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Aaron David Miller’s wishful thinking on Egypt– no revolution, no change

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Yesterday Aaron David Miller, a former longtime U.S. adviser on the Middle East (to six Secretaries of State), sounded off against the Muslim Brotherhood, characterizing the group as anti-democratic and questioning whether they could govern in “the national interests of the Egyptian people and not just their own what I would describe as corporatist influence.”

But what are those “national interests of the Egyptian people”? In essence, how smartly the Brotherhood will defer to the United States and shut up about the peace treaty. Notice that by the end of his comments, he’s saying that the military actually knows how to govern Egypt, because it knows how to defer to the U.S.

[NPR’s Steve] INSKEEP: You talked about the question of whether the Brotherhood can deliver good governance. What is good governance in the situation that Egypt is in right now? How would you define that?

MILLER: Well, since Egypt is so dependent on external sources of aid and economic reform, the brothers are going to have to adopt a pretty internationalist, reform-minded modernist view of economic change. And…

INSKEEP: In other words, they need money from America. They need money from elsewhere.

MILLER: Exactly, exactly. And to negotiate with the IMF. I think the real role that they’re going to have to play – and that very much is going to mean toning down their rhetoric or abandoning it with respect to their criticism to the United States, the peace treaty. Because it seems to me that…

INSKEEP: The peace treaty with Israel, specifically, you mean.

MILLER: Well, yeah. I think the brothers, under the pressure of change and being effective, will have to change their vocabulary. But the question is: Will they be allowed to govern? Will the military actually create enough political space and opening so that they will, in fact, shape and influence these kinds of economic decisions? I don’t know the answer to that.

INSKEEP: So they have to make the people at large happy by delivering services and just seeming competent. They have to make their core followers happy by going after some of the basic philosophy of the Muslim Brotherhood. They have to make the army at least not too unhappy so the army doesn’t step on them. And it sounds like you feel they also have to make sure they don’t annoy the United States too greatly.

MILLER: It’s a lot of balls to keep up in the air without dropping any for a party that has never, in its eight decades, ruled anything. The Egyptian military has, in effect, run the country under Mubarak. They at least have the shell of a how-to manual. I’m not sure the Muslim Brotherhood has that, and they may well have to defer to the military and cooperate closely with it.

These comments strike me as deceptive. Miller began the interview by saying there’s no Egyptian revolution. That is wishful thinking. To judge from several elections now, the Muslim Brotherhood obviously represent some strong measure of the will of the Egyptian people; yet Miller is saying that the Brothers are invalid representatives of those people inasmuch as they reject the “how-to manual” developed by Mubarak, a dictatorship aimed at keeping the U.S. happy.

The real question here is what’s so great about the U.S. policy that Miller helped to craft. Should a US policy tied entirely to a peace treaty whose promises to Palestinians have been repeatedly been nullifed for 30 years, leading the Egyptians to sour on it, be questioned? Maybe the U.S. ought to start listening to the Egyptian people.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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46 Responses

  1. OlegR
    June 28, 2012, 4:31 pm

    Philip you way way over-credit the importance of the Palestinian part of the peace
    treaty.
    The peace treaty was about Israel and Egypt no having tank brigades clashing
    every 5 to 10 years in the Sinai desert.
    And this is the meaning of the treaty today.
    The Palestinians were and still are, as always, a convenient means to rally the masses.The Muslim Brotherhood have very specific pan Arabian or more precisely pan Muslim goals that has nothing to do with Palestinian emancipation, freedom or national state with, apart, or instead of Israel.

    • Shingo
      June 29, 2012, 8:08 am

      The peace treaty was about Israel and Egypt no having tank brigades clashing every 5 to 10 years in the Sinai desert.

      No Oleg, the peace treaty is about Israel being able to act with impunity in the occupied territories and violating that the 5 year window of allowing the Palestinians self determination. The peace treaty is an insurance policy for Israel, in so much as the money from Washington is a bribe to buy Egypt’s silence.

    • Hostage
      June 29, 2012, 8:55 am

      These comments strike me as deceptive.
      They are. Members of the armed forces are not automatons. They usually hold the same views and prejudices as the rest of the societies they are drawn from. In some countries they do afford poor people a path of upward social mobility, and an opportunity for foreign aid money to skew domestic policies. But there was no problem finding 23 individuals, including many members of the military, to assist in the assassination of Anwar Sadat in retaliation for the conclusion of the peace treaty with Israel.

      The peace treaty was about Israel and Egypt no having tank brigades clashing
      every 5 to 10 years in the Sinai desert.

      Yes, but the only way Sadat could sell that idea to his countrymen was on the basis of land for peace which requires Israeli withdrawal from Arab territory and full Palestinian autonomy.

      The new Egyptian President, Morsi, and General Tantawi will be pushed aside in the very same way that Mubarak was dethroned by street protestors if that doesn’t eventually happen. Tantawi only has a limited ability to act against the wishes of the mass protestors, and refused to intervene when demonstrators stormed the Israeli Embassy.

      • Keith
        June 29, 2012, 8:22 pm

        HOSTAGE- “The new Egyptian President, Morsi, and General Tantawi will be pushed aside in the very same way that Mubarak was dethroned by street protestors if that doesn’t eventually happen.”

        I think you are overestimating the degree to which the Egyptian government will deviate from imperial wishes in response to pressure from street protests. Egypt is a US client state and is integrated within the transnational matrix of financial control. Egypt is not food self-sufficient and requires hard currency for imports. Any government is going to have to deal with the reality that to feed the population they are going to have to pretty much play ball with the empire and global finance. I seriously doubt that Egypt possesses the wherewithal to break from empire. Don’t forget that the “Arab Spring” was more of an extended bread riot than a true revolution. The fundamentals haven’t changed, nor are they likely to.

      • Hostage
        June 29, 2012, 10:35 pm

        I think you are overestimating the degree to which the Egyptian government will deviate from imperial wishes in response to pressure from street protests.

        Imperialists have a damned poor record of keeping their clients and mediators alive, much less in power, when the people of the region take to the streets to protest about the Zionists.

        For example Abba Eban noted that it was an unfortunate fact that nearly every Arab leader who had dealt with Israel in the Armistice negotiations had been assassinated – Nokrashy in Egypt, Zaim in Syria, Riad Solh in Lebanon, and Abdullah in Jordan. Eban said this striking coincidence, if it was a coincidence, would undoubtedly be a strong deterrent to any other Arab leader dealing with Israel. link to digicoll.library.wisc.edu

        Sadat and Rabin were both assassinated by their own constituents for making unpopular concessions.

        Egypt is not food self-sufficient and requires hard currency for imports.

        US influence was declining before AIPAC and their opponents in Congress began taking turns threatening to cutoff aid to Egypt. The lion’s share is military aid which doesn’t benefit ordinary Egyptians directly anyway.
        http://forward.com/articles/158205/egypt-aid-under-fire-over-power-grab/?p=all
        http://www.aipac.org/en/in-the-news?newsid={B5F36F1C-829F-4300-8CDB-77B04989A356}

        The Egyptians and China have signed refinery and other trade deals worth billions. The Mubarak regime signed nuclear power deals with Russia, not with firms in the US or EU.
        http://www.afroshanghai.com/news/view/Egypt-&-China-to-build-the-largest-oil-refinery-in-Africa-&-Arab-world/14/
        http://allafrica.com/stories/201204160221.html
        http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7313037.stm

        So there are indications that Egypt could look elsewhere for support if its relationship with Washington cools-off.

      • Keith
        June 30, 2012, 11:48 am

        HOSTAGE- “Imperialists have a damned poor record of keeping their clients and mediators alive, much less in power, when the people of the region take to the streets to protest about the Zionists.”

        I think you are confusing individual dictators with the overall structure of power. The US has a history of supporting their pet dictators as long as possible, then abandoning the individual to save the system. Marcos in the Philippines, for example, or the dictators in South Korea, etc. The underlying structure of power in Egypt has yet to change and is unlikely to do so simply because of street demonstrations. Unless, of course, the US supports the demonstrations, in which case there is more to the demonstrations than meets the eye. The guy in office is merely the public face of real power, not that significant, and that includes Obama. The only truly significant change in the Middle East so far is empire crushing all opposition, Libya down, Syria and Iran under attack.

        “US influence was declining before AIPAC and their opponents in Congress began taking turns threatening to cutoff aid to Egypt. The lion’s share is military aid which doesn’t benefit ordinary Egyptians directly anyway.”

        AIPAC threats to cut off aid are political theater which is why it hasn’t happened. The military aid indicates that the Egyptian generals work for Uncle Sam, hardly a propitious situation for democratic power sharing. Don’t forget about the Egyptian government having “to negotiate with the IMF.” This is part of what I refer to as the global matrix of financial control.

        “The Egyptians and China have signed refinery and other trade deals worth billions. The Mubarak regime signed nuclear power deals with Russia, not with firms in the US or EU.”

        Yeah, and how many deals had Gaddafi signed with China before Libya was attacked? How much good did it do him? So the Egyptian generals are going to abandon their US paymaster to do a deal with the Russians? Good luck on that. US/NATO/Israel have turned the Mediterranean into a US/NATO lake, AFRICOM is on the offensive, Iran is being strangled and Syria torn apart, Russia can’t stop the eastward expansion of NATO and missile defense, China is under threat of the recent US ‘pivot’ to the far East, and the Muslim Brotherhood is staunchly anti-communist. If the street demonstrations get too troublesome, aid can be reduced and the Egyptians go hungry, sectarian conflicts increase, civil war and social disintegration ensue. Divide and conquer, divide and rule. If you aren’t with us, we destroy you, it is what empires do.

        Of course, this is all opinion, a judgment call. Where I see a fundamentally weak Egypt trapped in a matrix of imperial control and incapable of breaking free, you see considerable opportunity for independence, propelled forward by popular discontent manifesting itself in massive street demonstrations which overcome a decaying and impotent empire, Russia and China the pillars of a new world order. We’ll see.

      • Hostage
        June 30, 2012, 1:48 pm

        I think you are confusing individual dictators with the overall structure of power.

        When the Egyptian demonstrators were storming the Israeli Embassy, Netanyahu, Clinton, and Panetta couldn’t get Tantawi or his people to answer their phone calls. When the US Transportation Secretary’s son and 42 other NGO workers were facing prison in Egypt, the Army and the Courts were sending the US Administration an unmistakable message for several weeks about the change in the overall structure of power.

        The Egyptian Military leaders are caught between a rock and a hard place. AIPAC and its friends in Congress like Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas), the chairwoman of the foreign operations subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee; Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), the chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee; and Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), the chairman of the Senate subcommittee on international development and foreign assistance have threatened to cutoff foreign military aid to Egypt if a democratically elected Islamist government takes power. On the other hand, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s budget panel for the State Department and foreign operations and his allies have already placed conditions on the $1.3 billion in U.S. military aid to Egypt that requires the Egyptian military leaders to keep their pledges to the Egyptian people, implement democratic reforms, and permit civilian rule of the country.

        The Egyptian military has been deployed in the Sinai ever since the attacks on the gas pipelines to Israel and Jordan began. After the attack on Eilat there’s every indication that Israel and the Egyptians consider that situation to be permanent. Egyptian sources say the government has no intention of surrendering it’s sovereign right to deploy its forces anywhere in the country or of withdrawing those forces from the Sinai again. Egypt has also cancelled its sale of natural gas to Israel at below market prices and has stated that it intends to revisit the other provisions of the Camp David Accords to help the Palestinians regain their land and their rights. So the changes that have occurred so far have not accrued to western imperialist interests.

