Al-Ahram Weekly Online   14 - 20 April 2011
Issue No. 1043
Press review
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875

Prosecuting and purging

Doaa El-Bey and Gamal Nkrumah view with awe the series of unprecedented detentions of some of the most powerful figures in Egypt and continue coverage of the uprisings sweeping across the Arab world

The questioning and detention by the prosecution of the leading figures of the old regime, especially that of the deposed president Hosni Mubarak and his family, is being hailed. However, writers expressed concern about the events in Tahrir Square last Friday, calling it a setback and a victory for the counter- revolution. They warned of the impact of driving a wedge between the army and the people.

Al-Akhbar 's banner read, 'Mubarak questioned in Sharm El-Sheikh Hospital'. Al-Ahram wrote, 'Prosecutor-General questions Alaa and Gamal regarding collecting massive wealth'. Nahdet Masr called Gamal Mubarak the heir and said that Torah Prison was waiting. Al-Masry Al-Youm wrote, 'Safwat El-Sherif officially accused of inciting battle of the camel', and Al-Wafd blared, 'Prosecution accuses Mubarak, Alaa and Gamal of killing protesters'.

Galal Aref wrote it was clear that the remnants of the former regime were trying to make use of popular will to try the symbols of the old regime quickly and purge the bodies of the state in framing the army as a collaborator with the old regime and in spreading rumours that it would not try the deposed president, his family and aides.

However, Aref added in the official daily Al-Akhbar that the national powers saw through the attempt and rejected any defamation of the army institution either by those who were ousted from that institution or those who tried to drive a wedge in the good relationship between the army and the people.

But the conspiracy against the army and the people, he added, continued and caused the sad events in the early hours of Saturday. But what is worth noting according to Aref was that all parties stood against the conspiracy and unanimously confirmed the unity of the people and the army. Meanwhile, the army was decisive in accusing remnants of the old regime, including businessman Ibrahim Kamel, of last Saturday's violent Tahrir incident and clearing youths of taking part in those events.

The editorial of the official daily Al-Ahram said it was clear that the army is still enjoying the complete confidence of the Egyptian people. That confidence did not start on 25 January and has passed through many tests. Perhaps the hardest of which was the army's choice between allowing Mubarak to remain president and protecting the will and aspirations of the people. It chose the latter.

Thus, the editorial added, it was not strange to witness unanimity among all parties to protect the unity of the army and the people after Saturday's events. However, those events posed questions regarding "the undisclosed agenda" of the remnants of the old regime and other regional powers. "It is now clear to everybody that the wonderful 'state of unity' is the only factor that obstructed weakening Egypt. In addition, the immense popular support shown for the army and the government makes them more than capable of preserving the national interests and security of Egypt," the edit said.

Meanwhile, the edit noted, "the great people of Egypt should realise in this difficult phase that the conspiracy against the army would not stop at that point. But it will never succeed, as long as we preserve national unity and the unity between the army and the people."

Mohamed El-Shabba hailed the ruling Higher Council of the Armed Forces (HCAF) for washing its hands of Mubarak's mistakes by deciding to refer him and his family to the prosecutor-general.

It is the right of the people, El-Shabba explained in the independent daily Nahdet Masr, to question Mubarak about the money that he wasted, and about the youths who were forced to immigrate after their dreams in their own country were crushed.

The writer emphasised that any step towards a quick trial of the symbols of corruption would bring the HCAF close to the people and remove any shadow of doubt that has recently strained the relationship between the army and the people.

"If Mubarak has the right to speak to a satellite channel or bring a lawyer from London to defend him; the people have the right to listen to the judge regarding him and his son. That would open the door for justice and for a new beginning between the people and the army," he wrote.

Wagdi Zeineddin wrote that the sad events that took place on Friday proved without doubt that the National Democratic Party (NDP) was adamant about hitting the 25 January Revolution hard. In addition, arresting Ibrahim Kamel and his aides came too late. Kamel openly declared on the eve of "the Battle of the Camel" that he would lead a counter- revolution from Mustafa Mahmoud Square. Still, no measures were taken against him. As a result, Kamel committed the same act of thuggery on Friday and early Saturday in Tahrir in an attempt to drive a wedge between the army and the people.

"The tragic scene directed by Ibrahim Kamel in Tahrir revealed persistence on the part of the NDP to stop Mubarak from going to trial. There is a conspiracy against the 25 January Revolution launched by the leading figures in the NDP," Zeineddin wrote in the daily Al-Wafd, the mouthpiece of the opposition Wafd Party.

The latest development is meant to stop the detention and trial of all those who conspired against the revolution. The situation requires immediate action; leaving the leader of the NDP free to launch conspiracies is no longer acceptable, Zeineddin summed up.

Yasser Abdel-Aziz wrote that whoever witnessed the gathering in Tahrir and listened to calls and read the placards of the protesters would realise that the revolution had entered the stage of maturity. "It was clear on Friday that the protesters are capable of providing the revolutionary momentum needed to keep revolution is alive and is putting pressure on the army to take difficult decisions," Abdel-Aziz wrote in the independent daily Al-Masry Al-Youm.

However, Abdel-Aziz warned against breaking the unity of the army as this would lead to breaking the national unity and sovereignty of the country. He brought the outcome of armies in disarray in countries like Iraq, Lebanon, Somalia and Libya to prove his argument.

The army did not come, he explained, to meet the demands of the protesters to the letter or to try the deposed regime or to lead the country to progress and democracy. It came to maintain the unity, security and stability of the country and then hand over power to an accepted legal authority. And that explains, Abdel-Aziz continued, their slowness in changing the leading figures chosen by the old regime.

Abdel-Aziz concluded by expressing his confidence that the army would complete its mission because the people have no other option and because the 25 January Revolution will provide it with the perseverance and support needed to finish the job.

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