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Developments Arab Spring Egypt's Revolt Explained

by Oui Sun Aug 18th, 2013 at 03:47:36 AM EST


Just a blogger trying to get some sense of the Egyptian political drama ...

Many bloggers have a difficulty to grasp the dynamics of the Arab uprising and fail to understand the role of the US. See the fp story by BooMan who attempts to find a rationale - Solving the Egyptian Puzzle.

Libya was a wealthy nation and Gaddafi was well armed with SAM-7 missiles, anti-tank grenades and vans with heavy guns mounted. These weapons have spread across the 50+ tribal groups in Libya, the Tuaregs took them into Northern Mali, spread further south to the Boko Haram in Nigeria. The Salafist fighters took the weapons into neighboring states like Tunisia, Egypt (Sinai), Niger, Sudan and to Syria via the "open" border with Erdogan's Turkey.

CIA boosted MB in Egypt during the cold war years to break the influence of the Soviet Union. The MB were suppressed under Nasser (video) and left Egypt for Qatar, UAE and Saudi Arabia. Only in Qatar is the MB still welcome, the MB is outlawed in UAE and similarly in Saudi Arabia. The MB turned out to be a subversive militant organisation. Saudi Arabia, the guardian of the three sanctuaries of Islamic faith, is based on the pure Islamic belief of Wahhabism. Apparently Safalism is tolerated and funded/supported to spread the Islamic faith through mosques across the globe. The foreign preachers in Saudi funded Western mosques are homophobic, anti-Israel and against western culture. It's the source for Muslim youth traveling to Chechnya, Yemen and Pakistan for jihad. The Gülen movement originated in Turkey and is almost a covert religious group with links to liberal, economic states and it is said has been funded by CIA in support of espionage and intelligence gathering. The focus of US foreign policy and CIA activities after the fall of communism in the Soviet Union, has been the Caspian Sea region and the immense wealth in gas and oil. The western European nations have been allies with the US to break the monopoly of Russian and the satellite states of the former Soviet Union.

The colour revolutions under Clinton and George Bush were an attempt to loosen the ties of the satellite states with Russia: Serbia, Ukraine, Georgia and the Caspian Sea states. Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Syria are part of this plan. The pipelines to circumvent Russia plays a major role. Qatar gas - North Iraq (Kurds) oil - Syria (pipelines) - Georgia - Turkey.

In the Bush era, the US became an outlaw-state and this has been continued under president Obama. When a state tolerates rendition, torture, black prisons, Guantanamo Bay and unlimited data gathering by NSA intelligence, is has become a rogue nation and loses its standing in the world. These are actions seen as facts which no funding of propaganda can ever offset. US credibilty in the Muslim world and specifically with Arab states is completely gone. The role the US has played in support of Israel is of course biased and has flaunted international law and UN Security Council resolutions. It has become clear the US and Israel share the same "moral" values and have duplicated its policy to operate outside international conventions and the UN. As Israel has succeeded to isolate itself from the global community, the US is following on the same path.

The Egyptian military seem to have only tactical links with the Pentagon and minister Chuck Hagel, US political influence is reduced to zero as the Egyptian president even refused to answer the phone call made by Obama this week. US meddling in Egyptian affairs is as poisenous as requesting an advice from PM Netanyahu.

I'll start with an interesting read, a paper by El Sisi as a student at the Army War College titled: "Democracy in the Middle East." My short recap:

    Well written and very reasonable. Even offers a blue print for a democracy under leadership of the Muslim Brothers. Clearly, Morsi violated all the principles stated by Gen. Sisi. I find the general very kind to the US and the Iraq and Afghanistan "adventure." From this report, the US never had a chance to reach it's stated goal of a Western style democracy. No surprise there, even I could have warned the Bush administration. In fact, President Mubarak and the Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah gave the warning to Bush. Sisi mentions Syria warmly and hopes to overcome the Sunni/Shia divide and prevent hostilities. Reality is always tougher to deal with than theory and events move too fast.

    From his report, he expresses his desire to work for the Egyptian people according to the principles of the Muslim faith. It's been a very tough first six weeks!

