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

  1. #41
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    I still don't see how we're supposed to "empower self-determination", in any specific terms. Western diplomats urging reform will have about as much impact as an online petition. These rulers don't give a damn what Western diplomats say; they never have.
    I'll respectfully disagree here.

    Most of US-allied despots, and then particularly those clinching to power like Mubarak, are "hanging" on every signal they get from Washington. The Shah of Iran back in 1979 is a classic example. As long as there is no clear "you have to go" message from the White House, Mubarak is definitely not going to leave (except he's carried away by somebody else).

    And vice-versa: the public in such countries is carefully monitoring the behaviour of leading US politicians, particularly the President. I witnessed several occassions where this went as far as that everyday Arabs monitored how often the US Pres appeared in the public, carefully following even their mimic and gestures. A clear signal of the kind, "people of Egypt, you are right to protest against Mubarak" would likely prompt additional thousands to the streets of Cairo, Alexandria, Suez and elsewhere.

    Certainly AQ's efforts to promote jihad against Arab governments have met with no notable success: they're really only able to sell the story when they are fighting foreign invaders.
    ...IMHO, this is an image created by the fact that there are plenty of developments in the Arab world we do not get to hear about. For example, in Algeria the FIS was relatively successful in mobilizing at least a part of the population, back in the 1990s. Nowadays they've been pushed out into the expanses of Sahara and bases in Mali and elsewhere, sure. But, Algerian security services and military are still regularly undertaking large-scale operations against them (usually including heli-borne commandos, often supported by fighter-bombers), "far down in the south"...

    Similarly, we know next to nothing about developments in large parts of Egypt outside the urban areas, i.e. outside major cities, in recent years. Some places in southern Egypt are effectivelly under the control of various extremists since decades and no security services trust themselves to go there (foreigners are strongly advised NOT to go that way). There are countless stories about the Egyptian Air Force having flown a number of massive operations in which entire villages have been obliterated. It's just so that even the specialized media hardly ever gets to hear about this (or even if, this was never reported).

    Note that despite this situation, both - the militaries in Algeria and Egypt - continue to refuse adapting the emphasis of their doctrine from conventional warfare to that of COIN warfare and anti-terror operations.

    Quote Originally Posted by carl
    Is the Pak Army/ISI's desire to exert control over Aghanistan one we should honor any more than India's desire that they don't?
    IMHO, the answer is definitely negative.

    An undisputed matter of fact is that the ISI is the major source of world-wide terrorism - and that already since 50 years, and so also until this very day (only a few days ago, the US Army issued another report about the continuous activity of ISI's instructors in relation to training Taliban inside Afghanistan, as well as in Pakistan).

    If nothing else, I do not recall to have ever heard that any of the idiots from 9/11, any of the Abu Sayyaf group in the Philippines, or any of the FIS/AQM in Algeria have been trained by the Indian Army, somewhere in Punjab...

  2. #42
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    Default Yet this is what we do...

    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    Is the Pak Army/ISI's desire to exert control over Afghanistan one we should honor any more than India's desire that they don't?
    Personally I am a consistent (and fairly lonely) voice that the U.S. needs to take into greater account the impact on Pak-Indian deterrence of the actions (both policy and physical) that we take in the name of the War on Terrorism.

    "Loose Nukes" are not all that likely based upon what I understand, but certainly the likelihood of deliberately exchanged nukes is higher now than it was 10 years ago.

    I would never say that Pakistan has a right to an unstable Afghanistan ( be that worked through their Army or intel service with Pashtun agents, or however else). I only state that Pakistan believes that they have a vital national interest in it being so.

    If the U.S. is any example, a nation will go to any lengths, and get into situations that make outside observers scratch their heads in wonder, in the pursuit on vital national interests. And I doubt any will argue that Pakistan faces far more of an "existential threat" against India than the U.S. does from AQ taking sanctuary in the FATA.

    My only point was the observation that our demands on Pakistan to support our efforts against AQ and the Taliban creates a very dangerous conflict of interest for the government, that erodes the stability of the nation. On one hand they need a solid relationship with the US, so they agree to do what we ask (sort of, and thus our frustration at the seeming lack of competence from what is a very competent security force); while at the same time seeking to continue their covert operation to secure instability in Afghanistan.