      • Keith
        July 1, 2012, 5:55 pm

        HOSTAGE- “When the Egyptian demonstrators were storming the Israeli Embassy, Netanyahu, Clinton, and Panetta couldn’t get Tantawi or his people to answer their phone calls.”

        So? First of all, unless you are part of CIA intelligence, you got this from some media source, which means it was given to this media source with the intent to impact the perceptions of the target audience in such a manner as to facilitate the objectives of whoever leaked the information. Now if you have top secret information that the Egyptian generals are defying the US Central Command, then maybe you have something. Nowadays, diplomacy is more the province of the military commanders than the State Department, similar to the role of proconsul in the Roman empire.

        “The Egyptian Military leaders are caught between a rock and a hard place.”

        The Egyptian leaders are in a difficult and delicate situation, however, the “rock and a hard place” analogy implies a symmetry of force which does not exist. The power imbalance is enormous. It is a mistake to focus on the tactical skirmishes while ignoring the strategic reality. When Egypt defies the IMF and rolls back neoliberalism, then I’ll believe that Egypt has broken free of empire, not before. Nothing you have said has changed my opinion that Egypt lacks the wherewithal to chart an independent course. As for the post itself, I agree with Miller that “since Egypt is so dependent on external sources of aid and economic reform, the brothers are going to have to adopt a pretty internationalist, reform-minded modernist view of economic change.”

        The reason I am pursuing this in depth is that I think folks are getting carried away with euphoria based upon wishful think in regards to the “Arab Spring.” As you will recall, the catalyst for the uprisings was some guy in Tunisia who set himself on fire because of economic deprivation. This wasn’t a case of ‘give me liberty or give me death,’ this was a consequence of no job and no hope. In other words, a consequence of neoliberal globalization. The people who initiated this policy are fully aware that these policies will lead to mass deprivation leading to mass resistance. They are anticipating this and have made preparations to deal with it. Whether they will be successful is another matter. What should be clear is that they didn’t embark on this remaking of the globe only to back down over massive protests. Full spectrum dominance is not to be taken lightly. The people calling the shots are the same kind who put enemy cities to the sword, nuked Hiroshima, carpet bombed the Mekong delta, etc. They don’t take defiance lightly. Perhaps Egypt will wiggle free, however, I doubt it.

      • ColinWright
        July 2, 2012, 4:40 am

        “…Nowadays, diplomacy is more the province of the military commanders than the State Department, similar to the role of proconsul in the Roman empire…

        …this was a consequence of no job and no hope. In other words, a consequence of neoliberal globalization. The people who initiated this policy are fully aware that these policies will lead to mass deprivation leading to mass resistance. They are anticipating this and have made preparations to deal with it…What should be clear is that they didn’t embark on this remaking of the globe only to back down over massive protests. Full spectrum dominance is not to be taken lightly. The people calling the shots are the same kind who put enemy cities to the sword, nuked Hiroshima, carpet bombed the Mekong delta, etc. They don’t take defiance lightly…”

        No offense, but I think you’re completely wrong about everything.

      • Hostage
        July 3, 2012, 7:49 am

        So? First of all, unless you are part of CIA intelligence, you got this from some media source, which means it was given to this media source with the intent to impact the perceptions of the target audience in such a manner as to facilitate the objectives of whoever leaked the information.

        The notion that the CIA or the government is controlling everyone’s perceptions is tin-foil hat conspiracy type nonsense. As often as not, information is leaked despite the best efforts of an administration to prevent that from happening.

        The Embassy and its security wall were under attack on Al Jazeera live for nearly 13 hours. There was coverage of the guy scaling the building and taking down the Israeli flag, and of people ransacking the offices and pouring documents out of the windows. Israeli staff were trapped and finally had to be escorted out wearing keffiyehs and disguises. Unless you’ve got a report that says the Mossad or the CIA had a hand in all of that, I’ll just take the spontaneous responses from Israeli, US, and Egyptian government officials at face value.

        The IMF forgave Egypt’s debt when it joined the US-led coalition during the first Gulf War. Egypt’s largest trading partners remain the Arab States, Asian States, and the Mercosur and the Andean Community, not the EU or the US. It has a standby loan or line of credit with the IMF for $3 billion, but many of the IMF’s largest sources of funding, like Japan, can hardly be described as warmongering imperialists.

        Now if you have top secret information that the Egyptian generals are defying the US Central Command, then maybe you have something.

        I’ve served on CENTCOM departmental and operational staffs twenty years ago and have friends that still do. The idea that CENTCOM is giving Egyptian generals orders about their domestic role or authoring US foreign policy regarding how the Egyptian government should operate is pretty far-fetched. That sort of meddling is done at a much higher level and is the reserve of the White House and the Congress. The Egyptian government has abandoned its extraordinary efforts to close down the Gaza smuggling tunnels in cooperation with the US Army Corps of Engineers*, and it no longer cooperates with Israel in trying to prevent the movement of people through the crossing at Rafah. The United States can’t keep news like that a secret.
        *http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/dec/10/egypt-underground-wall-gaza
        *Egypt to reopen Gaza border crossing, raising Israeli concerns
        http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/egypt-to-reopen-gaza-border-crossing-over-israeli-objections/2011/05/25/AG6f8MBH_story.html

        The Egyptian leaders are in a difficult and delicate situation, however, the “rock and a hard place” analogy implies a symmetry of force

        The difficulty arises because the US Congress is trying to leverage its $1.3 billion in military aid for political influence. Opposing forces in our own Congress, who’ve shutdown our government over their budget squabbles, are trying to do the same thing to the Egyptians.

        You’ve still not addressed the fact that the Arab leaders who negotiated the armistice agreements were assassinated. The Egyptian monarchy and its British advisors were overthrown by the Free Officers Movement, led by a bunch of low ranking Lieutenant Colonels. Members of that new regime were in-turn assassinated and finally deposed by a popular mass uprising. The same fate could very easily await General Tantawi and his associates.

      • Shingo
        July 3, 2012, 8:37 am

        Egypt to reopen Gaza border crossing, raising Israeli concerns

        In spite of the fanfare that ccompanied that headline Hostage, I’ve heard many reports since that the opening was a huge dissapointment. At first, there were huge delays, and little by little, it returned to being closed for longer and longer periods of time.

        Adam Morrow, who is stationed in Egypt, has revelaed on the antiwar.com podcasts that the Rafah border crossing with Gaza is technically open, but fails to function as a typical international border with regard to commercial traffic.

      • Hostage
        July 3, 2012, 3:39 pm

        In spite of the fanfare that ccompanied that headline Hostage, I’ve heard many reports since that the opening was a huge dissapointment.

        The Palestinian airlines were not running scheduled flights from El Arish before and Ismail Haniyeh was not able to visit Tunisia, Iran, and Turkey before.

      • Keith
        July 3, 2012, 3:50 pm

        HOSTAGE- “The notion that the CIA or the government is controlling everyone’s perceptions is tin-foil hat conspiracy type nonsense.”

        I am surprised and disappointed at this blatant misrepresentation of my comment. I was surmising that you were probably getting your information from the main stream media and that this information reflects the biases of the information sources, hence, need to be evaluated with extreme caution. Much of the ‘news’ we get are fabrications of the PR industry and need to be taken with a grain of salt. I never said nor implied that “the CIA or the government is controlling everyone’s perceptions.” You appear to be attempting to label my comments as “tin-foil hat conspiracy type nonsense.” This is intellectually dishonest.

        “I’ve served on CENTCOM departmental and operational staffs twenty years ago and have friends that still do. The idea that CENTCOM is giving Egyptian generals orders about their domestic role or authoring US foreign policy regarding how the Egyptian government should operate is pretty far-fetched.”

        Are you touting your credentials or confessing your bias? In “The Sorrows of Empire,” Chalmers Johnson discusses the US empire of military bases and force projection. He states: “In the Middle East (CENTCOM), the Pacific (PACOM), Europe (EUCOM), and Latin America (SOUTHCOM), the CINCs oversee such things as intelligence, special operations, space assets, nuclear forces, arms sales and military bases; and they produce what what are called “theater engagement plans.” These are essentially mini-foreign policy statements for each region and include explicit programs to cultivate close relations with local military organizations…..Everything is done very quietly and with virtually no political oversight…..Over time, the CINCs have become more influential in their region than ambassadors. When General Anthony C. Zinni of the marines was head of CENTCOM, he had twenty ambassadors serving under him and a personal political adviser with ambassadorial rank….A CINC reports directly to the president and secretary of defense, avoiding the service chiefs and the normal chain of command.” This represents more recent developments, perhaps not what the situation was when you were involved.

        He goes on to relate an interesting story. “When, in October 1999, General Pervez Musharraf carried out a military coup d’etat in Pakistan, President Clinton telephoned to protest and asked to be called back. Musharraf instead called General Zinni and reportedly began, “Tony, I want to tell you what I am doing.” General Zinni ignored the congressional ban on foreign aid to a country that has undergone a military coup and emerged as one of Musharraf’s strongest supporters….” The notion that the regional CINCs are intimately involved with the regional military chiefs and, by extension, in the local politics is hardly “far-fetched.” The exact nature and circumstances can only be guessed at or, better yet, inferred from the facts on the ground, the only sound basis for a strategic analysis, Al Jazeera live reports notwithstanding.

        “The Egyptian monarchy and its British advisors were overthrown by the Free Officers Movement, led by a bunch of low ranking Lieutenant Colonels. Members of that new regime were in-turn assassinated and finally deposed by a popular mass uprising.”

        Nasser was assassinated? The regime deposed by a popular mass uprising? Are you serious? Funny, I thought that Nasser was enfeebled by the 1967 war with Israel, yet remained popular to the end. Sadat shifted Egypt away from the USSR and toward the US, where it has remained ever since. When Sadat was assassinated he was replaced by Mubarak who continued to ally with the US. The current military leadership is on the US payroll and the essential policies remain intact.

        Finally, you seem to place inordinate significance on the assault on the Israeli embassy by rioters. Once again, so what? It has close to zero strategic significance. Also, the fact that Japan, etc can hardly be described as “warmongering imperialists,” indicates what? The IMF has acted as an instrument of US power since its inception. Last, but not least, the changes regarding both the tunnels into Gaza and the Rafah crossing are minimal concessions to popular demand. In fact, Israel would like nothing better than to fob off Gaza onto Egypt, which the Egyptian military opposes due to uniting Hamas with the Muslim Brotherhood. In conclusion, our perspectives are quite different, possibly irreconcilable.

      • Hostage
        July 4, 2012, 6:50 pm

        Are you touting your credentials or confessing your bias? In “The Sorrows of Empire,” Chalmers Johnson discusses the US empire of military bases and force projection. He states: “In the Middle East (CENTCOM), the Pacific (PACOM), Europe (EUCOM), and Latin America (SOUTHCOM), the CINCs oversee such things as intelligence, special operations, space assets, nuclear forces, arms sales and military bases; and they produce what are called “theater engagement plans.”

        None of the things that you’ve just mentioned contains marching orders for Egyptian Generals or dictate the role that they can, or cannot play, in their own governments.

        I agree with some of Chalmers Johnson’s conclusions about the historical role of the military and US imperialism, but disagree with any sweeping generalizations.

