Gleanings, 19.03.11

Lee Smith: Egyptian “Democracy”: Surprise, Surprise

Some preliminary exit polls suggest that  “yes” votes are carrying the day, which is certain to please the country’s Islamist factions, in particular the Muslim Brotherhood. Since the Brotherhood is Egypt’s most organized political outfit, they stand to benefit most from a quick progression to the next stage of Egypt’s political process, parliamentary elections, where they could pick up 30% of the seats. The military, eager to get out of the spotlight, also seeks “yes” on the referendum, with the revolution’s other factions that seeking a “no,” in order to refer the constitution to another, still undecided, procedure, which will give them more time to prepare for parliamentary elections.

If the Copts’ dismal political sense is any clue, it doesn’t matter if Egypt moves on to parliamentary elections in the Fall or in two autumns from now, because it will take years, not months, for any political groupings to mount a challenge to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Telegraph: A Self-Demised West with Illusions of Power

It is for this reason that the Government has now ordered the RAF to draw on its depleted reserves to send Tornado and Typhoon fighters to enforce the no-fly zone. Like the other Services, it has been badly hit by the savage defence cuts the Government implemented last year when it said it wanted to avoid foreign entanglements. The lesson should be obvious: if Mr Cameron now wants to adopt a higher profile in world affairs, then he should reopen the defence review and give the Armed Forces the resources to back up his ambitious agenda.

Ahmed Rashid: How Obama Lost Karzai

Once again, Karzai now appears mistrusting of the West’s long-term commitment to his country. He considers the Americans to be hopelessly fickle, represented by multiple military and civilian envoys who carry contradictory messages, work at cross-purposes, and wage their Washington turf battles in his drawing room, at his expense, while operating on short fuses and even shorter timetables. “In the time an American wants Karzai to act, the president is still cooling his cup of tea,” one of his advisors complained to me.

NB. Most of the postings (and the regularity of) the Gleanings comes from Fabian Pascal (oao), who blogs at The PostWest.

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