    Now the US finds ourselves in a similar conflict of interest of our own making. On one hand we stand for "universal rights" and democracy; but on the other hand we support the Mubarak government as a critical Arab ally that sits on the key terrain of both Israel's flank and the Suez canal. Such relationships are rationalized based upon vital national interests, yet when they create conflicts of interest they are damaging as well.

    We have an opportunity to begin cleaning the effects of a post WWII policy/strategy/engagement program in the Middle East that has about reached the breaking point. We do not want to wake up on the wrong side of history there, and if we continue to cling to an unsustainable past that is the most likely result. We have a tremendous opportunity here, but it is a delicate game of showing greater support to the people, greater alignment of our actions and policies with our stated principles as a nation; but condemning of the actions of "allied" governments who have been enabled in their slides toward despotism by their relationships with the US. If we just yank the rug on these clowns we could create a massive violent chaos in the Middle East that is good for no one.

    We must empower a controlled change. We focus on the empower aspect, and allowing the current governments to establish processes with their people to hear their grievances and give them their due consideration as they seek reasonable evolutions of government. This is tricky stuff. Far easier to just send in TLAMs, but the potential return is far greater and holds the key to reducing acts of terrorism emanating from the Middle East.

    So far what I have heard from our President and our Sec State; coupled with what I have seen in terms of physical responses are in synch with how I see this. I don't know what the back room actions are, but I can only hope they are in synch as well. In synch or not, agree or not, I think we can all share in the hope that they work. Inshah Allah.
    Robert C. Jones
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    "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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    Quote Originally Posted by jmm99 View Post
    Democracy in Pakistan vs Egypt vs USA ?

    Are they the same ? Or, different ? If different, what are the differences ?

    Cheers

    Mike
    They are obviously all different. But I think we can step back a little bit from textbook notions of democracy to another line: In every country where modern education and economics has made forays, the population wants some say in what goes on and economics demands some rationality in governance. The elite always have more influence than the poor, but even within the elite, there are notions of rule of law, political space, personal space, opportunity to move forward and so on. And the poor must have the means for bare survival and at least a vague notion that they can move forward on merit if they are really really good. Historical contingencies and other local factors make every case different and culture DOES matter, but its still possible to make some generalizations. One is that bull#### like the Mubarak dynasty is not going to last. Another is that extreme forms of Islamism are not going to make most people happy even if war with outsiders is not an issue. Another is that if you hook the elite on selling their role as "bulwark against Islamism", you will face accelerating demands for more money, you will foster terrible corruption and you will strengthen support for those very Islamists. In fact, it is an indication of the Islamists profoundly outdated and unproductive philosophical framework that they cannot take more advantage of this wonderful opportunity presented to them courtesy of the US taxpayer.
    US policymakers who act as if the US has to determine what happens everywhere and simultaneously believe that there is very little the US can do to change things for the better, are wrong on both counts. In the Middle East, they are laboring under the very real burden that they really do want something (Israeli occupation) that almost everyone in that part of the world does not support, so their "democratic" options are limited. But even where the US does not necessarily have such a burden to carry (Pakistan, for example), hamhanded interference, reliance on outdated or irrelevant models (like the "modernizing army", "the whisky-drinking-moderate-Muslim", the Latin American model of using the army against undesirables at the cost of democracy, and so on) are not exactly working.
    but, no matter, change is coming. With, without or in spite of US participation. And Israel should really make a fair peace from a position of strength while they have that chance. Its going to become so costly to support that occupation, even Uncle Sam may one day be unable to afford to carry that millstone around his neck...

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    Council Member Surferbeetle's Avatar
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    Crowbat,

    Pokeman, urban dictionary definition, or something else?

    Quote Originally Posted by CrowBat View Post
    Most of US-allied despots, and then particularly those clinching to power like Mubarak, are "hanging" on every signal they get from Washington. The Shah of Iran back in 1979 is a classic example. As long as there is no clear "you have to go" message from the White House, Mubarak is definitely not going to leave (except he's carried away by somebody else).
    I would instead argue that US, European, and Asian political 'signals' are but some of the many variables populating the daily calculus equation run by a variety of political leaders as they test the winds to see what is possible today. Internal politcal/social/economic alliances, financial interests, patronage networks, the security forces, etc. all serve to both provide and constrain political options and must be balanced against external inputs and demands. For context the 2011 Pocket World in Figures from the Economist reports Egypt's GDP as $162 Billion in USD, with it's top four export destinations being Italy, USA, Spain, and India (in that order). The US financial support figure reported in the press is ~$2.5 Billion USD or less than 2% of Egypt's GDP. The World Bank's Middle East and North Africa website provides some further economic insights into the many variables juggled by political leaders in this region of the world.