        WRT General Zinni, Johnson cited a Washington Post article by Dana Priest which does not support many of the details contained in his narrative. http://www.drworley.org/NSPcommon/DanaPriest/WP-2000-09-28-Priest-proconsul.doc

        I agree with much of what Priest had to say, but she also employed some broad generalizations about the significance of the Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986. The military had powerful CINCs long before that act was signed into law and many military leaders have gone on to serve in high political office ever since the founding days of the Republic. She failed to mention the fact that General Zinni had served as a Presidential envoy on the Israel-Palestinian conflict, which was outside his CENTCOM Area of Responsibility. He also headed the special Presidential mission to Pakistan and India during the Kargil crisis in June-July of 1999, which was a trigger of the Sharif-Musharraf falling-out and coup. Priest didn’t even mention the fact that those jobs were the result of Executive Orders, not the Goldwater-Nichols statute. They were not part of General Zinni’s normal duties as the Commander-in-Chief of CENTCOM.

        In any event, Priest’s article doesn’t support Johnson’s assertion that Zinni violated Congressional prohibitions:
        *Priest noted that “the Clinton administration” had sent a stern protest to Musharraf after the October 1999 coup and waited, wondering how he would respond? There was no mention of any personal call from Clinton requesting that Musharraf call him back personally.
        *In June-July of 1999 General Zinni had headed-up a Presidential Mission to Pakistan and India during the Kargil War:

        I was therefore directed by the administration to head a presidential mission to Pakistan to convince Prime Minister Sharif and General Musharraf to withdraw their forces from Kargil. I met with the Pakistani leaders in Islamabad on June 24 and 25 and put forth a simple rationale for withdrawing: “If you don’t pull back, you’re going to bring war and nuclear annihilation down on your country. That’s going to be very bad news for everybody.” Nobody actually quarreled with this rationale. The problem for the Pakistani leadership was the apparent national loss of face. Backing down and pulling back to the Line of Control looked like political suicide. We needed to come up with a face-saving way out of this mess. What we were able to offer was a meeting with President Clinton, which would end the isolation that had long been the state of affairs between our two countries, but we would announce the meeting only after a withdrawal of forces. That got Musharraf ’s attention; and he encouraged Prime Minister Sharif to hear me out. Sharif was reluctant to withdraw before the meeting with Clinton was announced (again, his problem was maintaining face); but after I insisted, he finally came around and he ordered the withdrawal. We set up a meeting with Clinton in July. . . . . Sharif set in motion his own downfall by trying to fire General Musharraf, while Musharraf was out of the country, and to put the chief of intelligence in his place. He had originally given Musharraf the job under the misperception that Musharraf would be easy to control.

        Battle Ready (Commander Series), Penguin Group, 2009, pp. 401-402

        *The Secretary of Defense instructed Zinni to take Musharraf’s call after the coup:

        In November, I was in a reviewing stand with Secretary Cohen, participating in Bright Star, when my communicator announced that a call from General Musharraf had been patched through to my satellite phone (which was with me at all times). I turned to Cohen. “What do you want me to do?” I asked. “Take the call, but don’t make any commitments,” he said. It was a personal call between friends, Musharraf explained (though, of course, we both knew that any conversation we had would have wider ramifications). He wanted me to know what had led to the coup and why he and the other military leaders had had no choice . . . . The coup did not play well in Washington, and I was ordered to cease communications with General Musharraf. Though I thought the order was stupid, I complied.

        — Battle Ready page 403

        *Zinni gave no assistance to Mushariff:

        In December, Jordanian intelligence uncovered a massive plot to kill American tourists at the turn-of-millennium celebrations in Jordan and throughout the Middle East. The captured terrorists, who had links to Osama bin Laden, revealed that their immediate leaders were in Pakistan. Calls soon came from the State Department and National Security Council: “Please call Musharraf and ask him to help.” In response to my requests, Musharraf arrested the terrorists (and gave us access to them and to their confiscated computer disks) . . . and threw in several other favors. “Now do something for Musharraf,” I told Washington. “Or at least let us reconnect.” The answer was no. I called Musharraf and told him how disappointed I was. “I know that cooperation isn’t popular in some circles of your own government and people, as well,” I explained. “I know what courage it took to do what you did for us. So it’s doubly embarrassing for me that I can’t give you anything in return.” “I don’t want or expect anything for what I’ve done,” Musharraf replied. “Tony, I did it because it was the right thing to do.”

        — Battle Ready page 404

        *General Zinni retired in July 2000. The fact that he was an outspoken supporter of normalizing relations with the Musharraf regime prior to 9/11 was a reflection of his personal advice and opinion. Zinni opposed the invasion of Iraq and he spoke out publicly against the plan to recognize the Iraqi National Congress and the Neocon’s puppet, Ahmed Chalabi. Priest wrote:

        Zinni caught heat when he told a Senate panel that he opposed the Clinton administration’s idea of funding an Iraqi opposition group to overthrow Saddam Hussein. Cohen prohibited him from holding on-the- record media interviews. Zinni remembers national security adviser Samuel R. “Sandy” Berger demanding, “What gives you the right to say that?”
        ” ‘Well,’ ” Zinni recalls saying, ” ‘the First Amendment.’ “

        The IMF and the US Southern Command are pariahs in South America. The Priest article notes that the US has no strategic plan for South America and that government’s in Central and South America want nothing to do with the Command. It has no forces of its own and no “theater engagement plans.”

        I am surprised and disappointed at this blatant misrepresentation of my comment.

        You characterized the story as a leak and implied that the information was only given to the media with the intent to impact the perceptions of the target audience in such a manner as to facilitate the objectives of whoever leaked the information. Israeli sources certainly tried to spin the news reports as if Egypt’s military rulers had simply ignored pleas from the US. But the obvious bottom line was that the military was no longer willing or able to maintain its former special relationship with the government of Israel, in light of widespread popular resentment. Imperial power and a quarter will buy you a cup of coffee, but it won’t secure support for a demilitarized Sinai, below market price natural gas sales, or the Israeli/US policy on the closure of Gaza.

        Nasser was assassinated?

        My point was that Mahmoud Nokrashy and Anwar Sadat were assassinated by members of indigenous Islamic nationalist organizations and that Mubarak was finally deposed through the efforts of a grassroots uprising supported and exploited by the Brotherhood – and that the IMF or CENTCOM can’t prevent the same thing from happening to Field Marshal Tantawi and Co.

        Also, the fact that Japan, etc can hardly be described as “warmongering imperialists,” indicates what?

        Japan has committed to lend an amount similar to that of the US in the event the IMF needs additional resources, e.g. http://www.imf.org/external/np/exr/facts/gabnab.htm

        The US no longer controls IMF policy on quotas and the voice of the other member countries in the day to day operation of the organization. http://www.imf.org/external/np/exr/facts/eng/list.aspx

      • Keith
        July 5, 2012, 12:55 am

        HOSTAGE- “None of the things that you’ve just mentioned contains marching orders for Egyptian Generals or dictate the role that they can, or cannot play, in their own governments.”

        Whoa, partner. This whole CENTCOM business started when I responded to your comment that “When the Egyptian demonstrators were storming the Israeli Embassy, Netanyahu, Clinton, and Panetta couldn’t get Tantawi or his people to answer their phone calls.” Assuming this came from the media, it was probably uncorroborated and provided by a leaker with an agenda. Not the type of thing I would accept uncritically or place inordinate emphasis upon. Hardly a controversial position, or are you claiming that the mass media is unbiased? Further, I would be astonished if there wasn’t some military to military communication between the Egyptian generals and CENTCOM. Are you saying that there wasn’t? I never mentioned “marching orders,” those are your words. The implications of your comment was that the Egyptian generals were acting autonomously, ignoring US wishes. I don’t believe that for a minute. Are you seriously saying that there was no communication between CENTCOM and the Egyptian generals? Or that CENTCOM lacks influence? Finally, you place great faith in the claim that Tantawi or his people didn’t answer their phone calls, yet disparage Chalmers Johnson’s quote concerning Musharraf and Zinni. Interesting.

        As for the IMF, what did I say? “The IMF has acted as an instrument of US power since its inception.” Your latest response? A link to the IMF website. Are you stating for the record that in your opinion the IMF is no longer an instrument of Western imperialism? Over at Znet, Robert Fisk touches upon Egypt’s need for IMF funding. “Baradei’s appointment would help Morsi keep the streets calm and allow Egypt to come up with an economic plan to persuade the International Monetary Fund to loan the country the money it needs to survive.” http://www.zcommunications.org/president-morsi-a-rigged-ballot-and-a-foxs-tale-that-has-all-of-cairo-abuzz-by-robert-fisk To quote myself again, “When Egypt defies the IMF and rolls back neoliberalism, then I’ll believe that Egypt has broken free of empire, not before.” Pretty straightforward, no need to discuss IMF quotas. Funny how neoliberalism proceeds apace in spite of your claimed changes to the IMF.

        “My point was that Mahmoud Nokrashy and Anwar Sadat were assassinated by members of indigenous Islamic nationalist organizations….” Once again you are being disingenuous. What did you say? “Members of that new regime were in-turn assassinated and finally deposed by a popular mass uprising.” I don’t know who Nokrashy is, nor do I intend to take the time to go on a wild goose chase. The “new regime” was headed by Nasser who was lionized to the end. Sadat was assassinated by Muslim Brotherhood members of the military, hardly grassroots. Mubarak was in power for over 30 years before there was a “popular mass uprising,” as much a consequence of neoliberal globalization as with revulsion with Mubarak’s excesses of corruption which, I might add, would have elevated his son as heir conflicting with the tradition of military rule. As a consequence, the military’s loyalty to Mubarak was tentative whereas the military’s loyalty to itself very strong. It was a long time from Nasser to Mubarak during which the Arab street was contained. Your verbal depiction of events would lead someone to believe that the Arab street had considerable power in Egypt, which was not the case. Even now their power is debatable.

        A couple of quick points to conclude. First of all, I’m not particularly interested in lengthy quotes from some official “Battle Ready (Commander Series)”. I know nothing about this, but assume it is probably an official self-serving history. Nor am I interested in comparing your interpretation of the Dana Priest article with what appears in Chalmers Johnson book. My opinion is that “The Sorrows of Empire” is well researched and fundamentally sound. The reality of the US empire involving military bases and force projection seems to me valid and insightful. There is no need for empire to micro-manage affairs, it is enough that power determines the direction of change. Perhaps our major area of disagreement concerns the ability of the Arab street to influence events in the Middle East. I see little evidence that this is the case. I think the opposite is true. If the people had real power, things would be radically different in the Middle East. Has the balance of power significantly changed? I doubt it. Time will tell. And nothing we say will affect the outcome. Perhaps we should revisit this in a year to see what happens.

      • Hostage
        July 5, 2012, 11:09 pm

        Keith says:
        July 5, 2012 at 12:55 am I never mentioned “marching orders,” those are your words. The implications of your comment was that the Egyptian generals were acting autonomously, ignoring US wishes. I don’t believe that for a minute.

        Keith says:
        July 1, 2012 at 5:55 pm Now if you have top secret information that the Egyptian generals are defying the US Central Command, then maybe you have something.

        I’m telling you that none of the things that your source, Johnson, mentioned contain directives from CENTCOM that Egyptian Generals can defy.

        To quote myself again, “When Egypt defies the IMF and rolls back neoliberalism, then I’ll believe that Egypt has broken free of empire, not before.” . . . Funny how neoliberalism proceeds apace

        The IMF has 187 other member states that help govern and fund the organization. Fisk is a good reporter, but he’s no prophet. Egypt was offered a $3 billion dollar standby loan from the IMF last year, but turned it down when the GCC states gave it over a billion in budgetary “gifts” – despite your assertion that “neoliberalism proceeds apace”. e.g. http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/06/25/us-egypt-finance-idUSTRE75O0Q420110625

        Nor am I interested in comparing your interpretation of the Dana Priest article with what appears in Chalmers Johnson book. My opinion is that “The Sorrows of Empire” is well researched and fundamentally sound.

