Monday, December 18, 2023

Misery on the Nile - By Eric S. Margolis

 The massacre in Gaza of Palestinian civilians – half of them women and children – has brought growing worldwide condemnation of Israel and a surge in anti-Jewish anger. 

However, the co-author of this historic crime is not only Israel’s far right government and its patron, the United States.  To the list of malefactors we must add a major culprit which has so far escaped condemnation and charges of war crimes and human rights abuses.

That is, of course, the land of the Pharaohs, Egypt.  Its dictator ‘Field Marshall’ Abdel el-Sisi has collaborated with Israel and the US in the bloody campaign to crush Gaza’s Hamas movement.  Sisi, like the Saudis and Gulf sheikdoms, had a deep-seated fear of Hamas, which was democratically elected.  Hamas called for a revolution in the Arab world, free elections, and an end to its status as a western colony. 

West Africa is undergoing a similar challenge as its nationalist groups (‘terrorists’ to state-controlled western media,) struggle to throw off military, political and financial domination by France, Britain and the United States – the New Colonialism.

Today, Egypt is run by one of the Arab world’s most repressive regimes.  There is intensive censorship, a government-controlled media (the largest in the Arab world), armies of informers and snitches, and the ferocious secret police, the Mukhabarat, notorious for torture and buggery.

Egypt did have a free and fair election – in 2013 when it held its first honest vote in thousands of years.  A popular Islamist, Mohamed Morsi, was elected president.  He called for more free votes, a cut in Egypt’s heavy military spending, curbing the secret police and pushing the army back into its barracks. He also called for the vast, US-financed security apparatus that kept Egyptian dictators in power to be dismantled.  He backed a free Palestine.

Instead, the US and Saudi Arabia, defenders of the status quo, colluded with the army and secret police to whip up riots and protests. Pro-Morsi demonstrators were shot down in the street.  Leading Islamists were arrested en masse, including the hapless Morsi himself.  President Obama gave a green light to this right-wing counter revolution. 

Egypt today is the Arab World’s most populous nation, with over 113 million citizens crammed into a nation with arable land only the size of the US state of Maryland.  It has become a key American protectorate and, when necessary, major military/logistics base. The US CIA and National Security Agency help guard President Sisi and his entourage.  Israel and Egypt collaborate closely on battling Islamic movements, including Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon.  Political troublemakers are quickly jailed and/or tortured.

Egypt’s military regime is petrified that Hamas’ democratic ideals will infect Egypt and even its omnipotent security apparatus. It is cooperating with Israel to wipe out Hamas. Saudi Arabia, also petrified of another Arab Spring revolution, is backing Sisi with huge amounts of money and ‘baksheesh’ to Egypt’s military.

Thus, it’s stomach churning to hear US President Joe Biden claiming Washington is arming Ukraine – $815 billion in handouts so far – in order to `preserve democracy.’ Why not start in Egypt where Washington pulls all the strings?

Egypt sits on the edge of revolution.  Its unhappy people subsist on near starvation income – rather like the imprisoned Palestinians of Gaza.  Dirt poor and racked by every sort of disease, Egypt is a humanitarian and public health disaster. It survives on handouts of US wheat, which is provided to Cairo in a vast scheme of corruption, kickbacks and bribes.  Interestingly, the uber powerful Israel lobby in the US approved wheat aid to Cairo, thus putting Egypt under Israel’s thumb.

Egypt is a time bomb always waiting to explode.  America, ‘cradle of democracy’ has become its jailer.  But few in Washington ever ask about Egypt’s human rights abuses.  Cairo is stoutly protected by its alter ego, Israel.

Eric S. Margolis [send him mail] is the author of War at the Top of the World and the new book, American Raj: Liberation or Domination?: Resolving the Conflict Between the West and the Muslim World. See his website.

Copyright © Eric Margolis