Here are some leftwing responses to the military crushing of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt in the last week.
At Alternet, Chris Hedges says that massacre is a precursor of resource wars between the elites and the masses. He notes the fierce prejudices of the Islamists but is more concerned with the egoism of the elites. Hedges offers a chiliastic populism:
The belief systems the oppressed embrace can be intolerant, but these belief systems are a response to the injustice, state violence and cruelty inflicted on them by the global elites. Our enemy is not radical Islam. It is global capitalism. It is a world where the wretched of the Earth are forced to bow before the dictates of the marketplace, where children go hungry so global corporate elites siphon away the world’s wealth and natural resources and where our troops and U.S.-backed militaries carry out massacres on city streets. Egypt offers a window into the coming dystopia. The wars of survival will mark the final stage of human habitation of the planet.”
Also at Alternet, Pepe Escobar says the new axis of evil is the Pentagon, the Saudis, and Israel, complicit in the crackdown:
The winners, as it stands, are the House of Saud/Israel/ Pentagon axis. How did they pull it off?
Tel Aviv is totally at ease with Sisi’s Army and the flush Saudi supporters of the military junta. The only thing that matters to Israel is that Sisi’s Army will uphold the Camp David agreements. The MB, on the other hand, might entertain other ideas in the near future…
Only two days before the bloodbath that is not a bloodbath, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey was in Israel getting cozy with General Benny Gantz and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, discussing the proverbial “threats that could emanate out of the region – globally and to the homeland – and how we can continue to work together to make both of our countries more secure”. It’s unthinkable they did not discuss how they would profit from the imminent bloodbath that is not a bloodbath.
At the same time, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon bombastically announced a new ” axis of evil“; Iran, Syria and Lebanon.
Juan Cole’s list of the ten reasons that US aid won’t be cut off also cites Israel prominently, and Saudi Arabia too:
5. The aid was given as a bribe to the Egyptian elite to make nice with Israel. Given the chaos in Sinai, and Egypt’s instability, Congress is more worried about that issue than at any time in 40 years.
6. The Israelis asked the US not to suspend the aid.
7. Congress even structured the economic aid to require some of it help joint Israeli-Egyptian enterprises in Egypt, so some of the aid to Egypt actually goes to . . . Israel.
8. It is not generally recognized, but the Egyptian military provides a security umbrella to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE against Iran (and sometimes Iraq). The Gulf oil states also have powerful Washington lobbies and want Egypt to continue as a Gurkha force. Children, can you say oil?
Colin Wright, a friend of our site, points out that Obama has been morally absent on the massacre:
Obama family hits the beach on last vacation day (AP)”
(a) incited the Muslim world to seek democracy
(b) failed to decisively support and engage with that democracy
(c) at least condoned a coup to overthrow that democracy
(d) is sitting around at the frigging beach whilst the slaughter unfolds.
He has a clear moral responsibility here. What side he should come
down on is perhaps debatable — but he can’t just sit there. That’s
Well over a thousand have now died. It’s doubtful if many of them
would have died if we’d resolutely stuck to ANY position. Morally,
Obama’s choice is the worst one possible.
When I suggested to another (anonymous) friend that events in Egypt are being made in Egypt, he responded.
We’ve had as much a hand in events in Egypt as in Chile [under Allende/Pinochet].We had 30 years of propping up Mubarak, but we were unhappy with the family’s dynastic ambitions and wanted a more neo-liberal economy than nespotic capitalism (which usually does not end well).We had a hand in throwing Mubarak under the bus, giving a green light to the military.We tried to place our CIA tool Suleiman in charge, but could not pull it off as he and his Security State were too hated.Had no choice then but to go along with the elections and hope for the best. We did not want to see the MB win, but we had no alternative candidate to back. (Actually it would be interesting to know how much we funded to the old regime candidate in the Presidential election.)As long as MB kept Camp David agreement and accepted IMF overlordship, MB government was not an immediate threat. We were okay with the MB as long as they did not threaten military’s role in the new Constitution and in the state, and kept secular forces that wanted to curtail military and security state in check (our short-term policy with respect to Arab Spring). Probably were OK with Morsi’s cleaning out of old hands at the top of command. They needed to go, but we might have been unsure of replacements.During the entire two years of upheaval and after, we made sure that the Army maintained its power and veto role. Our #1 concern was to keep out biggest asset – the military – in their controlling and determining role.At some early point in the Arab Spring, we decided to either not oppose Saudi’s attempt at counter-revolution or actually agreed or even co-authored with Saudi policy. Saudi Arabia is our most important ally in the region.The return of Bandar to lead the Saudi offensive cannot be an accident. We at a minimum gave the Saudis a green light for their strategy or actually secretly developed it with them.Saudi and Gulf States did everything in their power to thwart MB government in Egypt. (This is right out of Chile playbook.) They cut off aid and worked to destabilize economy. (Medium-term strategy: make the MB government very unpopular as economy sinks.) They then flooded the country with aid as soon as the coup occurred. Gasoline and other shortages mysteriously disappeared.We did not stop the Saudis from escalating attacks against Assad and arming Islamists there. Allowed Saudis to crush Shia revolt in Bahrain and to escalate repression. Beefed up Jordan monarchy. We sided with Saudis against Qatar (which was backing MB), which means we backed counter-revolution as opposed to evolutionary reform.So I don’t think we have been on our back foot at all.US Military (which Obama rarely opposes) clearly is on side of Egyptian military. You should have heard Gen. Jacobs (Pentagon mouthpiece if there ever was one) on MSNBC defending US policy, stressing importance of Egypt to US military, and opposing cut-off of military aid. Jacobs was rolled out too quickly to not have been organized.Optics are bad for US, which calls for a nuanced PR strategy, but I am quite sure US is not rudderless and does know what it is doing. It probably prefers a more conciliatory approach to MB as it looks better on TV news, but they are not going to stop the Egyptian military except on the fringes. The US will want a credible civilian front to the government as soon as possible. But if necessary we will support an Algerian solution, which has turned out to be stable from our perspective.If the MB goes underground and/or sparks a Civil War, that will not be our favored outcome. But as a worst case scenario, we can live with it. After all, divide-and-conquer has at a minimum allowed us to maintain hegemony over the ME since the end of WW2. It is the guiding policy of Israel, and being on the same page as the Israelis at least reduces the domestic blowback that comes with trying a more positive FP in the ME.The stability of the Saudi Arabia – Israel – US axis is something to behold, an achievement many of us would have thought impossible during Obama’s Hope and Change crusade and the Arab Spring.