Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Is Egypt Now the Underdog? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Since the beginning of the Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip, accusations have been launched against the Egyptians by Iran, Hezbollah and its allied parties. At that time Cairo did not deserve such criticism and attack as it was continually playing host to Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. The propaganda campaign chose to use the Rafah border crossing against the Egyptians. The border crossing- like any other border crossing- is comprised of two gates. With Egypt controlling only of the gates, it is impossible for anyone to pass through without the other gate being opened. The second gate was guarded – when the Rafah border crossing was open- by European observers, an Israeli bureau security camera, and officers from the Palestinian Authority. Therefore the border crossing was not a problem for the Egyptians, but rather was a problem for Hamas and other factions.

The official Egyptian authority is in a critical situation for it is unable to blame many things on itself, including the tunnels [into Gaza from Egypt]. Nobody would believe that the Egyptian authorities are unaware of these tunnels, or that they did not turn a blind eye to their construction on the Egyptian side, or to the clandestine transfer of weapons, foodstuffs and individuals [to and from Gaza]. It is impossible to dig almost one thousand tunnels without the knowledge and approval of the Egyptians, even if they officially deny this. If they wanted to prevent the digging of these tunnels, they had the ability to prevent and even bury them. The proof of this is that not one single tunnel was dug on the Jordanian, Syrian, or even the Lebanese side; this is not because there is no desire for infiltration and smuggling, but because [this border] is guarded and in this way prohibited.

The Egypt-Gaza border is also guarded, in spite of this Hamas continued to dig tunnels and smuggle weapons on a daily basis; moreover the Egyptians did not set about to stop them. Of course the Egyptian government did not announce that it accepts the digging of the tunnels, because by doing so it would only subject itself to a war with Israel.

So what have Iran or Hezbollah done for Palestinians in Gaza to permit them to attack Cairo?

What is even more ironic is that Hezbollah were quick to deny their links to the two missiles launched from southern Lebanon into Israel.

And so the [Rafah] border crossing has been transformed into a vocal issue against Egypt by the Secretary-General of Hezbollah Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah, who in an unprecedented move called for a military coup against the Egyptian regime, and called for the Egyptian public to rebel against their government.

We cannot deny that we are facing a war of blocs, and that the Tehran bloc wants to create chaos in the large Arab states. One understands that during crises the prohibited might become permissible, and blood may boil, but the continuance of this campaign against Egypt until now only confirms that we are facing a war that is larger than Gaza and goes beyond Palestine. We are in a state of war between two [opposing] blocs.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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