WaPo: “Maikel Nabil Sanad Draws Back the Curtain on Egypt’s military”
Today, Jackson Diehl of the Washington Post writes that the Obama administration’s decision to allow the full $1.3 billion of U.S. annual aid to the Egyptian military despite violations of human rights was decried by both Democrats and Republicans. Pro-democracy organizations and academics warned the decision was “breaking faith with Americans and Egyptians,” however even greater criticisms were received from 26-year-old Egyptian blogger Maikel Nabil Sanad. Nabil called the announcement of the decision “a series of lies,” saying “it was a way of accepting the blackmailing of the Egyptian military, by trying to say the relationship is good, when relations are going in the wrong direction and Egypt is going in the wrong direction.”
As Diehl notes, Nabil was the first person jailed for criticism of the government after the fall of Mubarak. He wrote a post on his blog shortly after the revolution that the “Army and the people were never one hand,” arguing that the military sought not to protect the revolution, but its own position of power in Egypt. Shortly after, Nabil was sentenced to three years in prison after being tried in a military court for spreading rumors and insulting the military.
Since his release, Nabil has resumed speaking out against the oppression and corruption of the ruling military council and its continued restrictions on freedom of speech. “There are still 20 beliefs in Egypt that are considered crimes,” Nabil said. Nabil maintains that the military council is using the peace treaty with Israel to blackmail both Egyptians and U.S. taxpayers. “How can a military council that is lacing state media with vile anti-American propaganda and prosecuting U.S. NGOs be a strategic partner,” said Nabil: “The same dictatorship of the last 60 years is still in power.”