Egypt said it quits Non-Proliferation Treaty talks to protest the failure of the parties involved to implement a resolution aimed to free Middle East from nuclear weapons. Although not articulated, Israel is said to be the reason for the withdrawal.
“We cannot continue waiting forever for the implementation of this resolution,” Egypt’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Monday, as talks in Geneva entered second week.
Cairo said it was pulling out of the talks “to send a strong message of non-acceptance of the continued lack of seriousness in dealing with the establishment of a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East.”
Egypt called for more responsibility from member states in “implementing legitimate international resolutions” saying there is “continued lack of seriousness in dealing with the establishment of a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East.”
Egypt’s comments are largely seen as reference to neighboring Israel, which neither confirms nor denies the possession of nuclear weapons.
“Egypt along with many Arab countries has joined the treaty with the understanding that it would lead to a Middle East completely free of nuclear weapons. However, more than 30 years later, one country in the Middle East, namely Israel, remains outside the NPT,” Egypt`s Assistant Foreign Minister Hisham Badr told a news conference in Geneva earlier this month.
Arab states and Iran have repeatedly warned that the Israeli purported nuclear program threatens peace in the region.
Editor of the website Palestinian Chronicle, Ramzy Baroud, believes Egypt’s move is a significant step, but one that mainly emphasizes the double standards of how some country’s nuclear ambitions are handled by Western states.
“It is very important what Egypt has done. Because what applies to Israel should apply to everyone else and Israel should not expect preferential treatment as far as this issue is concerned.” But Baroud also believes that such apparent favoritism is unlikely to change anytime soon, given what’s at stake for countries like the US.
“They [Israel] are living up to the US governments’ expectations in the past, keeping hush about their nuclear power, but at the same time [the US] asked them not to declare it openly because, if they do so, it will become a very difficult legal issue for the US to deal with, and they would be subject to international pressure.” US and Israeli officials have said that one of the necessary conditions to enable a nuclear arms-free zone in the Middle East is Iran’s nuclear program curbed. Meanwhile, Tehran claims its nuclear program solely pursues peaceful purposes such as energy and research.
The Geneva talks were meant to prepare for the next major review of the Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). Held every five years, the next one is scheduled for 2015.
The NPT, originated in 1970, was introduced to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy. According to the document five states were recognized as nuclear-weapon states: the US, Russia, the UK, France and China.
A total of 190 parties have signed the treaty. Israel, India, Pakistan, North Korea and South Sudan are not signatories to the NPT. Pyongyang withdrew from the treaty in 2003 when it was accused of launching an enriched uranium weapons program.
CAIRO — Egypt would not sell any more state- owned companies, President Mohamed Morsi said Tuesday.
In his speech to steel industry workers in Helwan district in Cairo on the eve of Labor Day, Morsi said there will be no more selling of the public sector again, stressing that the private sector could not be an alternative for the public sector.
“Egypt encourages the private sector, but this does not mean disregarding the public sector,” he said.
“We will continue the way of late President Gamal Abdel-Nasser who wanted to establish a huge industrial castle in Egypt,” Morsi said, noting that manufacturing and exporting are real indicators for the development of a country.
- Morsi after Meeting with Putin; Committed to Peaceful Syria Solution, No to IMF-Loan (alethonews.wordpress.com)
Egyptian sources reported, Sunday, that the Egyptian police and security forces uncovered a cell that operated on behalf of Israel in the Sinai area in Egypt.
The sources said that cell members were spying on Egypt and were on constant communication with Israeli security officers.
Israeli Yedioth Aharonoth reported that the spies are eight Palestinian and Egyptian men working for Israel, and that Egypt managed to intercept phone calls between cell members and Israeli officers.
Sameeh Shadi, in charge of the security in northern Sinai, reported on Sunday afternoon that the security forces managed to apprehend the eight, and that the person who ran the spy cell is from the Egyptian city of Rafah, who also managed to pass sensitive information to Israel.
Cell members have been under constant surveillance over the last four months, and were operating in Cairo and northern Sinai.
The Egyptian security services said that it has several tapes of recorded calls cells leaders made with persons in Egypt and Israel security officers.
At a Press Conference with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, Egypt´s President Mohammed Morsi stated, that Egypt was committed to finding a peaceful and legal solution to the crisis in Syria. Today, the official Egyptian State Information Service states, that Egypt has said no to a loan from the International Monetary Fond, IMF, because the IMF´s conditions were unacceptable. Earlier this year, prior to a state visit in India, Morsi pronounced that Egypt has aspirations for joining the BRICS.
Since the discontinuation of the Soviet Union, the bilateral relations between Cairo and Moscow have slowly degraded. The main talking points on the agenda at the talks between Morsi and Putin were the revival of trade, commerce and economic cooperation between the two countries as well as the instability that has swept over Northern Africa and the Middle East since 2011.
Earlier this year, prior to a planned state visit to India, Morsi stated, that Egypt has aspirations of becoming a member of the BRICS, leading to speculations, whether Egypt is planning to assume a similar role as it had during the 1950s and 1960s, where the country walked a tightrope between alignment with Moscow and Washington. As a member of the non-aligned movement, Egypt may very well try to reassert its role as a regional power broker.
A closer alignment of Egypt with Moscow would make the country less dependent on US foreign policy and could, at least to a certain degree, counter the strong influence the USA is asserting over the Arab League through Qatar.
The little Gulf Kingdom has since 2007 grown into a veritable regional political superpower, which has stood and is standing behind many of the sweeping changes which have cast northern Africa and the Middle East into turmoil since 2011. Qatar and the USA are the primary powers behind the attempted subversion of Syria.
The question one may ask is, whether Morsi´s statement, that Egypt is committed to finding a peaceful and legal solution to the crisis in Syria is indicative of a more self-confident Egypt, and an Egyptian president who is aware of the fact that an alignment with the USA and Qatar, without playing the Moscow card, makes him as easily disposable as his predecessor Hosni Mubarak.
There are also other signs which indicate that Morsi may be trying to reassert Egypt´s role as regional power and greater independence from Washington. Morsi´s ambitions to have Egypt become the “E” in something that could become the BRICS+E was one indication. Prior to his visit to India, Morsi also stated, that Egypt is planning to increase its relations with eastern and Asian countries.
Today´s rejection of the IMF´s loan, following talks with the Russian President in Sochi, are lending additional credibility to those who are arguing for an Egyptian realignment to the middle, and the recent signals from the BRICS, that it will create a BRICS development bank, are indicative that Morsi may have substance behind the possible dream of a course change.
Asked about the reasons for turning down the IMF, Mosi said, “We seek to carry out clear changes in the government´s economic program to receive the loan and we are keen on the interests of the Egyptian citizens”. On of the greatest points of critique against Morsi, other than oppression of his political opponents were, that Morsi “already sold out Egypt and its people to the IMF and World Bank, before he even was elected”. With backup from Russia and the other BRICS members however, Morsi would be less dependent on Washington´s and the IMF´s economic dictates. With the World Bank and IMF systems, as some analysts have it, close to exploding into an international scandal which could spell the beginning of the end of the Bretton Woods gentleman´s agreement, Morsi may be making a very wise decision.
Morsi showed true statesmanship when he said, that he is “seeking real investments in Egypt” and that “loans don´t solve problems and are just temporary solutions”. During his interview with Al-Jazeera Morsi also reiterated the importance of maintaining the integrity of Egyptian territory, stating, that “Egypt´s lands are not for sale and are prohibited for non-Egyptians”.
While increased Egyptian self-confidence and increased assertiveness in the Arab League as well as Egypt´s possible influence for finding a political solution to the crisis in Syria may be plausible and welcome, he may still have to tackle internal problems. Consolidating the continuity and stability of the Egyptian government in times of sudden and comprehensive unrest and change may have made sweeping power grabs a tempting solution. As a long-term strategy however, a semi-dictatorial, Muslim Brotherhood influenced Egyptian government is as counter productive to the stability of Egypt´s society and government, as loans are counterproductive as a long-term strategy for economic growth.
During an interview with Al-Jazeera, Morsi also stressed that Egypt is maintaining good relations with Iran and that Egypt´s relations with Iran are not directed against anyone. Morsi reiterated, the importance of Iran´s role with regard to finding a peaceful resolution to the crisis in Syria.
