As the debate rages in the United States and other Western nations about a possible strike against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a parallel debate is taking place in Egypt. Officially, the interim government has rejected any international intervention in Syria. The government’s stance is supported by many political parties, including the liberal Free Egyptian Party and moderate Islamists such as the Strong Egypt Party. The official stance has also gained strong backing from a wide portion of the Egyptian public. The mood now among Egyptians is hostile to any US intervention in Syria. Despite the ongoing civil war, the use of chemical weapons and the thousands of Syrians who were killed, injured or displaced, any US strike against Syria will be viewed in Egypt like the 1956 Suez crisis — that is, an unlawful attack by Western forces against a sovereign Arab state.
To understand the Egyptian stance, it is helpful to link it to the evolution of society after the January 2011 revolution. The last two and half years can be divided into three phases.