers. The second possibility has been ruled out as Jordanian authorities are unlikely to disclose negotiations and would most likely opt to secure the ambassador's release through secure channels.

Nabil al-Sahly: Will Israel's punitive measures pave the way for a third intifada?
(Al-Hayat, London)

Israeli authorities were withholding tax revenue imposed on the Palestinian labour force working in Israel or customs duty payable for commodities imported into Palestine via Israeli-controlled border crossings to the Palestinian Authority.

These suspended payments have crippled the Palestinian Authority’s ability to cover its payroll, which has reached $125m a month. These days, thousands of Palestinians have taken to the streets in frequent protest in several Palestinian towns, particularly in Ramallah.

It remains to be seen what consequences could result if Israel imposed further trade sanctions on the Palestinians. But there is always rumour of a "third intifada" [uprising] breaking out in protest as a result of long-lasting negotiations.

Palestinians aspire to break the Israeli economic bondage, imposed by unfair Israeli policies during its 1967-2014 occupation. But the Palestinian Intifada has to have its readily available grassroots support to ensure its continuity and to fulfill its objectives. 

Abdellatif al-Sadoun: Post-election challenges in Iraq
(Al-Araby al-Jadeed, London)

In any country, elections are expected to be the springboard towards a new political stage in which citizens feel they are able to take part in drawing public policy and able to suggest solutions for their country’s problems. They would also make sure they cast their votes supporting those whom they believe can represent them in public affairs.

In Iraq, however, the circumstances surrounding the developments that took place after the invasion have resulted in an emerging silent majority that rejects the current political process. This majority is instead seeking to launch a new national political process in the absence of a firm leadership and a smart administration.

The silent majority is still vulnerable to schisms and divisions that restrict it from playing an active role in the socio-political arena. It is also limited in its attempts to oppose existing structures and establish new processes that would represent its interests and aspirations, all the while working towards developing a united and a unified Iraqi identity.

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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