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Monday, February 7, 2011

Egypt as a cautionary tale for the West

Speculation is running wild about the expected outcome for Hosni Mubarak and the State of Egypt.  Egypt, like Qatar, Lebanon, and a few other Arab states, has long been seen as a quasi-ally of the United States for some time.  The phrase the enemy of my enemy is my friend is most applicable here.  During the past 12 years of American led combat in the region, Egypt has been silently supportive of Western military action - if not for any other reason - its taken the burden off of the Egyptian Army of having to deal with incursions from opponents and extremists both inside and outside their boundaries, and allowed Egypt to have fairly peaceful relationships with their neighbors after years of war, and isolation.

Egypt in chaos
But the Middle East has always been a ticking time bomb, full of greedy dictators operating under the phony guise of representative government.  Egypt relies heavily on American and Western tourism and aid from Western Governments which the larger Arab World has objected to on the whole.  Extremist factions are working around the clock to break up the sweet-heart relationship between the West and States like Egypt, which are seen as collaborative puppets for western policies in the Middle East.

The truth is that the relationship between Egypt and the U.S. has been anything but perfect.  Egypt has been a particularly difficult nation to work with on global affairs because it straddles between its binding allegiance to its Arab neighbors and its reliance on Western support to help it maintain a degree of stability (and even some level of prosperity when compared with other Arab Nations).  Being of both camps has caused a headache for western diplomats as the Egyptian government has used its leverage, at times, to appear as an arbiter for Arab interests.  But notwithstanding these issues, Egypt, more specifically President Mubarak, has kept groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, and one of its more infamous associations - Al Queda, in check through use of Egypt's military and security forces. Clearly, these too groups have always had an interest in capturing Egypt and pro-western states like it, to advance Islamic racialism and the mission of riding Arab lands of any Western influence.

Of course, one would be a fool not recognize the vital role that a peaceful Egypt plays in keeping the Suez Canal trouble free for purpose of efficiently transporting goods, oil and other commodities between regions (the alternative is sending ships on a long trip around the Cape of Good Hope).  Thus Egypt's control of the waterway has been a boon for its economy, and allowed it to play a key role in international affairs.  This is particularly productive for Egypt which suffered greatly after its humiliating defeat during its war with Israel.  Thus Hosni Mubarak has recognized the benefits of keeping extremists under control, and maintaining peaceful relations with its neighbors.

The problem with a quasi-dictator like Mubarak is that eventually they outlive their purpose.  Mubarak has been in power since the early 80s, and in some form of power long before that. He enjoyed the taste of power while he rose up through military ranks over time to his present position of President, which he inherited after the murder of Anwar Sadat.  His government is much like the rest of pro-Western Governments - extremely corrupt, and a step away from instability.  The truth is, the uprising in Egypt is long overdue, given Mubarak's 30 year tenure as its ruler.  Outside influences have been largely successful as positioning Mubarak as a token of the West thus the overall dissatisfaction of the multi-faceted population was already at a boiling point.  It probably doesn't help that human rights records show that he's dealt with his citizens in harsh terms, suspending most liberties such as freedom of the press, or right to a fair trial.  Many of those protesting on the streets of Cairo have a point.

The United States and its Western Allies for the most part have been largely successful in Iraq and Afghanistan in the overall mission, but its taken ongoing military occupation to hunt down, capture (and/or kill) insurrectionists, and disrupt their efforts to regroup and re-emerge.  Since its impossible to kill an idea, or impose our belief system on Arabs, its likely going to remain a long term investment in the region.  Having a few friends, whether they are tyrants or not, has been in the U.S. National interest.  Moreover, countries like Lebanon and Qatar need strong alliances between each other to halt fanatical Islam from expanding locally.

Our foes are not as dumb as they appear.  They've plenty of followers throughout the Middle East and Europe - planning, plotting and waiting for their opportunity to disrupt Western interests anywhere they can.  Egypt has been ripe for the picking given Mubarak's troubles with an already dissatisfied population.  And his own excesses have helped groups like the Muslim Brotherhood spread dissatisfaction and recruit from within Egypt's own borders.  And the same thing is happening in Yemen, Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and likely in places like Turkey and Bosnia, and any place with an Islamic population suffering under the strain of a dying global economy.

While watching the hundreds of television reports, what interested me most was that officials were caught off guard by the rapid emergence of this crisis, and success of those instigating the demonstrations.  Moreover, there are clear concerns about the spread of protests throughout and beyond Egypt's borders in such short order.  It's also interesting to learn that the United States and Western Nations have no plan for Middle Eastern collapse.  This was apparent by the self-professed confusion uttered by western diplomats over the turmoil.

President Barack Obama didn't help matters when he began to make declarative statements about how he expected Egypt to respond - particularly suggesting that Hosni Mubarak step down and form a transitional government.  Without out a doubt, this added fuel to the fire on both sides - first, Obama alienated pro-Mubarak forces who want their President to remain in power,  and second, it emboldened anti-Mubarak forces to continue rioting and protesting.  It also gave fuel to anti-western groups eager to show that Egypt's government is being controlled by western influences.  Instead of keeping still, Obama's rhetoric likely escalated hostilities and riots within Cairo and in the Middle East.  It's another clear example of how this President's miscalculation and inexperience creates havoc here and abroad.

The question which remains on the table is if Mubarak does step down, who would take over?  What would be the outcome for Egyptians if the Muslim Brotherhood came to power?  There is nothing in their resume that suggests a peaceful path for Egypt or its neighbors.  Certainly, Israel would need to focus on a new threat on its border.  And the Suez Canal would be an ongoing warzone with a hostile Egypt under Islamists control.  Commerce would be jeopardized and with it, the flow of oil of which we so greatly depend.

So there is no easy answer to what is next.  The leader of the free world has not helped matters by throwing Mubarak under the bus.  The next President of Egypt could either be installed by the West, come from the Army, or would come through so-called free elections, likely the last you'd see for decades given the opportunity for Islamists to rig the outcome.  And a coalition government which includes groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, only buy fanatics time to plan and act on their quest for domination.

All of this follows the fanatics script to the letter.  Seizing control of all Muslim countries is the first step to forging regional solidarity against Israel and western countries.  Once this is completed, the next step is to infiltrate western countries themselves.  We already see this in happening in Britain and other parts of Europe where Muslims are demanding their own leaders, their own territories, and there own set of laws.  And western countries have been caving in to their demands in the hope of avoiding conflict in the street.

Sacrifices not made today, will end in full blown disaster in the future.  Perhaps we cannot save Egypt (although we should try), but we can still save ourselves from a liberal ideology that allows Islam to root and grown within our Democratic borders.  The Imams' plan is total Islamic domination of the world.  And our own people are helping them achieve their goals bit by bit, retreat by retreat.

The west aught to look at Israel's example for the courage need to fend off Islam and its its followers.  If we wait much longer, then we here in the United States will soon see rise to many of the same mindless liberal policies that have enabled fanatics to control entire neighborhoods in England and elsewhere.  The choice is still ours.

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