Thursday, November 28, 2013

Abayomi Azikiwe, PANW Editor, Featured on Press TV 'The Debate': 'Egypt Slipping Out of US Hands'

‘Egypt slipping out of US hands’

Thu Nov 28, 2013 7:41AM GMT

To watch this Press TV 'The Debate' segment with Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, just click on the website below:

Press TV has interviewed Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire from Detroit, to discuss the state of affairs in Egypt following the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi.

What follows is a rough transcription of the interview.

Press TV: Well, Abayomi Azikiwe, does our guest Moustafa Reda have a point that this should have been enacted after Mubarak was ousted, in terms of this new law that has been passed, banning protests without permission?

Azikiwe: I believe that the new laws are in response to the political instability that continues in Egypt.

We have to understand that since the July 3 military seizure of power there have been numerous demonstrations throughout the country. The government has banned the Freedom and Justice Party which was allied with the Muslim Brotherhood. They have also cracked down on other groups that are in opposition to the military coup.

So this represents the continuation of this same process. At the same time the degree of repression is escalating in regard to the women who have just been sentenced to some 11 years for merely opposing the military regime in Egypt. Then people such as Ahmed Maher, who is the head of the April 6th Movement, who had been heavily involved in the initial rebellion during January 2011, and also in fact supported the military seizure of power on July 3, they too are now coming under scrutiny and indictment by the military-backed regime.

So this is a further legal rationale for the outright suppression of all dissent and all protests and in a sense the political process in Egypt has come full circle.

Press TV: Abayomi Azikiwe, our guest there, Moustafa Reda talked about how the Muslim Brotherhood is part of Egyptian society and it has been just that; but that is not how this army-appointed government looking at it, is it?

I mean they have pretty much looked at anybody who is supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, let alone the supporters, the Muslim Brotherhood itself, that they are terrorist. They have labeled them terrorist, even on their TV screens and that is used to label actions by, you know, supporters of the ousted President Mohamed Morsi, as I mentioned the Muslim Brotherhood group.

The army just wants to clean up anything that has to do with the Muslim Brotherhood in terms of support. It does not sound like there is a happy medium being established there by this army-appointed government, is there?

Azikiwe: They have made it very clear through a series of decrees that have of course impacted anyone, not only those who belong to the Muslim Brotherhood and the Freedom and Justice Party, but other individuals within civil society in Egypt, who have opposed the military coup d'├ętat, which took place back in July, who have opposed the arbitrary actions on the part of the military appointed government and the operatives of that regime, they have, in fact, been prosecuted. The examples are numerous. Morsi himself has only made one public appearance in a courtroom since July 3, and that hearing was adjourned.

So it is clearly a situation where there is no democratic practice or due process that is being enacted right now in Egypt and what is interesting is that some of the same people who had supported the military coup d’├ętat back in July, are now themselves coming under fire and under scrutiny and being prosecuted by the same military regime which took power by force as a result of the demonstrations that had developed in June.

I agree that the Freedom and Justice Party did not do a good job in regard to administrating the situation inside of Egypt. They should have been more open in regard to opening up dialogue with opposition groups; they should not have forced the draft constitution which was voted on by a small minority of the Egyptian people last year. But even with all of that, if the political dynamics inside the country had been maintained, they could very well have reached some type of accommodation where both major political camps could have formed some type of government of national unity.

The chances of that happening in the near future, now becomes more and more remote.

Press TV: Abayomi Azikiwe, the 16 or 17 billion dollars that our guest there said, contributed by the Persian Gulf countries, which I thought it was 12 billion dollars, the main financier has been Saudi Arabia.

How do you look at the Saudi role in this case bankrolling this army-appointed government? Some reach the conclusion that there is a possibility that Saudi Arabia is dictating the army-appointed government on how to run its domestic affairs in Egypt.

Azikiwe: Well, they (Saudi government) were opposed to the Muslim Brotherhood government and there was also a difference with the government of Qatar which is also closely allied with the West.

I believe that they are attempting to win influence inside of Egypt and also it is bad for the United States to continue its support for the Egyptian military. They had announced earlier, during the period in which John Kerry visited Cairo, that the US would not necessarily suspend aid or only certain aspects of the aid was suspended but they were going to maintain relations even under a military government that has been under scrutiny by not only people inside Egypt but also people throughout the region.

So I think that Saudi Arabia’s role is also closely allied with the United States’ ongoing support of the military government which in fact is losing a tremendous amount of credibility and legitimacy among many sections of the Egyptian society.

And I think that it is only a matter of time before broader segments of the population do come out and protest against this government that is headed by the generals.

Press TV: Abayomi Azikiwe what do you think Russia wants in return? Quickly if you can.

Azikiwe: Well the Egyptian government is probably attempting to balance the dominance of the United States with other external powers, and Russia of course is trying to increase its influence, which had waned back during the 1970’s under Anwar Sadat. So I think that both governments perceive themselves as developing alternative relationships that are outside of the influence of the United States and other Western European states.

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