Problems on hold
Egypt and the world shuddered at the gruesome terror crime which took place on Friday 24 November during noon prayers in al-Rawdah mosque in the village of Bir al-Abd, 40km west of al-Arish in North Sinai. The attack, waged through gunfire and rocket-propelled grenades, left 305 worshippers dead and 128 injured. Now that terrorists have failed to defeat the Egyptian army and police, and have found Copts out of arm’s length once security was stepped up around churches, they have turned their vile attention to Egypt’s Muslims and struck them as they worshipped in a mosque. The gunfire took the defenceless worshippers by surprise, instantly killing some and injuring others; the terrorists even blew up the exit door to which the crowds inside the mosque impulsively rushed for their lives.
Terror has exposed its ugly face; the last fig leaf has fallen off. No point now for terrorists to rant about religious teachings as a pretext for their crimes: they had constantly categorised the military and police as apostates, and the Copts as polytheists deserving death. What now? How can they explain off killing defenceless Muslims, as a means of avenging themselves against the State that they were unable to bring down? Will Egypt in her entirety be penalised for rejecting fundamentalism and extremism, violence and terror? The bitter answer is: yes. Egypt is embroiled in a war against terror; a war that dwarfs regular wars which respect a code of honour that strives to keep unarmed civilians out of harm’s way. It appears to be Egypt’s fate to gear up for a gruesome war against terror, and to go through it single-handedly.
Why should Egypt fight this war on her own? President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi spelt out the reason in the address he gave to the nation following the heinous crime at the mosque. “What is going on is an attempt to impede our efforts to confront terror, and to shatter Egypt’s will to foil the criminal plot to destroy what is left of the region,” President Sisi said. Yes, this is the bottom line: Egypt is cruelly targeted because she did not succumb to the plot that brought down other countries in the region: Iraq, Syria, and Libya. Egyptians firmly believe that Egypt was miraculously saved from the gruesome fate that befell her neighbours; she was saved by the grace of God and by the strong fusion among her people, leadership, army, and police.
Egypt is fighting terrorism all on her own because the evil forces that wish to bring her down supply funds to pawns who sneak into her land through borders and tunnels, strike terror, then unashamedly talk of ‘respect of the sovereignty of States’. The evil forces are known to the entire international community, and to those who themselves suffer from terrorism and allege their support of Egypt in her battle against terror. None of these forces, which point fingers at one another for creating and funding terror groups, have lifted a finger to support Egypt; their only support comes in the form of honeyed talk. These States are governed by their strategic interests and have no qualms sitting with the mighty perpetrators of terrorism while maintaining silence over the sources of its funds, and offering safe havens for its leaders. They then shower Egypt with crocodile tears and hollow words that condemn the terror inflicted by the terrorist groups they created and nurtured. Here are a few examples:
• The UN Security Council (UNSC), among whose members are protectors of terror groups, condemns the terror attack and offers condolences to the families of the victims and the Egyptian government, “reaffirming that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security”. It appears the UNSC too has adopted powerless lip service. Kindly note the ‘too’.
• In Washington, US President Trump expresses deep sorrow for the “horrible and cowardly” attack. “The world cannot tolerate terrorism, we must defeat them militarily,” he says. This is the US President who inherited American policies deeply involved in fragmenting the Middle East, and whose Secretary of State assiduously attempts to win over Qatar.
• In London, Prime Minister Theresa May condemns the attack which she describes as “sickening”. She calls President Sisi for condolence. But she mentions not a word about her country being a safe haven for the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, a group heavily involved in terrorist activity.
• In Moscow, Russian President Putin sends a note of condolence to President Sisi, and confirms Russia’s willingness for increased cooperation with Egypt to fight terrorism. Yet he forgets or overlooks the fact that he just concluded a summit with the Iranian and Turkish presidents, in which he certainly discussed mutual interests and cooperation, without going into curtailing the terror-fostering role of Iran and Turkey.
• Ahmed Abul-Gheit, Secretary-General of the Arab League, strongly condemns the terror attack, and offers condolences to Egypt’s leadership and people. But he is careful not to ruffle feathers with Qatar or Hamas.
Is it clear now why I said UNSC ‘too’ has resorted to lip service?
Let Egyptians fully realise they will wage the war against terror on their own … totally on their own.
3 December 2017