    Quote Originally Posted by CrowBat View Post
    ... the public in such countries is carefully monitoring the behaviour of leading US politicians, particularly the President. I witnessed several occassions where this went as far as that everyday Arabs monitored how often the US Pres appeared in the public, carefully following even their mimic and gestures. A clear signal of the kind, "people of Egypt, you are right to protest against Mubarak" would likely prompt additional thousands to the streets of Cairo, Alexandria, Suez and elsewhere.
    States and institutions often have more impact than individuals. The lessons learned from Turkey's EU accessions efforts, the Iraq OIF/OND experience, the Shia experience in Iraq during the first Gulf War, the interaction with the French in Algeria during the 1950's-60's, and Europe's (Germany, Russia, England, France, and others) interactions with the Ottoman's as the empire crumbled during the early 1900's are also included in these analysis'.

    Quote Originally Posted by CrowBat View Post
    ...IMHO, this is an image created by the fact that there are plenty of developments in the Arab world we do not get to hear about.
    The sentiment regarding the paucity of 'good' information is and has always been true. A full awareness of the 'truth' will never be achieved...instead it's always approximations thereof....
    Sapere Aude

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    Council Member Pete's Avatar
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    It wasn't so long ago that many commentators were saying that previous American leaders of the Realpolitik school would never have countenanced the idea of invading of Iraq for the purpose of establishing a democracy there. There are dangers whenever U.S. policy errs to much on exporting our ideals on one hand or purely upon considerations of power politics on the other. I'm not sure there are any "perfect" solutions, as though we could somehow thread the needle and make everyone everywhere agree with what we're doing.

  6. #46
    Council Member Surferbeetle's Avatar
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    Default Walk me through...

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    It wasn't so long ago that many commentators were saying that previous American leaders of the Realpolitik school would never have countenanced the idea of invading of Iraq for the purpose of establishing a democracy there. There are dangers whenever U.S. policy errs to much on exporting our ideals on one hand or purely upon considerations of power politics on the other. I'm not sure there are any "perfect" solutions, as though we could somehow thread the needle and make everyone everywhere agree with what we're doing.
    ...Realpolitik. Some of my benchmarks include Niccolò Machiavelli's work the Prince, Alexis de Tocqueville's study on American Democracy, Walt Whitman Rostow's model - Take off Model or Development Model, John Mearsheimer's book The Tragedy of Great Power Politics, Stephen Walt's blog over at Foreign Policy, The Nixon Center's website, and of course Dr. Kissinger's amazingly verbose (it's something like 900 pages long yet it's interesting - and I hope to re-read it this year) book Diplomacy.

    As to the Monday morning quarterbacking phenomenon, the Army has co-opted that human trait with the AAR...I still remember my very first one, held on a bitterly cold night somewhere high up in the Rockies....good times ....nonetheless they are worthwhile, it's at the heart of the SWJ business model, and of course our friend Socrates kicked things of with his Socratic Method of teaching...
    Sapere Aude

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    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Surferbeetle View Post
    Crowbat,

    Pokeman, urban dictionary definition, or something else?
    Insignia of No.31 Squadron UARAF as of 1959-1967.

    I would instead argue that US, European, and Asian political 'signals' are but some of the many variables populating the daily calculus equation run by a variety of political leaders as they test the winds to see what is possible today. Internal politcal/social/economic alliances, financial interests, patronage networks, the security forces, etc. all serve to both provide and constrain political options and must be balanced against external inputs and demands. For context the 2011 Pocket World in Figures from the Economist reports Egypt's GDP as $162 Billion in USD...
    I'm really sorry, but creatures like Mubarak do not think that way. Sure, they do think about _their own_ alliances, financial interests, patronage (in sense of what they already control and what they do not control - yet), but surely not about GDP, per-capita income or similar topics.

    External inputs are very important for them, then if there is somebody who can cause any sort of trouble, this somebody's actions have to be prevented or stopped, in one way or the other (if by no other, then a threat that should the dictator fall there will be an Islamic Republic...).

