The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Syria as seen in Egypt

While Emad Adeeb was trying to  jolt his guest out of his stupor to tell us whether or not a US attack on Syria is in Egypt’s best interests and whether those interests are aligned with American interests, the overwhelming majority had already decided they were not.

Some for the reasons Amr Hamzawy offered Adeeb, which were, to be brief: It is dangerous to allow the  US to fashion itself as an international “Rambo” conducting military operations without international consent - again; there are no happy post-military intervention examples in living memory to cite in order to make the case for Syria, which needs a political solution, regionally and internationally, and; one of the main goals of Jan 25 was to end Egypt’s subordination to the US, which should afford it the right to oppose the US when it disagrees with it.

But not everyone was as Syria-focused about Syria as Hamzawy. Hamdeen Sabahi, for example, tweeted that history teaches us that an attack on Egypt always began with an attack on Syria, hence the need to oppose this barbarism. Identically, Kardy Saeed thought the main reason why Egypt shouldn’t condone an attack on Syria was because it would open the door for an attack on Egypt. Amr Adeeb screamed at a colorful map of a divided Syria and then moved on to compare between our Qatari and Emirati brothers,  while others saw the attack as a US consolation prize to the MB for  failing to tame Gen. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

Given that the belief that the West has conspired against the strong Arab armies to destroy the region is all but drafted into Egypt’s new constitution as the state-sanctioned worldview, it’s unsurprising that its anti-Islamist believers support the Syrian army. They also think that Jan 25 was mostly, if not wholly, a conspiracy crushed by el-Sisi and the true revolution of June 30. And that the gullible/complicit youth should rue that day since they helped the islamists frame it as a revolution and caused this mess -- but I digress.

An especially outspoken advocate of that theory is the wife of the head of state TV under Mubarak, Abdel Latif al-Menawi, Rola Kharsa, an appreciator of all Arab armies who is extending her propaganda services to “the Egyptian army’s extension, the Syrian army.” To her, Bashar al-Assad is a “symbol of the Syria,” which is the “Eastern Gate” that Western invaders will march through to occupy the pearl of the Middle East and Milky Way, Egypt.

Granted, Bashar can be a ruthless dictator sometimes, and maybe his people do want him gone, Kharsa concedes, but it’s not like Obama isn't a dictator too. One need not support Bashar for the sake of Bashar, she explains, one must do so for Syria, because he is the only guarantee of unity (something Syria enjoys right now and fears to lose). If one is still squirmy about supporting the Syrian army, one is free to draw a line between the arguably bad Bashar and the inherently good Syrian army if they want, Kharsa offers not unkindly, a line similar to the one between Mubarak and the SCAF.

Too consumed with the existential threat they are facing, the MB has nothing but a criminally long, repetitive article to offer Syria, which cites the same tired theory the liberals are touting (with the victims and traitor roles reversed, of course) as the real reason why the US wants to intervene, dismissing humanitarian obligations because why not intervene Burma, Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan (?), Iraq (?!) and Egypt (since apart from the over-one-hundred-thousand discrepancy in the death toll, there is very little difference between the conflicts in Egypt and Syria).

The author also believes that the attack on Syria will serve as an international media distraction to allow the coup-supporters in Egypt to slaughter the MB and will generate profits for the US from traitor Gulf states, who support  its military economy.

It's worth noting that some TV hosts began their segments on Syria stressing the importance of letting Egypt's supreme interests, and only those, dictate how we see and deal with the Syrian conflict -- and then perfunctorily bemoaned the absence of Arab unity near the end.