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Egyptian Insurection


William Kelly
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Interesting article by Noam Chomsky, "It's not radical Islam that worries the US – it's independence". This view is supported by the news that the US is encouraging the Egyptian government to negotiate with the Muslim Brotherhood rather than any of the left-wing groups behind the demonstrations.

http://www.guardian....nce?INTCMP=SRCH

'The Arab world is on fire," al-Jazeera reported last week, while throughout the region, western allies "are quickly losing their influence". The shock wave was set in motion by the dramatic uprising in Tunisia that drove out a western-backed dictator, with reverberations especially in Egypt, where demonstrators overwhelmed a dictator's brutal police.

Observers compared it to the toppling of Russian domains in 1989, but there are important differences. Crucially, no Mikhail Gorbachev exists among the great powers that support the Arab dictators. Rather, Washington and its allies keep to the well-established principle that democracy is acceptable only insofar as it conforms to strategic and economic objectives: fine in enemy territory (up to a point), but not in our backyard, please, unless properly tamed.

One 1989 comparison has some validity: Romania, where Washington maintained its support for Nicolae Ceausescu, the most vicious of the east European dictators, until the allegiance became untenable. Then Washington hailed his overthrow while the past was erased. That is a standard pattern: Ferdinand Marcos, Jean-Claude Duvalier, Chun Doo-hwan, Suharto and many other useful gangsters. It may be under way in the case of Hosni Mubarak, along with routine efforts to try to ensure a successor regime will not veer far from the approved path. The current hope appears to be Mubarak loyalist General Omar Suleiman, just named Egypt's vice-president. Suleiman, the longtime head of the intelligence services, is despised by the rebelling public almost as much as the dictator himself.

A common refrain among pundits is that fear of radical Islam requires (reluctant) opposition to democracy on pragmatic grounds. While not without some merit, the formulation is misleading. The general threat has always been independence. The US and its allies have regularly supported radical Islamists, sometimes to prevent the threat of secular nationalism.

A familiar example is Saudi Arabia, the ideological centre of radical Islam (and of Islamic terror). Another in a long list is Zia ul-Haq, the most brutal of Pakistan's dictators and President Reagan's favorite, who carried out a programme of radical Islamisation (with Saudi funding).

"The traditional argument put forward in and out of the Arab world is that there is nothing wrong, everything is under control," says Marwan Muasher, a former Jordanian official and now director of Middle East research for the Carnegie Endowment. "With this line of thinking, entrenched forces argue that opponents and outsiders calling for reform are exaggerating the conditions on the ground."

Therefore the public can be dismissed. The doctrine traces far back and generalises worldwide, to US home territory as well. In the event of unrest, tactical shifts may be necessary, but always with an eye to reasserting control.

The vibrant democracy movement in Tunisia was directed against "a police state, with little freedom of expression or association, and serious human rights problems", ruled by a dictator whose family was hated for their venality. So said US ambassador Robert Godec in a July 2009 cable released by WikiLeaks.

Therefore to some observers the WikiLeaks "documents should create a comforting feeling among the American public that officials aren't asleep at the switch" – indeed, that the cables are so supportive of US policies that it is almost as if Obama is leaking them himself (or so Jacob Heilbrunn writes in The National Interest.)

"America should give Assange a medal," says a headline in the Financial Times, where Gideon Rachman writes: "America's foreign policy comes across as principled, intelligent and pragmatic … the public position taken by the US on any given issue is usually the private position as well."

In this view, WikiLeaks undermines "conspiracy theorists" who question the noble motives Washington proclaims.

Godec's cable supports these judgments – at least if we look no further. If we do,, as foreign policy analyst Stephen Zunes reports in Foreign Policy in Focus, we find that, with Godec's information in hand, Washington provided $12m in military aid to Tunisia. As it happens, Tunisia was one of only five foreign beneficiaries: Israel (routinely); the two Middle East dictatorships Egypt and Jordan; and Colombia, which has long had the worst human-rights record and the most US military aid in the hemisphere.

Heilbrunn's exhibit A is Arab support for US policies targeting Iran, revealed by leaked cables. Rachman too seizes on this example, as did the media generally, hailing these encouraging revelations. The reactions illustrate how profound is the contempt for democracy in the educated culture.

Unmentioned is what the population thinks – easily discovered. According to polls released by the Brookings Institution in August, some Arabs agree with Washington and western commentators that Iran is a threat: 10%. In contrast, they regard the US and Israel as the major threats (77%; 88%).

Arab opinion is so hostile to Washington's policies that a majority (57%) think regional security would be enhanced if Iran had nuclear weapons. Still, "there is nothing wrong, everything is under control" (as Muasher describes the prevailing fantasy). The dictators support us. Their subjects can be ignored – unless they break their chains, and then policy must be adjusted.

Other leaks also appear to lend support to the enthusiastic judgments about Washington's nobility. In July 2009, Hugo Llorens, U.S. ambassador to Honduras, informed Washington of an embassy investigation of "legal and constitutional issues surrounding the 28 June forced removal of President Manuel 'Mel' Zelaya."

The embassy concluded that "there is no doubt that the military, supreme court and national congress conspired on 28 June in what constituted an illegal and unconstitutional coup against the executive branch". Very admirable, except that President Obama proceeded to break with almost all of Latin America and Europe by supporting the coup regime and dismissing subsequent atrocities.

Perhaps the most remarkable WikiLeaks revelations have to do with Pakistan, reviewed by foreign policy analyst Fred Branfman in Truthdig.

The cables reveal that the US embassy is well aware that Washington's war in Afghanistan and Pakistan not only intensifies rampant anti-Americanism but also "risks destabilising the Pakistani state" and even raises a threat of the ultimate nightmare: that nuclear weapons might fall into the hands of Islamic terrorists.

Again, the revelations "should create a comforting feeling … that officials are not asleep at the switch" (Heilbrunn's words) – while Washington marches stalwartly toward disaster.

Here we go again, "even raises a threat of the ultimate nightmare: that nuclear weapons might fall into the hands of Islamic terrorists...."

The Boggie Man is back, and is now being invoked on a daily basis.

The only way the ultimate nightmare can happen is if we give the terrorists the weapons, and since there is more of a probability of a Nuclear Accident - Broken Arrow event than there is of a terrorist group obtaining a nuke, and figuring out what to do with it, I will once again, and every time I hear the threat of terrorists getting a nuke, reiterate the truth - there's more of chance of shooting ourselves in the foot than there is of a terrorist group getting a nuke.

And in response to the earlier posts about US support for dictators - here's seven -

Our Bastards - and they don't even mention the guy just run out of Tunisia, Quadafi, Morocco, Sudan or Yeman.

http://www.opednews.com/populum/linkframe.php?linkid=126528

By Joshua Holland

It Ain't Just Mubarak -- 7 of the Worst Dictators the U.S. Is Backing to the Hilt

From Saudi Arabia to Uzbekistan to Chad, the U.S. keeps some very bad autocrats in power. February 5, 2011 | Embattled Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, whose regime has received billions in U.S. aid, has been in the global media spotlight of late. He's long been “our bastard,” but he's not alone.

Let's take a look at the other dictators from around the planet who are fortunate enough to be on Uncle Sam's good side.

1. Paul Biya, Cameroon

Biya has ruled Cameroon since winning an “election” in 1983. He was the only candidate, and did pretty well, getting 99 percent of the vote.

According to the country's Wikipedia entry, “The United States and Cameroon work together in the United Nations and a number of other multilateral organizations. While in the UN Security Council in 2002, Cameroon worked closely with the United States on a number of initiatives. The U.S. government continues to provide substantial funding for international financial institutions, such as the World Bank, IMF, and African Development Bank, that provide financial and other assistance to Cameroon.”

