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03 March 2011


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William R. Cumming

A wonderful and very useful post as background to the current situation in Egypt. Yes, none know how this will turn out. Very complicated and the seeds of a better or perhaps a worse future have been planted for the Egyptian people. I hope for a better future for them but they will continue to get very little competent help from the US and its favored multilateral organizations. That in itself is one of the great tragedies of 2011. IN 1952 Egypt was still regarded as a British problem in the US leadership and polity. Wilson's self determination still rings but its reconciliation with religion, economics, and basic survival in the 21st Century mean "history has NOT ended"!
Thanks Professor Baram!


Some good points, especially on the prospects of egyptian democracy, mixed with a lot whining that the the new course won't be as pliable to israeli interests.
Sorry but the israelis have largely made their own bed here.


Trying to make sense of this article I was reminded of a story Rumi tells of a beautiful woman who sat brushing her hair while a man stood beneath her window softly entreating to speak to her. The woman sent her servant, an old, simple woman, to ask the man what he wanted. She what she was asked and the man responded with a host of compliments about how the woman's hair was like flowing, molten gold, while her eyes sparkled like the diamonds of Suleiman, etc., etc., etc.

When she returned, the beautiful woman asked the servant what the man had said. "He wants to screw you", the old lady replied. Startled, the woman asked if that was what he's said. "Not exactly", said the old woman,"but that's the gist of it."

The gist of this article is that the new Egypt had better to do what the Zionists want or they'll kill a bunch of people and liberal, secular Egytpians who have have come to like all the ways of the West might not get to enjoy them when they decide to come home. Things like torrent pornography, abortion on demand and gay marriage, one can only presume.

Ah! And Hamas, the devil. Better the abu Mazin, and the rest of the politically correct Palestinian leadership more than willing to offer up their bottoms to the Zionists.


"For example: with an already very unpopular peace with Israel Jordan will find itself in an impossible position; it will end with a bang any Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations if it had not been ended before, and it will represent a major blow to the Saudi regime that has been trying – however unsuccessfully – to help the peace process."

is pure hasbara.


What about the Israeli invasion of Egypt, supported by the British and French to recapture the Suez Canal in 1956? It strikes me that this author has adopted the typically zionist (most definitely not Jewish) approach of airbrushing certain events from history that do not suppport his hyothesis.

Mubarak was the strongest Arab engine behind the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. His disappearance alone represents a blow to the process.

What negotiations? What process? This post is "high quality" hasbara.


This is interesting
“ … a majority of Muslims in Egypt (59%) say democracy is preferable to any other kind of government, and about six-in-ten (61%) Egyptians are concerned about extremism in their country. What could this mean? Apparently this means A. that most Egyptians do not share the West’s definition of democracy, and B. that what almost every Westerner would define as extreme Islamism, most Egyptians don’t consider to be extreme at all.”
Is this what most people mean by democracy? To me it is a method of bean counting and says nothing about the type of government it produces. It could be Hamas in Gaza, a Maoist party in Nepal, Nation Socialists in Germany or Neo-Libralists in the US.

The unifying feature of the ‘moderate pro-US Arab regimes’ is the ability of those in power to follow a US inspired Middle East foreign policy diametrically opposed to the will of their populace. The lack of a need, on the part of the elites, to take note of the wishes of their people is a prerequisite and therefore any trend to a system – of which democracy is but one option – which gauges and then reflects the will of the people is bound to be detrimental to Israeli interests. As the US seems to be under the erroneous impression that its interests are linked to Israel’s the US will see this as bad for them. Europe has tended to ally itself with the US and get pulled into supporting dead US inspired peace processes out of a US loyalty although not to the extent of vetoing SC resolutions condemning settlement activity or other Israeli excesses.
There is a joke from the NI troubles
‘An Englishmen, an Irishman and an Ulsterman walk into a bar and are discussing the solution to the troubles. Surprisingly are all in agreement the solution is democratic referendum on devolution. On closer examination of their positions they all seem to have slightly different views on enfranchisement. The Englishman thinks everyone in the British Isles should get a vote, the Irishman thinks it should be limited to the Island of Ireland and the Ulsterman see no reason to include anyone outside the territory directly effected by the decision.’
Obviously the point is democracy needs a few things to be effective, unbiased information on which to make your decision, the absence of fear of reprisals for ‘voting the wrong way’ and a representative enfranchisement. While many places have dealt with the fear; media bias is a problem including in the West.
Control of enfranchisement is rife. In Iran you need to be pre approved by the Supreme leader, Israel is proud of its democracy which affirms its Jewishness, but has achieved, and is maintaining, this by excluding enormous numbers of Palestinians who, given the right to return home and vote, would radically alter the Palestine/Israel State. America’s bar is financial, in the absence of significant campaign finance reform, it is not possible to achieve high public office without a sizeable war chest. The size of the needed finance currently means high office requires corporate backers which in turn means a business friendly agenda so perpetuating a democratic corporate oligarchy which is probably better than Israeli/Iranian religious democracies but in all cases there is no obvious way to break the cycle from within the system.


The above was the Israeli point of view of the 73 war. In reality, the Israelis were on the ropes and were saved by Nixon in Operation Nickel Grass. In fact, their situation was so dire they threatened to go nuclear unless resupplied.


Charles I

Thank you for the historical background on the interests and performance of past Egyptian political forces and current prospects.

