Hot off the Arab press 480341

What citizens of other countries are reading about the Middle East.

A person holds a sign out of a car as it is driven past hundreds of people rallying against a temporary travel ban signed by US President Donald Trump in an executive order, during a protest at Detroit Metropolitan airport in Romulus, Michigan (photo credit: REUTERS)
A person holds a sign out of a car as it is driven past hundreds of people rallying against a temporary travel ban signed by US President Donald Trump in an executive order, during a protest at Detroit Metropolitan airport in Romulus, Michigan
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Al-Sharq al-Awsat, London, January 30
US President Donald Trump’s decision to ban citizens of seven Muslim countries from entering the United States has been met by widespread public resistance.
Criticizing his decree isn’t a difficult feat, since it is nothing but a hypocritical, populist and destructive decision.
What is absurd about Trump’s presidential order is that it completely distorts the truth. Countries that have been longtime supporters and funders of terrorism have been spared from the list, while peaceful nations, including ones that are victims of terrorism themselves, have been targeted. Can Trump really expect Iraqi soldiers to fight alongside American troops against Islamic State while being barred from entering the United States? Will he really be able to garner the support of the Iraqi government and people in his new strategy to combat Islamic State? Did Trump forget that many countries in the region – including some on his list – are themselves victims of vehement Islamic terrorism? The most concerning part about this order is not the actual ban it introduces. This restriction is temporary and will likely be removed once the hunger of Trump’s constituents is satisfied. What is rather concerning is the way in which the new American administration is mixing up the victims and the perpetrators; empowering those who ascribe racist beliefs against America, while disenfranchising and humiliating liberal leaders of the Arab world.
– Tarek al-Hameid
Al-Shorouq, Egypt, January 24
This week marks the sixth anniversary of the Egyptian Revolution. Six years have passed since millions of Egyptian citizens, men and women, took to the streets and brought an end to Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule.
But what is left of this opposition today? President Abd al-Fatah al-Sisi’s government, which has been ruling the country for nearly two years now, has enjoyed relative stability, but do not delude yourselves.
This stability is a result not of al-Sisi’s strength, but of the opposition’s weakness. Every year, around the Revolution anniversary, opposition factions in Egypt come together and call for renewed protests.
And every year internal disputes and disagreements lead to the disintegration of these potential partnerships.
Even the Muslim Brotherhood, once a powerful force that united and mobilized millions of Egyptians to the street, is now a divided and fragmented movement with several different figureheads.
This lack of true opposition in Egypt is alarming. It should be a top concern to each and every Egyptian man and woman. A strong and vocal opposition, no matter how diverse, is a fundamental component of a functioning democracy. When our opposition groups find themselves so divided that they fail to act, we, as Egyptians, suffer as a whole.
On one bright Friday morning six years ago, Egyptians took to the streets together as one unified people.
Until we manage to do so again, we will continue being ruled by fierce autocrats who disregard our basic rights and interests.
– Mohammad Ayash
Al-Araby al-Jadeed, London, January 28
Jordan is likely to face some serious trouble in the months to come.
Militant groups associated with Islamic State have been expanding their reach towards the Jordanian border city of Rukban, where some 100,000 Syrian refugees have found temporary shelter. Several attacks occurred in the region recently, culminating in a deadly bombing attack that took place in the refugee camp last week. Security officials have been pointing fingers at Islamic State, although no group claimed responsibility for the attack as of yet.
Was the attack aimed at the Jordanian Border Police? Was it aimed at the refugees? Or was it aimed at the Western-backed rebel forces that are being trained in the region? The answer is still unknown. What is certain is that Jordan will not be able to tackle this new development on its own.
For several years, Jordanian military officials have been training Syrian rebels to fight against Islamic State. These forces could not withstand their battles with ISIS, and proved to be a dismal failure. Rukban has been a central passageway for forces moving in and out of Jordan. The centrality of this crossing point, along with its large refugee population, makes it a prime target for an attack.
Islamic State is not oblivious to this. After incurring heavy losses in Mosul, it is looking for new ways to afflict damage and casualties. With a new administration in the White House, not much is known about the future American policy in the region. In the meantime, the threat of radical Islamist terrorism is getting closer and closer to the Jordanian border.
– Muhamad Abu Rahman
Akhbar al-Khaleej, UAE, January 24
Recent reports confirm that US President Donald Trump may designate the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization. According to several sources, Trump has already instructed the State Department to examine ways to add the movement to the list of foreign terrorist organizations, allowing the American Treasury to impose sanctions on its members.
The bill backing this decision has already been introduced to the Senate last week by Ted Cruz, backed by Representatives Michael and Mario Diaz-Balart in the House.
There is no doubt that this is a worrying development.
Regardless of whether one agrees or disagrees with the rhetoric and political agenda of the Brotherhood, its actions have so far been peaceful. While Islamist terrorist attacks sweep our region, Brotherhood members have spread their agenda through peaceful participation in the political process. In fact, a British investigation on the organization conducted in 2015 refuted the claim that the Brotherhood has been involved, whether directly or indirectly, in any terrorist activity. Thus, if Trump’s administration designates the Brotherhood a terrorist organization based on its mere agenda – and not on the basis of proved action – then any organization on the face of Earth could be susceptible to the president’s next whim.
This is an extremely slippery slope. Europe is home to over 40 million Muslims. Across the Atlantic, well over three million Muslims reside in the Untied States.
Placing bans and sanctions on any organization simply because of its affiliation with Islam is a dangerous precedent. The term “terrorism” cannot be used as a blanket excuse to disenfranchise and marginalize entire populations. Those who care about the future of America must resist such flagrant violations of civil rights. Such acts only weaken the Arab world and empower Israel, making it a beneficiary of the turmoil we witness in the region.
– Amer al-Hala