Egypt boils over

first_imgThe tension and unrest that arose in Egypt last month after the army ousted democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi exploded this week, with hundreds of people killed as security forces broke up camps of protesters demanding Morsi’s return.The widening violence raised questions about the democratic future of a key American ally and an important partner in Middle East peace efforts, and also cast a shadow over the durability of changes wrought in the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings.To better understand what’s going on in Egypt, Gazette staff writer Alvin Powell spoke with Harvard’s E. Roger Owen, A. J. Meyer Professor of Middle East History Emeritus, about the fighting and about what Egypt’s future might hold.GAZETTE: What is at the roots of the clashes going on in Egypt today?OWEN: Well, I think there are two roots. One is a very long antipathy — or fight to the death — between the army and the Muslim Brothers. Most of the time since the [Gamal Abdel] Nasser revolution of 1952, the army has been involved in putting Muslim Brothers in jail. So there’s no love lost between them.But the other thing is that in any popular revolution in the Arab world at this moment, when you get to elections and constitutions and elections to the Constituent Assembly, the first elections are almost bound to be won by the religious parties, who will then be emboldened to use the constitution to try and shape Egyptian society in ways that they want, but which are resisted by other Egyptians.GAZETTE: Who are the major players involved?OWEN: The army, or an army-backed regime, which would be any of the modern presidents of Egypt — so Gamal Abdel Nasser, Anwar Sadat, Hosni Mubarak, and now General [Abdul Fattah al-] Sisi. And the Brothers are a rather loose organization associated with mosques and so on, but under a supreme guide.GAZETTE: And the deposed president, Mohamed Morsi? Can we call him deposed?OWEN: The Americans refuse to call it a coup. But it was a coup, in which he was clearly deposed and arrested, and nobody quite knows where he is.GAZETTE: What’s your sense as to the likelihood the violence will abate, continue, or worsen?OWEN: I think it will go on. I think the Muslim Brothers are fighting for their lives. They had their moment, and they feel they’ve been unjustly deprived of the fruits of their victory. They’re opening up other fronts already, one of which is attacks on government buildings. Another, unfortunately, is attacks on Christian churches. And a third is, no doubt, a lot of activity in places not under government control, like the Sinai Peninsula or along Egypt’s southern borders.GAZETTE: Was this confrontation inevitable once the army acted to remove Morsi?OWEN: Probably at that stage, but there were plenty of people like [U.S. Sen.] John McCain who felt that the Americans had a great deal of influence over the Egyptian army. They knew these guys very well and provided Egypt with so much military support. I think the significant change is that Sisi was able to use the American intervention to mobilize a kind of Egyptian nationalism or patriotism to say, for once, that we’re not going to be told what to do by the Americans. We will do what we think is in our interest and the country’s interest.GAZETTE: Does this action put the U.S. in a difficult position?OWEN: It does, yes. It shouldn’t, but it does. What happened right at the beginning of the spring was that the American administration, President Obama and the Department of Defense, told the generals not to fire on the demonstrators in Tahrir Square 2½ years ago, in January 2011, and they were obeyed. If it hadn’t been for that, this might have happened then.But this time, Sisi has decided to call the Americans’ bluff. Though the $1.3 billion or $1.5 billion in military aid seems a great deal, it consists of F-16s and Abrams tanks, which the Egyptians can’t use, most of which are in crates. Lots of them aren’t even in Egypt. It’s the prestige of getting weapons from the U.S., but it’s not anything that they can use. The only point of having them is that one day, notionally, they might want to attack Israel or defend themselves against Israel. But nobody in their right mind believes that that’s about to happen.GAZETTE: Can you address the difficulty to the U.S. — after having an Islamist president, democratically elected — in this situation?OWEN: I think the Americans did their best. There is one argument that in a Muslim country, with political Islam, it’s better that it be represented in the political process — properly, as it were, in an inclusive way — than be excluded. It sounds like