The renewed ties between Cairo and Moscow may also indicate that Russia is planning to play a more active role throughout the Middle East, and that the Russian government is planning to reassert some of the influence Moscow has lost in the region during the last years of the Soviet era and the early 1990s.
A Russian fleet, composed of the anti-submarine destroyer Admiral Panteleyev and the two logistic warships Peresvet and Novelskoy, with a total number of 712 crew have entered the Iranian Army´s first naval zone in Bandar Abbas.
The three vessel´s visit is aiming at consolidating the relations between Iran and Russia and the expansion of interactions between the two countries in the field of naval security. The three Russian warships have left their home port Vladivostok for duty in the world oceans and are visiting Bandar Abbas en route to their operational destinations. The Russian Ministry of Defense has announced, that Russia has begun forming a separate Mediterranean squadron.
The visit of Egypt´s President Morsi to Sochi and the talks with Russian President Putin, Egypt´s interest in joining the BRICS, the rejection of the IMF loan, Morsi´s commitment to finding a peaceful solution to the crisis in Syria while stressing the importance of Iran´s role as part of the solution, and Russian commitment to a stronger naval presence in the Mediterranean indicate that Egypt could be playing a key role in limiting the current US Middle East and Northern Africa Pivot. The rejection of the IMF loan and indications to more commitment to democracy could indicate, that Russian influence also has inspired the Muslim Brotherhood led government to bring its own house in order while considering to assume a greater regional role.
The Zionist entity’s vaunted Iron Dome anti-missile system failed to intercept at least two rockets fired from Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. The two rockets hit the occupied Red Sea resort town of Eilat early on Wednesday with no casualties reported.
Israeli military sources said the vaunted Iron Dome anti-missile system, which was recently deployed around Eilat, did not engage to intercept the rockets.
“We’ve found two explosion sites in the city, we’ve also closed off the airport as a precaution,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP, saying one landed in “an open area close to one of the neighborhoods.”
He said the sirens had sounded but that there were no initial reports of casualties. “Bomb disposal experts are searching the area,” Rosenfeld said.
The military spokesman said both rockets had struck open areas.
“There were two rockets fired from Sinai, both landed in open spaces,” he said. Later on, Israeli website, Haaretz, reported that the airport in Eilat reopened.
Egypt denied that rockets were fired from its territories, and senior military official said troops were “investigating” the incident.
Hours later, a Salafi group called the Mujahedeen Shura Council posted a statement online saying its militants had “managed to target occupied Eilat with two Grad rockets” without saying where they were fired from.
- 5th Iron Dome Battery Deployed in Eilat as ‘Precaution’ (algemeiner.com)
Obama’s Second Term: Selling Death and Buying Assassins In the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia
As President Obama enters his second term with a new Cabinet, the foreign policy legacy of the past four years weighs heavily on their strategic decisions and their empire-building efforts. Central to the analysis of the next period is an evaluation of the past policies especially in regions where Washington expended its greatest financial and military resources, namely the Middle East, South Asia and North Africa.
We will proceed by examining the accomplishments and failures of the Obama-Clinton regime. We will then turn to the ongoing policy efforts to sustain the empire-building project. We will take account of the constraints and opportunities, which define the parameters resulting from imperial military ambitions, Israeli-Zionist influence in shaping policy and the ongoing anti-imperialist struggles. We will conclude by examining likely polices and outcomes resulting from current strategies.
The Clinton-Obama Imperial Legacy: The Accomplishments
The greatest success of the Obama-Clinton (OC) imperial legacy was the virtual elimination of organized domestic anti-war dissent, the demise of the peace movement and the co-optation of virtually the entire ‘progressive’ leadership in the US – while multiplying the number of proxy wars, overt and covert military operations and ‘defense’ spending. As a result, the entire political spectrum moved further to the right toward greater militarization abroad and increased police-state measures at home.
Facing mass revolts and the overthrow of long-standing client regimes in Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen, the Obama-Clinton (OC) Administration moved rapidly to reconfigure new client regimes while preserving the state apparatus – the military, intelligence, police, judicial and civilian bureaucracy. The empire dumped incumbent regimes in order to save the repressive state, the key guarantor of US strategic interests. Washington reminded its client rulers that ‘There are no permanent alliances, there are only permanent imperial interests’. Washington successfully engineered a political pact between conservative Islamist leaders and parties and the old military elite. The new political blocs in Egypt upheld Israeli annexation of Palestine, the brutal blockade of Gaza and the neo-liberal economic order. Washington repeated the ‘reshuffle of clients’ in Yemen and Tunisia. The OC intervention temporarily aborted the pro-democracy, anti-Zionist and anti-corruption popular revolt. The OC policies secured a temporary respite, but the subsequent effort by Egypt to secure an IMF loan has led to a stalemate amid deteriorating economic conditions and rising political protest. The successful imposition of new client regimes amenable to US hegemony in Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen, in the face of popular revolts, marked the beginning of a series of favorable political-military outcomes in the region for the OC regime.
Facing Israeli annexation of ever-widening swaths of Palestinian land and the end of any pretense of ‘peace negotiations’, Washington continued to provide Israel with massive military assistance, modern weapons systems and unconditional political support in the UN. By submitting to Israel the OC regime succeeded in retaining the political support of the domestic Zionist power configuration (ZPC). The OC regime’s economic handouts supported the puppet Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) as it policed the West Bank for Israel. Despite losing the vote to seat the Palestinians as a non-voting member in the UN, Washington succeeded in blocking full membership. The OC regime succeeded in fulfilling its role as Israel’s handmaiden, despite opposition from the vast majority of UN members.
The OC regime succeeded in tightening sanctions on Iran, by securing Russian, Chinese and Arab League support, without provoking a potentially destructive war. The US sanction policy toward Iran is largely designed and implemented by key Zionist appointees in the Treasury (formerly Stuart Levy, now David Cohen) and in Congress, by legislators bought and directed by the powerful America-Israel Political Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
The US, under Obama-Clinton, destroyed the independent nationalist Gadhafi government via a joint air war with the EU and tried to set up a client regime. In turn, Libya became a key recruiting ground for violent Islamist mercenaries invading Syria and weapons depot supplying Islamist terrorists. The OC regime’s military success in Libya was part of a general strategy to accelerate the expansion of US and European military operations in Africa. This includes setting up drone bases and promoting African mercenary armies from Uganda, Kenya, and Ethiopia to expand imperial control in Somalia, Mali and elsewhere.
In the Gulf region the US succeeded in propping up the autocratic Bahrain monarchy, as it killed and jailed opponents and outlawed the mass pro-democracy social movement among its oppressed Shi’a majority population. The OC regime successfully secured Gulf state financing for the Libyan and Syrian wars.
In Iraq, the US has succeeded in dividing the devastated nation into fragments of warring fiefdoms, Shi’a, Sunni, Kurd and subsets of each. It succeeded in destroying a once modern and secular society, an advanced economy and independent nationalist regime. Initially the OC regime hoped to establish a client outpost in Iraq from which to secure Washington’s wealthy petro-clients in the Gulf, especially among the patrimonial dictatorships in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and United Arab Emirates.
Washington, in alliance with other NATO powers and its Gulf state clients, succeeded in converting a peaceful civilian protest movement in Syria into a full scale civil war and military invasion, increasingly dominated by armed Al Qaeda ‘internationalists’. The US-EU-Gulf State-Turkey-Israeli alliance has armed, financed, trained and advised Islamist and mercenary terrorists to effectively destroy the Syrian state, society and economy, dispossessing and uprooting a million refugees across the border and resulting in the death and injury of hundreds of thousands. The US promoted invasion of Syria has seriously weakened one of the last governments defending the Palestinians, opposing Israeli colonization of the West Bank and providing a refuge for persecuted Palestinian leaders. By virtually destroying the Syrian state, the OC regime has driven a wedge between Hezbollah, the leading nationalist force in Lebanon and its ally Iran, while tightening the military encirclement of Teheran and exerting cross-border pressure against Iraq. A brutal Islamist regime in Syria will [could] replace the secular state with prospects of massive ethnic cleansing against minority populations, especially Christians and Allevis.
Obama and Clinton successfully expanded the drone assassination program throughout the Middle East and South Asia, killing more civilian non-combatants than suspected adversaries especially in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen.
