The Long and Winding Road for Democracy in Egypt Part 11:
Egypt lost in Bermuda Triangle: USA, Muslim Brotherhood and the Qatari Connection
American Politicians have proven to the world once again that they are big history enthusiasts. In fact that they love history so much that they strive to repeat their historical mistakes once or more every generation. Apparently, the mistakes done by looking the other way during the establishment of an Islamist regime in Iran and establishing Al Qaeda in Afghanistan to battle what they called the communists expansion in central Asia during the 1970’s and 1980’s still continue through the 21st century. Back then, the plan worked initially and not only the communist expansion was quelled but the entire Soviet Union was splattered into pieces and divided into 15 republics that formed later a wall around the Russia, some countries that are pro-Russian while the rest are Pro-USA.
However, the American consecutive administrations believed that the mission was accomplished with the fall of the USSR and left Afghanistan in Turmoil to be ruled by warlords that wreaked havoc and terrorized the local populace. As a consequence the infamous Taliban militants who were Islamic Jurisprudence students (Shaaria) emerged on the scene and swept most of the Afghani state. Eventually they allied with Al Qaeda led by Osama Bin Laden and Ayman El Zawihiri who found refuge in the war torn Afghanistan. Eventually Afghanistan became the headquarters to export terrorism worldwide and the pinnacle was the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York’s Twin Towers that changed the face of the earth as we know it.
Obviously all the above didn’t change the perspective American strategists and think tanks and they are bound to repeat their support for radical groups in Middle East to take power while effectively doing the same mistakes that resulted in a war on terror post the cold war era.
USA is the De-facto superpower in the post cold war era with the GDP of $15.09 Trillion USD per year (2011 figures) , that is 3 times that of China and about 2.5 Trillions less than the European Union Countries (26 + UK) amounting 17.578 (2011 figures). These numbers indicate that USA is still the dominant force in the world economy though that will not be the case should the economic situation continues to slide towards the doom it is heading for. That doom can be manifested by the USA national debt amounting 15.879 Trillion USD (July 20th 2012 numbers) with an increase in debt by 3.91 Billion per day since August 2007. The USA economy might be the crippling factor for the United States to sustain its current status as the superpower.
While some may argue about the fact that USA is still the major superpower, none will argue about the extent and leverage that the USA can exercise economically, military and politically on a global scale. USA cannot enforce its will entirely on the planet especially with the presence of rising powers like Russia, China, European Union, Brazil as well as military threats like North Korea and Iran. However, it can certainly make life miserable for countries which oppose its general politics and the examples throughout the past decades are numerous.
1-THE USA AND EGYPT : The love-hate relationship
Egyptian American relations extend for over two centuries and have been almost steady and cordial throughout most of its history with the exception of the period during the Nassers’s reign (1954-1970) This period witnessed Egypt severing its ties with USA as a result to the direct intervention by USA to the Israeli side according to Nasser’s claims in the 1967 six days war .
In 1974 and post the 1973 war , Sadat who was victorious restored the Diplomatic relations with USA and paved the way for the Camp David accords in 1979. Since that date the USA has been the greatest friend for Egypt in terms of economic and military aids. Egypt received over 60 billion in direct military and economic aid since 1979 till now. Despite the annual aid represents less than 1% of Egypt’s annual GDP but it still represents a binding tie between the two nations and a cornerstone of the Middle East hope for peace. The regular military maneuvers known as “Operation Bright Star” represents one of the two nation’s attempts to bring closer the Egyptian and American Central commands.
General Anthony Zinni, former Commandant of the USA Central Command (CENTCOM) which oversees the Middle East, Central Asia and African regions(CENTCOM), once said, “Egypt is the most important country in my area of responsibility because of the access it gives me to the region.” This statement from the former commander elaborates how Egypt plays a key role in the stability of the region without which USA can lose its grip on the oil resources in the Arabian Peninsula as well as the safe passages for its fleets all over the globe.
“Operation Shining Star” is one of the biggest manifestations of partnership that USA and Egypt have throughout the past 3 decades. The Strategic alliance has enabled Egypt to acquire cutting edge technology weapons while guaranteeing the safety of the most important naval passage i.e. Suez Canal as well as the security of Egyptian- Israeli borders and the secure supply of Middle Eastern oil to Europe and USA. These are the main elements of cooperation but aside from these pragmatic ties with the USA, the cultural influence of both countries worldwide as well as their importance for stability of many regions be that the Persian Gulf, Middle East and Africa are paramount.
