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Full text of the list of demands submitted by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, and Egypt to Qatar

Full text of the list of demands submitted by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, and Egypt to Qatar

ISR comment: Four Arab States want Qatar to close down Aljazeera, a sign that the current crisis is in fact a reaction to and fear of the protest movements popularly known as the Arab Spring. It was on the pages of ISR that the role of Aljazeera in galvanizing social change in the Arab world was thoroughly explained and it was on the pages of ISR that the first prediction that the Gulf States will implode from the inside as a result of the change initiated by the protest movement that overthrew Ben Ali (now living in Saudi Arabia) and Mubarak (now back from prison after Sisi regained power).

A summary of the demands submitted by the Saudis, Bahrainis, Emiratis, and Egyptians to Qatar through Kuwait:
1. Reduce diplomatic ties with Iran and close its diplomatic missions there. Expel members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard from Qatar and cut off any joint military cooperation with Iran. Only trade and commerce with Iran that complies with U.S. and international sanctions will be permitted.

2. Shutting down the Turkish military base in Qatar and stop any military agreements with Turkey inside Qatar

3. Announce the cutting of ties to “terrorist organizations,” including the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic State, al-Qaida, and Hezbollah. Formally declare those entities as terrorist groups.

4. Stop providing financial support to entities and individuals list on the list previously provided by the four nations.

5. Handover all persons accused of terrorists and seize their property.

6. Shut down Al-Jazeera and its affiliate stations.

7. Stop interfering in the affairs of neighboring states, stop offering citizens to persons from neighboring states, and provide a list of citizens of neighboring states who were offered Qatar citizenship.

8. Pay for all damages caused by Qatar policy and practices in neighboring states.

9. Assure full compliance with Arab decision and agree to honor the Riyadh agreements with Gulf nations of 2013 and 2014.

10. Submit a list of documents by and about opposition figures supported by Qatar.

11. Shut down news outlets that Qatar funds, directly and indirectly (i.e., Arabi21, Rassd, al-Araby Al-Jadeed, and Middle East Eye).

12. Agree to all these terms within 10 days or it will be considered void.

13. the agreement shall consist of clear mechanism of compliance, including monthly audits for the first year after agreeing to the demands, then once per quarter during the second year, and annually for ten years thereafter.

Is Qatar training Egyptian fighters in Idlib, Syria?

Is Qatar training Egyptian fighters in Idlib, Syria?

Qatar’s global media outlet, Aljazeera, reported that 200 Egyptian military officers and experts are now in Syria. The report, is based on a Lebanese source, came days after the Egyptian president, Abdulfattah al-Sisi, in an interview to Portuguese media, said that he supported the Syrian national army in its war on terrorists. This seemingly new position has angered the Gulf States, especially Saudi Arabia and Qatar, who back the Syrian opposition fighters and have been pushing for the removal of the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.
Some sources, however, have also revealed that Qatar is training Egyptian Islamists in Idlib, Syria. This revelation could explain the increased collaboration between the Syrian and Egyptian governments. Egypt, like Syria, has been battling Salafi and other Islamist militants. If these elements are being trained in Syria and supported by Qatar, Egypt will be forced to collaborate with the Syrian and Libyan governments who are facing the same threats. 
Fath al-Sham, formerly known as al-Nusra front, which is backed by Qatar, controls Idlib, and has released multiple videos showing individuals engaged in war games, with indication that some of these fighters are not training for the war in Syria, which could support the assertion that Idlib is turning into training grounds for fighters from other countries, including Egypt, China, Tunisia, France, and Algeria.
It should be noted also that when al-Julani, the leader of al-Nusra, announced the name change of his group’s name into Jabhat Fath al-Sham, sitting next to him was a known Egyptian Salafist, another reason for Egypt to be concerned about the role of Qatar in supporting groups that might pose a security threat to Egypt.
 al-Julani, announcing the name change of al-Nusra Front

Saudi and Qatari dilemma: Can they support al-Sisi in his war on ISIL and support ISIL in its war on Assad?

Saudi and Qatari dilemma: Can they support al-Sisi in his war on ISIL and support ISIL in its war on Assad?



When Prince Salman became King Salman, world leaders wanted to know about the man now controlling the country that exports more oil than any other, Saudi Arabia. Several leading publications claimed that the 79 year old king suffers from serious chronic illnesses. The Economistproposed that his predecessor, King Abdullah, had concerns about handing the crown to Salman because Salman may be suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.  The Atlantic, too, reported in 2010 that Salman suffered from dementia. The official reaction of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the intergovernmental organization that is supposed to represent the wealthy Gulf States but actually serves to promote Saudi interests and point of view, to Egypt’s claim that Qatar supports terrorism, suggests that the King might be indeed suffering from dementia. The background for this story is as follows:

Last week, ISIL’s branch in Libya killed, in its trademark revolting ways, 21 Egyptian workers. The next day, Egypt, ostensibly, in coordination with the Libyan government—or at least one of the Libyan governments, attacked ISIL in Libya. The government of al-Sisi sought political cover from Arab countries. The Arab League issued a statement of “understanding,” to which Qatar objected. The Egyptian representative in the Arab League, Tariq Adil, responded by accusing Qatar of supporting terrorism. Qatar recalled its top diplomat from Cairo and the GCC secretary, Abd al-Latif al-Zayyani, issued a harsh response saying that “the accusations against Qatar are untrue” and that “Qatar, along with its sister countries in the GCC, has made sincere efforts to fight terrorism and extremism.” 

Hours later, the GCC issued a second statement, this time saying that the GCC “reaffirms its full support to Egypt and its president Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi to fight terrorism inside and outside Egypt… and that the security of Egypt is important for the security of the GCC.” In a sense, this statement is a retraction of the first one. Since the GCC generally represent the Saudi point of view, these conflicting statements in the span of 24 hours suggest that the King of Saudi Arabia is either suffering from dementia or is trying to have his cake and eat it. He wants to be a friend of both Egypt and Qatar, despite that Qatar and Egypt have serious differences.

In the end, it would seem that the GCC chose not to escalate their conflict with Egypt. But this is clearly a temporary fix. Around the world, the frequency of statements and publications critical of the GCC, especially Saudi Arabia and Qatar, is increasing. The public too see Saudi and Qatari roles unfavorably. The first GCC statement of support to Qatar generated nearly 46 million reactions on social media, most of which critical to Qatar. Leaders of Qatar and Saudi Arabia are spending more time denying their support to terrorist groups. In the long run, these two countries must confront the fact that they are indeed enablers of terrorism by virtue of their privileging of Salafism over all other interpretations of Islam. Regionally, Qatar and Saudi Arabia must abandon their foolish distinction between ISIL in Iraq and Syria and other ISIL’s in Egypt, Libya, and Lebanon. They are all natural growth of violent Salafism, which branched out of the kind of conservatism these two countries espoused and promoted around the world for more than 70 years.
* Prof. SOUAIAIA teaches at the University of Iowa. His most recent book, Anatomy of Dissent in Islamic Societies, provides a historical and theoretical treatment of rebellious movements and ideas since the rise of Islam. Opinions are the author’s, speaking on matters of public interest; not speaking for the university or any other organization with which he is affiliated.

“This is What the Arab Spring Looks Like”

“This is What the Arab Spring Looks Like”

Tunisia’s transition to representative governance brings hope to Arab Societies

Four days after the fourth anniversary of the spark that ignited the fury of protests widely known as the Arab Spring, Tunisian voters reminded the world about what the Arab Spring is supposed to look like. The election of a new president this week capped four years of hard work that involved politicians and leaders of civil society institutions. In four years, Tunisians elected a constituency assembly primarily tasked with forming a transitional government and writing a new constitution. Those goals, despite many setbacks, were finally achieved. In the past three months, Tunisian voters elected a parliament, narrowed the field of presidential candidates (of more than 24 candidates) during a first round of presidential elections, and finally chose Beji Caid Essebsi, giving him 55% of their vote over the interim president, Mohamed Mouncef Marzouki.

Without doubt, attempts to explain the outcome and meaning of the results of these elections are numerous. Some commentators described the outcome as “buyer’s remorse,” suggesting that the Arab peoples are having second thoughts about the uprisings that overthrew many of the most authoritarian, yet effective, rulers in the region. Other observers contended that the vote in Tunisia, like the one in Egypt, which brought al-Sisi to power, is repudiation to Islamists. Other analysts charged that outside money and influence is behind the counter-revolutionary movements that are repackaging old regimes in order to slow down or undo the radical changes the Arab Spring had set in motion. Indeed, there is some truth in all of these and other theories. However, the constitution that the Tunisian people approved and the process by which they transitioned towards representative governance are remarkably impressive and Tunisians, from all spectrum of social and political life, should celebrate with pride and relief.

Generally, Tunisians have succeeded in keeping outside influence to a minimum. They trusted civil society institutions with mediating political dissent. They supported the interim government in its efforts to isolate violent elements who want to impose their genocidal agenda. In the end, thanks to the people’s sacrifices and commitment to non-violence, Tunisia emerged victorious in many areas. It stands proudly free from the Gulf States’ money-driven half-solutions that stalled progress in Yemen. Tunisians avoided the power grab and political opportunism like the ones that took place in Egypt. And above all, Tunisians succeeded in deliberately silencing the genocidal groups who use knives and guns to slaughter their way to power as is the case in Libya and Syria. 
Tunisians reaffirmed their commitment to the initial cry for dignity.

