Analysis, Side Feature

Views on the News – 2 Jan 2021


  • Brexit: New Era for UK as it Completes Separation from European Union
  • Egypt Summons Ethiopian Diplomat over Dam Comments
  • NSG Assailed for Treating Pakistan, India Differently on Membership
  • US Congress Blocks Afghanistan and Germany Military Withdrawals
  • Syria, Iran, Yemen
  • British Establishment at last Succeeds with Soft Brexit

Brexit: New Era for UK as it Completes Separation from European Union

A new era has begun for the United Kingdom after it completed its formal separation from the European Union. The UK stopped following EU rules at 23:00 GMT, as replacement arrangements for travel, trade, immigration and security co-operation came into force. Boris Johnson said the UK had “freedom in our hands” and the ability to do things “differently and better” now the long Brexit process was over. But opponents of leaving the EU maintain the country will be worse off. Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, whose ambition it is to take an independent Scotland back into the EU, tweeted: “Scotland will be back soon, Europe. Keep the light on.” BBC Europe editor Katya Adler said there was a sense of relief in Brussels that the Brexit process was over, “but there is regret still at Brexit itself”. The first lorries arriving at the borders entered the UK and EU without delay. On Friday evening, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps tweeted that border traffic had been “low due to [the] bank holiday” but there had been no disruption in Kent as “hundreds” of lorries crossed the Channel with a “small” number turned back. UK ministers have warned there will be some disruption in the coming days and weeks, as new rules bed in and British firms come to terms with the changes. But officials have insisted new border systems are “ready to go”. As the first customs checks were completed after midnight, Eurotunnel spokesman John Keefe said: “It all went fine, everything’s running just as it was before 11pm.” Northern Ireland has different arrangements from other parts of the UK, meaning there will be some customs checks on goods moving between Great Britain and the province. A treaty was finally agreed on Christmas Eve, and became law in the UK on Wednesday. Under the new arrangements, UK manufacturers will have tariff-free access to the EU’s internal market, meaning there will be no import taxes on goods crossing between Britain and the continent. But it does mean more paperwork for businesses and people travelling to EU countries, while there is still uncertainty about what will happen to banking and services. The UK and Spain have also reached an agreement meaning the border between Gibraltar and Spain will remain open. Writing in the Daily Telegraph, he added that the combination of the Brexit deal and rollout of the Oxford vaccine means “we are creating the potential trampoline for the national bounceback”. Lord Frost, the UK’s chief negotiator, tweeted that Britain had become a “fully independent country again”. And the deputy chairman of the pro-Brexit European Research Group of Tory backbench MPs, David Jones, told the BBC: “We can now say clearly Britain is a sovereign and independent state.” [Source: BBC]

Britain’s separation from the EU has begun a new chapter. It will likely spell the end of the “Long Peace” as Britain will never tolerate a strong Europe driven by the Franco-German alliance. Historically, the officially UK policy has been to keep Europe divided.


Egypt Summons Ethiopian Diplomat over Dam Comments

Egypt’s foreign ministry said it has summoned Ethiopia’s top diplomat in Cairo over comments by an Addis Ababa official regarding a controversial dam on the Nile. The Egyptian ministry “summoned the Ethiopian Charge d’Affaires in Cairo to explain comments by the spokesperson for the Ethiopian Ministry for Foreign Affairs regarding domestic Egyptian affairs,” it said late Wednesday. The statement did not cite specific comments but followed a statement by the Ethiopian official on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), Africa’s biggest hydroelectric project, which has raised fears for vital water supplies downstream in Egypt and Sudan. “They know the GERD won’t harm them, it’s a diversion from internal problems,” Dina Mufti, the Ethiopian ministry’s spokesman and a former ambassador to Egypt, said Tuesday. Mufti contended that without this “distraction”, Egypt and Sudan would “have to deal with many local issues waiting to explode, especially up there (in Egypt).” The three countries have been in talks since 2011 but have failed to reach a deal on filling the dam. The negotiations have been stalled since August. The Nile, the world’s longest river at 6,000 kilometres (3,700 miles), is a lifeline supplying both water and electricity to 10 countries. Ethiopia views the dam as essential for its growing power needs, and insists that the flow of water downstream will not be affected. But Egypt, a country of more than 100 million people who depend on the Nile for 97 percent of their water needs, opposes unilateral moves by Ethiopia. Along with Sudan, it has called for a legally binding political solution to the dispute. [Source: Arab News]

Since Sisi’s ascendency to office, Egypt has struggled to deal with internal mounting problems as well as foreign challenges. Given Egypt’s strength, Sisi should able to reach an equitable agreement on how the water is to be shared amongst the three countries, but like with every other issue Sisi’s failure is palpable.