Despite all of the above, the American intervention in the Egyptians policies and their lobbying against SCAF throughout the transitional phase since the abdication of Mubarak till Mohamed Morsi is in office was staggering. It’s safe to say that President Barack Obama can be held directly responsible this time into bringing a fully fledged Islamist president and government in Egypt. Obama is still under influence that the Islamist can be dealt with and he seems to believe that Egyptian Islamists are similar to the Development and Justice party of Turkey.
Also Obama’s administration still feels the grudge towards SCAF for the raids against unlicensed human right groups in December 2011. But SCAF ended up freeing these workers later but after causing a rift between both governments.
Moreover, The American administration formulated their new strategy in the Middle East by means of forging alliances with Islamists in the region and capitalizing on their rise of post the Arab Spring revolutions in the Middle East. This strategy is based on endorsing and occasionally funding these groups like Muslim Brotherhoods and their franchises in the region. The middleman in this operation is Qatar which through its Al Jazeerah TV network Propaganda machine have been persistently propagating the Muslim brotherhood rhetoric while vehemently defending their cause, rhetoric and portraying all their rivals as anti-revolutionary or pro –Mubarak regime.
The plan worked neatly in Egypt and Tunisia whereby an Islamist dominated parliament in both countries Islamists were elected and given the right to select the commission for the constitution. Naturally, this was a defeat to both Revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia bearing in mind that Islamists were conservative and unenthusiastic about the revolution initially but they managed to reap the rewards of what others sowed.
Julian Assange’s Wikileaks website have revealed a lot of documents displaying double dealings by consecutive US Administrations with the third world dictators and instead formulating new policies they are still infatuated by the old school behind the door dealings and forging deals with oppressors. Only this time, the new oppressors are the Islamists in the Middle East and their flagship is the Muslim Brotherhood organization. The biggest political Islam franchise in the world with about 80 branches worldwide seemed to fit the bill for the America’s next allies to the region. And once again the USA is doomed to commit the mistakes they have done in Iran, Iraq, and Pakistan and now apparently it’s Egypt’s turn. Muslim Brotherhood were in contact with the United States consecutive administrations for decades and many of their leaders hold US citizenships, they among others radical Islam leaders found refuge from Mubarak’s regime in the heart of the USA.
However, It maybe also a factor that it’s in America’s best interest to place loyal regimes within the middle east as a preparation for their expected assault on Iran , however if that is the case Obama should rest assured that Egyptians will not be open to the idea of joining forces with USA to attack any other country. Even at the height of Mubarak’s close ties with USA, Egypt refused to participate in the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan .Even participating with peace keeping forces was rejected so the likeness of Egypt getting involved against Iran is highly unlikely. But it can be plausible that the Obama administration believes that Muslim Brotherhood president would curb Hamas in Gaza from attacking Israeli targets during the expected war should it occurs.
Furthermore, Mohamed Morsi the new president elect of Egypt is ironically the most American president outside USA territory. Despite he spent only 3 years in USA. All his 5 sons and daughter are holders of US Citizenship and similarly with his grandchildren who have the same. His sons already rejected giving up their US citizenships. Morsi and his presidential campaign claimed that they were pushed to accept these citizenships which to any person of knowledge of American laws, standards or posses a modicum of logic will find that totally ridiculous.
According to Nick Mills in his 2007 book “Karazai, the failing American Intervention and the struggle for Afghanistan” Afghani President Hamid Karazai was a former CIA contact during the Soviet Invasion to Afghanistan Karzai remained in Pakistan during the Soviet intervention his siblings immigrated to the United States.Some similarities can be drawn to Morsi who was recruited in 1977 by the Muslim Brotherhood which studying in USA.
There is no indication of any relations with the CIA like in the case of Karzai but it is elementary that the USA will prefer a president who has direct family ties to USA like Morsi than a nationalist military commander like Major General Ahmed Shafiq the former presidential candidate.
American and British Press Handling of the Egyptian Presidential elections:
One of the most misleading campaigns that stained the US and British press lately was the coverage of the later chapters of the Egyptian revolution and particularly the Egyptian presidential elections. Apparently the USA and British media attempted to appear more in love with the revolution than actual Egyptians. The reactions of some editorials and news banners in newspapers the New York Times, The Guardian regarding the anticipated results of the second round of elections were biased and far from objective. They have neglected the facts on the ground and started pushing for the inevitable victory for Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate Mohamed Morsi. It’s not a secret that some of the journalists working for these newspapers had close ties and links to the Qatari government and particularly Al Jazeerah network but more of that is later.
