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Thread: Egypt's Spring Revolution (2011-2013)

  1. #61
    Council Member Surferbeetle's Avatar
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    Default Nice catch...

    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    I noted the clear change of policy by the Army and found a link to the actual statement:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12332488
    Back at ya from Lebanon's Al Manar TV (our acquaintances at Hezbollah)...link to story.

    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued a “sincere warning and piece of advice” for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak telling him, “we are all passing, and we will be judged by what we left behind.”
    More from the LA Times regarding Recep Tayyip Erdogan: TURKEY: Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan joins call for Egypt's Mubarak to make big changes

    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan sided with the Egyptian protesters against their president in a televised speech on Tuesday in which he rebuked Hosni Mubarak and urged him to take a bold step before more blood is spilled.
    Wikipedia backgrounder regarding Recep Tayyip Erdogan
    Sapere Aude

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cliff View Post
    Slap-

    I have a little problem with this article - it claims that the US doesn't believe in democracy, but then goes on to criticize Pres Bush's attempts to use Iraq to bring democracy to the region.

    So which is it - does the US fear democracy or support it?

    Folks like this who criticize everything the government does aren't helpful.

    V/R,

    Cliff
    I have a few problems with it myself, which is why I put it up here to get the other side of the story. As you point out there does appear to be a contradiction in his basic thesis on using democracy to achieve some sort of stable End but at the same time criticizing it.

  3. #63
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Surferbeetle View Post
    Thanks for sharing, it's a distinctive avatar. United Arab Republic (Egypt and Syria) Air Force MiG 19’s and MiG 21’s? I have a friend, with some interesting stories, who was on the other side during June 5th ‘67.
    No.31 flew MiG-17PFs (radar-equipped, "night/all-weather interceptor" variant) originally acquired by Syria before that country joined the UAR, in 1958-1961 period.

    Re. "friends": I've got quite a few on both sides of 1967; that makes the research about related topics far more easier.

    Re. Mubarak and Suharto: except for both rulling for 30+ years, I do not really see much similarity. Suharto was instrumental for establishment of the Indonesian military and personally involved in fighting the Dutch, when he distinguished in action, in the late 1940s. He pursued a successful, and quite well-documented military career right up to 1965 or so.

    For comparisson, practically nothing is known about the details of Mubarak's military career, and I think there are a few good reasons for this. For much of his early career, Mubarak served as instructor at the Air Force Academy in Bilbeis. While I know that many other instructors flew combat sorties during the 1956 War (on Spitfire F.Mk.22s), for example, I never heard Mubarak did the same. In the early 1960, at the time any other professional Egyptian officer (see Riyadh, al-Ezz etc.) was purged out of the military by FM Amer and FM Fawzy, Mubarak rose in rank and was appointed the commander of the Academy (in my eyes, this makes him one of typical Egyptian "political" military officers, like Naguib, Nasser, Amer, Fawzy, Sadat etc.). While many Russians recall Riyadh's stint at Frunze very well, nothing comparable can be said about Mubarak...

    By early 1967, Mubarak was back in Egypt and in command of an Air Group ("Wing/Brigade") operating Tu-16s. True enough, he personally led a number of daring, low-level attacks against the Yemeni Royalists in Yemen and Saudi Arabia, possibly even the fake raid against the Royal Palace in Riyadh (only flash cartriges were used), but very few details about these are known. Quite estranging given how much is meanwhile known about a number of other Egyptian Tu-16 and Il-28 pilots from the same period... Similarly, the most "distinguished" action by Mubarak during the June 1967 War was to lead a section of six Tu-16s that, by pure accident, took off five minutes before the first Israeli strike on 5 June 1967. Instead of doing something meaningful with his planes, at least fly them to the safety of Yemen or Sudan, he diverted them to an airfield well within the range of Israeli fighter bombers - and then made a call on an open line in order to ask the High Command what shall he do. Unsurprisingly, the Israelis intercepted that call and 30 minutes later smoked all six of his Tu-16s on the ground... Once again, not a single combat sortie flown by him during that war is known, as compared with missions flown by other Egyptian bomber pilots.

