Monday, January 31, 2011
Russian Echoes in Egypt's February Revolution
"History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme."
-- Mark Twain
Nearly a century ago, a despised autocrat was suddenly and unexpectedly overthrown. The February Revolution of 1917 paved the way for the Bolshevik takeover of Russia, and a totalitarian nightmare that lasted until 1991.
Egypt's February revolution is underway. How it ends remains to be seen. This reporter predicts a repeat, more or less, of the Russian and Iranian examples: interim, or provisional governments, ultimately replaced by totalitarian regimes. In Egypt's case, this is likely to mean a temporary role for the Islamist/Iranian stooge, Mohamed ElBaradei, followed by outright Muslim Brotherhood rule.
In short, a disaster for the United States and its allies, including, of course, Egypt's neighbor and America's great ally, Israel--the only democracy in the Middle East.
N. KOREA HAS MORE NUCLEAR SITES
ANTI-ISRAEL PUNDITS PREPARING FOR POST-MUBARAK, MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD-RUN EGYPT
Legions of well-placed, anti-Israel pundits are preparing for a post-Mubarak, Muslim Brotherhood-run Egypt and the cancelation of the country's three-decades-old peace treaty with the Jewish State. An outline of their planned propaganda push appears below.
The bashers intend to blame Israel, a strategic American ally, and the only democracy in the Middle East, for supposedly squandering the opportunity to make peace with the Palestinians--meaning, for stubbornly refusing to commit national suicide by withdrawing to indefensible, pre-1967 borders in order to make possible the creation of an irredentist Palestinian Arab state in the heart of the Jewish homeland.
The new anti-Israel party line will be that Israel's only hope for survival lies in immediate withdrawal to the above-referenced boundaries, which the late, great and distinctly dovish Israeli foreign minister, Abba Eban, famously branded "the Auschwitz lines." Surrender of sovereignty over the disputed areas of Judea and Samaria and all of eastern Jerusalem, including the Old City, will be demanded. Nothing less will satisfy those who seek, crave, long for Israel's isolation and peace-by-pieces dismantlement.
The Obama administration can be counted on to overtly back their perfidious demands, and to covertly encourage calls for ending all aid to Israel. Administration shills and mouthpieces (the vile, self-hating Jew, Roger Cohen, comes to mind) are already gearing up to argue that Israel must be squeezed--harder than ever--to "save Israel from itself" (and from its American Jewish and Christian supporters--impossibly backward types, in Left/liberal eyes, who insists on resisting acceptance of global "moderate Islamism" as the key to world peace).
More extreme anti-Israel elements--the left wing of Obama's antidemocratic Democratic Party--seek Israel's immediate destruction. Thus, they are preparing to paint Israel as an "apartheid state"--the new South Africa--destined for the dustbin of history. Israel should cease to exist--like Judaism itself, the "anti-Zionists" will say. Seriously. We are, maybe, five minutes from a tidal wave of media-fed anti-Semitism, on a scale not seen since the 1930s.
Also, a tidal wave of appeasement--of fascism--not seen since the '30s. Liberal media morons are increasingly sympathetic to the insane notion of "Islamic democracy." And not just for Muslims overseas. The Left sees sharia compliance--in the U.S.--as a way to cripple capitalism and to counter the influence of the despised "Christian Right" ... and Sarah Palan ... whom the Left hates almost as much as it hates Israel, Judaism, Jews....
Islamist-appeasing, left-wing lunatics dream of another world, alright: Muslim Brotherhood-run Egypt, Hamas-ruled "Palestine" ... and Palin forced into a burqa.
What Do We Know About Egypt's Protesters?
Leslie Gelb's article--click here to access it--is must reading, a desperately needed dose of common sense from an important, veteran journalist who dares to analyze the Egyptian upheaval from the standpoint of the U.S. national interest (a despised concept in liberal/left-wing eyes).
Consider that Egypt's population is estimated at 79 million.
So far, the protesters number in the thousands, or tens of thousands, notwithstanding the opposition's call for a "march of millions" tomorrow to bring down the government.
Fawning and fainting liberal reporters have interviewed, as Gelb points out, at most, just a few hundred protesters.
Who are they, really? From which social and economic classes--and political movements--do they come? What are their beliefs? Does their notion of democracy match our own? Iran, too, claims to be a democracy, an "Islamic republic."
The questions are far from academic given the strong support among Egyptians for barbaric Islamic law.
The key point is that nobody, except, perhaps, the leaders of the uprising, has the answers. Yet, the liberal media pundits are salivating for the overthrow of the government--for the overnight sweeping away of a regime that has served America's interests in the Middle for more than three decades, preserved a peace treaty with Israel--for which the present Egyptian president's predecessor gave his life--and maintained stability in a complex, densely populated Third World nation menaced by fascistic fundamentalism in addition to all the other problems that plague developing nations.
Incredible. Thirty-two years after the catastrophic Islamist takeover of Iran and its transformation from an ally into an enemy of the United States, and nine years after 9/11, the liberal elite is ready, eager, can't wait to bet on ... the Unknown ... on mysterious forces most likely to be manipulated or eclipsed by the same movement that spawned Anwar Sadat's assassins--and Al Qaeda.
UK WINDMILL MADNESS POISONS CHINA
INCONVENIENT TRUTH: BIG FACTORY
Sunday, January 30, 2011
THE EGYPTIAN CRISIS IN A GLOBAL CONTEXT
By George Friedman
It is not at all clear what will happen in the Egyptian revolution. It is not a surprise that this is happening. Hosni Mubarak has been president for more than a quarter of a century, ever since the assassination of Anwar Sadat. He is old and has been ill. No one expected him to live much longer, and his apparent plan, which was that he would be replaced by his son, Gamal, was not going to happen even though it was a possibility a year ago. There was no one, save his closest business associates, who wanted to see Mubarak’s succession plans happen. As his father weakened, Gamal’s succession became even less likely. Mubarak’s failure to design a credible succession plan guaranteed instability on his death. Since everyone knew that there would be instability on his death, there were obviously those who saw little advantage to acting before he died. Who these people were and what they wanted is the issue.
