Mubarak Defies a Humiliated America, Emulating Netanyahu

It should be remembered that Egypt’s elite of multi-millionaires has benefited enormously from its set of corrupt bargains with the US and Israel and from the maintenance of a martial law regime that deflects labor demands and pesky human rights critiques. It is no wonder that to defend his billions and those of his cronies, Hosni Mubarak was perfectly willing to order thousands of his security thugs into the Tahrir Square to beat up and expel the demonstrators, leaving 7 dead and over 800 wounded, 200 of them just on Thursday morning.

Tahrir Square

Tahrir Square 2311

It might seem surprising that Mubarak was so willing to defy the Obama administration’s clear hint that he sould quickly transition out of power. In fact, Mubarak’s slap in the face of President Obama will not be punished and it is nothing new. It shows again American toothlessness and weakness in the Middle East, and will encourage the enemies of the US to treat it with similar disdain.

The tail has long wagged the dog in American Middle East policy. The rotten order of the modern Middle East has been based on wily local elites stealing their way to billions while they took all the aid they could from the United States, even as they bit the hand that fed them. First the justification was the putative threat of International Communism (which however actually only managed to gather up for itself the dust of Hadramawt in South Yemen and the mangy goats milling around broken-down Afghan villages). More recently the cover story has been the supposed threat of radical Islam, which is a tiny fringe phenomenon in most of the Middle East that in some large part was sowed by US support for the extremists in the Cold War as a foil to the phantom of International Communism. And then there is the set of myths around Israel, that it is necessary for the well-being of the world’s Jews, that it is an asset to US security, that it is a great ethical enterprise– all of which are patently false.

On such altars are the labor activists, youthful idealists, human rights workers, and democracy proponents in Egypt being sacrificed with the silver dagger of filthy lucre.

Mubarak is taking his cues for impudence from the far rightwing government of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, which began the Middle Eastern custom of humiliating President Barack Obama with impunity. Obama came into office pledging finally to move smartly to a two-state solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Netanyahu government did not have the slightest intention of allowing a Palestinian state to come into existence. Israel was founded on the primal sin of expelling hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes in what is now Israel, and then conniving at keeping them stateless, helpless and weak ever after. Those who fled the machine guns of the Irgun terrorist group to the West Bank and Gaza, where they dwelt in squalid refugee camps, were dismayed to see the Israelis come after them in 1967 and occupy them and further dispossess them. This slow genocide against a people that had been recognized as a Class A Mandate by the League of Nations and scheduled once upon a time for independent statehood is among the worst ongoing crimes of one people against another in the world. Many governments are greedy to rule over people reluctant to be so ruled. But no other government but Israel keeps millions of people stateless while stealing their land and resources or maintaining them in a state of economic blockade and food insecurity.

Peace process

The Rotten Status Quo

The policy of the United States has been for the most part to accommodate this Israeli policy and to collaborate in the maltreatment of the Palestinians. Those states and groups that refuse to acquiesce in this egregious policy of epochal injustice are targeted by the US Congress for sanctions and branded terrorists and aggressors. As a sop to all the hundreds of millions of critics of the serial rape of the Palestinians, the US at most occasionally makes noises about achieving a “state” for them, which, however, would have no real sovereignty over its borders, its land, its air or its water. The price of such a eunuch state would be for the Palestinians to renounce their birthright and acquiesce in their expropriation and reduction to the flotsam of the earth.

And the Netanyahu government even disdained the tepid proposals of the Obama administration, for such an emasculated Palestinian “state”, which had to be willing to recognize Israel as a “Jewish” state, thus implicitly denaturalizing the 20% of the population that is Palestinian Christians and Muslims.

Because Israel’s enterprise in denying Palestinian statehood is so unnatural and so, at its fundament, immoral, it can only be pursued by the exercise of main force and by the infusion of billions of dollars a year into a poverty-stricken region. The US has in one way or another transferred over $100 billion to Israel so as to ensure it can remain a tenuous fortress on the edge of the Mediterranean, serving some US interests while keeping the millions of Palestinians in thrall.

US military aid to Israel allowed that country to prevail over Egypt in 1967 and 1973, and forced the Egyptian elite to seek an exit from ruinous wars. Anwar El Sadat decided ultimately to betray the hapless Palestinians and seek a separate peace. For removing all pressure on Israel by the biggest Arab nation with the best Arab military, Egypt has been rewarded with roughly $2 billion in US aid every year, not to mention favorable terms for importation of sophisticated weaponry and other perquisites. This move allowed the Israelis to invade and occupy part of Lebanon in 1982-2000, and then to launch massively destructive wars on virtually defenseless Lebanese and Gaza Palestinians more recently. Cairo under Mubarak is as opposed to Shiite Hizbullah in Lebanon and fundamentalist Hamas in Gaza as is Tel Aviv. The regime of Hosni Mubarak appears to have taken some sort of bribe to send substantial natural gas supplies to Israel at a deep discount. It has joined in the blockade against the civilians of Gaza. It acts as Israel’s handmaid in oppressing the Palestinians, and is bribed to do so by the US.

The US-backed military dictatorship in Egypt has become, amusingly enough, a Bonapartist state. It exercises power on behalf of both a state elite and a new wealthy business class, some members of which gained their wealth from government connections and corruption. The Egypt of the Separate Peace, the Egypt of tourism and joint military exercises with the United States, is also an Egypt ruled by the few for the benefit of the few.

The whole system is rotten, deeply dependent on exploiting the little people, on taking bribes from the sole superpower to pursue self-defeating or greedy policies virtually no one wants or would vote for in the region.

So the Palestinians objected to Obama’s plan to start back up direct negotiations with the Israelis in 2009, on the grounds that the Israelis were rapidly colonizing the Palestinian West Bank and were taking off the table the very territory over which negotiations were supposedly being conducted. Even the corrupt and timid Mahmoud Abbas, whose term as president has actually ended but who stayed on in the absence of new elections, demanded an end to new Israeli colonies in Palestinian territory (including lands unilaterally annexed to the Israeli district of Jerusalem in contravention of international law).

The Obama administration thought it had an agreement from Netanyahu to freeze settlements, and sent Joe Biden out to inaugurate the new peace promise. But when Biden came to Israel, he was humiliated by an Israeli announcement that it would build a new colony outside Jerusalem on land that Palestinians claimed. Then when the ‘settlement freeze’ in the West Bank proper came to an end during negotiations, Netanyahu announced that it would not be extended.

In other words, Netanyahu has since early 2009 taken billions in American money but told the US government to jump in a lake. The Obama administration did nothing, nothing whatsoever to punish this outrageous behavior.

So it can come as no surprise that Obama, Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have been humiliated by Hosni Mubarak of Egypt. They told him to transition out of power. Instead, he on Wednesday and Thursday initiated the Massacre of Liberation Square, which has wounded nearly 1,000 people, most of them peaceful protesters.

Just as Netanyahu takes Washington’s billions but then pisses all over American policy objectives with regard to erecting a Palestinian State Lite, so Mubarak has stuffed tens of billions of dollars from Washington into his government’s pockets but has humiliated and endangered the United States.

When Netanyahu steals Palestinian property or deprives Gaza Palestinians of their livelihoods, and when Mubarak uses American military aid to crush a popular demonstration, they underline to the peoples of the Middle East that their corrupt and unacceptable situation is underwritten by Washington. That message generates fury at the United States.

As long as the president and the Congress are willing to lie down and serve as doormats for America’s supposed allies in the Middle East– out of a conviction of the usefulness of their clients and the inexpensiveness of putting them on retainer– there will be anti-Americanism and security threats that force us to subject ourselves to humiliating patdowns and scans at the airport and an erosion of our civil liberties every day. We are only one step away of being treated, with “protest zones” and “Patriot Acts” just as badly as the peaceful Egyptian protesters have been.

173 Responses

    • Juan just hit it out of the park. Not just a hit but a grand slam. A very thorough dissection of the reality of the Middle East. Bravo!

  1. yes juan

    here you have spoken many truths
    you have the words and perception
    of a warrior but you fight with words
    and we all know about the pen and sword

    lot’s of things
    started in egypt

    ’bout time something
    ended there too
    -

  2. Bravo!

    This should be plastered on every “liberal” and “progressive” blog out there, who continue to defend Obama, Clinton & Co whilst the US continues the ethically bankrupt (and self-defeating) neo-con policies of Bush and others.

  3. “We are only one step away of being treated, with “protest zones” and “Patriot Acts” just as badly as the peaceful Egyptian protesters have been.”
    And the same bunch of war profiteers that have been benefiting from the conflicts abroad will have a new income stream. And then, when they have just about destroyed everything they too will fly off in their private jets.

  4. “In fact, Mubarak’s slap in the face of President Obama will not be punished and it is nothing new. It shows again American toothlessness and weakness in the Middle East, and will encourage the enemies of the US to treat it with similar disdain.”

    Perhaps Douglas Feith was right. Perhaps we should have bombed Paraguay to show the world how ruthless we are. (Or was it Uruguay? It was one of the -guays.)

    Has anybody questioned any of the neocon geniuses about the current mess yet?

    • With respect, anyone who cannot see what the neocons tried to do, how they tried to do it, why they failed and who ended up with the mess just ain’t looking.

  5. re- The United States vis a vis Egypt and Israel

    Caveat emptor

    Let the buyer beware

    • After due consideration, I have decided that my
      previous post was perhaps a little brief, not to
      say cryptic.
      I have therefore decided to explain myself more fully.

      The phrase “Caveat emptor” Let the buyer beware,
      used to excuse sharp practice on the part of sellers;
      i.e. putting the onus of a bad deal on the buyer, is
      more than a property law doctrine in favor of sellers,
      it is also a call for the buyer to assume responsibility for his/her/its actions.

      I for one; do not believe for a minute that Egypt was
      for sale.
      That it accepted payments for certain services rendered
      is not the same thing.
      I do not think anyone would have expected Mubarak to
      have committed political suicide by helping Israel to
      say, trash Gaza with air strikes.
      And yet here is Obama asking Mubarak to step down, as
      if the United States of America had bought Egypt.
      More disappointing still is the fact that Informed Comment is feeling humiliated, (not sure if that is second or
      third hand) because Mubarak did not agree to resign.

      Only an Imperial power thinks or assumes that nations
      are for sale, and is angered when they are not.

      • what do you mean egypt was not for sale….? just the US didn’t buy it. israel did. egypt still exists but israel is heavy on the strings to keep their friend in control. and stuff will blow up the coming months to mess up egypt and keep mubaraks party strong….. nobody knows exactly who will doing the “terror” attacks though. i have a good guess.

      • When did Obama ask Mubarack (and side kick Omar Sulieman) to step down– as/in Pronto! Wise guy?

  6. Magnificent summary of over fifty years of corruption flowing from the capitulation of the US to Israel, locking in to a co-dependency of Israeli Zionism (fascism by another name) and Arab despotism. That the US buys into this sham is shameful, and is now paying the price for supporting anti-democratic forces all over the Middle East, including of course the rigged democracy of Israel where the indigenous population have no real representation or rights. Israel wants a dictator no better than Saddam to stay – that surely illustrates the point.