Importantly, Tunisians have reminded those who claim sole ownership of the revolution for themselves that the uprising was not about replacing one authoritarian regime with another or rewarding a political party over another. By voting for Nida Tunis (and its leader), which has roots in the old bureaucracy, and offering Ennahdha a significant number of seats in the new parliament, Tunisian voters seem to declare that they hold no indiscriminate prejudice against all and anyone who worked or might have worked with or for the old regime. They simply have a problem with incompetence, corruption, cronyism, and abuse of human dignity.

Today, Nida Tunis, the coalition of political parties and civil society entities’ representative that was created as a counterweight to the post-revolution ruling collation, is celebrating; just as did Ennahdha and its allies three years ago. Nida Tunis and its allies should remember that the people, now, have a say in who governs and for how long. More importantly, they should remain mindful not only of the interest of the 55% of the people who voted for them, but also of the concerns of the 45% of Tunisians who voted for Marzouki and the 66% (3.5 million people) of all registered voters who did not vote at all or voted for Marzouki—not for their candidate, Essabsi. Regardless, the 36% of the all registered voters who actually voted for him did not nostalgically vote to bring back the neo-Bourguibists, they voted out those who failed, in their judgment, to govern… again.

The world community should do more than congratulate the Tunisian people and their newly elected officials. They should support them economically, politically, and morally without any strings attached. Indeed, the Tunisian model for transitioning towards representative governance is the most convincing rebuttal to genocidal groups who believe in nothing but their own narrow worldview and tolerate none but themselves.
* Prof. SOUAIAIA teaches at the University of Iowa. His most recent book, Anatomy of Dissent in Islamic Societies, provides a historical and theoretical treatment of rebellious movements and ideas since the rise of Islam. Opinions are the author’s, speaking on matters of public interest; not speaking for the university or any other organization with which he is affiliated.

Obama in Saudi Arabia to talk security and terrorism; the Saudis seem prepared, but are they really?

Obama in Saudi Arabia to talk security and terrorism; the Saudis seem prepared, but are they really?

The new Saudi anti-terrorism law is anti-dissent, anti-civil rights draconian law?
For weeks even before President Obama’s arrival in Saudi Arabia, the rulers of Saudi Arabia have worked hard to make the summit successful. They knew that extremism, regional stability, and the Middle East peace process are high on the U.S. administration’s agenda. The Saudi rulers wanted to show that they are trustworthy, that they are fighting terrorism, and that they are a reliable and stable ally. Specifically, they will be showing President Obama two things: a new law that is supposedly aimed at fighting extremism and an unprecedented designation of an heir to the heir to the throne (Prince Muqrin—half-brother of the King).

Let’s begin with the latter. The King’s designation of a third-in-line underscores the nervousness the ruling family is experiencing. For the first time, the ruling family is divided and some fear that they could lose power, which they exclusively enjoyed for nearly 80 years. The ruling family feel threatened from within and from without the Kingdom. From within, the aging monarch (the third in line will be 70 in weeks, the second in line is 79 and the sitting king is 90 years old) is threatened by young Saudis who want to move towards a constitutional monarchy. The conservative Islamists want to replace the clan rule with an Islamic theocracy. From without, they are threatened by Iran and Sunni Islamists like the Muslim Brotherhood. The new anti-terrorism law is expected to address both sets of problems. They will be telling President Obama that extremism, the crisis in Syria, and Iran’s nuclear program are existential threats and the new law and the designation of a successor to the successor are meant to deal with these challenges.

Since the 1979 revolution in Iran, the rulers of Saudi Arabia have come to see Iran through sectarian and security lenses. Consequently, the Saudi rulers are threatened by Iran’s real or perceived ties to Shiites in Bahrain, Yemen, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and Pakistan; and by Iran’s influence over Sunni Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, HAMAS, Islamic Jihad, and similar groups. The new Saudi anti-terror law is, therefore, aimed at addressing these fears and preserving the privileged position of the ruling family while taking the global anti-terror sentiment as a cover. The explicit language and implicit implicationsof the law clearly expose the real intent.   

On March 9, and responding to a directive from King Abdullah, the Saudi Interior Ministry announced the terms of the new law. Most Western analysts and commentators focused on the unprecedented step of placing the Muslim Brotherhood on the list of terrorist organizations. They ignored the more important aspects of the new law: a dangerous minefield aimed at protesters, civil rights activists, minorities, and human rights advocates. 

The problem with the law is that it is flawed in every aspect. The law is conceptually flawed as it prosecutes offenders for acts committed even before the enactment of the law. The law is draconian because it equates between an academician attending a colloquium where criticism of the Saudi government might be voiced and a terrorist who kills civilians on sectarian, religious, or ideological grounds. It is punitive because it practically criminalizes any act or statement of dissent. In short, this is not an anti-terror law; it is a law of terror: it terrorizes students, academicians, activists, human rights advocates, minorities, dissenting voices, and anyone who dares to challenge the established order.

Those who think otherwise must look at the first targets (victims) of this law. During the week immediately after the law went into effect, the court sentenced two activists who (re)tweeted messages supporting peaceful demonstrations to 8 and 10 year prison terms each. As of this writing, none of the Saudi extremist fighters who actually participated in the wars in Syria, Iraq, or Afghanistan appeared before a court and prosecuted under this law. Returning fighters are likely to be sent to the so-called “rehabilitation programs” instead.

Protesters, civil rights activists, students, and civil society institutions will receive no reprieve. Predictably, Aljazeera satellite television and other channels that do not report within government guidelines (reflecting the foreign policy of Saudi Arabia) or that challenge the Saudi rulers’ authority and power will be barred. Foreigners suspected of sympathizing with the Muslim Brotherhood will be expelled. Discrimination against minorities will increase and become systemic. The law will also be applied to shut down centers of research like the Brookings Center and Arab Center for Research and Politics Studies (both in Qatar) or to prosecute anyone who attends events held by these or similar entities.

This law will not bring stability to the Kingdom and it will not promote peace in the region because it does not address the root problem: Saudi tolerance of and reliance on sectarian extremism. The Saudi rulers and some of their Western allies used a brand of Islam to recruit, train, and send warriors to fight an “ungodly” government and its backers in Afghanistan. They have applied the same prescription in Syria, which is geographically closer to the Kingdom than Afghanistan. Using religious extremism as a political and military tool legitimized a deadly brand of religious discourse that is now threatening it from within. A cosmetic law that ignores the culpability and complicity of some of the Kingdom’s rulers in creating and sustaining extremism only manages the symptoms; it does not cure it.
* Prof. SOUAIAIA teaches at the University of Iowa. His most recent book, Anatomy of Dissent in Islamic Societies, provides a historical and theoretical treatment of rebellious movements and ideas since the rise of Islam. Opinions are the author’s, speaking on matters of public interest; not speaking for the university or any other organization with which he is affiliated.

The Muslim Brotherhood, Morsi, Sisi, and the future of Egypt

The Muslim Brotherhood, Morsi, Sisi, and the future of Egypt

A. F. al-Sisi

by Jared Ethan Krauss 
IN a move that surprised everyone not in Sisi’s circle, the cabinet has resigned.

The move comes as, in recent weeks, criticism and protests of the interim government have grown.  Egypt has seen no economic improvements since the revolution, and violence has only increased since the ouster of Morsi. While the fervor whipped up by Sisi just after the coup—where he was seemingly given permission by Egyptians to ‘fight terrorism’—was enough to sustain popular support the first few weeks or months, it was not enough to do away with the harsh realities of life for many Egyptians.  

Egypt has barely been held above the water by billions in grants and loans from Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Rising domestic gas demand has overshot domestic production which has peaked and is now falling, and the heavily subsidized fuel is now becoming another drain on the coffers of Egypt, which is already in debt up to its neck (eighty-eight percent of the GDP, exactly).  

Food production and availability is below subsistence, or too expensive, for many Egyptians, housing is inadequate, infrastructure is outdated, or dilapidated or inefficient—not to mention transportation is paltry, ineffective and regularly shut down either by striking workers or for security reasons. And tourism, essential to Egypt’s economy, has, since the revolution, continued to decline and will likely continue to do so, especially in the wake of the bombing in Taba a week ago. 