        LOL! Chalmers Johnson claimed that the CINC CENTCOM had twenty ambassadors working for him, but forgot to mention that Zinni had been tasked by the Clinton administration to be the President’s special envoy on the I-P conflict and to head the President’s special mission to Prime Minister Sharif and General Musharraf during the Kargil crisis which triggered the coup. So Musharraf didn’t just pick Zinni out of thin air and call him on an impulse.

        The Priest article noted that Secretary Cohen was with Zinni when Musharraf called the General. The assertion by Johnson that Zinni violated a Congressional prohibition is vague and not supported at all by the Priest article that he cited. If you don’t have time to inform your opinion, then I’ll ignore what you have to say from now on. You obviously made-up your mind before you ever looked at the evidence that you’re endorsing.

        If the people had real power, things would be radically different in the Middle East.

        If people had real power, things would be radically different in the US. That doesn’t mean that we are suffering from foreign domination. The source of the domination is indigenous to many of the Middle Eastern countries too.

      • Djinn
        July 6, 2012, 6:00 am

        Not sure that Haniyeh’s ability to travel is the best gauge of whether Rafah is open or not. According to friends attempting to travel via Rafah since the ousting of Mubarak it has remained essentially closed. Small numbers of people in certain categories have crossed but that happened pre Tahrir too. Those numbers are higher now but it is not “open” in any real sense of the word.

      • Keith
        July 6, 2012, 7:17 pm

        HOSTAGE- You have gone so far over the top on this Egypt business that I am forced to conclude that you may be intentionally engaging in disinformation. I hadn’t planned on making additional comments, but your last misrepresentation of reality compels me to do so. I’m going to focus on the two critical areas of dispute.

        Hostage writes: “The IMF has 187 other member states that help govern and fund the organization. Fisk is a good reporter, but he’s no prophet. Egypt was offered a $3 billion dollar standby loan from the IMF last year, but turned it down when the GCC states gave it over a billion in budgetary “gifts” – despite your assertion that “neoliberalism proceeds apace”.

        Quoting myself yet again: “As for the IMF, what did I say? “The IMF has acted as an instrument of US power since its inception.” Your latest response? A link to the IMF website. Are you stating for the record that in your opinion the IMF is no longer an instrument of Western imperialism?” No, you don’t say that the IMF is no longer an instrument of imperialism, you disingenuously imply that it is not with the “187 other member states that help govern and fund the organization.” red herring. You have done that again and again, imply something which you probably know is not true. You chide me for not doing research (a standard ploy, I might add), then imply something so far removed from reality as to be a joke. The IMF is not a democratic organization and you know it. The US pretty much runs the show consistent with US strategic objectives. That may change in the future, but it is the reality now.

        This comment is really sweet. “Egypt was offered a $3 billion dollar standby loan from the IMF last year, but turned it down when the GCC states gave it over a billion in budgetary “gifts” – despite your assertion that “neoliberalism proceeds apace” You link to a brief Reuters article which supports my position more than yours and which I encourage everyone to read.

        Oh, Jeez, the IMF offered Egypt a loan of $3 billion in 2011 to offset the cost of the uprising. What a shocker! Money was made available to the generals to stay the course. But wait! Egypt turned it down because of “gifts,” primarily from Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Hostage, for cry sakes, Saudi Arabia and Qatar ain’t funding no Arab spring, they are funding the opposition to the Arab spring. Funding, I might add, which will disappear if the generals get out of line. And you try to spin this to imply that Egypt has considerable freedom of action, which it doesn’t. Egypt requires outside funding to purchase food to feed its people. If a government comes to power in Egypt which desires to break free from the Washington consensus and empire, it will have to deal with the consequences of a probable loss of funding from global finance, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, not to mention US aid which pays the generals’ salaries. It is a pretty big club which you are doing your best to imply doesn’t exist.

        As for neoliberalism proceeding apace, one has only to look at the European Union and elsewhere to realize the truth of the statement. If riots in Spain, Italy and Greece didn’t stop global neoliberalism, it is hard to imagine Egypt being different.

        Let us get back to a topic you claim intimate familiarity with- CENTCOM. Let us begin with my comment that you have focused on, disingenuously I might add. “Now if you have top secret information that the Egyptian generals are defying the US Central Command, then maybe you have something.” I made this comment in response to your assertion that “When the Egyptian demonstrators were storming the Israeli Embassy, Netanyahu, Clinton, and Panetta couldn’t get Tantawi or his people to answer their phone calls.” Once again Hostage, “The implications of your comment was that the Egyptian generals were acting autonomously, ignoring US wishes.” I don’t see how it is possible to interpret your comment any other way. Once again, you are implying something while maintaining plausible deniability. This is bullshit. If there was any doubt about what I meant, I said in a follow-up comment, “Further, I would be astonished if there wasn’t some military to military communication between the Egyptian generals and CENTCOM. Are you saying that there wasn’t?”

        Did you respond in a straightforward manner? Of course not. You quoted a follow-up comment followed by the original comment which you attacked using semantic subterfuge. “I’m telling you that none of the things that your source, Johnson, mentioned contain directives from CENTCOM that Egyptian Generals can defy.” First of all, Chalmers Johnson wasn’t my source for my opinion that if the generals defied CENTCOM’s wishes, that would be more indicative of autonomy than your quote. CENTCOM doesn’t give directives or issue marching orders, these are words designed to obfuscate. CENTCOM probably diplomatically indicates what the US would like to see transpire and what the US opposes. So, once again, you evade my actual questions and comments to attack a straw man. How many times have I said that “I would be astonished if there wasn’t some military to military communication between the Egyptian generals and CENTCOM. Are you saying that there wasn’t?” How many times have you evaded the question? This is the central question as to how involved the US was in the decision making of the Egyptian generals, who, to reiterate, are on the US payroll.

        Oh, how I love this comment! “LOL! Chalmers Johnson claimed that the CINC CENTCOM had twenty ambassadors working for him, but forgot to mention that Zinni had been tasked by the Clinton administration to be the President’s special envoy on the I-P conflict and to head the President’s special mission to Prime Minister Sharif and General Musharraf during the Kargil crisis which triggered the coup. So Musharraf didn’t just pick Zinni out of thin air and call him on an impulse.” So, you have more or less confirmed the accuracy of Chalmers Johnson’s account, while making a big to do about Zinni being a special envoy. Clinton picks the head of CENTCOM to be his special diplomatic envoy, and this weakens my case? Laugh out loud all you want, Hostage, I see this as further proof that CINC CENTCOM has a lot of power and influence. And, once again, I find the notion that the US was uninvolved in the events which transpired, or no longer has considerable influence over the course of events to be ludicrous.

        I am about to quote you making an outlandish statement. “If people had real power, things would be radically different in the US. That doesn’t mean that we are suffering from foreign domination. The source of the domination is indigenous to many of the Middle Eastern countries too.”

        The US is the home base of a global empire. Of course we are not suffering from foreign domination, unless you consider global capital foreign. Egypt is not an empire, it is a vassal state, and YES it suffers from foreign domination. As British Lord Cromer noted, “We do not govern Egypt, we govern the governors of Egypt.” Egypt has been a Western vassal state for a long time, the period of Nasser’s rule the exception. Why the bullshit? No doubt, some Middle Eastern countries are the primary source of local domination, however, all of the Middle East monarchies are aligned with the US and receive US support. I can’t believe that you are unaware of that, so why the disingenuous comment implying (but not saying) otherwise? At this stage of the game, I can only conclude that you have an agenda. Perhaps it is related to your good old boy friends at CENTCOM.

        One final point that seals it for me. My quote: “General Zinni ignored the congressional ban on foreign aid to a country that has undergone a military coup and emerged as one of Musharraf’s strongest supporters….” Your reply: “The assertion by Johnson that Zinni violated a Congressional prohibition is vague and not supported at all by the Priest article that he cited.” This tells me that you are intentionally lying. Is there or is there not a congressional ban on foreign aid to a country that has undergone a military coup? Simple question, Hostage. Kindly cut the bullshit and answer it! Your reference to the Priest article is, once again, a dishonest bait and switch attempt to imply something without being caught in a lie. This whole exchange has been a revelation for me. You say,”If you don’t have time to inform your opinion, then I’ll ignore what you have to say from now on.” That suits me partner. At least I don’t engage in footnoted bullshit. By the way, you crank out a lot of lengthy, referenced comments. Are you working alone, or am I dealing with Team Hostage?

      • Keith
        July 6, 2012, 8:21 pm

        By lucky coincidence, an article over at Counterpunch discusses the Egyptian uprising:

        “The Obama administration, following U.S. precedent, showed no enthusiasm for the Revolution and only “accepted” the ouster of Hosni Mubarek when it was absolutely clear that the benefits of retaining a pliant, strategically valuable, state outweighed the cost of letting a loyal representative of U.S. interests fall. And in fact, after the Revolution the Egyptian military was tasked (link) with maintaining the institutions and relationships needed to further American interests in Egypt.

        The IMF (International Monetary Fund) reportedly (link) has a ‘structural adjustment program’ for Egypt waiting in the wings. This ties to the decades long effort to ‘liberalize’ the Egyptian economy for international capital. Such a program would secure control over the Egyptian economy and an intact state is needed to enforce IMF demands.”
        http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/07/06/what-do-events-in-egypt-mean-for-the-american-left/

        A link in the article takes us to another relevant article at Huffington post:

        FM: When you say ‘foreign pressure,’ I imagine you mean American pressure?

        KAF: American, Saudi, and Israeli. These were the ones who exerted the greatest pressure on the military council, basically saying you can do whatever you want in Egypt, but here are vital interests that the army must guarantee for us. The army is the one that is responsible for guaranteeing these interests.

        FM: So the army’s attempts to become a state-within-a-state do not reflect the intentions of the army alone, but also reflect its role as salaried guardian of foreign interests.

        KAF: Yes, absolutely. This leads me to the supreme court decision. What the military council did was speak to the chief justice, who remember was present when these electoral rules were drafted. The military council gave the supreme court a doomsday scenario: If the Islamists win the presidency and control the parliament, this country is going to collapse, Saudi and American investors are going to run away — and here they pointed to the stock market, which happened to lose a lot of points when it was reported that the Ikhwani person was likely to win. Egypt, they said, is in danger of becoming another Iran or worse, or we’re really worried about the Israelis invading.
        In our countries, unfortunately when you say “pressure,” it’s never domestic. The United States says democracy is fine, but you, the Egyptian army, have to guarantee the security of Israel, and this democracy, however you play it, cannot result in an unsafe situation for Israel. Democracy is fine, but you can’t touch Camp David. Democracy is fine, but you can’t touch Israel’s oil deal — the irony of which is that Israel gets a good portion of its gas from Egypt practically for nothing, but Egyptians hardly get any and they constantly have gas shortages. Democracy is fine but even lifting the blockade on Gaza — on this I was surprised, I thought they would have some leeway on this — if you lift the blockade, we’re not responsible if Israel decides to strike you, and you’re going to be in a very uncomfortable position: you’ll have to strike back against Israel or take the insult, but striking back against Israel will mean the destruction of the Egyptian army and its privileges, and so on.