Continued below the fold ...

Egypt's army chief trained at Army War College in Carlisle, Pa.

CARLISLE, Pa. (TribLive) - With unrest in Egypt, U.S. military officials looking for insight might test the ties they formed with the Egyptian defense minister, Lt. Gen. Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, when he was a student at the Army War College.

"In this little historical Pennsylvania town, the most important school in the world operates under the radar," said retired Col. Stephen Gerras, a professor of behavioral science at the Carlisle Barracks. Al-Sisi was Gerras' student. In 2006, he watched the  Steelers beat the Seattle Seahawks, 21-10, in the Super Bowl in Gerras' home. Gerras remembers him as a warm man, quiet and devout.

"My mother was at our little party, too, and al-Sisi took her around my home and explained to her the meaning behind the Turkish artifacts that my wife and I had picked up when we lived in Turkey," he said. "At the time he was here, he was only a one-star general. We never dreamed at the time he would go on to lead the Egyptian army."

A paper that was prepared by then Brigadier General Abdelfattah Said El Sisi when he attended the US Army War College in Carlisle Pennysylvania is titled Democracy In the Middle East.

$1.4bn US aid to Egypt is not about democracy

(Informed Comment) - The continued unrest upped the pressure on the Obama administration to cut off military aid to Egypt. It is the only legal and ethical thing to do, but here are some reasons it has been difficult for Washington to take that step.

    1. The US doesn't give much aid to the Egyptian people per se. Only $250 mn a year out of $1.55 bn is civilian. The aid is to cement a relationship between the Egyptian officer corps and the Pentagon.

    2. The military aid,  $1.3 billion a year, is mostly in-kind, a grant of weaponry. It must be spent on US weapons manufacturers. It is US arms manufacturers like Lockheed-Martin and General Dynamics (and their employees) who would suffer if it were cut off.

    3. The Congress gave the Egyptian Generals a credit card to buy weapons, and they've run up $3 billion on it for F-16s and M1A1 tanks. If the US cancelled aid, the US government would still have to pick up that bill.

    4. Even most of the civilian aid is required to be spent on US goods and materiel. It is corporate welfare for the US

    5. The aid was given as a bribe to the Egyptian elite to make nice with Israel. Given the chaos in Sinai, and Egypt's instability, Congress is more worried about that issue than at any time in 40 years.

    6. The  Israelis asked the US not to suspend the aid.

[Read on ...]

Egypt's presidency says Obama's remarks encourage violence

(Al Arabya) - Egypt's presidency said that U.S. President Barack Obama's remarks on Egypt are not based on "facts" and will strengthen and encourage violent groups. Egypt is facing "acts of terrorism that target government institutions and vital facilities, including tens of churches, courts and police stations and public and private institutions," the presidency added in a statement.

"Groups of armed violence targeted the loss of lives and the features of the Egyptian civilization, including libraries, museums and public gardens," the presidency said. "The presidency fears that statements not based on facts will strengthen and groups of armed violence and encourage them in their anti-democratic and stability path."

Obama had cancelled joint military exercises with the Egyptian military, saying Egypt is on a "more dangerous path."

Opinion: The Egypt-US round-trip ticket

Saudi king backs Egypt's rulers against "terrorism"

RIYADH, Saudi Aeabia (Dawn.com) Saudi King Abdullah called on Arabs to stand together against "attempts to destabilise" Egypt, in a message of support for the military leadership and an attack on the Muslim Brotherhood.

"The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, its people and government, stood and stands today with its brothers in Egypt against terrorism," he said in a message read out on Saudi television, in an apparent reference to continuing clashes between the Muslim Brotherhood and police.

"I call on the honest men of Egypt and the Arab and Muslim nations ... to stand as one man and with one heart in the face of attempts to destabilise a country that is at the forefront of Arab and Muslim history."

King Abdullah's statement was Saudi Arabia's first comment on the turmoil in Egypt, a country it sees as an essential ally against Shi'ite Muslim Iran and anti-Western Islamist groups.

"All those who meddle in Egypt's internal affairs are inflaming strife," he said, adding that the North African country faces "a conspiracy of plotters" trying to strike at its unity and stability.

