Omar Suleiman: Egypt’s Own George Mitchell

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suleiman netanyahu.jpg
Al Jazeera’s video of Egypt President Hosni Mubarak swearing in intelligence chief Omar Suleiman as the first vice president of Egypt in nearly three decades has many clamoring to learn whatever they can about this person who may actually succeed Mubarak.
Suleiman, one of the long-serving national security technocrats in Egypt, has been a key manager of Egypt’s lucrative, military-aid lubed relationship with the United States and has been one of the key interlocutors with Israel.
One of the most disappointing encounters I had with Suleiman was during the time he led efforts to patch together a revived “unity government” in Palestine, tying back together Fatah and Hamas that had split in a bloody and violent civil war which resulted in each party governing different parts of Palestine.
Egypt was selected by the Arab League to lead these talks — and Suleiman became the Egyptian “George Mitchell” for these unity efforts. Fatah and Hamas came close several times to a deal — but ultimately, the United States privately conveyed to Mubarak and to Suleiman that it didn’t want to see the process succeed.
The Saudis who supported a restored unity government in Palestine were highly irritated when Egypt, supposedly brokering a rapprochement between Hamas and Fatah actually sabotaged the effort.
Suleiman, intel chief and now Egypt’s VP, was America’s proxy.
– Steve Clemons

Comments

320 comments on “Omar Suleiman: Egypt’s Own George Mitchell

  1. Cee says:

    Israel has dropped us too. Need I list the ways?

    Reply

  2. Cee says:

    In light of the FACT that Mubarak has unleashed thugs on the citizens, does anyone here think he should be allowed to stay ONE MORE DAY?!
    Who didn’t think he would do this after he already used to police to terrorize the people?
    I also read that Israel sent weapons to help their pal. They need regime change too.

    Reply

  3. rc says:

    “Instead of pressuring Mubarak, Obama gave the Cairo speech to try to flatter and cajole Mubarak and the other Arabs. It was a pathetic failure, as anyone familiar with the region could have predicted.” (nadine, 9:36PM)
    Or it may have been setting it up and providing more rope for Mubarak to hang himself with in due course.
    I generally take POA’s views on the subject of ‘Obama’ fairly seriously (0.9 probability) but I still reserve a small residue 10% for the off-chance possibility that Obama is a change-agent genius.
    Agreed: his modus operandi is highly ambiguous, but so far he is refusing (at least in the public eye) to resort to the Roman Caesar model that GWBush and Cheney propagated for nearly a decade (perhaps with Afghanistan/Pakistan being the exception).
    I suspect this approach is part of the “change we need” code. However, if this is the case, then how effective it will be is yet to determined.
    It is like watching a reformed nicotine addict sniffing the air in a lift after a heavy smoker has alighted. Whether he is some Blade character with a controlled yearning for the same blood his enemies lust for is always at the back of the mind.
    He’s been dealt a bad deck so far, but if he pulls this off then he’ll have an Egyptian transformation and Israeli-Palestinian peace deal done by 2012 — just in time for a pre-victory lap with Hillary C. plodding along behind looking and smelling more like a Cheney with Kissinger aftershave (ok, bad metaphor, but you get the picture) than a candidate for election.
    Three birds with one stone — even a historic ‘David’ could not achieve that (or so the story goes)!

    Reply

  4. DonS says:

    jdledell, no use arguing with someone who cannot explain events except in terms of politics. Limited vision.

    Reply

  5. nadine says:

    “Nadine – What is all this crap about the US abandoning it’s allies and losing respect in the region. We have been telling Mubarak to liberalize for years and he has stiffed us. This last ridiculous election was the turning point – he is NO LONGER OUR ALLY. We did not drop him- he dropped us.”
    jd, Bush told Mubarak to liberalize. Obama didn’t. That’s why the Egyptian elections under Bush were freer than last year’s elections, which were the least free in decades. With not a peep from Obama either before or after.
    Instead of pressuring Mubarak, Obama gave the Cairo speech to try to flatter and cajole Mubarak and the other Arabs. It was a pathetic failure, as anyone familiar with the region could have predicted.
    That’s what comes of listening to pro-Islamist advisers like Robert Malley, who must be doing the happy dance at the success of his favorite clients in Lebanon, Gaza and now perhaps Egypt as well.

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  6. jdledell says:

    Nadine – What is all this crap about the US abandoning it’s allies and losing respect in the region. We have been telling Mubarak to liberalize for years and he has stiffed us. This last ridiculous election was the turning point – he is NO LONGER OUR ALLY. We did not drop him- he dropped us.

    Reply

  7. DonS says:

    Now this is non serious from the neocons you’ve learned to expect it from:
    “Leading Neoconservative Frank Gaffney Argues Muslim Brotherhood Has

    Reply

  8. Carroll says:

    Obviously among the neocons and the Israelis there are conflicting opinions.
    Different assesments of how much damage this might do Israel…more damage if it suceeds or fails? ..goes on longer or ends sooner with US prodding a compromise?….better for other populations to also revolt against they hope Islamic rulers as in Iran…or better to smooth this out so as not to scare off other US-Isr ruling friendlies?
    It’s complicated.
    I am sure somewhere there are some realist saying O should make a clear cut choice now in favor of the street –simply because it is always easier to cultivate a US ruler puppet to US interest than to win over an entire population to admire and cooperate with the US and this is an opportunity for the latter.
    Oddly enough the Egyptian revolt is one in which the realistic and the moral choice is the same.

    Reply

  9. Carroll says:

    Obviously among the neocons and the Israelis there are conflicting opinions.
    Different assesments of how much damage this might do Israel…more damage if it suceeds or fails? ..goes on longer or ends sooner with US prodding a compromise?….better for other populations to also revolt against they hope Islamic rulers as in Iran…or better to smooth this out so as not to scare off other US-Isr ruling friendlies?
    It’s complicated.
    I am sure somewhere there are some realist saying O should make a clear cut choice now in favor of the street –simply because it is always easier to cultivate a US ruler puppet to US interest than to win over an entire population to admire and cooperate with the US and this is an opportunity for the latter.
    Oddly enough the Egyptian revolt is one in which the realistic and the moral choice is the same.

    Reply

  10. Carroll says:

    Obviously among the neocons and the Israelis there are conflicting opinions.
    Different assesments of how much damage this might do Israel…more damage if it suceeds or fails? ..goes on longer or ends sooner with US prodding a compromise?….better for other populations to also revolt against they hope Islamic rulers as in Iran…or better to smooth this out so as not to scare off other US-Isr ruling friendlies?
    It’s complicated.
    I am sure somewhere there are some realist saying O should make a clear cut choice now in favor of the street –simply because it is always easier to cultivate a US ruler puppet to US interest than to win over an entire population to admire and cooperate with the US and this is an opportunity for the latter.
    Oddly enough the Egyptian revolt is one in which the realistic and the moral choice is the same.

    Reply

  11. DonS says:

    Yeah, a little glib perhaps. At least if you buy into the insanity we called the cold war. But at least we didn’t have to buy Aswan.

    Reply

  12. nadine says:

    “30 years as a ‘bought’ ally (and not even for us), with all the acoutrements of mass repression of the people, should buy Mubarak exactly nothing except opprobrium”
    What do you mean “not for us”? Do you think US interests were not served by flipping Egypt from a strong ally of the USSR to a strong ally of the US? Can you even remember the Cold War? This is such a myopic and simplistic view of US foreign policy!

    Reply

  13. Dan Kervick says:

    Unclear whether the shots are only being fired in the air or not.
    The speech was not well received!

    Reply

  14. DonS says:

    30 years as a ‘bought’ ally (and not even for us), with all the acoutrements of mass repression of the people, should buy Mubarak exactly nothing except opprobrium.
    I agree about the corn syrup, and with much of what Questions says about our wonderful democracy. However, if one looks at the economic statistics, particularly inflation-adjusted take home pay of workers, percent of wealth aggregating to the top 1%, debt to income ratio of citizens, not to mention the macro factors, the US has been on a 30 year crash to destroy the middle class, accelerated massively during the Raygun years.
    Paul, I found a lot to ponder in the Cohen piece as well. It is a thought piece that perhaps the Egyptians who have been under the boot so long are not quite yet up to contemplating. Or maybe they are.

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  15. nadine says:

    The Egyptians have taken to the streets before. The last time was the bread riots of 1977. There is no reason to believe these demonstrations per se are particularly transforming – unless they usher in a Muslim Brotherhood regime. In that case the Egyptians will learn too late to be careful what they wish for.
    But since the Egyptians didn’t take the right lessons after embracing Nazism, Socialism, and Pan-Arabism by turn, one rather doubts they will have an epiphany after they become as disillusioned with Islamist rule as the Iranians already are.

    Reply

  16. questions says:

    Tahrir Sq. is getting violent.

    Reply

  17. Paul Norheim says:

    I think what Roger Cohen says in his NYT op-ed is important:
    “Now, Arabs are thinking about their own injustices. With
    great courage, they are saying

    Reply

  18. Sand says:

    “…Now suppose the US, having some 300 million people were miraculously confronted with a deluge of 8-10 million people on the mall (and everywhere else) in Washington. Now who would be dictating terms?…”
    Nah, would never happen. Too much high-fructose corn syrup in the American diet – making it impossible for them to lift themselves off the couch, or take their eyes off from Fox News.

    Reply

  19. questions says:

    DonS,
    In general we don’t feel the need to march 8-10 million of us because we have so many other ways to get pissed off and let the world know.
    We have elections really frequently. ANYone can run for something. We have open internet and comment sites. We have GUNS and a fair amount of wealth.
    I don’t know the stats, but I’m guessing that the number of people living on 2 dollars a day is pretty limited.
    We don’t have any unelected leaders hanging out for 30 years.
    BUT, if the oligarchy gets going full tilt, this could indeed be our future.
    I recommend that the visage of the out-of-touch-Mubarak, the denialist-Mubarak be taped up on every billionaire’s shaving mirror. Mubarak doesn’t DESERVE a graceful exit and he doesn’t DESERVE what he has, and perhaps this non-deserving thing is a little more widespread than many think.
    If we end up with enough people living on a couple of dollars a day, we too will show up by the millions.

    Reply

  20. Sand says:

    “…Now suppose the US, having some 300 million people were miraculously confronted with a deluge of 8-10 million people on the mall (and everywhere else) in Washington. Now who would be dictating terms?…”
    Nah, too much high-fructose corn syrup in the American diet – making it impossible for them to lift themselves off the couch, or take their eyes off Fox News.

    Reply

  21. Sand says:

    “Omar Suleiman”

    Reply

  22. nadine says:

    “I would only add that even though Obama shouldn’t make a public statement of the form, “Mubarak must go,” he should issue a public statement in which he expresses admiration for the courage and determination of the Egyptian people to bring hope and democratic self-government to their country, indicates that Americans look forward to the continuation of friendship and cooperation between Egyptians and the people of United States, and reiterates that we will continue to extend an open hand of respect and partnership toward all peoples in the Middle East who seek peace, international cooperation and a better common future.” (Dan Kervick)
    I think Paul’s point about considering how this message would be taken in other Arab countries was well taken. IOW, does being a loyal American ally for 30 years buy you anything? Anything at all? If not, does being an enemy of America cost you anything? These are primordial questions which our current foreign policy geniuses seem quite unable to even consider.
    Any moves to ease Mubarak out should have been in private only. But we see the WH is leaking its changing and contradictory moves all over. Amateur hour.

    Reply

  23. Paul Norheim says:

    If both Obama AND some groups of young rebels, as well as
    comrades from the army could say some nice, flattering words
    to him after 30 years of service to his country etc., he may
    perhaps have been willing to accept retirement in the company
    of retirees in Florida, Saudi Arabia, or Tel Aviv, but this is of
    course not a realistic option.
    No, this stubborn old soldier will somehow be forced out of
    power.

    Reply

  24. DonS says:

    “What he is craving for however, is also dignity, an honorable exit, something the young people in the streets are not willing to give this man ”
    And, indeed, the ‘optics’ and the payment the young people have earned, is palpable. So while one scenario has Mubarak agreeing that of course he will not run, and then finding some way to his liking to disappear from view more or less quietly, that’s not in the cards. This what you’re thinking Paul?
    Egypt has some 78 million people.
    Now suppose the US, having some 300 million people were miraculously confronted with a deluge of 8-10 million people on the mall (and everywhere else) in Washington. Now who would be dictating terms?

    Reply

  25. Paul Norheim says:

    I agree with Abrams and Kervick here. Mubarak being in charge
    of the transition is completely out of touch with the realities on
    the ground, and would also just give him the opportunity to
    ruthlessly persecute his political opponents through the
    security apparatus and manipulate the outcome.
    His statement that he will die on Egypt’s soil sounded ominous
    as well. What he is craving for however, is also dignity, an
    honorable exit, something the young people in the streets are
    not willing to give this man who according to himself has a
    PHD in stubbornness.

    Reply

  26. Sand says:

    e.g. Is one of those esteemed advisors that’s pushing for the other US/Israel puppet “Omar Soliman” to take over?

    Reply

  27. Sand says:

    “Elliott Abrams, who served as a deputy national security advisor in the George W. Bush administration, said Tuesday that if Mubarak wanted to stay in office until the next elections, that “won’t suffice…”
    Yeah, but who does he want in his place — I’m not sure it “ElBaradei”?

    Reply

  28. DonS says:

    No indication in the LA Times story whether Abrams was speaking for the administration or just as a source for the story.
    Always important to know what these neocons are up to. Bolton as been clear: back Mubarak or bomb Iran sooner. But with Abrams, and ducking out of the recent advisors group meeting, who knows. OK so Abrams carries water for the administration position, apparently at this point. How much, down the road, does this cost in terms of neocon agenda?
    Only one thought.

    Reply

  29. Sand says:

    “…On the other hand, since we don’t really know what’s what there, we don’t know how much of a power vacuum there would be,or even,..”
    Yeah right! Awfully quiet on “Mohamed ElBaradei” are’nt we — in fact most of the Western press is. God — our “democratic” media stinks.

    Reply

  30. Dan Kervick says:

    I actually agree with Elliot Abrams views, as related by the LA Times article that Paul linked to:
    “Elliott Abrams, who served as a deputy national security advisor in the George W. Bush administration, said Tuesday that if Mubarak wanted to stay in office until the next elections, that “won’t suffice.”
    “For him to say that he’ll remain in charge for eight months and run the transition and run a free election in September, but simply not be a candidate himself, that’s not going to cut it,” said Abrams, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. “That’s not going to get people out of the streets.”
    “Abrams said the U.S. should not publicly demand that Mubarak step down sooner. Such messages should be delivered privately, he said. The Obama administration needs to avoid perceptions that it is dictating when foreign leaders should leave office, he said.”
    I would only add that even though Obama shouldn’t make a public statement of the form, “Mubarak must go,” he should issue a public statement in which he expresses admiration for the courage and determination of the Egyptian people to bring hope and democratic self-government to their country, indicates that Americans look forward to the continuation of friendship and cooperation between Egyptians and the people of United States, and reiterates that we will continue to extend an open hand of respect and partnership toward all peoples in the Middle East who seek peace, international cooperation and a better common future.

    Reply

  31. Paul Norheim says:

    Depressing speech.

    Reply

  32. questions says:

    So it would be terribly exciting for Mubarak to move to Hawaii tonight.
    On the other hand, since we don’t really know what’s what there, we don’t know how much of a power vacuum there would be,or even, honestly, how many Mubarak loyalists there are floating around, that going slowly in the transition would make sense.
    The crowd has a crowd-demand and crowd-identity. That’s not really the best way to govern, but it can be a good way to be stupid.
    So if Mubarak takes two weeks to move to Hawaii, during which time caretakers are assembled, and markets are reassured and capital flight is reversed, that would be better.
    Don’t underestimate the damage of capital flight on a transitional government.
    And don’t underestimate the crowd. Read the ship of fools story in the Republic. It’s not a bad story right about now. Good bedtime reading.

    Reply

  33. DonS says:

    “I believe in cautiousness and timing in this situation, that’s all.
    “That was the main point in my initial comment on this subject yesterday. I hope that I’ve
    clarified my position a bit as well…
    Agree, Paul, and the view from here looks like caution is being exercised, some would say to a fault, at least as the days go by. On a practical level, the US has not much room to talk, much less prescribe, for others. And repairing the past? That’s not in the cards either, with the ever rightward drifting force pushing American politics. We the sheeple pay the price. We are told every day to sit down, shut up and bend over for the corporatist interest. Many of us insignificant people believe we need the equivalent of a revolution.
    Your example of what happened to the Kurds, with the wetlands being drained and the brutality the resulted from Bush 1′s big mouth, is exactly on the money. That is why I used the word humble above.
    BTW, of course, that is exactly the word junior Bush used to describe what his foreign policy would be if elected, so obviously words are pretty hollow, cheap things.
    We’ve all got these neanderthals — France still has Le Pen, I think; Austria had their Heider, etc — none of whom does much credit to the world.

    Reply

  34. Paul Norheim says:

    “U.S. envoy tells Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to step aside.
    Frank Wisner, an envoy sent to Cairo at President Obama’s request, tells Hosni Mubarak that he should not be
    part of the ‘transition’ that the U.S. has called for. ‘This message was plainly rebuffed,’ says a source.”
    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/sc-dc-0203-us-egypt-web-20110201,0,981825.story

    Reply

  35. Dan Kervick says:

    Isn’t Mubarak 83? Why the hell would he be running for president again anyway?

    Reply

  36. nadine says:

    DonS, every policy there is has collateral damage.
    I was merely pointing out that the US policy that made us allies of Saudi Arabia and Egypt grew out of the Cold War and were realist, not neocon, policies.

    Reply

  37. Sand says:

    NH: “May Obama have the time to scrub the blood from his hands each night.”
    “…Oh, please. You have no idea what is going to happen between now and the elections,…”
    Yeah, coz Mubarak and his thugs are such a friendly and forgiving bunch!
    “…and you have no idea what Obama’s position on any events might be. Egyptians have driven this whole revolution, not the US, and it is up to Egyptians to see to it that inter-party violence doesn’t break out during any transition period…”
    There’s a little matter of US $2 billion in aid m’friend… a bucket load leverage there that could be used “behind the scenes” that could make the “transition” a whole lot easier and “peaceful”. But I doubt Obama’s got the balls to do the right thing — after bringing “Elliott Abrams” into the WH (of all people) to give him advice.
    http://www.politico.com/blogs/laurarozen/0111/Egypt_experts_head_to_WH_powwow.html?showall

    Reply

  38. nadine says:

    “WASHINGTON

    Reply

  39. Carroll says:

    Maybe we are now seeing what the US position has been all along.
    Support the people publicly but use the Egyptian military as the people’s balancer in a ‘compromise’ for the Egyptians.
    Their demand that Mubarak depart vr. making them accept Suliman as the ‘interim’ authority for future elections as the only solution.
    Obviously this is a game also of attrition..how long can this go on without total chaos and economic breakdown in Egypt..which would make it even worse for the US….so the US is taking a dangerous chance there.
    Sending Frank Wizner, the US official, who negotiated the Egyptian- Israeli border to talk to Mubarak is probably another story in itself. Some speculate that it was to ask Mubarak to step down–I don’t think so.
    In the end –can the Egyptian protest outlast the US and Mubarak.
    Seems to me the US is once again fucking itself and Egypt with it’s typical “oh so many pressing “contingencies” policy…how we can protect our old friends of the US policies and Israel without being exposed as total hypocritical assholes.

    Reply

  40. Sand says:

    NH: “May Obama have the time to scrub the blood from his hands each night.”
    “…Oh, please. You have no idea what is going to happen between now and the elections,…”
    Yeah, coz Mubarak and his thugs are such a friendly and forgiving lot!
    “…and you have no idea what Obama’s position on any events might be. Egyptians have driven this whole revolution, not the US, and it is up to Egyptians to see to it that inter-party violence doesn’t break out during any transition period…”
    There’s a little matter of US $2 billion in aid m’friend… alot of leverage there that could be used “behind the scenes” that could make the “transition” a whole lot easier and “peaceful”.

    Reply

  41. non-hater says:

    “May Obama have the time to scrub the blood from his hands each night.”
    Oh, please. You have no idea what is going to happen between now and the elections, and you have no idea what Obama’s position on any events might be. Egyptians have driven this whole revolution, not the US, and it is up to Egyptians to see to it that inter-party violence doesn’t break out during any transition period.

    Reply

  42. Paul Norheim says:

    Yes, Don, but what if he’d said the right words too early?
    Let’s imagine – as a thought experiment – an overenthusiastic Obama, democratically
    sympathizing with the Arab Street, immediately demanding that Mubarak should step
    down. And let’s say that some opposition group in Syria or Yemen interpreted this as an
    encouraging signal to revolt against their leader?
    And let’s say that Assad fils, like Assad p

    Reply

  43. DonS says:

    “What part of US policy in the Arab world, aside from the war in Iraq, was ever shaped by the neocons? The neocons were the ones for pushing for human rights, not cozying up to dictators.”
    Sorry if I offended neocon orthodoxy. I did not mean to defend any policy makers of the past couple of decades. But holding up neocons as proponents of human rights, while ignoring the ‘collateral damage’ of that narrow talking point, of which the Iraq war is only part, really does stretch credulity as a convincing argument.

    Reply

  44. DonS says:

    . . . but you see, instead, to reprise what I posted way upthread, we have to bear with fools like Huckabee, who is considered a serious contender for the presidential nomination. Thinks ethnic cleansing of Palestinians is the ticket::
    http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2011/02/expulsion.php (click through for the full effect)
    So, Paul, sometimes we Americans are more to be pitied than scorned, to make a poor literary reference. Dealing with these idiots we call politicians ain’t easy.

    Reply

  45. nadine says:

    “To clarify, Paul, my wish to seize a potentially transformational moment is not directed at intervention in Egypt one way of the other so much as the wish that the US would shift it’s total approach to dealing with the Arab world that has been guided by the dark hand of the neocons. ”
    What part of US policy in the Arab world, aside from the war in Iraq, was ever shaped by the neocons? The neocons were the ones for pushing for human rights, not cozying up to dictators.

