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People Power v. Duplicity in Egypt and Washington


By Stephen Lendman - Posted on 09 February 2011

People Power v. Duplicity in Egypt and Washington - by Stephen Lendman

Inspired by Tunisia's uprising, Egyptians chose January 25 (the National Police Day holiday) to begin street demonstrations, rallies and marches, demanding regime change, no ifs, ands or buts if they stay resolute.

Initially, small numbers in front of Egypt's Supreme Court became crowds chanting "Mubarak must go!" So far, they remain in massive numbers, defying curfew orders, sleeping in streets, persisting against formidable odds in full view of world audiences, thanks mainly to Al Jazeera's heroic coverage.

Anyone anywhere, including in America where it's mostly blocked, can view its live online stream at aljazeera.net. It's become a vital alternative to Western managed news, heavily censored to suppress important truths and thus worthless.

On February 8, day 15, Al Jazeera reported that:

Hundreds of thousands of protesters in Egypt's capital and across the country remain resilient. They continue "mass demonstrations, with a new wave of optimism reaching the pro-democracy camp following" Wael Ghonim's release, Google's Middle East/North Africa head of marketing.

They also reject so-called government concessions, one protester, Sherif Aein, saying "it's just a tablet of aspirin, nothing else." Another, Salma El-Tarzi, expressed anger about negotiations saying:

"The political parties can do whatever they please because they don't represent us. This is not a revolution made by the parties. (They've) been there for 30 years and done nothing. This is the people's revolution."

Abdul Moneim Aboul Fotouh told Al Jazeera that Mubarak must go, and if "they were serious, the parliament would have been dissolved, also a presidential decree ending the emergency law." It was enacted in 1981 when Mubarak took power, Egypt's new strongman after Sadat.

So far, popular determination and courage are breathtaking but no match against brute force if it's used. Egypt's combined military/police might is formidable, Pratap Chatterjee explaining in his February 4 London Guardian article headlined, 'Egypt's military-industrial complex," explaining that:

According to the Congressional Research Service, Congress approved over $70 billion in military and economic aid in the last 60 years. Currently it ranges from $1.5 - $2.0 billion annually, the most for any nation after Israel, getting more aid than the rest of the world combined.

It buys F-16s, aerial surveillance aircraft, Abrams tanks, Chinook, Apache and Black Hawk helicopters, armored personnel carriers, anti-aircraft missile batteries, and much more, including tear gas canisters and 12-guage shotgun shells marked "MADE IN USA."

"In addition, hundreds of Egyptian military officers come for short training courses to the US each year." When security forces attacked street protesters, senior "Egyptian military officials led by Lieutenant General Sami Hafez Enan, (Egypt's armed forces head, met) with Admiral Mike Mullen (US Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman) in Washington....Egyptians are well aware of (close US-Egypt ties and aren't) happy about (America) training and tear gas shells supplied to the Egyptian military."

In fact, crowds in Tahrir Square chanted:

"Hosni Mubarak, Oman Suleiman, both of you are agents of the Americans." They believe decades of US aid kept Mubarak's regime in power. Indeed, the relationship is longstanding. Angryarab.blogspot.com's site mentioned several notable quotes explaining how solid:

In 1984, Ronald Reagan said:

"Some may not realize that the US-Egyptian collaboration on security issues goes back over 100 years."

In 1985, he said: "Our hope lies in statesmen like (Tunisia's) Bourguiba, (Jordan's) King Hussein, President Mubarak and (Israel's) Prime Minister Peres."

In 1988, he added: "I thank you, my brother, President Mubarak, and wish you every success." He also said how much he admired him.

Bill Clinton was just as duplicitous, saying:

"I don't think we would be where we are today if it weren't for President Mubarak....We believe that working together we can help to bring more prosperity to the Egyptian people....I thank you for your wise counsel, your strong leadership, and your iron determination....I especially want to thank President Mubarak for Egypt's partnership in the peace process and for playing a critical role in our efforts here."

Of course, all US presidents made similar comments about legions of past and present despots as long as they served America loyally. Otherwise, new ones or friendlier figures replace them as James Petras explained in his new article titled, "Washington Faces the Arab Revolts: Sacrificing Dictators to Save the State," saying:

"When popular upheavals challenged (previous) US backed dictatorships, and a social as well as political revolution appeared likely to succeed, Washington responded with a three track policy:

-- publicly criticizing the human rights violations and advocating democratic reforms;

-- privately signaling continued support to the ruler; and

-- seeking an elite alternative which could substitute for the incumbent and preserve the state apparatus, the economic system and support US strategic imperial interests."