        FM: In other words, democracy is fine so long as you do everything Mubarak was doing for us.

        KAF: Actually that’s a pretty good sum of it. The other issue worth mentioning is the budget. When they were talking to the supreme court, the military council made it sound as though it would be the end of the world if the parliament puts together the budget because these people are going to get into all sorts of things that will have severe repercussions. When the budget did come out it turned out to be Mubarak’s budget again, where for instance education was minimally funded and public works received practically nothing, again the same old corruption. Which is like saying to the new president, “Here’s the presidency but you cannot change any of the rules that would actually enable you to do anything in the country.”

        FM: So this is not just the military budget but the entire budget?

        KAF: The whole budget. Everything. So they used the fact the fact that the parliament was dissolved as an excuse for drawing up the budget. And they set the budget and then in the constitutional declarations they made it so that the president wouldn’t be able to touch or alter it. This is why some of the justices of the supreme court thought that they were tricked, because it had the air of a trick to dissolve the parliament and then put in unchallenged the same financial privileges that the army enjoyed under Mubarak. So the budget that was just set is identical. And it is shameful, because in a country like Egypt you have less than a billion dollars for education, and you have a very nominal amount for technological development, I think two million dollars for technological development. It’s a joke.
        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/feisal-g-mohamed/khaled-abou-el-fadl-egypt-_b_1649377.html

      • Hostage
        July 8, 2012, 11:34 am

        My quote: “General Zinni ignored the congressional ban on foreign aid to a country that has undergone a military coup and emerged as one of Musharraf’s strongest supporters….” Your reply: “The assertion by Johnson that Zinni violated a Congressional prohibition is vague and not supported at all by the Priest article that he cited.” This tells me that you are intentionally lying. Is there or is there not a congressional ban on foreign aid to a country that has undergone a military coup? Simple question, Hostage. Kindly cut the bullshit and answer it!

        Keith I already gave you a third-party verifiable quote from General Zinni which said that he could not give any foreign assistance to the Musharraf regime. I also provided readers a link to the Dana Priest article that Johnson had cited in that paragraph of his book to support his claim. It says nothing at all about Zinni violating the Congressional ban on providing foreign assistance to a coup government. This tells me that you and Johnson are deliberately lying.

        Since several Senator’s are ready to invoke that particular law to put a hold on funding for the Egyptian Generals, lets read it together:

        111 STAT. 2386 Public Law 105–118—Nov. 26, 1997, The “Foreign Operations, Export Financing, And Related Programs Appropriations Act, 1998”

        MILITARY COUPS
        SEC. 508. None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available pursuant to this Act shall be obligated or expended to finance directly any assistance to any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup or decree: Provided, That assistance may be resumed to such country if the President determines and reports to the Committees on Appropriations that subsequent to the termination of assistance a democratically elected government has taken office.

        The ban prohibits spending appropriated funds on a coup government or making such funds available for the use of a military coup regime in any form. Pakistan was not on the State Department list of countries that sponsor terror, so there was no ban on communicating with the de facto government or publicly recommending that existing diplomatic relations with Pakistan be maintained – as you and Johnson have alleged.

        Here is an article which says that, even though the Congress was subsequently going to exempt Pakistan from the ban, the administration had no intention of providing Pakistan with any military assistance, only other forms of foreign assistance: See: Congress To Exempt Ally From Arms Ban On Coup Gov’ts http://articles.nydailynews.com/2001-10-16/news/18354178_1_pakistan-government-gen-pervez-musharraf-arms-sales

        Here’s an article which says that Senator Leahy, the Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, wants to put on hold military aid to Egypt until the country commits to a democratic transition: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/leahy-wants-to-put-on-hold-military-aid-to-egypt-until-country-commits-to-democratic-transition/2012/06/15/gJQA2YMzfV_story.html

        Here’s an article which says that Leahy, like any individual senator, has the necessary power to put a hold on the release of appropriated aid money still in the pipeline should he choose to do so. Congressional sources said the senator would rather negotiate with the State Department and reach an agreement on using the aid as a lever to ensure the Egyptian military lives up to its commitment to transfer power: See Egypt Aid Under Fire Over Power Grab http://forward.com/articles/158205/egypt-aid-under-fire-over-power-grab/?p=all#ixzz1zv652OVB

        The State Department waived the restriction on funding a military coup government a few days after the Egyptian Generals lifted the travel restrictions on the 43 NGO workers. However, that won’t prevent a hold from being placed on funds still in the pipeline or on next year’s budget:

        “I have made clear to the State Department that, despite the earlier waiver of the conditions I authored, I would not want to see the U.S. government write checks for contracts with Egypt’s military under the present uncertain circumstances,” Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, said in a statement on Friday. Leahy wrote the law that allowed Clinton to approve money for the Egyptian government without certifying that the military government was moving to democratic transition.

        http://security.blogs.cnn.com/2012/06/18/egypts-reforms-in-flux-u-s-options-in-question/

        Egypt is not an empire, it is a vassal state, and YES it suffers from foreign domination.

        The State Department and State Department-funded NGOs have actually been reporting on human rights violations in Egypt all along in their periodic reports. See for example the 2010 Human Rights Report: Egypt, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2010/nea/154460.htm

        There’s only one prohibition in international law regarding recognition of belligerent or insurgent communities that call for regime change in their country – premature recognition by other states. It’s viewed as illegal intervention in matters falling within another country’s sovereign jurisdiction. People who claim that Obama did too little too late need to explain what they would have done differently? The Administration condemned every instance of violence against the demonstrators and sent NGOs that the government subsidizes into the country to assist in the transition to democracy and to monitor the elections. The government of Egypt responded by leveling criminal charges and travel restrictions against 43 NGO workers for violating “Egyptian state sovereignty”. The General’s only lifted the travel ban after the State Department announced it was waiving the military coup ban on foreign assistance, while warning that prosecution of the NGO workers would threaten future foreign assistance to Egypt. See Despite Rights Concerns, U.S. Plans to Resume Egypt Aid http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/16/world/middleeast/us-military-aid-to-egypt-to-resume-officials-say.html

        Forget defying CENTCOM, within the span of a few weeks, Secretary of State Clinton, President Obama, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Dempsey, and a Congressional delegation led by Senator John McCain either met with or spoke to Egypt’s military leaders, urging them to drop the charges and their investigation against the NGO workers, e.g. http://articles.boston.com/2012-02-19/world/31074266_1_anti-mubarak-peace-treaty-rights-groups/2

        One of the NGO workers, who was charged as a fugitive, wrote an article which explained that the Generals were acting with absolute impunity, completely unlike a “vassal state”. He also recommended using the US military assistance for leverage in the future: See “Call the Generals’ Bluff” http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/02/07/call_the_generals_bluff?page=full

        The IMF offered the Egyptian legislators a line of credit that they never utilized. So, the IMF has had little, if any, impact on the events in Egypt. But I’ll address your comments on the IMF in a separate reply.

      • Hostage
        July 8, 2012, 5:09 pm

        Quoting myself yet again: “As for the IMF, what did I say? “The IMF has acted as an instrument of US power since its inception.”

        Yeah, and I’m still saying: So what? The IMF hasn’t loaned Egypt one red cent since the Arab Spring began, and it has never been US policy to impose any sort of conditionality on IMF loans made to one of its client states – that’s one of the perks of being a US client state. You’re using inapplicable, “because I said so”, ipse dixit arguments, a lot of bluster, and bombast. I said that I agree with some of Chalmers Johnson’s conclusions about the historical role of the military and US imperialism, but disagree with any sweeping generalizations – and that’s what you are doing with all the nonsense about Egypt and the IMF.

        See the discussion of US opposition to “conditionality” for its clients in
        *Money Talks: The International Monetary Fund, Conditionality, and Supplementary Financiers. By Erica R. Gould. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2006, http://www.rochester.edu/college/psc/stone/book_reviews/rev_gould.pdf
        *Kahler, Miles. 1990. The United States and the International Monetary Fund: Declining Influence or Declining Interest? In Margaret P. Karns and Karen A. Mingst, The United States and Multilateral Institutions: Patterns of changing Instrumentality and Influence. Boston: Unwin Hyman. 91-114.
        http://books.google.com/books?id=Vd4NAAAAQAAJ&source=gbs_book_other_versions_r&cad=3

        By lucky coincidence, an article over at Counterpunch discusses the Egyptian uprising: . . . A link in the article takes us to another relevant article at Huffington post:

        (Yawn) the fellow at Counterpunch is touting the year-old story about the still unused IMF offer of a $3 billion dollar standby line of credit. That deal was actually worked-out with the now-defunct Parliament. So it may no longer even be available. No specific “structural reforms” were ever mentioned by either party in their statements at the time. You claim that Egypt is a vassal state, that the Egyptian military are on our payroll, and that the IMF has served as an instrument of US imperialism. But the Counterpunch article implies that even after 30 years of bankrolling the Mubarak regime, we still need some mysterious IMF pie-in-the-sky structural reforms to attract international capital. So which is it?

        Rob Urie cites a second-hand quote of an administration official’s remarks that appeared in the Guardian. It in-turn relied on a Wall Street Journal article. The original story stressed the need for the military to turn over power to a democratically elected civilian government. It didn’t even mention the IMF. The comments about the economy acknowledged the rights of the elected officials to set their own agenda:

        In these private talks, Muslim Brotherhood representatives have reassured the U.S. by saying “all the right things on the economic side,” the official said, but elements of the group’s social agenda remain a concern for the administration.

        “Sure we’ll deal with them. They’re freely elected,” the official said.

        –http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304458604577487020028746442.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

        Some of the areas of concern in the Muslim Brotherhood’s social program were mentioned in the WSJ article. But they involve the portions of the existing US Code that condition US military assistance to Egypt on judicial reforms, observance of women’s rights, equal rights for non-Muslims, human rights, and policing requirements in the “demilitarized Sinai” in areas adjacent to Israel and Gaza to prevent arms smuggling in violation of the terms of the Camp David Accords. Some of those laws relating to the acceptance of The Multinational Force & Observers (MFO) and judicial reforms date back to the Carter and Bush administrations: See
        *Threat To Cut U.S. Aid Opens Rift With Egypt http://forward.com/articles/12443/threat-to-cut-us-aid-opens-rift-with-egypt-/
        *And the various statutes and limitations applicable to international organizations, bureaus, and congresses (i.e. the IMF) concerning human rights contained in 22 USC, Chapter 7 http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/22/chapter-7

        Rob Urie also claimed that the Egyptian military had been “tasked with maintaining the institutions and relationships needed to further American interests in Egypt”. He linked to an article at Huffpo which is shreying that: “Democracy is fine, but you can’t touch Camp David. Democracy is fine, but you can’t touch Israel’s oil deal” and that the General’s hadn’t made any substantial changes to Mubarak’s budget. Egypt had already deployed armed forces in the Sinai in a move that was a complete departure from the Camp David Accords when it decided to augment the civilian police force there during the Arab Spring. It had also canceled its contract to supply natural gas to the private East Mediterranean Gas Co. long before the Huffpo article was even posted. That contract had nothing to do with the Camp David agreements – and selling natural gas below the prevailing market price is not in line with the structural reforms that the IMF usually recommends. So the Rob Uri and Feisal G. Mohamed material you are citing isn’t very timely or particularly relevant.

