Thursday, March 31, 2011

Mass Media Now Admits It Was Also Wrong About Post-Mubarak Egypt's Foreign Policy

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By Barry Rubin

Now that the New York Times tells us that the Muslim Brotherhood is really  strong, organized, widely supported by the army, and capable of taking over Egypt--all the things I wrote at the time and the mass media denied--the Washington Post confirms every point I made during the revolution about what was going to happen regarding Egyptian foreign policy.

Just read this article and compare it to what we were told during the revolution:

"Egypt's relations with Israel and the U.S. are likely to become more difficult in the months ahead with an infusion of Arab nationalism and skepticism about Egypt's landmark peace treaty with Israel. Many of those who helped oust President Mubarak, including secular democracy activists and Muslim Brotherhood leaders, say the 32-year-old treaty should be respected for now. But they add that when stability is restored, the pact should be submitted to the Egyptian people for approval, through a new parliament scheduled to be elected in September and then perhaps in a public referendum."

In other words, all the commitments made by the military government are not valid after September and Egypt is quite likely to abrogate or simply stop paying any attention to its treaty commitments. And what is the U.S. government, the Obama Administration, going to do at that point since it is the guarantor of the treaty? Absolutely nothing.

The article continues:

"'There was no real end to the war with Israel, just a truce,'" said Shadi Mohammed, 26, a leader of the movement that helped promote the Tahrir Square demonstrations. Mohammed Maher, a Muslim Brotherhood activist, said that if his group gains influence through the elections, Egypt is likely to pursue closer ties with Gaza, opening border crossings and promoting trade as a way to undermine the Israeli blockade."

Did you notice that? He's a Muslim Brotherhood activist and a leader in the Tahrir Square movement. Only yesterday I received a letter from a New York Times employee--full of curse words and insults, by the way--saying that he spoke to many people in Tahrir Square and none of them said they were Brotherhood supporters. So obviously there weren't any Brotherhood supporters.

Yes, honestly this is the kind of reasoning that often shapes mass media coverage of the Middle East. Sort of like the president's advisor on counterterrorism explaining that Hizballah can't be a terrorist group because it has lawyers among its members.

Yet the facts about the movement's alliance with the Brotherhood and anti-American leftists were already on the public record before the revolution even began.

And as for Obama Administration policymaking, well, let's put it in one sentence:

The president of the United States has just played a central role in bringing an anti-American government to power in Egypt that may well reignite the Arab-Israeli conflict and produce new wars in the region, become a safe haven for anti-American terrorists, and subvert other U.S. allies in the Arab world.

Oh, by the way, the headline of the Washington Post story is: "Egypt Likely to Face More Difficult Relations with Israel, U.S." This makes it sound like Egypt is the victim. How about: Once Friendly, The New Egypt Now Hostile to Israel, U.S.

As if that weren't enough, remember when we were told how the upheaval in Egypt and elsewhere frightened al-Qaida and was a defeat for that group because they showed how peaceful revolution, not terrorism, could produce change? I have not seen a single statement by any Jihadist--Iranian, Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Hizballah, or al-Qaida--who isn't thrilled at what's happening and at Mubarak's fall.

Now, after two months of daily evidence to this effect, the New York Times finally gives us, "Islamists Are Elated by Revolts, Cleric Says."

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). The website of the GLORIA Center is at and of his blog, Rubin Reports,

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