Sunday, 30 January 2011

Egypt: A new Future

Egypt’s future is rooted in Islam, the religion and way of life of its people
As the situation in Egypt intensifies after decades of oppression by successive regimes, we are in a position where we can discuss the potential scenario after the Muslim rulers have been removed and replaced. Until now the brutal rule by the corrupt regimes managed to contain most attempts at their rule through a secret service that ensured any move for change was crippled before it gained any momentum. The events in Tunisia have reverberated around the Arab world and are now simmering in Egypt, the Arab world’s largest country.
Whilst the masses in Egypt have been galvanised for regime change it is only a matter of time before the Mubarak regime will be removed, with this in mind the state of affairs after the Mubarak regime is placed in the dustbin of history needs to be outlined as otherwise there is the real possibility that the call for change is hijacked by foreign powers. William Hague British foreign secretary of the UK was in Syria just this week, a country that will most likely be next in line for change. Mohamed ElBaradei has returned to Egypt with some questionable ambitions. The Egyptian Chief of Staff Lt.Gen. Sami Annan was in Washington on January 24th 2011 heading a high ranking military delegation. The top-ranking US envoy for the Middle East, Jeffrey Feltman, was the first foreign official to arrive in Tunisia after president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was ousted.
With this in mind 3 policy area are outlined for a new future for Egypt:
Economic Stability - Egypt has suffered from massive mismanagement for the last few decades. According to the World Bank 40% of the Egyptian population, some 30.8 million people, live in poverty. Egypt’s economy has been ruined largely by the self-destructive policies of successive regimes. Egypt has also suffered disastrously under IMF and World Bank reforms, Egypt was forced to cut food subsidies and restructure the economy towards services and tourism. The Egyptian economy and its structure is its biggest problem as it is not geared towards Egypt’s natural strengths of agriculture and manufacturing.
In the 1960s Egypt was self sufficient in wheat, grains etc. to satisfy the needs of its population. In the 1990’s under IMF and World Bank pressure Egypt was forced to restructure its economy through increasing exports and reducing the reliance on agriculture. Since 2000 Egypt has suffered form numerous food riots as the nation once self sufficient in food became dependent on food imports. Food imports have also led to the Egyptian people to be exposed to rising food prices as financial markets have moved to speculating on commodities. Today Egypt produces 8 million tons of wheat per year, which falls far short of the 14 million tons required to feed its 80 million people. The difference is made up by imported wheat from the US, financed by aid money.
Under the Khilafah the Suez canal, in which 5% of the worlds oil passes and is considered a choke point. Egypt could charge for cargo to pass and refine the crude oil that passes through its ports which would bring in billion of dollars to the treasury. Egypt today has 9 oil refineries producing 710,000 barrels per day of crude oil, this can be significantly increased.
In agriculture the desert farm lands which were offered regularly at different levels and prices were restricted to a limited group of elites selected very carefully, who later profiteered retailing the granted large desert farm land. This transformed the desert farms to tourist resorts. The Khilafah will increase domestic agricultural production and end the country being a market for US agriculture. It is only current government policy that has made Egypt reliant upon imports.
Accountable government – In the 1880s, Egypt was unable to repay its debts and as a result the British Empire, its largest lender, used this an excuse to occupy Egypt for the next half century. Britain appointed proxy rulers who were loyal to her until the US emerged as the world’s power after WW2 it gained influence over Egypt and the loyalty of successive rulers. The Egyptian regime normalized relations with Israel and clamped down upon any sign of Islamic resurgence. Egypt’s long line of rulers have always been propped up by an external powers and thus have never been representative of the people and therefore are never accountable to their own people. Foreign powers have funded and armed the regime and kept their loyalty.
Under the Khilafah the ruler is elected by the people and represents the people. Any foreign influence warrants his removal. Practically accountability will be through the Majlis al-Ummah, an elected council whose members can be Muslim, non-Muslim, men or women. These members represent the interests of their constituencies within the Khilafah. The majlis has no legislative powers but it does have many powers that act as a counterbalance to the executive powers of the Khaleefah. The Majlis has the right to construct a list of candidates for the post of the Khaleefah.
Vision – The Muslims have an illustrious history in Africa, this is why 52% of Africa’s population today is comprised of Muslims. Islam came to North Africa after Al Sham came under Islam. Islam’s initial launch pad into the continent was through the conquest of Egypt. Egypt was   inhabited by a mixture of people, such as Copts, Jews and Romans. Similarly North Africa was where the Berbers lived under Roman dominance. The Romans viewed Africa as their colony and through patron rulers it maintained its grip on the continent. An official campaign to conquer North Africa began in 663, and the Muslims soon controlled most major cities in Libya. Tripoli fell in 666 and by 670, the Muslims had taken Tunisia. The Maghreb territory consists of present-day Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco, and was collectively known as the Byzantine province of Africa eventually capitulated and sent shockwaves across the Roman territories. The loss of Egypt, which was the breadbasket for the Roman Empire, was a loss the Romans never recovered from.
The Muslims constructed the city of Qairouan (roughly eighty miles south of modern Tunis). This city became the capital of Islamic Africa. Initially the location of a military base, like many bases these became cities and centers of learning. The Al Qayeawm mosque (Jamil Uqba) was constructed by the Muslims and it became established as a centre of learning throughout the Islamic lands. It was the New Muslims of North Africa that took Islam to Europe. The Berber turned Muslim Tariq Bin Ziyad led an army across the straits of Gibraltar that began Islam’s illustrious history in Europe.
Whilst successive rulers in North Africa sold the people to Western interests Islam turned the region in the past to a centre of learning and the door way to Europe. It is this vision the Khilafah would bring to Egypt as it did in the past. The Khilafah will not be a subservient slave to Imperial powers but have global ambitions as it did in the past giving the people of the region a vision for the world.
Pressure has now built to unprecedented levels in the Muslim world and now these regimes are offering a few crumbs to appease the people and buy them off, hoping they’ll settle for something cosmetic that will appear like a victory but will only uphold the status quo of the ugly regime. Perhaps the regime will offer a few reforms, some handouts of money or food, the promise of an election or even a new face to replace the old tyrant but who will continue to oppress them and prevent the real solution for the disastrous situation to emerge. Real change does not come through a change of faces. It doesn’t come from a plodding reform. It is sudden, it is sweeping, it is uncompromising and it is comprehensive. Genuine change is to remove the systems of kufr in our lands once and for all. Genuine change is to return to what the people of the region have lived under the Khilafah for over a thousand years. Genuine change is for the Ummah to liberate herself from the shackles of its oppressors and return again to living under the shade of the Islamic Khilafah state. (Ends)

