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The Egyptian Army: Question Marks

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Posted on Feb 4, 2011
AP / Tara Todras-Whitehill

An Egyptian Muslim cleric cries in front of a tank in Tahrir Square in Cairo.

By Barry Lando

In attempting to persuade Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to leave the scene, Washington desperately wants to avoid further radicalization on the streets of Egypt and, above all, to ensure that the Egyptian army remains unscathed. That interest, of course, coincides with the aim of Egypt’s top brass. 

The generals are intent on continuing to exercise power behind the scenes—as they have for decades. 

The announcement that the army would refuse to take up arms against the people was part of Washington’s game plan. It undercut Mubarak and prevented him from attempting a bloody showdown that could have been disastrous—for the people and the army. In fact, the Egyptian military made that same announcement in 1977, when it was called in to quell riots after President Anwar Sadat announced cuts in basic food subsidies. The army refused to intervene unless the subsidies were re-established. Sadat restored the subsidies.

That doesn’t mean that the army would be willing to step aside for whatever the will of the people turns out to be. Perhaps the military could be assured that it could remain the nation’s guardian, as in Turkey. What are the political limits the army would accept?

Of course, the army is not monolithic. Its ranks are filled with hundreds of thousands of conscripts, drawn from the most humble levels of society. It has traditionally been the most important means of socializing the lower classes, inculcating them with a sense of pride and patriotism. Indeed, the 1971 constitution says that the Egyptian army shall “belong to the people.” This sentiment was made dramatically clear by the iconic images of soldiers shaking hands and embracing the demonstrators, even allowing them to paint slogans on their battle tanks.

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How then to explain the fact that on Wednesday in Cairo organized bands of armed thugs were reportedly allowed to pass through military checkpoints to attack the anti-Mubarak crowds, while the military stood aside and watched.

That tactic makes eminent sense from the point of view of generals determined to keep themselves from the abyss. Now that Mubarak has said he won’t run for another term, the generals would like the people to return obediently to their homes. The military will oversee things now, thanks. Only the people won’t go. They don’t trust Mubarak. But, since the army doesn’t at this point want to endanger its own future by using bloody force, others are being allowed to do the dirty work. The military will keep its hands clean, and pretend it has no responsibility for the bloodshed.

So far, the tactic hasn’t worked: The people have refused to back down.

The top military ranks have concerns other than just protecting their own institution. They’re also worried about their own skins. They can never forget the lurid spectacle of Iranian generals being executed in the aftermath of Khomeini’s revolution in Iran. Iran also demonstrated that a radical revolution means a radically transformed military, with the traditional army shunted aside. (Egypt’s generals have a constant reminder of that lesson nearby: The Shah of Iran is buried in a Cairo mosque.)

Under Mubarak, the top military ranks have also enjoyed a pampered existence in rambling developments such as Cairo’s Nasr City, where officers are housed in spacious, subsidized condominiums. They enjoy other amenities the average Egyptian can only dream of, such as nurseries, schools and military consumer cooperatives featuring domestic and imported products at discount prices.

One of the most indulged divisions is the Egyptian Republican Guard, responsible for defending Cairo and key government institutions. They are under the control of the minister of defense. It is apparently the only significant military unit allowed in central Cairo, apart from the intelligence service’s military branch. Its ranks are filled primarily by highly trained, highly motivated volunteers rather than conscripts. They are rewarded with bonuses, new cars and subsidized housing.

The Guard was created in 1952 as a kind of Praetorian Guard by Gamal Nasser to protect the presidency. Do its members still view that as their main mission today?

We’re not just talking about official perks. Many of Egypt’s military brass are notoriously corrupt. It was military land, for instance, that was sold by the generals to finance some major urban developments near Cairo—with little if any accounting.

The military also presides over 16 sprawling factories that turn out not just weapons, but an array of domestic products from dishwashers to computers to medical diagnostic equipment. The military’s farms produce enough food to feed its ranks with plenty left over to sell to civilians.

The justification for all this nonmilitary activity is that the army is just more efficient than civilians. But that’s hard to prove since the military’s operations are off the books. Many civilian businessmen complain that competing with the military is like trying to compete with the Mafia.

The U.S. also has a $1.3 billion carrot dangling in front of the Egyptian army. That annual American military aid to Egypt has allowed the Egyptian officers to get their hands on lots of nifty weapons—as we’ve seen over the past few days in and over downtown Cairo.

The generals realize there is no way the U.S. will continue paying for those playthings if a new regime opposed by the U.S. and Israel takes power in Cairo.

Will the generals be willing to forgo that aid?

There has also reportedly been a recent surge of religious feeling among military members—and their wives.  Will they be willing to reconsider their traditional antipathy to the Muslim Brotherhood and more radical Islamic movements?

