Monday, January 28, 2013

Abayomi Azikiwe, PANW Editor, Featured on Press TV Program "The Debate": 'US Stifling Independence of Egypt'

US stifling independence of Egypt: Analyst

To watch this interview with Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, just click on the website below:

Sat Jan 26, 2013 10:32AM GMT

US dominance of Egypt has stifled the capacity of the country to develop its own independent path, a prominent political analyst tells Press TV.

This comes as thousands of Egyptians continue to stage demonstrations in Cairo, Alexandria, Suez, Port Said, and many other cities and towns to call on President Mohamed Morsi, who took office in June 2012, to fulfill his election promises.

Press TV has conducted an interview with Abayomi Azikiwe, an editor with the Pan-African News Wire, from Detroit, to further discuss the issue. Azikiwe is joined by Mostafa Ragab, founder of the Egyptian UK Association, from London, and Hesham el-Batal, a political activist from Cairo. The following is a rough transcription of the interview.

Press TV: Do you think the Muslim Brotherhood with Mohamed Morsi have
had enough time to get the country at least going into the right direction? What is your assessment after two years time?

Azikiwe: It’s going to be very difficult for the Freedom and Justice Party to normalize the situation inside the country when you still have tremendous social problems inside of Egypt.

The youth unemployment rate is astronomically high. The overall jobless rate is also extremely high. You still have a tremendous amount of poverty and also political repression is still very much a part of the body politic inside of Egypt.

What we have seen today as well as yesterday where we have had widespread demonstrations not just in the capital of Cairo but also in Alexandria, in Port Said, in the Suez, in the Nile region, this of course represents the broad discontent that exists among the people inside of Egypt.

I think that the Freedom and Justice Party government under President Morsi has to open up genuine dialogue with all of the revolutionary organizations, with the trade unions, with the intellectuals inside the country, otherwise it’s going to be very difficult for Egypt to stabilize its economy as well as the overall political situation inside the country.

Also, in regard to the foreign policy of the country, there’s a lot to be desired. The impact of the US dominance of Egypt over the last three-and-a-half decades is still stifling and hampering the capacity of the country to develop its own independent path.

Press TV: There’s so many people that are responding to the second year anniversary and I’d like to reflect on a couple of those comments. One comment, Moses Sawava Nsebuga, has said, “would Israel and the USA allow Egypt to be free after their puppet Mubarak?” That seems to be something echoed in so many words by many viewers. Abayomi Azikiwe, does this particular viewer like others have a point?

Azikiwe: Most definitely. That was what I was trying to stress in my initial comments is that the situation inside of Egypt has been severely affected as a result of the foreign policy of the previous government of Hosni Mubarak, the National Democratic Party, their close links with the US under successive American administrations and also the separate peace treaty with the state of Israel during the late 1970s. These agreements have stifled the overall developmental trajectory of the Egyptian government.

It’s going to be extremely difficult if not impossible for the government of President Morsi to make any progress among the majority of people inside the country if they do not make drastic changes in regard to its relationship to the state of Israel as well as the United States.

Recently the International Monetary Fund has been holding negotiations with the government in Egypt over the transfer of some five billion dollars. Other governments throughout the Middle East, for example Qatar, have been holding negotiations with the Egyptian government over the extension of the possibility of some 16 billion dollars in investment there.

This may sound good on the surface but if you look at what is going to go along with those agreements, it’s going to be very difficult for Egypt to strike out on an independent course when you have the International Monetary Fund, you have the United States, you have the Qatari government putting pressure on President Morsi to maintain Egypt’s alliance with the United States as well as not to effectively challenge the state of Israel’s position within the region.

It’s going to be very, very difficult to move forward with those types of international pressures.

Press TV: Right. I wasn’t aware of Qatar was up to 16 billion...

Mr. Azikiwe, bread, that’s disputed in terms of it being available, one of the demands of the revolution - ambulances, helicopters, I believe I heard, and giving some food at below wholesale prices. Does that match two years since the revolution in terms of what the government has done?

Azikiwe: I understand what our colleague is saying. The situation is not going to be reversed in six months. It’s going to take years and perhaps decades to turn around political and economic situation in Egypt.

At the same time, the masses are in the streets and they’re reiterating the demands of the January 25th, 2011 revolution -freedom, bread and social justice. I think it has resonance in Egypt and throughout the entire region.

The dominance of foreign powers within North Africa and the Middle East is a very, very important factor in this whole scenario. It’s going to be very difficult for President Morsi to make improvements inside the country if they don’t take a firm position against the decades-long pattern that has been in effect in Egypt.

For example, Egypt’s relationship in regards to its supply of natural gas to the state of Israel, this is something that has been an extreme source of contention on the part of many people inside the country...because the masses are not benefiting from these economic relationships.

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