Home          Sri Lanka Think Tank-UK (Main Link)

The Egyptian protests are about removing the colonialists

Whilst a number of things still remain unclear about the future of Egypt, there is some incorrect reporting that needs to be addressed.
Western Media, particularly the BBC, naturally represent the viewpoint of the journalists, which is the capitalist viewpoint. Far from merely reporting the facts of the events, they appear to have a predefined goal, then hunt for events and people to interview who will help them to achieve that goal. Either it is deliberate or just a plain inability to honestly evaluate their own thinking, hence they assume all others to view the world as they do.
The reporting of the events in Egypt have been no different. The demonstrating Egyptians have had so many words put into their mouths, all aiming to achieve personal objectives of those commenting, but none of them accurate. Little attempt has been made to understand Egyptians as they are, rather than as we would like them to be.
What is clear is that America is now planning for losing Mubarak, which means that they are working on his replacement, perhaps ElBaradei or Nour, or another ambitious Egyptian. Time will tell. Just as Mubarak’s decision to re-shuffle his government is in reality no change at all, and the Egyptian people are unlikely to be satisfied with this, the same way that the Tunisians are not satisfied with Ben Ali’s replacement.
However, the Egyptian protesters are asking for real change, of the complete system, not only Mubarak himself. This has been repeated over and over, with Mubarak as the symbol of the old system that they are seeking to replace.
We may hear an Egyptian protester saying that we want liberation, but he does not mean the same thing as an average Westerner means when he says this. He is not complaining that Mubarak’s regime prevented him from having many girlfriends, or from wearing what clothes he wants, or from being allowed to insult the prophets for example. Western protesters may value such things, but this is not a concern for most Egyptians.
There are always a few Egyptians who have been infatuated by the American University in Cairo or Western media, who may desire such matters. These are mostly from the circle of the Egyptian elite, which includes the government officials and their families. These are not likely to be instigating the demonstrations, as the government has never held them back from such aspirations. Some may hate religion, as Westerners do, so may desire to change Egyptian culture, but again the government has never been an obstacle to this, as they share in the same goals. There have been some Egyptian protesters who are driven by ideological thoughts of increased democracy. These are the ones who make up the bulk of the interviewees or whose tweets and emails are selected, as they suit the agenda of the Western journalist. Such people do not make up the majority of Egyptians, nor the protesters.
When such people do call for change, they are complaining about a system that excludes them from political life. They are similar to opposition parties in Egypt, who do not really want to see a complete change, but rather a partial change that includes themselves. They are not about to serve the interests of the rest of the Egyptians, but only themselves, whichever Western colonialist puppet master can lure them, or satisfy their own personal ideological bent.
The Kifaya movement which started ten years ago had its origins in the old socialists of Cairo. This does not mean that today’s protesters should be viewed as calling for socialism. Kifaya merely tapped into a great deal of underlying frustration in the Egyptian people. There slogans for change have hit a nerve, initially with students, and now with average Egyptians.
Looking at the Egyptian public, it is necessary to consider what the underlying complaints are and hence drives them to demonstrate.
Most Egyptians cannot claim to be directly targeted by Hosni’s regime, as in fact, it is the religious Muslims that the government have been fighting extremely harshly, on America’s behalf, for the last fifty years. These people have a real grudge against the government, so the kind of change that they desire is for Islam to be implemented and not attacked. If the change is only partial, to another Western sponsored puppet, then they will not be satisfied, although they may be fooled and hence pacified temporarily.
The average Egyptian is moderately religious, meaning that he cares about the Quran and his prayer and does not desire for it to be abused or abandoned any further. He does not share the Westerner’s ideas of freedom, but does want liberation from oppression. He witnesses the West’s war against Islam, under the name of a war against terror, and feels offended and that he is the target of the West’s hatred. Furthermore, he sees his own government’s complicity with America and how it does nothing to defend his honour. He also sees the huge injustices done on Palestine and how his government assists the Americans and Israelis in this.
