Friday, March 16, 2012

In Spite Of Islamist Parliament, US To Resume Funding Egypt's Military

Just this week, the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist dominated Egyptian Parliament voted unanimously to declare Israel Egypt's 'number one enemy', expel Israel's ambassador, and endorse terrorism against Israeli civilians:

The vote took the form of an overwhelming endorsement of a report by the Egyptian Parliament's Arab affairs committee that declared “Revolutionary Egypt will never be a friend, partner or ally of the Zionist entity (Israel), which we consider to be the number one enemy of Egypt and the Arab nation. It will deal with that entity as an enemy, and the Egyptian government is hereby called upon to review all its relations and accords with that enemy.” The report also endorsed what it called Palestinian resistance “in all its kinds and forms” other words, terrorism against Israeli civilians.

The Obama Administration's response? They're going to unblock the $1.5 billion in aid to Egypt's military, in spite of laws passed by Congress to the contrary:

The Obama administration intends to resume funding for Egypt’s military, despite congressional restrictions and objections from human rights and democracy advocates.

For months, the money for Egypt — more than $1.5 billion, with the bulk earmarked for the military — has been withheld amid that country’s crackdown on pro-democracy groups, including several U.S.-based organizations with close ties in Washington.

A law passed by Congress in December forbids funding unless the State Department certifies that Egypt is making progress in basic freedoms and human rights.

But Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is close to announcing plans to bypass those restrictions on national security grounds for fear of worsening already fraying ties with Egyptian leaders...

So...the Obama Administration is bypassing laws passed by Congress because it feels like it? Again?

This is the same Egyptian government that just held U.S. citizens for ransom and collected a cool $5 million to release them, including the son of Obama's Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood. Was unblocking the aid money part of the deal?

Even more ironic, the WAPO article linked above refers to the Egyptian military junta as 'one of our major allies in the region'. You see, to that mindset, that's what major allies do. They take American hostages and ransom them for a nice chunk of baksheesh.

The whole rationale for this is interesting. We're throwing money at a non-democratic military junta in order to keep them from being undermined by, wait for it..the same 'Arab Spring' democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood Salafists mix that President Obama was so high on and so supportive of, because the junta is perceived by the White House as more friendly to our interests.

Is that any different from the deal we had with Mubarak? Our idea was that he was a dictator, but he'd keep the peace and keep the Islamist maniacs from taking over.

So now, after the Obama Administration made a huge deal out of deposing him and supporting 'democracy', the Muslim Brotherhood and the Arab Spring, we're doing exactly the same thing, only with different and unknown actors and in defiance of sensible measures passed by Congress.

This is typical what passes for strategic thinking for this president and the ideologues he has surrounding him.

We have no idea at this point which way the military junta is going to bend, although all indications are that they will more than likely make a devil's bargain with the Islamists, just as the military did in Iran. In that case, we have spent quite a lot of money we don't have arming our enemies, and those arms could very well end up being used against our ally Israel.

In the unlikely event the junta does manage to hang on for a while, then they are going to remember what we did to Mubarak and be 'allies' in a very selective sense of the word, and we will again be committed to supporting a repressive military dictatorship..which will still likely have to consider Israel and the West an enemy and abrogate the Camp David Accords to maintain any kind of popular support.And of course, if the Islamists eventually manage to take over anyway they will have a ready made excuse to whip up hatred against America for supporting a dictator, just like Iran's Khomeini did.

Not only that, but the Israelis aren't stupid, and know exactly who the arms we're supplying the Egyptians with will end up aimed at. Look for a news story in the near future about a major theft or hijacking of American supplied Egyptian arms that ends up going to Hamas.

Well done, Mr. President. Once again, you've pulled off the trick of angering the parties involved on all sides.


B.Poster said...

Foreign aid to Israel of this type is a bad idea on so many levels it is hard to know where to begin. First of all we cannot afford the aid right now. Foreign aid to EVERYONE needs to be eliminated until we can conduct a top down review of it to see what need and what we can afford. To do the proper review will take quite a bit of time.

Given the fact that we need Egypt to do things like keep open the Suez Canal more than they need to keep it open for us, this was never going to be a particularly good relationship. Now with that said there has to be something we can do. As I understand it, Egypt is a net food importer and we grow large amounts of food. Perhaps some type of deal could be made here. This would save us money and it would likely get us a better arrangement. We should never expect any thig grandiose like an alliance with a nation like Egypt but with proper management the relationship just might be tolerable.

From prior history, it seems quite likely the military will cut a deal with the Islamists. The media narrative on this is the Mubarak government was overthrown because the people took to the streets and demanded it. This is untrue. The real reason the Mubarak government fell was because the military stood down. Once the military stood down, Mubarak's fate was sealed. Since they stood down before in the face of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists, it seems likely they will do so again.

"They ar ere going to remenber what we did to Mubarak." We did not do any thing to Mubarak. There was notheing the US could have done to save him or his government. Once the military stood down, his fate was sealed. Recognizing this Mr. Obama called for Mubarak' removal once it was inevitable.

With that said, the US did appear to assist the MB at certain key points. While they likely would have come to power even without this assistance, this assistance likely meant they came to power faster than they would have otherwise.

In a protracted struggle for power, the MB likely emerges as the victor but would be weakened in the process. This would make it more liekly that other factiosn would be able to act as a check on them.

Mubarak and his government had been blackmailing us for years. Eventually they would have cut us loose and turned on us any way. The fall of that government actually presented us with a wonderful opportunity. We could have done any of the following. 1.)Try and send in troops or other resources into Egypt in a fruitless attempt to try and save Mubarak. 2.) Identify groups in the rebellion who would be most compatible with our interests and support them. 3.) Stay out of it entirely, wait and see what develops, and then chart our foreign policy in the region accordingly. 4.) Go to the mat for the MB.

We appear to have opted for option 4. Option 4 and option 1 are the worst options. While option 2 might be optimal, US intellegence does not have the competence to pull it off and due to distrust of us it would not work even if they had the competence.

This leaves option 3 as the only real viable option. While the MB would likely emerge victorious, they woudl likely be weakened in the struggle. This would make favorable agreements much more likely for us.

I think your last sentence pretty much sums things up nicely. The incompetence of this administration and its advisors is absolutely assounding.

B.Poster said...

The first sentence should read "foreign aid to Egypt." I should pay more attention to my typing.

Foreign aid to Israel is a different matter altogether than aid to Egypt. While it has generally been beneficial to America, at least over the last 22 years or so, aid from America has been a net negative for Israel.