  7. hello
    heres a link to the bbc story about the tank crews ready to fire on pro Mubarak thugs.

    link to bbc.co.uk

    I’m sure the story is all over the internet now
    and hopefully Mubarak is even more toasty toast than he was the day before yesterday (melba toast?.
    But if this is true does this mean the army will be in control during the transition to democracy and will they be managing the process in such a way as to exclude forces which threaten the top brass’ interests, how seriously do we take their claim to be arbiters of national will.
    the AngryArab is saying this is like Iran and the coup against Mossadegh
    Also i would take issue with the assertion that the US was humiliated by Netanyahu over the settlements.
    If the US didn’t want more settlements they could have just have forbidden their funding.
    I think I remember the last times Israel came anywhere near conflicting with us interests (selling hi-tech weapons to china or military contracts with Venezuela, they were slapped down in pretty humiliating fashion. (also its clear that Israel is the linchpin of US strategy to maintain control in the region but that’s another debate)
    many thanks for the insight and news etc

    • “Also i would take issue with the assertion that the US was humiliated by Netanyahu over the settlements”.

      Good point. Apparently, in politics, it’s better to appear embarrassed than perfidious.

    • Democracy in this oil-rich, geopolitically strategic region is the last thing the U.S. or its imperial forbears in Europe want. Imagine what the oil could do for the people if they rather than the sheikhs and despots and transnational corporations reeking from the U.S. actually controlled it.

      Each U.S. government after the next has supported tyrannical governments to ensure the absence of democracy, and national control of national wealth. Israel is losing whatever democracy it might have claimed in order to ensure none of its middle eastern neighbors extracts itself from imperial control from the U.S.

      The nations of South America are breaking away from the financial, political and military heel of the U.S. empire. So now too are the courageous people of North Africa and the Middle East.

      Obama is carrying on the U.S. imperial tradition of command and control, but he has to learn to navigate in a new era. Sometimes he talks the talk, but as far as walking the walk he’s a couch potato.

      Time to cut off U.S. aid to Egypt, freeze Mubarak and his crony’s assets and welcome the tyrants to Saudi Arabia to live out their days. Time to show solidarity with those fighting for their own freedom and sovereignty.

  8. Prof. Cole, the post is full of clarity, angry and upset. I am also angry and upset by our governments who issue words of condemnation but who refuse to act. When citizens become powerless, they react.

  9. Reading a lot of analysis on the current situation in Egypt, but I really appreciate this angle of humiliation of the US.
    Thank you for your excellent blog!!

    Hans,
    Amsterdam, The Netherlands

  10. Excellent, excellent article.
    The high-minded beliefs of the US are nearly all but dead. We are in a stranglehold between a corporatist-profits over people centered government, the MIC and misplaced loyalties by way of $$$$ to Israel. When one of those three gets tired of suffocating us, the others pick up.

    The largest entitlement program of the US government is making weapons, handing over huge sums of money to countries who buy the weapons and making our own wars. If corporations could expend their energies making
    anything else, (preferably green technology) we could hold our heads up high.

  11. Congratulations Dr. Cole you said it all. However incredible is the situation in the ME, the USA politicians and the MSM top it with their support to the ongoing ME genocide.

  12. very well said Prof!

    THe real question is not “why do they hate us” rather “why don’t American John and Jane Doe don’t understand this simple logic”.

  13. Professor Cole- This is one of the best, most concise and spot-on articles on the Middle East “peace process” that I can recall. Let me state your point even more precisely- Obama is a wimp. His administration’s response to the January 25th uprising in Tahrir Sq. has made me ashamed to be an American. I’m convinced that the only way that the American people can truly help the Egyptians is to bring the revolution home to Washington, D. C. Perhaps this piece will lead other Americans to the same conclusion.

    • I’m sorry to have to agree with you. He is a wimp and one that was temporarily intoxicated and given courage by fawning supporters that made unconditional support for him an article of faith. The expression he had whilst basking in their adorations seems to have been replaced by something else. As Gore Vidal pointed out – he could use a bit of “chill”. Too much focus on “soaring” into power and being everybody’s friend does not, it would seem, inculcate what is necessary once it has been attained.

  14. Do we know what Obama directly or indirectly communicated to the Egyptian tyrant? H. Clinton’s words are pro forma.

    • What the hell would she be without Monica? I’m privately convinced that when she visits Netanyahu it’s for revenge.

  15. Given that this is about what Egyptian citizens want, what more can and should President Obama do beyond supporting their wishes by suggesting to Mubarak that he should quickly transition out of power?

    • Obama and predecessors and the whole Kermit “The Frog” Roosevelt-style “foreign policy (foreign to the nominal aspirational statements of Shining City America, at least)” apparatus have routinely, over a century or more, nudged, shoved or shot their way into popular political and economic decision-making in other countries. And here at home: (see Chile, Nicaragua, Iran, etcetcetc., “Red Squads,” J. Edgar Crossdresser, etc.)

      How can there be any question about “what more should/could President Obama (and the apparatus he figureheads) do” in this situation? These guys can do plenty to UNdo popular waves — I think the politico-economico-social physics are reasonably well understood, and if “they,” those faceless jackals and hyenas, want to, they can engineer Hope and Change in a furrin land.

      It’s just like it always is — a pushmepullyou, mostly hidden, calculus between “interests,” whether oil and financial and whatever “deals” can ensure that the Power Projectors have access for “installations” and “bases” for the spread of the great American imperial armies and their Force Structures. Too bad these parasites and predators can’t figure out a way to make (a reasonable amount of) money and ensure the flow of petroleum working with a “messy” and supposedly unpredictable republican-democratic kind of government, most of which are always defending themselves against their own military-oligarchic “domestic enemies.”

  16. From your mouth to God’s ear, as it is said; but how will be get President Obama EVEN TO READ THIS?

  17. Would love to learn readers’ (and the professor’s) thoughts for an immediate US diplomatic/political solution here. And not simply, blanketly, “yank all US aid to Egypt and/or Israel”.

    • There is no “US diplomatic/political solution here.” I believe that is the whole point of the professor’s article. The Egyptian and the Israeli governments simply accept our aid to further their own agendas (which so often coincide with US corporate interests, by the way). The future of Egypt should be determined by the Egyptian people, not the poodle Mubarak. That’s precisely why the battle of Tahrir Square is being fought, and why it is so important for the people to win.

      • Understand completely, Brent, and I agree. But considering that even such a thing as inaction qualifies as a solution, I’m interesting in the way ahead for the US at this point, especially after the premature commentary from Biden/Clinton/Obama in recent days.

        Junebug’s post at CommonDreams (thanks, Karlofi) is enlightening and particularly pragmatic, if you’re an Egyptian looking from the inside outward. I’m interested in the reciprocal, looking at the situation through a neo-realist or even constructivist lens. Which IR theory best applies to such a situation, even if we agree that it’s necessary to investigate all theories, not least for contrast?

        disclaimer: timing is essential, and the best solution might be for outsiders to sit back and observe at this point. But not indefinitely.

    • Commondreams user junebug offers this message as an answer to Al and others asking the same/similar question:

      “My daughter is married to an Egyptian and they are on the ground in Cairo now, delivering medical supplies to the pro-democracy people at Tahrir Square.

      “I was asked to send this message to US citizens:

      “When calling for support from the U.S, Egyptians do NOT want outside interference in choosing a leader, or ousting Mubarak. It’s not the U.S’s role or responsibility. Democracy is rule by the people, and this revolution must come from the people. The U.S cannot demand that Mubarak step down. Who are they to determine the fate of Egypt? They can, however, decide to STOP SENDING AID TO EGYPT AND THE EGYPTIAN MILITARY, money that is not seen by the people. The U.S can pull away from Egypt. It actually hurts our cause when it is reported that the U.S is pressuring Mubarak to step down. People are very suspicious of the U.S and any of their intervening tendencies.”

      The emphasis is added.

  18. “In fact, Mubarak’s slap in the face of President Obama will not be punished and it is nothing new. It shows again American toothlessness and weakness in the Middle East, and will encourage the enemies of the US to treat it with similar disdain.”

    There seems to be an assumption that Mubarak has gone rogue; but beyond the usual platitudes, the Obama administration has so far given us no cause to think so. As has been well laid out, unlike Iran (during whose Green Movement, there was no end to swift, severe words and actions from all quarters and factions of DC), Egypt is practically a client state with multiple pressure points. The reluctance of Mubarak’s masters to exploit — if at all, these vulnerabilities speaks volumes.

    The most sympathetic face one can put on the Obama administrations apparent impotence is that US Middle East policy is not crafted the White House, but rather, has been outsourced to Israel.

    Therefore, it looks futile to even hope on this but, should Mubarak be sanctioned, punished and squeezed hard (as other allegedly rogue leaders routinely and relentlessly are), only then can the idea of a toothless America gain some plausibility.

    Otherwise, a toothy dog that refuses (for whatever reason) to bite can be described as toothless — but only in a manner of speaking. Perhaps pet and master are “playing”.

  19. Juan, you are absolutely on the mark in your description of the situation. The insanity of the situation is that the Washington political class, the “very serious people” of the punditocracy and the entrenched “national security” apparatus in this country, through their support of lawless regimes in Israel, Egypt and elsewhere, create the very conditions that lead this country into the state of permanent war in which it finds itself. I find the circularity of cause and effect mind boggling. I have no problem with other countries refusing to do US bidding as the Turks did at the beginning of the Iraq War. But there is a sort of mad irony when the very creatures we nurture and create (the Mubaraks, Omer Suleimans, Netanyahus, Baraks, Salehs) do it.

  20. Even though the US declined in power over the last few decades, Obama is still the most powerful person on earth, so the question is why does he allow People like Mubarak and Netanyahu humiliate him?

    What is wrong with Obama’s mental state that keeps him from just having the CIA launch a Hellfire missile from a Predator at Mubarak and his new vice-president (and head of the secret police)? Sure there will be some people on the earth that will be upset that the US “terminated” the Mubarak Presidency, but that number will probably be very small and it isn’t like the US hasn’t already been killing lots of people with hellfire missiles launched from Predators.

    It is long past time that the US did what was best for the US rather than what is best for the country that can not be named.

    BTW – I notice that as soon as Rand Paul brought up stopping all foreign aid, especially to Israel , the Senators on the Israeli payroll started squawking about how terrible that would be, even though lots of Israelis say they don’t need the aid because Israel is doing so good economically.

    I am getting pretty sick of getting screwed because of a dinky country in the ME that has delusions of grandeur.

    • Aid to Israel (and Egypt) is conditioned on purchases of US arms. It’s just another form of corporate welfare.

  21. You’ve beat around this bush for years, but this is the first time I can recall you putting it all right out there so directly. However, the alternative narrative about Israel, precisely to the contrary, has been sold with overwhelming skill, as Norm Finklestein (I think) put it, as the greatest story every sold.

    But, we have to understand, as you’re finally saying, that it reflects a deeper corruption. Obama is not stupid, and whatever he owed the various interests coming into whatever power he has, his education in the realities has been abrupt enough that he must know and even resent whats going on. Nor is Hillary stupid, but people like her have been corrupted over time, so we have to realize they actually BELIEVE what they say (I about gagged a couple weeks ago as she railled impressively against the potential of Iran going nuclear, asking the audience, “can you just imagine how destabilizing it’d be if they (Iran) were to introduce nuclear weapons to the region?”)

    This situation is symptomatic of a deeper and more profound problem. In the face of adamant and relentless greed and selfishness, the wider population who is distracted by the needs of day to day living hasn’t got much of change. That is, short of revolution once it gets too bad. But then you’ve got guys like Mubarak who have contingencies for that day wired in: over the past week, every day of relative peace has allowed his goons to spot whatever leadership might emerge, who should be expecting midnight callers if they haven’t already arrived.

    For a smart guy, the smart move is to join ‘em since you cannot beat em. I’m waiting for alternatives….