The oppression that he feels is multifaceted. He feels the oppression of the religious Muslim activist, as they are his family and neighbours. Every Egyptian knows someone who has disappeared or been tortured by the regime, hence they are acutely conscious of and feel the oppression in the fear that it creates. The huge distrust and fear that they could become the next victim, is something that they desire liberation from.
Furthermore, the hopeless economic situation is without a doubt felt by most Egyptians, and they want liberation from it. This situation requires some examination into its true causes. Mubarak built the economy on tourism, which is never going to be a stable basis for economic growth. In industry, while Egypt has factories, these are primarily Western foreign companies’ assembly plants used to access Middle Eastern markets. The factories are nominally owned by an Egyptian individual, but the company profits still exit the country to the real Western owners’ bank accounts. The fact is that Mubarak’s regime has never built any serious industry, nor developed any serious technology. Had he done so, then there could have been real economic progress in Egypt. America does not desire such an independent economy, so Mubarak was never allowed to build one. He even used every means to stop Egyptian innovation, such as corruption, imprisonment of potential rivals and allowing Alaa’, his son, to extort vast sums from anyone starting a business in Egypt.
Here is the critical matter for the protesters; if they accept any partial change, including any new regime that continues to court Western approval, then nothing will actually change, as no new heavy industry will be built. Nor will they be allowed to undermine Western colonial objectives for the region. As these are the true causes of Egyptian misery, then unless they are addressed, nothing will actually change.
Were the Egyptians to be allowed a superficial token economic boom, like Singapore’s or South Korea’s, they would remain no more than a satellite of the US economy, hence extremely vulnerable as has been demonstrated in the recent US economic crisis.
Egyptians also suffer corruption and bribery in their daily lives. This is a direct consequence of the hopeless state of the economy and of a consequent increasing culture of distrust for each other to build a functioning society. Without real change to the ruling system, then even this will not be resolved.
So, the real call of the Egyptians is to end the colonial subservience of their regime. Unless they call for a total change then nothing will be different in this regard. The colonialist Britain and America are working day and night to support dictators in the Middle East, to serve their own interests and never those of the people. Egyptian and Arab nationalism is a colonial invention and was the main legitimising excuse of Mubarak’s regime. To continue to call for it, as the basis of change will only lead back into the hands of the Americans. Anyone taking leadership of the country on a nationalist basis must be accused of being an American agent, even if he is naive and blind to it. It will only be a matter of time before he is the subject of Egyptian protesters’ anger. His rule will be a lot shorter than Mubarak’s however.
The test for all new regimes, as to whether they have really changed, is how do they treat those Islamic activists working for a state which will implement the shariah, expel the colonialists’ influence and bring success to the people, in this life and the next.
Being as the protesters are overwhelmingly Muslim; not only nominally, but actually caring about their deen and their place in this life and the next, then it is ludicrous to suggest that they will be satisfied with anything less than the full implementation of the shariah. It may take some more time until the exact details of what the shariah expects of Islamic rule is well understood, but it is only a matter of time. Until then, the US and UK governments and media will continue to delay the inevitable, supporting despicable dictators and pseudo democratic rulers in Muslim lands. The da’awahcarriers will continue to be oppressed, as will the rest of the people. The difference is that now the fear has been taken out of the people’s hearts and put into the hearts of the rulers, especially those nationalist and secular colonial stooges who may take over from the current outgoing dictators.
A Reader’s Contribution from Yahya Nesbit who lived in Egypt for 5 years. (Ends)

