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Old 02-05-2011   #121
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Originally Posted by Cole View Post
Allegations. Can you prove there were not Hezbollah agents or Muslim brotherhood instigators?
Actually yes. It took me a while, but I even found an online report of the same event on the website of The Guardian:

Specifically:
Quote:
8.03pm GMT: Ahdaf Soueif emails from Cairo:

A good friend just saw 8 to 12 people being dragged out of No 1 Souq el-Tawfikiyyah St and bundled into a civilian micro-bus while a military police vehicle waited nearby. The people were being beaten and the street had been told they were "Iranian and Hamas agents come to destabilise Egypt" so the street was chanting against them.

No 1 Souq el-Tawfikiyyah St is the home of the offices of The Hisham Mubarak Legal Aid Centre, The Centre for Social and Economic Rights and The 6th April Youth.

The Hisham Mubarak centre is a partner of Oxfam International, which has put out a statement:

The offices of two Egyptian human rights organisations in Cairo supported by Oxfam in Cairo have been attacked today and several staff members arrested by the Military Police.

The offices of Hisham Mubarak Law Center and the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights were raided at 14:30 and eight people were arrested including both directors, Ahmed Seif, director of the Hisham Mubarak Law Center and Khaled Ali, director of the Center for Economic and Social Rights.

They have been taken to an unknown location in Cairo.

Catherine Essoyan, Oxfam Regional Manager for the Middle East and Maghreb:

"We are extremely worried about the fate of these human rights defenders who have been providing critical legal aid and support to their people over the past days of protest. We deplore this assault against Egyptian civil society organisations dedicated to promoting respect for the rule of law. We call for the safe and immediate release of those detained."
********

Quote:
I read that many folks with closely cropped beards (supposedly characteristic of that group) were up front throwing rocks.
Frankly speaking: are there Islamist extremists on the streets of Egypt, participating in the protests? Yes, no doubt, there are.

Do they or other Islamist extremists work behind the scenes, seeking a way to take advantage of this crisis? Yes, no doubt, they do.

This is as indisputable as that the sun is going up in (what we call) the East, and down in the West.

But... how many of them are out there, how influential they really are, what are they able of really doing, what are they eventually going to do, and - first and foremost - are they going to prove capable of taking over entire Egypt once this brawl is over...?

Well, sorry, but the matter of fact is: nobody can say for sure. Means: we don't know.

The reason we don't know is that there is a brutal dictatorship in Egypt, controlling the media and feeding us "news" at its own discretion. Between these news is the idea that the Brotherhood is ah so powerful, that without this dictatorship in place we all - but Israel as first - are in jeopardy of being blown away. And, this stance of that dictatorship is supported by all the possible talkingheads between Tel Aviv and Washington DC.

So, we have a guess, but don't really know whether this is going to happen.

As a "convinced and practicing pluralist", I simply can't find this satisfactory. That's why my standpoint is: when you're in doubt and have no clue what to do, stick to the two most basic rules. The Rule No.1. says: personal freedoms, pluralism and democracy first. And the Rule No.2 says: if in doubt, see rule No.1.

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Not sure $20 bucks is much motivation to get beat up...unless your job is at risk and you are broke because the banks are closed, and you feel like kicking troublemaker booty anyway. Just can't picture guys paying tens of thousands of thugs and nobody saw it.
Again: there is no trace of evidence for "spontaneous" pro-Mubarak demonstrations.

That aside, well, the Ministry of Interior pays some 390.000 of thugs of the Central Security Force alone (the black-clad Father Mubarak's "Basiji" we've seen in the first days of the unrest), plus another 60.000 of the National Guard (responsible for the protection of the royal palace, between others) - and thus there is plenty of choice. That aside, in a country where average monthly income ranges between US$ 100 and 150, 20 bucks is "plenty of money" (oh, and I do recall several inmates on deathrow in various US prisons, sitting there for murdering people for less than 20 bucks).

