Friday,21 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1303, (14 - 20 July 2016)
Friday,21 September, 2018
Issue 1303, (14 - 20 July 2016)

Ahram Weekly

MPs rage against the West

A British report about the 2003 war in Iraq and the arrest of hundreds of citizens in America gave Egyptian MPs yet another chance to rail against Western double-standards, reports Gamal Essam El-Din.

Al-Ahram Weekly

MPs seized on the publication of an independent British judicial report investigating the UK’s participation in the war against Iraq to denounce Western policies. They also condemned what they called “wide-scale abuses by US police against black citizens.”

In a statement on 8 July parliament’s Arab Relations Committee, led by MP Saad Al-Gammal, said former US president George W Bush and former British prime minister Tony Blair should be tried for war crimes. The committee said the British government commissioned Chilcot report into the Iraq War, which reached more than two million words, provides enough evidence to try George W Bush and Tony Blair as war criminals. “The report investigating Britain’s participation in the war against Iraq clearly shows that there were no convincing reasons for the conflict,” said the committee in a statement.

The statement went on to say the American-led war in Iraq in 2003 had left more than one million Iraqis dead and millions more wounded or internally displaced.

“There’s no question that George W Bush and Tony Blair should be put on trial as war criminals. They trumpeted false reasons for this war which resulted in the deaths of millions of Iraqis.”

The statement singled out Bush as the Iraqi conflict’s leading war criminal.

“Bush committed his crimes in Iraq amid silence in America which claims it is a land of democracy and human rights,” the statement noted.

According to the statement, the Chilcot report revealed Western conspiracies directed against the Arab world, the Middle East and the Arab Gulf.

“These conspiracies aim at plundering the riches of the region, enslaving its peoples and plunging them into constant troubles,” said the statement.

The committee recommended the Arab League use the next Arab summit in Mauritania to condemn Western military intervention in the Arab world and use its influence in the United Nations to ensure it is never repeated.

Al-Ahram political analyst Mohamed Al-Said Idris said he was not surprised by the statement’s anti-Western tone. “This reflects the fact that a lot Egypt’s new intake of MPs are anti-American. They believe the Obama administration helped the Muslim Brotherhood to power in Egypt in 2012,” he says.

“There is also no question that recent developments in the West – the Chilcot report in Britain and the arrest of hundreds of black protesters in America as they were demonstrating against brutal police force – gave ammunition to those who object to Western double-standards.”

A number of Egyptian MPs professed to be “outraged” by what they called the wide use of excessive ‎force against black protesters in the ‎United States. They also argue that repeated ‎police shootings of black Americans ‎reveals the “illusion of American democracy and its ‎double-standards when it comes to human rights”.

MP Margaret Azer, deputy ‎chairman of theHuman Rights ‎Committee, said she was appalled by ‎the brutality used by the American police.

“I think that all ‎Egyptian MPs and defenders of human rights should ‎ condemn the use of brutal force ‎against black Americans and expose the bloody face of ‎the United States and its politicised use of the issue of ‎human rights to extort other nations,” said Azer.

“The United States, which likes to ‎give lectures on human rights to other nations and issue ‎periodical reports on civil liberties in the world has been‎ caught red-handed violating human rights and crushing ‎ peaceful protests staged by black Americans in ‎Dallas and other US cities.”

Independent MP Youssri Al-Moghazi says “wide-scale street protests” in America ‎show the US continues  to suffer from‎ racial discrimination, social ‎inequality and the wide-scale violation of human rights ‎and civil liberties.

“Yet instead of reforming ‎themselves the Americans cover these ills and extort other nations over human ‎rights,” said Al-Moghazi.

Al-Moghazi agreed with Azer that recent police brutality and ‎excessive force against black protesters was a golden opportunity for Egyptian and Arab ‎MPs to expose America’s double-standards on human rights.

“[The Egyptian] parliament’s human rights committee should hold at least one session to review bloody incidents in America and give its opinion about these incidents,” said Al-Moghazi, indicating that “committees in the US congress not only issue periodical critical reports of the record of human rights in Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries, but they also pay visits to our region to give these countries lectures on human rights.”

Ilhami Agina, a member of theHuman Rights Committee, said “the excessive use of force against black Americans in the US has exposed the ugly face of Western regimes and shown how these regimes are involved in wide scale racial discrimination.”

Agina told reporters that he sent a letter to Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri asking him to summon the US ambassador to Egypt to convey Egypt’s dissatisfaction with the use of excessiveforce against African Americans and urge the American government to improve its record on human rights.

Independent MP and journalist Abdel-Rehim Ali claimed the brutal use of force against black Americans exposed the double-standards of local and international human rights organisations. “The fatal shootings of black Americans have been met with silence from radical liberal organisations like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International,” he said.

Abdel-Rehim urged that a complete plenary session be held “to expose America’s ugly face and warn citizens not to be deceived by American claims about its democracy”.

The Free Egyptians Party also issued a statement condemning the excessive use of force against African Americans.

Meanwhile, parliamentary speaker Ali Abdel-Aal visited Moscow on Monday to discuss economic and political relations between Egypt and Russia. The visit followed an invitation from speaker of the Russian Parliament Sergey Naryshkin.

Abdel-Aal said restoring Russian flights to Egypt and the final signing of the Dabaa nuclear power plant deal between Egypt and Russia would top his agenda in Russia. He praised Naryshkin for being the first international parliamentary speaker to visit Egypt following the election of a new parliament in January.  (see pp.10-11)

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