    Similarly when it comes to external inputs, they have to seriously consider the possibility that the military might turn against them if they prove incapable of ascertaining the same funding like when getting the US aid (the reason is that the military is usually the best organized and functioning institution in such a country, and armed - which translates into being capable of bringing them down).

    In summary, Mubarak can't care less about "everyday" Egyptians: he's not responsible to them (otherwise he wouldn't be a dictator).

    States and institutions often have more impact than individuals.
    Very likely a valid point - except when it comes to those Egyptians I happen to know more closely. For most of them, Obama (or any other US president) = US. For them, they way he behaves, what he says, the "signals" he's "emitting", is the way the US is acting or going to act.

    The sentiment regarding the paucity of 'good' information is and has always been true. A full awareness of the 'truth' will never be achieved...instead it's always approximations thereof....
    Sure. Still, this is not making certain "standard" assessments/conclusions any more true. In this case, it was my point that the usual ("schoolar"?) standpoint that the al-Qaida's efforts to promote Jihad against Arab governments met no notable success, is based on non-availability of sufficient information.

    To add a third example: the lack of news about internal dissent, often even unrest in Saudi Arabia means not that there is none, and even less so it's a land of milk and honey there. It rather means that the state is doing very well at suppressing any kind of independent reporting about what's really going on.

  8. #48
    Council Member Surferbeetle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrowBat View Post
    Insignia of No.31 Squadron UARAF as of 1959-1967.
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by CrowBat View Post
    I'm really sorry, but creatures like Mubarak do not think that way. Sure, they do think about _their own_ alliances, financial interests, patronage (in sense of what they already control and what they do not control - yet), but surely not about GDP, per-capita income or similar topics.
    So...to follow along with Mr Gideon Rachman's, of the FT, train of thought (31 Jan 2011 - Democracy is Back - How Awkward) are General Mubarak and General Suharto vergleichbar? Each has had thirty or so years in power as president, preceded by significant distinguished military service to their respective nations. Both nations experienced stability and significant economic returns during their respective presidents rule. General Suharto was able to resign, facilitate a peaceful transition of power, and has not been too vigorously pursued in his retirement.

    Currently President Mubarak has authorized his new Vice President Mr. Omar Suleiman to negotiate directly with the opposition (although Osama al-Ghazali Harb, head of the Democratic Front party is currently playing hard to get), perhaps prompted by Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei's efforts to negotiate directly with the Egyptian Army.

    Perhaps that core of sense of service to one's nation fostered by military service should not be totally discounted?

    Quote Originally Posted by CrowBat View Post
    Sure. Still, this is not making certain "standard" assessments/conclusions any more true. In this case, it was my point that the usual ("schoolar"?) standpoint that the al-Qaida's efforts to promote Jihad against Arab governments met no notable success, is based on non-availability of sufficient information.
    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. 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?

    Quote Originally Posted by CrowBat View Post
    To add a third example: the lack of news about internal dissent, often even unrest in Saudi Arabia means not that there is none, and even less so it's a land of milk and honey there. It rather means that the state is doing very well at suppressing any kind of independent reporting about what's really going on.
    I appreciate your provision of examples...

    It is very interesting to think about what effects the events in Tunisia and Egypt are having upon the youth of Saudi Arabia as well as those in power in that nation. Some of the recent fluctuations in the price of oil of late appear to be an attempt to price in this uncertainty.
    Sapere Aude

  9. #49
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Default America Doesn't Believe In Democracy

    according to the linked article below. Article by former CIA officer(27 year veteran) Robert Grenier, he was also the former head of the Counter-Terror Unit.


    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/...democracy.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    I would never say that Pakistan has a right to an unstable Afghanistan ( be that worked through their Army or intel service with Pashtun agents, or however else). I only state that Pakistan believes that they have a vital national interest in it being so.

    If the U.S. is any example, a nation will go to any lengths, and get into situations that make outside observers scratch their heads in wonder, in the pursuit on vital national interests. And I doubt any will argue that Pakistan faces far more of an "existential threat" against India than the U.S. does from AQ taking sanctuary in the FATA.

