My contract technical writing position ended, so I’ve been busy looking for a new job (if you know of one, drop me a line). As such, this LinkSwarm is a bit out of band. I’ve been busy.
Posts Tagged ‘Egypt’
This piece in Foreign Policy Journal is certainly eye-opening:
In Al Jazeera’s latest Head to Head episode, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency Michael Flynn confirms to Mehdi Hasan that not only had he studied the DIA memo predicting the West’s backing of an Islamic State in Syria when it came across his desk in 2012, but even asserts that the White House’s sponsoring of radical jihadists (that would emerge as ISIL and Nusra) against the Syrian regime was “a willful decision.” [Lengthy discussion of the DIA memo begins at the 8:50 mark.]
Amazingly, Flynn actually took issue with the way interviewer Mehdi Hasan posed the question—Flynn seemed to want to make it clear that the policies that led to the rise of ISIL were not merely the result of ignorance or looking the other way, but the result of conscious decision making:
Hasan: You are basically saying that even in government at the time you knew these groups were around, you saw this analysis, and you were arguing against it, but who wasn’t listening?
Flynn: I think the administration.
Hasan: So the administration turned a blind eye to your analysis?
Flynn: I don’t know that they turned a blind eye, I think it was a decision. I think it was a willful decision.
Hasan: A willful decision to support an insurgency that had Salafists, Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood?
Flynn: It was a willful decision to do what they’re doing.
The deeply puzzling thing about Obama’s Middle East policy is it’s sheer incoherence (except, of course, his unwavering dislike of Israel). His fixation on taking out Bashar Assad (a bad actor, to be sure, but not in the same league as the Iranian Mullahs who back Assad, and who Obama evidently has no qualms negotiating with) makes no strategic sense. In light of the above, he’s evidently funding the Islamic State in Syria, fighting it (in the most desultory manner possible) in Iraq, giving in to Iran on nuclear weapons, alienating allies Israel and Saudi Arabia, and has no discernible policy for a post-Morsi Egypt. Obama’s moves only make sense if he wants to promote a Sunni/Shia civil war, or as Obama’s personal fits of pique where he feels slighted. (Screw Syria for ignoring his red lines. Screw Israel for daring to reelect Netanyahu. Screw Iraq for Bush succeeding.)
The only certainty about Obama’s foreign policy is that future administrations will be dealing with the repercussions from his feckless, aimless foreign policy for decades to come.
(Hat tip: Jihad Watch.)
“The past two years have been the most violent and repressive in Egypt’s contemporary history.” True, but by and large the Egyptians themselves don’t seem to mind. Why?
Yet despite this bleak security outlook, Egypt is more politically stable than it’s been in years. Unlike the divided regimes that collapsed in the face of mass protests in January 2011 and June 2013, the Sisi regime is internally unified. And the various state institutions and civil groups that constitute the regime will likely remain tightly aligned for one basic reason: they view the Muslim Brotherhood as a significant threat to their respective interests and thus see the regime’s crackdown on the organization as essential to their own survival.
Lucky for Egypt (and the world) that Morsi and his Muslim Brothers were such idiots. They could have gotten a lot further Islamicising Egypt had they followed Erdogan’s incrementalist model…
Muslim Brotherhood leader and deposed President of Egypt Mohammed Morsi has been sentenced to death, along with more than 100 other people.
Most of the time, sentencing a popularly elected President ousted from power by the military would be a bad thing. This is not one of those times. Morsi tried to undermine Egypt’s democratic constitutional strictures (however weak and imperfect they were) in the name of turning the country into a radical Islamist state, following the classic African strongman blueprint of “One Man, One Vote, Once.” He lost an existential power struggle with the military and, in the long-standing traditions of the Arab world, he’ll be paying for losing with his life.
Both Egypt, and the world, will be better for his death, and the ruthless suppression of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Those two outstanding Obama successes, ObamaCare and Middle East foreign policy, just keep succeeding…
Since that was a mostly very depressing roundup of news, here’s a Golden Retriever puppy sliding down a ramp.
Yesterday: The Islamic State releases a video in which they beheaded 21 Egyptian Copts in Libya. (Libya being the Obama foreign policy masterstroke that just keeps stroking.) Egyptian leader Sisi vowed revenge.
It didn’t take long in coming.
Today Egyptian planes hit ISIS targets in Derna, Sirte and Ben Jawad, in coordination with Libya’s own government.
So while Obama dithers and moves forward with plans to do just enough to keep reporters from asking him about ISIS, Jordan and Egypt have both carried out quick retaliatory strikes against ISIS.
At this point ISIS has managed to alienate almost all the other countries in the Middle East, and yet we see no signs that Obama or his State Department have forged an effective coalition among them to crush ISIS. Evidently he feels it’s more important to appease Iran and chase a chimerical Israeli-Palestinian peace treaty than to keep a radical Islamist terrorist state from metastasizing throughout the region.
It seems that Obama’s grand role in history is to make George W. Bush look like a foreign policy genius by comparison…
That’s the headline on this Hisham Melhem piece on the comprehensive failure of the entire Arab world.
The jihadists of the Islamic State, in other words, did not emerge from nowhere. They climbed out of a rotting, empty hulk—what was left of a broken-down civilization. They are a gruesome manifestation of a deeper malady afflicting Arab political culture, which was stagnant, repressive and patriarchal after the decades of authoritarian rule that led to the disastrous defeat in the 1967 war with Israel. That defeat sounded the death knell of Arab nationalism and the resurgence of political Islam, which projected itself as the alternative to the more secular ideologies that had dominated the Arab republics since the Second World War. If Arab decline was the problem, then “Islam is the solution,” the Islamists said—and they believed it.
At their core, both political currents—Arab nationalism and Islamism—are driven by atavistic impulses and a regressive outlook on life that is grounded in a mostly mythologized past. Many Islamists, including Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood (the wellspring of such groups)—whether they say it explicitly or hint at it—are still on a ceaseless quest to resurrect the old Ottoman Caliphate. Still more radical types—the Salafists—yearn for a return to the puritanical days of Prophet Muhammad and his companions. For most Islamists, democracy means only majoritarian rule, and the rule of sharia law, which codifies gender inequality and discrimination against non-Muslims.
And let’s face the grim truth: There is no evidence whatever that Islam in its various political forms is compatible with modern democracy.
A few pieces of Melhem’s piece are erroneous: “As terrorist organizations, al Qaeda and Islamic State are different from the Muslim Brotherhood, a conservative movement that renounced violence years ago, although it did dabble with violence in the past.” That’s only because the Egypt’s military forced them to refrain from large-scale violence on pain of death. We saw how quickly this restraint was cast aside when Morsi assumed power. The only differences between al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood are of degree, tactical choice, and certain Islamic Eschatological doctrinal differences as to exactly what sort of oppressive Islamic theocracy imposing Sharia law are the ideal end-state.
But those flaws aside, it’s still an admirably clear-eyed distillation of the horrific, bloody, dysfunctional nature of the Arab world. Read the whole thing.
In 2009, retiring Arkansas representative Marion Berry presciently warned that Obamacare was setting up the Democrats for a huge defeat in the 2010 midterms, just like “Hillarycare” had led to a loss of 54 House seats in 1994. Obama scoffed at such concerns. According to Berry, the president told him, “Well, the big difference here and in ’94 was you’ve got me.” Republicans went on to win 63 House seats and six Senate seats. It was the largest swing in the House since 1938. So I guess the difference was him.
I am heartened to see that not a single commenter supports his absurdist whitewash.