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Never mind the coup: U.S. military aid will continue to flow to Egypt

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Egyptians celebrated in the street after the military deposed Mohamed Morsi from power. (Photo via CBS News)

After the Egyptian military deposed former President Mohamed Morsi from power, the conversation in the U.S. quickly turned to this question: would military aid be cut off to the Egyptian armed forces, as the law stipulates must be done after a coup? The short answer is no. Too much is at stake for U.S. elite interests–namely Israel, the Suez Canal and influence in the Middle East–for that to happen.

Yesterday, Egypt’s top military officer announced that Morsi, the country’s first democratically elected president, was no longer in power. The Constitution was suspended, a new interim president who will act as a figurehead installed, and new elections scheduled. The immediate aftermath saw the Egyptian military deploy on the streets, crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood protesters and put top Islamists under arrest. It is a military coup by any definition of the word, though in this case it was a military coup backed by the will of the Egyptian people.

After the coup occurred, and as millions of Egyptians erupted in jubilation over Morsi’s downfall, Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont released a statement saying that the U.S. was obligated to cut off military aid to Egypt. “Our law is clear: U.S. aid is cut off when a democratically elected government is deposed by military coup or decree,” said Leahy. “This is a time to reaffirm our commitment to the principle that transfers of power should be by the ballot, not by force of arms.”

President Obama gave his answer on the question of an aid cut-off in his own statement released last night. While Obama said he was concerned about retribution against the Muslim Brotherhood–something that began to happen immediately after Morsi’s departure–he also didn’t mention the word “coup,” which would have forced the U.S.’s hand on an aid cut-off. “I have also directed the relevant departments and agencies to review the implications under U.S. law for our assistance to the Government of Egypt,” said Obama, paying lip-service to U.S. law. But the cat is already out of the bag–Secretary of State John Kerry approved $1.3 billion in military aid to Egypt in May.

That annual $1.3 billion has helped the Egyptian military become the most powerful institution in the country. It has bought the military the armored personnel carriers, the fighter jets and the guns that helped them to easily exert total control of Egypt yesterday. Indeed, as an Egyptian military officer put it today in the New York Times, “We are disciplined, and we have the weapons. That’s what’s on the market right now. Do you see any other solid institution on the scene?”

The Egyptian military would not have overthrown Morsi without a green-light from the U.S. The U.S. spigot to the military will continue to flow as long as the military keeps acting in a way conducive to U.S. interests.

One of the most important reasons why the U.S. gives Egypt military aid is the armed forces’ continued maintenance of the peace treaty with Israel. The 1979 Camp David Accords took the Egyptian military off the map as a threat to Israel. This freed up Israel’s hands to deal with the Palestinians and other regional enemies as they wish without the threat of any Egyptian retribution. The military has collaborated with Israel’s system of control over the Palestinians ever since the peace treaty was signed. This was seen clearly during Operation Cast Lead, when the Israeli and Egyptian militaries coordinated as Israel waged a punishing assault on Gaza’s civilians and Hamas–no friend to the Egyptian military. More recently, the Egyptian military has continued to crack down on smuggling tunnels into Gaza that deliver goods and arms to the besieged strip.

As the Times of Israel reported, “Israeli political and military sources privately indicated Thursday that they considered the turn of events potentially beneficial to Israel…The Times of Israel has been told that senior Israeli defense officials consider relations with el-Sissi’s military establishment to have been close and robust, with ongoing cooperation between the two military hierarchies.”

The Suez Canal, too, is another important reason for U.S. military aid to Egypt. The canal is crucial for U.S. naval force projection, as well as for the flow of oil and gas to the U.S. and Europe.

Yet another reason the aid will keep flowing, as Shana Marshall wrote in Foreign Policy last year, is that “the aid benefits a small and influential coterie of elites in both capitals. In the United States, the aid program provides a large and predictable source of demand for weapons exporters, while in Cairo, collaborative military production with U.S. firms help subsidize the army’s commercial economic ventures.”

As the Egyptian military continues its crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, you can expect to see a lot of U.S. hand wringing over it. But the hand wringing won’t translate into an aid cut-off. The American position was articulated by Senator Lindsey Graham: “[It] looks like a coup, it sounds like a coup…But I’m in the camp with Senator McCain – let’s look and see how this unfolds…we cannot be seen as supporting a military coup. It is imperative that the democratic process restart and that we have a game plan and a road map to new elections.”

In other words, U.S. officials recognizes the military’s actions as a coup. But the aid cut-off is something that will take time–too much time for it to actually be implemented.

While we’re waiting for the democratic process to “restart”–perhaps as the Muslim Brotherhood is decimated as a political force–the Egyptian military can slowly get back to its traditional role as a state within a state in the background. That way, the foreign policy the U.S. wants will continue to be pursued by the Egyptian military while a new civilian leader is installed who won’t go near pursuing an independent Egyptian regional policy.

Alex Kane

Alex Kane is a freelance journalist who focuses on Israel/Palestine and civil liberties. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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49 Responses

  1. W.Jones on July 4, 2013, 5:21 pm

    “It is a military coup by any definition of the word, though in this case it was a military coup backed by the will of the Egyptian people.”

