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President Obama’s secret plan for Egypt

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

So I was wrong. President Obama does have a plan to cut off American aid to Egypt. Possibly. That is, if things keep going the way they’re going. Whatever that means in the real world.

But I can’t get too down on myself for missing the President’s aid plan. Obama has played it close to his vest. In fact, he’s kept it a secret. It was leaked to the press only yesterday by Vermont’s Senator Leahy, no doubt with the permission of the President. This raises the question as to whether Obama has lost his vaunted oratorical skills along with the transparency he promised to be the hallmark of his presidency.

Actually I’m surprised Obama was able to keep his secret for so long, what with the broad sweep of NSA spying. Or perhaps the Snowden effect has taken its toll and possible leakers are keeping a low profile. Now I’m wondering if Obama’s secret plan may have been found out during the detention and questioning of Glenn Greenwald’s partner at Heathrow Airport yesterday. Does Snowden still have access to the President’s email?

The pundits tell us that American aid is paltry, especially compared to our other Middle Eastern allies. They’re pouring billions of petrol dollars into an autocratic regime just like theirs. And who needs American security intelligence when Israel can supply everything it receives from the US free of charge?

This doesn’t solve the mystery of why Obama kept our possible aid cut-off secret. The billion dollar question remains. Perhaps that’s one of the conundrums the Arab Spring helped birth.

With Mubarak on the road to freedom and summary execution the rule of the day, Egypt’s devolution into a fascist dictatorship has arrived. If Egypt emerged from its present travails within a decade it would be a miracle. What that portends for Egyptians is obvious. So, too, with Israel and the Palestinians. Israel is part and parcel of the revived autocratic-led region. Palestinians will be neglected, contained and disciplined.

The Arab Spring is the September 11th of the second decade of the 21st century – a springboard for a decade of retrenchment, repression and war all around. Egypt’s plight is a gift to Israel. For Palestinians, Egypt’s plight is the last nail in their coffin.

In the Middle East that is evolving think about Palestine circa 2023. During these – also quite secret – Israeli-Palestinian negotiations think what is and what isn’t on the table. Though we primarily focus on Jerusalem and the West Bank in the present round of negotiations, the situation in Egypt has led to a further crackdown – and collusion with Israel – on Gaza. If there’s little if anything for Palestinians in Jerusalem and the West Bank, there’s less for Gaza.

This doesn’t bode well for the Palestinians living in the broader Middle East either. When the siege within Palestine intensifies and Middle East dictatorships feel threatened, Palestinians become convenient scapegoats. Israel is only too happy to join the hunt.

On the bright side, there’s always Europe. The New York Times reports that the European Union is preparing an emergency session on suspending aid to Egypt. As you may have noticed European morality has ascended as its power in the world declines. Nonetheless, when you read what’s on the EU’s mind, it’s depressing.

Europe’s historical amnesia is amazing – as if its various empires didn’t carve up the Middle East into its present configuration. Of course, that doesn’t stop it from weighing in on the present crisis. Describing Europe’s diplomatic advantage over the US, an EU official is quoted as follows: “Unlike Washington, we were seen as having no historical baggage, no hidden agenda, and we used it to see everyone. They saw the added value we could bring by talking to everyone. That was the European advantage.”

Where does that leave the EU in terms of policy? Another EU official responded – at least in his mind – clearly and forcefully: “It is absolutely important for Europe’s foreign relations to be engaged constructively in Egypt and at the same time respond to the situation.”

Can President Obama’s secret aid plan and Europe’s constructive engagement trump the will of alliance between Israel and Middle Easter dictators? Stay tuned – with little hope.

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 new book, Finding Our Voice: Embodying the Prophetic and Other Misadventures, is forthcoming.

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75 Responses

  1. hophmi
    August 20, 2013, 11:18 am

    “Can President Obama’s secret aid plan and Europe’s constructive engagement trump the will of alliance between Israel and Middle East[] dictators?”

    Come on. Saudi Arabia and the UAE are pumping 12 billion dollars into Egypt’s Central Bank. It does not matter who Israel supports when that is happening.

    And it’s not an alliance. Once again, you expect Israel to act as no other country would, and support a government that was openly hostile to it. No Western country would do that, and the other countries in the region would not either. The West is happy this happened; they’ve essentially been silent ever since it did.

  2. American
    August 20, 2013, 11:31 am

    Is there now a plan to suspend ‘all’ aid?
    Last I saw the State Dept was going to suspend the ‘economic’ portion of the aid but not the military aid.

    • DICKERSON3870
      August 20, 2013, 7:39 pm

      Yes, apparently all (without necessarily admitting it publicly).

    • W.Jones
      August 21, 2013, 10:12 am

      American,

      Speaking of “secrets”, on a previous comment section you asked me about the theory that there was a western strategic and/or philosophical desire to control the Holy Land that led to the State’s founding going back to the crusades. The idea is put forth for example by Barry Chamish about the Knights of Solomon’s Temple. The theory is probably unprovable. But if you like, I can email you about it.

      • American
        August 22, 2013, 11:55 am

        @ jonesie

        wow, after lookng up Chamish I have feelng that is a way too complicated thing for me to have the time to invest into it..
        so thanks for offer but I’ll pass…..but I do have the basic gist of it now.

  3. Hostage
    August 20, 2013, 12:08 pm

    So I was wrong. President Obama does have a plan to cut off American aid to Egypt. Possibly. That is, if things keep going the way they’re going. Whatever that means in the real world.

    It means his legal advisors can read the Appropriations clauses in Article 1 § 7 and § 9 of the Constitution. They say appropriations come from the Congress, not the White House and that “No money shall be drawn from the treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law.”

