Friday, August 16, 2013

Egypt in Flames

Mike L.

The snippets below were written by Reuters staff and published by Y-Net.
At least 623 people died and thousands were wounded on Wednesday when police cleared out two protest camps in Cairo set up to denounce the military overthrow on July 3 of Egypt's first freely elected president, Islamist leader Mohamed Morsi.

Can you imagine if this was going on in Israel?  The western-left would go into orgasmic convulsions of sadistic rage, if this was Israel and not Egypt.  Once again, when Muslims kill Muslims no one cares.  It only matters, for political purposes, if Jews are involved and then the righteous indignation and gleeful schadenfreude are immediately spit into Israel's face.

But it is Egypt and Egypt is a mess.  It's a wreck. The status quo under Mubarak was oppressive, but stable.  This, however, is just bloody chaos.  And what it represents are the fruits of the "Arab Spring."  And to you naifs, who kept telling us how wonderful the "Arab Spring" is and how it represents the rise of Arab democracy and that a new day was dawning throughout the Middle East, I wonder if you are capable of recognizing and acknowledging your mistake?

I sincerely doubt it.

The "Arab Spring," in Egypt and elsewhere, was the rise of political Islam, but not all Arabs want to live in the 7th century.  Egypt is tearing itself to pieces over which type of racist dictatorship to live under.  Should it be an anti-Semitic, homophobic, and misogynistic dictatorship, of the type that Barack Obama preferred in his support for the Muslim Brotherhood?  Or should it be a brutal secular military dictatorship of the type that we have seen for decades and that Hosni Mubarak represented?

The one thing that we have not seen in the "Arab Spring" is any significant political movement toward anything resembling democracy.  The Muslim Brotherhood, as a matter of principle, is anti-democratic precisely because al-Sharia is anti-democratic.  Meanwhile, I do not believe that the Egyptian military is going to be spending much time canvassing for votes for the next election.

The truth, of course, is that Barack Obama should never have called for the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, who was an ally of the United States, to begin with.  What he should have done, as the pressure mounted in Egypt, was insist upon democratic reforms.  Instead of taking a moderate route aimed at bringing about gradual progressive change, Obama insisted that Mubarak step down, thus clearing a path for the Muslim Brotherhood and thereby helping to set into motion the series of events that has led that country into its current state of chaos and blood and misery.

Whatever else we may make of this, it certainly represents one of the more significant failures in Obama administration foreign policy.
A statement from the Brotherhood called for a nationwide "march of anger" by millions of supporters on Friday after noon prayers.
A "march of anger"?

Yes, because there is not nearly enough rage and anger and bloody hatred throughout the Arab Middle East.   We clearly need more rage and anger and bloody hatred in that part of the world.  And let me ask you this.  Just why is it that Muslims in the United States tend not to go for this kind of thing?

American Muslims aren't screaming from the hillsides.  American Muslims aren't calling for blood.  Some might say that American Muslims are strong and steady and hard-working and honest and normal because they live in a democracy and their co-religionists in Egypt do not and that if we want to see the normalization of the Arab-Muslim world then we need to encourage democracy throughout the region.

This was the basic idea of both George W. Bush and Barack Obama.  They both sought to support democracy in the Middle East.  What they both overestimated, however, was the desire of the locals to actually create such democracies.  The Egyptians do not have democracy because they, for the most part, do not want democracy.  If they actually wanted democracy they would inevitably create democracy, but this is not what they have done.

Obama thought that his meddling in Egyptian political life could get that country on the right track, but he was sadly mistaken and entirely arrogant to think so.
By cancelling the military exercise, but not cutting off US aid, Obama was seeking to show his displeasure at the violent crackdown without totally alienating the generals.
The Obama administration is not entirely incapable of learning from their numerous mistakes.  By cancelling a certain degree of military cooperation, while maintaining the 1.5 billion dollars in annual aid that Egypt receives, Obama is seeking to walk a tight-rope.  The administration has thus learned to be a tad more cautious in its dealings with the Middle East.