    Ya right. ( )

    I’m alittle skeptical. After seeing problems with the Muslim Brotherhood they had elected, the majority of Egyptians wanted a military coup, rather than an election, to get rid of their government?

    Based on Morsi’s last victory, one can surmise that most Egyptians have some kind of religious leaning in their politics. Is whatever government the military allows going to match that? If not, perhaps there will be resisters who are in turned put down like those under Mubarak.

    • Ellen on July 5, 2013, 3:55 am

      Military funds will continue to flow, (it is great big business) but it is not a “military coup by any definition of the word”

      For one, it was not sudden and was announced, two the demonstrated purpose is for a temporary coup with the purpose to make new elections. Three it had the support of the people and was not motivated by a small group in the army. These are not the marks of a coupe d’ e’tat.

      An interesting thesis around the idea of a “democratically motivated coupe d’ etat where the military responds to popular sentiment against a autocratic regime.

      Below is cited an Al Jazeera report on the expansive and well positioned role of the military in Egypt. This is true in that nothing of significance happens without the military in Egypt. How could that be any different in light of the country’s history.

      And how is this different than in the US? Doesn’t our own military also have the choice real estate, plush officers clubs, hospital facilities, banking services with perks, priorities in travel. etc.

      These are the characteristics of a society where the military reigns supreme. The US is really little different from Egypt in that respect. As an aside, Switzerland is traditionally similar to Egypt in that one must raise through the ranks of the military to have position and influence in civil society.

      As (and IF) civil institutions develop in Egypt, the military will become less important to the functioning of the country. A natural development that will take years.

      The MB won the election (by less than a single percentage) because it was the single organized entity. It has support of an estimated ca. 300 well-organized persons. (and most of those are over 45)

      Its projection to power does not reflect the workings of a democracy, but that of filling a vacuum after a revolution. They blew the opportunity given to them.

      A military responding to the will a a majority is not a coup by any definition of the word.

  2. just on July 4, 2013, 5:27 pm

    Military coup now– installation next. I fear that you are 100% correct, Alex.

    I wish to heavens that the Egyptian people had the real power, but they don’t. Their numbers were massive, impressive and humbling to me.

  3. gingershot on July 4, 2013, 5:53 pm

    Something stinks about all the Egyptians people being in support of the military regarding this coup – maybe they don’t think like that and just think it’s their will to remove Morsi that is the main thing.

    I understand that the rank and file army is very popular amongst Egyptians – even if Mubarak’s buddies heading the military are not as popular – but how come I can’t shake the thought the Egyptians are catching a ferry ride on a crocodile?

    Is it that the masses in Tahrir really think they are SO strong that they can force the army not to grab the reins of power and keep them and just move the clock back a couple of years and run Egypt like it was run during Mubarak? Do they think that having once successfully forced the Army generals to back down to allow the elections that elected Morsi in the first place, that it’s guaranteed that they will be able to do it again?


    The reliable propaganda organ Debkafile says Muhammad El Baradei (IAEA) may be appointed the transitional PM. It further is reporting that the coup was bankrolled by Saudi Arabia and UAE. We do know Israel is quite happy about this and that that’s a bad thing.

    Cairo sources: ElBaradei in line for provisional PM

    Dr. Mohamed ElBaradi, one of the opposition leaders, is in line for provisional prime minister of Egypt until new elections, according to sources in Cairo. They say he is an accepted figure in opposition and Muslim circles alike.

    • just on July 4, 2013, 6:38 pm

      I like Dr. ElBaradie a lot, but I am not Egyptian.

      I like him because he told the truth about the mythic WMDs in Iraq. He also has tried mightily to urge against military action against Iran…..Iran, who is signatory to the NPT.

      He understands Egypt, he understands the region, and he understands the exterior forces at work.

      • Kathleen on July 5, 2013, 8:42 am

        Have a great deal of respect for El Baradei. No way Israel would allow El Baradei to be appointed or elected for anything in Egypt. El Baradei’s decisions are based on facts. Facts get in Israel’s way.

        I would really like to be totally wrong.

      • gingershot on July 5, 2013, 1:24 pm

        During the Arab Spring ouster of Mubarak I was hoping El Baradei would break through as a leading presidential candidate, because of his brave work standing up to the US/Neocons/Israel lies in helping avert the Mossad propaganda towards pushing the US into war with Iran (debunking the ‘smoking Iranian laptop hoax, etc) , and truth-telling regarding the Iranian civilian nuclear program.

        I had the hope El Baradei would also stand up for the full Camp David Accords and an Anti-Apartheid stance towards Israel if he were elected president, and break away from his US-paymasters

        Then I started thinking that the Westernized El Baradei is so easy to like for a gringo like me and perhaps he was too much of a ‘Westernized’ man for Egypt itself – and better the Egyptians choose/elect a leader perhaps more representative of them rather than somebody so ‘easy’ on a foreigner’s eyes

        You summarize my current thinking very well;

        ‘He understands Egypt, he understands the region, and he understands the exterior forces at work.’

      • James Canning on July 6, 2013, 2:22 pm

        ElBaradei apparently will be named interim prime minister. A good move, I think.

    • bilal a on July 4, 2013, 6:47 pm

      Many on the ground reports of paid demonstrators . I wonder who paid for all the triumphant helicopter and airplane runs, and how does an unemployed Egyptian youth buy all those expensive big fireworks ?

