By Ben Barrack
The British Ambassador to Egypt appears to be the target of an investigation accepted by Egypt’s Attorney General, Nabil Sadiq. Ambassador John Casson is accused of crimes that violate Egypt’s penal code and Sadiq is taking the case very seriously.
The case, identified as 3182/2017 – filed by Dr. El-Ganzoury on behalf of Dr. Sadek Raouf Ebeid – alleges that Casson is causing intentional harm to Egypt’s economy and breaking laws of the land. An unspoken implication is that the ambassador is supporting the Muslim Brotherhood. Since taking his post in 2014, Casson has certainly seemed willing to inject himself into domestic Egyptian politics.
For westerners to understand the severity of the case against Casson requires a respect for laws in a different culture. For example, in Egypt, the number of casualties in war is a military secret; it is classified. Yet, that didn’t stop Casson from divulging that information to a left-wing reporter on an airplane.
In an article published in the New Yorker, author Peter Hessler relayed the details of a conversation he had with Casson:
When I stopped by his seat, he didn’t seem to be thinking about the economic goals of Sisi’s visit. Casson was studying a Carnegie Endowment brief entitled “Egypt’s Escalating Islamist Insurgency,” and he referred to the number of Egyptian soldiers who had been killed in Sinai during the past two years. “It’s more than seven hundred, which is more than we lost in all of Afghanistan,” he said. (Some four hundred and fifty British soldiers died in the Afghan war.)
In another instance in 2015, Casson – appointed by former Prime Minister David Cameron, also pro-Muslim Brotherhood – visibly sided with Muslim Brotherhood supporters from Al-Jazeera who had been arrested and were on trial. The journalists from the Muslim Brotherhood’s propaganda arm, based in Qatar, were convicted and imprisoned for operating without a license and broadcasting lies.
Again, this requires a respect for Egyptian culture, which is not ruled by western laws. In the west, freedom of speech and of the press is paramount, and for good reason. However, this is why it’s so important to identify the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. Doing so would preclude the group from having the credibility – or even freedom – to present “news”.
If Casson is outwardly showing solidarity with the Brotherhood while championing western values, those two things do not mix; it’s oil and water.
After the verdict, Casson stated:
“I am concerned that today’s ruling will undermine confidence in the basis of Egypt’s stability, both in Egypt and abroad.”
A look at Casson’s twitter feed reveals his interest and involvement in pouring money into the Egyptian economy. What must be determined by any investigation is where this money is ultimately going.
Challenges of Egypt’s Attorney General
It is critical that westerners not view what’s going on in Egypt through a western lens. Consider that one of Sadiq’s predecessors – Hisham Barakat – was assassinated in 2015 by a car bomb. The Muslim Brotherhood has been implicated but details about the investigation remain classified. It is certainly understandable why Egyptian officials would be interested in seeing Casson expelled if he is siding with enemies of the state.