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Is the Egyptian revolution regime change?

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This post is part of Marc H. Ellis’s “Exile and the Prophetic” feature for Mondoweiss. To read the entire series visit the archive page.

The Guardian reports that 38 Morsi supporters are dead with many more wounded after demonstrations turned violent in the early hours this morning. The hospitals are overwhelmed with the dead and the wounded.   Those on the ground believe the death toll is likely to increase.

Meanwhile the New York Times reports that the accusations leveled by the governing powers in Egypt against former President Morsi could carry the death penalty.  The combination of mass demonstrations and the military’s crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood is recipe for more and more violence in the coming days.

Whoever is advising the military should know where this is leading.  Where are the civilian leaders in the new government?  Don’t they see that their blind support for the military is driving Egypt into a dark alley?

There’s no turning back now.  The violence will accelerate.  The military’s gamble is that they can force the Muslim Brotherhood to their knees.  So far, it isn’t working.

The US response is tepid and contradictory.  On the one hand, the US doesn’t want to seem anti-Muslim, hence the holding back on shipping F-16’s announced yesterday.  But the bulk of US aid to Egypt’s military is untouched and the rumblings in Congress about American law, coups and aid won’t get very far.  For all practical purposes the US is all in with the Egyptian military.

Why shouldn’t America be all in?  Obama’s iron fist, Susan Rice, was on the phone reading Morsi his political last rites.  Did she realize the coup might also mean his ultimate personal death?

Imagine Morsi being tried in an Egyptian court and condemned to death.  Imagine the death watch and the execution.  Imagine Morsi’s hanging being televised like the hanging of Saddam Hussein.

The Hamas link that the military is applying to Morsi’s prison break is important.  The Egyptian military has placed Hamas and Gaza front and center from the beginning as the locus of Morsi – and the Muslim Brotherhood’s – betrayal of Egypt’s national security. 

To characterize support for Palestinians as treasonous behavior is upping the ante.  It’s a Middle East game changer.  If the Palestinians are seen as outside the bounds of national security or, more, as threats to national security, Palestine will fall off the priority list for Arab governments.  As well, Palestinian populations within the Arab world, already suspect, will come under renewed scrutiny.

This is already happening and dovetails with John Kerry’s Washington negotiations scheduled to begin next week.  On Kerry’s last trip to the Middle East he avoided Israel and met with Palestinian leadership in Jordan.  This was curious.  Why meet with Palestinian leadership in Amman rather than in Ramallah? 

As Nicola Nasser points out in Al Ahram, Kerry’s tactics were calculated.  With the help of the Arab League, the Palestinians are being boxed in:

A new tactic by US Secretary of State John Kerry is causing a split within the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) ranks regarding further talks with Israel. Kerry is apparently using the Arab League’s Follow-Up Committee on the Arab Peace Initiative (FCAPI) to bully the Palestinians into accepting new ground rules for the talks to which they had objected in the past.

In his sixth tour of the region as secretary of state, Kerry did something unusual. Instead of visiting Israel, as he always does, he left it out of his itinerary, deciding instead to hold most of the talks in the Jordanian capital Amman. While there, he conferred with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as well as members of the FCAPI. As the talks progressed, it became clear that Kerry was no longer focusing on Israel, the country that has torpedoed all previous attempts at peace, but on the PLO. His aim is to get the latter to offer more concessions than any they have accepted in the past.

In order to do this, Kerry wanted to get the FCAPI to accept these concessions on behalf of the Palestinians, a new tactic that may or may not be working but that so far has succeeded in causing divisions and widespread consternation in Palestinian circles. The tactic is not totally new, for it resonates with the manner in which US diplomats have used the Arab League to justify foreign intervention for the sake of regime change in countries such as Iraq and Libya in the past.

Nasser doesn’t mention how Syria fits in his analysis.  Even so, he raises the question as to whether Egypt’s unfolding “revolution” is yet another example of regime change.

The debate in Washington was whether a coup is a coup when national security is at stake.  Perhaps the debate should have been about whether a revolution is really regime change.

If Morsi goes to trial, the Palestinians will be on trial, too.  Or will that trial begin in Washington next week?

Marc H. Ellis
About Marc H. Ellis

Marc H. Ellis is Professor of History and Jewish Studies and Director of the Center for the Study of the Global Prophetic. His latest book is Finding Our Voice: Embodying the Prophetic and Other Misadventures.

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46 Responses

  1. dbroncos
    July 27, 2013, 10:52 am

    “…the Palestinians will be on tial too.”

    That sounds exactly right. The Kerry-Obama “peace plan” is all about “Palestinian surrender”, as you indicated recently. A bury my heart at wounded knee summing up.

  2. just
    July 27, 2013, 10:55 am

    What an unholy cluster. The Egyptian military is acting on its own behalf– not for justice or the average Egyptian. They are despotic to the core. The end of a nascent democracy.

    Vilifying the Palestinians serves who?

    Yep, that’s right.

    “The debate in Washington was whether a coup is a coup when national security is at stake. Perhaps the debate should have been about whether a revolution is really regime change.”

    Exactly, Professor.

  3. piotr
    July 27, 2013, 11:54 am

    Joseph Massad had perhaps the best analysis to date, although a bit too Marxists. The differences on the place of religion and related subjects have key importance to many people. But economic forces are usually most powerful. In this case, each side has at its core a group of capitalists with opposite interests, and then the ideological chips are divided among them almost accidentally.

