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The stupid campaign of Egypt’s ‘audio leaks’

The so-called latest scandal of audio leaks pertaining to the Egyptian presidency is fit to be taught in the field of media

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

Published: Updated:

The so-called latest scandal of audio leaks pertaining to the Egyptian presidency is fit to be taught in the field of media as a model of the most failed planned campaigns. It’s also proof that regardless of how strong the media thinks it is, it cannot influence or change as long as it doesn’t have a cause, or lacks credibility.

If I hadn’t known the background of the leaks and their motives, I would’ve thought they were a product of the Egyptian presidency itself in an attempt to convince us of its good intentions, not the opposite.

Scandal

For those who haven’t heard what happened, the whole story began with a campaign preparing Arab public opinion for a scandal that included secret confidential leaks for the Egyptian leadership and tapped phone calls which show Cairo’s bad intentions towards the Gulf countries and the Egyptian people. Wow, we’ve expected the worst.

As for the issue of financial support, Gulf countries are convinced that they are not presenting it to Sisi but to Egypt itself

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

We feared we’d hear about military scenarios being prepared behind closed doors against the Gulf or about phone calls conspiring with Tehran, or about secret plans being prepared with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’s leader. It turns out it was all mere chatter which is even less than what’s said in public gatherings and coffee shops. The scandal was thus that of those attempting to expose one.

Where’s the problem when the Egyptians say that the Gulf has money “like rice.” First of all this is true and secondly, people say this in the Gulf every day without any embarrassment.

The so-called leaks about the intentions of then-army commander Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to run for presidency were also neither a secret nor a surprise. This is if we assume that the leaks are true and not made up.

The phone calls or meetings did not include contacts with Israelis and Americans planning, commanding and forbidding. There’s also nothing interesting or new in the fact that Sisi’s office informed its allies that Sisi intends to run for presidency.

The secret recordings did not expose any personal financial accounts and we didn’t hear any scandals pertaining to anyone in person. There was nothing at all of the kind.

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After listening to these alleged leaks, I realized they are the best advertisement to Egypt and the Egyptian presidency. These so-called leaks seemed like a frank malicious attempt aimed at driving a wedge between Egyptians and the Gulf and at inciting against the Egyptian presidency and government.

However, without actually knowing it, they ended up presenting a good image about the Egyptian leadership as they showed the latter as credible beyond doubt - unlike what its rivals have been trying to convince us.

We were afraid we’d hear about a conspiracy against the Gulf’s security and stability or about a two-faced policy regarding dangerous regional affairs. If the content of these alleged leaks is really the most important of what’s been recorded and leaked, then Gulf countries, allied with Egypt, must rest assured.

Relations are not established on the basis of whispers and gossip, but on the basis of interests and stances. Egypt’s stability is an issue that’s vital to the security and stability of the entire Gulf countries and the Arab world.

Therefore, attempts to harm stability, such as tampering with political relations, will backfire on everyone, and it’s something that Arab regimes who are aware of the requirements of their security and interests will never accept.

As for the issue of financial support, Gulf countries are convinced that they are not presenting it to Sisi but to Egypt itself, and that they are presenting it as an investment that serves 90 million Egyptians, who in case we let down or allow others to tamper with their stability, they will become a burden on everyone.

Egypt’s crises

However be certain that money alone is not the solution to Egypt’s crises, like some think, as first of all, the regime must be granted trust and second of all, there must be guidance on how to use and invest these funds so they become a permanent product and not just aid which evaporates with the last spent dollar.

This is the challenge which countries who support Egypt, like Said Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, confront. It lies in supporting the productive Egyptian projects and ideas. Gulf support grants Egyptian citizens confidence in their regime and attracts local and international investors.

It’s upon a conviction that Gulf countries are concerned in standing behind the Egyptian government against those calling for chaos as we are going through a tough and dangerous phase in the region, and no one can survive danger if Egypt, the pillar of the Arab world, falls.

Wise men across the region, from its east to west, understand this very well and all Arab countries, except for one, agree with supporting Egypt’s stability. Therefore, propaganda targeting the regime will not succeed especially if they are planned and are not spontaneous popular moves.

Truth be told, this malicious campaign of leaks is the stupidest thing I’ve heard of on the level of planning and producing. Its results have quickly backfired into a campaign voicing solidarity with Egypt and Sisi and strengthening relations with the new regime via reassuring phone calls.

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on February 10, 2015.

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Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the former General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.