Ikhwanweb News Digest 13-04-09
Ikhwanweb News Digest 13-04-09
Monday, April 13,2009 09:59
By Jenin Muhammad

Egypt Accuses Hezbollah of Planning Attacks on Sinai

Egypt is interrogating 49 people for allegedly belonging to the Lebanese Shi"ite Hezbollah organization and for funding and supporting Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Egypt has accused the 49 suspects - reported to include Lebanese, Syrians, Palestinians, Sudanese and Egyptians - of being agents for Hezbollah and planning "hostile operations" in Egypt.

On Sunday, Egypt"s attorney general added espionage to the list of charges the 49 suspects face.

Egyptian prosecutors say Hezbollah told the 49 men to collect intelligence from villages along the Egypt-Gaza border, tourist sites and the Suez Canal.

The Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has confirmed that one of them, Sami Shihab, is a member of the organisation.

But he said Mr Shihab had been trying to get military equipment into Gaza, denying that the group was planning attacks in Egypt. Egypt is trying to show the West, and especially the United States, that it is serious in its efforts to clamp down on terror groups and bring about stability in the region.

Bouteflika re-elected

Abdelaziz Bouteflika, Algeria"s president has won his third five-year term in a presidential election marred by allegations of fraud and attacks at polling stations.

Bouteflika, 72, who ran against five candidates without much political clout, won the election with more than 90 per cent of the vote. Bouteflika was only able to run for office again because legislators recently abolished term limits, a move that could allow him to serve for life.

The Front of Socialist Forces, one of the opposition parties that boycotted the vote, has accused the authorities of inflating the turnout figure. "(There was) a massive fraud which reached an industrial scale," the party said in a statement.

Bouteflika, who is directly in control of the country"s large military and security forces, has demonstrated his domination of Algeria"s political world. "I was a little surprised by the high turnout in provinces that used to boycott (elections)," Mohamed Lagab, professor of political science at Algiers University, said.

We only dream of the day that presidents would come to power or participate in elections without frauds and attacks in the polling stations.

Debating Democracy in the Middle East

Shadi Hamid wrote last month about an open letter, on the need to make democracy in the Middle East a top priority, which was signed by leading American and Muslim scholars and experts. The Washington Post, in an editorial, cited it, saying "[the letter"s] depth and breadth vividly shows that the Obama administration could find many allies for progressive change in the Middle East - if only it looks beyond the rulers" palaces."

Tarek Osman, at OpenDemocracy, offered several critiques of the letter here. Moreover Hamid has written a response, addressing the open letter"s aims and addressing the concerns of Osman and others:

But Osman is sceptical that there can ever be a rapprochement between America and Islamists, even those like the Muslim Brotherhood that are nonviolent. The United States, he rightly points out, is not so concerned with whether the Brotherhood is sufficiently democratic or whether it accepts the rights of women and minorities. The source of enmity, rather, is a clash of interests. "Pax Americana", Osman argues, "aims to ‘stabilise the region"", and this, of course, includes guaranteeing Israel"s security. Meanwhile, "Islam"s opposition is not time-bound but theological: it sees ‘settling" as a sin, and long-term jihad...is divinely ordained."

I second Hamid on his comment for sometimes i think that democracy was not the interest of the United States and it might still be something not of the priority list to the US. However, it will not stop us from claiming it, addressing its importance in the middle east and our willingness to abide by it.

CIA Shuts Down Secret Prisons

The US has stopped running its global network of secret prisons, CIA director Leon Panetta has announced and said, "CIA no longer operates detention facilities or black sites," Mr Panetta said in a letter to staff. Remaining sites would be decommissioned, he said.

The "black sites" were used to detain terrorism suspects, some of whom were subjected to interrogation methods described by many as torture.

President Obama vowed to shut down the facilities shortly after taking office.

The Bush administration allowed the CIA to operate secret prisons on the territory of allied countries in Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa, according to media reports.

During his first week as president, Mr Obama ordered the closure of the black sites, as well as the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, as part of an overhaul of US detainee policy.