    • “I about gagged a couple weeks ago as she [Hillary] railled impressively against the potential of Iran going nuclear, asking the audience, ‘can you just imagine how destabilizing it’d be if they (Iran) were to introduce nuclear weapons to the region?’ ”
      It would indeed be destabilizing. Countries like Kuwait, Saudi, and the Gulf States would rightly be concerned about Iranian blackmail or open aggression, and would move toward nukes for themselves or pre-emptive war. If the reference was to Israeli nukes, Israel’s neighbors understand that they will be used only if Israel is successfully invaded and threatened with extinction.

      • I doubt that Israel’s neighbours have any such faith in Israel’s unwillingness to use nuclear weapons unless faced with imminent “extinction”.

        Given Israel’s unbroken history of “pre-emptive” wars, it’s known use of prohibited weapons (yes, dropping white phosphorus on civilian centers is exactly that) and the increasingly frequent statements that Israel will not, and does not, bother to dstinguish between combatants and civilians any such assertion rings very hollow.

        I consider it much more likely that they concur with my belief that Israel will never use their nuclear weapons… unless they think they can get away with it.

    • The key word was “introduced”.

      “Peace” is an interesting word as well, that has, I read, many inches of column inches of space in the OED. In this case, let’s say its related to balance, and people being comfortable with each other. Without getting into the whole whose-at-fault trap, think of how you get to a state of true stability, where people are comfortable with each other.

      Its starts with not having one party INSISTING on having its neighbors by the throat. Having them only implicitly by the throat is a mighty fine distinction.

  22. This is one of the most accurate and pithy summaries of an abominable chapter in the history of my country, Great Britain, and the United States in their creation of a stolen state and their acquiescence in its illegality for more than 60 years. It is high time that the state of Israel be recognised for what it is: a state seeking the genocide of the people who lived there in 1948 and whose claim to the land is recognised by the United Nations but never enforced by that hapless body. Why didn’t George Bush and Tony Blair invade Israel in 2003 and retrieve the land Israel stole in 1967 (not even the land it stole in 1948) when there has been a UN resolution for more than 40 years declaring that 1967 occupation illegal. They have their resolution – so why not act on it with force given the Israeli’s utter contempt for the rule of international law.

    • The UN resolution calls for Israeli withdrawal to “secure and recognized borders.” If Blair and Bush were willing to recapture the 1967 conquests by force and then guarantee Israel’s security in those borders, I would have no objection. Do you think the UN or anybody else would go along with that?
      BTW do you think the US should give back the land it stole from the Indians, Mexico, etc., during the 19th century? Should the UN organize a force to make that happen?

      • Israel in 1967 was signatory to the UN Charter, which forbids the acquisition of territory from other countries by military force. Justifying a country’s actions with reference to Polk’s unjust war on Mexico, over which Henry David Thoreau went to jail, is just a way of saying that a country is acting like a 19th robber baron state. It is not a compliment and it is not an argument that is relevant to UN charter signatories except as a condemnation.

        • “Israel in 1967 was signatory to the UN Charter, which forbids the acquisition of territory from other countries by military force.”
          I’m playing devil’s advocate here, but what “country” did Israel take territory from by force? Until 1967, Egypt occupied Gaza and Jordan occupied the West Bank, just as surely as Israel occupies them now. Egypt’s and Jordan’s crime was to do nothing for the refugees, just as Israel’s is to build settlements in that territory.

        • Read the last sentence of the relevant clause in the charter: “or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.” Occupying a people against their will (who weren’t even belligerents in the war!) and then stealing their property is inconsistent with the purposes of the UN.

          You can’t use the UN partition plan to justify Israel’s creation on the one hand but then ignore that it granted territorial integrity to the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank on the other.

          I don’t know you and don’t know if you are actually interested in learning and dialoguing or this is just one more dreary hasbara campaign, but I have to say I find these sorts of arguments casuistic and largely a waste of time. Who would be convinced by your weird interpretation of the UN Charter, which presumably would let any country attack and occupy any disputed territory? We could, for instance, occupy the Western Sahara, on the grounds that Morocco’s claim to it is contested by Spain and other countries yet it is not an independent country, either. Then we could steal the land of the people there, blow up their houses, forbid them to fish off the shore, and refuse to let them export anything they make.

          The people who wrote the UN Charter had noble ideals, they weren’t shyster lawyers.

  23. Superb analysis, superb writing. This article deserves a Pulitzer.

  24. The US was very ‘brave’ and adamant when it came to punishing Saddam because he was a dictator although Iraq was the most prosperous nation in the Middle East with the public enjoying the best social system,best health care and the best educational system.Saddam’s Iraq is also described as being one where young couples could walk in pairs holding hands something that cannot be imagined today. Iraq today is like a horror movie come to life thanks to American invasion and occupation. The US is also quick to talk about attacking Iran as this according to them is a dictatorship! Mubarak is twice as bad as Saddam was. Yet this great country that preaches democracy and human rights is dragging her legs and playing as usual a double standard strategy. This is shameful as it is disgustingly annoying to any right thinking mind.The dishonesty of US foreign policy is out in the open.

    • “Mubarak is twice as bad as Saddam was.”

      I carry no brief for the US invasion of Iraq (or for Mubarak), but aren’t you afraid of being struck by lightning for such a statement?

    • I don’t want to sound like I’m defending Mubarak, but there is no comparison between him and Sadaam. Sadaam had the blood of millions on his hands.

      Hopefully, Mubarak and his ilk will leave the region (sooner rather than later).

    • Until now, I’ve generally just read Professor Cole’s articles and didn’t bother addressing the often absurd comments made in this space, but this comment is beyond insane:

      Mubarak is twice as bad as Saddam was.

      There is no case to be made that Mubarak is worse than Saddam, who started two ruinous wars and killed thousands upon thousands of his own people.

      • Starting wars and killing people ……so where does that leave GW and Obama on the rankings??

        • GW Bush, who arrived in a stolen election and then ignored warnings of an attack until the World Trade Center was destroyed, as well as starting two wars (and losing both of them), as well as condoning the destruction of priceless archaeological history….

          GW Bush also prevented the US from doing anything to address global warming for eight years, and singlehandedly sabotaged the Copenhagen Accords. This will cause more disaster, worldwide, than anything which has ever been done by any world leader.

          GW Bush is the worst world leader in history, ever.

  25. What a powerful,eloquent essay you have written in the wake of the people’s revolution in Egypt, Professor Cole! We are witnesses to one of the great moments of history where true sovereignty is being asserted in Takir Square and other Egyptian cities. Unfortunately it may be beaten down by agents of the police state. Then the democratic strivings of the Egyptian majority will have to fester underground for how long? American officials always boast of the “freedom” for which our country stands. Shouldn’t we be on the side of the peaceful protesters? The American people need to be aware of what is really going on in the Middle East with our billions of tax dollars! You give us fair warning.

  26. The tone of this screed is completely over the top, but let me make a few specific points:
    – “US military aid to Israel allowed that country to prevail over Egypt in 1967 and 1973.” Correct me if I’m wrong, but Israel fought the 1967 war pretty much with French (and British?) equipment. It was only after DeGaulle decided that he could benefit more by sucking up to the Arabs that Israel turned to the US for military equipment. It does, however, have other equipment (e.g., German submarines) plus homemade (e.g., tanks).
    – Egypt, a dictatorship friendly to the US, has indeed done nothing for the Palestinian refugees. But the same is true for all the other Arab countries, which are dictatorships not so friendly to the US. None of them have ever lifted a finger for the refugees. Exceptions: Jordan and Lebanon took some in, and for their troubles almost had their countries taken over.
    – “Israel was founded on the primal sin of expelling hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes…” Certainly some were expelled but many more left voluntarily or under the threat of being killed by the invading Arab armies if found in the territory the UN assigned to Israel. And, again, Egypt, which ruled Gaza (pre-Mubarak), and Jordan, which ruled the West Bank, did nothing for the refugees. They could have been permanently settled long ago, as the hundreds of thousands of Jews expelled from Arab countries and Iran were settled in Israel, but the Arab states thought the refugees were more useful as they were, destitute in refugee camps, in the continuing effort to destroy Israel.
    – “Those states and groups that refuse to acquiesce in this egregious policy of epochal injustice are targeted by the US Congress for sanctions and branded terrorists and aggressors.” Those that react with terrorism and aggression are indeed so branded; those that react strongly but peacefully are not.
    – “…had to be willing to recognize Israel as a ‘Jewish’ state, thus implicitly denaturalizing the 20% of the population that is Palestinian Christians and Muslims.” Non-Jews in Israel are no more denaturalized than Catholics, Jews, and Muslims in England, which has a state religion. In fact they do much better than non-Muslims in most of the Muslim world, including Egypt and (gasp) Palestine.
    – Why is the US the villain for supporting the corrupt dictatorship in Egypt but gets no credit for not supporting other corrupt dictatorships in the region?

    • For Kennedy administration support of Israel, see Warren Bass. Johnson’s support in 1967 was unstinting and caused the US to be added to that summer’s Arab oil boycott; it also began the process of the nationalization of Middle Eastern oil and the expropriation of American oil companies because regional publics were furious.

      It is not true that no Arab countries have ever done anything for the Palestinians, but even if it were, it is irrelevant to Israel’s policies toward them.

      Peaceful Gaza flotilla participants were branded al-Qaeda by Israeli officials and Israel apologists, maybe even by Phud1.

      Israel’s policies on religion are not like those of contemporary Britain, and this is either an ignorant or a dishonest argument.

      I can’t understand why there are no apologists for Israel’s policies who can make an argument that isn’t self-evidently based on a logical fallacy or an error of fact.

      • I am very uncomfortable arguing basic facts with an authority who has made his life’s work studying the Middle East, but…wasn’t the Arab oil boycott after the 1973 war? I recall “oil shocks” in 1973 and 1979 but not earlier; in fact the US was an oil exporter until 1970. In any case you cited US military aid to Israel in 1967 and I don’t believe there was much–just verbal support.
        It’s not irrelevant that the Arab countries did nothing for the refugees. Those refugees are the constant irritant to Arab-Israeli relations and it’s quite likely that there would be a permanent peace today without that irritant.
        What is irrelevant is bringing in the Gaza flotilla–we can have a long discussion about it if you like but what has it got to to with the points you raised and that I replied to?
        I’m afraid Britain’s policies toward some non-members of the State Religion, specifically Muslims, are unfortunately moving closer to those of Israel. But my point was that there is nothing inherent in a “Jewish State” that “denaturalizes” other religions any more than in an Anglican State.
        As for Israel’s policies, I support some and oppose others. I read your blog daily and it has definitely changed some of my views and reinforced others, but I don’t plead guilty to making “argument[s] that are self-evidently based on a logical fallacy or an error of fact.”

        • phud1:
          These things are very easy to research, I don’t understand why you would ask in this particular venue such admittedly basic facts.

          link to jewishvirtuallibrary.org

          link to en.wikipedia.org

          Suggesting “arab” countries are obligated to accept non-national refugees does not compute. It’s like suggesting France would be obligated to accept Spanish refugees (if there were any). That Palestinians were stateless does not grant any right of expulsion. There are very basic things that we were supposed to have learned from Nuremberg. It is unethical and illegal to use exportation of people to solve problems. While criticism of neighboring countries’ specific policies toward Palestinian refugees may be valid, does not grant license or excuse Israel from exporting people from their homes or refusing them a right of return. I leave my house from time to time and do not expect to find people in it when I decide to return.

    • - Why is the US the villain for supporting the corrupt dictatorship in Egypt but gets no credit for not supporting other corrupt dictatorships in the region?

      For the same reason that Richard Ramirez never got any credit for not being the only rapist and murderer active in Los Angeles in the 80s?