    Massad’s groups are: mostly self-made men whose fortunes were created mostly in the Gulf state and kleptocrats whose fortunes were created under military rule by having intimate connections with the rulers. As Muslim Brotherhood is obviously close to Hamas (but not THAT close), Hamas became the symbol of treason for the kleptocrats. Of course, Administration is against Hamas, but not in the same way. Crushing the “resistance spirit” among Palestinians is the dream of Zionist right (and center), but I think that cooler heads see limits of this approach. If you swing a pendulum too much you get a wrecking ball.

    One nightmare scenario is that the Egyptian junta will attempt to crush the Brotherhood in Pinochet style, or imitating recent precedents from Syria (one of the chief offenses of Morsi, cited by the official press, was “breaking our brotherhood with the people of Syria” as he broke the diplomatic relations with al-Assad etc.). But now Brotherhood is controlled by rather staid rich old men who are pretty cautious, and after “decapitation” it will become a myriad of militant radicalized groups and the results can be again similar as in Syria. Egypt has vast deserts separating the populated areas from other countries and other advantages, but another disastrous civil war may result: it happened in Iraq, Syria (both continuing) and Algeria (mostly over).

    Right now, whatever disaster will happen, it will be perceived as American creation. My private opinion is that the Administration was instrumental in fomenting the civil war in Syria but the events in Egypt are less related, more like “sorcerer’s apprentice”: we cannot stop the dancing brooms.

  4. American
    July 27, 2013, 12:20 pm

    ”As Nicola Nasser points out in Al Ahram, Kerry’s tactics were calculated. With the help of the Arab League, the Palestinians are being boxed in:”

    Palestine, Hamas, Gaza as ‘enemies’ of Egypt was obvious right away, the Egyptian media putting out that meme–closing tunnels, refusing to allow Palestines to enter thru Egypt, cutting off Gaza fisherman.

    This may be part of Kerry’s tactics but I think what happened in Egypt is bigger than that.
    Looks to me there is a joint effort between US, Saudi, some Gulf states and likely Isr to “shore up’ the old ‘balance of power’ of US hegemony that the Arab Spring and the Shiite revolts threatened. I think Saudi is the hidden hand behind much of this …their thrones and their US ‘umbrella’ of protection comes ahead of Palestine for them. Obama adm, that has never actually had a policy of it’s own, is being led or following along with old US-ME status quo, maybe by certain ‘Arab whispers’ in it’s ear of the dire consequences in lost of US control in the ME. I’ m not at all sure that the US is ‘in the lead’ as much as it is ‘in collusion’ with certain other Gulf states.

  5. HarryLaw
    July 27, 2013, 12:34 pm

    The Arab league [no don’t laugh] has shown itself to be a beaten docket, the Saudis and the other GCC countries are all in America’s pocket and are willing to destroy other members of the club [Libya and Syria] to ensure their own survival and geopolitical interests, to this end they have just given Egypt billions to ensure the right outcome there. The Palestinians have a right to be concerned, the Arab League’s committee has just agreed on a land for peace deal with the US which exceeds the 2002 Arab League plan, and in breach of its mandate, in my opinion Abbas is making many political mistakes, but if these satraps in the Arab League have their way Israel will not need to concede anything, they will have received everything in the form of concessions before negotiations even begin. Trying to end the occupation through political negotiations will prove futile the United Nations is the only place it can be solved and only with the implementation of International law.

    • Citizen
      July 28, 2013, 8:18 am

      @ HarryLaw
      Yes, the Arab League’s follow-up committee met with Kerry and basically Abbas is confronted with a done deal, with concessions already made for him. Yet he must go to Washington anyway or face being painted as the guy who don’t want peace, not to mention a cut off of outside aid. So far, Israel has not had to do anything at all, except keep expanding settlements while the bills are sailing through the US Congress to formally elevate Israel as America’s sole “major strategic ally.” which will authorize total enmeshment with all US security/defense cogs–and exempt military aid to Israel from sequester cuts (while things like Headstart get the ax & merely in Florida 28,500 civilian employees under the Pentagon budget are now forced into 4-day work weeks–a $94 million economic hit. The state worst hit by this part of sequester is California, with currently 72,000 furloughed workers, an economic hit of $237 million. This year the Pentagon’s share cuts under sequestration is $37 Billion. Fiscal 2014 across the board cuts scheduled is $54.6 Billion. But looks like Israel will be exempt from foreign aid cuts by this Fall:

  6. Justpassingby
    July 27, 2013, 1:13 pm

    Army masscare protesters, where are Samantha Power now? Or is the people being masscared now not worth to save Samantha?

    • piotr
      July 27, 2013, 4:09 pm

      Samantha Powers concerned herself with “genocide”, and skipped killings based on political differences, like the massacre of Communists in Indonesia in 1965. Such situations give genuine dilemmas: should CIA offer friendly reminders, lists of people that should be included (as it allegedly happen in Indonesia)? Should we hail the victory of freedom? Should we condemn or “express concern”? Or perhaps issue an official declaration “we are bewildered, we do not understand anything, waah!”.

      If I understand, Obama chose the last option. It is official that we cannot figure out if it is a coup or if it is not.

  7. Taxi
    July 27, 2013, 1:25 pm

    Is revolution “regime change”?

    Nah it’s further submission of the people to their oppressor leaders – well of course IT IS!

    You’re treating Morsi like he was some kinda great leader when in reality he’s got the statemanship of a weathered pirate and the charisma of a sack of potato in bad lighting.