Egypt massacre no longer an internal affair, Turkish President Gül says

Remember Sibel Edmonds?

Court Documents Shed Light on CIA Illegal Operations in Central Asia Using Islam & Madrassas

(July 11, 2008) - During an immigration court case involving Turkish Islamic Leader, Fethullah Gülen, US prosecutors exposed an illegal, covert, CIA operation involving the intentional Islamization of Central Asia. The scene for these dramatic disclosures was an application for a Green Card in the Eastern District Court in Philadelphia by "controversial Islamic scholar" Fetullah Gülen.

The court case was covered extensively by the Turkish press. Leading Turkish newspaper Hurriyet reported:

    "Gülen's financial resources were detailed in the public prosecutor's arguments, which claimed that Saudi Arabia, Iran, the Turkish government, and the Central Intelligence Agency, or CIA, were behind the Gülen movement."

Lawsuit Fethullah Gülen v. Michael Chertoff (Secretary of Homeland Security)

Morsi gives Egypt governorships to Islamist allies

(BBC News) - Adel al-Khayat is a member of the political wing of al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya, which claimed responsibility for the 1997 Luxor massacre in which around 60 tourists were killed. The group subsequently renounced violence.

An office of the Brotherhood's political party in Al-Daqahliyah, north of Cairo, has reportedly been set on fire in protest against the appointments.

Mohammed Morsi was sworn into office as Egypt's first democratically elected president almost a year ago. He was the chairman of the Freedom and Justice Party, the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Wave of protests over controversial governor picks

I viewed a panel discussion today on BBC News Dateline program and became aware of one member, Abdallah Homouda, who was very clear in his opinion on the events as they were unfolding in Egypt. His view was contrarion to the Western media and pointed to the 45-days the Muslim Brothers agitated and provoked the Egyptian people. The MB had a crucial role how violence spread across the nation. The large majority of Egyptians (70%) are fed up with the Muslim Brotherhood and are thankful the military stepped in before Egypt would become an Islamic state under the MB. The violence in front of the Revelutionary Barracks in July were provoked by armed militants of the MB who shot and killed three soldiers before gunfire was returned. The militants wanted to set former president Morsi free in a jail break. Searching for Homouda, I came across this article. The author defined the event of November 2012 accurately, his expectations looking forward didn't hold.

Mursi's Folly

(Reuters) Nov. 23, 2012 - After helping end the fighting in Gaza, impressing President Barack Obama and negotiating a $4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund, Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi has fallen victim to what Bill Clinton calls "brass."

Mursi's hubristic post-Gaza power grab on Thursday was politically tone deaf, strategic folly and classic over-reach. It will deepen Egypt's political polarization, scare off desperately needed foreign investment and squander Egypt's rising credibility in the region and the world.

Television images of renewed clashes in Cairo, Alexandria, Port Said and Suez will play into stereotypes that the Middle East is not ready for democracy. They will bolster suspicions inside and outside Egypt that the Muslim Brotherhood cannot be trusted.

I disagree with the skeptics and believe democracy can still be established in Egypt. But Mursi's moves won't help Egypt make the difficult transition. [How wrong can one be - Oui]

"There was a disease but this is not the remedy," Hassan Nafaa, a liberal political science professor and activist at Cairo University. "We are going towards more polarization between the Islamist front on one hand and all the others on the other. This is a dangerous situation."

"There is an issue here about the balance of power between the Brotherhood and the nationalists and liberals, who appear unable to unify themselves," warned Abdallah Homouda, who writes for Egypt's leading independent newspaper al-Masry al-Youm. "The fear is that will leave the Brotherhood in a dominant position."

Many say Morsi has acted clumsily compared with his sophisticated approach to the military in the summer.

"Morsi inherited a country with a great number of very serious problems that nobody could address in months or very possibly in years," said the commentator Elijah Zarwan. "He came to power at a time when Egypt and the region were in crisis. His handling of some of these issues, including the war in Gaza, was effective and even surprisingly adroit. In other cases he has made mistakes. His handling of the judiciary has been probably been his biggest. It is very difficult to see how he can climb down."

