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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, Accreditation, ITIL)

£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...

C# Developer (HTML5, JavaScript, ASP.NET, Mathematics, Entity)

£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

C# Integration Developer (.NET, Tibco EMS, SQL 2008/2012, XML)

£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...

Biztalk - outstanding opportunity

£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor's Letter: The final instalment of our WW1 series

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
 

Simon Usborne: The more you watch pro cycling, the more you understand its social complexity

Simon Usborne
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice