Egypt's Vietnam: Why Egyptians Are Opposed to a War in Yemen

Decisive Storm artillery rocks a Yemeni neighbourhood in the capital Sanaa. Photograph shared by Alaa Al-Eryani on Facebook. "This was in Faj Attan near our house. Can't imagine the terror my family and friends are going through right now.." she explains.

Decisive Storm artillery rocks a Yemeni neighbourhood in the capital Sanaa. Photograph shared by Alaa Al-Eryani on Facebook. “This was in Faj Attan near our house. Can't imagine the terror my family and friends are going through right now..” she explains.

Egyptians are turning to social media to voice their refusal of any involvement on the part of their nation's ground troops in a war on Yemen.

Egypt, which is part of a Saudi-led coalition that has been bombing Yemen since March 26, announced that it was ready to send ground troops into the war-torn country. Backed by its Gulf Arab allies, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Sudan and Saudi Arabia started an airstrike operation, dubbed Decisive Storm, against Houthi fighters who have been in control of large parts of Yemen since January.

Many Egyptian netizens reminded readers of a leaked recording, in which Egyptian president Abdel Fattah Al Sisi allegedly described the Gulf's Arabs as having “money like rice” — meaning in abundance — implying that Egypt was involved in the war for the sake of money.

They even drew comparisons, saying that Egyptian soldiers are being sacrificed in Saudi Arabia's war on Yemen in exchange for rice.

Egyptian blogger Nawara Nagm takes a stab, telling her 759K followers:

If you don't have an ethical problem with war and the killing of children, then you should also have no problem when your soldiers die in exchange for rice

She adds:

We go and die and in the end they make fun of us about the rice, which did not go into the pockets of any of those children who will be involved in the land war

In another tweet, Negm wonders why Parliament is not involved in the decision-making process:

As long as conscription in the army is compulsory and people are involved in it with their children, then they have the right to express their views on whether their children should live or die through the Parliament or at least have a referendum

She then describes the scene in Egypt, with Government-backed media drumming up for war, saying:

We know the drill: media preparation, and those who object are labelled as traitors, [foreign] agents and spies. He will arrest a few people and then do what he wants

He refers to Sisi, whom Negm does not mention by name as this next tweet reflects:

He issued laws and took loans which we will have to pay for until after he dies; and entered a war, without advice from anyone; and he will now send people to their death without getting their permission

She concludes:

He has no right to take away people's children and throw them in Yemen without the approval of Parliament or even a referendum

Adel Zidane describes the Egyptian intervention in Yemen as a war of “oil in return for blood.” He tweets:

No to a war moved by the perspective of oil in exchange for blood

Having Egyptian forces fighting in Yemen brings back bad memories from the North Yemen Civil War, (1962 -1970). In that war, Egypt and Soviet Russia backed the newly born Yemen Arab Republic, while Saudi Arabia and Jordan, supported by Britain, fought on the side of recently upstaged Imam Muhammed Al Badr, who escaped to Saudi Arabia to rally support. Thousands of Egyptian soldiers were killed in the war.

Yemeni Ammar Al Aulaqi reminds us:

Negm too reminds her followers about this, saying:

Yemen is historically known as Egypt's Vietnam. What will we do in Yemen when we don't even know what to do with Sinai?

The Egyptian army has been embroiled in a war in Sinai against “terrorists,” among them the State of Sinai, a jihadist group that was previously named Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis (ABM) before announcing its allegiance to the radical group ISIS.

From Egypt, Carmen wonders why new war fronts are being opened in the region:

No to the Egyptian land incursion in Yemen. Sinai is full of terrorism and ISIS is in Libya. Why are they opening up new war fronts which they cannot handle?

She adds:

Don't increase the blood bill which this country pays everyday. We have the right to be concerned for our army.

Egyptian Hamdy Mansour adds:

They tell you they are against the land incursion into Yemen so that the poor Egyptian soldiers do not get killed! What about the aerial bombardment and the poor Yemeni civilians being killed! Obviously, that's normal and whether a nation lives or dies is not an issue.

From Lebanon Riena Jalal, summing up the situation with her tongue in her cheek, echoes this sentiment. She tweets to her 13.1K followers:

Air intervention is normal
And the people dying as a result of air bombardment is also normal?
But a land incursion will mean death for Egyptian soldiers. What a shame!

And from Bahrain, @lbanna74 reminds her 2,000 followers:

When the Egyptians return in coffins, don't call them martyrs. They left to fight in exchange for the Gulf's money.

More reactions can be found under the hashtag #لا_لتدخل_مصر_البري_في_اليمن which translates as No to the Egyptian Land Intervention in Yemen from Arabic.

Also read:  Egypt's Vietnam: Lessons from the last time Cairo waded into war in Yemen

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Pakistan was a part of the Saudi-coalition bombing Yemen. Apologies for the error.


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