Egypt Explained

Egypt, recently thought to be a stable democracy but now it’s in turmoil all over again. Or is it?

After the resignation of Hosni Mubarak, the country’s leader for 30 years, the people of Egypt wanted a democracy- a say for themselves. Was this too much to ask of the country? Apparently it was.

First of all, we must look into the Armed Forces of Egypt. Now, unlike other militaries, Egypt’s armed forces are very powerful in influence around the country and in the economy. As much as 30% of the Egyptian Economy depends on the sales of the army’s various companies. Therefore, Egypt cannot survive without its armed forces. In fact, Egypt receives the second most military aid from the US after Israel. The US clearly regards Egypt as a strong ally in the Middle East.

After the resignation of Hosni Mubarak, elections were held in Egypt. Since many parties were very badly organised and not very big or efficient, the biggest and most efficient party was elected- the Freedom and Justice Party- which to the Egyptian people did the opposite of what it was ironically named for. The party is a political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, an organisation that thinks Islam is not only a religion but a way of living.

The Egyptian parliament was predominantly controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood and the Leader was Mohammed Morsi who won 52% of the vote. Now the Egyptian people are liberal Muslims, they are not the very religious or the very fanatic people you would see everywhere. The wanted freedom- in other words, why couldn’t a Muslim dominated population have a western styled government. Morsi promised this and consequently was elected as the President of Egypt.

However, many people thought that Morsi’s laws and bills were making Egypt and much more non secular and much more radical Islamic by preventing people from having certain freedoms and bringing religion into law much more than he promised to. As a result, the people began protesting again and the army who said that it traditionally supported the people’s view, took Morsi out on a coup.

They placed Adli Mansour as the interim president of Egypt whilst elections will take place again soon. In all this, the army also banned the Muslim Brotherhood which caused protests from pro-Morsi people. Now the country is preparing to vote and let’s hope the result goes in favour of the people this time in order to welcome another stable democracy to this planet.

Please share your views on the matter in the comments. That’s all from me now

-K

They are not behind but ahead…

India in Space? Many people say that they are very behind in the space race and are just catching up. Wrong. 

Did you know that 36% of the scientists working for NASA are of Indian Ethnicity?

Did you know that the CEO of Pepsi is Indian?

Yep, they are everywhere and catching up fast. Next time you wonder if there are so many Indian/Chinese science and maths enthusiasts in my school, where are they in real life? They are in NASA…

The UK’s view on the European Union

During the last few years there have been increasing numbers of eurosceptic people in the United Kingdom. Why? Well there are several factors here which I will now discuss:

BUDGET – the British taxpayers pay around £13 billion pounds per annum into the EU. This is the an incredibly huge amount of money and controversially is the same amount of money missing from the EU budget due to corruption. The British taxpayer is very unhappy with this as while the EU budget has been going up over the years, money spent on education, healthcare, etc are going downhill.

INDEPENDENCE– The British have always been proud of their heritage and their independence. The are especially happy that they are not a part of continental Europe. European courts can rule over the British courts especially in criminal cases such as the famous Abu-Qattada case in which this terrorist was not allowed to be deported  to Jordan for the risk of ‘human rights violations’. Moreover, crime rates and drug abuse have soared following increased immigration (see below)

IMMIGRATION– Many people in the UK are unhappy at the number of unregulated immigrants from Europe arriving to settle in the UK and subsequently take ‘British Jobs’. Of course, the ‘they are taking my job’ argument is unfound as if you are not good enough for a job, you will not get it. However, crime-rates and drug abuse have been increasing substantially. Many people are also concerned with the strain being placed on the National Health Service and other benefits with many foreigners claiming these luxuries.

ECONOMY– London has always been the financial capital of the world and with the new proposed Bank bonus cap, many people in Britain are feeling that this law is a stab in the face for them. There are many fears that the banking sector will plummet and many banks will relocate to other countries. Moreover, while the EU can threatened the UK with high tariffs, UK exports to the rest of the world are more than that to the EU. The UK imports more from the EU than it exports to it so and trade war will result in a UK victory as trade deficit will go down. The British are also concerned with the falling euro and the need to bail out many European countries. Notably Greece, Spain and Ireland. They feel that this money could be spent elsewhere within the UK itself.

FRENCH AND GERMAN POWER– Germany and France are effectively the most powerful voices in the EU and therefore policies always benefit them. The German manufacturing and economy benefits greatly from the EU as does the French agricultural industry while Britain doesn’t get many benefits despite being 3rd in terms of budget sources. After all, the British fought the French and the Germans before to stop their power in Europe.

 

There are many more points I could make but this would be increasingly tedious to read. There are benefits to the EU (don’t get me wrong), but this is the stance of the British public on the EU this very moment.