    The laws require a cutoff of all foreign and military assistance whenever human rights abuses are committed by elements of the armed forces of a country or when the elected head of a foreign government is removed by military decree. Full Stop. Under the terms of the appropriations law, the cutoff is not made contingent on any Presidential determination. Presidential certifications are only required to restore any funding in the future.

    This raises the question as to whether Obama has lost his vaunted oratorical skills along with the transparency he promised to be the hallmark of his presidency.

    It means he can still wet his finger and see which way the wind is blowing. Netanyahu can too. The latter told his cabinet to shut up about the US aid cutoff after a New York Times article said Israel and AIPAC were responsible for giving the Egyptian Generals assurances of continued funding and orchestrating uninterrupted aid behind the scenes in Washington, while hundreds of demonstrators were being massacred.

    Right now, polls show the majority of Americans want the aid cutoff. A lot of their elected lawmakers have discovered that fact and taken to the Sunday news shows announcing their intention to see to it that Obama obeys the law. Remember Obama said MAKE ME DO IT.

    Meanwhile, in the real world, the Egyptian rebel movement that collected 22 million signatures and conducted the demonstrations to remove Morsi from power, has started a petition to reject any further aid from the USA and terminate the Camp David Accords. Saudi Arabia has guaranteed that it will make up any funding shortfall if the US aid remains cutoff.

    • Citizen
      August 20, 2013, 1:58 pm

      @ Hostage
      Your comment is exactly on target. Nobody with conclusive power even superficially and/or loudly tactically cares about the Arab masses (or the US masses, for that matter, not to mention the rest of the world’s mass chumps).

    • Shingo
      August 20, 2013, 6:36 pm

      The laws require a cutoff of all foreign and military assistance whenever human rights abuses are committed by elements of the armed forces of a country or when the elected head of a foreign government is removed by military decree. Full Stop.

      That may be true, but the Congress has demonstrated that it is perfectly willing to flout it’s own laws for political reasons. If the aid to Egypt is indeed cut off, then it will be a political decision, not because the hands of Congress are tied.

  4. Blank State
    August 20, 2013, 12:22 pm

    Plan??? Oh please, not another “plan” hatched by these feckless jackasses in Washington DC and their vampire Israeli counterparts. What “plan”, hatched in DC/Israel, has been constructive in terms of Middle East stability, or our own national security here at home? There is no “plan”. These fumbling asses in DC are now simply reacting to events and situations as they unfold, occurring in no small part because of the previously launched “plans” of the last two decades that have been proven to be disastrous abject failures. It has tumbled out of control in the middle east, and DC has neither a “plan”, nor a credible excuse for the failures of the last two decades. If there is a silver lining, it might be that this murderous little sand pit known as Israel might be taken down a knotch and taught to behave itself. But probably not. I imagine Israel, when confronted with the fruits it has sown, will simply attempt to incinerate the crop in a salvo of gas, cluster munitions, and white phosphorous….and besides, there’s always the nuclear option. Theres no Muslim problem a massive dose of military superiority can’t solve, right? I mean hey, look how successful its been thus far.

  5. Ellen
    August 20, 2013, 12:38 pm

    Hostage, if the Camp David agreements were terminated, this would also release Israel of their obligations to the agreements. Other than the aid flowing into both countries based on those agreements, could it also put of chain of trade and security agreements to an end?

    For example: Not sure if Israel has too much interest in the Sinai, but as Israel still essentially controls much of it (only Israel has the maps of the mines, etc.) and I would imagine some voices in Israel wishing to assert control over the Sinai. A termination of Camp David could have huge implications before equilibrium in the ME is established again.

    And as that unfolds, it may be difficult for Israel to garner all the support it did in the past decades. The cold war is over.

    Just thinking out loud here, but am curious to your thoughts/speculation on what it would mean IF Egypt terminated their agreements?

    • Citizen
      August 20, 2013, 2:04 pm

      Israel has depended on the US aid to Egypt and Jordan by the USA for over 30 years.
      Imagine paranoid Israel if those kissy fests were no longer in place thanks to Dick and Jane Goy taxpayers. Look at the map of Israel in terms of its defense borders.

      • hophmi
        August 20, 2013, 6:20 pm

        “Imagine paranoid Israel if those kissy fests were no longer in place thanks to Dick and Jane Goy taxpayers. Look at the map of Israel in terms of its defense borders.”

        So if aid continues, it’s Jewish. If it stops, it’s goyish.

        Seems like you’re opposed to everything Phil talks about here.

        Oh, and Israel would do just fine, Citizen. No worries.

      • Citizen
        August 21, 2013, 9:11 pm

        @ hophmi

        The aid is US aid. The USA is 98% goy. If it stops, that’s 98% goy too. Jewish aid? Israel is 80% Jewish. Israel is the most stingy giver of foreign aid among the givers.

      • Djinn
        August 22, 2013, 9:17 am

        I keep asking this question of Zionists but theyve tended not to respond so I’ll try again.

        Hophmi, if Israel could do just fine WITHOUT American largesse then why keep taking it? It doesn’t seem the kind of thing that allies would do when the giving country is a little up shit creek financially.

        So, in your opinion, does Israel need the assistance OR is Israel a really bad friend who sees nothing wrong with taking what it does not need?

    • Hostage
      August 20, 2013, 2:45 pm

      could it also put of chain of trade and security agreements to an end? . . . Just thinking out loud here, but am curious to your thoughts/speculation on what it would mean IF Egypt terminated their agreements?

      I’m no prophet. History is punctuated by unexpected turning points that still take me by surprise like everyone else here.

      The Saudis and the Gulf States already have abandoned the status quo on security arrangements and are setting their own agendas. The recent proposal of an arms deal with the Russians in exchange for cooperation on intervention in Syria was an example.