Let’s begin by considering the regime. In 1952, Col. Gamal Abdel Nasser staged a military coup that displaced the Egyptian monarchy, civilian officers in the military, and British influence in Egypt. Nasser created a government based on military power as the major stabilizing and progressive force in Egypt. His revolution was secular and socialist. In short, it was a statist regime dominated by the military. On Nasser’s death, Anwar Sadat replaced him. On Sadat’s assassination, Hosni Mubarak replaced him. Both of these men came from the military as Nasser did. However their foreign policy might have differed from Nasser’s, the regime remained intact.
The demands for Mubarak’s resignation come from many quarters, including from members of the regime — particularly the military — who regard Mubarak’s unwillingness to permit them to dictate the succession as endangering the regime. For some of them, the demonstrations represent both a threat and opportunity. Obviously, the demonstrations might get out of hand and destroy the regime. On the other hand, the demonstrations might be enough to force Mubarak to resign, allow a replacement — for example, Omar Suleiman, the head of intelligence who Mubarak recently appointed vice president — and thereby save the regime. This is not to say that they fomented the demonstrations, but some must have seen the demonstrations as an opportunity.
This is particularly the case in the sense that the demonstrators are deeply divided among themselves and thus far do not appear to have been able to generate the type of mass movement that toppled the Shah of Iran’s regime in 1979. More important, the demonstrators are clearly united in opposing Mubarak as an individual, and to a large extent united in opposing the regime. Beyond that, there is a deep divide in the opposition.
Western media has read the uprising as a demand for Western-style liberal democracy. Many certainly are demanding that. What is not clear is that this is moving Egypt’s peasants, workers and merchant class to rise en masse. Their interests have far more to do with the state of the Egyptian economy than with the principles of liberal democracy. As in Iran in 2009, the democratic revolution, if focused on democrats, cannot triumph unless it generates broader support.
The other element in this uprising is the Muslim Brotherhood. The consensus of most observers is that the Muslim Brotherhood at this point is no longer a radical movement and is too weak to influence the revolution. This may be possible, but it is not obvious. The Muslim Brotherhood has many strands, many of which have been quiet under Mubarak’s repression. It is not clear who will emerge if Mubarak falls. It is certainly not clear that they are weaker than the democratic demonstrators. It is a mistake to confuse the Muslim Brotherhood’s caution with weakness. Another way to look at them is that they have bided their time and toned down their real views, waiting for the kind of moment provided by Mubarak’s succession. I would suspect that the Muslim Brotherhood has more potential influence among the Egyptian masses than the Western-oriented demonstrators or Mohamed ElBaradei, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, who is emerging as their leader.
There is, of course, the usual discussion of what U.S. President Barack Obama’s view is, or what the Europeans think, or what the Iranians are up to. All of them undoubtedly have thoughts and even plans. In my view, trying to shape the political dynamics of a country like Egypt from Iran or the United States is futile, and believing that what is happening in Egypt is the result of their conspiracies is nonsense. A lot of people care what is happening there, and a lot of people are saying all sorts of things and even spending money on spies and Twitter. Egypt’s regime can be influenced in this way, but a revolution really doesn’t depend on what the European Union or Tehran says.
There are four outcomes possible. First, the regime might survive. Mubarak might stabilize the situation, or more likely, another senior military official would replace him after a decent interval. Another possibility under the scenario of the regime’s survival is that there may be a coup of the colonels, as we discussed yesterday. A second possibility is that the demonstrators might force elections in which ElBaradei or someone like him could be elected and Egypt might overthrow the statist model built by Nasser and proceed on the path of democracy. The third possibility is that the demonstrators force elections, which the Muslim Brotherhood could win and move forward with an Islamist-oriented agenda. The fourth possibility is that Egypt will sink into political chaos. The most likely path to this would be elections that result in political gridlock in which a viable candidate cannot be elected. If I were forced to choose, I would bet on the regime stabilizing itself and Mubarak leaving because of the relative weakness and division of the demonstrators. But that’s a guess and not a forecast.
Whatever happens matters a great deal to Egyptians. But only some of these outcomes are significant to the world. Among radical Islamists, the prospect of a radicalized Egypt represents a new lease on life. For Iran, such an outcome would be less pleasing. Iran is now the emerging center of radical Islamism; it would not welcome competition from Egypt, though it may be content with an Islamist Egypt that acts as an Iranian ally (something that would not be easy to ensure).
For the United States, an Islamist Egypt would be a strategic catastrophe. Egypt is the center of gravity in the Arab world. This would not only change the dynamic of the Arab world, it would reverse U.S. strategy since the end of the 1973 Arab-Israeli war. Sadat’s decision to reverse his alliance with the Soviets and form an alliance with the United States undermined the Soviet position in the Mediterranean and in the Arab world and strengthened the United States immeasurably. The support of Egyptian intelligence after 9/11 was critical in blocking and undermining al Qaeda. Were Egypt to stop that cooperation or become hostile, the U.S. strategy would be severely undermined.
The great loser would be Israel. Israel’s national security has rested on its treaty with Egypt, signed by Menachem Begin with much criticism by the Israeli right. The demilitarization of the Sinai Peninsula not only protected Israel’s southern front, it meant that the survival of Israel was no longer at stake. Israel fought three wars (1948, 1967 and 1973) where its very existence was at issue. The threat was always from Egypt, and without Egypt in the mix, no coalition of powers could threaten Israel (excluding the now-distant possibility of Iranian nuclear weapons). In all of the wars Israel fought after its treaty with Egypt (the 1982 and 2006 wars in Lebanon) Israeli interests, but not survival, were at stake.