In other words, Washington rhetorically backs change under new faces continuing old policies - above all, new leadership serving reliably as a US vassal state, obeying orders from Washington.

In part at least, Obama's waffling has been to buy time for a workable "alternative political formula that removes Mubarak (now damaged goods), retains and strengthens the political power of the state apparatus, and incorporates a civilian electoral alternative as a means of demobilizing and de-radicalizing the vast popular movement."

As a longtime observer of popular struggles, Petras understands the process well.

Odds always favor the powerful, including the possibility that popular passion will tire, subside and fade, leaving entrenched forces in place. However, some observers believe Egypt's uprising is different, giving it a better chance than others. Time will tell. So far, its resilience has been breathtaking. Petras calls the:

"anti-dictatorial moment (a) first phase of a prolonged struggle toward definitive emancipation not only in Egypt but throughout the Arab world. (Its) outcome depends on the degree to which the masses develop their own independent organization and leaders." Though no simple task, supporters globally wish them God's speed.

Egypt's Relationship with Israel

On February 8, Stratfor's George Friedman offered his latest assessment, explaining, of course, that decades of peace followed four wars. In 1973, Israel nearly lost the last one, and might have without emergency US aid. After Camp David, however, and especially under Mubarak, Israel no longer was thought threatening Egypt's national interests.

Decades later, "the world has changed." Earlier warriors are now old. "Today's Egyptian military trains with the Americans" and relies on US weapons and aid. However, "Mubarak has locked the younger generation....out of senior command positions and away from the wealth his generation has accumulated. They want him out."

Moreover, the idea of Mubarak's son, Gamal, succeeding him "was the last straw." Other factors are important as well. Though street protesters "are a real faction, (they) don't speak for the shopkeepers and peasants more interested in prosperity than wealth."

In addition, what's "going on now is a struggle within the military, between generations, for the future of the Egyptian military and therefore the heart of (its) regime. Mubarak will leave, the younger officers will emerge, the constitution will make some changes and life will continue."

As a result, Israel may become complacent. "They should not. The usual first warning of a heart attack is death." Those fortunate need dramatic life changes to survive. Egypt's uprising is more than "a mild coronary and (should be) treated with great relief by Israel that it wasn't worse," or at least not so far, but very likely it has legs.

Nonetheless, new forces in Egypt are emerging. Preserving peace is essential. Camp David "is the foundation of Israel's national security....The future of Gaza or the precise borders of a Palestinian state are trivial compared to preserving the treaty with Egypt" and retaining old order power under new leadership.

Israel is tiny. No matter how many previous wars it won, "it need only lose once to be annihilated." As a result, some believe its military strength is crucial. Friedman argues that it "should avoid rolling the dice too often, regardless of how strong it thinks it is."

It may need to reconsider its strategic position, and surely will have to if Egyptian events defy most analysts' predictions. Key is whether mass protests are sustained no matter what alternatives are proposed. Though rare, determined masses at times change the world. Egyptians only want their's changed and so far aren't relenting. Add another element as well. The whole world watches daily, offering global support.

A Final Comment

According to businessinsider.com, dated February 5:

"A senior member of the US Marine corps is telling people (that) "multiple platoons" are deploying in Egypt, a source tells us."

It explained that families of high-ranking marines are alerted when emergency deployments are made in case they can't communicate from abroad.

"That alert just went out, says our source." The official reason given was "to assist in the evacuation of US citizens. Our source was told that 'the chances they were going over there went from 70% yesterday to 100% today," meaning they're in country now for whatever purpose.

On February 4, the Los Angeles Times headlined, "Pentagon moving warships, preparing for possible evacuations," saying:

The Pentagon said "US warships and other military assets (were being deployed) to make sure it is prepared in case evacuation of US citizens from Egypt becomes necessary....The Kearsarge, an amphibious assault ship carrying 700 to 800 troops from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, and the Ponce have arrived in the Red Sea, putting them off Egypt's shores in case the situation worsens."

As a result, the situation bears close monitoring as evacuation, if it's needed, may be secondary to key strategic calculations.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

"After Record-Level Turnout in Tahrir, Egyptian Protests Spread to Parliament, Cabinet Buildings; Labor Unions Launch Strikes Nationwide"

Feb. 9, 2011

www.democracynow.org/2011/2/9/after_record_level_turnout_in_tahrir

Egypt’s pro-democracy uprising is seizing new momentum one day after hundreds of thousands turned out for one of the largest protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square to date. A gathering of protesters led to the evacuation of the Egyptian cabinet building today, and tent camps are also being set up outside the Egyptian parliament. Egypt’s labor movement has launched new strikes across the country, with an estimated 10,000 workers taking part. Democracy Now! senior producer Sharif Abdel Kouddous interviews a demonstrator outside the Egyptian parliament building. [includes rush transcript]

It's difficult to hear what's said in the interview because Sharif Abdel Kouddous and the demonstrator don't speak close enough to the mic., or don't speak loud enough, I guess. We mostly hear the voices of the people protesting.

