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Over the past few months, the Arab world has experienced numerous revolts which have been dubbed the Arab springs. Some of these revolts led to the ousting form power acting leaders in countries such as Egypt and Tunisia. Other revolts exhibited some sort of civil war characteristics as it was with the case of Libya and Yemen. This is particularly as a result of the leaders of these countries opting to stay in power and disregard the public revolts. In the other category, some countries are experiencing simmering revolts which could become full revolts. Such is the case with Morocco.
Media Playing Crucial Role in Middle East Uprisings
The uprising in Egypt which led to the end of Hosni Mubarak's rule is indeed a historic event. "However, the international media might be ignoring a much bigger story going on in the region but currently obscured". While most media coverage reported that the recent uprising in Tunisia that led to the ousting of the perceived dictator is the main cause of the democratic revolution in Egypt, the story of democratization and revolution is seen to have commenced a little bit earlier prior to the various uprisings.
The process of democratization began in 2003 before the beginning of the war in Iraq. This was after the freshly held elections in the country. Another early revolution is the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon. However, the beginning of the uprising in Egypt marked the end of the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon. The end of this revolution marked the stepping down of the Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri and his Hezbollah backed government.
Some few weeks after the collapse of the Syrian backed regime as a result of the demonstrations, an estimated 14, 2005 people gathered in the capital Beirut in an attempt to remove the Syrian forces in the country. This led to Syria announcing that it would withdraw the remaining 14,000 troops in Lebanon. After all the Syrian forces had been withdrawn from Lebanon in April, the idea of democracy in the Arab world suddenly became a reality.
According to Khaled Abu Toameh who is a writer with the Jerusalem Post and previously worked as a producer and consultant for NBC News, the pro-democracy protests in the Arab world are the pace setters of political change in the region. However, Khaled observes that behind these protests may be Islamic extremist groups waiting to turn these protests into their advantage. Khaled writes that if the protests groups fail to distance themselves from the Muslim Brotherhood, they risk of plunging their countries to an even greater risk of Iran's proxies.
The situation is such that in Tunisia, the exiled leader of the Tunisian Muslim Brotherhood Rashid Ghannouchi is back in the country and has unexpectedly received a hero's welcome. In Egypt on the other hand, the country's Muslim Brotherhood has backed Mohammed ElBaradei who is the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the official opposition leader. The media has always described ElBaradei as moderate but there are growing concerns with regards to his ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. ElBaradei is also criticized for his remarks on the Iranian nuclear threats where he claimed that the whole issue regarding Iran was overestimated (Egypt: A Nation in Waiting).
Many of the news anchors and correspondents from major networks around the world made their way to Cairo to witness the situation in the country first hand. Famous reporters such as Katie Couric, Brian Williams, Anderson Cooper and Christine Amanpour among others reported the protests from among the crowd. The crowd mainly comprised of university graduates students mainly unemployed and who were just fed up with corruption (France24). Unlike media reports, the Muslim Brotherhood came into the picture much later. It is told that the Muslim Brotherhood comprises of less than 30% of the population hence no need to panic. The main concerns are that with no other organized group in Egypt, the Muslim Brothers are the political power centre in Egypt.
According to Richard Engel of NBC News, the Muslim Brotherhood is mainly patriots of Egypt. However, the Muslim Brotherhood is seen to control a lot of organizations in Egypt ranging from trade unions to labor unions. This implies that what could otherwise be perceived to be a normal uprising could have some links to the Islamic Brotherhood. The other motivating elements in most of these uprising were WikiLeaks, Al-Jazeera and other social media networks such as facebook and Twitter. "This implies that the US and the international community have always been aware of the brutal nature of Mubarak's regime" (Hosni Mubarak resigns as president).
Al-Jazeera has repeatedly described the Muslim brotherhood as a non-violent organization. On the other hand, the Muslim Brotherhood describes Al-Jazeera as the greatest Arab media organization. Claudia Rosett who is a long time journalist has stated that there exist double standards in the reaction of the US in the Iranian uprising. Rosett tires to relate the Egyptian leadership under Hosni Mubarak with the Chinese leadership under Hu Jintao.
The inclusion of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Egyptian transitional government is seen as not being a problem according to many media sources. According to Peter Bergen on MSNBC's Hardball, the organization is of moderate operations and hence will not have a significant impact on Egypt. An article on CNN describes the Muslim Brotherhood of having renounced violence and embarked on achieving Islamic change. There are concerns regarding the media support to the Muslim Brotherhood particularly after Rashad al-Bayoumi who is the deputy leader of the organization in an interview on Japan's NHTV that Egypt would dissolve its peace treaty with Israel after the formation of a transitional government.