Selected Readings, February 14

Jonathan Schanzer: The End of the Erekat Era

The end of the Erekat era underscores an unfortunate axiom of Middle East diplomacy: Palestinian leaders won’t take risks for peace. They won’t tell their population that compromise is necessary to bring an end to the conflict and start the hard work of building a state. Instead, they feed their people a steady diet of anti- Zionist conspiracy theories, blame Israel for all their ills, and pump them full of hate for its allies – like America. This is the ultranationalist narrative that has endured for decades.

Martin Kramer: Ayman Nour, former darling of the liberal opposition in Egypt, says Egypt must respect agreements, but “as for Camp David―this is a unique issue with unique aspects―the people will decide on this matter.… For all intents and purposes, Camp David is over, because it is an old treaty and its terms must be improved in a way that will correspond with Egypt’s interests.” The pandering to the Brotherhood begins. Egyptian opposition figure: Revise Israel peace treaty | Ynet

Barry Rubin: What Is the Real Meaning of Egypt’s Revolution?

“The People Toppled the Government,” is al-Ahram’s headline, and the general interpretation of the Egyptian revolution around the world. That’s true but only partly true. Mubarak’s pedestal was shaken by the people but he was pushed off it by the army and the establishment … The revolution in Egypt succeeded because the army didn’t want President Husni Mubarak any more … conclusions that the usual rules of Middle East politics have disappeared is greatly exaggerated … The Muslim Brotherhood will continue to maneuver patiently for power. The military will set limits and implement them. All the radical dictatorships and movements that hate America,the West, Israel, and real democracy are still working all-out (and far more cleverly than their Western opponents) around the clock. If one side is sophisticated and realistic while the other engages in fantasies, who do you expect to win? And those roles are precisely the opposite of what Western hubris thinks.

Victor Davis Hanson: Cairo Ironies: Same Cast of American Characters, Different Play

We can glean from all this that there is no official policy spokesperson. We can also conclude that the administration’s private conversations with Egyptian officials will be explained to the press in a way that makes Obama, Biden, and Clinton seem decisive, wise, and formidable — and increasingly unreliable to their Egyptian counterparts. And we will be told that the Obama administration — which on coming into office jettisoned the entire Bush approach to human rights in the Middle East (“reset”) as hopelessly neoconservative — was all along a strong promoter of freedom and consensual government and is in some way to be credited for the protests (but only if they do not descend into permanent chaos). What is going on here?

Samuel Tadros: The Story of the Egyptian Revolution

So where are we today? Well the answer is still not clear, yet a couple of conclusions are evident.

1. The Gamal inheritance scenario is finished.

2. Mubarak will not run for another Presidential term. His term ends in October and either he will serve the rest of his term or will resign once things cool down for health reasons, which are real. He is dying.

3. The army is in control now. We are heading back to the “golden age” of army rule. The “kids” are no longer in charge. The “men” are.

4. Until the economy fails again, the neo-liberal economic policies are over. Forget about an open economy for some time.

Immediately the task of the army is to stabilize the situation and enforce order. The security forces have been ordered to reappear in the streets starting tonight. The next task will be to deal with the political activists and the Muslim Brotherhood, which now dominates the scene. It is anyone’s guess how that will be done, but in a couple of days the Egyptians will probably be begging the army to shoot them. Third stage will be to return to normal life again with people going back to their jobs and somehow food being made available. Later on however will come the political questions.

Khaled Abu Toameh: Arab Dictators and Radical Islam

For decades, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and other Arab dictators used to tell Americans and Europeans that if they did not support them, the result would be Muslim extremists coming to power.

This is why these dictators never took drastic measures against Islamic fundamentalist groups in their countries. Even though Egypt and some Arab countries occasionally cracked down on these groups, they always made sure that the Islamists would stay around.

This pattern gave the Muslim Brotherhood a chance to grow and win over more supporters, as the local people became more and more disgusted both with their dictators and the Western governments who supported them

Instead of focusing their attention on the Islamists, Arab dictators chose to chase secular reformists, liberals, democrats, newspaper editors and human rights activists; by suppressing the emergence of these people, the Arab dictatorships paved the way for the rise of radical extremists.

This is the reason the Islamist groups in the Arab countries are much more organized than the pro-democracy Facebook youth who launched the popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt.

Joshua Stacher: Egypt’s Democratic Mirage

By playing the role of both arsonist and firefighter, the Egyptian government has forced protesters fleeing the regime to seek refuge with the regime. In so doing, has the government ensured its survival?

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Muslim Brotherhood will likely win next poll

The secular democratic and human rights groups in Egypt and in the rest of the Arab world show little sign of understanding these facts of political life. The Muslim Brotherhood, on the other hand, gets at least three out of four. True, they have never been in office. But they have a political program and a vision not only until the next elections, but in their view until the hereafter. And they are very good at reminding Egyptians of why the other party’s policies will be ungodly and therefore catastrophic for Egypt. Above all, they have succeeded in embedding themselves in Egyptian society in ways that could prove crucial.

16 Responses to Selected Readings, February 14

  1. [...] support them, the result would be Muslim extremists coming to power. … View original here: Selected Readings, February 14 | Augean Stables Share and [...]

  2. JD says:

    The Egyptian Muslim brotherhood and others may be sincere with wanting some kind of confrontation with the Zionist kuffar, but once in power they will come to their senses and realize that they could end up owning Gaza again.

