Egypt: I ask Myself Why

I ask myself why.

Why would authorities in a European county like Switzerland entertain the idea of trying George W. Bush for torture if he came to give a talk in that country;

But, European countries are supporting Omar Suleiman for interim president of Egypt, even though he was the one who undertook the torture for Bush? Suleiman tossed some 30,000 suspected Muslim fundamentalists in prison, and accepted from the US CIA kidnapped suspected militants, whom he had tortured. Some were innocent. One, Sheikh Libi, was tortured into falsely confessing that Saddam Hussein was training al-Qaeda operatives, an allegation that straight into Colin Powell’s speech to the UN justifying the Iraq War.

I ask myself why.

If Frank Wisner, President Obama’s informal envoy to Egypt, is a paid lobbyist for Egypt and says things like that Mubarak must stay, which Obama then has to deny …

Why didn’t Obama send an envoy from Human Rights Watch instead?

I ask myself why

If Bush and the Neocons installed a pathbreaking democracy in iraq . . .

– Why does its prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, have to pledge not to run for office again (taking a leaf from the books of the rulers of Yemen and Egypt? Why does al-Maliki have secret prisons where people appear to have been tortured? Why is he taking over independent commissions such as the electoral commission?

I ask myself why.

If President Hosni Mubarak, his generals, and the ruling National Democratic Party have engaged in voter fraud and corruption during each of the elections for the past few decades;

… Would would make them honest brokers in moving the county to presidential elections in September?

I ask myself why.

If the Mubarak regime has had a change of heart and will now move toward democracy;

why is its secret police snooping through Facebook accounts with an eye to making arrests? And, where is Wael Ghonim?, the Google exec who began the Facebook page for the Jan. 25 demonstrations?

I ask myself why.

If the resignations of high Egyptian officials, and reputedly even Mubarak himself, from the National Democratic Party are sincere;

Then why not just resign from the presidency, since the point of being in the ruling party was to attempt to use it to come to power?

I ask myself why.

If the Muslim Brotherhood is supposed to be such a radical party

Then why is it a) the first major opposition party to begin negotiations with the government; and b) why is the MB rebuking Iran’s ruling ayatollah Ali Khamenei for saying the street revolution is Islamic, insisting instead that it is national?

54 Responses

  1. I ask myself why Blair and Bush don’t DARE take credit for #Egypt #Jan25 #sidibouzid? Isn’t his what they wanted?

  2. Western liberalism can be a beautiful thing, Juan. I myself am a believer. But there’s always been an ugly side.

  3. Interesting question:

    If the Muslim Brotherhood is supposed to be such a radical party Then why is it a) the first major opposition party to begin negotiations with the government; and b) why is the MB rebuking Iran’s ruling ayatollah Ali Khamenei for saying the street revolution is Islamic, insisting instead that it is national?

    The answer (IMHO):
    Because they are very smart. They are the ones that have a real street organization and whose “street cred” is unquestionable, they are the ones that have their members in prison by the dozens (hundreds? thousands?). Mubarak, his oligarchy and the USA are desperate to have somebody to talk to give them some legitimacy or even time to get their money out of the country… in exchange they are going to have to let the Brotherhood’s people out of jail and allow them to organize above ground… As to Iran. the last thing the Brothers need now is the “apostolic blessing” of Ali Khamenei, because the have just conquered Egypt’s center with their “generous offer”.

  4. I think the answer to your last question answers the rest of your questions pretty succinctly. You ask why the Muslim Brotherhood (of Egypt) is such a radical party – as if to imply that they are not radical. Well… they ARE radical.

    But they’re not radical because they’re Islamists.

    They’re radical for the same reason that every other major opposition group in Egypt is radical. The fact that one of these groups might come to power jeopardizes US (and Israeli) foreign policy interests in the entire region.

    And even something as simple as free and fair democratic elections is much too radical for the US and Israel.