Tune in tomorrow.


New and Improved Comments

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By ardee, February 8, 2011 at 5:49 pm Link to this comment

Spooky-43, February 6 at 3:28 pm Link to this comment

Ardee,

You need to read more.  Communism and Islam have had alliances throughout the past seventy years, if not longer.  Who do you think overthrew the Shah of Iran?  It was an alliance between communists and islamists?  Of course it didn’t last long after the Ayatollah took over.


Assuming you mean the ‘79 revolution rather than the ones in ‘05 or ‘63….

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iranian_Revolution

Causes
Further information: Background and causes of the Iranian Revolution

The revolution was populist, nationalist and later Shi’a Islamic. It was in part a conservative backlash against the Westernizing and secularizing efforts of the Western-backed Shah,[17] and a liberal backlash to social injustice and other shortcomings of the ancien régime.[18] The Shah was perceived by many as beholden to — if not a puppet of — a non-Muslim Western power (the United States)[19][20] whose culture was impacting that of Iran.

The Shah’s regime was seen as oppressive, brutal,[21][22] corrupt, and extravagant;[21][23] it also suffered from basic functional failures — an over-ambitious economic program that brought economic bottlenecks, shortages and inflation.[24] Security forces were unable to deal with protest and demonstrations;[25] Iran was an overly centralized royal power structure.[26] The extraordinarily large size of the anti-shah movement meant that there “were literally too many protesters to arrest”, and that the security forces were overwhelmed.[27]

That the revolution replaced monarchy and Shah Pahlavi with Islamism and Khomeini, rather than another leader and ideology, is credited in part to the spread of the Shia version of the Islamic revival that opposed Westernization, saw Ayatollah Khomeini as following in the footsteps of the beloved Shi’a Imam Husayn ibn Ali, and the Shah in those of Husayn’s foe, the hated tyrant Yazid I.[28] Also thought responsible was the underestimation of Khomeini’s Islamist movement by both the Shah’s regime — who considered them a minor threat

Or -perhaps you refer to the ‘53 revolution:

The 1953 Iranian coup d’état, on August 19, 1953 (known as the 28 Mordad coup[1] in Iran), was the overthrow of the democratically elected government of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh orchestrated by the intelligence agencies of the United Kingdom and the United States.[2] The coup launched 26 years of dictatorship under Mohammad-Rez? Sh?h Pahlavi, who relied heavily on U.S. support to hold on to power until the Shah himself was overthrown in February 1979.[3]

Interestingly no mention of communism, socialism or any other ism excepting fundamentalism…....I would gladly get off my bike when you get the fuck off your high horse. Couldn’t resist showing me what an asshole you are, now could you?

Report this

By omop, February 8, 2011 at 5:31 pm Link to this comment

Much ado about nada. With Bibi Nethanyahu’s man Eric Cantor in charge in DC
and Iraelis avowed best man Omar Suleiman for President of Egypt. The army’s
role is subject to the highest bidder. In this scenario its a done deal.

Report this

By diamond, February 6, 2011 at 11:02 pm Link to this comment

Some facts on the Muslim Brotherhood:

The Muslim brotherhood has NO armed wing
- It has 140,000 members out of 80 million people
- It is one of the biggest welfare agencies in Egypt
- It has less that 20% national support in polling
- It is in no way like the Ayatollah
It “condemns” terrorism and Al Queda

Report this
fearnotruth's avatar

By fearnotruth, February 6, 2011 at 9:20 pm Link to this comment

RE: We paint Islam as evil…

only those bought into Samuel Huntington’s “The Clash of Civilizations” nonsense,
or scared senseless by the 911 provocation and all the phony ‘plots’ regularly
hatched since

as pointed out below, since the Crusades, the progeny of Abraham coexisted
relatively well across the Arab world - probably more so than Judeo-Christian
factions in Europe over the same period - religious divisiveness, in its extremist
modern form is a post-WWII phenomenon and its source is no mystery

Report this
poonckie's avatar

By poonckie, February 6, 2011 at 8:47 pm Link to this comment

What a fascinating debate. One would think that we have the right to determine every Country’s political and social and religious preferences. We have the right to bomb any country, invade or destabilize to protect our “interests”. Mubarak need only look at poor ole Saddam and Noreiga to see where loyalty to the US can lead you. All of our despots walk a thin-line with us. We paint Islam as evil while “christians” murder doctors and anyone else with whom they have a percieved issue. So before we all sit around worrying about radical Islam, we need to solve the problem of radical christians in our own country.

