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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

Egypt: post-Mubarak « Previous | |Next »
February 13, 2011

In After Mubarak in the London Review of Books Adam Shatz says that reading Western – particularly American – newspapers before the crackdown by Mubarark one would hardly have known the degree of discontent within Egypt.

Mubarak was typically described as an ‘authoritarian’ but ‘moderate’ and ‘responsible’ leader, almost never as a dictator. Popular anger over torture – and over the regime’s cosy relations with Israel – was rarely discussed. Similarly with the collusion between Egypt, Israel and the United States to enforce a blockade meant to undermine Hamas’s control of the Gaza Strip since 2006, when Hamas won the freest election in Palestinian history.

RowsonMEgyptUSA.jpg Martin Rowson

For the Obama administration the uprising in Egypt targeted an old and trusted ally, not an enemy---a “pillar” of the American position in the Middle East, Since Egypt was a pillar of US strategy in the greater Middle East, particularly in the ‘peace process’, Egypt would be better off under a military regime led by Omar Suleiman during a transition that would bring the constructive forces of Egyptian civil society into the polity.

Why the cosmetic changes to the political set-up in Egypt, given the US rhetoric that a global Pax Americana represents the “democracy” and “freedom” of western liberalism? Shatz says that:

Mubarak and Omar Suleiman....worked closely with Israel on everything from the Gaza blockade to intelligence-gathering; they allowed Israeli warships into the Suez Canal to prevent weapons smuggling into Gaza from Sudan, and did their best to stir up tensions between Fatah and Hamas. The Egyptian public is well aware of this intimate collaboration, and ashamed of it: democratisation could spell its end..... Egyptian foreign policy would be set in Cairo rather than in Washington and Tel Aviv, and the cold peace would grow colder.

US strategy in the Middle East is all about protecting Israel, which is the dominant power in the region. The new order will be less favorable to Israel and the United States, both symbols to many protesters of Egyptian subservience. The tectonic plates are shifting with the decline of Pax Americana.

A democratic government in Cairo would have to take public opinion into account, much as Erdogan’s government does in Turkey: another former US client state but one that, in marked contrast to Egypt, has escaped American tutelage, made the transition to democracy under an Islamist government, and pursued an independent foreign policy that is widely admired in the Muslim world.

Will a post-Mubarak Egypt be able to do the same? One answer.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 4:38 PM | | Comments (7)


According to the American Conservative magazine (founded by that right-wing mongrel, Pat Buchanan)... control of Egypt is crucial to the neocon plans for the Middle East.


On July 10, 2002, [Richard] Perle invited... Laurent Murawiec to address the Defense Policy Board. In a briefing that startled Henry Kissinger, Murawiec named Saudi Arabia as “the kernel of evil, the prime mover, the most dangerous opponent” of the United States.

Washington should give Riyadh an ultimatum, he said. Either you Saudis “prosecute or isolate those involved in the terror chain, including the Saudi intelligence services,” and end all propaganda against Israel, or we invade your country, seize your oil fields, and occupy Mecca.

In closing his PowerPoint presentation, Murawiec offered a “Grand Strategy for the Middle East.” “Iraq is the tactical pivot, Saudi Arabia the strategic pivot, Egypt the prize.” Leaked reports of Murawiec’s briefing did not indicate if anyone raised the question of how the Islamic world might respond to U.S. troops tramping around the grounds of the Great Mosque.


Egypt is vital to a global Pax Americana. []

Also see...

Egypt is not Turkey. There are many in the US power elite who will do "whatever it takes" to secure the status quo.

The Israel-dominated narrative about the Middle East that is fed into the mainstream Western media outlets no longer suffice. All they could offer is spinning a simplistic story by making derogatory comments about Muslim Brotherhood etc.

Australia's reporters rarely ventured out into the street---they usually stayed at one hotel and broadcasted from the balcony. They mostly ran with the views of the US government.

Al-Jazeera reporters mingled with protesters, heard their stories, their dreams, their views

Juan Cole says that it seems that:

the officer corps is acting as the instrument of Egyptian popular sovereignty, representing the people and consulting them without having been chosen by them, until that people’s choice can be made.

He adds that in in a situation where the constitution is suspended and there is a military government, there is ipso facto a state of emergency.

The US is becoming increasingly isolated in the region. Its security relationship with Israel is like a millstone hanging around the neck of the US in the region. The US sanctions on Syria, Iran, Lebanon, and Gaza are not about to go away. They were put into place to protect Israel. The US is locked into this strategic policy for years to come.

There is also a disintegration of US authority in the region and there is a vacuum happening. Turkey is asserting its independence and forming economic links with Iran. Turkey’s desire is to play a more influential role in the Middle East

Israel has pursued a policy designed, according to Israeli officials, to “keep the Gazan economy on the brink of collapse.” (The quote comes courtesy of the recent Wikileaks document dump). The impact on the Gazan people has been horrendous.

THe US actively supports the Gaza blockade, and Canberra follows along. Canberra pretend that they favour allowing the Palestinians to create a democratically legitimate, national unity government.

Such a government does not include Hamas of course. Canberra supports Israel’s profoundly anti-democratic policies in the West Bank and Gaza.

Egypt was a “torture destination of choice” for the Bush administration’s Global War on Terror, Suleiman happily oversaw that program, too, as Mubarak’s torturer-in-chief. Appointed vice president by his pal, Suleiman was the “democrat” the Obama administration seemed ready to back until recently to manage the “transition to democracy.”

Maybe... maybe... Israel's security would be enhanced by a fair and just solution to the Palestinian conundrum?

Does the US have more on it's mind than simply protecting the Israeli people?