    • The Muslim Brotherhood hasn’t done anything radical in 60+ years.. They’ve gone to great lengths to separate themselves from the extremists who feel murder will make things better. They may not be as much of a herald for Israeli or American wants right now, but that may change if they got into power. America sends them 1.6billion dollars every year, and that’s a hefty purse to reject during an economic crisis.

      • A few billion dollars a year is chump change to Saudi Arabia and other gulf states. Offsetting a cutoff of US aid would be no problem for them if they were of a mind to do so.

  5. The answer to your first question perhaps lies in the exceptionally decentralized nature of government in Switzerland, as result of which, people saying the state is obliged under both international law and its domestic law to initiate an investigation for acts of torture against any individual present on its territory that has committed, authorized, participated in or was otherwise complicit in acts of torture. There are no laws that provide an exception for former head of states. cannot be brushed aside. Especially not in cases where most of the world population would agree.

  6. It’s always easy to ask why, but the answer to some of those questions are far more difficult to find, as nothing us black and white! Some of those Muslim fundamentalists tortured in prison would have undoubtably tortured themselves, had they not been there, and we forgot the very reason for Mubarak was the terrorist assassination of Sadat. As for Iraq without Sadam, the republicans got it wrong, but is Maleki more brutal and corrupt then Sadam? He’s under the payrole of the Ayatollahs now, but surely the lefts favourite nation ‘Iran: the anti-imperialist’ yet let’s-forget brutal to its own people nation has benefited from the neo con project. Too many whys, but condeming and condoning works both ways.

    • By the same rationale rather a lot of members of other parties in a quite a few other places should never be let out of prison. The logic of pre-emption ultimately makes the pre-emptor, in the eyes of just about any observer, the one to whom a stop must be put. Not because of what he might do – but because of what he is actually doing.

      When bad things are done to people some of them get mad and do bad things back. It’s really not that difficult to understand.

  7. I have a couple questions regarding the following section of this post:

    Why would authorities in a European county like Switzerland entertain the idea of trying George W. Bush for torture if he came to give a talk in that country;

    But, European countries are supporting Omar Suleiman for interim president of Egypt, even though he was the one who undertook the torture for Bush? Suleiman tossed some 30,000 suspected Muslim fundamentalists in prison, and accepted from the US CIA kidnapped suspected militants, whom he had tortured. Some were innocent. One, Sheikh Libi, was tortured into falsely confessing that Saddam Hussein was training al-Qaeda operatives, an allegation that straight into Colin Powell’s speech to the UN justifying the Iraq War.

    Firstly, the link you gave regarding Bush and Switzerland does not say anything about Swiss authorities considering the idea of trying Bush for torture. It only states that the World Organization Against Torture asked Swiss authorities to begin an investigation should Bush come to Switzerland. I have yet to see any evidence that Swiss authorities were actually considering pursuing legal action against Bush during his planned visit. I have seen quotes from Human Rights Groups claiming that Bush cancelled his trip in order to avoid prosecution, but considering that they’re the ones calling for his prosecution in the first place, they’re hardly an unbiased source when it comes to explaining why the event was cancelled. As such, I ask whether you wrote that Swiss authorities were entertaining “the idea of trying George W. Bush for torture” on anything more substantial.

    Secondly, even if Switzerland was entertaining the idea, what does that have to do with other European countries supporting Suleiman as the interim president? The lead nations making the call for Suleiman serving as the interim president, France, Germany, and the UK, do not generally look to Switzerland to tell them how they should respond to an international crisis, to my knowledge anyway. Your statement implies a degree of uniformity of policy among European nations that I do not believe exists.

    For the record, I do not mean to imply that I support Suleiman as interim president of Egypt. Nor do I mean to imply that I condone his actions in torturing suspected militants and others. All I am saying is that based on the links you provided, it appears that you are attempting to show a set of contradictory actions that does not exist.