Amnesty International details unlawful executions, journalists being thrown in jail and a host of other nasty business.

As part of a strategy to stifle opposition, the authorities perpetrated or condoned human rights violations including arbitrary arrests, unlawful detentions and restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly. Human rights defenders and journalists were harassed and threatened. Men and women were detained because of their sexual orientation.

2. Gurbanguly Berdymuhammedov (or Berdymukhamedov), Turkmenistan

Berdymuhammedov came to power in 2006 when his predecessor died and the constitutionally mandated successor was thrown in jail.

According to the State Department, “For several years in the 1990s, Turkmenistan was a key player in the U.S. Caspian Basin Energy Initiative, which sought to facilitate negotiations between commercial partners and the Governments of Turkmenistan, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Turkey to build a pipeline under the Caspian Sea and export Turkmen gas to the Turkish domestic energy market and beyond--the so-called Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline (TCGP).” Parade Magazine's list of the world's worst dictators notes that “the U.S. continues to import oil from Turkmenistan ($100 million worth in 2008), while Boeing provides airplanes to the Turkmen government. Chevron ... opened an office in Turkmenistan’s capital, Ashgabat.”

Human Rights Watch says that while Berdymuhammedov has taken some steps “to reverse some of the most ruinous social policies” of his predecessor's rule, “the government remains one of the most repressive and authoritarian in the world.”

3. Teodoro Obiang Nguema, Equatorial Guinea

Thirty-two years ago, Obiang Nguema deposed – and then executed -- his uncle, Francisco Macías, in a bloody coup. Peter Maas called him not only “Africa's worst dictator,” but a man whose life “seems a parody of the dictator genre.”

Obiang ... had promised to be kinder and gentler than his predecessor, but in the 1990s, even the U.S. ambassador to Equatorial Guinea received a death threat from a regime insider, the ambassador has said, and had to be evacuated. Not long after that, offshore oil was discovered, but the first wave of revenues—about $700 million—was transferred into secret accounts under Obiang's personal control.

According to Parade, “The U.S. imported more than $3 billion in petroleum products from Equatorial Guinea” in 2008.

4. Idriss Deby, Chad

We also imported $3 billion worth of oil from Chad that year. According to the State Department, “The United States enjoys cordial relations with the Deby government. Chad has proved a valuable partner in the global war on terror, and in providing shelter to approximately 200,000 refugees of Sudan's Darfur crisis along its eastern border.”

Amnesty International's 2010 report on Chad paints quite a picture:

Civilians and humanitarian workers were killed and abducted; women and girls were victims of rape and other violence; and children were used as soldiers. The authorities failed to take adequate action to protect civilians from attacks by bandits and armed groups. Suspected political opponents were unlawfully arrested, arbitrarily detained and tortured or otherwise ill-treated. Harassment and intimidation of journalists and human rights defenders continued. Demolition of houses and other structures continued throughout 2009, leaving thousands of people homeless.

Despite the fact that Chad's military has been accused of using child soldiers, Parade notes that “the U.S. continues to train Chadian commandos.”

5. Islam Karimov, Uzbekistan

The thing that makes Karimov so special is his (alleged) penchant for boiling his political opponents to death.

Karimov has been president of Uzbekistan since 1990, when he won the first of a number of rigged elections by a huge margin. Torture, arbitrary detentions and massive roundups of religious minorities are commonplace in Uzbekistan, according to Human Rights Watch. But the country has been a key partner of the U.S. in its “war on terror,” hosting U.S. troops at the Karshi-Khanabad airbase until 2005. Relations cooled somewhat after Karimov encouraged the U.S. to abandon the base, but as Parade notes, “U.S. trade with Uzbekistan doubled in 2008, as Americans continue to import huge amounts of Uzbek uranium, which is used for nuclear power plants and weapons.” The following year “Uzbekistan Airways ordered Boeing jetliners worth about $600 million.”

6. Meles Zenawi, Ethiopia

Zenawi has ruled Ethiopia for 20 years. Just last year, after what Human Rights Watch called “months of intimidation of opposition party supporters,” Zenawi's party, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, won 99.6 percent of the vote. Legitimacy!

Ethiopia is a key strategic partner in the “war on terror,” and contributes significantly to African peace-keeping operations. According to the U.S. Agency for International Development, the United States is the largest donor to Ethiopia. Congress passed a law, over the objections of the Bush administration, that restricts military aid to the country until it has a free press and the Zenawi regime improves its human rights record, but – and this is a big but – it exempts aid for “counter-terrorism.” So despite the fact that, according to Amnesty International, Ethiopian opposition groups are illegal, NGOs have been banned and Ethiopians often disappear without trial, the U.S. continues to train Ethiopian troops.

7. King Abdullah Bin Abdul-Aziz, Saudi Arabia

bush-kiss-sheik.jpg

Apparently, when a theocratic Islamic state does horrible things to its citizens, it's only a big deal if that state is named Iran. Saudi Arabia, of course, is among the United States' most important allies – the U.S. government has provided security for the Saudi royal family for decades, in exchange for which … oil.

Abdullah has instituted some reforms since taking power in 2005, but Human Rights Watch says the “initiatives have been largely symbolic, with only modest concrete gains or institutional protection for rights.” Amnesty International's 2010 report charges that the Saudi authorities continue to use ”a wide range of repressive measures to suppress freedom of expression and other legitimate activities.”

Hundreds of people were arrested as suspected terrorists. Thousands of others arrested in the name of security in previous years remained in jail; they included prisoners of conscience. Some 330 security suspects received unfair trials before a newly constituted but closed specialized court; one was sentenced to death and 323 were sentenced to terms of imprisonment

There you have it -- a grand collection of bastards, yes. But remember: they're our bastards!

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US Caught Napping

http://www.atimes.co...t/MB08Ak04.html

But there's no mention at all of the preceeding events in Tunisia that sparked the Egyptian revolt.

"The debate over who 'lost' Egypt seems to have begun," wrote Politico on Friday. On Thursday, the chairwoman of the United States Senate Intelligence Committee, Dianne Feinstein (ademocrat from California), voiced "doubts whether the intelligence community lived up to its obligations in this area". She added: "The president, the secretary of state and the congress are making policy decisions on Egypt, and those policymakers deserve timely intelligence analysis."

Obama, however, is hardly off the hook. "This is what happens when you get caught by surprise," said an anonymous American official, quoted by The New York Times. "We've had endless.,...

BLA BLA BLA - SPECULATING THAT WASHINGTON WAS BEHIND THE PROTESTS IN EGYPT (NOT).

BUT ADDING TWO NEW PLAYERS - APRIL 6 AND OTPOR, BOTH NOW MAJOR PLAYERS AND IGNORED BY MEDIA -

By Jijo Jacob | February 1, 2011 6:24 AM EST

Egyptians are close to creating history as their Facebook-fuelled digital age revolution looks formidable for now and well on course to replacing a 30-year regime.

The Facebook group called 'the April 6 Movement' has been the catalyst of the current political upheaval shaking up the government of Hosni Mubarak. Formed around three years ago, the loosely organized social network forum had never foreseen for itself back then a role as vehement as it holds currently.

One of its unofficial founders had said recently that he was not optimistic that Egyptians will rise in revolt in huge numbers as seen in Tunisia. But the seed of popular resistance germinated by the youth of the country has now grown strong enough to change a nation's history.

Following are some key facts about the April 6 Movement:

ORIGINS

The movement was started by young activists Ahmed Maher and Ahmed Salah in order to mobilize support for striking industrial workers El-Mahalla El-Kubra. They wanted to organize people to supoprt the cause of the workers, who were planning a strike April 6, 2008.