I take this as a positive sign.

In the mean time, however, Egypt is burning to the ground.


  1. Speaking of Mubarak, here is something worth seeing:

    Mubarak's Muslim Brotherhood Prophecy

    He said elsewhere, in a wikileaks memo, that he was not against democracy, but knew that if the forces in Egypt were unencumbered, they would tear the place to shreds.

    He was no angel, and often ruled with an iron hand, but he took the peaceful, nonviolent path when it mattered.

    In Turkey before Erdogan too power, his political party, the Welfare Party, was banned because its aim was to use democracy to destroy democracy. Turkish secularism was then part of the culture that allowed for democracy to take hold. We see now how invoking religion into the government, unchecked, turns it to a theocracy.

    It will be interesting to see where Egypt goes. If parts of Arab culture and mentality were not so oppressive, it might be easier to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

    We have a share in this, when we chose to ignore Mubarak as to the nature of the MB. That said, it is the Egyptians themselves that are responsible for their plight, and they are in need of a reality check when it comes to what they believe is appropriate in this day and age among those that promote humanity.

    1. "We have a share in this, when we chose to ignore Mubarak as to the nature of the MB. That said, it is the Egyptians themselves that are responsible for their plight..."


      And I know that however much evidence that I present in order to demonstrate that share will be dismissed as partisan, despite the fact that I have always been a progressive and a Democrat until a quarter past last Tuesday.

  2. Slaughter in Egypt. Slaughter in Syria. So what is the UN's Ban-Ki Moon concerned about?

    "RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — U.N. Secretary-General Ban-Ki moon said Thursday that he is "deeply troubled" by Israeli settlement building and that it could ultimately prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state."

    1. At least there is this:

      U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power opposes Ziegler’s UN candidacy

  3. It's the horrendous news of proximity. Whereas by African standards, and Egypt is in Africa, this barely rises to the level of your average election day or hotly contested soccer match. We, or they, I suppose, have the misfortune to be in place western news agencies can find, and, until recently like to roost in. Much like the NYT press corps which spends all day in Tel Aviv hotel bars and on the beach while Hamas stringers collect the 'news', Cairo, Alexandria and such were historically fairly nice Mediterranean sunny and warm and they hardly have much malaria any more. A quick plane ride from Athens, Istanbul or Palermo. So we get to see and hear and read all about it.

    Keeping in mind that nearly 3,000 people died in Kenya's last round of elections, there's a savage war still going on in the Goma region of central Africa, Somalia is still the #1 messed up place on Earth, there's low key-ish genocide being attempted in Darfur and on and on.

  4. "In a war between the savage and the civilised man always support the civilised man."

    Not sure how that adage holds in a situation like this.

    Anyway I'm with the generals -- especially if they keep the promise to hold elections next year in a managed process that Obama is not allowed to intervene on behalf of the Ku Klux Klan. Oops. I mean Muslim Brotherhood.

    You simply cannot have a democracy in a country where the major political blocs are totalitarian and determined to tear out any sign of democracy, root and branch -- whether they are Communists, Nazis, Islamists or just straight out gangsters such as in vast swathes of Central America and Africa.

    1. One thing to keep in mind is that the contemporary scholars who have analyzed the Brotherhood tend to see them as coming out of similar ideological tendencies as the Nazis and the Soviets.

      They emerged at the same time, without question, and like the Nazis and the Soviets they were trying to create a "new man" and a new civilization through violence and force.

      Like the Nazis, the Brotherhood is/was backward looking and opposed to modernity. Just as the National Socialists romanticized an Aryan mythological past, so the Brotherhood romanticized the Caliphate and the time before western dominance.

      The Brotherhood was allied with the Nazis throughout World War II and very much shared their anti-democratic political sensibility, as well as their genocidal hatred toward Jews.

      So, how it is that the Obama administration supported them tends to boggle the mind.

      That the Obama administration did support the Muslim Brotherhood, however, is no longer open to question and I very much intend to discuss that fact going forward.