    • Seth9,
      You may not have noticed this passage in the article to which Juan Cole linked: “Other organisations have banded together to lodge a complaint with a Geneva court against Bush for warcrimes and crimes against humanity committed in Iraq…”. If you do a little looking, you will find it well reported what this is all about: see “George Bush Calls Off Trip to Switzerland”, reported by Ian MacAskill and Afua Hirsch in the Guardian, at link to guardian.co.uk. The Guardian appears to clarify that the Centre for Constitutional Rights (USA) and the Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights (Europe) had a dossier ready to submit along with the complaint they were to file — that is, they were waiting for Bush’s arrival to lodge what I assume was to be a criminal complaint with Swiss jurisdiction grounded on a) Bush’s presence in the jurisdiction and b) Swiss law’s incorporation of its obligations under the UN Convention against Torture. Note that many civil-law countries allow third parties (that is, persons like victims or human rights organizations), other than the state’s own prosecutors or investigating magistrates, to initiate criminal proceedings. Switzerland is likely one such jurisdiction, although one has to look at the specific procedural rules in each country (e.g. at a certain point, state authorities in some countries may be able to prevent further progress of a proceeding initiated by victims or victim-associated groups). One also has to look at what Swiss law specifically has to say about former-head-of-state immunity. According to most readings of the UN Convention against Torture, such immunity is not available, but it is possible Swiss law is not in conformity with the treaty on that score if the attributed statement of the law from the Swiss spokesperson (in this Guardian article) is accurate: “Folco Galli, a spokesman for the Swiss justice ministry, told the Associated Press that the department’s initial assessment was that Bush would have enjoyed immunity from prosecution for any actions taken while in office.” If so, this is against the grain of Switzerland’s Convention against Torture obligations. BUT, one must take putative legal assessments by government actors with a grain of salt as they very often produce strained or completely unsustainable interpretations of their own law when it comes to protecting allies or friendly foreign powers. I would need to compare the Swiss Justice Ministry’s assessment with the reported Amnesty International assessment, reported as follows by the Guardian: “But Amnesty International said today that it had sent a detailed factual and legal analysis to Swiss prosecutors, claiming there was sufficient information to open a criminal investigation. ‘Such an investigation would be mandatory under Switzerland’s international obligations if President Bush entered the country,’ Amnesty said. It added: ‘Anywhere in the world that he travels, President Bush could face investigation and potential prosecution for his responsibility for torture and other crimes in international law, particularly in any of the 147 countries that are party to the UN convention against torture.’” In my experience, Amnesty International does better with the technical lawyering on international human rights issues than most government lawyers. In that respect,the minimal rule-of-law duty that I would expect Swiss law almost certainly recognizes is the duty of the legal system to receive and consider the complaint that was to have been lodged by CCR and ECCHR. For that reason, Juan Cole’s wording is almost certainly precisely correct: Switzerland (as a state with a rule-of-law-based legal system) would entertain prosecution of Bush. As they should, and as should every one of the other state parties to the UN Convention against Torture. Indeed, Mr. Bush should consider himself under that peculiar form of house arrest that Mr. Kissinger has long found himself subject to, namely, being confined to his home country — except for carefully planned and scouted travel to countries with inadequate incorporation of the Convention against Torture and/or a politicized decision about the investigation and prosecution of crimes under international law.

      • No, it doesn’t. From reading the article, it shows that the groups who want to prosecute Bush are saying that Switzerland would entertain the possibility. The only quote from a Swiss official in that article was this:

        Folco Galli, a spokesman for the Swiss justice ministry, told the Associated Press that the department’s initial assessment was that Bush would have enjoyed immunity from prosecution for any actions taken while in office.

        The only statement from the Swiss authorities that Cole stated were entertaining prosecuting Bush was a statement saying that they felt that Bush had immunity for his actions. And when you think what would happen to the relations between the US and Switzerland if Switzerland arrested a former US president, you can easily dismiss the possibility of Bush being prosecuted.