the American ambassador, Anne Patterson, was pursuing that in association with the Obama administration. They realized there was no point worrying about an “Islamic tide,” because the religious parties are so much better organized that if you want democracy, you also have to have religion, as you do in Tunisia.They made sure by sending messages to Morsi not to do anything like attack Israel or help the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, and in fact he went out of his way to show he wasn’t going to do anything like that. So he was regarded as something like safe by the Obama administration. And so this coup is very upsetting to them that their efforts to encourage democracy in the Middle East have been defeated in this way.GAZETTE: Is there a danger that, whatever future administration comes to power in Egypt, it will be viewed as illegitimate no matter what?OWEN: I think the business of creating a new political order is very difficult. The Arab revolutions of 2011 were big, world revolutions like the French of the late 18th century. You have a revolutionary process in which you destroy one political order and you move to another. So you can look at what’s going on at the moment in two ways. Either you haven’t destroyed the old order at all — the old order has come back, in which case you have to start all over to destroy it — or this is just part of a messy process of accommodation that still has a long way to run until you get a new legitimate order.GAZETTE: Do you come down on one side or another?OWEN: No, what I realize more is what a messy business republican government is. Sovereignty belongs to the people, and the people in a revolution are all over the place jumping around. You want the people to go home [after the fighting] but also to vote for a legitimate — and vote to legitimize — the new order. In this particular case, the people voted, certain people didn’t like the way the people voted, and so you’re bound to have a period of confusion.GAZETTE: Was there a precipitating act that led to Morsi being removed, or has this been coming since the election?OWEN: Most people point to something that happened in a presidential decree in November last year. If you look at the public opinion polls, he had a great deal of support, and then suddenly he didn’t. I think probably significant parts of Egyptian society felt threatened by the fact that the Muslim Brothers were involved, increasingly, in government. I think this business of having Muslim Brother provincial governors was one of the reasons why the army finally intervened. It seemed like they [the Brothers] weren’t just part of the government, but they were taking over the whole government.GAZETTE: Was that the November decree?OWEN: Yes, that’s right.GAZETTE: And did that install people from the Muslim Brothers to head the provinces?OWEN: It led to or encouraged more Muslim Brothers to move into government. The system embraced initially by the Muslim Brothers was supposed to be parliamentary, [under] which, if you follow the English model, the president should be like the queen, and the prime minister should be in charge. What I don’t understand is how the president emerged as strong — or nearly as strong — as his predecessor, Mubarak. And the one thing those in the middle of the Egyptian political spectrum do not want is another strong president like Mubarak. The whole point of this thing was to get rid of a strong president.GAZETTE: What does this tell us about the Arab Spring uprisings?OWEN: I think it’s that the business of establishing a democratic system after a revolution in countries that don’t have a tradition of a system with built-in checks and balances or a built-in tradition of political accommodation is extremely difficult and has failed for the time being in Egypt — but not necessarily in Libya, not necessarily in Tunisia.GAZETTE: So you’re saying this is what happened here, but it doesn’t invalidate what happened that spring?OWEN: No, it doesn’t [invalidate what happened]. I would see the Arab Spring as a revolutionary process, which still has some way to go. I think the big question is: Can you go back? I think there are now some people in Egypt who think you can. You may not want to go back, but it has gone back. My own argument is you actually can’t go back to the old system. You can have a version of the old system, but a very unstable one, because a significant part of the people have been mobilized.GAZETTE: And you can’t take that away from them?OWEN: They’re fighting not to allow you to do it. And you have doughty opponents in the Muslim Brothers, because they’re willing to risk death, it seems.last_img read more

