Obama plays catch-up on popular movements in Egypt and Tunisia

There was no mention of Egypt in tonight’s State of the Union Speech, though the State Department released a statement on Egypt (below) that was blandly supportive of the protests. Obama did mention Tunisia– without any indication that the “dictator” he now denounces was “backed politically and militarily by the U.S. for more than two decades” (as Phyllis Bennis said on PBS). Obama:


We saw that same desire to be free in Tunisia, where the will of the people proved more powerful than the writ of a dictator. And tonight, let us be clear: the United States of America stands with the people of Tunisia, and supports the democratic aspirations of all people.

Here is tonight’s  State Department statement on Egypt. Note that the clarion call for the right of peoples to choose their own government is ignored in Gaza, and the West Bank too.

Press Statement Philip J. Crowley Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Public Affairs Washington, DC January 25, 2011

We are monitoring the situation in Egypt closely. The United States supports the fundamental right of expression and assembly for all people. All parties should exercise restraint, and we call on the Egyptian authorities to handle these protests peacefully.

As Secretary Clinton said in Doha, people across the Middle East – like people everywhere – are seeking a chance to contribute and to have a role in the decisions that will shape their lives. We want to see reform occur, in Egypt and elsewhere, to create greater political, social, and economic opportunity consistent with people’s aspirations. The United States is a partner of Egypt and the Egyptian people in this process, which we believe should unfold in a peaceful atmosphere. 

We have raised with governments in the region the need for reforms and greater openness and participation in order to respond to their people’s aspirations – and we will continue to do so.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 14 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. mmayer says:

    It never ceases to amaze me. The US either creates the conditions which led to oppression or blatantly supports it. When the oppressive regime is toppled, the US fails to acknowledge their part in the assistance or outright creation of the conditions. Do they really believe that our memories are so short?

    • after reading & watching the videos Ahmed Moor posted here yesterday, I turned on the way-back machine and viewed Ed Royce, discussing House Bill 1400, Iran Sanctions, 2007 iteration. Royce was quite clear: the goal of the sanctions, especially on gas, was to stir up resentment among Iranians, cause them to riot and overthrow their government.

      The Royce segment on C-Span was fascinating: EVERY SINGLE CALLER to Royce in that 2007 session said, in effect, “YOU ARE A JACKASS.” To borrow a Britney Spears/Chris Crawford line: “Leave Iran alone.”

      Not to put too fine a point on it, but since Royce and the US foreign policy establishment have not figured it out yet, it bears amplifying:

      IT. IS. NOT. WORKING.

      Not only is US policy attempt to sanction Iran into economic and regime collapse NOT working, it is backfiring, and furthermore, Muslims and Arabs in states where the US supports the stooges are revolting against THEIR leaders.

      David Wurmser’s wet dreams are coming to piss pass: Iranian self-confidence is spreading throughout the region.
      link to c-spanvideo.org (conference hosted by The Israel Project just before Annapolis Conference in 2007. Wurmser at about 20 minutes –>)

    • Woody Tanaka says:

      Sadly, the memories of the American people are either so short, or they were never paying attention to begin with.

    • eljay says:

      >> Do they really believe that our memories are so short?

      Yup. And, apparently, they’re right.

  2. VR says:

    “All parties should exercise restraint, and we call on the Egyptian authorities to handle these protests peacefully…The United States is a partner of Egypt and the Egyptian people in this process, which we believe should unfold in a peaceful atmosphere.”

    Note the refrain – peacefully go away…

  3. yourstruly says:

    What the president forgot to say:

    ….and even though the U.S. government has been backing the tyrant and regime that you freedom fighters are rebelling against, it is my fervent hope that in the spirit of forgiveness you will accept our help and leadership in bringing freedom and democracy to your nation. Remember, America too was born out of a revolution. Trust us. Never again will we mislead you.

