Thursday, August 30, 2012

Would It Were So....

"We see that all the countries in the region need stability and peaceful co-existence with each other.  This cannot be achieved with wars but through political work and special relations between the countries of the region."  Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi

This may represent the words of - or may not be in the final analysis - a man whom many have misjudged.  No milquetoast intelligence after all, but a keen philosophical observer, anxious to do what he can to transform his geography into a reasonable semblance of civility.  It would be a long overdue, and impressively refreshing change.  And, coming from a new president whom Egyptians have in the majority finally elected to represent their best interests as president of the most populous Arab country, perhaps time.

"Egypt is now a civilian state ... a national, democratic, constitutional, modern state.  International relations between all states are open and the basis for all relations is balance.  We are not against anyone but we are for achieving our interests", he explained.  Perhaps it will be useful after all that he was educated in the U.S. as an engineer, though he has rejected much about the U.S. and returned to his home country to effect a change.

That, to effect the change he envisioned he had long been a member of the Muslim Brotherhood does not inspire confidence in particular.  Particularly with the hostile emphasis of the Muslim Brotherhood on one of the country's neighbours.  Hostile enough that when a former president of the country signed a peace agreement with Israel, a Muslim Brotherhood supporter assassinated Anwar Sadat, bringing his vice-president, Hosni Mubarak, to the presidency.

President Mubarak respected the peace agreement with Israel, although that agreement kept the two countries from military hostilities only; social acceptance and political amiability did not follow, although Egypt gained from Israeli tourism and trade.  With the ascension of President Morsi to power, though he resigned from the Muslim Brotherhood hierarchy, fears were rampant that the peace agreement would be abandoned.

His party continues to speak of Israel as a racist, expansionist state, and some among them urge for abandonment of the peace treaty.  President Morsi iterates that Egypt will continue to respect international treaties, including the 1979 peace agreement with Israel.  He also attempted to reassure Israel that the newly-initiated military campaign in the Sinai Peninsula, allowed to fall under terrorists' control with the downfall of President Mubarak, was for the purpose of arresting terrorist activities.

"Egypt is practising its very normal role on its soil and does not threaten anyone and there should not be any kind of international or regional concerns at all from the presence of Egyptian security forces", he said.  He has called for dialogue between Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran to attempt a solution to the bloodshed in Syria; Iran expressed interest, Saudi Arabia and Turkey have not.

"Now is the time to stop this bloodshed and for the Syrian people to regain their full rights and for this regime that kills its people to disappear from the scene.  There is no room to talk about reform, but the discussion is about change", said Mr. Morsi, adding that "the friends of the Syrian people in China and Russia and other states", should be backing ordinary Syrians.

As for Egypt's long-standing relationship with the United States from whom it receives $1.3-billion in annual aid for its military, the new president said that his country interacts with the United States as "a stable institution", so that it matters little the outcome of the presidential election there. 

Refreshing, clear and concise, and one must hope - fervently, honest.

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