The complexities of the Egyptian culture, society and civilization will never be fully grasped by a 30 something year old researcher in a Washington based think tank dressed in a fancy suit or even a CIA analyst who visited Egypt twice in his life for 3 weeks and claim to be a glorified expert. One would think that they actually read books like “Arabian Nights” Also known as “1001 Nights “as their reference for the middle east policies judging by the amount of disasters they help to create based on their analysis. The war on Iraq is how an inaccurate analysis based on rumors of the storage Weapons of Mass destruction in Iraq can create a global disaster and millions of people pay their lives for it.
During the course of elections coverage by USA and British media, Shafiq’s entire military career neglected as a 1973 war hero Fighter pilot , a, Military attaché’ at Egyptian Embassy in Rome , a Chief of Staff of the Egyptian Air force, followed by a career as the most successful Egyptian civil aviation minister of all time and finally a Prime minister for Egypt during the last few days of Mubarak’s reign and one month afterwards. All that history was neglected by many western media outlets and the main focus was his connection to Mubarak. For instance, in a New York Times article by David Kirkpatrick (Cairo bureau chief correspondent) on may27th 2012 titled “Egyptian counting on the worries of Elites” is an example of a how an article can be misleading.
Simply from the title, it is implying that that General Shafiq is appeasing the elites while the facts on the ground proved that he received more votes from rural areas all over Egypt than urban areas. Added to this , over 12 million Egyptians have voted in Shafiq’s favour with a percentage of 48.27% according to the disputed results that led to the victory of the new president Morsi who edged by a controversial 51.73% in a repeated Bush/Gore 2000 scenario. These 12 million people who voted for Shafiq are by no means elites but people of all ranks of society and in a country with poverty rates exceed 40%, the existence of 12 million elites is impossible and not even a fraction of that number would sound plausible.
Furthermore, Kilkpatric described the comparison between Ahmed Shafiq and Mohamed Morsi as follows: ” Mr. Shafik, 70, and Mr. Morsi, 60, offer a rematch of the struggle that has driven Egyptian politics for six decades, between secular authoritarians and Islamists who promise a novel experiment in religious democracy” This was another misleading statement. In the 21st century hardly an “Authoritarian Secular” participates in elections after revolutions and seeks the approval of a nation in a state of revolt. On the other hand, he implies that the so called religious democracy is a novel experiment, the fact that this experiment has been tried and tested in other countries like Iran and Pakistan. Both countries have Islamists dominating their parliament and heads of state offices in the case of Iran while backed by the military.
The rhetoric of the Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi was synonymous with the same rhetoric utilized both in Iran and Pakistan. So the case of them having a novel experiment for Egypt is quite weak since they have stated clearly that their ultimate goal is to establish a Caliphate with a capital in Jerusalem. Similar cases of misleading readers about the situation in Egypt can be easily found in editorials and columns and even headlines in L.A. Times, Washington Post, The Guardian, and The Daily Mail. The common theme was that they tried to convey to the readers in USA and UK that the Morsi is ironically the revolutionary candidate and Shafiq is nothing but a mere shadow of the former regime. These mistakes can hardly be attributed to coincidence or good will , this very likely to either be a result of ignorance of the Egyptian and Middle Eastern politics , loss of proper translations from Arabic sources or intentional . It’s evident that many of these media outlets are not hiring correspondents who speak proper Arabic if any and they acquire their information from Muslim Brotherhood English websites without checking their rhetoric or declarations in Arabic. Only few correspondences have mastered Arabic language like in the cases of Pittsburg Tribune’s Betsy Hiel or CNN’s Ben Wedeman .
The synchronized attacks on the Dr. Ahmed Shafiq and even misquoting their campaign statements became very aggressive and cannot be attributed to coincidence. For instance, a case of misquotation was made against Ahmed Sarhan (Spokesman of Shafiq’s Campaign) who mentioned that after the elections the revolution has ended and rebuilding the country will commence. Washington post and other news networks printed that Ahmed Sarhan spokesman says that “The revolution has ended”. There is no plausible explanation on why a reputable newspaper misquotes a spokesman of a Presidential campaign that was specific in his words.
