November 29, 2010 Special Dispatch No. 3400

Egypt Intensifies Hostility towards U.S.

November 29, 2010
Egypt | Special Dispatch No. 3400

Lately, Egypt has stepped up its harsh tone towards the U.S., following American pressure on the Egyptian regime to ensure the fairness of the November 28, 2010 parliamentary elections by allowing international oversight.[1] Egypt held that international oversight constituted intervention in Egypt's domestic affairs and that oversight by local civilian bodies was sufficient. Egypt was also angered by a recent meeting between U.S. officials and representatives of the American research institute Working Group on Egypt, to discuss the internal situation in Egypt. A source in the Egyptian Foreign Ministry stated that this research institute had an anti-Egyptian agenda and was not well-versed in the situation on the Egyptian street.[2]

Another bone of contention was a U.S. State Department report on religious freedoms in Egypt. Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki protested that the State Department had no authority to investigate this matter, and said that the only human rights reports Egypt recognized were those issued by the United Nations. He added that the report presented a slanted picture of religious freedoms in Egypt, since it relied on biased sources, such as media reports and data from NGOs of questionable reliability, and that it was unacceptable to Egypt that a certain country should act as the patron of another sovereign and independent country.[3]

This harsh tone was also echoed in recent editorials and articles in the Egyptian government press, which accused the U.S. of interfering in Egypt's affairs and of patronizing it. Other articles accused the U.S. of responsibility for Iran's growing impact in the region, especially in Iraq. Some even claimed that Iran's influence in Iraq was the result of an Iranian-American conspiracy to erase Iraq's Sunni Arab identity and let the Shi'ites take over the country. The government paper Al-Masaa published several articles by a columnist who writes under the pen name "Arabi Asil," suggesting that the U.S. was behind the recent terrorist attacks in Iraq as well as the UPS parcel-bombs scare – its aim being to justify the maintaining of troops in Iraq, and to draw attention away from its deeds in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

The following are excerpts from some of the articles and editorials:

Criticism of U.S. Intervention in Egypt's Affairs

Al-Akhbar: America Will Not Impose Its Agenda on Egypt

An editorial in the Egyptian government daily Al-Akhbar stated: "America has appointed itself patron of the world, even though it has never been able to understand or resolve a single problem it encountered in various parts [of the world], and despite its inability to fathom the nature of [other] societies. The U.S. must understand that Egypt, which has a millennia-old civilization and a regime anchored in political institutions, will reject any interference in its internal affairs. Nobody, not even America, will impose his own agenda and goals upon it, and it will not succumb to any pressures or blackmail. Egypt is fiercely proud of its sovereignty and independent national will, and will not allow anyone to intervene in its domestic affairs, under any pretext...

"[The statement of the Egyptian Foreign Ministry protesting the meeting between U.S. government officials and the Working Group on Egypt] pointed to the incompetence of the U.S. administration, which does not respect the unique nature of Egyptian society, and to [its] delusional [notion] that the U.S. can act as Egypt's patron [by directing its] handling of its political affairs. America must not forget that it is [being] delusional when it [tries to] handle domestic pressures [within the U.S.] by sticking its nose into Egypt's business. All Americans who allow themselves to be tempted by this [notion] must understand that nobody is our patron – neither America nor anybody else."[4]

Cartoon in the Government Daily Al-Ahram: "Why Do You Stick Your Nose Into Our Business?"[5]

Al-Gumhouriyya: America's Friendship is an Illusion

The government daily Al-Gumhouriyya wrote in an editorial: "For decades, America has never stopped trying to interfere in Egypt's internal affairs, whether as part of an openly hostile [policy], as in the era of [president Gamal 'Abd] Al-Nasser, or as part of the ostensibly friendly [relations] that the U.S. is [now] pretending to maintain with us in order to make us forget its hostility towards the goals and expectations of the Egyptian people and the [rest of the] Arab peoples, who aspire to progress, growth and restoration of legal rights.

"[America's] hostility [towards Egypt] reached its peak [in 1973] when the U.S. administration dispatched a convoy of [cargo] planes to the defeated Israeli forces in Sinai, during the glorious October War, thus supplying them with a lifeline. [This] allowed Israel to bargain in the diplomatic arena despite its defeat in that sacred war, whose goal was to liberate Sinai and the other Arab occupied lands.

"The Foreign Ministry's statement conveying Egypt's rejection of the U.S. interference expressed the view of every Egyptian patriot who cherishes the independence of his homeland and understands the purpose of this blunt interference. Past experience teaches us that [this intervention] serves [to promote] hostility towards Egypt and to distract [the Egyptians] from their vital struggles. This, despite [America's] glittery, phony slogans of friendship."[6]

Al-Masaa Editor: It Is the U.S. That Violates Religious Freedoms

Khaled Imam, editor of Al-Gumhouriyya's evening paper Al-Masaa, wrote: "America is forgetting that its former president, George Bush, declared a crusade against the Muslim world in 2001, after the [9/11] attacks. It is forgetting that Bush and his soldiers did many disgraceful [things] in Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib. They denied Muslims [the right] to pray, stepped on Korans, violated the honor of men and abused women, destroyed mosques, and murdered people by the thousands, in cold blood. America is ignoring the fact that the Muslims living on its soil are being persecuted: they are detained without trail, and their private lives are invaded. America is turning a blind eye to hate crimes [perpetrated] against the Muslims on its soil, dragging out the investigations or [blaming the crimes] on anonymous [eccentrics]. So what gives it the right to criticize or attack us?...

