Friday, 4 February 2011
Egypt: A View from Israel
I don't know what the political landscape in Egypt will look like tomorrow but if you thought you’d heard all possible viewpoints on the situation in Egypt, the following comment from Israeli, Baruch Maoz, presents a chilling addition.
In a mailing sent today, Maoz charges the Obama administration with “reckless naiveté” in its meddling in the internal affairs of Egypt “The US role in promoting the massive demonstrations which took place in Egypt over the course off of last week”, says Maoz, “has yet to be fully revealed.” The following is taken from Maoz's essay:
US Administration officials have spoken very publicly about the smooth transition to a new government in Egypt, toward which they are working and have taken extensive behind-the-scenes action to “move that process forward,” as a US national security spokesman chose to put it. Top members of the Obama administration stated on Thursday their desire for the embattled Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak, to leave office and for negotiations to begin “immediately” with his political opponents. US National Security Council spokesman, Tommy Vietor, admitted that U.S. officials have also discussed with Egyptian officials “a variety of different ways” in which a new government could take shape.
On Thursday, Vice President Joe Biden talked with recently-appointed Egyptian Vice President, Omar Suleiman and pressed him to ensure that “credible, inclusive negotiations [with opposition political groups] begin immediately”. On Thursday night the U.S. Senate gave unanimous approval to a resolution calling for Mubarak to “immediately begin an orderly and peaceful transition to a democratic political system, including the transfer of power to an inclusive interim caretaker government, in coordination with leaders from Egypt’s opposition, civil society, and military, to enact the necessary reforms to hold free, fair, and internationally credible elections this year.”
Happily, Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, has not told Egyptian military leaders to pressure Mubarak to step down, US officials insisted when speaking to CNN. “That’s not his role,” one official explained. Mullen is, however, trying to encourage the Egyptian military to maintain security, not to move against peaceful protesters and to restrain the violence so that it does not escalate. Meanwhile, the CIA has set up its own task force to monitor the crisis.
According to Nicholas Burns, a former Clinton State Department official, the Obama administration is handling the Egyptian crisis relatively well. “We’ve got to stand up, as the president is doing, for reform and democracy,” Burns told CNN. The U.S. government needs to “use our influence behind the scenes, and we’ve got a lot of influence there with President Mubarak to move him towards a fast transition.”
Strangely, the American Left has either supported the overt meddling of the Obama administration in the internal affairs of another country, or has been completely silent on the issue. One wonders how the Left would have reacted had President Bush still been in the White House.
Obama and his administration have spoken up in the name of morality and of liberal principles, calling on the besieged Egyptian President to uphold the freedom of the Egyptian people to demonstrate. They have done so only because they can smell blood – Mubarak’s blood. Their lofty liberal ideals led them to say not a word about the repressive regime in Saudi Arabia, for example (of course, Saudi Arabia has plenty of oil). Where was the morally courageous, overt American support for the protesters in Iran following the latest round of election frauds, which resulted in the re-instalment of Mahmoud Ahmedinejad as president?
Allies of the US in the Middle East have expressed concern regarding America’s sense of loyalty. Governments have expressed anguished concern over the role the Obama administration has played vis a vis President Mubarak, a close ally of America for three decades.
American assurances seem to be written on ice. Whom will American betray next? Treaties and alliances are, ultimately, built on trust. If one or both of the parties are not expected to live up to their undertakings, relations collapse. State Department officials have admitted that various regional allies are now concerned. How quickly might the United States turn on them if protests begin in their countries? As a result, Western influence is waning, America is viewed as an unreliable partner and threatened regimes are looking elsewhere for support. The West, with America at its head, can no longer serve as a stabilising force in the Middle East or elsewhere.