      So far as the US Congress is concerned, neither our aid nor foreign trade with Israel is justified solely on the basis of the old Camp David Accords, e.g. there was a subsequent free trade agreement and lots of legislation reflecting the special relationship.

      The Accords merely required the parties to accept the Ottoman era international boundaries and establish the normal relations that exist between two countries at peace with one another. The provisions which kept the heavily armed units of the Egyptian Army out of the Sinai have already been mutually waived, because Israel doesn’t want the job of securing that area. The IDF budget is already on the chopping block, because Israel is fighting its own deficit spending trends.

      The temporary US assurances given to Israel regarding oil were always limited to “best efforts”.

      Egypt doesn’t supply any vital exports and its economy is on life support right now. The US $230 million in direct assistance is a drop in the bucket. The 1.5 billion in US weapons and spares really doesn’t help the Egyptian economy. The effects of a closure of one of the key Straits or Canals are already well-known and to some extent have been factored or scaled in to shipping and logistics strategies.

      One thing I do know is that anything an army can accomplish in six days can probably be undone by another army in the same amount of time or less. That’s always going to be true, regardless of what any treaty has to say on the subject or how much gets paid in bribes.

      • Ellen
        August 20, 2013, 5:06 pm

        So far as the US Congress is concerned, neither our aid nor foreign trade with Israel is justified solely on the basis of the old Camp David Accords, e.g. there was a subsequent free trade agreement and lots of legislation reflecting the special relationship.

        Thanks Hostage. If aid and trade is no longer justified on the old Camp David Accords, how much longer can it also be justified based on a “special relationship” that seems to be not so special after all in light of recent developments. How long can Congress play the charade that Israel is any more special than any other country?

      • Hostage
        August 20, 2013, 5:39 pm

        how much longer can it also be justified based on a “special relationship” that seems to be not so special after all in light of recent developments.

        It never was special, based upon actual developments. It’s the result of the combined efforts of the Jewish and Israel Lobbies here in the US and their talent for channeling campaign funding to obedient public servants or employing them after they leave office.

      • hophmi
        August 20, 2013, 6:04 pm

        “How long can Congress play the charade that Israel is any more special than any other country?”

        As long as every other country in the region is either a brutal dictatorship or in total chaos, while Israel continues to be an island of liberal democracy and stability.

        The question is how long the Arabists and leftists will look to blame Israel for all of the ills of the people they purport to advocate for.

      • Shingo
        August 20, 2013, 6:31 pm

        As long as every other country in the region is either a brutal dictatorship or in total chaos, while Israel continues to be an island of liberal democracy and stability.

        Why do you keep pretending that Israel is a bulwark against brutal dictatorship or in total chaos, when Israel’s very existence and way of life is incumbent upon those brutal dictatorships and chaos?

        The question is how long the Zionists and hasbratas will look to deny that Israel is a fundamental reason for those dictatorships and chaos?

        If the NYT is any indication, not much longer.

      • seanmcbride
        August 20, 2013, 6:59 pm

        What percentage of Americans are interested in remaining bogged down in the conflicts generated by aggressive and expansionist Jewish ethnic and religious nationalism — especially when most Americans don’t support ethnic or religious nationalism for themselves in any form whatever?

        How many Americans believe that Israel should be receiving much more attention in American politics than Britain, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Ireland, Sweden and other foreign nations to which many Americans have strong ancestral, cultural and emotional ties?

        How many Americans support increasing aid to Israel while reducing aid for themselves?

        Have AIPAC and the ADL given much thought to these problematic issues for pro-Israel activists — other than to come up with a few glib talking points to try to paper them over?

      • Hostage
        August 20, 2013, 7:10 pm

        The question is how long the Arabists and leftists will look to blame Israel for all of the ills of the people they purport to advocate for.

        I don’t blame Israel for all the ills and neither does Mondoweiss. I just blame the government of Israel for perpetrating the crimes of aggression, forcible disappearance, wrongful imprisonment, and transfer or deportation of parts of the Palestinian population, apartheid, torture, persecution, and murder over a period of several decades. All of that is very well documented here despite your best efforts at deceit and dissimulation.

      • Ellen
        August 20, 2013, 7:41 pm

        while Israel continues to be an island of liberal democracy and stability. Liberal democracy and stability by what standards? No matter and whatever…..That does not explain why Dick and Jane must continue to pay for Israel?

      • just
        August 20, 2013, 7:46 pm

        “while Israel continues to be an island of liberal democracy and stability.”

        Which Israel are you referring to? There is no liberalism, democracy nor stability whatsoever in the Israel that the rest of the world knows.

      • ziusudra
        August 21, 2013, 3:30 am

        Greetings Hostage,
        … It is the result of the combined efforts of the Jewish & Israel lobbies…..

        Plus the 60 to 80 m. Evangelicals with the bucks in the US cuddling up
        to Zionistan & hoping eventually to Christianize all Israelis in Zionistan.
        This could eventually backfire on the Zios if they don’t go along with the
        ultimate Agenda of the Evangelicals!
        ziusudra

      • Citizen
        August 21, 2013, 7:40 am

        @ Ellen

        The FTA with Israel was the USA’s very first trade agreement. Figures, eh?
        It’s not a balanced or reciprocal agreement. Israel First spies in the US gave Israel the detailed and classified US negotiation data from American business entities, and the US stance, which allowed the Israeli negotiators to undermine the US negotiators who did not have the same secret Israeli data outlining how much “give” Israelis were authorized to do. Figures, eh? Even though this is now known, nothing’s being done to correct the lack of reciprocity. Instead, the US is now giving Israel even more advantages. http://economyincrisis.org/content/us-officials-celebrate-nations-oldest-fta

      • amigo
        August 21, 2013, 7:44 am

        hopmee “As long as every other country in the region is either a brutal dictatorship or in total chaos,”

        In Washington, AIPAC is following the Israeli government’s lead. As Foreign Policy’s John Hudson reported:

        AIPAC, which was credited with helping kill an amendment to cut Egyptian aid in July, is now operating behind the scenes in private meetings with lawmakers to keep alive Cairo’s funding, congressional aides from both political parties said.