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Or a series of overzealous officials screwed up trying to please the boss (or hang onto their job) and now find themselves under house arrest.
I doubt this. Available indications point at the fact that all that is currently undertaken by Mubarak is nothing else but his regime launching it's efforts to do "yesterday" (to paraphraze Robin Gibbs) what it planned to do in period September-November this year any way.

The current flow of Mubarak's (re)actions actually follows much of what's been anticipated already since years. The only difference is that it became easier to expose his lies. When Mubarak fired the old government and appointed Soleiman as VP, he did not do something that was "new", or "unexpected", and even less so did he do that in reaction to the protests. He did something that has been expected since years. See Egypt's Next Strongman as example.

When, in the interview with Amanpour/ABC, aired yesterday, he stated he's "fed up" with politics and power, he was lying: back in 1981, immediately after climbing to power, Mubarak explained he's going to run for only one term (sorry, no citate here; there was no internet in 1981). So, another lie.

Finally, if this report - Mubarak's Last Gasps - is to be trusted, there are no "overzealous officers", but the Mubarak's clique (including his new Minister of Interior, Gen Waqdy) acts at least in agreement with him, if not on his own orders.
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Old 02-05-2011   #122
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Default A triple set of triple crystal balls

Here are three more "trinitarian scenarios" - all suggesting somewhat different outcomes (on which, no one is placing bets).

Washington Post - ANALYSIS, Three possible scenarios for Egypt's future, By Glenn Kessler, Friday, February 4, 2011

Quote:
As the Egyptian political crisis grows more violent and uncertain, analysts have begun to turn to historical parallels for answers. Will an Islamist movement or a new strongman - or both - emerge to seize control, in an eerie repeat of the 1979 Iranian revolution? Or will Egypt's secular tradition and powerful military allow for a messy transition to democracy, as happened in Indonesia in 1998? Or will it be something in between, such as the initial outcome of the Romanian revolution of 1989? ... (more in the article)
Huffington Post - Egypt: Possible Scenarios, Amir Madani, Author, Le Letture Persiane, Posted: February 2, 2011:

Quote:
....
There are three sets of players in the Egyptian scene right now...

The first players are the members of the ruling elite, supported by security forces and an army which, still as this article is written, has Mubarak's face as its symbol. There may be other faces symbolizing power in the future, but these too will be military ones. The military is Egypt's most powerful institution and one embedded deeply in all aspects of life. It will do its best to retain its purpose and power. In order to make sure that his regime stays in power, Mubarak resorted to a coup in which he appointed Omar Suleiman, his right-hand man and the country's intelligence chief, as vice-president.
....
The second player in this scenario are the Egyptian people: millions of men, women, youth, workers, intellectuals, writers, journalists, and ordinary citizens who demand rights and freedom and aware of the dangers of sectarianism. The best-known opposition figure is Dr. ElBaradei, a moderate diplomat who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005 for his working in leading the United Nations' nuclear watchdog. A headline recently read: "El Baradei asks Obama: Take Egypt's Mubarak off life support." Other prominent figures like the jurist Ayman Nour and Osama al-Ghazali Harb have also struggled to build popular followings. But there could emerge other figures from the wider civil society and from the ranks of Kefayah (Enough) as well.
....
The Islamists are the third set of players. Egyptian Islamism (like all social phenomena) is complex and divided. It encompasses a myriad of trends, ranging from enlightened moderates to extremists who exploit the concept of jihad (originally based on catharsis) and promise a land of desolation. The Muslim Brotherhood could be expected to win a large part of the vote in any fair election as it is rooted in Islamic society and has gained a certain popularity for the work of its charities.
....
Here are some possible scenarios for how the situation could play out among these groups.

One scenario that could play out is a clash between the ruling elite (with or without Mubarak) and the elements of civil society. In this scenario, the ruling elite will promise formal security and stability by fighting the fundamentalists, and will continue to receive aid from the US, the support of Israel. It would be shock therapy, a treatment resolution that promises future explosions.

