Tuesday,19 June, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1234, (19 - 25 February 2015)
Tuesday,19 June, 2018
Issue 1234, (19 - 25 February 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Why don’t they understand us?

After 9/11 Fareed Zakaria, the then editor of Newsweek International, posed the question: “Why do they hate us?”

Ignoring the long history of disastrous US policies in the Middle East - it gave rise, among other things, to Al-Qaeda, a group born out of the US campaign to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan by enlisting the help of takfiris, ultra radical Islamists bent on bringing down all forms of government apart from their own - Zakaria recast the dilemma as if the fault of any animosity lay with Arabs and Muslims and not with Washington’s foreign policy.

The mischief is not ended, and nor is Washington’s support of takfiris. All that has happened is that the US shifted its support to the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), the group whose ideologue, Sayed Qotb, wrote the definitive book on terror.

Millions in Egypt went out on 30 June 2013 to demand an end to Brotherhood rule. The army then stepped in to remove Mohamed Morsi, a man who months earlier had passed a constitutional declaration that gave him absolute power. Since then the Americans have given every possible support to the Brotherhood, backing its demand to return to power in a country which rejected their rule and narrowly escaped civil war in doing so.

It is now our turn to ask the Americans and those in the West who refuse to see our point: “Why don’t you understand us?”

A wave of Brotherhood spawned violence has hit the region yet there is no condemnation from Washington. Instead the chorus of support for the Brotherhood and its demands to return to power in a country that toppled them and has no regrets about it continues.

To answer Fareed Zakaria, I believe most Egyptians do now hate the Obama administration and other Western governments that think they can engineer the return of the Brotherhood to power in Egypt. Many now see ISIS as another US-creation, a terror group that is being sponsored by Qatar, Turkey and Israel to disrupt the region.

Following the removal of the Brotherhood the US seems to have taken the side of Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, the so called Islamic State (IS) and Agnad Masr in order to punish the Egyptian army for siding with the people and removing Washington’s friends from power.

US and Western support for the Brotherhood is an outgrowth of the misguided notion that the group, if allowed to rule the region, will lure extremists back from Europe and keep militant groups in the region in check.

This is the role Western diplomats and intelligence envisioned for the Brotherhood in Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Morocco, Algeria and Iraq. Washington couldn’t have been more delighted when the Morsi government got Hamas to sign a deal with Israel to stop “hostile acts,” delivering the first instalment of its larger dream of a pacified Middle East led by a friendly Muslim Brotherhood.

When Egyptians had the nerve to sabotage this dream all hell broke loose. The Brotherhood, radical Islamists and their Western supporters aligned to form a united front against us.

Egypt is engaged in a war on terror. Egyptians realise they have to stand behind their army in the face of a tidal wave of violence unleashed by the Brotherhood and its militant allies who are acting with clear backing from Washington and the West.

Egyptians support the army in its war, though they are concerned it may be overstretched as multiple fronts open in Libya, Sinai, Gaza, Yemen and possibly Ethiopia, should Egypt’s share of Nile water be threatened.. Now that the armies of Libya, Yemen, Iraq and Syria have been dismembered, Egypt’s is the last Arab army standing.

Anger and calls for revenge make the army and people more determined than ever to deal with this difficult situation, especially at a time when nerves have been badly shaken by the obscene video of the murder of 21 Egyptians by IS in Libya.

Why do they hate us?

The question, posed by Zakaria 14 years ago about Arabs and Muslims in an attempt to shift the blame from US policies and cast the Middle East as an inscrutable region soaked in hate, has never been more redundant. We find Western double dealing far more mystifying, the West’s passion for the Brotherhood far more misplaced. And so we answer back: “Why don’t you understand us?

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