"Activists called on participants to wear black and stay home the day of the strike. Bloggers and citizen journalists used Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, blogs and other new media tools to report on the strike, alert their networks about police activity, organize legal protection and draw attention to their efforts," says Wikipedia.

FACEBOOK INFLUENCE

A New York Times article in 2009, which is one of the most detailed accounts of the influence of the social networking site Facebook on young Egyptians, says Facebook ranked third in Egypt in terms of online visits, after Google and Yahoo.

"About one in nine Egyptians has Internet access, and around 9 percent of that group are on Facebook — a total of almost 800,000 members."

And the reasons why people turn to social sites to vent their anger as well as organize protests:

"An estimated 18,000 Egyptians are imprisoned under the law, which allows the police to arrest people without charges, allows the government to ban political organizations and makes it illegal for more than five people to gather without a license from the government. Newspapers are monitored by the Ministry of Information and generally refrain from directly criticizing Mubarak. And so for young people in Egypt, Facebook, which allows users to speak freely to one another and encourages them to form groups, is irresistible as a platform not only for social interaction but also for dissent, says the NYT.

FOUNDERS

"Being the first youth movement in Egypt to use internet-based modes of communication like Facebook and Twitter, we aim to promote democracy by encouraging public involvement in the political process," Maher told Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, in an interview.

He calls the movement a youth coalition and says they will support national icons like Mohammed ElBaradei and support the cause of the National Association for Change which is fighting for political reform. The movement says it is not a political party and that it will not contest elections.

The government arrested Maher in May 2008 as it wanted to scupper the movement. He was arrested again in July that year and charged with "incitement against the regime".

The other founder, Ahmed Salah, was arrested last week after the uprising began. Susannah Vila writes about his arrest in her blog in movements.org.: "Salah (left) was sought out by state security, surrounded by roughly 10 special forces in riot gear, and thrown in a car separate from the blue vans police have been tossing other demonstrators in. This was not your average arrest."

Read more:

Otpor:

At the start, Otpor simply improvised, using their wits and good instincts. Later, they studied nonviolent strategy, primarily through the writings of American scholar Gene Sharp, and discovered they had intuitively done the right things. They immediately adopted Sharp's ideas as the basis for their training manuals, combining them with a natural flair for marketing - evidenced in their catchy slogans and wry humor - and the creation of a sophisticated bilingual website launched even before officially opening an office.

By choosing irony and sarcasm as their means of confrontation, Otpor's student activists not only achieved the moral and political high ground; they also clunOtpor! (Cyrillic: ОТПОР!) was a pro-democracy youth movement in Serbia which is widely credited for leading the eventually successful struggle to overthrow Slobodan Milosevic in 2000. It was formed in October 1998 as a response to repressive University and Media laws that were introduced that year. In the beginning Otpor had activities at Belgrade University. In the aftermath of NATO airstrikes against Yugoslavia, Otpor started a political campaign against Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic. This resulted in nation wide police repression against Otpor activists during which almost 2000 of them were arrested and some beaten. During the presidential campaign in September 2000 Otpor launch "Gotov je" (He's finished) campaign that galvanized Serbian discontent with Milosevic and resulted in his defeat. Some students who led Otpor (whose name means "Resistance" in the Serbian language) used Serb translations of Gene Sharp's writings on nonviolent action as a theoretical basis for their campaign.

Otpor was instrumental in inspiring and training several other civic youth organizations in Eastern Europe, including Kmara in the republic of Georgia (itself partly responsible for the downfall of Eduard Shevardnadze), Pora in Ukraine (currently involved in protests following the Ukrainian presidential election, 2004), Zubr in Belarus (opposing president Alexander Lukashenko), and MJAFT! in Albania.

Otpor

Edited by William Kelly
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Interesting article by Noam Chomsky, "It's not radical Islam that worries the US – it's independence". This view is supported by the news that the US is encouraging the Egyptian government to negotiate with the Muslim Brotherhood rather than any of the left-wing groups behind the demonstrations.

According to various reports VP Suleiman is negotiating with various opposition groups of which the Muslim Brotherhood is by far the largest. What evidence do you have that "the US is encouraging the Egyptian government to negotiate with the Muslim Brotherhood rather than any of the left-wing groups"? Or that left-wing groups are leading the demonstrations? They seem to be mainly organized by people with no political affiliations and I've seen no evidence the opposition's most prominent leaders former IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei and Amr Moussa, the head of the Arab League are leftists.

The US secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, has made it clear that she welcomes the meeting between Omar Suleiman and the Muslim Brotherhood. Suleiman has been nominated by President Hosni Mubarack as his Vice President during the crisis. Frank Wisner (the son of the founder of the CIA's Operation Mockingbird, much discussed on this forum), the US special envoy, has stated that Mubarack should stay in power through the "transition to democracy". They hope that Suleiman, the head of Egypt's Secret Police, and the man responsible for repressing opposition political forces, can do a deal with the Muslim Brotherhood, who will probably get about 40% of the vote in a democratic election.

The left is very fragmented in Egypt and because it has been forced to work underground for so long, it is difficult to know its strength. Political groups include: Progressive National Unionist Party, Egyptian Arab Socialist Party, The Socialist Labour Party, Communist Party of Egypt, Young Egypt Party, Arab Democratic Nasserist Party or Nasserist Party, Ahrar Party, The Social Justice Party and the National Conciliation Party.

Mohamed ElBaradei appears to be the key figure and is so far refusing to negotiate with Suleiman. He is the main spokesman of the National Association for Change, a collection of left of centre political groups that are opposed to Mubarack. ElBaradei rightly argues that both Mubarack and Suleiman should leave power before the protests are brought to an end.

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US backs Habib's torturer, but Arab world has changed

Sunday, February 6, 2011 By Tony Iltis

egyptian_protsters_occupying_takrir_square_cairo.jpg

Protesters in Tahrir Square, Cairo, which has been occupied since January 25. Regardless of the outcomes of the Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions, and regardless of whether protests for democracy in Yemen, Jordan and other Arab countries grow into similar uprisings, the Middle East has fundamentally changed.

The people have lost their fear.

Spearheaded by youth, millions of ordinary people have thrown off their fear of state violence and taken to the streets to oppose poverty, state violence and corruption.

Their demands have been for freedom of speech, democratic and accountable government and economic justice.

The slogans and demands of these movements have been secular, not religious.

Protesters have emphasised unity between religious and non-religious people, and between followers of different religions.

* * *

See also:

Egypt: People's power takes on dictatorship

Australian solidarity protests with Egyptian people

Socialist Alliance: Stand with the Arab people

Sydney Stop the War Coalition salutes Egpyt's people

* * *

In Egypt, fears of communal conflict that followed the New Year's Eve bombing of a Christian Church in Alexandria have vanished. Muslims and Christians have united against the dictatorship of President Hosni Mubarak.

Women have been on the frontline in the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt.

In a February 2 YouTube video by activist journalist Doha Al Zohairy, female protesters in Tahrir Square noted that sexual harassment — something for which Cairo is notorious — was absent from the demonstrations.

If US President Barack Obama's acclaimed 2009 speech in Cairo to "the Muslim world" about democracy were taken at face value, it could be expected that the Obama administration would have enthusiastically supported the uprisings.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has often declared that spreading democratic values (especially women's rights) in the Middle East is a US priority.

However, far from supporting the Egyptian uprising, the Obama government has remained doggedly loyal to the Mubarak regime.

When millions of Egyptians poured onto the streets to demand that Mubarak step down immediately, US leaders merely called on him to make "reforms" and "listen to grievances".

After protesters rejected Mubarak's February 1 offer to leave office in September, the US called only for an "orderly transition" to democracy.

When Mubarak's undercover cops and paid thugs brutally attacked unarmed protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square on February 2, US leaders called for "both sides" to refrain from violence.