    There will not be a civil war in Egypt. Yes you will have reactionaries and incidents here and there which is only to be expected.

    And as regards Hamas, man did they play the Syria and Egypt card baaaaadly! It’s their own effing fault for putting their religiosity before their patriotism. Palestinian Islamic Jihad have showed the more honorable choice of sticking to befriending forces that are focused on liberating Palestine above all else, and not putting their weight and will behind forces interested in the islamification of the land.

    • piotr
      July 27, 2013, 4:19 pm

      In what way it is relevant if Morsi and his party were “nice people”? Should political rights extend to all citizens, or only to the nice ones?

      Concerning Hamas, again one could find nicer people here and there, although I am pretty sure that not in PA. They are but a minor force with no real impact on the events in Syria, Egypt etc. so what are those cards that they could “play better”.

      I think that there are days when Taxi makes better points than today.

      • Taxi
        July 27, 2013, 5:16 pm

        I wouldn’t call leaders who make moves for repressive power grabs “nice people” – and that’s what Morsi was doing. It’s the right of the people to rebel against their governments, even if the government is an hour old. Democracy is the will of the majority and clearly the majority of Egyptians, of whom 33 million took to the streets in rejection of Morsi, spoke and acted as a majority. The revolution in Egypt continues, at its own unique pace and in its own unique way. There is no part one and part two, it’s still the same revolution since the ouster of Mubarak. The same spirit of the same masses. The Egyptian people are throwing their chains away and saying: no you will not step on my grandchild’s neck in the future – it must stop right here and right now. They are rejecting the further islamification of their already conservative lives and demanding a more equitable democracy, with a government that puts the interests of the people first, not the interests of a capitalist elite or a zealot elite.

        I have a different perspective on the turbulence going on in the mideast cuz I’m right here in the thick of it all, have been here in the mideast for almost two years and have absorbed much and picked up histories and nuances that were unknown to me whilst living in LA. It feels like I’m living through history and not just spectating and speculating from afar. I know I’ve irked some of my fellow mondowiessers lately, especially over the Egypt thing, but what can I say except I’m sorry but it’s how I see it – and I’m sorry too for any bad feelings my analysis may have caused to fellow bloggers whom I respect and admire.

        One thing’s for sure, Egypt is better off without Mubarak and Morsi as leaders. And I’m not worried about the Egyptian army ‘taking over forever’. It won’t. It’s frustrating to hear 80% of commentators get fixated on the army thing, at the expense of the incredible achievements of the Egyptian people.

        We’re witnessing a unique democracy in the making in Egypt. It’s a work in progress and we should be studying it while we’re waiting for their next election. Let’s see who is elected next, poitr – I’ll be a clearer picture and we may both very well be seeing eye to eye by then. I hope.

      • bilal a
        bilal a
        July 28, 2013, 1:39 am

        There has been no revolution in Egypt. There were two military coups , thats all. And in the civilians serve at the pleasure of the military , and if they step out of line, they can be executed as spies and terrorists. There is no free press or media. Hundreds possibly thousands will be arrested or have already been arrested. The remaining media salutes the sunglassed tyrant sisi, and calls for trumped up show trials. Classic banana dictatorship.

        Only those living in Mohandiseen believe otherwise. But they wont find the Faloul under As sisi any better than they were under Mubrarak.

        Go to the countryside, see how the Felaheen live, see how the salafis and MB fairly got 70% of the electorate while el baradei got 1.5%. Incarceration , killing, and terrorizing of the
        70% by the 2% is not democracy.

        Or as N. Finkelstein puts it:

        How Egypt’s Secular Liberals and “Revolutionaries” Practice Democracy: Step (1) Ride to Power on the Coattails of Military Putschists, Step (2) Commit a Few Bloodbaths against the Muslim Opposition, Step (3) Outlaw the Muslim Opposition, Step (4) Announce on Twitter and Facebook that in Ten Minutes You Have Collected Signatures of Support from 569 Billion Egyptians

      • American
        July 28, 2013, 1:52 pm

        One thing’s for sure, Egypt is better off without Mubarak and Morsi as leaders. And I’m not worried about the Egyptian army ‘taking over forever’. It won’t. It’s frustrating to hear 80% of commentators get fixated on the army thing, at the expense of the incredible achievements of the Egyptian people.”…Taxi

        At the risk of starting another arguement. Do you call it an incredible achievement that the Egyptian people are being led by Gen. Sisi’s calls to go to the streets to combat the MB demonstrations—-with ‘civilian’ protestors now armed and joining the army in killing the MB protestors?
        That is exactly what’s happening.

        The ‘wiping out of the MB’ is to ensure that they will have no place in any ‘elections’ in Egypt and that the powers that are in collusion with or behind the E-military will have their candidates elected and in office.

        You say the E-military wont ‘take over’ forever?….it doesnt matter in the slightest that the army commanders dont declare themselves the new rulers —-they will always be the ‘enforcer’ for the powers that will maintain the military’s own interest.

        The best you can say about this coup under the fig leaf of a popular revolt is:
        1) that the protestors realized Egypt would go down the economic toilet if Morsi wasnt deposed so other ME states like Saudi would be forthcoming with billions in aid and so were willing to be schmoozed into it and into wiping out the MB also.
        2) ditto the above reasons for the military because a bankrupt Egypt would also ruin the cozy arrangements they had in taking a slice of profits out of the Egyptian businesses.