"The U.S. State Department must understand that its report [on the state of religious freedoms in Egypt] does not frighten us... If there are problems, we will solve them at home. We do not need patrons. I wish the Americans would learn a lesson and look, first of all, at their own shameful deeds and at the catastrophes [they have caused], before aiming criticism at others..."[7]

Al-Gumhouriyya Editor: Does the U.S. Want to Create Iraq-Style Anarchy in Egypt?

Al-Gumhouriyya editor Muhammad 'Ali Ibrahim contended that, by exerting open pressure on Egypt, the U.S. has created in Egypt a climate of rebelliousness that could lead to anarchy, as exemplified by the recent clashes between police and Coptic demonstrators over the building of a church in Giza district, in which two Copts were killed, dozens of people were wounded, and hundreds were arrested.[8] He wrote: "I do not see the connection between the U.S. and Egypt's elections. Does the U.S. want to generate 'creative chaos' [in Egypt] – [a tool] it uses so effectively against [various] countries? Does it want to pressure the Egyptian regime into accepting any recipe for peace dictated by Israel, regardless of whether or not it humiliates the Arabs and Muslims? Or does Washington want to finish Egypt off [as] quickly [as possible], because if it falls, Israel will have the upper hand in the region?... The democracy that the U.S. wants for Egypt is similar to the one it has instated in Iraq: a democracy of anarchy... It's clear that the U.S.'s [annual] religious freedoms report and democracy report, usually published at the end of the year, have been taken by the Muslim Brotherhood and some radical Copts as a license to wreak havoc in the country, destroy buildings and spill the blood of civilians and police officers – because they felt the Americans were behind them..."[9]

The U.S. is Responsible for Iranian Influence in Iraq

Al-Akhbar Editor: America Let Iran into Iraq, Gulf

Muhammad Barakat, editor of the government daily Al-Akhbar, wrote: "The gravest mistake that the U.S. made in its invasion and occupation of Iraq, which destroyed this Arab country and violated international [law], was... opening a wide door for Iran, [and thus allowing it] to spread its influence in the region and bluntly interfere in Iraq's affairs in a way that serves its own interests alone. Thanks to the invasion and the occupation, Iran now has the upper hand in Iraq, whether the U.S. likes it or not.

"[Before the invasion,] Iraq was a powerful country, with territorial integrity, a sense of Arab nationality, a strong army capable of defending its borders, and state institutions that were capable – ideologically, culturally, materially, morally and socially – of repelling any Iranian attempt to control or influence the country... America's greatest sin, after the invasion and occupation [itself], is failing to comprehend the difference between Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi state, and confusing its desire to eliminate Saddam Hussein and all the members of his regime with [a bid to] destroy the Iraqi state: its foundations, all its civilian and military institutions, and its infrastructure, on all levels...

"While invading and occupying Iraq, America did not understand – or perhaps understood but disregarded the fact – that it was paving the way for Iran to [establish] its presence, influence and armed militias in Iraq, and also paving the way for Iran [to enter] the Gulf, [thus enabling it] to realize its frequently [expressed] hope to attain a significant and growing influence there as well... Everyone can now see that spreading its influence and control in Iraq... have whetted Iran's appetite for spreading its influence in the Gulf as well, and that is dangerous. [But] the gravest [danger] is that Iran did not stop there, but began to eye the rest of the Arab world..."[10]

Al-Gumhouriyya Columnist: The U.S. Is Allowing the Shi'ites to Take Over Iraq

Al-Gumhouriyya columnist Dr. Lutfi Nassef wrote: "In this stage of history, the Arab homeland is the target of many blows and conspiracies by the U.S. and European countries, and by America's number one ally, the state of Israel. These days, Iraq is the target of many American conspiracies whose goal is to eradicate its Arab identity, and which are sadly aided by Iran, [so that any] attempt to understand its relations with the U.S. leaves us puzzled.

"On the surface we see an American-Iranian conflict, to the point of an American economic boycott of Iran and occasional threats by the U.S. to launch a war against it. But there is another [facet] to the Iranian-American relations in Iraq. From the very first [day] of America's invasion of Iraq, it was supported by the Shi'ites in this country, who are Iranian in origin, and by the Iranian militias that infiltrated Iraq to aid the American occupation of the Sunni Iraqis.