  4. Hostage on July 4, 2013, 6:20 pm

    In other words, U.S. officials recognizes the military’s actions as a coup. But the aid cut-off is something that will take time–too much time for it to actually be implemented.

    It really doesn’t take that long. Leahy is the Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee for the State Department and Foreign Assistance Programs. He can place an immediate hold on any distributions from the Treasury accounts. During the first coup the Senate actually adopted a statute that permitted Secretary Clinton to waive the coup provision. Then when the Generals delayed action on the Constitution and the elections, Senator Leahy threatened that the waiver wouldn’t be included in the next appropriations bill.

  5. agatharchides on July 4, 2013, 6:31 pm

    It’s probably too soon to tell if this will end well. My guess is not, it is all very well to talk about a ‘unity government’ and one that represents ‘all Egyptians’ but at the end of the day all Egyptians probably don’t agree, and when differences arise the temptation to try to repeat something like this again and again in the name of the ‘revolution’ may be too great. I guess we can only wait and see.

    Since this is mostly a site about I/P, I guess it is worth mentioning that the Egyptian military has totally sealed off the border crossings and all smuggling, pretty much trashing Gaza’s already trashed economic situation. It will be interesting to see if this is temporary, making sure Hamas can’t help the MB launch a counter-coup or if the new powers that be in Cairo want to finish off a potential threat by helping Israel starve Hamas-lead Gaza into submission. As before, we can but wait and see.

    Other than that, I can’t see it really making a difference to Israel-Palestine. The military was really in charge of things Israel related under Morsi, and in any case the fact that Egypt is totally broke is likely to mean Cairo simply has no time or resources to invest in it.

  6. bilal a on July 4, 2013, 6:45 pm

    Israelis argue for an Algerian solution for the MB in Egypt, even if it involves murder, violence, repression by the military:

  7. James Canning on July 4, 2013, 7:15 pm

    The Irish Times reported that the Egyptian army was deeply disturbed by Morsi’s aggressive support for the insurgency in Syria.

  8. James Canning on July 4, 2013, 7:17 pm

    Financial Times reported today that Qatar put $8 billion into Egypt in support of Morsi. (Qatar of course backs the insurgency in Syria.)

    • Kathleen on July 5, 2013, 8:43 am

      Someone in the know said that there is a huge arms race between Russia and Qatar

      What do you know about that?

  9. Inanna on July 4, 2013, 8:31 pm

    Of course the US will still give money to the military in Egypt. We like those guys, we trained them and they do our bidding. I think the veil has truly been stripped away from America – we know that they are completely uninterested in human rights, freedom, democracy etc. In the past we thought that was only for non-Americans but now we know they feel that way about America too.

    This can be seen as a defeat for Qatar, since they were so heavily invested in MB. Not sure if it qualifies as a win for Saudi Arabia since the Salafi Nour party, which Saudi strongly backs, is not going to win a majority at the next elections. But it certainly qualifies as a win for the US since the Egyptian military are ‘our’ bastards.

    You can bet the homestead that the first thing the new Prez will talk about is ‘Egypt respecting it’s international treaties’ – code for keeping Israel secure, which is what the Egyptian military is expected to do for all that cash.

    I would classify this coup as reactionary – instead of letting the pressure of the protests leading Morsi to conclude that he had lost the confidence of the people and recognising that early elections are needed, we have a situation where the old guard can now set the terms for the next elections and next constitution. There are two problems with this – the old guard is dictatorial and dominated by US views and does not consider the will of the people – and the MB is now left nursing their wounds and bemoaning the overthrow of a legitimately elected government. They will not go quietly and now there is the possibility of civil war in the Egypt, or perhaps an Algerian style campaign to wipe out Islamists that will cost thousands of lives and push back the possibility of real liberation and democracy for Egyptian, as well as cause untold economic and social distress.

    • Walid on July 5, 2013, 12:18 am

      Inanna, the 1.3 billion is very important in that it gurantees modern weaponry but it’s really small change compared to the US remaining silent and going along with the army owning and benefitting from 40% of Egypt’s industry. From al-Jazeera last year:

      The military has, over decades, created an industrial complex that is well oiled and well funded. In over 35 factories and companies it produces everything from flat-screen televisions and pasta to refrigerators and cars.

      It owns restaurants and football grounds. Much of the work force are conscripts paid below the average wage. And it is not just manufactured goods: the military provide services, managing petrol stations for example.

      The influence extends far beyond Cairo across Egypt. They are huge land owners in the country.

      Prime real estate

      We do not know exactly how much land military personnel own, but do a quick drive through Nasr City in Cairo and look at the prime real estate in army hands.

      They also speculate on the value of land which has proven very lucrative for them. So too have the joint ventures they have entered into with construction companies building resorts and other complexes.

      Their soldiers live in their own mini villages. The army has become a separate entity untouchable by the state with an anaudited economy.

      The Egyptian military consists of almost half a million conscripts. They have not fought a war since 1973 and are well funded. These soldiers need to be placated and controlled.

      • seafoid on July 5, 2013, 1:10 am

        “We do not know exactly how much land military personnel own, but do a quick drive through Nasr City in Cairo and look at the prime real estate in army hands.”