      It’s not irrelevant that the Arab countries did nothing for the refugees. Those refugees are the constant irritant to Arab-Israeli relations and it’s quite likely that there would be a permanent peace today without that irritant.

      The Palestinians had, and have, the legal right to return to their homes. Israel has the legal responsibility to find homes for them, that arabs haven’t done enough for them does not in any way abrograte that reality.

  27. Defies America, or does what American wants him to do?

    It seems to me that Mubarak would read Obama’s “transition to power” policyspeak as a green light to try to hang on to power. I’m not saying the United States has any particular investment in Mubarak himself staying in power; I’m saying the United States wants “stability” asap. If Mubarak can secure it, great; if not, the U.S. wants him to get on his way and let some other manifestation of the regime take a shot.

  28. This is a very impressive piece of writing, which should be recommended to as many people as possible, and maybe given a special front-page-archive position by Juan so readers can click on it for a quick refresher weeks, months or even years from now. In many passionate writings, the passion inevitably transforms truths into exaggerations, blunting the force of the writer’s message. Not so here: Juan’s passion merely makes the truth more sharp and clear.

  29. Gee Juan, tell us what you really think.

    I agree with all the unloading on Israel and US policy you just delivered and I can’t blame you for your anger.

    Seeing the protests makes me think of home. Since the US provides aid and comfort to the oppressors of the people of Egypt those people are ultimately protesting against the same people who are oppressing us all here in the USA. We have common enemies. More should be made of this.

  30. To Bonnie McFadden,

    You wrote:

    “Superb analysis, superb writing. This article deserves a Pulitzer.”

    I agree entirely. Unfortunately, because your first sentence is true, your second sentence will be ignored by those who dole out Pulitzers.

  31. “And then there is the set of myths around Israel, that it is necessary for the well-being of the world’s Jews, that it is an asset to US security, that it is a great ethical enterprise– all of which are patently false.”

    Wow.

    Thank you for your courage. The above quotation is one example of why this was a very dangerous article for a US professional who focuses on the Middle East to write.

    Once again, thank you for your commitment to challenge false, dangerous but heavily supported ideas.

  32. The great task of the American people is to reexamine their complicity in this enormous crime, and America’s relationship with Israel, with thorough-going honesty and the determination to change, but without vindictiveness toward those who got the US into this situation.

    I think the American people are capable of that process — of Truth and Reconciliation.

    “Without vindictiveness” does not and must not mean “without consequences.” We are a people governed by rule of law, and wrongdoers should be prosecuted, judged, and, upon conviction, punished very, very harshly.

  33. Very inspiring article.

    However, Obama’s rapid “dumping” of Mubarak left me thinking this was a way of getting back indirectly at Israel’s impudence; at no political cost.
    He must actualy feel pretty good about the stress level rise in Netanyahu’s discourse.

    Thomas

    • I know I feel pretty good. I was personally insulted by Israel’s treatment of the Obama administration. Hopefully Netanyahu is sweating over Gaza. The fact Egypt is giving preferred prices to Israel for natural gas is over the top. Netanyahu helps starve the Palestinians while subsidizing their oppressors. He is an enemy of the Palestinian people hopefully the new government will open Gaza’s southern border.

  34. OK so why do we do this? I know this defies any one particular explanation, because it’s a complex set of scenarios. But I would like Juan’s opinion on say a top five for why American foreign policy appears to be so contrary to a thinking American’s interest? He makes that case that our behavior is hideously unethical and it makes us unsafe. So why do we do it?

    My partial list:

    1. Stability. Real or imagined, the American political apparatus which extends throughout both parties, perceives that without autocrats in the middle east, those countries would be more unstable. I include in this the threat of communism previously, and now reactionary Islam. We seem to overstate the problem, overreact, and then totally miss the real aspects of the problem. It’s like we don’t even understand it.

    2. Corporatism: Markets like stability, predictability. And a certain portion of that market is the military industrial complex and they are selling lots of materials to Israel, Egypt, Jordan, and other autocratic countries in the middle east. So in other words, it’s good for business. And both parties have largely sold out to business.

    3. Israel: There’s a long standing relationship between the U.S. and Israel: the conflation between criticism of Israel and anti-semitism has conditioned most American politicians and its citizens to consider non-support of Israel basically racist; America and Israel share a similarity in the manifest destiny delusion: this notion that America and Israel are civilized and the “others” are barbarians or nomads, civilized people take care of the land and therefore lay claim to it, that a deity favors us and not the others, etc.

    • 1. Stability. Real or imagined, the American political apparatus which extends throughout both parties, perceives that without autocrats in the middle east, those countries would be more unstable. I include in this the threat of communism previously, and now reactionary Islam. We seem to overstate the problem, overreact, and then totally miss the real aspects of the problem. It’s like we don’t even understand it.

      If you assume that when they’re saying “stability” they’re actually talking about “controllability” then their position makes more sense. With a dictator you only have one leader and his inner circle making policies and deciding on priorities.

      Democracies are harder to game, for the most part. There’s too much room for changes of opinion and shifting priorities. With a corrupted tyrant then they always know where he stands and it’s with whoever has been giving him the means to maintain his own position and wealth.

  35. Now if we could just get every American to read and understand the truth of this…

  36. So corrupt and dishonest you are. Mubarak isn’t defying the US. He can’t. We own his ass, and you know it. Like the regime in Honduras, he is doing what he is told to do.

  37. The our middle east policy is so hypocritical. But the population is so misled on the middle east thanks to the news that skews everything in favor of our lackluster ally, Israel Your article is a useful summation of the core of the conflict.

    Another worthwhile article on this: As for America, if we are about to be thrown out of the Middle East, it would be neither undeserved nor an unmitigated disaster – After all, it’s their world, not ours.

    Thanks for the expression in this piece. NY Times would never have the moral clarity to publish writing on this level.It would make Friedman and Brooks look even more two-dimensional.

  38. To: spyguy68 says:
    02/03/2011 at 10:34 am

    “Even though the US declined in power over the last few decades, Obama is still the most powerful person on earth, so the question is why does he allow People like Mubarak and Netanyahu humiliate him?’

    Because AIPAC owns the US Congress – Obama doesn’t all the power. AIPAC is like a cancer in the this country, it has infiltrated the government and the universities and 99.9% of Americans are totally unaware.

  39. That photograph of the four ‘leaders’ speaks volumes. No coincidence, or even satire, that they look like the Mob. Netty as the bullying boss, Mubarak as his right hand strongman enforcer with Obama looking eager to please him, whilst Abbas tags along behind, following orders. Obama has been inducted, however reluctantly he realises what he has got involved in, there is no way out. Only a mass uprising can unseat these gangsters.

  40. The newly installed VP Suleiman just spent thirty minutes on state TV spinning an elaborate web for Obama administration. “Blowback” is practically a physical law and so it is nice to have Prof. Cole’s ability to interrogate history to see where it originates.

    As for the last commentors view that “the dishonesty of US foreign policy is out in the open”, it is hardly a new or sudden event.They really have not worried about covering anything for a long time now. The revolution will not be televised.

    check out aljazeera coverage.

  41. You write:

    Mubarak’s slap in the face of President Obama will not be punished and it is nothing new.

    Your naivete is astounding, Prof.

    Obama…or whoever really runs him… sent the execrable quasi-spook Frank Wisner over there to “talk” with Mubarak, fer chrissake!!! Slap in the face? Mubarak is just following orders.

    Here’s how it went down:

    Keep the present system of power in place…by any and all means necessary…until we can hustle up a new government that we will be able to trust at least a little bit. Can’t be having Israel in any more trouble than it’s already got…we’re barely surviving politically in the US now. Lose the Jewish vote and it’s Tea Party time. Can’t have a fundamentalist regime here or the United States of Islam is only about three years away, and we certainly can’t take the risk of having the Suez Canal closed to oil traffic.

    Do whatcha got to do. We got your back. Y’got yer family out already, right? Great. There’ll be a helicopter warmed up and standing by on the roof 24/7 in case things really get rough around here. See ya later, Mubarak. Gotta get back to my spooky duties in the economic sector. The United States of Enron and all that. Oh…and Mubarak…I’ll tell the new Barak you said hello.

    Which he did.

    Bet on it.

    AG

  42. Absolutely spot on analysis. You’ve turn the light on!
    Thanks.

  43. Barack Obama wants to get reelected. If Mubarak remains in power, there is no “downside” to his electoral prospects. On the other hand, if we push Mubarak out, one way or the other, there is a probability that the new regime will not be as “friendly” to American and Israeli interests, which will impair the chances for reelection.

  44. A few questions:
    1) Do “they” hate the US, or does the US hate them?
    1.1) Who time and again continues to support, the over-throw of legitimately elected govts., corruption, and starts and spreads wars? “They” or the US?
    1.2) Who is at the victim of this corruption and wars; “they” or the US?
    2) People in the US say (rationalize), “… but it is the multi-national corps, the military industrial complex, our administration who is (in)directly involved in spreading evil in various “strategic” regions on this planet.” Ok fair enough! So who works for and runs these multi-national corps.? Who is employed in the military-industrial-complex? Who elects these leaders in the administration? After all we have an functional “Secular Democracy” in the US don’t we?
    3) Is “Secular Democracy” good for humanity? If so, has it proved to eradicate corruption and spread of wars? If so, which “version” of “democracy” are we referring to?
    I don’t intend to offend anyone. I am sincerely asking the tough questions.

  45. This is simply brilliant. We were deprived of TV and internet yesterday during the giant storm passing through southern New Mexico and far west Texas, and it was a horrible shock to find out today what Mubarak has unleashed – and what the US Government is doing in my name. I am deeply grateful that I am no longer an active-duty diplomat and do not have to tell anyone why this is a good policy.

    The indispensable nation, all right.

    In all our names.

    What can we do?

  46. James Speaks: I think Obama is getting pressure from the old-line realists of the first Bush presidency. James Baker, lover of oil and Mid-East monarchs, was on TV yesterday morning. After genuflecting a few times to ‘democracy’ and the protesters ‘just demands’ he went into an uncharacteristic tirade about the danger of Islamic extremism taking over Egypt. The nite before, Bush Senior spoke of his ‘old friend’ Mubarak. Haven’t found any speculation on what he said.

    These people are much smarter than the neocons and they play hard-ball. They will throw Obama under a bus to keep the Middle East ‘stable’ and protect the interests of the current regimes. This is warfare against THEM, as well as Mubarak. Obama has been whiplashed and out-done by Mubarak and the realists.

    • I was merely taking the opportunity to remind us all how bad the advice from that dual-citizen group had been. You suggest the neocons don’t play hardball. Well, they do.

      Advisers to GWB think they can maneuver witless
      Arabs in to accepting a strongman du jour who will protect US interests. They were out maneuvered by neocons who seek to destroy every Arab and Muslim nation that might challenge the ascendancy of Greater Israel. If James Baker is playing hardball (major league baseball), then the neocons are playing Death Ball 2000.

      Both groups are delusional, though.

      The unrest might have its seeds in the colonialism of the US and its handlers in Tel Aviv, but there’s a new game in town. It’s caused by peak oil and climate change, and it’s called Die-Off.

      All the Arab nations are in peril, but Israel is doomed.

  47. Juan-
    Thank you so much for putting the time and energy and brilliance in composing this piece – you hit every point, again and again. It distresses me to no end imagining all the violence we have wrought or been complicit in, I do not know where it all will lead, but it will not be a pleasant one, to paraphrase the frequent quote from Jefferson – I tremble for my country, when I consider these sinful acts and sinful negligence.
    Mark

  48. It would be interesting to compare what is not happening in Egypt to 1989 in Eastern Europe. Of course, there are many differences, but recent events leave me wondering whether we are not witnessing the collapse of America’s informal empire in the Middle East. May the dominoes fall!

