LETTERS: Egypt needs foreign help if it is not to go the way of Algeria

Share
Sir: Robert Fisk states that if the Algerian military junta collapses in its war with Islamic militants, Egyptians will be asking, "How soon before their own regime slides into chaos?" ("Islamists promise Algerian elite a bloody Ramadan", 1 February). Recent developments indicate that the Egyptian regime may have already embarked on such a course. The two dreadful blunders that set off the war in Algeria have now become the policy of president Mubarak and his security forces: namely, the targeting of moderate Islamists and the indiscriminate killing and execution of "suspected" civilians.

Everyday, extremists are being "manufactured" in Egypt's torture cells. The destruction of homes, burning of crops and beating of women by the security forces have already alienated most of the countryside in upper Egypt.

Journalists and writers are being detained for the most ridiculous allegations. Adel Hussein, a 65-year-old Islamic thinker with a chronic heart condition, was arrested last December, stripped and mistreated because the police "found inflammatory leaflets on his plane seat" one hour after he left Cairo airport. Last week, 30 members of the Muslim Brothers were detained on charges of "sedition".

The banned Muslim Brothers is the most moderate and popular of Egypt's opposition movements. Most of its members and supporters are intellectuals, doctors, engineers, journalists and students. Its quick action to provide help to the injured and bereaved following Cairo's earthquake two years ago infuriated the Egyptian authorities.

It is highly unlikely that the moderates will be provoked into violence by the government's repressive tactics. The danger always comes from the frustration of the poor and uneducated, who see no trusted figure for guidance because all those who preach non-violence are either detained or denied access to the media.

If Egypt, the largest Arab country, slides into an Algerian-style war, the repercussions in the whole region will be appalling. As in Algeria, dialogue leading ultimately to free and democratic elections appears to be the only way out of this mess. Dictators, however, do not listen to reason. A balanced combination of outside political pressure and media exposure could force them to compromise.

Yours faithfully, Salah Ezz Oxford 4 February

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Digital Trade Advisers - Yorkshire and Humber

£29500 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company in Yorkshire and t...

Recruitment Genius: Project and Resource Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing experience-led technology co...

Recruitment Genius: Production Scientist

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises in the...

Recruitment Genius: Factory Manager - Food

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Day In a Page

Read Next
'A Five per cent tax might seem low, but this is an issue of fairness, and not only for those menstruating in the UK'  

Don't think the tampon tax can be scrapped? You're wrong — all we need to do is follow these 5 steps

Laura Coryton
Craig Oliver, David Cameron’s Director of Communications  

i Editor's Letter: Poultry excuses from chicken spin doctors

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable