Tag: Egypt

Egypt Erupts … Again

Tell me you’re surprised:

Egypt’s military regime, aided by snipers and bulldozers, swept the streets of Islamist protesters Wednesday—setting off a day of violence that left at least 525 people dead, the government fractured and ties with its international partners in tatters.

Cairo’s streets were calm Thursday morning following a curfew overnight, though funerals for the dead and a march planned by the Muslim Brotherhood are likely to inflame tensions later in the day.

We are witnessing the beginnings of a civil war. A war not between democracy and tyranny but between Islamists and the military. Whoever wins, we lose. I think it’s time — and I know this is shocking — that we consider cutting off military aid.

Egypt On The Brink. Again.

You wouldn’t know it from much of the American media, but Egypt may be having another new government sooner than expected:

Egypt entered a perilous 48 hours on Monday when the military delivered an ultimatum to the country’s first democratically elected president, hundreds of thousands of protesters renewed calls to oust him from office and the president’s Islamists allies vowed to take to the streets to stop what they called “a military coup.”

In a military communiqué read over state television that echoed the announcement toppling former President Hosni Mubarak two chaotic years ago, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces demanded Monday that President Mohamed Morsi satisfy the public’s demands within two days, or else the generals would impose their own “road map” out of crisis.

But instead of soothing the volatile standoff between Mr. Morsi’s opponents and his supporters, the generals seemed to add to the uncertainty that has paralyzed the state, decimated the economy and brought millions into the streets Sunday demanding the president step down. It was not clear what the military meant when it said Mr. Morsi must satisfy the public’s demands, what it might do if that vague standard was not met and who would be able to unite this badly fractured nation.

Basically, there is a significant fraction of the Egyptian public that is already tired of the Muslim Brotherhood. However, the Brotherhood is still quite powerful, controls the Islamists and is recognized as having won the last election. It’s not clear what would happen if an actual civil war broke out. Obama is mostly staying out, saying he will support Egypt’s elected government. That’s the right move at this stage.

This is going to get worse before it gets better.

It Is Like the Pharaohs Have Returned

Here we go again:

Protesters stormed the headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood’s political wing in Alexandria earlier Friday, setting the building on fire, according to Ahmed Sobea, spokesman for the Freedom and Justice Party.

They were angry at the announcement Thursday by Morsy’s spokesman that the president issued an order preventing any court from overturning his decisions.

Morsy also ordered retrials and new investigations into the deaths of protesters during last year’s uprising against strongman Hosni Mubarak, the spokesman said. That could lead to a new prosecution of Mubarak, currently serving a life prison term, and several acquitted officials who served under him.

Raise your hand if you are surprised. Now we will see if the Egyptian people really want democracy or if they’ve replaced one dictator with a more Islamist one.

Yemen and Tunisia

A small protest outside our embassy in Tunisia. Other in Morocco and Sudan. Flag burned in Gaza (but that could just be because it’s Thursday). Large violent protests in Egypt and Yemen. But Libya seems to be trying to stay on the sane side and there are indication Libyan government forces fought to defend our ambassador (although security seems to have been generally inadequate). And the supposed offending film keeps getting more mysterious.

But I’m beginning to think the film is a red herring. This seems to be more of a generalized anti-US sentiment spurred by radical Islamists.

Updates as events warrant.

An Act of War?

Isn’t that what this is?

The US ambassador to Libya is among four Americans killed in an attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, President Barack Obama has confirmed.

Unidentified armed men stormed the grounds overnight amid uproar among Muslims over a US-produced film said to insult the Prophet Muhammad.

They shot at buildings and threw handmade bombs into the compound.

It is still unclear how the ambassador, J Christopher Stevens, and the others actually died.

CBS is reporting that the staff were moved after the initial attacks but their location was betrayed by Libyan guards.

Right now, the situation is very fluid. Ansar Al-Sharia, an offshoot of Al-Qaeda, is claiming credit for the attacks. But it’s not clear exactly what went on. In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood is calling for peaceful protests. We’ll see how that goes.

All over some obscure privately-funded movie.

What is clear is that American soil has been attacked and an American official killed. The exact response can be debated. For example, if we really believe that the Libyan government had nothing to do with this, we can work with them to kill the fuckers.

But a response will be coming. There is simply no alternative.

Update: It’s probably been taken down now, but a video trailer of the offending film is floating around on youtube. I watched a few minutes. If this is what has provoked the riots, it’s ridiculous. As my brother said, it’s just an excuse. The “film” wouldn’t pass muster as a high school play. Honestly, Maons was more professionally made.

