Trump’s orphans: Middle East tyrants are in crisis

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The sharp political polarisation in Egypt was reflected in the Egyptian follow-up to the American elections, as opponents of al-Sisi’s regime showed great hope for the Democratic candidate, Joe Biden, to win. By contrast, al-Sisi’s team declared their support for Trump.

After the media announced Biden’s victory in the United States’ presidency, shock and confusion appeared clearly on the faces of satellite TV broadcasters owned or close to Egypt’s security services. On the other hand, social media activists in Egypt expressed their happiness at Trump’s loss. They considered him a supporter of repression and abuse of political opponents in Egypt and the Arab world. International reports have talked about the al-Sisi regime’s fear of Biden’s success and al-Sisi’s support for Trump, who describes the Egyptian general as his favourite dictator.

Activists in Egypt considered Biden’s success as a hope for an improvement in Egypt’s human rights file by putting pressure on al-Sisi’s regime to release the political detainees who have been crowded in prisons for years. After the announcement of the US election results, activists launched a hashtag titled “Trump’s orphans” on social media in Egypt and many Arab countries, and the tweeters considered that Trump’s loss was a shock to al-Sisi and his allies, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Activists saw that the most significant orphan of Trump was the Egyptian president and they published a mocking cartoon of President Trump referring to al-Sisi and saying: “What will he do after me?” Some of them published a picture of the trio, Bin Salman, Ibn Zayed, and al-Sisi, and commented on it by saying: “America’s slaves cried after spending money to sabotage Iraq, Syria, and Yemen.” Others commented on a picture of Bin Salman, Bin Zayed, and al-Sisi, saying: Every disaster for you is a joy for us, may God bless your catastrophes.

Biden wins

Egyptian human rights activists linked indications of Biden’s victory with the release of political detainees. During the past four days, the al-Sisi regime released about 500 detainees, including journalists and lawyers, in conjunction with Egyptian media reports that Biden’s success would constitute a headache for them in the field of human rights. During his election campaign, Biden stated that there would be no blank cheques for Trump’s favourite dictator, referring to al-Sisi. Before announcing Biden’s victory, the Egyptian media of the al-Sisi regime had been calling into question the US elections’ integrity.

Egyptian media have directed the same criticism that the Egyptian elections have always faced to the American elections, including fraud and the use of political money, voting more than once, in addition to the dead voting. In an article the writer Emad Adeeb listed Biden’s disadvantages for Egypt in that he supports democracies and favours freedoms as far as he described. The broadcaster and professor of political science, Moataz Abdel-Fattah, raised a mockery on social media by saying that he wished to defeat Biden. Abdel Fattah justified his wish by saying that Biden will be the opposite of Trump, who left us at ease, but Biden will play with our ears and noses, and he will ask us about the parties, the opposition, prisons and prisoners, he said.

Conversations by Egyptian media that express shock and anxiety after Biden’s victory show that al-Sisi and his regime are Trump’s orphans, as described by the tweeters. The media in Egypt repeated allegations that Biden’s success would not affect the al-Sisi regime and would not bring the Brotherhood back into power, considering that the state of June 30 that brought al-Sisi to power after a military coup is strong. Sources told Egypt Watch that the media loyal to al-Sisi were in shock because they were preparing to hold a festival in Media Production City if Trump won.

Human rights activists expressed their regret over the decline of the Egyptian media discourse and their indifference to human rights except in the context of American pressure. They also extended their regret to the state of passion with which the world followed the results of the American elections and praised the democratic experience, as the tweeters considered that Egyptians themselves lived through this during the presidential elections in 2012. The participants remembered the atmosphere of 2012, when Egypt elected the first civilian president in its history, Mohamed Morsi, before al-Sisi ousted him a year later in a military coup and began a campaign of unprecedented repression in Egypt.