Thursday, March 3, 2011

2 Artikel Lama Yg Masih Relevan. The Role Of Egypt

1- Dari Washington Post

Change in Egypt will change the region

Mike Huckabee, the conservative former Arkansas governor, this weekend said that he is concerned about Islam's role in Egypt's future. As On Faith panelist Reza Aslan this week noted, Huckabee has also called for Americans to "take this nation back for Christ" and, while running for president in 2008, declared that "what

we need to do is to amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards."

In America and in Egypt, should a majority religion inspire political life? How will Islam play a role in the struggles for democracy happening now in Egypt and other parts of the Muslim world?

Allah will not change a condition of a people, until they change themselves
(Quran 13:11).

This is a pivotal moment in the current history of the Arab World. If Egypt is transformed, it will transform the region.

Egypt is the moral and intellectual leader of the Arab world. It sets the cultural and political standards in the region. When Anwar Sadat made peace with Israel, the Arab wars against Israel ended. When Egypt decided to suppress its Islamic movement, the rest of the region followed suit and the Muslim Brotherhood, in spite of its popularity and institutional reach into Arab civil society, remained marginal and powerless. When Egypt decided that Iran was the new enemy of the Arab people, most of the regimes in the area embraced this posture.

Egypt is the key to the Arab world. Its enduring authoritarian regime is the biggest hurdle to democracy and freedom in the region. Saudi Arabia has long been a rival to Egyptian hegemony in the Arab world. But a country that has never fought a war for its people does not truly inspire the Arab imagination. Whatever influence Saudi Arabia has, it has been bought with petro dollars. Egypt on the contrary has been the engine of Arab imagination, its intellectual and political center. If Egypt becomes democratic, democracy will become the norm in the Arab World.

In the past 150 years, we have witnessed four major political trends in the Arab world -- Arab socialism, political Islam, Islamic modernism and Wahabism.

Except Wahabism - an anti-reason, anti-science, anti-democracy, anti-freedom, anti-tolerance, anti-pluralism ideology that originated in Saudi Arabia, the other three Arab intellectual trends have thrived in Egypt.

Arab socialism was a pan-Arab movement that sought to create a unified Arab nation, based on some of the values borrowed from the progressive movements of the 19th century. A combination of populist nationalism and socialism, it eventually degenerated into authoritarianism, as Arab nations failed to unite, failed to defeat their greatest enemy - Zionism - and gradually stagnated on the cultural and economic fronts. Their nominal achievements include the creation of nationalist identities and a rather weak and toothless Arab League. Egypt's second President Jamaal Abdul Nasser (d. 1970) was the key luminary of this movement.

The current spate of uprisings and protests across the Arab World are perhaps the swan song of Arab socialism. If the Mubarak regime falls, other dictatorships will also fall. If Mubarak survives, the Arab world may continue to languish in despair.

Political Islam or the Muslim Brotherhood, a movement that aspires to create Islamic States, the panacea to all Muslim problems, the magic wand that will replace tyranny with harmony and restore Arab glory, is perhaps the biggest and the most institutionally ready alternative to Arab socialism in Egypt today. It will be the biggest player in a democratic Egypt unless all other factions form a coalition to balance it. However their anti-West rhetoric may alienate Egypt from the West and undermine its economic prospects and tourism industry and effectively fail to resolve the problems that trigger the current uprising. If they focus on symbolic goals then they will tear Egypt apart, but if they moderate their rhetoric and focus more on substantive changes - economy, corruption, job creation -- they could become a positive force in Egypt and the region.

The Muslim Brotherhood was slow to join the current uprising and so far is not central to the protests.

There are other groups in Egypt, which are less organized and less influential. There are progressives, old-fashioned Marxists and neoliberals who all desire regime change in Egypt. It is possible that the Egyptian elite that benefited from the Mubarak regime and his current party, The National Democratic Party may reconstitute itself as a nationalist alliance and compete with the Muslim Brotherhood for power. This group maybe more acceptable to the West but it will be tainted by the corruption of the current regime and may not be acceptable to the Egyptian people.

Islamic modernism is an important facet of Egyptian intellectual heritage which experienced its peak during the time of Muhammed Abduh. It combines Islamic values, specially its focus on justice and personal virtue with equality. Islamic modernism seeks to find a path compatible with Islam and democracy, faith and reason, religion and science. Its institutional form in Egyptian politics is the Al Wasat party. It is a bridge between the secularist and the pro-democracy Islamists.

In a free and democratic Egypt, where the youth are aspiring for openness, for global connectivity and for opportunities to fulfill their potential; where the pious still dream of living in a virtuous republic, and the traditionalist hope to find accommodation with the modern and the postmodern, Al Wasat will thrive. It is an option that none will reject outright. The only question remains, can they deliver if given the opportunity?

I am not sure if Egypt will be transformed into a democratic and open society. The possibility that a new strongman will replace the old along with some cosmetic changes is a more likely outcome. But nevertheless Egypt and the Arab World have been presented with a historic opportunity; I pray that they will grasp it firmly.