        Maybe this is the Egyptian and ME way but let not pretend this is democracy under the usual definition of democracy or any kind of path to it.
        All that infusion of economic aid?…think much of that is going to filter down to the people? The elites that pulled out of Egypt after Murabak fell because of taxes imposed on them by Morsi are lined up to go back for the same cheap labor and elite benefits they had before…which is what they revolted against to begin with.

        So they’re back where they started…except worse….now they have a civil war going.

      • Taxi
        July 29, 2013, 12:52 am

        No bad feelings from me to you, American. I don’t mind in the slightest that we disagree on some stuff. I respect you, even when you’re wrong :-)

        Simply, I see it like this, and I say this after decades of close observations of the mid east:
        The place is in shambles and chains, full of regressive policies and backward injurious traditions, and it’s people are brutally ruled over by imperialism, zionism and islamism. Of course there are lofty aspects to the region too, but they’re under-indulged in by the masses who are too busy with sustenance and survivalism – even the middle classes (just like in our own country).

        We in the west are used to having instant democracy and expect it from developing countries too. This is a mistake. Our relationship with our armed forces is somewhat aloof in comparison to Egyptian’s passionate relationship with their army. That’s why it’s a mistake too to assume that the Egyptians are doomed if they’re too close to their army. To most Egyptians, the army is the only institution that has truly protected them – they understand and accept that the army plays realpolitik in order to remain the giant protector. They don’t have a problem with this pragmatism. But apparently western thinking does. It’s a totally different world there than our own. We have strong democratic foundations and institutions and they don’t. They’d like to build them but the task will not be achieved overnight. First, some serious deconstruction of the old and rigid system has to be dismantled, and every dismantlement is complex and delicate, like brain surgery. A fully blown democracy in Egypt is in the making, at its own pace and not ours. And the people fighting this level of democracy on the ground and behind the scenes are the ones benefitting from imperialism , zionism and islamism (minority but powerful forces). Egyptians will tend to start relying more on democracy and less on the army, once democratic institutions have taken a foundational hold. Morsi’s job was to establish such institutions, like he promised to, but the liar actually went forth and did the opposite. Until these democratic institutions are firmly established, all that Egyptians have is their army. You and others might not like this, but it’s all they’ve got to work with for the time being.

        American, it’s all relative. Life is an exercise in relativity. Judgement is an exercise in relativity. Before the Arab Spring began with the Tunisian Mohammad Bouazizi, the mideast was staid and politically frozen in a maze of repressive, inequitable elitist regimes. Millions of people lived their lives with their heads lowered by force or by coercion. And now people are not only raising their heads up high, but shouting out their grief and desires too. Yes it looks messy at the moment, but there’s no avoiding the mess, let’s be realistic.

        The Arabs have been in chains since the Ottoman Empire that ruled over them for some 400 years. The British and French fought the Turks (supposedly) to liberate Arab lands but ended up enslaving them too. Now just think: close to 600 years of political trauma and oppression the Arabs have had. Any wonder then that the wheels of change in the Arab world are painfully, leadenly turning?

        I’m personally glad for the shake-up (intifada?) going on in the mideast. I see it as progress, even though it appears imperfect and dangerous. The place was dead, dead, dead before the Tunisian revolution and its domino effect, and now you have life, life, life bursting out here and there and everywhere.

        And I’m especially glad that these people’s revolutions are making imperialism, zionism and islamism nervous, forcing them to get out from behind the juggernaut curtain and show their despicable faces. Better the people know the face of the enemy, I say.

        There will not be a civil war in Egypt. How can it when the majority want democracy and the minority want islamic neoconism? I foresee incidents of civic unrest and pockets of violence, yes. But no full-blown civil war, as in the Lebanese civil war, is coming to Egypt – not even in the wildest calculations of Egypt’s enemies.

        I see the glass as half full in the middle east, despite the turbulence. And I maintain that what’s going on right now in the mideast, with the failure of islamists both politically (Egypt) and militarily (Syria) is a very positive sign indeed.

        America’s addiction to oil, israel’s addiction to land-theft and Saudi addiction to slaves, all must be abolished from the region before “instant” democracy can be expected. Till then, anything that shakes up the above axis-of-evil is alright by me.

        Democracy will be the standard in the mideast eventually. And even though the road to democracy in a place like the middle east ain’t gonna be pretty, but the destination sure makes it worth the while.

        Enough of holding the Arab people back – give them room to move forward, even though they might be flaying their arms about and bumping into walls here and there.

      • Taxi
        July 27, 2013, 5:30 pm

        Regarding Hamas,

        Hamas are part of the regional Islamic Brotherhood in the mideast. They’re not outsiders to the game, or small change, in the least. They’re deeply involved with Morsi in Egypt and they’ve been devastated by his ouster. And in Syria, they chose the sudden appearance of suitcases full of dollars from Qatar over their loyalty to Syria’s Baathists who’ve supported their cause in word and deed for decades. Well, Bashar is winning – has already kinda won really – so this makes Hamas the double-losers: for backing the two biggest losers of the year in the mideast.

      • piotr
        July 28, 2013, 12:28 am

        “One thing’s for sure, Egypt is better off without Mubarak and Morsi as leaders.”