    During the Attrition War he served in various staff positions until being appointed the C-in-C EAF. He was certainly never as popular as other air force commanders, particularly el-Hinnawy or al-Ezz, and I am yet to find out if he ever did anything "special". Many of sources available so far indicate something entirely different, but due to the situation in Egypt until now it was impossible to find out any specific details (that alone makes Mubarak's role appearing quite "suspect"). Thus, for the time being it's definitely sure that most of Mubarak's job consisted of completing various projects launched by his predecessors in that position.

    Mubarak remained in charge of the EAF during the 1973 War, when the air force was first held back (much to disagreement of most of its officers) and then rushed to the battle when it was much too late. Afterwards, he definitely sided with Ismail and the rest of the "missile superiority" clique and became crucial in Egyptians generally being taught that the crossing of Suez on 6 October was the only significant action of that war... The only other act of his during the 1970s that was of any durable importance was to let one of leading fighter-bomber commanders write an official history of the Egyptian Air Force in 1967 War for internal purposes (important, since the original work to this topic, written back in 1968, was subsequently destroyed on order from Fawzy).

    It was really quite surprising when he was appointed the President, following Sadat's assassination, in October 1981, and I really do not see him ever emphasising the core value of "serving the nation" in his entire life. While Suharto's "New Order" promoted stability and economic development, and significantly improved the standard of living of much of the Indonesian population, Mubarak excelled in nepotism and corruption, made the military largely dependent on US aid and did not seriously care about the state of the Egyptian economy before 2005. Except in making himself, his family, and his closest supporters obscenely rich, allienating vast majority of the Egyptian population, or keeping himself in power, he failed in almost anything else he ever did (that is, he successfuly presented his regime as a "bastion against Islamic extremism in Egypt"...).

    The act of appointing Soleiman as VP should be seen as a (much belated) attempt to tame the protests and buy time, nothing else. Perhaps Mubaraks didn't get all of their money and gold out of the country (yet), or have to discuss their future exile in Saudi Arabia with the King...

    Definitions of who comprises al-Qaida (AQ) vary, and there are significant gaps between desire, capability, and motivations of those who populate AQ as well as other organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood.
    I plead guilty for not providing a better definition. I'll excuse this with explanation that I took it for "granted" that it's clear who am I talking about, given that several of closest associates of OBL (including his leading theoretician) and four of 9/11 idiots were all Egyptians.

    Do you think that Saad al-Katatny is strong enough to represent interests of the Egyptian branch of the Brotherhood and does his organization truly represent the will of the majority of the Egyptian people…or that of the Egyptian Army?
    I do not think that anybody can reasonably say whether the MBs represent the "will of the majority" in Egypt. I hope there are going to be "trully free" elections there, and that such assessments are going to be dispelled.

    What I know is that the current protest was largely organized by as many secularists as Islamists and simple "onlookers" from the impoverished suburbs. Actually, one of most prominent "organisers" during the first few days of protests were such organisations of the Egyptian "ultras" like al-Ahly or al-Zamalek: football fan clubs similar to those in Europe. And, their representatives stressed that they are determined to remain non-political.

    That aside, even the MB supporters that I know in person are sure that the Brotherhood is 100% incapable of improving the condition of the economy (if for no other reason, then because much of the crucial Egyptian businesses are run by the Copts) - which is the critical drive behind the protest.

    However, right now, I do not see this as important. The fact hardly anybody of "talkingheads" in the West (with exception of few that attempt pouring oil to the fire of specific fears) is mentioning in these days is, that nobody on the streets of Egyptian cities is currently talking about the USA or Israel, there are no flag-burnings, and nothing religious. And that Copts protest as much as Moslems do. I therefore see the situation as an uprising of the Egyptian people that want to get rid of Mubarak's regime and a complete change of the entire political system. I.e. a struggle motivated by domestic situation and aiming at finding solutions for problems very specific to Egypt.