Australia players, board edge closer to pay deal

first_imgMELBOURNE Australia (Reuters) – Cricket Australia is on the verge of agreeing a new pay deal with the players’ union, ending a long impasse and avoiding the need for arbitration.A Cricket Australia spokesman said yesterday that negotiations had advanced to the “final details” after days of lengthy talks with the Australian Cricketers’ Association.News Ltd media on Tuesday declared a “peace deal brokered” and the “Ashes saved”, a reference to the upcoming Test series against England.But talks continued to grind on into yesterday.Australia’s top 230 players have effectively been unemployed since the last five-year agreement expired on June 30 and an ‘A’ tour of South Africa has already fallen victim to the lockout.Australia captain Steve Smith told Fox Sports TV on Tuesday he was confident of a deal being brokered, but confirmed players would not travel to Bangladesh for a two-Test tour starting this month until the dispute was resolved.CA chief executive James Sutherland had proposed taking the matter to binding arbitration if a deal was not struck by early this week.last_img read more

Men’s hockey: Michigan State’s quick start downs Wisconsin in series’ finale

first_imgIt looked like Wisconsin men’s hockey team was heading in the right direction after winning its last two games, but against Michigan State Saturday night the Badgers seemed to make a detour.After defeating the Spartans the previous night, Wisconsin (4-20-4, 2-10-2-2 Big Ten) was no match for Michigan State (13-12-2, 7-5-2-2) the second time around at the Kohl Center as the Spartans put the Badgers’ two game winning streak to a halt with a 3-0 shutout.After the game, Wisconsin head coach Mike Eaves said Michigan State simply out-worked them, and seemed determined to avenge their Friday night defeat.“They battled more than we did,” Eaves said. “Give kudos to them, they came back with a fire in their belly.”Eaves was also unhappy with the way his skill players played in the series’ second tilt, saying he was disappointed with how they responded when put under pressure by Michigan State.The Badgers had no answer for Michigan State’s Ryan Keller in the first period. Eight minutes into the game, Keller put the Spartans up one with a rebound score. About five minutes later, Keller doubled down on his goal total by making a beautiful spin move right in front of the net, and then flicking a backhand shot with his back to the goal that snuck through Wisconsin goaltender Joel Rumpel’s legs.Five minutes into the second the period, Wisconsin forward Joseph LaBate hit the crossbar. That was as close as the Badgers would come to getting on the board in the second 20 minutes. Despite having a couple power play opportunities, Wisconsin was unable to crack the Spartan defense, as the score remained 2-0 in MSU’s favor heading into the third period.Wisconsin got a pair of chances on the power play in the final period, with one almost immediately out of the gate to open the frame. But as was the case throughout the night, the Badgers failed to convert and came up empty-handed on all five opportunities.LaBate felt lack of execution in big situations was a central issue in Saturday night’s game, which was a contributing factor in the struggling power play.“We just weren’t able to capitalize on our chances we had,” LaBate said. “I don’t think we had the poise and confidence that we needed tonight.”After UW failed on its first man advantage of the third period, Michigan State’s Thomas Ebbing tacked on a third goal for the Spartans five minutes in that silenced the Kohl Center crowd and effectively put the game to rest.Wisconsin’s next chance to get back on track will come next week when they hit the road to take on Michigan in a two-game series.last_img read more

Is Son Heung-min exempt from South Korea military service?

first_imgMOST READ IN SPORTTHROUGH ITRobbie Keane reveals Claudine’s father was ’50-50′ in coronavirus battle’I ACCEPT’McGregor accepts Silva fight at UFC catchweight of 176lbs in huge super-fightTOP SELLERGavin Whelan has gone from League of Ireland to David Beckham’s InstagramPicturedA CUT ABOVEMike Tyson shows two-inch cut ‘picked up in training’ ahead of boxing returnPicturedAN EYEFULMeet Playboy model and football agent Anamaria Prodan bidding to buy her own clubI SAW ROORodallega saw Rooney ‘drinking like madman’ & Gerrard ‘on bar dancing shirtless’Why has he gone to do military service now?SPURS revealed that the forward is heading back to South Korea due to ‘personal reasons’.He had already gone into a voluntary two week self-isolation after returning from his homeland back in February in a bid to halt the worldwide spread of coronavirus.But as revealed by SunSport, Son is actually heading to Korea to do his military service.With the football season on hold, Son has decided to head home to do four week’s national service during the outbreak – despite being exempt.4When might he return?FOOTBALL right down through the English pyramid is currently on hold due to the ongoing pandemic, with the Premier League not expected to return until May at the very earliest.With South Koreans expected to serve 21 months, it has not yet been confirmed how long Son will be spending away from North London.He is currently recovering from a fractured arm but provided a positive update earlier this week.The Tottenham star said: “It’s already more than four weeks after surgery now and I’m doing very, very well and working hard to be ready to come back.” SON HEUNG-MIN has emerged as one of the Premier League’s brightest young stars.The South Korean forward was an integral part of the Spurs side which reached the Champions League final last season – and is a huge sporting icon back home.4 Son has scored fifteen or more goals for Spurs in the last four seasonsCredit: EPABut under Korean law, all South Korean men have to complete at least 21 months of national service before they are 28 years old.Is Son Heung-min exempt from South Korea military service?THERE are some ways in which a Korean footballer can become exempt from having to fulfil their military obligations. Gold medallists or those achieving incredible sporting achievements can see athletes avoid their stint.For example the 2002 World Cup squad, which included future Man Utd midfielder Park Ji-sung, were awarded exemptions after reaching the semi-finals of the tournament.4 Son’s gold medal in the 2018 Asian Games gave him an exemption from military serviceCredit: Getty – ContributorSon, who is currently 27 years old, captained his country at the 2018 Asian Games as he and his team-mates went for the gold medal.The South Korean was in incredible form throughout the competition, assisting both extra-time goals in the final against Japan to secure the title.That meant that Son – along with the 19 other players in the squad – were all exempt from mandatory military service.4 The Tottenham striker was one of three over-23 players allowed in the squadCredit: ReutersBack in 2014, South Korea beat their neighbours North Korea to take gold in the same competition.But Son was not included in the squad as then club Bayer Leverkusen had exercised their right to refuse his release.Conscription in South Korea has been in force since 1957 and is mandatory for all men aged between 18 and 28.The length of service varies depending on personal circumstance, while all entrants are required to undergo a physical exam to see if they are fit to serve.last_img read more