        In my old country there is a proverb: do not praise the day before the sunset and the wife before she dies. The new “revolutionary regime” renominated Mubarak apparatchiks to key positions, suspended the constitution, closed the opposing media and killed several hundreds. The campaign of hatred is escalating. And if you think that “the army thing” is unimportant, you do not know history. The problem in Egypt is that the military, police and judiciary are thoroughly corrupted, and the rabble raisers who made the crowds will probably be simply coopted (well, they already are coopted).

        Concerning Hamas and the Brotherhood, counting them out may be premature. First of all, there are to basic kinds of Islamists in Arab countries: more moderate Brotherhood and more radical Salafists. In Egypt, Salafists stabbed Morsi in the back, no doubt influenced by the gold from the Gulf. This may well undermine their popularity, the new regime does not look well to their rank and file. In Syria, Salafists started to kill the more moderate opposition, presumably more “Brotherly”, and a number of the latter took advantage of the amnesty offered by al-Assad. Al-Assad cannot really win without coopting Syrian branch of the Brotherhood. It seems that he already got a tacit agreement of Kurdish Communists.

        Finally, it may already dawn on Erdogan that his Syrian policy was a disaster, and he needs some success somewhere. Suddenly now he remembers that a few years ago he enormously cared about the suffering in Gaza.

      • Walid
        July 28, 2013, 12:54 am

        Taxi, Hamas isn’t that devasted, by moving to Doha and into the US camp it chose its new direction. Despite the picture the Egyptian military and the US are cooking, Morsi and Hamas were never close, he didn’t fling open the gates at Rafah. When the dust settles, the US will retire Abbas and replace him with Meshaal and set up el-Baradei as permanent president in Egypt. The royal changeover in Qatar was part of the scenario. The brothers in Egypt served their purpose and are now headed back to the cellar for another 60 years.

      • Taxi
        July 28, 2013, 1:32 am

        You’re still jumping the gun on the army. Wait and see what happens at the next election in Egypt, poitr, cuz until then, you’re speculating. Mindful here that the army DID hand over the reigns of power to Morsi after his election.

        Egypt is better off breaking away from the old rules and repressive conditions that they’ve been stuck with since Sadat, since 1971, even if little earthquakes appear here and there. It’s what the Egyptians rightfully want and what you personally want I’m afraid to say, is ultimately inconsequential.

        Go spend your time mourning Morsi and wagging your finger at the Egyptian people. Makes no difference whatsoever. People in the mideast want their freedom, they’re prepared for sacrifices and the cynics of the world ain’t gonna stop them.

        I encourage all Arab people to revolt against their repressive systems today, tomorrow and everyday, until their rights are respected and given to them. I encourage them to return to democratic secularism. I encourage them to fight, with everything they have, the wicked and humiliating bondage of imperialism, zionism, islamism and monarchism, forced upon them in their respective countries. I encourage them to make sacrifices today in the name of giving dignity and freedom to their grandchildren.

        And here I have to tell you that so long as others, like poitr, think there are only “two basic kinds of Ismalmists in the mideast”, their analysis will remain two-dimentional and off the mark.

        And I ask Egyptians and other Arabs in political strife not to depend on the sympathies and support of so-called western liberals – clearly most of them don’t understand how Arab people have been living for decades and what it is that the Arab people are fighting against. I urge them to depend only on themselves and make their desired changes accordingly – continue with their push for freedom even if it takes a hundred years to achieve it.

      • Walid
        July 28, 2013, 3:45 am

        “People in the mideast want their freedom,…”

        Not really, Taxi, eventhough they pretend the contrary and even demonstrate against it, they are more comfy living under authoritarian rule. They are lost without it and forever looking up to powerful and fatherly “za’im” leaders. When they shake off this dependency, they will become free.

      • Taxi
        July 28, 2013, 5:46 am


        Why so glum lately?

        Your sweeping statements are nihilistic and only half right. The correct part is an opaque view of humanity and applies to people everywhere and not just the mideast. Otherwise, if your statements were all correct, we might as well all of us just kill ourselves already.

      • Citizen
        July 28, 2013, 8:38 am

        @ Walid
        IMO you can say the same for Americans at this juncture, especially considering the USA has a democratic tradition and many long established institutions allegedly devoted to it. That’s why we keep getting a Tweedledee-Tweedledum government, basically a one-party government. OWS quickly vanished. The main media was very complicit.

      • mcohen
        July 28, 2013, 8:57 am

        “People in the mideast want their freedom,…”

        They want freedom but they need bread

    • Justpassingby
      July 28, 2013, 4:34 am

      Taxi, are you supporting the army now murdering its own citizens?

  8. Obsidian
    July 27, 2013, 3:06 pm

    “This is already happening and dovetails with John Kerry’s Washington negotiations scheduled to begin next week.”

    Yup. Mahmud Abbas and Fatah should read the writing on the wall and cut a peace deal with the Netanyahu government before it’s too late.

  9. Sumud
    July 27, 2013, 8:11 pm

    And what happens when it is “too late” Obsidian?


    Or rather, when the 2 state solution becomes unviable – which it did years ago – then the struggle switches to a single state with equal rights for all and Israel “the jewish state” disappears from the pages of history.

    Israel’s Great Gamble of 1967, born of hubris and greed: lost.

    • Obsidian
      July 28, 2013, 1:28 am

      Palestine’s gamble of 2013, born of hubris and summud: lost.

      • Sumud
        July 28, 2013, 10:57 am

        I don’t think you understand.

        Israel’s Great Gamble of 1967 was that they could repeat the success of the Nakba of 1947/8/9 and capture the other half of the Palestinian Partition, and get away with it.

