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Ear to the Ground

Team Obama Divided on Egypt Approach

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Posted on Feb 9, 2011
White House / Pete Souza

President Obama gestures during a Cabinet meeting at the White House on Feb. 1.

Maybe you’ve noticed that the Obama administration’s strategy with regard to the ongoing Egyptian uprising has lacked a certain consistency. That’s partly because of divisions within the president’s closest circles about how to deal with the crisis and its various factions, and as the L.A. Times reported Wednesday, something like harmony has recently been achieved, but it may not last long.  —KA

Los Angeles Times:

After sending mixed signals, the administration has appeared to settle on supporting a measured transition for easing Mubarak out of power. That strategy, which remains the subject of vigorous debate inside the administration, calls for a Mubarak crony, Vice President Omar Suleiman, to lead the reform process.

[...] But that position has been harder to defend as Suleiman and other Mubarak allies appeared to dig in, refusing the administration’s entreaties to undertake swift reforms such as scrapping the country’s longstanding state of emergency. On Wednesday, Suleiman warned ominously of a coup unless the unrest ended. That prompted White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs to fire back that the Egyptians should “expand the size and scope of the discussions and the negotiations and to take many of the steps that we outlined yesterday — one of which is lifting the emergency law.”

[...] The White House declined to elaborate on the positions staked out by Obama’s advisors, though they acknowledged a robust and ongoing debate. But aides have revealed some of the disagreements in group meetings and one-on-one discussions with experts, including former U.S. diplomats.

The current situation reflects Obama’s decision-making process as president. On key issues, he has encouraged open-ended debate, preferring to ponder all sides of the argument before, sometimes slowly, choosing a position in the middle ground. In deciding whether to send more troops to Afghanistan, for example, his decision reflected a compromise between his military advisors and those like Vice President Joe Biden, who argued that a swift drawdown was needed.”

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By samosamo, February 11, 2011 at 10:52 pm Link to this comment

****************

 

Hmm, interesting. o must be deliberating as to whether to
send in the imf and world bank or the world bank and wto or
the imf and wto. Which ever ones that will crash the local
economy, incur austerity programs and oh, not to forget the
draconian laws for good measure.

Hope the Egyptians are on their toes, as any time the u.s.
keeps trying how best to run another country, it can only
mean bad times. And somehow I think this ‘thinking’ period
has more than a lot of how izrael will be entered into the
equation by possibly making Egypt a ‘new Palestine or Gaza’.

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OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, February 10, 2011 at 11:11 pm Link to this comment

No matter who you are, Left or Right, you have to admit that the Obama admistration isnt handling this well. He appears to be trying to sail with the wind only to have it shift on him.

As Barack tacks this way and that he manages to offend everyone everywhere. Hopefully a few ingratiating bows by Obama will fix it. He will have to bow twice to The King of Saudi Arabia, surely once to the people of Egypt, maybe once to Israel, and possibly twice to Mubarak depending on the circumstances.

If Barry had some principle(any principle! take your pick!)... and would stick to it… we would be far better off. Instead Obama appears to be a day late and a dollar short all the time. But he is good at bowing and scraping so he might be able to retrieve some dignity and respect from the situation.

I am not asking my President to control events. That isnt what i am talking about. Control your own response, Mr President. And for God’s sake please control your administration. Think ahead, think of how your words reflect on us, how they effect others. This isnt about you, sir. Its about Egypt’s internal affairs, her international relationships, and our own national interest in those areas.

Recent comments by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper that Egypt’s branch of the Muslim Brotherhood movement is “largely secular” are typical of an administration that seems to have no understanding or principles to stand on. Was Clapper trying to whitewash a soon to occur Muslim Brotherhood takeover? Or is he just mentally a clutz?

http://www.politico.com/blogs/joshgerstein/0211/DNI_Clapper_Egypts_Muslim_Brotherhood_largely_secular.html

This James Clapper fellow is unable to hide his lethargy and ignorance. This isnt the first time either.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/dec/23/us-intelligence-chief-unaware-terror

But worse, the more competent people(Clinton) in the administration dont know what to do now.  Instead they must try to anticipate what some idiot in the administration might say, or guess what Barry wants… by asking themselves “Which way is the wind going to blow next?”

