Neocon concedes that Egypt-Israel treaty is liability for U.S.

Israel/Palestine
on 15 Comments

From a post at Lobelog:

Lee Smith, the Weekly Standard writer and Hudson fellow, had some difficult truths to tell the hardline Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA). In a phone briefing, …Smith discussed how support for Israel and its peace treaty with Egypt led to massive U.S. support for the military dictatorship of deposed President Hosni Mubarak…

The $1.3 billion of military aid to Egypt “gives (the U.S.) some leverage, but we also need to realize it’s going to boomerang on us as well. This is something that’s going to happen.”

What Smith describes as a hypothetical future cost is actually exactly what has already been happening in the Arab world for decades now. The boomerang has long since turned back in the U.S.’s direction. There’s even a term for it: linkage.

A concept that has long held sway among top military officers such as Gen. David Petreaus, linkage refers to the strategic price that the U.S. pays for its “special relationship” — a policy of unflinching support — with Israel, even as various Israeli-Arab conflicts fester.

It’s a bit surprising to hear Smith talk about linkage, since the notion is common neoconservative bête noire. (The usual neocon reading is “reverse-linkage” — that the road to peace in the Middle East runs through anywhere but Jerusalem.)… Smith:

We need to also look at the peace treaty as a liability, because this is how many Egyptians are going to look at it. Again, if I were an — I’m not Egyptian, but if I were an Egyptian, and I had no problems with Israel, I would again be compelled to look at the peace treaty and say, ‘This is a problem. This under-girds every bit of corruption we’ve seen in the last thirty years of Egypt. The peace treaty is killing us.’  So I would say that for American policymakers, we need to be extremely sensitive to this.

And he said that this sentiment among Egyptians does not come from anti-Semitism or hatred of Israel:

The central plank of ‘Mubarakism’ was the peace treaty. It was not just the 1.3 billion in aid that goes to Egypt every year. … Everything that comes out of this created this military and political and business elite. … If I were an Egyptian patriot and I didn’t want war with Israel, even if I’d gone to Israel and loved Israel, I would have to say that this peace treaty is a real problem because this peace treaty, for the past thirty years, has been the glue that has empowered the elite.

15 Responses

  1. Jethro
    March 3, 2011, 12:52 pm

    The payments from the US to Egypt and Israel are not part of the peace treaty. So, problem solved! Just kill the payments and keep the peace.

    • Colin Murray
      March 3, 2011, 2:12 pm

      “The payments” ARE the peace treaty. The piece of paper that was signed is just that; the Israeli political establishment has never not violated an agreement when it was in their interest to do so … and when they thought they could get away with it. The Israelis have invaded Egypt twice with full intent to occupy, colonize, and annex Egyptian land up to the Suez Canal. The $1.3 billion we give Egypt annually enables them to maintain air and tank forces enough to deter Israeli attack.

      If subsidies to Egypt stop but continue to Israel, Egypt will be forced to adopt a more hostile attitude out of simple self-preservation. Egyptian military leaders aren’t fools. They know that if they can’t defend the Sinai, IDF tanks will roll at the command of Israel’s expansionist leadership.

    • Avi
      March 3, 2011, 2:28 pm

      Jethro March 3, 2011 at 12:52 pm

      The payments from the US to Egypt and Israel are not part of the peace treaty.

      Is today make-up-your-own-facts day?

      • Frances
        March 3, 2011, 3:08 pm

        EVERYDAY is make-up-your-own-facts day. A fact which I just made up.

    • Citizen
      March 3, 2011, 2:55 pm

      Jethro, the problem is not solved. You’re splitting hairs:
      From wiki:
      “The agreement also resulted in the United States committing to several billion dollars worth of annual subsidies to the governments of both Israel and Egypt, subsidies which continue to this day, and are given as a mixture of grants and aid packages committed to purchasing U.S. materiel. From 1979 (the year of the peace agreement) to 1997, Egypt received military aid of US$1.3 billion annually, which also helped modernize the Egyptian military.”

      Further, the Israeli settlements in Palestine were the biggest obstacle to the Egypt-Israeli peace negotiations. Carter to this day adheres to the fact that Israel had promised to end them, but Israel said it had only agreed to a 3-month pause. Somethings never change, eh?

