Money can’t buy me love, the Beatles song goes.
The Obama Administration recently proved the wisdom of those words by sending another wad of cash — $1.3 billion — last month to the ungrateful leader of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi, whom we helped put in office.
Last week, Morsi gathered a group of Egypt’s political leaders, including members of his cabinet and the legislature for a meeting to discuss ways to stop a Nile dam project being undertaken by Ethiopia.
Apparently under the impression that the meeting was being kept secret, a number of the politicians called the dam plans a secret project of America and Israel. They also discussed ways to destroy the dam and possibly funding an insurgency in Ethiopia.
Unfortunately for the Egyptian leadership, the meeting was being broadcast live on a state-run channel, and the transcript was later translated into English by the Middle East Media and Research Institute, according to a New York Times blog.
Before being informed that the meeting was being transmitted, Islamic Labor Party Chairman Magdi Ahmad Hussein said everybody at the meeting must vow not to leak information to the media.
“I’m very fond of battles,” Hussein said. “With the enemies, of course, with America and Israel, but this battle must be waged with maximum judiciousness and calm. Even though this is a secret meeting we must all take an oath not to leak anything to the media unless it is done officially by Sister Pakinam (el-Sharkawy, a Morsi aide). We need an official plan for popular national security, even if we did …”
At that point, someone comes from off-screen and hands him a note, presumably about the broadcast, by Hussein doubles down: “O.K. Fine. It’s good that you told me. The principles behind what I’m saying are not really secret. Our battle is with America and Israel, not with Ethiopia. Therefore, engaging in battle, this is my opinion. …”
Morsi then announces that the meeting is being televised, and laughter erupts around the conference table.
And still, Hussein couldn’t bring himself to shut up: “I say to the Egyptian people: Nobody can turn off your water supply – unless they want to turn the Egyptians into the world’s most extremist people. Imagine what this people would do if its water were turned off – what all 80 million of us would do to Israel and America if our water were turned off.”
The dam project is planned to generate 6,000 megawatts of electricity. Ethiopian leaders have said it will not be used for agriculture, so should not affect the water flowing to people downstream.
Morsi tried to smooth things over after the discussion that included proposals for infiltrating the Ethiopian government and blowing up the dam.
“We have a lot of respect for the Sudanese people in the north and the south, and we respect their decisions, and the same is true with regard to the Ethiopian people,” Morsi said. “We are not about to start any aggression against anyone whatsoever, or affront anyone whatsoever.”
And if you believe that, I own a bridge in the Sahara Desert I’d like to sell to you.