by Hakim Khatib
The assassination of the man in charge of thousands of prosecutions including the controversial death sentences against Muslim Brotherhood followers paved the way for the incumbent Egyptian president for a one-time knockout against dissent once and for all.
Speaking at the military funeral of Hisham Barakat, the Prosecution General of Egypt killed in a car bomb on June 29, the President Abdulfattah Al-Sisi threatened to amend the laws to make them responsive to the implementation of justice. “Under such circumstances, courts are useless and so are laws,” said Al-Sisi promising to carry out any death or lifetime sentences against what he called “terrorists”.
by Hakim Khatib
Religion in the Middle East seems to define allies and enemies inside and outside the political borders. On the one hand, Shiite Iran is allies with the Iraqi government, the Houthi rebels in Yemen, Hezbollah in Lebanon, revolutionary forces in Bahrain and the Syrian regime. On the other hand, Sunni Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States, Egypt, Turkey and Sunni elements in the region form an alliance against what they call the expansion of the Iranian influence. There is an unmistaken pattern of alliance in the Middle East, in which states, monarchies and forces seem to define their allies and enemies based on sectarian dimensions, and by which we witness a minority oppressing a majority when it is possible and vice versa across the Middle East including Israel.
Devisions in the Middle East are relatively based on sectarian dimensions, yet the political rifts among contesting actors are not quite religious. What fuels the sectarian divide in the Middle East is not per se religion, it is rather the prevalent authoritarian form of governance and the concentration of power in the hands of a few in each Middle Eastern country. Ideology, a transcendent religion in this case, proves to be useful for the already contesting parties to mobilise the people, legitimate and consolidate power and influence and eliminate any political opponents.