World View: Mohamed Morsi Appoints Himself 'Pharaoh' of Egypt

This morning's key headlines from

  • Egypt's Morsi 'appoints himself Pharaoh' usurping all state powers
  • Full text of Israel-Hamas cease-fire agreement
  • For Gaza, 'Opening the crossings' remains a problem
  • As Greece's economy unravels, suicides and attacks on immigrants soar
  • Pakistan twin Taliban bombings kill 37 Shia Muslim worshipers

Egypt's Morsi 'appoints himself Pharaoh' usurping all state powers

Mohamed Morsi (AP)
Mohamed Morsi (AP)

Many Egyptians were shocked on Thursday by the announcement, accompanied by nationalistic music, of a new decree by president Mohamed Morsi granting himself extensive additional powers. Any decisions that he took since taking office in June, and any decisions he takes in the future, are final and not subject to review by the courts or appeal. According to the announcement,

"The President may take the necessary actions and measures to protect the country and the goals of the revolution."

In an attempt to be a crowd-pleaser, Morsi said that the police officers who were acquitted last year for killing protesters will be retried.

According to opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei:

"Morsi today usurped all state powers & appointed himself Egypt’s new pharaoh. A major blow to the revolution that could have dire consequences."

The surprise announcement triggered competing demonstrations in Cairo by supporters and opponents of Morsi. Washington Post

Full text of Israel-Hamas cease-fire agreement

Here is the full text of the agreement that the two sides signed on Wednesday:

"Understanding Regarding Ceasefire in Gaza Strip

1. a. Israel should stop all hostilities in the Gaza Strip land, sea and air including incursions and targeting of individuals.

b. All Palestinian factions shall stop all hostilities from the Gaza Strip against Israel including rocket attacks and all attacks along the border.

c. Opening the crossings and facilitating the movements of people and transfer of goods and refraining from restricting residents’ free movements and targeting residents in border areas and procedures of implementation shall be dealt with after 24 hours from the start of the ceasefire.

d. Other matters as may be requested shall be addressed.

2. Implementation Mechanism:

a. Setting up the zero hour for the ceasefire understanding to enter into effect.

b. Egypt shall receive assurances from each party that the party commits to what was agreed upon.

c. Each party shall commit itself not to perform any acts that would breach this understanding. In case of any observations Egypt as the sponsor of this understanding shall be informed to follow up."

Washington Post

For Gaza, 'Opening the crossings' remains a problem

Hamas's principal objective in the negotiations was to get the blockade of Gaza lifted, something that's been strongly opposed by Israel because it would allow the free importation of weapons into Gaza. The cease-fire agreement says that "Opening the crossings ... shall be dealt with after 24 hours from the start of the ceasefire."

Israel was in a no-win situation in the latest Gaza conflict. In the end, they signed a peace agreement in the hope that because their air strikes had been successful in destroying thousands of Gaza rockets and missiles, there would at least be a period of many months before Hamas weapons stores could be resupplied. That's what happened after the 2008 war, but at that time Hosni Mubarak was president of Egypt, and the crossings into Egypt were more tightly controlled.

Today it's thought that Hamas would be resupplied more quickly. Israel's air strikes destroyed some 140 tunnels between Gaza and Egypt, tunnels that were used to smuggle food, fuel, medicines, building materials, and weapons. But now workers are out rebuilding the tunnels, although they claim that none of the tunnels they work on are used for smuggling weapons. Reuters

As Greece's economy unravels, suicides and attacks on immigrants soar

Greece's household income dropped by 15% in the second quarter of 2012, while taxes rose 37%. Unemployment is at 25%, 58% for young adults. Greece's suicide rate has soared 37% from 2009-2011. The neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party appears to be gaining strength in Greece as a "hope and change" party. Golden Dawn is starting to take control of government services, providing food for the needy, but never for non-Greeks, even legal residents. There have been repeated incidents of Golden Dawn violence against immigrants and their markets. Fear is growing that a replay of 1930s Germany is occurring in Greece. AnsaMed and Christian Mission and Spiegel (August)

Pakistan twin Taliban bombings kill 37 Shia Muslim worshipers

Pakistan's Taliban terrorists (Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan - TTP) claimed responsibility for twin bomb attacks on Wednesday targeting Shia Muslims, killing 37 people and wounding dozens more. According to a TTP spokesman:

"We carried out the attacks in Rawalpindi and Karachi because the Shia community is engaged in defiling the Prophet."

This refers to the commemoration of Muharram, a holy month that goes back to the Battle of Karbala and the original split between Sunni and Shia Muslims in 680 AD. In particular, the Shia Muslim prophet Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of Mohamed, was killed in battle on October 10, 680.

(Because of differences in the Western and Muslim calendars, the dates don't always line up. This year, Muharram began in the evening of Wednesday, November 14, 2012, and ends in the evening of Friday, December 14, 2012. Husayn ibn Ali was killed in battle on the 10th day of Muharram.)

Islamabad is on high alert with extensive security on almost every major intersection for the 8th, 9th and 10th days of Muharram, to prevent further terrorist attacks. Daily Times (Islamabad) and AFP and Morals and Ethics

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