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Al-Sisi playing Mubarak’s game

Hosni Mubarak was not able to bequeath his presidency and estate to his biological son, Gamal Mubarak, so he instead chose to bequeath it to his son from his military life, Abdulfatah Al-Sisi, who is heading towards the presidency on a path of bones and blood among other political games.

Hosni Mubarak’s regime was continuously involved in underground political deals with Israel and although for the most part these dealings remained hidden in the shadows, sometimes they were exposed and conducted in public at times when the Palestinian issue was used as a playing card in a way that mirrored some of the Egyptian cinema’s most popular scenarios.

The Egyptian government often joined Israel in imposing a blockade on Gaza and at times when issues and files of corruption were brought to light, it would announce its intention to facilitate Palestinian reconciliation and allow certain figures from the Palestinian resistance movement to come to Cairo as well as send an Egyptian general or two to Gaza and open the border.

The foreign minister under Hosni Mubarak used to vow to break the legs of Palestinians and celebrate with Tzipi Livni during Israel’s numerous attacks against Gaza. Afterwards, we would often see some key players in Mubarak’s theatrical production such as Fathi Sorour or Mufid Shihab as they performed a long monologue in which they praised the steadfastness and struggle of the Palestinian people. They would often express their pride in Mohamed Al-Beltagi and how he acted when the Israeli navy attacked a Turkish convoy that went to break the siege on Gaza.

Now: Before Al-Sisi has even become the official president of Egypt, we see him using his political father’s legacy as he comes out of his playroom and from his political toy box he takes out tactics that leave you wanting to clap your hands as you witness contradictory reflections of the schizophrenic old regime. The news has basically confirmed that Al-Sisi has outperformed his political father in the game by providing concessions to Israel and that he has proven his oppositional role against the Arab resistance movements.

Now, Al-Sisi has pulled out his biggest playing card, one of Palestinian reconciliation as he extends bridges to Hamas’s government. Pro-Sisi media outlets have virtually placed all other Arab resistance movements in boxes by declaring them enemies. Over the last nine months, the coup has labelled Hamas a terrorist organisation, banned its activites and expelled its officials from Egypt. Now we see Al-Sisi use Palestinian reconciliation as his major playing card as he builds bridges with Hamas leadership and works to establish Hamas representatives in Cairo. Al-Sisi’s government is now working on achieving reconciliation with the Palestinian people.

It is the same ridiculous game. Al-Sisi is attempting to depict a nationalist and pan-Arab attitude while he has basically been under Israeli custody. Arab countries that considered Mubarak to be Egypt’s rightful ruler have babied al-Sisi. It is no coincidence that a military general has risen to power and that this absurd comedy of the elections will soon take place despite their unimportance. The elections will not even reach a semi-final stage before we are given the outcome. Soon, we will hear officials rejoice in Tel Aviv as they celebrate the coup’s rise to power. It does not make logical or historical sense that such a government will achieve Palestinian reconciliation, which we have long considered a fundamental national interest.

Translated from Al Araby Al Jadid 22 April, 2014

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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