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14 April 2019

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Webstir

Hey Colonel --
There’s a great thread over at Ian Welsh’s blog on the value of a liberal arts education. There are some STEM’ers over there that could use a good lashing.
Thought you might want to check it out.

blue peacock

In response to Rep. Ilhan's comment about 9/11 I've seen many tweets with the theme of "Never forget" with images of the smoking towers. But....none of them mention that the overwhelming majority of the jihadists that attacked the WTC were Saudi nationals. No one from Iran, Iraq, Libya or Syria attacked us. Yet we have attacked and sanctioned these countries not Saudi Arabia. Why is that?

JJackson

I note that Sudan and Algeria seem to have taken note of the Egyptian's experience and seem determined not just to get rid of one dictator only to have one of his underlings assume the role.

Fred

Is there any relation to this news and the meeting between Sisi and Haftar in Cairo?
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-egypt-libya/egypts-sisi-meets-libyan-commander-haftar-in-cairo-presidency-spokesman-idUSKCN1RQ09N

Mark Logan

I'm guessing it might be difficult domestically for any Egyptian leader to commit to this. They face significant internal problems and the collective memory of the terrible price paid in the pursuit of pan-Arabism under Nassar hasn't completely faded.

Turcopolier

He/they HAD committed to this and now have withdrawn.

Turcopolier

It probably means that Egypt is pursuing an independent foreign policy in Libya.

Christian J Chuba

Designating the IRGC as a terrorist organization was likely the last straw.

Let's suppose the U.S. was getting a stipend from another country to be a part of some contrived 'American NATO'. We play along for the paycheck. However, this benefactor has this obsession against Canada and declaries the Canadian Mounties a terrorist organization which means that we are now in an organization that technically makes us obligated to be in conflict with them. At some point one has to push back against such extremism.

The timing just seemed too coincidental for it not to be a factor.
Now, will al-Sisi buy the Su-35's after Pompeo's threat? That would be taking a real risk. Pompeo / Bolton must be in a real sour mood given their lack of success with Turkey and Venezuela.

Andrei Martyanov (aka Smoothiex12)

none of them mention that the overwhelming majority of the jihadists that attacked the WTC were Saudi nationals.

It is not politically correct to do so.

JamesT

"... the collective memory of the terrible price paid in the pursuit of pan-Arabism under Nassar hasn't completely faded"

I would be interested to know what that "terrible price" was. The Egyptians I've talked to would bristle at hearing an American claim that either Nassar or pan-Arabism was the source of their problems. It's kind of like hearing a Brit assert that George Washington was the root of US problems.

I've argued with the Colonel before that I think the Sunni vs Shia enimity is overblown - and while I defer to his greatly superior knowledge of the subject and the region, I wonder if Hezbollah can't possibly make pan-Arabism work. Hezbollah's greatest advantage is that they are very uncorrupt in a region plagued by corruption.

ISL

Dear Colonel,

I also wonder if we are seeing a follow-on from events in Turkey - specifically, that being tied into NATO weapons can backfire if one loses friend of NATO status - i.e., NATO may be able to kill switch Patriots but not S-300s. And the loss of getting access to F35s is not really a loss.

Evidently Sisi now judges that while Trump has bark, he has no bite. There also is a mercurial quality to Trump projects. Supposedly this would confound our negotiating adversaries and friends, but it seems to mostly cause (laughter and raised eyebrows - e.g., Trump at UN).

Turcopolier

You must have misunderstood me. Shia and Sunni are only at serious odds when non-Muslims are not an over arching enemy.

JamesT

That makes sense, Colonel.

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