Egypt's Nationalists At Odds With Vested Interests
by Pepe Escobar
After more than two weeks of protests on the streets of Egypt against
President Hosni Mubarak, this is what the White House's "orderly transition"
is all about - with Washington still playing all sides . . .
Robert Springborg, professor of national security affairs at the US
Naval Postgraduate School, tells Reuters, "The military will engineer a
succession. The West - the US and the EU [European Union] - are working to
that end. We are working closely with the military ... to ensure a
continuation of a dominant role of the military in the society, the polity
and the economy." . . .
Connecting the dots, the street also knows that a truly representative,
sovereign Egyptian government cripples the entire US-controlled Middle East
Historically, what Washington always really feared is Arab nationalism, not
crackpot self-made jihadis. Arab nationalism is intrinsically, viscerally,
opposed to the 1979 Camp David peace accords, which have neutralized Egypt
and left Israel with a free iron hand to proceed with its slow strangulation
of Palestine; . . .
Essentially, this is what the Egyptian street wants.
Mubarak down immediately. Suleiman starts a national dialogue with an
opposition coalition, observed by a neutral UN delegation. Then a
constitutional assembly is established to amend articles 77, 78 and 88 of
the constitution to enable any Egyptian to be a candidate for the
The state of emergency (in effect for over 25 years) is lifted. The judicial
system establishes monitoring bodies for future elections. A national
coalition body is established to monitor the transition during the next six
months, and organize elections according to international standards. New
guidelines are set for legal political parties not vetted by Mubarakism's
National Democratic Party (NDP) but by an independent neutral body. The
country starts over with the rule of law and an independent judiciary. . . .
[Ultimately, the Anglo-American Empire is still anchored to the principles
laid down in 1945: to support those democracies that make the "right choice"
(that of servility) and to oppose the nations that make the "wrong choice"
(that of independence).
Consequently, if they deem it necessary, Washington and London will endorse
without any qualms a bloodbath in Egypt, provided that the military who wins
the upper hand pledges to maintain the international status quo.--Thierry
on the brink of a bloodbath," voltairenet.org, February 2, 2011]
[One reason for the military's peaceful response: the unique role it plays
in the Egyptian economy. The military owns "virtually every industry in the
country," according to Robert Springborg. . . .
The military would almost certainly go along with a successor, the cable's
author writes, if that successor didn't interfere in the military's business
arrangements. But, the cable continues, "in a messier succession scenario,
it becomes more difficult to predict the military's actions."--Alex
Blumberg, "Why Egypt's Military
Cares About Home Appliances," npr.org, February 4, 2011]
[ . . . most Gulf states required foreigners give a local business partner a
51% stake in start-up ventures. In Egypt, the figure is commonly nearer 20%,
but still gives politicians and close allies in the military a source of
huge profits with no initial outlay and little risk.--Phillip Inman, "Mubarak family fortune could reach $70bn, say experts,"
Guardian, February 4, 2011]
[it's all about oil and Israel. . . .
