Worried Lebanese

thought crumbs on lebanese and middle eastern politics

Accusations of espionnage and their political use

Posted by worriedlebanese on 28/02/2007

mhmd-attar.jpgAs regular as clockwork, every couple of year Egypt offers the world a highly mediatised court case featuring three basic ingredients: scandal, sex and the West (or something similar, ie Israel). In 2004, the Azzam Azzam case finally came to an end when the Egyptian authorities released the Druze Israeli citizen in a “swap” operation with the Israeli government (against six Egyptian students). It all started in 1996 when Azzam was inprisoned and later tried for spying of being an Egyptian spy later tried for industrial espionage: using women’s underwear soaked in invisible ink to pass information to Israel’s. Even his lawyer risked disciplinary action for defending an Israeli spy.

Today, Mohammed al-Attar’s trial resumed. He was arrested at the airport on New Years day, charged of being a Mossad agent. A Canadian newspaper published a transcript of his confession (probably exerted through torture) in which he admits having recruited gay or impoverished Arabs in Canada (where he works as a waiter) for Mossad.
Here again, we find the same ingredients: sex and espionnage… and all for the account of Israel.
This says a lot about Egypt’s attitude towards Israel almost 27 years after Camp David (in which it signed peace with Israel). In three years time, Egypt would be at “peace with Israel” for longer than it had been at war, but just like war, peace can be strickingly cold.
In fact, it is so hard for the government to morally defend this political choice that it doesn’t even try to do so. On the contrary, every couple of years it organises a judicial and media circus in which it shows how morally reprehensible Israel is: using Arabs to spy on Egypt. But the Arabs it uses are not ordinary Arabs. The authorities deem it important for the public not to identify with them. They are presented as belonging to a minority (religious or sexual) and are portrayed as being perverts (writing on women’s underwear or being homosexual).
Actually, not only Egypt is not doing anything to promote peace culture and normalise relations with Israel, but it is encouraging a vicious anti-Israeli attitude in the media and in its society. On another hand, it hasn’t made much to support or help the Palestinians. What example or model is that for Peace?


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