Furthermore, Mohamed Morsi’s campaign and Muslim Brotherhood managed to trick the western Media days before the declaration of the final result of the second round of elections by announcing it at 4:00 A.M Cairo local time in the same night of the last polling closed. Around that time it would be at the evening news in New York to send a message to the American audience that Morsi won the election despite the fact that Cairo districts votes were not counted yet as well as several other cities.
Many media outlets have fallen in the trap set for them and declared Morsi as winner despite the very close race which was only resolved almost a week later. The reason for this declaration by the brotherhood is that their Al Jazeerah propaganda machine and other networks would cry foul in case they declared Shafiq’s as winner.
This action has exerted a lot more pressure on SCAF who couldn’t verify or investigate the case of 800,000 ballots forged by Muslim Brother in favour of Morsi found in Amiriya Government Printing press and lots of incidents of coerced forgery as well in many districts. Cases of forcing Christian voters to stay home during the elections by Islamists in the southern districts of Miniya and Fayoum have been reported as well and neglected by international media who only exerted pressure on SCAF to hand the power to the Muslim brotherhood candidate in a very bizarre show of solidarity to the Islamist candidate.
Finally, it is a fact that the high committee for elections is the only entity designated to announce the results and SCAF under pressure neglected this fact and the investigations about fraud as well. Evidences of this was prevalent when the result declaration was pushed for many days only to have the Election commission head judge Farouk Sultan mentioned that only 3 ballot boxes were recounted for fraud which is quite illogical since the 3 ballot boxes don’t take 5 days to count but a mere 2 hours maximum.
2-The Muslim brotherhood and the master plan for hegemony
The success of the Muslim brotherhood and Islamists in Egypt would mark up the beginning of the end of Pan Arabism and beginning of new era of Pan Islamism. Why this would be bad news for the west unlike what’s propagated there? Because as much as Pan Arab nationalists seemed to be in conflict with the west since the 1950s till now, they were mostly distinctive in choosing their foes which was mainly USA regimes and its closest allies but Pan Islamists are mostly in conflict with anyone or any country which is not Islamic .In fact they can be in conflict with Islamic countries that doesn’t adhere to their strict believes like in the case of secular Turkey or Shia’ ruled Iran.
Now this can mark a new struggle between the west and the middle if the Islamists take a hold of the Egyptian Army which is their next in line target especially after removing both SCAF head Tantawi and deputy Anan from power recently. The Egyptian modern Army since Mohamed Ali Pasha reformations and establishment of a Middle Eastern empire has distinguished itself as a secular army to an Islamic majority country. The Egyptian Army didn’t involve itself in wars for religion with the exception of Ibrahim Pasha Campaign in the Arabian Peninsula to the quell the Wahhabi revolt and against the House of Saud between (1813-1815) and ending officially in 1818 by the surrender The Saudi Leader Abdullah Bin Saud and the fall last stronghold in Diriyah . But even that war led by Ibrahim Pasha who managed to achieve a decisive victory against the house of Saud was not aimed for strictly for religious purpose despite quelling the first Wahhabi movement but mainly to affirm an initial alliance between the new ruler of Egypt and Ottoman empire by quelling the rebellion that seized all the holy places in Mecca and Medina. That was the only struggle that the Egyptian army got involved that has certain degree of religious conflict within it.
Now with the Muslim Brotherhood in power of Presidency and seeking to Islamize the Egyptian Army from within, the dangers of this process on the status of the Middle East peace particularly with Egypt and Israel is bound to be negative. Turning the status of the Egyptian army from a national army that that defends the Egyptian soil from any foreign intervention or aggression to a so called “Islamic Army” will result in turning the Palestinian struggle into a purely religious struggle instead of a national one.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s ideology is mainly based on their founder Hassan El Bana’s saying “God is our objective; the Quran is our law, the Prophet is our leader; Jihad is our way; and death for the sake of God is the highest of our aspirations.” With this motto being implemented and Brotherhood penetrating the ranks of the army this can’t be good news for the region.
Moreover, Muslim Brotherhood presidential campaign and rallies in many Egyptian city like Mahalla North of Cairo expressed the willingness of the Islamist group represented by new president Mohamed Mosri’s campaign to initiate what their campaign of what called the Liberation of Jerusalem and defeating the “Jews” . This rally among many others accompanied by the chants and singing appeared to be more synonymous of a Rally that would be organized by Hitler followers in Nazi Germany than a post Millennium presidential campaign in a democratic country. Some would claim that this is just campaign rhetoric and it’s aimed to rally the populist and Islamist votes behind Morsi who eventually won in a very controversial manner. But that couldn’t be further from the truth since the same crowds that stood behind the Islamist candidate will be pressing Morsi to deliver these promises made during his campaign.