    Reply

  46. DonS says:

    To clarify, Paul, my wish to seize a potentially transformational moment is not directed at intervention in Egypt one way of the other so much as the wish that the US would shift it’s total approach to dealing with the Arab world that has been guided by the dark hand of the neocons.

    Reply

  47. Sand says:

    Q: “”WASHINGTON

    Reply

  48. Paul Norheim says:

    “Anyway, the romantic in me wishes the US could seize this
    potentially transformational moment in the ME to repair much
    of the damage it has contributed to.”
    I fully understand that, Don. But he should not overreact in an
    attempt to repair the unrepairable.
    I think I agree with the position of non-hater above:
    “The way I see it, either backing Mubarak strongly or running
    away rapidly – in public – both have pretty clear negative
    repercussions. So far, the Obama administration has avoided
    both. Privately, they should be pushing Mubarak to go.”
    But things are changing rapidly in Egypt, and my position at
    2.15 may not be valid at 3.15.

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  49. questions says:

    “WASHINGTON

    Reply

  50. Paul Norheim says:

    Looks like Mubarak may make a speech promising that he will
    not run again —–in September…

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  51. DonS says:

    “Leader of the free world”. Paul, I did put it in quotes. It’s been a pretty much meaningless cliche, if not poor joke, for a long time. Although, the US still carries a very big stick so if ‘leader’ means power, we got it. If it means moral authority, not so much. But you would be surprised at the number of Americans who believe it, and wouldn’t find the least degree of irony in the phrase. It’s like copyrighted.
    Anyway, the romantic in me wishes the US could seize this potentially transformational moment in the ME to repair much of the damage it has contributed to. Sincerely, I wish Israel could do the same. Challenge/opportunity. But we seem to lack creativity for peace, though we’ve got it, or at least ‘activity’ in spades for ‘defense’/aggression.
    Windows of opportunity are just that, open for only a time. Taking risks for understanding, accommodation, peace. That should be on the table but, alas, in the world of power diplomacy, I’d be considered naive.

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  52. questions says:

    HuffPo has a headline “Mubarak to speak” but no accompanying story thus far.
    Who knows…. HuffPo and all.
    Those of you who want Obama to be definitive should realize that if Obama is definitively FOR something, a portion of the protesters may well be definitively AGAINST that thing.
    Far better for us to keep our noses out.
    And for those who note that the US is a fair weather friend to dictators (a Turkish official made some comment to that effect), well, yeah.
    We like stability in any form we can get it. When it seems unstable we dump it. And then we pick a new kind of stability. Saddam Hussein was our client for a while, Mubarak was our client…. We’ve had plenty, and we’ll likely have more.

    Reply

  53. Sand says:

    Reminds me of that famous quote in “A Bug’s Life [1998]” — a very educational film.
    “[Hopper has just drowned three dissenting grasshoppers in a pile of seeds]
    Hopper: You let one ant stand up to us, then they all might stand up! Those puny little ants outnumber us a hundred to one and if they ever figure that out there goes our way of life! It’s not about food, it’s about keeping those ants in line…”
    Newsflash! — The “ants” have figured it out, now will the elites? It’s over for Mubarak, Ackerman (I hope) realizes that the pressure that’s been building all these years on the Arab street has finally burst — there’s no going back. Israel and the US have been complicit in the squashing of freedom of speech, the right to demonstrate political dissent. The Egyptians know who the culprits are — the World knows it. You would think that Israel would at least have some humility at this point? Ha!
    Reap what you sow — and all that.

    Reply

  54. Paul Norheim says:

    Obama as the “leader of the free world”?
    I assume was said with a large dose of irony, but to the extent it was seriously meant, that’s a
    phrase no observant Egyptian will believe. President Obama represents the United States of America,
    and except for the recent disastrous neocon adventure, every taxi driver in every city in the Middle
    East knows that the US has been busy implementing Realpolitik in that region – Obama included.
    Democracy has been ignored in the entire Muslim world due to what the White House has
    interpreted as national interest: this is the region where every single president cultivated their inner
    Nixon.
    I think Obama’s fate in the Middle East is more or less to play the role Gorbachev played in Eastern
    Europe. Obama’s Cairo speech came four years after Condoleeza Rice’s speech in the same city,
    where she said:
    “The US pursuit of stability in the Middle East at the expense of democracy had achieved neither.
    Now, we are taking a different course. We are supporting the democratic aspirations of all people.”
    Combine those two speeches, and you have the perestroika/glasnost moment in US Middle East
    policy. None of them seriously allowed actions to follow words however, because both of these
    bright, young and extremely ambitious leaders were obsessed with “solving” the Israel-Palestine
    conflict – the gordian knot in global affairs.
    The Arabs have a remarkably good memory, and all this means that neither the US nor Europe will
    *ever* be perceived as being on the “right side” in the Middle East; what is left for the US
    administration and the EU countries is to try to do the right thing. And the tasks at hand carries
    enormous risks, just like they did for Gorbachev: dealing with the fall of the dictators of the Middle
    East in a responsible way. If what we are witnessing is a serial clash between several autocrats and
    their populations within a short timespan, this could become much more messy then the almost
    miraculously peaceful outcome of the fall of the Berlin wall.
    If you guys are dreaming of being on the right side of this particular historical drama, then you’re
    still clinging to illusions. It’s too late, and you know this better than I do.

    Reply

  55. non-hater says:

    An non-reaction is a reaction, of course, and it’s the one I see as most likely. That’s the situation where the US could be a catalyst. It’s important that a constructive voice fill any silences. Remember who piped up in the pause after the 2000 I/P “peace” talks collapsed? Sharon.
    The way I see it, either backing Mubarak strongly or running away rapidly – in public – both have pretty clear negative repercussions. So far, the Obama administration has avoided both. Privately, they should be pushing Mubarak to go. But US policy in the Middle East has been stupid for years, so it’s quite possible that no pressure is being applied at all.

    Reply

  56. Dan Kervick says:

    6:57pm Al Jazeera’s Ayman Mohyeldin reporting live from Cairo:
    “When the US begings to distance itself from Hosni Mubarak, then Mubarak and his government definitely have something to worry about.”

    Reply

  57. samuelburke says:

    Washington must be reeling…i wonder if they are putting dunce caps on the neocons and making them sit in the corner…or do they still have credibility.
    call in the jesters!!!

    Reply

  58. Dan Kervick says:

    “But I think the administration needs to wait to see Mubarak’s public reaction to today’s massive demonstration.”
    There might not be one. Mubarak’s strategy is probably just to wait, and hold, and shut up and hope that the protesters eventually get too bored, tired and hungry, and their movement falls apart. But by holding on indefinitely he’s going to plunge the country into chaos, food riots, civil conflict and social unraveling.
    The US is hardly the catalyst. Egyptians are clearly the catalysts, and the US has been the passive observers of the work of a million people. But the US and other powers can help give him the last shove.

    Reply

  59. Zafar Khan says:

    I wrote to Steve. He is fine. He said he is trying
    to find time to post soon but has “been in constant
    scramble on media meetings related to Egypt”.
    Zafar Khan
    http://mediagusher.com/

    Reply

  60. non-hater says:

    If Clemons has been drafted, I could see how he might be a wee bit busy.
    On Egypt, I agree that it’s getting close to the point that Obama step up. But I think the administration needs to wait to see Mubarak’s public reaction to today’s massive demonstration. I don’t think the US should try to be the catalyst unless it has to be. (Is the Obama administration willing to risk intervening in that way? Dunno.)

    Reply

  61. DonS says:

    ” Steve . . . is either too busy with the work that entails or has been requested to avoid commenting on his blog about what is going on.”
    Or both.
    Helena Cobban, among others, has noted the decimation of career Arabists at State, we know why. I imagine Steve’s ability to network may be a useful commodity. Like I said in a previous post, he works at the intersection of several worlds. He’s a very open guy, but we may not know the half.

    Reply

  62. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Two days, 259 comments, and nothing new from Clemons”
    I imagine Steve is somewhat in demand right now, as the media reaches into the tanks that are filled to the brims with our infamous foreign policy “thinkers”.
    Eenie meenie, miney moe, they chant, as they carefully reach into their tanks of choice, looking for the thinkers who have thunk the thoughts most aligned with the thoughts they’d like us to think.
    They seem to be hard pressed to find any thinkers that thought their way into predicting this epic wave of change sweeping the Muslim world. But prediction doesn’t seem to be the primary content of these over-filled Washington tanks. Spin provides the bulk of whats filling these tanks, and they are currently overflowing with it.
    Whats amusing is the intellectual, political, and ideological chaos shaping the narrative as the various political factions scramble for spin. These clowns in DC aren’t very good at adlib, and sans a script, its seems the narrative becomes little more than meaningless drool. It will be interesting to watch, in these upcoming weeks, what kind of jelly they make out of their drool. Something tells me that no matter what this jelly LOOKS like, one will still be able to close one’s eyes and detect the unmistakable odor of pure Grade A Washington Horseshit.

    Reply

  63. DonS says:

    And, in the FWIW vein, if there had been the merest whiff of “anti Israel” or “anti Jew” elements (not individuals) to the Egyptian uprising, we could count on the Firsters here to flog it. But they haven’t, yet . . .
    ——————
    I am also feeling it’s time for Obama, as the “leader of the free world”, to step up . . .

    Reply

  64. Dan Kervick says:

    ” … Obama must stop waffling and get the US on the right side of this mess …”
    And I’m not talking about what is going on privately at the White House. They may very well have already decided Mubarak is out. What I mean is that they need to say something stronger publicly in support of the Egyptian people and Egyptian aspirations for democracy.

    Reply

  65. questions says:

    Capital flight and other economic problems.
    Who can wait out whom?
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/01/world/middleeast/01economy.html?_r=1&hp

    Reply

  66. Dan Kervick says:

    Steve was involved in some White House meetings yesterday, apparently as part of an ad hoc crisis advisory group. I’m guessing that he has been unofficially “drafted” to help deal with this crisis, and is either too busy with the work that entails or has been requested to avoid commenting on his blog about what is going on.
    All I know is that the longer this goes crisis on without a change of government in Egypt, the more radicalized and frustrated the protesters will become; and the greater the chance of massive and prolonged civil disorder or civil war, military government, global economic destabilization or any one of the other dangerous outcomes of large revolutions that misfire. And an Egypt in a prolonged state of turmoil isn’t good for anyone.
    The international dithering is starting to become dangerous. Global leaders need to pull whatever strings they have to get Mubarak out of there quickly, and help the Egyptian people set in motion a credible process leading to the rapid election of a provisional government and constitutional reform. Outside countries and agencies can assist with economic stabilization.
    Israel openly called for the support of Mubarak. If this revolution now unravels into a regime crackdown like Tiananmen, it’s going to be very, very bad for the US, since our fingerprints and the Israelis’ fingerprints will be seen as all over the suppression.
    The die has been cast. It made sense for Obama to avoid being seen as meddling in the Egyptians’ own affairs. But Obama must stop waffling and get the US on the right side of this mess before he leads us into another decade of Middle East war and anti-US hostility.

    Reply

  67. non-hater says:

    Two days, 259 comments, and nothing new from Clemons?

    Reply

  68. questions says:

    Reasonable caution instead of pure panic:
    http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=206188

    Reply

  69. questions says:

    And some Israeli panic, as to be expected:
    http://www.jpost.com/DiplomacyAndPolitics/Article.aspx?id=206113
    Does Israel have any creative forward looking up and coming pols?

    Reply

  70. questions says:

    It’s really spreading!
    http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=206223
    Fayyad is calling for WB elections.
    You know, if elections become, I don’t know, fashionable, for a while, this could really be good.
    Or not?
    Elections don’t solve financial problems. Look at the US. We can’t pry a penny from our oligarchs no matter whom we elect.
    But we have the satisfaction of electing a Congress that attempts to redefine rape, a state legislature that is looking into mandating gun ownership, and the like. Elections!
    ****
    And from the same article, here is something about the Gaza activists who were stopped:
    “Gaza activist Asma al-Ghoul said she and a small group of demonstrators had gathered Tuesday in central Gaza City when police came to stop them. She says police detained and roughed up some demonstrators.
    “Everyone should enjoy the right of freedom expression,” she said, adding that female police harassed her for not covering her hair and accused her of being a bad Muslim.
    New York-based Human Rights watch called on Hamas to “stop arbitrarily interfering with peaceful demonstrations about Egypt or anything else.”
    Hamas police had no comment.”
    So is Asma al-Ghoul an Israeli operative?

    Reply

  71. DonS says:

    Aljazeera update:
    http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/02/20112113115442982.html
    Interesting, “On Tuesday, the International Monetary Fund said it was ready to put in a place an economic rebuilding policy for the country.”
    “The IMF is ready to help in defining the kind of economic policy that could be put in place,” IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn said.
    ——————————
    On Israel: I understand their nervousness, but the arrogant call for Western nations to ‘shape up’ is a bit much. You’d think it was their billions that has been poured into Egypt. Most US politicians appear to be somewhat reserved so far, supporting Obama’s theme of “stability” and right of democracy for Egyptian people. Apparently they recognize, like most reasonable individuals, that to speak in support of the Mubarak regime is untenable. They already know that Obama will cover the Israeli flank with the call/demand to recognize ongoing commitments of treaty, though some have specifically mentioned this. And that, perhaps among other conditions, will be the minimum price for continued US dollars to flow to Egypt, I would guess.

    Reply

  72. Paul Norheim says:

    And Sudan (or: Northern Sudan):
    http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2011/
    01/now-sudan.html

    Reply

  73. PissedOffAmerican says:

    If there was any doubt as to Huckabee’s unsuitability for national public office, that doubt has certainly been removed.
    Why, at this time, when the Muslim community is in such upheaval, would Huckabee travel to Israel to celebrate settlement expansion, and state that Jews have the God given right to build and live ANYWHERE in Israel?

    Reply

  74. questions says:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/01/new-jordan-government-king-abdullah-ii_n_816755.html
    There goes Jordan.
    Wow.
    I hope people get better than the thugs they’ve had.

    Reply

  75. JohnH says:

    Confirming what the observant among us already knew, the former Director of the CIA

    Reply

  76. Dan Kervick says:

    From Egypt’s constitution:
    Article 82
    If on account of any temporary obstacle the President of the Republic is unable to carry out his functions, he shall delegate his powers to a vice-president.
    Article 83
    In case of resignation, the President shall address the letter of resignation to the People’s Assembly.
    Article 84
    In case of the vacancy of the Presidential Office or the permanent disability of the President of the Republic, the President of the People’s Assembly shall temporarily assume the Presidency; and, if at that time, the People’s Assembly is dissolved, the President of the Supreme Constitutional Court shall take over the Presidency, however, on condition that neither one shall nominate himself for the Presidency. The People’s Assembly shall then proclaim the vacancy of the office of President. The President of the Republic shall be chosen within a maximum period of sixty days from the day of the vacancy
    of the Presidential Office.

    Reply

  77. samuelburke says:

    Phil Weiss is being prophetic here methinks.
    This question will soon divide American Jewry: are you a Zionist?
    by PHILIP WEISS on FEBRUARY 1, 2011

    Reply

  78. samuelburke says:

    How about the Chalmers Johnson moment….Blowback.
    is this the Mother of all Blowbacks.
    this is absolutely precious.

    Reply

  79. Paul Norheim says:

    And here is an informed and interesting interpretation of
    the strategy of the other side:
    “Five Things You Need to Know about the Egyptian Armed
    Forces
    Posted on Monday, January 31, 2011
    by Steven Cook
    There has been a lot of talk about the Egyptian military the
    last few days. In light of this commentary, I thought it
    would be a good idea to offer the top 5 things people
    should know about the armed forces:
    1. The senior officers are the direct descendants of Gamal
    Abdel Nasser and the Free Officers who built the Egyptian
    regime. The military has been a primary beneficiary of
    this political order and have not had to intervene overtly in
    politics until now because the system worked relatively
    well under a brother officer. The armed forces, especially
    the commanders, are deeply enmeshed in the Egyptian
    economy.
    2. It is a tremendous relief that the military has declared
    that it will not fire on protestors, but also not unexpected.
    The Egyptian military is not the Syrian armed forces, which
    was willing to kill many thousands to save Hafiz al Assad
    in 1982. The officers have long regarded keeping Egypt

    Reply

  80. Paul Norheim says:

    Ok, at Al Jazeera, I’m hearing that the people
    demonstrating in Cairo and elsewhere will not leave the
    scene before Mubarak leaves the scene.
    They don’t want El Baradei to “hijack” their revolution.
    Apparently they don’t want this to be diminished to a petty
    coalition between several well known and unknown
    political movements and parties – risking fights between
    these factions, compromises, petty fights etc.
    They want to mobilize the Egyptian people against
    Mubarak.
    By not electing a leader, they can move on as a multitude,
    as the people, even claiming that the army is part of that
    broad and vaguely defined movement.
    But now, they say, according to Al Jazeera, that they are
    willing to talk to Vice President Omar Soleyman.
    Who exactly wants to talk to VP Soleyman?
    Someone in the crowd? Those organizing the
    demonstration? Someone with a hidden agenda?
    This is the big question right now: some unelected people
    within the opposition have agreed to talk with the VP, and
    no one knows who they are. They will have to define the
    issues, interpret the situation, and make demands. On
    behalf of…?
    The anarchic structure of this movement – the lack of a
    leader – has been their strength until today, making them
    able to mobilize huge crowds from all walks of life. But no
    one knows who claims to represent “the people”, and who
    have accepted to start talks with the Vice president.
    This could open the door for some nasty surprises. Or
    pleasant surprises.
    I guess we’ll just have to wait and see…

    Reply

  81. Bill Pearlman says:

    I didn’t know that Obama and Clinton bring Zafar Khan in on their communications. Good to know.

    Reply

  82. Zafar Khan says:

    “….but ultimately, the United States privately
    conveyed to Mubarak and to Suleiman that it didn’t
    want to see the process succeed”.. any guesses who
    conveyed this idea to the United States? Perhaps
    some little guy sitting in Tel Aviv.
    http://silentconscience.org

    Reply

  83. DonS says:

    FDL calls Richard Cohen for the concern troll that he is:
    http://firedoglake.com/2011/02/01/now-his-concern-trolling-belongs-to-the-world/
    And unhelpful remarks by the Israeli leaders who tell us what they really think; Obama can’t seem to catch a break. But then, the Israelis have treated Obama like a pincushion all along.
    http://news.antiwar.com/2011/01/31/israeli-president-others-slam-obama-for-betrayal-of-mubarak/

    Reply

  84. samuelburke says:

    Bill, i’d read the Devil himself if he was bringing me truth, even if
    only sporadically…i wouldn’t disqualify him just because of his
    name/fame.

    Reply

  85. samuelburke says:

    so here is an analysis that compares todays arabist/ middle
    east domination strategy-israel problem, with the cold war
    strategy in east asia.
    by:Gareth Porter.
    “A historical parallel to the present strategy in the Middle East
    is the Cold War strategy in East Asia, including the policy of
    surrounding, isolating, and pressuring the Communist
    Chinese regime. As documented in my own history of the U.S.
    path to war in Vietnam, Perils of Dominance, the national
    security bureaucracy was so committed to that strategy that it
    resisted any alternative to war in South Vietnam in 1964-65,
    because it believed the loss of South Vietnam would mean the
    end of Cold War strategy, with its military alliances, client
    regimes, and network of military bases surrounding China. It
    was only during the Nixon administration that the White
    House wrested control of national security policy from the
    bureaucracy sufficiently to scrap that Cold War strategy in East
    Asia and reach an historic accommodation with China.
    The present strategic crisis can only be resolved by a similar
    political decision to reach another historical accommodation

    Reply

  86. Paul Norheim says:

    As I’ve said before, Nadine:
    I’m not willing to discuss politics with someone so sure of
    the future amidst a chaotic historic drama; so sure of the
    motives of their enemies (apparently without ever being
    there), so defensive; and so willing to accuse almost every
    poster here of being anti-Semites or being in bed with the
    Jew-haters.
    So please ignore me.

    Reply

  87. Paul Norheim says:

    “First, can you accept the idea that not EVERYTHING that
    happens in the middle east involves Israel or aipac.”
    Of course. So why don’t we concentrate on the drama
    unfolding right now – in Egypt!

    Reply

  88. Bill Pearlman says:

    Pat Buchanan is also the guy who just had a book come out where the central premise was that churchill was the real evil in WW2 and hitler was just an innocent victim

    Reply

  89. nadine says:

    “But the sad fact is that
    paranoia is evenly spread among those who claim that the
    Jews rule the world, and those who claim that the world
    persecutes the Jews. You guys should resist pushing the
    panic button every time someone criticizes the policies
    and actions of Israel. ” (Paul Norheim)
    What’s the opposite of paranoia, Paul? What do you call the mental syndrome that remains complacent regardless of threatening events? The state of mind that sees a violent thug running towards you with rage in his eye and a gun in his hand and says, “Oh nonsense, he doesn’t mean anything by it”? or “well, he does seem a little annoyed, but offer him this box of chocolates and he’ll be happy”?
    Iran, Hizbullah, Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood do not criticize the “policies and actions” of Israel. They criticize the existence of Israel, which they intend to end on direct orders from Allah. They would not be pacified by a nice peace treaty dividing Palestine into Jewish and Arab states; on the contrary, they would be mad as hell and would add the name of the traitors who signed the deal to their hit list.
    And they are getting stronger.

