On his recent visit to the Middle East President Bush worked in a three hour visit to Egypt which was not warmly welcomed by either its government nor its people. As thousands gathered at the Al-Azhar Mosque for Friday prayers, the main speaker’s sermon attacked Arab leaders for failing the people in the region. On Saturday, the banned Muslim Brotherhood issued a statement under the title, “No welcome for the murderers” which accused Bush of having “hands soaked in our blood” and insisting that “neither you nor your American assistants are welcome in our land.” Among the criticisms leveled against Bush was inciting the
Ethiopian invasion of Somalia, interfering in Lebanon and being “responsible for the destruction of Afghanistan and the occupation of Iraq.” On Monday, over 200 journalists shouted “down with America.” On Tuesday, many members of Egypt’s parliament protested the visit.
Many observers expected anti-Bush comments to be expressed by opposition forces to the regime of President Mubarak, but they were surprised that many pro-government newspapers ran stories that were extremely critical of Bush. For example, the weekly Al-Osbou, which has ties to the government ran several stories that sharply attacked American policy. It appears Mubarak allowed these articles to be published. The interesting question is why did the Egyptian government decide to take this anti-American slant at this point in time?