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16-31 January 2013        3-18 Rabiul Awwal 1434 Hijri

Note: Using editorials as an indicator, this series presents views, understanding and attitude  of the Urdu periodicals in India towards various developments concerning the  Middle  East.  The  selection  of  an  item  does  not  mean  the  endorsement  or concurrence with their accuracy or views. Editor, MEI@ND

Roznama Sahafat (Journalism Daily), Delhi
Editorial, 28 January 2013, Monday
1. The US is trying to isolate Iran
While continuing to trouble Iran, the new measures in the American policy will affect India’s oil procurement from Iran. It will affect Iranian economy alongside the shortage of life-saving drugs. The sanctions have particularly affected the availability of drugs for critical diseases like cancer which have become rare.

Iran’s former Minister of Health Reza Malikzadeh, who now heads the Department of Medicine in the Tehran University, said that only estimates are available on the effects of the sanctions on the health sector, though it has certainly affected health services in the country. Cancer patients are especially facing difficulties. Iran faces nearly 50,000 new cases of cancer every year and the shortage has encouraged black marketing of the drugs. According to Malikzadeh, the US sanctions have made it difficult for Iran to procure both the drugs as well as medical equipment. He added that it seemed that the Western countries wanted to punish Iran.

Iran is trying to procure 18 types of life-saving drugs from India. Since the shortage is becoming critical and Western countries are not ready to supply these drugs, according to Malikzadeh, it is important that Iran reach an agreement with India. New sanctions on procurement of Iranian oil will affect India’s energy security prospects.

India has reduced its import of oil from Iran because of difficulties in payment. While earlier a Turkish Bank was facilitating the payment, it would not be available to do so in the near future due to sanctions. The payment in Rupees could also become problematic as Iran would not be able to convert its earnings into foreign currencies. The only other option for Iran has been to pay for imports from India through earnings from its oil-export to India. The American financial agencies have also warned that they would impose sanctions on those companies who conduct any business transactions with Iran, thereby forcing leading Indian companies to slowly reduce their oil-procurement from Iran.

The new sanctions will come into force in July 2013 and will affect India's efforts towards the development of the Chabahar port. India could have used Iranian money in Indian banks for the project but it could also be affected. It is important to see if India will be able to get some respite from the US with respect to its businesses with Iran.

Roznama Rashtriya Sahara (National Sahara Daily), Delhi
Editorial, 28 January 2013, Monday
2. Deteriorating Situation in Egypt
It was thought that the transformation from dictatorship to democracy in Egypt would be smooth after the exit of Hosni Mubarak and the conduct of largely fair and peaceful elections. The Muslim Brotherhood was never part of the government but it was also not at the forefront of the protest movement that ousted the military dictator. However, the liberals could not secure any electoral gains as they were not as politically organized as the Brotherhood. The Brotherhood was also under sanctions like other political groups but unlike them, it did not allow its organizational structures to wither away. Thus, the liberals who remained confined to intellectual sections suffered electoral defeat. Following the Muslim Brotherhood’s victory and (Mohammed) Morsi becoming president, it was expected that things would start to settle down in Egypt after initial hiccups. This may not be the case, as a growing section of the Egyptian population is getting restive with the new government. Peace has remained a casualty while certain sections of the population do not like the assertion of the Islamist groups. The new constitution was ratified by a referendum, yet with a narrow margin. Morsi will need to take the opposition into confidence. Additionally, violence has become a routine that needs to be avoided. The incidence of violence between two groups of fans of football teams—Al-Misri and Al-Ahli—had snowballed into a major crisis. Violence again erupted after a court ruling that gave death sentences to 21. It led to clashes between supporters of the convicted people and the security forces leading to the death of 28 people. This is a major challenge for President Morsi, who has to understand that he cannot use the methods of his predecessors to neutralize the opposition. Things cannot be sorted out through military action and the situation needs to be handled very delicately. He needs to take the opposition into confidence before making any policy decisions. The biggest challenge before Egypt is the worsening economic condition, which needs immediate attention. The only way Morsi can prevent Egypt from falling into chaos is by making inroads into likeminded democratic forces who want a prosperous and peaceful Egypt.