The US even asked the Egyptian government to investigate itself over allegations that it had organised the mob.

Meanwhile, Al Jazeera broadcast images of protesters holding the police ID cards they had taken from the thugs who attacked them.

There is nothing new about Western hypocrisy when it comes to democracy.

The issues that helped spark the revolts — food shortages, unemployment and poverty — are results of something Western-pushed neoliberlism.

In the Arab World, the "free and open markets" that are supposed to be essential to democracy has meant obeying World Bank and International Monetary Fund diktats. This has fuelled poverty for most, while Western corporations and a tiny Arab elite have benefited.

The US has a long record of backing dictators that serve US interests, but it has no loyalty to them.

For example, in the face of a people's uprising in 1986, the US ended its long-term support for the Ferdinand Marcos dictatorship in the Philippines. It did the same when mass protests in 1998 led to the fall of the US-backed Suharto dictatorship in Indonesia.

Western governments suddenly appeared to support democracy in Tunisia after dictator Zine Abidine Ben Ali fled the country in January. But despite the rhetoric, it has spoken out against the protesters' demand that all former ministers of the Ben Ali regime leave the interim government.

However, the Obama administration has hesitated to cast aside the Mubarak regime, even as it disintegrates in the face of mass protests.

On February 4, Obama had still refused to call for Mubarak's resignation. Instead, he said Mubarak "needs to listen to what is voiced by the people and make a judgment about a pathway forward that is orderly, that is meaningful and serious".

At the same time he called for protesters to negotiate with the regime. The protesters have said they will only negotiate once Mubarak has resigned.

The US's unwillingness to cast Mubarak aside reflects the fact that Mubarak has been a particularly valuable dictator for the US.

For example, Mubarak had agreed for Egypt to become a destination for "extraordinary rendition", where CIA detainees were taken for interrogation and torture.

But more significant is that Mubarak is a key ally of Israel.

Israeli politicians have been more outspoken than their US counterparts in their defence of Mubarak. Some have been willing to publicly oppose democracy outright.

Israeli President Shimon Peres said on February 1: "If, the day after elections, you get an extremist religious dictatorship, what are these democratic elections worth?"

That democracy in Egypt (or any other Arab country) will lead to an Islamic fundamentalist regime is Israel's standard objection. The same idea has been reflected in much of the Western media coverage of the Egyptian uprising.

Many conservative commentators have cited the main Egyptian opposition party, the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), as a fundamentalist threat.

However, religious slogans and demands have been absent from the protests. At first, the MB abstained from the protest movement.

Since then it has been part of an alliance led by Mohamed ElBaredei, who the Western media describes as a secular moderate.

The MB is not leading the protest movement. Nor is it pushing a fundamentalist agenda.

Its nationwide support before the uprising began was estimated to be about 20-30%. Its slowness to support the democracy movement, and the emergence of a grassroots leadership from within the movement, may have caused its support to fall.

In reality, it is not Islamic fundamentalism but democracy that scares Israel most.

Despite the claims made by the Israeli mainstream media, a democratic Egypt would not automatically want war with Israel.

However, the Mubarak regime's active collaboration with Israel's oppression of Palestinians is deeply unpopular among most Egyptians.

In return for this collaboration, Mubarak's Egypt became the second largest recipient of US military aid, after Israel.

Israeli daily Haaretz warned on January 31 that the fall of the Mubarak dictatorship "will have far reaching security consequences for Israel. It will immediately damage Israel's quiet cooperation with the Egyptians on this front and it may lead to a thaw between Egypt and the Hamas government in Gaza.

"It could … lead to a refusal by Egypt to allow movement of Israeli military submarines and ships in the Suez Canal, employed in the last two years as a deterrent against Iran and to combat weapons smuggling from Sudan to Gaza."

Egyptian collaboration with Israel includes helping to maintain the starvation blockade of the Gaza Strip, which borders Egypt. But it extends beyond this.

Leaked US diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks and leaked documents published by Al Jazeera in January show Egypt took part in the 2007 overthrow of the democratically elected Hamas-led Palestinian Authority.

The degree of Egyptian collaboration with apartheid Israel is such that only an unaccountable dictatorship could maintain it.

The US and Israel do not want a democratic Egypt. This is why if Mubarak does fall, US hopes are pinned on Omar Suleiman, the chief of intelligence who Mubarak made his vice-president and successor when the protests started.

The New York Times said on January 27 that the Obama administration had discussed with the Egyptian government a propsoal for Mubarak to stand down and let Suleiman head a new government.

On February 5, the NYT said the US and European governments were pushing a plan to allow Suleiman to oversee a more gradual transition that left Mubarak in power until September while Suleiman headed "negotiations" with opposition groups.

Suleiman is often cited approvingly in the Western media for his role in the Israel-Palestine peace process.

However, as the leaks published by Al Jazeera show, the "peace process" has been fraudulent all along. Palestinians were offered a phantom prospect of peace and self-determination in the future in return for concessions made in the present.

Australian Mamdouh Habib had the misfortune of becoming personally acquainted with Suleiman after the CIA abducted him in Pakistan in 2001 and took him to Egypt.

Journalist Richard Neville wrote in 2009: "Habib was interrogated by the country's Intelligence Director, General Omar Suleiman, who is ranked second in power to President Hosni Mubarak.

"Back in 2001, Suleiman took a personal interest in anyone suspected of links with Al Qaeda. As Habib had visited Afghanistan shortly before 9/11, he was under suspicion.

"Suleiman slapped Habib's face so hard, the blindfold was dislodged, revealing the torturer's identity. According to his memoir, Habib was repeatedly zapped with high-voltage electricity, immersed in water up to his nostrils, beaten, his fingers were broken and he was hung from metal hooks.

"He was again interrogated by Omar Suleiman. To loosen Habib's tongue, Suleiman ordered a guard to murder a gruesomely shackled Turkistan prisoner in front of Habib — and he did, with a vicious karate kick."

It is doubtful whether the Egyptian people would sacrifice hundreds of lives to overthrow a dictator and then settle for his sadistic secret police chief as his replacement.

One of the startling features of the Egyptian uprising was the speed with which it followed Tunisia's. Democracy protests have spread to other Arab countries, numbering in the tens of thousands in Yemen and Jordan.

However the current struggles end, the genie of democratic struggle has been let out the bottle.

The uprisings have also shown the world the one force that can bring democracy to the Middle East — the people of the region themselves.

The US and its allies have claimed that their wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were meant to bring democracy.

In Iraq they claim to have done so. Iraqi "democracy" consists of parties, with affiliated death squads, organised on religious-sectarian lines.

On February 1, Human Rights Watch revealed that security forces controlled by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki run a secret torture centre.

In Afghanistan, the fractious coalition of gangsters, warlords and terrorists headed by Hamid Karzai hardly resembles a democratic government either.

The millions of protesters throughout the Arab world today are risking their lives for real democracy, and they won't be easily swayed.

Veteran anti-imperialist activist and author Tariq Ali addresses a protest organised by the Stop the War Coalition in solidarity with the people of Egypt, London February 5.

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From GLW issue 867

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Interesting article by Noam Chomsky, "It's not radical Islam that worries the US – it's independence". This view is supported by the news that the US is encouraging the Egyptian government to negotiate with the Muslim Brotherhood rather than any of the left-wing groups behind the demonstrations.

According to various reports VP Suleiman is negotiating with various opposition groups of which the Muslim Brotherhood is by far the largest. What evidence do you have that "the US is encouraging the Egyptian government to negotiate with the Muslim Brotherhood rather than any of the left-wing groups"? Or that left-wing groups are leading the demonstrations? They seem to be mainly organized by people with no political affiliations and I've seen no evidence the opposition's most prominent leaders former IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei and Amr Moussa, the head of the Arab League are leftists.

