Brotherhood between myth and reality

"The article titled Five myths about the Muslim Brotherhood by researcher Lorenzo Vidino in the Washington Post has sparked controversy at a time when the Arab world is undergoing significant political changes," observed Abdul Rahman al Rashed in a commentary for the pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al Awsat.

"I think the Muslim Brotherhood has every right to access to power even in a pivotal country like Egypt as long as this is in a legal framework on a par with other political powers."

Vidino pointed to that also, yet "I disagree with him in presenting the movement as a victim of a series of myths aimed at intimidating the West in order to isolate it politically."

It is true that political regimes have threatened the world through the Brotherhood during periods of political turmoil by unfairly accusing it of being an instigator of terrorism.

Yet not all accounts are a myth. The movement sought to enhance its image as a group that believes in freedom when the US supported democratic reform in the Middle East. Then, it found a window to possibly gain power democratically. The truth, however, is that Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt or elsewhere is a political movement that has a clear goal, which is, beside accessing power, using the religious reference and imposing senior clerics on the legislative power. In the process, it will exclude others.

Iranian regime swims against the tide

Hashemi Rafsanjani, president of the Council of Experts in Iran, remarked that extremists who continue to ignore the people's role are dangerous, noted Abdullah Iskandar in an opinion piece for the London-based daily Al Hayat.

Although Rafsanjani acknowledged this fact, he withdrew his nomination for the position of president of the Council of Experts. He thus left room for those whom he described as radicals and dangerous. He probably acted in this way to save himself, rather than out of concern for ordinary Iranians.

Even though the council has no executive role, the presence of Rafsanjani, known for his pragmatic stance, can ensure a balance between different currents among the conservatives. So by excluding him after months of pressure, radicals toppled the last sensible link in the regime's chain, and now put themselves at a distance from the popular demands.

The fall of Rafsanjani is also significant since it marked his failure in playing the buffer role between the opposition and the regime following the latest presidential elections.

It is also a clear signal to the green opposition that the authorities will not change their position and will continue oppressing any dissenting movement, ignoring the ongoing events in the Arab region.

Israel tries to avoid the heat of revolutions

"As was expected, the effects of Arab revolutions have reached Israel, which is hurrying to protect itself from their repercussions," wrote Hosam Kanafani in an opinion piece for the UAE newspaper Al Khaleej.

The first reaction by the Israelis was the prime minister's initiative to provide for terms that accept establishing a temporary Palestinian state before discussing the final status settlement on an open schedule.

This is no new plan. It was recalled now as a preemptive measure to contain the rising Arab anger towards Israel.

It is also a proactive attempt to reward the US for its veto against a UN resolution condemning Israeli settlement policies in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Mr Netanyahu vowed to accept a temporary state and withdraw from some isolated and remote settlements. He did so although he knew the Palestinians would not accept his proposal. Yet, he deemed it necessary to placate further US demands.

According to news releases, he asked for a "Marshall Plan" designed for the Arab region, the aim being to contain the unstoppable revolutionary movement. The defence minister Ehud Barak, in his turn, asked for more US military aid to promote Israel's security, as he considers it threatened by the latest Arab uprisings. He has also grown concerned about the future of the Camp David accord signed with Egypt.

New provisions for working at home

Some departments of the public sector in the UAE are adopting a new programme that gives employees the opportunity to conduct work from the comfort of their homes without the need to be in an office, wrote Mohammed Issa in the Emirati newspaper Al Ittihad.  It is still too early to judge the effectiveness of this new practice, although some are concerned about its impact on Emiratisation plans.

Employees will complete all their tasks from home, going to the office only to discuss weekly plans or for briefing sessions.

The programme has already been applied in many developed countries around the world and has posted positive outcomes.

Besides helping to reduce traffic and pollution, as many employees don't leave home every morning to go to work, the programme allows working parents to spend more quality time with their families. Studies have shown that the programme has helped reduce teenage problems and minimised divorce rates in the communities where it was implemented.

But the question is: can we truly adopt this kind of programme? Its success requires a deep  understanding of the working from home concept. The home worker's time should be sacred and it necessitates special cultural awareness.

* Digest compiled by The Translation Desk

DMZ facts
  • The DMZ was created as a buffer after the 1950-53 Korean War.
  • It runs 248 kilometers across the Korean Peninsula and is 4km wide.
  • The zone is jointly overseen by the US-led United Nations Command and North Korea.
  • It is littered with an estimated 2 million mines, tank traps, razor wire fences and guard posts.
  • Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un met at a building in Panmunjom, where an armistice was signed to stop the Korean War.
  • Panmunjom is 52km north of the Korean capital Seoul and 147km south of Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital.
  • Former US president Bill Clinton visited Panmunjom in 1993, while Ronald Reagan visited the DMZ in 1983, George W. Bush in 2002 and Barack Obama visited a nearby military camp in 2012. 
  • Mr Trump planned to visit in November 2017, but heavy fog that prevented his helicopter from landing.
The Boy and the Heron

Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Starring: Soma Santoki, Masaki Suda, Ko Shibasaki

Rating: 5/5

World Cup 2023 ticket sales

August 25 – Non-India warm-up matches and all non-India event matches
August 30 – India matches at Guwahati and Trivandrum
August 31 – India matches at Chennai, Delhi and Pune
September 1 – India matches at Dharamsala, Lucknow and Mumbai
September 2 – India matches at Bengaluru and Kolkata
September 3 – India matches at Ahmedabad
September 15 – Semi-finals and Final

The Bio

Amal likes watching Japanese animation movies and Manga - her favourite is The Ancient Magus Bride

She is the eldest of 11 children, and has four brothers and six sisters.