The Siasta Daily (The Politics Daily), Hyderabad
Editorial, 29 January 2013, Tuesday
3. Turmoil in Egypt
President (Mohammed) Morsi has imposed emergency to maintain peace in Egypt. The Egyptian capital Cairo has been witness to violence after a court ruling convicted 21 people to death for violence during a football game last year. A number of deaths have been reported in the city and other parts of the country. Clashes between protestors and security forces have continued for six days. A political solution looks distant as opposition groups have rejected Morsi’s initiative for talks terming the government to be dictatorial. The Muslim Brotherhood, which formed the government after Mubarak’s exit, has not been able to fulfil its promise of a peaceful and democratic government. The situation can lead to external powers trying to find a foothold in Egypt. The main reason for the protest movement in the region has been the people’s dissatisfaction with their rulers who did not work for the betterment of the people. The new government in Egypt was voted into power with a hope to secure a peaceful and prosperous country. But the people now think that their dream of democracy will remain a dream. The Islamist leadership of Egypt has to wake up to this feeling among the people. The Muslim Brotherhood should work to fulfil its electoral promises of improving the economy and providing a stable government. The president has to implement policies and programmes towards the solution to the problem of unemployment, poverty etc. It might not be a good idea to mix politics with religious ideology because it could lead to dangerous situations, polarizing the society in its course and leading to the stifling of freedom. The government should think about the reasons for the current situation. It should work towards resolving the crisis. The use of force by the security forces on its own people does not augur well for Egypt. The situation in Egypt cannot be brought resolved to a stated of normalcy through the fight for political power. The government needs to work towards putting the country in to the path of progress and development. Economic development is necessary for any social and political progress. The most important task at hand is to bring back normalcy. The president and the Muslim Brotherhood will have to demonstrate better political, social and economic acumen to deal with the emerging situation.

The Siasat Daily (The Politics Daily), Hyderabad
Editorial, 31 January 2013, Thursday
4. Aid for Victims in Syria
It is time to come forward to help the people of Syria, who have been in the midst of a civil war-like situation for the past two years. Many countries of the Middle East have been providing aid to the victims. The people of Syria are in great need of external help and aid. The UN has to play a crucial role in bringing the situation under control in Syria, but all its efforts have remained futile till date. The UN and Arab League special envoys have met with failure in their efforts to resolve the crisis. A large number of Syrians have been forced to take refuge in neighbouring countries. The Syrian crisis has become a humanitarian crisis. The people of Syria are suffering due to the tussle between the power-hungry regime and an opposition that seeks to secure power on any terms. Ultimately, it is the people of Syria who are suffering due to the fighting. The refugees in Turkey and Jordan are in immediate need of aid and the international community must not delay on delivering their promised financial help. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE have pledged the largest aid donations, and a US$500 million fund has been created for the Syrian victims under the UN. The fund will be dispersed with the help of government machinery. A large number of people have lost their homes in the fighting and have been forced to live in open camps inside Syria. Apart from the refugees abroad, those who are internally displaced also need immediate attention. Among these refugees and homeless people are a large population of children, and they are always the worst sufferers in any conflict. The international community has to take care of the needs of these children particularly their food, health and education. Many international organizations are working in Syria to provide aid and help to the victims. But, it is also important to work towards finding a solution to the crisis. The first task should be to stop the fighting and start talks to achieve a political resolution. Several massacres have taken place in Syria since the start of the conflict. The people of Syria have turned into each other’s enemies in this struggle for political power, killing each other indiscriminately. The international community has to work towards ending this bloodshed.

Compiled and Translated by Md. Muddassir Quamar

Md.  Muddassir Quamar is a Doctoral Candidate at the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal     Nehru University.     Email

As part of its editorial policy, the MEI@ND standardizes spelling and date formats to make the text uniformly accessible and stylistically consistent. The views expressed  here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views/positions of the MEI@ND. Editor, MEI@ND: P R Kumaraswamy.