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January 29, 2009 Special Dispatch No. 2184

Editor of the Egyptian Government Daily Al-Gumhouriyya: Hamas, Syria, Iran – The New Axis of Evil

January 29, 2009
Palestine, Syria, Iran, Egypt | Special Dispatch No. 2184

The editor of the Egyptian government daily Al-Gumhouriyya, Muhammad 'Ali Ibrahim, who is also an Egyptian MP, wrote a series for the paper titled "Hamas, Damascus, Iran – The New Axis of Evil." In the series, he criticized Hamas, Syria, and Iran for their position vis-à-vis Gaza and the opening of the Rafah crossing. Ibrahim stated that Iran and Syria had conspired to keep the Palestinian problem unresolved and to take advantage of it to promote their interests in the region, and argued that Hamas was a tyrannical religious movement which was, like the Nazis in mid-20th-century Europe, pushing its people towards catastrophe by preferring Syria's and Iran's interests to those of the Palestinians.

Also in his articles, Ibrahim came out against Qatar, accusing it of sympathizing with the Iran-Syria axis and of airing anti-Egyptian programs on the Qatari TV channel Al-Jazeera. A few days later, the editor of the Egyptian weekly Roz Al-Yousef, 'Abdallah Kamal, wrote in a similar vein. Both editors called Qatar hypocritical for criticizing Egyptian policy while at the same time attempting to forge ties with Israel and the U.S.

Following are excerpts from the series by Muhammad 'Ali Ibrahim, and from the article by 'Abdallah Kamal:

Al-Gumhouriyya Editor: Hamas, Syria, and Iran Are Trying to Distort Egypt's Image


In the first article of his series, published December 22, 2008, Ibrahim wrote: "Since Damascus, Teheran, and Hamas are criticizing Egypt and accusing it of treason, [I] feel compelled to offer some clarification, in order to [help] the public understand the facts… which the Persians and the Syrians have been trying to distort…

"[When it was mediating the negotiations for a calm (tahdia)], Egypt believed that the tahdia was the top interest of the Gaza [residents]… However, [Hamas leaders, including] Khaled Mash'al, Isma'il Haniya, and other Hamas members, did not understand the [nature of the] tahdia that Egypt was working for… These heroes believed that the innocuous missiles that they were firing at Sderot would compel Israel [to agree to a tahdia]…

"When the [Palestinian national] dialogue failed, Egypt halted its mediation [between the Palestinian factions, thereby] destroying the hope of intra-Palestinian conciliation and exposing the political support that Hamas was getting [from Iran and Syria. However,] despite all Iran's and Syria's support [for Hamas], everyone must know that in Hamas's [conflict] with Israel, it was Egypt that was providing it with the strongest political [leverage]. Therefore, when Cairo halted [its mediation,] the main political buttress for the tahdia was shaken – and as a result, [the tahdia] was never attained…

"One reason for the failure to achieve a hudna [ceasefire] was Hamas's refusal to make peace with Fatah and its rejection of the two-state solution [to the Palestinian problem] for which the entire world had been hoping…"[1]

Syria and Iran Have Conspired to Exploit the Palestinian Cause for Their Own Interests

Ibrahim's second article of the series, published December 23, 2008, stated: "When, in late January and early February 2008, Hamas began urging the Gaza residents to breach [the Egyptian border], it became clear that [Hamas] was hoping to establish an Islamic Emirate in Sinai… Hamas is well aware that Egypt would never agree to take it upon itself to govern Gaza – which is what Israel is trying to do; however, if Egypt is subjected to Arab and Islamic pressure to accommodate Hamas in the Sinai for humanitarian reasons – [that is,] in order to save [it] from starvation, siege, and repeated attacks – the international agreements [in control of the border crossing will be invalidated]…

"[The latter scenario was devised] jointly by Damascus and Teheran, for a number of reasons. Firstly, [they wanted] Egypt to be preoccupied with its national security. In this case, the Palestinian problem would not be resolved as desired by the largest Arab country [Egypt] and the international community – that is, by establishing two states, each with its own capital.