The OC regime successfully imposed the presidential doctrine of killing of US citizens via drones with the support or acquiescence of the US Congress, judiciary and most of the mass media and without a shred of judicial due process. Accompanying the license to assassinate civilians via drones, Obama/Clinton successfully expanded the use of Special Operations death squads, dispatching them to seventy countries to assassinate political adversaries, destabilize independent governments and bolster client regimes.
The OC regime has spent tens of billions of dollars and succeeded in building a 350,000 man mercenary army in Afghanistan to defend US strategic interests, sustain its military bases and destroy the nationalist-Islamic opposition (‘Taliban’). OC hoped to cover Washington’s retreat from the combat front. Despite the military build-up and in the face of a sharply deteriorating military situation in Afghanistan, the OC regime has been negotiating with political sectors of the ‘Taliban’, to dump the current client ruler, Karzai, and ‘reshuffle the regime to save the state’, hoping to pull-off a coalition-collaborator Islamist-military regime such as has been shoe-horned in place in Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen.
Vulnerability and Failures of the Obama-Clinton Legacy
The apparent and real empire-building successes of the Obama-Clinton regime are fraught with vulnerabilities and are based on fragile political and socio-economic foundations. Temporary tactical gains reveal strategic weaknesses and high military costs without commensurate imperial economic gains.
The Obama-Clinton counter-revolutionary offensive and its political military successes are driven by a military conception of empire building without a shred of economic thinking. It is not surprising that many of the key decision-makers promoting military-driven empire building are militarist ideologues and Zionist policy-makers, who specialize in utterly destroying adversaries (of Israel) and not in promoting or protecting US imperial oil, manufacturing and service interests.
A telegraphic point-by-point analysis and critique of the major policy interventions of the Obama-Clinton regime highlights strategic weaknesses and failures, even in areas that the empire-builders currently celebrate as ‘successes’.
While the OC regime succeeded in procuring close to fifteen billion US tax payer dollars in tribute payments to Israel, they failed to secure a neo-colonial settlement of the Israeli-Palestine conflict, even one based on conceding a truncated part of the West Bank composed of disconnected enclaves (‘Bantustans’). As a result of the total dominance of US Middle East policy by the Zionist power configuration (representing less than 1% of the US populace), the OC regime was repeatedly ‘humiliated’ by their Israeli overlords. The supremely confident, beefy Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu launched and flaunted massive new exclusive Jews-only colonial settlements on Palestinian land, despite near universal condemnation, knowing he could count on the veto power of Washington in the United Nations and its political leverage over EU allies and Arab clients. Strategically, the OC regime’s deep links to the Zionist power configuration includes the appointment of Israel Firsters to top positions in the US foreign policy establishment. These appointments ensured that Israeli interests would continue to determine US policies in North Africa, the Middle East and the Gulf region. The Zionist appointees designated which political clients would be acceptable and which adversaries would be targeted for destruction. The OC regime’s biggest failure as US empire-builders was their inability to achieve independence from the Zionist incubus and accommodate the emergence of new socio-political forces as well as its failure to reap economic gains commensurate with its budget-busting military expenditures.
The successful imposition of new client regimes in North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula (Yemen) is a short-term victory, based on force and the continuation of the authoritarian repressive state apparatus. The introduction of regressive neo-liberal policies will doom this short-term success. If the US ‘won’ the first round in the ‘Arab Spring’, its client rulers face a more radical social upheaval, one which goes beyond the earlier anti-dictatorial struggle and which explicitly targets the US, EU and the IMF. The new clients’ prospects of achieving stability via economic recovery are virtually non-existent. The full implementation of the OC-IMF agenda of ending popular food and fuel subsidies, increasing regressive taxation and wide spread privatizations will create a powder-key among the Arab masses. Under pressure from new waves of mass uprisings against brutal neo-liberal economic policies, the Arab clients’ US-mandated complicity with Israel may end.
The OC regime’s successful overthrow and assassination of President Gadhafi was accompanied by the utter destruction of the Libyan nationalist state, its economy and social fabric. The OC policy of total war has produced a miserable, lawless, chaotic society ‘headed’ by powerless expat neo-liberals at the top and run by local tribal chiefs, Islamist thugs and criminal gangs on the ground. They specialize in running guns, dispatching armed mercenaries abroad (especially to Syria), trafficking in migrant workers, drugs and sex slavery. The oil industry enclave has partially recovered but few if any oil profits make it to the US. Meanwhile, even US Embassy personnel (including the Ambassador) have been murdered and visiting US officials only travel in heavily armed conveys. Instead of a political victory, Washington has lost a potential oil partner for its own extractive industry. One might say the only real ‘beneficiary’ of the US-EU war to destroy Libya was Israel: Gadhafi had been a staunch ally and supporter of the Palestinian people. The invasion of Libya led to the massive displacement of armed ethnic communities, which has exacerbated conflicts in resource-rich sub-Sahara neo-colonies.
The Zionist power configuration, embedded in Congress, Treasury and inside the OC regime, has succeeded in imposing new and harsher economic sanctions on 75 million Iranians in support of Israel’s goal of ‘regime change’ in Teheran. However, the effect has been to strengthen the unity of the ethnically diverse Iranian population, especially when overt military threats, emanating from nuclear-armed Israel, are amplified by the White house and the Zionist-occupied US Congress.
Iran’s peaceful nuclear program continues; oil and gas sales to China, Japan, India and Korea and Pakistan continue. A new billion-dollar gas pipeline agreement with Pakistan has been signed. Iran has replaced the US as the major foreign influence in Iraq.
In other words the Obama-Clinton diplomatic success (‘sanctions against Iran’) have not enhanced US power nor achieved any strategic goals. Moreover Zionist-designed sanctions have had a negative effect on US energy prices and oil company profits. The OC regime’s policy toward Iran has ‘succeeded’ in maintaining Israel as the only nuclear power in the Middle East, a goal of Tel Aviv.
Obama and Clinton’s success in expanding outposts, missions, drone platforms and mercenary armies in Africa has been costly, politically destabilizing and has not prevented large-scale long-term Chinese economic penetration in the most lucrative resource sectors of the region. The US may have closer ties with African generals and dictators; its bankers come and go; but capital flight out of Africa accompanies inflows of US foreign aid. While the OC regime were building drone platforms, thousands of Chinese miners, investors, construction and transport companies were establishing an economic empire that over time will enhance China’s power, long after the US military empire has collapsed.
The OC regime claims ‘military victory’ in Iraq when, in fact, what we see is ‘defeat via retreat’ on the ground. The US has spent $2 trillion dollars in order to overthrow and execute the Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. The Bush and Obama-Clinton regimes have made absolute fools out of the entire executive branch of the US government by justifying the war on the basis of crudely manufactured intelligence (falsely claiming the existence of weapons of mass destruction) through a series of lies cooked up by Israeli-collaborators in the Pentagon, White House and New York Times (especially the infamous propagandist Judith Miller). The end result is a failed state: savage ethnic-religious divisions, millions of dead, displaced and injured, daily terror bombings against a brutalized population, and a great leap backward in terms of Iraq’s economic, scientific and social development. In political terms, Iraq is now ruled by a thuggish Shia elite closely tied to Iran – which is the biggest beneficiary of the US invasion of Iraq and principal adversary of US empire building. The OC regime’s post-war Iraq is composed of an overwhelmingly hostile population, a divided and fragmented country pitting Arabs against Kurds, where the most qualified and educated have been driven out or assassinated and entire ancient Christian communities have been obliterated. The OC regime claims to ‘success in Iraq’, in fact, show a weakening of the overall US presence in the Gulf region. Economically, Turkey has become Iraq’s main trading partner with trade growing by double and triple digits each year.
In other words, the US invasion of Iraq destroyed an adversary of Israel, broke the US economy ($2 trillion and counting), increased the influence of Iran and handed Iraq’s petro-dollar consumer market and lucrative reconstruction contracts over to Turkey. The Obama-Clinton regime’s claims of military victory ring hollow in the empty coffers of the US Treasury – where are the ‘spoils of this imperial war’? Most of the intellectual authors of the invasion of Iraq have departed from the US government and are now comfortably ensconced within Zionist think tanks (propaganda mills) in Washington or flaunt lucrative ‘consultant’ contracts in Wall Street and Tel Aviv. Meanwhile, the American taxpayers are left to struggle with an enormous war debt and to grieve the several hundred thousand American casualties – soldiers who lost their lives, limbs and minds – all for a blatant lie perpetrated at the behest of a foreign power, Israel.
