Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 28, 2013

Egypt On The Brink

Egypt is blowing up again and this time it is serious.

Sunday will be the anniversary of president Morsi's election. Since he came into office he broke about every promise he had made. Sure, he believed he had to defend himself from some Mubarak remainders in the judiciary and had to take some extralegal steps. But that is no excuse for his amateurish and dilettante handling of other issues.

The economy is nearing a total breakdown with acute electricity and petroleum shortages. The generals security situation is bad. Income from tourism has not come back. Making the head of a former terrorist group, which in the 1990s had blown up tourists, the governor of the tourism heavy governate Luxor didn't help. Nor did a foreign policy that has been all over the field and seemed to change weekly to follow the opinion of that country that was most willing to lend the next billion Egypt urgently needed.

Sectarian verbal attacks from Morsi against the Syrian government were at least partly responsible of the recent lynching of four Egyptians of Shia believe by a sectarian Sunni mob. In a speech shortly thereafter Morsi did not even mention them.

Polls now show that about two third of the Egyptians do not agree with Morsi's policies. The positions are extremely partisan with very little middle ground between the Islamists and their "enemies".

Those in opposition to Morsi now see a chance to take him down. They have called for a huge countrywide demonstration on Sunday and promise to continue their protests until Morsi steps down.

But Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood will fight not only with tooth and nails to stay in power. Over the last year they were able to build arsenals from plundered Libyan weapons and created their own fighting force. The Egyptian army has announced that it will not allow any big unrest but it is not clear on which, if any, side it is standing.

The first skirmishes between anti-Morsi and pro-Morsi forces have already occurred. Today the Muslim Brotherhood headquarter in Alexandria was burned down. A pro-Morsi demonstration today is likely to intensify the clashes. Sunday's opposition demonstration may end in serious fire fights. The army has already deployed to secure some critical places like the media city and the presidential palace.

There are 90 million Egyptians, half of them under 35. Two big and rather rigid ideological blocs will now seek a violent confrontation and they both have plenty of foot soldiers to put into the fight. The situation can easily evolve into a full blown civil war. I have yet to read anyone who predicts that the outcome of this conflict will be a better and more peaceful Egypt.

Posted by b on June 28, 2013 at 12:01 PM | Permalink


Egypt is going to get very interesting. And what happens there will impact in a significant way other countries in the Middle East.

When everyone was atwitter with Tahrir Square plums, some of the more astute commentators on matters Middle East were rather skeptical. They noted that Islamists use the ballot box but once. Once ensconced the people get a theocratic totalitarianism. Even worse than the previous military dictatorship. The American foreign affairs elite and their democracy crutch, paying heed only to the Likudniks, neocons and the liberal interventionists that dominate the Democratic party have spun this potential for civil war in Egypt.

What happens next within the Egyptian army will be instrumental in the outcome.

Posted by: ab initio | Jun 28, 2013 12:15:35 PM | 1

@ab initio

Those astute commentators are obviously wrong. "Islamist" is a "fourre tout" as french would say. A political place-holder where you can put everything in it, with the goal remaining the same: to bash the ennemy du jour in general and Iran in particular. Actually, this latter country shows that ballot box can be used more than 30 times in 34 years in an islamic state.

Posted by: ATH | Jun 28, 2013 12:26:17 PM | 2

Morsi seemed so eager to ship fighters out to Syria, but perhaps he was just trying to form some brigades for use at home...

The Qatar switch seems like a genuine battlefield promotion for something big coming up. Certainly they, along with their ally USUK and Israel, cannot afford to lose control of the situation in Egypt.

Am I correct in thinking that Qatar/Us/Israel coalition have different ideas for a future Egypt from the Saudis? That would give the world a chance to breathe a sigh of relief. If unrest in Egypt intensified the differences between Qatar/MB and the Saudis perhaps the unrest would spread to the various GCC dictatorships.

Posted by: guest77 | Jun 28, 2013 12:51:36 PM | 3

much has been ongoing in Egypt.

"Sectarian verbal attacks from Morsi against the Syrian government were at least partly responsible of the recent lynching of four Egyptians of Shia believe by a sectarian Sunni mob."

Covered this at my place,very despicable on the part of Morsi
And IMO intentional
to whip up the sunni/ shiite divide
playing into the nato destabilization agenda

"Over the last year they were able to build arsenals from plundered Libyan weapons and created their own fighting force"

worse then that:
Libya has been making cash available to Egypt April 18/2013

Despite its troubles, Libya flashes cash for Egypt and worse
Libya directly sending 2 billion dollars to Egypt?
This is as good as coming from NATO
Since the section of Libya that houses the 'government' is a NATO protectorate- like the terror state Kosovo

Then the US announced it was sending more troops to Sinai
Right after that Egyptian army issues it's warning

The Turkefication of Egypt- June 30/13 "democratic" protests to what end?