    Reply

  90. samuelburke says:

    this one comes from someone who will surely be a favorite
    here among some here at the Wnote.
    from Pat Buchanan.
    “No, the United States is not hated across the region because
    of the freedoms we enjoy or even because of the lectures on
    democracy we do not cease to deliver. We are hated because
    we are perceived as hypocrites who say one thing and do
    another.
    The Arabs say we support despots who deny them the rights
    we cherish. They say we preach endlessly of human rights but
    imposed savage sanctions on Iraq for a dozen years before
    2003 that brought premature death to half a million children.
    They say we use our power to invade countries that never
    attacked us.
    They say we have provided Israel with the weapons to crush
    the Palestinians and steal their land, and that we practice a
    moral double standard. We condemn attacks on Israelis, but
    sit silent as Israel bombs Lebanon for five weeks and conducts
    a war on Gaza, killing 1,400 and wounding thousands, most
    of them civilians.
    Any truth to all this? Or is this just Arab propaganda?
    After losing Turkey as an ally, Israel has just seen Hezbollah
    come to power in Beirut and the Palestinian Authority stripped
    of its credibility by the WikiLeaks exposure of its groveling to
    America and Israel. Now Israel faces the near certainty of a
    more hostile Egypt.
    As for America, if we are about to be thrown out of the Middle
    East, it would be neither undeserved nor an unmitigated
    disaster.
    After all, it

    Reply

  91. Bill Pearlman says:

    Ok, I’ll let that one go for the moment. Let me bounce two things off of you. First, can you accept the idea that not EVERYTHING that happens in the middle east involves Israel or aipac. And that Israel, ( I don’t know if you’ve ever been there ) cannot have an armed hostile entity on the golan heights or the west bank ridge line.

    Reply

  92. nadine says:

    “It annoys me when pro-Israel neocons blame Obama for
    the crisis in Egypt – not just because everybody knows
    that this event was 30 years in the making, but also
    because these people would certainly have accused him of
    putting the Israeli-Egyptian relation at risk if actions had
    followed words after his Cairo speech. It’s nothing but a
    petty partisan blame game, just like blaming him for the
    economic crisis.” (Paul Norheim)
    Unfair. When Obama sort of continued Bush’s policies in Afghanistan, conservatives & neocons supported him because they supported the policy. What they criticized viz-a-viz Egypt was dumping the Bush policies of pushing more open elections and relying on flattery instead, which failed utterly. So it’s not just a partisan blame game, it’s a policy difference.
    George Friedman’s point about the total unpreparedness of the Obama WH for what was in some form a predictable succession crisis is, I think, well taken. They didn’t know what to say, they didn’t know how to say it, and they delivered a lot of mixed messages that left no one feeling reassured – unless you want to count Ahmedinejad, Assad, and their allies.

    Reply

  93. Paul Norheim says:

    Pearlman,
    In the past, I’ve often ridiculed the paranoid idea that “the
    Jews rule the world”, when commenters here have
    suggested something in that vein. But the sad fact is that
    paranoia is evenly spread among those who claim that the
    Jews rule the world, and those who claim that the world
    persecutes the Jews. You guys should resist pushing the
    panic button every time someone criticizes the policies
    and actions of Israel.
    There is much to be said for the old definition of anti-
    Semitism: being against the Jews in various ways. The new
    definition – objecting to policies or actions of the Israeli
    government – is a hoax that may work for a decade or
    two, and then backfire, because no government can be
    above criticism. And Israel has no right to monopolize and
    redefine the concept of “anti-Semitism” in this manner, as
    it excludes the millions of Jews living outside Israel.
    You may feel that the criticism against Israel is often
    unfair, but you should not automatically conflate it with
    anti-Semitism. I personally have never questioned Israel’s
    right to exist, and I wish you good luck building your
    nation. But I frequently criticize what I regard as
    aggressive actions and policies of the young state of
    Israel.
    And according to the new, fraudulent definition of anti-
    Semitism, I am an anti-Semite – there is no doubt about
    that.
    This is of course annoying on a personal level. On a
    general level, the effects are much more serious, because
    it poisons the political climate. In the long run, I know that
    the new definition and the paranoid labeling of critics will
    damage Israel more than me. This fact gives me no
    pleasure. I will, however, always feel disgust when I read
    anti-Jewish statements; and before you were around here,
    I often screamed loudly when I saw it (mostly to no effect).
    Fellow commenters here, like Questions and Sweetness,
    can confirm this – there were endless fights on this issue
    two or three years ago.
    You may label me an anti-Semite, or label me an Old-
    School-Anti-Anti-Semite who should wish that the
    discussions on Israel and its surroundings were more
    generous and complex, and less poisonous.

    Reply

  94. Bill Pearlman says:

    I’m interested in the Steve Clemons reference to Krushchev. Did he mean that Israel is threatening the USA with nuclear war. With economic destruction. Did he mean that Israel is seeking to BURY the United States. Are there Israeli missiles in Cuba. Whats the reasoning.

    Reply

  95. Bill Pearlman says:

    Paul, you seem like a reasonable guy. ( and you sign your name, which means your not a coward ) So I’m going to try it again. We, the Jews, do not rule the world, we really don’t. If we did, would a guy like Steve Clemons be running around? Would Obama be president? Come on, nobody is blaming Obama for losing Egypt. I just don’t think he is up to the challenges. the middle east is a hard place and Obama is weak. Thats all

    Reply

  96. Bill Pearlman says:

    Paul, you seem like a reasonable guy. ( and you sign your name, which means your not a coward ) So I’m going to try it again. We, the Jews, do not rule the world, we really don’t. If we did, would a guy like Steve Clemons be running around? Would Obama be president? Come on, nobody is blaming Obama for losing Egypt. I just don’t think he is up to the challenges. the middle east is a hard place and Obama is weak. Thats all

    Reply

  97. Paul Norheim says:

    “Do they publish a magazine?”
    They have an official website, and you can read an interview with the editor here:
    http://www.worldpolicy.org/blog/2011/01/31/interview-brotherhood

    Reply

  98. Paul Norheim says:

    When asked what represented the greatest challenge for a
    statesman, conservative British PM Harold Macmillan
    famously replied: “Events, my dear boy, events.”
    Joe Biden predicted that the new president would be
    tested. But who would have imagined that an awakening of
    the Arab street demanding democracy would become the
    biggest challenge for an American President? This certainly
    contains a larger irony than the challenge from Netanyahu,
    whom Steve Clemons often has called “Obama’s
    Khrushchev”.
    It annoys me when pro-Israel neocons blame Obama for
    the crisis in Egypt – not just because everybody knows
    that this event was 30 years in the making, but also
    because these people would certainly have accused him of
    putting the Israeli-Egyptian relation at risk if actions had
    followed words after his Cairo speech. It’s nothing but a
    petty partisan blame game, just like blaming him for the
    economic crisis.

    Reply

  99. Bill Pearlman says:

    I didn’t realize that there were so many experts here on the inner workings of the muslim brotherhood. Do they publish a magazine. Where can I get it. If soembody tells me that I’ll give them the phone number in Jerusalem that we all get on our bar mitzvah. The one where we get orders from in order to control the world.

    Reply

  100. nadine says:

    One thing Kristof fails to note is that Mubarak ran much freer elections back in 2005, when Bush was putting pressure on him. Last year’s parliamentary elections were by every account the least free in decades, with nary a peep from the Obama administration.
    That’s one of the engines of the current crisis, people’s realization that Mubarak was determined to keep stealing the elections.
    So the people were disgusted on one hand, and the army was disgusted on the other – they didn’t want Gamal (Jimmy) Mubarak foisted on them. IOW, this crisis has been building for several years, and it was obvious it would come to head fairly soon. If few people anticipated these particular protests, it was still clear that Mubarak was likely to die in the near future.
    George Friedman of Stratfor is making this point: If we had a competent WH, somebody would have been giving Mubarak the nudge quietly last year to hold more open elections and pick a successor other than Jimmy. But we don’t have a competent WH. This WH waited for the crisis to hit, then was caught so flat-footed they are calling in all and sundry for advice, which is like waving a “WE ARE CLUELESS” flag.

    Reply

  101. DonS says:

    While Clinton, the outfront administration person, doing the noncommital shuffle, equivocates and makes excuses for the dictator Mubarak http://blogs.state.gov/index.php/site/entry/clinton_interviews_egypt , Kristof, in Cairo, sees through American eyes, how he feels America should be acting:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/01/opinion/01kristof.html?hp

    Reply

  102. samuelburke says:

    John Pudhoretz (papa of John-four pizzas-Pudhoretz )…lol, is
    trying to persuade amurikans that there is no linkage at all.
    “If there were a Palestinian embassy in Washington today, would
    Hosni Mubarak have been any more mindful of the eventual
    consequences of his iron-fisted fecklessness in refusing a
    transition to a more representative Egypt because there was an
    ambassador from Palestine in Washington?”
    While Podhoretz considers this to be a rhetorical question, a
    slightly nuanced reading of the situation would respond
    affirmatively to that question.
    Perhaps Podhoretz should answer this question: Could Hosni
    Mubarak

    Reply

  103. JohnH says:

    Another newsflash for Nadine–MB is a bit player in the protests, contrary to the propaganda efforts of the AIPAC/neoconmen. Turns out that there is a gigantic generation gap, and the MB leadership is on the wrong side of it.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/30/AR2011013003308.html
    Once again Nadine declaims with absolute certainty that the sky is falling…only to find out that her forecasts are dead wrong. But as a paid hasbarista, that won’t dissuade here in the least.

    Reply

  104. Paul Norheim says:

    “Everything that is wrong in the middle east IS America’s fault.”
    And everything that is wrong in America is Norway’s fault.

    Reply

  105. The Pessimist says:

    Newsflash for nadine,
    Everything that is wrong in the middle east IS America’s fault.
    Accept it.
    Anything that is bad for the American Empire is good for the American taxpayer.
    Accept it.

    Reply

  106. samuelburke says:

    Suleiman deserves the rejection of the Egyptians.
    “Katherine Hawkins, an expert on the US’s rendition to torture
    program, in an email, has sent some critical texts where
    Suleiman pops up. Thus, Jane Mayer, in The Dark Side,
    pointed to Suleiman’s role in the rendition program:
    Each rendition was authorized at the very top levels of both
    governments….The long-serving chief of the Egyptian central
    intelligence agency, Omar Suleiman, negotiated directly with
    top Agency officials. [Former U.S. Ambassador to Egypt]
    Walker described the Egyptian counterpart, Suleiman, as “very
    bright, very realistic,” adding that he was cognizant that there
    was a downside to “some of the negative things that the
    Egyptians engaged in, of torture and so on. But he was not
    squeamish, by the way” (pp. 113).
    Stephen Grey, in Ghost Plane, his investigative work on the
    rendition program also points to Suleiman as central in the
    rendition program:
    To negotiate these assurances [that the Egyptians wouldn't
    "torture" the prisoner delivered for torture] the CIA dealt
    principally in Egypt through Omar Suleiman, the chief of the
    Egyptian general intelligence service (EGIS) since 1993. It was
    he who arranged the meetings with the Egyptian interior
    ministry…. Suleiman, who understood English well, was an
    urbane and sophisticated man. Others told me that for years
    Suleiman was America’s chief interlocutor with the Egyptian
    regime — the main channel to President Hosni Mubarak
    himself, even on matters far removed from intelligence and
    security.
    Suleiman’s role, was also highlighted in a Wikileaks cable:
    In the context of the close and sustained cooperation between
    the USG and GOE on counterterrorism, Post believes that the
    written GOE assurances regarding the return of three
    Egyptians detained at Guantanamo (reftel) represent the firm
    commitment of the GOE to adhere to the requested principles.
    These assurances were passed directly from Egyptian General
    Intelligence Service (EGIS) Chief Soliman through liaison
    channels — the most effective communication path on this
    issue. General Soliman’s word is the GOE’s guarantee, and the
    GOE’s track record of cooperation on CT issues lends further
    support to this assessment. End summary.
    However, Suleiman wasn’t just the go-to bureaucrat for when
    the Americans wanted to arrange a little torture. This “urbane
    and sophisticated man” apparently enjoyed a little rough stuff
    himself.
    Shortly after 9/11, Australian citizen Mamdouh Habib was
    captured by Pakistani security forces and, under US pressure,
    torture by Pakistanis. He was then rendered (with an Australian
    diplomats watching) by CIA operatives to Egypt, a not
    uncommon practice. In Egypt, Habib merited Suleiman’s
    personal attention. As related by Richard Neville, based on
    Habib’s memoir:
    Habib was interrogated by the country

    Reply

  107. jk says:

    Mr Clemons,
    When you have the time, I’d love to see you post a response to the arguments raised in these 2 commentaries. Keep up the great work!
    Fear the Muslim Brotherhood
    http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/258419/fear-muslim-brotherhood-andrew-c-mccarthy
    Beware Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2011-01-29/beware-egypts-muslim-brotherhood

    Reply

  108. downtown says:

    Some of the most riveting reporting I have yet heard. I highly recommend to listen to this man’s telephone interview from the streets of Cairo, followed by economic analysis by Samer Shehata:
    http://www.democracynow.org/2011/1/31/sharif_abdel_kouddous_live_from_egypt

    Reply

  109. Carroll says:

    Posted by crying humanity, Jan 31 2011, 7:14PM – Link
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Ackerman is a pig, but even a pig finds a root now and then….it must have penetrated Ackerman’s porkie snout that if the popular revolt doesn’t prevail soon and runs out of steam– the MB will still be there to the end now that they are committed –and emerge as heroes with some credit.

    Reply

  110. Carroll says:

    Will wonders never cease….neocon Pletka does a baddie,…calling for aid to Israel to end.
    Time to Shut the Spigot on Egypt
    By Danielle Pletka
    January 31, 2011, 9:49 am
    Like the Obama administration, members of Congress are still refining their positions on Egypt. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry recommended that Hosni Mubarak

    Reply

  111. crying humanity says:

    TPM alerts us that Re. Gary Akerman, staunch Israel supporter, incoming committee co-chair, recognizes tha Mubarak must go, the sooner the better.
    http://ackerman.house.gov/index.cfm?sectionid=254&parentid=4&sectiontree=4,254&itemid=1539

    Reply

  112. ThomasM says:

    “Spoof on US State Departments Position on Egypt ”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBuMuzhvYeA&feature=player_embedded

    Reply

  113. Cee says:

    And Cee, you have no idea at all that those women were Israelis,
    Re: Egypt. You are correct that they aren’t Israeli. Perhaps they were provacateurs? Forced?
    I was just pointing out what happens in Palestine and why Hamas wouldn’t want any public protests.

    Reply

  114. JohnH says:

    Not to worry, Nadine. Mubarak’s time is almost up.If the Egyptian street doesn’t do him in, God will. Puis, apres, Mubarak le deluge.
    Sooner or later the US and Israel will have to deal with the absence of Mubarak–unless, of course, the US can tell God what to do? Or maybe the US’ bosses in Tel Aviv would be more suited to the task.

    Reply

  115. nadine says:

    Look how Carroll is maneuvering to make whatever happens next in Egypt all the US’s fault: if the US fails to push Mubarak out the door, then they didn’t support the people, but if they do push Mubarak out the door, the MB takeover will also be a natural reaction to US interference in supporting Mubarak so long, and any blood that results will be on the US’ hands. Heads I win, tails you lose. No country can tell any other country what to do, unless Carroll needs to prepare a scapegoat.
    *************************
    The important thing to remember from the point of view of US interests, which an American President is SUPPOSED to care about, is that Mubarak, unlovely as he is, has been a staunch US ally, and the US does NOT want to send the message that enemies of the US get the kid glove treatment while allies of the US get the rubber hose treatment.
    Which unfortunately is exactly the message Obama is sending by pushing Mubarak harder than he ever pushed Ahmedinejad when the masses poured into the streets of Tehran after Ahmedinejad stole the 2009 election.
    Who, under these circumstances, will ever be dumb enough to become an American ally again? That is the question all our current (but maybe not future) allies are asking themselves right now.
    The other day I heard Michael Ledeen quote an unnamed Turkish general who told him, “The problem with being an ally of the United States is that every so often you turn around and stab yourselves in the back.”

    Reply

  116. Carroll says:

    I must say the US has the most irresponsible media of any in the democratic world, bar none.
    I have been watching Fox just to see what they are presenting and it has been non stop propaganda and Islamist hate and fear mongering.
    So far I have recorded three direct lies…plain outright lies about statements made by Egyptians…in one case they were lying about a public statement that I was at that very moment watching the video of on Al Jeezar..it’s unbelievable.
    Since free speech is free speech we can’t stop it but one thing we should work for in this country is someone(s) to create a actual unbaised unpolitical news network cause this shit that passes for news now is poisoning the less edeucated public and making them even more ignorant.

    Reply

  117. questions says:

    Steve was interviewed on AJ.

    Reply

  118. Carroll says:

    Posted by Dan Kervick, Jan 31 2011, 2:56PM – Link
    Paul, I understand your worries and share them. But my fear is that the wildfire you are warning about will burn and spread more intensely if Mubarak *does not* step down soon>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    I agree with Kervick.
    The Egypt revolt so far is not as violent as it could have been, the people have behaved well all things considered.
    If they are thwarted in their efforts or ignored by the US that will raise the temperature of not only the Egyptians, but others in the region who would like to emulate them.
    Then,– you see will some real violence in the next revolts, as the Arab streets figure they tried the non violent way, didn’t get any support and it didn’t work, so their only other choice is violent overthrow and/or assassinations.
    The genie is out of the box, the US better go with it and adjust to any changes.

    Reply

  119. DonS says:

    More on the case for maintaining the status quo, Likud style. Playing the islamist card, with help from Mike Huckabee. And one opinion that the Israelis and their cohorts are just trying to get out ahead of the demonization curve.
    “This may seem like the right wing is in a pickle, caught between defending freedom and defending dictatorship. But I think they

    Reply

  120. nadine says:

    “But my fear is that the wildfire you are warning about will burn and spread more intensely if Mubarak *does not* step down soon, and turn over authority to a figure the Egyptian people actually trust to manage the transition to a new democratic system.” (Dan Kervick)
    From the latest reports, it sounds like the military is appealing to both sides, calling the protests “legitimate” but not telling Mubarak to go. It is the military’s interest to preserve the Free Officers’ Regime post-Mubarak rather than suffer a revolution.
    But there is a time limit for this standoff. Cairo will run out of food if business does not resume.

    Reply

  121. questions says:

    “Constitutional reform” dialogues.
    Dialogue not confrontation.
    I think this means Mubarak thinks he’s staying?

    Reply

  122. DonS says:

    Paul, your comment is important and thought provoking, and so I wont try to give an off the cuff response, though I tend to agree with Dan Kervick that responding honestly to the painful exigencies of the moment calls out loud.
    I would only say, for myself, that bearing with a government, ours, that has propped up dictators for decades in the name of reacting to some global fear — first communism, now islamisism — does not feel good as a citizen. Republican or democrat, conservative or liberal, administration after administration has followed the playbook, the conventional wisdom and, of course, the road to corporate profits. As a Norwegian, you have possibly not felt the sheer weight of such encrusted policy, though you’ve felt others no doubt.
    Not evil or bad men and women (though I would except the Cheney’s and the like from that characterization); and not that threats and reasonable response to threats isn’t part of government’s role in this world of nation states. But the weight of uninspired thinking that has predominantly guided our foreign policy establishment — loosely, IMO — cannot do a whole lot more damage to the world, and to our nation than it has already. Bad actors exist; we’ve contributed our share. Sorry, but I don’t have great confidence that the geniuses in Washington can, just this time, calculate the incalculable. Better to be humble.

    Reply

  123. questions says:

    I left out respect for the losers, oops….. That kinda matters when you get down to it.

    Reply

  124. questions says:

    They need a phased step down.
    Out goes Mubarak, in comes a set-in-stone patterned committee system, each giving way in turn to a next, all taking enough time to ensure that voices are heard, that elections can be held, that data and weapons and loyalty can be handed over.
    This is a country without much experience in what it takes to run elections, from electoral law to poll watchers. Think how elaborate the US electoral system is, think how patterned, how many committees and parties and neighborhood organizations there are. Think of the interest groups that make people feel they are a part of the system.
    In fact, here’s a tongue-in-cheek reaction — get AIPAC to go organize Egypt! They’re so mystically effective and all….
    But seriously, national elections need pyramidal structures underlying them. Egypt needs to creat those cornerstones and however many levels needed to get to a national system with trusted, tested, politically astute and knowledgeable people. They don’t need a cult of personality, one charismatic dude who promises the world and delivers the torture chamber.
    So, as each level is created, one more appointed committee disappears willingly. I would guess there are some people around who could do this, who could make sure not to overpromise instant doublings of income, though, geeze, for all the people living on 2 dollars a day (40% of the population, you’d think there could be some easy and not too inflationary help….)
    Democracy is a slow, tedious, tiresome, process-oriented mess. The people in the street need to see the process and learn to love it, for it is process not product, opportunity not outcome, respect for the winners even if you can’t fucking stand them and you’re sure they’re Tea Party idiots — it’s this that undergirds anything like a democratic or republican form of government.
    The people differ, so only some of them can rule at a time. They have to take turns based on elections.
    Here’s hoping there are some process-people huddling and setting up a committee system, and here’s hoping when they do, the street demonstrations don’t blow up because there isn’t suddenly a Change We Can Believe In…..
    And Cee, you have no idea at all that those women were Israelis, and that doesn’t explain the official response. No one wants Egypt to blow up. We all want it to sink slowly as a new and nicer system arises.
    We should, by the way, have the decency to be careful overcheering other people’s revolutions. We aren’t the ones getting no money from the ATM, no bread from the store, no antibiotics from the pharmacy, perhaps no insulin or surgery or heart attack care. We aren’t the ones bleeding, being beaten, or burned.
    This is seriously scary, and sobering and to be contemplated.

    Reply

  125. Dan Kervick says:

    Paul, I understand your worries and share them. But my fear is that the wildfire you are warning about will burn and spread more intensely if Mubarak *does not* step down soon, and turn over authority to a figure the Egyptian people actually trust to manage the transition to a new democratic system. Egypt cannot endure this kind of economic disruption and civil disorder for long. The longer Mubarak holds on, the more likely it is that elements of the armed forces and the least democratic factions of the opposition will take matters into their own hands.

    Reply

  126. Paul Norheim says:

    From SKY News:
    “Egyptian Army: ‘We Will Not Use Force’
    Stuart Ramsay in Cairo
    The Egyptian army has said it will not use force against
    protesters calling for the removal of President Hosni
    Mubarak ahead of a “million people” march.
    The military said it considers the people’s demands
    “legitimate”.
    At almost exactly the same time as the announcement was
    made, several tanks blocking access to Cairo’s main
    square where protests have been held, rolled back some
    500 metres.
    Everyone looked at each other in disbelief because the
    tanks had been stationed there for a few days.
    There was the sense they were withdrawing to perhaps
    allow for a large number of people to enter the square
    uninhibited.
    The army have always said they would not fire on
    protesters, but now they have made their position very
    clear and are saying they will not be involved in violent
    confrontation.”