The Salafists Honor 9/11

Well, at least the Egyptians decided to do something to honor the day:

Angry protesters climbed the walls of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo on Tuesday and hauled down the American flag, replacing it with a black standard with Islamic emblems, apparently in protest of the production of a film thought to insult the Prophet Mohammed.

The incident prompted a volley of warning shots to be fired as a large crowd gathered outside, said CNN producer Mohammed Fahmy, who was on the scene.

The replacement flag read, “There is no God but Allah and Mohammad is his messenger.”

Others expressed more general grievances about U.S. policy, chanting anti-American slogans and holding up bits of a shredded American flag to television camera crews in front of the embassy.

This is supposedly anger over an anti-Muhammed film, but I can’t find any details what precise film they are objecting to. There are vague rumors of some Coptic-funded thing as well as an association with Terry Jones, the guy who burnt a Koran. But that sounds more like an excuse to attack Coptic Christians than anything else. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is no such film.

I also can’t believe protesting today is a coincidence. The entire world knows what today is the anniversary of.

Hillary Under Fire

I’ve been somewhat puzzled by the gleeful reaction to Hillary Clinton’s motorcade being pelted with shoes and tomatoes in Egypt. Is anti-Americanism a good thing now? I always hated it when the Left would get smug about anti-Bush protests. Clinton has been — and I hate to say this — a decent Secretary of State. She’s worked her ass off, done nothing to undermine the President and managed to smooth over their innumerable fuck-ups. That we are not at war with anyone after three years of these guys is remarkable and I think Clinton deserves the lion’s share of credit.

But yesterday, the New York Times dug into the story. Apparently, the protests were ignited because the Egyptians think we supported the Islamic Brotherhood in taking over Egypt. (My own opinion? The opposition failed to unite, leaving the Brotherhood as the only coherent political force. You’ll see similar patterns from history in the rise of bad regimes.)

But here’s the more incendiary allegation, one that’s been picked up by every Left Wing blog in existence:

Pressed by American reporters to explain where they got the idea that their new Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi, had been foisted on them through a U.S. plot, rather than the will of the majority, several Egyptians cited information gathered from American blogs or news sites.

An Egyptian-American Christian who met Mrs. Clinton on Sunday cited recent claims by Representative Michele Bachmann, a Republican, “that the Obama Administration is pursuing a closeted pro-Muslim agenda,” in a conversation with Time magazine’s correspondent, Abigail Hauslohner.

In an online conversation on Monday, when Matt Bradley of The Wall Street Journal asked an Egyptian blogger named Sara Ahmed for proof that the Obama administration was “financing” the Muslim Brotherhood, she directed him to a blog post about American aid to Egypt by an ultra-conservative Canadian blogger, Judi McLeod. Ms. McLeod’s post was based on a news story posted on Lucianne.com, a site run by Lucianne Goldberg, an American conservative who played a central role in the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

As Mr. Bradley pointed out to Ms. Ahmed, though, Ms. McLeod had badly garbled the original news report, which simply said that the U.S. had decided to release $1.3 billion in aid to Egypt’s military in April. Ms. McLeod falsely reported that the money had been given instead to a delegation of Muslim Brotherhood leaders who visited Washington around the same time.

Other information came from rabid anti-Islamists like Frank Gaffney.

First things first: it is shameful that this kind of conspiracy mongering has not only been tolerated, but positively embraced by parts of the Right Wing. During the presidential primaries, three non-Romneys directly embraced conspiracy mongering. Bachmann is mentioned above. Cain said he would not hire Muslims or require a loyalty oath. And Gingrich spewed ignorant bullshit about history, religion and property values. Only Paul and Romney specifically rejected it. The GOP has, for far too long, played footsie with anti-Obama conspiracy theorists. And now it’s biting them again.

That having been said, however, this smells like garbage to me. If Egyptian conspiracy mongering is being influenced by American pundits, it is a minor factor. The reality is that the United States is, has been and always will be blamed for the ills of the world. Whenever any country is messed up, its leadership and its people will find a way to blame us. And if they can find support for that blame in the massive and free American media — where every viewpoint is tolerated — that’s a bonus. But these blog posts and statements are being cited as supporting evidence, not the origin. Anti-American conspiracy theories can cook up just fine on their own.