If Egypt were to abrogate the Camp David Accords and over time reconstruct its military into an effective force, the existential threat to Israel that existed before the treaty was signed would re-emerge. This would not happen quickly, but Israel would have to deal with two realities. The first is that the Israeli military is not nearly large enough or strong enough to occupy and control Egypt. The second is that the development of Egypt’s military would impose substantial costs on Israel and limit its room for maneuver.
There is thus a scenario that would potentially strengthen the radical Islamists while putting the United States, Israel, and potentially even Iran at a disadvantage, all for different reasons. That scenario emerges only if two things happen. First, the Muslim Brotherhood must become a dominant political force in Egypt. Second, they must turn out to be more radical than most observers currently believe they are — or they must, with power, evolve into something more radical.
If the advocates for democracy win, and if they elect someone like ElBaradei, it is unlikely that this scenario would take place. The pro-Western democratic faction is primarily concerned with domestic issues, are themselves secular and would not want to return to the wartime state prior to Camp David, because that would simply strengthen the military. If they win power, the geopolitical arrangements would remain unchanged.
Similarly, the geopolitical arrangements would remain in place if the military regime retained power — save for one scenario. If it was decided that the regime’s unpopularity could be mitigated by assuming a more anti-Western and anti-Israeli policy — in other words, if the regime decided to play the Islamist card, the situation could evolve as a Muslim Brotherhood government would. Indeed, as hard as it is to imagine, there could be an alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood designed to stabilize the regime. Stranger things have happened.
When we look at the political dynamic of Egypt, and try to imagine its connection to the international system, we can see that there are several scenarios under which certain political outcomes would have profound effects on the way the world works. That should not be surprising. When Egypt was a pro-Soviet Nasserite state, the world was a very different place than it had been before Nasser. When Sadat changed his foreign policy the world changed with it. If Sadat’s foreign policy changes, the world changes again. Egypt is one of those countries whose internal politics matter to more than its own citizens.
Most of the outcomes I envision leave Egypt pretty much where it is. But not all. The situation is, as they say, in doubt, and the outcome is not trivial.
The above report was provided by STRATFOR.
IN PRAISE OF HOSNI MUBARAK
AN AMERICAN ALLY FOR THREE DECADES
In praise of Hosni Mubarak....
For three decades, following the Islamist/Muslim Brotherhood assassination of Anwar Sadat, who was killed because he made peace with Israel and allied Egypt with the United States, Mubarak preserved the peace with Israel, which he had helped to bring about, and protected the interests of the United States.
For three decades, he suppressed the clerical fascist bastards--barbarians dedicated to imposing Islamic law on all of humanity.
For three decades, Egypt (estimated population: 79 million) was stable.
Overnight, somehow, he has become a pariah, Public Enemy Number One, targeted for elimination by the America-bashing, Israel-hating, Islamist-appeasing liberal media--scum of the earth. They will not be satisfied until he is forced into exile. They long for his departure--and death. The liberal media--scum of the earth--hate him more than they hate Ahmadinejad and Kim Jong Il .... and Mullah Omar ... and Osama Bin Laden.
The liberal media hate Mubarak almost as much as they hate Sarah Palin.
The liberal media--scum of the earth. They would have loved Mubarak, had he worn a turban instead of a tie, backed Hamas and Hezbollah, called for America's downfall and Israel's destruction.... Little did he know, like Iran's Shah, that supporting stability and peace--and America--would assure his permanent place on the liberal/left hit list.
MB-BACKED BARADEI SHILLED FOR IRAN
Must-read background on Obama's fellow Nobel Laureate over here.
EXILED ISLAMIST LEADER RETURNS TO TUNISIA
HE'S NO KHOMEINI
Important background here. The MB-connected Islamist leader opposes the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and aims to expel the United States from the Middle East, even as he sends emissaries to the U.S. State Department and to European foreign offices (to tell useful idiots of appeasement what they want to hear).
Left/liberal loons are ecstatic. The new pro-appeasement party line: Nothing to fear, folks. Turkey is the model. And even Iran is not as bad as you think. Certainly, the West can learn to live with but never accept an Iranian nuclear state ... and so on and so forth.
Regarding liberal fantasies, the most dangerous in the current context is the notion of moderate Islamism. Right-wing political Islam, or Islamism, is a form of clerical fascism; and moderate fascism is an oxymoron. Liberals forget that even the Nazis had their left/right factions (Google Otto Strasser and the Black Front organization), that there were ideological differences between the Nazis and Italy's Fascists, and that nowadays there are ideological differences among, say, various neo-Nazi groups and the Ku Klux Klan. So what? The differences are meaningless as far as civilized people are concerned. The same holds true for Left-Fascism--e.g. Stalinism, Maoism, Kimism (North Korea). All these ideologies are enemies of freedom and democracy.
Another dangerous liberal fantasy: the belief that fascists moderate themselves once they have attained power. It didn't happen in Iran--after Jimmy Carter's UN envoy, Andrew Young, predicted that the Hitlerian Ayatollah Khomeini would eventually be hailed as a saint. Nor did it happen in Nazi Germany. In that regard, it is worth recalling that America's most revered and influential liberal columnist, Walter Lippmann, a Jew, once described Hitler as "statesmanlike" and predicted that he would moderate himself if he ever got the chance to lead Germany. Writing in the New York Herald Tribune on May 19, 1933, Lippmann informed his readers that he had heard a speech by Hitler that provided convincing evidence of good faith, and that persecuting the Jews served a purpose by "satisfying" Germans yearning to "conquer somebody".