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Gulam's avatar

By Gulam, February 6, 2011 at 5:29 pm Link to this comment

Under the Ottoman Sultan the Old City of Jerusalem, had quarters for Jews,
Christians, and Muslims. In 1948 fifteen percent of Palestinians were Christian;
they were more affluent and have left. All around the world Jews and Christians
have historically been far better treated, more free to practice their faith under
Islam than Muslims living under Jews and Christians. Need we be reminded
what German and Russian Christians have done recently to Jews?

All around the world ancient civilizations are coming back to life after a period
of barbarian invasions not unlike that of the Mongols. This past month a statue
of Confucius was erected in the heart of Beijing, something unthinkable only a
few years ago. During a period of extreme weakness and decadence China was
overrun by barbarians, who, like the Mongols had superior mobility and
weapons but little knowledge of social order or enduring civilization. In order to
turn the society upside down for a time China used a social plan that was as
nearly as possible the opposite of traditional Chinese values, a utopian
“Enlightenment” doctrine written by secular Jew, an atheist who threw into
reverse most of his people’s long-standing principles and laws. Communism’s
mirror twin the capitalists have played out a slight variant on that same
materialism.

All this time Islam moved along in a traditional, religious mode, living in
families and sustaining relatively large populations without resorting to
extensive trade, a practice that wastes energy moving goods about for financial
advantage rather than producing more for the common good. As energy costs
abruptly rise, the Western “developed” nations are going to be in much more
difficulty than places like Afghanistan that exported food before they were
invaded by the Russians and the Americans. There once was little difference in
daily life and social rules between small towns in Alabama and Afghanistan,
because most religions have come to many of the same conclusions about
behaviours that are not immediately obvious, like having sex with parents or
siblings or passing strangers. It is only in cities that such freedom is
championed.

After the Second World War had Americans simply carried on with traditional
religious rules, no enemy could have touched them for generations. The oil that
Americans had under their own land would have lasted many decades longer
had it not been consumed in an orgy of material excess. Instead of following
the standard model supported by of all of the world’s major religions, modern
capitalists chose, like their fellow materialists the Communists, to use the
Enlightenment rhetoric of liberation to rearrange the social order. By
“liberating” women, putting them into the work force, the West tripled its
energy needs and in doing so embarked upon an unstable course of continually
increasing consumption that could only be sustained by taking by force the
resources of the rest of the world. This made their need to dominate other
nations inevitable, their destruction of the environment was accelerated, and
their family structures were undermined.

Feminism is the key to bringing on rapid decline, it opens he door in many
ways. This week we learned that a child of a working mother is four times as
likely to become obese. When the American middle class finally cast aside the
last vestiges of the Western religious tradition and began taking all of their
morals from from the jargon of their Enlightenment political tradition, they
guaranteed that the end would come soon. It is amazing how fast nonsense like
co-education can destroy a nation. This rising generation of American males is
pathetic, but their sisters have law degrees. America’s violent, vulgar, anti-
religious flame-out is going to be one grand morality play for all of the world to
watch.

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fearnotruth's avatar

By fearnotruth, February 6, 2011 at 1:55 pm Link to this comment

before getting too carried away about The Muslim Brotherhood… some history:

http://www.historycommons.org/entity.jsp?entity=uk_secret_intelligence_service

1954-1970: CIA and the Muslim Brotherhood Ally to Oppose Egyptian President
Nasser
 
In 1954, Egyptian President Gamal Abddul Nasser’s nationalist policies in Egypt
come to be viewed as completely unacceptable by Britain and the US. MI6 and
the CIA jointly hatch plans for his assassination. According to Miles Copeland, a
CIA operative based in Egypt, the opposition to Nasser is driven by the
commercial community—the oil companies and the banks. At the same time,
the Muslim Brotherhood’s resentment of Nasser’s secular government also
comes to a head. In one incident, Islamist militants attack pro-Nasser students
at Cairo University.

Following an attempt on his own life by the Brotherhood, Nasser responds
immediately by outlawing the group, which he denounces as a tool of Britain.
The following years see a long and complex struggle pitting Nasser against the
Muslim Brotherhood, the US, and Britain. The CIA funnels support to the Muslim
Brotherhood because of “the Brotherhood’s commendable capability to
overthrow Nasser.” [BAER, 2003, PP. 99; DREYFUSS, 2005, PP. 101-108]

The Islamist regime in Saudi Arabia becomes an ally of the United States in the
conflict with Nasser. They offer financial backing and sanctuary to Muslim
Brotherhood militants during Nasser’s crackdown. Nasser dies of natural causes
in 1970. [DREYFUSS, 2005, PP. 90-91, 126-131, 150]

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, February 6, 2011 at 11:21 am Link to this comment

$1.3 billion can’t buy what it use to.

