Thursday, February 03, 2011

"Not Out Yet"

Arlene kushner

nd who knows when or if Mubarak (or his regime) will be out, all worries and expectations notwithstanding.

The violent confrontation in Tahir Square in Cairo between those for and against Mubarak increased last night, with several hundred injured and several deaths ensuing.

Army tanks moved in, and while there was no direct intervention -- no shooting at the rioters or the like -- the army then began to act to separate the two groups.

Obama went into a rampage, carrying on about how this was unacceptable and demanding that Mubarak begin transitioning to democratic representation immediately. But what the hell does that mean? It's gibberish. And I have to assume that Obama darn well knows it's nonsense he's spouting; he is employing lingo that sounds high-minded to disguise his demands.

Peaceful, democratic government administrations go through a process of transitioning. When Obama was going to become president, we can assume, for example, that his accountants came in and met with Bush's accountants and learned about certain fiscal procedures in the White House, so they'd be prepared to take over.

But we are hardly looking at a peaceful democratic turnover in administrations here. We're looking at an attempted revolution, guys. Let's be clear on this.


Obama wants Mubarak gone. This much is obvious. Though Mubarak seems disinclined to honor that demand.

Should Mubarak go, there are essentially two scenarios: Either the new vice president, Suleiman, who is part of the same military-connected ruling clique, takes over, in which case there would be no real transitioning -- Mubarak would be way gone, but everything else would remain pretty much the same, or perhaps a shade softer.

Or the whole regime goes. (And we can safely assume this is what Obama is aiming for.) He wants Mubarak to open up the door to the presidential palace on his way out, and say to the street, "Here you are. It's all yours now. Good luck."

In this case, we're not looking at a democratic procedure at all: we're looking at a power play from the street. It would not be a "transitioning," it would be a take-over.

In point of fact, an illegal takeover. This is something no one is mentioning. Among the values inherent in a genuine liberal democracy is respect for law. But I think this is something Obama would prefer not to hear about.

And since it would be a take-over, susceptible to a power grab by one particular part of the populace, there is no guarantee that it would provide the people with real "representation" either.


"We hear your voices!" Obama told the protestors. This seems to me a grandiose populist gesture that he imagines will gain him traction with the Arab street more broadly. He wants to be some sort of hero. But he's falling on his face badly.


George Soros -- the radical-left billionaire, whose connections to Obama have been well documented -- has a piece in the Washington Post today, entitled, "Why Obama has to get Egypt right." (With much thanks to Judith N. for calling my attention to this.)

This is a very important piece. Read it and learn what this man has to say about what Obama "needs" to do in Egypt. Read it, and, I suggest, see a blueprint of what Obama would like to do/is already doing in Egypt.

Soros envisions a situation in which the army of a nation maintains law and order but stays out of politics, so that a repressive leader can be gone and new leaders elected. He's dreaming, of course, because the army doesn't stay out of politics. Ultimately the army becomes a king-maker, by deciding which side to support. But this is what he says the US should insist upon (insist???), so that the revolution can be peaceful. And it falls to the president of the US, upon whom the world looks for guidance, to encourage this process.


This is quite a startling divergence, is it not, from our picture of Obama the internationalist who has repeatedly declared that America has no right to impose on other nations? Are we starting to see the true Obama now?


Soros says that "Egypt is more complex and, ultimately, more influential [than Tunisia], which is why it is so important to get it right."

Then he concedes, quite readily, that, "...the best-organized political opposition that managed to survive in that country's repressive environment is the Muslim Brotherhood. In free elections, the Brotherhood is bound to emerge as a major political force..."

He admits this freely. However -- and please note this carefully -- this bothers him not at all.

He mentions that, "Some have articulated fears of adverse consequences of free elections [in Egypt].." He even enumerates some, such as a fear of increased oil prices. But nowhere does he even acknowledge that some people do fear the implications of the Muslim Brotherhood as a major political power. For him this problem does not exist.

In fact, later in his essay he says, "The Muslim Brotherhood's cooperation with Mohamed ElBaradei, the Nobel laureate who is seeking to run, for president, is a hopeful sign that it intends to play a construction role in a democratic political system."


This is what Dore Gold, Director of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, says in a new briefing on this issue:

"In the streets of Cairo, Muslim Brotherhood demonstrators disdainfully call people like ElBaradei "donkeys of the revolution" (hamir al-thawra) - to be used and then pushed away - a scenario that sees the Muslim Brotherhood exploit ElBaradei in order to hijack the Egyptian revolution at a later stage."

As for El-Baradei being a Nobel laureate, please do remember that so was that consummate terrorist Yasser Arafat.


But let us return to Soros, who says it would be regrettable if Washington were to resist or hesitate in encouraging change in Egypt because of "the old conventional wisdom."

And here's the kicker: "The main stumbling block is Israel."

Got that, folks? If it weren't for Israel, the US would be better able to side with the Egyptian public's "demand for dignity and democracy."

Rather makes us an enemy of the US, doesn't it?

Soros explains that, "Israel has much to gain from the spread of democracy in the Middle East" -- which is what would be achieved by that Egyptian revolution.

