Trump’s right-wing Egyptian allies attack Biden administration and Dems
Then U.S. President Donald Trump meets with Egyptian dictator Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, Sept. 24, 2018, in New York. With Trump now gone, the Sisi government worries it may have lost its most important benefactor. | Evan Vucci / AP

Egypt’s miserable record on human rights has resulted in two Democrats launching a congressional group to deal with the situation.

On Jan. 25, Democratic Reps. Tom Malinowski of New Jersey and Don Beyer of Virginia announced the formation of the “Egypt Human Rights Caucus.” Egyptian human rights organizations and activists in the U.S. have responded by urging their House members and senators to join.

Malinowski said the group will reflect and help shape the growing consensus in Congress that there is a pressing “need to rebalance” the U.S.’ relationship with Egypt.

“The Egyptian people’s hopes for self-determination, freedom, and social justice inspired the world in 2011. Unprecedented repression and grave human rights violations have not extinguished those hopes,” Rep. Beyer said at the launch of the caucus.

A vicious military-backed right-wing dictatorship replaced the government that was formed after the “Arab Spring” with a bloody coup in 2013. Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, the general who leads the regime now, enjoyed the embrace and support of the Trump administration.

The day after the January announcement by congressional Dems that they were forming a pro-Egyptian democracy group, the Egyptian state-controlled media channel “Sada Elbalad,” (“Echo of the Country” in English) through its talk show “Ala Masouleiaty,” (“On my Own Responsibility”) aired harsh attacks on the U.S. in general but against the Democratic Party and the Democratic majority in Congress, in particular.

Ahmad Mousa, the presenter, spent 90 minutes accusing Democrats of supporting terrorism and planning to “demolish” Egypt. Some of Mousa’s attacks were so strong that they have raised concern for the safety of U.S. citizens in Egypt and elsewhere in the region.

Mousa criticized the Democrats for establishing, “for the first time in history an anti-Egyptian caucus dedicated to supporting terrorists.” He specifically singled out Malinowski, whom he described as “being in touch with major world financiers of terrorism.” He provided no evidence for his wild charges.

Expanding his attacks on the Democratic Party as a whole, he said: “Democrats have been having aggressive attitudes against Egypt since Obama. Their history with Egypt has never been and will never be good.” Mousa went on to charge, “Democrats will blackmail Egypt using human rights allegations as the excuse.”

Mousa described the U.S. under President Joe Biden as being “against the Egyptian people.” “The U.S.,” he said, “under the Democratic Party-controlled Congress, is allying, hand in hand, with terrorists.”

Demonstrators protest against Al Sisi near the White House, during Trump’s meeting with the dictator in Washington, April 9, 2019. | Jose Luis Magana / AP

Unfortunately, Mousa was able to draw on the real ongoing and existing human rights abuses in the United States to bolster his case. “Brutal American police kill their citizens, peaceful protesters, prisoners, immigrants, and minorities with no mercy,” he said.

The U.S.’s loss of credibility as a defender of democracy and justice increased sharply during the Trump administration, although it did not begin with Trump. U.S. police do indeed continue to kill unarmed African-American men and women and, as the world witnessed, the U.S. has carried out an inhumane immigration policy with the cruel and deadly family separations at the border and Trump’s Muslim ban.

The Trump administration strongly supported the Egyptian Al Sisi dictatorship, encouraging it to abuse the rights and take the lives of Egyptian citizens. The dictatorship in Egypt fears that the unqualified support Trump gave to it during the last four years may begin to change under Biden.

Reflecting fears that Biden will be less supportive of human rights abuses in Egypt than was Trump, Mousa said, “All Egyptian institutions must fight all foreign plans and conspiracies that aim to destroy Egypt. We will strongly respond to whoever insults Egypt. Quick response is a must. If the U.S. Congress says two words, we will say 17.”

At the end, Mousa sent what seemed to be a threatening message to the American people: “Remember that Congress opens doors and welcomes terrorists. The American people should pay attention and be alert of congress members who support those who killed Americans on September 11. Americans should realize who their real enemy is.”

Fortunately, millions of Americans do realize that their biggest enemy comes from internal home-grown terrorists like the right-wing Trump supporters who sacked the Capitol on Jan. 6. Among those attackers were the most fanatical supporters of Donald Trump who, of course, supported the right-wing Al Sisi dictatorship in Egypt.

The danger to Americans comes from home-grown and international terrorists who support autocratic dictatorships, not from anyone at home or abroad, including in Egypt, who supports democracy and human rights.

Americans need to speak up for democracy in Egypt. They need to urge the U.S. government to reconsider the $1.3 billion dollars in aid that Egypt gets each year from the U.S. That hard-earned tax money must not be used to support threats against the real security needs of the American people. Those needs will be much better met by a free and democratic Egypt charting a course to international peace and cooperation.

As with all op-eds published by People’s World, this article reflects the opinions of its author.


CONTRIBUTOR

Aboulfotouh Kandil
Aboulfotouh Kandil

Aboulfotouh Kandil is a freelance writer on socio-political issues and human rights with a main focus on the Middle East.

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