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Egypt

Islamic Factions In Egypt Renounce Violence, Enter Political Fray

In the wake of the democratic revolution, Islamist groups that were once considered enemies of the state are now openly pursuing their political ambitions.

Mohamed el-Beltagy, a Muslim Brotherhood member, was forced to run last year as an independent (Al Jazeera)
Mohamed el-Beltagy, a Muslim Brotherhood member, was forced to run last year as an independent (Al Jazeera)
Claude Guibal

On a September morning in 2001, Aboud el-Zomor rejoiced as he saw the twin towers coming down on his television set. This former leader of Egyptian jihad was then rotting behind the walls of a prison somewhere in the rich lands of Damanhour, in the Nile Delta, where he was thrown in 1984 for his involvement three years earlier in the assassination of former Egyptian president Anwar Al Sadat. Now a free man, el-Zomor was in Cairo when he learnt about the killing of the leader of al Qaeda, now probably ruled by Ayman al-Zawahiri, his former brother in arms for the jihadist cause.

Had Hosni Mubarak not been removed from power, Aboud el-Zomor, who finished his jail term in 2005, would probably now still be behind bars. In the wake of the revolution, the Egyptian justice decided to free hundreds of radical fighters that the former president had always refused to let loose from the dungeons, even if they had long finished serving their sentences.

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Geopolitics

Our 'Emotional' Divide: How The Ukraine War Reveals A World Broken In Two

Russia's invasion has created a stark global divide: them and us. On one side are the countries refusing to condemn Moscow, with the West on the other. It's a dangerous split that could have repercussions far into the future.

Protesters against the war in Ukraine demonstrate in front of the Russian embassy in London

Dominique Moïsi

-Analysis-

PARIS — "The West and the Rest of Us." That's the title of a 1975 essay written by Nigerian essayist and critic Chinweizu Ibekwe. I've been thinking about his words as the war in Ukraine both reveals and accelerates divisions of the world that I believe are ultimately "emotional" in nature.

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With war returning to Europe and the risk of escalation, there is a gap between the Western view and that of the "others," a distinct "us and them." This gap cannot be explained in strictly geographical, political, and economic terms.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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