Youm 7, Egypt
The American Dimension
of the Egyptian Revolution
By Nadir al-Sharqawi
Translated By Maggie Proctor
14 February 2013
Edited by Natalie Clager
Egypt - Youm 7 - Original Article (Arabic)
As I mentioned in a previous weekly column, the revolution’s success has three enemies: the previous and current regimes and the United States of America. I showed that it is in these groups’ interests that the revolution stays in its current state, with the certainty it will fail, because the state of the revolution allows these groups to promote themselves and occasionally speak in its name.
Thus, they are eager the revolution remain where it is, but also eager that it fail.
In today’s article I want to focus more on America’s position, analyzing it from a political point of view and discovering the true face of the United States—or, to be more precise, discovering the true face of the Obama administration; the American people don’t care about their country’s foreign policy, particularly when they’re facing the ruinous economic problems before them now.
To get closer to the truth we must ask. “What does the United States want from Egypt?”
Another version of the question is, “What does Egypt mean to the United States?”
Is Egypt important to this degree, or do we sometimes exaggerate?
Is the whole subject nothing more than preserving Egypt’s side of its peace agreement with Israel?
Can Egypt withstand, politically and economically, America’s anger?
Can Egypt live totally independent of the hegemony of the United States?
Why doesn’t Egypt ally itself with the European Union, for example, instead of America?
What the United States wants is for Egypt to become a strategic ally at the same level as the members of NATO, but Egypt has always refused to adopt American rules on its lands. However, this didn’t prevent the two states from forming a strategic military and political alliance, the engineer of which was former president Anwar Sadat, who once signed a peace agreement with Israel—completed under the sole auspices of the United States.
Egypt means a great deal to the United States. Americans know they’re working with a state that is not only the most populous in the Middle East, but also the most influential, politically and culturally, in the region. Keeping Egypt stable ensures the minimum regional stability. In practical terms, this means for America the neutralization of and control over the largest army in the region so as to guarantee Israel’s security. Fighting an army the size of Egypt’s would doubtless waste the Zionist entity’s energy and prevent it from facing its other enemies, such as Hezbollah, Hamas and Iran.
As for Egypt’s power, it holds the largest and most important shipping artery in the world—the Suez Canal. Thus, protecting Egypt’s stability has become one of the most important goals of successive American administrations, regardless of how the party colors changed. It’s no exaggeration when I say that Egypt’s stability is practically a pillar of American national security —this stability ensures the ease of global shipping, prevents large wars in the region and guarantees the flow of oil to the West.
Accordingly, the relationship between these two states became a strategic alliance, despite some events that have soured the relationship over the last three decades. For example, we heard about “operation carbon black,” which was carried out during the era of Field Marshal Abdel Halim Abu Ghazala. In this operation, Egypt tried to acquire advanced missile technology from the United States through espionage—behind the back of the CIA. The attempt was a failure, except in that it gained Field Marshal Abu Ghazala the post of defense minister and commander in chief of the Egyptian army.
Then George W. Bush came to sour the relationship again with the unnecessary wars he started in the region and the pressure he placed on Mubarak to take real, tangible steps toward applying democracy in Egypt. Nonetheless, this did not lead to the destruction of the relationship, which continued with military relations and intelligence sharing, based in a significant part on the presence of figures like Omar Suleiman, who had strong relationships with American decision-making circles.
Then the Egyptian revolution came in January 2011, and here we must pause before the bumbling of the United States, who were as surprised as everyone else, confused and shocked by the size and strength of the demonstrations and the extraordinary level of organization. In the first days of the revolution the U.S. government bet on Mubarak, saying he was strong and, to quote, “stable.” But once the revolution took a turn on January 28, the administration came to feel it had been foolish to support Mubarak at the start of the uprising, and immediately began to flirt with the revolution and its people. Obama gave a speech in which he said Egyptian people had inspired the world.
The Americans had to immediately find a regime to rule Egypt after the revolution, and they saw no options but the military or the Muslim Brotherhood. Both of them had popularity on the streets and organizational strength, but when they sensed the revolution wouldn’t accept military rule again they turned their focus to the other group, which claimed it held greater popularity and was ready to provide more to America than the Mubarak regime had in order to come to power. We heard Dr. Saad al-Din Ibrahim’s confessions of what happened regarding the agreement between the Brotherhood and the Americans: The former guaranteed, if they came to power, they would hold to the peace agreement signed with Israel, ensure the maintenance of U.S. interests in the region in the same way and also guarantee control over the Suez Canal and transform it into an international zone for the money of the number two American ally in the region—the Emir of Qatar. This is the least of what we have heard and read from important figures.
The United States knows nothing but the politics of its own interests. It never negotiates except for its own sake and never builds relationships on the basis of shared interests or respect for another. Rather, it knows the extent of its influence and thus sees nothing but itself. If it’s forced it may throw some crumbs to its ally, but it will always take a large bite for itself.
The story about protecting democracy, freedom and minority rights is just a set of slogans the United States repeats and enforces only in its own borders, denying developing countries that dream of freedom. They are just tools the U.S. uses in the media and political rhetoric solely to market itself.
If someone were to bet on the U.S. government’s position on support for democracy and minority rights in Egypt he would see they were like water in a sieve. Obama won’t put real pressure on the Brotherhood regime unless he sees they are unsuitable for maintaining American interests in Egypt. Here, the difference between America and the European Union is that we find the nations of the EU behave more morally in their relationships than the U.S. They always connect their relations and their aid to regimes in other nations based on the extent they apply the principles of human rights and democracy. I have intelligence that the EU won’t help the regime in Egypt as long as they practice excessive violence against peaceful protesters and refuse to guarantee electoral transparency. Here it becomes clear the Europeans’ position is more moral than America’s. Unfortunately, Europe’s political influence in the region doesn’t rise to the same level as its economic influence, and I believe the Brotherhood will disregard the European position as long as the alliance with America stands, even partially.
So will the U.S. government learn its lesson and bet on the people and not on their rulers?
I doubt it.
God save the homeland and glory to the martyrs of the revolution.
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