Ed Husain

The Arab Street

Husain examines politics, society, and radicalism in the greater Middle East.

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The Week Ahead: Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, Annan on Syria, Afghan Foreign Minister in Qatar

by Ed Husain
April 2, 2012

Kofi Annan, joint special envoy for the United Nations and the Arab League, gestures during a news conference in Russia on March 26, 2012 (Denis Sinyakov/Courtesy Reuters). Kofi Annan, joint special envoy for the United Nations and the Arab League, gestures during a news conference in Russia on March 26, 2012 (Denis Sinyakov/Courtesy Reuters).

Egypt. A delegation of representatives from the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) will visit the United States this week. In media appearances and meetings with civil society organizations, Abdul Mawgoud Dardery, Hussain el-Kazaz, Khaled Qazzaz, and Sondos Asem will explain the FJP’s vision for Egypt and this weekend’s announcement that leading Muslim Brotherhood member Khairat al-Shater will run for president. A spokesperson for the delegation has said they do not plan to meet with U.S. government officials on this trip.

Syria. Joint U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan briefed the UN Security Council in a closed session Monday on the progress of his mission to Syria and the prospects for peace. Annan’s plan to end the crisis called for the Syrian government to lay down its arms first so that talks with the opposition can begin. He said Syria agreed to the idea of an April 10 deadline for partial implementation of the plan, including withdrawal of weapons and troops from population centers. Annan hopes for a full ceasefire by next Thursday.

Qatar. Starting this Tuesday, Afghan foreign minister Zalmai Rassoul will be the first senior government minister to visit Qatar following the Taliban’s January announcement that it would open an office there to facilitate dialogue. Rassoul will spend two days meeting Qatari officials to “discuss reconciliation and talks with the Taliban.”

1 Comment

  • Posted by Peter Duveen

    “So this is more of a cease-fire that carries very little consequences for the Assad regime.” A novice would quickly conclude that there are many problems to be worked out in a ceasefire, and the sovereign Syrian government has much to lose if it withdraws troops from areas in which an armed insurgency, ostensibly backed by foriegn forces, has developed. Secretary of State Clinton’s call for the removal of Assad is an assault on the government and sovereignty of Syria itself, and can be seen as merely another attempt to destroy and render powerless a region and a country that have prospered during a period characterized by the absence of armed conflict. All of the justifications of the Libyan debacle have resurfaced in the wolf-pack style assault on Syria. Fortunately the geopolitical chemstry of the two situations are quite different, and we can expect Assad not only to retain power, but to be given a chance to institute the reforms he has already begun to put in place.