Monday, February 14, 2011

Is this the new Egypt?

After the Egyptian army's statment that "The Arab Republic of Egypt is committed to all regional and international obligations and treaties" did not mention "peace" and "Israel" and after Obama declined to mention peace in comments on the resignation of Mubarak there are even more disturbing statements and actions coming from Egypt. A retired Egyptian General called Mahmoud Khalaf said on February 3rd that


The armed forces of the people are considered to be the tenth most powerful military power in the world. I ask the Arabs: Against who was it built? It is no secret that the combat doctrine of the Egyptian military forces considers the enemy to be to the north-east of Africa. That is, and will remain, the main enemy. As Israel knows full well, it will continue to be Egypt's main enemy, until it withdraws from all the Arab lands.


The Egyptian armed forces operate quietly, under the assumption that the war with Israel might take place tomorrow. I swear by Allah that they are quietly working under this assumption. We will respect the peace treaty as long as the other side does, but in our hearts, we consider it to be no more than a piece of paper.

Mohamed El-Baradei in an interview with Der Spiegel on February 6th said that

At the moment, they [the Israelis] have a peace treaty with Mubarak, but not one with the Egyptian people
IDF Radio reported yesterday that the Israeli flags on the Israeli embassy in Cairo and on the embassador's house were removed for "security reasons".

Yesterday Ayman Nour of the liberal and democratic El-Ghad Party said that

Much can be said about the Camp David accords. We believe that we should abide by our international commitments, but we should also make the others abide by our rights and by their own international commitments.

With regard to the Camp David accords in particular, the situation is complicated. In practice, the Camp David accords have come to an end. More than 30 years have passed since this agreement was signed, and many things on the ground require amendments. These amendments must be conducted in keeping with the interests and decisions of the Egyptian people. We will not impose anything on the Egyptian people, but I personally believe that if it were up to me, I would ask to conduct a referendum among the people with regard to this agreement, and we would abide by the decision of the people.


We want true participation of the people, and to gauge the people's position on all the significant issues, one of the most important of which is the Camp David accords. Some people believe that this agreement is a thing of the past, and that it must be developed in a correct manner. They believe that some of the terms are humiliating to the Egyptian side. I belong to this group of people.

Other people believe that the Camp David accords give Egypt certain guarantees on the ground, and that these must not be jeopardized at present.

I don't maintain this position, but at the end of the day, my opinion is not the only one that counts. We should hold a referendum.
If even Egyptian liberals and military men (and not the Muslim Brotherhood) who, we are told time and again, are supposed to uphold the peace treaty see it nothing more than a piece of paper (those are Mubarak's words BTW) the future of Israeli-Egyptian relations is very bleak indeed.

For more on this subject go here.