New chapter in human history

Flag of Egypt. What happened in Egypt is a metaphor for American policy failures in the Middle East.
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President Barack Obama has made the U.S. virtually irrelevant in world affairs. That was his purpose, but this means that Obama himself is now irrelevant. The Muslim world not only despises him, but may be approaching a moment in history when serious Muslims may turn friendly eyes toward hated Israel.

Indeed, if Egyptian President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi wants to start a revolution in Islam, he should arrange for a visit to Jerusalem and outdo Sadat by means of a “treaty of friendship” with Israel understood primarily as a diplomatic alliance against the Muslim Brotherhood and ISIS!

President el-Sisi gives a striking interview

Before continuing, allow me to quote from an interview of President el-Sisi conducted by Fox News’ Bret Baier in Cairo, Egypt, in March, 2015.

The Egyptian President called for the creation of an “Arab ready force” or regional coalition backed by the U.S. to defeat ISIS. He stressed a need for the U.S. to play a greater role in helping his country fight terrorism, a cancer spreading from the Middle East while Obama plays golf.

When asked to define the Middle East’s perceptions of the Obama administration’s leadership, President el-Sisi said in English, after a long pause, it was a “difficult question.” He said he was worried that “The suspending of equipment, weapons and arms was a negative indication to the public opinion that the United States is not standing by the Egyptians.”

He addressed the need for what he called a religious “revolution,” urging moderate Muslims in Egypt and around the world to “stand up” against terrorists hijacking their religion. According to the Egyptian President, there is a real fear among Muslims that fanatical religious leadership and oppression can become the norm in the region.

“We have to admit,” he said, “that terrorism is now a major threat not only to Egypt or even the immediate region, but it is a threat to the stability and security of the whole world.” He warned that “the map of terrorism and extremism is expanding, it is not recessing.”

He said that “current U.S. policy toward Egypt … for example, the 13 June 2013 the suspending of equipment, weapons and arms was a negative indication to the public opinion that the U.S. is not standing by the Egyptians.”

Political Islam is the enemy

El-Sisi took power after former Muslim Brotherhood-backed President Mohammed Morsi was overthrown in 2013. While el-Sisi acknowledged that Morsi came to power as a result of “free and fair elections,” he said that millions of Egyptians took to the streets to remove this extremist leadership, which was leading Egypt into a “vicious cycle of civil war.”  “We thought that the United States would take time to understand what really happened in Egypt … that [the overthrow of Morsi] was and has been the will of the Egyptians.”

Though the U.S. still gives roughly $1.5 billion a year to Egypt, second only to Israel in U.S. in foreign aid, mostly military shipments have ceased since the military leadership overthrew Morsi [and] cracked down on radical Islamist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood. The U.S. held back deliveries of F-16 fighter jets, M1A1 tanks and Harpoon missiles.

President El-Sisi spoke out against what he described as “political Islam.” He said the people of Egypt have a “real fear of this kind” of system, adding they feel “these people have turned their lives into a living hell.”

He made these remarks in the course of defending the ouster of Morsi, who, as indicated, had been aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Responding to characterizations of Morsi’s removal as a “coup,” el-Sisi acknowledged that “free and fair elections” resulted in Morsi’s election, but that millions of Egyptians took to the streets to remove that leadership. He claimed the country was headed into a “vicious cycle of civil war,” at the time and that he and other military leaders intervened. Now let’s start a new page.

Can Israel and Egypt make history again?

Can Israel and Egypt start a new chapter, not only in their relationship but in human history?

Flag of Israel

If Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Egyptian President Abdel el-Sisi were to conclude a treaty of friendship that would include, in addition to the blessings of Israeli technology of which the impoverished Egyptian people are so much in need, this might facilitate a constructive solution to the conflict between Israel and the self-styled or fictitious Palestinians.

That fiction, which the American professor New Gingrich mentioned a few years ago when he was an aspiring presidential candidate, would be acknowledged today by Senator Marco Rubio and other Republican presidential candidates.

Of course, I am thinking in grandiose terms, but no other terms are appropriate to the dilemmas of the Middle East, as was indicated by President el-Sisi’s courageous urging imams to reform Islam itself!  It may not be inappropriate, therefore, to quote Isaiah 19:25, where the Eternal says, “Blessed [be] Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance.”

The inclusion of Assyria no longer seems to have any obvious application since it now includes areas where ISIS is operating, specifically in northern Iraq and further north bordering Syria. Note, too, that bordering Iraq to the east is northwestern Iran. A very large and strategic area is thus exposed to ISIS, an area that includes Lebanon and Jordan, which of course border Israel.  We need to think in grandiose terms, for which we have been given – let us dare speculate – a statesman in Israel and a statesman in Egypt to take the first step to ushering in a new and promising chapter in human history.☼

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