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August 13, 2013

Egypt at the Deepest Crisis

Roy Meachum

Violence has come out of various camps in Cairo and the rest of the country. Two Republican U.S. senators went to see for themselves. They visited where most women wore the hijab – unlike when I lived in the city.


In early 1977, the city on the Nile lived in a style which can be considered ma’alesh – Arab for “whatever.” The British left behind a mood of secularism. My sojourn coincided with a movement in the Middle Eastern universities to become more and more Islamist. When I arrived few women wore head-coverings and gloves, against men’s handshakes and touches.


Two years later the situation was changing, but it seemed unreal that the Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwan Muslimun) would ever be voted into power. In 1981, President Anwar Sadat was assassinated; it was blamed on fundamentalist military officers. But me, I hold his successor guilty; my opinion is widespread, but not in official circles that reach into Jerusalem and therefore, Washington.


Hosni Mubarak was deposed in 2011. Egypt went without a government for almost a year. Many politicians and parties decided not to participate in the new elections. Much to their surprise, over the next days, they discovered Muhammad Morsi had won; he would be the president in Cairo for the next year.


This summer Mr. Morsi was “eased out” by the military. It’s a convenient fiction not to say “coup” that would demand the U.S. military aid be cut off. The fiction is also ostentatiously believed in Israel, which feared increased Islamism that would come under the Brotherhood’s domination along the lower Nile.


Strictly as a by-product, Muslims in the towns along the Suez are harassing Copts, the native Christians of Egypt, including several murders. This has little to do with situations in Alexandria and other cities. The Sinai Peninsula, since Israel withdrew, in 1979, has reverted to the Bedouin tribes that always have trouble supporting themselves. They’ve used the excuses of the unsettled conditions to promote “thuggery” and general mayhem.


Earlier, Cairo maintained three governmental agencies, which were charged with mainly protecting tourists; that ended in 1967’s Five-day War. Jerusalem grabbed control of the land beyond Suez, and Syria’s Golan Heights, too. It also sank the USS Liberty, at the cost of 34 US Navy lives and wounded 134. Yet over-flights took pictures the Intel ship was covered by a huge Stars and Stripes. After the war, President Lyndon B. Johnson made no sounds and protests about the losses.


It’s not that Muhammad Morsi was elected by the majority of Egyptians, taking very much the abstentions into consideration. The U.S. is doing what it has done since 1948 when President Harry S Truman put the United States out in front by recognizing Israel. I was about to write I had no idea how the situation turns out. Of course, I do.


The Jewish Nation will dictate the outcome; mainly because most Americans don’t give a tinker’s damn about the Middle East. Why?


That will take a raft of columns that I can’t write because the lack of public interest, dominated by the barrage of anti-Muslim chattering. Some of the Egyptian women I met would match their American and European counterparts, in strength, character and intelligence. They wear hijabs out of respect for their religion – not at their men’s direction. How stupid and how bigoted!


Ya hosarra! What a pity!


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