To go even further then arms and cash from Libya
You have to look at this

"Yet despite Egypt's internal turmoil, the Obama administration has shown no signs of stopping its support of the Muslim Brotherhood-led government.
Earlier this month, Secretary of State John Kerry quietly allowed $1.3 billion of military aid to Egyptdespite the country's failure to meet human rights and democratic standards.
A key condition of the aid was that Egypt "is holding free and fair elections, implementing policies to protect freedom of expression, association and religion, and due process of law."
But this condition was waived due to "the interest of the national security of the United States."

Now Egypt's military has always been beholden to US/NATO so strategic interests of the alliance always, always trump humanitarianism

Unless one is gullible enough to believe in the R2p nonsense?

Looks to me as if destabilization and balkanization is on the menu and Morsi is helping it along
As per his lackey role

Posted by: Penny | Jun 28, 2013 1:05:16 PM | 4

Have been watching TV new reports of it. June 30th is the date a lot are talking about as the beginning of the second revolution. The TV crew even chatted with medical teams who are in Tahrir square setting up stalls in advance of June 30th.

Not sure how I feel about it. Morsi was democratically elected at the end of the day and still has 3 years left. No matter what you think of him and his policies he should be allowed to complete his term. Especially since the Muslim Brotherhood spent so much decades being crushed/tortured/disappeared to be allowed to run in free elections does seem extreme to oust him 1 year after winning there first elections. Makes an awful precedent that the first free elections in Egypt in 30 years get swept away after a year.

There is the usual dangers as well. If widespread destabilisation occurs the Army (which are Mubarack goons) could seize power. That risks melting away all the gains the first revolution achieved. Maybe the Revolutionaries would be better gaining support over the next 3 years, and organising a United Revolutionary Party and fielding the best candidates.

On the opposite side the Egyptian Revolutionaries have proven to be a high caliber revolutionary movement, very effective and smart. If they are making this move they must have a game-plan. Just hope it works out.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Jun 28, 2013 1:34:19 PM | 5

What the various parties contending for power in Egypt- the Brotherhood, the more extreme salafists, the military, the kleptocrats and the westerners- have in common is a collective refusal to tackle the crisis at its economic roots.

Egypt can simply not afford to repay its debts. The situation in Egypt is different only marginally from that in most of Europe. The only way that capitalism can be maintained there is by enforcing a military dictatorship.

What makes Egypt so important is that such a dictatorship has already been rejected and any attempt to reimpose it will lead, in short order, to popular resistance.

The choice there is clear: social revolution or fascism.

It is a choice most of Europe plainly faces: to surrender every advance made beyond bare subsistence and submit to ruling class terror or to resist.
And no resistance is possible which does not include repudiation of the debt and the socialisation of the economy.

Islam contains very strong humanist traditions which trend against the barbarism of contemporary capitalist imperialism. In this both the Brotherhood and the salafists represent heretical compromises with an imperialism which rejects any idea of community or brotherhood and consigns the poor and vulnerable to suffering and death.

Posted by: bevin | Jun 28, 2013 1:54:10 PM | 6

It seems quite possible that the military might actively step in soon.

Aug 14, 2012: Egypt's new top military officer, Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, is a known commodity in Washington who has long-standing ties to the U.S., Obama administration officials said.

Jun 6, 2013: U.S. quietly allows military aid to Egypt despite rights concerns -- (Reuters) - Secretary of State John Kerry quietly acted last month to give Egypt $1.3 billion in U.S. military aid, deciding that this was in the national interest despite Egypt's failure to meet democracy standards.

Jun 23, 2013: Egyptian army steps in to demand political truce -- (Reuters) - Egypt's army stepped in to a deepening political crisis on Sunday to demand that the Islamist government and its opponents settle their differences and warned that it would act to stop violence spinning out of control.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 28, 2013 2:02:14 PM | 7

Mursi is like Obama, failed on every issue.

He sold out palestinian cause to US/Israel and Saudarabia/Qatar on Syria, and have refused to stop the anti-shia hatred that have blocked better relations with Iran.

Posted by: Anonymous | Jun 28, 2013 2:12:55 PM | 8

I suppose there really is a power struggle going on across the region between Saudi and the rest of the GCC. Qatar has adopted the MBs, everywhere AFAIK, and Saudi has adopted the so-called 'Salafis', ie in practice any and all Sunni Islamists who are prepared to take money and who undertake to stay clear of the MBs. So, by a sort of logic of elimination, the Egyptian army, despite its very strong secularist-Nasserist traditions, is being pushed into a position where it has to align with the Saudis, because they share an enemy, the MBs. Unless, that is, Morsi cuts himself off from the MB mainstream and isolates himself altogether, in which case he can just be dropped and the MB/Army stand-off can be restroed to a static level, which probably the US would prefer. If I was the US, I would be concentrating on pressuring the Qataris not to support Morsi, which would mean them using their leverage on the Egyptian MBs to either rein Morsi in or pull back from him. The US would rather play the MBs and the Salafis off against each other, via the army.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Jun 28, 2013 2:25:17 PM | 9


"Not sure how I feel about it. Morsi was democratically elected at the end of the day and still has 3 years left. No matter what you think of him and his policies he should be allowed to complete his term."

