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31 January 2011

Protest in Egypt: world-view

A round-up of some of the best comment and analysis so far.

By Susannah Butter

As protests continue in Egypt, here is a selection of the wide-ranging opinions that have been expressed in the UK, US and Middle Eastern press.

Zaineb al-Assam, head of Middle East and North Africa forecasting at Exclusive Analysis, gives an assessment to Reuters (31 January) about the likelihood of further protest in the Middle East.

Amira Nowaira, professor of English literature at Alexandria University, writes in the Guardian (31 January) that the Egyptian people refuse to be “cowed” by the regime’s desperate measures to enforce submission.

Amr Shalakany, associate professor of law at the American University in Cairo, writes in the Guardian (30 January) that the revolution is independent of “any political party” or the Muslim Brotherhood.

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A Jerusalem Post editorial (31 January) takes the opposite view:

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Besides the Muslim Brotherhood or political parties taken over by it, there is not a single significant organised political movement in Egypt that can muster a large enough constituency to present a coherent alternative to the present regime.

In an article by Will Englund, writing in the Washington Post (31 January), the Muslim Brotherhood argues that it is only a “bit player” in the resistance.

Marwan Muasher, former foreign minister and deputy prime minister of Jordan and vice-president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, writes in the Observer (30 January):

Unless Arab leaders, who so far are reluctant to give up their absolute power and lives of privilege, take immediate steps to improve democratic and political rights, the Arab world is destined for more crises.

Oliver Miles, a diplomat who has served extensively in the Middle East and North Africa, writes in the Independent (30 January) that “it is encouraging that” we are hearing “voices of Christians and Muslims; scarcely a sign of political extremism dressed up as Islam”.