EL BARADEI, BACKED BY MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD, DEMANDS MUBARAK'S IMMEDIATE RESIGNATION, CRITICIZES US, ACCUSING IT OF DOUBLESPEAK
Egypt is unraveling. Click on above headline, and here, here, and here, and here, too.
And click below for a Russian TV report that covers the anarchy and questions if the unprecedented upheaval was truly spontaneous. The content and tone contrast sharply with US TV coverage that presents the protests in the most sympathetic light.
On Obama as the New Carter, Egypt the New Iran
Jimmy Carter's "second term" -- a must-read opinion piece over here.
EGYPT SEALS GAZA BORDER, STATIONS TROOPS IN NORTHERN SINAI WITH ISRAEL'S PERMISSION
MUBARAK STILL IN CHARGE AS PROTESTS CONTINUE
Saturday, January 29, 2011
RUMOR MUBARAK IN SHARM EL-SHEIKH
WILL BARADEI BECOME THE NEXT BAZARGAN?
SUDDENLY, MUBARAK IS THE NEW SHAH, AN AMERICAN ALLY
TARGETED FOR EXILE AND ASSASSINATION BY GLOBAL MOBS
The rumor: Egypt's president is hiding at his winter residence. Click here for the story.
A leading China Confidential Middle East analyst adds: Sharm is a short helicopter ride from Saudi Arabia--and exile.
EGYPT: A SPECIAL STRATFOR REPORT
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak remains the lifeblood of the demonstrators, who still number in the tens of thousands in downtown Cairo and in other major cities, albeit on a lesser scale. After being overwhelmed in the Jan. 28 Day of Rage protests, Egypt’s internal security forces — with the anti-riot paramilitaries of the Central Security Forces (CSF) at the forefront — were glaringly absent from the streets Jan. 29. They were replaced with rows of tanks and armored personnel carriers carrying regular army soldiers. Unlike their CSF counterparts, the demonstrators demanding Mubarak’s exit from the political scene largely welcomed the soldiers. Despite Mubarak’s refusal to step down Jan. 28, the public’s positive perception of the military, seen as the only real gateway to a post-Mubarak Egypt, remained. It is unclear how long this perception will hold, especially as Egyptians are growing frustrated with the rising level of insecurity in the country and the army’s limits in patrolling the streets.
There is more to these demonstrations than meets the eye. The media will focus on the concept of reformers staging a revolution in the name of democracy and human rights. These may well have brought numerous demonstrators into the streets, but revolutions, including this one, are made up of many more actors than the liberal voices on Facebook and Twitter.
After three decades of Mubarak rule, a window of opportunity has opened for various political forces — from the moderate to the extreme — that preferred to keep the spotlight on the liberal face of the demonstrations while they maneuver from behind. As the Iranian Revolution of 1979 taught, the ideology and composition of protesters can wind up having very little to do with the political forces that end up in power. Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood (MB) understands well the concerns the United States, Israel and others share over a political vacuum in Cairo being filled by Islamists. The MB so far is proceeding cautiously, taking care to help sustain the demonstrations by relying on the MB’s well-established social services to provide food and aid to the protesters. It simultaneously is calling for elections that would politically enable the MB. With Egypt in a state of crisis and the armed forces stepping in to manage that crisis, however, elections are nowhere near assured. What is now in question is what groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and others are considering should they fear that their historic opportunity could be slipping.
One thing that has become clear in the past several hours is a trend that STRATFOR has been following for some time in Egypt, namely, the military’s growing clout in the political affairs of the state. Former air force chief and outgoing civil aviation minister Ahmed Shafiq, who worked under Mubarak’s command in the air force (the most privileged military branch in Egypt), has been appointed prime minister and tasked with forming the new government. Outgoing Intelligence Chief Omar Suleiman, who has long stood by Mubarak, is now vice president, a spot that has been vacant for the past 30 years. Meanwhile, Defense Minister Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi (who oversees the Republican Guard) and Egypt’s chief of staff of the armed forces, Lt. Gen. Sami Annan — who returned to Cairo Jan. 29 after a week of intense discussions with senior U.S. officials — are likely managing the political process behind the scenes. More political shuffles are expected, and the military appears willing for now to give Mubarak the time to arrange his political exit. Until Mubarak finally does leave, the unrest in the streets is unlikely to subside, raising the question of just how much more delay from Mubarak the armed forces will tolerate.
The important thing to remember is that the Egyptian military, since the founding of the modern republic in 1952, has been the guarantor of regime stability. Over the past several decades, the military has allowed former military commanders to form civilian institutions to take the lead in matters of political governance but never has relinquished its rights to the state.
Now that the political structure of the state is crumbling, the army must directly shoulder the responsibility of security and contain the unrest on the streets. This will not be easy, especially given the historical animosity between the military and the police in Egypt. For now, the demonstrators view the military as an ally, and therefore (whether consciously or not) are facilitating a de facto military takeover of the state. But one misfire in the demonstrations, and a bloodbath in the streets could quickly foil the military’s plans and give way to a scenario that groups like the MB quickly could exploit. Here again, we question the military’s tolerance for Mubarak as long as he is the source fueling the demonstrations.
Considerable strain is building on the only force within the country that stands between order and chaos as radical forces rise. The standing theory is that the military, as the guarantor of the state, will manage the current crisis. But the military is not a monolithic entity. It cannot shake its history, and thus cannot dismiss the threat of a colonel’s coup in this shaky transition.
The current regime is a continuation of the political order, which was established when midranking officers and commanders under the leadership of Gamal Abdel Nasser, a mere colonel in the armed forces, overthrew the British-backed monarchy in 1952. Islamist sympathizers in the junior ranks of the military assassinated his successor, Anwar Sadat, in 1981, an event that led to Mubarak’s presidency.
