Egyptian judges urge “scrapping the peace deal”? It was scrapped, by Egypt, more than twenty years ago, just as soon as the third tranche of the Sinai was handed over by those ever-hopeful, ever-trusting, endlessly trusting Israelis, along with all those oil fields and airfields (including Etzion, the base from which those Israeli planes took off to bomb the Osirak reactor). Save for one brief meeting on the border, and Rabin’s funeral, Mubarak has never once visited Israel as he was expected to do, as the Camp David Accords, in committing Egypt, for such great tangible assets, surely assumed he would do.
Egypt also has denied Israelis the right to participate in film festivals and book festivals, discouraged Egyptians from visiting Israel, and encouraged antisemitism at every level of the officially-monitored and censored (just try making fun of slick, oily Gamal Mubarak, and see what happens to your paper and to the writer) press, radio, and television.
The Americans in power during the years 1977-1980 presided over the period of the second great oil price rise, when Carter’s fireside chat was no substitute for a nation-wide discussion of the nature of Saudi society, the likely use of OPEC revenues to fund Jihad (“what’s Jihad”?), and therefore the need to tax gasoline so as to merely recapture part of the oligopolistic rents that otherwise would be taken by the OPEC nations. They oversaw the utterly resistible rise of Khomeini (supported by Arafat and the PLO, and assorted Mortimers and Sicks) and the far-from-inevitable fall of the Shah, whom the Americans did nothing to support and everything to abandon. Carter even sent a letter later to Khomeini, praising him as a “fellow man of faith.” That was the quality of the leadership in that period 1977-1980. It was even worse than that during 1973 and the first oil price rise, when Kissinger was still preoccupied with Vietnam. He was never one to understand economics and certainly not one who had the faintest notion of what Islam was all about — does he now? Perhaps a bit more? The American government was receiving its intelligence on Saudi Arabia (which was the most dangerous of OPEC members in the long run, even if it was the Shah who was originally behind the demands of oil-producing states for a price rise) from the likes of the ambassador James Akins in Riyadh (who was later fired by Kissinger, so outrageous was his behavior) and Raymond Close, the C.I.A. station chief who resigned in 1977 to go into “business” with the Saudis. He was for a long time after, and in a sense for a long time before, always “in business” with the Saudis.
In this kind of mess, it has always been comforting for American policymakers to construct a little drama: the drama consists of separating out the “good” Muslim countries, the ones that are our “firm allies” such as Pakistan (still called that in yesterday’s New Duranty Times), our “staunch ally” Saudi Arabia, and our “two closest Arab allies, Egypt and Jordan,” from the others. What is the point to using such misleading language? Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia may, at various times, in very limited ways, have interests that intersect with ours as we then perceive them. Mubarak, for example, would no doubt like the power of Iran curtailed, and so would we. Saudi Arabia wished to support the Afghanis fighting the Soviet army, and so did we. Jordan has tried in the past to limit Syrian ambitions, and so have we. And Jordan, Pakistan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia all have governments that of course wish to suppress the activities of terrorist groups insofar as those terrorist groups attack the ruling elites in Jordan, Pakistan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, respectively. But these governments have no qualms, none, about attacks on Infidels. Indeed, they are perfectly willing to do nothing to discourage and a good deal to encourage such terrorism as long as it is properly directed at Infidels — Israel, America, Great Britain, France, India, Hindus or Christians or Jews, but not against Mubarak and his Friends-and-Family Plan, and not against King Abdullah and his mediagenic clan, including his uncle and his father’s widow, not to mention his own family. Saudi Arabia is happy to support the worldwide Jihad except insofar as it threatens the livelihood, and the lives, of those tens of thousands of princes, princelings, and princelettes who have been robbing Arabia blind since Abdul Aziz consolidated his power early in the last century. Pakistan, of course, is happy to support terrorism directed at Kashmir and India, but Musharraf draws the line, very severely, at any attacks on — Musharraf.
Egypt is not, was not even under Saint Sadat, and will never be, an ally of the Americans. This is abundantly established by the meretriciousness of the Egyptian government, its failure to meet a single one of its solemn commitments under the Camp David Accords (though it was quite happy to howl in protest if it sensed any delay by Israel in the agreed-upon timetable for the handover, in three stages, of the entire Sinai). This should be understood in Washington, where the memory of Saint Sadat, like light from a distant star, keeps arriving long after that star — such as it was — has been extinguished. Sadat never was that Prince of Peace he was taken to be, and that Carter and Brzezinski kept telling us he was. Compare their browbeating, their viciousness, toward Begin, that simple sentimentalist who was convinced that “they really like me” as he gave away everything.
After the transfer of $60 billion by American taxpayers to Egypt, a world center of anti-American propaganda and antisemitism, what has been obtained in return? What do Egyptians think? We know what they think. They rival Jordan in their hatred for Americans and the United States. Why are we supporting them?