The people of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and now Syria – serial victims of the US-EU military machines and their Islamist mercenaries – face an increasingly militarized Middle East, North Africa and South Asia, out of which new wars are already emerging, like pus from festering wounds. In Libya, the US and EU diplomats cringe in their bunkers and travel only in armed convoys, the consequences of their ‘humanitarian’ imperial-Islamist alliances.
As the US and EU supply arms to Islamist terrorists and murderous gangsters who plunder Syrian cities, decapitate captured government soldiers and execute civilian suspects (civilian government functionaries, such as school teachers), Syria’s diverse secular society is on the brink of extinction. Islamist fanatics bristling with advanced weaponry bought by the Saudi monarch and Gulf petro-oligarchs capture sophisticated Syrian cities and impose medieval Sharia law on what was one of the region’s most diverse and sophisticated secular societies. The large communities of Alawites, Orthodox and Syriac Christians, Kurds and educated secular Syrians face mass extermination or expulsion by Saudi-funded Wahhabi fanatics. The EU-US backed ‘secular’ clients (mostly ex-pat Syrians with US or UK passports) serve as propaganda cover for the armed Islamists thugs and mercenaries. Authoritarian Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, himself a ‘soft-core’ Islamist, provides bases, training, and logistical support for the Syrian invasion. Turkey has become the Islamist pivot for fundamentalist power taking over Syria and the Levant. Islamist terrorist violence is spilling over the border into Lebanon today, Jordan tomorrow and may eventually lead to multiple wars involving vulnerable Gulf clients.
Yes, the Obama-Clinton regime undermined an independent, secular, nationalist adversary in President Assad and by doing so they destroy an advocate of Palestinian self-determination, but the ultimate results will not favor US imperial military, economic or diplomatic interests. The OC regime’s wars have destroyed US commercial prospects for decades ahead; the victory of their mercenary Islamist ‘rebels’ is setting in motion a more virulent armed version of Al Qaeda with a territorial base and access to immense quantities of modern weapons in areas contiguous to US client regimes.
The OC regime claim to have discovered a low-cost (in terms of American blood) technique to project US military power: killing anti-imperial opponents by drone and Special Forces. According to the OC regime’s strategists the advantages of assassination by drone warfare is that it would not result in the death of US combat soldiers and the Special Forces, whose high-intensity, low visibility operations are ‘off-budget’ would not elicit any public or legislative scrutiny. But drones have become highly visible, even to the usually complacent and highly myopic US Congress and are routinely condemned even by client regimes in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The United Nations has publically condemned drones as civilian casualties have far exceeded the number of so-called ‘terrorist’ targets. Most experts agree that drone assassinations have vastly increased the number of opponents and facilitated the recruitment of resistance fighters. Drone warfare has increasingly isolated client regimes like Yemen that permit US drone attacks against its citizens. The strategy of foreign policy by ‘drone and death squad’ has not replaced the need for ground troops in the task of empire building. Once US troops do withdraw, its mercenary armies have proved incapable or unwilling to obey US advisors, trainers or Special Forces.
The clearest expression of the failed strategy is the rising number of defections from Afghan security forces and the killing of NATO and US officers by Afghan soldiers and officers – even those with the highest security clearance. This infiltration into the highest ranks of the Afghan military and police points clearly to the near-future demise of the puppet Karzai regime. The various ministers in the Afghan client regime and their banker cronies know they have no chance of surviving a post-US withdrawal situation: they have multiple passports in hand and millions in stolen funds stashed in Gulf State bank accounts; their families are safely housed abroad; and their private planes are ready to take off at a moment’s notice. We may witness the panic scenes at the US Embassy, reminiscent of the last days in Saigon (Viet Nam), with local ‘small-fry’ collaborators clamoring to board the ‘last flights out’ before the advancing Taliban insurgents – if our jaded media even bother to cover the debacle. The current attempt by the US to strike a face-saving deal with the ‘political Taliban’ (under auspices of ‘our friends’, the Saudi autocrats) has infuriated our current puppet in Kabul, Hamid Karzai. As a result he is publically condemning Special Forces operations and their arbitrary killing and torture of villagers, as well as US drone attacks against Afghan civilians.
The OC regime’s overtures to the Taliban have so far failed because the sine quo non-condition of the Islamist nationalists is the total withdrawal of all US military and civilian occupation forces: in other words an unconditional collapse of US power in Afghanistan. The Taliban do not need to offer Obama a ‘face-saving’ formula allowing for a ‘residual’ US presence. As the withdrawal proceeds, more and more Afghan military officers will switch sides, dumping the losers and building bridges toward the new rulers. If the US decides to reverse course and retain ‘garrison bunkers’ in Afghanistan, they will face a continuing and deepening war of attrition under conditions of growing budgetary constraints and US electoral hostility.
Results and Perspectives: The Obama-Kerry-Hagel (OKH) Era
The Obama-Kerry-Hagel (OKH) regime has few imperial assets with which to confront the next four years of US empire building and has powerful constraints against devising strategic innovations or even tactical advances, capable of limiting US losses.
The most significant obstacle to any shift from costly and ineffective military-driven empire building to economic and diplomatic informed policies is the influence of the Zionist power configurations (ZPC) over the ‘troika’ (OKH) and the Congress. The new Israeli coalition regime is even more extreme and militarist, as indicated by the powerful presence of a radical settler-colonist party intent on violently annexing what remains of the Palestinian West Bank. The effective Israeli veto over US foreign policy in the Middle East is enforced by the Presidents of the Major American (sic) Jewish Organizations (representing over 50 powerful Zionist groups) that exclude any possibility that the Obama-Kerry-Hagel regime can even paste a tiny fig leaf ‘peace process’ onto Israel’s accelerating seizure of Palestinian land. The OKH regime, under war-mongering ZPC tutelage, will never attempt any reasonable negotiations with Iran.
The OKH regime is openly committed to entering a war on Israel’s behalf, if the Jewish state unilaterally decides to attack Teheran. Obama’s visit to Israel, and his obligatory ‘consultation’ with leading Jewish-Zionist leaders prior to the trip, was designed ‘to fix’ the White House agenda: US lock-step conformity with Netanyahu’s policy of provoking war against Iran and Israeli annexation of Palestinian lands. The Zionists have even dictated Obama’s own body language toward Netanyahu: no public spats, only smiles and handshakes, the lapdog US President agreed. If anything, the OKH regime will be even more servile to Israeli demands over the next four years because the Zionist occupied US Congress has given Israel a ‘free hand’ in deciding US foreign policy in the Middle East, including the timing of war and the substance of negotiations.
Obama’s newly appointed Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew are unconditional lifetime Zionists who can be expected to advance economic sanctions against Iran in hopes of strangling its economy and provoking a military confrontation.
Given Washington’s costly commitment to Israeli war plans and the constraints of US budget cuts, the new OKH regime will try to ‘coordinate’ policies with the other NATO powers, including sharing material resources and devising complementary strategies in counter-insurgency operations in sub-Sahara Africa, Islamist mercenary operations in Syria and managing ‘Muslim–neo-liberal’ regimes in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. Kerry’s visit to Europe was designed to strengthen inter-imperial efforts and especially to bolster French ‘Socialist’ President Hollande’s imperial war policies in Mali and Niger and the ‘Franco-Saudi’ efforts against Syria.
Under pressures from the puppet Syrian mercenary army invading Syria, British Prime Minister Cameron and French President Hollande, the OKH regime will step-up the flow of US arms in an attempt to forestall the advance of the Wahhabi Islamist terrorists who have effectively taken over regions of Syria with backing from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the other Gulf petro-dictatorships. The great fear in Washington is that its modern weapons will not just contribute to overthrowing the secular nationalist Assad regime but will put in power a new Al Qaeda-type regime on the borders of the most vulnerable client rulers in Jordan and Lebanon. An Islamist fundamentalist Syria could serve as a ‘headquarters’ and trampoline for cross border attacks on US bases throughout the region. Israel will finally annex the strategic Syrian ‘Golan Heights’, which it has occupied since 1967, on the pretext of protecting itself from the Islamists it worked hard to put in power. The Kurds will try to seize regions of Northern Syria as part of ‘Greater Kurdistan’, to Ankara’s consternation. Turkey will traffic its ‘gentler’ version of ‘Islamist nationalism’. Washington, London and Paris will be unable to enthrone their London-based ex-pat clients in Damascus … The OKH regime may have ousted the secular, nationalist President Assad but it will certainly reap the whirlwind of long-term bloody strife pitting regional powers, rival clients and Al Qaeda terrorists all intent on pillaging the war-ravaged Syria.