The history of the modern Egyptian republic haunts Egypt’s generals today. Though long suppressed, an Islamist strand exists amongst the junior ranks of Egypt’s modern military. The Egyptian military is, after all, a subset of the wider society, where there is a significant cross- section that is religiously conservative and/or Islamist. These elements are not politically active, otherwise those at the top would have purged them.
But there remains a deep-seated fear among the military elite that the historic opening could well include a cabal of colonels looking to address a long-subdued grievance against the state, particularly its foreign policy vis-à-vis the United States and Israel. The midranking officers have the benefit of having the most direct interaction — and thus the strongest links — with their military subordinates, unlike the generals who command and observe from a politically dangerous distance. With enough support behind them, midranking officers could see their superiors as one and the same as Mubarak and his regime, and could use the current state of turmoil to steer Egypt’s future.
Signs of such a coup scenario have not yet surfaced. The army is still a disciplined institution with chain of command, and many likely fear the utter chaos that would ensue should the military establishment rupture. Still, those trying to manage the crisis from the top cannot forget that they are presiding over a country with a strong precedent of junior officers leading successful coups. That precedent becomes all the more worrying when the regime itself is in a state of collapse following three decades of iron-fisted rule.
The United States, Israel and others will thus be doing what they can behind the scenes to shape the new order in Cairo, but they face limitations in trying to preserve a regional stability that has existed since 1978. The fate of Egypt lies in the ability of the military to not only manage the streets and the politicians, but also itself.
The above report was provided by STRATFOR.
LIBERALS CRITICIZE OBAMA FOR NOT BEING MORE ANTI-MUBARAK AS MB MOVES TO TAKE POWER
Click here for the LA Times piece, which will help to give the administration political cover to even more aggressively and openly side with the Muslim Brotherhood and its fellow travelers--in the name of democracy promotion and protecting American interests. According to this analysis, the catastrophic Carter administration's mistake was not dumping the Shah earlier! Never mind that the Islamist overthrow of Iran's modernizing monarch--a strategic U.S. ally--along with the covert U.S. intervention in Afghanistan, which began under Carter, unleashed the global Islamist monster that threatens to end our civilization.
Liberal and left-wing loons won't be happy until Obama appoints a headscarf/burqa-wearing Cabinet member.
RED ALERT: HAMAS AND MB
The following is a report from a STRATFOR source in Hamas. Hamas, which formed in Gaza as an outgrowth of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood (MB), has an interest in exaggerating its role and coordination with the MB in this crisis. The following information has not been confirmed. Nonetheless, there is a great deal of concern building in Israel and the United States in particular over the role of the MB in the demonstrations and whether a political opening will be made for the Islamist organization in Egypt.
The Egyptian police are no longer patrolling the Rafah border crossing into Gaza. Hamas armed men are entering into Egypt and are closely collaborating with the MB. The MB has fully engaged itself in the demonstrations, and they are unsatisfied with the dismissal of the Cabinet. They are insisting on a new Cabinet that does not include members of the ruling National Democratic Party.
Security forces in plainclothes are engaged in destroying public property in order to give the impression that many protesters represent a public menace. The MB is meanwhile forming people’s committees to protect public property and also to coordinate demonstrators’ activities, including supplying them with food, beverages and first aid.
The above alert was provided by STRATFOR.
ISLAMISTS WILL TAKE POWER IF MUBARAK FALLS
Predictions and observations:
1. The Muslim Brotherhood will take power in Egypt if Mubarak falls.
2. It will become increasingly clear that the Obama administration encouraged and emboldened the uprising with overtures to the Muslim Brotherhood that included meetings in Washington and pressuring the Egyptian government to invite Brotherhood leaders to attend Obama's historic Cairo address to "the Muslim world"--an Islamist concept that posits a global Muslim nation, united by belief in the Koran, to a degree that transcends all national, political, and ethnic differences and boundaries.
The administration and the U.S. foreign policy establishment, in general, are of the opinion that the Muslim Brotherhood has gradually moderated itself and can therefore be managed (and manipulated). In fact, the administration believes in the existence of oxymoronic "moderate" radical Islam, represented by the Brotherhood and Turkey's Islamist regime, in line with the administration's narrowing of the definition of the Islamist enemy to Al Qaeda and so-called irreconcilable elements of the Taliban.
More than nine years after 9/11, the United States aims to align itself with what it perceives as the wave of the future--right-wing political Islam. The irony of the most left-wing-ever Chief Executive working to bring about this Grand Bargain with the clerical fascist devil dovetails with the international Left's insane notion that Islam is the religion of the world's poor and oppressed masses, and thus automatically worthy of support, and, moreover, that political Islam actually has a progressive side, which can be used to bring down capitalism and "the American empire."
3. The speed with which the Obama administration has publicly turned against America's longtime ally is truly astonishing--unprecedented. In a replay of Jimmy Carter's betrayal and abandonment of Iran's Shah, Obama believes that he can jump aboard the Islamist bandwagon. Gornisht helfen! If the Brotherhood comes to power, Egypt will become a viciously anti-American, anti-Israel power, a threat, also, to Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Hence, the Saudi King's decision to speak out in support of Mubarak--in defiance of Obama.
POSTSCRIPT: Was the uprising planned three years ago, during--and by--the Bush administration, as this article suggests? Perhaps. Such a plot would be in line with Condoleezza Rice's crackpot concept of transformational diplomacy--which includes a dangerously nutty reverse domino theory that provided the ideological basis for the unnecessary Iraq war (and the Hamas takeover of Gaza and Turkey's Islamist tilt). The administration's anointed next Egyptian leader could be Mohamed El Baradei, who advocates sharing power with the Islamists. And he could be installed--temporarily. Ultimately, the Muslim Brotherhood will take power if Muabarak falls. Islamists (like Bolsheviks and Nazis) don't believe in sharing power any longer than is absolutely necessary to achieve absolute power.
