Israeli-American "Spy" Paranoia in Egypt

(Christian Science Monitor) Dan Murphy - On Monday, Egypt's military government said it arrested an Israeli spy, 26-year-old Ilan Grapel, a New Yorker who fought for Israel in the 2006 war with Lebanon. Grapel openly kept a Facebook page where he posted pictures of himself posing in front of the pyramids and checking out the protests at Tahrir Square. Not very spy-like. In fact, the chances that Grapel is guilty of any of the things that Egypt's military rulers have accused him of are very, very slim. Instead, what appears to be going on here is the rerun of one of the oldest ploys in the Middle Eastern autocrat's book: Discrediting and distracting with accusations of collaboration with Israel. Anti-Israeli sentiment is strong across Egypt. Stirring up xenophobic passions is a lot easier than lucidly explaining a program to lift the country out of poverty, and the anti-Israeli cudgel is likely to be used by Islamists and Egypt's current military rulers alike.

2011-06-15 00:00:00

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