Precisely. Morsi is an oaf, but he hasn't hijacked the revolution as some opponents claim - he is the revolution. Most Egyptians surely accept this, albeit grudgingly.

I expect to see little more than a few skirmishes that quickly fizzle out.

Back to work on Monday.

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Jun 28, 2013 3:02:43 PM | 10


That's interesting. I wonder a lot these days about the strength of the US-Saudi relationship. It seems the US prefers the Qatar side of the equation.

Of course SA is immensely important to the US for the petrodollars and as leverage over the world's energy supply. The relationship between the Bush family and Major Oil companies and the Royal family is strong. How about relationships with the interests behind the Democratic Party?

I do wonder at which point the US gets fed up with what seems to be an increasingly independent foreign policy. I would think that meddling in what the US/Israel has to consider the lynchpin of the ME - Egypt - could be the final straw.

Posted by: guest77 | Jun 28, 2013 3:11:03 PM | 11

Yes whatever one feel about Mursi he is elected, the western media apprently refuse to recognize this.

Besides SA/Qatar have the SAME policies in the region so please end that discussion.

Posted by: Anonymous | Jun 28, 2013 3:11:05 PM | 12

They have the same policies, yes: Sharia law and capitalist economics, to suit the alliance between US-centric global/industrial capital and local/landowner capital. But they are rivals nonetheless, and so they compete. I think I have seen some reports of armed disputes here and there, what one might call 'turf wars', between MBs and Salafis, and I think we will probably see more, because there is so much money and armament being pumped into both teams.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Jun 28, 2013 3:58:43 PM | 13

Watching Al Mayadeen TV, right now.The alternative to Al Jazeera. it shows a large group of MB followers and a guy talking to them , calling for jihad if the Power of MB is to be questionned .if things get worse i expect the iranian bloc to form a militia inside egypt (if the army doesnt do its job.).

Posted by: Nabil | Jun 28, 2013 4:23:40 PM | 14


U.S. citizen killed in Egyptian violence: officials

ALEXANDRIA, Egypt | Fri Jun 28, 2013 4:07pm EDT

(Reuters) - A U.S. citizen was stabbed to death in the Egyptian city of Alexandria on Friday during clashes between supporters and opponents of President Mohamed Mursi, a doctor and three security officials said.

A U.S. embassy official said: "The U.S. embassy has heard of the reports of the death of an American citizen and is seeking to confirm them."

The young American man died from a wound to the chest, said General Amin Ezzeddin, a senior Alexandria security official. Another man, an Egyptian, was killed by a gunshot wound to the head.

The violence erupted when anti-Mursi protesters tried to storm offices used by Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood in Alexandria, a city on Egypt's Mediterranean coast. The American had been recording the events by camera.

"There were two deaths - an Egyptian, and an American who was wounded during the events. He was filming," Ezzedin said.

"He was wounded during his presence in the events and the clashes. He was wounded in the chest, he fell unconscious, he was taken by ambulance to the hospital," he told Al Jazeera's Egypt news channel.

The account was confirmed by Ibrahim al-Roubi, head of the emergency unit in the Alexandria health department, and by two other security officials.

Posted by: guest77 | Jun 28, 2013 4:36:30 PM | 15

The system whereby a person is "elected" by 25 or 30 percent of the electorate, as in the US and Egypt, and then enjoys the authority to be a dictator -- a "decider" as we used to say with Bush -- isn't working to the benefit of citizens, and they don't like it, as in Brazil and Turkey also. Perhaps we need a parliamentary system, or an opportunity for a recall vote, or some other way to restrain these clowns. Citizens shouldn't have to rely upon the military.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 28, 2013 4:53:07 PM | 16


Compete about what? Again they are following the SAME policies for the region.

Posted by: Anonymous | Jun 28, 2013 5:00:41 PM | 17

My view of the democratic system is simple: if a party wins (and there is not too much rigging), then they have the right to rule until the next election. If there isn't another election, then there will be a problem, but not yet.

The present demonstrators seem to me to have the perfect right to demonstrate, but they haven't shown that they are the majority.

