Egyptian politicians’ and analysts’ reactions over the statement by Egypt’s Foreign Affairs Ministry regarding the US air strikes on Syria varied between views that saw it unbalanced and weak and others that saw it fine and balanced for resuming good relations between US and Russia. This came in the wake of global polarisation among a number of countries over the airstrikes.
Early on Friday, the US administration, headed by president Donald Trump, sent 59 cruise missiles to strike a Syrian military airfield, which was the first direct American attack on the government of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad since the beginning of its civil war six years ago.
In its official statement that came hours after the attack, Egypt has asserted the importance of avoiding Syria and the Middle East to maintain their safety and called on the importance of ending the militant conflict in Syria through the immediate ceasefire by all parties and return to the negotiations under the support of the United Nations.
Egypt called on the US and Russia to move effectively in order to reach a comprehensive and final solution for the Syrian crisis, which has increased over the last six years, causing causalities, deported Syrian citizens, and expanded the area of devastation, according to the statement.
Journalist and political activist Ghada El-Sherif said on her Facebook page that the statement is “weak”, as it did not condemn the US attack or even mention anything about it. The statement only said that the US stance was a consequence for the Khan Sheikhoun chemical attack that happened a few days earlier. The journalist saw Egypt’s stance as an insufficient response to such a situation.
“Egypt is following up with a deep concern over the consequences of the Khan Sheikhoun crisis, which left dozens of Syrian civilian causalities as a result of an internationally banned chemical weapon. This resulted in serious developments.”
Trump justified the US attack as a response to defend against the usage of chemical attacks in Syria, which has led to the killing of dozens of civilians, particularly children.
The Khan Sheikhoun attack was claimed to be carried out through the use of chemical weapons, which is already banned in accordance with a number of agreements signed by Syria; however, there is no confirmation so far about the chemical weapons.
Moreover, Mohamed Abdel Aziz, Egyptian parliamentary member, also agreed that the statement is weak, saying “the least we can say is that it doesn’t represent any importance or grab any attention.”
Daily News Egypt spoke to a number of political analysts who provided their views regarding both Egyptian and international reactions to the US airstrikes.
Political science professor Hassan Nafaa said that the Egyptian reaction is “poor, trivial, and reflects Egypt’s real situation on the regional arena.”
The professor added that “the reaction is a continuation of a number of diplomatic failures previously made by Egypt.” He suggested Egypt should have at least condemned the US attack and called for an international committee in the UN to investigate the side that used such internationally banned weapons.
On the other side, member of parliament (MP) Mostafa Bakry said that the statement is balanced, explaining that Egypt “did not justify the attack and did not support it, even as the others did, and did not condemn Syria or hold it responsible for the chemical-weapons attack,” but called on US and Russia to commit to legitimacy.
He asserted that Egypt’s statement might not meet all our ambitions, but at least Egypt is a supervisor on the Arab situation, referring that President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi was most courageous when he demanded in front of the UN Security Council to stop conspiring against Syria and interfering in its internal affairs.
Also, Khaled Fahmy said that he denounced the attacks against the statement, as he saw the Egyptian reaction is fine, balanced, and aligned with its situation regarding the Syrian issue. Similar to this was political analyst Abdel Moneem, who also said that Egypt was balanced and committed to its essential stance towards the Syrian issue.
Fahmy said that Egypt is not required to reject or accept such action.
The aforementioned figures said that there is global polarisation towards the US airstrikes. Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Iran, and Israel have all supported the US airstrikes, depicting it as a wise and courageous decision to stop the Syrian military and a great response against the usage of chemical weapons. Meanwhile, Iran and Hezbollah were against it, saying that the strikes support terrorism.