        Seems as if you and your gov are on different sides.

        “hopmee while Israel continues to be an island of liberal democracy and stability.”

        Yeah, if you are a Jew.

        Oh, when is your liberal democracy going to getting a constitution?.

      • Citizen
        August 21, 2013, 7:57 am

        @ Ellen: AIPAC spying is behind the US-Israel FTA sweetheart deal for Israel: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20111213006075/en/Secret-trade-report-obtained-AIPAC-Israel-compromised

      • Woody Tanaka
        August 21, 2013, 8:14 am

        “…while Israel continues to be an island of liberal democracy and stability.”

        Unless you happen to have the misfortune of being a non-Jew in Gaza or the West Bank in which case hoppy thinks you don’t count for any consideration.

      • Talkback
        August 21, 2013, 9:06 am

        hophmi says: “As long as every other country in the region is either a brutal dictatorship or in total chaos, while Israel continues to be an island of liberal democracy and stability.”

        Yeah, Israel is so liberal it keeps the majority of its citizens expelled and denationalized to get the right election results. Can’t compare that to dictatorship, right?

      • hophmi
        August 21, 2013, 1:21 pm

        “What percentage of Americans are interested in remaining bogged down in the conflicts generated by aggressive and expansionist Jewish ethnic and religious nationalism”

        A moot point, since most Americans do not look at these conflicts the way you do.

        “How many Americans believe that Israel should be receiving much more attention in American politics than Britain, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Ireland, Sweden and other foreign nations to which many Americans have strong ancestral, cultural and emotional ties?”

        You can commission a push poll and ask them, though no social scientist would take such a biased question seriously. You know very well that Israel receives the attention that it does because a substantial percentage the world’s media is camped out there looking for stories; until quite recently there were no other real press hubs in the region. You also know that conflict sells newspapers, and that these countries don’t have much conflict.

        The better question is whether Israel deserves more attention than Syria, Egypt, Congo, Sudan, Zimbabwe, etc.

        “How many Americans support increasing aid to Israel while reducing aid for themselves?”

        Sean, you can spin this stuff as much as you want; you look silly doing it. Most Americans support continued aid to Israel, in fairly overwhelming numbers (and the military aid comes right back here anyway), and none adopt the silly notion that the aid to Israel results in less money for them. It’s a few billion dollars out of a total budget of several trillion.

        “Have AIPAC and the ADL given much thought to these problematic issues for pro-Israel activists — other than to come up with a few glib talking points to try to paper them over?”

        Yes. These organizations do spend considerable amounts of time worrying about what the average American thinks, as all good organizations with issues to advance do. They concluded a long time ago that Americans overwhelmingly support the state of Israel, and implicitly recognize that states need not be carbon copies of the United States to garner public support. Every poll bears them out; they’re not dealing in “talking points,” which is exactly what you are doing by posting wise-ass rhetorical push polling questions. They also concluded that Americans adopt none of your foundational assumptions. The only people left that do are on the far reaches of the American right and left, and have little relevance in the country.

      • Citizen
        August 21, 2013, 7:50 am

        @ Hostage
        The FTA with Israel is a sweetheart deal for Israel; it’s not reciprocal and the US got bamboozled because Israel had spies here get them classified negotiation data. Worse, although that’s known now, the US is not changing it, except to make it even more favorable for Israeli exports, less favorable for American exports. http://economyincrisis.org/content/us-officials-celebrate-nations-oldest-fta

      • Citizen
        August 21, 2013, 7:56 am

        Here’s more on this on-going FTA travesty–AIPAC spying is behind it: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20111213006075/en/Secret-trade-report-obtained-AIPAC-Israel-compromised

  6. Justpassingby
    August 20, 2013, 12:53 pm

    Please there is no freeze/cut off whatever, in the billion dollar aid to Egypt.

    • Hostage
      August 20, 2013, 7:18 pm

      Please there is no freeze/cut off whatever, in the billion dollar aid to Egypt.

      The very first thing Obama did was freeze delivery of new F-16s coming off the assembly lines in late July. See: Obama halts delivery of F-16s to Egypt amid unrest
      http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/24/us-egypt-protests-usa-f16s-idUSBRE96N0VI20130724

      There are lawmakers, who include the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, who still claim that the White House has advised them that it has temporarily stopped all of the aid, while it is conducting a review of the situation.

  7. ivri
    August 20, 2013, 1:08 pm

    An important observation: as different from the (long) past when Israel was actually an outsider in middle-east affairs (apart of those that concernet only it) it is increasingly a regional player. It is once more on the same side as the pro-western Arab Gulf states, led by the Saudis – already so vis-à-vis Iran and Lebanon and partly Syria and also so in regard to Jordan. Not it is Egypt. It does not mean that Israel is psychologically accepted by the “Arab Street”, but it still a development of essence

  8. Maximus Decimus Meridius
    August 20, 2013, 1:17 pm

    It’s hard to believe how optimistic I was barely more than 2 years ago. I really did feel that after decades of – at best – stagnation and humiliation, the Arab people’s time had come. I hoped that this would be start of an unstoppable juggarnaut towards positive change which could only mean, eventually, the liberation of Palestine. I wasn’t naive enough to think there would be no hiccups and false starts, but I did believe the momentum was unstoppable, and headed in the right direction.

