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Saturday, July 20, 2024

Egypt must crush its enemies and ignore critics

by Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor

© Nicky Andrews

Despite severe economic problems and sporadic Muslim Brotherhood protests that frequently turn violent, most Egyptians are optimistic that next month’s presidential elections will bring stability. But, tragically, there are those determined to crush 90 million hopes and will readily shed blood to achieve their goals; terrorists who pose a threat to the most populated Arab nation and even to the security of Arabian Gulf States.

While it’s known that the Egyptian military is working to purge the Sinai Peninsula from armed jihadist groups, such as Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis (founded by the Brotherhood’s Deputy Supreme Guide in coordination with Hamas), a recent article titled “Free Egyptian Army being formed in Libya” published in the state-owned Egyptian daily Al-Akhbar quotes the following warning from security sources:

“Attempts to create a Free Egyptian Army in Libya [led by Al Qaeda commander Abu Ubaida who’s been active in Syria] have been identified with the participation of the Muslim Brotherhood and Al-Qaeda under Qatari-Turkish-Iranian patronage, in addition to plans to target vital installations, including Cairo International Airport, the storming of prisons to free Muslim Brotherhood detainees - and spreading chaos to sabotage the presidential elections.” The report goes on to reveal that Libyan factories are making army uniforms in preparation for “zero hour” to be decided by foreign intelligence agencies.

There is no time to waste! The Egyptian government is aware that several foreign countries are conspiring to bring Egypt to its knees supported by certain Western powers, and must act with urgency. There should be no negotiations or compromises with bloodthirsty traitors and foreign scoundrels. The generals should open their eyes and move with all power to eradicate the threat before the presidential ballot else with a heavy heart I predict that Egypt as we know it will cease to be when the Arab World will lose its pulse. I would, therefore, urge Cairo to execute the following steps without delay:

- Ensure that Egypt’s border with Libya is 100 per cent sealed using all necessary force.

- Insert state security and military intelligence operatives within Libyan territory to assess the threat and, if necessary, authorise targeted short-sharp military operations to annihilate militias hostile to Egypt - a defensive/pre-emptive strategy drawn from the US military play book.

- Destroy all smuggling tunnels between Gaza and Egypt and close the Rafah crossing indefinitely.

- Use all possible means to cleanse Sinai of jihadist bases and militias before this disease multiplies.

- Closely monitor visitors from countries known to be unfriendly and investigate NGOs suspected to be a cover for foreign intelligence services.

Egypt has already withdrawn its ambassadors from Turkey and Qatar and should now focus on its diplomatic relations with Iran. Just days ago, the Foreign Ministry summoned the Iranian chargé d'affaires to protest the fact that his mission has been engaged in meetings with individuals affiliated with the banned Brotherhood. Iran cannot be trusted. It’s a puppet master in Lebanon; it’s behind the civil unrest in Bahrain and its emissaries are fighting alongside the Syrian dictator. In January, Egypt objected to an announcement by the Iranian Foreign Ministry to the effect Tehran is concerned about the escalation in violence between Egypt’s army and Brotherhood protestors. Such hypocrisy when Iranians, many living under the poverty line, aren’t permitted to demonstrate against economic deprivation, human rights or freedom of speech! Iranian diplomats in Egypt should be sent packing along with their wooden spoons.

Egypt is on the brink and can’t afford the luxury of pandering to human rights concerns at this juncture. Plotters hiding under the cover of human rights pretending they want the best for Egypt deserve to be silenced. The Western world righteously demanding Egypt adheres to its own standards in human rights should back off. When the West was attacked by Al Qaeda it was quick to trash the Geneva Conventions as well as conventions against torture; nowadays they wield words like freedom, democracy and human rights like battering rams with which to attack Arab countries defending their security and sovereignty. In 2012, on the heel of riots in Britain, Prime Minister David Cameron, who’s constantly criticizing Egypt’s authorities, announced that he was working to scrap the Human Rights Act, saying “We cannot go on with a situation where people who are a threat to our national security...are able to cite their human rights when they are clearly wholly unconcerned about the human rights of others.” Enough worrying what the world thinks! Egypt is at war.

Almost all GCC member countries are ready to stand by Egypt in its effort to eradicate terrorism at its roots because our leaders know that our own homes are similarly threatened. The GCC in coordination with the Arab League should unite against the Brotherhood and eliminate subversives, fanatics and criminals from our region, such as Al Qaeda, Jabhat al-Nusra, ISIL as well as uniformed thugs in the pay of Tehran and its ally Baghdad carrying out a well-planned agenda to undermine Gulf States.

Frankly, I’m amazed that with all the advanced surveillance technologies available to Gulf States and our Washington ally, it’s apparently difficult to track down armed extremists when we regularly watch gun-toting fanatics being interviewed on TV against a background of black flags or training for battle. Why are they being filmed and promoted rather than being captured? If brutal killers proud to sever heads are considered honourable freedom fighters nowadays then perhaps I should throw away my pen in a world where morality counts for nothing.

For centuries we Arabs have been too trusting. The world is arguably a far more dangerous place than ever before and so we should not trust anyone other than ourselves. We must no longer count on others to fight our fights. We should not believe promises made by foreign powers claiming they have our interests at heart. Now, more than ever, is not the time to let down our guard. Instead, we should shelve diplomatic speak in favour of forthrightness and transparency to show that we care for our people and will put their protection before all else. GCC States are not known for harbouring hidden agendas like so many other countries, but we can no longer continue battling adversaries with our hands tied behind our backs. We must come up with our own effective strategies instead of counting on the benevolence of big powers which history shows are not benevolent at all. The USA and its European allies won’t help us. They will side with the winner, whether it’s ISIL or some Shiite militia; they’ll applaud whoever has the upper hand.

Finally, my message to Egypt and the heads of Gulf States is this: The difference between a leader and a great leader is the ability to take decisions. And this is a moment in time that calls for fearless decision-making. Our leaders need to think out of the box during these critical times and should choose straight-talking advisors who cherish their nation’s security, not yes-men. Protect your countries and your peoples; start now, not next week or next month. The road ahead may be strewn with boulders and some of our traditional ‘friends’ may voice their disapproval but, as the old saying goes ‘He who hesitates is lost’. This is one fight where losing is not an option.

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