By Nada al-Sherbini
BARCELONA (AA) – Almost two months after prompting rare demonstrations in Egypt, former army contractor Mohamed Ali says he will leave no stone unturned to push for the departure of President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi.
In an interview with Anadolu Agency in Barcelona, where he lives, Ali claims massive corruption in Egypt under al-Sisi's rule.
Ali has posted several videos from exile, in which he accused the military of corruption, while al-Sisi denied the accusations as "false" and a "conspiracy".
In the interview, Ali, a businessman and actor, says he plans foreign tours to expose the financial irregularities in his country.
The Egyptian opponent says he receives "constant threats" from the regime, but he hopes to unify the Egyptian opposition abroad and heal the rift within the Muslim Brotherhood group.
Q: You made a big fuss with your first video before your shrine started to fade away, have you run out of cards against the Egyptian regime, which accuses you of lying and treason?
A: No, the game has just started. The past phase was just about exposing some aspects of corruption. If I continued to expose this corruption, it would take years.
The goal of the first phase paid off and we are now facing a new phase of the game with al-Sisi. The next stage focuses on embarrassing the Egyptian regime.
My goal is to inform and reveal to the whole world how Egypt is being run, especially after the outcry of the people on Sept. 20, 2019. It's possible to achieve this.
Q: You previously denied that you were supported by one of the sovereign authorities in Egypt, can you tell us what makes you very confident about the departure of the regime?
A: Since my first appearance, the Egyptian media accused me of many things such as being a member of the Muslim Brotherhood or being corrupt. The opposition, meanwhile, started to suspect that I was supported by intelligence service. If we look at both sides, they don't know the truth; I am not supported by anyone.
I felt so repressed by the regime, so I started to talk to the people and was surprised by this interactive situation and decided to go on.
Was it logical for the intelligence service to bring in a low-profile actor like me and send me to Spain to fight al-Sisi with a video on my cellphone? Were these the capabilities of the intelligence service to overthrow the regime?
Q: But police helped consolidate this idea when they allowed protesters to take to the streets on Sept. 20?
A: The police were surprised by the demonstrators the same as I was. The crowds created a state of confusion that forced them to close the squares the following Friday and arrested dozens of people. I did not expect that the people would respond and demonstrate. I did not even have a plan for pursuing protests, but now I know the features of the next phase.
Q: What are the features of your next plan?
A: My next plan is the European Union, the U.S. Congress and some international institutions for which I have prepared files full of evidence on corruption in Egypt. I have already begun to address these institutions and have received initial response from them.
In two days, I will be in the U.K. for a major press conference to create a global momentum about the corruption of this regime.
Q: Some people claim that you served the regime than harming it, how will you respond?
A: What I did had exposed and affected the regime and forced it to take positive steps. The fact that the president was forced to appear and admit to the public that he was building presidential palaces was the biggest blow to him. I forced him to tell the people that he was sacrificing the people for himself.
Q: But the regime now knows its weak points and began to deal with them?
A: The regime worked on its weak points by tightening the noose around everyone around it and began to be more aggressive.
This pressure will create a big burst. The regime has lost its credibility before the people.
I did not call for a revolution on my first appearance. My role was only to expose corruption and I already did that.
Q: How do you deal with the opposition abroad?
A: I am now open to communication with all opposition and I'm trying to bring them together. I'm also trying to make reconciliation between the disputing sides within the Muslim Brotherhood and already began to take steps to do so.
During my communication with the opposition, I found that there are many honorable people who really want the good for Egypt. There are some beneficiaries who earn money from keeping al-Sisi in power.
I am now in the stage of gathering honorable opponents to unite efforts and move on one track, and I communicated with a large number of them and many of them have expressed their willingness to do so.
Q: There are talks about a political project between you and Egyptian opponent Ayman Nour. What are the features of this project?
A: Ayman Nour contacted with me and was very supportive. He appeared on his Al-Sharq television and allowed me to go on air to speak, but this was not my goal at this stage. I do not want more channels for communication because I am neither a media personality nor a broadcaster.
We are now in the process of networking with foreign movements and gathering the opposition in the right direction.
Q: What is the impact of your videos on those you previously worked with?
A: It was a disaster! First of all, no one expected what I did, because I had a great authority by working with the army and had a very stable financial life.
Exposing this information has created a state of great confusion. Many of them were referred to investigation and some of them were suspended from work, not to mention the severe restrictions facing the army contractors.
Q: Did any of your contractor friends communicate with you or provide any kind of support?
A: On the contrary, all of them sent me messages in which they criticized and blamed me for harming their interests before severing ties with me. What I did has caused a great tension and confusion and this was evident when al-Sisi responded to what I said one week after posting the videos.
A: I will explain to you how I cornered the regime ... I was the fourth most important contracting company working with them. I had about 1,000 employees and large companies also worked with me, these companies have hundreds of employees, plus thousands of people who know these projects.
So, I decided to trap the regime between two options by either denying that it had presidential palaces, which will make him [al-Sisi] appear as a commander lying to his men, who know him very well, or appearing as a man who wastes the people's money, an option which al-Sisi followed.
Q: Do you have any intention to settle with the regime in return for taking your dues?
A: My dues have gone into the air after posting my first video. I will not get a single pound from these dues. If they have any intention for a settlement, I don't want their money.
I have no other interest but to see al-Sisi leaving power and this is my mission until my death. I have so many perceptions that will make the whole world know the extent of corruption that Egypt is experiencing. I have no demand but al-Sisi's departure.
Q: You said that the Egyptian Consulate in Spain had contacted you earlier, have they attempted to contact you again?
A: All that followed this attempt to communicate were threats and these threats are still continuing. But I know how to hide and how to protect myself, especially since I am in a place that highly respects the law.
Q: Do you fear for your life?
A: I do not feel any fear for my life. How many young people lose their lives in traffic accidents or due to a sudden death? If anything happens to me, I am completely satisfied with what I got to and proud of what I did.