    Well...this post grew quite long (hope, nobody is going to mind that), and I'll stop here.

  4. #64
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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  5. #65
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    Former Amb Dan Gillerman from Israel to the UN on Fox. Very pro Israel as one would expect him to be. That is his job, to be an advocate. Harshly critical (in a very polite way) of President Obama's stance, and what he describes as an abandonment of Mubarak, who has been a staunch ally for 30 years, etc.

    I will say the same thing regarding Mubarak as I have said regarding Karzai:

    It is not the US who has abandoned Mubarak, it is Mubarak who has abandoned the US through his reliance on US support to treat his own people with growing impunity.

    In contract law there is a principle of "first material breach," and while the US is certainly in breach of its contract with the Mubarak government, I would argue that Mubarak has been in material breach for decades. He remained true to the aspects he knew the US cared most about (stability with Israel, access through the Suez, etc), but has with equal consistency and growing impunity violated is duties to his own populace. If he was standing on his own two feet, such breach is between him and his people, but as he executed such breachs under a cloak of US support and tacit approval, he has made us complicit in his actions.

    This is true for so many of our relationships across this region. There are solutions to this problem far short of demanding leaders to step down, or coming on in support of protesters, but those steps require these governments to act affirmatively to address these wrongs and rapidly seek to allow new voices to be heard and reasonable adjustments of government put in place.

    Israel is important, but we have allowed our efforts to support them take us down a path to where we are today. We should continue to support Israel, but not at the expense of our own credibility, not at the expense of our own principles, and not in a manner that continues to fuel the flames of terrorism against the US as these sullied relationships with Arab strongmen have these past couple of decades.
    Robert C. Jones
    Intellectus Supra Scientia
    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

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    Today's lesson: don't fvck with Anderson Cooper.

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    Somehow it got into here that the US invaded and occupied Iraq to promote democracy.

    Ludicrous. Eight years in, and we get only faux elections. Baath party can't participate. Not is democracy.

    Iraq was invaded in 2003 to get little Bush re-elected in 2004. Catch up after allowing 9/11 to happen.

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    It is interesting that some American commentators are using the “clashes” trope. If you hear anyone say “clashes between pro and anti-Mubarak forces” that can only mean one of two things:
    1. The commentator is a total ass and actually has no idea what is going on. Which is a good way to identify the total asses working in the media.
    OR
    2. The commentator believes he or she is doing a service to American/Israeli interests by projecting the thug crackdown as “clashes”. Secondarily, this also means he or she is a bit of an ass because the US does not have enough of a media monopoly in the world and this sort of reporting/disinformation will only confuse the more clueless faction of the American people without influencing events in any way…

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    btw, Admiral Mike Mullen (who runs his own foreign policy, from Pakistan to Egypt) has talked to the Egyptian army chief and expressed
    confidence in the army’s ability to maintain order.
    http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=62665
    Obama should take some initiative to rein in the Pentagon. Everytime they open their mouth about such things, they are making it worse...
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 02-03-2011 at 09:39 AM.

  10. #70
    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Did anyone notice the Egyptian camel rider in post #66 appears to be wearing blue jeans? The world is mystifying and wonderful place.
    Last edited by carl; 02-03-2011 at 03:35 AM. Reason: typo
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

  11. #71
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    A very good summary of Mubarak's reactions over the last 8-9 days:

    Mubarak’s Basij

    by Prof Juan Cole

    On Wednesday, the Mubarak regime showed its fangs, mounting a massive and violent repressive attack on the peaceful crowds in Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo. People worrying about Egypt becoming like Iran (scroll down) should worry about Egypt already being way too much like Iran as it is. That is, Hillary Clinton and others expressed anxiety in public about increasing militarization of the Iranian regime and use of military and paramilitaries to repress popular protests. But Egypt is far more militarized and now is using exactly the same tactics.