        Except Israel vastly underestimated Palestinian sumud and with the settlements have painted themselves into a corner from which there is no escape. One state across mandate is now inevitable – no amount of hasbara or US Congressional bills will convince the world to accept Israeli apartheid – and it will have a Palestinian majority.

        What is Palestine’s gamble of 2013 – as you see it?

        Back to my original question: what happens when it is “too late”…?

      • Obsidian
        July 29, 2013, 2:06 am

        Israel loudly and repeatedly told Jordan to stay out of the ’67 War. Jordan continued her aggression and Israel attacked the West Bank.

        The settlement of the West Bank was illegal and a big mistake.

        Abbas refusal to accept the Olmert offer was also a big mistake.

        If, because of pride or summud, Abbas doesn’t make a deal with Netanyahu, the Palestinians will be the biggest losers in the Middle East.

        The handwriting is on the wall and it is writ large. Make a deal while you still have a chance.

      • ritzl
        July 29, 2013, 8:57 am

        Great comment, Sumud. Particularly this part, which is the critical pivot point in the inevitability of 1S1P1V:

        “no amount of hasbara or US Congressional bills will convince the world to accept Israeli apartheid”

        The result is inevitable. Only the timeline remains TBD, even though the level of struggle and pain required to persevere is daunting.

      • Hostage
        July 29, 2013, 9:06 am

        Israel loudly and repeatedly told Jordan to stay out of the ’67 War. Jordan continued her aggression and Israel attacked the West Bank.

        It’s generally admitted by historians that Israel launched a large scale invasion of the West Bank in November of 1966, because it was afraid to retaliate against Soviet-back Syria. Subsequent events led Jordan to believe that Israel planned to capture and occupy the West Bank in any event. The US government didn’t even pass along Israeli assurances to Jordan, because they were no longer credible.

        Even apologists, like Michael Oren, trace the path to war from the Israeli operation against the West Bank village of Es Samu. The Security Council condemned it as premeditated aggression. The Israelis prevented UN investigators from visiting the area where they alleged evidence of Jordanian incursions had been found, and Johnson’s advisors were instructed to tell Israel it had gone too far.

        Nonetheless, the UN Yearbook notes that Israel continued to carry out incursions with tractors to plow up territory located in Jordan or no-mans land in February of 1967.

        So Jordan had a legitimate right to sign-on to a mutual defense pact, and to counter-attack Israel after it started the war by attacking the allied Arab states. That’s how mutual defense treaties are supposed to work.

      • talknic
        July 29, 2013, 10:32 am

        Obsidian “Israel loudly and repeatedly told Jordan to stay out of the ’67 War. Jordan continued her aggression and Israel attacked the West Bank”

        That’s odd. Israel was busy attacking Jordanian territory as early as November 1966

        UNSC Resolution 228(1966)
        of 25 November 1966
        The Security Council,
        Having heard the statements of the representatives of Jordan and Israel concerning the grave Israel military action which took place in the southern Hebron area on 13 November 1966,
        Having noted the information provided by the Secretary-General concerning this military action in his statement of 16 November17 and also in his report of 18 November 1966,
        Observing that this incident constituted a large scale and carefully planned military action on the territory of Jordan by the armed forces of Israel,
        Reaffirming the previous resolutions of the Security Council condemning past incidents of reprisal in breach of the General Armistice Agreement between Israel and Jordan and of the United Nations Charter,
        Recalling the repeated resolutions of the Security Council asking for the cessation of violent incidents across the demarcation line, and not overlooking past incidents of this nature,
        Reaffirming the necessity for strict adherence to the General Armistice Agreement,
        1. Deplores the loss of life and heavy damage to property resulting from the action of the Government of Israel on 13 November 1966;

        Can you point to ANY similar UNSC condemnation of Jordanian actions? Or are you gonna repeat some wholly holey moldy old Hasbara mantra that has absolutely no substance?

        “Abbas refusal to accept the Olmert offer was also a big mistake”

        Uh? Olmert offered the Palestinians to swap Palestinian territory for Palestinian territory so Israel could keep Palestinian territory. You seem to think it was a good deal for the Palestinians. Nothing at all belonging to Israel was in the ‘offer’

        “If, because of pride or summud, Abbas doesn’t make a deal with Netanyahu, the Palestinians will be the biggest losers in the Middle East”

        The Palestinians have no legal obligation to forgo any of their legal rights in negotiations. They have the Law on their side. Israel does not! It is already the biggest loser. Its illegal facts on the ground are so vast it cannot now afford to adhere to the law without going bankrupt paying rightful compensation while attempting to repatriate hundreds of thousands of illegal settlers back in Israeli territory.

        “The handwriting is on the wall and it is writ large. Make a deal while you still have a chance”

        Uh? It is Israel who must now plea bargain with the Palestinians in order to circumvent the eventual consequences of being in breach of the Law for 65 years

        The frog is in the pot. The US veto vote does nothing more than allow it to stay there. Only Palestinian generosity will help it out.

      • Sumud
        July 29, 2013, 10:36 pm

        If, because of pride or summud, Abbas doesn’t make a deal with Netanyahu, the Palestinians will be the biggest losers in the Middle East.

        The handwriting is on the wall and it is writ large. Make a deal while you still have a chance.

        You don’t get it Obsidian.

        Palestinians have time on their side. There is no time limit where they have to make a deal “or else”. A single state with equal rights for all is inevitable at this point, and it will have a Palestinian majority.