About the author: David Rohde is a columnist for Reuters, two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize and a former reporter for The New York Times. His latest book, "Beyond War: Reimagining American Influence in a New Middle East," was published in April.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Sun Aug 18th, 2013 at 03:52:20 AM EST
Abdallah Homouda, journalist interview Egyptian Revolution

Press TV interview with Abdallah Hamouda, Egyptian journalist in London about the rebuilding of Egypt as a leading regional power. [transcript]

Frontline panel discussion on Yemen - Jan. 6, 2010.
Start video at 35:00 min. Link to YouTube video for discussion on Yemen ...

The Birth of Modern Yemen

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Sun Aug 18th, 2013 at 03:56:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The legitimacy of the Mursi Muslim Brothers regime became intolerable after December 2012 power grab. The MB agitated Egyptian society with its intolerance towards minority and women's rights in a remake of the constitution, judicial pressure and appointments of convicted militants to governorships. Morsi gave support to Hamas, did not stop violence against the Copts and limited the army's response to militants in the Sinai. The US administration (Ms Obama) has clearly favored the MB axis Egypt-Hamas-Turkey-Qatar. Most likely to give support to any and all rebel fighters willing to take up arms against Assad in Syria. With 100,000 deaths, this adventure has been a gross failure of the Obama administration. See rhetoric used by Susan Rice in "diplomatic" channels of the UN Security Council.

Tamarud -- Arabic for Rebellion -- is a grassroots campaign which says it collected more than 22 million signatures declaring a lack of confidence in Mursi. Anti-Morsi Egyptian protesters marching on June 30 with Qatar-Israel-US flag stitched together. Link - Mondoweiss. The search for a link Tamarud to the Hitler Jügend gave no results.

The suffering and deaths of the Egyptian people is indeed intolerable. In a political stalemate as exists in Egypt, there is no force that could manage the MB to accept the fall of Morsi as a fact. The residents of Cairo took part in the violent opposition to the Morsi crowd and so called sit-ins. The response of the Morsi protestors was not peaceful as it's unusual for security forces to suffer 43 deaths. Of course there is massive propaganda from all sides and it's difficult to get a clue what really happened in the sequence of events. The only chance for the MB to recover in the PR campaign is to have victims seen on the newsreels. In the hate-filled speeches by the clerics of the mosque, it's exactly what they called for. The MB leadership has most likely been arrested yesterday.

I'm only a witness to events through the eyes of media and therefore coloured, biased and poorly informed. Just looking for a rationale as I have lived through decades of mass killings and genocides. Today's events just confirms there is a power-play behind the scenes which involves the individual GCC states, US, EU and Turkey. The US has no leverage in Egyptian politics as everyone witnessed in the "missions" by Obama envoys William Burns, John McCain and Lindsey Graham. Burns managed to hold talks, the two senators were permitted a photo-op but weren't taken seriously. Egyptians already have protest action when the name of the new US Ambassador to Egypt was leaked to the press. Egypt doesn't want the likes of Robert S. Ford in Cairo.

As soon as the Obama administration cuts military aid, it tears up the Egypt-Israel Peace treaty. It's not what John Kerry can use right now and the military have made the same calculation. The GCC states have already pledged $12bn in aid to the military regime of Egypt, except Qatar naturally. Even today, read the reactions from the UAE and Bahrain in full support of Egypt's interim government. McCain already called the people's revolution a military coup during his visit, it didn't impress Egypt's leaders a bit.

Cross-posted from my diary - Egypt's Human Toll Rises Above 525 Killed.

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Sun Aug 18th, 2013 at 04:01:19 AM EST
[Links added are mine - Oui]

It's the Egyptian Identity, Stupid

(AlMonitor) - Observers are shocked. They do not understand as they watch millions of Egyptians marching in protest, in every major city in Egypt, against President Mohammed Morsi. In Cairo alone, some estimated the number of protesters to be 5 to 7 million. That is roughly a quarter to a third of the capital's population. The crowds on June 30 may have been part of the largest political protest in history.

