July 2, 2010

TOUGH TIMES FOR PHAROAH:

Sinai Bedouins tell Egypt to stop repression (ASHRAF SWEILAM, 07/01/2010, AP)

Bedouin leaders in northern Sinai demanded Thursday that Egyptian authorities stop repression of the nomadic tribes and release tribesmen detained for opposing the government. This followed a government demand to the leaders to turn over suspects.

Clashes between Bedouin tribesmen and Egyptian police have intensified recently in the desert peninsula.


The objective behind reform: Dina Ezzat tries to understand what has prompted Arab leaders to examine the question of reform (Dina Ezzat, 7/01/10, Al-Ahram)
For Egypt, a third term for Moussa is crucial. The headquarters of the Arab League is faced with what some call Arab dissent. Several Arab capitals have been calling for an end to Egypt's de facto monopoly of the top post in the Arab League. For Cairo, this would be an outright political defeat. [...]

By keeping Moussa in office now, Egypt would avoid a showdown over the crucial post at a time when its relations with some key Arab countries are clearly tense.

Relations with Algeria are strained for political reasons that go beyond last year's feud over the qualification for the World Cup. And the symbolic handshake between President Mubarak and his Algerian counterpart on the fringe of the Africa-France summit last month did little to assuage the deep political sensitivities between the two leading North African states.

Relations with Syria are tense over Cairo wanting Damascus to contain its ties with Tehran and its influence over Hamas as well as Damascus hoping that Cairo be more sympathetic to Islamic resistance movements in occupied Palestine and Lebanon. And the initiative made by Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad to visit President Mubarak in the wake of the return of the latter from a long medical trip was not picked up by Cairo or for that matter re-instated by Damascus.

Relations with Qatar are also uneasy over what Cairo perceives as a negative presentation of Egypt's regional role through the Qatari-owned and widely viewed Al-Jazeera TV channel. And it is not clear whether the hand-shake and subsequent short meeting between President Mubarak and the emir of Qatar in Libya this week would produce something beyond the courtesy of formalities.

Relations with Saudi Arabia, an otherwise close ally, are a bit cool over the flexibility that Egypt believes Riyadh to be showing over the re- establishment of a heavy Syrian influence in Lebanon, as over Saudi dismay with Cairo's reluctance to accept its mediation to ease tension between Egypt and Syria.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 2, 2010 5:11 AM
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