Anti-American Sentiment in Egypt
by Stephen Lendman
On August 9, the Wall Street Journal headlined “Anti-US Hostility Ramps Up in Egypt. Media Outlets Blast American Policies, Further Straining Ties.”
More on that below. Throughout the region, America and Israel are the two most hated countries. It’s for good reason. It doesn’t surprise.
It reflects anger against imperial lawlessness. It supports long denied Palestinian justice. It demands US regional wars end. It wants America out of the region entirely. Its presence stokes rage.
Intermittent anti-American protests erupt across the Middle East. US flags burns. Signs and banners reflect public anger. In Egypt some say:
“Wake Up America: Obama Backs A Fascist Regime in Egypt”
“Obama Supports Terrorism”
“Obama & (ambassador) Patterson Support Terrorism in Egypt”
“Obama Your B..ch is Our Dictator”
“Kick (her) Out of Egypt”
“Anne Patterson, Leave Egypt Now and Go to Hell!!!”
“Ann Patterson: You and Your Country Go To Hell”
“OBAMA, You Can’t Fool Your People and the World Any More, You Finance & Back Terrorism!!!”
“American Democracy Stinks of Hypocrisy”
“Bush, Blair, Netanyahu, Obama R War Criminals”
Washington supports Egypt’s coup. John Kerry claims it’s restoring democracy. It can’t do it by coup d’etat. It can’t reinstate what doesn’t exist. It can’t by military takeover. It can’t by junta power.
America can’t succeed supporting lawlessness forever. What can’t go on forever, won’t. Arab street rage won’t let it. Nor will popular anger at home. It’s mostly low-level.
A greater threshold pain level remains to be crossed. All bets are off if it happens. It’s just a matter of time.
Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned about Egypt’s political crisis. He fears possible civil war. “We are worried about what is happening in Egypt,” he said.
“Speculation of a civil war is gaining momentum on a daily basis. This would be a disaster with dire consequences.”
“What will stop the civil war if, God forbid, it happens,” he asked?”
He warned against possible consequences of foreign interference. He knows America’s dirty hands are involved.
“Nothing but damage for the Egyptian people will come from the interference of foreign powers,” he stressed.
He means Washington, Israel, key NATO powers, and rogue Arab states. He urged restraint. He called on religious and political leaders to heed the lessons of Syria.
At the same time, Washington supports coup d’etat authority. So do key EU countries. Kerry and EU Foreign and Security Policy High Representative Catherine Ashton issued a joint statement, saying:
“Deeply concerned about Egypt’s future and what is at stake at this critical time, we have suggested a number of practical ideas to calm current tensions and help Egyptians build a bridge toward real political dialogue.”
“These ideas remain available for the parties even now, and our engagement at all levels continues on a daily basis.”
Their “engagement” reflects imperial bullying. It reflects lawlessness. It reflects what Egyptians and others throughout the region deplore.
It reflects back to the future. It reflects business as usual. It reflects what Egyptians won’t tolerate. They want democracy. They want longstanding grievances addressed. They want what they won’t get.
It shows in public rage. Journal writers said a major Egyptian state newspaper headline called “proposed US envoy to Egypt (Robert Ford) the ‘Ambassador of Death.’ “
Another major Egyptian broadsheet said Senator John McCain (R. AZ) chose sides. He and Senator Lindsey Graham (R. SC) pressed Cairo military and civilian leaders for compromise.
They urged diplomatic negotiations. They warned about possible consequences. Some in Congress want aid cut off. Don’t expect it. Obama promises support. So do most congressional leaders.
Repressing opposition figures doesn’t matter. It’s longstanding regional policy. It’s commonplace in Egypt. On August 7, Egypt’s appointed president Adly Mansour said “the phase of diplomatic efforts has ended.”
Muslim Brotherhood officials and supporters bear “full responsibility for the failure and the subsequent events that may result (from) breaking the law and endangering the social peace.”
Government patience is close to “expir(ing).” He blamed nonviolent protests for Junta-instigated violence. He threatened “utmost force and decisiveness.”
