Egypt’s modern history has never been a walk in the park for many people, and it has unfortunately been marred by various invasions, wars, periods of ebb and flow, and times of recession. However, the Egyptian people have withstood the test of time for millennia and have kept the natural borders of the oldest state in the world intact while maintaining their unique civilisation. This story of determination and endurance is the story of the modern Egyptians.
The years following the 25 January 2011 and 30 June 2013 Revolutions in Egypt, with the latter ending in the ousting of Islamist rule, have not been easy, and they have been perhaps the hardest the nation has faced since the end of the Egyptian-Israeli wars and the signing of the Camp David Peace Treaty in the late 1970s.
In fact, many Egyptians believe that the current existential war facing Egypt is much more ferocious than the wars of the 20th century.
The Muslim Brotherhood terrorist organisation and its affiliates such as the Islamic State (IS) group and Al-Qaeda dreamed of ruling the country for over eight decades and managed to stay in power for only one year, however, and its dream of establishing a dynasty or a caliphate that would last for five centuries, according to its rhetoric, was thwarted by the Egyptian army in June 2013. Today, the organisation is acting like an injured animal and fighting a ferocious war against Egypt while operating from abroad.
The Brotherhood has made a pact with the devil in the shape of the Turkish and Qatari regimes, which have provided it with huge financial, political and media resources along with arms for its militias. As a result, Egypt faces the most ferocious terrorist wave in its history, but thanks to the dedicated sacrifices of its patriotic armed forces and police the country has managed to repel this wave and turn the tide of battle.
However, Egyptian heroes still fall every day, the last time being on 27 September, when four Egyptian army officers and soldiers were killed and 10 others were injured in an attack on one of the security checkpoints in North Sinai. Such sacrifices have not been in vain, as the Egyptian army continues to pound terrorist hideouts across the county and has managed to kill 118 terrorists in Sinai, the Western Desert and near the southern borders with Sudan in the recent period.
The Egyptian army has made sure that all who get involved in acts of aggression against the country will be punished severely, and operations continue to uproot the remnants of the Brotherhood terrorist group and its allies.
On the political front, Turkish President Recep Tayyib Erdogan has attempted to rally the international community against Egypt by claiming that an investigation must be conducted into the death of his ally, the ousted former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, who died in prison. The Egyptian Foreign Ministry has responded with strongly worded statements against the Turkish regime since the beginning of the crisis in June 2013. It has exposed the barbaric activities of that regime, which has imprisoned 75,000 political prisoners in terrible conditions amidst the threat of torture in Turkish prisons.
The ministry has reminded the world of the war crimes committed by the Turkish regime in both Syria and Iraq against Kurdish populations, with these still ongoing today. The Egyptian state is caught up in a cold war with the Turkish regime, and relations between the two countries will not mend as long as Erdogan remains in power.
On the domestic front, Egypt faces an unprecedented media campaign orchestrated by a treacherous contractor operating from Spain and backed by Muslim Brotherhood and other turncoats. It is the most ludicrous attempt yet by these elements to whip up dissatisfaction with the government led by President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi, propagated for weeks by the terrorist-backing Aljazeera TV network and the Turkish Anadolu News Agency. Much to the dismay of these organisations, the Egyptian nation has stood firm against calls for chaos coming from abroad.
Meanwhile, the diplomatic conflict with Ethiopia is ongoing as the Ethiopian government has been refusing demands for negotiation over the flow of the Nile River after the completion of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam that threatens the water supply to Egypt. As Egypt acquires 95 per cent of its water needs from the Nile, any tampering with the Nile’s flow will affect the livelihood of over 100 million Egyptians.
This means that Egypt cannot sit idly by, and that it must place all options on the table to prevent a catastrophe that could affect its water resources as a result of the Ethiopian government’s lack of proper appreciation of the gravity of the situation for Egypt. During his speech to the UN General Assembly in New York delivered in September, President Al-Sisi stressed that Egypt would not allow the Dam to be operational without the proper steps being taken by Ethiopia to ensure that Egypt’s share of Nile water is untouched.
Egypt is thus facing an existential war from various sources, and it has been fighting gallantly to preserve its interests and force its enemies to revise their strategies.
The question is how far patriotic Egyptians will be willing to go in order to guarantee Egypt’s future. The answer is simple: they will go as far as is necessary, no matter how great the costs. The outcome will be, as it has been over millennia of history, that Egypt will prevail.
*writer is a political analyst and author of Egypt’s Arab Spring and the Winding Road to Democracy.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 3 October, 2019 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly under the title: An existential war