        Your mistake in your analysis is that you act as if the assessments of groups like Amnesty International that favor prosecuting Bush matters to the Swiss government. They do not. Switzerland would simply not undertake a course of action that would clearly be detrimental to their interests. Arresting Bush would make some human rights groups with little real power happy and infuriate the US government.

        Finally, a note about international law. International law doesn’t really matter to any country when the choice is between following international law and doing what is in their own interest. Following international law does have some benefits in that it scores points with the international community, which in turn can help to further a country’s interests, but if a country decides that following international law to the letter is not in their own interest, then they don’t. So while prosecuting a former dictator hated by pretty much everyone does not present such a conflict of interest, prosecuting a former US president is.

        The problem I have with Professor Cole’s assertion is that he makes this statement which he cannot credibly source and failed to support. He then compounds this issue by making a false equivalency by acting as if there is an internal contradiction between Switzerland prosecuting Bush and Britain, France, and Germany backing Suleiman as interim president. Such a contradiction would only exist if European countries put up a united front on issues of policy, which they do not even in the age of the EU. This is why Britain, for instance, generally cooperates with the US on more foreign endeavors than Germany does. I understand that this post was intended more as rhetoric than serious analysis, but advancing his point of view could have been done in a manner better grounded in fact. For instance, he could have asked how England, France, and Germany can claim to abhor torture and respect international law yet support Suleiman as interim president.

  8. Why?

    - because western countries are hypocrites
    - because Obama is a fraud
    - because we are run by a country whose name cannot be mentioned
    - because our Congress is the other occupied territory b ya country whose name cannot be mentioned
    - because “Arabs are not fit” to have democracy
    - because, if the Arabs were allowed to have democracy then the rogue nation in the middle east, whose name cannot be mentioned, could not operate with impunity anymore
    - because Arabs have too much (of our) oil
    - because …..

    • “because we are run by a country whose name cannot be mentioned”

      I can certainly understand why you might feel that way, it does seem that Netanyahu is running US foreign policy, but if Israel were not useful to the US empire, the US would have abandoned it long ago.

      It’s important to maintain some clarity here. I am sickened by Obama & Hillary’s (& Europe’s) duplicity regarding Egypt, but let’s not confuse the tail for the dog.

  9. So the west is afraid of radical islam? If the west does not allow the Egyptians to have democracy, even after the unprecedented peaceful revolution they have carried out, then what do you think where the energy for their freedom will go? More radical approaches. Shame on the west, shame on the west…..

  10. I wonder why people who have facilitated the infiltration of the US government by militant, fundamentalist Christians can possibly raise such objections to the participation of an alleged militant, fundamentalist group of Muslims in Egypt.

    • Excellent question. I would love to hear of a full and scholarly treatment of American fundamentalism and radicalization in our politics. C-Street is close, but a comparison is in order, here, I think.

    • That question answers itself, doesn’t it? Radical theocratic groups are always afraid of *competitors*, and even more afraid of democratic, collaborative, peaceful groups.

  11. I ask very similar questions during the Honduran coup.

    After I did a 20,000 word analysis of events, attempting to be even-handed, I concluded that the US military was behind the coup. I also concluded that the civilian government of the US has a lot less control over events than we think they do. The recent release of a Wikileaked cable from the US Ambassador to Honduras makes it clear that State was warned, quite bluntly, that their actions relative to the coup amounted to collusion in a crime under international law.

    It was a painful conclusion to reach. We want to think of ourselves as being part of something wonderful and constructive, that rogue actions like the invasion of Iraq are the exception to a altruistic endeavor. But the evidence confronts one, shocks one, nags one if one turns away.

    Reaching the same conclusion about Egypt was not as difficult.

    • I guess US manipulative power still extends as far as Honduras. It has already fallen apart completely in Venezuela and Bolivia, and mostly fallen apart in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Iran.