W/r/t to the "end with a bang any Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations if it had not been ended before", a couple of points

The settlement program, er, pardon me, peace process, as apparent to any with eyes and a moral compass, has finally been irrefutably exposed as a complete and utter sham yet it is held out in all seriousness as a pearl to be lost.

Losing an illusion is no loss, indeed a gain, painful as it may be.

Secondly, an ever increasing proportion of the bangs will occur in Israel unless IT, the OCCUPIER, the Alpha military economy makes real peace before it succumbs to technology and demographics.

Which indeed begs the question - Is the US doing anything in this respect?

Is Israel, the ME's oft touted only democracy? You'd think they'd be particularly equipped with regional and cultural insight to launch an ME political Marshall Plan.

So long as the aim was imperfectly human rather than divinely proscribed.


out of a US loyalty


TPTB in the US are not the string pullers in all this, simply one of the pulled string set. Look behind the curtain and follow the money, the real wealth that is. All operators need a believable front man.

There needs to be wider recognition of the mindsets of the McKinder v Mahan contestants in Teh Great Clash. Sun Tzu would be, I think, very proud of Chi these days cause, so far, it looks like "Mission Accomplished".

You have the decoder ring if you will only use it tho I will admit doing so would shatter many facades.

Charles I

ps, I keep hearing these PEW stats, and in a another thread was a link to the effert that these majorities were subsets of minorities who wanted strict Sharia imposed in a Democratic Egypt, as opposed to majorities of majorities who naturally deem Islam to have influence in the society and government.

We've already been through this but I'm going to do it again when I get a moment because if accurate it totally debunks the claims of Sharia crazed popular majoritites not fit for democracy. It becomes something like 82% of 34% who want atavistic Sharia rule are stoners, etc.

I will get back on this.


"embolden Muqtada al-Sadr at the expense of less pro-Iranian Shi’I leaders"

If you mean leaders with a significant Shi'i following, then surely Moqtada was more nationalist and less pro-Iranian than any of the others?? This hasbara is short sighted because Shi'i Arab Nationalists had a much better chance of working with the Sunnis to ward off undue Iranian influence than the parties (the majority in parliament) that were born in Iran....
Also, 'However, this shift, while seen as unavoidable by the ruling elite, has been seen ever since by the Egyptian intellectuals and probably the majority of the Egyptian people as nothing short of treason. To them it was not what Israel did but, rather, what Israel was which represented an unacceptable offense. A tiny, independent, economically successful and militarily victorious Jewish state has been an anathema to the Egyptian intellectual milieu, be they Nasserists, Communists, “liberals” or Islamists. ' While I don't deny that many Arab propaganda outlets have made hay with the Israel issue, this sounds like orientalist claptrap. Yet another propagandist trying to claim that Arabs hate Israel for its success and not because Israel is a horrific invasion of Palestine...According to this logic, then Arabs would still hate Israel even if it was moved to Germany or Uganda. Let's give it a go and find out...


The Palestinians ABSOLUTELY should not restart negotations. The negotiation game has allowed Israel to increase settlement activity during the phony "peace process."

If Israel wants peace, it should stop building.

Settlement building is an act of aggression. To pretend otherwise is to engage in appeasement of Zion.

Divest. Sanction. And isolate.


As an exercise in reading well-crafted Zionist propaganda this post was interesting.

But at root it was just the same old hasbara.


always learn something by reading here

mahan vs mckinder


"The concept of geopolitics initially gained attention through the work of Sir Halford Mackinder in England and his formulation of the Heartland Theory which was set out in his article entitled "The Geographical Pivot of History" in 1904. Mackinder's doctrine of geopolitics involved concepts diametrically opposed to the notion of Alfred Thayer Mahan about the significance of navies (he coined the term sea power) in world conflict. The Heartland theory hypothesized the possibility for a huge empire being brought into existence in the Heartland, which wouldn't need to use coastal or transoceanic transport to remain coherent. The basic notions of Mackinder's doctrine involve considering the geography of the Earth as being divided into two sections, the World Island or Core, comprising Eurasia and Africa; and the Periphery, including the Americas, the British Isles, and Oceania. Not only was the Periphery noticeably smaller than the World Island, it necessarily required much sea transport to function at the technological level of the World Island, which contained sufficient natural resources for a developed economy. Also, the industrial centers of the Periphery were necessarily located in widely separated locations. The World Island could send its navy to destroy each one of them in turn. It could locate its own industries in a region further inland than the Periphery could, so they would have a longer struggle reaching them, and would face a well-stocked industrial bastion. Mackinder called this region the Heartland. It essentially comprised Ukraine, Western Russia, and Mitteleuropa (a German term for Central Europe). The Heartland contained the grain reserves of Ukraine, and many other natural resources. Mackinder's notion of geopolitics can be summed up in his saying "Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland. Who rules the Heartland commands the World-Island. Who rules the World-Island commands the World." His doctrine was influential during the World Wars and the Cold War, for Germany and later Russia each made territorial strides toward the Heartland."

b/ it seems the theory recapitulates Napoleon's continental power vs. English seapower.



The U.S. Fleets, its ultimate realization?

Charles I

The stats are as quoted.

The subsets I referred to concerned differences between those perceiving an internal struggle between strict Islamists vs modernizers, not high numbers in Egypt. Those seeing such a struggle overwhelmingly support strict sharia with anti-democratic tendencies.

Considering the numbers accepting women in the workplace, equal gender rights(tho not if personally displaced)we are left with not unsurprising political/cultural contradictions in solicited attitudes that may not reflect the whoel picture when cited in isolation.

I hope.

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