Many in Egypt saw President Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood government as seeking to empower themselves and craft a government and constitution solely in their image, while excluding other opinions.  It appears Sisi is embarking on a similar path in a more delicate manner. At the same time, the popular sentiment went, Morsi, focused on foreign affairs, ignored the fundamental issues facing many Egyptians.  However, Sisi knows the power of narratives, and perceptions, and public placement of blame. The perceived lack of attention to Egyptians’ daily problems was the backbone of dissent against President Morsi, and will continue to be important to Egyptians. However, Sisi has used the media and the government to induce fear in the population and deflect attention away from the worries which brought down Morsi. Within this narrative, support for Sisi seems to equal support for Egypt, and criticism of Sisi seems to equal criticism of Egypt. Thus any criticism becomes reprehensible, and punishable.
With the resignations, interim-President Adly Mansour asked former Housing Minister, Ibrahim Mehleb, to become the interim-Prime Minister and form a new cabinet. Mehleb says he will form the cabinet in three to four days, and is reported by al-Ahram as being a former member of Mubarak’s National Democratic Party, and an ex-chairman of the Arab Contractors, regarded by al-Ahram as being one of Egypt’s leading construction companies.
Meanwhile, Reuters reports that Mehleb said, “Security and stability in the entire country and crushing terrorism will pave the way for investment.” This rhetoric is the same as that used by General Sisi since Morsi was deposed, and reflects a synergy of ideas between Mehleb, who will become the head of the legislature, and Sisi, whom can now run for the Presidency. Under the newly ratified Constitution, no minister can also be President.  When General Sisi resigned his post as Defense Minister, it opened him up to announcing an election bid. If elected, Sisi will be in control of the executive branch, with a loyal and like-minded Prime Minister.
These sorts of political maneuverings show Sisi is a better politician than was President Morsi. Just a few weeks ago it was announced that Presidential elections will be held before parliamentary elections, which if it seems odd is because it is odd. That was not the plan put forth when Sisi instituted the overthrow of Morsi. The plan was to form an interim cabinet and install an interim president (which were Beblawi’s cabinet, and President Mansour, respectively) pass the or a constitution, elect a legislature to elect a prime minister and cabinet, then elect a president. With the turnout during the constitutional referendum, and the calls for a Sisi presidency, it’s unlikely Sisi would lose in a presidential election as things stand.
What does all this mean? Sisi has orchestrated events in Egypt in such a way that when he becomes President he will be nominally just the President, yet, he will control the military, and the legislature. This allows him to control the physical response of the country to protests or ‘terrorism’ using the military, and, through the executive powers of the presidency, the security and police forces. With the legislature, and a hand-crafted constitution, he controls which laws are written, how they are enforced, and how they are interpreted. 
The room for dissent is cinching tighter, as more critical journalists are intimidated, arrested, detained, or charged—sometimes beaten, or their families threatened. Many media outlets have been shuttered since Morsi was overthrown (such as the print edition of Egypt Independent), even popular critics like Bassem Youssef (known as the Jon Stewart of Egypt) have been quieted by the pressure put on his employers, and himself personally, through indictments and court charges. Meanwhile, the mainstream media in Egypt has begun to uphold Sisi as the savior of Egypt’s woes. This shows an attempt by Sisi’s power structure to control the national narrative as well. Sisi only wants loud, supportive, voices.
Furthermore, under the new constitution, there was no change in civilian prosecution—civilians can be, and are still, prosecuted in military courts, which means he does not need to control the civil judiciary to enforce the actions of the police and security forces.  And with the fear-mongering regarding terrorism vis-a-vis the Muslim Brotherhood, an emotional narrative has been crafted for the Egyptians which supports his aims: weaken any institution that can challenge his power, critique his actions, or question his motives, while positioning himself to be purely in control.
Sisi’s interim government has had the support of Saudi Arabia and their allies, certain parts of the US government have been supportive, with President Obama effectively silent, while Putin is happy for Egypt to have a leader in his image.  Israel, always happy to have an Egyptian government tough on ‘terrorism’, especially in the Sinai, will likely be supportive as well. 
The daily struggles of many Egyptians have not been adequately addressed, nor have they had a government representative of, and working only for, the Egyptian people. The problems Egypt faces are borne out of autocratic governments similar to the one Sisi is forming, which empowers and enriches the already empowered and rich. 
If Sisi’s tactics continue to work he’ll end up in an autocratic position of power under the guise of democracy, with an Islamist insurgency, and an economic situation that is a Gordian Knot incarnate.  But, he will have done what President Morsi couldn’t: He’ll have stacked the government with loyalists, crafted a constitution to his liking, quashed the major institutions capable of dissent, criticism, or challenging his power. Who, then, in Egypt, will be left to criticize?

How different are the new constitutions of Tunisia and Egypt?

How different are the new constitutions of Tunisia and Egypt?

How different are the new constitutions of Tunisia and Egypt?

The two countries transformed first by the Arab Spring now have new constitutions. The two countries are similar in many ways. Yet, the processes of producing their respective constitutions and the substance of each document point to the forces that made these legal documents similar in some areas and different in others. In both cases, it took more than two years to reach this point, underscoring the difficulty the drafters of the two documents have faced.

Notably, the Tunisian constitution was drafted by an elected body (Constitutional Assembly), whereas the current version of the Egyptian constitution was “edited” by an appointed committee after the deposition of the post-revolution (elected) president Mohamed Morsi. The Egyptian constitution, however, was endorsed by Egyptian voters, while the Tunisian constitution was adopted once it was endorsed by the majority of the members of the Constitutional Assembly.

Another distinction is the substantive organization of the two documents. The Egyptian constitution is organized conceptually, dealing with matters of the state, society, economy, culture, rights and responsibilities, rule of law, and then governing institutions. The Tunisian constitution’s organization is rooted in institutional functions. That is, the framers of the constitution first defined the foundational principles (al-mabadi’ al-`ammah) that ought to guide the work of state institutions and the rights and freedoms (al-huquq wa-‘l-hurriyyat) that must be protected and managed by the state.  The Tunisian 39-page document is decided by this conceptualization of the function of governing institutions, while the 64-page document produced by the 50-member constitutional committee is a statement about the critical areas of public interest (muqawwimat al-mujtama`) and then a declaration about the role of power and authority institutions (al-sulutat) in managing these areas.

The organizational difference resulted in different areas of emphasis and state functions. The public interest focus adopted by the framers of the Egyptian constitution led to a strengthened role of the state and a diminished space devoted to civil society institutions. The drafters of the Tunisian constitution seemed more interested in limiting the power of the state and the separation of its branches.

Below, a brief summary of key statements about controversial areas as addressed in the Constitution of Tunisia and the Constitution of Egypt.
Constitution of Tunisia
Constitution of Egypt
System of Governance:
Islamic, Arab, Republic (1 & 2)
Islamic, Arab, Democratic Republic (1)
No explicit statement about Shari`ah.
The principles of the Shari`ah are the main source of legislation (1, 2 & 3).
State and Religion:
State is civil institution; state is the overseer of religious affairs, protector of religious freedom and thought; state ensures that places of worship are not used for partisan purposes. State shall prohibit and prevent takfīr and enticing hate (2 &6).
No explicit mention of the “civil” nature of the state; the state shall fund al-Azhar, which is said to be an independent institution tasked with Islamic religious affairs; Christians and Jews rely on their respective traditions to manage personal status laws and choose their spiritual leaders (2, 3, &7).
Citizenship, which is acquired through birth or affiliation laws and redefined by the legislature; citizenship cannot be revoked.
Anyone born to an Egyptian father or mother is entitled to citizenship (6).
Women rights:
State guarantees the rights of women to equality in all areas, including their being represented in election-based positions (21, 40, & 46).
State guarantees the rights of women to equality in all areas (11).
The President is the Commander in Chief of the armed forces. Members of the armed forces are politically neutral, barred from all partisan and political activities.
The President is the Supreme Commander in Chief of the armed forces. The Defense Minister is the Commander in Chief of the armed forces.
Human dignity
Dignity is protected; torture is prohibited.
Dignity is protected; torture is prohibited.
Branches of Government:
Parliament whose members are elected directly by the people
Parliament whose members are elected directly by the people.
President elected for five years; can run for only one more term (75).
President elected for four years; can run for only one more term (140).
Head of government is from the party or coalition that wins the majority of the seats in the parliament.
The president names the head of government, if the government is not endorsed by the parliament, then the party or coalition that won the majority of the seats in the parliament will name the head of the government; if not endorsed again, the president shall dissolve the parliament.
The judiciary is independent authority; the institution is managed by the Supreme Council on Judicial Affairs, consisting of four committees, which are staffed mostly by elected judges.
The legislature is independent authority; most judges are appointed by the president.
* Prof. SOUAIAIA teaches at the University of Iowa. His most recent book, Anatomy of Dissent in Islamic Societies, provides a historical and theoretical treatment of rebellious movements and ideas since the rise of Islam. Opinions are the author’s, speaking on matters of public interest; not speaking for the university or any other organization with which he is affiliated.

Text of constitutional amendments: First three parts (articles 1-83) of Egypt’s constitutional amendments adopted by the 50-member committee

Text of constitutional amendments: First three parts (articles 1-83) of Egypt’s constitutional amendments adopted by the 50-member committee


Part 1: The state

Article 1

The Arab Republic of Egypt is a sovereign state, united, indivisible and inalienable. Its governance system is democratic and based on citizenship and the rule of law.

The Egyptian people are part of the Arab world, work toward its integration and unification. Egypt is a part of the Islamic world, belongs to the African continent, proud of its Asian reach and participates in the building of human civilization.

Article 2

Islam is the religion of the state and Arabic its official language. Principles of Islamic Sharia are the principal source of legislation.

Article 3

The canon principles of Egyptian Christians and Jews are the main source of legislation for their personal status laws, religious affairs, and the selection of their spiritual leaders.

Article 4

Sovereignty is for the people alone and they are the source of all authority. The people shall exercise and protect this sovereignty, and safeguard national unity which is based on the principals of equality, justice and equal opportunities for all citizens in the manner specified in the constitution.

Article 5

The political system is based on the principles of political multi-party pluralism, peaceful transfer of power, separation of powers, the balance between them, the correlation between responsibility and power and respect for human rights and freedoms; all in the manner specified in the constitution.