-K

Militant infiltration of Kashmir

For the last fortnight, Indian troops have been fighting against a group of around 30-40 militants who have infiltrated into the Indian controlled part of Kashmir. Although Indian troops say that these militants appear to be heavily trained like soldiers, Pakistan denies that these militants were trained by itself and called theses Indian suggestions ‘blatant lies’ and a ‘baseless allegation’. Though they may be right that India has no proof that the infiltrators are from the Pakistan armed forces, Pakistan has definitely infiltrated Kashmir before.

Perhaps the most famous of these infiltrations was what caused the Kargil War….

During the winter months when snowfall becomes heavy, it was common for both Indian and Pakistani border patrols to abandon their posts until it was safe to resume the patrols. During the month of February 1999, the Pakistani army began to reoccupy some of the posts it abandoned on its side of the LOC or Line of Control (the de facto border shared by India and Pakistan). However, it also began to occupy some of the posts on the Indian side of the LOC.

Indian soldiers discovered the infiltration after a tip-off from one of the shepherds in the region and thus began Operation Vijay (or Victory). The Indian Navy began a naval blockade of Pakistani ports and later the Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif disclosed that Pakistan only had six days of fuel left if a fully fledged war were to break out.

While the Indian army slowly began to retake its territory, the Pakistan government sought American help in de-escalating the conflict. However, President Clinton refuse to intervene until Pakistan had pulled all of its troops out. By July 26, all of the fighting had ceased and all Pakistani troops had been pushed back to their own side of the LOC.

Image

The town of Kargil…

 

The world’s stance on this? Well, Pakistan was criticised by the other countries for instigating the war. President Clinton and other countries pressured Pakistan into pulling out its soldiers from the Indian side but by then most of the infiltrators were already pushed back to the border.

This war was the only war in history where two nuclear armed powers were directly in combat with one another. Both countries were nuclear armed and ready and the world anxiously looked on as tensions escalated. US intelligence received information that Pakistani nuclear warheads were being moved towards the border. Bill Clinton threatened Pakistan of dire consequences unless they cancelled their missile movement. Later in an article in May 2000, Dr Sanjay Badri-Maharaj claimed that India had readied 5 nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles in case any WMDs were launched by Pakistan.

India was deemed to have won the war and its stock market rose by over 30%. The next Indian national budget included increases in military spending. Indian relations with the USA and Israel improved greatly and the all ready fragile Pakistan economy was weakened further. A military coup d’état was initiated against Prime Minister Sharif and the Pakistan military took control of the country.

So although this may not be an infiltration by Pakistan today, let it not be forgotten that although now they are innocent, the world is a very clever and cunning place to live in.

-K

Syria – an overview from a neutral perspective

So the world today…what’s hogging the headlines these days. Well- it’s Syria. WE all know there is some sort of conflict going on there and in that region. It happened in Libya, it happened in Egypt (you could argue it is still happening) and now Syria. What’s so special about it and what is going on there?

There are a few key factors we must understand before progressing:

  1. The government and the people are basically two different religions. Yes, this is all about religion again. The government is mainly Alawite, a type of Shi’ite Muslim where as 60% of the population is Sunni Muslim. The Alawites are less than 12% of the population and yet have dominance in the government and key military roles. Of course, this leads the majority of the population not being represented in the government.
  2. A very bad human rights record. Yes, in fact many organisations have placed the human rights of the civilians in Syria as the worst in the world. The government has a reputation for being lenient in these issues especially the ones which focus on granting women more rights and infamous honour killings. Ouch.

Now don’t get me wrong. Syria was still a moderately rich country. It is not as poor as Africa nor is it as rich as the Western Powers. It is oil rich like all countries in the middle east and Bashar al-Assad is especially close to Russia.

Too make a long tedious story short, here is what is going on concerning the Syrian Civil War:

  • What began as protests against the government after the uprisings in Egypt and Libya (dubbed the Arab Spring), the protests eventually became a fully fledged civil war as the government sent in the military to destroy the protests.
  • Whilst the government is extremist, at this point in the war it may be better off (for everyone) if both sides stand down and hold elections. Whilst the government is a dictatorship, the rebels are no good either.
  • The rebels may be fighting as one, but they in no truth share the same interests. Some rebels are fighting for democracy, many are also extremists who are linked to Al-Qaeda and other groups
  • These extremists have taken advantage over the situation and are therefore fighting to make a country that is based on Islamic views (deja vu here?).

Tensions have been heightened after the use of chemical weapons – Sarin gas in particular. Many people died and the rebels claim the government is behind this but we will possibly never know for sure who carried out these attacks. The threatened US intervention has had alarm bells ringing and no one wanted the US in another war especially after what happened in Iraq and Afghanistan (yeah, deja vu defo). The Russians and Syrians negotiated with the US and agreed to have the entire Syrian chemical weapon stockpile destroyed under UN supervision.

So while the country is in civil war. It will not stop if Bashar al-Assad’s government collapses as there are still many causes to be fought for.

-K