The Muslim brotherhood that are known to be extremely pragmatic will not likely to be to take any offensive moves against Israel or any other nation especially that the army is still not fallen in their hands yet. However, under stress from those overzealous voters seeking to restore Jerusalem and the whole of Palestine as they dream, one can only imagine what sort of aggressive ambition they may adopt once they grab a hold of the Egyptian army command. The likeness of Morsi taking offensive action or rhetoric against Israel is minimal as long as the Army is still away from the direct influence and command of Morsi and the brotherhood but at the same time it’s worrying to think how long before they attain that goal.
The above mentioned speeches and what can be described as a preparation for a war was overlooked by the US and Western regimes and media. On the contrary, Presidential candidate Shafiq who rivaled Morsi during the presidency elections 2nd round. Shafiq’s who vowed clearly to strengthen the ties of relations with USA as a super power and key ally to Egypt as well as maintaining peace treaty with Israel was overlooked by the same western media while focusing on the Morsi campaign and clearly overlooking the Nazi rhetoric rallies and promises to squash the opponents under his shoes according one of Mohamed Morsi’s Speeches.
Of course the United States represented by Obama’s administration had a long list of demands before approving Morsi as a president while giving up on Shafiq as a more likely friendly face. Among the most important demands are that Egyptian-Israeli treaty to remain untouched and the Suez Canal to remain open for international trade. The USA have direct negotiation channels with the Muslim brotherhood for long years and these channels were used from time to time to add pressure on the Mubarak’s regime as many of the Muslim Brotherhood members found safe havens on American soil from prosecution during Mubarak’s era. Renewed Negotiations with Muslim Brotherhood were initiated since 2005 according to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the ties continued ever since. Evidently Obama is still under influence from his advisors who portray to him a romantic view of the Muslim Brotherhood as a moderate movement with the likes of Dalia Mujahid his Islamic and Middle Eastern advisor in his crew.
Morsi who was during the first days of the revolution till January 28th 2011 was incarcerated on the account of accusation of espionage with foreign powers. Some might attribute that incarceration as a prosecution on behalf Mubarak regime. However, the charges were never pursued and ironically Morsi was broken out of jail during the chaos that occurred. Egyptian courts and SCAF for some unknown reason not opened this case files and Morsi found himself eligible to run for President despite all the charges and actually won the presidency bearing in mind that he was a second choice for the Muslim Brotherhood themselves who only presented him on the scene after Business Tycoon Khairat El Shater their primary candidate for presidency was disqualified by the Presidential elections committee. However, the same was not applied on Morsi since wasn’t indicted yet but was to be held on trial when all of a sudden no charges were to touch him after his nomination and definitely after his victory.
Khairat El Shater associates toured the USA in good will missions in an attempt to persuade and rally USA support. One of the delegate members is a peculiar case and he is Attorney Abdul Mawgud Dardeery the Muslim Brotherhood’s Attorney who was Ironically implicated in a child pornography case but not charged and was even allowed to enter the USA despite its strict laws in regard any person of interest or those who were implicated in any charges. The delegation was allowed by US government and even was interviewed by the press. . El Shater was touring between the USA and Qatar trying to rally support for his candidacy and affirming that that the brotherhood will continue to honour the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel and all other international treaties. Though he never got the candidacy , he started doing the same for his replacement Morsi and conducting interviews on western media claiming that SCAF will forge the elections against Morsi.
On the other hand, The above mentioned rallies and parades organizing by Brotherhood during the replacement candidate Morsi campaigns prove that they were selling false promises to the USA till this moment. Muslim Brotherhood ties with organizations ranked by US administration as terrorist like Hamas and the full knowledge of the Obama’s administration gives this USA approval of the Muslim Brotherhood a very bizarre decision and endorses the claims that Muslim Brotherhood forged a deal with the USA in exchange of some verbal promises which the Muslim Brotherhood are likely to never keep.
Conspiracy theorists in Egypt believe that the USA administration is involved in a conspiracy to divide Egypt into two or more countries in a similar case to Sudan on the basis of religion and Muslim Brotherhood is the Trojan horse for this plan. Though this might be farfetched since a divided Egypt will hurt the USA equally if Egypt would have a civil war but many indications and evidence found can be attributed to reinforce that direction as well. However, USA should bear in mind that neither the Greeks , Romans , Ottomans nor even British occupation with their divide and conquer motto succeeded divide the Egyptian state since its establishment as a unified kingdom over 5500 Years ago and the USA will not be an exception.