Article 6

Nationality is a right to those born to an Egyptian father or mother, legal recognition and official documents proving their personal data is a right safeguarded and regulated by law.

The law defines the terms of nationality acquisition.

Part 2: Basic principles of society

Chapter One: Social principles

Article 7

Al-Azhar is an Islamic, scientific and independent institution, with exclusive autonomy over its own affairs; it is the basic reference in religious sciences and Islamic affairs, responsible for preaching Islam, theology and the Arabic language in Egypt and the world. The state shall ensure sufficient funds for Al-Azhar to achieve its objectives.

The post of Al-Azhar Grand Sheikh is independent and cannot be dismissed. The method of appointing the Grand Sheikh from among members of the Senior Scholars is to be determined by law.

Article 8

Society shall be based on social solidarity. The state shall ensure the achievement of social justice and shall provide means of social solidarity in a way that guarantees a decent life for all citizens; within the context of the law.

Article 9

The state is committed to achieve equal opportunities for all citizens without discrimination.

Article 10

Family is the basis of society and is founded on religion, morality and patriotism. The state is keen to preserve its cohesion and stability, and to protect its moral values.

Article 11

The state is committed to achieve gender equality in all civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights in accordance with the provisions of the constitution.

The state shall endeavor to take measures to ensure an adequate representation of women in the parliamentary assemblies, as determined by law. The state shall ensure the right of women to hold public and senior management posts of the state and ensure the designation of women in the judicial bodies and authorities with no discrimination against them.

The state is committed to protect women against all forms of violence and to ensure the empowerment of women to reconcile family duties and work requirements.

The state is committed to providing care and protection for women as mothers, breadwinners, elderly, to those who suffer from poverty.

Article 12

Work is a right, duty and honor guaranteed by the state. There shall be no forced labor except in accordance with law. To perform a public service, for a specified period and a fair wage and without prejudice is the basic right of workers.

Article 13

The state shall protect the rights of workers, endeavor to set balanced working relations between the two sides of the production process, ensure means of collective bargaining, and endeavor to protect labor from occupational hazards, ensure the application of terms of safety, security and vocational health as prescribed by law.

Article 14

Public sector employment is the right of all citizens on basis of merit, without nepotism or mediation. Public sector employees shall work in the service of the people and the state shall ensure their rights, protection and the fulfillment of their duties in taking care of the interest of people.

Workers may not be dismissed without disciplinary procedures except in the cases prescribed by law.

Article 15

Peaceful protests are a right regulated by law.

Article 16

The state shall honor martyrs and support those injured in revolutions, war veterans, war injured, and the families of those missing at in action and similar cases.

The state shall support injured security personnel, their spouses, dependants and parents and work on providing them with job opportunities as prescribed by law.

The state shall support the contribution of civil society organizations in achieving these goals.

Article 17

The state is committed to providing social insurance services. Social security is a right for every citizen who does not have social insurance in a way that guarantees a decent life in case he is not able to earn his living for himself and his family, or in case of aging, disability or unemployment.

The state is committed to providing suitable pensions to small farmers, agricultural workers, fishermen and unregulated employers, as regulated by law.

Pensions and insurances are private funds, and are protected like public funds. Pensions and insurances, and their revenues, are a right to their beneficiaries. They shall be invested safely, and run by independent organizations in a manner regulated by law. The state guarantees pensions and insurances funds.

Article 18

Integrated health care is a right for every citizen according to the standards of quality. The state shall ensure the preservation and support of public health services, and raise their efficiency and equitable geographical distribution.

The state is committed to allocating a proportion of governmental spending for health of not less than three percent of gross national product, rising gradually until it reaches global averages.

The state is committed to establish a comprehensive system of health insurance for all Egyptians, covering all diseases. The law shall regulate citizens’ participation or exempt them according to their income levels. The law criminalizes refraining from providing various forms of treatment for each person in case of emergencies or life-threatening injuries.

The state is committed to improve the conditions of doctors, nursing staff and workers in the health sector. The state shall control all health facilities, products, materials, and means of publicity related to health. The state encourages the participation of both the private and the civil sector in health care services, as regulated by law.

Article 19

Education is a right to every citizen. The aim of education is to build the Egyptian character, preserve the Egyptian identity, provide a solid ground in the scientific method, develop talents, encourage innovation, and establish cultural and spiritual values and the concepts of citizenship, tolerance and non-discrimination. The state is committed to consider its objectives in educational curricula and methods and provide them according to international standards of quality.

Education is compulsory until the end of high school or its equivalent. The state guarantees education free of charge at its various stages in the educational institutions of the state, as regulated by law.

The state is committed to allocating a proportion of governmental spending to education of no less than four percent of the gross national product, rising gradually until it reaches global averages.

The state ensures that all schools and public and private institutes are committed to educational policies.

Article 20

The state is committed to encourage, expand, and develop technical education and vocational training, according to international standards of quality and the needs of the labor market.

Article 21

The state shall ensure the independence of universities and scientific and language academies. The state will provide higher education according to international standards of quality, develop academic education, and ensure education is free of charge at universities and institutes of the state in accordance with the law.

The state is committed to allocating a proportion of governmental spending for higher education of no less than two percent of the gross national product, rising gradually until it reaches global averages.

The state shall encourage the establishment of civil universities, which are non-profit organizations. The state is committed to ensure the quality of education in private and civil universities and their commitment to international standards of quality and the preparation of their cohorts of teaching staff members and researchers. The state is committed to ensuring these institutions allocate a sufficient proportion of their revenues to the development of the educational process and research.

Article 22

Teachers, teaching staff and their colleagues are the foundation of education. The state guarantees the development their scientific and professional skills. The state will care for their physical and moral rights in a way that guarantees the quality of education and the achievement of its objectives.

Article 23

The state guarantees the freedom of scientific research, and considers its institutions as a means to achieve national sovereignty and build the knowledge economy. The state sponsors researchers and inventors, allocating a portion of government spending of no less than 1 percent of the gross national product, which should gradually increase to meet international standards.

The state guarantees effective ways of contributing to scientific research for both private and public sectors as well as Egyptians’ contributions from outside in achieving a renaissance in scientific research.

Article 24

Arabic Language, religious education, and national history are fundamental subjects in every stage of education before higher education, whether public or private. Universities should work on teaching human rights, values, and professional morals in all different specializations.

Article 25

The state is committed to creating a comprehensive plan to end spelling and digital illiteracy among citizens of all ages. The state is committed to executing this with NGO’s cooperation according to a definite time table.

Article 26

Titles of nobility are forbidden.

Chapter 2: Fundamentals of economics

Article 27

The economic system aims to reach prosperity in the country through continual development and social justice in a way that guarantees raising the rate of growth of the national economy, raising the standard of living, increasing job opportunities, reducing unemployment rates and ending poverty.

The economic system commits to transparency and good governance standards, supporting competition, encouraging investment and banning monopoly, bearing in mind financial and commercial balance and a fair tax system, adjusting market mechanisms, securing different types of property and balance between the interests of different sides in a way that keeps the rights of workers and protects consumers.

Article 28

Production, service and information-based economic activities are the main bases of the national economy. The state commits to protecting them, increasing competition and providing an atmosphere of good investment. The state also works on increasing production, encourages exporting and organizes importing. The state gives special importance to medium and small projects in all fields and works on organizing and qualifying the unofficial sector.

Article 29

Agriculture is a fundamental element of the national economy. The state commits to protecting and increasing farmland and criminalizes assaults on it. The state commits to developing rural areas, raising the standard of living of their population and protecting them from environmental risks. The state is responsible for developing agricultural and animal production and encourages industries based on them. The state commits to providing required equipment for agricultural and animal production and buying essential crops at a suitable price that provides the farmer a margin of profit, in coordination with the agricultural unions and associations. The state commits to allocating a percentage of reclaimed lands to young farmers and graduates, and to protect farmers from exploitation. All of this is shall be regulated by law.

Article 30

The state is committed to protecting fisheries, supporting fishermen, and enabling them to conduct their business without causing harm to the environment. All of this will be in a manner regulated by law.

Article 31

Cyberspace security is a fundamental element of the economy and national security. The state is responsible for taking necessary procedures to protect it, in a manner regulated by law.

Article 32

The state’s natural resources are owned by the people. The state is committed to protecting these resources, using them properly, not depleting them, and taking into account the next generation’s right to them.

The state is committed to working on the optimal use of renewable energy sources, stimulating investment in them, and encouraging scientific research related to them.

The state shall work on encouraging the production of raw materials and increasing their added value in accordance to economic feasibility.

Natural resources may not be at the disposal of state-owned property. The right to use natural resources or commit them to the public use under the law shall not exceed a period of 30 years.

The state grants the right to use quarries, small mines, and saltworks. The commitment of public use shall not be granted for over a period of 15 years in accordance to law.

The law determines the regulation and disposition of privately-owned property, as well as the policies and procedures which regulate it.

Article 33

The state protects the three types of property: public, private, and mutual.

Article 34

Public property is inviolable, cannot be compromised, and must be protected in accordance with the law.

Article 35

Private property is safeguarded and has the right to be inherited. Custodianship cannot be imposed upon it except in specific cases according to law or court order. Property ownership cannot be removed unless it is for public benefit and for fair compensation paid in advance and according to the law.

Article 36

The state shall motivate the private sector to fulfill its social responsibility in serving the national economy and society.

