Monday, January 31, 2011

Egypt: the Course and Fortunes of Revolution

This week,  Western journalists like ABC's Christiane Amanpour have been making very naïve, perhaps even intentionally misleading statements concerning what is being labeled a revolution in Egypt. They have proffered that because the military announced it's allegiance to the people with a promise to refrain from violence and that because embattled President Hosni Mubarak has announced a new government, all will be well.
"Up until today I've been struggling with whether this is going to go the way of the revolution in Iran in 1979, when millions of people came out on the street and overthrew the Shah -- or protests we all saw in Iran in 2009 when the so called "green revolution" was quickly put down.

"But today something happened that I think was very significant.

"The Egyptian army went on state television and read a statement in which they said they accepted people's right to peacefully express themselves and that the army would never use force against the Egyptian people.

"So the one question that everyone has been asking since the beginning, "what will happen if the army is given the order to fire?" was answered. They will not fire on the people."
Yet in reality, all is not so rosy. Armanpour is considered by many to be representative of the cadre of journalists contracted by the national security state to present the American government's "official" take on world events, a program that has its origins in the CIA's disinformation program code-named Operation Mockingbird of the late 50s and early 60s under Cord MeyerVersions of the program persist, and Amanpour serves as a possible example of what is likely going on in the national corporate-media.

"Amanpour is married to James Rubin, former Assistant Secretary of State and spokesman for the US State Department during the Clinton regime - a hardcore Zionist. [James Ruben] has ties to [Rupert] Murdoch, [Gen. Wesley] Clark, [Senator John]  Kerry, [the late Senator Tom] Lantos [and] had ties to Golda Meir, Yitzhak Rabin, Menachem Begin AND the Rothschilds. He is Rahm Emanuel on Zionist steroids.

"She is brainy and compelling - and a snake in the grass. I followed her [Balkan] reports for years [...] and was often in the same area she was reporting from - she did more work than anyone on the Yugoslavia war and knew [its context and history] well.  [Her] lies and distortions were appalling. She knew better. She understood the situation. She chose to lie for the elites. She is interesting to look at but completely false."
--Silvija Sea,  independent journalist and blogger

In fact, in a quick review today of Israel's online newspaper Haaretz,  one can easily discern that officials in the Netanyahu regime are strongly supportive of Mubarak, especially given his role in providing a balancing influence in the Middle East against other, more stridently Islamist regimes of which Israel is wary, such as that of their arch-nemesis, Iran.  Israel has depended upon the Egyptian dictator to enforce the blockade of Gaza from the Sinai, as well as provide security for the Suez Canal, with special rights of access provided to Israel and the nations of NATO.  If Egypt undergoes a successful revolution, her role in relation to Israel may change drastically; and Israel seems committed to preventing any lapse or cancellation of their security treaty with Egypt.  As a stop-gap measure, Netanyahu is encouraging Western nations and their decidedly pro-Zionist media to mitigate any criticism of Mubarak that might have the potential to encourage international opposition to his regime.  Hence, the formidable Israeli propaganda machine will be up and running with a full head of steam.

Earlier this week, in a cynical attempt at appeasement, President Mubarak announced the appointment of a new vice president, former intelligence chief Omar Suleiman.  Suleiman is known to members of the American national security state as the official who organized the structure and facilities in Egypt for the CIA's controversial torture and extraordinary rendition program.

Today, Mubarak fired his interior minister, head of security forces, General Habib Ibrahim El Adly, scapegoating him for the violence used by the military to oppress the demonstrations.  He then appointed retired police general, Mahmoud Wagdi as El Adly's replacement. Immediately, Wagdi announced the military's familial ties to the Egyptian people on state TV.

Maj. Gen. David H. Petraeus
But this is only a change in strategy. It represents the philosophy of Gen. David Petraeus' tactics in counterins­urgency warfare, the first objective of which is to win the hearts and minds of the people. Although civilian-friendly in design, given Mubarak's involvement in it's deployment, the counterinsurgency strategy has the potential to become nefariously Machiavellian in the hands of defenders of the status quo.

Concurrent with the new counterinsurgency role of the military as "protector of the people," the tactic now is to identify the "enemy".  More than likely that will be the Muslim Brotherhoo­d.  But if Egypt's 2005 Nobel laureate Mohamed Mustafa ElBaradei's popularity continues to grow, Mubarak may have a real problem; that is, unless they can reel him in, a fait accompli that is unlikely.  

Assuming that Mubarak is determined to suppress the revolution at all costs, the life of ElBaradei is in danger.  Undoubtedly, the prosecution of such a scheme will come in the form of a false-flag, blaming the Muslim Brotherhood or some other group that is currently challenging the regime.  But the risks of such a covert operation to the Mubarak regime are obvious.  Its repercussions could include a level of anti-government violence that strains the imagination.  "Anger in Egypt" could turn into rage and mayhem.  

If the Egyptian people continue to protest through a general strike and demonstrations in the nation's major cities; and if in the event the people do not accept the scapegoats they offer if/when ElBaradei is assassinated -- even if the "conspirators" are delivered over to the mob for immediate execution -- it is a safe bet that we will see the military revert to violence. 

Violence is written into the foundation­s of all government­, no matter what form they take. After all, the Egyptian military is controlled by Mubarak.

Count Lyev Nikolayevich Tolstoy
If we can trust the insight of Leo Tolstoy, elucidated in his spiritual-ethical classic, The Kingdom of God is Within You, We can generally assume that the problem with revolutions is that they inevitably resort to violence and oppression, often at levels that exceed that of the regimes they replace. For the first goal of any revolutionary government is to secure its newly acquired power and status against all challengers, including the people themselves.  The foremost of examples of this phenomenon is the French Revolution of the late 18th century and the Russian Bolshevik Revolution of 1917.  Indeed, Tolstoy prophesied the totalitarian Russian state even before the turn of the century.

Following Tolstoy's thinking, we can further assume that the "revolutionary government" will be under extreme pressure to produce the expected benefits to the people as quickly as possible, including the availability of affordable food, gas, housing, energy, jobs; i.e., prosperity. 

In short, the success of the new government in rising from the ashes of revolution will ironically depend on its ability to establish a viable normalcy and national standard of living that is beyond its ability to deliver without succumbing to the temptations of international oligarchs and their banks, all of whom can be trusted to run with what they know: corporatocracy. We can also expect that an incipient form of Islamism will emerge as a competing force.  

Nevertheless, we should not expect Egypt, more modern in many respects than other Mid-Eastern nations, to be the exception to Tolstoy's rule, given the many factions that will be vying for power if and when Mubarak abdicates.

If the Egyptian people come to enjoy a renewed social power and status free from oppression, the more violent extremes of competing forms of government can be mitigated by a temperance unmatched by the history of Western European revolutions of which Tolstoy wrote.  As many outside observers have recently opined,  Middle Eastern culture is not Western European culture.

But the danger of revolution remains:



jerryminyard said...

Well done, Cliff. This is good read on the current events in Egypt. My hope is Tolstoy may be proved wrong. Your analysis about the need for prosperity is right on and is the deal breaker for any transition. The bakers have to keep baking. I believe they will. The outside "help" from the west will be filled with fine print and debt regardless of how it is portrayed. Here's hoping for a miracle on the Nile. Yezzi Fock !!!

Donna Mc said...

I tip my hat to you, buddy. You never fail to make me think.