Egypt

After 2011

This section obviously needs work.

Uprising 2011

Updates

Juan Cole update

Feb. 4 – LSW summary of NY Times report on Obama behind the scenes and T. Blair’s revealing comments.

Feb. 21 – perspectives on the situation in Egypt on Feb. 21, including economic issues, strikes, position of the military on certain issues and more.

March 3 New prime minister, remaining work

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Key points seen from LSW perspective:

Factors leading to the uprising
Democracy/self-organization
Muslim Brotherhood
Mohamed elBaradei
New prime minister, Omar Suleiman
U.S. interests
Vested interests fighting to cnserverve the status quo

No seeming organization behind the uprising. Some people claim the Muslim Brotherhood is involved but they were caught off guard at the begining as was everyone.

Some factors leading to the uprising

Rising food prices, economic stagnation, no jobs, corruption practiced by the regime and a lack of means to politically express views. Torture.

Democracy/self-organization

The demonstrators have displayed a formidable ability to organize themselves. They have, together with the army, checked the identities of people trying to enter Tahrir Square, in an effort to filter out secret police infiltrators and the like (which given the peaceful activities in the Square until Wednesday, succeeded), and they have swept the streets and kept the place clean as well as organizing neighborhood defense groups. LSW of course has no direct knowledge of this, only what has been gleaned from reports.

Actors in the opposition

Mohamed elBaradei

Former International Atomic Energy Agency chief and Nobel laureate, seems to be seen as a possible leader in a period of transition together with other groups, possibly including the Muslim Brotherhood. Not sure if El Baradei’s lengthy absence from the country does not reduce his legitimacy among the people.

The Muslim Brotherhood

would seem to be an organization concerned more with social welfare activities and the promotion of religious activities than a radical political organization. Just to be done with the particular spectre which seems to be brought up in order to cast a favorable sheen upon a dictator, whether the present one or a possible successor who can protect against this phantom threat.

John Feffer, writing in Foreign Policy in Focus:

“The opposition is crafting a transition plan. Former International Atomic Energy Agency chief and Nobel laureate Mohamed elBaradei has emerged as the leading candidate to manage the transition to democratic rule. In an important political coup, he has obtained the support of Egypt’s main opposition movement, the Muslim Brotherhood.

Those two words strike fear into the hearts of many in the West. The “Muslim Brotherhood” conjures up images of radical Islamists turning Egypt into Iran or Afghanistan. As the ever-predictable John Bolton told Fox News, “The Muslim Brotherhood doesn’t care about democracy, if they get into power you’re not going to have free and fair elections either.” Andrew McCarthy agrees over at The National Review, “our see-no-Islamic-evil foreign-policy establishment blathers on about the Brotherhood’s purported renunciation of violence — and never you mind that, with or without violence, its commitment is…to ‘conquer America’ and ‘conquer Europe.’”

Since it’s likely that the Muslim Brotherhood will play a key role in Egypt’s post-Mubarak future, it’s important to address this hysteria. The Brotherhood has moved on, even if Bolton and McCarthy have not.”

New prime minister, Omar Suleiman

John Feffer, writing in Foreign Policy in Focus says this of

Omar Suleiman, had headed up the intelligence services since 1993. As Jane Mayer points out in The New Yorker, Suleiman was “the CIA’s point man in Egypt for renditions — the covert program in which the C.I.A. snatched terror suspects from around the world and returned them to Egypt and elsewhere for interrogation, often under brutal circumstances.” He could take over as our new man in Cairo if Mubarak takes the next plane out of town (for the latest on this breaking news, visit the FPIF blog).”

For more information on Suleiman and his torture practices and relation to the U.S. and Israel see this LSW post.

U.S. ‘aid’

– Obama could indeed have furthered the movement towards democracy in Egypt had he just cut off the two billion dollarsa year in ‘aid’ to Egypt.

The U.S. has been ‘aiding’ Egypt with on average of a couple of billion dollars a year for twenty years now. Up to 80% of those monies have been used to buy military equipment, from U.S. manugactureres at that. A form for U.S. corporate welfare which military contractors such as BAE Systems, General Dynamics, General Electric, Raytheon and Lockheed Martin would not like to see vanish.

ProPublica has a detailed article, ‘F.A.Q. on U.S. Aid to Egypt: Where Does the Money Go—And Who Decides How It’s Spent?’

To wit:

“he military funding also enables Egypt to purchase U.S.-manufactured military goods and services, a 2006 report from the Government Accountability Office explained [PDF]. The report criticized both the State Department and the Defense Department for failing to measure how the funding actually contributes to U.S. goals.”

And

“Who benefits from the military aid?

Obviously the aid benefits Egypt’s military and whatever government it supports, which has so far been Mubarak’s. Foreign military financing is a great deal for Egypt—it gets billions in no-strings-attached funding to modernize its armed forces and replace old Soviet weapons with advanced U.S. weaponry and military equipment. …..

The other group that benefits from this aid arrangement is U.S. defense contractors. As we reported with Sunlight Foundation, contractors including BAE Systems, General Dynamics, General Electric, Raytheon and Lockheed Martin have all done business with the Egyptian government through relationships facilitated by high-powered DC lobbyists.”

Regarding economic aid –

“Some of this aid also comes back to benefit the U.S. through programs such as the Commodity Import Program. Under that program, the U.S. gives Egypt millions in economic aid to import U.S. goods. The State Department, on its website, describes it as “one of the largest and most popular USAID programs.””