      • Citizen
        March 3, 2011, 3:10 pm

        Total of 4.3 Billion annually for 32 years, was the US taxpayers’ direct contribution for the E-I peace treaty; this of course does not count all the indirect aid given to Israel over the years.

  2. gingershot
    March 3, 2011, 2:10 pm

    I would really like to see the new Egyptian foreign policy vigorously acting in open support of full Palestinian rights down to the letter of every UN Resolution that Israel is currently violating, the Geneva Conventions and all International Law.

    It would be great to see an Egypt that is insisting of every protection due the Palestinians be rigorously pursued – Palestine will certainly benefit from a neighbor who is a champion rather than a saboteur

    Instead of being a force for appeasing, aiding and abetting Israeli crimes in Palestine – let’s hope that new Egypt becomes the one of the foremost defenders of Palestinian rights in the Middle East

    Another benefit from a new Egypt freed from the American-Israeli puppet show it was starring in is the near impossibility this creates for an Israeli-Neocon attack on Iran. The new Egypt is just such good news

    The Neocons described their grand strategy for the Middle East” thusly: “Iraq is the tactical pivot, Saudi Arabia the strategic pivot, Egypt the prize.”

    Well Egypt has been lost and with it the Neocon/Israeli ‘Clean Break Plan’

    • Citizen
      March 3, 2011, 3:18 pm

      At the time of the Camp David Accords, the Israeli settlements were the biggest obstacle to peace between Egypt and Israel; this issue was to be solved within a specified time frame after the peace treaty was signed, but it never was. Yet Egypt did not break its promises to Egypt. Under the terms of the treaty, if Egypt had ever broken the treaty it was specified that the US would be on Israel’s side. I’m sure any Egyptians who will end up as part of a new Egyptian regime knows will know every detail surrounding these facts, and Egypt will continue to feel a mandate to represent the Palestinians until they get their own state, or decide to become part of a 1-state solution, just as Sadat did.

      • fuster
        March 4, 2011, 12:08 am

        not the settlements, Jerusalem.

  3. fuster
    March 3, 2011, 2:56 pm

    today is just another one of the endless ‘allegations are the same as facts’ days.

  4. pabelmont
    March 3, 2011, 4:10 pm

    The arms (money => arms) seems to me a problem for Egypt. First, they must keep the USA happy if they are to continue to get spare parts, maybe help with maintenance. Second, they must worry about something they cannot test in advance, whether these weapons will even work against Israel (the computers may know how to stop working in case of war with Israel). (I believe Turkey now gets weapons from China and a few other places.) If they are borrowing any of that money, they may have trouble getting the loans forgiven.

    These are problems for any post-Mubarak government.

  5. lobewyper
    March 3, 2011, 9:00 pm

    I believe that the Gen. Petraeus referred to above is the same one that after the Israel Lobby heard about his views on “linkage” led Congress in singing the ditty, “I love Israel more than my own life–please believe me.”

  6. yourstruly
    March 3, 2011, 11:48 pm

    our government’s total support of Israel uber its arab/islamic neighbors is the liability, not just the egypt-israel treaty. After all didn’t General David Petreaus and Vice President Joe Biden, among others, tell us that Israel’s intransigence vis-a-vis peace negotiations endangers U.S. troops in Afghanistan (as well as our national security)? There’s no mystery as to how to win the hearts and minds of the people in the Mideast – justice for Palestine and U.S./NATO out of Afghanistan/Iraq/Pakistan/Yemn/Somalia/Indonesia. Our government must know this too. What’s preventing this from happening? Is it entirely the Israel lobby, or did President George W. Bush let us in on the real reason after 9/11 when he acknowledged (paraphrasing him) feeling relieved that once again America was at war – cause when it comes to increasing a president’s powers, there’s nothing that can compare with a war. Perpetual war, even more so.

  7. fuster
    March 4, 2011, 1:52 am

    —There’s no mystery as to how to win the hearts and minds of the people in the Mideast – justice for Palestine and U.S./NATO out of Afghanistan/Iraq/Pakistan/Yemn/Somalia/Indonesia Our government must know this too. What’s preventing this from happening?—-

    the hearts and minds of the people of the Mideast are of less importance to the US than are the interests of the US seems like a likely starting point for the explanation.

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