I doubt the new government of Egypt will be militarily provocative or belligerent towards Israel, however I do expect the new government to pressure Israel even more about resolution of the Palestinian issue than Mubarak ever did.

That pressure may take on BDS sanctions as the rest of the world and aid to the Palestinians may resume over the border.

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Spooky-43's avatar

By Spooky-43, February 6, 2011 at 10:32 am Link to this comment

Inherit the Wind,

You should be called “blowing in the wind” 

It is not bigotry to state something which is happening in real time.

That is the only thing you get from these Truthdiggers when you say something they disagree with.  You are labeled a bigot or a racist. 

You lefties need to learn a new tune. 

And by the way, if you think I am terrified, you know nothing about me and my “spooky”.  I am not terrified, I am prepared.

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Spooky-43's avatar

By Spooky-43, February 6, 2011 at 10:28 am Link to this comment

Ardee,

You need to read more.  Communism and Islam have had alliances throughout the past seventy years, if not longer.  Who do you think overthrew the Shah of Iran?  It was an alliance between communists and islamists?  Of course it didn’t last long after the Ayatollah took over. 

Just google some stuff, like “Communism and Islam” or “Socialism and Islam” and you will have enough to read for a week.

The Muslim Brotherhood is proposing an Islamic/Socialist state to replace Mubarak’s government in Egypt.  Read more about Libya and Pakistan, and whatever else you can google. 

Islamic socialism is a growing trend.  I am surprised you are not aware of it.  I say a strange alliance because I am not sure how a person who wants to stone gays and adulterers can live next door to a person who wants to hand out condoms to first-graders. 

Remember the stated goal of the Muslim Brotherhood, which I will not repeat here, as you can google it anywhere. 

Regarding the Jewish Messiah, everyone knows the Jews expect a Messiah.  Surely this is not news.

Do you ever get off that bike long enough to read anything but Truthdig?

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By Inherit The Wind, February 6, 2011 at 10:20 am Link to this comment

Spooky:

You should get together with Gulam.  You are both displaying mindless terrified bigotry.

Report this
Robert's avatar

By Robert, February 6, 2011 at 10:17 am Link to this comment

It’s Not Radical Islam That Worries The US – It’s Independence

The nature of any regime it backs in the Arab world is secondary to control. Subjects are ignored until they break their chains


By Noam Chomsky

Feburary 05, 2011

“The current hope appears to be Mubarak loyalist Gen. Omar Suleiman, just named Egypt’s vice president. Suleiman, the longtime head of the intelligence services, is despised by the rebelling public almost as much as the dictator himself.

A common refrain among pundits is that fear of radical Islam requires (reluctant) opposition to democracy on pragmatic grounds. While not without some merit, the formulation is misleading. The general threat has always been independence. In the Arab world, the United States and its allies have regularly supported radical Islamists, sometimes to prevent the threat of secular nationalism.

A familiar example is Saudi Arabia, the ideological center of radical Islam (and of Islamic terror). Another in a long list is Zia ul-Haq, the most brutal of Pakistan’s dictators and President Reagan’s favorite, who carried out a program of radical Islamization (with Saudi funding).

“The traditional argument put forward in and out of the Arab world is that there is nothing wrong, everything is under control,” says Marwan Muasher, former Jordanian official and now director of Middle East research for the Carnegie Endowment. “With this line of thinking, entrenched forces argue that opponents and outsiders calling for reform are exaggerating the conditions on the ground.”

