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Thursday, June 6, 2013

For more stability in Egypt and Security for Israel


On the eve of Jan 25 2011, Hillary Clinton former US secretary of state announced that the US believes in the stability of Mubarak’s regime, renewing their faith in the strength of Egypt’s old dictator. Three days later Cairo was on fire and the Egyptian army was taking out to the streets. 17 days later Mubarak was no longer in power.

The US considered this as an “unfortunate not-so-lucky miscalculation.” But was it really? Personally I think it was not. This miscalculation has to do with the American concept of “stability in the Middle East" itself. Americans view stability as necessary for their so many interests in the region and for the security of the state of Israel. The Israelis seemingly adopt the same views. But what does stability for the Americans means?

In the 1950s and 60s Egypt was under the rule of the mighty demagogue Nasserite militant regime. The masses supported Nasser in every step and foolishness driving the country into the disastrous defeat of the 1967 six days war. Even after that, the masses still supported Nasser. Seeing this dominant influence of the Egyptian government over the people, the US had a complete trust and faith in the Egyptian regime. Later on in the 70s when Sadat’s Egypt was to leave the Soviet pact and join the American one, the US was to view Egypt as a “stable” country; a country that its government is in complete control over its people. And there is nothing good for Israel as stable Arab neighbor country, or so it seemed.
Almost 40 years later, the country is in turmoil; a fanatic Islamic group is in power, the economy is catastrophic, Antisemitism and anti-western sentiments are breaking records, non-Muslim minorities are escaping the country and the future is inconceivable. Maybe after all, the so called “stability” did not work out very well.
Stability in the Middle East for the Americans and the Israelis is to support whoever able to remain in power, whether it was Mubarak, the military or the Muslim Brotherhood with no consideration to the actual living conditions in the country. This disastrous concept is driving the region into a fearful uncertain future and has already made many places in the region to be almost uninhabitable. This “stability” did not lead to economical development, nor did it lead to a breakthrough in the conditions of human rights and it certainly did not make the Egyptian population of almost 90 million people to hold any more tolerant views of the US or Israel, on the contrary they saw that Egyptians dictatorships, the US and Israel as the enemy who is sabotaging their lives, the deterioration of economy and human rights were not seen as necessities for “stability” but rather as an ultimate failure.
While in Egypt, I have witnessed the masses propaganda against three consecutive enemy-of-the-people rulers; Mubarak, the Supreme Council of Armed Forces and the Muslim Brotherhood, one of the mutual factors of those opposition propagandas was to describe all of them as “Zionist pigs” associating them all with Israel, which is a Clear indication to how Egyptian masses view the world. In September 2011, masses in Cairo invaded the Israeli embassy in a dramatic scene which reminded us of the similar events took place in the US embassy in Tehran 30 years ago. The event almost ended in tragedy when 6 Israeli diplomatic employees were besieged in a room only to be rescued later by Egyptian commandos preventing a bloody international crisis. 365 days later right on the other bank of the Nile, the same tragedy almost took place at the US embassy building.



Three anti-regime propaganda posters; (from left to right) the first one depict Muabark as a Jew, the second suggests that SCAF loyalty is to Israel, the last one mocks the Muslim Brotherhood official symbol adding the star of David to it.



It is true that Antisemitism and anti-western feelings are pretty much about the norm in Egypt, however I know for sure that the motive for both events was mainly something else; frustration. The frustration of a “stable peaceful transition” phase lead by a bloody military council, and then frustration of the disappointing result of a “stable” democratic elections process. Apparently the more “stable” the country becomes; the more angry the masses grow. I was in Cairo Sep 2011 when the violence at the Israeli embassy broke out, if you assumed that only fanatic Islamic groups and demagogue mobs were responsible for this then I’m afraid to tell you that you are very wrong. Many of the people who were involved in the incident were of organized revolutionary secular liberal and socialist movements. Those anti-Semitic anti western people are the same people who are protesting for more democracy, freedom of speech, civil rights, women rights, freedom of religion and a more secular state. So how can all of this add up? How can one be such a Nazi similar anti-semite and be a committed to such great western values in the same time? I’m not going to propose a direct answer to this question.
 The attack on the embassy was not a direct attack on Israel; it was merely an attack on the Egyptian government defiance of Egyptian masses. Yet my words should not indicate in anyway that Egypt is an Antisemitism free country, actually I think that Egyptians are the most anti-Semitic people in the whole region.
I came from the young generation of Egypt, a generation that is diverse in interests and in ideologies yet I can describe its main theme as desperate, angry, semi-educated, and furiously anti-Semitic. This generation is tired and sick of stability; they desire a freer chaotic political scene. The support of the US and Israel to certain political entities for stability will lead to nothing but more hatred and political unrest. Maybe the Middle East does not need stability no more, maybe it needs just the opposite of it. Stability in the Middle East for years did not make but a time bomb that has been exploding for nearly two years. The lack of freedom of speech made the Arabs enter a deep identity crisis not able to find their way between fundamentalism and modernity. The suppression of ideologies leads to nothing but unresolved issues about freedom, civil rights, freedom of speech, terrorism, role of religion, women rights etc. The absence of any internal social dialogue regarding to these issues in the Middle East was indeed to create one of the most “stable” regions in the world. And for the sake of my own mental welfare, I don’t want to think that the US actually assumed that rulers like Mubarak would actually push for such a social dialogue.

Are they going to change their “stability” support policy anytime soon? Frankly I don’t think so, governments usually don’t deal with people, they feel more comfortable dealing with other “stable” governments, and thus I don’t think that we will see any change soon to what is going on the Middle East. The ones I feel sorry for are the Israelis, left to a growing hostile environment. Israel is facing a sad disappointing reality, 30 years of peace with Egypt did not put them in a better situation than the one they were 40 years ago. 


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