    The outlines of Hosni Mubarak’s efforts to maintain regime stability and continuity have now become clear. In response to the mass demonstrations of the past week, he has done the following:

    1. Late last week, he first tried to use the uniformed police and secret police to repress the crowds, killing perhaps 200-300 and wounding hundreds.

    2. This effort failed to quell the protests, and the police were then withdrawn altogether, leaving the country defenseless before gangs of burglars and other criminal elements (some of which may have been composed of secret police or paid informers). The public dealt with this threat of lawlessness by organizing self-defense neighborhood patrols, and continued to refuse to stop demonstrating.

    3. Mubarak appointed military intelligence ogre Omar Suleiman vice president. Suleiman had orchestrated the destruction of the Muslim radical movement of the 1990s, but he clearly was being groomed now as a possible successor to Mubarak and his crowd-control expertise would now be used not against al-Qaeda affiliates but against Egyptian civil society.

    4. Mubarak mobilized the army to keep a semblance of order, but failed to convince the regular army officers to intervene against the protesters, with army chief of staff Sami Anan announcing late Monday that he would not order the troops to use force against the demonstrators.

    5. When the protests continued Tuesday, Mubarak came on television and announced that he would not run for yet another term and would step down in September. His refusal to step down immediately and his other maneuvers indicated his determination, and probably that of a significant section of the officer corps, to maintain the military dictatorship in Egypt, but to attempt to placate the public with an offer to switch out one dictator for a new one (Omar Suleiman, likely).

    6. When this pledge of transition to a new military dictator did not, predictably enough, placate the public either, Mubarak on Wednesday sent several thousand secret police and paid enforcers in civilian clothing into Tahrir Square to attack the protesters with stones, knouts, and molotov cocktails, in hopes of transforming a sympathetic peaceful crowd into a menacing violent mob. This strategy is similar to the one used in summer of 2009 by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to raise the cost of protesting in the streets of Tehran, when they sent in basij (volunteer pro-regime militias). Used consistently and brutally, this show of force can raise the cost of urban protesting and gradually thin out the crowds.

    Note that this step number 6 required that the army agree to remain neutral and not to actively protect the crowds. The secret police goons were allowed through army checkpoints with their staves, and some even rode through on horses and camels. Aljazeera English’s correspondent suggests that the military was willing to allow the protests to the point where Mubarak would agree to stand down, but the army wants the crowd to accept that concession and go home now.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 02-03-2011 at 09:41 AM. Reason: Placed in quote marks

  12. #72
    Council Member Surferbeetle's Avatar
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    Default Survey of responses....

    From the 2 Feb 2011 NY Times: Europe Leaders Call for Faster Transition in Egypt

    Prime Minister David Cameron condemned the violence in Egypt on Wednesday in the strongest language yet used by the leader of a major Western country, and issued a veiled warning to President Mubarak to halt the involvement of Egyptian security forces in the turmoil.
    A spokesman for President Nicolas Sarkozy told reporters that Mr. Sarkozy “reiterates his wish to see a concrete transition process start without delay, in response to a desire for change and renewal so strongly expressed by the population. He calls on all Egyptian authorities to do everything to ensure that this crucial process takes place without violence.”
    Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said in Berlin that Mr. Mubarak’s promise not to seek another term “frees the way for a political new beginning.” “People want democratic change and they want it now,” he said. “It must be a change toward democracy. Not a change that begins someday, but one which begins now.”
    The foreign minister, Carl Bildt, who was in Brussels Wednesday for conferences with other European diplomats, said that Sweden welcomed Mr. Mubarak’s decision to cede power. “The Mubarak era in Egyptian politics is over,” Mr. Bildt said. “I now hope that real transition to a democratic, pluralistic, and stable Egypt can begin.”
    The president of Turkey, Abdullah Gul, expressed a similar view at a news conference in Ankara. “It’s very important that this transition period is short — Egypt’s stability, peace and strength matters to us,” Mr. Gul said. “The more the demands of people in Egypt are taken into account and implemented, the better.”
    From the 31 Jan Hindu Times: World leaders call on Egypt to implement reforms

    China’s Foreign Ministry said Beijing hopes normalcy and stability will be restored in Egypt soon. The Japanese and Indian foreign ministries issued similar statements.

