There has been substantial Arab and Islamic media focus on comments supporting Hezbollah by Mohammed Mahdi Akef, the leader of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. Last week, Egyptian authorities arrested 49 people said to be linked to Hezbollah based on claims that Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah had ordered attacks on Egyptian territory. Nasrallah was reported to have denied the allegations although other reports suggest he admitted using Hezbollah agents in Egypt to facilitate weapons smuggling for the Palestinian Hamas. Akef’s comments were reported by the London-based Saudi daily Asharq Al-Awsat:
Against the backdrop of the “Hezbollah in Egypt” case, and Hassan Nasrallah’s acknowledgement of Hezbollah’s connection to it, the Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mahdi Akef, has called for support of the resistance “by any means necessary.” Hussein Ibrahim, the deputy leader of the Muslim Brotherhood parliamentary bloc again called for the opening of the Rafah Crossing “along with the protection of the sovereignty of the Egyptian state” adding that “Our enemy and Hezbollah’s enemy are the same.” Regarding the Egyptian media’s coverage of the “Hezbollah in Egypt” case Akef said that “there is no need for media incitement, the judiciary are looking at the case, there is no need for media incitement to portray the case in this manner…Hassan Nasrallah’s words said that there was nothing between him and Egypt, and there was no connection between him and Egypt, and there was no connection between him and the Egyptian people.”
Gulf media has further reported on the Egyptian Brotherhood’s reaction to the Hezbollah affair:
The largest Egyptian opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood, however, on Thursday dismissed the claim by the state security agency that it had foiled a plan by Hezbollah to attack specific targets in Egypt and called for Arab League mediation to end the conflict between Egypt and Hezbollah. The Muslim Brotherhood said the indictment of 49 people on charges of collaborating was, most probably, a political move to put pressure on the Lebanese party in order to end its hostile stand against Egypt. Issam El Erian, the group’s spokesperson told Gulf News the announcement by the Prosecutor of the State Security about the arrest of the 49-people linked to Hezbollah in Egypt appears to reflect the tense relations between Hezbollah and Egypt since the 2006 Israeli offensive in Lebanon. Al Erian said the case appears to be a tactic to change the hostile stance by Hezbollah against Egyptian leaders. “Egypt felt that the party provoked the Israel assault through its cross-boarder attack on the Israeli army and officially denounced the move. Egypt further stated that Hezbollah did not win the 33-day war against it because of the severe damages inflicted by the Israeli war machine on Lebanon. Egypt blamed Hezbollah and stood with its political opponents in Lebanon and took sides in the Lebanese politics,” Al Erian said…..He said Nasrallah’s call was the straw and he believes that “it interfered in the internal politics of Egypt”. “The Egyptian government must redraw its national security policies to include the Israeli threats against Arab countries like Syria and Lebanon and to consider threats against Palestinians by Israelis as a threat against its national security,” he said. On the other hand, El Erian urged Hassan Nasrallah to apologise to Egypt.
A previous post has discussed the complex relationship between the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, and Iran.