Exclusive - French Historian Charles Saint-Prot: Constitutional amendments ‘key’ to Egypt’s progress, stability



Mon, 15 Apr 2019 - 02:28 GMT


Mon, 15 Apr 2019 - 02:28 GMT

French Geo-politician and writer Charles Saint-Prot - Photo by Karim Abdel Aziz/Egypt Today

French Geo-politician and writer Charles Saint-Prot - Photo by Karim Abdel Aziz/Egypt Today

• Saint-Prot likens Sisi to Charle de Gaulle, Brotherhood to Stalin.

• Saint-Prot: No violation in changing the presidential term.

• Saint-Prot: Nations' policies no 'gambling game' and need enough time for good establishment.

• Saint-Prot: U.S., Europe media talk about certain points in the amendments to create confusion.

• Saint-Prot: France 24 claimed Algerian army fire tear gas on protesters, and ignored clashes between police, yellow vests protesters in Paris.

• Saint-Prot: No such thing called the Arab Spring, it was a ridiculous joke.

• Saint-Prot: Yemen is paying price for Saleh-Obama relations.

• Saint-Prot: West should feel ashamed of advising what they do not follow.

• Saint-Prot: Egypt is facing “Ideological Mafia” from the west.

CAIRO – 15 April 2019: Although the current political situation in Egypt witnesses an overwhelming endorsement from internal voices supporting the political leadership, there are still obstacles facing the country represented in the war on terrorism, and the ongoing criticism by western media.

A “fair evaluation” by the west to the Egyptian situation is considered rare.
One of those rare voices was the French Historian Charles Saint-Prot who released a book a few years ago discussing Egypt’s changing politics. He recently made positive remarks on the country’s proposed constitutional amendments, which is considered an unusual opinion from the western arena.

As Saint-Prot likes to put it down, Egypt “deserves stability and progress…this will never be achieved unless the current political regime has fully taken its chance, which obviously requires much time.”

According to Saint-Prot, another book about President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s leadership is in the making to document Egypt’s political experience since 2014, its future and the new constitutional amendments.

Currently concluding a short visit to Egypt, Saint-Prot made headlines weeks ago after he published an article in the French weekly political magazine Le Point explaining his support to the amendments on which Egypt gears up for a vote this month.

In his article, he said that the proposed constitutional amendments are important to resume the re-construction path launched under President Sisi, blaming those who criticize only the changes regarding the presidential term as “blatantly ignoring other amendments concerning women empowerment and others.”

During a seminar hosted by Egypt Today, the French historian described President Sisi as “Egypt’s Charle de Gaulle,” saying that “he is creating a real renaissance…which will need a proper time to be achieved.”

He further went on explaining advantages of the amendments, saying that re-introducing an upper house (Shura Council) is an advantage, as he argues “this chamber will not make decision in a haze, and its members are selected according to their professionalism.”

Saint-Pro is the director of the Observatoire d'études Géopolitiques (Observatory of geopolitical studies) in Paris.

Below is part of the discussion with Saint-Prot

ET: Do you think Egypt is on the right path in light of the proposed constitutional amendments?

Saint-Pro: I am following up intensively on the situation in Egypt with all its important political stages. During the Muslim Brotherhood reign, the Brotherhood's Guide tried to contact me, but I refused to engage in a dialogue with them due to their unilateral discourse. They do not heed to any opposing opinion, and rely heavily on obedience among the group’s members.

The Brotherhood is a very dangerous political system that sought to change all institutions and control ministries and administrations, which rendered Egypt’s future at that time ambiguous, and destined to dictatorship.

Although the Brotherhood has claimed the June 30 Uprising was a coup d'etat, everyone knows that it was a great popular revolution against an authoritarian similar to [Soviet politician Joseph] Stalin, which was an important step to put the country on the right path.

President Sisi’s reign started after transparent elections witnessed by the whole world; he has managed to achieve progress. The government now sees a necessity in going into the next stage, which requires constitutional amendments.

Some media outlets in the U.S. and Europe are talking about certain points in the amendments to create confusion, although there are necessary articles that address women, youths, and Copts representation in the Parliament; however, we do not see those who defend women rights speaking about these achievements.

I do not see any violation in changing the presidential term in the constitution, because Egypt is adopting a presidential system, and France has witnessed a similar situation in Charle de Gaulle’s reign. In Egypt, there is a strong relation between the regime and the people, who willingly choose their president.