Saturday, 29 January 2011

The Muslim Ummah deserves REAL change

All across the Muslim world, ordinary Muslims are waking up to the prospect that change is possible. The unprecedented wave of public demonstrations in recent weeks began in Tunisia, toppling the tyrant Zine al-Abedine Ben-Ali. They have since swept through the rest of the ummah shaking the thrones of oppressors. Now protests against the Egyptian regime have grabbed the world’s attention with courageous protesters openly defying the forces of one of the world’s most brutal and fearsome regimes. Images of unarmed civilians pouring out from Friday prayers to face batons, tear gas, tanks and rubber bullets with their Iman and their voices have spread throughout the globe.

The truth is that such outpouring of anger and frustration was always inevitable. The presence of these regimes ruining the lives of the people, impoverishing them and destroying their hope whilst they amass huge riches and treat the people as their slaves was always going to lead to conflict
The only question was when the ummah would rise up against their rulers, not if. Knowing this the dictators in every part of the Muslim world have always tried to subvert momentum for change so it ultimately achieves nothing of substance and the situation remains as it always was.
So when the people decide to act decisively they will face offers and proposals to buy time for the regime, to let the energy for action calm a little, to divide the people, prevent them from achieving lasting results and to maintain the existing state of affairs.
Whenever pressure builds on these regimes the ummah is routinely offered a few crumbs to appease them and buy them off, hoping they’ll settle for something cosmetic that will appear like a victory but will only uphold the status quo of the ugly regime. Perhaps the regime will offer a few reforms, some handouts of money or food, the promise of an election or even a new face to replace the old tyrant but who will continue to oppress them and prevent the real solution for the disastrous situation to emerge.
Real change does not come through a change of faces. It doesn’t come from a plodding reform. It is sudden, it is sweeping, it is uncompromising and it is comprehensive. Genuine change is to remove the systems of kufr in our lands once and for all. Genuine change is to return to what the people of the region have lived under in peace, independence and prosperity for over a thousand years. Genuine change is for the Ummah to liberate herself from the shackles of its oppressors and return again to living under the shade of the Islamic Khilafah state.
The West also fear real change in the Muslim world knowing full well what it means. The rise of Islam to power and influence in world affairs represents an ideological challenge to their dominance of global politics and finance and is utterly unacceptable to them.
This is why Western leaders have been united in urging that any change that takes place in the Muslim world is gradual, creeping and ineffectual. They prefer stability since they want the situation to continue to provide them with an advantage.  Hillary Clinton called for the Egyptian government to “implement political, economic and social reforms”. Robert Danin of the Council on Foreign Relations spoke of the Obama administration seeking “managed change” in Egypt not wanting a situation “which would necessitate the leadership to flee”. Middle East Peace Envoy, Tony Blair, when interviewed on BBC Radio 4′s Today programme, said “All over that region, there is essentially one issue, which is how do they evolve and modernise, both in terms of their economy, their society and their politics. All I’m saying is that, in the case of Egypt and in the case in Yemen, because there are other factors in this – not least those who would use any vacuum in order to foment extremism – that you do this in what I would call a stable and ordered way”.
The West wants ‘reform’, ‘managed change’, ‘evolution’, anything except the kind of transformation that would see the
of Islam and an end to their colonial influence through their agents.
The time for change is long-overdue but it has to be more fundamental than accepting appeasement from the current regime, accepting a new oppressor to take his place or helping to continue Western interference through cosmetic reforms. For change to be complete, lasting and productive it has to be extended not just to the head of state but to the system itself.