  4. Phyllis, I love you. sending a bottle of bleach your way: your comment was adjacent to Danielle Pletka. eeewww.

    re: Obama speechified:

    Because of a diplomatic effort to insist that Iran meet its obligations, the Iranian government now faces tougher and tighter sanctions than ever before. And on the Korean peninsula, we stand with our ally South Korea, and insist that North Korea keeps its commitment to abandon nuclear weapons. 1 Response

    This is just a part of how we are shaping a world that favors peace and prosperity.

    in reaction to which Ms. Bennis wrote:

    Is President Obama going to say anything about the latest failure in U.S.-brokered peace talks in the Middle East? Or is he just hoping we’re not paying attention, and that we’re fine with paying $30 billion over these ten years directly to the Israeli military, money that could be used for 600,000 new green jobs here at home?

    and Pletka said:
    This paragraph makes no sense. We have rarely been held in lower regard in the Americas. The Russian reset has ushered in a period of authoritarian retrenchment disastrous to us and our allies. NATO is revitalized? Where to begin. And where is the kitchen sink? It too belongs in this paragraph.

    Iran is laughing at the US as it economically implodes — or Iran could and would, if that were Iran’s way — it’s not: SPIEGEL was apoplectic that Saeed Jalili expressed confidence and excitement at Iran’s future prospects; Iranians don’t have time to worry about US self-inflicted wounds; they are too busy building their own future.

    worst part is, Pletka and Bennis are both correct.

    Obama must be in a ziocaine-induced coma.

    • pabelmont says:

      Coma, indeed. He came into office surrounded by Rahm & friends and the old Bush neocons, who all told him,

      Hey Barack baby, not to worry. FP is easy, just keep doing what the USA’s always done and it’ll all turn out just fine. No need to UNDERSTAND or STUDY anything. Doing anything different is just gonna rock the boat and it’s all pretty unpredictable anyway. A freeway driver doesn’t change lanes suddenly, and either should you. Cha-cha-cha.

  5. Jim Haygood says:

    Egypt’s answer to Hillary’s reflexive endorsement of the dictator, which provoked such outrage yesterday that Crowley had to step in with some classic Dick Morris-style triangulation:

    We are all Khaled Said: Suez is turning [out] to be Egypt’s Sidi BouZid (like Tunis). More than 15 thousand protesters gathering around the morgue where victims of Police are lying.

    link to facebook.com

    Like the NYT, the US State Department officially does not matter. It ain’t a player. Its corrupt middle east infrastructure of thieves, thugs and torturers is imploding around its ears like the Ottoman empire.

    They should drop the jaw-jaw and start booking plane reservations for their deposed puppets. Air America to the rescue!

  6. Jim Haygood says:

    The Mubarak regime’s response to Crowley’s call for calm, as reported by Jack Shenker of the Guardian:

    ————

    I spotted a high-ranking uniformed officer and shouted at him that I was a British journalist. He responded by walking over and punching me twice, saying in Arabic, “Fuck you and fuck Britain.”

    Other protesters and I were thrown through the doorway, where we had to run a gauntlet of officers beating us with sticks.

    link to guardian.co.uk

    ————

    Our tax dollars at work — we pay $2 billion a year for this?!

  7. Potsherd2 says:

    Obama supports freedom for all people except when Israel wants to oppress them.

  8. Jim Haygood says:

    Hillary plays catch-up, a day late and a dollar short:

    ‘We urge the Egyptian authorities not to prevent peaceful protests or block communications including on social media sites. We believe strongly that the Egyptian government has an important opportunity at this moment in time to implement political, economic and social reforms to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people.’

    link to guardian.co.uk

    Like the ‘peace process’ (RIP 24 Jan 2011), the Mubarak regime’s window for reform has closed and gone.

    Git on, Hillary, you just old and in the way.

  9. Djinn says:

    link to twitpic.com

    Cairo – US made tear gas ‘standing with people’s democratic aspirations’