Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Contradicting the Sharm el-Sheikh story

Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak made remarks in a speech on Egyptian television yesterday implicitly contradicting what was supposed to be the pro-Fatah, pro-Abbas gist of the Sharm el-Sheikh summit.

Mubarak said Egypt supports all the Palestinians, and that differences between Fatah and Hamas are their own affair, and weren't any concern of the summit. He stressed the danger of the isolation which Gaza is being subjected to, and of any idea of an Israeli attack on Gaza, or of any idea of separating the Gaza Strip from the West Bank. He said we have to rely on time to calm the situation, and to permit the resumption of discussions between the two movements. To further underline his arms-length relationship with the Israelis, Mubarak said he challenged them to start peace talks with Syria.

The above is how Al-Hayat summarized the TV talk.

Moreover, an official Egyptian source told Al-Hayat that the same theme dominated the discussions between Mubarak and the Saudi king Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, who stopped off yesterday at Sharm el-Shaikh in the midst of his current Europe-Arab tour for talks with Mubarak. The Egyptian official said
The two leaders talked about how to contain the situation between Fatah and Hamas, the efforts that will be required to make Palestine whole again, and the means for getting the two groups to the discussion-table.
The two also talked about Lebanon, and interestingly, with respect to Lebanon too, they talked about the need to "preserve its national unity". (This is an implicit reference to concerns that America and others may be trying to split that country apart too, with the idea that a Christian dominated federal unit in the north could be a useful regional foothold for America and others, an issue that is so far not much talked about). But the gist of the Saudi-Egyptian summit of yesterday, according to this Egyptian-based account, was to show that the two countries stand shoulder-to-shoulder against any moves that would split Palestine.

Mubarak, in his TV address, went so far as to address the commonplace idea that Egypt-Saudi relations are in the doldrums. He said that isn't so, and he explained:
Our relationship is solid....We both welcome any agreement that leads to peace and stability in any region, whether Saudi Arabia works for it, or Egypt. We understand each other perfectly.
All of which is by way of showing that whatever the US-mandated rhetoric for international consumption at Sharm el-Sheikh two days ago, Egypt (along with Saudi Arabia), for the domestic audience at any rate, is emphatically not on board with the idea of punishing Hamas, splitting Palestine, or creating a Fatah-only Palestinian negotiating unit for the supposed peace talks.

You'd think nice sentiments like preserving national unity would be grist for the corporate media's mill, and you wouldn't have to go to a blog called Missing Links to read about it, but there you are. News gets filtered out of the corporate media not because it is shocking--it can be the nicest things in the world. It just has to be against the party line.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh well - Mubarak is certainly not the first guy who tells his domestic folks A and his international boss B.

I wouldn't believe A or B.

Mubaraks only interests are:
- avert Congress threat of cutting $200 million from his "aid"
- get his son on the throne

If he has to sell out the Palestinians or his own people for that, so it be.


11:35 PM  
Blogger badger said...

Mubarak also has an interest in not provoking domestic opinion beyond a given point. We are not talking about Bush/Cheney here.

2:55 AM  
Blogger Judith Weingarten said...

the idea that a Christian dominated federal unit in the north could be a useful regional foothold for America and others

It's hard to believe that anyone would try this again, after the battering the Christians took in the last civil war. While the geography may look tidier now, it's only because they were pushed out of so many other places then. Anyway, the whole north is certainly not Christian (Tripoli, anyone?) -- and what about Beirut? Baghdad should be a sobering example.


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6:27 AM  
Blogger badger said...

Those are good points. Then again a lot is being tried these days that doesn't make a lot of sense... By the way, I wanted to check out that new blog, but your link seems to point back to here. Could you check ?

7:02 AM  
Blogger Judith Weingarten said...

You're right! Now, how did I do that?

Empress of the East


3:06 AM  
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