The US secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, has made it clear that she welcomes the meeting between Omar Suleiman and the Muslim Brotherhood. Suleiman has been nominated by President Hosni Mubarack as his Vice President during the crisis. Frank Wisner (the son of the founder of the CIA's Operation Mockingbird, much discussed on this forum), the US special envoy, has stated that Mubarack should stay in power through the "transition to democracy". They hope that Suleiman, the head of Egypt's Secret Police, and the man responsible for repressing opposition political forces, can do a deal with the Muslim Brotherhood, who will probably get about 40% of the vote in a democratic election.

The left is very fragmented in Egypt and because it has been forced to work underground for so long, it is difficult to know its strength. Political groups include: Progressive National Unionist Party, Egyptian Arab Socialist Party, The Socialist Labour Party, Communist Party of Egypt, Young Egypt Party, Arab Democratic Nasserist Party or Nasserist Party, Ahrar Party, The Social Justice Party and the National Conciliation Party.

Mohamed ElBaradei appears to be the key figure and is so far refusing to negotiate with Suleiman. He is the main spokesman of the National Association for Change, a collection of left of centre political groups that are opposed to Mubarack. ElBaradei rightly argues that both Mubarack and Suleiman should leave power before the protests are brought to an end.

Who does ElBaradei want to negotiate with, someone has to be in charge during the interim? I doubt the leaders of rival groups would be happy about him or one of his allies becoming interim leader. The MB has already stated this would not be acceptable to them. Unfortunately if Egypt is to become a true democracy they will have to be given a 'seat at the table'.

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The essay isn’t really that prophetic. He wrote:

Just as Iceland’s volcanic disruption abates, another dangerous, disruptive explosion is building up. This time, it’s a political one in Egypt, that could rock the entire Mideast. Tensions there are already extremely high with an intensifying threat of wars involving the US, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Iran. Threats are flying back and forth.

President Husni Mubarak, the US-supported strongman who has ruled Egypt with an iron hand for almost 30 years, is 81 and in frail health. Amazingly, he has no designated successor. No one knows who will take over Egypt when he dies.

In other words he expected Mubarak to die in office and that the crisis would be fought over his succession. Others made similar predictions. For example in 2009 a Time reporter wrote.

Hosni Mubarak has ruled Egypt for 28 of his 81 years, but he's not likely to run for re-election in 2011. And growing public debate over the identity of his successor is fueled in no small part by the fact that Egyptians are not fond of a President who is widely believed to be grooming his 45-year-old son, Gamal Mubarak, to take the reins. (Neither man acknowledges such a plan.) But while such a familial handoff would hardly be atypical in the Middle East, it's far from a done deal in Egypt.

It was a balance article

The most popular opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood, remains banned, although its members running as independents have garnered a substantial minority of parliamentary seats.

[…]

[Mubarak’s son] Gamal's lack of a military background poses a question mark over his prospects, analysts believe that a smooth familial transfer of power could be accomplished if the son was eased into position while his father remains in charge.

[…]

"Since 2004, Egypt has witnessed more political and economic protests in any period since the 1919 revolution," says Georgetown University political scientist Samer Shehata. "That potentially poses a big problem for the regime. Those are things that could get out of control."

http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1938697,00.html

A month before Margolis’ column a NY Times reporter wrote:

In the meantime, there is rising opposition to the prospect of another term for the father or a new term for the son. There are broad demands across the political spectrum for constitutional amendments that would allow for a more democratic process.

At the center of this is Mohamed ElBaradei, the former chief international nuclear watchdog and Nobel Peace Prize laureate. He returned to Egypt last month and embraced a nascent movement led by a group of academics and young activists asking him to run for president.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/28/world/middleeast/28egypt.html

The Times was hardly the only publication that wrote about Elbarradei’s central role. It was mentioned by British, Iranian and Pakistani media among others.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8534365.stm

http://www.tehrantimes.com/index_View.asp?code=204908

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2009\10\07\story_7-10-2009_pg4_7

Though it did not predict political turmoil this 2007 WaPo article contradicts the notion Margolis "was a lone voice as the rest of the mass media kept up its pro-Murbarak slant of the news."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/10/AR2007101002436.html

I used to respect Margolis but then I noticed that at times is dishonest. As I pointed out previously he has given mutually exclusive accounts of:

1) Having or not having met OBL

2) His position on who was responsible for 9/11 AND

3) What happened on a hijacked flight he was aboard

Additionally both his versions of the latter are at odds with all other accounts I found of the incident, even one that quoted him!

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=16655

Even in the 2010 essay he seems to make up facts. He wrote:

"The regime’s real opponent remains the relatively moderate, popular, Islamic Brotherhood, which predates World War II. It would win a free election hands down."

How does he know? And whether or not they are "relatively moderate" is hotly debated.

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It is true that the US is an important supporter of Mubarak and provides about $3 billion of aid a year. However, it was recently disclosed that the Egyptian economy has lost $3.5 billion in the last few weeks because tourists have fled the country. Can you imagine what that figure will be if an extremist muslim government takes control of Egypt?

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It is true that the US is an important supporter of Mubarak and provides about $3 billion of aid a year. However, it was recently disclosed that the Egyptian economy has lost $3.5 billion in the last few weeks because tourists have fled the country. Can you imagine what that figure will be if an extremist muslim government takes control of Egypt?

That certainly is a big worry.

BUT, it appears from all angles that the protests are Pro-Democracy - instigated primarily by students, women and blue colar workers, and it is not taking on a fundamentalist islamic stance, despite the US attempts to get the Muslem Brotherhood involved. They declined to participate in the early protests and do not represent the protesters.

The presence of large numbers of women, at both the Tunisia and Egyptian protests, and the safety of the women within the boundaries of the Liberty Square, where the protesters have set up security measures to keep out weapons and pro-Murbarik infiltrators, and established medical triads and refreshment stands, indicate that this is not a religious revolt, but one that is seeking democracy, open economy for all and inclusion of women in social and political system that has previously excluded them.

The protesters themselves, and Aljazeera is saying it is "pro-democracy protests" - so why don't we?

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/02/201126194730350605.html

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Guest Tom Scully

....The protesters themselves, and Aljazeera is saying it is "pro-democracy protests" - so why don't we?

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/02/201126194730350605.html

Uhhh...because we have people with a sense of history and political instinct who understand that the powerless; the Egyptian person in the street, can only instigate a temporary power vacuum that will quickly be filled by ambitious and better organized opportunists.

There are reasons the powerless and wealthless are in those circumstances. I picture them, these days in Egypt, as akin to an offensive line in a football game. They'll block, creating a hole for an actual, well organized play to be affected by a running back, or to buy time for a quarterback to set up and throw a pass, but I do not see the folk who set up the power vacuum in Egypt getting a seat at the table.

The more I study 20th century American politics, the more I appreciate the examples reiterated again and again, the best organized and deepest penetrating faction gained and held power. I started out wanting to write a piece on Vance's origins over on the JFK thread, and his corruptive influence on the Carter administration, but my mind was changed. I got an appreciation, instead, of the ability of Cy Vance to attempt to bring the political savvy he learned from his LBJ era elders, to bear on the deteriorating situation in Iran, 33 years ago. It seems Vance got it right, but his views fell on deaf ears.

http://books.google.com/books?id=2RwEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA63&lpg=PA63&dq=garden+topping+weisl&source=bl&ots=SvpHpQ_CET&sig=13lsE7u_RmDvkaIMlx0GrM-EtKM&hl=en&ei=Uk9STZTpKMe1twf1pIDdCQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&sqi=2&ved=0CBMQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=garden%20topping%20weisl&f=false

Billboard - Jun 25, 1955 - Google Books Result

Vol. 67, No. 23 - 122 pages - Magazine

NY ARENA SHUFFLE Norris Heads Garden As 6 Directors Quit ... Henry Crown, Edward S. (Ned) Irish, Benjamin C. Milner, Dan Topping, and Edwin J. Weisl.