3- The Qatari connection Al Jazeerah : The Muslim Brotherhood’s Pravda
Hardly TV news networks changed the pace of politics in any region in the world like Al Jazeerah did in the Middle East post Millennium era. In the Middle East where freedom of speech was a rare commodity back in the 1990s and onwards, Al Jazeerah was a leap forward in the amount of freedom of expression provided as well as political and social taboos were broken and openly discussed. Since its inception in 1996 Qatari TV network Al Jazeeraah have managed to forge a peculiar usually unmixed message that mixes Leftist Pan Arabism rhetoric with the conservative Islamist one. The network pioneered in hosting key opposition figures who found no one to host them in their respective countries media outlets to profess their ideas and rhetoric. This resulted in major reshuffle of the old media policies in many Middle Eastern countries and particularly in Egypt which witnessed much more freedoms of expression and policies during the later years of Mubarak.
Qatar a small Persian gulf peninsula established in 1971 who’s Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani have orchestrated a coup d’état against his father in an attempt 1995 to gain power and the coup was successful and although he ruled since June 1995 the official coronation didn’t take place before June 2000 as the Amir (Prince) of Qatar. Afterwards, he struck gold by the incredible wealth of Natural gas that represented an abundant fortune for the scarcely populated nation. This assisted Qatar to adopt the role of the financier and the propagator to a lot of activist movements and Islamists movement in the Middle East. Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani enjoys an enormous wealth and he is depicted in his small Emirate as the man who have the knowledge of everything, be that in military, politics or ironically sports
Qatar which is an Absolute Monarchy is preaching the entire Arab world on daily basis about the importance of democracy and freedom of expression through its extended media arm Al Jazeerah news. Qatar have recruited hundreds of professional anchors, editors and technicians with offices in all major cities around the world to try to battle the influence of CNN and BBC in the middle east or that was the cause declared initially. Later after initial successes of breaking political taboos in media coverage, the network reached international fame during its coverage of the US invasions of Afghanistan (2001) and Iraq (2003) as they managed to display the other side point of view that was usually covered up by the USA and British media. They have been the first to broadcast the infamous terrorist Osama Bin Laden voice messages on regular basis to the extent that American conservatives labeled it as “Al Qaeda TV”.
The professionalism facade officially displayed by Al Jazeerah in its earlier years began to fade away eventually as the Qatari network intentionally neglected any criticism to the Qatari regime or politics to the extent that days can pass of continuous news without a single headline mentioning Qatar let alone criticizing it by any means.
Also other Qatari friendly regimes like that of Syria and Algeria got free passes from any criticisms and the focus was always Egypt which was miles ahead in democracy and freedoms even under Mubarak rule compared to the likes of Syria, Algeria , Iraq and of course Qatar itself. The Qatari news network neglected the international reports of human rights abuses including human trafficking and abuse of foreign labour among many others taking place in Qatar itself and just focused on other Middle Eastern countries.
Moreover, a new CEO was running the Al Jazeerah network the Palestinian/Jordanian national Wadah Khanfar who managed in a few years to radicalize most of the network staff according to prominent Egyptian anchor Hafez El Mirazi who was the director of Al Jazeerah bureau in Washington in an interview in 2009. Al Mirazi stated that Khanfar systematically replaced all the old technical teams with newer radical Islamist adopters from other networks who mainly outcasts but Khanfar who is a Muslim Brotherhood member did that to gradually Islamize the message of the network. It was prevalent throughout the past years that the mix of Pan Arabism – Pan Islamism rhetoric that dominated the Al Jazeerah network recently was shifting more to extreme point of views Islam led by the famous Egyptian origin and Qatari national Youssef Al Qardawi.
Al Qardawi the former Muslim Brotherhood member who fled Egypt during Nasser’s regime is often described as a controversial cleric who has views ranging from very sane to very extreme managed to propagate the ideas of Islamists in neighboring countries and particularly Egypt through his weekly talk show. Wadah Khanfar resigned after a scandal was revealed by Wikileaks website that he was in close cooperation with the CIA and he turned his resignation despite any links to the CIA and refuting the Wikileaks reports’ contents but the timing of his sudden departure and the release of the scandalous documents rules out any coincidence and proves Khanfar cooperation with the CIA.