Political analysts are baffled. Egyptians put up with the fraudulently elected Mubarak for 30 years, but now seek the departure of the democratically elected Morsi after only one year? Did they expect the man to have a magic wand that would allow him to solve all of Egypt's economic problems with a single stroke?

It's not the economy, stupid. It is not just about the fuel shortages, power outages, deteriorating economy or soaring prices. Western media rarely, if ever, mention the Muslim Brotherhood's assault on Egyptian identity, culture and way of life as a core cause of protests. Could something so intangible motivate such massive demonstrations?

The reality is that culture is much more tangible than one may think at first glance. Restrictive cultural policies affect education, art, newspapers, television programs, books, academia, laws, dress, food and beverages, sports, management of antiquities and cultural heritage, tourism and public holidays. These are tangible things that impact people's daily lives. When experiencing an abrupt change in aspects related to their self-image or the way their children are being brought up, people may panic and react quite strongly. Egypt might be experiencing one of these instances more than anything else.

Attempts by the Muslim Brotherhood to convert Egyptians to their conservative values did not start just last year. Funded for several decades by generous donations from Wahhabi sheikhs, the Salafis and Muslim Brothers slowly began to infiltrate Egyptian society and gradually succeeded in making Egypt visibly different, first by calling for small things, like asking women to wear the hijab and putting their preachers in control of key mosques, and then by expanding to launch a network of charities with a political agenda -- preparing Egyptian society for Islamist rule.

The Muslim Brothers was banned before the 1952 revolution because of their involvement in political assassinations and after the revolution were prosecuted by the regime of Gamal Abdel Nasser (video) after an attempt on his life. Nasser's successor, Anwar Sadat, decided to allow Islamist organizations to regroup to counterbalance socialist and Nasserist political streams in the 1970s. Sadat was assassinated in 1981 at the hands of Islamist extremists. Near the end of Mubarak's rule, he offered large concessions to the Brothers to create a bipolar political system in which the only alternative to his ruling National Democratic Party would be the Muslim Brotherhood. After the 2011 revolution, the Brothers decided that this was their time. They had to seize the moment before it was gone.

Morsi was elected president of an ancient nation with an established way of life -- in fact, one that Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Brotherhood, detested and considered immoral. Sixty-five years after Banna's death, Morsi, obedient member and leader of the Brotherhood, runs for the presidency of Egypt. As soon as he assumes office, he gets busy appointing his "Brothers" to key government positions as part of the so-called Tamkeen plan, a plot to control Egypt that is said to have been drafted by Khairat al-Shater himself.

Khairat El-Shater Ordered Violence by Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo - Dec. 6, 2012

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Sun Aug 18th, 2013 at 04:05:10 AM EST
" Western media rarely, if ever, mention the Muslim Brotherhood's assault on Egyptian identity, culture and way of life as a core cause of protests."

This is true. It's also the first time I've read it.

Personally, I think the deep realpolitik of the USA is that NO theocracy will be permitted, and that the Muslim Brotherhood is the epitome of theocracy, rebelled against by both the Egyptian secular populace and American secular democrats.

Samuel Huntington saw this years ago.

Align culture with our nature. Ot else!

by ormondotvos (ormond.otvosnospamgmialcon) on Mon Aug 19th, 2013 at 01:13:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
NO theocracy will be permitted

Saudi Arabia? Afghanistan (when the theocrats were Reagan's "freedom fighters")? Israel did something similar with Sharon's Village Leagues, set up as a conterweight to the PLO, which eventually led to Hamas.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Aug 19th, 2013 at 03:53:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Muslim Brothers pleaded from inside the mosque for Egypt's security forces to rescue them from a siege outside of angry Egyptians.

Al-Fath Mosque cleared, multiple arrests made

CAIRO (BBC News) - Egypt's security forces have cleared a Cairo mosque after a long stand-off with Muslim Brotherhood supporters barricaded inside, state media says. All the protesters have now been taken out of the mosque, and many have been arrested, security forces say.

The confrontation at the Al-Fath mosque continued for most of the day - with exchanges of gunfire between security forces and protesters.