        Nasser broke the grip the upper classes had on the land. The army replaced the rich over the last 2 generations . Kida ya’ni.

        Egypt is at the start of a long crisis. There are no visible answers. The easiest thing for the Americans to do is to persist with the status quo but the status quo brought the crisis on….

        Where is Taxi?

        She’s going to love this . Former Israeli ambassador to Egypt Eli Shaked

        “Democratic Washington has many illusions. Washington is a friend of ours, of you and us, but they are not realistic. They betrayed [former Egyptian president Hosni] Mubarak. They betrayed Morsi. They betrayed the Shah of Iran in 1979.
        “They, the Americans, by demanding democratic elections in the West Bank and Gaza in 2006, by putting this demand, pressure on the Palestinian Authority and Abu Mazen [Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas], they brought Hamas to power through democratic means.
        “In Iran in 1979, the Shah was expelled, betrayed by the United States and through democratic elections, the Americans, the Israelis, all of us got … [Ayatollah] Khomeini as the leader of Iran. We lost Iran. “Gaza was lost to Hamas. Mubarak was kicked out and stabbed in the back because [President Barack] Obama and his administration demanded that he take seriously the pressure of the people”

        The bots need repression. They can’t have the people deciding anything.

      • Citizen on July 5, 2013, 4:56 am

        @ Walid

        “the military provide services, managing petrol stations for example.”
        Egypt runs on diesel, everything from home cooking to the usual usage; there’s a big shortage–and the Egyptian government subsidizes diesel.

        And fyi: The textile industry, a main former employer and exporter for Egypt–many factories are idle do to lack of parts.

      • Qualtrough on July 5, 2013, 8:46 am

        Very similar to the situation in Thailand and probably a number of other US allies.

  10. Taxi on July 5, 2013, 12:44 am

    A military coup?

    I don’t think so.

    A people’s coup backed by their military? Yes.

    The Egyptian armed forces absolutely had to give Morsi an ultimatum. How else were they gonna insure the safety of 33 million volatile protestors heading towards a confrontation with their government that could easily break out into a civil war? In practical terms, no army large enough can insure the protection of 33 million inflamed citizens protesting on the streets of their cities.

    Out of 80 million Egyptians, 33 million took to the streets. The American equivalent would be 115 million citizens out of 280 million, all protesting on American streets. Would our American armed forces step in to back up American citizens if 115 million Americans took to the streets in protest against the White House and it looked like a civil war was about to break out? And would we call that a “military coup”? Or a citizens’ coup backed by the military?

    • bilal a on July 5, 2013, 2:54 am

      Those numbers are widely exaggerated and by reports on the ground, there were more pro morsi rallies across the country (in number of citizens present in total ) than all in Tahrir. And of course many of the protestors were paid flag waivers funded by the old regime, allegedly, plus thugs (freed criminals) which explains some of the attacks on women at Tahrir, ie not your average leftist.

      Of course the large presence of fireworks , lasers, colored exhaust plane flybys, helicopter flags, and the subsequent immediate arrests and tv shutdowns, suggest strongly that the army was working with the el baredei opposition elements in organizing the rallies. Meanwhile el baredei is justifying mass arrests of the majority electorate party members for ‘security’ reasons.

    • Justpassingby on July 5, 2013, 4:55 am

      Oh so if republicans just mass in street Obama has to go? You think thats how it works? Sigh!

    • Kathleen on July 5, 2013, 8:44 am

      A military coup of a democratically elected Morsi. So much for democratic elections in Egypt.

    • Walker on July 5, 2013, 9:26 am

      Who counted those demonstrators and came out with a total of 33 million? Who determined that this was “a military coup backed by the will of the Egyptian people”? That is a questionable statement, considering that Morsi won the election and the Muslim Brotherhood is still the largest political party in Egypt. Whatever Morsi’s failings, it is very disturbing to see a legitimate government deposed by force.

    • standridgeart on July 8, 2013, 6:06 pm

      In the US we did have many states rebelling, but the US Military sides with the federal government. We fought a Civil War of 4 years to quell this MAJOR insurrection, and our MILITARY SIDED WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT lawfully elected and in power. Our military did not have the option, actually, to take the side of the massive protest. Why? Because the military is always subject to the elected government. Frankly, unlike in Egypt, always a military dictatorship, in the US the military does not have the power to do a coup “on behalf of the people”. Our government is run by elected civilians, not military. If they tried they would be put to death for Treason.

  11. seafoid on July 5, 2013, 1:21 am

    Citizen a few days ago

    “Solzhenitsyn’s book 200 Years Together provides historical context; if memory serves the peasants periodically rose up against tremendous oppression and exploitation by the ruling class, who were too lazy to administer their own business. The jews functioned as agents of the ruling class, the middlemen, the go-between, whether as a big landsman or a small shop owner, tax collector, etc.

