Response to the Washington Post Editorial, “Saving Egypt from Syria’s fate,” August 20th

U.S. army officials, cabinet members and congressmen are aware of the value that military aid to Egypt contributes to regional stability and US interests. Egyptian-American military cooperation has resulted in sustainable peaceful borders between Egypt and Israel. During the authoritarian regime of Mubarak, this partnership was critical to protect the stability of the region. It is clear that Egyptian-American military cooperation benefits both countries equally. Recent conversation has shifted to argue that military cooperation is no longer necessary or ought to be redefined. Doing so would certainly be an uncalculated risk that can bring unforeseen repercussions to American interests, stability in Egypt, and regional peace.

Egypt’s current crisis is a fight against domestic terrorism. Egyptians on both sides of this fight condemn the killing of innocent civilians and security officers equally. We condemn the burning of public buildings, churches and mosques. Nevertheless, in the face of western criticism, I cannot help but reflect on how the West has been fighting their war against terrorism. The U.S. and other European countries’ efforts stretched the war far beyond their borders to those of other countries. There have been plenty of losses from all sides.

To frame the conflict in Egypt as a war between the military and the police on one side and political Islamic groups on the other is a fallacy. To frame this conflict as a civil war, in a similar proportion to the heartbreaking crisis in Syria, is also a fallacy. What happened since June 30th was motivated by the will of the Egyptian masses who went to the streets to oust a president who failed to keep his promises, who failed to honor the revolution, and who failed to be inclusive of political opposition and religious minorities. The supporters of this ousted president just so happen to have the financial backing of known terrorist groups, paired with a fervent will to spill blood and burn Egypt to ashes to seek revenge against the popular will of the country. The current conflict is not centered on the military’s role and actions. It constitutes a popular struggle of the whole nation- including the military- against stubborn extremist Islamist groups who are fighting their last existentialist battle.

Who can be more in sorrow for what Egypt has come to today than Egyptians themselves? Who can feel the tragedy of the Egyptians who died more than the Egyptians themselves? There is no doubt that we all want to see this country unified and powerful. We admit that thus far our tactics are not always flawless. We admit that we have made mistakes. But neither the American nor the European positions towards the Egyptian crisis are flawless either. The US has pursued the same strategy of boycotting relations, imposing sanctions, and so on with Syria; this, in no way at all, contributed to solving the problem. Such actions affected the perception of American good will and interests across the region, and reinforced the common suspicion that American actions are ultimately tied to yanking around a ball and chain rather than the lofty values of democracy and freedom that so often flower their statements masked as idealism. As the U.S. escalates these threats, Egypt will continue to pursue a strategy of isolationism at best, and perhaps searching for new friends at worst. This will result in continued instability, as conflicting parties in Egypt will be driven toward stubborn behavior and be less willing to compromise.

I urge Western countries to be more rational about using their political and economic leverage to positively deal with the Egyptian crisis. Help Egypt as sincere friends, by offering constructive advice and pragmatic solutions. Push for a truce and a common ground between the various players involved in the crisis, while carefully avoiding threatening statements and the projection of the image that western interference is synonymous with puppet strings. Avoid confrontational positions; they will result in backlash and stimulate sentiments of nationalistic pride and tenacity. The power of your leverage lies in its feature of deterrence. Once you use it, it will lose significance.


إرسال تعليق