The Quran suggests that God will not institute change until people themselves change. Systematic change does not come from mere regime changes. Egyptians will have to change their culture, their normative habits and their political concerns to bring about an enduring and beneficial change. Those of us, who wish them well, hope that they will indeed rise to the occasion.

I am reminded of Shakespeare who penned the following words for Brutus but they also speak to the Egyptian people:

There is a tide in the affairs of men Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune... On such a full sea are we now afloat, And we must take the current when it serves, Or lose our ventures.
Dr. Muqtedar Khan is associate professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Delaware and fellow of the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding.

By Muqtedar Khan | January 30, 2011; 12:48 PM ET

How Egypt, more than Libya, will affect the Middle East

Rebel forces have taken over cities in Libya as Gaddafi declares "my people love me." Whatever the outcome of these battles, I believe Egypt more than Libya will help determine the fate of the Middle East. Thus, I would like to offer a few additional thoughts on Egypt, even though media attention has shifted for now.
We have all seen the story. In eighteen short days 30 years of Hosni Mubarak's reign as president has come to an end. There is a deserved sense of triumph among Egyptians. But this is just the first chapter of a developing saga. Political stagnation, widespread corruption, economic inequality, abusive security forces, a 30% illiteracy rate, joblessness, and a litany of other legitimate grievances will not be addressed in Tahrir Square. Thee issues cannot be dealt with through slogans, populist rhetoric, religious salvation, or conspiracy theories. And they will not be resolved overnight, if indeed they are resolved.
A lot must occur to enable Egyptian reform. Democratic safeguards--free press, independent judiciary, protected constitution, independent political parties, protection of minority rights—are not yet present. For example, deep seeded discrimination against minorities, such as Copts, remains. Without minority protection and the rule of law, Egypt faces the prospect of either mob rule or exploitation of the democratic process by a new set of tyrants.
The army will soon retreat into the political background where it can maintain popularity while protecting its vast business interests. A nascent civil society will have to fill the political void. For now, the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood is the most organized political opposition. This raises a few questions and concerns. Will Egyptians build resilient democratic institutions that enable progress or will religious fundamentalism or populism reign the day? What will the inclusion of Islamist parties in the government mean for women, minorities, and the Egypt-Israel peace treaty? Will elections infuse fresh blood into the political system or will the old guard remain under a new label?
How Egyptians deal with these issues will determine the fate of the Middle East. Egyptian protests have bolstered the resolve of others in the region. A disappointing outcome will serve as a harsh lesson. If democracy becomes synonymous with turbulence, indecision, and shattered hopes, the remaining tyrants will have evidence as to why oppressive stability trumps democracy.
Whatever government emerges, it must have space to craft its own policies. At the same time, the US should unequivocally communicate that anti-Western populism will not be appreciated and stress how both sides benefit from close bilateral relations. Respecting "the will of the people" does not mean acquiescing to developments that are detrimental to our national interest.
Trusted partners like the spy chief Omar Suleiman (a graduate of the US Special Warfare School in Fort Bragg) have been removed from their positions. Cooperation on important international issues such as Iranian nuclear development will diminish. In fact, an emboldened Iran will jostle for input. Similar to what happened in Afghanistan after the Taliban and in Iraq after Saddam Hussein, Iran will aim to exploit the US freedom agenda to gain influence in a formerly hostile state. Already Egypt has let two Iranian war ships into the Mediterranean through the Suez Canal, the first such voyage since 1979.
While respecting the democratic process the US should not be naive about Egypt's immediate limitations. We must aim to influence reform in a positive manner before others fill that role to our detriment. We already spend billions subsidizing Egypt's army and government. By also underwriting emerging civil institutions, something largely avoided thus far, we can increase the possibility that Egypt's liberal revolution remains liberal.
One important consideration of US foreign policy is the American brokered Egypt-Israel peace treaty. The agreement looks safe for now, if only because $1.3 billion dollars a year of Egypt's military aid is tied to it. Egypt no less than Israel, wants to avoid war and border confrontations. However, relations with Israel will undoubtedly worsen as strong anti-Israel and anti-Semitic sentiment is calculated into government policy. A 2010 Pew Poll found that 95% of Egyptians held an 'unfavorable view' of Jews (compared with only 35% of Israeli Arabs). And in a 2007 Pew survey, an overwhelming 80% of Egyptians said that the needs of the Palestinians could never be accommodated so long as Israel exists. Protesters in Tahrir square were actively chanting "To Jerusalem we're heading, martyrs in the millions." In a democracy, this attitude will translate into action. For example, a new government may quit helping contain Hamas, a Muslim Brotherhood offshoot. Egypt's role as an example of Arab-Israeli peace will cease if Egyptian hostility is reflected in government policy.
In conclusion, the jury is still out on the ultimate success of the Egyptian revolt. How Egyptians define success will matter as much as whether they achieve it.
David Bratslavsky analyzes US foreign policy and the Middle East. He studied politics, language and religion in Washington, D.C., Tel Aviv, Cairo and Jerusalem. Become a Facebook fan of Street Smart Politics. Follow on Twitter.

No comments:

Post a Comment