5430550542_48d771eebf_z.jpg

http://www.google.com/search?tbm=bks&tbo=1&q=%22johnson+during+the+new+deal+days%2C+was+named+counsel+to+the+senate*%22&btnG=Search+Books

Lions in the street: the inside story of the great Wall Street law ...

Paul Hoffman - 1973 - 244 pages - Snippet view

The career of Cyrus Vance is even more illustrative.

Edwin L. Weisl, Sr., served as his "rabbi" at Simpson Thacher & Bart- lett.

When Weisl, who had cultivated a friendship with Lyndon Johnson during the New Deal days, was named counsel to the Senate Preparedness Committee which Johnson formed in the post-Sputnik backlash, he brought Vance along as his assistant. ...

http://www.google.com/search?tbm=bks&tbo=1&q=edwin+weisl+for+new+york%27s+national+committeeman.+he+did+this&btnG=Search+Books#sclient=psy&hl=en&safe=off&tbo=1&tbs=bks:1&q=%22He+began+by+insisting+on+his+old+friend+Edwin+Weisl+for+New+York%27s+national+committeeman.+He+did+this+*%22&aq=&aqi=&aql=&oq=&pbx=1&fp=f44be6d83191e66

Robert Kennedy and His Times - Page 685

Arthur Meier Schlesinger - 2002 - 1066 pages - Preview

He began by insisting on his old friend Edwin Weisl for New York's national committeeman. He did this without consulting Kennedy, who soon rejoiced to discover that Weisl was not even a registered Democrat. Still Weisl rather than Kennedy controlled federal appointments in New York...

http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2011-01-31/egyptian-protests-mirror-1979-revolution-in-iran/full/

How the U.S. Will Lose Egypt

by Geoffrey Wawro

The Egyptian protests bear an uncanny resemblance to the 1979 Iranian revolution, but historian Geoffrey Wawro urges the U.S. to learn the lessons of supporting a dictator—or risk losing Egypt to the Muslim Brotherhood....

So far the Obama administration seems to be getting it right on Egypt. The president has called for an “orderly transition,” and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has warned there must not be “a takeover that would lead to oppression,” a clear reference to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood.

More than just the right words will be needed. The Obama team should be looking closely at Washington’s awful mismanagement of the Iranian revolution of 1978-79 to make sure they do not repeat the errors of the Carter administration.

The revolutions in Cairo and Tehran have much in common. Both simmered under the rule of corrupt strongmen who had held power for three decades. Both were triggered by new media—audiocassettes in Iran, Twitter and Facebook in Egypt—and both exploded in major regional states, with big populations, strong internal security services and powerful, U.S.-supplied militaries. Both dynasts, Hosni Mubarak and Shah Muhammed Reza Pahlavi, were regarded in Washington as “family friends,” to borrow Hillary Clinton’s phrase. Both had complex societies, with big swollen cities like Cairo and Tehran containing both the most and least educated people in the country: a relatively narrow educated elite and a broad mass of slum-dwellers. The strategic threat of that—then and now—was outlined by the U.S. ambassador in Tehran in 1970, when he predicted, with astonishing accuracy, just how Iranian demographics would shape the coming upheaval. Since most Iranians were “poorly educated and highly ignorant,” any truly democratic movement would “be in a reactionary obscurantist direction under the clergy.”

The Carter administration was as startled by the revolution in Tehran as Obama was by the wave of revolutions from Tunis to Cairo. Just before the regime began to totter in 1978, Carter’s CIA had predicted that nothing much would change in Iran through 1985: “Iran is not in a revolutionary or even pre-revolutionary situation.” As Carter reacted to events in Iran, rifts in the U.S. government confused and demoralized him, and prevented Washington from acting swiftly and decisively to steer the Iranian revolution in a moderate direction.

Iranian generals met with the U.S. ambassador in Tehran, William Sullivan, and expressed their willingness to launch a coup to keep the shah in power, or even topple the shah, purge the fundamentalist opposition, and set up a moderate caretaker government.

Such a plan, which held the most promise in late 1978, was undone by fights between Cyrus Vance’s State Department and Zbigniew Brzezinski’s National Security Council. State thought the shah was doomed and that Washington needed to reach some accommodation with the Khomeini camp; Brzezinski (joined by Defense Secretary Harold Brown and Energy Secretary James Schlesinger) thought the shah might relinquish some domestic authority, but must hold on to police powers and military and foreign affairs. Just as we today worry that fundamentalists might hijack the Tunisian, Egyptian, Jordanian, and Lebanese emergencies, Brzezinski spoke of an “arc of crisis” in the Middle East—a wave of unrest in Islamic countries, beginning with Iran—that the Soviets might hijack.

Administration hardliners wanted the shah to “get tough,” to re-arrest political prisoners, to shut down the press, and to flood the streets with troops and tanks. But decades of repression and fake elections had crushed Iran’s secular parties; there was no credible moderate opposition to undergird a generals’ coup. Only the Shiite clergy—like the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt—remained intact and powerful as a political force.

In December 1978, Carter appointed 68-year-old George Ball to sift through conflicting reports to determine just what the U.S. ought to do about Iran. Ball worked hard for two weeks, read classified and unclassified reports from all sources, and then met with Carter to render his verdict. The shah was finished, vomited out in “a national regurgitation by the Iranian people.” America’s wisest course now would be to “work out the transfer of power to responsible hands before Khomeini comes back and messes everything up.”

Ball urged Carter to tell the shah to leave Iran, turn affairs over to a reliable government, and serve as a distant “regent” until things cooled down. Carter expressed astonishing diffidence. “I can’t tell another head of state what to do,” Carter protested. “You can tell a friend what you think,” Ball persisted. “One of the obligations of friendship is to give advice, particularly to a man who is cut off from the normal sources, who is surrounded by sycophants.” Carter refused to have that conversation with the shah. Fortunately, Obama is speaking bluntly with Mubarak about the need for change.

Noting Carter’s hesitation, Brzezinski reopened his attack. The president must prop up the shah, to reassure allies and deter the Soviets. “Geopolitics is not a kindergarten class,” he reminded the president. Ball’s moderates were used-up hacks who wouldn’t stand a chance against Khomeini’s mobs. No, the U.S. would have to vest its hopes in the Iranian military, which was still loyal to the shah. Brzezinski drafted a letter for Carter to send to the shah that baldly enjoined him to use force against the demonstrators. Vance was horrified, and warned Carter that Brzezinski was recommending a course that would end in “1,000 deaths,” others thought tens of thousands. The letter was never sent.

Another wave of riots swept through Tehran in January 1979. Carter sent General Robert Huyser to speak with the senior Iranian generals and gauge their attitude. What Huyser discovered was interesting. The generals feared the Islamists, but also moderates, who they assumed would open corruption investigations that would lead back to the military. The seven Iranian generals Huyser met with expressed their readiness to kill “100,000 Iranians” if necessary, to restore the shah or an authoritarian regime. What they needed—all seven declared—was unflinching U.S. backing.

Today in Cairo, President Obama is facing similar hard choices. The error in Tehran in 1979 was one of omission. Frozen by opposing views, Washington did nothing. When the shah left Iran in January 1979 to have his cancer treated, pro-Khomeini demonstrations broke out in every Iranian city. Although Brzezinski and Brown in Washington and General Alexander Haig at NATO headquarters in Belgium were still for unleashing the Iranian military against the ayatollahs—“give the officers a go-ahead,” Brown urged Brzezinski—Carter refused to roll the dice.