  3. oao says:

    JD,

    Are you serious or facetious?

    Hamas IS MB!!! And given that they both want the destruction of Israel, it is much better to deploy a US-armed army in Gaza towards this goal than just Kassams, wouldn’t you say?

  4. JD says:

    OAO,

    Israel this, Israel that. Egyptians are Egyptians and once they get over there insane Jew hatred (if so exists) they will realize a war with Israel might end up with them getting Gaza again.

    They don’t want Gaza. No one wants Gaza, except Israel a little, but the locals are insane Jew haters in great part any any type of rule by the lowliest of the kuffar is a complete humiliation to them. But they will make an exception for the UNRWA because it is the biggest welfare ripoff in history. Hey, if Hamas will sell itself to the apostate Persian Shiites, even lower than the Jews, they can bend over for anything.

    • oao says:

      JD,

      The more radical the islamists, the less the nation-state is important to them.
      Both Hamas and MB are as islamist as they come and IF THEY HAVE THE POWER they will do something about that. Chances are they will fall into power by default.

      Now, if they have to fight Israel alone, they may think twice and just let the attrition war a la Hamas go on. But what we’re seeing happening here is an Iranian multi-front: Hamas, Hizbullah, possibly MB in Jordan and Syria. And an Israel abandoned by the entire west. Too strong a temptation. There is also
      anarchy in the Sinai, with the Beduins and Hamas taking over.

      This is a configuration much worse than pre-1967, when the anti-Israel front consistent of weak nationalistic states and strong western support of Israel.

      Mubarak, his army and his supporting class did not want Gaza. But Gazans are, for all practical purposes Egyptians and MB and the large segment of the remaining Egyptian population are no different than the gazans. Furthermore,
      my guess is that when push comes to shove the rank and file of the military will go with Qaradawi and not with the top command.

      Most westerners just don’t want to accept the reality that is developing, it’s to scary to contemplate.

    • oao says:

      JD,

      Qaradawi in Egypt called for opening the border with Gaza and uniting with the Gaza brethren. And he brought more people out than the revolution.

      And if you watch Israel’s TV, there is consensus that the US is being driven out of the ME, which was not obvious to only those ignorant, stupid, or in denial.

  5. JD says:

    “Qaradawi in Egypt called for opening the border with Gaza and uniting with the Gaza brethren.”

    So what? Did the crowd cheer on that one?

    “And if you watch Israel’s TV, there is consensus that the US is being driven out of the ME, which was not obvious to only those ignorant, stupid, or in denial.”

    Given what I have read of Israel media their consensus about anything ab out the Middle East is crap. And their commercial-selling fear about “Iran” is just making Iran and the anti-semites excited. They thrive on your fear.

    The US is not being driven out. What is being driven out in the media is the wrong belief that everything is about the US and the US controls it. Libya? Tunisia? Israeli leftists are some of the most stupid in the world I have met, about 15 years behind the times, but still imbued with the imperious hubris and ignorance of the Western progressive tribe. They are perturbed by these event

    Let me be clear: Israeli commentators on the world are by and large worthless from what I have seen. So your comment brought me a laugh.

  6. oao says:

    So what? Did the crowd cheer on that one?

    This cannot be taken seriously. Didn’t you watch?

    Given what I have read of Israel media their consensus about anything ab out the Middle East is crap. And their commercial-selling fear about “Iran” is just making Iran and the anti-semites excited. They thrive on your fear.

    I did not mean the media in general, but TV news. Thet have some good pundits there — Granot and the army analysts. They also bring some former army commanders. In general these people live in reality and comprehend more about the ME than all of the west taken together. Not all of what they say is always sensible, but one must pay attention to what they base their conclusions one — the quality of knowledge, evidence and analysis. Compared to what emerges from them, the information by western “experts” is unmitigated crap.

    The US is not being driven out. What is being driven out in the media is the wrong belief that everything is about the US and the US controls it. Libya? Tunisia? Israeli leftists are some of the most stupid in the world I have met, about 15 years behind the times, but still imbued with the imperious hubris and ignorance of the Western progressive tribe. They are perturbed by these event.

    You obviously have not followed my comments here, otherwise you would know that I am the least one to be taken in by leftists, whom I constantly disparage. It is not the leftists I’ve been referring to.

    Yes, Lybia and Tunisia too. If islamists come into power or even become influential in all the Arab states, which seems to be happening, and start cooperating with Iran and against the west, including support of terror, oil, etc the already bankrupt, decadent, corrupt, cowardly west is finished. In Tunisia the islamists are already abusing/killing christians and jews. Egypt is one of the fullest of demented conspiracies and anti-semitism countries and their MB wanna be like Iran, Hizballah is fueling the fall of Bahrein, and Ghadaffi has reconnected with the West out of fear of islamists whom he believed are the only danger to his rule.

    Let me be clear: Israeli commentators on the world are by and large worthless from what I have seen. So your comment brought me a laugh.

    He who laughs last, laughs best. I am not basing my entire position on Israeli leftists (that you think that makes me laugh). There are, in fact, knowledgeable people in the west who adhere to the same consensus, read the dailies that Richard is posting that I provide. But generally Israelis which are not self-appointed beuatiful people have their heads on the shoulders unlike most of the western pundits and media.

    It seems to me that you and the left are similar in that the reality is too scary for you to contemplate, so you’re in denial by deluding yourself that all these concerns are just leftist nonsense. Well, we’ll live and see.

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