Egypt’s Islamists lead protests against military rule

Over 50,000 Egyptians returned to Tahrir Square today to push for a transition to elected civilian rule, in what protesters called the “Friday of One Demand” — to put “the revolution back on track.” The protest was led by Islamists, the Salafis, and the Muslim Brotherhood, but included several secular groups, all rallying against military ...

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546918_111118_1332576382.jpg

Over 50,000 Egyptians returned to Tahrir Square today to push for a transition to elected civilian rule, in what protesters called the "Friday of One Demand" -- to put "the revolution back on track." The protest was led by Islamists, the Salafis, and the Muslim Brotherhood, but included several secular groups, all rallying against military rule. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which has ruled Egypt since the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak, has circulated a document with proposals for the constitution that would grant the military supra-constitutional powers as the guardian of "consitutional legitmacy" and keep the army's internal affairs and budget exempt from civilian oversight. The protest has come as Egyptians prepare for parliamentary elections set to begin on November 28, which could be postponed if the government and poltical parties are unable to come to terms on the constitution's principles. 

Headlines

After an ultimatum from the Arab League, Syria has agreed to allow a mission to observe the implementation of a plan to end violence amidst concern that it is too late.  In an emergency government meeting after protesters stormed Parliament, Kuwait's Emir called for "stricter measures" to avoid further confrontations and legal actions possibly including a media crackdown. The U.N.'s IAEA has drafted a resolution expected to be passed on Friday sharply criticizing Iran's nuclear activities but deferring sanctions and avoiding penalties to appease China and Russia. Libya's Muslim Brotherhood held its first public congress after being banned for almost 25 years in Benghazi to discuss party leadership and direction.  The United States has accelerated the withdrawal of the remainder of its 40,000 troops from Iraq and is set to complete the pull out by the beginning of December. 

Over 50,000 Egyptians returned to Tahrir Square today to push for a transition to elected civilian rule, in what protesters called the “Friday of One Demand” — to put “the revolution back on track.” The protest was led by Islamists, the Salafis, and the Muslim Brotherhood, but included several secular groups, all rallying against military rule. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which has ruled Egypt since the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak, has circulated a document with proposals for the constitution that would grant the military supra-constitutional powers as the guardian of “consitutional legitmacy” and keep the army’s internal affairs and budget exempt from civilian oversight. The protest has come as Egyptians prepare for parliamentary elections set to begin on November 28, which could be postponed if the government and poltical parties are unable to come to terms on the constitution’s principles. 

Headlines

  • After an ultimatum from the Arab League, Syria has agreed to allow a mission to observe the implementation of a plan to end violence amidst concern that it is too late
  • In an emergency government meeting after protesters stormed Parliament, Kuwait’s Emir called for “stricter measures” to avoid further confrontations and legal actions possibly including a media crackdown.
  • The U.N.’s IAEA has drafted a resolution expected to be passed on Friday sharply criticizing Iran’s nuclear activities but deferring sanctions and avoiding penalties to appease China and Russia.
  • Libya’s Muslim Brotherhood held its first public congress after being banned for almost 25 years in Benghazi to discuss party leadership and direction. 
  • The United States has accelerated the withdrawal of the remainder of its 40,000 troops from Iraq and is set to complete the pull out by the beginning of December. 

Daily Snapshot

Tens of thousands of Egyptian protesters wave national flags during a rally held in Cairo’s landmark Tahrir Square on November 18, 2011 with the aim of pushing Egypt’s ruling military to cede power, 10 months after an uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak’s regime (KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images). 

Arguments & Analysis

‘Turkey: from zero problems to cok problems’ (Steven Cook, CFR blog)

“The combination of deft public relations, the help of some parts of the national press all too willing to engage in national self-aggrandizement, and an emerging consensus among international foreign policy elites about the benefits of the “Turkish model,” has rescued the AKP’s foreign policy from the gap between Ankara’s principles and its actual conduct in the region.  There are exceptions to this, of course.  Erdogan has been consistent in his position on Gaza, which has won him widespread admiration in the Arab world.  Still, for those who bother to look critically, zero problems and its demise reveal that like the United States, the EU, and other global powers, Turkey only became a champion of human rights and democracy in the Middle East world after Arabs took matters into their own hands and began bringing down Ankara’s friends.” 

‘Arab freedom of expression: the right to be hidden’ (The Economist)

“As elections loom in Egypt, puritanical Salafist parties, which believe women should wear full veils and stay at home, have found unusual ways of abiding by a law requiring them to field female candidates. Campaign posters for the Nour Party showed photographs of seven bearded candidates on its list for one district, but in place of an image for the eighth, a woman, was a picture of a rose. The party explained that since she wears a niqab there was no point in showing her picture. Another Salafist party insisted that for a television interview a curtain should separate its spokesman from the female host. Liberal parties have chosen an opposite course, in one case fielding a well-known actress and in another a candidate whose sultry looks have spawned fan pages on Twitter and Facebook. The secular-minded have also harnessed ridicule to embarrass the Salafists. One widely shared cartoon shows a future heavily bearded Egyptian president, framed by identically veiled First, Second, Third and Fourth Ladies.”

    <p>Mary Casey-Baker is the editor of Foreign Policy’s Middle East Daily Brief, as well as the assistant director of public affairs at the Project on Middle East Political Science and assistant editor of The Monkey Cage blog for the Washington Post. </p> Twitter: @casey_mary

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