Egypt's Foreign Ministry has slammed Middle East analyst Steven Cook for his article published in Foreign Affairs journal criticizing Egypt’s local and foreign policy.
Cook's article titled "Egypt’s Nightmare: Sisi’s Dangerous War on Terror” was published in the November/December issue of the US-based journal, provoking a strong reaction from the Egyptian government.
The ministry described the article as “shallow” for trying to clear the Muslim Brotherhood of charges of extremism, while claiming that Egypt's policies are motivated by an obsession with revenge against the group.
In an article published in English on the Foreign Ministry’s blog, spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid said, “The article makes the bold statement that the Egyptian government 'continue[s] to focus on the one thing they do well: repressing their citizens.' It goes on to list statistics and figures that have been endlessly regurgitated and debunked equally as often. Prominent among them is of course the claim that hundreds of Egyptians have been forcibly disappeared.”
“The writer also decries Egypt’s economic policies and their purported results, painting a picture of the diminishing prospects, decaying health and infrastructure systems, and impending doom… It is true that Egypt is facing serious economic challenges. But to somehow blame it all on the current government in Egypt is to ignore the endemic problems that have characterized the Egyptian economy over the last 30 years, and have been exacerbated during the turbulence of the last five years, as well as the complicated regional and international economic context,” Abu Zeid added.
According to his Foreign Affairs profile, Cook is "Eni Enrico Mattei Senior Fellow for Middle East and Africa Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations," a right-wing US think-tank often associated with promoting regime-change in the Middle East and elsewhere.
Commenting on Cook, Abu Zeid said, "Mr Cook is a highly respected author on Middle Eastern affairs; it is thus unfortunate to see him adopt such a simplistic approach to analyzing Egypt’s policies."
Abu Zeid's assessment of Cook's analytical skills on this occasion was withering: "The author struggles to draw a feasible link between his criticism of internal affairs in Egypt, his attack on Egypt’s foreign policy, and the Muslim Brotherhood factor that is supposed to serve as the fulcrum of his argument. As such, the article buckles under the strain of this task, resulting in a disjointed and slightly incoherent piece."
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm