Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Defeat Of ’67 Chills Egypt

By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
I DO not exaggerate if I say the current situation in Egypt resembles the June 1967 defeat. The demonstrators have been making deafening noise. These loud voices remind us of Ahmad Said and Jamal Abdul Nasser and their endless enthusiastic slogans. We no longer feel optimistic because the scene in Egypt is similar to what we witnessed in 1967 when Egypt and the Arab world tasted a bitter defeat whose effect lingered on for many years — until war erupted in 1973, which to some extent restored pride of the Arabs and some of them held their heads high.
Before 1967, Nasser depended on the people by invoking enthusiasm and this has prompted him to take decisions based on false information, passion and abilities of the demonstrators.
This has boosted Nasser’s enthusiasm and he threatened to throw Israel into the sea. He ordered the UN forces — which at that time were monitoring the truce — to leave Egypt, only to discover later that he had been deceived by the hollow beliefs and the false abilities of his people which he had heavily relied upon.
At the time, Israel destroyed the Egyptian Army, occupied the Sinai desert, while the Soviet ally and other Arab countries on which Cairo had depended for support, stood idle. The world stood by Tel Aviv, even when it made mistakes, and the then Secretary-General of the United Nations U-Thant, accused Tel Aviv of violating the truce and starting the war but that neither changed anything nor undermined the ability of the world powers to support the Israeli Army.
The outcome of the Jan 25, 2011 revolution resembles the situation in 1967. Those who rebelled against corruption and demanded accountability found supporters everywhere. Although what they have done is good and right, they still brought chaos to Egypt because addressing corruption does not lie in the loose reins of security, or by undermining the authority of state institutions because corruption is prevalent throughout the world and no developed nation on Earth has addressed the issue the way it has been done in Egypt.
We do not want the Egyptians to commit the same mistakes in 1967 because the issues cannot be addressed through chants, burning the flags of nations, drum beats, baton wielding and pelting stones, particularly when the enemy wins the support of the world.
Everyone must have remembered and understood well what former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said to former Prime Minister of Lebanon Saad Al-Hariri during their last meeting when they assessed the situation in Lebanon.
Mubarak said, ‘If you depend on the US for cover, you will have to sleep naked’. Now we do not know how one can protect the Egyptian revolution. The chaos reins supreme and this has affected even the bilateral agreements signed by the nations.
Do the revolutionaries in Egypt want the world to stand against Cairo and abandon it?
As Arabs, we must take into account the opinion of some major powers. We must look at how they deal with our issues and what are their priorities in this regard.
Perhaps we can learn a lesson or two from what happened in the United Kingdom a few days ago when a wave of popular anger swept through a number of British cities, during which the stores were looted, roads were closed, some people lost their lives and more than 3,000 Britons ended up behind bars.
We have not seen a single US official calling on British Prime Minister David Cameron to resign but we heard US President Barrack Obama calling on Hosni Mubarak to go.
All countries consider what happened in Britain as London’s internal affair and the security authorities quickly took the necessary preventive measures to maintain stability.
These countries have responded differently to revolutions which took place in some Arab countries and as civil wars loomed on the horizon in others. Major countries rushed to support the people, whether we liked it or not, because such situations favor Israel, which wants to see Arabs preoccupied with the chaos so that Tel Aviv can breathe fresh air.
It is not too late for Egypt to avoid the mistakes of 1967. This can be done by the Supreme Military Council because it can ensure safety in the country, brighten its future and end the power struggle.
-This commentary was published in The Arab Times on 23/08/2011
-Ahmed Al-Jarallah is the editor-in-chief of The Arab Times and the Kuwaiti Arab daily Assyassah

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