Sacrificing Our TODAY for the World's TOMORROW
FATA is "Federally Administered Tribal Area" of Pakistan; consisting of 7 Agencies and 6 F.Rs; with a 27000 Sq Km area and 4.5 m population.
MYTH: FATA is the HUB of militancy, terrorism and unrest in Afghanistan.
REALITY: FATA is the worst "VICTIM of Militancy”. Thousands of Civilians dead & injured; Hundreds of Schools destroyed; Thousands of homes raised to ground; 40% population displaced from homes.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Muslim Brotherhood Raises Its Sights in Egypt (Wall Street Journal, 2 May 2011)

Courtesy: "Wall Street Journal", 2 May 2011

Muslim Brotherhood Raises Its Sights in Egypt

CAIRO—The Muslim Brotherhood said it will increase the number of seats for which it plans to field candidates in this fall's parliamentary elections, in a sign of the increasing confidence of Egypt's Islamists against a thin field of political competitors.
The Freedom and Justice Party, the Brotherhood's new political party, will field candidates in about 45 to 50% of voting districts in elections scheduled for September. Brotherhood leaders previously said they were hoping to contest about a third of the seats.

The party appears to be holding to an earlier decision not to participate in presidential elections, which are supposed to take place before the end of November. The decision to field more candidates may be a sign of the organization's increasing confidence in the Egyptian public's appetite for political Islam following generations of largely secular, one-party rule.
But the move is also an indication of the group's fitness as a political organization compared with its competitors. Other than the unpopular former ruling National Democratic Party—which was renamed the New National Party last month—the Brotherhood remains one of the only experienced, organized and powerful political parties in postrevolutionary Egypt. "I think they were tempted to increase the number because they could not find any serious competitors so far," said Mustafa Kamal Al Sayyid, a political-science professor at the American University in Cairo. "There are no other political parties that could claim to get the support of a large number of people."
The Brotherhood has long stood at the vanguard of Egypt's political opposition for most of its 83-year history. Despite being formally outlawed in the early 1950s, forcing its candidates to run as independents, its members still won a fifth of the seats in Parliament in the 2005 elections—far more than even the small number of legal political parties that barely enduredunder the regime of Hosni Mubarak, Egypt's former president.
In the weeks that followed Mr. Mubarak's abdication in February, prodemocracy demonstrators called for Egypt's interim military leadership to extend the timeline for parliamentary and presidential elections. An early date, they argued, would offer an unfair advantage to the Brotherhood and elements of the old regime. The military eventuallyconceded, moving the election dates to autumn from the original summer plan.
But many politicians have complained that the Brotherhood will have an advantage regardless of the elections' timing. "I was expecting [the Brotherhood] to be stupid enough to raise the percentage they promised to compete on becuase that's how they deal. They're very much opportunists," said Shadi Al Ghazali Harb, a member of the Revolutionary Youth Coalition who said he hopes to launch his own youth-oriented party at a ceremony next Saturday. "So whenever they get a better opportunity, they seize it whether or not this will cost the whole country."
Ahmed Maher, a founding member of the 6th of April Movement, which helped spearhead protests, said in an interview in New York last week that he believes a deal can be struck with the Muslim Brotherhood in which they can field candidates that would occupy about 20% of the seats in Parliament.
"They have rights, but they can't turn Egypt into a (nonsecular) state," he said.
In an effort to confront the Brotherhood and other Islamists' popularity at the polls, a group of mostly secular parties are forming a "joint list" of candidates. Such a list would divide the field of competition among parties, decreasing the possibility that like-minded politicians will compete against each other.
The Brotherhood had flirted with the idea of joining the list, but it is now almost certain to run on its own parliamentary ticket, said Mamdouh Hamza, a well-known urban planner and political activist who is convening a conference on the joint list next weekend.
"Al Wafd on its own, Tagammu on its own, Gabha on its own cannot do it," said Mr. Hamza, referring to the secular political parties that were legal but strictly proscribed during Mr. Mubarak's era. "If they join together with the independent syndicates and the social groups, we might have something. That is the whole idea."
Brotherhood leaders insist they aren't widening their political ambitions, but only competing for more seats in order to reach their earlier target of about one-third of the parliamentary seats.
"We are targeting 30-35%, we are not targeting a majority," said Essam El Erian, a senior Brotherhood leader. "If you are targeting 30-35%, you maybe double that."
Such an explanation is unlikely to convince political observers and competitors who recall the Brotherhood leadership's public assurances earlier this spring that they would only field candidates for one-third of the seats and they wouldn't field a candidate for president. Those statements were widely perceived as aimed at quelling fears of an Islamist takeover.
But some analysts and politicians say the Brotherhood's announcement amounts to little more than showboating bluster. Even in free and fair elections, the group is unlikely to win much more than the 20% of seats it won in 2005.
"I think it's a false ambition," said Diaa Rashwan, a political analyst at the government-funded Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies. "There is no real indicator in actual Egypt—the Egypt after the revolution—confirming that the Muslim Brotherhood will have the percentage that they're thinking about now."
Still, in a recent poll by the Pew Research Center, about 75% of Egyptians said they had either a favorable or a very favorable opinion of the Brotherhood.

—Tamer El-Ghobashy in New York contributed to this article.....................

Note: The viewpoint expressed in this article is solely that of the writer / news outlet. "FATA Awareness Initiative" Team may not agree with the opinion presented.

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