Since Morsi’s July 3 ouster, hundreds of Egyptians died. Thousands were injured. Many were arrested. They’re treated harshly under brutal conditions. They face torture and other abuse.
At risk is protracted violence and bloodshed. If civil war erupts, all bets are off. Doing so could generate greater Middle East conflict. The whole region could become embroiled. It’s a tinderbox. Longstanding unaddressed grievances make anything possible.
Journal writers said “Egypt’s state and privately owned media outletsâ€¦embarked on a particularly (anti-American) campaign.”
Proposed envoy Robert Ford is targeted. Formerly he was US ambassador to Syria. He publicly supported anti-Syrian forces. He worked with them against Assad.
In June 2012, Damascus declared him persona non grata. He left. He hasn’t returned. He’s not wanted. He menaces Syrian sovereignty. He supports Washington’s regime change policy. He does so throughout the regime.
He’s Obama’s choice as ambassador to Egypt. Kerry recommended him. He hasn’t been officially nominated. He won’t be welcomed. English and Arabic twitter comments rage against him. They include:
“No to Ford.”
“We refuse the American ambassador to Egypt.”
“The new sponsor of terrorism in Egypt.”
“Watch out Ford. If you come to Cairo, you won’t be an ambassador. You will be a target.”
Before appointed to Damascus, he was Washington’s Baghdad Political Counselor. He was accused of running death squads in Iraq. In Cairo, he’ll be as reviled as Anne Patterson.
His longtime regional experience is more liability than asset. He’s known for supporting what most people abhor. He represents rogue US imperial lawlessness. He’s despised before he arrives.
According to Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies Dean Vali Nasr, Egyptian unrest highlights widespread distrust of US policies.
It reflects a “reservoir of anti-Americanism and conspiratorial theories.” America’s despised. It’s for good reason.
“We’re caught in a situation of having to essentially try to find a balance between our values and our interests,” said Nasr. “It satisfies nobody.”
“The Mubarak people are unhappy with the way he was shoved off without a thank you.”
“The military thinks we coddled the Brotherhood and didn’t intervene to control them.”
“And the Brotherhood thinks that we never supported them when they needed support, and then gave the green light to the military.”
State and private media highlight anti-American sentiment. According to former privately owned newspaper Al Masry Al Youm publisher Hisham Qassem:
Egypt’s media “are programmed to the line of whoever is in power. They don’t need instructions or calls to be told what to write.”
State Department spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki claims Washington’s misunderstood. Lots of misinformation circulates, she says. He comment rings hollow.
Ambassadors, agency, and department spokespersons are paid to lie. They do so for their country. It’s standard operating practice. It’s longstanding. It’s well understood.
Egypt relies heavily on US aid. It’s mostly military. Up to $1.5 billion annually buys lots of influence. It can’t defuse street anger.
It continues. It’s virulent. It puts Ford between a rock and hard place. Reestablishing normalized US/Egyptian relations straightaway isn’t likely. Not as long as anti-American sentiment’s too strong to ease.
Some Egyptian officials aren’t happy about him replacing Patterson. He represents same old, same old. He reflects unpopular anti-Muslim policies.
Egypt’s major state daily Al Ahram calls him “the engineer of destruction in Syria, Iraq and Morocco.” He’s got blood on his hands.
Privately owned Al Watan called him “a superstar in the world of intelligence (chosen to) “execute on Egyptian lands what all the invasions failed to do throughout history.”
Supreme Council of the Military (SCAF) spokesman Mr. Ali said:
“You can’t bring someone who has a history in a troubled region and a lot of unrest, make him US ambassador to Egypt, and expect people to be happy with it.”
Some observers are concerned about anti-American rage playing out beyond what government can control.
Revolutionary struggles have a life of their own. Military elements at times join it. Doing so inspires greater support.
Raeef Elwishee holds dual US/Egyptian citizenship. He’s involved in Tahrir Square anti-American protests.
Egyptians reject US interference, he says. He called Ford “a troublemaker. It’s enough to know he was ambassador to Syria.”
“He is top in one of the US spy agencies. We don’t need that kind of relationship.” Popular anger reflects the same sentiment. Years of destructive US meddling fuels it.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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