    My only point was the observation that our demands on Pakistan to support our efforts against AQ and the Taliban creates a very dangerous conflict of interest for the government, that erodes the stability of the nation. On one hand they need a solid relationship with the US, so they agree to do what we ask (sort of, and thus our frustration at the seeming lack of competence from what is a very competent security force); while at the same time seeking to continue their covert operation to secure instability in Afghanistan.
    If Pak Army/ISI does not have a valid right to exert control over Afghanistan, but only has a belief that it must because of a belief that it is in Pakistan's national interest, isn't it foolish of us to act in deference to that belief? Wouldn't it be wiser to do our best to disabuse them of that belief and not act in any way to further it? They are on a road to destruction because of it so we might be doing them an unappreciated good by frustrating their accomplishment of that goal.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    Pakistan believes it to be a vital national interest. Every nation gets to pick their own positions on such things.

    It is typically when the U.S. presumes to impose our vital national interests onto or over the vital interests of others that we tend to get into conflicted positions such as we are now with Pakistan.

    This is not about the ISI or the Army, they are agents of this vital national interest, not the determiners of it. Similarly this is not about "rights." There are many who would argue the U.S. had no right to assist the Northern Alliance in their victory or to invade Iraq. But the U.S. relied upon our belief we had a vital national interest at stake, and that no one could stop us from enforcing it. I suspect Pakistan feels much the same way in regard to Afghanistan.

    This is a game that every nation gets to play. Increasingly, non-state actors as well.
    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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    Default This article is a little ridiculous...

    Quote Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
    according to the linked article below. Article by former CIA officer(27 year veteran) Robert Grenier, he was also the former head of the Counter-Terror Unit.


    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/...democracy.html
    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

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Washington Looks Clueless on Egypt?

    I am sure that the Israeli reaction has appeared in the US media, although I have missed it here in the UK. So courtesy of Real Clear Politics an article 'Washington Looks Clueless on Egypt;, by Caroline Glick, of the Jerusalem Post, which scathing of US actions to date:http://www.realclearpolitics.com/art...on_108731.html

    Indicated by these unlinked portions:
    ..the character of the protesters is not liberal...According to a Pew opinion survey of Egyptians from June 2010, 59 percent said they back Islamists....it is clear that the Islam they support is the al Qaida Salafist version.
    Rightly the author points to elections elsewhere in the Arab World, citing the Palestinian vote in 2006 and Egypt in 2005, where when given that chance the voters voted for parties who stand for a very different agenda. Her argument falls by failing to explain how tyranny can end without some form of democracy appearing.
    davidbfpo

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    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    We've created a tremendous conflict of interest for Pakistan that is tearing at the fabric of the government's ability to keep a handle on things as they seek to balance their interest in maintaining positive relations with the US against their interest in being able to exert control over Afghanistan through their Pashtun agents.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    Pakistan believes it to be a vital national interest. Every nation gets to pick their own positions on such things.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    This is not about the ISI or the Army, they are agents of this vital national interest, not the determiners of it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    I would never say that Pakistan has a right to an unstable Afghanistan
    Bob's World:

    All of these things listed above you have said, and they bring to my mind two questions. First, do you believe the Pak Army/ISI is correct in it's view that it must exert control over Afghanistan, is that actually a vital national interest of Pakistan? Second, I restate my original question, is the Pak Army/ISI's desire to exert control over Afghanistan one we should honor any more than India's desire that they don't?
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Default The Army statement says

    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

    The main points are:
    Your Armed Forces acknowledges the legitimacy of the people's demands and is adamant on carrying out its responsibilities in protecting the country and its citizens as ever.

    We stress the following:

    1. Peaceful freedom of expression is guaranteed for everyone.

    2. [No-one] shall carry out an action that could endanger the country's safety and security or vandalise public and private property.

    3. It is not acceptable that some outlaws have terrorised citizens. The Armed Forces will not allow it. It will not allow the safety and security of the country to be tampered with.

    4. [To citizens] Keep safe the assets and capabilities of your great people. Resist any vandalism against public or private property.