Carter decided that Iran was Khomeini’s. It wasn’t. The president still effectively controlled the Iranian generals and might have fashioned a moderate reform coalition under their aegis. Instead, Carter selected a negative program: merely cultivating contacts with moderate Islamic clergy, officers, and politicians in the vain hope that they would counter Khomeini’s radicalism and step in if the ayatollah’s movement unraveled.

Just as Egyptian fighter jets are orbiting Cairo in a show of strength, the Iranian air force did the same in early February 1979. The imperial military’s hour had seemingly arrived. Khomeini’s komitehs—Islamic militias and revolutionary courts—were rounding up the shah’s courtiers. The generals made a last appeal to Ambassador Sullivan for support; he relayed the request to Washington, but Carter remained inert, refusing even to dispatch a carrier to the Persian Gulf.

The Iranian generals threw in the towel. Sullivan cabled Washington on February 27, warning that anti-American sentiment was boiling over in the streets and the press, and that the U.S. Embassy could no longer be protected. He and his subordinates recommended the embassy staff be reduced to “six officers and a vicious dog.” (When the embassy was actually seized eight months later, Carter must have wished he had heeded the warning.) With Washington in retreat, the generals declared “neutrality”; most were arrested, exiled, or shot. The army stood down and let the demonstrations disarm it. “In Iran, all our investment in an individual, rather than in a country, came to naught,” an American colonel named Colin Powell observed from the Pentagon. “When the shah fell, our Iran policy fell with him.”

The hand we played in 1979 was self-nullifying, and helped usher in the Islamic Republic of Iran, which has vexed and weakened American policy for more than 30 years.

President Obama is now holding our Egypt policy in his hands. He must move fast and deal bluntly with President Mubarak. The Egyptian army must be restrained; credible opposition moderates like Mohamed ElBaradei must be empowered to move the country forward without a breakdown in security or an Islamist coup. Mubarak should turn power over to a respected politician bolstered by Omar Suleiman’s reformed security services, who will loosen their grip but not permit the Muslim Brotherhood to knock over a “national unity government” as easily as Khomeini crushed Iran’s first, mixed “provisional revolutionary government.” None of this will be easily accomplished, and America has only an auxiliary role. But the hand we played in 1979 was self-nullifying, and helped usher in the Islamic Republic of Iran, which has vexed and weakened American policy for more than 30 years.

Dr. Geoffrey Wawro is the General Olinto Mark Barsanti Professor of Military History and Director of the Military History Center at the University of North Texas. He is the author of Quicksand: America’s Pursuit of Power in the Middle East (Penguin Press, 2010.)

I am not endorsing Dr. Wawro's "solution". Ironically, Wawro seems to have missed, in his own article, that only Vance and his State Dept. were correctly perceiving the political reality and the only option with potential for success..."that Washington needed to reach some accommodation with the Khomeini camp..."

Instead, Dr. Wawro and Obama unrealistically grasp at this hopeless alternative.:

http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/02/201127114827382865.html

Suleiman: The CIA's man in Cairo

Suleiman, a friend to the US and reported torturer, has long been touted as a presidential successor.

Lisa Hajjar Last Modified: 07 Feb 2011 14:10 GMT

Suleiman has long been favoured by the US government for his ardent anti-Islamism, his willingness to talk and act tough on Iran -- and he has long been the CIA's main man in Cairo. . . . In the mid-1990s, Suleiman worked closely with the Clinton administration in devising and implementing its rendition program; back then, rendition involved kidnapping suspected terrorists and transferring them to a third country for trial. . . .

Under the Bush administration, in the context of "the global war on terror", US renditions became "extraordinary", meaning the objective of kidnapping and extra-legal transfer was no longer to bring a suspect to trial -- but rather for interrogation to seek actionable intelligence. The extraordinary rendition program landed some people in CIA black sites -- and others were turned over for torture -by-proxy to other regimes. Egypt figured large as a torture destination of choice, as did Suleiman as Egypt's torturer-in-chief. At least one person extraordinarily rendered by the CIA to Egypt -- Egyptian-born Australian citizen Mamdouh Habib -- was reportedly tortured by Suleiman himself.

Edited by Tom Scully
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Well, the way I look at the situation, nobody, and that's NOBODY paid ANY attention to what was happening in Tunisia.

And the success of the popular revolt there led to the protests in Egypt, Yemen and the speculation that they could, if successful in ousting Murbark in Egypt,

spread even further to other Arab countries run by dictators.

You can speculate that Obama and the CIA are calling the shots, but the CIA didn't anticipate what's happening, so how can they control it?

If the demonstrators say they are pro-democracy, and the Bad Boys at Aljeerez say its pro-democracy, and you can see on TV that a large majority of the protesters

are yound students, women and workers, then at such a pivotal point in the proceedings, you can either support the demonstrators and their goals, or

you can resign the situation to revert to the old, Iranian model and allow the CIA's tourture expert or the fundamental islamics to take over and dictate what they want.

I think that if given the support, the people can get their democracy, open the economy to all, and maintain a secular state like Turkey.

Or, we can just allow the CIA's man to put up another false, front government, give them more military aide instead of corn and grain, and blaime Obama for losing Egypt.

Here, Iran is trying to co-op the Egyptian revolt as a followup to the Iranian Islamic Revolt, rather than the pro-democracy revolt in Tunisia, for which is actually based on.

http://www.ynetnews....4023894,00.html

Does John Simkin and Tom Scully agree with this view?

Or does a review of the events in Tunisia require further attention to see what the real roots of this revolt is all about.

This article says the events in Tunisia began after a young, educated, unemployed student named Bouazizi set himself afire in a remote town set himself afire, like the Buddists in South Vietnam in the early 60s. The roots of the unrest began at a marketplace, not a mosque, and the problem is large numbers of educated, unemployed youth.

http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/2011/02/09/27513/

http://www.newsday.com/opinion/freedom-fever-in-the-mideast-1.2672213

Bill Kelly

Edited by William Kelly
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Guest Tom Scully

Bill, I have an appreciation for those who prevail because they are best at playing the game of politics. It doesn't mean that I like them, or endorse them. In the late 70's, Vance at State recognized that the only option remaining was to make a serious overture to the faction with the most powerful political potential. It was not a palatable choice, but it was the only realistic choice, making it the best option.

As the DOD and NSA advisors to Carter did, then, and Obama seems to be doing now, is the exact opposite...trying to forestall the inevitable to the point that the U.S. will have no role or influence in the outcome. I see a figure of forty percent potential votes going to the Muslim brotherhood, and no anticipated percentage for any other faction.

So, instead of trying to thwart the Muslim Brotherhood, the best option is to attempt to gain favor with them, by showing them the respect their political influence should accord to them, and by demonstrating that the U.S. may not favor them, but that the U.S. is truly doing nothing to set them back.

Unpalatable, but it is what it is. Dangle the continued $3 billion stream of U.S. aid in front of them if they prevail when things shake out, in return for whatever understanding can be reached with them. Stop attempting to patch together a stop gap, temporary government.

The winners in the political struggles in the U.S. since the 1930's are still winning, and the Kennedys are still dead. The Crown family, for example, were a big part in installing Obama. The Crowns, Weisl, and his son have been big boosters for Israel. Israel is a winner and the U.S. and the American J6P, not so much. U.S. fealty towards a right wing, Israeli bent, is a big reason our M.E. policy is so screwed up.

