Free Markets, Free People

Egypt roundup

Protests turned violent yesterday as "pro-Mubarak" forces clashed with "anti-Mubarak" forces (descriptions used by various media outlets) in Cairo.

The violence, though not really unexpected, is unfortunate but a fairly routine part of these sorts of confrontations. The question is – and I think we probably know the answer – were the "pro-Mubarak" forces real or recruited? I.e. was it a spontaneous grouping that finally came out in the streets to counter the other side, or was it an orchestrated "spontaneous" uprising on the "pro-Mubarak" side? I’m pretty sure most feel it is the former rather than the latter. If so, then Mubarak, et al, have decided to fight to stay on.

Speaking of orchestration, Robert Springborg is of the opinion that there has been some careful orchestration in the response by the Mubarak government, all aimed at seeing the military take control of the government when everything has run its course – thereby pretty much preserving the status quo with different leaders.  While the administration has finally come out publicly saying Mubarak should step down, the best “realpolitik” foreign policy ending for the US could be such an outcome.  But that means the death of any possibility of Egyptian democracy and the perpetuation of the autocratic “strongman” state under which Egypt has suffered for decades.

Meanwhile, given the fact that President Obama has finally and publicly said Mubarak should step down – and the sooner the better – the expected response has been made by the Mubarak regime:

Egypt’s government hit back swiftly. The Foreign Ministry released a defiant statement saying the calls from “foreign parties” had been “rejected and aimed to incite the internal situation in Egypt.” And Egyptian officials reached out to reporters to make clear how angry they were at their onetime friend.

Separately, in an interview, a senior Egyptian government official took aim at President Obama’s call on Tuesday night for a political transition to begin “now” — a call that infuriated Cairo.

Not particularly surprising or unexpected.  I’m not sure why Washington continues to fear this argument as it appears it does.  It is going to happen at sometime during any event like this in the Middle East whether we sit on our hands or not.  Even if its not true the US is going to be blamed.  So we need to get over worrying about it and have our say.

Speaking of having his say, George Soros is out with a op/ed about how well Obama has handled all of this:

Revolutions usually start with enthusiasm and end in tears. In the case of the Middle East, the tears could be avoided if President Obama stands firmly by the values that got him elected. Although American power and influence in the world have declined, our allies and their armies look to us for direction. These armies are strong enough to maintain law and order as long as they stay out of politics; thus the revolutions can remain peaceful. That is what the United States should insist on while encouraging corrupt and repressive rulers who are no longer tolerated by their people to step aside and allow new leaders to be elected in free and fair elections.

About an mile wide and inch deep analysis Soros is trying to pretend that the army is a benign agent in Egypt and is claiming the Egyptian army is looking to us for leadership, which Soros claims Obama is providing.   The alternate scenario, and the one that seems much more likely, is that one Springborg describes.  IOW, look for an eventual government to emerge peopled by the military.    And, of course, Soros buys into the charade involving ElBaradei and the Muslim Brotherhood:

The Muslim Brotherhood’s cooperation with Mohamed ElBaradei, the Nobel laureate who is seeking to run for president, is a hopeful sign that it intends to play a constructive role in a democratic political system.  But despite his claims to the contrary, ElBaradei is not as popular as he’d like to believe and is seen as almost an outsider who has spent very little time in Egypt in recent years.  He is, however, a convenient front man for the Muslim Brotherhood – at least for the moment.

The main problem ala Soros?  The Joooos:

The main stumbling block is Israel. In reality, Israel has as much to gain from the spread of democracy in the Middle East as the United States has. But Israel is unlikely to recognize its own best interests because the change is too sudden and carries too many risks. And some U.S. supporters of Israel are more rigid and ideological than Israelis themselves. Fortunately, Obama is not beholden to the religious right, which has carried on a veritable vendetta against him. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee is no longer monolithic or the sole representative of the Jewish community. The main danger is that the Obama administration will not adjust its policies quickly enough to the suddenly changed reality.

Soros concludes that he’s very hopeful and enthusiastic about the probability of democracy and freedom breaking out in Egypt. 

Speaking of ElBaradei, he’s now demanding Mubarak step down in 48 hours or else.