Egypt's interim Prime Minister Hazem Beblawi believes the protests are "terrorist acts", according to his spokesman, Sharif Shawqi. Mr Shawqi told a televised news conference on Saturday that the Muslim Brotherhood's return to power was impossible.

'Nobody is safe'

The stand-off began overnight, when the Al-Fath mosque - which was being used as a makeshift clinic for the injured and morgue for the dead from clashes on Friday - turned instead into what correspondents describe as a fortress.

Brotherhood members barricaded themselves inside, using anything at their disposal. It turned into a scene of chaos. Tear gas was fired into the building, and security forces exchanged fire with at least one gunman in the minaret.

Egyptian police have been bringing some Morsi supporters out of the building - leading some, dragging others - but are then having to protect them from angry mobs armed with bats and pieces of wood who are trying to attack them, correspondents say.

 « click for story

Many of the protesters have now been arrested. State TV is showing lines of detained people kneeling on the floor of the mosque with security forces around them.

Mohammed al-Zawahiri arrested in Giza

Separately, the Egyptian authorities say they have arrested the brother of al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri. Mohammed al-Zawahiri was detained at a checkpoint in Giza, near Cairo, because of his links to Mr Morsi, according to security officials.

Also on Saturday, the Muslim Brotherhood said on its Facebook page that Ammar Badie, the son of the movement's spiritual leader, General Guide Mohamed Badie, was one of those killed during protests on Friday. The Brotherhood said that Ammar Badie, 38, had died of a bullet wound in Ramses Square.

The secretary-general of the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, Mohammed al-Beltagi, says his 17-year-old daughter, Asmaa, died in earlier protests.

1500 Morsi supporters barricaded in Al Fath Mosque (Video)

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Sun Aug 18th, 2013 at 04:08:27 AM EST
What's missing from your understandably US-centric analysis is any explanation of MB's social implantation.

Dramatically, the political debate in Egypt has not developed beyond where it was in the 1920s. The gap between the MB and the secularists, and the hate and intransigeance on both sides, is a constant. Mubarak tacitly tolerated the MB on condition that they stayed out of politics; they were allowed to take on a social role, organising charity and funnelling oil money to the needy. A huge strategic mistake, no doubt. So the poorest and most ignorant strata of Egyptian society cling to religion and the MB.

But the extreme violence of the Army's crackdown is sickening. The fact that they are no doubt supported by a majority of Egyptians is no excuse for starting a civil war.

Both sides are inexcusably stupid, it's hard to see positive outcomes.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Sun Aug 18th, 2013 at 12:35:16 PM EST
Important addition, thank you.

Morsi had a golden opportunity to establish the MB as an important player in Egypt's politics.  After decades of suppression under an dictatorship, Morsi wanted a similar authoritarian position. He disenfranchised the Salafist Nour party and lost trust with the majority of the population. Re-writing the Constitution was a crucial element, the MB wanted it all in a short timeline. He misjudged the opposing forces. It appears the MB will be banned and its leaders will face imprisonment. Like you said, everyone is focused on the major cities, the rural areas are forgotten. Even Morsi did not follow through on the Renaissance Project for his supporter base. I too fear the worst and hear estimates up to 20,000 deaths in the coming 2-3 years. I do hope the military and El Sisi will show allegiance to the civilian government and return to the barracks after the next round of elections.

Just think of it, 40 years ago there were dictators in Europe! It's the countries that surround a starting democracy that need to be supportive. Egypt has a leading role in the region and has no such sponsor. Turkey and Erdogan wanted the role for the Morsi government, he could not meet up to the standard. The role Turkey plays in neighboring Syria needs more scrutiny. The Syrian Kurds are now facing genocide and are crossing the border at Peshkhabour into Kurdish Iraq.

Interesting, a misprint? The BBC headline speaks of an Iraqi Kurdistan - Syria refugees pour into Iraqi Kurdistan in thousands. Almost an independent state with a good economy and plenty of oil resources.