Posted by: alexno | Jun 28, 2013 5:44:37 PM | 18

The Arabist has a piece on "The Mood in Cairo" that paints a nice description of what people are thinking. Nour an intern for the blog explains:

The weather has officially lost its spot as the number one topic for small talk to June 30. Asking someone about their views of, or plans for, June 30 is the new "Very humid today, worse than yesterday, right?" and saying "God save us on June 30," or things to that effect, has all but replaced goodbyes. For days now, people have been worriedly reminding each other to park in their garage on the 30th and take the day off from work for safety. Conversely, a few Morsi supporters have been advising people to do the opposite, hoping that if society as a whole goes about its day, then the protesters may mistake it for an ordinary day and forget to protest.

One of her revolutionary friends gives his view:

"We are going to teach them a lesson, I promise you that, and unlike Morsi; we fulfill our promises," said a very serious self-described member of the Black Bloc, who refused to be named. He is, however, happy to report that he has saved two weeks' worth of empty soda bottles to make Molotov cocktails. "You can't judge us. The MB fights dirty, are we supposed to lie down and take it?" he added, somewhat aggressively. His attitude is shared by a lot young men these days.

Although many have not given up on peaceful demonstration, the very popular belief that June 30 is going to be far from it is leading them, especially women, to exercise more caution.

One of her Islamist friends gives his view:

"I know for a fact that liberals are growing beards now," Hany, my islamist backup driver, spoke confidently. "Some of them will dress like islamists, and others as the police to attack the liberal-looking liberals and make it seems like the MB and the MOI are killing protesters," he theorized. "That's why (the islamists) have to be there!"

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Jun 28, 2013 5:54:32 PM | 19

I don’t see much on the economic impact, (News) be it Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco, Turkey, Jordan etc. However it is clear that tourism has taken a massive hit and that will continue for some time. Likewise trade, investment, and the smaller factors, all of the above are ‘peacekeepers’ UN member states, many working in mission areas that are managed better and with less conflict and in irony are there to train, teach assist, a wee bit of an oxymoron, but this latter element is the UN over and over again, even by its own index standard. In that MINURSO is one of the few modern UN peacekeeping missions that does not include a mandate to observe and report on human rights conditions. Morocco, which claims sovereignty and exercises de facto control over Western Sahara, has long opposed the inclusion of human rights monitoring in the mandate, with the support of France.

Does anyone have cost/social impact analysis stemming the Arab spring, be it GDP, jobs, not just national but it’s global repercussions, just to note my ‘travel agent’ has shut shop as the bulk of her clients were within in the regional cover, Egypt being the bread and butter, and she has no recourse or a leg to stand on -A ghost amputee of sorts.

I guess that impact can’t be seen as a whole until it ends and it can be factored, one thing is certain, it is deeper than any austerity impacted entity, with some check and balances panning out (Jordan) via injection. In real terms (Libya is a good example) the economic impact must be in the trillions, yet all the up’s and downs of stock markets don’t seem to correlate there events as ‘Part’, something that is impossible to omit, but is occurring.

Why I ask? Looking at investments, pensions, this is all tied to 'International' Companies within the tourist and other industries, with sizable investments in Hotels, infrastructure has now been more or less abandoned, yet these are still in the mixed bag of portfolios, along with bad debt, broken ROI (Not delayed) 100% broken.

As I see it, this data caused by events have not been 'subject' to the consequences’ (This includes austerity impacted entities), in turn, we are about to see an unprecedented backlash that will rock the markets, yet it's being largely ignored!

Posted by: kev | Jun 28, 2013 8:16:40 PM | 20


Qatar is known to be more supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood than the Saudis who seem to actively fear the MB as agents of possible rebellion in their countries.

Is that incorrect or is it just meaningless? I'd be interested to hear why.

Posted by: guest77 | Jun 28, 2013 8:44:45 PM | 21

@16 I do sort of have to agree. We all know "who else..." was elected.

Venezuela's system of recalls seems to be the best avenue for this situation. Egypt, lacking it, may see violence instead.

Though I take the point that there was an election, and it should be respected - Morsi's election has not democratized the country. I think that is the real issue. Like the change from the PRI to PAN in Mexico. This was called "democracy" but nothing really changed.

Egypt appears to be going downhill towards a brick wall with no brakes very fast. Perhaps these things don't wait for elections.

Posted by: guest77 | Jun 28, 2013 8:50:17 PM | 22

Walter Jones threatens Obama if one soldier is sent to Syria he will introduce articles of impeachment

Posted by: revenire | Jun 28, 2013 8:54:47 PM | 23

@ alexno #18
My view of the democratic system is simple: if a party wins (and there is not too much rigging), then they have the right to rule until the next election.

Absolutely rejected -- there is no "right to rule" in a proper democracy. In other words I subscribe to that professor of constitutional law, Senator Barack Obama.

