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Friday, June 14, 2024

Message to Egypt: No mercy for terrorists!

by Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor

© Al Habtoor Group
© APimages - Protesters burn tyres in clashes with Egyptian security forces in Cairo

In recent weeks, terrorists linked to the Muslim Brotherhood have gone on the rampage throughout Egypt murdering security forces, placing explosive devices that have killed passersby, torching trains, trams and businesses. Coincidentally – or so I must suppose – this heightened terrorist activity was perceived just days after, the US State Department held meetings in Washington with members of a Muslim Brotherhood delegation that were said to be “fruitful”. Just two days after that visit, the Brotherhood called upon its followers to launch a jihad against the Egyptian authorities and to embrace martyrdom.

As widely reported by the US media, including Fox News, the State Department spokeswoman, Jen Psaki told reporters the visit was organized by Georgetown University, a claim the university later refuted. And now, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Raba’a channel airing from Turkey, has warned foreigners to quit the country by February 11th or face the consequences.

Shockingly, at a time when Egypt is under attack from within, the UN, the EU and Britain’s Foreign Office, together with a slew of human rights agencies, have issued statements condemning the country’s human rights record. The UK’s Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, just days ago called upon Egypt to release “political prisoners” knowing full well that all those detained are either awaiting trial for crimes committed or have been sentenced. Whether in response to his nation’s critics or otherwise, President Abdel- Fatah el-Sisi has advised commander of the police force and the military “to be mindful of human rights”, which may result in their hands being tied.

Murderers masquerading as Muslims are no better than the flesh-eating zombies in such grotesque horror movies as “The Walking Dead”. They are subhuman beings without a shred of humanity and, as such, are undeserving of human rights. While the world is still reeling from the stomach-churning sight of the young Jordanian pilot and devout Muslim, Moaz Al-Kasasbeh being incinerated by a gang of monsters while trapped in a metal cage, I applaud Jordan’s fast retaliatory response.

Within hours of the video appearing on social media, the Jordanian government executed two Iraqi terrorists – Sajida Al-Rishawi and Zaid Al-Karbouly – who had been sentenced to death in 2005 and 2008 respectively. It’s unfortunate that those two were permitted the privilege of breathing, eating and talking at the expense of taxpayers for so long. Jordan had placed a moratorium on executions for years, but there is a very different mood within this grieving Arab country now. No doubt, human rights activists will soon be popping up on Twitter and Facebook weeping over the fate of that despicable pair.

What will it take for Egypt to wake-up to the fact that enemies of the state, who think nothing of shooting, bombing and burning to achieve their goals, must be treated with an iron fist? The international community condemns its judiciary for issuing mass death sentences, but few of those sentences are being carried out.

In the first place, their implementation, by custom, requires the approval of the Grand Mufti, currently Dr Shawki Abdulkarim Allam, who, in many cases, has displayed his reluctance to do so, and, secondly, appeals courts are regularly reducing such sentences to life imprisonment. Life imprisonment, in Egypt, is rarely longer than 20 years and, history tells us that many sentenced to life in the past have either had their sentences commuted or have been the recipients of presidential pardons.

I find it incomprehensible that the process requires rubber-stamping from the Grand Imam. The law should be changed to bar convicted terrorists or those working to bring down the state from appeals courts. Better still, they should be tried, convicted and summarily sentenced by military tribunals like inmates of Guantanamo. If that system is good enough for the US, then it’s good enough for all Arab states afflicted by this evil scourge.

The combined result is this. The death penalty is no longer acting as a deterrent to the Muslim Brotherhood and their affiliated in northern Sinai and Egypt is beginning to look soft on terrorism. If that impression is permitted to take root, the government’s efforts to improve the economy so as to better the lives of 90 million citizens, 40 percent subsisting below the poverty line, will go for naught.

Violence and instability is the death knell for foreign investment, which Egypt so badly needs. It’s time that the powers that be show that they mean business; they must prove to their people who went to the street in their millions to give then Field-Marshall el-Sisi a mandate to do whatever’s necessary to eliminate traitorous terrorist scum, that their safety, security and prosperity is the government’s number one goal.

While I understand that the President and his team are eager to have good relations with other countries and are keen to show the world that Egypt is on the path to democracy with parliamentary elections scheduled for March, they need to get their priorities right. The eradication of terrorism by any means should trump diplomatic pandering to western states that have actively impeded the country’s transition since Mohamed Morsi ousting in July, 2013. The US and its allies have been cuddling the Muslim Brotherhood ever since, while dismissing the will of the Egyptian people along with their hopes and aspirations.

Those countries have consistently wielded the human rights card over the heads of the Egyptian government like a weapon; never mind that they trashed their own human rights records with illegal wars, illegal renditions, illegal spying on citizens…the list is long. It’s almost laughable that those same countries, directly or indirectly, responsible for the death of up to a million of Iraqis have been hammering Cairo for arresting three Al Jazeera journalists, while staying silent on journalists languishing in Turkish prisons. Propaganda at its finest!

In a nutshell, my message to the Egyptian authorities is this: Do what it takes! Put so called human rights and civil liberties on the backburner. The only ones that count are the rights of the 90 million that count on you to keep the streets safe, improve services and provide jobs. You should hold dear the rights of decent citizens over bombers and arsonists. Close your ears to the twittering of hypocritical outsiders who, if their own countries were under attack, would launch fierce crackdowns in the name of national security. The Arab world needs a strong, united Egypt. Please don’t let us down!

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