Egyptian ambassador to Lebanon speaks out

The Egyptian ambassador to Lebanon, Mohammed Badr al-Din Zayed, weighs in on the prospects regarding the situation in Egypt and other issues.

al-monitor Former Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora receives Egyptian Ambassador Mohammed Badr al-Din Zayed at his office in Bliss to discuss recent developments in the region, June 30, 2015. Photo by Lebanese National News Agency.

Topics covered

terrorism, lebanon, islamic state, isis, is, egyptian security, egyptian muslim brotherhood, egypt

Jul 2, 2015

Egyptians neither celebrated the second anniversary of the June 30 Revolution nor commemorated the toppling of ousted President Mohammed Morsi. It is apparent that the occasion was set to be transformed into a mournful, bloody event. Some of the terrorist attacks appeared to have been carried out by the Islamic State (IS), and coincide with the first anniversary of the inception of the caliphate state. Although the responsible party for the other attacks remains anonymous, the correlation they have with the internal Egyptian conflict is undeniable. Egyptian Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat was assassinated, and the following day, more than 10 terrorist attacks targeted the Egyptian army, which has been considered since the January 25 Revolution to be the safety net of the country.

Egypt, the mother of the world, is not doing well. The conflict between the state and the Muslim Brotherhood is becoming exacerbated. Danger is knocking at the door and the situation is now open to all possibilities. Will Egypt be able to overcome this? Will the state be able to absorb the reaction of the Muslim Brotherhood in the event that the capital punishment rulings are implemented? What will the response to the terrorist attacks, for which IS claimed responsibility, be? How will the future of Egypt unfold amid these developments?

Terrorism will be defeated

"Terrorism will be defeated." These were the words Mohammed Badr al-Din Zayed, Egyptian ambassador to Lebanon, chose to highlight the resistance and hope Egypt holds in the face of the tragic developments. He told An-Nahar, "We are aware that this is only the beginning of the confrontation with the extremist movement and obscurantist powers and that the battle will take long. The state has come a long way during the past two years with the entrenchment of economic stability and the underscoring of the international status of Egypt. It is only normal for obscurantist powers to mobilize themselves now to try and reverse the course of events. This does not mean that they will win. Terrorism has never won in any country. Terrorism will be defeated and this will not be the first time." He then added, "Terrorism returned on the second anniversary of the revolution, wanting to prove its existence. I believe it is a matter of time before terrorism is defeated."

Zayed called to mind that the Suez Canal project would be launched in about a month, and would raise the ire of these powers who do not wish for the prosperity of the Egyptian economy or the transcendence of the political and economic position of Egypt. According to him, although these powers seek to destroy and attempt to obstruct this journey, they will not succeed because Egypt is adamant that it will move forward. Zayed said that there were international and regional parties attempting to support the extremist movements and impede the progress of Egypt.

According to Zayed, IS now has a foothold in Egypt and groups carrying out attacks are affiliated with the organization. "IS was delivered severe and painful blows during the past period. It seems [the organization] recovered and is trying to flex its muscles in Egypt. The battle is, however, short and will end soon," he added.

Between IS and the Muslim Brotherhood

An-Nahar asked if the attacks were orchestrated by IS or the Muslim Brotherhood, to which Zayed answered, "On June 30, and during the protest of Rabia al-Adawiya, leading members of the Muslim Brotherhood said that explosions in Sinai would come to an end upon the release of Morsi. Does this not mean that the Muslim Brotherhood has ties with IS?"

He added, "Whoever says otherwise is delusional, because the leading members of the Muslim Brotherhood themselves said it, and records show this, too."

Despite this, Zayed sees differences between both organizations, but stresses that they are ideologically linked. "This is the challenge we are facing today in the Muslim world, and it has to end with the triumph of the real Islam, which disowns all these movements," he said.

Speaking of the trials and their effects on the situation in Egypt, Zayed said, "The rulings are preliminary. There are courts of appeals, courts of cassation, and different judicial stages. The real talk should take place when all stages are through."

Lebanon's "crippling"

Zayed met with the different Lebanese political leaders, the last of whom was Prime Minister Tammam Salam. "I affirmed our support for the efforts made toward ending the governmental crisis. We stressed that Lebanon, amid the difficult regional circumstances, should be united and end the presidential vacuum," Zayed said, adding, "This crippling does not do the stability in Lebanon any good. I hope that the Lebanese political powers will take into consideration the regional hardships, delicate situation and the comprehensive battle against terrorism in order to end the crippling and instability — factors that are making the situation in Lebanon even more difficult."

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