Egyptian uprising idol Mohammed ElBaradei has ordered Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to leave the country by Friday – or he will be a “dead man walking” and not just a lame-duck president.

Nice – peaceful, civil discourse with a threat he has no way of backing up with action.   Not something that aspiring leaders should be throwing out there if they want to be taken seriously.

And, as Springbork suggests in his piece, all of this orchestration of events and postures assumed have been done for a purpose, one of which is to get the factions and groups to want normalcy again and be willing to negotiate a “peace”.   Not so our friends in the Muslim Brotherhood:

The radical Muslim Brotherhood has become more vocal in its calls for Mubarak’s resignation, drowning out several opposition groups that have accepted an offer by newly-appointed vice president Omar Suleiman to negotiate.

It is not in the best interest of the Muslim Brotherhood for there to be peace, negotiation and accommodation (the NYT still buys into the “benevolent Muslim Brotherhood” nonsense).  But it appears the regime, via the newly appointed VP and the Army, are attempting the old “divide and conquer” tactic.  The “pro-Mubarak” faction’s (thugs) violence have tempered the fervor of some of the members of the populist portions of the uprising.  Negotiations begin to steal the momentum from the protesters by peeling them away.  Splitting off the “fair weather” protesters allows the regime (via the security forces that Suleiman ran for years) to begin to identify the hard-core extremist factions involved and deal with them.  The army, of course, remains above the fray (and seemingly neutral) and positions itself to be the choice of most of the people as the moderate successor to the Mubarak regime.  

Result?  Pretty much the same set-up as now (except with uniforms – the VP and PM are Army or former Army) but possibly more anti-American than before.  Of course George Soros won’t tell you that.



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25 Responses to Egypt roundup

  • The best “realpolitik” foreign policy ending for the US could be such an outcome.  But that means the death of any possibility of Egyptian democracy and the perpetuation of the autocratic “strongman” state under which Egypt has suffered for decades.

    Maybe, BUT…Chester A. Arthur…and others…comes to mind.  Sometimes, the choice of the machine turns out to have stuff nobody knew was there.
    As to Soros: lemme see if I understand.  The Jooos don’t have the snap to know their best interests and don’t think quick.  Obama do.  And Obama is free to perform wonderfulness ’cause he is not beholden to the rigid nuts in the Religious Right, who all have a V (for vendetta) branded on their foreheads.
    He shoulda paid a ghost-writer.

  • Meanwhile, the MBM are relearning what CNN knew in Baghdad .. went it appears that you have take the wrong side, you become a target.
    Wars, civil, or otherwise aren’t scripted.  Sometimes some of the players don’t know the MBM are part of the schtick.

    • In all honesty, Cooper didn’t look like he was punched 10 times.  Bitch slapped 10 times, but not punched.
      Meanwhile a FoxNews reporter and his camera man were hospitalized.  Don’t know if they plan to exploit the incident for ratings and aggrandizement, though.

  • But Israel is unlikely to recognize its own best interests because the change is too sudden and carries too many risks. And some U.S. supporters of Israel are more rigid and ideological than Israelis themselves

    >>>  Dear George:  EFF YOU.

    Shades of “What’s the matter with Kansas”  – it’s the standard line the hard left loves to trot out when the proles don’t fall to like sheep.  The people are too stupid to know their best interests, only the enlightened few know what’s best for all.

    Look pally, I’m relatively sure that Israel – a country beset by enemies that lives every day under attack or threat of attack – knows their best interests much better than some currency-manipulating cretin like you.

    Sod off, wanker.

  • the tears could be avoided if President Obama stands firmly by the values that got him elected. Although American power and influence in the world have declined, our allies and their armies look to us for direction.

    I guess George Soros wasn’t paying attention during the Great American Apology Tour.  I doubt that any of our allies are looking to the USA for direction.  Trying to avert their eyes, perhaps.

    • The fourth issue that I will address is democracy. I know there has been controversy about the promotion of democracy in recent years, and much of this controversy is connected to the war in Iraq. So let me be clear: no system of government can or should be imposed upon one nation by any other. That does not lessen my commitment, however, to governments that reflect the will of the people. Each nation gives life to this principle in its own way, grounded in the traditions of its own people. America does not presume to know what is best for everyone, just as we would not presume to pick the outcome of a peaceful election.Obama’s Speech in Cairo 2009

      Does this guy read his own speeches ?