      The power of the US MIC is smaller than it thinks it is, because they have forgotten entirely about “soft power”. They can still cause a lot of trouble but they seem unable to actually secure their empire. Let us hope they never regain the intelligence to do so.

    • Charles,
      Your post raises the important question of interconnections or commonalities across situations, Egypt and Honduras in the case of your post. That being the case, allow me to suggest that the civil-society truth commission known as the COMISION DE VERDAD (CV) in Honduras (see http://www.comisiondeverdadhonduras.org) would welcome seeing any analysis you have done on the constellation of actors and actions involved in the June 28, 2009, coup in Honduras. This commission is different and separate from an official commission established by the currently functioning President of Honduras, Porfirio Lobo; the website of that official commission, the COMISION DE LA VERDAD Y DE RECONCILIACION (CVR), can be viewed at http://www.cvr.hn. You can contact the CV’s Executive Secretary, Mr. Tom Loudon, directly tloudon@comisiondeverdadhonduras.org and/or you can send it to me, as one of the Commissioners, at cscott@comisiondeverdadhonduras.org.

  12. To ask these questions, is to answer them, Professor.

    It’s because we’re a country ruled by hypocritical political, economic and intellectual elites that maintain themselves by a combination of lying and coercion. The mainstream media is an eager and effective partner in this. Hence the reaction to say, Wikileaks.

    We’re not all that different from Muburak’s Egypt or Saudi Arabia.

  13. I write … to draw your attention to several pieces of information that you are better placed to reflect on and integrate into a bigger picture than I, should you see the interconnections as relevant.

    The first is a memory-twigging notice on the American Independent website about Secretary of State Clinton unguarded and indeed enthusiastic statement to the Egyptian media, in 2009, that the Mubaraks were close personal friends: Luke Johnson, “Sec. Clinton interview in March 2009 marginalizes human rights, says Mubaraks are ‘friends of the family’”, January 28, 2011, AmericanIndependent.com, at link to americanindependent.com (last accessed January 31, 2011). The full transcript of the interview is at: Randa Aboul Azem (Al Arabiya Television), “Interview: Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State – Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt”, March 2, 2009, at link to state.gov (last accessed January 31, 2011) [Al Arabiya interview].

    The second is the analysis-cum-polemic inspired by this bit of American Independent information retrieval, which I published on January 31 on OpenDemocracy.net: Referencing Lady Thatcher’s friendship with Pinochet, the title of the piece is ‘Taking Tea with Torturers’ and can be read on OpenDemocracy.net here: link to opendemocracy.net.

    The third is this report that Hillary Clinton is the one (as one would expect as Sec State) to have suggested to President Obama that Wilton be the message-bearing emissary to Mubarak — link to politico.com — with the result being Wisner’s (Clinton’s?) seeming attempt to end-run Obama at a security conference: link to blogs.abcnews.com

    The fourth is your own observations on two counts in your latest post: link to juancole.com > a) that Suleiman is rather suspect as a successor, whether for transition or longer as Mubarak’s torturer in chief; and b)that Wisner is a paid lobbyist for Egypt.

    The fifth is Benny Morris’s Comment is Free piece in the Guardian that states as assertion what some worry could transpire (i.e. Muslim Brotherhood winning elections and then getting rid of democracy itself), and that we can assume is an analysis that Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama are hearing ad nauseam (or, perhaps more likely, that Barak Obama is hearing ad nauseam including very likely from Clinton): link to guardian.co.uk

  14. Don’t look too hard @ the contradictions. You will simply get a headache. Take a nice, long walk, instead.

    There is method to this madness: the supremacy of the petroleum industry which finds itself with ‘supply proplems’. This leads to high food and fuel prices. It also means no easy end to the uprisings around the world.