SAUDI KING SIDES WITH MUBARAK
MONARCH SLAMS PROTESTS
Friday, January 28, 2011
MUBARAK RESISTS US PRESSURE, PROMISING REFORM BUT REFUSING TO ALLOW ANARCHY
EGYPTIAN ALLY WON'T CAPITULATE
Related: Ex-CIA officer Michael Scheuer, who led the agency's Osama Bin Laden unit, tells The Washington Post:
"The agency's work is pretty much over, as no part of the U.S. government can do much to influence the situation, unless [Secretary of State Hillary] Clinton makes things worse by continuing to speak as if we are supporting the demonstrators."Ditto for Yemen...."I would think that all of our officers across the Near East are spending a good amount of time on the streets trying to gauge the public mood and [assess] the chances of any more dominoes."For myself, I hope that each [CIA chief of station] and/or the ambassador are writing commentaries for Washington to disabuse them of the idea that any of this unrest is going to lead to secular democracies in the region. We are either going to get either more ruthless dictatorships or--if they fall--a year or two of chaotic governments with patinas of democracy' until the Islamists take over."
CLINTON CONDEMNS EGYPT POLICE VIOLENCE
PREPARED STATEMENT SEEMS TO SIDE WITH DEMONSTRATORS
AGAINST GOVERNMENT, CALLING FOR RESTRAINT AND REFORM
SAYS US UNDERSTANDS 'DEEP GRIEVANCES' DRIVING DEMONSTRATIONS
EGYPT EXPLODES; IRAN CHEERS
China Confidential said--in June 2009--that Obama's overtures to the Muslim Brotherhood were undermining Mubarak's government in ways that recalled Jimmy Carter's craven abandonment of an American ally. Click here to read the archived analysis.
Egypt on Edge as Muslim Brotherhood and Iran Plot and Plan Islamist Revolution in Tunisia's Wake
Islamists are poised to take power--stage by stage, state by state--across a backward region mired in barbarism and extremism.
Click here for a must-read analysis as Egypt's fateful day dawns.
Predictions: (1) liberal idiots of appeasement, confusing the trappings of parliamentary democracy with real democracy, will increasingly make the case for oxymoronic, "moderate" or "progressive" Islamism, praising pro-Iran, Islamizing Turkey as a model for Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, and Yemen; (2) it is only a matter of time (hours maybe) before Islamist supporters, sympathizers, and apologists blame U.S. foreign policy--meaning, traditional U.S. support for democratic Israel and for pro-Western Middle Eastern regimes--for the current crisis; (3) any attempts to draw a logical line, from the Carter administration's complicity in the overthrow of Iran's Shah--a modernizing, pro-Western monarch--to the Obama administration's emboldening of the Muslim Brotherhood and the ensuing Egyptian eruption, will be roundly condemned or completely ignored by U.S. mainstream media outlets.
Regarding Israel, the administration can be counted on to use the crisis--i.e. the threat of Islamist takeovers of Egypt and Jordan, which are formally at peace with Israel--as a club for intimidating the Jewish State into withdrawing to indefensible borders in order to make possible the creation of a Palestinian state consisting of Gaza, already under Iran-backed Islamist rule, and the disputed lands of the so-called West Bank (areas west of the Jordan river that Israel captured during its defensive war of June, 1967). In the White House and in the State Department ... and in the news rooms and editorial offices of the fawning liberal media ... there will be linkage! You can bet on that.
Saudis, Syria Secretly Terrified by Arab Revolt
End of story.
S. Korean Officials Clash Over N. Korea
China Promises Continued Currency Reform
"Cautious" yuan liberalization and increased imports--China's Commerce Minister speaks at Davos--over here.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Ex-CIA Spy Echoes China Confidential: Obama's Iran Policy Fails to Stop Atomic Ayatollah's Advance
China Fascinated by Jews, Judaism, Israel
Click here for the story. If only the fascination would translate into teaming with Israel and the United States to stop Islamist Iran from acquiring atomic arms....
HEZBOLLAH TRAINING HAMAS IN GAZA
EGYPT ARRESTS MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD LEADERS
Will Obama Lose Egypt the Way Carter Lost Iran?
Will the US Abandon Mubarak in an Attempt to
Jump Aboard Muslim Brotherhood Bandwagon?
Regime Appeals for US Help
as Egypt's Fateful Day Nears
Roubini Warns World Could See Many Uprisings
WHAT HAPPENED IN TUNISIA COULD HAPPEN
COMMENT: America's global warming zealots, who yearn for $140-a-barrel oil and $5-a-gallon gasoline in the hope of making inefficient and nonexistent alternative energy sources economical, should consider the nightmare they are helping to bring about by supporting policies aimed at choking off the nation's lifeblood--the real, proven, here-and-now energy supplies without which civilization as we know it would collapse. The supposedly progressive Al Gores of the planet will not be satisfied, one suspects, until the day comes when ordinary Americans will no longer be able to afford to drive their cars, heat their homes (as the world continues to cool from natural, as opposed to manmade, causes) ... and feed their families.
One, two, three many Tunisias could become a rallying cry way beyond the Arab world as the middle classes are impoverished and the poor are crushed in the name of green (as in money, meaning government subsidies and investment schemes and scams) energy.
RUSSIA CALLS ON NATO TO PROBE STUXNET
US: CHINA WANTS TO CONTAIN N. KOREA
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
CHINA PLANS TO CREATE WORLD'S LARGEST CITY, UBER-MEGALOPOLIS WITH 42 MILLION PEOPLE
MASTER-PLANNING RUN AMOCK?
SCHEME WILL MERGE 9 CITIES INTO MONSTROUS METROPOLIS
EGYPTIAN POLICE CRACK DOWN ON PROTESTS
Muslim Brotherhood motto: "Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Koran is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope."