  49. Much too one-sided a post, in my view. I never thought I would quote the excerable Legal Insurrection, but surely these points were worthy of mention:

    “It almost is hard to know where to start.

    Did the UN partition of British Palestine into Jewish and Arab states — and the rejection of such partition by the Arabs — never happen? Did the invasion of the newly independent Israel never happen? Did an almost equal number of Jews not flee Arab lands as Arabs fled Jewish lands? Did the closing of the Straits of Tiran by Egypt provoking the 1967 war never happen, or the subsequent Yom Kippur invasion. Did 60+ years of Palestinian rejectionism never happen?

    “Slow genocide”? How is it we keep hearing that high birth rates among non-Jews in Israel and the West Bank constitutes a demographic threat to a Jewish Israel?

    This is not just revisionist history, it is a fabrication in the goal of the destruction of Israel.”

    For the record, though I doubt it will matter to readers here, I am strongly and unalterably opposed to Israeli settlement of the West Bank, and would support even sanctions to see those settlements completely removed. But the history presented in this post leaves out far too much.

    • The UN General Assembly plan for partitioning British Mandate Palestine was not passed by the UN Security Council and so did not have the force of law. It in any case was not a legitimation of the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. Nor can that ethnic cleansing in 1947-48 be justified with reference to Jordan’s occupation of the West Bank (where almost no Jews lived). Nor can it be justified with reference to the later disturbances against Jews in Tunisia, Yemen, Iraq, etc.; this is a logical fallacy known as anachronism.

      The UN convention on genocide defines it as destroying the lifeways of a people. Half-starving Gaza Palestinian children or ‘putting them on a diet’ as Ariel Sharon’s Dov Weisglass put it, is genocidal even if they do not happen to die. But of course, the health and well-being of Palestinians is badly affected by Israeli policy.

      You haven’t actually refuted anything I said, just made other irrelevant points and engaged in hand waving as a distraction from the sordid reality that is before you but which you refuse to see because you are trapped in a collective narcissism.

      • (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

        When you treat people the way the Israelis treat the Palestinians of Gaza and the West Bank, you inflict very substantial mental harm on them. The refereed psychological literature on the deleterious impact of the Occupation is voluminous. Raphael Lemkin, who invented the concept of genocide, as well as the framers of the UN convention, recognized cultural genocide and “mental harm” is part of what they meant by that, so that it must be considered part of the legislative record.

        Cultural genocide is recognized also in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which has been adopted into national law through treaty instruments by most signatures.

        See Northwestern’s Genocide Center for more.

        I have decided that you are probably a troll; if you are not a troll, you don’t have decent human values.

    • Did the UN partition of British Palestine into Jewish and Arab states — and the rejection of such partition by the Arabs — never happen?

      What people in any time period would just allow a foreign body to hand over more than half of their homeland to an ethnic minority who had, for the most part, immigrated to their land in the last few generations?

      Why is it that anyone thinks that it’s acceptable for a country to go into someone else’s country and to take parts (or all of it) for themselves, or to cut off another section and give it to another group (minority or otherwise)?

      How is it that it’s the people who resist this kind of invasive abuse that are considered the aggressors instead of the victims?

  50. By the way, the US State Department (Crowly) has warned of a possible “real” confrontation in Egypt tomorrow, the day ElBaradei has said Mubarak should be gone. Canadian reporters detained in Egypt were told by army officials the army plans a major operation Friday. I’m guessing the army is going to try to clear Tahrir Square.

  51. What a fantasic read
    Right on Target.
    btw, the US is already a fascist state. (Government+Corporations)
    Obomba is nothing but ANOTHER CFR/AIPAC Wall Street Stooge, who does not have the best interest of the American people in mind , never mind the HUMANS of the world.
    The 2008 elections (sic) were the 2nd biggest “sucker moment” after the 2000 elections (sic)
    “Change”
    NOW THATS FUNNY.
    And to watch the good people drink up the KOOL AID was just to much.
    Once again… US electorate are suckers.
    YOU HAVE NO CHOISE.
    I pray for the good people of Egypt. Do not stop.

  52. Bravo. Dr. Cole. You finally said what you have been hinting at for years. You have put words to all our thoughts and revulsion at the US policy of debasement and degredation of an innocent people.

  53. Dr. Cole,
    That is not the only parallels to be drawn, remember how Israel attacked activists and journalists on the Flotilla Aid Ship to Gaza May 31, 2010. Israeli thugs (whitewashed as commandoes) killed 9, injured many and CONFISCATED ALL media, cameras, computers, phones. Remember the activists were demonized, none of the cameras, computers or phones were returned. What was Israel hiding?

    link to guardian.co.uk

    Mubarak and Netanyahoo have a lot in common. Both use force against activism and confiscate damage cameras, etc. Our allies in the Middle East have a lot in common.

  54. Climate change makes future of Egypt uncertain.

    Excellent analysis of this subject. This is happening in many regions of the world which will lead to instability.

    link to dailykos.com

    David Frum, one of W Bush’s speech writers compared China and Egypt and noted that if the economy is strong, the people are happy with the government. He also said that the population in Egypt has doubled since 1981 but gone up much more slowly in China. He didn’t make the obvious point about the need for population control in many countries, including Muslim countries. Population growth requires more resources and more jobs and contributes to climate change. The neo cons in the USA are riding oil right down to the end of the earth.

  55. I’m not an American, but it seems to me to be a bit unrealistic to complain about the US Govt. failing to sanction Israel or Mubarak if such sanctions are really impossible for internal US political reasons.

    Pres. Obama may have thought that he could jawbone Israel out of settlements and Mubarak out of power, but it seems to me that Israel quite well enough informed about the US political climate and quite influential enough within the US to see that Obama really had nothing, politically, to back up his rhetoric. Ignoring him was something of a risk, but a calculated one, and one that seems likely to pay off.

    I don’t know if it is really sensible to refer to this situation as “powerlessness”. Commenter Moshe made what I think is a similar point above. If a toothy dog doesn’t bite (Moshe’s phrase), can you really conclude that it can’t bite? In fact, the US has exerted considerable power in support of Israel and Mubarak in recent times, and probably will continue to do so.

    • History seems to manifest similar conclusions about the dominance of super-powers. It starts by a demonstration of defiance against this authority by an opposing group (small or large). If this demonstration is even partially successful, the rest of the masses realize the strength of their influence upon *self-determination*.
      In the streets in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Libya, there comes a time when the root-cause of unemployment, repression, oppression, uncertainty is realized. What matters is the prospect of freedom for self-determination. No body in the streets gives a care about any internal squabbling within the colonialist administration. Nobody under repression needs approval from anybody to seek freedom of self-determination. The US will probably continue to loose credibility as a *just* mediator in any middle-eastern affairs.

  56. A million thank-yous, Juan. I am sending this everywhere. We all appreciate your not mincing words. This admistration has just wasted any opportunities to make the world a better place. We’ll all pay.

  57. I have a different reading of the situation, which is that Mubarak is being defiant in response to a conflicted U.S. attitude that is reflected in the slow coming and ambiguous statements of the American administration. The U.S. itself is worried about who will replace Mubarak as an ally in Egypt, primarily to secure Egypt’s role in the pacification of the region and the safeguarding of Isreal. Omar Soliman is a good candidate for a U.S. collaborator but the American administration already knows what the protestors are chanting: No Mubarak, No Soliman. Those are America’s agents (The chant rhymes in Arabic).

  58. You have summed it all up brilliantly. Well done! Also, don’t forget that without the connivance of Mubarak, the Iraq war might not have happened.

  59. This blog is going from strength to strength.

    Unfortunately, Obama and his minions faithfully govern the world in the interests of the rich and powerful and they are heavily implicated in the crimes of Netanyahu, Mubarak – and worse.

    Today, the standard-bearers of human rights (aka known as human decency) are the ordinary citizens of Egypt, putting their lives on the line and sacrificing themselves for freedom, democracy and the future of their children.

  60. It would not surprise me if the signals being sent to the Egyptian military from American diplomats shows US support for the Mobarak crackdown. Our administration long ago abandoned fear of hypocrisy before the American people, so why shouldn’t Obama preach freedom at home and while pushing for oppression abroad? It’s just real politik.

  61. HOSNI MUBARAK SHOULD STEP DOWN IMMDEIATELY
    No amount of promises will satisfy the Egyptian people, Hosni Mubarak should step down now. Perhaps it is too late already for an orderly transition, but the longer he lingers, the more violent is the transition likely to be.

    Mubarak has ruled Egypt with an iron fist for thirty years, no wonder the anger is boiling over in the streets. He has not allowed any opposition candidate to run against him, most opponents have been languishing in jail for years. A vast number of Egyptians remain poor and have not benefited from economic prosperity that a few have enjoyed. Mubarak and his cronies live extravagant lifestyle in palaces like kings.

    Mubarak’s grooming of his son as his successor may be the proverbial “last straw that broke the camel’s back”. People have had enough of one Mubarak and they are not ready for another. Also, Egypt is not a kingdom, where a son can take over reigns of power when the father dies or retires. Tunisian uprising may have lit a fire in the Middle East, but anger has been boiling in Egypt for quite some time now, all it needed was a fuse.

    To prevent conditions getting worse, Hosni Mubarak should hand over power to an interim non-partisan authority, whose sole task should be to hold free and fair elections within 90 days. This can prevent further violence as angers will cool down and the public will feel empowered to elect a leader of their choice. Failure to step down will only result in more violence, death and destruction and a severe blow to Egyptian economy. MR. MUBARAK, PLEASE GO NOW AND SAVE YOUR COUNTRY.

  62. Egyptians have tried nonviolent peaceful protest apparently to no avail; if the non Mubarek camp has the majority then taking it up to the next level of a general strike is called for.

  63. Once again you are taking Obama’s public announcements at face value. All that he says openly is meaningless. The owners of this country and their bought and paid for politicians can not be embarrassed by what is perceived as slights to their honor because they have none. The only thing that matters to them is maintenance of the status quo. Loss of elections doesn’t matter either because nobody is held accountable for any crimes committed and both parties serve one corporate America.

  64. Thank you for pointing to the elephant in the room and for shining a bright light on it.

  65. Superb Article, but I am surprised that you only rail against the inept inactivity of the US Administration vis-a-vis the situation in Egypt and the Middle East in general. Unless and until american voters do something about the “best money can buy” US Congress. Nothing of a just nature is ever going happen.

    • Do you actually believe that at this time self-determination in the middle-east is contingent upon the US administration/Congress doing the right thing?
      For the sake of argument, I’ll agree.
      Then I would like to understand how long such a state-of-affairs would continue? 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 years?

  66. I’m having great deal of difficulty believing the genuineness of the scripted Israeli position of warning about the peace treaty breakdown becoming potentially an Egyptian military threat to Israel. Is it really possible that the U.S. would not have, in this day and age, “sold” advanced weapons to Egypt (or for that matter to the Saudi’s) that would simply by GPS coordinates breakdown and be ineffective in Israeli territory? At the very least the spare parts supply and the warranties would run out very quickly in such event, and that’s without even considering the effectiveness of the Israeli nuclear deterrent that precludes any and all state based war against Israel (including from Iran). The notion that an entire national military would be equipped and trained based upon the assumed stability of the political leadership, without consideration of the proverbial bus running over the leadership, does not sound like deep strategic thinking.