Article 37

Mutual property is safeguarded; the state sponsors cooperatives, and the law provides protection, support, and ensures its independence.  It is not permitted to dissolve mutual property or its administration other than through a court verdict.

Article 38

Taxes and other public costs aim to develop state resources and achieve social justice and economical development.

General taxes are only issued, amended and abolished by law. Amnesty from taxes can only be permitted by law. Taxes can only be assigned for someone to pay according to the law.

In enforcing taxes, it must be taken into account that they must be from multiple sources. Progressive taxes are to be enforced on personal income with various slides according to a person’s ability to pay. The tax system encourages economic activities and their role in economic, social and cultural development.

The state is committed to improving the taxation system and adopting new systems that achieve efficiency and convenience in collecting taxes. The law determines the methods and tools for the collection of taxes, fees, and other sovereign proceeds, and how these will be entrusted to the State Treasury. Paying taxes is an obligation, and tax evasion is a crime.

Article 39

Saving is a national duty protected, encouraged, and guaranteed by the state, and organized according to the law.

Article 40

The confiscation of public funds  is prohibited. The confiscation of private funds is only permitted by a court order.

Article 41

The state is committed to implementing a demographic program that aims to achieve a balance between the population growth rates and the available resources by increasing investment in human power and improving its characteristics under the framework of achieving sustainable development.

Article 42

Laborers have a share in their projects’ management and profits. They are obliged to develop the production and implementation of the plan of their productivity, according to the law. Preserving the means of production is a national duty. Labor representatives in public sector boards of directors must reach a ratio of 50 percent of elected members and be represented in the boards of public sector companies, according to the law.

The law shall organize the representation of farmers who own small lands and artisans who own small industrial institutes with a ratio that no less than 80 percent in the boards of directors of agricultural cooperatives and industrial and craft associations.

Article 43

The state is committed to protecting, developing and preserving the Suez Canal, being an international waterway owned by the state. It is also committed to developing the Canal region because it is considered an important economic center.

Article 44

The state is committed to protecting the Nile River, preserving Egypt’s historical rights related to it, rationing its use, optimizing its benefits, and not wasting or polluting its water. The state is committed to preserving underground water and taking measures to achieve water security for the state. The state shall also support scientific research in this particular matter. Every citizen’s right to benefit from the Nile is guaranteed by the state. It is forbidden to encroach upon the Nile or to harm the Nile’s environment. The state is committed to removing any encroachments on the river, according to the law.

 Article 45

The state is committed to protecting its shores, seas, waterways, lakes and nature reserves. It is forbidden to encroach upon, pollute, or use these areas in a way against its nature. All citizens have a right to these resources. The state is committed to protecting and increasing green areas in urban environments, and protecting livestock, plant resources and fisheries. It shall also protect endangered species and animal welfare, according to regulation by the law.

Article 46

Every citizen has the right to live in a clean, healthy environment, and protecting this environment is a national duty. The state shall take all necessary measures to protect it, making sure it is not harmed, that its natural resources are rationed in a way that achieves continued prosperity and preserves the rights of next generation to it.

Chapter Three: Cultural principles

Article 47

The state commits to preserving Egyptian cultural identity with its many branches of diverse civilizations.

Article 48

Culture is every citizen’s right. The state is committed to making cultural material of all kinds available to all sectors of society, without discrimination against geographic distances or financial abilities of different citizens.  Remote areas must be a priority for the state, in regards to promoting culture, as well as the sectors that are in specific need of this. The state must encourage translation to and from Arabic.

Article 49

State is committed to protecting and preserving antiquities, taking care of areas of antiquities,   maintaining and restoring them; also state is committed to reclaim stolen antiquities and regulate and supervise archaeological excavations.

It is forbidden to give, exchange, or damage antiquities;  trafficking in antiquities is a crime for which there shall be no statute of limitations.

Article 50

Egypt’s civilizational, cultural, material, and moral legacy-in all its diversity and periods, with its ancient Egyptian, Coptic, and Islamic aspects- is a national and human treasure and the state is committed to preserving it.

The state shall also preserve and protect Egypt’s contemporary cultural heritage in all its diversity, whether literary, architectural, or artistic. Suppression of any of aforementioned is a crime, and shall be punishable by law.  The state is also to protect components of cultural pluralism in Egypt.

Part 3: Rights, freedoms and public duties

Article 51

Dignity is a right for every human being. It is forbidden to impinge upon human dignity. The state is committed to respect and protect it.

Article 52

The statute of limitation is not applicable to all forms of torture crimes

Article 53

Citizens are equal in front of the law. They have equal rights, freedoms and duties. No discrimination among citizens is allowed, whether due to religion, belief, gender, origin, race, color, language, disability, social class, political orientation, or any other reason.

Discrimination and inciting hatred is a crime punishable by law. The state is committed to take the necessary actions to eliminate all kinds of discrimination. The law organizes the establishment of an independent commission for this reason.

Article 54

Personal freedom is a natural right; it is guaranteed and cannot be impinged. Except in the case of flagrant deficto, it is forbidden to arrest, search, imprison or restrict the freedoms of any person unless there is a judiciary order.

Anyone whose freedom is restricted must be immediately informed of the reasons. He/she must be informed of his rights in written form. He/she must be enabled to contact his family and lawyer immediately. Within 24 hours after restricting his/her freedom, a person must be refereed to investigation authorities.

Interrogation must not start except in the presence of the suspect’s lawyer. Ifthe suspect does not have a lawyer, authorities must delegate one. The necessary help for disabled persons should be provided in accordance with the legal procedures.

Anyone whose freedoms may be restricted has the right to challenge this decision in front of the judiciary. The challenge must be tackled within a week of their arrest; otherwise a person must be immediately released.

The law organizes the roles of remand, its periods, reasons and the cases that deserve to be compensated by the state after remand or for serving a penalty after a final acquittal sentence is issued.

In all cases, it is forbidden to prosecute a defendant without his lawyer when accused of a crime that does not allow remand.

Article 55

Everyone who is arrested, remanded or imprisoned must be treated in a way that safeguards his/ her dignity. He/she cannot be tortured, frightened, coerced, or physically or psychologically hurt. He/ she cannot be held or imprisoned except in places dedicated for imprisonment, and in humane and sanitary conditions. The state is committed to make available the needs of disabled persons.

The defendant has the right to remain silent. Every saying proved to be declared under one of the previously mentions situations or threatening of them does not legally count.

 Article 56

Prison is a place for reform and rehabilitation

Prisons and detention places are supervised by the judiciary. Anything against human dignity or that endangers health is prohibited.

The law organizes the roles of reforming and rehabilitation of the convicted. It also organizes the facilitation of a decent life for them after release.

Article 57

Private life is sacred and cannot be violated.

Mail, telegraphs, emails, phone calls and other communication means are inviolable; their secrecy is guaranteed, it cannot be prevented or monitored except after a judiciary order, and for limited time for clear reasons in accordance with the law.

The state is committed to protect citizens’ rights to use all means of public telecommunications. Means of communication cannot be suspended or halted. Citizens cannot be forcibly prevented from communication means. The law organizes this.

Article 58

The privacy of homes is inviolable. Except in case of danger or distress, it is forbidden to raid homes, search, monitor or tap them without judiciary order and for clear reasons. The judiciary order must define the place, timing, and reason to tap, monitor or raid in accordance with the law. Whoever is residing in the house should be alerted when entering for searching, and must be allowed to see the judiciary order.

Article 59

A safe life is the right of every human being. The state is committed to provide security and safety to its citizens and whoever resides on its lands.

Article 60

The human body is sacred. Assaulting, distorting, or mutilating it is a crime. Organ trafficking is forbidden. It is not allowed to use human bodies for medical or scientific experimentation without the documented approval of the person. This should happen according to the fundamental basics of medical sciences and as regulated by the law.

Article 61

Donating human organs is a humanitarian gift. Every human being has the right to donate his/her organs during his/ her life or after death, based on a documented approval or will. The state is committed to adopt a process to regulate donating and implanting organs according to a law.

Article 62

The freedom to move, reside and migrate is guaranteed.

It is forbidden to deport any citizen from the state, or prevent him from return.

It is forbidden to prevent a citizen from leaving the country, order house arrest or prevent him/her from residing in some place except after a judiciary order and for a limited time according the law.

Article 63

Arbitrary forced displacement is forbidden in all its forms. Violating this is a crime with no statute of limitation.

 Article 64

Freedom of belief is guaranteed. Freedom of practicing religious rituals and building worship places for the Abrahamic religions (Islam, Christianity, Judaism) is a right regulated by the law.

 Article 65

Freedom of opinion is guaranteed. Every human being has the right to express his/her opinion in speech, writing, photography or any other means of expression and publication.

 Article 66

 Freedom of scientific research is guaranteed. The state is committed to sponsor researchers and inventors. The state is also committed to protect the inventions and work upon application.

 Article 67

Freedom of artistic creativity is guaranteed and the state is committed to aid the development of arts and literature and to protect creative people and = their artworks, and provide the necessary means for encouraging creative people.

It is forbidden to file a lawsuit to stop or confiscate a work of art, literature or an intellectual work or to file a lawsuit against the aforementioned creators except through the public prosecution. It is also forbidden to issue a verdict of imprisonment for crimes regarding publishing or displaying artistic, literature or intellectual works, but the penalties of crimes regarding inciting violence, discrimination between citizens or spreading false rumors/accusations about citizens are identified according to legal regulations.