Faced with its dubious prospects in Syria, unable to secure a deal with the Taliban in Afghanistan and impotent to regain influence over Shi’a Iraq, the new OKH regime will make an effort to bolster the military-Islamist regimes in Egypt and Tunisia by co-opting sectors of the liberal secular opposition. This won’t be an easy task given the growing socio-political polarization. Washington’s prospects for consolidating a new set of client regimes will be severely tested by its support for brutal IMF demands on Morsi to eliminate popular food and fuel subsidies – a policy guaranteed to provoke large-scale rioting among impoverished Egyptians and even the threat of a mass national uprising, uniting secular leftists and poor Muslims. The key concern in Washington is that the ouster of its Islamist client Morsi might jeopardize Egypt’s subservient deal with Israel to enforce the economic blockade of millions of Palestinians in Gaza and to accept the Jewish State’s seizure of more Palestinian land in the West Bank.
So far the OKH regime has relied on the combined repressive power of the intact Mubarak military, police and intelligence services to prop-up its client Morsi. But in a pinch, if he falls, the US may try to reshuffle the deck and seek a new set of ‘liberal’ political clients or impose an outright military dictatorship on the Egyptians.
In Obama’s never-ending pursuit on behalf of Israeli interests, his new Secretary of State John Kerry made a point of directly attacking Prime Minister Erdogan for equating Zionism with fascism as soon as he landed in Turkey. While his ham-fisted tirade made little headway in achieving a Turkish-Israeli reconciliation, Obama convinced Erdogan to accept a pro-forma apology from Netanyahu. Erdogan now has to face the political reality that 90% of the Turkish people clearly oppose Israel’s savage repression of the Palestinians. In the meantime, Turkish capital has been the main beneficiary of the US military-imposed ‘partition’ of Iraq. Turkish traders and oil speculators dominate the market in Iraqi ‘Kurdistan’. The US may have wasted hundreds of billions of dollars in the invasion but the Turks have made many billions in profits from a war they did not support and immensely increased Turkey’s regional influence. The OKH regime can do nothing about Turkey, an opponent of Washington’s Iraq invasion, reaping huge profits from that $2 trillion-plus investment of US treasure and blood. The OKH regime may have secured Erdogan’s support for the violent overthrow of the Assad regime in Syria … but it will be for Turkey’s own hegemonic interests. Erdogan’s interest in overthrowing the secular-nationalist Assad is based on his plans to establish a compliant client Islamist regime in Damascus and market to be dominated by Turkish business leaders and policy makers. Erdogan has taken a page from the Israeli playbook of manipulating the US military machine for its own regional interests and profit.
Washington will continue to rely on Saudi and Qatari financing of mercenary armies and Islamist terrorists to destabilize and invade anti-imperialist regimes but with the caveat that the battle-hardened mercenaries are also fanatics – profoundly hostile to the US and the EU.
Qatar’s billions of petro-dollars are like a venereal disease, ‘here, there and everywhere’, infecting a region through the funding and arming of Islamist terrorists in tandem with NATO missiles and bombs to destroy Gaddafi’s nationalist welfare state in Libya, savaging the independent secular government in Syria and providing billions of dollars to prop up the puppet Islamist regimes in Egypt and Tunisia (Financial Times, 3/19/2013, p.7). Qatar’s autocratic monarchy enriches its extended royal family and the foreign imperial protectors – namely the US and UK, in exchange for buying and distributing weapons to Islamist mercenaries attacking independent nationalist regimes.
The OKH regime will retain the presence of its naval armada in the Gulf and its training missions and military bases in order to prop-up the decadent Gulf petro-monarcho-dictatorships. However, the entire Gulf-US complex could become the scene of a grisly military conflagaration if the extremist Israeli regime decides to launch a pre-emptive attack on Iran and provoke a generalized regional war. As it stands, the stability of the entire US-Gulf oil alliance rests on the whims of a ‘third party’ (Israel) and its Fifth Column embedded in the US Congress and Executive branch.
Obama’s second term depends on a precarious set of alliances, conditioned by the decisions of a fanatical ultra- militarist foreign power (Israel) and subject to a rising tide of mass pro-democracy movements in an arc extending from Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen over to Pakistan. Moreover, many of the crucial outcomes are beyond the control of the US White House. The OKH regime does not control the mass movements in North Africa and the mercenary Islamists currently taking over Syria are sworn enemies of both Washington and Damascus. Washington may retain, within a shrinking budget and in concert with the EU, the power to brutally destroy independent regimes. However, in the process they rip the very fabric of complex societies and shatter their economies, thus undermining their own capacity to reap the economic spoils of imperial conquest. Indeed the main ‘booty’ extracted from Washington’s imperial wars has derived from the US Treasury, as rapacious contractors, corrupt politicians and US military officials pillage billions of US taxpayer dollars in ‘aid and reconstruction programs’ for themselves.
A 2011 report from the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan estimated that defense contractors had wasted or lost to fraud as much as $60 billion dollars – or $12 million a day since 2001 (Financial Times, 3/19/2013, p. 4). The biggest military contractor ($39.5 billion dollars) is Kellogg, Brown and Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton – formerly run by George W. Bush’s Vice President Richard Cheney. Cheney was a co-architect of the Iraq war along with the Pentagon Zionists Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith. Corrupt war profiteers and Zionist Fifth Columnists (for Israel) teamed up to pillage the US Treasury for self-enrichment and to destroy Iraq, a key ally of Palestinian liberation and consolidate what Obama hails as Israel’s military supremacy in the Middle East.
The legacy of the Bush regime and Obama’s first term is one of pyrrhic military victories: an Iraq shredded by sectarian wars and the reversal of half a century of socio-economic, educational and scientific progress under a secular nationalist government. The OKH regime cannot undo the growing ties between Iraq and Iran. Nor can they reverse the growing commercial, gas and energy ties between Iran and Pakistan. The US has secured greater Israeli military links with NATO and the European Union, but a growing popular European and North American boycott against Israeli goods and investments is taking its toll on the Jewish state. The Obama-Kerry-Hagel regime shows no sign of making even a partial break with the costly policy of ‘military driven imperialism’ in the Middle East and North Africa. Moreover, it lacks economic resources to prop up its new clients in North Africa. While they scurry to fund the current brutal war against Syria, they will have to prepare for new wars against Lebanon and Iran. The OKH regime will have to rely on low-cost, high-risk, mercenary warfare in Syria. It will try to carve out defense perimeters around its political and petroleum enclaves in Libya. It will have to concede even greater economic and Islamist ideological influence to Turkey. Above all, it will need to appease the Jewish State’s annexation of the West Bank, under pressure from the ZPC!
The old RCA Victor Company marketed its Victorolas, ancient phonograph players with huge horn-like amplifiers, with the image of an attentive dog sitting before the machine in eager anticipation of ‘his master’s voice’. The recent trip by Obama to Israel evokes such an image. Obama’s speech to Jewish students in Jerusalem included such ecstatic praise of everything Israeli or Jewish that he exceeded any propagandistic AIPAC press release, surpassed any fabrication by Netanyahu and embellished (almost to the point of caricature) every racist myth of Jewish superiority. He lauded Israel as a ‘land of peace and democracy’ in the face of 45 years of brutal military rule and expropriation of 60% of the occupied Palestinian West Bank. He spoke of ‘negotiations without conditions’, a euphemism for giving Israel the green light to annex what remains of Palestinian land in the West Bank. He praised Israel’s creativity and courage in founding the Jewish State, ignoring the violent ethnic cleansing and expulsion of over 850,000 Palestinian Arab Muslims and Christians. He spoke of Israeli technological genius, forgetting that Israel’s main exports are weapons of massive destruction. No US leader, past or present (or any other imperial ruler), has so faithfully echoed and embellished the lies of such a bloody colonial power and its US-based Fifth Column with greater fervor than Obama’s degrading effort to satisfy his Zionist handlers in Washington. His performance far exceeded their highest expectations of US servility. In style and substance he fulfilled and over-fulfilled their demands for unconditional US subordination to the Jewish state. In fact, one might suspect that in doing so he set a new standard for the boot-licking belly crawl so familiar to observers of US Congressional servants to Israel. Needless to say, the entire Zionist propaganda apparatus from neo-cons to liberals were ecstatic. Here was a Shabbat goy out-Zionizing the most fanatical Zionist.