    So it must be that the only reason that Israel is warning against change in Egypt is to protect it’s very narrow interest of continuing the sealed blockade of Gaza. It appears that very “small” considerations, whether it be with the settlers in the West Bank or closing off of Gaza, are the only things that drive the bigger picture of how people and nations are treated in the region.

  67. I read the posture of Obama’s administration regarding quick transition as imposture: a cynical public relations gesture alone. It looks better to be ostensibly defied by the despot Mubarak than openly to support him. I wonder whether the administration has not been privately assuring Mubarak of its desire to preserve the status quo; after all, so many wealthy interests stand to profit even more from it, and the administration’s consistent track record with regard to wealthy interests speaks for itself.

  68. As for alternatives for the USA, the best of them would be to do nothing but call for free and open elections ASAP, and announce that the USA desires to maintain friendly relations with any future government of Egypt.

    There’s no need to cut ties with the Egyptian military, orslash subsidies, etc. If necessary, renegotiate with the next government.

    Egyptians’ government is not something for Americans, or anyone else, to be “managing” one way or another. The Egyptians are NOT for there for other people to “manage.” Looking at what they have done on their own prompting and on their own resources, Egyptians are quite capable of managing themselves.

    As for Israel, again less is more. Why provoke that ghastly coalition of religious parties and right-wingers who govern that country? (take a glance at the current composition of the Israeli Knesset, in case you don’t know what I mean).

    Again, the Israelis can vote for who they want. Their government is not for Americans to “manage.”

    Simply freeze the amount of Israel’s subsidies. Let inflation do the job of reducing the real value of the subsidy over the coming years.

    This story isn’t about the current US president. Obama’s whole career could not “solve” the worst remaining legacy of the Great War. Each fresh round of foreign interference has merely tended to compound that legacy.

  69. RE: “The regime of Hosni Mubarak appears to have taken some sort of bribe to send substantial natural gas supplies to Israel at a deep discount.” – Juan Cole
    SEE: ‘Egypt may buy back gas from Israel’, by JPost.com staff, 08/24/10
    Egyptian paper reports that Cairo officials could lose $12b. on deal.

    Anonymous sources told al-Shaab that internal discussions at Egypt’s Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources decided that over half of the natural gas sold to Israel under the deal would have to be repurchased at $14 billion, even though it was sold for $2 billion.
    Cairo officials had previously blamed the gas deal with Israel as the main reason for the increase in power outages experienced by Egyptians since 2004
    , as less natural gas is provided for use by domestic power suppliers, AFP reported last Sunday.
    Egypt’s ruling party has been embarrassed by the increased power cuts to the population and ensuing fights between government officials over who bears responsibility for the problem, according to the independent daily al-Shorouk report cited by AFP.
    The issue may become an important one as the fight to succeed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak gains momentum.

    SOURCE – link to jpost.com

  70. I do tend to agree with some of the writer’s points but not all. His opinion, that Mubarak will ignore the U.S.A. is in my opinion correct. Mubarak and his friends have too much to loose and what exactly is the U.S.A. going to do if he doesn’t listen, nothing. As the old song says, Time, Time, is on my side and I’m sure Mubarak is singing that one right now. At some point those demonstrating for peaceful change will either have to give up or the rest of the country will join them. It is a wait and see game.
    The U.S.A. has over extended itself by going to war in places they had no right to. The results have been defeat,nothing gained except by the sellers of arms and the loosers the american people.
    American politicians do not have the right to tell Egypt who the leader of the country must be. I noticed the rest of the G7,10,20 haven’t jumped on any band wagon to suggest Mubarak resign. They seem to realize its not their business.
    If the Americans don’t like what Mubarak is doing they can just stop the money they send him. Its simple. Then they can use the money for their own citizens’ social needs. I doubt that will happen because too many of the American elite make their money from wars and care as little for the average american as they do for the average egyptian.
    The Americans and Canadians have violated their own citizens civil rights to such an extent they have no moral right to comment on Eygpt.

    • And this violation of their own people will continue (in USA/Canada) to the extent that the people are distracted and entertained *just enough* such that they have little reason to rise-up and follow the course of self-determination. The US administration and it’s fellows know better than to allow open repression and increase in unemployment.

      • While the current US administration knows better, I suspect the Republican Party does NOT know better and *will* allow open repression and increase in unemployment if they get into power.

  71. We are the Angels of Death. How can our words possibly mean anything to those who know of our deeds? Netanyahu and Mubarak can spit in our faces because they know we are no better than they are.

    We have a history of unprovoked violence and destruction that makes their own extravagances seem like child’s play: the Desert Storm obliteration by bombing of Iraq’s physical infrastructure, followed by eleven years of putting Iraq on starvation rations via sanctions, then outright destruction of anything that happened to be left over via invasion and occupation. Add to that perpetual war against Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the mayhem our glob trotting, throat slitting “special forces” do in secret. Who can top that in the “really destructive behavior” category?

    I don’t think we can hope to lead until we can face our own reality, but that is not in the cards.

  72. While I recognize and really enjoy the passion of your article you and the majority of your very supportive posters are so oblivious to your overwhelming sense of exceptionalsism that you can’t see how distorted your view of the world and the US place and role in that really is.

    Your whole commentary is so ‘US Wierd’ its hard to know where to start but lets try with the title ..”Mubarak Defies a Humiliated America, Emulating Netanyahu”:
    -foreign leaders obviously acting on their own vrs a united America??
    -“Humiliated America” …I dont think so , maybe ‘humiliated Obama’ ‘humiliated foreign office’ America is not humiliated- ‘America’ has another issue entirely.
    -‘emulating Netanyahu’ ..and that’d be because Bibi’s not doing what hes told …in fact saying something much more like “f*ck U” ?? Where’s that attitude come from- I always thought that was what the US prided itself on saying to the rest of the world.

    Foreign leaders aren’t suddenly going crazy – nothings changing – Government , regardless of where it is , and the ‘Elites’ who back them and profit through that power are exactly the same everywhere including the USA. Just think on the last line in the article:
    “We are only one step away of being treated, with “protest zones” and “Patriot Acts” just as badly as the peaceful Egyptian protesters have been.” The Egyptian army said it won’t fire on the protesters do you believe the US army would not fire on its own citizens – are you one step away or one step past?

    • The Arab countries were poor agrarian states that had no resources to deal with the stateless Palestinians created by Israel’s ethnic cleansing campaign. They threatened to upset Lebanon’s delicate balance and were worst treated there. But those in Syria were treated all right. Jordan gave most of its Palestinians citizenship, which allowed them to address problems that the Gaza Palestinians could not.

      The ethnic cleansing and statelessness of the Palestinians are Israel’s tort, not its neighbors, and it is Israel’s responsibility to redress this cosmic injustice.

      The first oil boycott was in summer of 1967, directed at the US and the Netherlands for their material support to the Israeli war effort.

    • Janine,

      right on. kent state just the most notorious proof. we are long past that first step and well into the miles beyond.

    • America is indeed exceptional in the sense that it has poured more billions of dollars into the Middle East, and elsewhere, to influence policy than any other country.

      When you put your money into a soda pop machine and press the button, you expect a can of soda pop in the tray. If you don’t get a can, you DO something about it. Why else would you put your money in?

      Yes it’s a simplification, but the idea is that, whatever the reasons (greedy or benevolent) that the USA has sent enormous pots of money to Egypt and Israel, it should expect some influence over them. We can acknowledge that fact regardless of whether that influence has been used for good or evil in the past. Foreign and military aid is almost never humanitarian assistance.

      Now that the US Government is using its purchased influence to oppose Netanyahu and Mubarak, it has every right to be PO’ed when it is ignored. To NOT be PO’ed about being ignored, and especially to continue paying Egypt abd Israel afterward, is to be a patsy.

      • Is that money part of a buy-off or a shake-down? Depends. Look at the facts and who benefits.

        Much of the dough was in form of military credits, so it becomes partially US corporate welfare (military industrial complex). It’s really a fleecing of the US taxpayers to enrichen corporations and 2 govts, who’d rather do that to line the pockets of elites than take care of their people.

        The Egyptian economy has been “doing better”, but that’s on the whole, with the profits going to the rich: a classic Marxist outcome.

  73. Only one tiny correction: “Mubarak has stuffed tens of billions of dollars from Washington into his government’s pockets,” you write. But I understand that he is personally a multibillionaire worth $40 billion. Looks like he stuffed most of it into his own pocket.

  74. Humiliated? Gosh, Juan, you’d think these despots and dictators would be only too happy to follow orders once they had our money safely deposited in their bank accounts. Let’s just bomb them all off the map and be done with their nonsense.

    Careful, Juan: the road from thoughful progressive to militant neocon is not as rocky as one might believe…

  75. some very important person is calling for an orderly transition in Egypt – a transition via Suleiman?? excuse me?
    – must be more change we can believe in . . . for Bibi and friends –

    oh well, i suppose everyman’s ambassador to the middle east, dear Phony Blah (sorry Tony), shouldn’t be too pushed to find an excuse for another war

  76. I haven’t been able to read many of the replies, but I agree with Juan Cole, as I often do. There is one thing, however, that I think should be added [if someone has made this point already, then please I apologize for wasting anyone’s time].

    The point is that, while, yes, Obama, Biden, and Clinton have all been humiliated, it doesn’t matter, because they aren’t running things: the behind the scenes military-industrial-complex is. Obama et al. are just their puppets, their front.

    Nobody in that corporate MIC gives a damn at all about peasants or workers or activists or slaves or old and young women or even educated elite people with a conscience, et al. In the view of the MIC the only thing that matters is that money continues to roll into their coffers.

    Let’s face, it they are at war with all of us. And now the whole world seems to know this.

    • George Thompson wrote:

      There is one thing, however, that I think should be added [if someone has made this point already, then please I apologize for wasting anyone’s time].

      The point is that, while, yes, Obama, Biden, and Clinton have all been humiliated, it doesn’t matter, because they aren’t running things: the behind the scenes military-industrial-complex is. Obama et al. are just their puppets, their front.

      Nobody in that corporate MIC gives a damn at all about peasants or workers or activists or slaves or old and young women or even educated elite people with a conscience, et al. In the view of the MIC the only thing that matters is that money continues to roll into their coffers.

      Let’s face, it they are at war with all of us. And now the whole world seems to know this.

      Yes, Charles, you are quite correct about what you call the Military Industrial Complex. I made that point in short form above when I posted:

      Juan Cole writes:

      Mubarak’s slap in the face of President Obama will not be punished and it is nothing new.

      Your naivete is astounding, Prof.
      Obama…or whoever really runs him… sent the execrable quasi-spook Frank Wisner over there to “talk” with Mubarak, fer chrissake!!! Slap in the face? Mubarak is just following orders.

      Here’s how it went down:

      Keep the present system of power in place…by any and all means necessary…until we can hustle up a new government that we will be able to trust at least a little bit. Can’t be having Israel in any more trouble than it’s already got…we’re barely surviving politically in the US now. Lose the Jewish vote and it’s Tea Party time. Can’t have a fundamentalist regime here or the United States of Islam is only about three years away, and we certainly can’t take the risk of having the Suez Canal closed to oil traffic.

      Do whatcha got to do. We got your back. Y’got yer family out already, right? Great. There’ll be a helicopter warmed up and standing by on the roof 24/7 in case things really get rough around here. See ya later, Mubarak. Gotta get back
      to my spooky duties in the economic sector. The United States of Enron and all that. Oh…and Mubarak…I’ll tell the new Barak you said hello.

      Which he did.

      Bet on it.