"Secondly, [Damascus and Teheran wanted] the Palestinian problem to be gradually removed from the hands of the Egyptian negotiator – who had become familiar with its minute details and whose reputation inspired Arab, regional, and international [circles] with respectful admiration – so that it would become a bargaining chip for Damascus and Teheran. At the same time, [Damascus] was trying to make [the Palestinian problem] part of a Golan Heights deal, meaning that the Palestinian people would be dependent not only on Lebanon's wishes but on Syria's as well. [The outcome] would be that Syria would bring the Palestinian problem back to its starting point…"

Ibrahim further stated: "It is in Iran's interest to keep the Palestinian problem unresolved until the Iranian nuclear crisis is over, because Iran believes… that it can trade Hamas for political gain, while at the same time significantly improving its own image … We have before us a well-planned conspiracy, as well as an agenda, devised by Damascus and Teheran to pin the Palestinian problem to Iran's and Syria's interests, and for this purpose they have been using Hizbullah and Hamas to great effect…"[2]

"Religious Movements [Such As Hamas and Hizbullah] Contain Elements Similar to Nazism – As Do Many Tyrannical Parties That Brought Disaster Upon Their Respective Nations

In his third article, published December 24, 2008, Ibrahim wrote: "Hamas believes, as do the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, Hizbullah, and other religious organizations, that everything it does is always right… Hamas, like any other ideological movement, believes that because it was elected by the people, the people no longer have a say, and that because it won the election, it can treat the people [as it sees fit]. Religious movements contain elements similar to Nazism, as do many tyrannical parties that brought disaster upon their respective nations…

"Hamas's [statements] and actions are [characteristics of a group that is] trying to bring destruction upon its people… Egypt is concerned about the Palestinians, while Hamas is not – not one bit. Hamas is holding the entire Palestinian people hostage, saying: 'We will live together, or die together.' Hamas is imposing suicide [ideology] on the Palestinians, because it sees itself as their legitimate ruler.

"For Hamas, it doesn't matter that balance of forces is completely against them – they remain arrogant. The Palestinians did indeed elect [Hamas]; however, [Hamas] did not make Palestinian wellbeing [its top priority], but rather chose to join the axis that is opposed to the moderate Arab [countries] – the Syria-Iran axis, which is against Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

"Hamas's position and Egypt's position are diametrically opposed. Cairo believes that it is imperative to rescue the Palestinians from the catastrophe, while Hamas holds that there would be nothing wrong if [all] the Palestinians perished, because then they will be martyrs and enter Paradise. [Hamas also believes] that it is more important to strengthen the Syria-Iran axis of evil, which sponsors the religious movements in Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestine…

"Hamas is pushing Gaza towards a massacre, while all the while shouting that the Arabs or the Egyptians have failed to come to their aid. The Palestinians must realize the truth – that [Hamas's] actions are pushing [Gaza] towards a massacre…

"This shows that Hamas is part of Tel Aviv's plan to eliminate the [Palestinian] problem. Hamas may not be aware of this; or possibly it is, but it considers Syria's and Iran's interests a hundred times more important than the interests of those who voted it [into power]."[3]

The Iranian-Syrian Axis Will Not Drag Egypt Into War with Israel

In a January 1, 2009 article in Al-Gumhouriyya, Ibrahim wrote: "[Opening] the [Rafah] crossing is [only] one of the many objectives of this Iranian-Syrian conspiracy against Egypt. The Iranian-Syrian axis aims to rapidly drag Egypt into a confrontation with Israel. However, they [i.e. Iran and Syria] forget that Egypt long ago decided to embrace peace. Egypt has fought enough, and it will never [sacrifice] its life to defend others...

"If Hizbullah leader [Hassan Nasrallah] thinks that Egypt should join the front [against Israel], then we must ask [him]: Where are the funds that you are accumulating? Where are the Shihab 1, Shihab 2 and Shihab 5 missiles, and all the other missiles that Tehran test-fired in order to frighten the enemy of Allah and your enemy? Do you wage war only in front of the television cameras? Are Tehran's missiles [only] for show? [While] the Israeli war machine attacks Gaza, you attack Egypt. Your heroes [sit] trembling in your hideouts –[yet] you ask, 'Where is Egypt?'...

"[Hamas leader Khaled] Mash'al, in his folly, considers himself a hero, issuing orders from his hideout in Damascus or Tehran to his counterparts in Gaza to kill themselves.

"No resistance [movement] has its decisions made by others. Khaled Mash'al is not a free [agent], [for] his decisions are controlled by Tehran. He is not murdering the Palestinians to liberate Palestine – which he is completely incapable of doing [i.e. liberating Palestine] – but to prevent [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud] 'Abbas from negotiating with Israel. Can there be greater folly than this?...

"Egypt will never [let itself] be dragged into confrontation with Israel while Iran sits quietly [far away], issuing orders that are carried out by its lackeys. Our armed forces will never fight to defend Syria, whose army, as far as I know, has not fired a single bullet since 1973...