Organization, Bill, you can't beat it, and you should respect it. Don't forget that G. David Schine was Lester Crown's brother-in-law.:

http://www.google.com/#hl=en&sugexp=ldymls&xhr=t&q=cohn%20edwin%20weisl&cp=9&safe=off&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbo=u&tbs=bks:1&source=og&sa=N&tab=wp&psj=1&fp=d46d7fcb6d497136

LIFE - Sep 5, 1969 - Page 29

Vol. 67, No. 10 - 78 pages - Magazine - Full view

Cohn has cultivated a long friendship with Edwin Weisl, President Johnson's hand- picked ambassador to New York's Democratic party. Weisl — a law partner, incidentally, of Whitney North Seymour Jr., reportedly the Nixon administration ...

The Fall of the House of Roosevelt: Brokers of Ideas and Power ... - Page 179

Michael Janeway - 2006 - 284 pages - Preview

Normally disinclined to make enemies, Weisl always said that in that set-to he'd experienced firsthand Joe's antisemitism and learned details on his traffic with the mob. J. Edgar Hoover and Roy Cohn, both of whom despised the Kennedys, ...

books.google.com - More editions

Citizen Newhouse: portrait of a media merchant - Page 137

Carol Felsenthal - 1998 - 512 pages - Google eBook - Preview

In his book about LBJ, Johnson aide Jack Valenti writes that on Friday, March 13, 1964, five months before the dedication, Edwin L. Weisl Sr., a Wall Street lawyer who had close ties to President Johnson and even closer ties to Roy Cohn ..

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Who prevailed in Tunisia?

The RIse of a liberal democracy in the Arab world?

Tunisia's Twitter/Jasmine Revolution: http://edsworld365.b...revolution.html

The Jasmine Revolution: rise of a liberal democratic state in the Arab world?

http://www.irandefen...ead.php?t=64887

"Tunisians have brought down an autocrat - friend of the US and international financial institutions - through a people power. Are we witnessing the rise of a potential liberal democracy in the Arab world?

Edited by William Kelly
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Margolis is better at blowing his own horn than telling the truth

“An impending explosion in Egypt was obvious to old Mideast hands like myself. Last 26 April, I wrote a column, "Eruption on the Nile," predicting Mubarak’s rule would soon end and that the US had already selected intelligence chief Gen. Omar Suleiman as his successor. CIA could save a lot of time, money and error by simply reading LewRockwell.com each week.”

Except that in the earlier essay he showed no signs of suspecting Mubarak would be forced from power, to the contrary he twice indicated he thought the Egyptian president would die in office thus he was further from the mark than the various writers who indicated he was going to retire when his current term expires in 2012.

“CIA could save a lot of time, money and error by simply reading LewRockwell.com each week.”

Quite ironic since he based naming Suleiman on what he claimed were US and Israeli government concerns:

Now, as Mubarak’s health fails, the US and Israel are increasingly alarmed his death could produce a political eruption in long-repressed Egypt.

Mubarak has been trying to groom his son, Gamal, to succeed him. But Egyptians are deeply opposed. The powerful 72-year old intelligence chief, Gen. Omar Suleiman, an ally of the US and Israel, is another possible strongman. CIA will also be grooming another army or air force general for the job.

As I previously demonstrated Margolis is a proven xxxx so there is no reason to take his claims at face value. He was hardly the first person to suggest Suleiman as a possible successor as he falsely suggested. Others named him YEARS before Margolis.

Speculation rife on Mubarak’s successor in Egypt 31/10/09 19:41 CET

The official line is that succession talk is off the agenda; unofficially speculation is intensifying over who might take over from Hosni Mubarak as president of Egypt, if he doesn’t run for re-election in two years time.

Mubarak is 81 and at this weekend’s conference of his National Democratic Party, a new generation is waiting in the wings – notably Mubarak’s politician son Gamal, widely tipped as a possible successor. But others too have their eye on the top job, notably intelligence chief Omar Suleiman -and the longer Mubarak senior fails to declare his intentions, the more potential rivals jostle for position

http://www.euronews.net/2009/10/31/speculation-rife-on-mubarak-s-successor-in-egypt/

Al-Quds al-Arabi website, London - June 24, 2009

Daily views Egypt intelligence chief's popularity as Mubarak's successor

Text of report by London-based independent newspaper Al-Quds al-Arabi website on 18 June [Report by Husam Abu-Talib from Cairo: "Egyptian Regime Worried by Increasing Pressure on President Mubarak To Select Security Services Chief Colonel Umar Sulayman as his Successor; Bloggers Hail Sulayman; Supporters Fear Popularity May Cause his Removal From Present Position"] Sources close to the Egyptian regime are worried by the increasing popularity of Chief...

http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_product=NewsLibrary&p_multi=BBAB&d_place=BBAB&p_theme=newslibrary2&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&p_topdoc=1&p_text_direct-0=1290D713D854E990&p_field_direct-0=document_id&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&s_trackval=GooglePM

Egypt may help prevent Gaza smuggling, but only on its own terms

Jerusalem Post - Jerusalem

Author: YAAKOV KATZ

Date: Jan 15, 2009

Start Page: 2

Section: News

Text Word Count: 722

Abstract (Document Summary)

Egypt is in a unique position because it enjoys diplomatic ties with both Israel and Hamas. [Omar Suleiman], believed to be the second-most-powerful person in Egypt and a potential successor to the 80-year-old [Hosni Mubarak], has been entrusted with the "Israeli file." His main interlocutor on the Israeli side is Amos Gilad, head of the Defense Ministry's Diplomatic-Security Bureau.

Israel and Egypt do not see completely eye-to-eye on how to stop the smuggling. Ideally, Israel would like to see the deployment of a multinational force on the Egyptian side of Rafah to assist the Egyptians in detecting and destroying the tunnels.

Following Israel's withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, Egypt was permitted - in line with the Camp David Treaty - to deploy 750 policemen along the border with Gaza to be used to locate and destroy Hamas weapons-smuggling tunnels.

http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/jpost/access/1629119081.html?dids=1629119081:1629119081&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&type=current&date=Jan+15%2C+2009&author=YAAKOV+KATZ&pub=Jerusalem+Post&desc=Egypt+may+help+prevent+Gaza+smuggling%2C+but+only+on+its+own+terms&pqatl=google

Mubarak's successor? Egypt has no easy answer

By Michael Slackman

Published: Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The other name most commonly raised is Omar Suleiman, the longtime head of intelligence. He holds the rank of general, and is seen as more palatable to the military and as having the same orientation to Israel and Washington as Mubarak

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/31/world/africa/31iht-journal.4.8131891.html

MUBARAK'S SON ENTERS PICTURE IN EGYPT, SOME SEE A LIKELY SUCCESSOR

Boston Globe - Sep 28, 2003 [THIRD Edition] Page: A.5 Text Word Count: 683

Charles Levinson, Globe Correspondent

Abstract (Document Summary)

Fahmy Huweidi, a prominent columnist with Egypt's government-run Al Ahram newspaper, cited a speech the president reportedly gave to his generals July 23, the 51st anniversary of the revolution that deposed King Farouk. According to Huweidi, the president asked the generals rhetorically, "Have you heard of any republic which could be inherited?"

Apart from [Gamal Mubarak], speculation has swirled around the country's intelligence chief, Omar Suleiman, who came into the international spotlight recently as Egypt's go-between in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Egypt is at a crossroads. A liquidity crisis, a four-year recession, and double-digit unemployment have landed the economy in dismal straits. Since the devaluation of the Egyptian pound in January, prices of basic foodstuffs have risen 40 percent, according to Egypt's Central Agency for Mobilization and Statistics.

http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/boston/access/413831771.html?dids=413831771:413831771&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&type=current&date=Sep+28%2C+2003&author=Charles+Levinson%2C+Globe+Correspondent&pub=Boston+Globe&desc=MUBARAK'S+SON+ENTERS+PICTURE+IN+EGYPT%2C+SOME+SEE+A+LIKELY+SUCCESSOR&pqatl=google

Edited by Len Colby
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