Saturday, March 11, 2006

The Crackdown Continues

Promises of political reform in Egypt seem to drift farther away as we get from the past year's elections. This week, the Muslim Brothers announced more of its members arrested. One of the more notable was a journalist known at the "Brotherhood's Reuters." Abdel Monem Mahmoud surrendered to security forces after the police allegedly surrounded his house and threatened to take his family hostage.

It's the second arrest for Mahmoud. Shortly after the arrest, a government-controlled agency that oversees the nation's printing presses shut down the Afaq Arabia newsweekly which is run by al-Ahrar Party and expresses the views of the Muslim Brotherhood. No reason was given by the government.

All this comes just two days after the U.S. State Department again repeated its claim that Egyptians have little or not ability to affect its government's policies. Around the region, elections are bringing change to the Middle East. But not in Egypt.

The Washington Post notes this week that Gamal Mubarak is taking on yet again more responsibilities in which more and more looks like he is being groomed for power following his father. Says one political commentator about whether Gamal is in line for the presidency, "I don't see anyone who can stop him."

Just a normal week for a country where power remains in the hands of an authoritarian government and the democratic aspirations of the people remain a dream.


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