Open Up Government to its Citizens: The Bush Administration has been one of the most secretive, closed administrations in American history. Our nation’s progress has been stifled by a system corrupted by millions of lobbying dollars contributed to political campaigns, the revolving door between government and industry, and privileged access to inside information—all of which have led to policies that favor the few against the public interest. An Obama presidency will use cutting-edge technologies to reverse this dynamic, creating a new level of transparency, accountability and participation for America’s citizens. Technology-enabled citizen participation has already produced ideas driving Obama’s campaign and its vision for how technology can help connect government to its citizens and engage citizens in a democracy. Barack Obama will use the most current technological tools available to make government less beholden to special interest groups and lobbyists and promote citizen participation in government decision-making. Obama will integrate citizens into the actual business of government by:
--Making government data available online in universally accessible formats to allow citizens to make use of that data to comment, derive value, and take action in their own communities.
--Establishing pilot programs to open up government decision-making and involve the public in the work of agencies, not simply by soliciting opinions, but by tapping into the vast and distributed expertise of the American citizenry to help government make more informed decisions.
--Requiring his appointees who lead Executive Branch departments and rulemaking agencies to conduct the significant business of the agency in public, so that any citizen can watch a live feed on the Internet as the agencies debate and deliberate the issues that affect American society.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 28, 2013 8:59:25 PM | 24

Walter Jones, as I recall, was the "Freedom Fries" tarheel guy who subsequently had an epiphany and converted to sensibility.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 28, 2013 9:01:24 PM | 25

@ guest77 #21
Qatar is known to be more supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood than the Saudis who seem to actively fear the MB as agents of possible rebellion in their countries.

I don't know about any MB threat to SA, but there is a continuing Shia problem (possibly inspired by Iran) in SA'a largest, province. Sunni Muslims make up approximately 85% of Saudi Arabia's population. The remaining 15% are Shia, who tend to inhabit the oil rich eastern province.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 28, 2013 9:10:02 PM | 26

@ Don, it’s been done 'All of the above' by Snowden (Oh, the irony) and using cutting edge tech, involving the public, making the data available online (Well pending, we have snip-its) and lastly 'the business of the agency in public' and we are getting a eye's with more transparency as a cause and effect (Media, although depending on source) - So should Hillary be getting the liberty medal?

Posted by: kev | Jun 28, 2013 9:14:42 PM | 27

ding-ding-ding-- we have a daily winner.
That's GREAT! Snowden as the Obama wannabe, I love it!

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 28, 2013 9:29:42 PM | 28

Yes, Snowden is finally fulfilling the hope of Obama '08.


Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 28, 2013 9:39:00 PM | 29

"Walter Jones, as I recall, was the 'Freedom Fries' tarheel guy who subsequently had an epiphany and converted to sensibility."

I believe you are correct. He had a "Damascus Road" conversion (very bad joke).

Frankly, if Jones were Satan himself and succeeded in stopping the war and impeaching Obama I'd be thrilled.

Hats off to Jones.

Posted by: revenire | Jun 28, 2013 9:49:03 PM | 30


Well, then with the "All I know is what I read in the papers" caveat, I present the following:

"The Brotherhood has done great damage to Saudi Arabia ... All our problems come from the Muslim Brotherhood ... The Muslim Brotherhood has destroyed the Arab world," he said firmly.

However, the danger perceived by Al-Saud family from the Muslim Brotherhood remained remote, as the movement was in opposition. Its coming to power in Egypt and Tunisia — and perhaps tomorrow in Syria — thanks to unexpected popular uprisings, completely changed the situation. Hence the attitude of the less reserved Saudi authorities vis-à-vis the new regime in Egypt. Riyadh fears that the rise to power of the Brotherhood encourages Islamist opposition inspired by that movement to resume activities within the kingdom.

The arrest in the United Arab Emirates in late 2012 of 11 Egyptians accused of forming a Brotherhood cell to help overthrow the UAE regime only reinforced these fears.

But far from the alleged plots against the Gulf States, the Saudi ruling family perceives the Brotherhood and its doctrine as an ideological rival to Wahhabism, which may spread and sow discord in the kingdom or threaten the monarchy. It is not surprising in this context that several reports underlined Saudi financial support for the Egyptian Salafist current in the last parliamentary elections in late 2011.

The perception of danger also has a regional dimension, as some Saudi leaders feared the rise of an alliance between Egypt, Turkey and Qatar — the only Gulf state to maintain close ties with the Muslim Brotherhood — which may reduce the dominant regional influence Saudi Arabia had exercised through its alliance with Mubarak's Egypt and Syria’s Bashar Al-Assad.

Posted by: guest77 | Jun 28, 2013 9:53:16 PM | 31

Don, I don't think that you can blame Iran for the turbulence among the shia in SA. They live in the richest oil province and get almost nothing from it. Their anger is born of local grievances and is a constant of Saudi politics, dominated as they are by wahhabi courtiers who despise the shia and rob them blind.