IRAN TAKING LEBANON HOSTAGE
What appeasement has wrought--click here to read all about it.
China's Property Bubble Still Expanding
NEWS THAT 25% OF BANK LOANS WENT TO REAL ESTATE LAST YEAR
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
NATO's Only Islamizing Member Meddles in Mideast
Click here for the analysis. Though clearly sympathetic to Turkey's crypto-Islamist ruling party--which the Obama administration has embraced as a model for "the Muslim world"--the Reuters piece is worth reading because it serves as a reminder of the stupidity of America's bipartisan, democracy promotion push in the Middle East. What Bush and Obama have accomplished in this regard: creation of (a) an Iranian satellite in Iraq, which was a contained, secular enemy before the unnecessary American invasion and conquest of the country, (b) Iranian client states in Gaza and Lebanon, and (c) an Iranian ally in Ankara, a NATO member--with access to its secrets, strategy, and knowhow. Well done--not!
ISRAEL MILITARY INTELLIGENCE CHIEF: IRAN ONLY 1-2 YEARS FROM NUKE-PRODUCING CAPABILITY
IDF GENERAL SAYS SANCTIONS NOT WORKING
COMMENT: Evidently, Stuxnet slowed but didn't stop Iran's march to Armageddon. Barring a miraculous regime change from within, the only way to end the Iranian threat is through a massive air campaign--swift and merciless destruction of the regime's war-marking capabilities. Israel can't accomplish this conventionally. Only the United States (one hopes) has the power to cut the head off the snake without using nuclear weapons. Even so, Iran's Islamist Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah, has been allowed to amass an arsenal of some 45,000 missiles capable of striking targets across Israel; Iran's Islamist Palestinian ally, Hamas, has rockets that can reach Tel Aviv; Iran's secular (but also Islamizing) ally, Syria, is bristling with ballistic missiles and chemical warheads; and Iran's new friend, Turkey, in the grip of a crypto-Islamist regime, is a formidable military power. In other words, the situation is not good. Appeasement of Iran is making war with Iran inevitable--on Iran's terms.
China Denies Ripping Off Stealth Technology
Obama's State of the Union and US Foreign Policy
Obama's State of the Union and U.S. Foreign Policy is republished with permission of STRATFOR.
By George Friedman
U.S. President Barack Obama will deliver the State of the Union address tonight. The administration has let the media know that the focus of the speech will be on jobs and the economy. Given the strong showing of the Republicans in the last election, and the fact that they have defined domestic issues as the main battleground, Obama’s decision makes political sense. He will likely mention foreign issues and is undoubtedly devoting significant time to them, but the decision not to focus on foreign affairs in his State of the Union address gives the impression that the global situation is under control. Indeed, the Republican focus on domestic matters projects the same sense. Both sides create the danger that the public will be unprepared for some of the international crises that are already quite heated. We have discussed these issues in detail, but it is useful to step back and look at the state of the world for a moment.
The United States remains the most powerful nation in the world, both in the size of its economy and the size of its military. Nevertheless, it continues to have a singular focus on the region from Iraq to Pakistan. Obama argued during his campaign that President George W. Bush had committed the United States to the wrong war in Iraq and had neglected the important war in Afghanistan. After being elected, Obama continued the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq that began under the Bush administration while increasing troop levels in Afghanistan. He has also committed himself to concluding the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq by the end of this year. Now, it may be that the withdrawal will not be completed on that schedule, but the United States already has insufficient forces in Iraq to shape events very much, and a further drawdown will further degrade this ability. In war, force is not symbolic.
This poses a series of serious problems for the United States. First, the strategic goal of the United States in Afghanistan is to build an Afghan military and security force that can take over from the United States in the coming years, allowing the United States to withdraw from the country. In other words, as in Vietnam, the United States wants to create a pro-American regime with a loyal army to protect American interests in Afghanistan without the presence of U.S. forces. I mention Vietnam because, in essence, this is Richard Nixon’s Vietnamization program applied to Afghanistan. The task is to win the hearts and minds of the people, isolate the guerrillas and use the pro-American segments of the population to buttress the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai and provide recruits for the military and security forces.
The essential problem with this strategy is that it wants to control the outcome of the war while simultaneously withdrawing from it. For that to happen, the United States must persuade the Afghan people (who are hardly a single, united entity) that committing to the United States is a rational choice when the U.S. goal is to leave. The Afghans must first find the Americans more attractive than the Taliban. Second, they must be prepared to shoulder the substantial risks and burdens the Americans want to abandon. And third, the Afghans must be prepared to engage the Taliban and defeat them or endure the consequences of their own defeat.
Given that there is minimal evidence that the United States is winning hearts and minds in meaningful numbers, the rest of the analysis becomes relatively unimportant. But the point is that NATO has nearly 150,000 troops fighting in Afghanistan, the U.S. president has pledged to begin withdrawals this year, beginning in July, and all the Taliban have to do is not lose in order to win. There does not have to be a defining, critical moment for the United States to face defeat. Rather, the defeat lurks in the extended inability to force the Taliban to halt operations and in the limits on the amount of force available to the United States to throw into the war. The United States can fight as long as it chooses. It has that much power. What it seems to lack is the power to force the enemy to capitulate.
In the meantime, the wrong war, Iraq, shows signs of crisis or, more precisely, crisis in the context of Iran. The United States is committed to withdrawing its forces from Iraq by the end of 2011. This has two immediate consequences. First, it increases Iranian influence in Iraq simply by creating a vacuum the Iraqis themselves cannot fill. Second, it escalates Iranian regional power. The withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq without a strong Iraqi government and military will create a crisis of confidence on the Arabian Peninsula. The Saudis, in particular, unable to match Iranian power and doubtful of American will to resist Iran, will be increasingly pressured, out of necessity, to find a political accommodation with Iran. The Iranians do not have to invade anyone to change the regional balance of power decisively.
