24-Jan-12 World View: Egyptians Fear Violence on First Anniversary of January 25 Uprising

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com.

  • Russia to Sell 36 Yak-130 Jets to Syria for $550 million
  • Child beggars make big money in Saudi Arabia
  • Egyptians fear violence on first anniversary of January 25 uprising
  • Egypt’s debt crisis deepens along with Europe’s
  • What does Nigeria’s terror group ‘Boko Haram’ really mean?
  • Turkey threatens retaliation after France passes genocide bill

Russia to Sell 36 Yak-130 Jets to Syria for $550 million

Yakovlev Yak-130 Mitten combat trainer
Yakovlev Yak-130 Mitten combat trainer

Russia and Syria have signed a $550-million contract on the delivery of 36 Yakovlev Yak-130 Mitten combat trainer jets, which can be manufactured in a short time. Under the deal struck in late December, the jets are to be supplied to Syria once Damascus makes a prepayment. However, the worsening situation in Syria makes the deal “risky,” according to an analyst, because “the international community, led by the United States, has made a decision to crush Bashar al-Assad’s regime, and this may lead to the contract being disrupted and Russia suffering image and financial losses.” The jets are not suitable for attacking insurgents, and the jet cannot endure air battles with Israeli, Turkish, or Western coalition’s aircraft, should a military conflict erupt in Syria. Ria Novosti

Child beggars make big money in Saudi Arabia

In a variation of illegal immigration for jobs, children in Yemen, Somalia, and other neighbors are arranging to be smuggled into Saudi Arabia so they can make money begging. One Yemeni child made about SR100 [100 Saudi riyals = $27] per day, and collected SR24,000 [$6400] during his 8 month stay. “The largest chunk of the money went to the smugglers and I was given very little of it. My brother was caught earlier and deported home,” he said. However, many of these children say that they’re making a lot of money through begging, and would return to Saudi Arabia again if they were deported. Arab News

Egyptians fear violence on first anniversary of January 25 uprising

Egypt's Parliament on Wednesday (Reuters)
Egypt’s Parliament on Wednesday (Reuters)

Wednesday will be the first anniversary of the January 25 youth uprising that ostensibly replaced dictatorship with democracy. Egypt has just had a successful parliamentary election, with power presumably moving away from the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) to the new Parliament. But many Egyptians are concerned that the two Islamist parties, the more moderate Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party and the more religiously conservative Salafist al-Nour party have together come away with almost 75 per cent of the vote. The Brotherhood has cooperated closely with the SCAF and has assured Washington that it has no intention of cancelling the peace treaty with Israel. But what concerns many young Egyptians is that the two parties will have a massive say in the drawing-up of the new constitution, which the parties have indicated will incorporate Sharia law. Sharia law can be moderate, as it’s been implemented in Turkey, but it can also be very harsh, as it was implemented, for example, by the Taliban in Afghanistan. Many young Egyptians who were very passionate about freedom in the uprising are now concerned about the suggestions of some politicians that they would work to ban the sale of alcohol, ensure modest female dress and encourage women to leave the workplace. Some Salafists are out to create a religious ‘virtue and modesty’ police force armed with batons with which to smack infringers across the legs. The young people who brought down Hosni Mubarak will not be happy with these developments. We may begin to see what trends are developing on Wednesday, when protesters are expected to fill Tahrir Square again, celebrating the anniversary of their last victory. Gulf News and Reuters

Egypt’s debt crisis deepens along with Europe’s

Egypt is approaching a major financial crisis which, unlike the ones in European countries, is receiving no international attention. Egypt’s foreign exchange reserves fell from $36 billion to $18 billion, falling $4 billion in December alone. Bond yields (interest rates) are above 16%, and even at that rate, few investors are willing to purchase Egypt’s bonds. The situation was made worse by the Islamist election victory, which has frightened the business elite. Egypt is the most populous country in the Arab world, and imports half its wheat, but will run out of foreign reserves soon. The first reports of actual hunger in provincial Egyptian towns, meanwhile, are starting to trickle in through Arab-language press and blog reports. A shortage of gasoline accompanied by long queues at filling stations and panic buying was widely reported last week. Asia Times

What does Nigeria’s terror group ‘Boko Haram’ really mean?

Boko Haram, the name of Nigeria’s terrorist group, is usually translated as “Western education is forbidden,” where “haram” means “forbidden.” However, Mansur Liman, a native Hausa speaker from BBC’s Hausa service was interviewed on the BBC on Monday, and explained the following:

“What Boko means — and it’s annoying to see the media endlessly translating it as “western education” — That was once true, but it refers in ordinary colloquial Hausa much more to a lifestyle, a set of morals and behavior of an elite who happen to be western educated. But it’s not western education, it’s the lifestyle of the elite, who basically, whether they’re Muslim or Christian, basically despise and ignore the poor. And so of course, ordinary peple might well want to – if not join them, then support them.

And the real trouble, as the army has said many times — ‘When we attack, we don’t know whom we’re attacking, because Boko Haram and civilians look the same.'”

Turkey threatens retaliation after France passes genocide bill

Turkey is threatening diplomatic retaliation over an action by France to pass a crazy law that would make it a crime, punishable by a year in jail, to deny that Turkey had committed genocide against the Armenians in 1915. The bill will become law when it’s ratified (signed) by France’s president Nicolas Sarkozy, which he has promised to do. The Turkish ambassador in Paris, Tahsin Burcuoglu, said that the vote would lead to a “total rupture” of relations between the two countries. “You can also expect that now diplomatic relations will be at the level of charges d’affaires not ambassadors anymore.” Charge d’affaires is the lowest rank of diplomatic representative recognized under the Vienna convention on diplomatic relations. Reuters