Tamarod starts petition to “Stop Foreign Aid” and end peace treaty with Israel

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Just days after President Obama condemned the Army crackdown on pro-Morsi protestors and announced the cancellation of a joint US-Egyptian military exercise, the Tamarod movement has called for Egypt to reject US aid and subsequently end a thirty year peace treaty with Israel.

In a statement on their website, Tamarod explained that the purpose of the petition was to take back the sovereignty of Egyptian borders and internal affairs, as well as put an end to what they claim is US support of the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamist terrorist groups.  The claims that the US is supporting or favoring the Muslim Brotherhood which Tamarod has insinuated as a terrorist group, has however been vehemently denied by the Obama Administration. At the end of his speech condemning the violence in Egypt, Obama states:

“America cannot determine the future of Egypt. That’s a task for the Egyptian people. We don’t take sides with any particular party or political figure. I know it’s tempting inside of Egypt to blame the United States or the West or some other outside actor for what’s gone wrong. We’ve been blamed by supporters of Morsi; we’ve been blamed by the other side as if we are supporters of Morsi. That kind of approach will do nothing to help Egyptians achieve the future that they deserve.”

Regardless of Obama’s official position or attempts as reiterating Egypt’s self-determination, anti-US sentiment has increased tremendously since western media networks and some US officials first called the military led ousting of President Morsi from office a ‘coup d’état’. The US State Department was careful however in not officially labeling Morsi’s ousting a ‘coup’ since U.S. foreign policy would then require cutting off all aid to Egypt, a strategic ally for the US in the Middle East. In fact, Secretary of State John Kerry supported Army Commander General Sisi’s initiative to oust Morsi by stating that General Sisi “acted on the will of the Egyptian people and restored democracy”.  However other US diplomatic efforts led by Senator John McCain and Senator Lindsey Graham seemed to abruptly end the goodwill garnered by the Obama Administration when Senator McCain responded to the question of whether he thought Morsi’s ousting was a coup by “If it looks like a duck, and sounds like a duck, it’s a duck.”

Tamarod’s call to end the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty that was painstakingly brokered in 1981 at the Camp David Peace talks also brings into question whether this petition is merely a preemptive initiative against the US’s possible withdrawal of foreign aid. While Egyptian-Israeli relations have never been ‘warm’, the neighboring countries have maintained a working relationship for over 30 years. Following Morsi’s appointment as President in 2012, Israel’s relationship with Egypt began to sour as President Morsi pushed a pro-Islamist foreign policy.  With Morsi’s ousting, the Egyptian military and Israel once again shared a common enemy, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Hamas just over the border in Gaza.

While Israel has officially maintained cautiously silent about the events in Egypt, Israel’s former Prime Minister Ehud Barak voiced his support of General Sisi by stating that “The whole world should support Sisi.”  In fact, Israeli military analyst, Roni Daniel revealed to Israel’s TV Channel 2 that General Sisi informed Israel of his efforts to remove President Mohamed Morsi three days before the coup and worked closely with the Israeli military to destroy tunnels that may be used by Hamas to travel between Sinai and Gaza.

Despite the fact that Tamarod, the Egyptian Army and Israel share the same enemy, the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamist terrorist groups, Tamarod’s petition is focused on Egypt severing ties with Israel, possibly purely to rebuff the US as Israel is a major US ally. More importantly however, there is no mention of the $12 billion of foreign aid offered by Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the UAE since Morsi’s ousting. If the Tamarod’s petition aptly named “Stop Foreign Aid,” is genuinely initiated for the sole purpose of reinstating Egypt’s sovereignty and control over internal affairs, then logically the rejection of foreign aid should also apply to the Gulf States as well as the US. Given the political and economic crisis which Egypt is currently experiencing, if the Stop Foreign Aid petition ever achieves the level of success which the petition that called for Morsi’s resignation and protests on June 30th did, then an Egypt that is left without any foreign aid, severed ties with Israel and severed ties with the US will be an Egypt that is surely headed for devastation.

Tamarrod, meaning rebellion, is a grassroots secular youth movement founded by five activists on April 28th 2013. Its original objective was to force President Mohamed Morsi to call for early elections and collect 15 million signatures in opposition to Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood party.  Tamarrod eventually managed to collect 22 million signatures and mobilize millions of Egyptians in protest against Morsi demanding his resignation.

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