    Plenty of information here on the Cossacks and peasants going back to the 17 Century, but here’s a tidbit:

    He too notes that early Cossack chronicles portray Jews as the agents of the Poles. As the leaseholders and stewards of the absentee lords, the Jews were perceived to be taking advantage of the Cossacks and peasants through the mechanisms of economic exploitation, the liquor monopoly, the collection of various taxes, etc.:”

    Russia pre Revolution

    “There were good reasons, of course, for Russia’s peasants to hate their former masters. For generations the Russian monarchy and nobility had lived off their labor and the fruits of that labor. The spectacular palaces of St. Petersburg and Moscow, the lavish city and country mansions of the nobility, and the luxurious lives they led depended entirely for their material support on the institution of serfdom, a system little different from American slavery in practical terms. Even after the abolition of serfdom in 1861, noble families had continued to live lives of privilege on their estates, while being maintained and served by impoverished peasants starved of land and by hungry workers in the cities.

    Wiser heads among the nobles understood this. Even the conservative and pro-monarchist Count Sergei Sheremetev had described their dilemma well before the revolution started. “A decisive turning point is approaching. Where does Russia’s future lie, where are the current masters taking her?” Not long afterward and before the revolution was over, the liberal mayor of Moscow, Vladimir Golitsyn, noted in his diary, “One cannot help but see that we…are paying for the sins of our forefathers, and particularly for the institution of serfdom with all its horrors and perversions….” In another entry, after witnessing the savagery unleashed by the revolution, he asked, “Who is to blame that the Russian people, the peasant and the proletarian, proved to be barbarians? Who, if not all of us?” Who is to blame? What is to be done? These were the “accursed questions” that had haunted Russian intellectuals throughout the nineteenth century, and the answers, when they came, proved devastating.”

    IDF Weltanschauung

    “Gaza was lost to Hamas. Mubarak was kicked out and stabbed in the back because [President Barack] Obama and his administration demanded that he take seriously the pressure of the people”

    Israel needs to wake up and smell the coffee . This stuff is not sustainable.

  12. Obsidian on July 5, 2013, 2:57 am

    ‘A military coup?”

    “I don’t think so.”

    Taxi made his case.

  13. talknic on July 5, 2013, 2:58 am

    A few points worth considering:

    One needs to look at the basic charter governing each country’s military and to who or what they owe ultimate allegiance. Spouting off without this knowledge is simply speculation and bullsh*t

    The Egyptian Military owes first allegiance to the state i.e., the people, not the incumbent Government.

    No matter how negatively the some folk try to paint it this latest run of events isn’t anything like a military coup. They only show their ignorance or willingness to stoop to sh*t stirring propaganda

    Twice in the last year the Egyptian Military have supported the people’s will, albeit clumsily in the first instance, perhaps understandably given the volatility of the circumstances and the entrenchment of the former regime. At conclusion of elections and transition, the military stood aside.

    They’ve been slightly more affirmative and decisive this time round.

    Folk ought take a closer look at where their military’s ultimate allegiances lay. Isn’t the US right to bear arms based on the possibility of having the Government turn on the people. Four dead in Ohio ring a bell?

    To whom or what do Israel’s and/or the US’s military owe ultimate allegiance? One owes it to one’s self to know, no matter which country one is a citizen. But how many people bother?

    The US/Egypt aid agreement, like the Israeli/Egypt Peace Treaty, is between the State of Egypt and the United States/State of Israel, not the incumbent Government/s. The will of the people via a referendum or via a specific election platform, might lead to the undoing of such state agreements.

    So, where and how does US aid to the State of Egypt flow? Is it the same as the military aid given Israel, which seems to be entirely maintaining the upper hand in the region or is it only to maintain Israeli security as provided for under the Israeli Egypt Peace Treaty. A perspective –

  14. bilal a on July 5, 2013, 3:00 am

    The TV stations were shut down for the purpose of hiding violence against the MB partly to provoke retalitory violence. Even before the coup, groups of armed men had killed 22 and injured over 200 according to the health ministry. This is the same MO as the Algerian operation , hold elections then if the Islamists win, kill them.
    The Coptics are present in the rallies (churches were closed on Jun 30 ), but we don’t know their percentages in the criminalized police forces A recent email reports:

    “I was with them in the squares .. and the situation is that the military forces has shut down alllllll TV channels that had cameras there in the Muslims place (Even Al-Jazeera itself ) , and they started killing us there by opening a road for the thugs to attack and for some special forces (Thunder forces, Army) and few snipers !!!!
    I am 100% sure of that ! ”

    Any media references to the SCAF ‘Thunder Forces’ present killing at the MB rally ?

  15. seafoid on July 5, 2013, 3:26 am

    J. K. Galbraith: ” “The conventional wisdom” gives way not so much to new ideas as to “the massive onslaught of circumstances with which it cannot contend””

    “The turmoil in Egypt was the subject of intense telephone calls Thursday night between Washington and Jerusalem. American and Israeli officials updated each other in an effort to coordinate policies vis-à-vis the interim government in Egypt following Mohammed Morsi’s overthrow this week.
    U.S. President Barack Obama held a special press conference at the White House Thursday night about the crisis in Egypt. Following the conference, Secretary of State John Kerry and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke on the phone, as did Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon. Newly-instated National Security Advisor Susan Rice also spoke with her counterpart, Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharanovitch.”

  16. Justpassingby on July 5, 2013, 4:54 am

    Highly disturbing that people here cheer a military coup.
    You guys should know better.

