'This Week' Transcript: Crisis in Egypt

TAPPER: We lost Christiane for the time being. In the meantime, we're going have a roundtable discussion in just a moment with George Will, from Al Jazeera, Abderrahim Foukara, ABC News' own Martha Raddatz, and ABC News' own Sam Donaldson, as a special edition of "This Week," "Crisis in Egypt," continues.


TAPPER: Welcome back to our special "This Week," "Crisis in Egypt." Christiane will be back with us later from Cairo, but first our roundtable with George Will, Al Jazeera bureau chief Abderrahim Foukara -- I'm sorry, Abderrahim Foukara -- ABC News' own Martha Raddatz and ABC News' own Sam Donaldson. Thanks, one and all, for being here.

First of all, George, how does this crisis that we are spending so much time this morning and in the last few days talking about, how does it affect the American people?

WILL: Well, in three ways. First of all, this is a political contagion in a very sensitive region of the world. It began when a 26-year-old street vendor of fruit set himself on fire in a Tunisian city. It wasn't even in the capital. Now the next-door neighbor, Egypt, is ablaze, and who knows where it will go, given the dry tinder over there? The 300 million people in the Arab world, 60 percent of them under 25 years old, a quarter of those unemployed.

Second, this is what economists call an exogenous event. We are having a fragile recovery in this country. The immediate reaction of the Dow on Friday was to lose 166 points. Someone -- I mean, I don't know if anyone wants to say $5 gasoline yet, but it could happen. You could have a great energy supply.

But, third, this is Israel's nightmare. They have Iran and the presence of Hezbollah in the northern border. They have Hamas in Gaza. Egypt has been enforcing the embargo of weapons on Gaza, on Hamas in Gaza, coming through tunnels and elsewhere. What happens if Egypt drops out of that?

TAPPER: Abed, before we begin, there's been a lot of talk about the Egyptian government stopping the satellite feed of Al Jazeera and Al Jazeera English in Cairo. What is the status of that? And what do you think that says about the way that the government there is trying to monitor the freedom of information?

FOUKARA: Obviously, the offices of Al Jazeera in Cairo have been shut down. The -- as you mentioned, satellite, Nilesat, owned by the Egyptians on which -- on whose frequencies Al Jazeera has traditionally broadcast, has been switched off. So Al Jazeera has switched now to an Arab site.

Look, this is a classic example of a government in the region going in one way and its people going in another way, as far as coverage is concerned. We've heard this story about Al Jazeera from previous governments before.

I don't want to make too much propaganda for Al Jazeera, but let me just say this: Al Jazeera is an imperfect medium in an imperfect world. But the importance of what's going on in the Middle East right now, this is the story of a generation. Al Jazeera, despite its imperfections, has brought this story to 300 million people in the Arab world and beyond. This is a story of huge importance and consequence of the United States. And Al Jazeera is, in its own way, bringing this story to the United States, to the Arab world.

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...