Her dream is to meet with all of her friends online from around the world who supported her work throughout the years

Her favourite meal is pizza and stuffed vine leaves

She ams to improve her English and learn Japanese, which many animated programmes originate in

The specs

Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cyl turbo

Power: 217hp at 5,750rpm

Torque: 300Nm at 1,900rpm

Transmission: eight-speed auto

Price: from Dh130,000

On sale: now

If you go

There are regular flights from Dubai to Kathmandu. Fares with Air Arabia and flydubai start at Dh1,265.
In Kathmandu, rooms at the Oasis Kathmandu Hotel start at Dh195 and Dh120 at Hotel Ganesh Himal.
Third Rock Adventures offers professionally run group and individual treks and tours using highly experienced guides throughout Nepal, Bhutan and other parts of the Himalayas.


Uefa Champioons League semi-final:

First leg: Liverpool 5 Roma 2

Second leg: Wednesday, May 2, Stadio Olimpico, Rome

TV: BeIN Sports, 10.45pm (UAE)

What is type-1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is a genetic and unavoidable condition, rather than the lifestyle-related type 2 diabetes.

It occurs mostly in people under 40 and a result of the pancreas failing to produce enough insulin to regulate blood sugars.

Too much or too little blood sugar can result in an attack where sufferers lose consciousness in serious cases.

Being overweight or obese increases the chances of developing the more common type 2 diabetes.

THE BIO: Martin Van Almsick

Hometown: Cologne, Germany

Family: Wife Hanan Ahmed and their three children, Marrah (23), Tibijan (19), Amon (13)

Favourite dessert: Umm Ali with dark camel milk chocolate flakes

Favourite hobby: Football

Breakfast routine: a tall glass of camel milk

The specs

Engine: 3.8-litre twin-turbo flat-six

Power: 650hp at 6,750rpm

Torque: 800Nm from 2,500-4,000rpm

Transmission: 8-speed dual-clutch auto

Fuel consumption: 11.12L/100km

Price: From Dh796,600

On sale: now

Brief scores:

Day 2

England: 277 & 19-0

West Indies: 154

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).

Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).

Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

Mercer, the investment consulting arm of US services company Marsh & McLennan, expects its wealth division to at least double its assets under management (AUM) in the Middle East as wealth in the region continues to grow despite economic headwinds, a company official said.

Mercer Wealth, which globally has $160 billion in AUM, plans to boost its AUM in the region to $2-$3bn in the next 2-3 years from the present $1bn, said Yasir AbuShaban, a Dubai-based principal with Mercer Wealth.

Within the next two to three years, we are looking at reaching $2 to $3 billion as a conservative estimate and we do see an opportunity to do so,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Mercer does not directly make investments, but allocates clients’ money they have discretion to, to professional asset managers. They also provide advice to clients.

“We have buying power. We can negotiate on their (client’s) behalf with asset managers to provide them lower fees than they otherwise would have to get on their own,” he added.

Mercer Wealth’s clients include sovereign wealth funds, family offices, and insurance companies among others.

From its office in Dubai, Mercer also looks after Africa, India and Turkey, where they also see opportunity for growth.

Wealth creation in Middle East and Africa (MEA) grew 8.5 per cent to $8.1 trillion last year from $7.5tn in 2015, higher than last year’s global average of 6 per cent and the second-highest growth in a region after Asia-Pacific which grew 9.9 per cent, according to consultancy Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In the region, where wealth grew just 1.9 per cent in 2015 compared with 2014, a pickup in oil prices has helped in wealth generation.

BCG is forecasting MEA wealth will rise to $12tn by 2021, growing at an annual average of 8 per cent.

Drivers of wealth generation in the region will be split evenly between new wealth creation and growth of performance of existing assets, according to BCG.

Another general trend in the region is clients’ looking for a comprehensive approach to investing, according to Mr AbuShaban.

“Institutional investors or some of the families are seeing a slowdown in the available capital they have to invest and in that sense they are looking at optimizing the way they manage their portfolios and making sure they are not investing haphazardly and different parts of their investment are working together,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Some clients also have a higher appetite for risk, given the low interest-rate environment that does not provide enough yield for some institutional investors. These clients are keen to invest in illiquid assets, such as private equity and infrastructure.

“What we have seen is a desire for higher returns in what has been a low-return environment specifically in various fixed income or bonds,” he said.

“In this environment, we have seen a de facto increase in the risk that clients are taking in things like illiquid investments, private equity investments, infrastructure and private debt, those kind of investments were higher illiquidity results in incrementally higher returns.”

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, one of the largest sovereign wealth funds, said in its 2016 report that has gradually increased its exposure in direct private equity and private credit transactions, mainly in Asian markets and especially in China and India. The authority’s private equity department focused on structured equities owing to “their defensive characteristics.”

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