NSG Assailed for Treating Pakistan, India Differently on Membership

A senior foreign ministry official, while criticising the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) for differently treating Pakistani and Indian applications for membership, has regretted that the multilateral export control regime is politicised.

According to a media statement issued on Friday by the Strategic Vision Institute (SVI), which hosted a webinar on “The politics of NSG: The current dimensions”, the director general of the foreign ministry’s Arms Control and Disarmament Division, Kamran Akhtar, said: “NSG very much epitomises the politics of non-proliferation at the global level.” He accused the NSG of according “precedence to the interests of the nuclear supplier states”.Indian and Pakistani applications for membership have been held up at the NSG since 2016 because of their non-NPT status and differences between members over the admission criteria. According to Mr Akhtar, Pakistan is better qualified than India, even going by the formula proposed by Ambassador Rafael Grossi in 2016, as it does not have a mix of safeguarded and unsafeguarded facilities and has been more forthcoming in accepting legally binding commitments. Speaking about India, he said: “If there was an argument that mainstreaming of India would benefit the non-proliferation regime, the Indian behaviour since joining Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) belies that argument.” Mr Akhtar said there should not be two different standards for judging the membership applications from India and Pakistan. “Unfortunately, that’s what is happening now,” he added. A former official of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Dr Tariq Rauf, identified major problems and deficiencies in the export control regimes. He said the regimes did not adapt to the changing international situations and there was a lack of universality and legitimacy in them, besides having inconsistent internal implementation. A former permanent representative to the Conference on Disarmament and the UN in Geneva, Ambassador Zamir Akram, also noted that the working of NSG was driven by geopolitics. [Source: The Dawn]

It is disappointing to see Pakistani officials unable to understand geopolitics and still long for equitable treatment. The reality is that America has sacrificed Pakistan to make India its principal agent in the Sub-Continent and an adversary of China.


US Congress Blocks Afghanistan and Germany Military Withdrawals

US President Donald Trump’s veto of this year’s defence bill was overridden on Friday as the Senate voted overwhelmingly for the bill to pass. According to the US Constitution, the president is entitled to veto any bill passed by Congress by majority vote but then Congress can override the veto if they produce a two-thirds majority in favour of it. Congress have introduced in this year’s bill restrictions blocking Trump’s attempts to withdraw thousands of US troops from Germany and Afghanistan. Trump had campaigned on the promise of withdrawing troops, and now at the end of his presidency he is making a show to his electoral base of trying to fulfil that promise.

The true purpose of Western systems of ‘checks and balances’ is to develop an entrenched establishment of politicians and officials that block the power of the President to act according to his own best judgement. The establishment is inevitably captured by vested elite interests, so that the Western democratic system becomes essentially a façade concealing Capitalist oligarchic power. Presidential decisions thus inevitably accord with establishment priorities in preference to popular demands. The West talk openly of ‘truths’ that have no real validity but are useful to believe in because believing in them brings certain benefits. Undoubtedly, the false ideas of democracy and freedom fall into this category.


Syria, Iran, Yemen

Despite America’s best efforts to crush the Syrian revolution, an attack this week close to the ancient city of Palmyra signals continued revolutionary activity on the ground. 25 members of pro-Assad forces were killed after their bus was ambushed while travelling along a main highway in Deir az-Zor Province bordering Iraq. The Syrian revolution was part of the wave of Arab Spring uprisings that began ten years ago. As government after government collapsed, America was forced to accept opposition leaders instead of their preferred rulers in order that the Western colonial systems continue to function. But in Syria, the people rejected American efforts to introduce the Syrian Democratic Forces as an alternate to Assad. So America instead worked to crush the revolution, using for his purpose multiple proxies some, such as Russia and Iran, providing support to the government whilst others, such as Saudi Arabia, the UAE and most notably Turkey, apparently siding with the revolutionary groups but in fact betraying them in accordance with the US agenda. But the Syrian revolution lives on in the hearts and minds of the people of Syria, who will continue to struggle against their rulers as long as they fail to rule in accordance with the Qur’an and the Sunnah. With Allah’s permission, it is only a matter of a little time before these agent rulers are indeed overthrown and replaced with sincere, indigenous leadership committed to ruling by Islam alone.