    The three stages of petro- diplomacy, US style:

    Zero- sum economic environment leaves as the remaining component of US foreign policy the institutional tolerance/backdoor support for failed states. These states have negligible organic demand for resources leaving the bulk for trans- national consumers. Only the necessary minimum of ‘security’ is required so that raw materials can be exported to the West. This implies a hierarchy of policy tactics. When the ‘Dictator-in-a-suit’ veneer of modernity and endless empty promises proves insufficient to stifle restive populations and allow controversy- free export of demand, the alternative becomes pseudo- religious ‘mullah regimes’ followed by the arming and pitching of factions against each other. In these purposefully ruined places, bandits flourish while US- trained and equipped mercenary forces keep a watchful eye over petroleum and mineral infrastructures as in Iraq, Nigeria and Democratic Republic of Congo.

    link to is.gd

  15. I am dumbfounded by the willful turning away from asking serious questions of the administration’s motives by fellow Obama supporters.
    I’ll bet that, if it was Dubya & Condi running the same show,
    there would be real dissent.

    • I agree it’s bad, but I’m not dumbfounded. I’m too old (60), and seen centrist “liberals” going along with Democratic Party imperialists too many times. All the way with LBJ!

      The simple fact is that, except for a few civil rights issues (e.g. gays in the military), Obama is a moderate conservative. And he is fully in support of the maintenance and extension of the US empire and national security state. And the more the wingnuts call him an Islamistic, anti-colonial Socialist, the more the mainstream Democrats think they have to cling to him.

  16. Dear Professor Cole

    The answer to a lot of your questions is the well known procrastination technique.

    This gives the police time to track down the leadership of the second layer of the opposition and lock them up.

    Facebook profiles, for example, can be a boon for government intelligence collectors, who can use updates and photos to pinpoint movement locations and activities and identify connections among various individuals, some of whom may be suspect for various activities. (Visible Technologies, a software firm that specializes in monitoring social media has received funding from In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s venture capital firm, and many Western intelligence services have start-up budgets to develop Internet technologies that will enable even deeper mining of Internet-user data.)

    Read more: Social Media as a Tool for Protest | STRATFOR

    link to stratfor.com

    Cloud computing techniques offer the opportunity for any intel agency to use virtually unlimited processing power to track and map the disaffected.

    I suspect that your (and the Muslim Brotherhood’s) suspicions that the negotiations between Suleiman and the MB are a ruse are correct.

    Robin Niblett’s suggestion that we won’t know for a couple of years if there is a deeper and better led underground movement waiting to come out is probably correct. It would be a typical result of the frustrated protests, to generate a radicalised and politicised broad based opposition.

    link to chathamhouse.org.uk

    • Facebook has also received funding from In-Q-Tel. Doesn’t mean they control Zuckerber, just that this is the technology they are encouraging in order to….do what they want to do. The movement of money is more eloquent than words, so make your plans accordingly.

  17. Forgot to say thank you, once again, for calling out our nation’s foreign policy.
    It looks as though any chance for improved relations between the Muslim world and we “judeo-christians” has again been squandered.
    Again, we chose to sacrifice the “other’s” freedom in order to execute our “War on Terror”.
    Seems as though BHO & HRC haven’t a clue and that they aren’t aware the term blowback.

  18. I think today’s Fisk reportage reveals something many would not like to confront, as he’s not just describing Egypt: ‘For the first essential task of a dictator is to “infantilise” his people, to transform them into political six-year-olds, obedient to a patriarchal headmaster. They will be given fake newspapers, fake elections, fake ministers and lots of false promises.’ link to independent.co.uk

    Angryarab points to an item in the New York Review of Books discussing the longstanding secret relationship between the US Empire and the Muslim Brotherhood, link to nybooks.com The author announces: “Since the 1950s, the United States has secretly struck up alliances with the Brotherhood or its offshoots on issues as diverse as fighting communism and calming tensions among European Muslims. And if we look to history, we can see a familiar pattern: each time, US leaders have decided that the Brotherhood could be useful and tried to bend it to America’s goals, and each time, maybe not surprisingly, the only party that clearly has benefited has been the Brotherhood.” He then asks and answers: “How can Americans be unaware of this history? Credit a mixture of wishful thinking and a national obsession with secrecy, which has shrouded the US government’s extensive dealings with the Brotherhood,” which sounds a lot like Fisk’s infantilizing.