The court is entitled to oblige the convicted to compensate the aggrieved for the crime, in addition to the original compensation owed to him due to the harm the crime caused to the aggrieved, according to regulations of the law.

 Article 68

Information, data, statistics and official records are a public property; their disclosure from various sources is every citizen’s right and is guaranteed by the state. The state is also obligated to make it available to citizens clearly; the law regulates making it available, whether it is classified or not, the rules of filing them. The law also regulates the procedures of complaint for not allowing people to have access to them. In addition, the law regulates the penalty for withholding information or giving false information deliberately.

The institutions of the government are committed to filing documents after the period of work with them is completed to the National Archives authority. The state is also committed to protect documents and prevent them from being corrupted or lost using all the means of modern technology. Also documents are to be preserved by restoration and digitalization, according to the law.

 Article 69

The state is committed to protect Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in all aspects and in all fields, and a specialized authority for protecting IPR and caring for them is to be established by the state, and the law regulates it.

 Article 70

Freedom of journalism, printing, press, visual and audio media rights are guaranteed by the state. Egyptian citizens, legal officials, whether public or private, have the right to own and publish newspapers and establish visual, digital or audio media.

A newspaper is published as soon as a notification is issued as legal regulations state. The law also regulates the procedures for establishing and owning broadcasting stations in addition to electronic newspapers.

 Article 71

It is forbidden to in any way censor newspapers and Egyptian journals or media. It is also forbidden to confiscate newspapers, suspend them or to close them. However, they may be censored at times of war or public mobilization.

It is forbidden to issue a verdict of imprisonment for crimes regarding publishing information, but the penalties for crimes regarding inciting violence, discrimination between citizens or spreading false rumors/accusations about citizens are identified according to legal regulations.

 Article 72

The state is committed to preserving the independence of journalism and media institutions and their affiliates, in order to guarantee neutrality so that all points of view, political, intellectual trends and social interests are represented. This guarantees equality and equal opportunity to address public opinion/the public.

 Article 73

Citizens have the right to organize public meetings, processions, demonstrations and all forms of peaceful protests under the condition that they are unarmed in any way. They are entitled to do so after notifying authorities according to the regulations of the law.

The right to organize private meetings is guaranteed, without the need to notify authorities prior, and security forces are not entitled to attend or spy on such meetings.

Article 74

Citizens are entitled to form political parties by notification, regulated by the law. It is illegal to form political parties on religious bases, or based on discrimination according to gender, race or according to sectarian or geographical bases. It is also illegal to form political parties with anti-democratic or secret activities, or parties with a military or militant nature.

Political parties are not to be disassembled except after a court order is issued.

 Article 75

Citizens have the right to form non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and civil institutions on democratic bases, these shall have the legal standing as soon as notification is submitted.

These organizations are entitled to practice their activities freely without interference from administrative bodies, and without disassembling them or their board of directors or their board of trustees unless there is a court order to do so.

It is forbidden to establish organizations or continue having institutions that have a military nature or secret activities according to legal regulations.

 Article 76

Syndicates and unions are to be established according to democratic foundations, based on the law. They shall have the legal standing, and they shall practice their activities freely. These unions and syndicates are responsible for developing their members’ skills and defending their rights and protecting their interests.

The state guarantees the independence of syndicates and unions. It is forbidden to disassemble them except according to a court order, and it is forbidden for governmental authorities to establish any of these.

 Article 77

The law regulates establishing professional syndicates and managing them on democratic bases. The law also guarantees their independence, defines their resources and the way its members are registered in them, and investigating their means of performing their jobs according to ethical, professional and conduct codes.

It is permissible to have only one syndicate per profession, and it is forbidden to have guardians over these or the interference of administrative authorities in syndicates’ work. Disassembling these syndicates is illegal. The syndicates’ opinion is taken into account regarding drafting of laws addressing these syndicates.

 Article 78

The state guarantees every citizen’s right to have a proper, safe and healthy place to live in, in a way that preserves citizens’ dignity and achieves social justice.

The state is committed to set a national plan for housing that puts into consideration the environment. The state will also sponsor private and cooperative initiatives for the implementation of the government’s plan. The state is also responsible for use of its land and providing it with basic utilities for the complete urban planning for cities and villages, and to distribute the population properly in a way that acheives public welfare, improve citizens’ quality of life and preserve future generations’ rights.

The state is also committed to put a comprehensive national plan to address the problem of slums, including re-planning, and the provision of infrastructure and facilities, improving the quality of life and public health, and ensuring the provision of the necessary resources for implementation during the specified period of time.

 Article 79

Every citizen is entitled to healthy and sufficient food and clean water. The state secures food resources for all citizens and ensures sustainable food sovereignty. The state also ensures preservation of agricultural biodiversity and local plant varieties to preserve the rights of future generations.

 Article 80

Everyone below 18 years of age is a child. Every child is entitled to a name, identification documents, free compulsory vaccination, health and family care or surrogate care, basic nutrition, safe haven, religious education and effective and cognitive development.

The state guarantees the rights of disabled children to rehabilitation and reintegration into society.

The state provides child-care and protection from all forms of violence, abuse, ill treatment and sexual and commercial exploitation.

Every child is entitled to early learning at a childhood center up to the age of six years. Child labor is banned before a child completes basic education, and engaging children in potentially hazardous work is also banned.

The state is committed to the establishment of a judicial system for child victims and witnesses. A child may not be held accountable or detained except in accordance with law and for the periods specified therein. The state provides legal assistance for children and may only detain them in suitable places separated from adult detention centers.

The state works to achieve the best interests of children and all actions are taken in that matter.

 Article 81

The state ensures the rights of people with dwarfism and disabilities to health, economic, social, cultural, recreational, sports and educational care as well as job opportunities. The state allocates a percentage to help those with dwarfism and disabilities, and is also committed to adapting public utilities and the environment to their conditions to enable them to exercise all political rights and to integrate them with other citizens in line with the principles of equality, justice and equal opportunities.

 Article 82

The state guarantees the welfare of youth and young people, and works to discover their talents and develop their cultural, scientific, psychological, physical and creative abilities, encourages teamwork and volunteerism and enables them to participate in public life.

 Article 83

The state ensures the rights of the elderly to health, economic, social, cultural and recreational care, and provides suitable pensions that can guarantee the elderly a decent life and participation in public life. The state takes into account the needs of the elderly as it plans public facilities and encourages civil society organizations to participate in the care of the elderly, as regulated by law.

Article 84

Practicing sports is a right. The state and community institutes should guard the talented and take whatever is needed to encourage them to practice sports.

The law regulates the sports’ affairs, the civil entities according to the international trends and how to settle sports’ disputes.

Article 85

Each individual has the right to communicate with the public authorities in a written signed form. The communication cannot be collective except for the legal persons.

Article 86

Guarding national security is an obligation; the commitment to it is a national responsibility granted by the law.

Defending the homeland and protecting its territories is an honor and a sacred duty. Recruitment to the army is mandatory according to the law.

Article 87

Participation in general life is a national duty. Each citizen has the right to elect, run elections as regulated by the law. It is possible to pardon citizens from this duty in certain cases determined by the law.

Article 88:

The state is committed to guard the interests of Egyptians abroad, protect them, and guarantee their rights and freedoms. The state is also committed to enable them to fulfill their duties for the state and the community to participate in developing the homeland.

Article 89

All kinds of slavery, possession of human beings, sex trafficking, and other forms of people trafficking are forbidden. The law should regulate this.

Article 90

The state is committed to encourage charity endowments to build and sponsor scientific, cultural, health and social institutions. The state is also committed to grant those institutions’ independence. The endowment should be run according to the terms of its owner as regulated by the law.

 Article 91

The state has the right to grant the right to political asylum to any foreigner who has been persecuted due to defending people’s rights, human rights, peace or justice.

Article 92

Rights and freedoms inherent to the citizens’ personality cannot be halted or decreased.

Article 93

The state is committed to the international agreements and conventions on human rights ratified by Egypt; they would have the strength of law after publishing them.

Chapter Four: The rule of law

Article 94

Rule of law is the main base of rule in the state and the state submits to the law; independence of judiciary, its immunity and neutrality are basic guarantees for protecting rights and freedoms.

Article 95

Penalty shall be personalized. There shall be no crime or penalty except in accordance with the law. No penalty shall be inflicted except by a judicial sentence and penalty shall be inflicted only for acts committed after a law has come into force.

Article 96

A defendant is innocent until proven guilty in legal trial and granted the right to defend himself; the law regulates appealing felony sentences, state provides protection for victims of crimes, witnesses, defendants and informants where necessary according to the law.

Article 97

The right to litigation is inalienable and guaranteed for all. The state shall guarantee accessibility of judicature for litigants, and rapid decision on cases.

Any stipulation of immunity of any act or administrative decision from the control of the judicature is prohibited. No person shall be tried except before his natural judge; exceptional courts are prohibited.

Article 98

The right of defense in person or by proxy is guaranteed. The independence and the protection of the rights of attorney ensure its right in defense. The law secures, for financially incapable citizens, means to resort to justice and to defend their rights

Article 99

Any encroachment on personal freedom, sanctity of the private life of a citizen or any of the rights and public freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution shall be considered a crime for which criminal and civil lawsuit shall not be forfeited by prescription. The injured party shall have the right to lodge a direct criminal action.

