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The new ‘Naguib military base’ should make us weep for Egypt

Mohammed Naguib, first Egyptian president in 1952 [Wikipedia]
Mohammed Naguib, first Egyptian president in 1952 [Wikipedia]

The army in Egypt has suddenly remembered Egypt’s first President, Mohammed Naguib; his army officers staged a coup against him, imprisoned and insulted him, and then erased from their fabricated history his name as the first President of Egypt following the 1953 coup and consequent overthrow of the King. After being released from prison, his place of residence was assigned to him and he had to live without a salary, which forced his son to work as a taxi driver.

Now, though, without any preamble, Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has remembered Egypt’s first president and opened a military base on the western border with Libya in Naguib’s name on the anniversary of his own ill-fated coup. The base was opened in the presence of the de facto ruler of Abu Dhabi, the Zionist Mohammed Bin Zayed, King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa of Bahrain, a Saudi prince representing King Salman, and retired General Khalifa Haftar, leader of the Libyan forces. They, along with Al-Sisi, rode in an open-top vehicle with the flags of their countries. It appeared to be a message to the government in Doha that the flags of the Gulf countries boycotting Qatar were fluttering in the Egyptian sky.

Since his 2013 coup, Al-Sisi has been cunning in his political dealings with foreign states, rather than acting like a head of state should. He has also been patronising in his speeches, with winks and hints about Qatar being a small country with a small population trying to interfere in Egypt’s affairs. “With its population of 100 million, Egypt’s breakfast, lunch and dinner in one day is more than that country eats in a year,” he mocked. “Can it spend $100 billion on Egypt? No, so it should mind its own business and be concerned with its own affairs.”

That is not the behaviour of a responsible head of state who respects his people and is being watched by the whole world. He is not only offending Qatar, which he did not mention by name, but also offending Egyptians. It is as if he has put them and the country up for sale to whoever can pay $100 billion. It was interesting that the Bahraini monarch and Bin Zayed laughed hysterically at Al-Sisi’s quip, as if their countries are large with populations of many millions, and not the mini-states of reality.

Read: Egypt opens largest military base in the Middle East

Al-Sisi’s linguistically, morally and politically low-class speech was made the morning after the Emir of Qatar, Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, impressed the world with his grace, calmness, confidence and pride in the values of his people, and his respect for his opponents when speaking about them. He did not forget about Jerusalem and the siege of Al-Aqsa when he spoke. This was an issue disregarded completely by Al-Sisi, who did not refer to it in any way, shape or form, despite the fact that his speech was made on the actual Day of Rage in Jerusalem. Sensible observers made comparisons between the first class leader of the small Gulf State and the third-rate thug who leads Egypt and gloats that his country has 100 million people while he governs them with insults, cunning and exploitation.

So back to the military base, about which a number of questions arise. Why, for example, was it built in the West of Egypt, near the border with Libya, rather than in the east, near the Israeli enemy? A military base is generally where troops gather outside of their country, such as the US Al-Udeid Base in Qatar, the Incirlik Airbase in Turkey and Russia’s Tartus Naval Base in Syria. When an army is based at home, so to speak, soldiers are usually in military barracks, except in times of war, when they will be deployed to the front line.

Read: Remembering the 1952 Egyptian Revolution

Is the new Mohammed Naguib military facility in Matruh thus a base for foreign soldiers in Egypt? The presence of the Zionist Bin Zayed at the opening has raised a number of doubts and suspicions regarding the funding of the base. Did Abu Dhabi fund its construction in order to serve its own interests in Libya and support Haftar against the rebels there? This suspicion is supported by the fact that Haftar also attended the opening ceremony.

The situation is very dangerous. Ever since Al-Sisi took over, Egypt has been under the influence of Abu Dhabi; it is not unreasonable to suggest that Mohammed Bin Zayed regards Egypt as one of his emirates. He made the coup happen with his money and he overthrew the elected President, Mohamed Morsi. Al-Sisi has become Bin Zayed’s lackey, carrying out all of his orders, as it is thanks to him that the former general is now State President of Egypt. Weep for poor Egypt, the great country that was once known as the mother of the world; it has now become Abu Dhabi’s tail to wag at the whim of its rulers.

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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