      AG

      This entity…or set of entities, really, because it contains left, center and right factions just as does the faux government that is apparently considered “real” by Prof. Cole and about 99.99% of the rest of the leftiness bloggers on the web…has metastasized since President Eisenhower first publicly branded it. It is now an intelligence-based Permanent Government (I call it the PermaGov), and it is the real ruling class of this country. It is intelligence-based because of the simple fact that the intelligence systems here in the U.S. have hustled themselves into a position where no one knows exactly how much money (and thus, exactly how much power) they truly possess. No one but a few hand-picked legislators has even so much as a clue about what monies are channeled their way each year and absolutely no one outside of their own ruling classes knows to what purposes those monies have been put over the past 60 years or so. Imagine how much profit could be made by a secret system that had massive advance intelligence regarding almost everything that is going on in the world. Who’s falling, who’s rising. When to invest, when to pull out. Immeasurable wealth has been the result.

      Remember the scene in “Godfather II” where the Meyer Lansky character stands on a balcony overlooking Havana and says “We’re bigger than U.S. Steel?” And they were, that mob. But compared to the criminal conspiracy that has effectively running the United States of America since the JFK coup (Which occurred a scant one year and ten months after Eisenhower first publicly warned the country about what was happening in his farewell speech) the Mafia was…and remained…just a bunch of playground bullies extorting lunch money from 3rd graders.

      This PermaGov system is intelligence-based because of the simple fact that…as the bank robber Willie Sutton replied when asked why he robs banks…“That’s where the money is.” As always…follow the money to find the power.

      The only place in your post where you missed the ongoing truth of the matter is where you wrote:

      Let’s face, it they [The MIC] are at war with all of us. And now the whole world seems to know this.

      You are only partially correct when you write “the whole world seems to know this.” Large parts of the world know this, but not those parts that are daily…hourly in many cases…hypnotized and rehypnotized by the massive disinformation system of the PermaGov-controlled so-called “news” services…including Professor Cole and a great deal of the equally so-called “left wing” or “progressive” blogosphere. Anyone naïve enough to write that Mubarak’s recent actions are somehow a “slap in the face” to Obama and the U.S. government in general is living in cloud cuckoo land. Bet on it. No one who is not in a position to wage real and total war of some kind is going to try to slap the economic imperialist tiger that is the U.S. military in the face. But slap the paper tiger? The front man? What will be the result? A few paper cuts and a pre-recorded roar? No big thing.

      And the Great Game continues.

      It’s all about oil, Charles. Control of the Middle East. And that is all about money, and money is about power. Not about “peoples’ rights,” not about the welfare of the Jews and Israel or the Palestinians or even the American and European middle class republics. Just about money and power.

      Bet on it.

      And no sir, there is absolutely no need to apologize about wasting anyone’s time. Dissemination of the truth of this ongoing PermaGov/MIC rule is the only way to possibly fight it. A quixotic attempt? Perhaps. We shall see later on down the road.

      You know the usage of the current “viral” meme? That ideas or online presentations of some sort suddenly…sometimes apparently quite unaccountably… “go viral” and spread like wildfire through the web and/or the society as a whole? Well, all that we can do is to keep presenting this information every time the opportunity presents itself and perhaps…before these fools take the whole planet down in a nuclear and/or environmental Armageddon…just perhaps, a sudden “viral” understanding of what is really going on here will save our collectively mortal asses from an unthinkable fate.

      No time wasted.

      No time to waste !!!

      No apologies necessary.

      Believe it.

      AG

      • Victor Gilmore,

        you are replying to a George, not to a Charles. Nevertheless, I have no objections to your reply, except to say that I do think that the rest of the world does know more or less what is going on — except for the vast majority of those Americans who live in GlenBeckistan.

        Those whips and chains and electric prods that have been crashing down on Egyptians for all these years have also been raining down on millions of Americans in our jails for even longer.

        When are we Americans going to have our moment in Tahrir Square?

  77. You didn’t leave place for a reply but I’ll try anyway:
    “You can’t use the UN partition plan to justify Israel’s creation on the one hand but then ignore that it granted territorial integrity to the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank on the other.”
    It granted territorial integrity to Israel also–do you recognize and accept that?

    “I don’t know you and don’t know if you are actually interested in learning and dialoguing or this is just one more dreary hasbara campaign…”
    I’ve asked before and didn’t get an answer…or maybe you didn’t publish the post, but what is hasbara?

  78. There are no truly sovereign nations, democratic or otherwise existing today-Corporate profiteering and international business lawyers have seen to that. Its all about the interests of the wealthy elite world wide. The fantasy of the American dream or a fair economy for fledgling democracies abroad, is a sham. We all live in one form of economic dictatorship or another, a class system of elitist profiteers sucking the little guy dry. Te average person suffers with low pay and long hours, clinging to the erroneous belief that I can have it too!!

    Imposed new taxes, real estate games, the stock market; government imposed (business driven) laws and fines; are all designed to ultimately line the pockets of a few at the expense of the majority. The difference between western economic dictatorship and eastern economic dictatorship is the degree of poverty and personal safety, and I predict that gap will shrink in my life time.

  79. Ah sorry, my computer did things I do not understand.

    Anyhow, my post got cut off.
    I would propose that if we are to think of the Palestineans as a “nationality,” thus deserving their own nation, so then, do the Jews. Actually, what the Israelis have done to the Palestineans shows how well they have learned the lessons of nationalism. A nation without a state will not be protected, sadly, by the international community that is composed of, by and large, nation-states.
    I deplore the force the Israelis use against the Palestineans, the inhumane treatment of the Palestineans, and Israels attitude and stance, just as I deplore the thoughtless violence returned by the Palestineans. However, I understand the anger and resentment that is susceptible to violent actions, but I would encourage a fuller historical understanding to see that the Jews did not just end up creating Israel out of malice to the Palestineans.

    • Ben, I can’t understand why whenever someone criticizes the Israeli violations of international law in colonizing the Occupied Territories, the reply always ignores the stateless Palestinians and the Israeli oppression of them and centers on a defense of Israel’s legitimacy as a state.

      That wasn’t the subject and is irrelevant to what I said. Israel in 1967 borders is a recognized member state of the United Nations. It is what happened in 1967 and after that is at issue.

  80. “These things are very easy to research, I don’t understand why you would ask in this particular venue such admittedly basic facts.

    link to jewishvirtuallibrary.org”

    US military aid to Israel was insignificant until 1971 (after France had backed away). Pre-1967 total military aid was less than $150 million.
    BTW how do you find anything at Jewish Virtual Library? There is no search function.

    link to en.wikipedia.org

    “The Oil Embargo did not significantly decrease the amount of oil available in the United States or any affected European countries due mainly to a lack of solidarity and uniformity in embargoing specific countries.”

    “Suggesting ‘arab’ countries are obligated to accept non-national refugees does not compute.”

    Of course they were not obligated. Israel was not obligated to accept hundreds of thousands of Jews expelled from Arab countries and Iran; but it did, and thereby averted a possible humanitarian crisis. But (a) it’s hypocritical to complain about their plight while not doing anything to help, and (b) it’s a missed opportunity to move toward permanent peace in the region. (We know what Abba Eban said about missed opportunities.) But ultimately the Arab countries didn’t want to resolve the refugee situation, they wanted to use it as a club to beat Israel with.

    “There are very basic things that we were supposed to have learned from Nuremberg. It is unethical and illegal to use exportation of people to solve problems.”
    I agree completely. Especially when the “solution” (extinction of Israel) is an undesirable goal.

    While criticism of neighboring countries’ specific policies toward Palestinian refugees may be valid, does not grant license or excuse Israel from exporting people from their homes or refusing them a right of return. I leave my house from time to time and do not expect to find people in it when I decide to return.”
    How many people left their homes to go on vacation or business travel and were unable to come home? The great majority left voluntarily, left because the invading Arabs told them anybody found there after the “conquest” would be assumed to be pro-Jewish and killed, left simply so as not to be in the middle of a war, or were forcibly expelled. We can never identify those who were expelled (or their descendants), so there is no right for all the refugees to return. The status of the refugees including who can return is a subject for negotiations, as is compensation for those who won’t be able to.

    • OK well this is stupid because you first ask questions about not even knowing about a 1967 oil embargo, and a link is provided about it, and now you just quote from it. And then you ignore Jewish campaigns to export Arabs prior to 1948, and then Israeli campaigns to take even more land from occupied territories in conflict with both the UN Charter and Geneva Conventions explicitly making it illegal. And then propose a majority of Arabs “left” what became Israel voluntarily: majority and voluntarily both being false, and irrelevant if they want to return to their homes, they do have that right and that is Israel’s responsibility.

      So I think your posts amount to trolling. If it’s not, and you want a source other than Juan Cole, try Norman Finkelstein’s book Image & Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict. And if you want something free as well as a more general background in middle east history and the U.S. role in it, including how this affected events between Israelis and Palestinians, “Ancient History”: U.S. Conduct in the Middle East Since World War II and the Folly of Intervention by Sheldon L. Richman.
      link to cato.org

      • And for any other (open-minded and curious) reader, Finklestein’s BEYOND CHUTZPAH, is priceless. In fact, by dealing with one particular disimilator, he provides a clue as to how Truth gets corrupted and how you have to look at things with special rigor, especially when the forces aligned against the Truth are so focused.

    • It granted territorial integrity to Israel also–do you recognize and accept that?
      This is implicit in any argument that accepts that Palestinians were granted the right to their own territories and doesn’t need to be constantly stated. The territories seized after the creation of Israel, and jewish settlement of those territories after their conquest (including East Jerusalem) are a separate issue and Israel has no claim on any of those lands save by force of arms. Which is a claim that invalidates any right to integrity by any nation seeking to expand by military conquest.

      I’ve asked before and didn’t get an answer…or maybe you didn’t publish the post, but what is hasbara?

      “The word Hasbara means “explanation” in Hebrew. In actual English usage, it refers to the efforts by the Israeli government, pro-Israel pundits and a considerable bunch of useful idiots (mostly bloggers) to justify Israel’s behavior and slander the Palestinians, the Arabs in general, and, if necessary, the 1.3 billion followers of the Muslim faith.”

      From here:
      link to thehasbarabuster.blogspot.com

      Sorry, I don’t know how to attach a link to it.

      Israel was not obligated to accept hundreds of thousands of Jews expelled from Arab countries and Iran

      Zionism as an ideology explicitly claims that Jews are the only people with a claim to what it’s claimants characterise as their “ancestral lands” (the definition of which varies from individual to individual) and that all Jews are duty bound to return there (although that has seemingly lessoned or been jettisoned in the intervening decades.)

      The great majority left voluntarily, left because the invading Arabs told them anybody found there after the “conquest” would be assumed to be pro-Jewish and killed
      Often stated by Israel’s supporters, but convincing proof has never been offered. Even if such proof existed it would not negate the right of the Palestinians to return to their lands.

      • “‘It granted territorial integrity to Israel also–do you recognize and accept that?’
        This is implicit in any argument that accepts that Palestinians were granted the right to their own territories and doesn’t need to be constantly stated.”
        Absolutely untrue. There are many posters here who deny Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, even deny the history of Jews in that area. And I don’t need to point out the Palestinian factions that are committed to the extinction of Israel.

        “Zionism as an ideology explicitly claims that Jews are the only people with a claim to what its claimants characterise as their ‘ancestral lands’…”
        Also untrue. Zionism calls for a Jewish homeland, generally but not always at the present location of Israel: “The self-determination of the Jewish people in a sovereign Jewish national homeland.” (link to en.wikipedia.org; the same article will give you an idea of the range of beliefs the term covers.) There is no inherent reason that this homeland must include the entire area or that non-Jews must be excluded or treated as second class citizens. Of course some Zionists believe both those things but don’t tar the entire movement with that brush.
        Your point was that Israel “had to” accept those refugees. I agree that it was a moral obligation (as I believe it was and is a moral obligation of the Arab states to help the Palestinian refugees) but there was no legal obligation to do it at all much less to go to the expense and effort that was required to bring them to Israel. Those expelled received no compensation and in many cases their property was seized. They certainly have never been offered the right of return. See link to jewishvirtuallibrary.org; additionally there were many who were basically forced to leave Iran after the 1979 revolution.