    5. The Armed Forces is aware of the legitimate demands of the honourable citizens.

    6. The Armed Forces' presence on the Egyptian streets is for your own sake, safety and security. Your Armed Forces have not and will not resort to the use of force against this great people.
    Tonight's news reports that the machine guns on the armour deployed have been removed and one clip showed soldiers without AKs.
    davidbfpo

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    Default Mubarak rule: the context

    From Abu M's Londonistani, who has lived in Cairo, a long article on the context for events of late and one funny tale about tuna:http://www.cnas.org/blogs/abumuqawam...ak-and-me.html

    Which ends with these paragraphs:
    Some of the US and UK coverage of the anti-Mubarak demonstrations happening now suggests that extremists are waiting to take over. Considering Mubarak's manipulation of feelings towards the United States and suppression of moderate Islamists and secularists, it's a surprise that the demonstrators are not all extremist Jihadis.

    However, the legacy of Mubarak's rule means that there are few leaders with any of the contacts, stature and relationships that would allow government to function if Mubarak's regime was removed root and branch. Few people outside the ruling circle even have any idea of what the country's real financial situation is. Those who demand that the peace treaty with Israel be cancelled have no idea what part it plays in keeping their country solvent.

    There is hope. The Egyptians who turned up to prevent the looting of the Cairo Museum, the popular committees, the Muslim-Christian cooperation show glimmers of hope that Egyptians - despite the best efforts of three decades of Mubarak - have retained the civic values that will be vital for their future.
    davidbfpo

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    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    Bob's World:

    All of these things listed above you have said, and they bring to my mind two questions. First, do you believe the Pak Army/ISI is correct in it's view that it must exert control over Afghanistan, is that actually a vital national interest of Pakistan? Second, I restate my original question, is the Pak Army/ISI's desire to exert control over Afghanistan one we should honor any more than India's desire that they don't?
    I believe that Pakistan's position is reasonable, as is their position in regards to the Durrand line. Most military professionals doing a basic assessment of the terrain and the threat would probably come to the same conclusion. If Pakistan is reduced down to just the Indus river valley a quick push by India could foreseeably take their entire country. They would cease to exist as a nation. A fearful, nuclear armed state with its back up against the Hindu Kush and a rival nuclear state to their front is NOT a healthy situation for anyone. I think there are workable solutions, but before the US can get to sitting down and discussing workable solutions we to first be willing to recognize their reasonable perspective in regards to what their national interests are and how highly they prioritize them.

    Second, to rephrase your question a bit: Is sustaining a set of conditions that supported a workable situation of deterrence between India and Pakistan one that I think is more important than disrupting that balance to grant India a clear advantage? I have to go with sustaining the status quo. Like our own Cold War with the Soviets, it was sometimes a bit dicey, but it worked. I can't imagine if some external power would have come along and ceded Canada into the Warsaw Pact, allowing the Russians to positions military forces all along our northern border, that we would have said "oh, ok."

    We probably would have seen such a situation as threatening our national survival and we would have broken out our complete bag of dirty tricks to do whatever it took to put things back as they were before. Perhaps not a perfect example, but I want to try to convey how big of an issue i believe this to be for Pakistan. We just do not understand all of the dynamics of the relationship between India and Pakistan to go in and make major alterations like we have.

    Pakistan is in a tough situation, and India is just one of their concerns. They also have the Pashtuns and the Baluchs to balance. One more mess Great Britain cobbled together as they executed their passage of lines at the end of WWII and said "Here you go Yanks, good luck!"
    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)

  19. #59
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Here you go Yanks, good luck!

    Bob's World just stated:
    One more mess Great Britain cobbled together as they executed their passage of lines at the end of WWII and said "Here you go Yanks, good luck!"
    Yes the British exited South Asia in 1947, ending that imperial era, although we stayed in a few other places till later (more in a moment). At no stage did we conduct a handover to the USA and wish you luck IMHO.

    The UK did stay around South Asia, notably through the Cold War, remember CENTO? Effectively the UK relied on diplomacy, although we offered a nuclear umbrella to India after the Indo-China conflict (1961 IIRC) and after 1967 our East of Suez role dwindled. The USA for mainly Cold War reasons got involved in Pakistan, with a dribble of aid into Afghanistan.

    IMHO the USA between 1947-1980 paid very little attention to South Asia, you had your own distractions elsewhere in South-East Asia and only returned when the USSR intervened in Afghanistan.
    davidbfpo

  20. #60
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Straying from the theme!

    A number of the latest threads (including my own last) have strayed from the focus on Egypt and moved a long distance to the east.

    Can we please stay on the unfolding situation in Egypt and the Arab World?
    davidbfpo

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