Furthermore, Al Jazeerah in an attempt to reach a wider audience worldwide have launched an English version of its channel and mustered a lot of renowned worldwide anchors like Cnn’s Riz Khan and British anchor David Frost among many others. The rhetoric and the message of the newer English network is categorically different from the Arabic version. Instead of the traditional anti-American and anti –Israeli rhetoric that distinguishes Al Jazeerah and addressed to the Arabic speaking audience, a much toned down and civilized rhetoric is presented to the western audience in complete contradiction of the traditional Al Jazeerah.
The above can have very few meanings and the most obvious one is that Al Jazeerah is just a propaganda tool in the hands of the Qatari regime that they operate it at different levels and with different messages depending on the targeted audience to serve their politics. Al Jazeerah may look as a professional network with a lot of capabilities and excellent coverage but the hidden message is far from that professionalism level and it’s not very different from any TV station in the former USSR that were utilized for pure propaganda. For instance, while criticizing Egyptian and Jordanian regimes for having relationships with Israel, Qatar maintained a permanent Israeli commercial bureau in their Capital El Doha and Sheik Al Thani meets on regular basis with Israeli officials including former Israeli Prime minister Tzippi Livni in September 2007 and onwards. Qatar during the revolution and onwards establish a special channel called “Al Jazeerah Mubasher Egypt” that translates Al Jazeerah Live Egypt, The 24 hours live news channel has been the spokesperson and the propaganda machine of the Islamists particularly Muslim Brotherhood since its inception post the January revolution and till this date.
Moreover, the above could have been understandable if Qatar was a role model for democracy in the region. However, Qatari regime is doing exactly what they criticize others about is exactly the motto of their politics for the past 15 years masterminded by their foreign minister Hamad Bin Jassim Al Thani the prime minister and Foreign minister of Qatar. Hamad Al Thani with his impeccable maneuvering and negotiation skills mixed with worldwide relationships is the defacto decision maker and mastermind for all Qatar’s plans.
On the other hand, another hand that Qatar has been utilizing is the Qatar Investment Authority to buy influence within the EU and USA be that through direct investment in major banks, corporations, publishing houses and even sports clubs. That strategy includes hosting foreign journalists in Qatar in attempt to appease them for a good word about Qatar especially when campaigning for certain events like the successful bid of Football World Cup of 2022 for which the hosting rights were awarded to Qatar.
This bid that involved a lot of dubious dealings and it’s being under scrutiny now by the FIFA. Also Qatari Asian Football Confederation President Mohamed Bin Hammam was banned for life from FIFA related activities upon his indictment by a five member panel of offering bribes in his campaign for FIFA Presidency.
Qatar pays professional journalists like The Guardian’s Louise Taylor who wrote an article on the Guardian dated 25th of November 2010 lobbying for the perks of Qatar hosting the World Cup. She failed to report the identity that paid for her trip which was the Qatari government and many readers found that appalling and she was warned by the editor of the newspaper. The same cases took place on multiple levels with Qatar buying their way through prestigious newspapers and periodicals and lately it has been utilized in favour of Qatar’s political agenda and will. None of the foreign correspondents or anchors working in Al Jazeerah English and those who are writing in propagation of Qatar’s point of views is mentioning the terrible foreign labour conditions in Qatar and the fact that it’s an all Autocratic country that is ironically preaching for democracy.
Finally, Qatar’s involvement in Egyptian internal affairs and politics has been gaining the small gulf peninsula a lot of enemies in Egypt especially they feel that Qatar is directly involved in bringing Islamists to power. This is adding up the more enemies to the Qatari state Even when Qatar deposited 2 Billion dollars as loan in the Egyptian National Bank as economic assistance. It left many Egyptians for what purpose and what are Qatar is planning next of Egypt. The answer came just the next day of his visit and Morsi removing both Field Marshall Tantawi and Chief of Staff Anan from power and SCAF and overruling their appendix on the constitutional declaration. This is likely to cause turmoil in the country as now the full Islamization of the country is reaching its final stages with the appointment of Al Seesy as the New Defense minister who possess Islamist tendencies. The building up of a new Iran in the region but with a much more powerful influence in the Arab world as well as much more powerful army at hand is now taking place. Thanks to the Qatari funding and Obama’s blessing.
To simplify it even further, Qatar intervention in Egyptian politics is equivalent of the Caribbean Islands of Trinidad and Tobago trying to interfere and influence the USA policies which certainly won’t make American citizens any happier.