Therefore the public can be dismissed. The doctrine traces far back and generalizes worldwide, to U.S. home territory as well. In the event of unrest, tactical shifts may be necessary, but always with an eye to reasserting control.”

~~~~~

Click on link for the rest:

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article27419.htm

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By ardee, February 6, 2011 at 7:28 am Link to this comment

Spooky is the right nom de plume for you I suspect.


The strange and unlikely alliance between the communists and the Islamists has only one common goal, which is the eradication of the Jews and their Messiah.  Is this news?
Is this something that just started a few weeks ago?

Strange is the right word, in fact it might be the only correct thing in this paragraph. I would love to see a link showing both an alliance of radical Islam with communism and a definition of this Jewish Messiah.

Am I in danger of seeming close-minded when I say that my mind is made up on the idea that Islam wants to annihilate Israel, and the worldwide socialist/communist agenda is happy to help?

Well, yes, now that you ask. That there is widespread antipathy towards Israel among the Arab nations seems a moot point given the actions of that nation towards Arabs in general and Palestinians in particular. But the annihilation of Israel is a talking point of the extremists among the many millions of followers of Islam and a concept that would be quickly abandoned by all others should Israel reject its violent action.

As to the “socialist/communist alliance” of which you posit I would really love some linkage to this as I am unaware of such. Nor do I see any Islamist/Communist friendship club in existence either.

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Spooky-43's avatar

By Spooky-43, February 6, 2011 at 6:39 am Link to this comment

By Inherit The Wind, February 5 at 6:18 pm Link to this comment
I didn’t bother to read the story, I only look at the pictures.
***********
That says it all.  Your mind is made up, and you don’t want to confuse it with facts or alternate ideas.

———————————————————————————-

Yeah, and if you believe my statement about not reading the story, you also probably believe the Egyptian protests are about democracy and freedom for the people, and you probably believe that Muslim cleric is really crying next to that tank.

My mind is made up when I know the facts, and the babbling of the anti-Israelites and their lefty apologists with “alternate ideas” aren’t goin’ to change it. 

The strange and unlikely alliance between the communists and the Islamists has only one common goal, which is the eradication of the Jews and their Messiah.  Is this news?
Is this something that just started a few weeks ago? 

Am I in danger of seeming close-minded when I say that my mind is made up on the idea that Islam wants to annihilate Israel, and the worldwide socialist/communist agenda is happy to help?

Is there any strategic reason why the Muslim Brotherhood, currently negotiating with the government of Egypt, would want to control Egypt and their border with Isreal?

Where does a quasi-religious/fraternal organization such as the Muslim Brotherhood have any legal standing to negotiate the change of government in Egypt?  Is that how democracy works? 

Islamist imperialism is only acceptable to the left because it will result in the destruction of Israel. Otherwise, what is going on in Egypt is as phony as that fake picture of the fake cleric and his fake tears taken by a fake journalist.  That picture is so fake, it is an insult to the intelligence of my beagle.  As is the hypocrisy of the left, cheering the whole thing on.

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Peter Knopfler's avatar

By Peter Knopfler, February 6, 2011 at 1:30 am Link to this comment

Here is my take! Communist China this past full moon
put a leash on Obama, like a dog, bark but do
nothing, say what you will but do nothing. Communist
China and Russia have already thrown their support
behind Mubarak who by the way, was educated in
Communist Soviet Russia, all his military training
Air Force and KGB Mubarak´s VP, AND PM all three have
same education speak perfect Russian. Berlusconi of
Italia said “I speak for the West led by USA, that
Mubarak is the wisest of Men”, so OBAMA can bark but
do nothing! I Think Communist China is the new
Puppeteer, Obama, all strings attached more
secrets.Remember it all starts always with secret
police need for transparency-wikiLeaks.

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By Alan, February 5, 2011 at 7:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Saturday news reports quote the U.S. Secretary of
State and other U.S. sources as backing the
“gradual transition plan” which is essentially
the Mubarak/Egyptian Army continuity plan.
When will they ever learn?  Apparently never.
They (Obama administration)
are helping to prepare exactly what they
want to forestall.

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Gulam's avatar

By Gulam, February 5, 2011 at 7:04 pm Link to this comment

Yes Robert and David C.

As I said before, the Aswan High Dam is a huge factor in the Egypt drama that
never gets mentioned. Because of it the Americans and the Israelis are not
really afraid of a more Islamic or militant Egypt. Realistically there is nothing
that Egypt can do with that hanging over their heads. The Israeli military long
ago proved to Egypt that they could pull the plug at any time, so any serious
contribution to the front against Israel is out of the question regardless of
Egypt’s regime.

Instability of this sort in the Middle East may well suit the more crazy and
militant factions now in charge in Israel, and they are also dominant over
America’s press and congress. This makes the roll of colonial armies seem
essential to stability in the region where the oil is. These changes can help to
justify huge bases in Iraq and a further build up of American arms in Israel. 
Now they will “need” Western armies all over the place to insure a “safe
transition to democracy.” Israel will be said to need a lot of additional military
aid to protect her from this faux foe.

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Robert's avatar

By Robert, February 5, 2011 at 6:06 pm Link to this comment

February 4 - 6, 2011


Critical Connections

Egypt, the US and the Israel Lobby


By ALISON WEIR


Minimally explored in all the coverage of the momentous Egyptian uprising taking place over the last 10 days are the Israeli connections.

A central and critical reality is that it is US tax money that has propped up Hosni Mubarak’s despotic regime over the past 30 years, and that this money has flowed, from the beginning, largely on behalf of Israel.

Israel is generally a significant factor in events in the Middle East, and to understand ongoing happenings it is important to understand the historic and current Israeli connections.

The violent creation, perpetuation, and expansion of a state based on ethnic expulsion of the majority inhabitants has been central to Middle East dynamics ever since Israel was created by European and American Zionists in 1948 as a self-identified “Jewish State.”

Israeli leaders and outside observers realized from the very beginning that the only way to maintain such a violently imposed, ethnically based nation-state was through military dominance of the region. For Israel to achieve this military dominance required two things:”

~~~~~~~~~

Click on link for the rest of this very revealing article from Alison Weir:

http://www.counterpunch.org/weir02042011.html

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By REDHORSE, February 5, 2011 at 4:35 pm Link to this comment

Another good B.Lando report. Recent articles here seem to have less RED MEAT. Thank you TRUTHDIG!!

