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Jewish World Review
Sept. 2, 2004
/ 16 Elul 5764
Kerry picks up another important endorsement Egypt's
They say a person can be judged by his friends
As the November elections approach, several commentators in the Arab press have called for Senator Kerry's victory over President Bush. This trend is especially true in Egypt, which is known for its venomous anti-American press. Leading writers from Egypt's most prominent government papers such as Al-Akhbar and Al-Ahram have been particularly vocal in calling for Kerry's victory.
Professor Hasan Nafaa, who chairs the political science department at Cairo University, wrote on August 12 in Al-Ahram, "I would bet that if every eligible voter in our so-called global village had the chance to vote in the U.S. elections, the ballot would come out overwhelmingly in favor of Kerry - not out of any great fondness for him, but because of the universal loathing for his competitor. The seething antipathy for Bush that has been festering abroad has gradually seeped into the U.S. and is manifesting itself in a growing tide of opinion that is dead-set against giving that evil fanatic a second chance…"
The professor added, "…I imagine that what Bush wishes for most at this point is for bin Laden to deliver another devastating strike…The American people may not be as aware as they should be of the danger of the religious fanaticism of the American neoconservatives…His mere departure from the Oval Office will mark the beginning of the decline of the forces of extremism..."
Calling Mr. Bush a "con man," Mr. Nafaa wrote in his July 29 column: "The Bush administration may attempt to escape its predicament at home by fabricating a crisis abroad, with Iran, Syria, or both. The ideological delusions of the neoconservative clique in the White House are such that they may be tempted to push the confrontation with Iran to the brink, casting Tehran as the 'serpent's head' that must be severed in order to win the war against terrorism… Some might think that recourse to such an option is a form of madness possible only in an authoritarian government ruled by a pathological maniac…but not in a country with institutionalized checks on power and provisions for public accountability. I for one do not share this opinion."
He concluded by asking, "Can we hope that the American people will act to restrain the belligerency of this administration, at least until they have their say as to whether it stays or leaves in November? Can we hope that the American people have the sense to oust this administration in the national polls? I have no illusions..."
Deputy editor Salwa Habib of Al-Ahram explained on August 22, "If the Americans thought of the drawbacks of the [Middle East] plan, they'd consider it as another plunge into Bush's political record, and would throw him out of the White House in the coming presidential elections."
Nagi Al Shihabi, editor of the Egyptian Al-Gil newspaper, which is affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood,was interviewed by the Iranian Al-Alam TV on June 13 about the elections, and said: "Bush declared a crusader war following the events of 9/11…The U.S. established its country over the body parts of 120 million Indians.We must first define the enemy. The no. 1 enemy of the Arab and Islamic peoples is the U.S. and not only Israel…Bush, Allah willing, will go to hell in this coming November."
The Egyptian press has used the issue of Iraq as a reason for Bush to be defeated. The editor of Al-Akhbar, Galal Dweidar, wrote on August 9, "The tragic situation in Iraq is becoming worse day by day, and the Americans are involved even more in the Iraqi swamp, and there is no way out of this catastrophe except by the departure of the rightist Bush administration, as declared by the Democrat presidential candidate John Kerry."
Prominent public figures and politicians from Egypt have also called for leadership change in America. In a recent meeting in Cairo with a visiting European diplomat, the Arab League secretary-general and former Egyptian foreign minister, Amr Moussa, was quoted as describing the liberation of Iraq as "the opening of the gates of hell," and that only a Kerry win would be able to "close those gates."
Because the Egyptian press is completely controlled by President Mubarak, its calls for Mr. Bush to be defeated and Senator Kerry to be elected should be seen as official Egyptian government policy.
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Steven Stalinsky is Executive Director of The Middle East Media Research Institute (www.memri.org). Click here to comment on this column.
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© 2004, MEMRI