        You certainly have a valid point about the historical role of the military and the IMF in advancing US imperial interests, but Egypt is simply not a very good example of that sort of thing. During the Bush administration, some US officials were undoubtedly guilty of crimes against humanity in connection with the administration’s policy on enforced disappearances and torture. The Mubarak regime was complicit in many of those individual cases. But the dismal 30-year long record of human rights abuses under the Mubarak regime can hardly be explained away in Flip Wilson’s-style by simply claiming that “The Devil made me do it”.

        FYI, US, Canadian, and UK neoliberals have avoided the Eurozone bailout like the plague. Rather than impose “conditionality” on the Eurozone country loans, they’ve attempted to impose conditions on their pledges to the IMF to prevent their capital from being used for that purpose at all. I pointed out that the IMF and the US Southern Command are pariahs in South America. The two largest IMF debtors announced in 2005 that they were paying off their onerous loans early. They and other member countries waged a public campaign against IMF abuses in the areas of privatization, deficit reduction, and etc. Since then, there has been a significant shift of IMF voting power to those emerging markets and developing countries. In the latest meeting in Mexico the BRICS, Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa have pledged more support for the IMF emergency fund, but only after its current assets are gone – and only if they are given even more voting power on the board of governors.
        *Here’s an article about Brazil and Argentina paying off their debts early: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/4533740.stm
        *Here is an IMF paper on the BRICS philosophy on development and Low Income Countries which explains that they oppose “conditionality”, like privatization and austerity measures written into loan agreements with poor countries: http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/wp/2012/wp1274.pdf
        * Here is an article in which the BRICS conditioned their new contributions to the IMF emergency fund on the expectation that “all the reforms agreed upon in 2010 will be fully implemented in a timely manner, including a comprehensive reform of voting power and reform of quota shares” for emerging market and developing countries http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international-business/emerging-economies-pose-conditions-on-imf-boost/articleshow/14253352.cms
        http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/survey/so/2010/new110510b.htm
        *Money talks. Here is another article which explains that Japan’s recent IMF pledge made it the No. 1 Fund Contributor: http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2012/04/20/japans-imf-pledge-makes-it-no-1-fund-contributor/

        The IMF has provided less than a third of the money loaned in the Eurozone bailouts so far. In the US there are bills pending to revoke the IMF’s spending authority (S.1276, S.1975 H.R.2313). The IMF has earned praise from our Congress for refusing to participate in the bailout of Spain and Italy, e.g. See Rep. McMorris Rodgers praises IMF for withholding funds from Spain bailout http://www.humanevents.com/2012/07/03/mcmorris-rodgers-praises-imf-for-withholding-funds-from-spain-bailout/

        One last point is that the World Bank has been writing scathing reports about the effects of the Israeli occupation, blockade, and illegal settlements for years now. It presumably is also acting as an instrument of US power. See 22 USC Chapter 7, Subchapter XV – International Monetary Fund And Bank For Reconstruction And Development § 286 et seq. (aka The Bretton Woods Agreements Act) and Palestinian Economic Prospects: Gaza Recovery and West Bank Revival http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTWESTBANKGAZA/Resources/AHLCJune09Reportfinal.pdf

      • Keith
        July 8, 2012, 8:27 pm

        HOSTAGE- I see that you have turned into Mondoweiss’ version of Alan Dershowitz. He quotes official Israeli sources to prove his points, you quote “Battle Ready (Commander Series)” and the main stream media, even when the plain facts contradict your assertions. Chalmers Johnson a liar? That’s rich. Enough is enough. I have no intention of pursuing never ending iterations of your artful dissembling. You seem to have an infinite capacity for producing smoke and mirrors. To what purpose? When the dust settles, Egypt will remain tied to empire and the global financial system. And your assertion that the Arab street has the power to significantly alter the strategic outcome is wishful thinking.

      • Hostage
        July 9, 2012, 10:29 am

        HOSTAGE- I see that you have turned into Mondoweiss’ version of Alan Dershowitz. He quotes official Israeli sources to prove his points, you quote “Battle Ready (Commander Series)” and the main stream media, even when the plain facts contradict your assertions. Chalmers Johnson a liar?

        The trouble is that you’ve gotten into the habit of calling other people liars without presenting any evidence of lies, much less any “plain facts”.

        I naturally quoted Zinni’s side of the story, because it plainly stated that he could not, and did not, provide the Musharraf regime with any foreign assistance. Johnson is the one who cited the main stream media to support his account, not me. See footnote 49 on page 125 and 333 of “The Sorrows of Empire”, Metropolitan Books, 2004. But Dana Priest’s WaPo article doesn’t accuse Zinni of violating the Congressional ban or any wrongdoing for that matter. In fact she praises him for speaking-out against administration plans to back the Iraqi National Congress and Ahmed Chalabi in a hair-brained coup in Iraq.

        The bottom line is that, neither you nor Johnson have provided a shred of verifiable evidence to support the libelous claim that Zinni violated the Congressional prohibition on providing foreign assistance to the Pakistani military coup regime. That charge isn’t supported by the facts presented on page 125 of his book or in the sources that he bothered to cite there. You’re the one who is artlessly libeling others and dissembling about the plain facts, and that puts you in the same league with Alan Dershowitz in my book.

        And your assertion that the Arab street has the power to significantly alter the strategic outcome is wishful thinking.

        Once again, I only asserted 1) that imperialism and global finance were unable to keep the British backed monarchy and its advisors in power or to prevent several unpopular Egyptian leaders from being assassinated or toppled from power; and 2) that imperialism and global finance could not prevent the same thing from happening to General Tantawi & company.

      • Keith
        July 9, 2012, 8:21 pm

        HOSTAGE- I wasn’t going to respond again, but what the hell. This has begun to amuse me.

        You quote me: “The IMF has acted as an instrument of US power since its inception.”

        You reply: “Yeah, and I’m still saying: So what?”

        This is the first time you have acknowledged this. Previously you obfuscated “…many of the IMF’s largest sources of funding, like Japan, can hardly be described as warmongering imperialists.” Then, “Japan has committed to lend an amount similar to that of the US in the event the IMF needs additional resources….The US no longer controls IMF policy on quotas and the voice of the other member countries in the day to day operation of the organization.” Then, “The IMF has 187 other member states that help govern and fund the organization.” Arguably true statements that imply (but do not state) that the IMF has not been an instrument of US power since its inception. Since you now acknowledge the essential truth of my comment, why all of the previous obfuscation?

        Having acknowledged the accuracy of my observation that the IMF has been an instrument of US power since its inception, you then go back to obfuscating. Links to articles on Japan’s funding, BRIC’S development philosophy, etc. Why? All of this is besides the point, a rather simple point, I might add. I initially said, “Egypt is a US client state and is integrated within the transnational matrix of financial control. Egypt is not food self-sufficient and requires hard currency for imports. Any government is going to have to deal with the reality that to feed the population they are going to have to pretty much play ball with the empire and global finance. I seriously doubt that Egypt possesses the wherewithal to break from empire.” Nothing you have said indicates otherwise, although all of your distractions regarding the IMF are clearly intended to suggest otherwise. South America breaking free from IMF influence? Good for them. Lucky for them that Venezuela has oil money to help out. Europe not under the sway of the IMF? Correct, they were too smart to get suckered in. Europe not under the sway of global finance? Nonsense. The IMF is but one instrument of neoliberal globalization, an ongoing process that is affecting all countries, including the US.

        As for your major misrepresentation regarding Egypt: “The IMF hasn’t loaned Egypt one red cent since the Arab Spring began, and it has never been US policy to impose any sort of conditionality on IMF loans made to one of its client states….” As has already been discussed, Egypt did not need to borrow “one red cent since the Arab Spring began” from the IMF because of a gift from the GCC states, primarily Saudi Arabia and Qatar. This hardly indicates independence from global finance, just the opposite. What did I say? “Hostage, for cry sakes, Saudi Arabia and Qatar ain’t funding no Arab spring, they are funding the opposition to the Arab spring. Funding, I might add, which will disappear if the generals get out of line.” In response to a question regarding foreign pressure on the military, Khaled Abou El Fadl in a 6/28/2012 interview responds “American, Saudi, and Israeli. These were the ones who exerted the greatest pressure on the military council, basically saying you can do whatever you want in Egypt, but here are vital interests that the army must guarantee for us.” Sounds like pressure to me. Sounds like Saudi money bought some influence. He continues, “The military council gave the supreme court a doomsday scenario: If the Islamists win the presidency and control the parliament, this country is going to collapse, Saudi and American investors are going to run away — and here they pointed to the stock market, which happened to lose a lot of points when it was reported that the Ikhwani person was likely to win.” If this isn’t financial pressure, the words have no meaning. This is part of what I refer to as the “transnational matrix of financial control.” Yet, this interview regarding very recent and pertinent events you refer to as not “very timely or particularly relevant.” Typical Hostage denial.

        Your contention that “The IMF hasn’t loaned Egypt one red cent since the Arab Spring began,” is a red herring. Virtually everything you have said about the IMF are red herrings, designed to confuse and misdirect. The interview makes quite clear that there were conditions attached to continued funding. Saying that the IMF didn’t seek to impose these conditions is, once again, an obfuscation and misdirection. And talk about flat out distortion! “(Yawn) the fellow at Counterpunch is touting the year-old story about the still unused IMF offer of a $3 billion dollar standby line of credit.” Sorry, none of the articles or links discusses the “IMF offer of a $3 billion dollar standby line of credit.” Perhaps you are attempting to distort the July 6-8, 2012 Counterpunch article comment that “The IMF (International Monetary Fund) reportedly (link) has a ‘structural adjustment program’ for Egypt waiting in the wings.” He links to a 6/26/12 article in the Guardian by Seumas Milne which states “About 40% of the population is living on less than two dollars a day, and the IMF is hovering in the wings with the kind of structural adjustment reforms that can only make things worse for those at the sharp end. Those include privatisations the Brotherhood has pledged to continue….” All of these are current articles about current plans, none are year-old stories dealing with the original $3 billion offer. Now that $3 billion may still be available for Egyptian use, however, your comment about a “year-old story” is yet another misrepresentation.

        Is there no end to your misrepresentations? “Rob Urie cites a second-hand quote of an administration official’s remarks that appeared in the Guardian. It in-turn relied on a Wall Street Journal article. The original story stressed the need for the military to turn over power to a democratically elected civilian government. It didn’t even mention the IMF.”
        The Guardian article cited the Wall Street Journal as the source for the official’s comment that “In these private talks, Muslim Brotherhood representatives have reassured the U.S. by saying “all the right things on the economic side,” the official said, but elements of the group’s social agenda remain a concern for the administration.” The Guardian article didn’t “rely” on the WSJ for anything but that one quote. Nothing wrong with that, or with Rob Urie, but you attempt to make it seem other than what it was. Your comment about the original WSJ not mentioning the IMF is yet another disingenuous diversion. So what? He hasn’t misrepresented the WSJ article, he is merely citing it for one frickin quote. Yet, you twist this around in a dishonest fashion.

        Since you are so fond of the WSJ article, here are a couple of quotes from it. “Depending on how much power the military cedes to the new president, Mr. Morsi’s election potentially could damp U.S.-Egyptian military ties. The U.S. military maintained close relations with its Egyptian counterpart throughout former President Hosni Mubarak’s rule…. In addition to $1.3 billion in annual military aid, U.S. and Egyptian officers held regular exchanges and military exercises to further bind the militaries.” Both quotes are entirely consistent with everything that I have said about close military to military contact between the Egyptian generals and CENTCOM.