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By Litl Bludot, February 5, 2011 at 4:08 pm Link to this comment

Mr. Lando, your opening paragraph tells it all.  You are either on the CIA payroll,
or so ignorant and/or stupid that’s it’s surprising you’re literate.

” In attempting to persuade Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to leave the
scene, Washington desperately wants to avoid further radicalization on the
streets of Egypt and, above all, to ensure that the Egyptian army remains
unscathed.”

Washington doesn’t care about radicalization or whether Mubarak leaves.  It
cares about control.  The military/energy corporate fascists are into disaster
capitalism.  The more mayhem and bloodshed the better.  The more
radicalization, the better.  What “Washington” doesn’t want is a moderate, free,
uncorrupt government that puts the interest of its people over those of the
capitalists.

It’s not surprising to read utter propaganda on Truthdig, but it still makes me
disgusted.

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By Inherit The Wind, February 5, 2011 at 1:18 pm Link to this comment

I didn’t bother to read the story, I only look at the pictures.
***********

That says it all.  Your mind is made up, and you don’t want to confuse it with facts or alternate ideas.

Report this

By rtb61, February 5, 2011 at 9:30 am Link to this comment

What the US administration wants is for the dictator to step down and then run an election campaign to elect a new dictator.
This will be done by bringing in a fully experienced PR=B$ election campaign machine to assault the inexperienced Egyptian public with a mass media marketing election strategy built around false ‘hope and change’(now where did that come from) and slander to ensure the dictator they want is elected and the cycle can kick off again.
If this doesn’t happen shortly the US will lose control, as the Egyptians will not be interested in some B$ campaign and will have already decide who should win. Likely some individual who steps in front of the limelight to more accurately direct the protests and achieve success.
Possibly a senior police officer who betrays the dictator with a personal core of police support and also denounces foreign enemies of the people to gain the people’s support, guess which two countries.

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Spooky-43's avatar

By Spooky-43, February 5, 2011 at 3:50 am Link to this comment

Staged photograph!  What does a crying Muslim cleric have to do with a secular democracy movement in Egypt? 

Truthdig’s Gramscian images are becoming tiresome. 

Unless, of course, the Egyptian story is actually about the takeover of the Egyptian government by Muslim clerics. 

Maybe that’s what the photo is all about.  The tank represents the mean, dictatorial rule of Mubarak, while the kneeling and crying Muslim cleric represents the peaceful, inclusive, democratic rule which would ensue when the Ayatollah’s assume power. 

I applaud the propagandist, I mean photographer.  Great contrast, great lighting, professionally done.
It should be a superbowl advertisement.  It says AP photo, but I am sure it must be a MB (Muslim Brotherhood) photo.  Or maybe AP works for MB.
Who knows. 

Now that the Marxists and the Islamists have this strange alliance going, you would think they could rid the world of Israel and Christianity in a more expedient manner.  We need to have the peace, prosperity, tolerance and inclusivness we see in the average Marxist or Islamist country, instituted throughout the world as soon as possible.

I didn’t bother to read the story, I only look at the pictures.

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, February 4, 2011 at 10:06 pm Link to this comment

I don’t think the Egyptian army will do anything to put this revolution down, why fight a war you have no chance of winning?

Some “special units” might start shit, but by inlarge the army has no wish to shoot their friends and family.

I’ll wait and see what new leadership emerges out of the people leading this revolt.  Mubarak appointees are the next to go.

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By Marc Schlee, February 4, 2011 at 9:09 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Priority #1 for the US government is making sure the records showing the depth and breadth of the rendition program never see the light of day.