    How wrong I was. For once, I underestimated the determination of the retrenchist powers – Israel, the Gulf monarchies, the US – to enforce a counter-revolution. That they have done so so quickly, so brutally, and so completely is thoroughly depressing. Right now, it’s hard to be optimistic about the Arab world. Someone please tell me I am wrong.

  9. American
    August 20, 2013, 1:39 pm

    imho…this is closest to accurate on E-situtation.

    Allies Thwart America in Egypt
    Israel, Saudis and U.A.E. Support Military Moves

    (excerpts)
    The parallel efforts by Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have blunted U.S. influence with Egypt’s military leadership and underscored how the chaos there has pulled Israel into ever-closer alignment with those Gulf states, officials said.

    U.S. officials said they underestimated the extent to which the Saudis and the Emirates would double-down in support of the Egyptian military.
    Secretary of State John Kerry tried to put the Saudis and Emirates “on the same page” as the U.S. both before and after Mr. Morsi’s ouster, a senior administration official said. “But clearly they have their own decisions to make about their own policies,” the official said. The message from the U.A.E. and Saudi Arabia to the Egyptian generals was, ” ‘Go get ’em,’ and they backed it up with billions of dollars,” another senior administration official said.”

    ”A senior Egyptian official said U.S. economic assistance to Cairo, around $400 million in 2013, looks paltry in comparison with the Arab states’ largess, though he recognized the importance of the larger military aid. The official cited “the frustration we’ve had with aid being used by the U.S. and others as a means to put pressure on Egypt.”

    ” Saudi King Abdullah has stepped up the Kingdom’s support for what he called Egypt’s fight against “terrorism and extremism. This year, a string of Arab leaders, including King Abdullah II of Jordan, Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal and the U.A.E’s crown prince met with Mr. Obama to press the U.S. to be more wary of the Brotherhood’s activities, according to U.S. and Arab officials briefed on the meetings. Arab officials said they told the White House that they were worried that the U.S. is pulling back from their region, and that they can’t wait for Washington to be more aggressive in trying to dictate events.”
    “We’re not going to wait for the U.S. and the Europeans to decide to get more involved.”
    contnued…..
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323423804579023213295900596.html

    >>>>>
    To me this could be an opportunity leading to more pullback by the US where it could say ‘o.k.’ to SA and the Oil Kingdoms……Your policies, then also on your dime and blood and on your own.
    And we could promote.. ‘Yay! Israel is now part of the Saud tent’ and rationalze that to the “Lobby” as Isr not needing all this US support any more and pull back some from Isr also.
    Then..heheheh…it would be up to the Sheikdoms to decide just how much use they had for Israel in various areas and how far they would let it go.
    Obvious no outsiders are ever going to make the ME into anything but what it is destined to be by it’s own people.
    Ideally just bow out and give it to them including Israel’s destiny as part of them.
    Be much less cost and trouble for the US to court Russia for their plentiful oil if we ever needed to, let them divert some of their supply to Europe to us.

  10. Mythbuster
    August 20, 2013, 2:37 pm

    Ellen: Imagine the consequences of Israel trying to re-occupy and re-settle the Sinai. The informal axis between the Egyptian-military, Israel, and Saudi Arabia would be sundered.

    Don’t forget that the “Economic Miracle” faces a $20 billion IDF-funding gap, growing isolation in the EU, and a phony crisis with Iran. This is not 1967. An Israeli invasion of the Sinai would create an intolerable situation for the USA.

  11. Obsidian
    August 20, 2013, 2:43 pm

    Why quibble.

    Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey has evidence that the Jews are causing unrest in Egypt.

    http://www.jpost.com/Diplomacy-and-Politics/Erdogan-Israel-orchestrated-Morsi-overthrow-Egypt-unrest-323679

    • Hostage
      August 20, 2013, 4:04 pm

      Why quibble. Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey has evidence that the Jews are causing unrest in Egypt.

      Well there is at least one quibble. The JPost actual says he was talking about the government of Israeli “orchestrating” the Morsi overthrow, not the Jews. Although the Arab MKs are calling for General Sisi’s outser: “MK Zoabi: Al-Sisi must be overthrown”
      http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4419747,00.html

      The New York Times ran a lead article which said essentially the same thing. See
      * “NY Times Blames Israel and AIPAC for Egypt’s Agony,”
      http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/13712
      * “How American Hopes for a Deal in Egypt Were Undercut,”
      http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/18/world/middleeast/pressure-by-us-failed-to-sway-egypts-leaders.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&

      • Woody Tanaka
        August 20, 2013, 5:05 pm

        “Well there is at least one quibble. The JPost actual says he was talking about the government of Israeli “orchestrating” the Morsi overthrow, not the Jews.”

        Come on, Hostage. How can people like Obsidian live in their fantasy world and pretend that criticism of israel is simple anti-semitism if you correct him like that?

      • seafoid
        August 20, 2013, 5:15 pm

        Slight amendment to the Folger principle

        If an Israeli is murdered for political reasons and the deed is particularly violent, use “Jew” instead of “Israeli” .

        If Israel is included in accusations of international jiggery pokery involving human rights abuses, use “the Jews” instead of “Israel” in ironic fashion.

        If a Jew is incredibly successful in business, use “Israeli”.

        If a Jewish model is successful, use “hot Israeli”

      • Obsidian
        August 21, 2013, 4:33 am

        @Hostage

        Bernard Henri Levi isn’t an Israeli is he? He is a Jew.

      • Shingo
        August 21, 2013, 10:10 pm

        Bernard Henri Levi isn’t an Israeli is he? He is a Jew.

        he is a shameless Israeli propagandist.

      • Hostage
        August 21, 2013, 11:32 pm

        @Hostage

        Bernard Henri Levi isn’t an Israeli is he? He is a Jew.

