Our New Allies, the Jihadists
By Anthony Zeitouni
The recent raid on the Israeli embassy in Cairo is a serious and dangerous incident and cannot be described as an act of recklessness by a few young protesters. It sets a precedent, and is a bad omen for the future of Egypt.
The protesters who stormed Tahrir Square and other public places in Egypt asked only for freedom and democracy. They meant to topple Mubarak’s regime, but not America, nor Israel.
During the month-long mass protests in Egypt, they did not carry any sign against America or Israel. Their only goal was to topple an oppressive regime.
Recently, some Egyptian activists have suggested revising the 1979 peace treaty with Israel. I consider that an appropriate action as the two countries should discuss the treaty to cover gaps in the existing agreement. However those who invaded the Israeli embassy in Cairo have their own agenda that completely opposes peace and the best interest of Egypt.
The attack was an “attack on Egypt’s image,” as Osama Heikal, the Egyptian Minister of Information described it. “This invasion has the fingerprints of al-Qaeda” as Mikhail Margelov said. Margelov is the Chairman of the Committee for Foreign Affairs in the Federation Council of the Russian Federation. Those mobs are simply Islamic extremists who are intensely working to menace Egypt and hijack its popular revolt in favor of their agenda of building an Islamic state in Egypt driven by al-Qaeda norms.
Some intelligence from the investigations confirms that those people were purposely trying to create chaos in Egypt to further a foreign agenda. That is why the government and the ruling Military Council used “decisive judicial measures” under the emergency law.
A member of Egyptian government told me in private that this invasion of the embassy was “not just an accident but a coup d’état on the Egyptian revolution”. It has the hallmark of extremists driven by a suspicious agenda.
Those who really know Egypt should know that it will never be a model state for the Taliban.
In Syria, this period of revolt against Bashar al-Assad’s regime is marked by the heavy presence of well-armed, well-organized, and well-funded groups of extremists who are hijacking the Syrian revolt and imposing their Islamist agenda. They seek to monopolize the revolution and to lead it toward sectarianism instead of keeping it as it started six month ago: a popular and peaceful revolt.
The news continues to unfold, unveiling deeply ideological groups of extremists who are fighting not only against the regime, but also against the Christians and Alawites minorities of Syria; especially against the non-armed Christians who are accused as being both non-believers and pro-Assad.
Armed Jihadists are terrorizing Syrian Christians every day by menacing and killing them in the streets, on buses, and in their villages using snipers and bombers. It is unfortunate that some Arab media outlets still consider those people “peaceful protesters”.
The Jihadist groups are supported by various opposition groups outside of Syria and funded by certain Arab governments. This unfortunate reality pushed the prominent Syrian opposition figure Michel Kilo to strongly caution his fellow citizens that the current incidents are taking the Syrian “revolt backward” and are leading to a “dangerous sectarian conflict” in Syria. The arms will “kill our minds before our bodies and souls” Kilo added in an article in Assafir (The Ambassador), a daily newspaper in Beirut.
The Syrian people are caught between the double fire of an oppressive regime and armed extremist groups. If this situation continues, Syria is rapidly headed toward a sectarian war. Even Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned that Syria could plunge into a sectarian civil war.
“I fear that matters will end with a civil war breaking out between the Alawites and the Sunnis,” Erdogan said in an interview published in al-Shourouk (The Sunrise) a daily newspaper in Cairo.
In Libya, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, the head of the National Transitional Council (NTC) publicly expressed his fear of Jihadists. “We will not accept any extremist ideology. We are a Muslim people, for a moderate Islam, and we will stay on this road.”
Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO’s Secretary General, warned that Libya could be at risk of falling into the hands of Islamic extremists. Rasmussen avows his fear to The Telegraph of London, “the Islamic extremists would try to exploit” any weaknesses created as Libya tries to rebuild.
The distressing recent developments in Egypt and Syria should be a clear sign to the US and Europe that Islamists are trying to hijack the Arab spring. The West should question the ability and willingness of the Islamist movements to lead the democratic transition in the Arab countries before we allow them to do so. Otherwise we will have traded dictators for Jihadists as our “allies”.