With Egypt on the brink of anarchy, a former Hamas insider is pointing a critical finger at the United States for ignoring the north African country’s human rights abuses – one of the factors contributing to the current uprising.
Mosab Hassan Yousef, the eldest son of one of the founders of the terrorist group Hamas and author of the New York Times bestseller Son of Hamas, commented on his blog Sunday morning about the current situation in Egypt as well as protests across the Middle East.
Yousef wrote that while the United States was founded on a Constitution that guarantees basic human rights, it has – along with other Western countries – “turned a blind eye and deaf ear to flagrant human rights abuses in Egypt and other countries…”
“Tyrants loot and torture their own people, yet we maintain an uninterrupted flow of aid dollars to ensure low gas prices and protect favorable trade agreements,” criticized the former spy for Shin Bet, the Israeli version of the U.S. CIA, who now lives in the United States.
“Even today, as clouds of black smoke choke much of the Middle East, Western eyes are glued to pump prices, when our hearts should be broken over decades of needless human suffering,” remarked Yousef, who has converted to Christianity and believes Jesus’ teachings about forgiveness is the key to Middle East peace.
Egypt controls the Suez Canal, which is the passageway for crude oil from the Middle East to the rest of the world, including to the United States.
Since earlier this week, Egyptian citizens have taken to the streets of Cairo, Alexandria, and other cities to protest against the regime of President Hosni Mubarak. Experts say the demonstrations are against lack of economic opportunities and basic freedoms under the Mubarak administration.
The embattled Egyptian president fired his entire Cabinet on Saturday and appointed Omar Suleiman, a man respected by the military, as his deputy. He also tapped Ahmed Shafik, who also has strong connections to the military given his background as a former Air Force officer, to form a new government.
Demonstrators on Saturday burned pictures of the 82-year-old authoritarian leader, who has ruled Egypt with an iron fist for three decades, and chanted “Down with Mubarak,” according to CNN. Police also shot live ammunition and used tear gas on protesters at the interior ministry building in Cairo. There were different figures given on how many people were killed during that confrontation, with some saying at least one while others saying at least five were shot to death. Dozens were injured.
On Sunday, police ceased to patrol Cairo and people have taken over the city.
“It seems that every major square and every small street in Cairo was basically taken over by communities… people are parading the streets, walking around with baseball bats and knives,” said Ahmed Rehab of the Council on American Islamic Relations from Cairo, according to CNN. “We didn’t get any sleep all night.”
Besides Egypt, other Arab countries have also seen recent uprisings. Protesters in Jordan, Yemen, Algeria and Tunisia have all demonstrated against growing inequalities, including economic unfairness between the rich and poor.
The Son of Hamas author described the Middle East as “unraveling.”
“Hezbollah has taken Lebanon. If no one intervenes, Jordan will follow Egypt. And Pakistan will not be far down the line with its prize of nuclear weapons,” predicted Yousef. “The Middle East has become a jungle. Rage and revenge are the driving forces. No one can guess what will happen next.”
Yousef urges Western governments to stop compromising their values and supporting regimes that are “guilty of systematic human rights abuses.” He urges Washington to stand with the Egyptian people and convey its support through social media tools.