The following interview with Robert Fisk in Egypt is very good and important.

"“The Great Tragedy is Obama Chose Not to Hold Out His Hand”: Robert Fisk on the Gap Between U.S. Rhetoric and Action in the Egyptian Uprising" (approx. 16 min.)

Feb. 9, 2011

www.democracynow.org/2011/2/9/the_great_tragedy_is_obama_chose

The longtime Middle East correspondent of The Independent newspaper in London joins us from Cairo to talk about the popular uprising ongoing across Egypt, its regional implications, and how Obama should respond. “[The protesters] are asking for nothing less than Americans accept in their own lives,” Fisk says. [includes rush transcript]

I don't think they really want what Americans accept, because Americans definitely have hellbent government, capitalism, imperialism, war making, police state, being lied to by Washington, and so on, and repeatedly keep this going. That's surely not what Egyptians are protesting to gain; I certainly hope not, anyway.

The US has some good laws, some or many of which apparently aren't original, having been based on the Great Law of American Indians. But it's "just ... paper", anyway; as Bush said of the Constitution and Obama, Bill Clinton, Bush Sr, Reagan, and others proved to also believe even if they weren't candid about it like Bush Jr was.

"Revolution: Is 1848 Repeating Itself in the Arab World?
PART I: The Dynamics of Global Capitalism
"

by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Feb. 5, 2011

www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=23096

"Can We Swap Obama for Chavez?"
by Mike Whitney, Feb. 8, 2011

www.informationclearinghouse.info/article27431.htm

www.democracynow.org has one or more additional reports from today.

Update:

Actually, I just listened to the following roughly 2-minute report and it's good news, very good to hear.

"“People Are Taking Care of Each Other”: Democracy Now!’s Anjali Kamat Camps with Protesters Overnight in Tahrir Square"

Feb. 9, 2011

www.democracynow.org/2011/2/9/people_are_taking_care_of_each

I was only going to provided the title for the following report, but will also provided the link. The killings of protesters has been worse than articles I've seen lead me to believe.

"Human Rights Watch: 300 Deaths, Massive Detentions and Abuse under Mubarak Regime Crackdown" (approx. 16 min.)

Feb. 9, 2011

www.democracynow.org/2011/2/9/human_rights_watch_300_deaths_massive

Human Rights Watch is reporting that at least 302 people have died in Egypt since pro-Mubarak forces launched a violent response to the popular uprising last month. The group says at least 232 people have died in Cairo, 52 in Alexandria, and 18 in Suez, but warns the actual death toll could be far higher. We speak with Human Rights Watch researcher Heba Morayef, who has been monitoring the situation on the ground since the protests began. [includes rush transcript]

Those are very conservative numbers and most of the deaths occurred January 28th, according to the HRW researcher.

Hey kidz!!! It looks like David "Mr. Holocaust(TM) Scholar" Cesarani just got his wish for a Tiananmen Square-style massacre in Egypt.

(clipped headline and article)
"'Holocaust' historian says massacre of Egyptian protestors is desirable A 'Holocaust' historian and former Israeli kibbutznik, Professor David Cesarani, floated the idea of there being a Tiananmen Square-style massacre in Egypt as a way of quelling potential post-Mubarak anarchy."

(full story)
http://revisionistreview.blogspot.com/2011/02/holocaust-historian-says-m...

Professor David "Mr. Holocaust(TM) Scholar" Cesarani goes on to explain:

(clipped text from above article)
"Professor Cesarani said that if one takes the 'wholly pragmatic view,’ then 'the outcome of a Tiananmen Square-style crackdown is desirable and is predictable.' Because, he said, 'if you allow this popular democratic movement to run on unchecked, you cannot predict what’s going to happen. But you can predict probably that after a short, sharp, massive clampdown at huge human cost, there will be a sullen stability.'"

This story hit the blogosphere on Tuesday.

Well, look just came down over the wire, kidz . . .

