Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
July 31, 2013

The Lobby Called McCain

Senator John McCain on July 8 2013:
“[I]t is difficult for me to conclude that what happened was anything other than a coup in which the military played a decisive role,” McCain said in a statement posted to his Senate website on Monday.

“Current U.S. law is very clear about the implications for our foreign assistance in the aftermath of a military coup against an elected government, and the law offers no ability to waive its provisions,” McCain said. “I do not want to suspend our critical assistance to Egypt, but I believe that is the right thing to do at this time.”

Senator John McCain on July 31 2013:
Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky's amendment to next year's transportation bill would have halted the $1.5 billion in mainly military assistance the U.S. provides Egypt each year.
The vote laid bare a stark division among Republicans, pitting libertarians like Paul against hawks such as Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, who plan to visit Egypt next week at President Barack Obama's request to press for new elections. They were joined by Sens. Bob Corker and Jim Inhofe, the top Republicans on the Senate's foreign relations and armed services committees, in speaking out against the amendment.

"It's important that we send a message to Egypt that we're not abandoning them," McCain said. Right now, Egypt is "descending into chaos. It's going to be a threat to the United States."

Finally the lobby called McCain and let him know how to vote.

Posted by b on July 31, 2013 at 18:36 UTC | Permalink


Obama asks McCain & Graham to visit Egypt
Patricia Zengerle, Reuters, Jul 30 2013

WASHINGTON – Obama has asked two senior Republican senators to travel to Egypt to meet with its military leaders and the opposition, as Cairo’s allies struggle with how to address the turmoil convulsing the country. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, both members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, hope to travel to Egypt next week, Graham said on Tuesday. Graham told reporters outside the Senate: "The president reached out to us, and I said obviously I’d be glad to go. We want to deliver a unified message that killing the opposition is becoming more and more like a coup, and to encourage the military to move toward holding elections. The specifics, including whom we shall be able to meet, haven’t yet been finalised." (more)

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Jul 31 2013 19:45 utc | 1

At a certain these flip flops and contortions are going to have some sort of impact. The duly elected leader of a principal ally is being sequestered by the military at a secret location, and this is not a coup? You have multiple massacres of protesters, and this is not a coup? The U.S. is supporting the Syrian opposition because the government is killing its own people. The same standard applied to Egypt should have Congress demanding a covert program to take down el-Sisi.

I guess all this is obvious. It's just that at a certain point the lies become so huge, so egregious, there has to be some blowback.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Jul 31 2013 20:51 utc | 2

Let's not forget that McCain can tell the good guys from the bad guys in Syria. He is just the man to sort out the crisis in Egypt.

Posted by: dh | Jul 31 2013 21:11 utc | 3

"Finally the lobby called McCain and let him know how to vote."

Not much doubt about that. I suspect the only remaining question of interest is why it took so long.

Maybe the intern at AIPAC HQ had to finish his maths assignment before he could turn his attention to telling Congressmen how to think.....

Posted by: Johnboy | Jul 31 2013 22:36 utc | 4

The Egyptian coup brought memories of the coup against Chavez, 2002. Both were attempts at a "popular impeachment." Chavez survived because enough people took to the streets to bring him back.

Both seemed taken from the same playbook. First, you subvert the economy. Then you organize massive protests. Then you declare that the elected President has lost control, so the military is called on to replace him.

In both cases, the US was lurking in the background, but any smoking guns have been wiped clean of fingerprints. Publicly the US distances itself from events, but circumstantial evidence seems clear.

The Angry Arab claims that Al-Baradei worked the EU to make sure that the coup would not be declared a coup. Al-Sisi, the former Egyptian military attache in Riad, worked the Saudis.

That McCain was apparently left in the dark as to the plans seems pretty amazing. But Obama doesn't owe him any favors on the foreign policy front, so the slight was probably intentional.

Posted by: JohnH | Aug 1 2013 1:32 utc | 5

@JohnH: Comparing Morsi and Chavéz? With all due respect, no f'king way.

I have heard this a few times. Tammarod's "fascism" and now this. Sorry. I don't buy it for a second.

Though I won't defend the army killing people in the streets to try and compare Morsi, a Bourgeois sectarian who promised to wage war on his fellow Arabs, with a government like revolutionary Venezuela (committed to peace, anti-imperialism, and building up the society) is completely off base.