The second scenario is the emergence of a power vacuum that could lead to some form of civil war and a Lebanization of Egypt; a sort of chaos in which armed fundamentalist groups might thrive and the army would need to take over the running of the state, but without the necessary forces to defeat them. This scenario, which is the wishful thinking of the enemies of Egypt, would certainly be prevented by the Egyptians themselves. As Amr Shalakany wrote from in Tahrir Square in Cairo: "This is a sweet, sweet revolution; it is peaceful. Tell everyone we are peaceful." And the government has offered talks with protesters after the army said it will not fire on them.

A third scenario is that the army, as the key institution, indicates to Mubarak that he must resign as he is a cause of instability. In this case, the army takes charge of the country's security. In such a scenario, chaos and violence are avoided, and Mr. Mubarak could leave gradually. This would allow the necessary time to exclude President Mubarak and his closet associates, but also to let the surviving parts of the ruling system exist as warrant to prevent fundamentalist groups from flourishing. This is probably what Washington means by an "orderly transition." In this scenario, Mohamed ElBaradei (or another figure) could emerge as a compromise to oversee the transition and a free and fair election for the presidency and parliament. This could only happen if only the Egyptians decide to follow through along this path. ... (again, more in the article)
BBC News - Egypt unrest: Possible scenarios, By Tarik Kafala, BBC News, 31 January 2011:

Quote:
For Egyptians, and the millions of Arabs watching closely across the Middle East, these are hugely exciting times. But for all the hope for change, there are also enormous dangers. These are three broad scenarios that could result from the events in Egypt.

CUT AND RUN: MUBARAK GIVES UP PRESIDENCY
.... (explanation and analysis)
....
STICK TO HIS GUNS: MILITARY AND POLICE CRUSH PROTESTS
.... (explanation and analysis)
....
TRANSITION: PROMISE TO LEAVE, OPPOSITION JOINS GOVERNMENT
.... (explanation and analysis)
....
Regards

Mike
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Old 02-05-2011   #123
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The current opposition tactic seems to be to
a) keep the protests going, the pressure up
b) do behind-the-scenes homework: building an opposition interim leadership

Meanwhile, Mubarak seems to
a) try to sit this out
b) discredit the opposition movement,
c) discourage it and to
d) mobilize supporters


The answer to the obvious question why the opposition doesn't storm Mubarak's palace seems to be strong and loyal defences there.

The police seems to have proven ineffective.
The intelligence service has already failed in preventing demonstrations and is now likely employed in infiltrating and discrediting them.
The army seems to be neutral, yet still willing to intervene for order and less bloodshed.


I do not recall a revolution that looked similar to this one.
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Old 02-05-2011   #124
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This is surely more complex than any of us will ever know.

With so much at stake, why would Israel or even the Saudis sit on their hands and watch?

When I read about Operation Ajax in 1953 Iran the thing that amazed me most was how such a Keystone Cops operation could actually work to topple a government. The key was that the British had been there a long time and had a well developed UW network in place, which they then convinced the US to lead the operation and loaned us their network. (They still work us like that far more than most Americans would like to admit, btw). The US employed that British network to incite the riots that supported the events that put the Shah into power. Just as insurgents leverage the populace in insurgency, so to do state and non-state actors in unconventional warfare.

Does Israel or Saudi Arabia or Great Britain or the US, etc, etc, etc have such networks in place in Egypt?? I don't know. I do know they have a confluence of long term access and national interests, so I recognize that it is likely such networks exist. Are any of these nations either employing their own network to shape events, or loaning their network to others to employ?? Again, we may never know.

Bottom line is that these things are complicated, and where interests are high, external forces will always come and work to shape things to their own advantage. Enemies become friends, and friends become enemies, it is all about shared and conflicting interests and leveraging what one can to gain an advantage. Egypt has to deal with all of this in addition to their own factions at work.

Things are rarely what they appear to be. There are those with anti-Iran agendas that are pointing fingers at Iran. There are those from the "ideology/terrorism" community who point fingers at the Muslim Brotherhood. There are those who are pro-Israel who rail about the implications to Israeli security.