    “We hope that the government of Egypt will listen to the voices of many citizens, promote reforms in a way that gains support of a wide range of people and realize its stability and progress,” Japan’s government said.

    From the 2 Feb 2011 NYT: Mubarak’s Allies and Foes Clash in Egypt

    Many protesters argued that Mr. Mubarak was provoking a confrontation in order to prompt a military crackdown.

    It is also possible that the military was satisfied with his decision to step down, perhaps fearful of the more radical shift to democratic elections that protesters are calling for.
    The deployment of plainclothes forces paid by Mr. Mubarak’s ruling party — men known here as baltageya — has been a hallmark of the Mubarak government, and there were many signs that the violence was carefully choreographed.

    The Mubarak supporters emerged from buses. They carried the same flags and the same printed signs, and they all escalated their actions, from shouting to violence, at exactly the same moment: 2:15 p.m. The protesters showed journalists police and ruling party identification cards that they said had been taken from Mubarak supporters who had been caught infiltrating Tahrir Square, also known as Liberation Square, and detained in a holding pen.
    Sapere Aude

  13. #73
    Council Member Surferbeetle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrowBat View Post
    A very good summary of Mubarak's reactions over the last 8-9 days:
    Looks like we were posting at the same time...appreciate your roll-ups

    So... to date the visible score on the world stage is words vs. deeds. When I think about the ladder of escalation (Herman Kahn) I consider the seen and the unseen...

    Step two (Political, Economic, and Diplomatic gestures)
    Last edited by Surferbeetle; 02-03-2011 at 06:13 AM.
    Sapere Aude

  14. #74
    Council Member Surferbeetle's Avatar
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    Default Release the beancounters with bad attitudes...

    ...it would make for an interesting international case study.

    United Nations Convention against Corruption

    The United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) is the first legally binding international anti-corruption instrument.[1] In its 8 Chapters and 71 Articles, the UNCAC obliges its States Parties to implement a wide and detailed range of anti-corruption measures affecting their laws, institutions and practices. These measures aim to promote the prevention, criminalization and law enforcement, international cooperation, asset recovery, technical assistance and information exchange, and mechanisms for implementation.
    Investment Banking backgrounder from Wikipedia

    Retail Banking backgrounder from Wikipedia

    From Bloomberg Businessweek: Offshore Banks Must Adapt or Die in WikiLeaks Era

    Jan. 25 (Bloomberg) -- You might think this is a great time for the offshore-banking industry. There is a lot of spare cash sloshing around the world. The mega-rich are still piling up money. Taxes are likely to go up as every developed country tries to cope with huge deficits, creating even more incentive to shift money to some island hideaway.

    But it’s not so easy anymore.
    Sapere Aude

  15. #75
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Army shifts position?

    Amidst all the reporting - with more journalists arriving in Egypt - was a BBC Radio Four snippet:
    0812: The retired general talking to the BBC's Jon Leyne had been speaking in turn to tank crews in Tahrir Square. The general said he believed the military would move very soon against Mr Mubarak - possibly as soon as tomorrow. Our correspondent says it seems the army is willing now to put its lot very firmly on the side of the protesters.