    Reply

  127. Paul Norheim says:

    Of course this is not just about the US-Israel-Egypt
    alliance, or the so called “peace process”. Even whether the
    US will be perceived as supporting the autocrats or the
    Arab streets may ultimately become a minor issue,
    compared to possible consequences if this process
    accelerates to fast in the region.
    What may happen in the coming months, is that the
    confrontation between protesters and their largely
    illegitimate governments spread from country to country:
    Jordan, Algeria, Yemen, Sudan, Syria, Morocco, Libya,
    Saudi Arabia… This may or may not happen regardless of
    what the US does; but the US and other foreign powers
    may influence the speed, the pace of these developments.
    A simultaneous revolt in many of these countries could
    have all sorts of outcomes: success for the protesters in
    one country, stalemate in another, Tien an Men events,
    coups, civil wars, descend into statelessness, foreign
    interference, regular wars — and all kinds of
    unpredictable as well as likely consequences – including a
    severe global depression.
    If the US acts to fast, openly demanding of Mubarak to
    step down, this process will certainly accelerate and create
    an extremely volatile, dangerous, and uncontrollable
    situation. All this talk from world leaders about an “orderly
    transition” may sound like ambiguous bullshit, and will not
    satisfy the protesters, but it is the right signal to send.
    The fall of the Soviet Union and the revolutions in Eastern
    Europe occurred in a surprisingly peaceful manner. We
    should not expect that the events in the Middle East will
    unfold in a similar way.

    Reply

  128. DonS says:

    Meanwhile, Huckabee, in Israel, doesn’t miss a beat in his quest for the nomination, running on the Likud platform:
    http://firedoglake.com/2011/01/31/in-israel-mike-huckabee-criticizes-egyptian-uprising-us-government/

    Reply

  129. Cee says:

    Don,
    Read the article submitted by POA. If Kristol thinks that Mr. Suave Torturer is in place they can agree to kicking Mubarak to the curb.
    It reminds me of Tom Lantos assuring people in Israel that we would replaced Saddam Hussein with another dictator.

    Reply

  130. Cee says:

    Don,
    Read the article submitted by POA. If Kristol thinks that Mr. Suave Torturer is in place they can agree to kicking Mubarak to the curb.
    It reminds me of Tom Lantos assuring people in Israel that we would replaced Saddam Hussein with another dictator.

    Reply

  131. Cee says:

    Don,
    Read the article submitted by POA. If Kristol thinks that Mr. Suave Torturer is in place they can agree to kicking Mubarak to the curb.
    It reminds me of Tom Lantos assuring people in Israel that we would replaced Saddam Hussein with another dictator.

    Reply

  132. DonS says:

    and here is another letter to Sec Clinton from May 2010, more urgent. Signatories the same, except Amb Edward Walker not on, and Brian Katulis on.
    http://www.foreignpolicyi.org/node/17776

    Reply

  133. DonS says:

    Abrams was part of the initial “working group” I saw listed, which I later saw a slightly expanded list. That group has been going for quite some time. I tried to trace the group in the last post, but links got mixed up. It’s not even easy to find an official listing, much less and official post of their findings. The group is more broad than the initial listing I saw referenced:
    Here’s who signed onto a letter to Clinton last April:
    http://www.carnegieendowment.org/publications/index.cfm?fa=view&id=40535&prog=zgp&proj=zme&zoom_highlight=egypt+working+group
    Also, on that link there is a pdf link to a response from Clinton which is not very inspiring.

    Reply

  134. Cee says:

    Questions,
    Hamas doesn’t want these folks showing up at any demonstration. Perhaps those women are known.
    http://www.labournet.net/world/0504/wall5.html

    Reply

  135. Dan Kervick says:

    “I suspect Elliot Abrams understood that he was unlikely to be listened to…”
    I suspect he just wants to keep everyone on the White House team at arms length, so he doesn’t get co-opted and can feel free to stab them in the back later.

    Reply

  136. Cee says:

    John Waring,
    Thanks for sharing that. I still believe that Mubarak must go now before he can plan to do more damage to this movement to oust him.

    Reply

  137. Dan Kervick says:

    Good on Steve for stepping up and helping out. I guess Elliot Abrams was too busy to help his country today.

    Reply

  138. nadine says:

    “You have to think now that some heads are going to roll in our own government over this business. Almost whatever way it goes now, there is going to be a lot of finger pointing over the bungling and confusion.
    Usually Steve is all over this kind of thing with the scuttlebutt from his contacts in the Biden camp and the Donilon camp.” (Dan Kervick)
    If the Laura Rozen piece is right, the WH hasn’t begun to wrap their head around the consequences. Dim hopes for the peace process? It was a farce before; now it’s dead as a doornail. Israel is facing the prospect of Hamas about to be armed with US-made missiles by Egypt, and terrorist attacks from across the Sinai border. That’s what a Muslim Brotherhood Egyptian government would do. You think the Israelis feel secure enough to negotiate under those circumstances? Not likely.
    It’s truly as if the White House never had any strategic thinkers. My impression is that their linkage-based mental model of the Middle East just blew up and they are scrambling to put together a Plan B from scratch.

    Reply

  139. DonS says:

    This is interesting: a fairly establishment group of individuals says Mubarak must go ( http://www.politico.com/blogs/laurarozen/0111/Exofficials_urge_Obama_to_suspend_aid_to_Egypt.html?showall ), while official insiders, AKA, Clinton, are not taking this approach.
    The official “working group ” statement doesn’t go so far either:
    Statement of the Working Group on Egypt, Saturday January 29, 2011
    Amidst the turmoil in Egypt, it is important for the U.S. to remain focused on the interests of the Egyptian people as well as the legitimacy and stability of the Egyptian government.
    Only free and fair elections provide the prospect for a peaceful transfer of power to a government recognized as legitimate by the Egyptian people. We urge the Obama administration to pursue these fundamental objectives in the coming days and press the Egyptian government to:
    – call for free and fair elections for president and for parliament to be held as soon as possible.
    – amend the Egyptian Constitution to allow opposition candidates to register to run for the presidency.
    – immediately lift the state of emergency, release political prisoners, and allow for freedom of media and assembly
    BTW, here’s apparently where Steve is engaged, per Laura Rozen:
    http://www.politico.com/blogs/laurarozen/
    Even B. Kristol says Mubarak should go, which makes me wonder. I’ll put the link in next post.

    Reply

  140. Carroll says:

    O.K. Now it’s time to interfere.
    “If” Obama wants to stand by his “human rights and democracy and will of the people” it’s time for him to tell Mubrark the US no longer recognizes him as President of Egypt. Offer him a plane ride out.
    If the street gets no help now from the US there is going to be even more resentment among Egyptians to deal with. No matter how the current revolt goes this won’t be the end of it if Mubarak doesn’t go.
    We know the spiel from Obama and Hillary for public consumption but we don’t know what they have said to Mubarak in private. I think if they had told him the US no longer recongizes him he would would have left.

    Reply

  141. questions says:

    And this from the same article….:
    “Mahmoud Zahar, a Hamas leader in Gaza known for his often fiery outspokenness, said on Monday,

    Reply

  142. questions says:

    Here’s more….
    “Both Hamas and the Western-backed Palestinian Authority have prevented popular demonstrations in support of protesting Egyptians and Tunisians in recent days, apparently preferring to show a front of Palestinian neutrality and worried that things could spin out of control.
    In an early sign that people on both sides were seeking to capitalize on the regional turmoil, Palestinians inspired by how social networking sites helped to mobilize demonstrators in Egypt and Tunisia created two pages on Facebook over the weekend, one urging people to rebel against the Islamic militant rulers of Gaza, and the other against the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.
    By mid-Monday, several thousand fans had registered for the anti-Hamas page, Preparations for Al-Karama (Dignity) Revolution in Gaza, which called for mass protests in Gaza after Friday prayers on Feb. 11. The anti-authority page, Preparations for Revolution against the Zionist-Fatah Authority, called for protests after prayers in the West Bank this Friday, and had attracted a few hundred fans.
    Apparently nervous, the Hamas police dispersed a handful of demonstrators who gathered in Gaza city on Monday afternoon to show support for the Egyptian people. The bearded plainclothes officers called in a group of female officers and arrested three young female demonstrators, a human rights advocate and another male demonstrator. The call for that demonstration was also made through Facebook. ”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/01/world/middleeast/01palestinians.html?hp
    *****
    Now if Hamas doesn’t want a Jasmine Revolution, or whatever, then what do we make of anyone else’s reluctance to go with the flow?
    Anyone gonna bash Hamas for quelling a demo and carrying off 3 young female demonstrators?

    Reply

  143. Dan Kervick says:

    You have to think now that some heads are going to roll in our own government over this business. Almost whatever way it goes now, there is going to be a lot of finger pointing over the bungling and confusion.
    Usually Steve is all over this kind of thing with the scuttlebutt from his contacts in the Biden camp and the Donilon camp.

    Reply

  144. DonS says:

    John Waring, thanks for the link above. It is a sensible point of view. I do speculate that a rapid removal of Mubarak and his replacement cabinet/stooges may be necessary to give enough actuality to the ‘transition’ (if that’s what we are seeing) to indicate to the protesting/opposition forces that movement is happening. Surely these stooges are not need to carry out the actual transition, and it is the army which will be crucial in assessing whether transition will be allowed to go forward.
    Here’s a column from Chris Hedges looking at the larger picture:
    “The failure of the United States to halt the slow-motion ethnic cleansing of Palestinians by Israel has consequences. The failure to acknowledge the collective humiliation and anger felt by most Arabs because of the presence of U.S. troops on Muslim soil, not only in Iraq and Afghanistan but in the staging bases set up in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, has consequences. The failure to denounce the repression, including the widespread use of torture, censorship and rigged elections, wielded by our allies against their citizens in the Middle East has consequences. We are soaked with the stench of these regimes. Mubarak, who reportedly is suffering from cancer, is seen as our puppet, a man who betrayed his own people and the Palestinians for money and power.”
    http://www.truthdig.com/report/page2/what_corruption_and_force_have_wrought_in_egypt_20110130/

    Reply

  145. rc says:

    … and here is a little word-swap game for the nadine and Pearlman types — change “Arab” to “Jew” and see how it feels!

    Reply

  146. DonS says:

    “INVITED TO THE WHITE HOUSE TODAY, per Laura Rozen: Michele Dunn of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and the Brookings Institution’s Robert Kagan. They co-chair a bipartisan working group on Egypt. Also coming are others from their group, including Elliott Abrams, President

    Reply

  147. rc says:

    Don’t get your hopes up too high — there are still plenty more out there!
    “Chayek, who seems proud that he served in the Givati Brigade, an infantry unit that was active in the Gaza Strip during Cast Lead, added: “They’ve attacked us many times before, the Arabs, and we’ve managed to defend ourselves. God protects all the time – God and the army.
    “I’m not worried at all. If the people in Egypt want to kill themselves,” he shrugged. “You write in Al Jazeera that Ron Chayek said ‘a good Arab is a dead Arab’.”
    http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/features/2011/01/201113165139647644.html

    Reply

  148. PissedOffAmerican says:

    This is really quite comical, in a way. After hearing now, for decades, how fellow Arabs care nothing about their Palestinian brethren, the Israeli’s are now terrified that the “arab street” may have a voice.
    These pieces of shit like Nadine and Wiggie will have to read from a new script, soon. The old one has been exposed as bad fiction.

    Reply

  149. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Well, theres always Escobar for a fresh viewpoint……
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MB01Ak02.html

    Reply

  150. rc says:

    Well, it is all looking pretty smooth in Tunisia at present! So what is the issue? The people get a government for them by them etc. Or is that just an American wet dream?
    However, whether real or for media PR effect, it looks like the weather is closing in on Israel (at least in their own minds):
    <<<<
    “[...] Israelis, have been overtaken by fear: The fear of democracy. Not here, in neighbouring countries,” Sever Plocker, an Israeli commentator, writes in the daily Yediot Ahronot.
    “Its as though we never prayed for our Arab neighbours to become liberal democracies,” Plocker writes. . . .
    If Egypt resumes its conflict with Israel, Israelis fear, it will put a powerful Western-armed military on the side of Israel’s enemies while also weakening pro-Western states like Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
    Eli Shaked, a former Israeli ambassador to Cairo, offered a grim assessment on Sunday in Yediot Ahronot.
    “The assumption at present is that Mubarak’s regime is living on borrowed time, and that a transition government will be formed for the next number of months until new general elections are held,” he wrote.
    “If those elections are held in a way that the Americans want, the most likely result will be that the Muslim Brotherhood will win a majority and will be the dominant force in the next government. That is why it is only a question of a brief period of time before Israel’s peace with Egypt pays the price,” Shaked wrote. . . .
    <<<<<
    http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/01/201113177145613.html
    What these characters do not seem to get is this: it is not about ‘has-been’ ideologues buried in 40 y.o. struggles — it is about a youth bulge of highly educated unemployed young people who have the technology and smarts to out govern any non-democratic government.
    Ultimately the parliament is not in some building waiting for rituals and protocols — it is on the street in mobile phones and internet services.
    At its core this is about inter-generational change, whether the old folk get it or not. Feels like the 60s & 70s coming back — or is it just another cruel acid fashback?

    Reply

  151. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Clinton has stated that she does not support Mubarak’s ouster. She wants to see a smooth transition to reforms. In other words, she is giving Mubarak a wink and a nod to remain in power. All thats left now is the continued demonization of the protest movement and the opposition. Already, the media “tone” has shifted to the looting and the violence, laying the groundwork for a media justification of a Mubarak crack down.

    Reply

  152. rc says:

    What IP peace process? Things must be getting interesting for this political rat to start showing up on the ME media radar screen again. Looks like his successful fake ‘peace process’ might be under threat.
    <<<<<<
    The former British prime minister [Tony Blair] did not say explicitly whether Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak must step down. But he said it’s important that Egypt holds proper elections and that any transition take place in an orderly fashion.
    “People want to get to a position where the Egyptian people are able to express their will in free and fair elections,” he said. “But I think the watchword is change with care, because at the same time we have to make sure any change occurs with stability and order.”
    In particular, he said he was concerned that unrest in Egypt could disrupt the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
    “Change is going to happen, but it should be the right type of change and that process of change needs to be managed with order and stability so that you don’t end up in a situation worse than the one we have and destabilizing the region,” Blair said. . . .
    <<<<
    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/01/31/ap/middleeast/main7301355.shtml

    Reply

  153. Cee says:

    I’m sick of hearing the MB mentioned on the news every few minutes since they won’t tell the entire truth about them.
    I don’t think they’ll allow themselves to be used again.
    http://www.historycommons.org/context.jsp?item=western_support_for_islamic_militancy_202700

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  154. questions says:

    It’s all positioning….. It’s not about belief at this point, it’s about buying off the best possible deal, getting back at enemies, sabotaging one person’s chances or one group’s chances, dividing and so on.

    Reply

  155. Cee says:

    I wonder who is advising Mubarak. Does anyone buy this nonsense?
    Meanwhile, further statements from Hosni Mubarak and his regime give a sense of his current strategy. He implicitly blamed the Muslim Brotherhood for the sabotage and arson that has been committed against government institutions, including police stations. He contrasted the hooliganism of the Brotherhood with the peaceful aspirations of most Egyptians, and pledged to work for economic and social reform (while giving the pledge no content).
    http://www.juancole.com/

    Reply

  156. non-hater says:

    “This is shameful.”
    It’s also laughable. What the heck does Israel know about preserving stability in the region?

    Reply

  157. DonS says:

    “An Open Letter to President Barack Obama”:
    “As political scientists, historians, and researchers in related fields who have studied the Middle East and U.S. foreign policy, we the undersigned believe you have a chance to move beyond rhetoric to support the democratic movement sweeping over Egypt. As citizens, we expect our president to uphold those values.”
    ” It is also clear to us that if you seek, as you said Friday

    Reply

  158. Cee says:

    This is shameful.
    http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/israel-urges-world-to-curb-criticism-of-egypt-s-mubarak-1.340238
    Israel called on the United States and a number of European countries over the weekend to curb their criticism of President Hosni Mubarak to preserve stability in the region.
    It doesn’ t matter that the Egyptian people suffer
    http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2011/01/former-managing-director-of-goldman.html

    Reply

  159. rc says:

    Just recorded live on Egypt. Gives Obama a slamming for lack of spine and hypocrisy.
    “Egypt – what next?
    Robert Fisk
    Award winning Middle East Correspondent for The Independent
    Professor Lawrence Pintak
    Founding Dean of the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University; former Middle East Correspondent, CBS News.”
    http://www.abc.net.au/rn/latenightlive/stories/2011/3126037.htm

    Reply

  160. Cee says:

    From Antiwar.com
    Hosni Mubarak

    Reply

  161. questions says:

    “Also on Monday, a leading Muslim Brotherhood official told The Associated Press that the fundamentalist movement wants to form a committee of opposition groups along with Nobel laureate and leading reform advocate Mohammad ElBaradei as a way of uniting the disparate groups calling for Mubarak’s ouster.
    Sa’ad el-Katatni said that his group has not selected ElBaradei to represent it.”
    same link as above.

    Reply

  162. rc says:

    Unlike the Iranian Shia (who are expecting the return of the 12th Imam) Egyptian Sunna are generally conservative and without those irrational millennial urges.
    As for religiosity in governance: don’t forget GWBush (who said Jsus was his favorite philosopher) and his mad court of wackers, including some US Generals who thought planes flying in the air were devils passing by; and of course, the odd apartheid state bent on living out the old tired ‘chosen ones’ fantasy on other people’s property.

    Reply

  163. questions says:

    ATMs are out of money. Banks are closed. Markets falling around the world and in the region….
    Today’s US markets will be interesting. Bad day to cash out.
    Police on the streets, low profile. Traffic control.

    Reply

  164. questions says:

    Million Man March on Tuesday.
    Memes are amazing. And they are billing it as multicultural, to boot.
    You know, one of the major things to remember about the possible asymmetry with Iran is that Iran has already happened and it’s possible that the MB doesn’t think it’s paradise.
    The stated goals of the MB may not align with political reality and political reality is Twitter, Facebook, 80 million pissed off Egyptians, and a lot of faction.
    Again, we’re not going to know til the dust settles. It’s right to be alarmed, but there’s no way to alter events, and further repression would just make the next bubble burst even worse.
    Mubarak has a small chance for partial redemption by negotiating a quieter transition and I really hope that’s what’s happening behind the scenes.
    The next govt will find some significant realities — the US provides a lot of money and it might be a good idea to keep that flowing. The military likes itself some pay and weapons systems and there’s nothing like a military complex to keep some policies in status quo. Further, once the governing power is in power, it will probably want to stay there and it may not actually welcome more radical elements. It’s hard to say, though. But there doesn’t seem to be a craving for theocracy, and my sense is that Iran actually liked the theocracy idea at first as the Shah had be relentlessly secular.
    I think the US has a hard time with religious impulses in governing structures, and in fact, many people who have a religious bent don’t see that if you go too far with the religion-in-government thing, you don’t really get the version of religiosity you want. Iran seems to have had this problem.
    I am hopeful that Egypt won’t walk the same path. After all, they have Iran as an example, and they haven’t been through the history of religious repression.
    It’s good to keep these asymmetries in mind, while still remembering that the religious impulse in politics can be pretty potent and crazed. The US has plenty of our own theocratic leaning crazees.

    Reply

  165. rc says:

    King Tut II has spoken!
    <<<<
    Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, facing a popular revolt against his rule, has ordered Ahmed Shafiq, the new prime minister to preserve subsidies, control inflation and provide more jobs.
    Protesters who have rocked the nation of 80 million people, a key US ally in the Arab world, complain about surging prices and the growing inequality in the society but have also called for a new political system.
    “I require you to bring back confidence in our economy,” Mubarak said in a letter to Shafiq, read on TV on Sunday.
    “I trust your ability to implement economic policies that accord the highest concern to people’s suffering.
    “I stress that subsidy provisions in their different forms must not be tampered with and that your government just challenge all forms of corruption,” Mubarak said….
    <<<<
    http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/01/201113101237787481.html
    Oh, to have some ‘Royal We’!
    After 30 years he might even try rolling the tides back.

    Reply

  166. nadine says:

    dirk, that was shorthand for: el Baradei is an Islamist supporter who spent years at the IAEA helping Iran deny their nuclear program was for military purposes; he would perform a similar function for the Muslim Brotherhood. He has been outside Egypt for years and is said to have very little political support inside the country, but every reporter knows his name, which makes him a great spokesman when you need someone to explain that you really are moderate now; those thousands of Egyptians killed in terror attacks in the 1990s and 2000s had nothing to do with you. In short, a great pawn for the Muslim Brotherhood.

    Reply

  167. Dirk says:

    “And don’t mention el Baradei, he’d just be a stooge for the Brotherhood like he was a stooge for Ahmedinejad.”
    Nadine, you said on another post that someone was impersonated you. Is this quote also from someone trying to impugn your ability to form coherent thoughts? Reading some of your comments, it’s hard to tell sometimes.

    Reply

  168. nadine says:

    Remember that the Quran includes the command to Muslim rulers to enforce virtue and forbid vice. Dress codes, Virtue Police beating women who show an ankle or men who shave, it’s all part of the package. Look at Saudi Arabia. And for whatever noises Qutb may have made about democracy, you don’t notice any new elections in, say, Gaza, do you? PM Erdogan said it best: “Democracy is a street car. When you get to your destination, you get off.”

    Reply

  169. Dan Kervick says:

    “The Islamic part describes a theocracy that controls all aspects of life.”
    In what way does it “control” it though? Qutb was a fairly naive utopian who thought that Muslims should be obedient to the law of God, but that life in accordance with the Quran requires no judges and no police. He apparently thought the law of God was somehow so natural and transparent to the believer that obedience ensued once the divine command was heard and understood.