change is possible. The time has come and the Ummah now has an opportunity to achieve something lasting. It should not be wasted but it can only be accomplished if the system changes from kufr to Islam. (Ends)

Picket Egypt Emabassy [29th Jan 11am]


Friday, 28 January 2011

After Tunisia: The Future of the Muslim World

Rached Ghannouchi, the leader of Tunisia's Islamist movement Ennahda, returned home aftre living in exile in London for 22 years.


First Tunisia, then Egypt – A call for real change in the Arab World

Hundreds of Muslims attended a public meeting to hear about the unprecedented events unfolding in the Middle East. The audience was addressed by leading members of Hizb ut-Tahrir and had opportunity for questions and comments.
Sajjad argued that change was happening in a region that people had long since given up on. The relentless oppression by the regimes, the economic hardship faced by ordinary people due to the neglect by governments, and changes in means of communication had meant that people were rising up to remove the old regimes, and that the ‘walls of fear’ had been knocked down.
Dr Imran Waheed showed how western colonial governments in America, Britain and Europe had backed cruel tyrants like Ben Ali, Mubarak, Karimov of Uzbekistan and others. He quoted from Thomas Jefferson who said that the west’s colonial policies were there to serve their own interests. He predicted that they would deny their associations once these dictators were removed and cautioned that colonial governments would try and install new men favourable to the west, or colonised by a western mindset. He argued that real change could only come under a Khilafah state, which could be independent of the west and which solved people’s problems according to Islam.
Ons Chafi, from Tunisia, spoke of his recent trips there before and after the uprising. He described the hardships and oppression endured by ordinary people under Ben Ali, where there were no jobs, women were not permitted to wear Islamic dress, and people were in fear of arrest for simply praying in the mosques. He described an occasion when his mother was forbidden from making a complaint to the police about her stolen handbag unless she removed her headscarf.
Finally, Taji Mustafa, called the people to work hard to support their brothers and sisters struggling and sacrificing around the world for change and for Islam.
The panel called Muslims in the UK to speak to as many people as possible about the Khilafah system; counter the propaganda in the media against political Islam; and warned that the attack on Islamic values and symbols – like hijab, niqab and Aqeedah issues – were all part of the same colonial agenda to prevent Islam from rising as an independent force, challenging the hegemony of capitalism.  (Ends

Demonstration – Against Hasina Government’s 2 years Fascist Rule [29th Jan 2PM]