    0807: The BBC's Jon Leyne has been told by a retired Egyptian general that the army is losing patience. He was told that if there's more firing from pro-government groups the army is now willing to open fire on them.
    Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12307698

    There is another BBC TV report on the secret police detaining them, after being stopped near the presidential palace - with the Army's connivance; more interesting for the two interviews at the start:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12351996
    davidbfpo

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    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    It will be fascinating to read years from now which country's agents were working the crowd to stir up the activities that began yesterday. Such tactics are foreign manipulation 101. It could have been Mubarak, but I would take a hard look at other countries that reasonably believe that sustaining the status quo is preferable to some unknown future. They have 2-3 neighbors that fall in that category.

    In a region famous for intrigue and struggles for power; in a region of small states and armor-friendly terrain where a tactical error can result in a strategic disaster; power is up for grabs, and intrigue is in play. How this ends for the US will depend upon how well we can "play away from the ball." Currently the ball is in Egypt, but that is only a small portion of this game. Meanwhile, the US media is like a bunch of 5-year olds chasing the ball, so that is all most Americans see. Al Jeezera is painting a broader picture.
    Robert C. Jones
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    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

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    Council Member M-A Lagrange's Avatar
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    What happened in Egypt and before in Tunisia is here to remind us what is the difference between a "revolte" and a "revolution".
    In Egypt, the situation is clearly not the one of a "revolution". Populations are not tired enough of their leaders and power still benefit from support inside army and population.

    We should not confuse both.

  18. #78
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    It will be fascinating to read years from now which country's agents were working the crowd to stir up the activities that began yesterday. Such tactics are foreign manipulation 101. It could have been Mubarak, but I would take a hard look at other countries that reasonably believe that sustaining the status quo is preferable to some unknown future. They have 2-3 neighbors that fall in that category.
    I doubt this, then it would take a big deal of capability to assemble that force of 2,000 of Mubarak's "Basiji" and send them to Cairo.

    But, if one prefers to believe that variant, the most likely candidate No.1 is nobody less but the "only democracy in the Middle East" itself:
    Israel urges world to curb criticism of Egypt's Mubarak - as published by Haretz, just three days back.

    If this comedy lasts for any longer, and particularly if the Egyptian population is to suffer even more, we'll all be paying bills for the failures of our governments for decades longer...

  19. #79
    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Default the life of an exiled dictator isn't what it used to be

    Gimme Shelter

    Why is Hosni Mubarak clinging to power?

    So why is Mubarak trying to squeeze a few more months out of his three-decade career in office and avowing his intentions to stay in Egypt rather than packing for the Riviera? It may be because exile isn't what it used to be; over the last 30 years, things have gotten increasingly difficult for dictators in flight. Successor regimes launch criminal probes; major efforts are mounted to identify assets that may have been stripped or looted by the autocrat, or more commonly, members of his immediate family. I witnessed this process myself, twice being asked by newly installed governments in Central Eurasia to advise them on asset recovery measures focusing on the deposed former leader and his family.
    If you want to blend in, take the bus

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    Council Member J Wolfsberger's Avatar
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    In what must rank as one of the most clueless assessments of events in Egypt, I got this in this morning's email:

    ...

    The presence of so much U.S. military hardware in Egypt is a good thing. Egypt is the second largest recipient of U.S. military assistance and has been since the signing of the Egyptian-Israeli peace agreement in 1979. The provision of U.S. assistance and military hardware broke the stranglehold of the Soviet Union over the Egyptian military, thereby helping to cement that peace treaty. The fact that the Egyptian Army and Air Force is U.S. equipped gives Washington enormous leverage over those institutions as we and they try and figure a way forward in the current crisis.

    ... Because it controls the flow of spare parts and the technology to upgrade U.S. systems, Washington can also influence local politics. This is part of what is going on between Washington and Cairo right now. ...

    (Source: Lexington Institute, Author: Daniel Goure, Ph.D.)

    Right. Because what all parties to the turmoil in Egypt are concerned about today is being able to buy spares in five years.
    John Wolfsberger, Jr.

    An unruffled person with some useful skills.

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