There is not much to like in the army's actions, but to try and put the mantle of Chavéz, truly one of the most effective and loved leaders in recent memory, on a bunch of goons like the MB? No way.

Posted by: guest77 | Aug 1 2013 3:36 utc | 6

Correction. Remove the cursing (Sorry about that John, no need for that) and make second paragraph:

I won't defend the army killing people in the streets (though one might in light of the MB obstinacy in the face of near total rejection by the people of Egypt). But to try and compare Morsi, a fundamentalist bourgeois sectarian who promised to wage war on his fellow Arabs, with a government like revolutionary Venezuela (committed to peace, anti-imperialism, and building up the society) is completely off base.

Posted by: guest77 | Aug 1 2013 3:39 utc | 7

@guest77 7

but both were democratically elected with powerful minorities who would do anything to remove them from power with the backing of DC. while you may not approve of Morsi and his policies, most Egyptians want some sort of Islamic based state and that may have worked for them.

Posted by: heath | Aug 1 2013 12:34 utc | 8

"both were democratically elected with powerful minorities who would do anything to remove them from power with the backing of DC."

To compare Washington's complacence towards the Ikhwan with its absolute hatred of the Bolivarians is ludicrous. Washington was, on the whole, quite happy with Morsi and the Brotherhood. No doubt many elements in the brain dead zones of the CIA and Pentagon wanted Mubarak back (and we will see how that goes) but the smart money was always on Morsi and the spread of the Brotherhood's ideology in which some brothers were more equal than others. It made a convenient bridge between zionism and salafism. The situation in Syria shows how much the imperialists needed just that.

But there was nothing like the generalised offensive against Chavez. It is like comparing the US attitude to Britain's Attlee government with its all spectrum war against the Soviet Union.

Most Egyptians "want" some kind of islamic based state in exactly the same way that most Canadians want a christian based state: it is the conventional religious morality with which they are most familiar. And they don't want to change definitions of morality or rituals. What they do want to change is the downward slide into misery and crime that neo-liberalism offers them.

I abhor the rule of the Military in Egypt. And I am disgusted by the way in which the massacres of muslim brothers have been swallowed as
anti-terrorist" actions. But the Morsi government was heading in the same direction of authoritarianism, plus neo-liberalism plus licking America's filthy footwear.

We are all so accustomed to choosing between evident evils to discover the "least bad" moderate criminal candidate that we have to guard against projecting this behaviour. Morsi was incompetent, devious, authoritarian and his mandate had long since run out when he was toppled. Sissi has no mandate, he has the support of the bourgeoisie and international finance, Saudi Arabia, the US and Israel but he cannot survive the hatred that he is generating. Egypt has grown out of mamaluke rulers and the revolution will re-emerge.

It is not without significance that, to have any hope of succeeding, it will have to adapt many of the qualities of Bolivarian socialism to Egyptian conditions. That is something that Morsi signally failed to do.

Posted by: bevin | Aug 1 2013 13:04 utc | 9

I still think that the Sisi coup was triggered by the MB-enabled buildup of Jihadis in the Sinai. This crossed a 'red line' for both Sisi and the Israelis. Israel imposed a peremptory veto, which forced the USA to abruptly stop Qatar funding and directing MB-centred Jihadi groups, and ask the Sauds to take over funding and direction of the whole pseudo-Jihad worldwide and to demote the MBs everywhere.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Aug 1 2013 13:36 utc | 10

Does anyone doubt, if not the detail of this story at least its overall authenticity?

From RT:
Venezuelan officials warned of an alleged plot to assassinate the country’s President and launch a paramilitary invasion of the country. A former CIA agent, Cuban exiles living in the US and Latin American leaders were fingered in the conspiracy

President Nicolas Maduro, who succeeded Hugo Chavez, first alleged that his enemies want him dead while on the campaign trail in April.

The suspected plot to overthrow the government in Caracas was allegedly funded by Cuban exiles living in Miami, the head of the Venezuela’s parliament Diosdado Cabello told legislators on Wednesday. They raised some $2.5 million and recruited about 400 mercenaries, who would enter Venezuela’s Zulia state from Columbia as part of the plan.