Anti-government protests erupt in Yemen

At least 16,000 and, according to some reports, many more protested in Yemen calling on Ali Abdullah Saleh, president for more than 30 years, to step down.
Demonstrators gathered in at least four locations in the capital, Sanaa, including the university, in an effort to thwart the police and security services. Protests also took place elsewhere.
At least 10,000 were involved in the university protest and 6,000 elsewhere in the capital.
Demonstrators chanted, “Enough being in power for 30 years!” and added “Gone in just 20 years!” referring to the insurgency that toppled Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
Other demands included “No to extending [presidential tenure]! No to bequeathing [the presidency]!” and “Enough playing around, enough corruption, look at the gap between poverty and wealth.”
A heavy police presence was mobilised, but no clashes were reported.
A series of smaller protests took place leading up to Thursday’s mass demonstrations, prompting the arrest of rights activist Tawakul Karman. This sparked further protests in Sanaam, and she was released on Monday.
Saleh heads a widely hated regime. A US ally, he has been in power for 33 years. He became leader of North Yemen in 1978, and has ruled the Republic of Yemen—the merger of the north and south—since 1990.
He was last re-elected in 2006, for a seven-year mandate. But a draft amendment of the constitution was under discussion in parliament that could allow him to remain in office for life. He is also accused of wanting to hand power to his eldest son Ahmed, who heads the elite Presidential Guard.
In an attempt to head off opposition, Saleh promised in a televised address on Sunday, “We are a republic. We reject bequeathing” the presidency. He then proposed constitutional amendments, including presidential term limits of two terms of five or seven years. Saleh also promised to raise salaries for the army and civil servants, by $47 a month in an attempt to buy their loyalty, and to cut income taxes in half. He has ordered price controls.
This will do little or nothing to placate public opposition.
Saleh is widely hated. He rules over one of the poorest states in the world, with almost half its 23 million population living on less than $2 a day. One third suffer from chronic hunger. Illiteracy stands at over 50 percent, and unemployment is at least 35 percent. More than two thirds of the population are under the age of 24.
The country has dwindling oil reserves and falling revenues and suffers from an acute water shortage.
Saleh’s government is brutally repressive and is waging a war in the north of the country against dissident Shia tribes that has resulted in the deaths of thousands of civilians and over 130,000 being displaced. His war is supported by Saudi Arabia, which has joined him in claiming that Iran is behind the Shiite revolt. The Huthis are Shiite Muslims, but of an entirely different sect than the Shiites of Iran. Yemeni Shia comprise about 40 percent of the country’s 23 million citizens. The majority of the population are Sunni.
The government is waging another repressive campaign against an armed secessionist movement in the south, where until 1990 a Moscow-backed regime was in power.
To secure US backing for his regime, Saleh has cast himself as a leading ally of Washington in the “war on terrorism,” directing his efforts against Islamist elements that were once his allies.
The US has been given free rein to wage military operations in Yemen, with the military and the CIA mounting daily drone attacks and organising death squads. Yemen’s strategic importance for the US is determined by its bordering of Saudi Arabia, the world’s leading oil exporter, and the Bab al-Mandab strait, through which 3 million barrels of Middle East oil pass every day.
Such is the public hostility to the US operations that Saleh was even forced to publicly declare his opposition to foreign military intervention and to refuse permission for some US missile strikes.
Though those involved were clearly inspired by Tunisia’s “Jasmine Revolution”, the protest in Yemen was organised, as opposed to the spontaneous upsurge that took place in North Africa. Its architect was an opposition coalition that is seeking US backing for its actions, just as surely as is Saleh.
The US has made clear that it is at least amenable to some role being played by the opposition parties. Earlier this month, during a visit to Yemen, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton urged Saleh to open a dialogue with the opposition, saying it would help to stabilise the country.
The New York Times noted that on that trip, she was asked “by a Yemeni lawmaker how the United States could lend support to Mr. Saleh’s authoritarian rule even as his country increasingly becomes a haven for militants. ‘We support an inclusive government,’ Mrs. Clinton said in response. ‘We see that Yemen is going through a transition.’”
There is every reason to suppose that Yemen’s opposition leaders were as emboldened by this supportive statement by Washington as they were by events in Tunisia.
Saleh’s deputy finance minister, Jalal Yaqoub, utilised Reuters to make an appeal to the opposition, to behave responsibly in order to avoid a revolutionary upheaval. “I believe that President Saleh remains the only one who can maintain the stability of this country,” he said. “I fear that if the majority of people go down to the street neither we nor opposition will be able to control the situation. It could get ugly very quickly…. I’m still somewhat optimistic that things will not get out of control. If they do, we all lose, both the government and opposition, and Yemen will turn into something close to chaos.”
Under the headline, “Are Yemen’s protests going to bring another revolution?” the Christian Science Monitor commented, “No parties involved want to see clashes in Yemen like there have been in Tunisia and Egypt, particularly not the United States government, which has an vested interest in keeping Yemen stable.”
Unfortunately for Washington and its current and aspirant allies, the class tensions being unleashed in Yemen, Tunisia and Egypt cannot be turned off at will. A mass movement is sweeping the Middle East that threatens the survival of all the region’s oppressive, pro-Western regimes. (WSWS)