"But Israel is unlikely to recognize what is in its own best interests..."


This, my friends, is nothing short of terrifying.

Of all the postings I've done on the chaos in Egypt, this is the most important. I ask that you share this as broadly as is possible. Open people's eyes, please, wherever and however you can.


As to what's coming down the road, should there be a revolution in Egypt, I share some important comments by people in the know.

Ilan Berman, Vice President of the American Foreign Policy Council in Washington, DC, is an expert on regional security in the Middle East and has consulted for both the CIA and US Department of Defense.

This is what he writes:

"[The Muslim Brotherhood], though formally banned by the Egyptian state, has been a fixture in Egyptian society since its founding in 1928. For much of that time, however, it has been forced to operate on the margins of the national political scene, repressed by the secular state. But over the past two decades...its calls for a reordering of the country along religious lines have found new resonance.

"This is not, however, because the Brotherhood as a whole has gone soft, as some seem to believe. Indeed, the group’s ideology is still best encapsulated by the draft political platform it released publicly in 2007, when it was contemplating a formal political presence in the run-up to national parliamentary elections. That draconian document, with its calls for a reassessment of the country’s diplomatic relations with Israel, a “reevaluation” of the Camp David Accords and all other international conventions, and the imposition of sharia (Islamic law) on all tourists, bears more than a passing resemblance to the constitution of Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. (Emphasis added)

"Now...the Brotherhood is seeking its moment in the sun. In a bid for support and political legitimacy, the organization has temporarily toned down its inflammatory religious rhetoric and made common cause with Mohammed ElBaradei...,the former UN official-turned-presidential candidate who has emerged as the country’s most visible pro-democracy leader. (Emphasis added)

"This bid for relevance is based upon a savvy understanding that...Egyptian society as a whole is predisposed to its message. If this is in fact the case, Egypt’s democratic stirrings could end up yielding profoundly illiberal results." (Emphasis added)


Professor Hillel Frisch -- of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (BESA Center) -- touching on a very key understanding of the situation, says this:

"Clearly, the hearts of most citizens in democratic states sided with the demonstrators during the peaceful demonstrations in Egypt. Many of these demonstrators not only expressed their sincere and moving aspirations for democratic change, enhancement of human freedom and citizen rights, but emphasized as well their desire to do so in peaceful fashion. Our emotions swayed their way even more in the wake of the violent attacks to which they were subjected, presumably by supporters of the incumbent Egyptian regime.

"Sadly, while our hearts are with these demonstrators with democratic aspirations, our minds must not be. Reason must prevail over emotion for its own sake, let alone for the interests of most, if not all, democratic states.

"Why reason and emotion clash in so many revolutionary situations has to do with the simple fact that the liberal and democratic demonstrators became prey to organized violent fanatic groups, ending up with a regime that trampled their rights to a far greater extent than the regime they strove to change." (Emphasis added)


Frisch summarizes that:

"Supporting Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman in the current crisis will prevent a Muslim Brotherhood takeover of Egypt and avoid a bloody and protracted Egyptian civil war marked by foreign intervention. The West should support Suleiman and the military both for strategic reasons and out of concern for those demonstrators with democratic ideals who otherwise are likely to fall prey to a far worse fate than the regime they are attempting to overthrow."

(I regret that I cannot find a URL for this -- BESA Perspective paper #126-- which was sent to me by e-mail and apparently is not yet up on the BESA site.)

And I end with a fascinating piece that was put up on American Thinker (with my thanks to Abbie H.)

This is an e-mail that came from a student in Egypt, Sam Tadros. It's very long, and I will quote only selectively from it, with the suggestion that you read the entire communication.

"...CNN's anointed leader of the Egyptian Revolution must be important to the future of Egypt. Hardly! Outside of Western media hype, El Baradei is nothing. A man that has spent less than 30 days in the past year in Egypt and hardly any time in the past 20 years is a nobody. It is entirely insulting to Egyptians to suggest otherwise. The opposition you wonder? Outside of the Muslim Brotherhood we are discussing groups that can each claim less than 5,000 actual members. With no organization, no ideas, and no leaders they are entirely irrelevant to the discussion. It is the apolitical young generation that has suddenly been transformed that is the real question here.

"Where Egypt will go from here is an enigma. In a sense everything will be the same. The army that has ruled Egypt since 1952 will continue to rule it and the country will still suffer from a huge vacuum of ideas and real political alternatives. On the other hand, it will never be the same again. Once empowered, the Egyptians will not accept the status quo for long.

"On the long run the Egyptian question remains the same. Nothing has changed in that regard. It is quite remarkable for people to be talking about the prospect for a democratic transition at this moment. A population that was convinced just two months ago that sharks in the Red Sea were implanted by the Israeli Intelligence Services is hardly at a stage of creating a liberal democracy in Egypt. But the status quo cannot be maintained. A lack of any meaningful political discourse in the country has to be addressed. Until someone actually starts addressing the real issues and stops the chatterbox of clichés on democracy, things will not get better at all. It will only get worse."


© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.

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