        Getting back to CENTCOM. Hostage said “I naturally quoted Zinni’s side of the story, because it plainly stated that he could not, and did not, provide the Musharraf regime with any foreign assistance.” Well, he would say that, wouldn’t he? At least for the official record. Footnote 49 refers to two sources, the WaPo article and a book by Dana Priest. Whether or not the quote is in the book, I don’t know and don’t intend on looking. However, your assertion that this is a “libelous claim” seems bizarre. The book came out in 2004, plenty of time for Zinni to sue Chalmers Johnson for libel if he felt wronged. Of course, you don’t have to worry about being sued for libeling Chalmers Johnson, what with him being dead and all. I can understand you being pissed at me, but Chalmers Johnson? You have shown me a side of you I didn’t know existed. When it comes to smoke and mirrors, you da champ!

      • Hostage
        July 10, 2012, 1:18 pm

        This is the first time you have acknowledged this.

        No it’s not. I said that I agreed with some of Chalmers Johnson’s conclusions about the historical role of the military and US imperialism. You just leap to dickish conclusions and label other views dishonest, because they differ from your own.

        Why are you obfuscating the actual events going on in Egypt with bullshit commentaries about the IMF, when the Egyptians are at most negotiating with the IMF and haven’t borrowed a dime from them yet? Hell in your paranoid world even the cash gifts from Egypt’s Arab Trade Zone partners that were granted without any terms or conditions are part of a “matrix of control”. The only possible impropriety with an IMF or Saudi loan would be associated with the terms and conditions imposed or in how the Egyptians use the borrowed funds. You haven’t cited a concrete example of either of those things.

        Links to articles on Japan’s funding, BRIC’S development philosophy, etc. Why? All of this is besides the point, a rather simple point, I might add.

        Because the simple point is that, under the rules that have been phased-in since the 1990s – and especially since 2010 – the IMF no longer functions as a rubber stamp for the US. Another simple point is that money talks and bullshit walks. Japan is now the largest contributor. Together with the BRICS, and most of the other member countries, Japan has not recently pursued military imperialism or voted in favor of onerous loans to low income countries.

        I seriously doubt that Egypt possesses the wherewithal to break from empire.” Nothing you have said indicates otherwise

        No, just the parts about deploying armed forces in the Sinai in complete departure from the terms and condition of the Camp David Accords, cancelling Israel’s gas contract, doing nothing when Israel’s embassy was attacked, and the charges leveled against US State Department subsidized NGOs for violating their sovereignty. The Generals just charged 43 NGO workers with crimes and kept a few of them as hostages to blackmail the US government until our officials could come to them “on bended knee” and beg them to drop the charges, while our Secretary of State announced that she was waiving the military coup ban on foreign assistance due to our vital US national security interests.

        “American, Saudi, and Israeli. These were the ones who exerted the greatest pressure on the military council, basically saying you can do whatever you want in Egypt, but here are vital interests that the army must guarantee for us.” Sounds like pressure to me.

        You mean pressure to guarantee the terms of the now-cancelled gas contract with Israel or the terms of the Camp David Accords which prohibit the on-going deployment of the Egyptian armed forces in the demilitarized Sinai? Nuff said.

        Getting back to CENTCOM. Hostage said “I naturally quoted Zinni’s side of the story, because it plainly stated that he could not, and did not, provide the Musharraf regime with any foreign assistance.” Well, he would say that, wouldn’t he? At least for the official record.

        Even the CINC CENTCOM has to cite a statutory authority to transfer funds from the Treasury to Pakistan, so the military coup ban meant that he did not, and could not provide assistance without misappropriating funds. Evidence of misappropriation is something Johnson failed to include in his book when he claimed Zinni (somehow) violated the ban. I see that you’re still making claims while proudly announcing that you won’t even bother to fact check Johnson or his sources.

        However, your assertion that this is a “libelous claim” seems bizarre. The book came out in 2004, plenty of time for Zinni to sue Chalmers Johnson for libel if he felt wronged.

        Charging someone with misappropriation of funds is libel per se, but public officials have to prove that the person was acting with reckless disregard and actual malice with clear and convincing evidence. You know, something like your on-going accusations and continued refusal to compare the Zinni, Priest, and Johnson accounts – even after the applicable statute and the discrepancies have been pointed-out.

        In addition to $1.3 billion in annual military aid, U.S. and Egyptian officers held regular exchanges and military exercises to further bind the militaries.” Both quotes are entirely consistent with everything that I have said about close military to military contact between the Egyptian generals and CENTCOM.

        But not consistent with your foot-in-mouth comment about the Egyptian General’s reluctance to defy CENTCOM.

  2. Light
    June 28, 2012, 4:45 pm

    If deferring to the US and shutting up is the standard for political parties in Egypt then I suggest we also apply this to the political parties in Israel.

    • ColinWright
      July 2, 2012, 4:43 am

      It’d be worse if Israeli political parties did shut up. It’s best that they get real arrogant. We want the American voter to realize just what’s in that hot dog.

      ‘Israel is for the White man’ got hushed up, but enough of that sort of thing, and some of it will start trickling through. Encourage them to talk. We need to hear more self-expression, not less. Let them have the limelight.

  3. Daniel Rich
    June 28, 2012, 4:57 pm

    We’ll never know what backroom talks have taken place and what deals ironed out between the Brotherhood en Egyptian military, but as far as I can see it the brothers answer to the 4 stars first and then … let’s see how brotherly he brothers are or will be once the Palestinian problem has to be tackled [and brought to the ground it will be, because somehow that’s where most westerners and their Israeli counterparts believe it belongs].

  4. ritzl
    June 28, 2012, 5:57 pm

    Sounds like Miller is describing Obama’s presidency (or maybe any oligarchical system) and holding it up as a positive ideal for Egypt. How “manageable” of him to suggest this.

    All the MB “has” to do is to institutionalize the mechanisms and/or durability of Egyptian democracy even just a little and pass that embryonic, yet participatory, legacy on to the Egyptian people, per their electoral will. The first transfer is critical. The next wave will then have the opportunity to expand it further. And the next…

  5. Nevada Ned
    June 28, 2012, 6:29 pm

    Aaron David Miller has the mentality of a colonial civil servant, because his job is servicing the US empire. The majority of Egyptians are opposed to the peace treaty with Israel, and want Egypt to get out from under US control. Egypt has been ruled by a military dictatorship since the 1950’s, and the military will try to protect its power and privileges within Egyptian society.
    Aaron David Miller praises the Egyptian military for its service to the US empire, even in the teeth of opposition by the Egyptian people. This raises doubts about how serious the US is about democracy.
    What’s new here? For many years, some analysts have warned about the potential power of the Arab “street,” but until last year the “street” was ignored by the Arab ruling classes. The genie is now out of the bottle, and I don’t think it can be put back in the bottle. The masses of Egyptians have understood their potential power, and they understand perfectly who has been supporting Mubarak and his ilk for decades.
    The Arab street – in the most populous and important Arab country – will no longer be ignored.

    • Shingo
      June 29, 2012, 8:14 am

      This raises doubts about how serious the US is about democracy.

      Talk about an understatement. I doubt anyone can believe that the US is at all serious about democracy.

      I like this guy’s take on the US attitude to democracy.

  6. chris o
    June 28, 2012, 9:28 pm

    Well there definitely was a revolution but considering the military maneuvers of late, one wonders if there has been any change. And what kind of revolution is that?

    What I found crazy what that when asked about good governance, Miller says “Egypt is so dependent on external sources of aid” that the Muslim Brotherhood must keep the US happy and thus be nice to Israel. (In so many words he says this, using some diplomatic-ese). That does not sound like good governance to me. In fact, it sounds like the worst form of governance: it’s abdication.

    Miller is certainly right that the Brotherhood is under great pressure to moderate, and modulate (not just foreign policy, either). They not only have the enormous US financial clout to worry about, but the Egyptian military itself, which is getting most of those dollars. But here, “good governance” clearly involves becoming self-sufficient and independent of foreign powers. Virtually every citizen would want that. It will take awhile, and it probably has to be slow and accommodating, like the Erdogan and Lula Administrations.

    Miller’s formula asks for the status quo as under Mubarak, and that is why he can say there is no revolution. As a leading MSM commentator, I normally appreciate Miller’s analysis even if not agreeing. But here, he has those Imperial glasses on.

  7. traintosiberia
    June 28, 2012, 11:58 pm

    How did we end up here? From one corner of the sagging mouth comes out some unscrutable words about freedom,democracy,womens rights,gay rights and religious freedom that requires forced midwifery at highest level including some kinetic actions of highest order in the sand dunes of the desert while other corner demands reinstitution of the manual -based practices of kindergarten variety of democracy under the duress of economic hardship . Words have no meanings any more as was detected by Alice in Wonderland. To shape the world according to our interest , we even believe we are shaping it in our image. When the foregone failure becomes obvious we cry that they were not ready for freedom and the enlightened ideas had no chance of taking roots in the dry sand. The way Hama’s victory resulted in blockade and withholding of the money and Hizbullah victory at ballot resulted in more airspace violations only showed we are ready to bury any thought of any adjustment that democracy always entails . The 1992 Aljerian election still echo in ME with same unfortunate impact. This time it is more poignant for we were down this path before led by Israel in Gaza and Lebanon. We are there again with the same Israeli torch light seeking the darkness.

  8. DICKERSON3870
    June 29, 2012, 12:08 am

    RE:”that very much is going to mean toning down their rhetoric or abandoning it with respect to their criticism to the United States, the peace treaty. ” ~ Aaron David Miller

    SEE: “Egypt to sue Iran news agency over ‘fabricated’ Morsi interview”, by Paul Woodward, War in Context, 6/28/12

    [EXCERPTS] ‘Al Ahram’ reports: Egypt plans to sue an Iranian news agency for having allegedly fabricated an interview with President-elect Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s official MENA news agency reported on Wednesday.
    MENA quoted the Islamist leader’s spokesman, Yassir Ali, as saying that Iran’s Fars news agency had “made up” a widely quoted interview in which Morsi said he planned to improve ties with Iran and revise Egypt’s 1979 peace treaty with Israel. . .

    . . . My guess is that Fars was itself duped into believing they were conducting a phone interview with Morsi while in fact they were speaking to someone else. Note that it was the state-controlled Islamic Republic News Agency which was swift to report a denial of the authenticity of the interview. So, if Fars was led into a trap, the question is: who set the trap?

    SOURCE – http://warincontext.org/2012/06/28/egypt-to-sue-iran-news-agency-over-fabricated-morsi-interview/

    P.S. RE: “So, if Fars was led into a trap, the question is: who set the trap?” ~ Woodward (above)

    TRITE BUT APPLICABLE: Cui bono? (“To whose benefit?”, literally “as a benefit to whom?”)

    • DICKERSON3870
      June 29, 2012, 12:39 am

      P.P.S. BE AFRAID! BE VERY AFRAID! SO SAYS NBC NEWS.

      SEE: “Analysis: Egypt’s big turn under the Muslim Brotherhood”, By Richard Engel, NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent, 4/25/12

      CAIRO, Egypt – The Muslim Brotherhood has won the presidency. Will it bring a new Egypt? I can’t see how it won’t.
      This morning a Christian woman I’ve known casually for years came up to me and asked if I could help her seek political asylum in the United States. Many Christians, women and moderate Muslims worry about the Muslim Brotherhood’s promise to bring Islamic Law. It’s not a good sign if the day after elections that people are asking how they can escape the country.
      Last night in Tahrir Square Muslim Brotherhood members were celebrating their victory, calling it not a win for democracy, but divine intervention. They acknowledged that a free vote brought them to power, but saw God’s hand filling the ballot boxes.
      In an analysis piece last week I asked, if democracy brings a non-democratic party, is that a win for democracy? Today some Egyptians don’t think so and have considerable buyers’ remorse, feeling the cliché, “be careful of what you wish for.”