The Arab street is very much aware how the Mubarak system was bribed to send
natural gas to Israel at ridiculous prices; how it enforces the blockade
against civilians in Gaza; and how, bribed by the US, it acts as Israel's
bouncer. Netanyahu stealing Palestinian land or starving Gaza to death, and
Mubarak using billions in US military aid to crush people power - this is
all seen by the Arab street as supported by Washington.--Pepe Escobar, "Why the US
fears Arab democracy," atimes.com, February 5, 2011]
[A central and critical reality is that it is US tax money that has propped
up Hosni Mubarak's despotic regime over the past 30 years, and that this
money has flowed, from the beginning, largely on behalf of Israel.--Alison
Weir, "Critical Connections: Egypt,
the US, and Israel," antiwar.com, February 5, 2011]
[In Tahrir Square, Christians and Muslims held hands and formed protective
guards at each other's services in a demonstration of solidarity designed to
convey that the protesters are united in common cause and that heated debate
in the west about the role of the Muslim Brotherhood is of less concern to
Egyptians.--Chris McGreal, "Egypt: 'Omar Suleiman was part of the old system. We want a new
system'," Guardian, February 6, 2011]
[Israel, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates have each
repeatedly pressed the United States not to cut loose Egypt's
president--Mark Landler and Helene Cooper, "Allies Press U.S. to Go Slow on Egypt,"
nytimes.com, February 8, 2011]
[It is now apparent that the White House has three primary policy objectives
in Egypt. First, and foremost, Israeli security must be preserved at all
cost. . . . Second, we must allay any fears which our authoritarian Arab
allies may have of possible abandonment by the United States. . . . Third,
while pretending to be sympathetic to the pleas of the anti-government
demonstrators for freedom and democracy, our objective is to restore the
status quo in Egypt as soon as possible.--Thomas H. Naylor, "American
Duplicity in Egypt," counterpunch.org, February 10, 2011]
[President Anwar Sadat became America's man through the usual billion-dollar
bribery and, for this, he was assassinated in 1981. Under his successor,
Hosni Mubarak, dissenters came to Liberation Square at their peril. The
latest US-Israeli project of Mubarak, routinely enriched by Washington's
bagmen, is the building of an underground wall behind which the Palestinians
of Gaza are to be imprisoned for ever.--John Pilger, "The Egyptian revolt is coming home," New
Statesman, February 10, 2011]
[The Egyptian military defends the country, but it also runs day care
centers and beach resorts. Its divisions make television sets, jeeps,
washing machines, wooden furniture and olive oil, as well as bottled water
under a brand reportedly named after a general's daughter, Safi.
From this vast web of businesses, the military pays no taxes, employs
conscripted labor, buys public land on favorable terms and discloses nothing
to Parliament or the public.--David D. Kirkpatrick, "Egyptians
Say Military Discourages an Open Economy," nytimes.com, February 17, 2011]
[If there is sufficient evidence that such funds were corruptly earned to
warrant them being frozen now that dictators are being forced from office,
what questions did banks ask of these customers at the point when they were
accepted?--"Why is corrupt money in our banks in the first place?,"
globalwitness.org, February 24, 2011]
[A committee of legal experts appointed by the interim government has
proposed changes to eight articles of the Egyptian constitution, which will
be put to a national referendum next month. The amendments would create new
term limits on the presidency, make it easier for Egyptians to run for
president, ensure stronger judicial oversight of elections and restrict the
government's power to maintain emergency laws - all ahead of a general
election expected later this year.--Jack Shenker, "Egypt's generals unveil reform package,"
Guardian, February 27, 2011]
[For the past five years, Egypt has been selling gas to its northern
neighbors at highly subsidized rates despite facing a shortage of gas at
home. This led to an absurd situation last year when the Egyptian government
was forced to consider buying back its own gas from Israel at a 600% premium
to match the market rate.
[He hopes to succeed Mubarak as Egypt's next president.
Moussa's bid got great fillip by the AL decision Saturday to recommend
imposition of a no-fly zone over Libya. His star has risen far above
Mohammed ElBaradei's.--M K Bhadrakumar, "African
dissent on no-fly zone counts," atimes.com, March 15, 2011]
[In Egypt, US and Saudi money has been poured in to suborn it. In Bahrain,
conservative Gulf states have been given support to crush the uprising by
force. And in Libya, the western powers have attempted to hijack it, while
channelling covert support to the brutally repressed opposition in
Syria.--Seumas Milne, "Libya's imperial hijacking is a threat
to the Arab revolution," Guardian, August 24, 2011]
[While Israeli officials have vowed to take legal action to ensure the
supply of Egyptian gas, local energy analysts say Egypt was well within its
legal rights to opt out of the deal.--Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa
al-Omrani, "Egypt-Israel Gas Issue
Becoming Explosive," ipsnews.net, May 9, 2012]