As to Morsi's electoral success. The election of a President was one part of a series of elections,including one for a Constituent Assembly charged with producing a Constitution to be submitted for discussion, debate and referendum. Then there were the Legislative elections.
So far as I can recall, for various reasons, none of these elements of the revolutionary settlement was properly implemented. Morsi is in the position of a Louis Napoleon or a Kerensky. He has the support of the imperialists, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. But how secure is any of those?

On the other hand he has nothing to propose to the people of Egypt who are getting poorer every day, in a world economy which is also shrinking daily. There is no way out economically which does not involve a change of course beyond anything the Brotherhood would dare to conceive of or the zionists and imperialists would dream of allowing.

This is the cue for another Nasser, with policies designed for Egypt's crisis. Those who talk of the Army intervening should not make the mistake of assuming that the current General Staff will necessarily be able to control the military. In fact the contrary is likely: the military is as corrupt and class riven as the country itself is.

Posted by: bevin | Jun 28, 2013 9:59:56 PM | 32

guest77 | Jun 28, 2013 9:53:16 PM | 31, So from a Western (US) perspective, not much different than H.S.T regarding Russia V's Germany? Sounds plausable and history repeating;

"Let's help the Russians when the Germans are winning and the Germans when the Russians are winning. So each may kill off as many as possible of the other."

Harry Truman
in U.S. Senate on June 5, 1941

Posted by: kev | Jun 28, 2013 10:02:30 PM | 33

Reminds me of Kissinger saying a similar thing during the Iran-Iraq war kev.

Posted by: revenire | Jun 28, 2013 11:23:20 PM | 34


Yes indeed. A ballot where the choices A, B or C are decided by a handful of Ayatollahs. Can you name one Islamic theocracy in history that was ever removed peacefully by the ballot box or other such means?

Posted by: ab initio | Jun 29, 2013 12:00:10 AM | 35

@bevin #32
I don't think that you can blame Iran for the turbulence among the shia in SA.

I agree with you. I don't blame Iran, and I shouldn't even suggested that they are "inspired" by Iran. They (Shia) are subjected minorities in the province, as you say, and they don't need Iran to point it out. But I hope that Iran openly supports them, because SA has been so rude to Iran recently, and there's no cause for it.

I don't believe that Iran should not engage in the black arts, and from what I know Iran does make it clear to the West that it can engage in some 'special operations' and 'strategic communications' but always at a lower level than the West & Israel do. Good for them.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 29, 2013 12:03:41 AM | 36

@34, He was a mass murderer, and to date shows no remorse. What Kissinger should be most remembered for is cold-bloodedly extermination of people forged by undemocratic, unconstitutional, secret, criminal and amoral automated warfare, by a U.S. Executive Branch constrained neither by law nor elemental human decency. Novelist Joseph Heller in Good As Gold:

“It was disgraceful and so discouraging … that this base figure charged with infamies too horrendous to measure and too numerous for listing should be gadding about gaily in chauffeured cars, instead of walking at Spandau with Rudolf Hess … Asked about his role in the Cambodian war, in which an estimated five hundred thousand people died, he’d said: ‘I may have a lack of imagination, but I fail to see the moral issue involved.’ Whereas another State Department official, William C. Sullivan, had testified: ‘The justification for the war is the reelection of the President.’ Not once … had Kissinger raised a voice in protest against the fascistic use of police power to quell public opposition to the war in Southeast Asia.

“In Gold’s conservative opinion, Kissinger would not be recalled in history as a Bismarck, Metternich, or Castlereagh but as an odious shlumpf who made war gladly.”

Like Kissinger, Obama lied when he described his drone assassination program as “a targeted, focused effort at people who are on a list of active terrorists who are trying to go in and harm Americans, hit American facilities, American bases", even enjoyed watching strikes in the Ops center. All he has done is move from the Bush era of extrajudicial detention into extrajudicial killing, not a step forward - It seems, evil and insanity is truly in their nature

Posted by: kev | Jun 29, 2013 12:18:32 AM | 37

3) I think you read alliances the wrong way. My guess is you see the new US Saudi liberal alliance :-)) at work.

But of course that has nothing to do with what is happening on the ground in Egypt. I wish June 30 the best of luck.

Election wise - Egyptian voters were tricked into a Muslim Brotherhood - old regime alternative. But now it is the people who would support the Mubarak regime against the Muslim Brotherhood with the "revolutionaries" who were not Muslim Brotherhood in the first place.

I wish June 30 the best of luck. However, I do not see how the Egyptian army will not have to act in the end.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 29, 2013 2:23:31 AM | 38

you people are all nuts. you want the world to turn as the empire expects it will.
right now, it is rising up against you, and you ask all these inane questions instead of 'why didn't the people rise up sooner?' what did you think was going to happen?
I am hungry and I am going to sleep.