      SOURCE [WITH VIDEO (00:40)] – http://worldnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/06/25/12398203-analysis-egypts-big-turn-under-the-muslim-brotherhood

      • VIDEO (03:06) – Mohammed Morsi, Egypt’s next president: Protesters’ bloodshed will not be in vain – http://worldnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/06/24/12379018-mohammed-morsi-egypts-next-president-protesters-bloodshed-will-not-be-in-vain?lite

      • Avi_G.
        June 29, 2012, 5:14 am

        This morning a Christian woman I’ve known casually for years came up to me and asked if I could help her seek political asylum in the United States. Many Christians, women and moderate Muslims worry about the Muslim Brotherhood’s promise to bring Islamic Law.

        Who was that Christian woman? Was she Richard Engel’s ex-wife? Does she even exist?

        And note how Engel positions what he calls “moderate Muslims” in contrast to the Moslem Brotherhood.

        In other words, he would like his viewers to believe that the Moslem Brotherhood is a bunch of fanatics.

        He could have retained some credibility by describing those who object to the Brotherhood’s ascendance to power as “Secular Moslems”.

        But, no. He had to put that propaganda in there.

        Apparently for Westerners, Moslems come in two shapes, Radical and Moderate. As far as Westerners are concerned, there is no such thing as a Secular Moslem. There are only secular Christians and secular Jews.

      • ColinWright
        June 30, 2012, 4:16 am

        Yeah. As far as I know, the Muslim Brotherhood are moderate Muslims. They seem to be like the Alabama Christian I talk to sometimes — definitely not from Berkeley, but not crazy, either. They’ve been compromising with reality for eighty years now — they ‘work within the system.’

      • Mooser
        July 10, 2012, 3:16 pm

        “Was she Richard Engel’s ex-wife?”

        You’re mixed up, she’s Tom Friedman’s cabdriver’s sister.

    • DICKERSON3870
      June 29, 2012, 12:52 am

      P.P.P.S. ALSO SEE: “The CIA and The Muslim Brotherhood: How the CIA Set The Stage for September 11” (Martin A. Lee – Razor Magazine 2004)

      (excerpts) The CIA often works in mysterious ways – and so it was with this little-known cloak-and-dagger caper that set the stage for extensive collaboration between US intelligence and Islamic extremists. The genesis of this ill-starred alliance dates back to Egypt in the mid-1950s, when the CIA made discrete overtures to the Muslim Brotherhood, the influential Sunni fundamentalist movement that fostered Islamic militancy throughout the Middle East. . .
      . . . For many years, the American espionage establishment had operated on the assumption that Islam was inherently anti-communist and therefore could be harnessed to facilitate US objectives. American officials viewed the Muslim Brotherhood as “a secret weapon” in the shadow war against the Soviet Union and it’s Arab allies, according to Robert Baer, a retired CIA case officer who was right in the thick of things in the Middle East and Central Asia during his 21 year career as a spy. In “Sleeping with the Devil”, a book he wrote after quitting the CIA, Baer explains how the United States “made common cause with the Brothers” and used them “to do our dirty work in Yemen, Afghanistan and plenty of other places”.
      This covert relationship; unraveled when the Cold War ended…

      SOURCE – http://ce399fascism.wordpress.com/2011/02/09/the-cia-and-the-muslim-brotherhood-how-the-cia-set-the-stage-for-september-11-martin-a-lee-razor-magazine-2004/

  9. Avi_G.
    June 29, 2012, 5:03 am

    To judge from several elections now, the Muslim Brotherhood obviously represent some strong measure of the will of the Egyptian people;

    Well, not quite. But that doesn’t change Miller’s false assertion.

    You see, the Egyptian people didn’t really have that many options.

    Their choices on election day consisted of a Mubarak-era prime minister and the Moslem Brotherhood.

    Those who didn’t trust the Mubarak-appointed prime minister, opted for the Brotherhood.

    So the Moslem Brotherhood’s ascendance to power doesn’t quite represent the will of the people, nor is it an indicator of a national consensus.

    • ColinWright
      June 30, 2012, 4:12 am

      “…So the Moslem Brotherhood’s ascendance to power doesn’t quite represent the will of the people, nor is it an indicator of a national consensus.”

      …and happily, the Muslim Brotherhood seems to be perfectly well aware of this — so rather than burning all the law books and replacing them with copies of the Quran, they’re going to work on reassuring people, pursuing moderate policies, adhering to democratic norms, etc.

      …at least, so I hope. The less attractive possibility is that they reach out all right — to the Salafists. They do burn all the law books and replace them with copies of the Quran, etc — to show what true blue Muslims they are. Of course, this has the drawback that it hands the military the support of a good third of the Egyptian population for almost anything, so I really don’t think the Muslim Brotherhood will go that route. They’ll go with democratic moderation and gently easing the military back into the barracks. ‘When was the last time you guys did some training?’

  10. Kathleen
    June 29, 2012, 9:07 am

    “INSKEEP: So they have to make the people at large happy by delivering services and just seeming competent. They have to make their core followers happy by going after some of the basic philosophy of the Muslim Brotherhood. They have to make the army at least not too unhappy so the army doesn’t step on them. And it sounds like you feel they also have to make sure they don’t annoy the United States too greatly.

    MILLER: It’s a lot of balls to keep up in the air without dropping any for a party that has never, in its eight decades, ruled anything. The Egyptian military has, in effect, run the country under Mubarak. They at least have the shell of a how-to manual. I’m not sure the Muslim Brotherhood has that, and they may well have to defer to the military and cooperate closely with it.”

    Yep Egypt has to bark and roll over to keep getting U.S. funds. Israel bites the hand that feeds and kicks Biden and Obama in the balls. Israel does not have to bark, roll over or even consider U.S. national security to keep receiving U.S. welfare

    NPR has Aaron David Miller on more than any other alleged expert on the middle east. Although Robert Siegel has Micheal Oren on a great deal
    http://www.npr.org/2012/03/07/148170086/israeli-ambassador-weighs-in-on-netanyahu-visit
    “SIEGEL: Yes. You’re saying the consequences of Iran going nuclear are potentially global, and the consequences of a U.S. strike on Iran might also be further such attacks against the United States. Why shouldn’t the U.S. be informed of any Israeli plan to strike at Tehran given the fact that, as the prime minister says, you are us and we are you?

    OREN: We have very close relationships with the Obama administration, as with the previous administrations. This is a historic alliance between the American and Israeli peoples. And, of course, America’s interests are part of our calculus in anything we do. At the end of the day, though, Israel must have responsibility for itself.

    SIEGEL: Ambassador Michael Oren of Israel, thank you very much for talking with us.

    OREN: As always, thank you, Robert.”
    ——————————

    http://www.npr.org/2011/08/18/139763200/oren-discusses attacks-in-israel
    ——————————————————

    Stephen Walt catches Oren’s distortions
    http://walt.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/03/11/top_ten_media_failures_in_the_iran_war_debate

    Even worse, when Israeli ambassador Michael Oren appeared on MSNBC last week, he offered the following set of dubious claims, without challenge:

    “[Iran] has built an underground nuclear facility trying to hide its activities from the world. It has been enriching uranium to a high rate [sic.] that has no explanation other than a military nuclear program – that has been confirmed by the International Atomic Energy Agency now several times. It is advancing very quickly on an intercontinental ballistic missile system that’s capable of carrying nuclear warheads.”

    Unfortunately, MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell apparently didn’t know that Oren’s claims were either false or misleading. 1) Iran’s underground facility was built to make it hard to destroy, not to “hide its activities,” and IAEA inspectors have already been inside it. 2) Iran is not enriching at a “high rate” (i.e., to weapons-grade); it is currently enriching to only 20% (which is not high enough to build a bomb). 3) Lastly, Western intelligence experts do not think Iran is anywhere near to having an ICBM capability.

    In another interview on NPR, Oren falsely accused Iran of “killing hundreds, if not thousands of American troops,” a claim that NPR host Robert Siegel did not challenge. Then we got the following exchange:

    Oren: “Imagine Iran which today has a bunch of speedboats trying to close the Strait of Hormuz. Imagine if Iran has a nuclear weapon. Imagine if they could hold the entire world oil market blackmailed. Imagine if Iran is conducting terrorist organizations through its terrorist proxies – Hamas, Hezbollah. Now we know there’s a connection with al-Qaida. You can’t respond to them because they have an atomic weapon.”

    Siegel: Yes. You’re saying the consequences of Iran going nuclear are potentially global, and the consequences of a U.S. strike on Iran might also be further such attacks against the United States…”

    Never mind the fact that we have been living in the nuclear age for some 60 years now, and no nuclear state has even been able to conduct the sort of aggressive blackmail that Oren suggests Iran would be able to do. Nuclear weapons are good for deterrence, and not much else, but the news media keep repeating alarmist fantasies without asking if they make sense or not.

    • ColinWright
      June 30, 2012, 4:04 am

      Just the sheer intellectual slovenliness of this stuff is alarming. We are being fed — and calmly swallowing — the most transparently ridiculous crap.

      I won’t go over yet again how stupid all this is but surely — isn’t it a bad sign right there that we’re swallowing it at all? I mean, to get us into Viet Nam, Johnson had to pull some sleight of hand, but it had to be good. This is just crap. It’s like they don’t even need to bother to pretend to respect our intelligence any more.

  11. traintosiberia
    June 29, 2012, 12:27 pm

    Will Oren be held along with Siegel/Mitchell responsible in a criminal court of law for inciting aggression and for providing justification for war with patent lies and falsehood already known to be lies ( ie killings of american soldiers or Iran is building nukes or Iran is hiding evidences from world body)?
    Will the US news anchors be held responsible for not being fair in choosing “expert”, for bringing idelogues and partisan and foreign nationals who are presneted as expert without evidences, on the foes and presented as honest witness unencumebred by any self interest where a simple queistions about demography, ethncicty and job description of the individual with information on recent activities would have laid bare the ugly truth that they are dealing with liars , war profiteeres and tribal mascot that have dire consequences for human lives and ecology?
    Will the mascots pay any price when the blood they are sucking as religious ,moral secular ,and humanist leeches runs out empty and dry? Thats the time same antisemitism charges will fly in every direction. The same antisemitism charges that keep the real reasons of Iranan ad Israeli postures out of American reaches will be used to hide the real reason Americans would be angry for.

  12. ColinWright
    July 2, 2012, 4:31 am

    I’m not sure where to stick this, but it’s significant. From Haaretz:

    “Hamas leader gets royal welcome from Jordan’s king

    Neither Israel nor the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority are happy about the signs of a Hamas-Jordan rapprochement, each for its own reasons…”

    Yessir, I remember when it was us that got the VIP treatment from Jordan. Not a good omen for the boys in blue and white.

    Jordan’s an expert at survival, too: it’s an ongoing miracle that state is still intact. If she says the times, they are a changin,’ they’re changin.’

  13. wondering jew
    July 2, 2012, 6:06 am

    Putting aside Aaron David Miller, the US and Israel for a moment, what is the reaction of liberal Egypt, those who started the revolution, to the power gained by the MB? My impression is that they are very skeptical and depressed about the rise to power of the MB. They don’t like the military and they don’t like the MB either. Such a skeptical stance is valid and in fact necessary if you wish to be called a realist.

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