Hot off the Arab press 408463

What citizens of other countries are reading about the Middle East

A woman stands next to a damaged car after a car bomb attack on the convoy of Egyptian public prosecutor Hisham Barakat, near his house in Cairo’s Heliopolis district on June 29. (photo credit: MOHAMED ABD EL GHANY/REUTERS)
A woman stands next to a damaged car after a car bomb attack on the convoy of Egyptian public prosecutor Hisham Barakat, near his house in Cairo’s Heliopolis district on June 29.
Erdogan’s dream
London, July 4
The Turkish army has begun mobilizing its forces on the border with Syria, following orders issued by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. According to Turkish sources, Erdogan authorized the invasion in order to establish a Turkish buffer zone in northern Syria, which will prevent not only the flow of refugees into Turkey, but also the possible formation of a Kurdish state in the region. This move stands in complete contrast to the demands made by the United States and NATO, who wish to see Turkey exercise its power differently in the region – not against the Kurds, but against Islamic State.
Erdogan, meanwhile, is doing everything in his power to defy standing agreements with the West.
Granted, his party just lost the parliamentary elections, and this recent move could simply reflect the leader’s attempt at showing that he is still strong. Erdogan’s policies, nonetheless, seem to represent little more than a whim. He is busy promoting the hawkish stance of his Justice and Development Party, focusing on long-term regional goals. Erdogan believes that the Middle East, which was part of the Ottoman Empire for over four centuries, should maintain its historic Islamic character. There is no place for a Kurdish state in his mind.
With the collapse of Iraq and Syria, the weakening of Egypt, and the despotic regimes that have assumed control elsewhere in the region, Erdogan wishes to reinstate Turkey’s role as a regional leader. This current intervention in Syria is not an attempt at alleviating the suffering of innocent Syrians who fell into the hands of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces, but rather an attempt to project Turkey’s power toward Damascus. Erdogan wishes to return the region to the days of the Ottoman Empire. Every move he currently takes is another stepping-stone in his carefully calculated path toward that goal. Luckily, dreams are one thing; reality is another. – Mustafa Zayen
Killing of Egyptian PG: A sign of strength or weakness?
, Iraq, July 4
No matter which party stands behind the assassination of Egyptian Prosecutor-General Hisham Barakat earlier this week, it is clear that the killing is a blatant act of terrorism. The act, however, can represent one of two opposite trends on behalf of the perpetrator. The first is that the terrorist entity behind it is motivated by its sense of failure and despair in attracting the masses, while the second – and quite contrary – notion is that it reflects the perpetrator’s sense of strength and ability to fight the authorities.
While many in Egypt interpreted the event as the latter, I would argue that they are wrong. The first option, of weakness, is far more plausible. Feelings of frustration and despair often lead organizations to take extreme measures, such as suicide attacks.
The killing of Barakat brought about a major police crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood over the last couple of days. Ever since the removal of president Mohamed Morsi from power, the Brotherhood has failed to mobilize the masses and organize protests. It is highly likely that this killing was aimed at “shocking the system.”
Egypt’s history, however, proves that terrorism doesn’t pay off. The Brotherhood attacks began in the ’40s, under president Gamal Abdel Nasser. They continued and intensified under president Anwar Sadat, who, before being killed by a Brotherhood assassin, sent most of the organization’s members to prison.
Under president Hosni Mubarak, the Brotherhood was outlawed, and under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, most of its leaders have been sentenced to death. The killing of Barakat, who was a highly respected attorney, will only weaken the Brotherhood. The security authorities will escalate their activity against the already faltering organization.
The killing we witnessed this week is not a declaration of war. It is an attempt by a weak organization at wreaking havoc. History has proven that this will not work. – Udnan Hussein
Government aid is no substitute for individual kindheartedness
Asharq al-Awsat, London, July 4
Most of the flour, rice, water, blankets and tents distributed to the Syrian and Yemeni refugees these days are provided by governments and not by the people.
In the past, philanthropy and aid was mostly civic, collected from mosques, schools, streets, and in television and newspaper campaigns. Ever since terrorist networks began making use of charity organizations to fund their covert activity, the popularity of giving donations significantly dropped. People began questioning where their money was going and how aid was being distributed. Since, suspicions have led to the disappearance of nearly all individual charity organizations in the Arab world, and most charity agencies today are government-controlled or -sponsored.
While it is true that the volume of aid, in the hands of the government, has nearly doubled, government aid is no substitute for individual kindheartedness. First, because we Arabs have to demonstrate our solidarity toward one another. This is also our religious duty as Muslims.
Secondly, the size and scope of the tragedy experienced by our brothers and sisters in Syria and Yemen is unprecedented. It requires all of us to work together to heal the wounds of our people, inflicted upon them by their own governments. Miserable citizens are trapped under despotic leaders, or become displaced by armed groups. While donors’ worries can be understood, the solution is not to abandon charity. Rather, we can increase supervision and monitoring.
The tragedy we are witnessing around us in the Arab world is going to be long-lasting. We must open our hearts and help our governments fill in this huge void. – Abd al-Rahman al-Rashed
Compiled by The Media Line