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By AnnaCatherine, February 10, 2011 at 11:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Is this really Obama’s decision to make?  I think not. The face of the Middle East is changing and we may have to adjust to new ways as laid down by the people who live there. The White House should concern itself with adjusting to a new arrangement. Efforts to hold on the the old guard will result in a bloodbath. The people can be beaten back, there’s no question about it. The Military can turn on a dime. That doesn’t make it right. All the talk about democracy should stop. Nobody means what they’re saying. They want the status quo because it serves their selfish purposes. I have a map of the world that’s probably 75 years old. It’s amazing how many places no longer exist and the numbers of new places that didn’t exist back then. Most of the changes did not come about peacefully. But they did come about because the people demanded it. All due respect to the high IQ folks, but nothing stays the same.

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By john from ojai, February 10, 2011 at 3:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Suleiman is a thug who worked with the CIA. The whole regime and Parliament needs to go since they came in on rigged elections.  Our corrupt US government needs to stop supporting thugs in the press and with our taxpayer money ($1.5 billion a year).

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markulyseas's avatar

By markulyseas, February 10, 2011 at 2:32 am Link to this comment

The rape of Egypt by Hosni Mubarak, and the predictable aftermath.

What is happening in Cairo is endemic in countries where regimes are supported by the US of A. Mr. Hosni Mubarak and his cronies have systematically raped Egyptians metamorphicaly and literally in terms of human rights, civil rights, women’s rights and financially i.e. by stealing the nation’s wealth. Incidentally, Hosni Mubarak, his wife Mrs. Suzanne Mubarak and his two sons, (Gamal and Alaa), have amassed over 40 billion dollars in assets/cash in the U.S.A, and banks in Switzerland and Britain.

Now where has this money come from?

The ordinary working class citizens of this ancient land have been repressed by the machinations of a semi-benign police state supported by USA, a country that has historically fiddled in the affairs of other countries while ironically priding itself on freedom of speech and the first amendment; and, strangely enough by Israel, a Jewish State. In fact it is rumored that Israel does not want to see Mubarak go and further has been surreptitiously protecting him for they apparently prefer to support this malignancy because it suits their Machiavellian strategy i.e. dividing the Arab nations. Obviously this is a hangover from the Yom Kippur war of 1973 (Arab-Israeli War/Ramadan War/ October War).

The sudden surge in demonstrations and the proceeding violence is a long delayed backlash that should have come much earlier. And this is fuelled by sentiments stirred up by the Brotherhood and other vested interests. Mr. Karl Marx was right when he said that religion is the opium of the masses. What we are witnessing is the volatile concoction of culture spiced by religion which will predictably free citizens from State control but enslave them to the prevailing religious leaders’ biddings.

Many Arab rulers have been known to ‘run’ their countries reminiscent of medieval feudal States. A quick reference to the Shah of Iran, Saddam Hussein, Haile Selassie and the aftermath of their inglorious exit is ample proof of the path Egyptians will inevitably tread in the coming months. Finally when the dust settles the Brotherhood will settle in and as time ticks on one despot will be replaced by another in a form probably palatable to the ordinary people for they cannot argue with their self appointed religious leaders whose sole agenda is to use Islam as a tool to subjugate the people by perverted representation of this Great religion.

We have no one to blame but the USA and its allies for deliberately supporting Hosni Mubarak even though he and his accomplices have looted their own country.

The emotive images of blood, sweat and tears of ordinary unarmed, innocent Egyptians displayed on TV screens worldwide will finally come to naught for in the grand scheme of things, freedom will be but a fleeting glimpse of truth till organized religion takes the reins.

May God bless the unfortunate people of Egypt.