    Reply

  170. nadine says:

    “Sayyid Qutb’s seminal form of Islamism has been called “anarcho-Islamism” and holds that Muslims should resist all forms of government in which people are in servitude to other people. It really doesn’t have much in common with modern totalitarian thinking, or share the latter’s fondness for dictatorship and rigid bureaucratic hierarchy and control.”
    Qutb regards the Quran as a literal book of instructions. He is demanding a pure theocracy where every aspect of life is ordered by the Quran, under Muslim leadership. The “anarcho-” part is only when Muslims live under non-Muslim leadership (which can include Muslim leaders that the Qutb’s followers think are corrupt). The Islamic part describes a theocracy that controls all aspects of life. That’s pretty totalitarian.
    Have you read The Looming Tower? You really should.

    Reply

  171. DonS says:

    Overheard: “Any fool knows that the CIA has engineered any number of dirty deeds. They could dump Mubarak in a heartbeat if they want to.”

    Reply

  172. Dan Kervick says:

    One possibility is that the police are being redeployed to stop looters and restore basic security, but will not take action against the protesters. The protesters and residents have been organizing themselves into neighborhood watches to stop looting.

    Reply

  173. Dan Kervick says:

    “”Islamism” has a specific meaning – it is the blending of ancient sharia law with modern dictatorship.”
    Sorry, but that’s just wrong. First, “Islamism” is an exceedingly vague term, coined primarily by western social scientists in the second half of the 20th century, referring to all manner of attitudes that are all seen to be part of the broad and diverse resurgence of Islamic thought on political thinking that took place during that period. The leading thinkers of what we think of as the Islamist movement all favor in one way or another a return to traditional notions of Islamic governance – governance consistent with Islamic law – and have regarded modern totalitarianism and dictatorship, for example the Stalinist and Baathist type practiced by Saddam, as corrupt Western imports. The Muslim countries historically have generally been characterized by weak central states socially underpinned by networks of clans, tribes and emirates, and bear little resemblance to the dictatorial structures of modern totalitarianism.
    Sayyid Qutb’s seminal form of Islamism has been called “anarcho-Islamism” and holds that Muslims should resist all forms of government in which people are in servitude to other people. It really doesn’t have much in common with modern totalitarian thinking, or share the latter’s fondness for dictatorship and rigid bureaucratic hierarchy and control.
    Shariah is simply Islamic Law. Most of of the countries of the Middle East have long incorporated Shariah into their legal systems in at least some form – particular the civil realm – even during the 20th century. Some countries, like Egypt, Syria and Iraq, experienced more influence by western socialism and Arab nationalism and have seen more influence from western legal systems. On the Arabian Peninsula, the commitment to Islamic law was strong throughout.
    In fact, few call the Saudis “Islamist”, even though the Saudis have funded Islamist movements, and although there are certainly Islamists who have been strongly influenced by the Wahhabi for of Salafism. The only governments that are labeled “Islamist” by contemporary polemicists are those that draw some inspiration from the modern movement of the same name. Theocracy on the Arab peninsula has been around forever, and the Saudi form dates to the 18th-century, and so is not really constitutive of the modern tendency of resurgence refereed to in the west as “Islamism”.

    Reply

  174. PissedOffAmerican says:

    And a CNN journalist, IN Egypt, is verifying that captured looters are being found to be carrying Egyptian Police ID papers. The redeployment is no doubt going to be justified by the covert actions of the very forces being redeployed.
    Should the police be redeployed this is going to get very bloody. It will be interesting to see what this fuckin’ posturing coward Obama has to say in the face of hundreds or thousands of dead Egyptians on the streets of Cairo.

    Reply

  175. nadine says:

    “We simply don’t know what’s going to happen. We simply don’t know how the MB, or any other group, will act if they gain power. That’s why freezing all of them out was so counterproductive.” (John Waring)
    This was the reasoning of the Weimar Republic which allowed the Nazi Party to put up Hitler as a candidate. They didn’t know how the Nazis would act if they gained power. The Conventional Wisdom of the day assumed the anti-Semitic rhetoric was just a ploy to gain support. They didn’t want to freeze them out.
    Just a reminder that sometimes letting in a party in can be even more counterproductive than freezing it out. It pays to listen carefully to what the party’s own leaders say about it.
    Mohammed Badi, leader of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, declared an aggressive jihad and war on America last October. Were you listening?
    Read Lawrence Wright’s The Looming Tower for background info on the MB and their spinoff, al Qaeda.
    It may be that there is nothing we can do to prevent an MB takeover and the ensuing bloodbath when they take revenge on Pharoah and his men. But this “who knows anything about the MB? nobody can tell what they will do” is fairly maddening. They themselves have told us what they will do in no uncertain terms. You just haven’t been listening.

    Reply

  176. nadine says:

    STRATFOR reports that Interior Minister al-Adly is going to redeploy the police and crack down on the demonstrators. We’ll see if this is right soon enough.
    http://www.stratfor.com/analysis/20110130-egyptian-police-redeploying

    Reply

  177. nadine says:

    Dan, I’m confused – who doesn’t call Saudi Arabia Islamist? They are a theocracy. Corrupt, but a theocracy. They are in fact, responsible for much of the current wave of radical Islamism, since they have spent billions proselytizing a fundamentalist Wahhabi theology around the globe for 30 years.
    “Islamism” is just the name a variety of different contemporary trends that have a common element in that they represent a resurgence of Islamic thought over politics in the Islamic world. But this is a region in which Islam has been the dominant unifying cultural and political force for over 1400 years! “Islamism” among Islamic peoples is pretty much to be expected. ”
    Well, no, if it was to be expected then why wasn’t it there 80 years ago? or 40? You are using the word “Islamism” as if it meant no more than “Islamic” but this is incorrect. “Islamism” has a specific meaning – it is the blending of ancient sharia law with modern dictatorship. You can call Islamists “moderate” or “radical” depending on whether they want to attain power with elections or bombs; but once in, they don’t intend to give up power voluntarily.
    Islam is one parent of Islamism; but fascism, which was extremely influential in the Arab world in the 1930s and 1940s, is the other.

    Reply

  178. Dan Kervick says:

    “There can’t be elections outside of an already existing system that the protesters, this one at least, refuse.”
    There is no contradiction. To get a democracy, they first have to eject their authoritarian government. Once they do, they can hopefully get a caretaker government filled with respected national figures that rules by popular consent during the transition period in which they set a date for elections and put in place a process for constitutional reform.
    This has happened and succeeded many times before, most famously in a large number of Soviet bloc countries who accomplished precisely this feat following their own deposition of Soviet-era totalitarian regimes, but also in South Korea and the Philippines.

    Reply

  179. Dan Kervick says:

    “Islamism” is just the name a variety of different contemporary trends that have a common element in that they represent a resurgence of Islamic thought over politics in the Islamic world. But this is a region in which Islam has been the dominant unifying cultural and political force for over 1400 years! “Islamism” among Islamic peoples is pretty much to be expected. The very idea that we can expect to see or foster governments that are resolutely secular and non-Islamic, and that ape the materialistic atheist values of the self-styled “modernists” of parts of the elite Western political class, is foolish, ahistorical, culturally illiterate and politically inept. The governments of that region have *always* been “Islamist”, at least since the time of Muhammad.
    Strangely, the politics of Saudi Arabia is not generally categorized as “Islamist”, even though the government and political culture of Saudi Arabia is far more pervasively steeped in and committed to Islamic government than is a so-called “Islamist” polity like democratic Turkey. The Wahhabist Saudi clergy and their religious police is a very powerful and fiercely assertive and domineering force, and plays a massive role in the everyday life of Saudi Arabia. And yet the much milder Turkish polity catches the grief from American critics. I guess that’s just because Saudi Arabia is *so* conservative and *so* Islamic that they constitute for us a kind of “paleo-Islamism” that Westerners accept so long as the trade terms are acceptable. Or maybe we just have a romantic and reactionary attachment to kings and monarchies over messy democracies.
    Though we can’t make the governments of the Islamic world thoroughly non-Islamic, we nmight have some not insignificant influence over the forms and nature of these governments in the region by the way in which we interact with these societies, and by pursuing policies that refrain from empowering the most extreme, xenophobic and reactionary elements in them. An Egypt with a democratic government in which there is a major party Islamist party is preferable to either the “modernizing” authoritarian torture factory that runs the country now or the more extreme form of Islamism which will eventually take over if the Islamic ummah remains the only form of constructive and politically legitimized political engagement that is open to people unhappy with their government, and the only unified social organization that enjoys enough immunity from the authoritarian state to constitute an opposition.
    The United States has been making the same mistake in the Middle East that it made in Latin America in a previous generation, siding with authoritarian despots and brutal torturers – people like Pinochet – for example, because in the name of blocking Communism, it decided it preferred fascist corporatism and militarism, coupled with US fealty and dependence, to independent democratic socialism. The US could never understand that the manifestation of democracy in the Catholic cultures of Latin America, steeped in an ancient Church ethos of community obligation, cooperation and solidarity, was never going to look like the hyper-capitalistic self-interest driven individualism of the United States. Even now, we see a variety of socialist-inflected governments throughout Latin America. And they are hardly tearing down the world order.

    Reply

  180. questions says:

    General strike Monday and a big march Tues?????

    Reply

  181. questions says:

    This is really really interesting…
    First you see this:
    “”We want to be like America. We want to choose our president,” said Mohammed el-Rady, a 32-year-old accountant who works for the government but was nonetheless on the streets protesting against the president. “This movement is not about Islam. It’s not about religion. It’s about people who have been suffering for 30 years who want democracy.” ”
    Which really sounds nice. He wants to choose. Fine.
    But there’s this:
    “The demonstrators, who proudly assert that they answer to no individual or organization, have demanded fair and free national elections to choose Egypt’s president.”
    From the same article.
    And there’s something of a contradiction here. Free to choose, refusing to choose at the same time. Now of course, the choice they want is electoral choice, but if you don’t have a system in place, a sort of pre-system or proto-system at any rate, it’s not like you can choose in elections. There can’t be elections outside of an already existing system that the protesters, this one at least, refuse.
    Unless and until SOMEone provides a framework, something of a system, there won’t really be any meaningful choice to make. It’s one of those funny contradictions that we bump into. Freedom requires some amount of constraint, license isn’t really free it turns out.
    Maybe some of the poets could work on this contradiction?

    Reply

  182. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Considering the absolute maggot-like behaviour of some that have posted here, such as this Pearlman, a guy would have to be crazy to post using his actual identity. Trusting some maggot like Pearlman with that kind of information would be sheer stupidity.

    Reply

  183. Cee says:

    In the last year of his life, Martin Luther King Jr. questioned US military interventions against progressive movements in the Third World by invoking a JFK quote: “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”
    Were he alive to witness the last three decades of US foreign policy, King might update that quote by noting: “Those who make secular revolution impossible will make extreme Islamist revolution inevitable.”
    http://www.truth-out.org/jeff-cohen-fear-extreme-islamists-arab-world-blame-washington67267

    Reply

  184. DonS says:

    Whereas, Bill “I notice that the most virulent anti-semites on this site hide behind acronyms” Pearlman (did you ever consider what “virtual” meant) is here because . . . well, why Bill?
    BTW, are you related to the Far Rockaway Pearlmans? Judging from you demeanor, you would be the son/grandson. Big fat guy (weren’t they all) with a smelly cigar.

    Reply

  185. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Nadine has a legitimate concern that radicals may gain control in the Egyptian Revolution”
    Actually, no matter WHO “gains control” they will of course be presented as radicals by Nadine and her ilk, no matter their true disposition. For Israel, Mubarak MUST be allowed to maintain control, and if not Mubarak, another suitable puppet that can be masqueraded as a “reformist”.
    And if “radicals” do gain control, who’s fault is that? Cannot we accurately attribute their ascendency to our own (and Israel’s) policies these last few decades?
    Simplifying, lets just call it “karma”.

    Reply

  186. Bill Pearlman says:

    Come on guys, Carroll and her side kick poa, could work it around to the Jews and Israel no matter what the topic is.

    Reply

  187. John Waring says:

    The Jacobins hijacked the French Revolution. The Bolsheviks hijacked the Russian Revolution. Both instituted reigns of terror.
    Nadine has a legitimate concern that radicals may gain control in the Egyptian Revolution. Given the repression of the last thirty years, all bets are off.
    We simply don’t know what’s going to happen. We simply don’t know how the MB, or any other group, will act if they gain power. That’s why freezing all of them out was so counterproductive.

    Reply

  188. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “The country is descending into chaos with severe shortages of basic necessities, a lack of fundamental security – police, fire, etc, and a rise in paranoia and suspicion”
    Undoubtedly, this is Mubarak’s strategy. When the anarchy becomes intolerable, he will crack down using the chaos and societal breakdown as a justification. Israel and the United States will present Mubarak’s crackdown as neccessary and just, while mewling some horseshit about how this event “has underscored the need for reforms, which Mubarak must implement immediately”, which, of course, he will not do, as media attention becomes focused elsewhere.
    I may be wrong, but I just can’t see how Israel and the whores in DC can allow Mubarak to fall. It changes the entire complexion of the Middle East as it relates to Israel’s security, and her ability to maintain the status quo in Gaza.

    Reply

  189. ... says:

    leave nadine to entertain her imaginary enemies…changing peoples opinions and views is a fools game…

    Reply

  190. jdledell says:

    Nadine – Whether the Muslim Brotherhood turns out to be good guys or bad guys or something in the middle is irrelvent. There is not a damn thing the US or Israel can do about it one way or another. This is about the Egyptians – it’s their lives and land and they have to live with the consequences. No outside force is, or should be, making the choice for them.
    My guess is that all the arab countries will become Islamic republics within the next 20 years. That goes for Tunisia, Libya, Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Iraq. This is a phase of history that must take its course. Just like Communism had a limited lifetime of usefulness so will Islamism. When Islamism can no longer satisfy its population, it will tossed on the scapeheap of history, but not before then.
    The west, including Israel, cannot stop this tide with words, money or military might. We should step aside and let it happen while protecting ourselves against its excesses.

    Reply

  191. Dan Kervick says:

    For those of you who are not doing so already, I would recommend watching the live feed from Al-Jazeera in English at:
    http://english.aljazeera.net/
    The country is descending into chaos with severe shortages of basic necessities, a lack of fundamental security – police, fire, etc, and a rise in paranoia and suspicion. The situation will degrade into tremendous violence and irreparable political chaos and extremism without prompt action.
    The US has already said that it now wants to see Egypt make a peaceful transition to the new government. The die is cast; we have already cut the tie with the Mubarak regime. Prominent global leaders need to throw their support to the transitional government movement that has emerged, make promises of aid and support to assist in the transition, encourage the Egyptian military to get on the side of al-Baradei and the transitional government, and help kick this transition into gear NOW.

    Reply

  192. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “nadine, no one on here has said the Egyptian revolt was about Israel”
    However, the United States’ response may well be “about Israel”.

    Reply

  193. Cee says:

    We need to stay out of this.
    Groton Guard detachment is heading to Egypt
    Published 01/24/2011 12:00 AMUpdated 01/24/2011 04:59 AM0
    Groton – Connecticut National Guard Detachment 2, Company I, 185th Aviation Regiment of Groton has mobilized and will deploy to the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt, to support the Multinational Force and Observers.
    The unit left Connecticut Jan. 15 for Fort Benning, Ga., for further training and validation. The unit operates C-23C Sherpa aircraft and has deployed three times in the last seven years in support of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
    The unit will provide an on-demand aviation asset to the Multinational Force and Observers commander to support its mission of supervising the security provisions of the Egypt/ Israel Peace Treaty.
    Chief Warrant Officer Four James Smith of Ivoryton commands the aviation unit.

    Reply

  194. Carroll says:

    Posted by nadine, Jan 30 2011, 4:01PM – Link
    Carroll, I was talking about Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood and the nature of the opposition to Mubarak.
    People who respond to that by saying “It’s the Jews! It’s the Zionists! It’s their fault! Everybody be disgusted with THEM!” — well I don’t have to say what they are, they’ve just demonstrated it themselves for all to see.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    nadine, no one on here has said the Egyptian revolt was about Israel. I think to a person everyone has commented on the economic inequity and the corruption and the repression under Mubarak.
    You are just baiting again so you can insinuate that Israel critics are anti semites.
    Exactly what is it you hope to accomplish on here?
    Is this just your place to take out your resentment of gentiles, Europeans, Turks, Muslims, Arabs and the Israel critical non Jewish world in general?
    I think your sabtoage of Steve and TNW and commenters here has failed..maybe you need to find a new baiting territory.

    Reply

  195. JohnH says:

    I would not worry about Mubarak and his family, questions. He has absconded with plenty of money over 30 years and must have plenty of houses as well.
    But you are right to worry about the Egyptian people, where the next government places its loyalties, and the amount of violence and repression used in service of those loyalties.
    Fragile balances, like you see in Lebanon, invite the self-serving intervention of all sorts of disreputable players from all sorts of neighbors and particularly outside powers.

    Reply

  196. questions says:

    So is Mubarak negotiating with Citibank for a good rate on a mortgage?
    Or does he think he still has a country?
    Or something link an army/police struggle???
    “But the army took no steps against the protesters, who cheered as the helicopters and fighter jets passed overhead. In an unprecedented scene, some of them lofted a captain in uniform on their shoulders, marching him through a square suffused with protesters that cut across Egypt

    Reply

  197. nadine says:

    So far, the army is neither enforcing the curfew nor telling Mubarak to go. The army is the kingmaker here. Until they take sides, the situation may stay in a standoff.

    Reply

  198. questions says:

    Banks closed,bread tripled in price, and the people keep defying the curfew. Amazing.
    If they can stay organized through the restructuring, they might manage. That’s asking a lot of people, but certainly anyone who takes on a thugocracy is pretty amazing.
    Hope someone finds a nice ski lodge or tropical straw hut for Mubarak. Whatever he wants.
    And if the new “cabinet” can side with El Baradei maybe they can have a smoother rather than rougher transition.

    Reply

  199. JohnH says:

    You would think that the hasbaristas would spend their time on sites where people are a lot more gullible…like mainstream media blogs.
    But I do enjoy watching their increasing levels of hysteria as their narrative loses currency.

    Reply

  200. Bill Pearlman says:

    Come on Carroll, you have a site where the jerusalem post is propaganda. And mondoweiss is seen has the gospel. Nobody is looking to change your mind or poa. It would be like Arafat liking women. Or Hitler becoming a zionist. Just calls for a little debate.

    Reply

  201. nadine says:

    Carroll, I was talking about Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood and the nature of the opposition to Mubarak.
    People who respond to that by saying “It’s the Jews! It’s the Zionists! It’s their fault! Everybody be disgusted with THEM!” — well I don’t have to say what they are, they’ve just demonstrated it themselves for all to see.

    Reply

  202. Carroll says:

    Can anyone figure out why nadine and wig and pearlman are even here except to make more enemies for Israel and do the Joooos baiting thing?
    Seriously?
    Their propaganda is ineffective and transparent and they haven’t been able to influence anyone’s opinions. On the contrary they have just increased people’s disgust with zionism and Israel.
    I don’t get it. Are they just stupid? Do zionist think making themselves more and more repugnant to people is the key to victory for zionism and Israel?
    Give it a rest nadine, using ‘anti American” in Israel’s behalf is as silly as your anti semite and evil Islam rants.

    Reply

  203. samuelburke says:

    boooh!!! don’t be frightened little girl.
    Egypt

    Reply

  204. JohnH says:

    “Israel may enter a North-Korean hysterical-paranoid state of mind, and that could be really dangerous for everyone.”
    I’d say that the neocon/AIPAC crowd reached a hysterical-paranoid state of mind years ago, as you can see by the frenzied hysteria of some posters here.
    BTW did you know that “As the Jewish Encyclopedia put it, “David waged a SACRED WAR OF EXTERMINATION against the Amalekites,” who may have subsequently disappeared from history.” (Wikipedia) So that precedent combined with the fact that the Likud and their settler crazies are once again fighting Amalek may pose an existential threat the rest of humanity should that hysterical-paranoid state of mind translate into desperate action.

    Reply

  205. nadine says:

    “The MB has street cred, may have matured, may not do exactly what “we” (whoever that is) want, but may be able to take part in a coalition working group that goes the next step or two towards a government.”
    Yes, questions, just like the MB offshoot Hamas, who took part in a coalition government in Gaza…until they machine-gunned their coalition partners and threw them off roofs, then took total power.
    In any revolution with 90% disorganized moderates and 10% organized extremists, history tells you that you should bet on the extremists coming out on top. The moderates may not be willing to use violence, but the extremists certainly are. The percentage of organized extremists is probably even higher in Egypt, as Hamas and al Qaeda reinforcements pour in to help the MB.
    I am afraid this is the Kerensky revolution…the Bolsheviks are organized and waiting for their moment to seize power…until they do, they will tell anyone foolish enough to listen how moderate they have become, and how willing they are to join a coalition government. The BBC et. al. will gladly report that the MB have been moderated by the prospect of responsibility. “Useful idiots,” as Lenin called them, are even more plentiful today than in Lenin’s time.

    Reply

  206. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Blahblablahblah……
    I guess Questions and Nadine have decided to take turns posting links to the JP propaganda arm of the Israeli government.
    But no need for all this longwinded shit, really.
    One need only ask the question; “If the “arab street”, (of ANY arab country), is represented democratically, with a say in their government’s actions and policies, will they support policies or actions that are complicit with Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, Israel’s demonization of Iran, or continued blockade of the Gaza strip?”
    The answer, is, “Of course not”.
    Nor is the “arab street” prone to allow the continued meddling that the United States engages in the affairs of their governments.
    The TRUTH is with all the slobbering in Israel and Washington about “democracy”, Israel and Washington are TERRIFIED of the prospect of the global Muslim community becoming democratized within their individual nations. Israel, and the United States, are LOSING CONTROL over middle eastern events, governments, and alliances. As Steve has pointed out, there is no “contingency plan” for what is unfolding. Obama and Netanyahu are being forced into knee jerk reactions, which could become quite dangerous. Netanyahu is a racist monster, and Obama is an inept coward. Its not hard to imagine who is going to be wearing the collar, and who is going to be holding the leash.