"Hamas has no future in Palestine. What it has done to the Palestinians, not even Israel has done. [The Hamas government] is the first [Muslim] government in the world to prevent its citizens from making the Hajj, and it the third [Arab] regime to massacre its own people, after Saddam Hussein's and Hafez Al-Assad's. Must the Egyptian army defend it? Must we defend lunatics who have butchered their own people, held the wounded hostage, prevented [their citizens] from making the Hajj, and, worse yet, murdered one of our sons [i.e. the Egyptian officer killed in a clash with Hamas at the Rafah crossing]?..."

Ibrahim also criticized Qatar, calling it hypocritical for attacking Arab countries while itself striving to establish relations with Israel and the U.S.: "Washington once had one protectorate in the Middle East – Israel – but now it has two: Doha and Tel-Aviv... Qatar is the Arab country with the most intensive trade relations with Israel... Qatar was the first country to sell Israel more [natural] gas than Egypt, and at lower prices – and nobody opposed this. Qatar's prime minister and foreign minister, Hamad bin Jasim bin Jaber Aal Thani, is friendly with Israel's foreign minister, Tsipi Livni. The letters and gifts he sent her on her birthday indicate a belated adolescent [crush on her]. He [even] preferred to buy a summer house in Nahariya to vacation with his Israeli friends, whom he likes more than the British...

"The U.S. military operations base [in the Middle East] is in Doha – and it is the largest U.S. military base outside the U.S. It was from there that [the U.S.] launched its artillery attack on Iraq prior to its 2003 invasion, and there that it conducted maneuvers in preparation for this [operation]... Qatar built this base for the Americans at its own expense... True, Qatar is occupied by the U.S. – but this is by [Qatar's] its own consent and by the demand of [Qatar's] masses. [This occupation] pleases [Qatar], and is based on its mutual interests [with the U.S.]... [Now] this occupied country is acting to convene an Arab summit, and is calling upon the large Arab countries to attend it. Sometimes it even goes so far as to think it can issue orders..."[4]

Roz Al-Yousef Editor: Iran, Syria, and Qatar Strive for Regional Hegemony – At Egypt's Expense

In a January 3, 2009 article, the editor of the Egyptian daily Roz Al-Yousef, 'Abdallah Kamal, likewise attacked the Syrian-Iranian-Qatari axis: "Several years ago, and its longstanding alliance with Iran notwithstanding, Syria became the third member of the troika, that comprises the leading Arab [countries] and was formed in the wake of the Second Gulf War...

"The first member of this troika was Egypt; the second was Saudi Arabia. However, [since then], Syria has slowly… fallen into the embrace of Iran – whose [policies are blatantly] at odds with Arab interests because of its Persian ethnicity, its Shi'ite faith, and its political agenda – which is completely opposed to that of the Arabs.

"The new tripartite axis [Iran, Syria and Turkey], which is trying to present itself as an alternative to the [existing] leadership of the region, may look like an [equilateral] triangle, but in essence and in terms of its objective characteristics, it is full of defects: It is wide-angled on its right side and narrow-angled on its left, and it has one leg that is long and another that is tiny... The smallest and weakest leg [of this triangle] is Qatar...

"The main impediment to Iran's influence in the region is Egypt's political prominence. [This is why Iran] has been trying to remove Egypt from the arena for the past quarter century or more... [it is attempting] to push it into a military confrontation with Israel that will undermine its economic and political stability for the next 25 years at least, and will trap it into a no-exit security situation (by pushing the Palestinians into Sinai and making them a demographic time bomb for Egypt)...

"Iran is even trying to topple the Egyptian regime, or at least to [challenge its] moral [legitimacy], so as to exert every [possible] pressure on it, making it lose its political influence in the region... The optimal arena for accomplishing this goal has been Gaza...

"Iran has helped Hamas manufacture rockets, [for example] by smuggling warheads and [missile] guidance systems into Gaza – made in China, Korea, or wherever. Hamas manufactures the rockets with the gunpowder, pipes, and tail sections it receives.

"[Iran] also supplies $40 million a month in funds ($25 million for Hamas and $15 million for [Palestinian Islamic] Jihad)..."[5]

Endnotes:

[1] Al-Gumhouriyya (Egypt), December 22, 2008.

[2] Al-Gumhouriyya (Egypt), December 23, 2008.

[3] Al-Gumhouriyya (Egypt), December 24, 2008.

[4] Al-Gumhouriyya (Egypt), January 1, 2009.

[5] Roz Al-Yousef (Egypt), January 3, 2009.

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