The real problem is that the reality about America’s role in the world is colliding with Obama hero worship. The Left insisted for years that it was only Bush’s incompetence which caused us to be hated. And once we had the Enlightened One, all that would change. I remember Sullivan saying that the simple fact that Obama’s middle name was Hussein was going to help. These hopes for Obama’s foreign policy were always delusional. And now that they have been dashed on the rocks of reality, the media is determined to sustain their messianic delusions by blaming the Right Wing for Obama’s failures. It’s pathetic, really.

(I mean … seriously? You guys have a Nobel Prize winner in office, Hillary as Secretary of State, a new vision for relations and you can’t overcome the rantings of a few bloggers?! What kind of crybaby bullshit is this?)

Finally … and I hate to keep going back to this point, but it keeps being relevant … where were these guys, oh, four to eight years ago? Where they worried that “no blood for oil!” would undermine Bush’s legitimacy? When entire wars were blamed on Haliburton’s lust for profits, did they wring their hands over how this would affect the Arab street? What about 9/11 conspiracy theories being promoted by members of Congress?

This is why I tire of politics. Everything is fine when our side does it but vile when the other side does. Everything is the other side’s fault, never our own. They behave like beasts who hate America; we behave like angels who rescue kittens.

Conspiracy mongering is a vile and disgusting practice. “Reporting” sensational stories without fact-checking is deliberate idiocy. But that’s true no matter who does it. It’s wrong whether it’s Michael Moore or Pamela Geller.

But none of this has anything to do with why we are blamed for the ills of the world. When things go wrong, we will get blamed. When we act, we will get blamed. When we don’t act, we will get blamed. And, in the end, people will invent facts out of whole cloth to blame us. That’s been true long before Michele Bachmann and Glenn Beck.

How Do You Solve A Problem Like Egypt

I keep writing posts on Egypt and then deleting them. It appears that the military is simply not going to allow the Muslim Brotherhood to win the elections, having dissolve parliament and delaying the Presidential election results. While it’s tempting to think this is a good move, I have to agree that supporting another junta is likely to backfire on us in a big way.

I don’t envy Obama having to navigate these waters but I think, so far, he’s doing the right thing by keeping us the hell out of it. I would be — and maybe he is — quietly redeploying our resources in the region in anticipation of an Egyptian state that is hostile to israel. But there’s nothing we can really do. Sometimes you have to just watch countries go to hell.

Getting The Arab Spring Beat Out Of You

Egyptian protestors had no idea the consequences of getting put on the cover of Time, but one thing I want to know, who sent Fullerton Police Department to Cairo?

Much of this stuff is absolutely brutal, and I seriously doubt those are rubber bullets being used.

With the first anniversary of the Arab Spring origin, we are left the cold reality that governments do not form in a vacuum, that removing your dictator is only a necessary first step. The other obvious observation is that many parts of the world do not live by the delicate sensibilities we live by, to wit, committing cold blooded murder on protestors seems like an acceptable method of policing rioters in areas of infant governments. These police/soldiers are a bit frenetic in their enforcement protocols, they got big ass sticks (long sticks equals no need for close quarter fighting), no need for formations or shields (the thought of containment is the last thing on their mind, they are all offense) and there is zero worry that some videographer will capture their exploits and make them famous.

The jury is still out on what type of place Egypt, Tunisia or Libya will morph in to. In the last election the Muslim Brotherhood stepped up:

Parties that want an expansion of Islamic law captured a clear majority of the votes in Egypt’s first election since the uprising that ousted longtime authoritarian leader Hosni Mubarak, according to results released Sunday.

Whether they turn into another Turkey or Iran, Egypt and Tunisia have neither oil or nukes so they start out from a position of disadvantage, we shall see. But these type of youtube videos peppering the airwaves will not help in sympathy with the west.

You would not know..

That the Islamists are predicted to have scored big in the Egyptian elections if you were watching the usual LSM DNC propaganda outlets.

Judges overseeing the vote count in Egypt’s parliamentary elections say Islamist parties have won a majority of the contested seats in the first round. The judges spoke on condition of anonymity because official results are expected to be released later Thursday.

They say the Muslim Brotherhood could take 45 percent of the seats up for grabs. The liberal Egyptian bloc coalition and the ultra-fundamentalist Nour party are competing for second place.

Together, Islamist parties are expected to control a majority of parliamentary seats by March. This week’s vote was the first of six stages of parliamentary elections that will last until then.

Yeah, these are not complete yet, but the trend is not a coincidence to people like me that predicted exactly that end result. Obama seems to be hell bent to outdo Carter. Carter lost Iran: Obama is on pace to give away Egypt, Libya, and more.

Ain’t the world loving us yet?