    Reply

  207. nadine says:

    “Yes, according to al-Jazeera, the National Coalition for Change, which includes the Muslim Brotherhood but also several other opposition groups has coalesced around al-Baradei.” (Dan Kervick)
    Thanks for that info, Dan, but it may mean no more than the MB has chosen el Baradei as a spokesman, knowing the importance of having a spokesman with the “credibility” of a phone number on Western reporters’ rolodexes. el Baradei’s sympathies have been openly Islamist for a long time (just like al Jazeera’s).
    I notice that nobody has heard anything from any of the opposition candidates from last year’s fraudulent elections.

    Reply

  208. questions says:

    JPost on “It’s not Israel” — the author notes the dearth of signs condemning Israel. Interesting observation.
    Mild mannered doctors and lawyers and metrosexual 20-somethings don’t march in the street for other people. They march for themselves.
    Suicide bombers don’t bomb for others, they bomb for themselves.
    There’s plenty of ‘concern’ for other people, but that concern rarely turns into a willing revolution, a willing self-sacrifice, a willing radicalization.
    These emotions/actions (wherever the line is between) come from one’s own condition, one’s own hopes and those of one’s own family and close circle.
    For sure, Israel has massive security concerns at this point, and for sure they are running risk analysis flow charts, downing Prozac and cocaine by the ton, and beta blockers come to think of it, and they, like the rest of us are waiting, spying, hoping for stable shifts rather than crazed shifts.
    The MB has street cred, may have matured, may not do exactly what “we” (whoever that is) want, but may be able to take part in a coalition working group that goes the next step or two towards a government.
    My current suggestion is to call Colombia, as they have rooted out deep corruption to a large extent, and their judiciary seems to function, or so I’ve read.
    Maybe that’s the model?
    And if I were the MB, I’d keep the Gaza border closed, but I’d send huge amounts of food, toys, cement mix, bricks and the like through a large tunnel.
    You don’t need the people coming in, but man do you need to support them on the human rights level.
    Oh, Paul, I think NK is a little further than they’ll go, but I think Israel can get pretty batshit insane while stopping short of that.

    Reply

  209. Paul Norheim says:

    From the NYT article Questions linked to:
    “Events of the past five years

    Reply

  210. DonS says:

    nadine, you apparently missed both of my messages above, so I’ll repeat it again. Now I will suggest you stop the ad hominems (I consider “anti-American” a strong ad hominem, since I am an American; remember Joe McCarthy) and, in addition, you’re bordering on harrassment:
    nadine, I don’t need to remind everyone that you have very recently been threatened with being barred from commenting here because of your ad hominem attacks and specifically virulent accusations of anti-Semitism. Your credibility to comment in objective ways on a matters crucial to neocon/Likudist interest is zero. You made that bed now lie in it.

    Reply

  211. nadine says:

    DonS, I don’t do ad hominems; they are the specialty of your side of the argument on TWN. Just look at the names I’ve been called on this thread alone. I merely asked you to name some Mideast policy question where you did not wind up on the same side as Ahmedinejad and Hizbullah. Is there one?
    For anyone inclined to believe MB’s current protestations that they are not violent or extreme, I suggest reading Lawrence Wright’s The Looming Tower, where he goes into their philosophy and background in some detail. They learned to lay low after they massacred dozens of tourist in Luxor in the 1990s and got crushed by Mubarak and Suleiman.

    Reply

  212. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Speaking about Bergen, I saw the most bizzarre interview on CNN last night. It had Max Boot interviewing Bergen about Bergen’s new book. WTF is Max Boot doing as an interviewer on CNN??? Shouldn’t an interviewer be someone that can at least PRETEND to be presenting an unbiased line of questioning?

    Reply

  213. Dan Kervick says:

    “Have you seen an iota of evidence that he has any following inside Egypt?”
    Yes, according to al-Jazeera, the National Coalition for Change, which includes the Muslim Brotherhood but also several other opposition groups has coalesced around al-Baradei.

    Reply

  214. samuelburke says:

    Do you remember that line from the old saturday night live
    program…Jane you ignorant sl-t.
    nadine and her ziocon friends are fear mongering their way into
    the sheeples heart by using the muslim brotherhood as their
    whipping boy.
    this below is from mondoweiss dot net.
    3. Hamas/Muslim Brotherhood. The most important statement
    on cable news I have seen in days came from Peter Bergen,
    security analyst for CNN, when he demolished an anchor’s
    suggestion that the Muslim Brotherhood is a terrorist
    organization. The MB is a “responsible” organization that has
    renounced terrorist tactics long ago. “Of course they are
    democratic,” Bergen said.”These groups are all around the Middle
    East, sometimes they become the government. We saw that with
    Hamas.” Brilliant breakthrough, thank you Bergen. James North
    pointed out days ago here that MB wants nothing to do with Al
    Qaeda.
    http://mondoweiss.net/2011/01/correcting-a-slur-against-
    egypts-muslim-brotherhood.html

    Reply

  215. questions says:

    Here’s a nice summary of the Israeli concerns and involvement:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/31/world/middleeast/31israel.html?hp

    Reply

  216. DonS says:

    nadine, apparently you missed my comment, so I’ll repeat it, and suggest you to stop the ad hominem:
    nadine, I don’t need to remind everyone that you have very recently been threatened with being barred from commenting here because of your ad hominem attacks and specifically virulent accusations of anti-Semitism. Your credibility to comment in objective ways on a matters crucial to neocon/Likudist interest is zero. You made that bed now lie in it.

    Reply

  217. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Of course it goes without saying that my 1:04 comment was directed towards the gaseous ruminations of the waffle-brained “questions” character.

    Reply

  218. nadine says:

    DonS, care to name a single Mideast policy position where you are not on the same side as Ahmedinejad and Hizbullah?

    Reply

  219. nadine says:

    el Baradei is one of those figures who is known to the BBC. Have you seen an iota of evidence that he has any following inside Egypt? He would just be a stooge for the MB anyway, did you catch him telling Christiane Amanpour that the MB are not extremist?
    If the Egyptian army has any brains, they will remember the fate of the Iranian army after they did a deal with Khomenei.
    Here’s a report from an Israeli tour guide who says the protesters are very friendly to Israeli tourists:
    “The attitude towards us as Israelis and tourist is very friendly. Actually, they’re overly nice compared to my previous visits in Egypt. The Egyptians want to explain themselves, to tell everyone about their struggle. They speak Arabic over here so it’s easy to communicate with them. On Friday we went right past the demonstrations on our way back from the pyramids, and people helped us get though the crowd.”
    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4021125,00.html
    This protest is not about Israel.

    Reply

  220. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Yeah, yeah, yeah. The people of Egypt want what we all want. But besides the essential commodities of day to day life, they want ideological representation from their government. Mubarak’s complicity with the United States in regards to Israel IS NOT representative of the “arab street’s” sentiments, regardless of what Wiggie or this fuckin’ bigot Nadine say.
    You want to separate Israel from what is occurring. But you can’t, because whatever policies we (Washington) adopt, posture we assume, and manipulations we employ, will ALL be done with our relationship with Israel as a primary consideration, the welfare and “rights” of the Egyptian people being secondary. I well know your asinine and disingenuous denial of the sway that Israel holds over American foreign policy. I don’t need one more obsfucating and diversionary bit of intellectual gymnastics from you as further evidence of what a long-winded jackass you can be in advancing a ridiculous argument. Go jerk off with Nadine, she’s more than willing to play your games.

    Reply

  221. samuelburke says:

    Gary Sick is adjunct professor of Middle East politics at Columbia
    University. He was a member of the National Security Council
    staff under presidents Ford, Carter and Reagan and was the
    principal White House aide for Iran during the Iranian Revolution
    and the subsequent hostage crisis.
    “The stakes are sky high. Egypt is the linchpin to peace in the
    Middle East. So long as Egypt refrains from warring against
    Israel, other Arab states cannot take military action by
    themselves…
    So in some minds, the issue is primarily about Israel. As far as I
    can tell, the government of Israel has yet to declare itself on the
    wave of uprisings in the Arab world. But if this is an Israeli issue,
    then it is not just a U.S. foreign-policy problem but also a
    domestic one, especially in the run up to a presidential election
    year. The stakes, indeed, could be very high.
    It is often forgotten, but there was a major Israeli dimension to
    the Iranian revolution of 1978-79 as well. The shah of Iran was
    Israel’s best friend in the Muslim world, an essential part of
    Israel’s doctrine of the periphery. Israel not only cultivated
    nations just outside the core Arab center, but in the case of Iran
    received a substantial portion of its energy supplies via covert oil
    deliveries to Eilat from the Persian Gulf. Israel and Iran also
    collaborated on joint development and testing of a ballistic
    missile system capable of delivering a nuclear warhead.”
    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/01/29/the_worst_o
    f_both_worlds?page=0,0

    Reply

  222. DonS says:

    nadine, I don’t need to remind everyone that you have very recently been threatened with being barred from commenting here because of your ad hominem attacks and specifically virulent accusations of anti-Semitism. Your credibility to comment in objective ways on a matters crucial to neocon/Likudist interest is zero. You made that bed now lie in it.

    Reply

  223. Paul Norheim says:

    The crucial question right now: will the army chose to support
    Mubarak or al-Baradei?

    Reply

  224. nadine says:

    DonS, it is you who play “for a different team” – Team Anti-America. Every time American interests are threatened, you are right there with Ahmedinejad and Hizbullah, joyful.
    Or would you care to explain how an MB takeover of Egypt benefits America?

    Reply

  225. questions says:

    POA,
    Egypt doesn;t revolve around Israel. It’s a corrupt government with a wide disparity between wealth and poverty, a political culture in which bribery is standard operating practice (read up on what a culture of bribery does to people), and ther unemployment rate is significant, even among the educated.
    There’s nothing here about Israel or the Palestinians. To the extent that that comes up, it’s a side issue. People want food, jobs, and services. They don’t want to bribe, they don’t want to be tortured. They’d like elections, too. But at the top is food, jobs, and services.
    ‘Radicalized elements’ work because they have an advantage in providing services, not because of the Palestinians. Intensity of belief makes for cohesive groups and cohesion matters in the delivery of services. Wishy washy vague-believers or non-believers are less likely to feel the passion to join interest groups (which is basically what the MB seems to be) and so wishy washy-ists don’t end up running things.

    Reply

  226. Dan Kervick says:

    It looks like the main opposition groups and forces are now successfully coalescing around al-Baradei.

    Reply

  227. DonS says:

    “I have to say that the title of this post represents a rather audacious insult to the reputation of George Mitchell.” (dan k)
    hear, hear!
    How much longer will the foot dragging of the US govt continue before it becomes apparent that the ‘caution’ that is being displayed is really a sign that the Israel advocates/interests within the administration are calling the ‘go slow’ shots?
    Develop ‘democracy’, but on our terms, has been the US policy all along.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/30/world/middleeast/30diplo.html?hp
    Once again, the forces of AIPAC and the neocon/zionist rump are revealed for their corrosive impact on American foreign policy.

    Reply

  228. PissedOffAmerican says:

    The Mondo article, as well as the Rockwell piece underscore how these assholes like Schumer are completely unwilling to admit that it is Israel’s own actions that radicalize the Muslims and set the stage for elections within democratized Arab nations that favor radicalized elements of the Muslim community.
    Schumer is an embarrasment, someone who’s loyalties are blatantly polar to his calling. Our “leaders” cannot serve two masters, try as they may. As history trudges on, the interests of the United States, and that of Israel, become more and more divergent. How much longer can these poseurs like Schumer maintain the charade of “representing” our best intersts?

    Reply

  229. Dan Kervick says:

    I wrote:
    “Comparing him to a technocratic thug like Suleiman, who is the director of the Egyptian version of Savak, an “intelligence service” with both foreign and domestic scope.”
    I meant to write:
    “Comparing him to a technocratic thug like Suleiman, who is the director of the Egyptian version of Savak, an “intelligence service” with both foreign and domestic scope, is entirely inappropriate.”

    Reply

  230. Dan Kervick says:

    I have to say that the title of this post represents a rather audacious insult to the reputation of George Mitchell. Whatever one thinks of his effectiveness, or lack of it, in his most recent role, George Mitchell is decent man. He was an honest public servant, a lawyer dedicated to the rule of law, and an elected governor and Senator in a democratic society. Comparing him to a technocratic thug like Suleiman, who is the director of the Egyptian version of Savak, an “intelligence service” with both foreign and domestic scope.
    Here is what George Mitchell said once about the rule of law, and the consistent adherence to democratic ideals.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ThEMsxcAqu8

    Reply

  231. samuelburke says:

    Lew Rockwell take of Chuck Shumer ziocon.
    Chuckie Schumer (D-NY, etc.) Explains Democracy
    Posted by Lew Rockwell on January 30, 2011 09:00 AM

    Reply

  232. questions says:

    “Like a long and mostly unhappy marriage, the CIA

    Reply

  233. samuelburke says:

    Who will speak up for the Palestinians from within the American
    sycophantic “free press” media.
    [Israeli minister:] “I’m not sure the time is right for the Arab
    region to go through the democratic process.”
    The minister, who spoke on condition of not being identified by
    name or portfolio, cites the Gaza Strip as a signal warning of the
    risk that comes with asking the people what they want. … Arab
    societies demand “a longer term democratization process,” one
    accompanied by education reforms that would encourage the
    election of moderates. “You can’t make it with elections,
    especially in the current situation where radical elements,
    especially Islamist groups, may exploit the situation,” he says. “It
    might take a generation or so.”
    http://mondoweiss.net/2011/01/israelis-and-friends-gird-up-
    their-loins-against-the-idea-that-arabs-can-
    vote.html#more-34719

    Reply

  234. DonS says:

    via FDL:
    “There

    Reply

  235. questions says:

    El Baradei suggests he has a “mandate’ to form a unity gov’t.
    External legitimacy matters, as does financial legitimacy. But, the protesters have the upper hand on the legitimacy issue.
    Here’s hoping they can form a committee to formulate rules to create a committee that begins to look into how to make a council that starts the process of beginning to commence regoverning….
    Lots of steps, lots of room for voices, lots of input.
    And a cure for the bribe-ocracy. Anyone know how to convince people to stop asking for bribes, to stop people from paying bribes, and to get people to report the asking and paying to authorities who don’t ask for bribes to take action….

    Reply

  236. questions says:

    “Sensational political developments in Cairo, with reports that five opposition movements, including the key Muslim Brotherhood, have mandated Mohammed ElBaradei to negotiate over the formation of a temporary “national salvation government.”
    Osama Ghazlai Harb of the National Democrsatic Front told BBC Arabic that this would be a transitional administration that would oversee the cancellation of the emergency laws and the release of all political prisoners.
    The powerful Muslim Brotherhood, which has kept a low profile so far, said it was backing the demand along with other four groups.”
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/blog/2011/jan/30/egypt-protests-live-updates
    h/t kos diary by David Mizner
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/1/30/939962/-Fisk:-Murbaraks-Regime-is-Over-Opposition-Groups-Unite-Behind-ElBaradei

    Reply

  237. anon says:

    WAPO -
    “The United States walks a fine line between a weakened leader and the pro-democracy protesters who could overthrow him. But the prospect of Mubarak being ousted by a movement that feels ignored by the United States raises questions about future relations between Washington and a strategic ally in a volatile region of the world.
    . . .
    “”When protesters first took to the streets Tuesday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said that “our assessment is that the Egyptian government is stable.” On Saturday, several protesters noted that she did not address the government’s human rights record or the attacks by police to break up the gatherings.
    . . .
    “We didn’t expect much from the United States,” said Abdel Nasser Awad, 40, who said he was demonstrating for his son’s future. “We are not people looking for war. We are looking for freedom.”
    “He added that he hoped the international community, including the United States, would force Mubarak out soon so that chaos would not engulf the nation . . . ”
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/29/AR2011012904417.html?hpid=topnews
    It’s not like anyone, except perhaps Biden, thinks Mubarak is a great guy or hasn’t been a ruthless dictator.

    Reply

  238. questions says:

    Jets and helicopters overflying.
    Concern that “something big” could happen….
    If they fire from on high, that would probably not be a great idea.
    And if they mow down crowds, not a great idea either.

    Reply

  239. questions says:

    “I notice that the most virulent anti-semites on this site hide behind acronyms.”
    So writes “Bill Pearlman”.
    Huh?
    Could you google “acronym definition” please?

    Reply

  240. samuelburke says:

    And we notice that zionist jews are racist and that the press in the
    united states is afraid to mention the oppressive measures that the
    palestinians are forced to live under in israel.
    zioinist are always begging the united states to hold their hand and
    play big brother to their oppressive bullying ways.
    it’s almost payday for the palestinians. someone’s bound to speak
    up for the oppressed one would think.
    justice for palestinians.

    Reply

  241. questions says:

    Fire trucks went in to Tahrir Sq. and were chased off by the crowds.
    So much for water cannons.
    Hillary Clinton will be on all the public affairs shows.

    Reply

  242. questions says:

    Judges, retired judges, public figure judge/s are supporting the protests.
    “What we need now is leadership….There is a vacuum right now” from someone on A J….
    Some projection regarding El Baradei.

    Reply

  243. questions says:

    A J seems to have lost Arabic language broadcast rights???
    They are on in English, but they are getting kicked out, at least unofficially??
    Beginning of crackdown, or total last gasp of the regime??
    Watch the markets Monday morning…..
    Are there weekend petroleum futures numbers?

    Reply

  244. Paul Norheim says:

    From the Jerusalem Post:
    “Abbas calls Mubarak to express support
    By KHALED ABU TOAMEH
    01/29/2011 19:40
    Palestinian Authority officials in the West Bank expressed
    concern over the current events in Egypt, noting that
    President Hosni Mubarak has been very supportive of the PA.
    Hamas spokesmen in the Gaza Strip, meanwhile, voiced hope
    that the

    Reply

  245. rc says:

    >>>>
    … The United States and European powers are busy tearing up their Middle East policies, which have supported Mr Mubarak at the head of the most populous Arab nation for 30 years, turning a blind eye to police brutality and corruption in return for a solid bulwark against first communism and now militant Islam.
    While clearly anxious to avoid an anarchic collapse that might destabilise a region that is vital to world oil supplies, Mr Mubarak’s allies in Western governments appear to share a sense that what has happened so far does not go far enough.
    In Washington, State Department spokesman PJ Crowley said: “The Egyptian government can’t reshuffle the deck and then stand pat.”
    In Europe, the German, French and British leaders issued a joint statement thanking Mr Mubarak for his contribution to stability in the Middle East – Egypt led the way in agreeing to a peace with Israel – but demanding that he now start the move to free elections, a move that would certainly end his power.
    >>>>>
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/01/30/3125040.htm
    and in reference to PJ Crowley, also
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/01/29/us-egypt-usa-idUSTRE70R6A920110129

    Reply

  246. DonS says:

    “What America doesn’t want is for Mubarak to fall, followed by chaos, followed by an MB takeover.”
    Like I’ve said before, nadine plays for a different team. Mubarak falling is disaster for the Likud and the neocons. For Americans not captured by that divisive mentality, working with the realities at hand and for a future not built on fear, violence, and oppression might be a more meaningful challenge.
    Resisting the wave of all sectors of Egyptians calling for Mubarak to go nadine seals the verdict on her irrelevance as a propaganda mouthpiece.

    Reply

  247. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Anyone else note the shift of “tone” in the MSM reportage?
    Seems now the message is intended to justify our past long term support for the Mubarak regime. Interesting how that particular line of shit neglects to mention the leverage we could have applied by placing contingencies on our military and economic aid.
    One wonders if we will see the same kind of cowardly waffling by our so called “Fourth Estate” when the crimes, human rights abuses, and attrocities committed by the Israelis can no longer be denied. I would assume so.

    Reply

  248. samuelburke says:

    Amjad Atallah from the New American Foundation.
    ATALLAH: Well, the United States, I think, needs to have a
    much broader interpretation of what our interests are in the
    Middle East than we have right now. Big concerns have always
    been when we say that Mubarak is a pillar of stability, as the
    White House said, I think, yesterday. When we say things like
    that, we’re actually referencing the fact that Egypt helps Israel
    with Israel’s policies in the region. And that’s what we mean
    by “pillar of civility”. It’s not a reference to what Egypt does
    inside Egypt. It’s not a reference to the role that Egypt might
    play in Sudan. It’s not a reference to the role that Egypt plays
    in the Arab world at large. It’s very narrow. It’s specifically
    related to how Egypt helps Israel. And I think we’ve got to
    have a much broader–we have interests in the region that
    are far broader than simply Israel. And if we’re going to want
    to be on the right side of history, I think, on this, we’re going
    to need to interpret our interests in a way that don’t conflict
    with those of the people of the region. So if people want
    freedom in the region, we can’t actually interpret our interests
    in such a way that only the denial of their freedom would
    promote American interests. I mean, you can’t be Americans,
    support American political values, and deny other people their
    freedom.
    ATALLAH: YOU KNOW, IN THE STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS,
    THE PRESIDENT SPOKE ABOUT AMERICA’S CRUMBLING
    INFRASTRUCTURE AND OUR CRUMBLING EDUCATION AND
    HOW OTHER COUNTRIES HAVE MOVED ON AND SURPASSED US
    AND HOW WE NEED TO GET BACK INTO THE GAME. BUT THE
    SAME IS TRUE OF OUR FOREIGN POLICY. OUR FOREIGN POLICY
    IS BASED ON A CRUMBLING INFRASTRUCTURE. OUR FOREIGN
    POLICY IS BASED ON OUR CRUMBLING ASSUMPTIONS, THE
    ASSUMPTION THAT WE CAN SUPPORT AUTOCRATS IN THE
    MIDDLE EAST AND THAT WE CAN SUPPORT A SYSTEM IN
    ISRAEL THAT HAS A PREJUDICIAL SYSTEM OF RIGHTS, YOU
    KNOW, THAT GIVES JEWS MORE RIGHTS THAN IT GIVES NON-
    JEWS. WE CAN’T ACTUALLY MAINTAIN THAT SYSTEM ANY
    LONGER, I THINK. THE WORLD IS CHANGING, WHETHER THE
    UNITED STATES WANTS TO ADDRESS THAT OR NOT, WHETHER
    THE UNITED STATES WANTS TO CHANGE ITS POLICY OR NOT.
    AND SO THE REAL QUESTION IS NOT WHETHER THE UNITED
    STATES CAN AFFECT CHANGE IN THE MIDDLE EAST–CHANGE
    IS HAPPENING IN THE MIDDLE EAST WITH OR WITHOUT THE
    UNITED STATES. THE Question Is: What Side Does The United
    States Want To Be On? How Can The United States Benefit In
    The Long-Term Future From The Changes That Are
    Happening?
    http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?
    option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=
    6182

    Reply

  249. JohnH says:

    What the MB says about theocracy and democracy:
    “With regards to theocracy, the Muslim Brotherhood has confirmed numerous times that they are not aiming to reach a theocratic state, they clearly want a civil state, theocracy has no affiliation with the Islamic philosophy. The Muslim Brotherhood does not force people on anything even issues mentioned in Quran or Sunna. This is the function of the legislative council and parliament, the passing of or rejection to the laws and bills…the Muslim Brotherhood has a permanent stance in its call for promoting the freedom of expression. The Muslim Brotherhood may refuse some of the theses by intellectuals and academics, but they would never ban them from writing or publishing, especially since the Muslim Brotherhood understands well the effect of repression, being the most targeted opposition group.”
    http://www.ikhwanweb.com/article.php?id=25701
    Nadine knows nothing about the MB, only what Fox and the Rubins tell her to believe. They have their own agenda, which is totally divorced from the interests of most of us.