The day Obama spoke in Jerusalem will be remembered as a day of shame for all Americans who believe in freedom and dignity and peace with social justice. To listen to the President of the United States grovel before a racist colonial power is degrading. It was also a day of anger for the five billion people of the world who have broken their chains of colonial racist oppression. Obama has made his choice: His administration will have to live with this for the next four years.
The OKH regime’s attempt to penetrate Africa via military missions and the promotion of Pan-African mercenary forces will require an accommodation of France’s rising imperial militarism. It will have to acknowledge China’s increasing economic supremacy in Africa’s extractive sectors, infrastructure and trade. The OKH regime’s ‘pivot to Asia’ involving trans-Pacific free trade agreements excluding China, military bases encircling Beijing and encouraging Japan’s provocation over disputed territory has had no impact on China’s economic growth and burgeoning trade relations. China’s trade with Asia now surpasses its trade with the US. The two way flow of investments into and out of China trump all the OKH regime’s offshore war mongering. The OKH regime’s Asian ‘pivot’ has failed to produce any imperial economic rewards for Washington’s coffers. However, it has incited greater military tensions between Japan and China and between North and South Korea. This is occurring at a time when the Pentagon faces major budget cuts and US Treasury Secretary Lew is trying to drum up greater trade with China.
In sum, the past military commitments, the links to Israel, the legacies of political failures in Iraq and Afghanistan and the fragility of new client rulers mean that the OKH regime will play an increasingly marginal economic role in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. The Obama-Kerry-Hagel troika will do their best to salvage the US military bases and political influence among autocratic petro-states in the Gulf.
- A Zionist Friendly, Right-wing Texan Islamist to Lead Syria? (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Hezbollah: Obama Stances Prove Correctness of Resistance Path (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- President Chavez: A 21st Century Renaissance Man (alethonews.wordpress.com)
Egyptian forces have flooded smuggling tunnels under the border with the Palestinian-ruled Gaza Strip in a campaign to shut them down, Egyptian and Palestinian officials said.
The network of tunnels is a vital lifeline for Gaza, bringing in an estimated 30 percent of all goods that reach the enclave and circumventing a deadly blockade imposed by Israel for more than seven years.
Reuters reporters saw one tunnel being used to bring in cement and gravel suddenly fill with water on Sunday, sending workers rushing for safety. Locals said two other tunnels were likewise flooded, with Egyptians deliberately pumping in water.
“The Egyptians have opened the water to drown the tunnels,” said Abu Ghassan, who supervises the work of 30 men at one tunnel some 200 meters (yards) from the border fence.
An Egyptian security official in the Sinai told Reuters the campaign started five days ago.
“We are using water to close the tunnels by raising water from one of the wells,” he said, declining to be named.
While Gaza’s rulers have been reluctant to criticize Mursi in public, ordinary Gazans are slightly more vocal.
“Egyptian measures against tunnels have worsened since the election of Mursi. Our Hamas brothers thought he would open up Gaza. I guess they were wrong,” said a tunnel owner, who identified himself only as Ayed, fearing reprisal.
“Perhaps 150 or 200 tunnels have been shut since the Sinai attack. This is the Mursi era,” he added.
Dozens of tunnels had been destroyed since last August following the killing of 16 Egyptian soldiers in a militant attack near the Gaza fence.
Cairo said some of the gunmen had crossed into Egypt via the tunnels – a charge denied by Palestinians – and ordered an immediate crackdown.
The move surprised and angered Gaza’s rulers, the Islamist group Hamas, which had hoped for much better ties with Cairo following the election last year of Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi, an Islamist who is ideologically close to Hamas.
A Hamas official confirmed Egypt was again targeting the tunnels. He gave no further details and declined to speculate on the timing of the move, which started while Palestinian faction leaders met in Cairo to try to overcome deep divisions.
The tunnelers fear the water being pumped underground might collapse the passage ways, with possible disastrous consequences.
“Water can cause cracks in the wall and may cause the collapse of the tunnel. It may kill people,” said Ahmed Al-Shaer, a tunnel worker whose cousin died a year ago when a tunnel caved in on him.
Six Palestinians died in January in tunnel implosions, raising the death toll amongst workers to 233 since 2007, according to Gazan human rights groups, including an estimated 20 who died in various Israeli air attacks on the border lands.
Israel imposed its vicious blockade on the coastal strip in 2007. Food imports to Gaza were cut by nearly 75 percent, from 400 trucks per day to 106 by the start of the blockade.
At one stage an estimated 2,500-3,000 tunnels snaked their way under the desert fence but the network has shrunk markedly since 2010, when Israel eased some of the limits they imposed on imports into the coastal enclave.
All goods still have to be screened before entering Gaza and Israel says some restrictions must remain on items that could be used to make or to store weapons.
This ensures the tunnels are still active, particularly to bring in building materials. Hamas also prefers using the tunnels to smuggle in fuel, thereby avoiding custom dues that are payable on oil crossing via Israel.
Egypt’s 25 January Revolution produced few economic benefits for the country’s poor even though they were instrumental in overthrowing the old order. The Muslim Brotherhood has other economic priorities, including pushing measures that further economic liberalization in Egypt.
Given the Egyptian media’s focus, it might be difficult to believe that Egypt’s 25 January 2011 Revolution was not one of the educated middle class. On the TV screen, these shiny young faces appear on talk shows, portrayed as the leaders of the revolution.
But 28 January 2011’s “Friday of Anger” belonged to the marginalized who – using the tricks they learned in their daily battles with the state apparatus in the slums – were able to defeat the police forces. Regardless, the media see the revolution differently: “This is the revolution of dignity and not of the hungry,” they say.
This discourse paved the way for state repression of social demands. It even reached a point where the media began depicting Egypt’s working class – those that bolstered the revolution’s ranks with its mass mobilizations – of deliberately aiding the counter-revolution through strikes that hurt the economy. The first law issued by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) following their rise to power banned strikes.
As time passed, the voices of social justice were replaced by the murmurings of political battles. These politicians, who have the upper hand in the media, wanted a piece of the revolutionary pie after disregarding its true heros.
Post-Revolution, Little Help for the Poor
Even before the revolution, experts close to the ruling National Democratic Party saw signs of unrest rooted in growing poverty. This was clear in the First Investment Report: Towards a Fair Distribution of the Fruits of Growth prepared by the General Investment Authority in 2009, which warned of sharply rising poverty rates.
Despite the steady economic growth in the last decade of Mubarak’s rule, the proportion of the population living below the national poverty line rose from almost 17 percent of the population in 2000 to 22 percent in 2008, according to the latest figures available from the World Bank.
Nevertheless, when SCAF took power after the fall of Mubarak, they ignored these facts and rejected the expansionary budget presented by Minister of Finance and prominent NDP member Samir Radwan. Instead, the first post-revolution budget was austere: workforce training funds were scaled back to 1 billion Egyptian Pounds ($151 million) from an original 2 billion, and funds for low-income housing were never raised by the expected EGP500 million ($75 million).
Furthermore, SCAF sought to protect the rich from any burdens, such as the tax increase proposed by Radwan on the distribution of capital gains by financial institutions.
Although the last days of SCAF’s rule witnessed an open struggle between the military class and Islamist forces, the conflict was not an indication of different economic policies. “The Islamist parties, which between them won a majority in the 2011-12 parliamentary election appear to favor the continuation of a broadly pro-market policy…” explained an April 2012 report from Chatham House titled “‘Bread, Dignity and Social Justice’: The Political Economy of Egypt’s Transition.”