In the extreme, but not unimaginable, case that Iran turns Iraq into a satellite, Iranian power would be brought to the borders of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria and would extend Iran’s border with Turkey. Certainly, the United States could deal with Iran, but having completed its withdrawal from Iraq, it is difficult to imagine the United States rushing forces back in. Given the U.S. commitment to Afghanistan, it is difficult to see what ground forces would be available.
The withdrawal from Iraq creates a major crisis in 2011. If it is completed, Iran’s power will be enhanced. If it is aborted, the United States will have roughly 50,000 troops, most in training and support modes and few deployed in a combat mode, and the decision of whether to resume combat will be in the hands of the Iranians and their Iraqi surrogates. Since 170,000 troops were insufficient to pacify Iraq in the first place, sending in more troops makes little sense. As in Afghanistan, the U.S. has limited ground forces in reserve. It can build a force that blocks Iran militarily, but it will also be a force vulnerable to insurgent tactics — a force deployed without a terminal date, possibly absorbing casualties from Iranian-backed forces.
If the United States is prepared to complete the withdrawal of troops from Iraq in 2011, it must deal with Iran prior to the withdrawal. The two choices are a massive air campaign to attempt to cripple Iran or a negotiated understanding with Iran. The former involves profound intelligence uncertainties and might fail, while the latter might not be attractive to the Iranians. They are quite content seeing the United States leave. The reason the Iranians are so intransigent is not that they are crazy. It is that they think they hold all the cards and that time is on their side. The nuclear issue is hardly what concerns them.
The difference between Afghanistan and Iraq is that a wrenching crisis can be averted in Afghanistan simply by continuing to do what the United States is already doing. By continuing to do what it is doing in Iraq, the United States inevitably heads into a crisis as the troop level is drawn down.
Obama’s strategy appears to be to continue to carry out operations in Afghanistan, continue to withdraw from Iraq and attempt to deal with Iran through sanctions. This is an attractive strategy if it works. But the argument I am making is that the Afghan strategy can avoid collapse but not with a high probability of success. I am also extremely dubious that sanctions will force a change of course in Iran. For one thing, their effectiveness depends on the actual cooperation of Russia and China (as well as the Europeans). Sufficient exceptions have been given by the Obama administration to American companies doing business with Iran that others will feel free to act in their own self-interest.
But more than that, sanctions can unify a country. The expectations that some had about the Green Revolution of 2009 have been smashed, or at least should have been. We doubt that there is massive unhappiness with the regime waiting to explode, and we see no signs that the regime can’t cope with existing threats. The sanctions even provide Iran with cover for economic austerity while labeling resistance unpatriotic. As I have argued before, sanctions are an alternative to a solution, making it appear that something is being done when in fact nothing is happening.
There are numerous other issues Obama could address, ranging from Israel to Mexico to Russia. But, in a way, there is no point. Until the United States frees up forces and bandwidth and reduces the dangers in the war zones, it will lack the resources — intellectual and material — to deal with these other countries. It is impossible to be the single global power and focus only on one region, yet it is also impossible to focus on the world while most of the fires are burning in a single region. This, more than any other reason, is why Obama must conclude these conflicts, or at least create a situation where these conflicts exist in the broader context of American interests. There are multiple solutions, all with significant risks. Standing pat is the riskiest.
There is a parallel between Obama’s foreign policy problems and his domestic policy problems. Domestically, Obama is trapped by the financial crisis and the resulting economic problems, particularly unemployment. He cannot deal with other issues until he deals with that one. There are a host of foreign policy issues, including the broader question of the general approach Obama wants to take toward the world. The United States is involved in two wars with an incipient crisis in Iran. Nothing else can be addressed until those wars are dealt with.
The decision to focus on domestic issues makes political sense. It also makes sense in a broader way. Obama does not yet have a coherent strategy stretching from Iraq to Afghanistan. Certainly, he inherited the wars, but they are now his. The Afghan war has no clear endpoint, while the Iraq war does have a clear endpoint — but it is one that is enormously dangerous.
It is unlikely that he will be able to avoid some major foreign policy decisions in the coming year. It is also unlikely that he has a clear path. There are no clear paths, and he is going to have to hack his way to solutions. But the current situation does not easily extend past this year, particularly in Iraq and Iran, and they both require decisions. Presidents prefer not making decisions, and Obama has followed that tradition. Presidents understand that most problems in foreign affairs take care of themselves. But some of the most important ones don’t. The Iraq-Iran issue is, I think, one of those, and given the reduction of U.S. troops in 2011, this is the year decisions will have to be made.
Medvedev Blames Airport Officials for Lax Security
Russia's President Dmitri A. Medvedev says he will hold airport officials responsible for security lapses that made Monday's suicide bombing possible. The Times story includes the following key paragraphs:
Mr. Medvedev did not specify which security arrangements at the airport he believed were lacking. The bomb went off in the international arrivals area, where people wait to pick up passengers — a location that is often unsecured in many major airports around the world.Security experts consider arrivals areas to be so-called soft targets because they are less heavily policed.In the past, people entering such zones in Russian airports have occasionally had to pass through metal detectors but such checks have generally been sporadic. After the attack on Monday, the authorities immediately set up new inspections.
Click here to read the article.
Scroll down or click here to read yesterday's China Confidential commentary on the subject.
Monday, January 24, 2011
Attention Focuses on Caucasus Emirate
Obama Speech to Ignore America's Real Wealth
STATE OF THE UNION CERTAIN TO NOT ADDRESS
OIL AND GAS, COAL AND SHALE, GOLD AND SILVER,
URANIUM AND RARE EARTH MINERALS, ETC., ETC.