        If you can figure that much out, try working on your reading comprehension. Erdogan didn’t blame Bernard Henri Levi for anything. He cited one of his observations as evidence and blamed Israel. You claimed Erdogan of Turkey has evidence that the Jews are causing unrest in Egypt – and that’s not what the JPost reported.

    • Justpassingby
      August 20, 2013, 4:11 pm

      He didnt even mention the word “jews”. Are you so paranoid that you have to invent stuff?

    • Cliff
      August 20, 2013, 5:17 pm

      mudracist,

      Why do you and other Zionist Jews put words in your enemies mouths?

      Did he say all Jews?

      If not, then stfu.

      • talknic
        August 22, 2013, 12:03 am

        “Why do you and other Zionist Jews put words in your enemies mouths?”

        Simple. It’s all they have. It’s all they’ve ever had

      • Obsidian
        August 22, 2013, 2:45 am

        @Cliff

        Do you kiss your mama with that potty mouth of yours?

      • Obsidian
        August 22, 2013, 3:11 am

        “Why do you and” other Zionist Jews put words in your enemies mouths?

        http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/sex-as-a-police-punishment-.aspx?pageID=500&eid=258

        I would guess that Erdogan and his brown shirts would be your enemies too. Guess not.

  12. gamal
    August 20, 2013, 3:55 pm

    الرغم من إتساع بلدنا الحبيب و لكن بسبب ما نمر بة من متناقضات و مناوشات و أفكار متباعدة و تشبث أعمي بالراي لدرجة الجنون؟؟ اشعر انها ضاقت بي ؟؟بالفعل اشعر بضيق شديد؟؟ لم نعد نعرف اين نحن ذاهبون؟؟كما لو أن ساعة الزمن توقفت؟؟
    اللهم فرج كربتنا يا أرحم الراحمين….

    Well thats what Dr…thinks and feels. things are always less clear from the Arab perspective, as we are untroubled by hope. At least Bing, which offers the following translation of Dr…s’ cri de coeur seems to grasp our state.

    “Despite the breadth of our beloved, but because of its contradictions and Tiger clashes and divergent ideas and clung to the point of madness about blind? I feel it’s narrowed??Already I feel very tight? We don’t know where we’re going?As if the time clock stopped?
    O Allah, o most merciful pussy our anguish.”

    what else could one say.

  13. seafoid
    August 20, 2013, 4:01 pm

    ” If Egypt emerged from its present travails within a decade it would be a miracle. What that portends for Egyptians is obvious. So, too, with Israel and the Palestinians. Israel is part and parcel of the revived autocratic-led region. Palestinians will be neglected, contained and disciplined.”

    They will be contained, brutalized, pauperized but only the Palestinians can guarantee the Jewish presence in the region long term. Fact.

    Israel is a Jewish tragedy. Yom Kippur prayers are coming up again and this year what will thinking Jews be thinking ?

  14. Keith
    August 20, 2013, 4:05 pm

    MARC ELLIS- “The Arab Spring is the September 11th of the second decade of the 21st century….”

    Interesting analogy. Both events greatly accelerated processes already underway.

  15. bilal a
    August 20, 2013, 4:06 pm

    Two salient features of the Egyptian Coup:

    1. The Egyptian Military is foreign funded and trained, and in close alliance with regional neighbors, Israel and Bp-Aramco (Saudi-UAE). This makes the military takeover resemble more closely a foreign colonial occupation than any nationalist movement, despite the rhetoric to the contrary. The right of resistance to foreign occupation is an international human right, not terrorism, not in the West bank, and not in Egypt.

    FP on the Saudi-AIPAC alliance on Egypt coup:
    http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2013/08/19/egypts_rulers_have_a_new_friend_in_dc_the_israel_lobby

    2. Colonial occupations often utilize sectarian conflict to justify geographic rearrangement, eg. India-Pakistan-Bangladesh. Terrorism in the Sinai could easily justify an Israeli -Egyptian joint protectorate , with economic development rights being yielded to the Israelis in return for security, investment, and know how. Areas with large Coptic minorities could also gain autonomy. This of course is exactly the same Middle East dismemberment plan from Oded Yinon’s 1982 study entitled “A Strategy for Israel in the 1980s”. This second hand Cairo university account of the Yinon plan shows Yinon’s analysis to be prescient and acutely intelligent with regards to the weaknesses of Egyptian society and security:

    Based on these three assumptions — which Yinon treats as indisputable facts — Yinon surmises that Egypt is superficially a strong country but is actually fragile and weak. The country’s weakness became apparent in 1956 and a fact known to all after the 1967 defeat, which slashed Egypt’s capabilities by at least 50 per cent. Yinon says that Egypt’s restoration of Sinai, with its considerable natural resources, especially in oil and gas, gave it some respite. He adds that Israel should do everything it can to prevent Egypt from fully recovering.

    As part of its quest to divide the Arab world, Israel should follow a two-pronged approach to Egypt. First, it should regain control of Sinai. Secondly, it should encourage the creation of a dominantly Coptic state in Upper Egypt, Yinon suggests

    .

    http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2007/853/op2.htm

    The Israeli-Gulf alliance then can be explained by shared interests in weakening the population power of the Egyptian body politic, in crushing the reformist populism of the MB which could have resulted in economic development gains for Arab regional socio economic position, and in further isolating armed resistance to Israeli and other foreign occupations in the region.

    Unfortunately, this is highly predictive of what we are seeing in Egypt today, terrorism in the Sinai, sectarian Coptic-Muslim strife, and an entrenchment of the inefficient and corrupt Egyptian economic elite.

