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Commentary and Analysis

The EU and Middle East democracy

MEMO CommentaryIs there any difference between the forthcoming presidential elections in Egypt and Syria? The Europe Union apparently believes that there is. While the EU has dismissed the Syrian process as a "parody of democracy", the European High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Catherine Ashton, conveyed an entirely different outlook on the election in Egypt during her last visit to Cairo. "The EU hopes that the next phase of life in Egypt is going to be very positive," she stated. That said, the policy of isolating the Syrian regime on the one hand and rehabilitating the Egyptian junta on the other defies all logic because their records on human rights are equally awful.

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Britain's Brotherhood inquiry: Another blow to democracy?

MEMO CommentaryA week after over 500 anti-coup protesters were sentenced to death by Field Marshall Abdul Fattah Al Sisi's regime in Egypt, the British Prime Minister David Cameron has launched an inquiry. But, it's not the inquiry one might expect, an inquiry into human rights abuses in Egypt by the military regime; it is in fact an inquiry into the Muslim Brotherhood's activities in the UK.

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Egypt's kangaroo court death sentences are truly grotesque

MEMO CommentaryIt was not just the numbers that shocked the world but the manner in which it was done, when Judge Saeed Yusuf Al-Jazzar took just two sittings to sentence 529 Egyptians to death. Those convicted were accused of participating in a demonstration in Al-Minya province in August 2013, which led to the death of a police officer. They were protesting against the massacre of hundreds of fellow citizens days before in Cairo's Raba'a Al-Adawiyyah Square. Lawyers for their defence were barred from entering the court, let alone making a plea on their behalf. Whether or not the death sentences are upheld or commuted to life imprisonment, this ruling has set Egypt firmly on a course of lawlessness and self-destruction.

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The demise of the GCC

MEMO CommentaryThe obituary was short and candid. We regret the passing of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC); may it rest in peace. Though terminally ill for some time, some of its members opted for an assisted death when they pulled their ambassadors out of Qatar. Thereafter, the chief of the Dubai Police Force, Lieutenant General Dhahi Khalfan, called unrepentantly for the formation of a new cooperation council to include Saudi, the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt and Jordan.

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This new axis to defeat the Brotherhood will go the way of the old

MEMO CommentaryThey originated in different capitals but all were linked by a common cause: Egypt's proscription of Hamas "activities" on its territory; Israel's announcement that it intercepted an Iranian ship laden with missiles "intended for the Gaza Strip"; the withdrawal of three GCC countries' ambassadors from Qatar; and Saudi Arabia's classification of the Muslim Brotherhood as a "terrorist" organisation. Taken together, these mark the public unveiling of the region's newest geo-political axis.

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Egyptian regime surrenders last semblance of independent thought

MEMO CommentarySince the July 2013 coup Egypt's judiciary has undergone a complete transformation. Once renowned as a pillar of justice, it has become a rubber stamp used by the military junta to settle political scores with the Muslim Brotherhood. The decline reached its nadir this week when a Cairo court began proceedings to declare the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) a "terrorist organisation".

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The media needs to understand reality, not a general's dreams

Mohammed MorsiSomething remarkable happened in Egypt this week. The military junta that deposed the country's first democratically-elected president, Mohamed Morsi, and is now putting him on trial for a plethora of politicised charges, not only filmed the president meeting with his attorney to discuss legal strategy but also released the tape to the public.

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Settlements give the game away; Israel wants all of the West Bank

MEMO CommentarySoon after the signing of the Wye River Agreement in 1998 Israel's minister of infrastructure in the first Netanyahu government, the late, unlamented Ariel Sharon, urged settlers to "seize the hilltops". What followed was an explosion of Israeli settlements across the occupied West Bank. Sixteen years on, as US Secretary of State John Kerry makes another push for an agreement on his peace plan, Israel has again ratcheted up its land-grabbing campaign. The political and humanitarian consequences are countless and far-reaching.

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