  • “our allies and their armies look to us for direction.”

    It’s so nice now that all those arrogant neo-cons are out of power. Our foreign policy is now based on  the realism and humility demonstrated by Soros et al.

    More on the “it is all the JOOOOOoooooos fault” meme.
    Juan Cole…one of the loopiest of the Collectivist “Mid-East experts” claims that Mubarek is flipping Obama off because he’s seen the Israelis do it.
    Can we say “blood libel”…???

    • Because ya just know after the last 30 years Mubarek is suddenly going to turn it over to El Barfeatie and the PeaceLoving Brothers of the Muslim Hood to keep Obammy happy.
      I gather contrary to what they’ve been saying all these years, it really IS about US, and Mubarek should realize that, is that it?

      • It is what Teh One wants.  It is, therefore, just the right thing to do…  Mubarek can ride, but he has to get in the back of the bus!

        • Now I know how I’d LIKE to see it all work out, but I can tell you, if I was Mubarek worrying about what Baracky wanted would be the LAST of my concerns unless I was going to ask for asylum in the US (and given the way I’d be afraid the US would handle that, I’d be seeking my asylum somewhere more reliable like…Mother Russia).

          • I see Mubarek as playing the part of the Shaw in Barack’s repeat of Jimmy’s skillful foreign policy.

    • About the “Joooos fault” meme, I half believe the reason we’re being told “nothing to see here, move along” is so that we don’t call for the interference of the rise of another radicalized Islamic nation.  Especially one to help surround Israel.
      These people must believe that if Israel was wiped out, all would be right and peace can finally happen in the Middle East.  They couldn’t be more mistaken.  If Israel is destroyed, it will be just the appetizer.

  • Military rule may not mean simply the status quo.  Mubarak ran the equivalent of a mafia state.  If the military realizes that the dynamics now are different they may want to guide a gradual change.  Egypt had 45 million people when Mubarak came to power, now it’s 83 million, watching the news on al jazeera (which routinely blasts corruption and gives Arabs news their governments would rather them not hear or see), connected by internet and able to organize on social media.  If the military understands this (and they probably do, thanks in part to their junior officers who tend to be more sympathetic with the demonstrators) it’s possible they’ll decide to craft a path of change that can shut out the Muslim Brotherhood (or strictly limit its role) and allow growing democratic competition.  But the politics of the 20th century won’t work any more, this is a new era built on different demographic, technological and social dynamics.

  • Today’s false premise from the left: Al Jazeera blasts corruption in the Middle East because it supports  democracy and opposes the Muslim Brotherhood, or Ismastists in general.

    Not as outright farcical as the claim that Erb knows anything about officers in the Egyptian military (or even the average Egyptian), but that claim will be moot whenever this crisis ends, so I don’t think it will be part of the long-term plot line.

  • About ElBaradei, he spent the better part of the last ten years or so over the IAEA running interference for Iran’s nuclear program.
    So a team up of him with the Muslim Brotherhood has got to be in the US’s interest.  How can it not?

  • Let me just drop this here.
    “Mohamed El-Baradei is Egypt’s Chalabi.”
    I have no idea what it means, but I am sure some cool memes could be developed.

  • Michael Ledeen

    Hold Your Enemies Close, And…
    Obama is gushing about the Egyptian demonstrators.  According to al-AP:

    President Barack Obama says the passion and dignity demonstrated by the people of Egypt has been an inspiration. He says young protesters will reach their destiny.
    In brief remarks at the White House Tuesday evening, the president said, “We hear your voices.”

    He didn’t say anything remotely similar about the young Iranians who risked their lives–including many who were arrested, tortured and murdered by the regime–for freedom in Iran.
    This is the man who insisted that Muslim Brotherhood followers be invited to his 2009 speech in Cairo. Some MB people, including the worst criminals, have been broken out of Egyptian prisons and were no doubt part of that crowd.  Let’s hope they, at least, don’t succeed in gaining control.  I won’t comment on whether they are likely to reach their destiny because I don’t know what it means in English.
    What I do know is that this peculiar president has a tendency to cater to the enemies of the United States but is at best indifferent to our friends.  Appalling.  And Scary.