Every few months since President Sisi took office someone at the Washington Post takes Egypt to task for “human rights abuses.” These articles and editorials seem all to be written on the same template, using much of the same material and making the same misleading points. They might appear as a news column, an editorial, and op-ed piece, or a “how this affects one Egyptian family in the U.S.” story in the Metro section. Last Thursday’s “human rights under Sisi suck” article follows the established pattern.
First, President Sisi is falsely described as having come to power in a coup. In fact, he came to power in the same way former President Morsi did: via a popular uprising, as described in an earlier Post article.
The only difference is that the uprising against Hosni Mubarak that saw the ascension of Morsi to the presidency was coopted by the Islamist Egyptian Brotherhood and supported by the Obama administration. Bowing to the intense pressure exerted by the administration, Mubarak voluntarily stepped down and Morsi was elected.
As president, Morsi gave himself wide powers that he decreed were beyond judicial review and unilaterally imposed an Islamist constitution on the Egyptian people. On June 30, 2013, the first anniversary of Morsi’s election, Egyptians again took to the streets in protest. As things increasingly got out of hand, the military gave him 48 hours to come to an accord with the people but with Obama watching his back, Morsi wasn’t in a mood to compromise, and was ousted in the “coup.”
Was this undemocratic? When new elections were held in May 2014, Sisi won with an astounding 96.9% of the vote. He remains to this day a president who is very popular with the Egyptian people and very unpopular with the Obama administration.
Hence the continuing cries of Egyptian human rights abuses by the administration’s propaganda arm. Only the abuses typically described by the Post are ones that occurred under Morsi, not Sisi. But unless you read carefully, you might think that the killing by military forces of 27 Coptic Christians who’d been peacefully protesting sectarian attacks on churches, the storming of a number of international NGOs (including two funded by the U.S. government) by security forces, and other atrocities happened on Sisi’s watch. Nowhere is the Brotherhood implicated in any of these human rights violations.
The Post has thechutzpah to quote “activists” as saying that Mubarak was more sensitive to criticism from the U.S. and “other countries” that Sisi. Well, yes, and look where that got him. All of our traditional allies have been learning that it pays better to be America’s enemy than its friend. As for current human rights violations, the Post is forced to admit that there have been no recent dramatic raids. However, it frets that civil society organizations are “fearful” that they could be targeted at any time. What the Post doesn’t tell you, however, is that what Egyptians have to fear is Obama and the return of the thugs in the Moslem Brotherhood.
As an aside, it’s interesting to look at what the propaganda machine has to say about human rights violations in Iran. Very little. It would be bad form to criticize Iran at this crucial juncture where Obama is trying to obtain the nuclear arms deal that is going to make his legacy. Instead we get an embarrassing puff piece in the Metro section where we are told that the Iranian people danced in the streets of Tehran when the nuclear framework agreement was announced. I have no doubt that the mullahs were no doubt dancing too given all that they’d extracted from the John Kerry while conceding nothing.
We are furthermore told that it doesn’t matter that the liberal democracy is not in the cards for the Iranian people, for they’re more interested in the material benefits that might accrue with the deal. But while Iran stands to reap a windfall from the deal, there’s no evidence that any of it will go to the people, rather than to the various terror groups the regime underwrites. Also, we learn, opposition to the deal comes from Jewish exiles. This is the first time I’ve heard the Post acknowledge that there were Jewish exiles from Islamic countries.
As an interesting sidelight, the Post gets its information about how Iranian exiles feel from the National Iranian American Council, whose president Trita Parsi, an old friend of Javad Zarif, the Iranian Defense Minister who’s been crapping all over John Kerry in the negotiations with Iran. Mohsen Makhmalbaf, one of the leaders of Iran’s Green Movement, calls Parsi a lobbyist for the Iranian regime.
Jailed Iranian dissident Amir Fakhravar, recipient of the Annie Taylor Journalism Award, agrees with this assessment. As between the persecuted and the persecutors, trust the Post to believe the persecutors.