        “The great majority left voluntarily, left because the invading Arabs told them anybody found there after the ‘conquest’ would be assumed to be pro-Jewish and killed…’
        Often stated by Israel’s supporters, but convincing proof has never been offered. Even if such proof existed it would not negate the right of the Palestinians to return to their lands.
        Actually it would; if you leave voluntarily you do not automatically have the right to return. But regardless, I agree that those who are not allowed to return (and their descendants) are entitled to compensation.

        • Absolutely untrue. There are many posters here who deny Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, even deny the history of Jews in that area. And I don’t need to point out the Palestinian factions that are committed to the extinction of Israel.

          To acknowledge the right of a country to enforce its own security, and with territorial integrity is a separate issue than to make arbitrary rulings about its intended demographic population. By declaring Israel to be a “Jewish State” its government intentionally marginalizes it’s non-jewish minorities.

          In exactly the same way that Iran does by declaring itself an “Islamic Republic.”

          Both countries treat their religious and ethnic minorities with contempt and hold them to standards that differ from those they hold their majority to. Both countries react with brutality when their minorities act up and demand better treatment.

          Also untrue. Zionism calls for a Jewish homeland, generally but not always at the present location of Israel

          A definition for Zionism from the Jewish Virtual Library:

          “Zionism, the national movement for the return of the Jewish people to their homeland and the resumption of Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel, advocated, from its inception, tangible as well as spiritual aims. Jews of all persuasions, left and right, religious and secular, joined to form the Zionist movement and worked together toward these goals. Disagreements led to rifts, but ultimately, the common goal of a Jewish state in its ancient homeland was attained. The term “Zionism” was coined in 1890 by Nathan Birnbaum. ”
          link to jewishvirtuallibrary.org

          And what the Zionists ultimately decided about setting up even a temporary homeland outside of Palestine (admittedly it wasn’t unanimous, but the majority’s beliefs always define the movement.):

          “…At the Sixth Zionist Congress at Basel on August 26, 1903, Herzl proposed the British Uganda Program as a temporary refuge for Jews in Russia in immediate danger… While Herzl made it clear that this program would not affect the ultimate aim of Zionism, a Jewish entity in the Land of Israel, the proposal aroused a storm at the Congress and nearly led to a split in the Zionist movement…The Uganda Program was finally rejected by the Zionist movement at the Seventh Zionist Congress in 1905.”
          link to jewishvirtuallibrary.org

          Your point was that Israel “had to” accept those refugees. I agree that it was a moral obligation…”

          On the contrary I never intended to say that the newly established Israel “had to” make space for Jewish refugees and immigrants. Neither for moral, nor for legal reasons.

          The ideology of the zionists at that time, and it still exists today, was that all Jews had an undeniable right to return to Israel and live there. They couldn’t refuse them access without revealing themselves as hypocrites.

          A practical consideration, after expelling hundreds of thousands of arabs they had a lot more space not being used. Bringing in the refugees made good economic sense, and bolstering the jewish population would further enforce their demographic dominance of the territory over the arab minority allowed to remain.

          Actually it would; if you leave voluntarily you do not automatically have the right to return. But regardless, I agree that those who are not allowed to return (and their descendants) are entitled to compensation.
          By your own assertion, still unproven, they fled in fear for their lives. Whether they thought their prospective killers were likely to be arabs or jews they were clearly being coerced to leave their homes and such weren’t making a free decision to leave.

          It is unlikely they will ever be able to return to their old homes, either for practical or ideological reasons. But they still have that legal right.

      • “The word Hasbara means ‘explanation’ in Hebrew. In actual English usage, it refers to the efforts by the Israeli government, pro-Israel pundits and a considerable bunch of useful idiots (mostly bloggers) to justify Israel’s behavior and slander the Palestinians, the Arabs in general, and, if necessary, the 1.3 billion followers of the Muslim faith.”
        Thanks for the “explanation.” If it means anybody, in any form or forum, attempting to defend any aspect of any Israeli policy, or to criticize anything said or done by Palestinians, Arabs, or Muslims, I guess I qualify. If it must be part of a coordinated effort and/or requires acceptance of ALL Israeli policies, I certainly am not.
        BTW is there a similar name for coordinated or uncoordinated efforts to criticize every aspect of Israeli policy and defend everything done by Palestinians, Arabs, or Muslims?

        • Thanks for the “explanation.” If it means anybody, in any form or forum, attempting to defend any aspect of any Israeli policy, or to criticize anything said or done by Palestinians, Arabs, or Muslims, I guess I qualify. If it must be part of a coordinated effort and/or requires acceptance of ALL Israeli policies, I certainly am not.

          I think the term is generally used to describe the cordinated effort rather than individuals acting upon themselves.

          BTW is there a similar name for coordinated or uncoordinated efforts to criticize every aspect of Israeli policy and defend everything done by Palestinians, Arabs, or Muslims?

          Often it’s denounced as anti-semitism (or the acts of self-hating jews), sometimes fairly and sometimes not. I don’t think they ever bothered to come up with a separate name for it, but then if they did it would distract from the anti-semite label.

  81. Why Israel’s Netanyahu fears democracy.

    Likud’s political raison d’être is based upon a proposition that is, sadly, not only invalid, but also illegal under international law.

    Netanyahu’s right-wing party has, at the core of its agenda, the expropriation of the whole of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. Its vision, illegitimate in the eyes of the world, is known as a ‘Greater Israel’ – an area intended by Likud to be ethnically cleansed of all Muslims and Christians – which action, it claims, is justified by a biblical promise.

    However, the international community, by virtue of UN Resolution 242, has long declared this to be illegal and that all Palestinian land must be returned to its rightful owners.

    In fact, not only has the state of Israel refused to return the land, but has continued to induce its citizens to illegally build and settle in the occupied territories, and has been supported in this by Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak who still co-operates in Israel’s siege of Gaza.

    Of course, Mubarak is a dictator and will get into bed with anyone provided that he, personally, benefits. Currently, he sleeps with Netanyahu, because the American-Israel lobby pays him US$1.5 billion every year, to do so.

    However, when Egypt eventually installs a democratic government, then its prime minister will undoubtedly refuse to sleep around, notwithstanding the effect that may have on US ‘aid’. And that will mean the end of the illegal blockade of Gaza, giving back freedom, food and medical supplies to a half million families – families just like yours and mine.

    That is why Binyamin Netanyahu fears democracy.

    • However, when Egypt eventually installs a democratic government, then its prime minister will undoubtedly refuse to sleep around, notwithstanding the effect that may have on US ‘aid’.

      Politics is politics. It’s not likely that a newly emerging government will totally repudiate Israel of the United States because if the foreign aid dries up the effects on Egypt will likely be catastrophic.

      The Egyptians will need to do some serious work on their infrastructure and economy before they’re able to stand on their own two feet. But a democratic government will by necessity have to take a more nuanced, and critical, position on Israel and the Western powers by virtue of answering to the people.

  82. Good article. I will share it on my blog.
    Another predictable move from US is that they subtly back Omar Suleiman as their preferred choice to lead a new gov. in Egypt. The same Suleiman who was Mubarak’s chief of Intelligence, who was involved in the ” rendition” controversy, a close CIA collaborator and Israel’s bitch. Do the really think that Egyptians do not know Suleiman for what he is and will ever accept him as their leader?

  83. What a revealing photo.

    It looks like smirking Bibi just pulled a hidden lever that dumped a gallon of paint on Abbas’ head. Sadistic Mubarak thinks it’s funny. And Obama looks like handcuffs are keeping him from ripping Netanyahu in half.

  84. Juan,

    I do not subscribe to the notion Obama is a “wimp”; rather, I see Obama playing the good cop to Mubarak’s bad cop. Obama is trying to maximize the ability of the US to influence the inevitable successor regime while at the same time giving the current regime as much room as possible to negotiate the transition.

    I suspect another factor at play here is that numerous thug officials at various levels who have served the current regime well are probably worried about the inevitable retaliation and loss of patronage that will follow once the current regime is gone. Mubarak will be treated well but what about lower level officials once power is gone?

    • Let’s recap: Obama sends trillions to Wall Street to bail the thieving bastards out, but next to nothing to their victims – WIMP. He sells out healthcare to Big Pharma and the insurance industry – WIMP. He fills his administration with banksters – WIMP. He moves to the right after the midterm elections – WIMP. It’s obvious to me that the man has no backbone. That’s why I called him a wimp.

      • Agree with Brent.

        Obama – Man of rhetorics and Zero Action. one can easily judge from his body language during interviews and moreover from his array of actions recently.

        Mrs. Clinton would have done better.

  85. Brent,

    I voted for Cynthia McKinney so I have never had illusions about Pres. Obama (Mr. “Change the Ruling Class can always believe in.)” Obama’s function from day one has always been to sell the most reactionary crap to the masses; hard times call for a smooth talker. Obama is the pressure release valve that keeps a malfunctioning water heater from blowing through the roof; he is playing that role exceptionally well in regards to Egypt.

  86. But the US has been like this, backing dictators abroad for the purpose of profits for a small elite, for a very long time. Since at least the Gilded Age — the term “banana republic” refers to a South American Country controlled by a dictator for the benefit of one of the US’s major corporations and the elite who control it.

    And in the South the tradition goes back even further, with the plantation owners, controllers of huge numbers of enslaved people, holding this sort of behavior up as a positive virtue. The suppression of civil liberties domestically was a virtue to them, as well.

    The US has improved over the generations, but it sadly has not shed the kleptocratic attitude in favor of a saner, more cooperative attitude.

  87. 06/02/2011
    Look at the photograph of the 4, look at the way they
    hold their hands.Is it normal? Look at Obama he is looking not ahead but to his right excluding completely tiny,teeny abbas representer of the Sacrificial Palestinian People, of whom 11,000 are languishing in Israely jails along with more than 900 children …why does Israel need to keep all these Palestinian prisoners? Can it be that they can and have been used as human weapons when acts of terrorism seem propitious to the case for Israel?

  88. I hope President Obama will read ,understand and eventually act accordingly.

  89. This piece, taken as one part of a largely academic debate is, I guess, a pretty fair appraisal. I say academic debate because after one constructs even a very sloppy edifice — which the middle east certainly is — the entirety of the structure nonetheless depends largely on the mutual balance and thus stability of the individual elements. So, one risks everything when monkeying around with any single element. Witness Iraq and the elevation of Iran’s position. Do we give money to Mubarak, et al, persons that continue an apparently oppressive regime in Egypt? Yes. Does that contribute to the stability of the region? Yes. Does that help Israel? Yes. Does that also help the Saudis, vis-a-vis’ stabilization? Yes. And keep the Suez Canal open thus helping commerce and, as I understand it, largely the Chinese? Yes. So, do I think the individual factoids in the article are more or less true? Yes. Does one therefore adopt a new morality about the US influence in the middle east and cease supporting Egypt and Israel, etc., and just sort of hope it all continues to go on business as usual? No, that would be insane. So, nice article, lots of factoids, but in the end the bigger players like the US always benefit from the status quo or, at most, very, very gradual change.

    N’cest pas?

    And so it goes………[Vonnegut]

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