    ,

    • Shingo
      August 21, 2013, 10:00 pm

      Unfortunately, this is highly predictive of what we are seeing in Egypt today, terrorism in the Sinai, sectarian Coptic-Muslim strife, and an entrenchment of the inefficient and corrupt Egyptian economic elite.

      Everyone is seeing it but Taxi apparently.

  16. Taxi
    August 20, 2013, 4:10 pm

    ” Egypt’s plight is a gift to Israel. For Palestinians, Egypt’s plight is the last nail in their coffin.”

    Now you’re writing shmaltzy melodrama.

    Chaos that israel doesn’t control worries it the most: uncontrollable chaos is a control-freak’s nightmare. Camp David, that Old Faithful, is drying up fast now under the hot Egypt sun. And when it bursts into flames, which it will, a paranoid, lunatic israel will be sandwiched between a confrontational and capable Hizbollah in the north, and a confrontational and capable HizbolEgypt in the south – with no elbow room in the north-east where a capable HizbolSyria is coiled confrontational: leaving only the rickety gates of Jordan to the east and the beautiful blue Mediterranean to the west. I call that a security crisis, not a “gift” to israel, Professor Ellis.

    And as to Egypt’s crisis being the Palestinian’s “last nail in their coffin” – are you trying to say that the neighboring Egypt crisis will kill Palestine, when, not even the violently heinous local Nakba against the Palestinians could kill Palestine? Are you for real? You wanna blame Egypt for finishing off Palestine? My goodness!

    The only time your article gets interesting is when you’re quoting other people and not when you’re waxing lyrical about your own opinion.

  17. seafoid
    August 20, 2013, 4:14 pm

    The thing about this coup is that it wasn’t obviously the best way forward and hence is loaded with risk. Ultimately the people will decide. Whenever. Israel and Saudi backed it to the hilt. Not great for the bots because one day they won’t be able to guarantee security.

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/aug/20/saudi-arabia-coup-egypt

    “King Abdullah has good reason to fear the Brotherhood, which has been getting unprecedented support in Saudi Arabia since the 3 July coup. Sympathy for Mohamed Morsi has filled Twitter feeds in the country. Support for Morsi on social media has its own emblem, a four-fingered salute, known as the sign of Rabaa.

    As president, Morsi resisted calling his regional enemies out for the money and support they gave to Egyptian opposition politicians, parties and private television channels for good reason. Up to 2 million Egyptians are employed as guest workers in the kingdom and their remittances were important for an economy on its knees. He feared that the Saudis would kick them out if he accused them of undermining his presidency. However today, Egyptian ex-pats are not the Brotherhood’s problem or responsibility. What could well follow is an unrestrained campaign by its members to destabilise the Saudi and UAE regimes.”

    Thanks to Phil and the team for some great coverage. This has not been an easy issue to figure out but the insight has helped a lot.

  18. Hostage
    August 20, 2013, 5:15 pm

    Stop the presses;-) The Administration is denying that Egyptian aid has secretly been frozen. But Senator Leahy’s staff is still reporting that the White House has advised them privately that that is nonetheless the case. I have a thesis based on the proposition that one of the reasons the US can’t do much, is that it can’t decide to do anything.

    • Tuyzentfloot
      August 20, 2013, 5:45 pm

      Obviously, since the secret is out the administration is technically correct. Aid has not secretly been frozen.

  19. bilal a
    August 20, 2013, 6:22 pm

    Prestigious Foreign Policy magazine is suggesting, subtly, that all may not be what it seems in Egypt. In ‘Egypt’s Algerian Moment’ by ROBERT ZARETSKY, we learn of secret concentration camps and mass killings with Police murdered by ‘Islamist terrorists’ , but the author links to a Human Rights Report suggesting the Algerian terrrorists were in fact death squads along the Central American Negroponte Salvador option , employed behind the scenes by the Algerian military junta itself:

    —–
    The appalling record thus confirms the complicity of the Algerian authorities and the Western governments supporting them. The Independent reported in 1997 that “GIA men – or those claiming to be its members – have attacked Algerian villages for more than a year, cutting the throats of women and children, burning babies alive in ovens, disembowelling pregnant women and slaughtering old men with axes. They have even employed a mobile guillotine on the back of a truck to execute their enemies. But evidence that the massacred villagers were themselves Islamists, and increasing proof that the Algerian security forces remained – at best – incapable of coming to their rescue, has cast grave doubt on the government’s role in Algeria’s dirty war.”[22] A short report on 10 November 1997 by the UK-based Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) refers to the similar findings of other investigators. IHRC points out that a series of articles in the British press on the situation in Algeria “have revealed that the Algerian secret services have been deliberately massacring its citizens, and orchestrating bombing campaigns in France to discredit Islamists.” The so-called GIA is apparently part and parcel of the Algerian regime’s propaganda campaign. Particularly, the Observer reported that an Algerian informer “claims that European MPs, and journalists regularly received bribes from the Algerian authorities.” Investigators the IHRC refers to include Robert Fisk in the Independent and John Sweeney in the Observer, who “have all produced separate work on this issue, which has been well-known in human rights circles for some time.”[23], Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed, First published by Algeria International Watch, November 2000

    http://www.algeria-watch.org/en/articles/1997_2000/paradox_democracy.htm

    Meanwhile Negroponte in December was arguing for closer ties with the Egyptian military amdist the anti Morsi protests.
    http://www.foxbusiness.com/on-air/lou-dobbs-tonight/index.html#/v/2026861403001/how-should-white-house-handle-the-unrest-in-egypt/?playlist_id=164630

  20. Blank State
    August 20, 2013, 6:30 pm

    Plan??? Oh please, not another “plan” hatched by these feckless posturers in Washington DC and their Israeli counterparts. What “plan”, hatched in DC/Israel, has been constructive in terms of Middle East stability, or our own national security here at home? There is no “plan”. These fumbling and inept clowns in DC are now simply reacting to events and situations as they unfold, occurring in no small part because of the previously launched “plans” of the last two decades that have been proven to be disastrous abject failures. It has tumbled out of control in the middle east, and DC has neither a “plan”, nor a credible excuse for the failures of the last two decades. If there is a silver lining, it might be that this instigator and real estate thief known as “Israel” (The “Jewish State”, doncha know) might be taken down a knotch and taught to behave itself. But probably not. I imagine Israel, when confronted with the fruits it has sown, will simply attempt to incinerate the crop in a salvo of gas, cluster munitions, and white phosphorous….and besides, there’s always the nuclear option. Theres no Muslim problem a massive dose of military superiority can’t solve, right? I mean hey, look how successful its been thus far.