The state shall grant a fair compensation to the victim of such encroachment. The National Council for Human Rights shall inform the Public Prosecution of any violation of these rights, may join the injured party, upon request, in a civil action, all as regulated by law.

Article 100

Sentences shall be issued and enforced in the name of the people and the state shall grant ways of its enforcement as regulated by law.

Abstention from or obstruction of enforcing such sentences on the part of the concerned civil servants is considered a crime punishable by law. In such case, a person issued a sentence in his favor shall have the right to lodge a direct criminal action before the court of contempt. The Prosecution General shall, upon the request of the plaintiff, raise the criminal lawsuit against the abstainer or the obstructer civil servant.

Chapter Five: Legislative authority

Article 101

The Parliament shall hold the legislative power, and be responsible for approving the general policy of the state, the public plan for economic and social development and the overall budget of the state. It shall exercise control over the work of the executive authority, in the manner prescribed by the constitution.

Article 102

The parliament is formed of no less than 450 members who are elected through a general ballot.

A candidate for parliamentary elections must be an Egyptian citizen, enjoying civil and political rights, holder of a certificate of basic education, and 25 years old or older at the time of candidacy.

Other requirements of candidacy, the provisions for election, the fair representative division of constituencies, shall be defined by law in a way that guarantees fair representation of citizens, governorates and equal representation for voters, regarding electoral systems, individual or list system can be used or the combination of the two systems in any ratio.

President of the state is entitled to appoint five percent of the members of the parliament and the law defines how they are nominated.

Article 103

Parliament members are to be fully devoted to their offices, with any other job or post kept open for their return, in accordance with the provisions of the law.

Article 104

Prior to the start of his or her tenure, a member shall take the following oath before his or her Council: “I swear by Almighty God to loyally uphold the republican system, to respect the constitution and the law, to fully look after the interests of the people, and to safeguard the independence and territorial integrity of the motherland.”

Article 105

Members shall receive a remuneration determined by the law, and if the remuneration was changed, this change is not to be activated until the beginning of the new legislative period next to the one where the change was approved.

Article 106

The term of membership of parliament is five calendar years, commencing from the date of its first session.

Elections for a new parliament shall be held during the 60 days preceding the end of term for the previous parliament.

Article 107

The Court of Cassation decides the validity of membership of members of parliament and appeals are submitted to it in a period that does not exceed 30 days, post the date of announcement of the final results of the election, and gives a final verdict regarding the appeal within 60 days from the date the appeal was issued.

In case the court issues a verdict clarifying that the member’s membership is illegitimate, the verdict is considered valid from the date the parliament is informed with it.

Article 108

If the parliament member’s position became unoccupied before the end of his membership period with six months, he has to be replaced by another member according to the law within 60 days from the parliament’s decision.

Article 109

Throughout his or her tenure, no member of parliament may, in person or through an intermediary, purchase or rent any state property or any public sector companies, lease or sell to or barter with the state any part of their own property, or conclude a contract with the state as vendor, supplier or contractor.

Members shall provide financial disclosures and present them to their council, at the start and at the end of their tenure, as well as at the end of each year.

If, in relation to their membership in parliament, members should receive cash or gifts, such gifts shall go into the Public Treasury.

All of the above is subject to regulation by law.

Article 110

It is forbidden to deprive a member from his membership in parliament unless he became not trust worthy or due to the lacking of one of the terms of him being elected or due to him not fulfilling his duties.

The deprivation order will not be activated until two thirds of the parliament members sign on it to validate it.

Article 111

The parliament accepts the resignation of its members, which must be submitted in writing, and must not be submitted after a council has started measure of revoking membership against the resigning member.

Article 112

Members of parliament shall not be held accountable for any opinions pertaining to their tasks in parliament or its affiliated committees.

Article 113

It is prohibited, except in cases of flagrante delicto, to take criminal action against members of parliament in felonies and misdemeanor crimes without prior permission from parliament. If not in session, permission must be granted by the Parliament Office, and the parliament is to be notified at the first subsequent session of any measures taken.

In all cases, if a request for permission to take legal action against a member of parliament does not receive a response within 30 days, the permission is to be considered granted.

Article 114

The seat of the parliament is in Cairo.

However, in exceptional circumstances, the parliament may hold meetings elsewhere, at the request of the president of the republic or one-third of its members.

Any meetings otherwise shall be deemed illegitimate and the decisions passed therein shall be considered void.

Article 115

The president of the republic shall convoke the parliament for its ordinary annual sessions before the first Thursday of October. If not convoked, the parliament is prescribed by the constitution to meet on the mentioned day.

The ordinary meeting session shall continue for at least nine months. The president of the republic shall bring the session to a close with the approval of the parliament, only after the general budget of the state has been adopted.

Article 116

If necessary, the parliament may be called to a special meeting by the president of the republic or upon a request signed by at least 10 members.

Article 117

The parliament shall elect, in the first meeting of its regular annual session, a speaker and two deputy speakers for the full legislative term. If the seat of either becomes vacant, the parliament shall elect a replacement, whose term will last until the end of his/her predecessor and the internal bylaws of the parliament shall determine the rules and the procedures of elections. If a member breaches his commitments, one-third of parliament members could request to revoke the member. Decision on revoking membership shall be issued by a majority of two-thirds of the parliament.

In all cases, it is prohibited to elect the speaker or deputy speakers for more than two successive legislative terms.

Article 118

The parliament shall lay down its own bylaws regulating its work, the manner of practicing its functions and restoring its order, all shall be issued by a law.

Article 119

The speaker of the parliament is authorized to maintain order inside the parliament.

Article 120

The sessions of the parliament shall be held in public.

However, closed sessions may be held at the request of the president of the republic, the Cabinet, the parliament speaker or at least 20 of its members. The parliament shall then decide, by the majority of its members, whether the debate on the question submitted thereto shall take place in public or closed sessions.

Article 121

The meetings of the parliament, and the decisions it passes, shall not be considered valid unless attended by the majority of its members.

In cases other than those stipulating a special majority, decisions shall be adopted based on an absolute majority of the members present. In case of a tie vote, the matter in deliberation shall be deemed rejected.

Passing laws is based on an agreement reached by the absolute majority of the members present and at least one-third of the parliament members.

The agreement of one-third of parliament member shall be reached in order to pass laws supplementary to the constitution. Laws, which are mentioned in the constitution and regulating presidential, parliamentary and municipal elections and elections of political parties, judiciary and other elections affiliated with judicial bodies and authorities and regulating rights and freedoms, are considered supplementary to the constitution.

Article 122

The president of the republic, the Cabinet, and every member of the parliament shall have the right to propose laws.

Every draft law, presented by the government or one-tenth of parliament members shall be referred to a specialist committee of the parliament, which shall study it and submit a report. The committee may consult experts in the related issue.

Draft laws presented by members of parliament shall not be referred to that committee before being first endorsed by the Proposals Committee and approved for consideration by the parliament. Reasons for rejection must be presented if the Proposals Committee does not endorse a proposal for consideration.

A draft law proposed by a member but rejected by the parliament may not be presented again during the same legislative term.


Morsi Trial Subverts Legitimacy

Morsi Trial Subverts Legitimacy

by Jacob Havel
As the trial for deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi continues, his supporters and Egyptian military forces are both on high alert. Morsi has been charged with inciting violence and murder during large protests outside the presidential palace last December. Brotherhood leaders have called for and received massive protests over the trial, which pro Morsi activists have deemed illegitimate. The government has responded by mustering 20,000 armed security personnel as well as blocking off Tahrir Square. Morsi himself has rejected to observe the authority of the court on the grounds that the coup itself constituted illegal actions. The trial will, in some ways, represent the culmination of a recent anti-Muslim Brotherhood crackdown which as elevated bloodshed on both sides of the conflict.

The trial so far has stuttered internally. While Morsi was allowed to appear in court on November 4th, issues about security and his open displays of noncompliance (wearing a grey suit, using the Rabba sign) have raised concerns about his continued appearance. Security forces have already enacted policy in the trial of Mohammad Badie, denying him and several other defendants access to the court room over fears that their presence would insight violence. This move prompted three judges presiding over the case to resign citing “reasons of conscience.” Many outside observers have seen fit to call the trials “political.”
There is little doubt that Morsi is at least partially responsible for violence outside the presidential palace in December. However, the issue at hand has been framed under questions of legitimacy. Morsi, despite his dubious actions as president and the mass consolidation of power he attempted, was democratically elected. If the interim government wants to be seen as dedicated to peace, they must acknowledge this fact, make clear legal arguments against Morsi and discontinue the indiscriminate targeting of Brotherhood leadership and infrastructure.
Furthermore, the charges brought against Morsi, warranted or not, represent a form of hypocrisy in the midst of the public ‘crackdown’ against Muslim Brotherhood supporters. The interim government must focus on condemning any violence and not perpetrating it on protesters. This action would not only paint the Brotherhood as misguided and militant, but could force those who are unsure of their allegiance to choose the side of non-violence. Ironically, it is Morsi’s own willingness to endure the use of violent measures that lead to the military take over. If they do not learn from Morsi’s errors, it is quite possible that a full scale armed rebellion could take place in Egypt.
As for the trial, the government has to reverse several errors if it seeks to continue the trial. First, they must allow media coverage inside the courtroom. The only reason to fear increased violence over a public trial is if it is not a fair trial. Transparency is the government’s best friend as far as gaining international support and appearing legitimate within Egypt. Second, Morsi, as well as other Muslim Brotherhood defendants must be continually allowed to attend their own trials. While allowing Morsi to initially appear is the just course of action, the fact remains that the trials will not be accepted by Morsi or his supporters. This presents an alternative, less savory option for the current government. That would be to throw out the trials all together and release the Brotherhood leaders under the condition that they participate in new democratic elections. It is difficult to predict whether or not Morsi would reject such an invitation and continue his claim to the point of full scale civil war. However, it would demonstrate that the military leadership is actively attempting to fulfill its role as an interim government and not as usurpers. If Morsi declines then he does so at the expense of peace.
In the long run this could erode his support. Still, the Muslim Brotherhood put Morsi in power in the first place and represents a large percentage of the population. At the end of the day, crackdowns and the criminalization of their leadership is not going to dissolve their influence. The continuing mass protests and the ineffectiveness of the violent responses to them support this notion.
The military government must seek justice and transparency while pressing for new elections. Although it is difficult to imagine that the Brotherhood could be brought back into some sort of democratic process, marginalizing them with violence as well as holding unjust trials for democratically elected officials will only feed the flames of chaos in Egypt.