FREE AMERICA

REVOLUTIONARY (DIRECT) DEMOCRACY

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By fearnotruth, February 4, 2011 at 8:43 pm Link to this comment

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pKbo96kZtI
Smoke gets in your eyes
              nostalgic tune… déjà vu?

http://tinyurl.com/4z8u246
November 1978-February 1979:
Some US Officials Want to Support Radical Muslims to Contain Soviet Union

In December 1978, President Carter’s National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski says, “An arc of crisis stretches along the shores of the Indian Ocean, with fragile social and political structures in a region of vital importance to us threatened with fragmentation. The resulting political chaos could well be filled by elements hostile to our values and sympathetic to our adversaries.” [TIME, 1/8/1979]

There is widespread discontent and rioting in Iran at the time. State Department official Henry Precht will later recall that Brzezinski had the idea “that Islamic forces could be used against the Soviet Union. The theory was, there was an arc of crisis, and so an arc of Islam could be mobilized to contain the Soviets.” [SCOTT, 2007, PP. 67]


In November 1978, President Carter appointed George Ball head of a special White House Iran task force under Brzezinski. Ball recommends the US should drop support for the Shah of Iran and support the radical Islamist opposition of Ayatollah Khomeini. This idea is based on ideas from British Islamic expert Dr. Bernard Lewis, who advocates the balkanization of the entire Muslim Near East along tribal and religious lines. The chaos would spread in what he also calls an “arc of crisis” and ultimately destabilize the Muslim regions of the Soviet Union. The Shah will later comment in exile, “I did not know it then, perhaps I did not want to know? But it is clear to me now that the Americans wanted me out. Clearly this is what the human rights advocates in the State Department wanted. What was I to make of the Administration’s sudden decision to call former Under Secretary of State George Ball to the White House as an adviser on Iran? Ball was among those Americans who wanted to abandon me and ultimately my country.” [ENGDAHL, 1992]
 

While there is later debate about US policy towards Iran actually is at this time, it will be noted that the Carter administration had “no clear policy” due to internal divisions and confusion. [KEDDIE, 2003]

The Shah abdicates on January 16, 1979, and Ayatollah Khomeini returns from exile to Iran on February 1, 1979, taking over the government. Brzezinski will attempt to create a de facto alliance with Khomeini’s new fundamentalist government, but his efforts will come to a half with the Iranian hostage crisis in November 1979 (see February-November 4, 1979).

Entity Tags: Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, James Earl “Jimmy” Carter, Jr., George Ball, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Bernard Lewis, Henry Precht, Seyyed Ruhollah Khomeini Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, War in Afghanistan

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By Mark, February 4, 2011 at 7:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Per the IMF, Egypt has a GDP of $216 billion. That puts them 40th on the IMF list of countries ranked by GDP

Egypt received $1.3 billion in military aid and $250 million in economic aid from the U.S. for 2010 alone. (No telling what could’ve been done with that dough here at home, but I digress.)

Egypt is 2nd only to Israel in the amount of U.S foreign aid it receives each year.

Per UNICEF, the average annual income in Egypt is $1,800.00

Hard to believe that the 40th largest economy, with an average annual income of $1,800, NEEDS $1.3 billion in military aid each year.

I’m with Lando here.

Military aid in an amount roughly equal to a million times the average annual income pleases the Egyptian military, and those well-placed civilians who contract with it. Moreover, the aid buys for the U.S. (and by extension, Israel) a rather substantial insurance policy against regime change in Egypt in a direction unfavorable to U.S./Israeli interests.

As a result, any new Egyptian government will: (1) need the approval of the Egyptian military; and (2) be thoroughly vetted by the U.S. government/military industrial complex beforehand.

(Aside: Per a 2006 GAO report, Egypt had already spent part of its projected 2011 military aid allotment. That’s, right. Egypt was buying weapons using U.S. aid money it didn’t have yet. Egypt buys direct from the likes of General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, GE, etc.)

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By diamond, February 4, 2011 at 7:29 pm Link to this comment

“Omar Suleiman has been implicated as directly involved in the controversial CIA “rendition” program. Journalist Stephen Grey in his work, “Ghost Plane”, states that after taking over as intelligence director, Suleiman oversaw an agreement with the US in 1995 that allowed for suspected militants to be secretly transferred to Egypt for questioning. Although Suleiman’s Egyptian Intelligence was required to provide “assurances” that prisoners handed over through this program would not be subjected to torture, at least one CIA officer has testified that such assurances from them were unofficially regarded as worthless as “a bucket of warm spit”.

Particularly, the case of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi who was captured and handed over to Suleiman. The information al-Libi gave under torture was cited by US officials in the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq as evidence of a connection between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda. Al-Libi later recanted his confession.” Wikipedia

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

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By ardee, February 4, 2011 at 6:28 pm Link to this comment

If Mohamed Mustafa ElBaradei is a part of the new government of Egypt, as seems a bit likely to date as he has been prominently mentioned as Mubarak’s replacement I think the fears of some here should be tempered.

Of course the fears of Mr. Cyr, being irrational and confused can never be eased or tempered by reason…oh well there is always the rest of us.

