Op-Ed: The EU's Mad Egyptian Policy
David Heilbron PriceThe writer is a British historian/ journalist based in Brussels. He is Editor of the Schuman Project on the origin, purpose and the future of the European Community and the present EU as initiated by Europe's Founding Father, French Prime Minister Robert Schuman. Besides books, he writes a regular commentary on European Democracy.
One year after Mohammed Morsi became President of Egypt after a popular revolt against military control, millions of Egyptians again protested, this time at Morsi’s autocratic Muslimist rule. They called for his resignation and received it. The headquarters of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood was gutted and burnt.
The European Union is pumping billions of euros into Egypt. Most of the recent money has been given as a blank check — to President Morsi’s government. What conclusions are democrats in Egypt to make of this folly?
Has the European External Action Service (EEAS) heard of Pavlov’s dog? You can train an animal by feeding for good or bad. If the dog is bad and angry and you give it food out of fear, you reinforce its nastiness to get you to give it more food.
Humans are more complicated and react to psychological stimulus too. But what on earth is the logic behind the vast amounts of taxpayers’ money that European leaders feel they have the freedom to give to corrupt and hostile states? The army has given Morsi’s government 48 hours to listen to the people. The EU imposes no conditions for EU tax money freely given to those that the people call its new despots, the Muslim Brotherhood.
The terrorist organization Hamas is a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. Its constitution declares that its aim to kill all Jews. Other activist branches are found throughout Africa, Asia, and the Americas. In WWII, the Nazi extermination of Jews was fomented and several SS divisions of Muslims were raised through the Muslim Brotherhood co-founder, Hajj al-Husseini. He later helped create the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) as a Muslim Brotherhood terrorist gang.
It is not only Morsi that the EU should be wary of. Egyptian leaders from the Muslimist parties have been filmed saying in private that America and Europe (which supply billions in aid) are their main enemies! Egyptian politicians thought they were speaking in private with President Morsi. Then Morsi shocked them all by saying the meeting was in fact being broadcast by Egypt’s Channel 1 TV. (See it yourself below).
The European taxpayers have been supplying Egypt with approximately eight billion euros of aid and loans to help a transition to democracy and a more just society. This is nearly equivalent to Cyprus bail-out sums. It is far beyond what the USA supplies as mainly military aid. What is the tax-payer getting in return? Who is in control of the funds?
The EU has lost its vision. The European Community was not created by funding and bribing, but by creating a moral and ethical framework for peace. This did not cost billions. It was inexpensive. It was effective. Robert Schuman’s vision started with the basis of Human Rights based on supranational law.
Under Morsi, Egypt has not become a more tolerant society towards its 10 percent minority of Coptics, its other Christians, its Baha’is, its non-religious communities and its few remaining Jews. EU money to an intolerant despot makes Egypt become a more intolerant society.
Are the various Christians able to build churches and assemble in peace? No. They are still forbidden from building, renovating or even repairing places of worship. Christian girls are forcibly islamized. Non-Muslim men are refused the right to marry whosoever they wish.
What is the West’s policy towards intolerant Islamic countries and Sharia law? Many EU governments subsidize mosques at home together with recycled oil-funds from the Saudis and the OPEC cartel. What principles of mutuality and democracy is the EU applying?
The US Department of State reports that the Christians in Egypt include:
The Armenian Apostolic, Catholic (Armenian, Chaldean, Greek, Melkite, Roman, and Syrian), Maronite, Orthodox (Greek and Syrian), and Anglican/Episcopalian churches, which range in size from several thousand to hundreds of thousands. A Protestant community, established in the mid-19th century, includes the following churches: Presbyterian, Baptist, Brethren, Open Brethren, Revival of Holiness (Nahdat al-Qadaasa), Faith (Al-Eyman), Church of God, Christian Model Church (Al-Mithaal Al-Masihi), Apostolic, Grace (An-Ni’ma), Pentecostal, Apostolic Grace, Church of Christ, Gospel Missionary (Al-Kiraaza bil Ingil), and the Message Church of Holland (Ar-Risaala).