(clipped headline and article from PressTV)
"Hundreds killed, injured in Kharga - Hundreds of protesters have been killed and wounded in Kharga in southern Egypt, as the nationwide revolution in the crisis-hit country enters its 16th consecutive day. Egyptian security forces targeted the anti-government protesters with live bullets on Wednesday, killing at least five protesters and wounding hundreds of others."

(full story)
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/164394.html

And it wouldn't be a real "Tiananmen Square-style massacre" without TANKS, now would it, David "Mr. Holocaust(TM) Scholar" Cesarani???

(clipped headline and article from PressTV)
"Army deploys more tanks in Cairo - Reports say Egyptian armed forces have stationed a large column of tanks and mechanized infantry vehicles in and around Cairo's Liberation Square."

(full story)
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/164462.html

Gee, just like in Occupied Palestine . . . Innocent Non-Israeli people being slaughtered with weapons and bullets paid for by the U.S. Taxpayer . . . while they call it creating "stability".

Well, it so nice to know the type of person that is "guilt tripping" and "brainwashing" our children of the world and calling it "education" . ...

"David 'Mr. Holocaust(TM) Scholar' Cesarani"
http://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/davidcesarani

"NEVER AGAIN!!! . . . unless somehow, Israel or World Zionism benefit"
- Mr. Holocaust(TM) Scholar

"Gotta get down to it
Soldiers are cutting us down
Should have been done long ago.
What if you knew her
And found her dead on the ground
How can you run when you know?"
- "Ohio" by Neil Young

peace.

Stephen Lendman wrote:

Inspired by Tunisia's uprising, Egyptians chose January 25 (the National Police Day holiday) to begin street demonstrations, rallies and marches, demanding regime change, no ifs, ands or buts if they stay resolute.

See the following interview for background information.

"Roots of the Egyptian Revolutionary Moment" (approx. 12 min.)
TheRealNews, Jan. 29, 2011

www.youtube.com/watch?v=RyqtLO_CgxM

Ezzeldin: Egyptian uprising is the product of years of worker's strikes and student protests - now inspired by the Tunisian people

Do we focus on the word "inspire", or on the Egyptian uprising being "the product of years of worker's strikes and student protests"? Both are of value to note, but the years of strikes and protests in Egypt are very important. Egyptians evidently were not inactive before the protests in Tunisia happened, so those protests at most helped to re-spark Egyptian activism, which, reports say, keeps growing.

The Egyptians have to be very wary of ending up co-opted though. They haven't won, yet, and when they do, if they do, then the capitalist elites of the West will definitely use their disguised ways of trying to co-opt the Egyptians. There are good and knowledgeable writers who've been saying this. "Watch out for the US NED", f.e. These capitalists don't care who's in power, as long as they can be co-opted.

Stephen Lendman later says:

In other words, Washington rhetorically backs change under new faces continuing old policies - above all, new leadership serving reliably as a US vassal state, obeying orders from Washington.

That reminds of the Obama presidential campaign in 2008 and earlier US presidential campaigns and presidencies. Washington does abroad what it does at home, basically, that is. There are apparent differences, but they don't mean much; they're mostly superficial and used for purposes of deception.

Re. Stephen Lendman's closing words:

"Israel places resources at Suleiman's disposal "to protect the Egyptian regime""
Middle East Monitor, Feb. 1, 2011

www.middleeastmonitor.org.uk/news/middle-east/2009-israel-places-resourc...

"Israel consents to deployment of Egyptian troops in Sinai"
Middle East Monitor, Feb. 1, 2011

www.middleeastmonitor.org.uk/news/middle-east/2008-israel-consents-to-de...

"American Warships Heading to Egypt"
by Washington's Blog, Feb. 6, 2011

www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=23103

"The Division of Egypt: Threats of US, Israeli, and NATO Military Intervention?"
by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Feb. 7, 2011

www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=23102

And here's a copy of James Petras' article that Stephen Lendman quoted from, btw.

"Washington Faces the Arab Revolts: Sacrificing Dictators to Save the State"
by Prof James Petras, Feb. 7, 2011

www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=23136

That's a relatively short, but very good article that provides important historical background. And the following interview with Pepe Escobar is also very good, though I would've liked greater analysis, so a longer interview.

"Suleiman: America's new man in Egypt" (6:36)
RTAmerica, Feb. 8, 2011

www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbFbCbr1U3Q

RT should have gotten a more thorough interview with Pepe Escobar. He says enough about Omar Suleiman, but the interview could've also included more analysis, sort of like what James Petras and some other people have written, some of the articles being among those I've provided links for here. Pepe Escobar could say more than what's in this short interview on or with RT.

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