Egypt’s Suleiman Announces Presidential Bid; HRW Criticizes Military
On Friday, former Vice-President and Intelligence Chief Omar Suleiman announced he was running for president. David Kirkpatrick wrote in the New York Times that “Mr. Suleiman, a retired general, could become a magnet for the support of Egyptians most unhappy with the revolt that ousted Mr. Mubarak.” The announcement created an immediate uproar. “I consider his entry an insult to the revolution and the Egyptian people,” said Khairat al-Shater, the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate. A People’s Assembly committee quickly drafted a bill banning former regime members from running for president, though it will likely be rejected by the ruling military council. On Saturday, Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a statement detailing alleged human rights abuses by Egypt’s military against women. Specifically, HRW criticized the acquittal of the military doctor charged in the controversial “virginity tests” trial, saying, “the military justice system lacks the fundamental independence to remedy human rights abuses by the military.”
Referring to the recent visit by a delegation from the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), the Washington Post’s Editorial Board cautions against the Brotherhood pursuit of applying Islamic Law, saying the Islamist group must realize that “secular citizens and minorities, who make up a large part of the population, will not accept discrimination.” Also writing for the Washington Post, Editorial Page Editor Fred Hiatt writes that President Barack Obama has “shown little passion for the cause” of promoting freedom and democracy; in Egypt, Hiatt points to how “the Obama administration embraced Hosni Mubarak until he was doomed … and then re-embraced the military regime that succeeded him, opening the military aid spigot despite many broken promises on democratization.” In the New Republic, Eric Trager argues that the FJP delegation’s avowed commitment to moderation is not credible. “The Muslim Brotherhood’s English-language moderation always seems to stand at odds with its truly radical ideology,” Trager writes.