    Reply

  250. rc says:

    “And a prominent Bedouin smuggler in the Sinai peninsula told TIME that Bedouin are now in control of the two towns closest to the Gaza Strip, and that they planned to press on to attack the Suez Canal if Mubarak does not step down. He also said that police stations in the south Sinai would be attacked if Bedouin prisoners were not released. . . .
    As for Mubarak himself, shouts would go up among the crowds in Tahrir Square every time a rumor rippled through that he had left the country. It is widely believed, however, that the president remains in his vacation home in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheik in the south Sinai

    Reply

  251. questions says:

    nadine,
    Some math:
    Ethanol=Corn
    Corn=Iowa
    Iowa=presidential nomination
    This, and the rural bias in the Senate, are far more responsible for ethanol’s continued plague on humankind than the negative energy that ethanol provides.
    It was a good idea until it turned out that ethanol doesn’t even break even on energy, near as I remember reading. Fertilizer is produced from…petroleum! Woohoo! SCRATCH THAT… Here’s a wiki official statement on ethanol: “Figures compiled in a 2007 National Geographic Magazine article [1] point to modest results for corn ethanol produced in the US: 1 unit of current energy equals 1.3 energy units of corn ethanol energy. The energy balance for sugarcane ethanol produced in Brazil is more favorable, 1:8. Over the years, however, many reports have been produced with contradicting energy balance estimates.” So there you have it. A little better than even as of 2007. Last time I looked this up might have been before this report.
    Mostly the ethanol program is an Iowa-farmer-support-and-win-elections program.
    So don’t blame it on the environmentalists at this point.
    And please note also, that very conservative investors routinely fuck around with commodities and their speculation can cause havoc with food and energy prices. At least environmentalists TRY to do good. Commodity speculators? Not so much.

    Reply

  252. nadine says:

    jd, if you’ve been reading from the start you’ll notice I said Obama has no good options at this point. He basically should not say much, and not be seen as putting the skids under Mubarak. Yet said more against Mubarak yesterday than he said against Ahmedinejad in 2009! Being an ally of the US under Obama is no fun. Much easier being an enemy.
    If any constructive engagement can happen, it’s likely to be between the American military and the Egyptian military, who have good relations.
    What America doesn’t want is for Mubarak to fall, followed by chaos, followed by an MB takeover. But there’s a limit to how much any outside power can influence events now that mass protests have arrived.
    Incidentally, did you notice that one of the causes of the riots, according to reports, is rising food prices? Our environmentalists played their part in that one by yanking a substantial portion of America’s corn crop out of the food chain to be made into fuel instead.

    Reply

  253. jdledell says:

    Nadine – Since everything is absolutely clear to you can you tell us EXACTLY what Obama should do tomorrow about Egypt. If you have the guts out yourself on the line with a detailed plan so we can take easy potshots at you like you do to everyone else.
    In this forum you have castigated every commentator, as well as every member of this administration as either dumb or naive. Since you are omniscient, please enlighten us.

    Reply

  254. questions says:

    Worth a read. Area studies guy….
    http://www.salon.com/news/egyptian_protests/index.html?story=/politics/war_room/2011/01/29/egypt_america_alliance
    An interview. A taste:
    “So what about the treaty with Israel; is that really the key to the whole U.S.-Egypt relationship?
    I would say it’s not more important than the other things.”
    A little perspective on the area, the concerns, the history from Egypt’s switching sides in the Cold War.

    Reply

  255. nadine says:

    “So, if the MB takes over, and it comes off really really really badly, will nadine have known that it would happen?” (Nadine)
    I didn’t say that I know the MB will take over, just that if they do, it will turn out really, really badly. The MB have told us who they are, and I believe them. The realist crowd is still sticking their fingers in their ears going la-la-la-I-dont-hear-you-its-all-about-linkage.
    Current reports are that tanks are in the streets, and the protesters are riding on them. A lot depends on what the military does. There may be a generational split among the officer corps, with the younger generation being more Islamist.
    What Egypt won’t be is a secular democracy because there is no organized bloc in Egypt for secular democracy. Years of repression have ensured that.

    Reply

  256. rc says:

    “It’s obvious by Mubarak’s actions . . . that he feels no need comply. So why is that?”
    Being one of the U.S. international torture chambers for the last decade would give a huge array of hard evidence of just what democratic ‘rendition’ actually means.
    When dancing with the devil …

    Reply

  257. JohnH says:

    Funny how Nadine parrots Fox: “The universal message exchanged among these people is that oil is gonna spike, and the Suez canal is gonna shut down if that there Mubrick fella is replaced by them thar nasty terrist radicals in the Mooslime Botherhood.”
    Anyone else see a concerted effort at “shaping the narrative” (propaganda) by Fox? And how consistently on message Nadine seems to be?

    Reply

  258. Carroll says:

    Looking over the many reports one thing strikes me again…that the US government is, if not a thing that can ‘easily moved’ as Netanyahu called us, at least it is a thing that can be ‘ignored’.
    It’s obvious by Mubarak’s actions in the face of
    Obama’s cautions to him and the State Departments tweets that he feels no need comply.
    So why is that? Is it because he knows that the US’s human rights mantra is a charade because it always has been in the past? Does Mubarak figure that the US will place more importance on Egypt’s US taxpayer purchased cold peace with Israel than on our public calls for democracy in the ME? Or that his MB Islamic scarecrow will prompt the US to support him?
    The thing is when you are always a hypocrite in your actions no one believes you mean what you say because you don’t mean what you say.
    The most hypocritical thing Obama has said so far in this is that the US supports the human rights of ‘all’ people…yea he said ‘all’ people.
    That is such an obvious lie when we look at Palestine why should Mubarak take him seriously about Egyptians rights?
    Just like the Egyptians see no legitimacy in their government, many Americans see no legitimacy in ours any longer.

    Reply

  259. TonyForesta says:

    And so it goes. Amerika’s corporate interests need a stable Egypt. Egypt’s people are anti-Amerikan, and who can blame them. Were some faction of fundamentalists jihadi freaks to gain power in Egypt, the entire world would suffer, and Egyptians, and Egyptian woman particularly.
    The people anywhere on earth have little say in these matters. Nations are either governed by corporatist predatorclass elites, or fundamentalist religious freaks. No government anywhere on earth actually works in the peoples best interests.
    Burn it all down, and start over, – it’s our only hope.

    Reply

  260. rc says:

    This is worth a listen imo. More strongly links in IP and notes the crumbling U.S. infrastructure is also reflected in foreign policy.
    http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=6182

    Reply

  261. rc says:

    Army head just happened to be in the U.S. Sent home with ‘orders’ no doubt.
    Egyptian general ends US visit, US urges restraint
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110129/pl_nm/us_egypt_usa_military_4
    There is also an Egyptian activist perspective here.
    http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=6183
    Of course placing Omar Suleiman in the 2IC chair is same strategy as GWBush and his Cheney — “if ya shoot me then look who’s up next!”.

    Reply

  262. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Had breakfast in a rural coffee shop this morning, mostly retired oil and farming people, lots of horse people as well. The word “conservative” doesn’t do it justice. “Far right redneck” is more accurate.
    Seems Fox News and the hasbarists are getting thier propaganda out there, as usual.
    The universal message exchanged among these people is that oil is gonna spike, and the Suez canal is gonna shut down if that there Mubrick fella is replaced by them thar nasty terrist radicals in the Mooslime Botherhood.
    The mystery to me is how these people got so obscenely wealthy when they are so utterly ignorant.

    Reply

  263. questions says:

    Plato makes a distinction between knowledge and correct opinion. It’s in the Meno clearly spelled out, but it appears all over the place.
    Dan, correct me if I have this wrong, but… Gettier makes a distinction between justified and unjustified true belief, with some finer points to it regarding pocket change.
    So, if the MB takes over, and it comes off really really really badly, will nadine have known that it would happen?
    Remember, correct opinion is not knowledge, and unjustified true belief has a different status from justified true belief. (Dan, you gotta save me on this if I screwed it up completely!)
    *****
    We actually really need this distinction to be able to deal with future-ology as we are never certain about the future, we are always operating with unjustified true or false belief, and we never know which we have.
    The linear unfolding of time really sucks for punditry, but we, in the peanut gallery, don’t have to suffer quite the public humiliation that the predictors-in-chief are stuck with.
    Hence to “know” that the MB will be or will do X is simply not a justified statement. It’s a prediction, a bet, a sense, an idea, a judgment, a belief based on the past. It’s not a knowledge claim.

    Reply

  264. nadine says:

    Eh, paul, at least you are now considering the possibility of a violent Muslim Brotherhood takeover in Egypt. Not too long ago, that too was part of my “paranoid fantasy” if not a complete concoction of the neocons’ fevered imagination.
    The realists and the hard-left will be forced to acknowledge reality, after it is too late to do anything constructive, denying their former opinions all the while.

    Reply

  265. Carroll says:

    Revisiting Richard Falk & Susan Rice.
    Well we knew this was the deal..but now that it’s been exposed Steve might want to reconsider his endorsement of Abm Rice’s condemnation of Richard Falk…
    Just another hatchet job by usual jewish/israeli nasties.
    Ambassador

    Reply

  266. Paul Norheim says:

    Nadine,
    I’ll be willing to discuss these relevant issues with you when
    you show a willingness to step out of your black & white
    universe and do some nuance.
    Until now at TWN, you’ve been unwilling to, or incapable of
    distinguishing between Hamas and Al Quaeda and Erdogan’s
    AKP and Steve Clemons’ NAF and the UN and the left and the
    EU and Barack Obama; in your discourse they’re all part of the
    same nasty anti-Semitic plot.
    The outcome in Egypt may be horrible or not horrible,
    depending on the degree of Muslim Brotherhood influence in a
    new government; depending on to which extent they may or
    may not have changed since the 1960′s and 70′s; the influence
    and nature of other groups and individuals in such a
    government and a lot of other factors. But given your view, the
    answer is given in advance – and that’s not a kind of
    “discussion” that I am willing to participate in.
    This revolution is, even more than the one in 1989,
    unpredictable. There may even be multiple outcomes in the
    respective countries.
    W-E
    D-O
    N-O-T
    K-N-O-W
    - neither you nor me nor the Rubin’s nor Steve Clemons.
    Right now I much prefer posing questions and exploring the
    possibilities, to predicting the future with dogmatic certainty
    and partisan paranoia.
    So I’ll ask you to pretend that I don’t exist – and please don’t
    respond to my comments. Your opinions are well known. What
    is needed now is information, not propaganda; and some new
    questions, not the same old answers.

    Reply

  267. nadine says:

    JohnH, once again you prove you have a six year-old’s notion of argument. Jeering and mimickry is not argument. But I suppose that is the best you have.

    Reply

  268. Dan Kervick says:

    Abdullah as-Saud freaks, takes standard cowardly and irresponsible approach of Middle East despots of blaming protests on non-Arab and non-Muslim infiltrators:
    “Egypt is a country of Arabism and Islam. No Arab and Muslim human being can bear that some infiltrators, in the name of freedom of expression, have infiltrated into the brotherly people of Egypt, to destabilize its security and stability and they have been exploited to spew out their hatred in destruction, intimidation, burning, looting and inciting a malicious sedition.”
    from CNN.

    Reply

  269. questions says:

    The pm is:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ahmed_Shafik
    Ahmed Shfik
    Fighter pilot, civil aviation.
    Job for a day?

    Reply

  270. JohnH says:

    Nadine projects her “religious nationalist values” onto the MB: “If [Likud] gains power, it doesn’t take a seer to understand they will be thirsty for revenge. Remember, these guys are [religious nationalists] – their religion permits them to declare their political enemies [goys], and wage [war] against them. Killing your enemies in [war] is a GOOD THING according to [their version of Judaism.]”
    “As Professor Israel Shahak notes, “various rabbinical commentators in the past drew the logical conclusion that in wartime all Gentiles belonging to a hostile population may, or even should be killed. Since 1973 this doctrine is being publicly propagated for the guidance of religious Israeli soldiers. The first such official exhortation was included in a booklet published by the Central Region Command of the Israeli Army, whose area includes the West Bank. In this booklet the Command’s Chief Chaplain writes:
    ‘When our forces come across civilians during a war or in hot pursuit or in a raid, so long as there is no certainty that those civilians are incapable of harming our forces, then according to the Halakhah they may and even should be killed … Under no circumstances should an Arab be trusted, even if he makes an impression of being civilized … In war, when our forces storm the enemy, they are allowed and even enjoined by the Halakhah to kill even good civilians, that is, civilians who are ostensibly good.’”
    http://www.bintjbeil.com/E/occupation/shahak.html

    Reply

  271. nadine says:

    “What is the MB? What is it in Egypt? Why is it that way? What will it do?
    We can take bets, but we don’t know.” (questions)
    Actually the MB has told us quite freely what they are about. It’s just that America has ignored them. That’s why I keep pointing to Barry Rubin – he follows what the MB says, and gives them the respect of taking them at their word.

    Reply

  272. Dan Kervick says:

    Al Jazeera:
    “7:42pm – Key opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei says in speech: ‘We are seeking a change of regime. President Mubarak should step down. We should head towards a democratic state through a new government and free democratic elections…The whole world should realize that the Egyptians are not going home until their demands are realized…We are talking about taking down the Pharaonic dictatorship.’ ”

    Reply

  273. nadine says:

    “This is the most likely outcome if the United States makes the mistake of hanging on desperately to its network of control grounded in the failing National Democratic Party, and fails to get to work immediately with allies and democratic Egyptian opposition figures on a transition to a democratic regime with a strong democratic constitution.” (Dan Kervick)
    What allies? What democratic Egyptian opposition figures? There aren’t any, that’s what I keep trying to tell you. Not organized.
    And don’t mention el Baradei, he’d just be a stooge for the Brotherhood like he was a stooge for Ahmedinejad.

    Reply

  274. questions says:

    nadine,that’s the crux of the problem.
    What is the MB? What is it in Egypt? Why is it that way? What will it do?
    We can take bets, but we don’t know.
    And the cost of keeping them out may be pretty damned high in terms of body counts.
    It’s very hard to stop a revolution, even if it’s pretty hard to start one.

    Reply

  275. questions says:

    I think maybe a reasonable resolution is a Hawaiian vacation for Mubarak, a stop gap gov’t by committee that includes some of the protesters, some of the current governing structure, elections called for some 4 months from now, with televised debates, US funding evenly distributed among many candidates.
    The elections would choose a ruling council that would look at forming a full gov’t.
    I don’t know if one writes a constitution in a time like this, or uses whatever is there.
    Emergency powers should be lifted.
    The courts need help. The corruption and bribery needs to stop….
    How do you break in to a vicious circle and turn it virtuous?
    But I think councils with some experienced people and some neophytes that might carry some legitimacy might help.
    And maybe a two or three-tiered electoral system so that it’s clear that the path to reform will happen, and that there will still be time to develop political institutions.

    Reply

  276. Dan Kervick says:

    “You do realize that is the most likely scenario, don’t you?”
    This is the most likely outcome if the United States makes the mistake of hanging on desperately to its network of control grounded in the failing National Democratic Party, and fails to get to work immediately with allies and democratic Egyptian opposition figures on a transition to a democratic regime with a strong democratic constitution.
    The White House needs to cut the knot tying it to the NDP, and quickly get on the right side of this. The biggest mistake that can be made is to look for just another leader we can bribe and control. That’s because people who can themselves be controlled in this way are just mercenary thugs at heart. They are all about power, hierarchies of obedience and domination, and that is the style of government they will bring to their countries. If a new authoritarian regime replaces the old one in Egypt, and the United States is seen as having helped to engineer that transition, it will be very bad for America and the American people.

    Reply

  277. nadine says:

    questions, I read paul’s link, and consider it wishful thinking. If the MB is behaving differently in Egypt, it’s not because they have learned to believe differently, but because they have have been clobbered unmercifully several times by the very same Omar Suleiman Steve is unaccountably calling George Mitchell.
    If the MB gain power, it doesn’t take a seer to understand they will be thirsty for revenge. Remember, these guys are Salafis with the same philosophy as al Qaeda. They are takfiris – their religion permits them to declare their political enemies infidels, and wage jihad against them. Killing your enemies in jihad is a GOOD THING according to Islam. If the MB takes power, we’ll see a lot of it.

    Reply

  278. Carroll says:

    Interesting tidbits….
    The New York Times reports:
    [Mubarak's] grip on power was further challenged Saturday as the military that he had deployed to take back control of the streets showed few signs of suppressing the unrest, and in several cases the army took the side of the protesters in the capital and the northern port city of Alexandria.
    In the most striking instance, members of the army joined with a crowd of thousands of protesters in a pitched battle against Egyptian security police officers defending the Interior Ministry on Saturday afternoon.
    Protesters crouched behind armored trucks as they advanced on the ministry building, hurling rocks and a few Molotov cocktails and setting abandoned cars on fire. But the soldiers providing cover for the advancing protesters refused their pleas to open fire on the security police, while the police defending the ministry battered the protesters with tear gas, buckshot and rubber bullets. There were pools of blood in the streets as protesters carried a number of wounded back out of their ranks.
    In other parts of the capital, soldiers invited protesters to climb aboard their armored personnel carriers to have their pictures taken, and in Alexandria, demonstrators took tea to troops.
    And the soccer boys….
    ‘Alaa Abd El Fattah, a prominent Egyptian blogger who was interviewed on Al Jazeera today, made the interesting observation that the uprising

    Reply

  279. DonS says:

    “The US needs to keep its mouth pretty tightly shut, aside from finding some place for Mubarak to live out his final years
    Well then Questions we seem to agree that neither Mubarak nor any stand in will be a remotely satisfactory outcome.
    Prospect for more bloodshed is if Mubarak attempts to hold onto power through a surrogate. Any surrogate of Mubarak is bloody.

    Reply

  280. questions says:

    nadine, read Paul’s link regarding the MB. They seem to function differently in Egypt at this point, and Egypt is already comfortable with Islam, so there are numerous asymmetries between Iran and Egypt.
    The question for analysts, and for the future to answer for sure, is how those asymmetries play out.
    Egypt under Mubarak is ugly, it could certainly get worse. But it might not be because of MB, even.
    There’s much to worry about and much to hope for. But I’m not sure that gunning down everyone in Tahrir Square is a great idea.
    There’s some depth to this protest, and Mubarak didn’t have any answer to the economic problems anyway, so a crack down has no other pressure valve.
    But let’s face it, it could get really really ugly out there.

    Reply

  281. questions says:

    nadine, thanks for point that out. It didn’t sound like you.
    There’s apparently some way to use avatars to avoid that kind of problem.
    But geeze, we don’t even get to edit our own typos or bold, highlight, or italicize. I get the feeling avatars will never happen…..

    Reply

  282. nadine says:

    “I mean the Egyptians want a system that allows them to govern themselves – that includes elections and constitutional reform.” (Dan Kervick)
    And if the Muslim Brotherhood wins, executes its enemies by the thousand, and never holds another election?
    You do realize that is the most likely scenario, don’t you? The MB are not democrats. They oppose democracy on principle.
    On the bright side, MB rule would cure the Arabs of their love affair with Islamicism. On the downside, it might take a generation and several major regional wars to get rid of them.

    Reply

  283. nadine says:

    BTW, I didn’t write the 1:59 post. Somebody else is signing their posts ‘nadine’.

    Reply

  284. Dan Kervick says:

    I’m sure there are many people who would like this revolution to fizzle out into nothing but an early retirement for Mubarak. After all, Mubarak is already 82. So why not just hand over the state to Suleiman, who was already one of the leading ruling party candidates for the succession? Life goes on, with the same despotic torturers in charge. The only upshot of the whole business is that Mubarak’s son doesn’t get the presidency, and has to send his resume elsewhere.
    Everybody goes home? Doubtful.
    It is hard for me to believe that all of those people in the street are going to be happy with a mere change of bosses within the same regime and system.
    The successor of Mubarak is going to have to come forward with an immediate and credible program of democratic reform. And by “democratic reform”, I don’t mean merely what westerners sometimes call “liberalization” or “civil society reform”. I mean the Egyptians want a system that allows them to govern themselves – that includes elections and constitutional reform.
    And for an announced program to be credible, the messenger is going to have to be credible. Nobody is going to believe a single word out of the mouth of an authoritarian intelligence chief.

    Reply

  285. questions says:

    DonS,
    Obama has to work with whoever wins. If he picks sides he risks alienating the future regime. If he picks sides he may end up causing current problems for the opposition to the government even. Imagine how much street legitimacy you can get by claiming “Those guys are the ones Washington supports.”
    The US needs to keep its mouth pretty tightly shut, aside from finding some place for Mubarak to live out his final years.

    Reply

  286. questions says:

    There’s a new p.m.
    And some of the footage A-J is running looks pretty nasty — fires, stone throwers….
    I hope the ugly is untypical.

