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Revolution in Egypt

January 30, 2011

I usually don’t comment on international relations despite two degrees in it and many years experience in the intelligence community. There is just too much going on right her at home. Egypt is going to be the exception, though, because I dealt with it a lot when assigned to U.S. Central Command and even traveled there as a tourist.

I like Egypt and the Egyptian people. They have a history and a culture that goes back a very long way. Their history in the 18th and 19th centuries is itself fascinating but suffice it to say that post-World War II they’ve been a one-party state ruled by strong leaders, whether military or civilian. Today the Obama administration calls President Hosni Mubarek a dictator but he has been good for peace in the Middle East and a good ally for the U.S. Remember the movie Charlie Wilson’s War?

Frankly, the Obama White House is clueless and a Sydney, Australia opinion piece said so on Friday. We didn’t need the Australians to tell us: we find out from Press Secretary Robert Gibbs that the president hasn’t yet talked to Mubarek. David Axelrod tried to put his best spin on it but the facts speak for themselves. And speaking of Axelrod: while Cairo burns, the prez was out partying with him Saturday night.

During the Cold War, the U.S. backed dictators and other undemocratic governments if they were anti-communist. We continue to support them if, like Egypt, they provide stability. Revolution is always an iffy proposition: things can go either way. Mubarek has kept the radical Islamist Muslim Brotherhood in check for three decades. Will Egypt become radicalized? Will it become democratized? Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reports that there may be a unity government that includes the Muslim Brotherhood.

The State Department ought to know what’s going on and what to do. Apparently, they don’t. The U.S. is “losing credibility by the day.” It looks as though, as Aluf Benn writes in Haaretz , Obama will go down in history as the president who lost Egypt. The Haaretz piece is insightful and I recommend following the link to read the entire article.

There is always the possibility that the Obama administration knows exactly what it’s doing and is letting Egypt go Islamist on purpose.

One ironic note: the administration is calling for the Egyptian government to turn back on the internet, cell phone service and social networking sites. Yet here at home the FCC and the Commerce Department have been conspiring to further control the internet and Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and others have been trying to pass a bill for more than a year to give President Obama an internet kill switch.

I don’t claim to know what’s going to happen in Egypt or what the right course of action is. The very sad fact is that neither does Obama.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 2, 2011 1:11 am

    see poster of Mubarak: “30 years of Mubarak” in:
    http://hozourblog.wordpress.com/2011/01/31/30-years-of-mubarak/

    • February 2, 2011 8:05 pm

      I approved the comment by jamal because I wanted readers to see his link. Making a comment like this is just a way of advertising your own blog. This is an Iranian who is hoping that the revolution in Egypt will turn into an Islamic Revolution: just as Glenn Beck has been warning this week.

      Make no mistake: this person is a hater, one who wishes the worst outcome for the Egyptian people. I suspect that the military in Egypt will keep things under control. Pray for the Egyptian people. For the Muslim Brotherhood or Iranian-backed factions to take over would be a great tragedy.

      • February 8, 2011 3:22 am

        I am so sorry for you. you can’t understand the Egyptians. you can’t their outcry to gain islamic government. be sure that they will approach an islamic government like one in Iran.
        Islamic revolution in Iran in 1979 proves that nations can be independent. and proves that the islam will be the last system for living.
        The last point: if Egyptians can prove their protests and form a government base on Islamic rules, the people of other countries will also resist to change their kind of government.

      • February 18, 2011 7:15 pm

        Jamal,

        No need to feel sorry for me: I live in a free country. In your country, when people protest they are clubbed, jailed and killed.

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