He pointed to former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe and former CIA agent Luis Posada Carriles, who lives in the US, as those among the organizers of the plot. Venezuela and Cuba want Carriles for carrying out anti-communist terrorist attacks, including the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner that killed 73 people and the bombing of several hotels in Cuba in 1997, in which one tourist died.

Venezuelan Interior Minister Miguel Rodriguez Torres gave additional information on the alleged plot to TeleSUR television. He claimed the plan of the so-called Operation Baby was to have a sniper kill Maduro on July 24. The assassination would be a signal for militant attacks on military and political targets in the country, he said.

He further accused Venezuelan right-wing forces, former Honduran President Roberto Micheletti and a Miami-based real estate businessman Eduardo Macaya of involvement in the alleged conspiracy.

Maduro and his allies earlier highlighted mercenaries in El Salvador and Columbia as potential threats and named Uribe and former US diplomats Roger Noriega and Otto Reich as individuals hatching plots against Venezuela.

Posted by: bevin | Aug 1 2013 13:37 utc | 11

Apologies. The last posting was for the Open Thread. Too late now.

Posted by: bevin | Aug 1 2013 13:38 utc | 12

I am largely with Bevin @9.

The Brotherhood continued the neoliberal policies of Mubarak, even going so far as cuts in the bread subsidies. The original revolution went from the usual suspects of activists, students and unions to a an enormous movement much thanks to the rising food and fuel costs. The Brotherhood did nothing about that so the anger was still there once the Brotherhood had alienated enough of other forces. Sisi is unlikely to do anything about the food and fuel situation, so this government will also have to resign in the face of massive demonstrations once it has alienated other forces in society.

I don't think any government will survive long enough to establish new institutions unless it uses re-distribution and import-substitution to improve the situation for the masses. A possible other way is such ruthlessness that people accept starvation. But that means it needs to be more ruthless then Mubarak without its troops on the ground revolting.

Posted by: a swedish kind of death | Aug 1 2013 17:45 utc | 13

It's about time for mc-cain't to get disposed of. As he is a relentless war monger a bullet sounds like what is adequate.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Aug 2 2013 12:11 utc | 14

Oh, well, if we start wishing for the assassination of prominent political figures, we'll be here all day.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Aug 2 2013 14:50 utc | 15

Oh, well, if we start wishing for the assassination of prominent political figures, we'll be here all day.

Like in "Oh no! Don't wish for an evidently insane and insanely murderous politicians death! The fact that those warmongers cause the deaths of thousands and thousands of innocent people all over the world is just somewhat unlucky circumstances but, by any means, let mc-cain't go on!"?

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Aug 2 2013 21:08 utc | 16

Few of us really know what is going on in Egypt, and most simply give blind credence to the glossy BS that is being fed to us by the media and the same politicians who have proven themselves incapable of governing our own country. Few of us know what the PEOPLE of Egypt want, because few of us know anyone there, or have friends living in that region.

Did the military remove certain "elected" government leaders in Egypt? Yes. Did it do so solely to take control? No. The Egyptian military has proven itself on numerous occasions to be a stabilizing force for the majority of the population, and during some of the worse times the nation has faced. It would have probably continued to sit and watch the "elected" government run its game had the PEOPLE of Egypt not called for its removal. It was the PEOPLE of Egypt who decided they'd had enough of the President's antics and wanted nothing to do with a Muslim Brotherhood controlled regime. It was the PEOPLE of Egypt who decided they were not going to forego decades of progress and hand their lives and hard-won freedoms over to a radical group bent on returning the nation to a life of fear and hate, and it was the PEOPLE of Egypt who wanted someone to help them regain control of their government and freedoms before all was lost. Our government leaders see Egypt only as another force to push our interests, and were happy with a sitting tyrant that, with enough cash, would have done our bidding as all others throughout the world have done for decades. The PEOPLE of Egypt have moved beyond that, and we should have too.

Posted by: Craig Watts | Aug 6 2013 6:33 utc | 17

There's a fellow from one of the Trotskyite groupuscules who has a well balanced article on Counterpunch. Its only weakness, in my view, is that there is a slight contradiction in his attitude to 'Nasserism' (a convenient tag in the circumstances, so I won't try to unpack it). His article is here:

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Aug 6 2013 10:17 utc | 18

The comments to this entry are closed.