    • RoHa
      August 21, 2013, 11:54 pm

      “these feckless posturers in Washington DC and their Israeli counterparts.”

      I hope you are not suggesting they need a good feck. That would be rude.

  21. biorabbi
    August 20, 2013, 10:30 pm

    Leader Edrogan made an honest mistake, conflating a French Jewish intellectual with the state of Israel. LOL.

  22. mcohen
    August 21, 2013, 1:16 am

    Hostage says

    “cant do much”

    The “aid” could be money being paid by jewish organizations to arabs as part of a compensation deal,with the usa acting as the bank ,if that is the case,it would go a long way to explain why israel will never give up any land that was part of the original peace agreements with jordan and egypt.however i could be wrong

    • Hostage
      August 21, 2013, 5:39 am

      however i could be wrong

      We may disagree about other things, but that isn’t one of them.

    • Citizen
      August 21, 2013, 7:17 am

      @mcohen

      Are you talking about the 1.3 B annual aid to Egypt? Being paid by jewish organizations to arabs, with US acting as bank? Source? This seems absurd. Am I missing something?

  23. Citizen
    August 21, 2013, 8:38 am

    From Gaza’s Ark:

    We are sure that you are following the disturbing events in Egypt and their implications for life in Gaza as you are following the progress of Gaza’s Ark.

    The situation is complex and difficult. Gaza’s life line and pressure release valve is the Rafah crossing and the tunnels, both directly affected by what happens in Egypt. The Rafah crossing has been closed far more often than open lately and only 10% of the tunnels remain functional.

    But the effect of what is happening in Egypt on the Palestinians of Gaza is more than material. It is also psychological. What is happening in Egypt is causing anxiety, uncertainty and worries in Gaza that have far reaching effects.

  24. dbroncos
    August 21, 2013, 9:56 am

    Military aid to Egypt = thousands of American jobs. The defense industry by itself, with or without AIPAC’s help, has enough clout to scuttle any cancellation of military aid to Egypt.

  25. gamal
    August 21, 2013, 3:04 pm

    Abu Eita of the EFITU, is now Minister of Labour, Egyptians are concluding that its the Army or chaos, I have relatives who are living on bread, water and mish which they make themselves when they can get milk, the people prefer eating to voting, and who can blame them, exhaustion is a big factor and the Hydra seems not to be running out of heads anytime soon.

    Anyone who believes that Islamists are torching churches, (to what end?) is unfamiliar with Egypt not one single Egyptian I have spoken to believes that, its the baltagiya or Hatchet Men obviously, the security apparatus has triumphed for the time being, this is going to be a very long crisis, 40 years of neoliberalism and structural adjustments have left the nation in a parlous and impoverished condition.
    With the suppression of the MB there are now no organized broadbased parties, just the indi unions, and host of micro-groups, all eyes are on Kamal Abu Eita, who has a slight resemblance to Saddam Hussein, which probably augurs well.

    Apparently Morsi is being severely tortured and is now in a military hospital, while Mubarak will be freed, there is a subtle sub-textual message here for Egyptians, can you see what it is yet. Ramy Mahmouds comment on the linked article discusses the fate of “Mubarak with a beard” Morsi, Ramy thinks he is at deaths door, but he is an Islamist and a kind of MubarakSCAFChrist sacrifice so let him carry the can for the Sadat and Mubarak years, our betting is that Badie, leader of the MB who has also been arrested, he is Morsis’ John the Baptist, and should, or is it will, die first, prophecy must fulfill.

    http://www.egyptindependent.com/news/minimum-maximum-wage-law-be-submitted-wednesday

  26. Ziv Galant
    August 21, 2013, 4:12 pm

    Can someone answer me seriously, and tell me what are, in his opinion, Israel’s motives of blockading Gaza ?

    • Woody Tanaka
      August 21, 2013, 8:51 pm

      Sure. israel is blockading Gaza because it takes pleasure in destroying people’s lives. It is the national equivalent to a sociopath.

    • W.Jones
      August 21, 2013, 9:31 pm

      Ziv,

      It’s like the US economic blockade on Cuba. The Israelis would fight Gaza, but they cannot realistically “win” and govern it without it being extremely costly for them. So the next thing they do instead is to try to crush it through economics and natural resources.

    • Shingo
      August 21, 2013, 9:33 pm

      Can someone answer me seriously, and tell me what are, in his opinion, Israel’s motives of blockading Gaza ?

      There’s no need to have an opinion on it. Israeli government documents already spell it out.

      Israeli document: Gaza blockade isn’t about security
      http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/06/09/95621/israeli-document-gaza-blockade.html#ixzz1Ehr1ivYO

  27. talknic
    August 22, 2013, 12:14 am

    Ziv Galant“Can someone answer me seriously, and tell me what are, in his opinion, Israel’s motives of blockading Gaza ?”

    To maintain control. Must be quite obvious, even to a propagandist.

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