    And today we have one of the biggest disrtactions for Proles of the US Empire.

  19. Dear Professor Cole

    David Mack in Foreign Policy is equally pessimistic. We need to understand how Egypt would cope with economic collapse.

    link to foreignpolicy.com

    David Mack is a Middle East Institute scholar, a former U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for Near East affairs, and a former U.S. ambassador to the United Arab Emirates.

  20. the real “why” is why egypt, and why now.

    a month ago no one was calling president mubarak a dictator,
    oppressor or tyrant. tourist were visiting, businessmen were coming and going, college students were freely entering and leaving on exchange programs.

    there were no newspaper or blog exposes of inequities
    against egyptian citizens. the only abuses committed were against the muslim brotherhood. and since they were painted as islamic extremists no one had any objection to their maltreatment.

    now the egyptian government is being portrayed as a house
    of horrors. guilty of every obscenity known to man.

    the root problem in egypt is overpopulation. and no change of government can solve that problem.

    • Japan is far more poplulated in a smaller geography. Yet they are efficient enough to kick our butts in productivity, education, and healthcare. They see their population as an resource, not a handicap, and they continiously reinvest in that resource

    • Just because you were unaware of them doesn’t mean that these voices didn’t exist. Try some emptywheel or any author writing about the Middle East, rendition, torture or Gitmo prisoners.

      Overpopulation? How about underemployment, or is this an argument for depopulation?

  21. My questions go back to 1988/’89…Why were the street demos in the late GDR heralded as the blossoming of freedom, while those in Egypt initially described as “chaos” and “anarchy” as they were in my local fishwrap
    (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)? Why does the “only democracy in the middle east” continue to raise the alarm against the emergence of “mullah-cracy”?

  22. Simple my friend,

    It is that the US does not -and does not appear to ever have- truly viewed a democratic, or more accurately, a truly represented Middle East as in its interest; nor have Britain and France before them apparently.

    To the US, de facto dictatorships have proven to be the best tools to best exploit its interest in that region. Pro-US dictatorships of course. If not, do your best to install one (see Iraq).

    • Is this moment of Ronald Reagan Revisionism running amok, it’s good to recall how he spotted the talent of Jeanne Kirkpatrick, who went on to represent the US at UN, etc.

      She was a prof at Georgetown (?) who managed to split hairs between authoritarians (ours), and totalitarians (theirs). It had to do with when the intent of the Dictator was to wash brains or simply control (with benevolence, it was implied, as the Little People matured), as I recall. Easy enough to google this short essay. It was facile. Glib. Useful.

      Kinda like Reagan himself.

    • You describe the behavior of the US power elite accurately. The fact that they seem unable to realize that this is not the world of the 19th century, and that since the overthrow of Mossadegh this type of strategy has been been backfiring catastrophically on the US,… well, I think they are stupid, stupid people.

  23. The answer to the question “Why?” is the booby-prize of life.
    ‘Cause they’re oppressed n hungry – any answer will stop the questionning and begin the dialogue.

    We/you need to continue speaking truth and educating.

    Thanks for your writtings.

  24. The “political theory of everything”: Wealth concentration vs wealth distribution.

    The only way Egypt can approach an egalitarian goal and help its hungry poor, is to find where the money is hidden and start passing it out in the form of services and social support. What could be scarier to us concentration worshipers?