Sooner or later Washington is going to have to understand that they cannot call all the shots, and that their meddling interventionism only makes things worse.

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By jomo, February 4, 2011 at 5:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

John from Ojai, Did you know Beatrice Wood ?  She was an artist and sculptor /sculptrice who lived in Ojai?  Ancient Art of Egypt i.e. 4000 yr old antiquities were in danger but are no longer threatened according to newly appointed Minister of Antiquites, Zahi Hawass.  Many antiquities of Iraq are still missing.

What a sad fact about the long-term involvement of the CIA in Egyptian affairs with General Omar Suleiman as a back-up man for the Mubarek regime.

Is the above Suleiman related to the Octo- mom (Nadya Suleman) of LA ?  Many clones of Mubarek must be lining up. . . . . . . .

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By laila hafez, February 4, 2011 at 4:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

i don’t think you understand the relationship between the army and the people in Egypt,specially after the 73 war; and i don’t think you realise that the mission of the army is to protect the country against foreign invadors and not to take sides between two camps inside the country.or to stand against the police.

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By john from ojai, February 4, 2011 at 3:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ever see a shell game in process? The US is trying to get Soleiman in power to continue the status quo. Looks like change but largely the same; much like Mr. Obama’s presidency. Soleiman has been director of Egyptian intelligence for nearly 20 years and is a very close aid to Mubarek. He has been the CIA connection to the US/Egypt secret rendition prisons that tortured “suspected terrorists”. He has been the lead man for enforcing the war crime Israel/Egypt/US blockade of Gaza. The entire corrupt Egyptian government needs to go and the US should stop supporting dictators and war crime committing governments. Time for some justice. Time for some real truth and reconciliation! Time for some real change!

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By Blackspeare, February 4, 2011 at 3:08 pm Link to this comment

Egypt has been a military dictatorship since 1952——ya think they’re going to change now!  The Egyptian may accept a new president, but they won’t accept civilian rule.  All this talk about the Society for Muslim Brothers (Muslim Brotherhood) is a red herring——the military has no use for them.  Sunnis tend to be more secular than their counterparts in the Shia world.

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By Gulam, February 4, 2011 at 2:49 pm Link to this comment

Why is it that nobody talks about THE big issue, the Egyptian decision that totally
emasculated Egypt in relation to the Israelis, THE big change in Egypt that
promises to destroy their historic way of life and their ecology. When the Russians
built the Aswan High Dam from then on Egypt was impotent, because the Israelis
could bomb that and wipe out the entire country any time. Ecologically it has been
a major world disaster, but nobody will talk about it now, because this would call
into question other huge projects of the same kind around the world that promise
a few years of cheap electricity in exchange for wiping out all evidence of early
civilization and destroying the environment.

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By Hamsa, February 4, 2011 at 1:38 pm Link to this comment

I commented recently. I would like to clarify my message. I urge everyone to
email/call president Obama immediately at     http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/   
urging him to tell the Egyptian military to PROTECT the people of Egypt from the
undercover thugs and other sources of violence. Act now! Time is of the essence.

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By Hamsa, February 4, 2011 at 1:18 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I urge everyone to immediately email president Obama at the whitehouse. Urge
him to not permit the Eygpttion army to use violence to crush the egyption people.
Time is of the essence. Act not to avoid a tragedy.

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By reynolds, February 4, 2011 at 11:34 am Link to this comment

what, you worry? it’s super bowl weekend.

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By surfnow, February 4, 2011 at 10:46 am Link to this comment

Hey,who cares about any of this?  Stop being such leftist downers. It’s SuperBowl Weekend.

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By rollzone, February 4, 2011 at 9:59 am Link to this comment

hello. it is easy to believe America is in decline,
and our globalization initiative has failed. as
capitalism consumes China, and Siberia envelopes
Russia, we now focus upon what is again the fourth
largest military in the world. we just signed a mega
deal with Saudi Arabia. do we have to continue
building military forces only for our own pleasure in
destroying them; or will civilization of its own
epiphany, evolve beyond human slaughter? is equality
among human beings shoulder to shoulder ever
possible, or does domination have to rule? we were
born of characteristics to conquer our environment,
but turn them upon each other. we are all inhumane.

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David J. Cyr's avatar

By David J. Cyr, February 4, 2011 at 8:14 am Link to this comment

QUOTE (Barry Lando):

“In attempting to persuade Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to leave the scene, Washington desperately wants to avoid further radicalization on the streets of Egypt”
____________

The smart way for Obama to kill the democracy movement in Egypt would be to send in MoveOn operatives.

Those Art of the Possible “progressives” can surely persuade the young Egyptians to eagerly vote for Suleiman to replace Mubarak, to continue the repression.

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