A rational and sane person would think that the Egyptian military would come back to its senses after it became the source of international ridicule after its top leaders announced that they have found a cure for AIDS and the Hepatitis C Viruses.But that’s not the case so far. Ever since the military staged a coup against a democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi, last year, it looks more intent on remaking the Egyptian political and social landscape in a way that would make Gen. Abdel Fatah El Sisi the inevitable president whom Egypt and Egyptians need more than he needs them.
Meanwhile, the lack of clear and unequivocal American and Western support for the coup appears to be the main reason that drives the new Egyptian leaders’ thinking and the source of increasing hostility to the US in the official and private media outlets as reported by the Wall Street Journal last year.
American and Western support for the new Egyptian regime is seen in Cairo as crucial and much needed to provide an international legitimacy and later a domestic legitimacy for the new leadership. This explains why the lacking of such support angers a lot of people in Egypt, especially the military.
Ironically the Egyptian military in the aftermath of its peace treaty with Israel in 1979 became almost wholly dependent on the US weapons, training and financing.
With this kind of American support and involvement in the Egyptian military, it seems on the surface of it, at least, rather strange to have this kind of over-the-top anti-American sentiments in the country. But in Arab-world politics, this is not strange at all, and it is even normal.
The new Egyptian leaders are using an old formula Arab leaders and dictators have used for decades when dealing with the US and even Israel. Arab leaders, while being secretly dependent on American protection and money, thus cooperating with its policies in the region, often filled the air with anti-US pronouncements and allowed their media mouthpieces to vent a lot of steam against the US. According to this formula, an Arab leader would become popular domestically for resisting America or Israel, or both while at the same time it enjoys friendly relations and support from both of his nominal enemies.
US policymakers generally accepted this trade-off with their Arab partners but often at the expense of principled policies that would have encouraged political reform, democratic governance and economic reform. El Sisi, contrary to the image he is trying to create for himself in Egypt and in the region as a leader who resists Western influence and hegemony in Egypt, behaves no differently than any other Arab dictator when it comes to the United States or Israel.
Military sources in Washington have told me last year that right before El Sisi’s coup against the Islamist president, he was calling Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and other American military leaders in the Central Command, to sound them out about staging a coup amid wide spread anti-Morsi demonstrations he and others helped create. Although he never got a clear signal from Washington to proceed with coup, he nevertheless went on with it and plunged Egypt into chaos and back into dictatorship.
Washington Post columnist David Ignatius also wrote last year that the current Egyptian Intelligence chief, Gen. Mohammed Farid el-Tohamy, reports and meets on a daily basis with the CIA station chief in Cairo. Tohamy said, “I’m in constant contact with [Director] John Brennan at the CIA and the local station chief, more than with any other service worldwide.” This kind of leadership shows how unstable and bleak the situation in Egypt has become. The future does not look promising either.
Meanwhile, the latest announcement by the Egyptian military of discovering the so called “fast cure” for AIDS and Hepatitis C viruses, called Complete Cure Device or CC-D, is a sign of how degenerate the political landscape has evolved since deposing Mubarak and how unprofessional the Egyptian armed forces has become. El Sisi the General and El CC the device are conspicuously similar in name and in intentions, but more importantly they both are tall tales and a clear indication of how deeply in trouble Egypt is.