Arab Spring uprising was ‘ill advised’ says Egypt’s El-Sisi

Egypt’s president has said his country’s 2011 Arab Spring revolt was an ill-advised attempt at change whose chaotic aftermath posed an existential threat to the country. (Wikicommons)
Updated 05 November 2018
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Arab Spring uprising was ‘ill advised’ says Egypt’s El-Sisi

  • El-Sisi had until recently only hinted at his disapproval of the uprising that ended the 29-year rule of autocrat Hosni Mubarak
  • Was speaking at an international youth conference in Sharm El-Sheikh

SHARM EL-SHEIKH: Egypt’s president has said his country’s 2011 Arab Spring revolt was an ill-advised attempt at change whose chaotic aftermath posed an existential threat to the nation.
Addressing an international youth conference late Sunday, Abdel Fatteh El-Sisi said those behind the revolt had good intentions but had inadvertently “opened the gates of hell.”
El-Sisi had until recently only hinted at his disapproval of the uprising that ended the 29-year rule of autocrat Hosni Mubarak. In his first outright criticism of the uprising, he said last month it was the “wrong remedy that followed a wrong diagnosis.”
But his comments at the youth forum provided his most detailed assessment of the uprising, which pro-government media routinely demonize as a foreign conspiracy to destroy the country.
The 2011 uprising was led by young, pro-democracy activists, and paved the way for Egypt’s first free and fair elections, which were won by the Muslim Brotherhood whose stalwart Muhammad Mursi was elected president in 2012. His rule proved divisive, and in 2013 El-Sisi, as defense minister, led the military overthrow of Mursi amid mass protests.
His government banned the Brotherhood and designated it a terrorist organization and has been accused of cracking down on dissent.
He said the uprising created a “massive vacuum that only the evil people can fill” and warned against a repeat. He said Egyptians and others in the region would be better off under “not so good” rulers than living through chaos.
“Work, be patient, endure and suffer under the reality that you disapprove of, but don’t ruin your countries because they will never return to what they once were,” he warned.
Since taking office, El-Sisi has slashed costly state subsidies on basic goods and introduced new taxes while spending billions of dollars on infrastructure projects. His economic reforms helped Egypt secure $12 billion in bailout loans from the International Monetary Fund, but have caused a steep rise in the prices of food, fuel and services.
“After all the effort we have done, all that we are hoping for is that we go back to where we were before 2011,” he said.


Another Turkish journalist jailed over Gulen links

Ali Unal was chief writer at the now-defunct Zaman newspaper. (Supplied)
Updated 22 min 9 sec ago
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Another Turkish journalist jailed over Gulen links

  • About 250 people were killed in the coup attempt and in the subsequent crackdown, Turkey jailed 77,000 people pending trial

ISTANBUL: A court sentenced Turkish journalist Ali Unal to 19 years in jail on Wednesday on a charge of being a leader in the network accused of carrying out a failed coup in July 2016, the state-owned Anadolu news agency reported.
The ruling followed a sustained crackdown in the wake of the coup attempt, but also came amid steps by the government that appear aimed at improving ties with the US and Europe, strained by the sweeping campaign of arrests.
Unal was chief writer at the now-defunct Zaman newspaper, widely seen as the flagship media outlet for the network of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara says orchestrated the attempted putsch. Gulen denies any involvement.
Speaking by video link from jail to the court in the western province of Usak, Unal denied being a founder or leader of the network and denied involvement in the putsch, Anadolu said.
“I have no link with any terrorist organization,” he said, adding that he had spoken five or six times to Gulen and that he was being tried over his writing.
He was sentenced to 19 years and six months for “leading an armed terrorist group.” Six other Zaman journalists were convicted on similar charges in July.
About 250 people were killed in the coup attempt and in the subsequent crackdown, Turkey jailed 77,000 people pending trial. Authorities also sacked or suspended 150,000 civil servants and military personnel and shut down dozens of media outlets.Illustrating the scale of its actions, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday his ministry had dismissed 23 percent of its career personnel over links to Gulen.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said some journalists helped nurture terrorists with their writing, and that the crackdown is needed to ensure stability in a NATO member bordering Syria, Iraq and Iran. Critics say Erdogan has used the crackdown to muzzle dissent and increase his own power. The European Union, which Turkey aspires to join, has also criticized the crackdown. The verdict came a day after another court threw out the conviction of former Wall Street Journal reporter Ayla Albayrak, annulling a verdict sentencing her to two years in prison in absentia on charges of carrying out propaganda for Kurdish militants.