America has recalled its aircraft carrier, the USS Nimitz, from the Middle East, apparently signalling an end to Trump’s provocative stance against Iran. Despite the apparent longstanding conflict between America and Iran, the reality is that the power factions within Iran have always closely cooperated with America. The Iranian state is dominated by pragmatic politicians that wish to see Iran conform to the present Western dominated world order. And though the Revolutionary Guards present themselves in domestic public opinion as firmly opposed to the West, the reality is that they also tacitly cooperate with the US to advance their interests. It is true that there has recently been some genuine friction in US-Iranian relations but this is only because America wanted to reduce its dependence on the IRGC faction and give preference to the state faction. Trump’s anger against Iran partly reflected this, and was partly grandstanding in front of his electoral base. In either case, the US establishment has now indicated bringing a close to this episode, in preparation for the incoming government of President-elect Joe Biden.

Saudi Arabia reacted in anger this week, bombing areas of the Yemeni capital Sana in response to attacks in the southern city of Aden targeting members of the newly formed unity government backed by Saudi and the UAE, as well as the Saudi ambassador to Yemen. Sana is controlled by the Houthis but they have denied responsibility for the attacks. The unity government was sworn in in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and had just landed in Aden when the first of the attacks took place, at the Aden Airport. The divisions in Yemen are actually a consequence of the interference of foreign Western disbelievers. Yemen has for centuries been critical to British interests but has been targeted by America which does not want to see any Muslim country remaining under British control. But, fearful of its military disasters in Afghanistan and Iraq, America decided to enter Yemen through use of Saudi forces instead of fighting the war itself, using the excuse of controlling the Houthis although they too are under American influence. Meanwhile, Britain used the UAE to defend its interests in Yemen, leading to the formation of the Southern Defence Forces. It is incumbent upon Muslims to retake control of their own affairs by re-establishing the righteous Islamic Khilafah (Caliphate) State on the method of the Prophet ﷺ that shall eject the influence of the Western foreign disbeliever and unify all Muslim lands under a single general leadership for the Muslim Ummah.


British Establishment at last Succeeds with Soft Brexit

This week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson at last triumphed where his predecessor Theresa May failed by successfully passing his Brexit trade bill through Parliament, cramming this into a single day of legislative debate in the middle of the UK holiday season, with only part of the day allotted for debate in the House of Commons, and the greater part of the day reserved for the far more amenable House of Lords. After the disastrous 2016 Brexit referendum that was intended to crush Brexit not legalise it, the establishment came to terms with its failure and embarked on producing a Brexit deal with the EU that would preserve as much of the economic benefits of EU membership as possible. But Theresa May repeatedly failed to sell the idea of a ‘soft Brexit’ in Parliament, due to hard-line opposition by the pro-Brexit faction deeply embedded within her ruling Tory Party. It took the skilled political theatrics of Boris Johnson to conclude an almost equally soft Brexit with the EU but sell it within Britain as if it were a hard Brexit.

The reality of Western politics should give Muslims even greater reason to reject the alien Western systems of government that have been implemented in Muslims lands, along with the political ideals behind them. The solution to our problems is not greater freedom and democracy; these are illusory ideas that contradict the reality of human nature and human society and have never been successfully practiced anywhere in the world at any time. Instead Muslims must return to rule by Islam, something that has a concrete reality in over a millennium of Muslim rule across a great part of the world. With Allah’s permission, the righteous Islamic Khilafah (Caliphate) State on the method of the Prophet ﷺ shall provide humanity again with the perfect model of ruling returning the Muslim Ummah and the entire world to peace, justice and prosperity, in obedience to the obligations imposed upon us by our Creator and Sustainer, and conveyed to us by His Noble Messenger, the Prophet Mohammad ﷺ.