Only a fool would dare think that the present unrest in Egypt, or elsewhere in the Middle East, will result in a stable democracy. No such entity exists anywhere in the Arab-Muslim world. The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt would prefer to play a role similar to that played by the Hezbollah in Lebanon; at least for a time. The Lebanese Government is wholly under the control of Hezbollah, which has but a third of the Governmental portfolios. In this way, Hezbollah can hide behind the mantle of a non-radical Government, while exercising all the powers that their position accords them. [N.B. It should not be forgotten that the Muslim Brotherhood assassinated Mubarak’s predecessor Anwar Sadat because he signed a peace treaty with Israel, a treaty that has remained intact for over thirty years. Mike Moore]
Obama and his administration speak much of “the will of the Egyptian people”. An internet posting from Egypt has this to say:
Please don’t believe what the international media is saying! There is a plot to topple the president, and Egyptians do not want that. I have been on the streets with many hundreds of thousands, probably even millions, who want stability, dialogue, and change with Mubarak until the elections in September. There are forces taking advantage of the situation and twisting facts and figures to portray to the international community a distorted image to topple the government.
The vast majority of people in the streets in peaceful demonstrations (I speak as an eyewitness because I took to the streets myself) are carrying banners saying things like:
• Yes to stability. Yes to Mubarak
• Give change a chance.
• We are sorry Mr President. We accept dialogue, we trust you.
• No to El-Baradei! No to the Muslim Brotherhood!
• We are the Egyptians. Where is Al-Jazeera? Let them come and see.
• No to corruption! No to vandalism!
• We got what we asked the president for. So why are people still in Tahrir?
We met with people who were in the original protest in Tahrir square … saying: “we got what we asked for, and now we accept Mubarak’s changes and proposals.”
I left the street with my wife around 4:15 pm, and the numbers in the neighbourhood of Mohandessin where we were gathered had swelled to easily over a million. As we drove home we saw the same slogans on banners all over the city, on cars, on walls, on shop windows. We learned that similar demonstrations are taking place ALL OVER THE COUNTRY, IN MAY DIFFERENT CITIES. THIS IS THE CRY OF THE PEOPLE OF EGYPT THAT IS BEING TOTALLY IGNORED BY THE INTERNATIONAL NEWS MEDIA.
Is this on purpose??!!! I am perplexed!!! I am wondering: How come CNN, the BBC, and others are reporting ONLY the anti-government protests as the voice of the people? This is not JUSTICE. This is not the TRUTH. … Only a few people (hundreds?) are still there from the original protesters. They have been slowly replaced by other HIGHLY ORGANIZED GROUPS. They all have the same model of cell phones. They all have the same blankets (eye witnesses). THESE ARE NOT THE PEOPLE OF EGYPT. Some witnesses claim that they don’t look Egyptians, and don’t sound Egyptians (different accent, different dialect). THIS IS A BIG ORGANIZED COUP TO TRY TO CONVINCE THE WORLD THROUGH THE MEDIA THAT EGYPT WANTS MUBARAK TO GO, AND THE MEDIA IS PART OF THE DECEPTION.
This is TYPICAL OF THE MUSLIM BROTHERS, AND EVERYBODY IN THE STREETS OF CAIRO KNOWS THIS. We heard people on the streets saying that the plot to take over the country is now clear. THE INTERNATIONAL MEDIA DON’T WANT YOU TO KNOW THIS. The escalation of violence in Tahrir square is because of this. Egyptians who love Egypt, the millions that took to the streets yesterday, want this to end. They fully understand that president Mubarak is between a rock and a hard place, that he cannot quench the unrest in Tahrir through the army, so the people want to go to Tahrir to disperse the crowds there by themselves.
This is NOT what Egyptians want! I am an Egyptian. My wife and I were on the streets on Tuesday and Wednesday in support of the current regime, and we saw millions on the streets. If Egypt falls, then neighbouring countries are going to fall one after the other. Please help us uncover the deception and spread the truth. Please share with everybody.
President Obama has said, “To the people of Egypt, particularly the young people of Egypt, I want to be clear: We hear your voices. I have an unyielding belief that you will determine your own destiny, and seize the promise of a better future for your children and your grandchildren.”
Will he hear this voice?