The USA and its Middle Eastern vassal state Qatar have committed a huge historical strategic and tactical mistake by siding to the extremists in Egypt and guiding them all the way to the seat of presidency. This strategic mistake if not corrected by measures that guarantees all the freedoms in Egypt by the elected president, the USA would have created a monster to be unleashed in Egypt and even Iran the boogey man of the Middle East will pale in comparison if Egypt is under full control of the Islamists. The ramifications of this decision by the Obama administration might manifest itself sooner than the USA department of state believes. The Qatari ambitions of controlling the politics of the middle east by pumping funds to extremists, political groups and journalists in Middle East and west alike while propagating a the views of Political Islam in the region is likely to fail on the long run.
Despite the initial successes, Qatari regime has been creating more enemies within the Middle East more than they will be able to handle in the near future. The wrath of these countries and populations might befall on them one day and that day might be coming close. Obama administration have helped to plant once again the seeds of a latest theocracy in the region and overlooked the bigger picture and future interests of the region and the USA itself in the upcoming generations. What’s worse they supported all pre- Nazi rhetoric for some verbal confirmations of the Muslim brotherhood about the peace treaty and the minorities rights which Muslim Brotherhood can turn back away from at a glance.
The Qatari- USA alliance to change the Middle East and turn of the wave of originally liberal and democratic revolutions also known the Arab spring turned the movement into an Islamist nuclear winter. Most of the key Arab countries of the movement are now transforming from relatively secular countries like Tunisia, Egypt and soon to follow Syria into Islamists strongholds that will ignite the Middle East even further. This historical political sin of Obama’s administration will have countries like USA , Europe and all the democratic world will pay the price for.
For the first time ever, USA government now is criticized and even loathed by secular powers as they believe they have aligned themselves with the enemies of freedom for their short term gains. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was greeted with flowers in Tahrir in her first visit post the revolution then greeted with tomatoes and thrown shoes at her motorcade in her latest visit in July 2012. This change of emotions has resulted as a consequence that more than half of Egyptians are staunch believers that USA is conspiring against their freedoms by assisting the Islamists to consolidate their powers. It will not take a real political observer to witness the frequent visits by congressman and American delegations to the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters. After each visit the Muslim Brotherhood members feel more empowered and become ruthless with their enemies. Now people who oppose them are being attacked in broad daylight in the streets and be that politicians, judges, artists, activists or media anchors.
Muslim Brotherhood has turned their back on Egyptians themselves with all the promises gone in tatters from the very beginning of the revolution. They broke their promises when they stated that they don’t want to be in power passing through the elections when they said they will nominate candidates for 30% of the seats all the way to promising not to nominate a presidential candidate. They have always found excuses for themselves not to deliver any promises and accordingly for a man like Obama whom they believe is the leader of the “Great Satan” i.e. USA is not a man whom they would care to keep their promises to.
USA still plays with old cards all the time and still using antiquated cold war strategies regarding the Middle East and that’s the abysmal result of this game. This is not a traditional conspiracy theory from the USA but more of a scenario preset in the event of the fall of Mubarak among many others scenarios but Obama’s and co have chosen the worst possible one thus gaining more enemies in Egypt for his nation than new friends as it should have been.
Some European Union countries may believe that having Islamist regimes in Middle East would be a plausible idea to combat the influx of illegal immigration from North African countries to Europe as they will find Islamic Sharia in their homelands without trying to Islamize Europe according to the believers of this theory,. However should that be the case Europe would be trading one problem with a fully fledged disaster as they would be surrounded by a belt of radicals in the south of the Mediterranean which is a security threat much more clear and present than any illegal immigrants may pose.
What Egypt is witnessing these days is similar to what Germany witnessed in 1933 when the Nazi took over Germany in demoractic elections then they took over the army, the judiciary system, the government and the presidency. Everyone knows how that ended and in this case Obama is Chamberlain (British Prime Minister) who appeased the fascists but as all historians know, fascists are never appeased because they want everything. This is not a panic fever but actual events taking place in Egypt on the ground now.
With the current tensions in Egypt will and current economic struggles, the Million Dollar question is still whether Mohamed Morsi and his Islamist group survive 4 years of presidency or the waves of change will reach them before their term ends.
In over 2 centuries of modern Egyptian history and even before that, not a single Egyptian ruler be that a viceroy, king, sultan, khedive or a president escaped one of 3 inevitable fates with the fourth is yet to happen and these are: Exile, imprisonment or moving directly from the palace to the…….… graveyard.