There are also followers of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and Mormons (who meet in private homes).
Shia Muslims constituting less than 1 percent of the population are killed. Shiite leaders blame the lynchings on the government. There are also small groups of Quranists and Ahmadi Muslims. The once numerous Jewish community numbers fewer than 70 persons, mostly senior citizens. There are 1,000 to 1,500 Jehovah’s Witnesses and 1,500 to 2,000 Bahais; however, the government does not recognize these groups.
The US State Department says:
The government interprets Sharia as forbidding Muslims from converting to another religion despite there being no statutory prohibitions on conversion. This policy, along with the refusal of local officials to recognize such conversions legally, constitutes a prohibition in practice.
The EU Neighbourhood policy is supposedly based, not on military assistance, but encouraging Human Rights and the Rule of Law. These, the EEAS officials say repeatedly, are the foundation of EU foreign policy. What are the facts?
The European Court of Auditors said in a recent report that the European Union has not taken effective action to ensure taxpayers money is used for the purpose it was so generously given by EU leaders. That is, to support European values. It has tried to trace one billion euros of the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument, ENPI. It failed. Taxpayers money is more likely to encourage the opposite goals. Egypt has no audit trail at all for some four billion euros.
The Court of Auditors blamed the following factors:
Lack of budgetary transparency, an ineffective audit function and endemic corruption in Egypt.
It said there was little or no real dialogue on corruption, Human Rights, torture and persecution. The main worries of the population were simply not addressed.
Large sections of Egyptian society expressed strong concerns about what they perceived to be a shift towards Sharia law, restrictions on both the freedom of expression and women’s and minorities’ rights, and the continued privileged role of the military.
The accountants saw the problems. The politicians shut their eyes. Conditions were not imposed. The EEAS and Commission talked about ‘deep democracy’ without seemingly being able to define it in relation to Sharia law. The EEAS/Commission still talks about the Arab Spring without seemingly taking into account that many suffering people consider it to be a winter.
The Auditors’ report said:
(a) the rights of minorities: sectarian violence has been increasing with Christians suffering the brunt of the violence.
Investigations into the violence have been sluggish or non-existent.
(b) the rights of women: while this was an area where some advances were made over the last decade of the Mubarak regime, this progress is at risk since the uprising.
The Court report concluded:
Overall the EEAS and Commission have not been able to effectively manage EU support to improve governance in Egypt.
If you pour money without accountancy controls into an already corrupt society, you will encourage corruption. Most of EU’s money goes straight into the black hole of the national budget and is untraceable. Is that what Europe’s poor who also contribute to this export largesse of EU politicians expect?
The first responsibility of EU leaders dealing with taxpayers’ money is to ask the taxpayers what they wish to do with the money the leaders have collected. Secondly, they must set up systems that have adequate controls to analyze whether the funds are properly spent and thirdly, have a thorough review of the spending programmes to ensure they are effective and productive of tolerance, democracy, justice and the rule of law.
Has pouring money into Egypt made the Egyptian politicians more sympathetic to the EU? The answer is the opposite. Many Islamists believe that if the West gives money to a Muslim State, then it is in fulfillment of Koranic obligation of the non-believer or dhimmi. A dhimmi is a second class citizen, someone who refuses to adhere to Islam in a Sharia law based State. He has to pay a tax, usually onerous, called jizya (or jizia). It is not uncommon for clerics to say that US or European aid is confirmation of their down-trodden status as dhimmis and the aid is jizia.
Such religious questions and ideologies should be a core policy debate for the External Action Service. European experience shows that tolerance can be reinforced by non-financial aid such as advice about building a democratic governance system or ensuring joint ventures — like the European Coal and Steel Community — are undertaken. EU-Egyptian partnerships should be unambiguously based on openness, ethics and good accounting. Law-based Convention of Human Rights including freedom of expression will also help fight ignorance in open debate.