Why are the rulers of Saudi Arabia losing their cool?

Why are the rulers of Saudi Arabia losing their cool?

The Umayyad Syndrome

For more than seventy years, Saudi Arabia has cultivated the image of a state run by level-headed, moderate, wise, deliberate, and cool-headed leaders. Publicly, its diplomats gave the impression that the Kingdom would chose dialogue over confrontation, moderation over extremism, and reconciliation over antagonism. Wikileaks unveiled the true nature of the regime when it revealed that the rulers of Saudi Arabia were in fact leading two lives: one public and another private.

The ruling family of Saudi Arabia used public wealth (generated from sales of public natural resources) and strategic alliances with some Western countries to create the Kingdom of virtual moderation. The alliance with the U.S. provided the Kingdom with diplomatic, military, and political covers that have helped it project power and influence far beyond its actual size. Importantly, it was able to cloak its genocidal sectarianism, conceal its abusive treatment of women and foreign workers, and escape any expectation of representative governance.

Considering the actual record of the Kingdom in the area of human rights, civil rights, women rights, labor rights, and free speech, the squeaky clean image it has cultivated is astounding. The fact that Saudi Arabia, where women cannot drive a car or travel on their own and where individuals are executed in the most savage ways in the name of applying religious law (as they see it) is dubbed a moderate country, and Syria (before 2011), where women fly airplanes and serve in some of the highest institutions of governance is dubbed extremist, speaks of troubling cognitive dissonance in the ranks of the so-called democratic West. Today, Syrians are living under the most brutal conditions—but most of that brutality was instigated as part of the services of the Saudi and Qatari ruling families, wealthy individuals, and foundations under their control.

Together, the Arab Spring and Wikileaks revelations shook the Saudi rulers’ confidence in preserving power inside their country and maintaining influence outside of it. But three events have pushed the ruling family of Saudi Arabia to take off the mask of moderation and show its true face. First, the rulers failed to convince the U.S. administration to save Mubarak and later support the military regime. Second, the ruling family failed to goad the U.S., Britain, and France to launch bomb strikes to crush the Syrian military despite agreeing to pay for the cost. Third, the Saudi rulers demonstrated alarm at the slow and measured rapprochement between Iran and the U.S. The third event is especially important for the Saudi rulers because their animosity towards Iran is not about nuclear disarmament but about history and ideology.

Today, the ruling family governs Saudi Arabia the same way the Umayyads governed the Islamic world for nearly one hundred years during the 7th and 8thcenturies. In 750 CE, the Abbasids launched a violent revolution that overthrew the Umayyads and killed every male of the ruling Umayyads (except one who escaped to Spain). The Saudis fear a repeat of history and they are committed to reducing Iran’s status to a weak pariah state. That is a tall order given the resilience of the governing institutions in Iran.

To achieve the above goals and assuage their paranoia, the ruling family of Saudi Arabia, officially and through vast networks of charitable organizations and wealthy individuals and foundations, used petro-dollar wealth and takfiri Wahhabism to influence or blackmail other countries. The link between Jihadi Salafism, the dogmatic and ideological foundation of al-Qaeda and its affiliates, and Saudi Arabia is well established. Salafi groups fighting in Syria could not have received the sophisticated weapons and financial support without Saudi consent and participation. One would think that a state that can ensure that no woman can drive a car should be capable of making sure that no support is extended to violent takfiris. To deny Saudi rulers’ support of takfirisfighting in Syria is as credible as denying Saudi support of Afghan Jihadi Salafi groups in the 1970s and 1980s.

The problem is this: Saudi Arabia is now more dangerous than it was prior to 2011.

Before 2011, Saudi support for radical groups was given in coordination with its Western allies, especially the U.S. That coordination was terminated when the U.S. cancelled its ill-advised plans to bomb Syria and when President Obama made the historical phone call to President Rouhani. The two events are related even though they may seem independent of each other.

Although the U.S.’s planned diplomatic rapprochement with Iran is portrayed as being limited to Iran’s nuclear program, the Saudis are worried that solving the nuclear standoff with Iran will necessarily lead to the normalization of diplomatic relations between Iran and the West in general. If that were to be realized, Saudi Arabia will lose its status as the only “legitimate” regional power and Iran’s oil will start to flow again to Europe and possibly the U.S., ending the latter’s dependence on Saudi energy.

Moreover, the Saudis fear that if Iran’s diplomatic relations with the West were mended, Iran would play a strong role in settling regional crises, including the ones in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Yemen. Saudi Arabia, for sectarian and nationalistic reasons, has always wanted to isolate Iran and diminish its influence in the region. An Iran-U.S. rapprochement would end that strategy, and that is why the Saudi rulers have lost their cool and started to act like the extreme regime they really are.

Signs of this change were evident in three decisions the Saudi rulers have made in the last five weeks or so.

First, after years of the Kingdom campaigning for a seat on the UNSC, the UN General Assembly voted to elect the Kingdom to occupy one of the non-permanent seats. The Saudi foreign ministry issued a statement in which it declared the Kingdom’s refusal to accept the seat, justifying its unprecedented action because of the UNSC’s inability to 1) solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, 2) end the Syrian regime’s “slaughter” of Syrians, and 3) make the Middle East a nuclear weapons-free zone.

Second, the Saudi security chief, Bandar Bin Sultan, was quoted in the Wall Street Journal as saying that the Kingdom will stop coordinating its support to the Syrian opposition with the U.S. government and will act unilaterally in support of the “Syrian people”.

Third, the Saudi rulers refused to meet with the UN special envoy to Syria and declared their intention to sabotage Geneva-2, or at least delay it for one year as they pump more destructive money and weapons into Syria.

These developments indicate that the Saudi ruling family will now openly use terror to achieve its goal of regime change in Syria. But if they do so, the squeaky clean image they cultivated for seven decades will lead to unmasking the true face of the Kingdom’s rulers.

The ruling family of the Kingdom ought to know that if they oppose Geneva-2 and continue to send weapons and fighters into Syria, their country will become a pariah. If the Syrians convene in Geneva and reach a tentative agreement on a road map for a political solution, such a road map will likely include a call to fight terror groups and cut off their support. Russia and the U.S. are likely to formalize such an agreement through the UNSC. This process will then lead to criminalizing any form of support to groups involved in terrorist activities, which will undercut Saudi influence.

It is not in the interest of Saudi Arabia to oppose a political solution and bet on armed groups. There is some indication that the same groups on which the Kingdom relies are also ideologically and dogmatically opposed to the form of governance practiced in Saudi Arabia. It is only a matter of time before the Kingdom faces the threat of terrorism it exports to Syria, Iraq, Libya, and other countries around the world at home. This fact is underscored by the rise in the number of armed attacks on security installations, churches, and public installations in Egypt despite the Saudi rulers’ support for the military regime in that country. In other words, the Kingdom may have control over some Salafi groups, but not all of them. Equally important, even those groups currently under the Kingdom’s control will not remain there should circumstances change, because their alliance is one of convenience.

Despite claims to the contrary, the Arab Spring was a true historical moment. It has profoundly changed the relationship between the masses and the rulers in the Arab world. The ruling family in Saudi Arabia thinks and hopes that the Arab Spring will not sprout in its land. It has. Trying to divert the course of the Arab Spring to other countries Saudi Arabia wishes to weaken (like Syria) or reverse course (as in Egypt) are short term and desperate attempts at a solution. In the end, every time the Gulf States’ rulers justify their support for violent rebels in Syria or the military regime in Egypt by appealing the unalienable right of peoples to basic rights and representative governance, they legitimize the Arab Spring in the eyes of their own peoples, too. When the ruling families excuse the use of crude violence to achieve the goals of the Arab Spring in Syria, they are in effect writing their own destiny: those who rule by the sword die by the sword. After all, that was the fate of the Umayyads.
* Prof. SOUAIAIA teaches at the University of Iowa. Opinions are the author’s, speaking on matters of public interest; not speaking for the university or any other organization with which he is affiliated.
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