        If you harbour secret fantasies about genocide or (further) ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, do you think the world will accept that? I don’t.

        The train has left the station Obsidian. Why else do you think the Ehuds (among others) are warning about the grim outlook for Israel if the world comes to see it as an apartheid state.

        Wake up. Make friends with some Palestinians [while you still have a chance].

      • Obsidian
        July 30, 2013, 5:17 am

        Israel invade Jordanian territory in order to attack Fatah in Samu.
        Israel hadn’t intended to engage Jordanian troops. That was a misfortune of war.

        Samu was in November 1967. Jordan signed a mutual defense pact with Egypt days before the June 67 War and during the height of tensions. I’d call that bad timing or rank stupidity or maybe the Jordanian King was merely pandering to the Arab ‘street’.

        We will better understand what happened once Hostage delves into the Arab State’s archives.

  10. Hostage
    July 28, 2013, 12:25 am

    Why meet with Palestinian leadership in Amman rather than in Ramallah?

    The Palestinians just signed a treaty with Jordan which reaffirmed the fact that the government of Jordan’s qualified disengagement from the West Bank did not end its treaty obligations and the exercise of some territorial jurisdiction regarding the Holy places in Jerusalem. That sort of thing has legal consequences and happened by design, not by accident. Note that the ICJ pointed out in 2004 that the dispute was between two High Contracting Parties, Israel and Jordan, and that subsequent events had not altered that fact. It also pointed out that it considered the agreement between Israel and Jordan, regarding right of transit to the Holy places on both sides of the Green Line, to still be a valid (enforceable) one.
    *The text of the Treaty
    * Paragraph 129 of the Advisory Opinion

    The peace treaty with Israel also stipulated that it is without prejudice to the status of any territory that came under Israeli military control in 1967. See Article 3(2)

    Ynet recently observed “Abbas also noted the Palestinians have an additional plan should negotiations fail; however, he failed to offer further details, hinting they are connected to UN institutions.

    All of this means that Palestine shares territorial jurisdiction by treaty with a third party state that happens to already be 1) a High Contracting Party to the Geneva conventions; and 2) a State Party that has accepted ICC jurisdiction over the territories subject to its territorial or personal jurisdiction. The ICC has automatic jurisdiction over crimes committed on territories subject to the jurisdiction of any member state. Jordan is also a party to the Statute of the ICJ , a UN institution.

  11. bilal a
    bilal a
    July 28, 2013, 1:12 am

    Noteworthy is the modus operandus of insurgency or counter insurgency :

    Large groups of ‘protestors’, ie ‘thugs’, working with black uniformed special forces, and armed plain clothes security.


  12. Walid
    July 28, 2013, 2:00 am

    “That sort of thing has legal consequences and happened by design, not by accident. ”

    There’s another opinion to the signing that doesn’t involve any future UN implication. It’s said that it was meant to cut-off Qatar’s/Hamas’ declared intent to participate actively in safeguarding from Judaization Jerusalem’s 144 dunums of holy sites by having Abbas and Company reaffirm Jordan’s 1928 custodianship over the holy sites to keep Qatar and Hamas away from them. It’s also said that the US was in favour of the signing, which came a week before Obama’s visit, to give Jordan a say in any future Palistinian negotiations with Israel.

    In any event, Jordan would never go to the UN for anything against Israel without US consent, and this would never happen.

    • thankgodimatheist
      July 28, 2013, 2:57 am

      Walid..Did you listen to Azmi Beshara’s talk on Egypt that came up 2 days ago on Al Jazeera? The most helpful, IMO, the most insightful I’ve ever come across on this intractable situation. It makes every other analyst looks like an amateur in comparison. Political science at it’s most impressive.
      حديث الثورة .. عزمي بشارة يحلل المشهد المصري

      • thankgodimatheist
        July 28, 2013, 3:08 am

        As for those who are unfamiliar with Dr. Azmi, here’s an excellent conversation on Israel (In Hebrew, subtitled English) with him. From 2005 but still gold.
        I Also Dwell Among Your Own People – Azmi Bishara – Documentary

      • Citizen
        July 28, 2013, 10:14 am

        @ thankgodimatheist
        Thanks for sharing.
        Long video (about 52 minutes), but engagingly informative. He grew up indoctrinated with the Zionist narrative from his Arab Israeli textbooks, e.g.,
        “the Jewish teacher,” the “Arab shepherd.” repeated over and over again. His Palestinian identity came to life, when as a young man he encountered the photos of two Palestinian high school girls (Arab Israeli girls)–just shot dead in their striped HS uniforms by IDF or local Jewish cops for being in a non-violent protest. He wants Israel to have the same concept and implementation of “citizen” as the US has, although he never mentioned any model country. Lots of Hegel in his thinking; and, near the end, a great appreciation of Kant. He was the first Arab Israeli to found a secular culture school identified as for Arabs….He points out that after 9/11 the US divided the whole world up into terrorists (violent bad guys) and those who fight terrorists (protective good guys). Also points out that until the ’67 war, the US and diaspora Jewish communities were not very supportive of Israel, e.g., the IAF used French Mirage jets, not F-15, 16s, etc. But since that war won by Israel, the US government and world Jewish diaspora have been lavish supporters of Zionism.

      • Walid
        July 28, 2013, 6:09 am

        “Political science at it’s most impressive.”