  17. Citizen on July 5, 2013, 5:05 am

    Kudos to Alex Kane for his excellent and well-written summary of this subject matter.
    He nails all of the key factors involved as far as the US government is concerned, and his conclusion is the logical deduction–as well, Egypt’s US funding has been in jeopardy before, e.g., when the wind was blowing ambiguously during the first Arab Spring. Just a big of added depth: the Egyptian military gives preferred passage to all US ships moving through or around the Gulf. The American military arms contracts with Egypt are a huge and on-going business. I don’t know of any US policy but its Israel First policy that is powerful enough to ruin such contracts in the making or in process.

    • Citizen on July 5, 2013, 5:16 am

      One caveat, thanks to Taxi, commenting on the most recent Ellis article, July 5th:

      “Without American aid and weapons, Egypt’s army would be unable to feed its voracious appetite for economic and political power.”

      “You’re the “naive” one Marc Ellis. You don’t think other players would love to step in and send aid packages to Egypt if America dropped it’s aid to Egypt? You don’t think Russia, Saudi and Iran have already offered to step into America’s shoes in Egypt and provide aid?

      There is only one reason that American aid to Egypt will NEVER stop: israeli paranoia. Imagine israel’s freakydeekies if Iran was Egypt’s most generous patron.”

  18. Citizen on July 5, 2013, 6:25 am

    From Al-Amin’s article on Counterpurch, July 4th:

    “Liberals, democrats, and human rights activists have been preaching to Islamists for decades that democracy is the only legitimate system for peaceful political participation and transition of power. In 1992, when the Algerian military intervened and canceled elections after the Islamic Salvation front (FIS) won it, the West, led by the U.S. and France, looked the other way. Meanwhile, Algeria was engulfed in civil strife for over a decade, a conflict that resulted in over two hundred thousand deaths. Two decades later, whether or not one agrees with its political program, favors or despises the MB, there is no doubt that the group played by the rules of democracy and embraced the rule of law. It did not employ or advocate the use of violence. Yet, it is the height of irony that the ones who called for, encouraged, and cheered the military intervention to oust a democratically-elected president are the secular, liberal, and leftist parties and individuals such as ElBaradei, Amr Mousa, Naguib Sawiris, Ayman Noor, and Hamdein Sabbahi, as well as human and civil rights activists who frequently advocate for free media and freedom of political association.

    The international community looked the other way when the will of the Algerian and Palestinian people were thwarted when they elected Islamists in 1992 and 2006. This is the third time in two decades Islamists are dislodged from power. It remains to be seen if the West will take a strong stand against the military’s latest attempt to prevent Islamists from holding power. It may indeed define the relationship between Islamist groups and Western governments for the foreseeable future. The message such stand would send to people around the world will be profound. Either the West stands for democratic principles and the rule of law or it does not. When President Obama called Morsi on June 30, he admonished him that “democracy is about more than elections.” But what is equally essential to recognize is that there is no democracy without respecting and protecting the legitimacy of its results regardless of its outcome.”

  19. bilal a on July 5, 2013, 7:30 am

    El Baraedi coup now using thugs/police:

    On Thursday, July 4, a protest in Zagazig, Egypt of thousands of supporters of ousted President Muhammad Morsi resulted in hundreds of injuries with many protestors fleeing from local attackers.

    Most of those attacked and chased away were women and children.

    Hanan Amin, chairwoman of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party in the Al Sharqia Governorate, said that 10,000 people, mostly women, were marching in Zagazig, Morsi’s hometown, when thugs suddenly appeared and began attacking them with sharp and heavy objects.

    “We walked 12 kilometers and were surprised when thugs started to come towards us with swords, throwing rocks and glass bottles at us,” Amin said. As the protestors ran from the attackers, the police shot tear gas at the protestors.

    “The police were closing in on us and throwing molotov cocktails,” Amin said. “We started to say the shahada [testimony of faith].”

    140 people have been injured with two in critical condition, Amin reported. Many women were taken to and held at the police station without being charged, while others sought refuge in nearby mosques and apartment buildings.

    Zagazig resident, Adel Zidan, 58, along with his family welcomed seven of the protestors into his apartment.

    “People were just trying to escape from the violence,” Zidan said. “There are 60-70 people, mostly women, hiding downstairs in the apartment entrance and on the stairs, and we have seven of them staying in my apartment.”

  20. Bing Bong on July 5, 2013, 9:23 am

    “This freed up Israel’s hands to deal with the Palestinians and other regional enemies as they wish without the threat of any Egyptian retribution.”

    I would have thought choosing peace was better for the Egyptians, especially as they kept losing all the wars you imply were waged to free the Palestinians. Since they kept losing anyway what was stopping Israel doing what it wanted? Israel could have kept the Sinai and kept Egypt from attacking her without a peace treaty.

  21. DICKERSON3870 on July 5, 2013, 1:04 pm

    RE: “Never mind the coup: U.S. military aid will continue to flow to Egypt”

    JUST AS IT WAS: “Never mind Israel’s profligate use of cluster munitions in populated areas of Lebanon back in the summer of 2006, the military aid has (and arms transfers have) continued to flow to Israel.”
    “SO IT GOES!”
    ● Billy Joel: And So It Goes [VIDEO, 03:42] –

    SEE: “Israel May Have Violated Arms Pact, U.S. Says”, By David S. Cloud and Greg Myre, New York Times, 1/28/13

    [EXCERPT] WASHINGTON, Jan 27 — The Bush administration will inform Congress on Monday that Israel may have violated agreements with the United States when it fired American-supplied cluster munitions into southern Lebanon during its fight with Hezbollah last summer, the State Department said Saturday.