The new Egyptian Constitution is a glaring example of the bias of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) towards market liberalization. It stipulated linking salaries with production for the first time and neglected to set a ceiling for agricultural property.
But the constitution aligns with the Brotherhood’s previous positions: the group had been the primary opponent of agrarian reform during the Nasser era and endorsed a 1992 act liberating the relationship between landlord and tenant on agricultural land. The act had abolished gains won by peasants and was faced with wide-scale opposition in 1997.
The knockout blow to the MB’s popularity might be their attempt to implement a package of reforms for tax laws, which was frozen by President Mohamed Mursi a few hours after being announced. It would’ve raised sales taxes on several cement and communications goods and led to a steep increase on the commercial advertising tax – a move that could have hiked up the sales prices of nearly all goods and services.
It seems the MB has learned a lesson from the bread uprising against President Anwar Sadat in January 1977. At the time, the MB magazine al-Daawa described the protests as a “communist conspiracy.”
While the revolution seems to have resulted – at the very least – in a minimum wage increase to EGP700 ($105), the collapse of the Egyptian Pound against the US dollar this past January has precluded any benefits from such a raise.
History books will cite January 25 as the moment of undoing for the dictatorial rule of Mohammad Hosni Mubarak. What we don’t know is what will be said about the scale of the change brought about by the uprising.
It is impossible to make confident predictions at present. Questions only raise more doubts as to the ability of Egypt’s new rulers to bring about major change. But as social theorist Samir Amin points out: “The Egyptian people are brave and will not be afraid to start a second and a third uprising.”
The events of the past two years prove that Amin’s assessment is realistic. The ongoing struggle over Egypt is the clearest sign that the country’s new rulers have not managed to establish a strong enough hold to last as long as their predecessors.
A formidable media machine continues in its efforts to restrict the Egyptian people’s uprising. Many people inside and outside Egypt wanted to persuade the masses that the underlying goals of their protest movement could be reduced to a mere change of president. These people have assumed powerful influence within the state’s institutions and seek to re-establish their control over the public and private sectors of the economy. They want Egypt and the Arabs to behave as though change has been accomplished.
This takes us back to Amin, who noted the menace posed by foreign powers in Egypt. He referred to a cooperative endeavor by the US, Israel, and Gulf states to ensure Egypt’s continued reliance on a policy of “begging from abroad” so as to better maintain its “assistance for US policies in the region.”
He observed that while “Mubarak’s Egypt supported the US invasion of Iraq…today’s Egypt under the Muslim Brotherhood assists the policies on Syria.” The end goal is for Egypt to acquiesce “to the Zionist scheme to eliminate the Palestinian presence within the occupied territory.”
There is no need to repeat Amin’s views on economic policy. The evidence that Egypt’s new rulers are resuming past economic policies is overwhelming. There will be no change in how the country’s economic, social, financial, and monetary policies are shaped. Hence the cruel joke that “Khairat el-Shater is Gamal Mubarak with a beard.”
Nobody can deny the Egyptian people’s massive achievement in bringing down a corrupt and tyrannical ruling clique that was subservient to the colonial West and submissive to the Zionist enterprise. But the story doesn’t end with the Muslim Brotherhood winning a narrow majority at the polls and claiming legitimacy to do what it likes with the country. Whatever misgivings there may be about the condition of the new opposition in Egypt, it has tough questions to face.
– What became of the legacy of Mubarak’s rule? What does the Islamic mantle mean when it is donned by rulers who pursue the same policies that they once said caused poverty, ignorance, and misery?
– Freedom of expression cannot be deemed a gift from the country’s new rulers. Egyptians are demanding guarantees that the gains made so far are not reversed. Can we expect a rotation of power in a few years time? Will Egypt’s new rulers help to recover its unified national identity, or will we see more ugly images of sectarian divisions?
– What real change has there been in the country’s foreign policy? What role does it play in reviving collective Arab action? Or has that been surrendered to the medieval monarchies of the Gulf? Is Egypt acting to regain its rights, sovereignty, and freedom with regard to supporting the people of Palestine?
– Can anyone provide any evidence that the money stolen by the National Democratic Party under Mubarak and his clique is being recovered? Or is the looted national wealth merely passing from one regime to the next?
“Every kind of inter-Arab confrontation will assist us”
Oded Yinon, World Zionist Council, 1982.
On the third of September one of the central figures behind “Innocence of Muslims” also released a statement on the National American Coptic Assembly website calling for the balkanisation of Egypt into five states one of these being a Coptic state with Alexandria as it’s capital.
It was released by Morris Sadek, who incidentally would become the new state’s Vice President. Sadek is an extremist, Coptic-Zionist who is denounced by mainstream Copts in Egypt as an anti-Islam fanatic who dishonestly pushes his extremist agenda. However, in the US Sadek, has forged alliances in his anti-Islamic crusade with the lunatic fringes of the Christian-right and the Zionist-funded anti-Islam propagandists such as Brigitte Gabriel of ACT! For America and Robert Spencer of Jihadwatch.
A September 1st Arabic News article suggested that there are moves afoot in Egypt to charge Sadek and his Coptic co-conspirators for treason.
So it may come as no suprise that Sadek’s vision for the Middle-East neatly parallels “The Zionist Plan For The Middle-East” The following is a section from a report written in 1982 by Oded Yinon who worked The Foriegn Ministry of Israel and was published by The World Zionist Organisation:
In the course of the Nineteen Eighties, the State of Israel will have to go through far-reaching changes in its political and economic regime domestically, along with radical changes in its foreign policy, in order to stand up to the global and regional challenges of this new epoch. The loss of the Suez Canal oil fields, of the immense potential of the oil, gas and other natural resources in the Sinai peninsula which is geomorphologically identical to the rich oil-producing countries in the region, will result in an energy drain in the near future and will destroy our domestic economy: one quarter of our present GNP as well as one third of the budget is used for the purchase of oil.9 The search for raw materials in the Negev and on the coast will not, in the near future, serve to alter that state of affairs.
(Regaining) the Sinai peninsula with its present and potential resources is therefore a political priority which is obstructed by the Camp David and the peace agreements. The fault for that lies of course with the present Israeli government and the governments which paved the road to the policy of territorial compromise, the Alignment governments since 1967. The Egyptians will not need to keep the peace treaty after the return of the Sinai, and they will do all they can to return to the fold of the Arab world and to the USSR in order to gain support and military assistance. American aid is guaranteed only for a short while, for the terms of the peace and the weakening of the U.S. both at home and abroad will bring about a reduction in aid. Without oil and the income from it, with the present enormous expenditure, we will not be able to get through 1982 under the present conditions and we will have to act in order to return the situation to the status quo which existed in Sinai prior to Sadat’s visit and the mistaken peace agreement signed with him in March 1979.10
(Regaining) the Sinai peninsula with its present and potential resources is therefore a political priority which is obstructed by the Camp David and the peace agreements.
Israel has two major routes through which to realize this purpose, one direct and the other indirect
Israel will not unilaterally break the treaty, neither today, nor in 1982, unless it is very hard pressed economically and politically and Egypt provides Israel with the excuse to take the Sinai back into our hands … Israel will be forced to act directly or indirectly in order to regain control over Sinai as a strategic, economic and energy reserve for the long run.
Egypt, in its present domestic political picture, is already a corpse, all the more so if we take into account the growing Moslem-Christian rift. Breaking Egypt down territorially into distinct geographical regions is the political aim of Israel in the Nineteen Eighties on its Western front.
The vision of a Christian Coptic State in Upper Egypt alongside a number of weak states with very localized power and without a centralized government as to date, is the key to a historical development which was only set back by the peace agreement but which seems inevitable in the long run.
The report fantasizes over the the establishment of Israel as an expanded regional superpower ruling over weak and defenseless, Muslim mini-states ravaged by internal strife. Coincidentally or not this process has already begun – Sudan has been split, Somalia and Libya aren’t actually controlled by a central government and the two other main focuses/threats (Syria and Iraq) have been destroyed or are in the process of being destroyed.
Lynne Stewart is a New York attorney who is serving a 10-year sentence in the federal penitentiary for being a supporter of terrorism.
Two years after the 9/11 attacks, she read the following message from her client, convicted terrorist Omar Abdel-Rahman, at a press conference in New York City:
“I [Omar Abdel-Rahmn] am not withdrawing my support of the cease-fire, I am merely questioning it and I am urging you, who are on the ground there to discuss it and to include everyone in your discussions as we always have done.”