  25. Strange how 1 million people were brutally murdered by the use of the world’s most deadly weapons to prove that democracy is better than dictatorship in Iraq.Yet when another country in the Middle East is clamouring for democracy and that too in the most peaceful and civilized manner US politicians twiddle their thumbs,wriggle their toes while pretending to support the demonstrators although in reality they would love to see this evil dictator hang on.This is the pinnacle of hypocrisy and injustice. Things are becoming to get cleat. The US is strongly influenced by Israel who are ‘scared that ‘Muslim Brotherhood might become powerful in Egypt and Hamas,Hezbollah may gain further influence.Typical Israel. Cry wolf ,distract the world’s attention by its lies, mischief and self pitying.

  26. Professor Cole has asked good and necessary questions. I would add one other: when will a subset of American citizens take to the streets to demand a reckoning with the awful leadership of the country? Voting won’t do it.

  27. great questions Juan. I do suspect you already know the answer. We live in a cruel world where it is almost impossible for anyone of Conscience to ascend to a true leadership role in EU of the US.

  28. These are hard times for the west. The fear of losing a leader who would commit to their tyrannical demands. Unlike Saddam who from his own will decided not to follow the tyrannical dictatorship from the west. West equals UK before USA.

  29. The Muslim Brotherhood is the scary alternative promoted in order to keep American public support for the dictator.

    As’ad Abu Khalil has some insight into the Muslim Brotherhood.

    “I don’t trust the Muslim Brotherhood and its variations, one bit. It is up to the Egyptian people to decide, but I won’t rust that lousy organization given its opportunistic history. It was a too of US/Saudi Arabia during the Arab cold war, and sided consistently with the Zionist camp. It is the organization that welcomed the advent of the Sadat regime. Not to mention its archaic views on women and minorities. I don’t even trust them on Palestine: they have been allies of the friends of Israel throughout the region. And they are now pretending to have found a new courage: they con’t come close to the Egyptian and Tunisian secular protesters. In Lebanon, the branch of the Muslim Brotherhood there (Al-Jama`ah Al-Islamiyyah) marched in support of the the Egyptian Uprising. This organization has been bought off in full by Hariri family and is part of an alliance that was aligned solidly with Mubarak. Who are you fooling. And the most cowardly branch of the brotherhood in Jordan, heaped praise on King `Abdullah of Jordan, simply because he agreed to shake their hands. And they there demonstrate against Mubarak, and yet it would be much more impressive if they demonstrate against their own tyrant.”

    And Karlofi above gives this link as well. Washington’s Secret History with the Muslim Brotherhood

    It’s amazing how the MB said they wouldn’t field a candidate, but yet they are suddenly invited into Suleiman’s chambers for “discussions”. Other youth representatives meeting with El Baradei are arrested on their way out of his house. Suleiman declares there is consensus or they are reaching it but he doesn’t say who he is reaching it with.

    Egyptians are learning, and have begun organizing. They see this attempt to rob them of change and everyone’s intentions and secret machinations have been bared.

    If only a bit more than 1% of the population can cause this disruption, imagine what 2% or even 5% could do? And some of the fighters are loose from the jails! The ones that were jailed and held illegally. I’ll bet they’re bitter. The kids didn’t blow the pipeline or fire rocket propelled grenades at the state security offices in Arish.

    This Jinn isn’t going back in the bottle… LOL..

  30. well power’s the go, whoever you are, whatever the ‘ism, ‘ist, ‘cy it’s all the same, no? –

    so, who’d go to bed with a has-been; have a truth tell love in; be an impotent wheel in someone else’s machine;

    who’d want to bed unwashed bods who’ve been sleeping rough for so long, what about the BO – much more comfy with Mubarak, no matter how ugly, when the lights are out who cares;

    and the last why? – more of the same – fake love-in for the masses? – ok we’ll add an ‘hood to the ‘isms then -

    - why . . . can’t let go of those little dicks with big guns

  31. The Muslim Brotherhood have never been given a chance, Sadat was before Mubarak, what did these people do the the Brotherhood. If anyone knows anything about justice I believe it would be them.

  32. Hey Juan, if you don’t have any “answers” you are willing to own, you should have asked me. Why? Money. Its always the money.

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