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Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Soccer Dad's Middle East Media Sampler

Here's Soccer Dad's Middle East Media Sampler for Tuesday, December 7.
1) Not so much unbridled enthusiasm now

In Egypt, the beginning or the end? Thomas Friedman seems to have been somewhat sobered by the strong showing the Muslim Brotherhood made in the first stage of Egypt's voting.
BOTTOM LINE The Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis have been living underground, focused largely on what they were both against and confined in their ideology to platitudes like “Islam is the answer.” Now that they are emerging from the Arab basement to the Arab street, they not only have to define what they are for but do it in the context of a highly competitive global economy that will leave Egypt’s 85 million people, about one-third of whom are illiterate, even further behind if they don’t get moving.
This will eventually require some wrenching ideological adjustments by the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis to reality. This story is just beginning.
Since February, Friedman has written a number of columns where he's reduced the Muslim Brotherhood to "Islam is the answer." But this underestimates their appeal. The Brotherhood surely has greater appeal than just a hackneyed slogan. In fact here's what Friedman wrote at the beginning of the "Arab spring," in They did it:
Some people worry, though, that the Egyptian Army will strangle this Egyptian democracy movement in its crib. Personally, I think the army leadership is a little afraid of the Twitter-enabled Tahrir youth. The democracy movement that came out of Tahrir Square is like a tiger that has been living in a tiny cage for 30 years. Having watched it get loose, there are two things I would say about this tiger. One is that anyone who tries to put it back in that little cage will get his head bitten off. And, two, any politician who tries to ride the tiger for his own narrow interests, not for the benefit Egypt, will get eaten by it as well. Iran, the other day, issued a declaration urging the Tahrir youth to make an “Islamic revolution,” and none other than Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood told Tehran to get lost because the democracy movement here is pan-Egyptian and includes Christians and Muslims.
Honestly I have no idea about this rejection. Did it really happen or did Friedman just make it up? If if it did, was it as stark as Friedman portrays it? And certainly ascribing the motive of the Brotherhood's brushoff of Iran to democratic instincts is simply projection.

Friedman has gone from "the Muslim Brotherhood gets it" to "I hope the Muslim Brotherhood gets it" in just 10 months.

The bottom line is that a majority of Egyptians chose to vote for Islamist parties. This may not be the beginning of a glorious democratic revolution that Friedman was hyping earlier this year.

2) We won't let them do that, they might ... live

Barry Rubin notices some very significant data from a recently released OECD report and observes:
In short, the world’s most demonized country has a lot to teach the world and especially the Middle East. But instead we are seeing movements and regimes that are economically and socially disastrous being glorified.
But you can't teach those who don't want to learn. (via Daily Alert)
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, the Ministry of Health in Ramallah issued a decision decreasing transfers of patients to Israeli hospitals starting from 02 November 2011, and the Department of External Treatment in Gaza has been committed to this decision. The decision is attributed, according to sources of the Ministry, to the high costs of treatment in Israeli hospitals. These sources pointed out that this decision had been studied and discussed in the Ministry of Health for years, but it was delayed due the need of some patients, especially those suffering from serious or incurable diseases in need of treatment in advanced health facilities, and because Israeli hospitals are closer to the Gaza Strip than Egypt and Jordan.
This decision has led to stopping dozens of transfers of patients who suffer from serious diseases, 90% of them cancer patients, whose treatment is not available in the Gaza Strip. It has also endangered the lives of dozens of patients who are in critical conditions and whose transfer to Egyptian hospitals is not possible due to the long distance. Furthermore, not all medical treatment for their diseases is available in hospitals in Jerusalem or the West Bank. Two children died as they urgently needed advanced medical treatment, but the Ministry of Health transferred them to hospitals that cannot treat their diseases. Those hospitals apologized for not admitting them, and the Ministry of Health did not transfer them to Israeli Hospitals. PCHR lawyers immediately intervened with concerned bodies and with the Director General of Medical Insurance in the West Bank in an attempt to save the lives of the two children, but they died before a response was sent to PCHR.
By the way, two years ago, Save A Child's Heart treated its 1000th Palestinian child.

3) Justice for the terrorist?
David Rivkin and Charles Stimson argue in Obama and the Hezbollah Terrorist that Ali Musa Daqduq ought to be sent to Guantanamo after American forces withdraw from Iraq.
There is an obvious solution: Transfer Daqduq from Iraq to Guantanamo Bay to be tried by a military commission there. But this is where the Obama administration's rigid ideology comes into play—beginning with flawed, self-defeating legalistic arguments.
A successful prosecution of Daqduq would be relatively easy. He killed American soldiers and, as an unprivileged belligerent, has no combatant immunity. Yet the administration purports to be troubled by our lack of an extradition treaty with Iraq. It also points out that the Iraqis have refused to accord the U.S. legal custody of Daqduq, although the U.S. has him in physical custody. The Iraqis, of course, are being pressured by the Iranians not to accommodate this legal-custody request.
Yet we don't need an extradition treaty with Iraq to transfer Daqduq, a Lebanese citizen captured by American forces in a war zone. Since his capture occurred when the U.S. and other coalition members were the occupying power in Iraq, there is ample basis in existing international law for the American exercise of legal jurisdiction over him.
It might be useful to read Charles Krauthammer's Who lost Iraq?

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At 9:40 PM, Blogger Herb Glatter said...

up to 50% of the Egyptian electorate is illiterate and select a "graphic" to vote including a "blender" shown on Fareed Zakaria's GPS show Sunday 12/04


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