        It is, TGIA, and I used to be a big fan of Jazeera until Libya. Likewise for Dr Azmi until he became a paid commentator for Jazeera. Thanks for the video. In an astute and utmost discreet manner, he is saying in it that the Egyptian Army is the bad guy in the Egyptian story eventhough the MB screwed up in the last year and he’s warning the young January 25th crowd to not side with it since it is the very regime that the crowd wanted removed from power and not Mubarak.

    • Hostage
      July 28, 2013, 4:34 am

      There’s another opinion to the signing that doesn’t involve any future UN implication. It’s said that it was meant to cut-off Qatar’s/Hamas’ declared intent to participate actively in safeguarding from Judaization Jerusalem’s 144 dunums of holy sites by having Abbas and Company reaffirm Jordan’s 1928 custodianship over the holy sites

      In the past, Qatar has been limited to offers of funding another case brought by others in the ICJ precisely because it has no basis to exercise territorial or personal jurisdiction in Palestine. See Qatar to pay for taking Israel to ICJ

      Neither Hamas nor Qatar could have referred a question to the ICJ or the ICC under the best of circumstances. But citing the custodianship of the Holy places, the continued application of Jordanian statutes, and Jordanian jurisdiction in the occupied territory automatically guarantees ICC jurisdiction over the West Bank confederation. Any member state can refer a situation there to the Prosecutor in exactly the same way that Comoros referred the situation on Greek and Cambodian-flagged ships in the aid flotilla to the ICC Prosecutor. There’s no way Jordan or Palestine can block that from happening.

      • Walid
        July 28, 2013, 6:27 am

        Not doubting Jordan’s prerogatives to act for the benefit of Palestinians at various UN agencies. What is highly doubtful is that Jordan would dare piss-off the US by doing it. Jordan that subsist on loans and grants from other countries was prevented by the US and Israel from mining its own uranium.

      • Hostage
        July 29, 2013, 3:51 am

        What is highly doubtful is that Jordan would dare piss-off the US by doing it.

        Inaction by a member state only serves to trigger the Court’s complementary jurisdiction. The point is that Jordan just acted to facilitate any ICC member state willing to piss-off the United States by making referrals of situations in Palestine subject to this treaty jurisdiction. Any member can do that and there are plenty of non-aligned member states in the ICC that don’t mind pissing-off the United States.

      • Hostage
        July 29, 2013, 4:02 am

        P.S. If you want to see an example of Jordan thumbing its nose at the US and Israel in a UN organ, then read the written statement submitted to the ICJ in the Wall case.

        The US said the Court either didn’t have jurisdiction or that it shouldn’t opt to exercise it. The Jordanian government submitted a lengthy dossier that condemned Israel’s illegal actions from 1948 to the 30 January 2004 filing deadline for comments.

  13. traintosiberia
    July 28, 2013, 10:35 am

    It was 1987 when BJP a communal offshoot of RSS came to increase its share of parliamentary seats in India from 4 in 1984 and from 10 at maximum in any previous election , to 84 .It managed to increase its share and popularity not on any ground level works among the poor,not any new economic ideas,not on any new plans about economy or workers. This was an achievement solely based on increasing hysteria and waging war against minorities in India .Its share would go up more after more communal violence and after destruction of a old 16 th century mosque . It would support Sati, caste discrimination, religious disharmony,and widow burning .It will instigate violence and orchestrate one of the ghastly murder in Gujrat province of India. The architect of this violence is now the future president of India if BJP wins the election. This BJP and its supporters are well positioned in US and UK. They work very closely with Israeli lobby in US.They raise fund in US and Europe.
    Compared to this development, Morsi and its brotherhood is much saner and progressive. BJP focuses on the ills and weaknesses of non -Hindu minorities ( the way it came to prominence was raising Hindu anger on a court decision about Muslim personal law affecting Muslim only with no social,economic,security impact on Hindus. It did this same time when its leaders supported widow burning in Rajastan , another state in India) ,Muslim brotherhood was focused on the co religionists .
    BJP since the early upheaval, and electoral reverses have changed its course to some extent. There is a western hypocrisy . It accepts Buddhist zealot running the show in Mynamar, Sri Lanka and India. But it will quash any similar movement in Arab. It will stomp on any religion -inspired movement if the movement is also against ” Neo liberal ” agenda. This what happened in Latin America in 1980s and now happening in Egypt.
    It is also interesting to see the pourings of foreign Jihadis in Syria and not in Egypt. This Jihadi traffic is mainly and possibly exclusively AlQuida in substance .That raises the age old question who controls this organization ,who directs their flow .
    Emergency and military rules have place in India and it has come out of it through democratic process. It has survived in Pakistan only by continuous US support and has flourished for 30 years in Egypt with Mubarakian face with US largesse .
    Morsi has come to power through ballot and has won all 6 other elections since its first win.El Baredi and so called progressive are the twitter abuser,and Facebook surfer who would sell their country to be accepted as a marginal ,peripheral guest in the big neoliberal tent that is US economy today. It’s survival strategy also adopted by the ElBaredi supporters is to agitate over flimsy ,esoteric,symbolic concerns and fight the straw man argument like women’s right or LGBT or homosexual marriage in a situation where everybody is suffering and paying prices and woman was no better in the regime that was removed by Morsi and would not fare any better economically and emotionally under the Neo liberal agenda of El Baredi. It is like liberal and Western support for the demand of Pussy Riot in Russia on social concerns so an Yeltsin era economic environment reemerges.

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