Eric R. Mandel, the prominent Israeli researcher and writer, unveiled that several Egyptian officials requested him to clarify to US Congress members that what happened in Egypt (on July 30, 2013) was a revolution and not a military coup.
The writer, who has just returned from his fifteenth tour to a number of Middle East countries, said that according to the New York Times ,US President Donald Trump is “developing a strategy on the Israeli- Palestinian conflict that would enlist Arab nations like Saudi Arabia and Egypt to break years of deadlock.”
“It would behoove his new foreign policy team to reflect carefully on these words before forging ahead with Middle East diplomacy,”said Mandel.
However, Mandel believes that the key to any possible path to conflict resolution in this region is to understand the shifting web of “interests” that motivate the players on this chessboard in the sand.”
In this context, he said that during meetings in Egypt and Israel this past week, almost everyone I spoke with cautioned against over-reaching beyond what is possible for the region at this time.
For instance, the American abstention on UNSC Resolution 2334 has cast a dark cloud, as for” the first time ever, an Israeli presence over the 1949 armistice line is labeled an internationally recognized illegal act, with the blessing of the United States,”he said.
“What I heard from those on the ground, including an international observer, is that 2334 will become a major obstacle to a two-state solution, the exact opposite of what the Obama administration claimed was their intent,”according to Mandel.” He added, “Counterproductive” is an understatement in assessing the damage it has done.
Mandel explained that far too many well-meaning intermediaries fail to understand the Middle East’s complexities, the staggering array of contradictory interests, “often making little sense to Western eyes.”
In this context, he said that he was asked during meetings with the Egyptian foreign policy establishment to convey to Congress a number of their concerns.
- Please explain that the 2013 overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood regime – of president Mohammed Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected President – was not a coup but a democratic revolution. He added the Egyptian officials insist it was a people’s revolution of 33 million in the streets. Mandel said that he fears that if the current monthly inflation of 20% in Egypt continues,” an Islamist coalition could win the next election, a potentially devastating blow to American security interests,”according to his words. “
- “Egyptians want Americans to understand that Islamic State (ISIS) in Sinai is under control, and that the more pressing concerns are the Libyan border and the internal Islamist threats to destabilize Egypt,”he said. Mandel said that that the ever-changing interests between Hamas, Egypt and the indigenous Bedouin make Western strategic choices in the Sinai fraught with peril.
- Mandel continued that the Egyptian officials want “Congress to know that the Egyptian military is the strongest in the region and should be an important ally for America.”He also pointed to the the unprecedented military, security and intelligence cooperation between Israel and Egypt are privately acknowledged, “yet the Egyptian people are completely unaware of this cooperation as a matter of policy,” he said. Mandel cited a leading Israeli expert in Egypt who said that the Egyptian public opinion makers “hates our guts,” except for the highest government officials and the military, who cooperate against a common enemy. “Transient interests should not be misunderstood as a change in the fundamental relationship,”he said.
According to the Israeli writer, Egypt has now come to a fork in the road after it ended the Morsi’s reign and now MB leaderships are in jails is in jail. As a result,” the time has come for Egypt to slowly change the anti-Israel narrative in its state-controlled media,”said Mandel.
Moreover, he advised Egyptian officials to bring “other Sunni Arab nations who currently have secret relationships with Israel out into the open, as a way to advance the peace process.” He added also that Egypt strongly desires to strengthen its relationship with the US, and “the answer is to broaden its relationship with Israel.”
“Americans and Congress see the Middle East through their support of America’s most stable ally in the region. Strengthening the Israeli- Egyptian relationship is not a favor to Israel, but in Egyptian interests,”he added.
H ended his article saying that the “excuse that Egypt cannot lead unless the Palestinians agree is the failed formula of the past. ” He also recalled that the Egyptian economy is on the ropes, and the path forward is in part through Israel.