Fazila Farouk of SACSIS talks to Na'eem Jeenah of the Afro-Middle East Centre about developments in the Middle East, particularly, given the threat of external military intervention looming over Syria and the undoing of the Egyptian revolution, where a military coup has unseated a democratically elected government.
Both the revolution in Egypt and the calls for the removal of Syria's dictator are rooted in the struggles and mobilization of ordinary people on the ground. The problem is that citizens' action is not leading to the realization of democratic rights for the people of the Middle East. Jeenah addresses this problem and its implications for citizens' action in South Africa.
Transcript Of Interview
FAZILA FAROUK: Welcome to the South African Civil Society Information Service, I'm Fazila Farouk coming to you this morning from the Afro-Middle East Centre in Johannesburg.
We're at the Afro-Middle East Centre because we're going to focus our discussion this morning on events in the Middle East, which as you know have been very much in the news these past few weeks. Starting with Egypt's failed revolution a few weeks back when a military coup removed the democratically elected government and reinstalled Egypt's generals and then moving on to the situation in Syria, which as we all know, is incredibly topical at the moment with the Obama administration threatening military action on the Syrian government for what it claims are chemical attacks that took place, and which it blames the Syrian government for.
Helping us to make sense of these issues, this morning is Na'eem Jeenah, the director of the Afro-Middle East Centre.
Welcome to SACSIS Na'eem.
NA'EEM JEENAH: Thank you, Fazila.
FAZILA FAROUK: I'd like you to unpack for us what is going on in the Middle East. We'll start with Syria, particularly, the popular movement that called for the removal of a dictator that's now being co-opted by forces much bigger than itself.
We've seen what's happened in Syria; we've seen the failed revolution of Egypt, which has its roots in citizens' action. The problem is that citizens' action is not leading to the realization of democratic rights for people in the Middle East. And I'd like to have a conversation about that and its meaning for South Africa.
An Egyptian court has sentenced thirty additional people to more than three years in prison for violent protests.
They were found guilty on Monday of supporting deposed Islamist president Mohammed Morsi. The military-installed authorities have engaged in a sweeping crackdown against Morsi's supporters and his Muslim Brotherhood since his ouster in July. The crackdown has left more than 1 400 people dead, and thousands have been jailed. More than 1-thousand Morsi supporters have been convicted in mass trials, including 5-hundred-and-29 sentenced to death last month. For more on this story we are joined in the studio by Afro Middle East Centre Director Na'eem Jeenah.
Na'eem Jeenah, executive director of the Afro-Middle East Centre, says that violence in Egypt will continue in the coming weeks but it's unlikely that it will result in a civil war.
Reports from Washington say the Obama administration is poised to slash hundreds of millions of dollars in military and economic assistance to Egypt. The announcement is expected this week. The U.S. has been considering such a move since the Egyptian military ousted the country's first democratically elected leader in June. For the latest we are joined in studio by Ebrahim Deen from Afro Middle East Centre.
Days after Mohammed Morsi was removed from the position of Egypt's president several key appointments were made and a roadmap was laid out for a new constitution and parliamentary elections. In this episode we discuss the precedent the Arab Spring and the recent Egypt protests set and ask what it will take for Egypt to finally enjoy long-term stability.
Guests: Afro-Middle East Centre executive director, Naeem Jeenah and Egypt ambassador to South Africa, H.E. Sherif Naguib