The voice getting lost is that for transitioning as peacefully as possible to a more stable Egypt under a government of their own determination, with a legitimacy recognized by their own populace, and that participates rationally within the global community.
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Old 02-05-2011   #125
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Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
This is surely more complex than any of us will ever know.

With so much at stake, why would Israel or even the Saudis sit on their hands and watch?
Or Iran, or Hezbollah, or China/Russia, or Hamas.

Word of Omar Suleiman's (new V.P.) attempted assassination several days ago may cast some light on timing of the pro-government crackdown. The sabotage of a natural gas pipeline leading from Egypt to Israel is another example.

Quote:
The voice getting lost is that for transitioning as peacefully as possible to a more stable Egypt under a government of their own determination, with a legitimacy recognized by their own populace, and that participates rationally within the global community.
It's easy to claim we own the high ground and to bad mouth perceived despots for exploiting unseemly advantages in their own world. Then you look at appointment of former GE CEOs to the government who have supported one political side, and then see new initiatives for light bulbs, look at unions getting health care exemptions, and attempts to legitimize illegal immigration to gain votes...we start to not look a lot different than Mubarak and his cronies.

Where we DO stand out is the example of the U.S. military in the past twenty years in showing reasonable use of force. Would Egypt's Army have shown this kind of restraint in earlier days? Doubtful.

So when folks say we should use a heavier hand in places like Afghanistan, just think of the example that would set to other militaries of the world. We should thank our lucky stars that pop-centric COIN in Afghanistan, democratization of Iraq, and suppression of genocide in the Balkans is leading by example in ways far more constructive than talking the talk on how democracy makes all the difference.
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Old 02-05-2011   #126
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http://www.npr.org/templates/story/s...toryId=1357781


For the US, the story of 1953 Iran is an important one to understand when looking at Egypt today.
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Old 02-05-2011   #127
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Link to world trends and predictions for 2011. This was posted before the situation in Egypt, take a close look at trends 1,4,and 9. I am not that familiar with Gerald Celente but looks like he is off to a pretty good start.



http://www.lewrockwell.com/celente/celente59.1.html
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Old 02-05-2011   #128
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Going way OT... I'm not convinced that anything the US did was a decisive factor leading to the attacks in 2001.
Not sure it's OT. 'Decisiveness' is an issue in this thread. The US government is, by design, not decisive. That lack of decisiveness arguably led to halfhearted measures -- easier to attain or perform -- in response to 30 years of provocations from the ME; not from Muslims -- though most were that -- from the ME. That lack of decisive action led to knowledge (not a perception but true knowledge) that the US could not and would not respond well and thus could be slowly nibbled at and the resultant irrtiation and attrition would cause overstretch at a minimum and self flagellating destruction at best.
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I suspect that the ultimate push coming to shove there was AQ's need for a foreign intervention in Muslim land to justify - and indeed to continue - its own existence.
If by ultimate push you mean the aircraft flights, perhaps. However one should recall that the provocations started internationally with the attack at the Munich Olympics in 1972, accelerated over the next few years and first involved the US with the seizure of the Embassy in Tehran -- Osama was a 22 year old playboy at the time. Subsequent attacks and provocation were from the Muslim Brotherhood, a precursor to Hezbollah and various other, non AQ elements.

It's a great deal bigger than AQ who are nothing much to lose sleep over. Hezbollah is more worrying and the broader outlook even more so.
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My impression was that Reagan was pretty much the last holdout on the Marcos issue... Seemed from here that by the time Reagan came 'round almost everyone else had already figured out that it was done.
That is my impression also. Thus my comment that the decision was surprising and unusual.
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It's often said that the tipping point in Manila was the refusal of the Philippine Marine contingent to fire on protesters at the EDSA/Ortigas junction on the afternoon of day 2. That was a dicey moment, and if they'd put a hundred PSG thugs in front of the Marines it would have been very different: there weren't more than 20 or 30 of us on the spot when it came right down to it... but it wasn't the tipping point, in my view. (And if anyone wonders, the story that "the nuns stopped the tanks" is a load of bollocks. There was not a nun in sight.)
I bow to the guy who was on the ground...
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I still wonder whose idea that was; never been able to find out.
He or she may not even realize that idea was a spark. Or they may have known precisely what it would do. Some thing can remain unknown unknowns...

