Commentary Magazine


Topic: Egyptian police

RE: No Condemnation Forthcoming

Well, we called that one. The State Department did not “condemn” the brutality of the Egyptian police or the detention of demonstrators (who were subsequently released). As this report explains, all that came was a gentle prod, an ever-so-diplomatic nudge, from Foggy Bottom:

In Washington, U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said the United States was “deeply concerned” about the arrests and called on the Egyptian government to uphold the rights of its people “to express their political views peacefully.”

“The people of Egypt should be able to participate in the political process and ultimately determine who will run and win Egypt’s upcoming elections,” Crowley told reporters Wednesday.

Even Human Rights Watch, which usually reserves its fire for Israel, did considerably better than that:

At the demonstration, which called for an end to Egypt’s restrictive “emergency laws,” Human Rights Watch staff witnessed security officials beating and arresting the protesters, including two women. The state of emergency, which allows the authorities to restrict basic rights, has been continuously in effect for 29 years.

“The Egyptian authorities respond with lawless brutality to protesters peacefully demanding restoration of their human rights,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “Let today’s beating and arrests of demonstrators remind countries that finance and arm the Egyptian government what their ally is really all about.” …

During the review of Egypt’s record by the UN Human Rights Council in February, Egypt once again promised to end the state of emergency, a commitment first made by President Mubarak in 2005. … “Egypt keeps promising to end the emergency law, but year after year, it’s one broken promise after another,” Whitson said.

The contrast between the namby-pamby response to Egyptian human rights abuses and the conniption displayed when a midlevel Israeli bureaucrat stamped a housing permit vividly encapsulates the Obama Middle East approach. Kid gloves and averted eyes for the Muslims; bullying for the Jewish state. It’s “change” certainly.

Well, we called that one. The State Department did not “condemn” the brutality of the Egyptian police or the detention of demonstrators (who were subsequently released). As this report explains, all that came was a gentle prod, an ever-so-diplomatic nudge, from Foggy Bottom:

In Washington, U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said the United States was “deeply concerned” about the arrests and called on the Egyptian government to uphold the rights of its people “to express their political views peacefully.”

“The people of Egypt should be able to participate in the political process and ultimately determine who will run and win Egypt’s upcoming elections,” Crowley told reporters Wednesday.

Even Human Rights Watch, which usually reserves its fire for Israel, did considerably better than that:

At the demonstration, which called for an end to Egypt’s restrictive “emergency laws,” Human Rights Watch staff witnessed security officials beating and arresting the protesters, including two women. The state of emergency, which allows the authorities to restrict basic rights, has been continuously in effect for 29 years.

“The Egyptian authorities respond with lawless brutality to protesters peacefully demanding restoration of their human rights,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “Let today’s beating and arrests of demonstrators remind countries that finance and arm the Egyptian government what their ally is really all about.” …

During the review of Egypt’s record by the UN Human Rights Council in February, Egypt once again promised to end the state of emergency, a commitment first made by President Mubarak in 2005. … “Egypt keeps promising to end the emergency law, but year after year, it’s one broken promise after another,” Whitson said.

The contrast between the namby-pamby response to Egyptian human rights abuses and the conniption displayed when a midlevel Israeli bureaucrat stamped a housing permit vividly encapsulates the Obama Middle East approach. Kid gloves and averted eyes for the Muslims; bullying for the Jewish state. It’s “change” certainly.

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No Condemnation Forthcoming

Buried at page 10 of the Washington Post — for the front page is reserved for Israel’s supposed human-rights infractions — is a revealing story on the “Muslim World”:

At least 90 people were detained, according to rally organizers from the 6th of April movement, a mostly youth-led organization that was formed two years ago and is pushing for more political freedom. Egyptian police on Tuesday beat and detained pro-democracy demonstrators in central Cairo who were calling for constitutional reforms and the repeal of a decades-old emergency law that restricts an array of personal rights. . .

The demonstration came amid political uncertainty, with parliamentary elections slated for this year and a presidential election for next year. President Hosni Mubarak, 81, who had his gallbladder and a growth on his small intestine removed in surgery performed abroad last month, has ruled Egypt for nearly three decades. He has not said whether he will compete in next year’s election, fueling speculation that he might try to ensure that his son Gamal succeeds him.

Safe to say that if he “competes” — a misnomer suggesting that there are viable opponents – Mubarak will win. Did we miss the condemnation by the State Department? Did Hillary Clinton call up Mubarak for a 43-minute chewing-out? I think not.

This also points to another fallacy in the Obama Muslim World outreach: What happens to the human-rights and pro-democracy protesters when Obama is sucking up to the Syrians, bowing to the Saudis, and soft-peddling any objections to the Egyptians? They become after thoughts. So the notion that we are endearing ourselves to the Muslim World is simply wrong. We are trying to endear ourselves to regimes that oppress their own people. How this is supposed to alleviate animosity toward the U.S. and win the hearts and minds of Muslim youth is beyond my comprehension.

Buried at page 10 of the Washington Post — for the front page is reserved for Israel’s supposed human-rights infractions — is a revealing story on the “Muslim World”:

At least 90 people were detained, according to rally organizers from the 6th of April movement, a mostly youth-led organization that was formed two years ago and is pushing for more political freedom. Egyptian police on Tuesday beat and detained pro-democracy demonstrators in central Cairo who were calling for constitutional reforms and the repeal of a decades-old emergency law that restricts an array of personal rights. . .

The demonstration came amid political uncertainty, with parliamentary elections slated for this year and a presidential election for next year. President Hosni Mubarak, 81, who had his gallbladder and a growth on his small intestine removed in surgery performed abroad last month, has ruled Egypt for nearly three decades. He has not said whether he will compete in next year’s election, fueling speculation that he might try to ensure that his son Gamal succeeds him.

Safe to say that if he “competes” — a misnomer suggesting that there are viable opponents – Mubarak will win. Did we miss the condemnation by the State Department? Did Hillary Clinton call up Mubarak for a 43-minute chewing-out? I think not.

This also points to another fallacy in the Obama Muslim World outreach: What happens to the human-rights and pro-democracy protesters when Obama is sucking up to the Syrians, bowing to the Saudis, and soft-peddling any objections to the Egyptians? They become after thoughts. So the notion that we are endearing ourselves to the Muslim World is simply wrong. We are trying to endear ourselves to regimes that oppress their own people. How this is supposed to alleviate animosity toward the U.S. and win the hearts and minds of Muslim youth is beyond my comprehension.

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