The EEAS says that Human Rights are the basis for its policy. It should ensure that all aids conforms to the Strasbourg Convention and not the Sharia-based monstrosity of the Cairo Declaration that gives undefined human rights and powers only to those who submit to Islam and denies it to others including sectarians. Hiraba or local ‘justice’ involves violent lynchings of people, amputations and crucifixions for those just suspected of crime, theft or robbery.
Why is the EEAS not leading a debate about values across the Mediterranean? What about lynch mob justice in Egypt? What is its view of Sharia law and Hiraba (WARNING graphic images)? And why has the EEAS not even got an analysis for European citizens, the taxpayers, of Sharia law and its implications for Egypt and for Europe? According to a UN report, 99.3% of Egyptian women — yes 99.3 % — say they have experienced sexual harassment, with sixty percent saying they have been touched inappropriately.
The European Commission declared 2013 to be the year of the Citizen. Does this stop at the confines of the Berlaymont? Or should it include the treatment of women and the concept of dhimmis?
What sort of monitoring does the EEAS have of Egyptian, North African media? Much of this is available in Arabic on YouTube but is immediately dropped off YouTube when translated into English. Policy for EU citizens cannot be founded on complacent illusions of an ignorant leadership.
Do policy makers deal with reality? Many other Muslim leaders in their various parties such as Morsi’s Freedom and Justice party, the Nour party, the Reform and Development Party, the Islamic Labour Party and Muslim Brotherhood consider the West as main enemies.
How can we be sure? President Morsi presided a meeting of the leaders of these parties and scholars of Egypt’s main university Al Azhar. They thought the meeting was secret. Their views were open, frank and ignorant. They all seemed to agree that USA and Israel (the only democratic State in the region) were their main enemies in the world. Was Europe included as Egypt’s enemy? Maybe. Perhaps like some Egyptians they all think that Europe will become Islamic in ten years time. Others spout plans for the reconquest of Europe.
What plans does the EEAS have that Egypt will be fully democratic in ten years time? Does it explain to Egyptians how Europe created peace and prosperity after two thousand years of constant warfare?
The secret meeting that was broadcast on Channel 1 TV was about the dispute with Ethiopia over the Nile Waters agreement. The scholar from Al Azhar university maintained that America and Israel must be behind Ethiopian desire for water and power. He said that Ethiopians are diverting Nile water to Israel – by a pipeline more than a thousand kilometers under the Red Sea.
However Israel is quite capable of producing vast amounts of water by its present desalination plants. It has no use for such a stupid, vulnerable, costly and totally unrealistic, crazy idea. A look at the map and a superficial understanding of the hydrology of the Nile and its two sources, the Blue Nile in Ethiopia and the White Nile in the Great Lakes, would have shown anyone how ridiculous the idea was.
Yet without a free society and open debate, even Egyptian leaders see plots everywhere while they refuse to deal with peace and justice at home or abroad. They wanted to either destroy the Ethiopian dam, form anti-Ethiopian regional alliances, intervene internal Ethiopian politics or subvert it by disinformation.
Such international problems need to be resolved democratically. Water agreements require implementation in peace with peaceful revisions where necessary. In the absence of a supervisory power such as the British had in 1923, that requires a common legal basis.
Any regional sharing of water must be based on similar principles of honesty and human rights that lay at the base of Europe’s Coal and Steel Community. That is why a Strasbourg style Convention of Human Rights is necessary for all the Mediterranean and such regional agreements as the Nile basin.
This law-based Convention of Human Rights including freedom of expression will also help fight ignorance in open debate.
Thanks go to MEMRI, Middle East Media Research Institute, a private organisation, and others which have translated this information from Arabic. They should get financial support and help from the EEAS. Public awareness of where their tax money is going requires adequate translation at least into English for a proper dialogue of values.