Gleanings, 03.05.11

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

Barry Rubin: Egypt pipeline bombing is only the beginning

Whether or not Egypt formally renounces or demands changes in the Egypt-Israel peace treaty, that too is finished as a source of stability. Egyptians support tearing it up by a 54 to 36 percent margin. But many of that 36% would probably support major revisions – a position now advocated by most Egyptian politicians.

Among other developments, the Egyptian government supported Syria in the UN to prevent any condemnation of that country for repression of peaceful demonstrators … Foreign Minister Nabil Elaraby has announced that the Egypt-Gaza Strip border will soon reopen fully, meaning that arms, money and terrorists can flow freely into Gaza. As if that’s not enough, the Egyptian government helped negotiate a Fatah-Hamas deal that radicalizes the Palestinian Authority and makes negotiations, much less peace, impossible.

As part of this deal, Egyptian troops will enter the Gaza Strip. And what will they do there? Help unify the Hamas and Fatah militaries, in theory. But that’s not what’s going to happen. What is more likely is that the Egyptian officers will become military advisers to Hamas. And what if Hamas attacks Israel and Israel retaliates? Will this trigger a war with Egypt, especially if Egyptians are accidentally killed?

… The most sophisticated, I’ll bet, would prefer some clever maneuver that guts the treaty without making a longer-term Islamist transformation.

FINALLY, THERE is a new force to be reckoned with: Islamists more radical than the Brotherhood. Suddenly these groups – many comprised of former Brotherhood activists – are getting a lot of media time. Some think they could get 5 to 10% of the parliamentary seats if they run candidates, in addition to the Brotherhood’s likely 30%.

Daniel Pipes: What Is Israel’s Next Move In The New Middle East?

The current upheaval may prompt Palestinians to conclude that violence doesn’t take them where they want to go and they might emulate others in the region by shifting away from warfare and terrorism in favor of non-violent political action. That could include massive non-violent demonstrations such as marching on Israeli towns, borders, and checkpoints.

Ironically, this shift could be to Israel’s detriment. In some ways, it has benefited from Palestinian violence. That’s in part because violence is ugly and in part because Israelis have proven themselves more capable in the military realm than the political one. A shift to the political realm could transform the conflict to Israel’s detriment. I don’t think the shift creates an opportunity for Israel because the goal remains unchanged: elimination of the Jewish state.

I hope Israelis are preparing to contend with this phenomenon, from gathering intelligence to training troops to deal with demonstrators to responding with smart political arguments. The last point is especially important. In the past, Arab leaders ranted and made preposterous arguments, but now they’re getting better, more rational, more appealing. Their political campaign of delegitimization will likely reach new heights with a General Assembly resolution in September.

FP: I do not accept that the uprisings have not been anti-Israel and this will become clearer as time passes. Egypt is already demonstrating that and it’ll become worse.

Optimist Conservative: A Terrorist is Dead

But the nexus of Islamism is migrating slowly but inexorably toward politics and centers of national power.  Even before he was dead, bin Laden was to a significant extent superannuated.  Real opportunities have opened in the last six months for radical Islamists to gain influence in, or take over, seats of government.  Islamism was oriented for decades on harassing sitting governments, in both the Middle East and the West.  But today, the opportunities for Islamists to gain political power – along with armies and missile arsenals – extend well beyond revolutionary Iran and the Afghanistan of the Taliban era.

MOSHARRAF ZAIDI: The Lies They Tell Us

This confusion has been carefully cultivated by a national elite whose singular focus is the accumulation of wealth, at all costs. In the near-decade since 9/11, Pakistan’s generals, judges, politicians, and bureaucrats have constructed two separate and equally effective narratives. To the West, they sold the bin Laden version of Pakistan: a fanatical nation, full of restless natives armed to the teeth with hatred and — if the West wasn’t careful — nukes. To ordinary Pakistanis, they sold the Ugly American version of the rest of the world: a big bad Uncle Sam and friends who were always burning Korans, knighting Salman Rushdies, and violating the Land of the Pure (the literal meaning of “Pakistan”).

This duplicity helped keep the West sufficiently interested in the myth of “engaging the elite” — because of course engaging the people would mean courting savagery. It also helped keep the Pakistani people sufficiently hostile toward any notion of understanding or appreciating the West’s genuine and legitimate concerns and interests in Pakistan. But with time, this delicate waltz has grown harder and harder to sustain. The Pakistani military, for all its swagger, has either forgotten all the steps, or never knew them to begin with.

FP: Sounds familiar? Where else did we see this game being played on a gullible West?

PowerLine: They Could Have Said He Was Wearing A Dress

It has now come out that the account of bin Laden’s death that was retailed by John O. Brennan, President Obama’s remarkably cavalier Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, was wrong in just about every detail. Bin Laden was unarmed; he did not use his wife (or any other woman) as a human shield; and his wife was not killed in the raid. These corrections appear to shed additional light on an earlier contradiction: one Obama official told the press that this was a shoot-to-kill operation all the way, while another said that the SEALs were prepared to capture bin Laden if he had surrendered.

… Asked about the discrepancies, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney attributed the earlier wrong information to the “fog of war.” But it seems obvious that the administration was trying to make bin Laden appear cowardly, and hoped that the image of the “sheikh” hiding behind a woman as he fired at American troops would stay in peoples’ minds. Who knows? If he had thought of it, Brennan might have claimed that bin Laden was wearing a dress.

The raid was brilliantly planned and executed by the military, but one can’t say the same about the administration’s decision-making or communications. Now we are embroiled in controversies about whether photos of the dead bin Laden will be released and whether it was appropriate to give him some sort of religious service in connection with his “burial” at sea. The administration’s missteps do not significantly tarnish the achievement of getting bin Laden, but President Obama and his minions can be grateful that the press will, for the most part, pass over its errors and contradictions in silence.

FP: The Obama administration cannot handle even victories right.

3 Responses to Gleanings, 03.05.11

  1. […] the 1940s and 1950s a public–private alliance came into being, motivated On the same subject: Additionally you can look at this related post: […]

  2. SE says:

    The B’Tselem Witch Trials, Noah Pollak — Commentary May 2011
    Exposes Btselem for what it is.

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