    The finding, though preliminary, has prompted a contentious debate within the administration over whether the United States should penalize Israel for its use of cluster munitions against towns and villages where Hezbollah had placed its rocket launchers.

    Cluster munitions are anti-personnel weapons that scatter tiny but deadly bomblets over a wide area. The grenadelike munitions, tens of thousands of which have been found in southern Lebanon, have caused 30 deaths and 180 injuries among civilians since the end of the war, according to the United Nations Mine Action Service.

    Midlevel officials at the Pentagon and the State Department have argued that Israel violated American prohibitions on using cluster munitions against populated areas, according to officials who described the deliberations. But other officials in both departments contend that Israel’s use of the weapons was for self-defense and aimed at stopping the Hezbollah attacks that claimed the lives of about 40 Israeli soldiers and civilians and at worst was only a technical violation.

    Any sanctions against Israel would be an extraordinary move by the Bush administration, a strong backer of Israel, and several officials said they expected little further action, if any, on the matter. . .


    P.S. ALSO SEE: “Cluster Munitions at a Glance”,, November 2012

    [EXCERPT] . . . Although cluster munitions first saw use in World War II and more than 50 countries have since acquired stockpiles of such arms, efforts to regulate or ban the use of cluster munitions gained greater attention and momentum after the summer 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah, a Shiite organization that the United States identifies as a terrorist group. Israel’s extensive cluster munitions use in the last 72 hours of that conflict resulted in an estimated one million unexploded bomblets scattered across southern Lebanon, arousing some strong condemnation. Jan Egeland, then-UN Undersecretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, blasted Israel’s use of cluster munitions as “shocking and completely immoral.” . . .

    • DICKERSON3870 on July 6, 2013, 11:23 am

      RE: “Israel May Have Violated Arms Pact, U.S. Says”, By David S. Cloud and Greg Myre, New York Times, 1/28/13

      CORRECTION: My bad! This article is dated 1/28/07, not 1/28/13!!!

      • DICKERSON3870 on July 6, 2013, 4:59 pm

        P.P.S. ALSO SEE “Israeli Lies Fueled Nuclear Weapons Program”, by Richard Silverstein,Tikun Olam, 7/06/13,

        [EXCERPTS] Avner Cohen, the leading academic on Israel’s nuclear weapons program, has written a riveting article about the lies which Israel’s leaders used to obfuscate and mislead its allies about its nuclear ambition. As part of the research for the article, Cohen has amassed 42 supporting government documents which he’s made public as well. . .
        . . . In 1964, Canadian intelligence received word that Argentina had agreed to sell 80 tons of uranium yellowcake to Israel, which replaced the fuel Israel had expected from France. Eventually, the British told the U.S. about the deal and the latter instructed its embassies in Israel and Argentina to confirm the sale. Secrecy around the program in Israel was air-tight and the U.S. embassy could uncover nothing. But the embassy in Argentina did manage to confirm the sale.
        Intelligence experts estimated that Israel could have a nuclear weapon in 18-24 months. Turns out, it had a crude device ready by the 1967 War which served as a fail-safe in case Israel faced a cataclysmic defeat.
        Cohen further reveals that a Mossad front company in Italy purchased 200 tons of Belgian yellowcake in 1968. The material was off-loaded from a European cargo ship to an Israeli freighter at sea, and then made its way to Dimona.
        The Foreign Policy article also reveals a string of lies spread by Israel’s leaders to assuage the concerns of allies like John Kennedy. Prime Minister Levi Eshkol secretly reached agreement with Kennedy to allow U.S. scientists to inspect Dimona. But when they arrived the Israelis arranged to conceal sensitive areas of the plant that might expose their true aims.
        Despite the fact that the U.S. knew Israel was procuring yellowcake from Argentina and surmised that Israel might be developing a nuclear weapon, it did not confront Israel publicly. Even repeated private queries made by the U.S. ambassador to Israel to Abba Eban went unanswered. The U.S. government had to know what this meant. Yet it chose to take the easy way out and not make an issue of it.

        There is a section crying out for inclusion in Cohen’s article, which he omitted: the parallels with Iran. The take-away is that Israel behaved in a far more devious, unfettered way than Iran ever has. Israel always intended to create a weapon. Yet it repeatedly lied to everyone it needed to, in order to pursue the research and development freely. . .