Posted by: anon | Jun 29, 2013 3:13:04 AM | 39

Guest 77

Both Qatar and SA follow the wahabbi creed, SA support brotherhood too in the region (not at home). The primary goal is to install sunni led regimes in the region that be supportive of Qatar/SA.

Posted by: Anonymous | Jun 29, 2013 3:39:52 AM | 40

re 24.

Absolutely rejected -- there is no "right to rule" in a proper democracy. In other words I subscribe to that professor of constitutional law, Senator Barack Obama.

The problem was in the word "rule". I don't put a load of meaning on it, whereas you do. We could use "remain in government" instead, if you like. Calling on Barack Obama doesn't seem to me useful, if you reject what he does.

Posted by: alexno | Jun 29, 2013 4:13:54 AM | 41

Gone are the days of the righteous shwarma ,lamb or chicken,the upright felafel wilting in the sun
lo and behold a tsunami will come and the sons of Ra blessed be he shall rise up and slay there rulers
the river nile shall turn red with the blood of the tyrants
the third plague has come to the land of the pharoahs
all hail anubis the hidden one ,light of the revolution
rise up sons of Ra and slay your oppressors

Posted by: jub | Jun 29, 2013 7:19:04 AM | 42

Well getting back to Syria, it looks like the SAA is making some major gains in Homs:

This is not to belittle what is happening in Egypt. But at least there it seems to be in the hands of the Egyptian people without overt US interference. If the insurgents and their foreign backers are driven out of Homs, perhaps it will be only a little time for the SAA to be able to concentrate their forces on Aleppo and eliminate the foreign menace before Obama has time to reinforce the anti-Assad forces. Now that would be nice to see.

Posted by: ToivoS | Jun 29, 2013 7:30:11 AM | 43

re 43. Qaryatein also fell to the government army yesterday or Thursday. Small oasis town in the desert northeast of Homs on the way to Palmyra, but well known.

Posted by: alexno | Jun 29, 2013 8:23:58 AM | 44

Nervana: A Tale of Two Egypts

Morsi’s one year in power has finally helped Egyptians to fully discover and understand what is Islamism, and what exactly the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist parties stand for. It was a painful eye-opening experience that enforced fault lines between what is Egyptian and what is Islamist. The result was reflected in two campaigns, one anti–Morsi Tamarod and the other pro-Morsi Tagarod. Each represents a different vision, not just in what democracy and legitimacy should be, but a wider vision of what Egypt should be as a state and as identity. Unlike Mubarak, Morsi ‘s legacy was a weak regime and a weak and divided state.

I am a big believer in destiny; things happen for a reason, history evolves in a certain logical way. Morsi’s behavior throughout last year is a reflection of the ideology of his group more than his flaws as a leader. Those Egyptians who were cool, balanced, and politically correct, and expected compromise from Morsi, have failed to grasp this simple fact. The Muslim brotherhood cannot compromise. This is not available in their program. How can they compromise with the other Egypt that they despise and want to abolish?

What we witnessed on Friday June 28 were the final preparations for a final showdown between two different forces fighting for the soul of a nation.

The Big Pharaoh: The Road To #Jun30 also looks at the delta and the port cities where bigger things might happen. It's all gloomy:
To conclude, June 30 is coming whether you agree with it or not, whether you like the people who will participate in it or not. The choice is yours. You can swim along with the big wave or stand there till the waves hit you and turns you upside down. In both cases, you can do absolutely nothing to influence the wave.

God save Egypt.

Posted by: b | Jun 29, 2013 9:39:53 AM | 45

As I remember,the UAR was Egypt and Syria;Where did this Shia Sunni split originate?In the minds of the monsters,The Zionists,as divide and conquer is their way,from America to Iran,from Britain to Saudi Arabia,and everywhere.Morsi beware of Americans and Israelis bearing gifts.
And since our Christian theocracy has been neutered by the Zionists,the Islamic theocracies(Iran?),should hold out against the devil worshippers.
Haaretz says the dead American was of Jewish extraction,honing up on his Arabic.Ha,he couldn't hone up in Israel?

Posted by: dahoit | Jun 29, 2013 12:18:33 PM | 46

The American:

From Bloomberg:

"Pochter was in Egypt on an internship with AMIDEAST, according to Kenyon. AMIDEAST isn’t a Kenyon program, the college said."

From Wikipedia:

"AMIDEAST was founded in 1951 as American Friends of the Middle East, and over the years has expanded its offerings to include English-language instruction, professional-development courses for companies whose employees work in the Middle East, test administration, U.S. study advising, institutional development projects, and study-abroad and exchange programs for both Americans and Middle Easterners.

