Tag Archives: Egypt

President Dumb

So Obama will not share information with the Egyptians bombing ISIS.

And, apparently, he was not willing to share information with Jordan either.

The dimwit holds a conference on “violent extremism” and avoids mentioning Islam.

Now there are righties who suggest that Obama is a Muslim, or that he has been captured by the Muslim Brotherhood; I don’t think so.

What I do think is that Obama, and his gang of soft power advisers, are in so far over their heads that they have not a clue what to do. What they are certain of is that “War is bad” and so they are trying to avoid war by being extra nice. I can’t help but think that death from laughter is taking its toll in ISIS.

There are a lot of things which America can and should be doing to deal with ISIS. One of those things is to provide a lot of material and intelligence support for the people willing to actually attack the beast. This, apparently, has escaped the dimwit in chief.

Counting the days until his term is over may be a luxury America cannot afford. Impeachment – for a variety of offences – may be the only solution. The only problem being that Obama gone means Joe Biden. Not a good choice but, perhaps, better than the present idiot.

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Arabs helping themselves

From the New York Times (via Blazing Catfur) we learn that Egypt and the UAE may well have bombed jihadis in Libya. Apparently they did not ask America for permission.

Twice in the last seven days, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates have secretly teamed up to launch airstrikes against Islamist-allied militias battling for control of Tripoli, Libya, four senior American officials said, in a major escalation between the supporters and opponents over political Islam.

The United States, the officials said, was caught by surprise: Egypt and the Emirates, both close allies and military partners, acted without informing Washington or seeking its consent, leaving the Obama administration on the sidelines. Egyptian officials explicitly denied the operation to American diplomats, the officials said. NYT

This is excellent news if true simply because it is well past time for the Arab world to start cleaning up the mess in its backyard. Not asking the americans for permission is also good news as asking would have interrupted the Big Zeros Golf Game of Grief.

The jihadis, whether Libyan or IS or Hamas need a good deal of bombing and Israel only has the one airforce. The feckless Americans seem content to fly the occasional mission to blow up a few IS US Army surplus armoured vehicles but it is a serious of pin pricks. The ladies running US Foreign Policy seem to have a thing about proportionality (indeed, I suspect the “appropriate” word will come up. So the required waves of B-1s with the cluster munitions are sitting idle.

But Egypt and the UAE are relatively unconstrained and willing to fly 2500 miles to at least make an effort to forestall the jihadis.

With a little luck the Saudis, owners of a deeply impressive set of aircraft, will notice that flying time from their northern air bases to Syria or Iraq is about twenty minutes and that those lovely airplanes could drop a load of bombs, fire a few armour piercing missiles and run the ground attack cannon and be home for lunch. If they want to get really ambitious, they could fly a mission in the afternoon as well.

No doubt the ladies at State will have very large kittens at this sort of thing. The President’s back swing, sketchy at the best of times, will go to Hell. IS will be really angry and threaten to drive to Mecca.

So, basically, win/win.

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Thinking about Egypt

For the moment the Egyptian Army has declared war on the Muslim Brotherhood (and, less effectually, vice versa). The great and the good in the West are not happy about this. Largely because they believed that the Arab Spring’s manifestation in Egypt lead to elections not a massacre. Why they believed this is anyone’s guess. Wishful thinking I suspect.

What they did not count on is that the Brotherhood has very little time for the norms of civil society which make elections possible. In particular, the clever people who run the State Department and the EU tried very hard to pretend that the MB was a political rather than religious movement. The Egyptians themselves were under no such misapprehension. And, perhaps more to the point, the Saudis knew damned well that the MB were an essentially Islamofascist outfit.

The West has had very limited leverage in Egypt simply because, all in, the Western aid budget is about 2.5 billion a year. The Egyptians needed 20 billion just to stay afloat. 

The only source which can write that sort of cheque is Saudi and the Gulf states and they were not going to put pen to paper until and unless the Brotherhood was crushed. Which is exactly what is happening. And the money is flowing.

I have little time for the Saudis but in this they are massively more competent than dimwits like John Kerry.

It is a mess. And it is quite likely to get worse before it gets any better. Given the rural base of the Brotherhood the prospects for civil war are significant. And given the hate driven religious ideology of the Brotherhood, the slaughter of the Copts cannot be ruled out.

The tragedy of the Middle East in general and Egypt in particular lies in the fact that Islam in its more vigorous forms is deeply incompatible with civil society.  The very idea of civil society is anathema to an interpretation of Islam which governs all human conduct. 

Unfortunately, that interpretation of Islam powers the Brotherhood. 

(Astute readers will note that a variation on that theme also powers Saudi Arabia – but no one would call Saudi either a democracy or a civil society.)

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Arab Spring II

Springtime in Egypt and the potential for bloodbath just went through the roof:

Judges appointed by Hosni Mubarak dissolved the Islamist-dominated parliament Thursday and ruled his former prime minister eligible for the presidential runoff election this weekend — setting the stage for the military and remnants of the old regime to stay in power.
The politically charged rulings dealt a heavy blow to the fundamentalist Islamic Brotherhood, with one senior member calling the decisions a “full-fledged coup,” and the group vowed to rally the public against Ahmed Shafiq, the last prime minister to serve under Mubarak. reuters

I suppose that the Army and Establishment can fall back on Belloc’s delightful, “Whatever happens, we have got. The Maxim gun, and they have not.” But a quick look at Syria suggests that this will not last forever.

Egypt itself is a basket case and a coup and potential civil war are about the last thing it needs. However, with the Muslim Brotherhood takeover of the so-called Arab spring, the alternative to a coup is an Islamist state with all the joy that would bring to secularists and Coptic Christians.

Barry Rubin runs some scenarios and considers the implications for US policy (not good).

But what I think this actually underscores is that nations with majority Muslim populations are not good at democracy. Probably because even moderate Islam makes very little distinction between civil and religious life. To be pious you have no choice but to vote a religious ticket. Which will almost always ensure that the politicians purporting to be most devout will run up the seat counts.

Which, in my view, is perfectly legitimate within those societies; but it certainly casts a shadow on the PollyAnna assumptions of Western secular liberals who thought the Arab Spring was, somehow, a liberation movement.

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