TEL AVIV – In the wake of the Russian plane crash and the Paris attacks, Al-Ahram, Egypt’s largest official news organization, attacked the U.K. for “turning into an enemy” and “orchestrating conspiracies” against Egypt.
The newspaper’s editorial also lambasted British Ambassador to Egypt John Casson, portraying him as a colonial High Commissioner who “roams around Cairo, smiling, happy, and triumphant.” The editorial promised that Egypt will “defeat his country’s conspiracy, so that we will soon see him crying!”
Since the crash of Russian Metrojet flight 9628 in the Sinai Desert on October 31, 2015, which ISIS claimed was a terrorist bombing, Egyptian media, led by the country’s most important daily Al-Ahram, has been awash in criticism and conspiracy theories directed at the West – and the U.K. in particular – regarding the global response to the crash, the Middle East Research Institute (MEMRI) reported.
A series of editorials were published that invoked the U.K.’s imperial past and warned readers about a British conspiracy against Egypt. The newspaper slammed the West for not supporting Egypt after the Russian plane crash like it supported France after the Paris attacks, and for instructing tourists to leave Egypt for safety reasons – thus harming Egypt’s economy.
According to MEMRI, the newspaper also accused the West of creating and using ISIS to undermine Arab countries.
The newspaper fervently condemned British Ambassador Casson, portraying him as a caricature of an imperialist official, complete with a “phony smile.”
“He who walks in the streets of Cairo, eats ful [fava bean] sandwiches, ta’miyya [falafel], and kushari [a rice and lentil dish], sits at coffeehouses, and talks about how Egypt is safe – and then we find that his reports to his country say something different. This is John Casson, who is active on social media platforms and has won the admiration of the Twitter youth,” Al-Ahram’s editorial from November 9 read.
Evoking the fallout from Britain’s colonial past, the editorial continued:
“Since when are these people [i.e., British officials] sincere in their words or in their deeds? How could they be when what dwells in their minds and memories are the scenes of their being ousted and driven out of our lands humiliated and with their hopes frustrated, dragging their tails in defeat out of Egypt?”
“When Britain turns into an enemy that orchestrates conspiracies against us, we must not allow the ambassador to roam around Cairo, smiling, happy, and triumphant. We must strive to defeat his country’s conspiracy [against us], so that we will soon see him crying!”
A few days later, following the ISIS attack on Paris, another editorial was published that bemoaned the lack of collaboration between the West and Egypt. Egypt and the Arab world in general, the newspaper asserted, are the biggest victims of terrorism and Western powers should understand the value of sharing intelligence with Cairo.
“The important question remains: Will the Western capitals continue this excessively selfish policy of withholding intelligence from the other countries, which are on the front lines in the war against Daesh [ISIS] and terrorism?”