For those who are opposing the amendments, they have to know that the issue is not only about changing a president every four terms; the nations’ politics are not like a “gambling game,” but are rather based on an established control, which needs enough time to be achieved.

There are several civic associations and media outlets seeking to spread chaos in France. For example, France 24 recently reported that the Algerian army threw teargas bombs on the protesters; however, it never aired the same thing when the French police did it with the yellow vests protesters.

The West is always lecturing others, and accusing them of corruption. The West should feel ashamed and should stop giving advice they never follow. What is happening now can only be described as “occupational thought” practiced by persons, who are mostly unknown to the people, but form what we can call “Ideological Mafia.”

ET: What if France were in Egypt’s shoes, and faced a similar fierce smear campaign?

Saint-Pro: We know very well who is trying to launch such campaign; they are those who yearn for Obama’s reign and the Brotherhood. Unfortunately, we have in France a large sector that thinks the same way. Such people will never talk positively about Egypt or objectively discuss its amendments.

I want to remind you of what happened in Paris in Charle de Gaulle’s reign. Although many have criticized de Gaulle, he managed to establish a strong regime and state. But now we are witnessing an “unserious” leadership, and I am concerned about the future of France.

ET: In your opinion, why are U.S. media outlets streaming positive content on the Muslim Brotherhood?

Saint-Pro: There are three U.S. newspapers; unfortunately the most famous are promoting Brotherhood thoughts; however, there are dozens of U.S. media outlets that do not work the same way.

ET: You have visited Cairo several times, what difference do you see this time?

Saint-Pro: The current situation in Egypt is much better than before. It is more stable now, and tourism has started to flourish with many tourists heading back to Egypt due to the dramatically improved security status.

ET: You are about to release a new book about President Sisi; would you give us some details about it?

Saint-Pro: The book objectively discusses President Sisi’s achievements during the period from 2014 and until now, and it is expected to be out by the end of this year. I am trying through this book to study Egypt’s political and economic experience, and how Egypt was able to set stability bases and establish a strong regime.

ET: Would you tell us your opinion about Egypt’s economic reform program?

Saint-Pro: Like many other Arab countries, Egypt is facing a demographic problem, but the economic indications are good now. That is in addition to the discovery of natural gas fields, which supported the economy. President Sisi wants for Egypt to be economically independent, and if this is achieved, Egypt will reach a comprehensive renaissance stage.

ET: Aren’t you afraid of criticism by “Ideological Mafia” over your support for Egypt’s regime?

Saint-Pro: I am not the spokesperson for any entity. We have to objectively evaluate the situation in Egypt; the country has a leader, and the Egyptians are in fact different from how they are framed in the western media. Egyptians want stability, construction and safety, and these are the bases to development.

ET: Do you think France is supporting LNA to correct NATO’s mistake in toppling Qaddafi’s regime in 2011?

Saint-Pro: Former President Nicolas Sarkozy was right in his decision to get rid of Qaddafi’s regime due to the latter’s anti-France politics, and because it was not a good regime that did not provide services and good education for its people. All those who claim that Qaddafi had funded Sarkozy’s electoral campaign [in 2007] have no evidence for that. And I want to simply say that those who finance campaigns in U.S. or Germany or France for political goals, they will not retrieve their money.

ET: Does the Libyan issue witness a behind-the-scenes conflict between France and Italy?

Saint-Pro: Italy supports Fayez el-Sarraj, the chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya, while in France, we support the political solution in Libya that was signed in Skhirat [Agreement], and we also recognize the Presidential Council of Libya and we cooperate with all parties in the Libyan scene objectively. France recently hosted a conference to near approaches between Haftar [the head of the Libyan National Army] and Sarraj, aiming to avoid military conflicts in Libya.

As for the European Union and whether its internal issues would affect the Libyan situation, let me tell you that there is nothing called the EU’s foreign policies, there are only [those of] France, Germany, England, and many others inside the union.

ET: In your opinion, who are the main players in the region on the local and international levels?

Saint-Pro: First, I want to clarify that there is no such thing called “Arab Spring,” this is a ridiculous joke invented by US businessman George Soros. Yemen is now paying the price of the relations between [late Yemeni president] Ali Abdullah Saleh and Obama in the past.

Yemen has been divided into tribes, separatist forces, Iranian-backed militias and other groups that are claiming that the Arab coalition is bombing civilians in Yemen, and these are all unacceptable allegations.

I hope US President Donald Trump will eventually support the right of Yemenis to life.

Translated by Nourhan Magdi



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