Commenting on the Russian plane crash in Sinai, which claimed 224 lives on 31 October, the chairman of the special investigation committee said on Saturday that the investigation is underway and that nothing has been ruled out.
This brief comment is, so far, the most authoritative statement made by the investigation team, which includes representatives of five countries: Egypt, Russia, France, Germany and Ireland.
But Western intelligence services and media have drawn their own conclusions, claiming that the crash was due to an act of terror. London and Washington have been quite emphatic on this point, despite the fact that their intelligence services have declined to cooperate with Egypt every step of the way.
To date, no information has been shared by either the US or UK intelligence services. No conclusive information or physical evidence has been forthcoming, only premature conclusions.
Egypt hasn’t ruled out or given support to any possible scenario of the events leading to the tragedy. Neither President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi nor Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry have confirmed or denied media speculation. But the Egyptian public in general knows that if a terrorist act is indeed the cause, then we are the victims as well.
Egypt has been fighting a war on terror for the past few years, without the least offer of assistance of the powers that now speak so volubly about our shortcomings and mishaps. Thinly veiled ill will has permeated the premature speculation of Western powers, primarily the US and the UK, which now claim to have information about a terrorist act but decline to share that information with the fact-finding committee in charge of the investigation.
After the 9/11 attacks, the consensus in the international community was that all countries should stand together in the fight against terror. So the UN Security Council, on 28 September 2001, issued Resolution 1373 instructing all member states to provide all possible logistical and intelligence help in the war on terror.
In this case, however, neither the UK nor the US have done this, which puts them in flagrant violation of the abovementioned UN Security Council resolution, and yet they keep insinuating that the crash was Egypt’s fault.
There is a systematic campaign by the UK and US media against Egypt. This campaign is bolstered by other measures for escalation, including the evacuation of nationals, the suspension of flights and the cancellation of reservations.
Fabricated tales are now all over the Western media: tales of planes that come under missile fire; tales of employees who take bribes to skirt security procedures, etc.
Editorials are published that assault Egypt and badmouth its politics, mainly in connection with the ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood following the 30 June 2013 revolution. As usual, The Washington Post and The New York Times have led the charge.
None of these attacks have anything to do with the Russian plane tragedy. The loss of life in Sinai is just an excuse to put Egypt in its place and punish it for ousting the Muslim Brotherhood, thus depriving the West of the political ally on which it had laid so much hope.
In Washington, London and Berlin, politicians had dreamed of political Islam running the region under Western auspices, pacifying its people with the help of Iran, Turkey and Israel.
The 30 June Revolution changed all that, upsetting Western planners and robbing them of the will and ability to recognise the true wishes of the people who live in this region.
Some 30 million people took to the streets of Egypt on 30 June 2013 to say no to the Muslim Brotherhood, and all the political intrigues in the world cannot change that. But Egypt wasn’t forgiven for this act of audacity in the backrooms of Western politics, its punishment is far from complete.
The Muslim Brotherhood was aided and abetted by Western politicians. Its leaders were received with pomp and listened to with compassion. One day in the future, the Brotherhood and its friends dream, something will happen in Egypt that puts the Islamists back in the saddle, to the satisfaction of their Western allies.
But Egypt is standing fast. It is defeating Muslim Brotherhood-inspired terror, and it is pushing through with its roadmap. It is now electing a new parliament, and even with the low turnout, this is still an accomplishment worthy of praise.
Still, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Western capitals that support it are doing their best to undermine Egypt, wreck its economy, destroy its tourism and generate the discontent they hope will bring down its government and bring it back under Muslim Brotherhood rule.
We know we have problems. We know we have corruption and unemployment, human rights abuses and poor education, health issues and transportation failures. We don’t need The Washington Post to tell us that. We don’t need The Guardian to list our ailments.
But we could have used some help. Instead of haranguing us about deposing the extremists from power, Western capitals could have acted in good faith, sharing information about terror, for example, or helping train our airport security teams and our anti-terror squads.
Centuries ago, the West had its own revolutions, and managed for the most part to separate church and state. Why do they think that we cannot do the same? Why do they hold us to ridicule, rather than show respect?
Fabricated tales now circulate, aiming to undermine tourism and deal a body blow to our economy. Instead of providing assistance to a nation that is determined to fight terror and extremism in all their forms, defamation campaigns are being waged against us.
Egypt will continue to fight terror, regardless of the price. We are fighting the same terror that struck the US in September 2001, CharlieHebdo in France in January 2015, and Sousse in Tunisia in June 2015. Our country has six million people working in tourism, so if terrorists target visitors to our country, the world should help, not gloat.
The results of the ongoing investigation are still pending, but the last thing we need is to be lectured by those who do not, or will not, help.
This is a terrible tragedy, regardless of its causes. And it is a tragedy that has brought our nation together in grief and concern. Today, the government’s supporters and its critics stand united. We are willing to criticise our appointed and elected officials, but will not undermine the interests of the nation as a whole.
Meanwhile, we are aware that our political accomplishments are annoying to some people in the West. We are aware that our success in electing a new government is not sitting well with our detractors, especially those who befriended the Muslim Brotherhood.
We understand that our attempt to boost the abilities of the Armed Forces, and to wrest our armaments from Washington’s control, has alienated some people.
We can see how our success in finding new energy sources upsets the Muslim Brotherhood and its friends, who still dream of a glorious return to power.
We know that our rapprochement with Russia has surprised many who still have bitter memories of Soviet-Egyptian cooperation in the 1960s and 1970s.
But none of this justifies the rabid campaigns against us. None of this justifies gloating over a tragedy, the exact cause of which is still under investigation.