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Speaking of double-speak…

Just how genuine is Michele Bachmann’s support for Egypt?


Joel Gulhane
Joel Gulhane

Michele Bachmann kindly wrote an opinion piece for this publication, calling for the Muslim Brotherhood to be designated as a terror organisation. This is a step that many in Egypt would welcome, as it is already a major component of the rhetoric used by the media and government, which have such influence over large parts of the population.

Bachmann visited Egypt last week with two of her fellow republican representatives, Steve King and Louis Gohmert. This is the trio’s second trip to Egypt in recent months.

They have all been a strong supporter of the military intervention in Egypt and seem to be desperately trying to fit in. It is well known that Bachmann is not a fan of Islamists, most recently suggesting that the Brotherhood had infiltrated the US administration. She called on US citizens to “ask for answers to questions regarding the Muslim Brotherhood and other radical groups’ access to top [President Barack] Obama administration officials.”

At the end her visit to Egypt in September, she erroneously implied the Brotherhood was to blame for the 9/11-terror attack in the US in a press conference televised on Egypt’s ONTV. The three republicans expressed their unwavering support for the Egyptian military and its efforts in fighting terrorism.

Now Bachmann is once again throwing her weight behind Egypt’s interim government and military, through issuing an opinion that sounds like it could have been written in the halls of Maspero.

One topic Bachmann highlights is that of the Muslim Brotherhood’s double-speak; the illuminating “MB in English” blog displayed this perfectly, translating articles published on the Brotherhood’s Arabic website that stood in stark contrast to the English equivalent.

Believe it or not though, Bachmann is guilty of a bit of double-speak herself.

The military and government claim to be protecting the 25 January and 30 June “revolutions”. Bachmann may have been cheering in front of her television earlier in 2013 but rewind to 2011 and there is a very different picture. She accused Obama of “sitting on his hands” while former President Hosni Mubarak was toppled (34mins – unless you want to watch the whole speech…). This is definitely not the kind of “support” that the majority of Egyptians would want to hear.

Bachmann may say now that she will “stand strong” by the Egyptian people and military but that obviously wasn’t the case in 2011 and who is to say it is today? Bachmann is a republican crowd pleaser, she opposed Mubarak’s ousting because it was another way to take a jab at Obama’s foreign policy and her support now of Egypt is for the same reason. The administration was considering the suspension of military aid during her visit in September and she then expressed her unwavering opposition to any change in the terms of the aid package.

Her two tours in the Middle East over the last few months, accompanied by two other republican representatives, only served as an attempt to undermine Obama’s policy in the region. To be absolutely clear I am not supporting Obama’s foreign policy but rather questioning Bachmann’s motivation for her assertions. It almost seems that the trio are taking the opportunity to further weaken the US administration’s position in the region at a time when it is already vulnerable.

If Bachmann really does care about Egypt I would suggest that she starts by not making such inflammatory assertions regarding an internal matter of the legal status of the Brotherhood.

In her op-ed, Bachmann provided us all with a brief history of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, which was mostly accurate. She did fail to mention that in the 1970s the Brotherhood de-radicalised, put down their weapons and actively sought to engage in the political arena, but that wouldn’t fit into her argument so is therefore unimportant.

I’m of the opinion that if you are to repress, attack and demonise a group enough then it very well could become exactly what you are accusing it of. Radicalisation comes through continued repression. This is not to say the Brotherhood and its supporters are not doing themselves any favours at the moment, but the collective demonising of anyone who supports Morsi, is more dangerous than people may like to acknowledge.

Through her words Bachmann is adding to this dangerous cycle, and quite honestly she has no right to do so. Fanning the flames of an internal conflict of another country is not something for a foreign politician to be doing. Think carefully before you rush to label a group a terrorist organisation. Especially when it comes from a woman who believes the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, which Egypt is a member of, intends to attack America’s right to freedom of speech, or be it hate speech against Islam.

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  • Reda Sobky

    It is important to accept truthful statements even when they come from political opponents. I for one have not voted Republican once in my life and have generally disagreed with Ms Bachmann’s positions in the past but she is right on in her assessment of Obama/Hillary on the middle east and I therefore begrudgingly agree with her and actually, I also have to admit, that Marco Rubio called the situation in the middle east very accurately from the start and even though I disagree with his positions in general, on this one I do. We have to have the courage to consider the message whoever the messenger in otherwise we sink into intellectual corruption. She is accurate in describing the deposed as a terrorist organization and Caliphate central ditto with the psychopath Erdogan at its head. Give the lady credit when she is right, and on this, she is.

    • mustafatayli

      Erdogan has won all elections he participated. He is the most succesfull pm in turkish history. He is a pm elected with fair election. You dont hate dictators, you dont hate kings of muslim world. But you hate only democratically elected erdoğan and mursy. Strange…

      • Reda Sobky

        When Erdogan makes himself responsible for the future of Egypt it seem inappropriate. He has Turkey to worry about and deal with. Egypt is not a province in Turkey. Egypt predates Turkey as a nation by literally millennia so it seems to me that his flashing the four finger sign is a bit much and shows a monomaniacal obsession with the Caliphate. As for Morsi and his election, assembling the manifestations of an occurence as a play is phony from beginning to end and your claim that Morsi’s constitution, or his election were “democratic” is disingenuous and also phony and shows a distorted understanding of how democratic systems work. The communist countries of Eastern Europe all had elections and constitutions but they were phony and a play to create legitimacy but they were most undemocratic just like Morsi and his election.

        • mustafatayli

          From secular point of wiew, you are right. But we, as muslims, are brothers and sisters (verse from Kur’an). When we looked at the muslim world. We dont see the countries or its borders. We only see our brothers and if they have problems we accept it as our problem, we try to help them with our hands, if can’t with our words, if can’t with our prays. We cant never let them alone. And Erdogan is muslim and also the voice of not only turks but also all muslims of muslim countries. İf you look at the muslim countries you can see the love of Erdogan. Lastly, Is there any country or international election monitoring group that says Morsi’ election is undemocratic?

          • Reda Sobky

            Now Erdogan’s corruption will be uncovered and his power is gone and soon he will be a footnote. Having a religion in common with others has never prevented conflict between coreligionists when their interests were at stake. Witness Iraq and Yemen and Syria…on and on. The illusion of religious alliances and empires based on religion is just that, an illusion based on acquiring power and keeping it and is not at all supported by any historical precent. I think your fundamental premise that there is an empathic bond based on religion is a fantasy and in the twenty first century unsupportable. More mosques are bombed by co religionists than by any “enemy” of Islam, same as Catholics and Protestants.

          • mustafatayli

            From abroad and english speaking and writing media, situation may be seen different. We have three elections next year. We will see the results for Erdogan. As you mentioned Religios mind must not be effect on state affairs and only qualified people must be in posts. Todays, a religious group is trying to get power in bureaucracy in Turkey and Erdogan is struggling with this. The political way of Erdogan is the only solution for muslim countries. But west that exploiting east and kings and dictators of eastern countries dont want this democratic and muslim administration. Problem in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria etc is the result of being leaved uneducated by its dictators not the result of religious thought. Because if you are not educated, you behave with your emotions. And Emotions are not good guide.

      • elefromsi

        Because democratically elected governments won’t allow fascists like Bachman and Israel to steal from Muslims. And If there is dictator in Muslim country they can always give Israel more preference because Israel is a so called democratic country.

  • elefromsi

    Ron Paul has said about Michelle Bachman on live show of Leno that she hates Muslims and such fascist people are being invited on state visit, Now God only can save Egyptian Muslims.

https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2013/12/22/speaking-of-double-speak/
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