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By gerard, February 10, 2011 at 2:10 am Link to this comment

Once again, read thebeerdoctor’s recommendations.

Also digest this quote from the Times article:
  “Apart from managing the crisis, the White House is consulting with outside interest groups and foreign governments to ensure that its message is getting through.”
  Questions:  1. Why should the White House be “managing the crisis”? What right has it?
  2.  What “outside interest groups and foreign governments is it “consulting”—Israel? And for what reason?  Saudi Arabia?  Ditto.  Britain?  Who all else?  Why not the United Nations? What “think tanks” and what corporations? 
  3.  It’s message “getting through to” whom?  The American people (and what is their role in the decision if any?)  The “surveillance agencies” in this country and in the Middle East and Africa?  And why need those agencies be involved?
  3. Is there one message (agreed upon by whom?) or are there several messages tempered to fulfill several different goals, not all of which are mutually complimentary and some of which are actually conflicting, depending upon who wants to hear what?
  WikiLeaks has proven to us that foreign relations is a minefield of lies, “interpetations” and briberies.  Why doesn’t our government “self-correct” in view of these exposures of secret dishonesty, and use open dealing and open information to achieve goals that are consistently fair to everyone?  Why can’t we use our huge “intelligence” operation to arrive at some accurate and honest decision that speaks the best truth we can muster as objectively as possible to whatever the powers involved are, and refrain from dragging others in, or pushing and shoving.  Let them choose to support our decisions or reject them as the see fit. What prevents integrity in the dealings of our government?  In attempting to be all things to all people, are we becoming of no value to anyone?

Report this

By gerard, February 10, 2011 at 2:10 am Link to this comment

Once again, read thebeerdoctor’s recommendations.

Also digest this quote from the Times article:
  “Apart from managing the crisis, the White House is consulting with outside interest groups and foreign governments to ensure that its message is getting through.”
  Questions:  1. Why should the White House be “managing the crisis”? What right has it?
  2.  What “outside interest groups and foreign governments is it “consulting”—Israel? And for what reason?  Saudi Arabia?  Ditto.  Britain?  Who all else?  Why not the United Nations? What “think tanks” and what corporations? 
  3.  It’s message “getting through to” whom?  The American people (and what is their role in the decision if any?)  The “surveillance agencies” in this country and in the Middle East and Africa?  And why need those agencies be involved?
  3. Is there one message (agreed upon by whom?) or are there several messages tempered to fulfill several different goals, not all of which are mutually complimentary and some of which are actually conflicting, depending upon who wants to hear what?
  WikiLeaks has proven to us that foreign relations is a minefield of lies, “interpetations” and briberies.  Why doesn’t our government “self-correct” in view of these exposures of secret dishonesty, and use open dealing and open information to achieve goals that are consistently fair to everyone?  Why can’t we use our huge “intelligence” operation to arrive at some accurate and honest decision that speaks the best truth we can muster as objectively as possible to whatever the powers involved are, and refrain from dragging others in, or pushing and shoving.  Let them choose to support our decisions or reject them as the see fit. What prevents integrity in the dealings of our government?  In attempting to be all things to all people, are we becoming of no value to anyone?

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thebeerdoctor's avatar

By thebeerdoctor, February 10, 2011 at 1:13 am Link to this comment

Here is a start: stop shipping arms to Egypt. Stop shipping arms to Israel. Disengage from the insane wars. That in itself is a 24/7 job. Give up the delusional empire. Return this country to being a republic. Stop trying to tell the rest of the world what to do. Abandon the lie that there is such a thing as a “good war”. The promotion of war is enabling a total failure of the human spirit. Be “permanently maladjusted"as Martin Luther King Jr. pointed out, to the self-defeating promotion of violence. Love for the human family is the only engine for survival.

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By tweet le dee, February 9, 2011 at 11:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

O & O Obama and Omar; new-found fast friends ? Mubarek should go to the White House and become an advisor to Obama.

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