"The latest political development in Iraq reveals [the existence of] an American-Iranian agreement to exclude the Sunni Arabs [in Iraq] and enable the Shi'ites, who are loyal to Iran, to take over the country, break it apart, and obliterate its Arab identity. When the U.S. invasion began, Shi'ites gathered from all over Iraq, under the protection of the American forces, to help the Americans rule the country and bring perdition upon the Sunni Arabs. Today the U.S. is working to exclude the Sunni Arabs and the moderate Shi'ites [in Iraq], in order to consolidate the rule of [Iraqi Prime Minister] Nouri Al-Maliki, who, according to Wikileaks, is Iran's number one ally and America's number one agent...

"It is unlikely that the U.S. would present Iraq to Iran on a silver platter without getting anything in return and without [reaching] secret agreements [with Iran]... America's purpose in coming to Iraq was not to spread democracy, as it claimed, nor [to discover] Saddam Hussein's nuclear weapons. Its goal was [to take over] the oil, and because of the oil, the U.S. will never leave Iraq...

"In addition to what is happening in Iraq, we see and hear about America's moves in southern Sudan, and about the partition of Sudan – and here too the motivation is oil. But the ultimate motivation [is the desire] to weaken and cut up the great Arab homeland, tear it apart and take it over..."[11]

Al-Masaa Columnist: The U.S. Is behind Terror Attacks in Iraq

A columnist in Al-Masaa, the evening paper of the government daily Al-Gumhouriyya, who writes under the pen name "Arabi Asil,"[12] suggested that the U.S. was involved in terrorist attacks in Iraq: "One cannot rule out the [possibility] that the American occupation forces were involved in the numerous deadly acts of violence recently perpetrated in Iraq, and even in earlier [attacks]. If one wants to know who perpetrated a [certain] crime, one should ask who benefited from it. [The U.S.] benefited [from the attacks], because it is looking for a justification to leave its troops in Iraq. [Furthermore,] these attacks were planned by a professional intelligence apparatus, and not one terrorist has been arrested in connection with any of them...

"The U.S. should have no difficulty in reaching the organizations [that took responsibility for the attacks] via the Internet. It can discover the servers on which the messages were posted, as it has done many times in the past. It's easy. But [the truth is] that these are fictitious organizations, used by the U.S. as a cover for its crimes, or else organizations that have been infiltrated by U.S. intelligence. We must remember that U.S. troops always arrive at the scene of these attacks, under the pretext of 'fighting terrorism,' but their true purpose is to destroy any evidence that the terrorists may have left behind, or to kill off any [of the terrorists] who may have remained alive, [to make sure] they take their secrets to the grave."[13]

The Parcel-Bomb Scare – An American-Israeli Plot

In another column, "Arabi Asil" suggested that the U.S. was also behind the parcel-bombs recently sent from Yemen to Western countries. He wrote sarcastically: "There is no doubt that Yemen has become a manufacturer of advanced printers, so it makes perfect sense that a synagogue in Chicago that needs a printer rejects the advanced [models] available on the American, European and Japanese markets, and orders one from Yemen. Al-Qaeda took advantage of this and sent the synagogue a booby-trapped printer, which may have caused a tragedy, were it not for the vigilance of the authorities in Dubai and Saudi Arabia.

"This story makes no sense. It does not take a genius to understand that it is [merely] an American-Israeli farce designed to draw attention away from the crimes of America and the West against the Muslim peoples: [against] the Afghan people, dozens of whose sons are killed every day under the pretext that they are 'rebels'; [against] the Iraqi people, [who are the target of] never-ending American crimes; [not to mention] the conspiracy to partition Sudan. Israeli benefits [too] by drawing the West's attention away from its crimes against the Christian holy places, perpetrated by Jewish terrorists in coordination with their regime... The parcel[-bomb] was undoubtedly nothing more than a fake [bomb] prepared at the U.S. embassy in San'a."[14]


[1] About a previous Egypt-U.S. crisis following the U.S. demand to instate political freedoms in Egypt, see MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 2932, "In Egypt, Sharp Reactions to U.S. Demand for Political Freedom in the Country," April 30, 2010, In Egypt, Sharp Reactions to U.S. Demand for Political Freedom in the Country.

[2] Al-Ahram (Egypt), November 19, 2010.

[3] Al-Ahram (Egypt), November 21, 2010.

[4] Al-Akhbar (Egypt), November 18, 2010.

[5] Al-Ahram (Egypt), November 25, 2010.

[6] Al-Gumhouriyya (Egypt), November 19, 2010.

[7] Al-Masaa (Egypt), November 20, 2010.

[8] Al-Ahram (Egypt), November 24 and 25, 2010.

[9] Al-Gumhouriyya (Egypt), November 28, 2010.

[10] Al-Akhbar (Egypt), October 20, 2010.

[11] Al-Gumhouriyya (Egypt), November 13, 2010.

[12] According to journalist Hassanein Kurum, who follows the Egyptian media, the column written by 'Arabi Asil' is actually Al-Masaa's editorial.

[13] Al-Masaa (Egypt), November 11, 2010.

[14] Al-Masaa (Egypt), November 3, 2010.

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