    • DICKERSON3870 on July 6, 2013, 12:15 pm

      P.P.S. ALSO SEE: “U.S. Fails to Join Allies in Signing UN Weapons Treaty”, By Flavia Krause-Jackson,, 1/03/13

      [EXCERPTS] The U.S. didn’t join the U.K., France and other major Western allies at the United Nations today to sign the first international treaty regulating the $85 billion-a-year global arms trade.
      The absence of the world’s top arms dealer at a morning ceremony in New York drawing about 60 nations casts a shadow over a decades-long push to stop illegal cross-border shipments of conventional weapons. Some of the world’s most violent nations, from drug-plagued Mexico to the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo, are among the signatories.
      While supporters say the treaty wouldn’t affect U.S. domestic sales or impinge on the constitutional right to bear arms, it would be a political minefield at home. The accord wouldn’t muster enough votes for approval by the U.S. Senate, and the National Rifle Association, which says it has more than 4.5 million members, has lobbied against it. [MY QUESTION: Is this yet another example of the NRA finding ‘common cause’ with AIPAC (partly at least, doing AIPAC’s bidding; fronting for them)? – J.L.D.]
      . . . For now, the U.S. is happy to lend its symbolic seal of approval while reiterating that much of the regulation outlined in the treaty has already been put in practice by the U.S. in its overseas sales of small arms, missile launchers, tanks, warships and attack helicopters.
      Thomas Countryman, the assistant secretary of state for international security and nonproliferation who led the U.S. delegation at the treaty negotiations, told the Atlantic Council in Washington on May 15 that the U.S. “will sign in the very near future.”
      As the U.S. point person on the treaty, Countryman has said the agreement would reduce worldwide violence by curbing black-market arms sales. The U.S. already has the highest standards in the world for regulating weaponry, he said. . . [The U.S. might have the highest standards on paper, but they certainly are not enforced in the case of Israel and certain other “allies”. ~ J.L.D.]


      • DICKERSON3870 on July 6, 2013, 12:29 pm

        P.P.P.S. ALSO SEE: “Kerry says US will sign UN treaty on arms regulation despite lawmaker opposition”, (and AP), Published June 03, 2013

        [EXCERPTS] Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that the Obama administration would sign a controversial U.N. treaty on arms regulation, despite bipartisan resistance in Congress from members concerned it could lead to new gun control measures in the U.S. . . .
        . . . The chance of adoption by the U.S. is slim, even if Obama goes ahead and signs it — as early as Monday, or possibly months down the road. A majority of Senate members have come out against the treaty. A two-thirds majority would be needed in the Senate to ratify. . .
        . . . The treaty covers battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, large-caliber artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missiles and missile launchers, and small arms and light weapons.
        It prohibits states that ratify it from transferring conventional weapons if they violate arms embargoes or if they promote acts of genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes. The treaty also prohibits the export of conventional arms if they could be used in attacks on civilians or civilian buildings such as schools and hospitals. [MY ERNEST QUESTIONS: Might not this be a real problem in the case of Israel? Is AIPAC working behind the scenes (letting the NRA publicly take the lead) to see that the U.S. does not become a party to this treaty? “Enquiring minds mimes want to know!”]
        In addition, the treaty requires countries to take measures to prevent the diversion of conventional weapons to the illicit market. This is among the provisions that gun-rights supporters in Congress are concerned about.


  22. SQ Debris on July 5, 2013, 4:35 pm

    What can Egyptians be thinking? They just got rid of their last military dictator/whore for Israel and the U.S. Now some are cheering in the streets for the same generals that stood on the necks of Egyptians for decades; a new “government” of America’s whores? Just leave a billion$ on the dresser and they’ll do anything the U.S. wants, like continuing to starve the people of Gaza for the pleasure of zionists. It’s shameful and a tragic step backwards. The U.S. will not cut off aid to Egypt no matter what the military does to the people of that country. The only thing that would precipitate such a move would be for the Egyptian army to allow the people of Gaza to live like human beings. The policy is not about democracy, it’s about liquidation.

  23. biorabbi on July 5, 2013, 4:36 pm

    Actually, a unity government which would include moderate Islamists would be ideal. Or, instructing Islamists that religion is a private concern, best left to the home/mosque. I doubt that will work as it wouldn’t work here in America or anyplace else. Mubarak and his sons apparently have some new prison mates… from the MB.

  24. mcohen on July 5, 2013, 6:46 pm

    this is not about demock racy but the fight for the suez canal a piece—-which is part of the greater red/green chessboard game
    the oil pipelines of syria is another piece
    I think the area around the suez canal will see the start of an insurgency and this will lead to intervention by the west

  25. john_manyjars on July 5, 2013, 8:26 pm

    Many of the weapons, and armored personnel carriers in the photo appear to be US-made. I doubt the Army will do anything not approved by the US and Israel.

    • James Canning on July 6, 2013, 2:21 pm

      Egyptian army apparently feared Morsi’s backing of insurgency in Syria would make an insurgency in Egypt more likely.

  26. kalithea on July 6, 2013, 1:26 am

    As long as the Egyptian military get their bribe and do Israel’s bidding they will have the ultimate power over Egyptians and their elected officials.

    Israel is the root of all evil in this scenario. Palestinians had the misfortune of being born Israel’s slaves.

  27. NickJOCW on July 6, 2013, 7:01 am

    Egypt doesn’t exist in order to ameliorate the condition of the Palestinians next door.

    US democracy is not a suitable system for Egypt. It’s not suitable for many other countries either, most of which fare better under a strong leader with religious and or military support. Such arrangements are more susceptible to local change and one could argue that is exactly what is happening. Israel may well draw comfort from the turn of events, the more so since comfort is in such short supply for them, but at best it amounts to one good set in a game they are otherwise losing. If the US wants to pay tribute to the Egyptian rulers that’s a matter for Americans but they may be shrewd to accept it since it also goes some way to balance the Israeli arsenal.

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