Speaking about the Libyan revolution in March, Barack Obama hailed “the rights of peaceful assembly, free speech, and the ability of the Libyan people to determine their own destiny,” and also praised “the peaceful transition to democracy in both
Tunisia and in Egypt.” Now, as Egypt rushes headlong toward becoming a Sharia state and going to war with Israel, Obama is scrambling to hold at bay the forces he is largely responsible for unleashing.
After prayers in the mosques on Friday, jihad-minded Egyptians destroyed a protective wall around Israel’s embassy in Cairo and stormed the building, casting Israel’s national flag out the window, along with embassy documents. The police stood by nonchalantly as the wall was destroyed, doing nothing to stop the thugs. An Egyptian security official even admitted openly that “police will not do anything to the protesters, and they will be left unharmed to continue demolishing the wall.” The
thugs repaid this passive support by burning a police car near the Israeli embassy. Egyptian military also stood by and did nothing to protect the embassy.
Once inside the compound, the thugs were close to reaching the Israeli guards when President Obama made a call to Egypt’s military rulers, who only then swung into action and stopped the assault on the embassy. Israel’s ambassador and senior
embassy staff were spirited out of the country.
“Egypt cannot ignore this hard hit to peace with Israel,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and his rival Tzipi Livni declared: “The break into the Israeli embassy in Cairo was a very serious event in Egyptian-Israeli relations. Peace
between Israel and Egypt is of strategic interest to both states and we need to preserve it.”
That is true, and his call to Egypt’s government is the least Obama could have done to try to preserve that peace, especially given the fact that his abandonment of the undeniably repulsive Mubarak regime paved the way for the ascendancy of the forces he is now trying to control. Mubarak and his predecessors Anwar Sadat and Gamel Abdel Nasser kept a lid on the Muslim Brotherhood and other forces of Islamic fanaticism for decades. Now that they are gone, it is unlikely that the Camp
David accords that Sadat concluded with Israel back in the 1970s will long survive.
According to a new poll conducted by the Pew Research Center, 54% of Egyptians want to scrap the Camp David accords that have kept an uneasy peace with Israel since 1979—in yet another blow to the credibility of Obama and all the analysts and commentators who assured the American people that the Egyptian uprising heralded the dawn of a new, secular democracy there. A significant percentage of Egyptians manifest a deeply ingrained Islamic anti-Semitism that leads them to hate Israel—and the Camp David accords—for religious reasons that are embedded within Islam, not political ones that may be susceptible negotiation, compromise, or even rational consideration.
“We’ve borne witness to the beginning of new chapter in the history of a great country and a longtime partner of the United States,” said Obama as the Mubarak regime fell. At the same time, he signaled his willingness to open talks with the Muslim Brotherhood, and gave every indication that he would not oppose the establishment of an Islamic state in Egypt. The storming of the Israeli embassy, however, is only the latest indication that such a state would not remotely uphold “the rights of peaceful assembly” and “free speech” that Obama has hailed as a goal of the Middle Eastern uprisings.
The Egyptian protesters who showed such disregard for international law regarding the sanctity and inviolability of embassies, and the Egyptian authorities who stood by and did nothing to stop them, are the ideological children and heirs of the Islamic supremacists who stormed the American embassy in Tehran in 1979. Like them, they want to establish a hard-line Islamic state that is certain to be no friend of the United States and will pursue a course of open hostility, and probably eventual open war, with Israel. Also like the Iranian hostage takers, the Egyptian protesters have friends in high places who share their ideological and religious perspectives, and are eager to help them attain their goals.
This is the Egypt, and this is the Middle East, that Barack Obama is giving us. And in the coming days and weeks, he will find that the forces he has helped unleash will be impossible to contain.