Interview with Egyptian National Security Advisor, Dr. Essam Al-Haddad: Egypt’s Search for Stability

Sent On: 
Mon, 2013-03-04
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Interview with Egyptian National Security Advisor, Dr. Essam Al-Haddad:

Egypt’s Search for Stability


Meeting at the Presidential Palace; from left to right: Drs. Cornelis Hulsman, Dr. Essam Al-Haddad and Prof. Abdallah Schleiffer 
AWR Cairo, March 4, 2013
Years of experience with Egyptian press has taught us to exercise caution when sifting through media reports and their various claims.  Such diligence becomes necessary when journalists are at times doubling as political activists, slanting the news without hesitation or even reporting outright lies to suit their beliefs or ideology. Knowing this, Dr. Essam Al-Haddad ('Isām al-Haddād) has become wary of giving interviews to media, because they tend to select only the statements they need to support a particular point of view. AWR is therefore grateful to Dr. Al-Haddad for granting us an interview which has been transcribed and thus represents his views in his own words on current developments in Egypt.
The main focus of this interview was the government’s efforts to stabilize the country—a prerequisite for salvaging Egypt’s economy. The nature of the interview dictated that many questions echoed several of the same critiques previously voiced about the Mursī Administration. 
Dr. Essam Al-Haddad rejects reports claiming that the Muslim Brotherhood is intending to “Brotherhoodize” the Egyptian government and the media. 
On the Constitution, Dr. Al-Haddad explained that members of the Constituent Assembly have withdrawn due to pressure from staunch opponents to the current government. 
Opponents of President Mursī have reported about problems between the presidency, the Egyptian security apparatus, and the army. Further, Dr. Al-Haddad states that the security apparatus has really collapsed after the Revolution and needs to be revived. Relations with the army are good, according to Dr. al-Haddad. 
Media reports claim that Dr. Al-Haddad met with the head of the Iranian intelligence, which he very explicitly denied. 
“That man did not enter Egypt to sit with me and I did not see him ever in my life.”
Reports about militias surfacing are alarming. Dr. Al-Haddad says that he is not aware of a Muslim Brotherhood militia. Al-Jamā'ah al-Islāmīyah has abandoned violence, but the recently formed Black Bloc is a concern.
It is true the government has difficulties enforcing law and order in the country, yet it has raised the minimum wage and has worked with Turkey to double its investments.  Qatar and Saudi Arabia have also increased their investments and the UAE is deliberating. Talks with the IMF are close to completion. Still, a major concern is corruption, when, for example, around 30% of the subsidies for fuel are directly stolen.
Last, but not least, was a question about church-building law. President Mursī has given permits for building two churches in the Sohag Governorate.
We were able to ask the questions we wanted. We have received Dr. Essam Al-Haddad’s opinions on issues of major concern in Egypt. It is important to take his views into consideration just as it is important to listen to the opposition. 
Ultimately, our wish is to have sincere dialogue between various parties in Egypt, but a significant level of distrust exists and structures to achieve such a dialogue are weak. I hope we have contributed to this dialogue by presenting the views of Dr. Essam Al-Haddad as he intended.
From left to right: Dr. Essam Al-Haddad, Prof. Abdallah Schleiffer,
Ms. Eline Kasanwidjojo, Ms. Mary Lai and  Mr. Ehab Gouda.
For the full text of this interview please click here.
Cornelis Hulsman
Editor-in-Chief, Arab-West Report