    Reply

  287. nadine says:

    “The bad news is that there is looting and chaos in Egypt
    right now. The good news: the Egyptian protesters seem
    to follow the same path as their Tunisian brethren. The
    latter did not accept some of the initial changes in the
    Tunisian government, suggested by PM Mohammed
    Ghannouchi, and made new demands all the time. This will
    probably happen in Egypt too – sort of a “process” amidst
    chaos. And they are assisted by regional revolutionary
    “coordinator” (so to speak) Al Jazeera.” (Paul Norheim)
    Tunisia doesn’t have the Muslim Brotherhood, Paul. Islamists have their lowest popularity in the Arab World in Tunisia. Tunisia has always been more European than other Arab regimes. So what happens in Tunisia is not a good leading indicator for what will happen elsewhere.
    When you talk of al Jazeera as a revolutionary coordinator, don’t forget that al Jazeera is openly pro-Islamist – pro Hamas, pro Muslim Brotherhood, pro al Qaeda. That’s what publishing the ‘Palestine Papers’ was all about, sinking the PA and promoting Hamas.
    I don’t think it matters what most of the Egyptian protesters want. The Islamists have the organization, and if Hamas and al Qaeda reinforcements can take advantage of the chaos to pour over the borders, they’ll soon have the guns too. Much depends on the military.

    Reply

  288. DonS says:

    While the link says it all, in fairness, we don’t know if the US govt is actively dragging it’s feet, tiptoeing around so as not to offend the AIPAC crowd, or just cluelessly behind the curve . . . or just Obama waiting to see which way the corporate wind is blowing before saying something definite.
    http://news.antiwar.com/2011/01/28/protests-swell-as-obama-mubarak-trade-lip-service-platitudes/

    Reply

  289. Carroll says:

    Why do people expect revolutions to go smoothly?
    Most revolutions start unplanned, spurred by some incident like the self immolation of the man in Tunisia.
    Everyone is wetting their pants over the chaos in Egypt — chaos is only natural in a popular revolution of the people. It’s not like some coup where a strong man and his crew engineered it and immediately take control of the country and carries on.
    Chaos is to be expected and not a seamless transition to another rule or government.
    One encouraging aspect of this revolt is that it is an uprising directed at getting rid of a corrupt leader and was not started by some group aiming to replace him with their own man. That makes it messier but also means as potential leaders try to come forward it isn’t likely there will be automatic rubber stamps for anyone.
    From my limited knowledge and what I have seen so far, if Mubarak goes El-Baradei might be a choice ‘all’ Egyptians could agree on as a strictly ‘interim leader’ to restore order and organize a transparent system for Egyptians to have elections to decide their own government.
    That is the best outcome we can expect.

    Reply

  290. Paul Norheim says:

    And the alternative to the options John Simpson mentioned:
    that the Army implements its own agenda – whatever that
    may be…

    Reply

  291. Paul Norheim says:

    “18.44: The BBC’s world affairs editor, John Simpson, brings
    this analysis from Cairo. In spite of the turmoil, one or two
    things are becoming clearer, he says. It looks pretty likely
    that President Mubarak and his military leaders have been
    told in no uncertain fashion by the Americans that the
    Tiananmen Square option – by which the authorities restore
    order by shooting the protesters down by the hundred – is
    simply not acceptable here. Mr Mubarak’s only hope
    therefore is to form a government which the demonstrators
    might accept, hard though that is to imagine.” (BBC)

    Reply

  292. Paul Norheim says:

    Michael Moore tweets: “Comedy doesn’t get better than this:
    Mubarak appoints as vp man who ran OUR secret
    kidnapping/rendition prgm in Egypt (source: Jane Mayer)”

    Reply

  293. JohnH says:

    “The big X however is still this: What will the army do?”
    There was a joke after the ’67 war: The Egyptian army’s battle cry was, “When you see the whites of their eyes…run!”
    A big X indeed. It’s one thing to shoot at invaders, entirely another to shoot at your friends and neighbors, or people just like them. The protests are so big and so widespread that I doubt that Egypt has enough special forces, though reinforcements may be flying in from the US and Britain at this very moment…which will give the Taliban a breather.

    Reply

  294. questions says:

    Cee,12:57 piece is so close to the “official story” as to be very interesting.
    There clearly were huge inter-agency communication issues. This comes out loud and screaming from every account. No one trusted anyone with their own information, information wasn’t properly turned into knowledge, and the fact that there were “warnings” doesn’t entirely mean that there were operationally specific warnings.
    Seriously, that “Bin Laden threatens…” memo already sums up these problems quite nicely.
    We know that Israel spies here, and we probably spy on Israel just as much. Every country spies on every country because all nations exist in the state of nature with regard to one another. “Ally” doesn’t mean BFF, true love, and blood brothers. It means we’ll cooperate so long as it’s in our interests or our domestic pressure system or so long as we get as good as we give. And we’ll recalculate should the world situation change. Enemies become friends, friends become enemies. Such is the international system.
    So this piece doesn’t really add anything so much as it confirms pretty much what we knew already. There were warnings that didn’t get transmitted, and even if they had, the pieces might never have been put together til it was way past the event. In any case, though, it makes it clear that the pieces were lurking and hence the speed of identifying the actors in the plot makes a whole lot of sense.
    This was on people’s radar screens, but it was just a blip in the corner and there were other worries.
    Wasn’t Condi trained as a Cold Warrior?

    Reply

  295. Paul Norheim says:

    “Why would anyone think that appointing your nation’s
    prison warden as the putative successor to pharaoh would
    pacify the protesters?”
    “…getting it to establish some process which would allow
    its citizens to craft a successor regime under something
    less than civil war.” (PrahaPartizan)
    The bad news is that there is looting and chaos in Egypt
    right now. The good news: the Egyptian protesters seem
    to follow the same path as their Tunisian brethren. The
    latter did not accept some of the initial changes in the
    Tunisian government, suggested by PM Mohammed
    Ghannouchi, and made new demands all the time. This will
    probably happen in Egypt too – sort of a “process” amidst
    chaos. And they are assisted by regional revolutionary
    “coordinator” (so to speak) Al Jazeera.
    The big X however is still this: What will the army do?

    Reply

  296. Cee says:

    Popular uprising or orchestrated and by whom?
    Will Tunisia Inspire More Popular Uprisings?
    Interviewee: Elliott Abrams, Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies, CFR
    Interviewer: Bernard Gwertzman, Consulting Editor, CFR
    January 20, 2011
    The ouster of Tunisia’s Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali (Telegraph), who fled to Saudi Arabia after weeks of often violent popular demonstrations, has led to speculation about such uprisings spreading to other autocratic Arab states in North Africa. While such contagion isn’t likely, if it does occur, the armies of the various countries might refuse to take up arms against civilians, says Middle East expert Elliott Abrams. Abrams thinks the two strongest candidates for such popular dissent are Libya and Egypt, whose respective leaders, Muammar al-Qaddafi and Hosni Mubarak, have been in power for decades and are considering turning over power to their sons. The Obama administration should urge Mubarak to “open the political space” and allow competition, says Abrams. He notes that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s speech in Doha criticizing corruption in the Arab world was not as forceful as a speech she gave about China in which she spoke specifically about issues like freedom of expression and freedom of assembly.
    Do you think any other countries are prime for comparable change?
    The two countries that seem to be most similar to Tunisia are Libya and Egypt. I don’t think countries like Jordan or Morocco or the Gulf sheikhdoms are similar, because in most of those cases there’s really a certain degree of legitimacy to the monarchy that doesn’t exist for a state that’s supposed to be a republic and is actually a terrible dictatorship. Algeria’s different, even though it’s often pointed to because it’s right next door to Tunisia, but Algeria has an institutional rule by the army. It’s not a personal rule with President Abdelaziz Bouteflika–and his family and his children and his wife–as was the case in Tunisia.
    Why Libya and Egypt?
    Libya because it’s Muammar al-Qaddafi (TIME) and his sons, at least two of whom are rumored to be possible successors, and Egypt because you had one-man rule and now there’s a great deal of talk about Gamal Mubarak succeeding his father (ForeignPolicy), President Hosni Mubarak. I would point out that the Egyptian pound and the Egyptian stock market have gone down significantly since Tunisia happened.
    There’s supposed to be a presidential election in Egypt in the fall, but we don’t know whether Mubarak will run again, do we?
    You’re quite right. My only guess is that Mubarak will present himself again as a candidate. And that creates a very short-term stability, but medium-term instability because he’s eighty-three, he’s not in perfect health. That creates a significant chance that he’ll become incapacitated or even die in office in his new term. The U.S. strategy for three decades since the assassination of President Anwar Sadat in 1981 has been to bet on Mubarak for stability. That may have been a smart bet thirty years ago. But that cannot possibly be a smart bet for the next decade.
    The army was more interested in protecting itself as an institution and its future and was not going to kill hundreds of citizens for Ben Ali and his family. It is not inconceivable that such a situation could arise in Egypt.
    Will Mubarak propose that his son runs instead?
    There’s a lot of talk of that, but it always seems to fade away. For example, on January 18, Egypt’s Shura council, which is kind of the upper house of parliament, appointed a group (Al-MasryAl-Youm) of new chief editors of Egypt’s key national newspapers. They’re all people who are viewed as close to and supporters of Gamal Mubarak. So that leads people to think his candidacy’s back on again. No one knows for sure, and it is really going to be President Mubarak’s decision. But we probably won’t find out until the end of the summer.
    Has Gamal Mubarak been trained as a potential leader? American officials must know him very well.
    Yes, he’s been through Washington many times. He lacks one trait that from President Gamal Abdel Nasser to Sadat to Mubarak has been critical in Egypt, which is you have to be an army leader to be president. Gamal’s lack of any military credentials is probably a real problem. He has been given important positions in the ruling party, and he has to some extent been groomed as a possible replacement for his father. But there’s a question as to whether the army is willing to accept someone as president who has no institutional ties to the army itself.
    Egypt has a longstanding government with a strong security force. Is it really possible to envision a Tunisian-type situation there?
    It’s possible, because of what happened in Tunisia, when spontaneous rioting broke out and people went out into the street. The initial reaction of the regime in Tunisia was to use the police, which were very loyal to Ben Ali, to put it down. They did start putting it down, and they shot something in the nature of seventy people. But the demonstrations continued, and then Ben Ali had to call on the army to put these demonstrations down because the police weren’t strong enough, and the army said “no.” The army was more interested in protecting itself as an institution and its future and was not going to kill hundreds of citizens for Ben Ali and his family. It is not inconceivable that such a situation could arise in Egypt. You’d have to bet against it; it’s not likely. But if the people of Egypt were to rise up, and the orders to the army were to start shooting them by the hundreds, it’s not inconceivable the army would say no.
    What about Libya? I always considered Qaddafi as unshakeable there.
    Qaddafi is no longer a boy, and his sons are in their thirties and are taking a role in the government. He tends to favor one and then another and bring them on and off stage. Two of them are associated with his security forces. His government does have a tribal element that is not present in a more, let’s say, advanced modernized society like Tunisia. But Libya’s a strange place, and it seems to me that if you started having riots, you can’t really predict what the situation might be. Obviously, every dictator pays a great deal of attention to who is running the army. There’s always a base right outside the capitol to protect the head of government. But, people sometimes guess wrong. Remember, this didn’t start in Tunisia with the army; it started with people. In the face of a popular uprising, you just can’t really tell how far the army is going to go before it sees its institutional integrity and future at risk.
    What about U.S. policy? Secretary of State Clinton’s Doha speech last week attracted considerable press attention because she talked about corruption in Arab countries. It was unusual for the Obama administration to be so overtly critical of Arab states. She sounded more like [former Secretary of State] Condoleezza Rice.
    I don’t fully agree. In Condoleezza Rice’s famous 2005 Cairo speech, she used all the terms–democracy, human rights, liberty, freedom. None of those terms were used by Secretary Clinton. She did better the following day back here in Washington when she gave a speech about China and she did use some of those terms about civil liberties. She talked about freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, and that was a stronger speech.
    The administration should now be talking to a number of Arab countries, with Egypt first because of their elections this year. The way to avoid a Tunisia situation is a sensible pace of reform. In the case of Egypt, they had a parliamentary election last November, and they had one in November 2005. The November 2005 election was a much better, much fairer election than November 2010. So they’re actually going backward. The [Obama] administration should be saying to Mubarak that it’s time to open the political space. Because if the pressure keeps building, you can never tell when it’s going to explode. The policy of the government of Egypt has been to crush moderate, centrist, liberal parties for decades, much more fiercely than it has crushed the Muslim Brotherhood. So it really is true that today the Muslim Brotherhood is probably the strongest single alternative to the government. Start opening the systems, start allowing competition.
    While you were in the Bush administration, did you regard Tunisia as corrupt?
    Tunisia was not for the United States an important country in the way, let’s say, Algeria was because of its gas, because of its size, because of its struggle against terrorism that sometimes turned bloody. Tunisia is small–just ten million, no great natural resources. But we had a very prickly relationship with the government because President Bush had his freedom agenda, and Ben Ali was doing absolutely nothing to reform and to open the political systems. So we had what I would call a crummy relationship. Unlike the French, who are having a big debate about how come the French government was so soft on Ben Ali, we don’t have to have that debate.
    Say a word about Saudi Arabia, which has become the refuge for Arab dictators.
    And not just non-Arab. Idi Amin [of Uganda] went there too. In a certain sense, the Saudis are providing a service. The tyrants have to get out and go someplace. When Felipe Gonzalez was the Spanish prime minister, he took in these Latin American dictators who were being thrown out because he felt that it was a service to Latin American democracy to help get rid of them. There is a delicious irony here for many Tunisians that [Ben Ali's] wife and children, who enjoyed the latest fashions, now have to live in Saudi Arabia and live a very different lifestyle. That’s also been mentioned in the Tunisian press. I wouldn’t be too critical of the Saudis for taking him as long as they police him. This is what Felipe Gonzalez used to do. The Saudis should tell him: “You’re out of Tunisian politics now. We will not have you destabilizing the government of Tunisia from a phone in Saudi Arabia.”
    The policy of the government of Egypt has been to crush moderate, centrist, liberal parties for decades, much more fiercely than it has crushed the Muslim Brotherhood. So it really is true that today the Muslim Brotherhood is probably the strongest single alternative to the government.
    U.S. efforts on the Palestinian/Israeli front seem to have collapsed. Any ideas on what the United States should do now in the Middle East?
    The one thing they should definitely be doing is making sure progress continues on the ground in the West Bank through supporting the Palestinian Authority in making economic, political, and judicial progress [and] in building a police force, which the United States has been doing for several years. There’s been a lot of progress in the last five years, and whatever happens on the political side they need to make sure that continues. The administration then has to figure out a way to get [Palestinian] President Mahmoud Abbas back to the table. It may be that the thing to do is not so much to hammer him as it is to talk to others in the Arab world to see if they would give him the political cover to return to negotiations.
    The Palestinians seem eager to bring a resolution to the Security Council on the Palestinian state. That would put the United States in a difficult position.
    Palestinians have two resolutions. One we’re looking at now would call for a settlement construction freeze by the Israelis. The second resolution, which would come later, would endorse Palestinian statehood. The administration’s trying very hard to persuade the Palestinians not to push that first resolution now, because it hasn’t vetoed any resolution in two years, and I think it wanted to try to go through four years without a veto. So there’s a lot of pressure on the Palestinians to pull back or rewrite the resolution in a way the administration can escape the veto.
    It’s ironic, because Obama supports the idea of a freeze.
    That’s exactly the kind of argument the administration is making to the Palestinians: You’re going to corner us into a veto that we don’t want [and] you don’t want, and none of us is going to be helped by this.
    Weigh in on this issue by emailing CFR.org.
    http://www.cfr.org/publication/23838/will_tunisia_inspire_more_popular_uprisings.html

    Reply

  297. nadine says:

    Cee, you have what is refered to as an epistomological problem. You can’t tell reliable sources from the crudest propaganda, because you have a world view which can believe the Mossad are evil magicians who can do anything, but disbelieves that al Qaeda could want to do 9/11 or be able to, despite the hard evidence. You don’t believe in evidence.
    In short, you’ve caught the Arab disease in spades.

    Reply

  298. Cee says:

    “How Islam Confronts the Oppression and Tyranny,” translated by MEMRI
    Ha. Just like Fox news. I know what to dismiss as BULLSHIT!

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  299. PrahaPartizan says:

    Why would anyone think that appointing your nation’s prison warden as the putative successor to pharaoh would pacify the protesters? Even your military chiefs will look charily at the prospect of the secret police chief heading up the government. Look at what happened in 1953 with the passing of the Red Czar, for precisely the same reason. Scorpions can’t be trusted.
    The US government would be better served by recognizing that this brittle regime is cracking. Rather than allowing it to continue in power on a road to total chaos, we’d do better by getting it to establish some process which would allow its citizens to craft a successor regime under something less than civil war. This would also allow cooler heads to prevail, hopefully yielding a better long-term outcome. Nasty things come out of the woodwork to fill a void otherwise.

    Reply

  300. nadine says:

    Barry Rubin reported last Octoberthat the new head of the Muslim Brotherhood, Muhammed Badi, declared war on America. Nobody else noticed. Read this, Paul, (better yet, follow the link and read the whole sermon) and then tell me if you think this guy will be a moderate if he takes power?
    “Yet now here is the Brotherhood’s new supreme guide, Muhammad Badi giving a sermon entitled, “How Islam Confronts the Oppression and Tyranny,” translated by MEMRI. Incidentally, everything Badi says is in tune with the stances and holy books of normative Islam. It is not the only possible interpretation but it is a completely legitimate interpretation. Every Muslim knows, even if he disagrees with the Brotherhood’s position, that this isn’t heresy or hijacking or misunderstanding.
    Finally, this is the group that many in the West, some in high positions, are urging to be engaged as a negotiating partner because it is supposedly moderate.
    What does he say?
    –Arab and Muslim regimes are betraying their people by failing to confront the Muslim’s real enemies, not only Israel but also the United States. Waging jihad against both of these infidels is a commandment of Allah that cannot be disregarded. Governments have no right to stop their people from fighting the United States. “They are disregarding Allah’s commandment to wage jihad for His sake with [their] money and [their] lives, so that Allah’s word will reign supreme” over all non-Muslims.
    –All Muslims are required by their religion to fight: “They crucially need to understand that the improvement and change that the [Muslim] nation seeks can only be attained through jihad and sacrifice and by raising a jihadi generation that pursues death just as the enemies pursue life.” Notice that jihad here is not interpreted as so often happens by liars, apologists, and the merely ignorant in the West as spiritual striving. The clear meaning is one of armed struggle.
    –The United States is immoral, doomed to collapse, and “experiencing the beginning of its end and is heading towards its demise.”
    –Palestinians should back Hamas in overthrowing the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and unite in waging war on Israel.
    Incidentally, what Melanie Philips has written on this issue fits perfectly here:
    –Rational calculations of the kind applied by the West to its adversaries, mirror-imaging, assuming that Muslims won’t act in a revolutionary and even suicidal manner want a better future for their children, etc., do not apply to the Islamist movement:
    “Allah said: ‘The hosts will all be routed and will turn and flee [Koran 54:45].’ This verse is a promise to the believers that they shall defeat their enemies, and [that the enemies] shall withdraw. The Companions of the Prophet received this Koranic promise in Mecca, when they were weak… and a little more than nine years [later], Allah fulfilled his promise in the Battle of Badr….Can we compare that to what happened in Gaza?….Allah is the best of schemers, and that though Him you shall triumph. Islam is capable of confronting oppression and tyranny, and that the outcome of the confrontation has been predetermined by Allah.”
    http://www.gloria-center.org/gloria/2010/10/muslim-brotherhood-declares-war-on-america

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  301. nadine says:

    Omar Suleiman has been Mubarak’s point man for the suppression of the Muslim Brotherhood for 30 years. Not a conciliatory more.

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  302. JohnH says:

    Thanks Cee. “It is beginning to emerge that intelligence relating to pre-September 11 stopped at the desk of National Security Adviser, Condoleezza Rice.” The Incredibly Incompetent Condi struck again. All of that incompetence obviously leading to her promotion…

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  303. Cee says:

    New boss is as bad as the old boss
    In Egypt, where torture seems to be a Government sport, Habib was interrogated by the country

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  304. Cee says:

    The link
    http://www.antiwar.com/orig/thomas2.html
    Btw…when I saw the photo I almost spit out my wine.

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  305. Cee says:

    From Antiwar.com
    The Mossad and 9/11
    by Gordon Thomas
    Globe-Intel
    6/17/02
    The complex and often uneasy relationship between Israel’s Mossad and the U.S. intelligence community is emerging as a prime reason for the catastrophic failure of the CIA and FBI to act on advance warnings of an impending attack on America.
    Eight days before the September 11 attack, Egypt’s senior intelligence chief, Omar Suleiman, informed the CIA station chief in Cairo that “credible sources” had told him that Osama bin-Laden’s network was “in the advanced stages of executing a significant operation against an American target.”
    Prior to that, the FBI whistleblower Coleen Rowley had revealed, there was a similar warning from French intelligence.
    Both warnings, Globe-Intel has established, originally came from Mossad.
    The Israeli intelligence service chose to pass on its own intelligence to Washington through its contacts in French and Egyptian intelligence agencies because it did not believe its previous warnings on an impending attack by the bin-Laden network had been taken seriously enough in Washington.
    Part of the reason has already emerged by President Bush acknowledging for the first time there had been a serious breakdown between the twin pillars of the U.S. intelligence community

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  306. non-hater says:

    “One of the most disappointing encounters I had with Suleiman…”
    Were you disappointed with Suleiman or disappointed with the situation?

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  307. ... says:

    what a facade this swearing in bullshit is… mubarak needs to get out of the picture and the robber class needs to be removed from power… switching chairs on the titanic ain’t gonna do…
    this post seems to want to lend credibility to the whole process… it is not worthy of any credibility..

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  308. questions says:

    ?? Gov’t agents looting while dressed as civilians?
    This would create an excuse for a military crackdown.
    Seems like a plan?

    Reply

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