Mondoweiss: Morsi, the last caliph-president of Egypt

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Sun Aug 18th, 2013 at 01:31:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Dramatically, the political debate in Egypt has not developed beyond where it was in the 1920s. The gap between the MB and the secularists, and the hate and intransigeance on both sides, is a constant. Mubarak tacitly tolerated the MB on condition that they stayed out of politics; they were allowed to take on a social role, organising charity and funnelling oil money to the needy. A huge strategic mistake, no doubt.

I am left to wonder as to the extent to which this course of action was urged upon Mubarak by the USA. A much wiser course of action would have been to provide at least half of the aid for the purpose of government backed aid and education programs for the poor. But the relevant considerations undoubtedly were patronage, not the national interests of either Egypt or the USA.

One thing seems obvious to me. No reconciliation is possible until Muslim Brotherhood triumphalism is dispelled. It was in full bloom right up to the night Morsi was overthrown. Now triumphalism has turned to defiance. I don't see how it can end well either. But canceling joint maneuvers could be a favor to the Egyptian regime at this point, both from reducing the association of the Egyptian military with the USA and from freeing them to deal with domestic unrest.  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Aug 18th, 2013 at 02:15:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am left to wonder as to the extent to which this course of action was urged upon Mubarak by the USA.

I'm assuming that the US had no strong interest in domestic Egyptian policy. US aid was a straightforward bribe to bring military security to Israel; and the US made a deal with the partner in front of them, and Mubarak was a product of the armed forces. So they are extraordinarily well-funded, by the US, and any economic development that happens with US funds is strictly under the aegis of the Egyptian armed forces.

The rent-extracting classes of Egypt were OK with this. In order to prevent a social explosion in the under-classes, the MB were a handy way to keep the lid on.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Sun Aug 18th, 2013 at 04:50:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm assuming that the US had no strong interest in domestic Egyptian policy. US aid was a straightforward bribe to bring military security to Israel; and the US made a deal with the partner in front of them, and Mubarak was a product of the armed forces. So they are extraordinarily well-funded, by the US, and any economic development that happens with US funds is strictly under the aegis of the Egyptian armed forces.

That's a plausible story, so long as it is kept in mind that while the US probably did not actively decide to fund the Brotherhood, they did have a veto over the sort of opposition which could be tolerated. And the US has a long history of preferring conservative fundamentalists to secular, liberal democrats.

So it is possible to tell another story, in which the US foreclosed on the possibility of an urban, secular opposition, which implicitly amounts to support for the Brotherhood.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Aug 18th, 2013 at 06:15:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Urban, secular opposition has historically been pretty easy to co-opt (in just about any place and time). Don't underestimate the huge credit ordinary Egyptians accord to the military.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Sun Aug 18th, 2013 at 06:19:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You know that and I know that, and the Egyptians will know that in short order if they don't already. But the Americans still seem to favor rural fundies when it comes to deciding which oppositional groups to tolerate.

American foreign policy doesn't have to make rational sense. That's one of the privileges that sufficient warship tonnage buys you. So the reality of things matters a lot less than what the American conventional wisdom believes to be the reality of things.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Aug 18th, 2013 at 06:29:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, the rent extracting classes of Egypt are natural targets of Wall Street, so add Wall Street to the MIC for the major concerns of the US Government about where the Egyptian aid goes. Only in a dream world does that money get used to actually help provide secular educations for poor Egyptian children. Egypt is not Mexico.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Aug 19th, 2013 at 12:36:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why the easy presumption of stupidity on the part of longterm planners of US policy?

Sure, it's politically correct to presume that all religions are the same, but theocracy can't be allowed, because it suppresses the very religious freedoms the politically correct supposedly espouse.

This paradox is the key to a lot of conservative fury at liberal multiculturalism. Cultures with fixed needs to dominate others with religion are doomed, no matter how you feel about essential human nature.

Laws must derive from the informed consent of the secular aspect of society, not from fever dreams of sky god spokesMen.

Align culture with our nature. Ot else!

by ormondotvos (ormond.otvosnospamgmialcon) on Mon Aug 19th, 2013 at 01:36:08 AM EST
Why the easy presumption of stupidity on the part of longterm planners of US policy?

It seems the most parsimonious explanation of their historical record.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Aug 19th, 2013 at 03:55:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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