Could it be that the three Al-Jazeera journalists have been found guilty and each sentenced to seven years in jail to enable Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi to pardon and free them in order to give the impression that he is a kind, forgiving man and not on his way to becoming the Arab world’s most ruthless and repressive tyrant?
Only the coming days or weeks will give us the answer but while we wait I think the governments of the world should act. What could they do? For starters they could isolate Sisi’s Egypt diplomatically by expelling its ambassadors and withdrawing their own.
The conviction of Peter Greste, Mohammed Fahmy and Bahar Mohamed for allegedly supporting a terrorist organization has nothing whatsoever to do with justice. It’s all about sending a Zionist-like message to the world – “The truth is whatever the masters of Egypt say it is and anybody who tells and spreads an alternative version of events will be punished.”
On the social networks there was instant and universal condemnation of the Egyptian court’s politically motivated decision but there is no reason to suppose that governments will act.
The U.S. has, in fact, rewarded Sisi for his intimidation and suppression of all opposition to date. The day before the Egyptian court delivered its decision, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was in Cairo and with him came the announcement that the U.S. has released $575 million in military aid to Egypt that had been frozen since the removal of President Mohammed Morsi in a coup last year.
In what were described as “candid” talks with Sisi, Kerry emphasised “our strong support for upholding the universal rights and freedoms of all Egyptians including the freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association.”
If Kerry and his boss truly believe that Sisi has any intention of upholding those rights and freedoms they are, to say the least, naive in the extreme.
Kerry also pledged that Washington would “stand with the Egyptian people in the fight for the future they want.”
I find myself wondering what America’s position will be when in that fight Egyptians turn against Sisi.