What’s criminal about that message?
The U.S. federal courts construed the message as exhorting the members of Abdel-Rahmn’s Islamic organization in Egypt, which U.S. officials had labeled a terrorist organization, to use violence to overthrow the Egyptian government. They said that made Stewart a supporter of terrorism.
The case is fascinating on several levels, not the least of which was that many Egyptian citizens were of the mindset that the Egyptian government was one of the most brutal, tyrannical military dictatorships in the world, one that had long oppressed the Egyptian people. It was, in fact, that deep-seated discontent among the Egyptian citizenry that ultimately led to the ouster of Egypt’s dictator, Hosni Mubarak.
So, why is that important?
It’s always been a belief of Americans that people everywhere have a right to use violence to overthrow tyranny. Stewart was convicted for going one step further and actually exhorting the Egyptians to use force to overthrow the tyrannical regime under which they had long suffered.
Let’s assume, hypothetically, that what Stewart did at that press conference was stand up and read the Declaration of Independence, specifically the following section:
“That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
If she had done that, there is no way that the federal courts could have convicted her. After all, the Declaration of Independence is part of America’s heritage of freedom. It’s not against the law to read it in public.
Suppose she had added the following sentence: “The principles of the Declaration are not limited to Americans. They apply to people in every nation on earth who are suffering from tyranny.”
Could she then have been convicted? Again, I think that it would have been very difficult to convict her for supporting terrorism by simply extending the principles of the Declaration to people everywhere.”
Where Stewart crossed the line was in exhorting Egyptians to actually do what the Declaration says they have a right to do — use force to overthrow the Egyptian government.
So, why is that against the law? After all, one could rationally think that under principles of free speech, a person should be free to exhort people to do anything they want. After all, this is America, not Russia under Vladimir Putin, where people are being convicted for saying the wrong things.
There is one big reason why Stewart is in jail today for exhorting Egyptians to violently overthrow their government: The Egyptian government was a longtime ally and partner of the U.S. government and, therefore, wasn’t considered by U.S. officials to be a tyrannical regime that would trigger the right that Jefferson enunciated in the Declaration. Any American (or Egyptian) who would use violence to overthrow a non-tyrannical, pro-U.S. regime or exhort others to violently overthrow that regime is considered to be a terrorist or a supporter of terrorism.
Among the things that the Egyptian people hated most about Mubarak’s military dictatorship were the “emergency” powers enforced by Mubarak and his military, police, and intelligence forces. Such powers had come into existence some 30 years before, when Egypt’s president, Anwar Sadat, was assassinated. The “emergency” enabled Mubarak, who was a military man, to use the Egyptian military to arrest people without warrants on suspicion of being terrorists, incarcerate them, torture them, and execute them — all without due process of trial or trial by jury.
These extraordinary powers were supposed to be temporary. They were to expire when the “emergency” arising from the assassination had expired. But some 30 years later, they were still in existence. And they were employed brutally against the Egyptian people, especially those who dared to challenge Egypt’s military dictatorship, military supremacy over the civilian population, and Egypt’s military dictator himself, Hosni Mubarak. Most Egyptians learned to just keep their mouths shut.
Not surprisingly, the Egyptians considered the exercise of such powers to be the hallmarks of a tyrannical regime. Indeed, such powers have long been the most distinguishing characteristic of a tyrannical regime. It was mainly the exercise of those “temporary, emergency” powers that drove Egyptians into the streets, risking their lives at the hands of the military dictatorship to bring fundamental change to their society.
In fact, one of the principal demands of the protestors throughout the protests was that Mubarak relinquish those “temporary, emergency” powers that came into existence 30 years before. Mubarak refused to do so, arguing that his temporary, extraordinary powers were more necessary than ever, especially given the global war on terrorism that came into existence on 9/11.
For those entire 30 years, the U.S. government took the side of Mubarak and his military dictatorship. Those temporary, emergency powers weren’t tyrannical, U.S. officials believed. They were instead the essential prerequisite for protecting Egypt’s “national security” and for maintaining “order and stability” in the Middle East.
After all, don’t forget that immediately after 9/11, President Bush did precisely what Mubarak had done during Egypt’s terrorist emergency some 30 years before. Bush decreed that the terrorist emergency that America was now facing meant that Bush, as commander in chief, now wielded those same extraordinary powers — the powers to arrest people as suspected terrorists without judicially issued warrants, torture them, incarcerate them indefinitely, and even execute them, perhaps have some sort of kangaroo military tribunal. Later, President Obama would expand those powers with a widespread assassination program.
Thus, how could U.S. officials look upon the Mubarak dictatorship as a tyrannical regime, since it was a loyal, pro-U.S. regime that was doing nothing more than what U.S. officials would do in similar circumstances?
It goes without saying, of course, that throughout those 30 years, U.S. officials continued plowing billions of dollars in cash and armaments into the coffers of the Egyptian military dictatorship, helping build it up and fortify its omnipotent military control over the Egyptian people. In fact, it came as no surprise when the U.S. government made the Egyptian military dictatorship one of its principal rendition-torture partners in its global war on terrorism.
Throughout the Mubarak dictatorship, if anyone called for the violent overthrow of the Egyptian government, the Egyptian government, not surprisingly, considered him a “bad guy” — i.e., a terrorist. But as Lynn Stewart found out, so did the U.S. government.
Now, one might point to Syria, where U.S. officials are doing precisely what Stewart got convicted of — exhorting the Syrian citizenry to violently overthrow the Syrian dictatorship.
Ah, but they would be missing an important point. Syria is no longer a partner and ally of the U.S. government. It used to be — i.e., when President Bush and the CIA entered into a secret torture partnership by which the Assad regime agreed to torture Canadian citizen Maher Arar for the U.S. government. But once that partnership was dissolved, it became okay for U.S. officials to exhort Syrians to violently overthrow the tyranny under which they have long suffered.
For exhorting the Egyptian people to violently overthrow their tyrannical regime, Stewart got sentenced to serve 28 months in jail, a fairly lengthy term for a 73-year-old woman suffering from breast cancer. Unfortunately for Stewart, however, in a public statement to the press after her sentencing, she scoffed at her sentence, declaring that she could serve it “standing on her head.” Her statement garnered the wrath of federal prosecutors and federal judges and earned her a resentencing, one that sent her away for 10 years instead of 28 months.
I wonder if Stewart has learned her lesson, one that the Egyptian people learned during the 30 years of the Mubarak dictatorship. In the age of the national-security state and never-ending emergencies, it pays to keep your mouth shut.
Egyptian Ambassador to Lebanon Ashraf Hamdy says his country plans to forge “tight” relations with the Lebanese resistance group Hezbollah.
“You cannot discuss politics in Lebanon without having a relationship with Hezbollah,” Hamdy said in an interview with the Lebanese newspaper Daily Star published on Saturday.
In a clear policy shift from Egypt’s Mubarak-era policy, the envoy described the resistance movement as “real force on the ground” with “big political and military influence.”
Hamdy said that the government of President Mohamed Morsi would pursue a policy to stretch “[its] hand out in the proper, balanced way to all regional powers” including Hezbollah, in order to forge “tight” contacts with Lebanon’s rulers.
Hamdy also said that he had met with Hezbollah’s political bureau members in efforts “to understand each other better.”
“Resistance in the sense of defending Lebanese territory … That’s their primary role. We … think that as a resistance movement they have done a good job to keep on defending Lebanese territory and trying to regain land occupied by Israel is legal and legitimate,” he said.
The relations between Egypt and Hezbollah reached rock bottom in 2008 during the previous Gaza war, when Hezbollah Chief Seyyed Hasan Nasrallah criticized Cairo for failing to support Palestinians. The ties generally were strained under former President Hosni Mubarak, in large part due to Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel.
Egyptians launched a revolution against Mubarak’s regime in January 2011, which brought an end to over three decades of dictatorship by him in February 2011.
- New Egypt warms up to Hezbollah: ambassador (dailystar.com.lb)
- Egypt to strengthen ties with Hezbollah (rt.com)
- US pressures Europe to label Hezbollah a “terrorist group” (alethonews.wordpress.com)