According to historian Robert Moats Miller, in its early years American Friends of the Middle East was funded by the Central Intelligence Agency and ARAMCO."

And there you go...

Posted by: guest77 | Jun 29, 2013 12:25:22 PM | 47

The current president of AMIDEAST is Theodore Kattouf, former US Ambassador to the UAE and Syria.

Likely just a bit of history at this point, but interesting nonetheless: The founders of "American Friends For the Middle East" also founded "Committee for Justice and Peace in the Holy Land", an organization which " lobbied both the United States government and the United Nations to rescind the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine, which proposed the creation of two states in the Middle East, one Arab and one Jewish, in favor of leaving the entire area under Arab rule with no provision for a national home for the Jewish people."

Posted by: guest77 | Jun 29, 2013 12:49:53 PM | 48

" I hope that Iran openly supports them, because SA has been so rude to Iran recently, and there's no cause for it.
I don't believe that Iran should not engage in the black arts, and from what I know Iran does make it clear to the West that it can engage in some 'special operations' and 'strategic communications' but always at a lower level than the West & Israel do. Good for them."

I'll second that motion, Don.
As you will realise I wasn't correcting you, merely attempting to make your meaning plainer.

Posted by: bevin | Jun 29, 2013 1:00:36 PM | 49

The Comrades from Cairo

Posted by: bevin | Jun 29, 2013 1:11:08 PM | 50

@46 "Where did this Shia Sunni split originate?"

I'd be interested to hear commenters and b discuss this.

I'm too young to recall the Iran/Iraq War except in vague news stories. Was this "divide" discussed much then? Saddam supposedly (apocryphal?) wrote a book called "Three things God never should have made: Flies, Jews, and Persians" but that of course points not at Shia as a religious sect, but directly at Persians as an ethnicity.

Of course we heard of the "Shia uprising" after "Desert Storm" but I don't recall it ever being presented as something that extended beyond Iraq.

Certainly me, personally I never heard much about it - nor even knew much of the difference between the two - until the Iraqi Civil War starting in 2004.

Posted by: guest77 | Jun 29, 2013 1:32:40 PM | 51

Iraq and Syria were secular nationalist states. That's the merit of Ba'athism. It's inevitable that the first line of sectarian attack on the Syrian state was to claim that it was in reality a sectarian, Alawi state, just pretending to be secular; Alawis are one of the numerous sects that have spun off from Shi'ism over the centuries, and the Assad family belong to it. A lot of senior Syrian government officers were and are Alawis too, there's no denying; but that doesn't make it a sectarian government. Once one has re-framed everything in religious sectarian terms, one has pushed people back a hundred years in their mode of thought. But I doubt that majorities in either country have been persuaded by all this. The 'rent-a-mobs' are all we hear about, but they are not numerically anything like large enough to be able to claim to represent the majorities of their supposed populations. Rather, they intimidate the passive, nominal, effectively 'secular' majorities who are too busy trying to live their lives to worry much about religion. It approaches the western situation, where people nominally belong to whatever faith they were born in, but only act the part of 'believers' when required to go through the ceremonies of birth, marriage and death, and sometimes not even then, if there are secular equivalents. Consider how high the rates of intermarriage are in Iraq or Pakistan, to name only two I know about for a fact. Everyone has members of their clan, sometimes even their own spouses, who are members of the other traditions. Sunnis, Shi'as, people who identify themselves as 'Sufi', and so on, have all intermarried freely for decades at least. Sects like the Druze, who forbid out-marriage, are atavisms, survivals from an older age. Kurds apparently intermarry quite freely with Turks in Turkey, to take another example. The representations the media give us are misleading in suggesting that 'militants' of any sect are representative of majority attitudes.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Jun 29, 2013 4:12:18 PM | 52

Tahrir is full, overflowing and peaceful. There is march planned from Tahrir to reach the presidential palace. There the blood will flow.

Posted by: b | Jun 30, 2013 1:13:26 PM | 53

Pic on the route to the presidential palace. Another pic

Usually the Muslim Brotherhood had the bigger numbers. Not this time.

Posted by: b | Jun 30, 2013 1:30:27 PM | 54

"Shotguns, petrol bombs and rocks: Scores of protesters try to storm Muslim Brotherhood HQ in Cairo" -RT

Posted by: guest77 | Jun 30, 2013 2:30:10 PM | 55

Live from Tahrir

Posted by: Carpworld | Jun 30, 2013 3:43:18 PM | 56

Betsy Hiel tweeted a picture of a large colour and piture of Obama banner that has been hoisted in Tahrir Square that reads “Obama Supports Terrorism” in both English and Arabic. The banner has been placed in preparation for Sunday’s scheduled protests against Mohamed Morsi and The Muslim Brotherhood.

Posted by: kev | Jun 30, 2013 8:09:51 PM | 57

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