Meanwhile, in Egypt today:

The apparent indecisiveness in Washington is a feature not a bug. It has penalties, always has -- but the benefits make those shortfalls bearable IMO. Decisive action akin to Truman and Korea, Reagan and an airplane or either Bush and Iraq are the exception rather than the rule. I personally would not opt to change that for a more decisive form of government. We muddle along but get more right than wrong...

Likely will do so in North Africa -- and the ME; it'll just take a while.
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Old 02-05-2011   #129
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Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
... in response to 30 years of provocations from the ME; not from Muslims -- though most were that -- from the ME. That lack of decisive action led to knowledge (not a perception but true knowledge) that the US could not and would not respond well and thus could be slowly nibbled at and the resultant irrtiation and attrition would cause overstretch at a minimum and self flagellating destruction at best.
Ah, the old hawk song, where only shouts and fists supposedly work well on certain people. It's apparently a matter of attitude whether people believe this song or not.



I don't get your "30 years", though.

I can easily identify 33 years of provocations of Arabs by the U.S. (taking the first delivery of F-4 Phantom II in 1968 as marking).

30 years of provocations of the U.S. from the region seems otherwise a bit stretched, for I don't recall an earlier significant incident than 1979 embassy crisis. That was Iran (Persians, not Arabs!), though.
2001 - 30 = 1971. What exactly did Arabs do to the U.S. around that time?


Why exactly do you believe that the U.S. was not strong enough in its responses? I recall it bombed Libya in the 1980's quite strongly.


In short: I don't call this 'They are the aggressors and we powerful and patient people didn't push them back, but appeased them.' view.
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Old 02-05-2011   #130
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Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
This is surely more complex than any of us will ever know.

With so much at stake, why would Israel or even the Saudis sit on their hands and watch?
Why not the USA themselves?

For example, see the following cable released by WikiLeaks to The Telegraph and published on 28 January 2011: Egypt protests: America's secret backing for rebel leaders behind uprising

Here's the text of the cable: Link

Did something like "Operation Ajax II" back-fire this time?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuchs
I can easily identify 33 years of provocations of Arabs by the U.S. (taking the first delivery of F-4 Phantom II in 1968 as marking).
I would start with saving al-Sauds from starvation with help of a shipload of silver Dollars, back in 1942...
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Old 02-05-2011   #131
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The slang word "boondocks" meaning jungle or out in the country comes from a Philippine Tagalog dialect word for mountain. It apparently entered the American vocabulary when we were civilizing with Krag rifles.
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Old 02-05-2011   #132
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Originally Posted by CrowBat View Post
Why not the USA themselves?

For example, see the following cable released by WikiLeaks to The Telegraph and published on 28 January 2011: Egypt protests: America's secret backing for rebel leaders behind uprising

Here's the text of the cable: Link

Did something like "Operation Ajax II" back-fire this time?

I would start with saving al-Sauds from starvation with help of a shipload of silver Dollars, back in 1942...
Always possible. Would explain some of the finger pointing at Iran coming from the line up of SMEs enlisted by the media.
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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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Old 02-05-2011   #133
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Ah, the old hawk song, where only shouts and fists supposedly work well on certain people. It's apparently a matter of attitude whether people believe this song or not.
Speaking of attitude...

One could suggest that the songs you believe are at least equally flawed -- if not more so...

But I digress. Lemme give you a hawkish comment. If you allow people to bulldoze you or shout you down, then they will. You, Fuchs, personally typify the antithesis of that because you do not allow that to occur. Nor should you. Nor should a nation tolerate continued -- note that word, continued -- provocations from a single source. Not a single party, a single source which may involve multiple parties. The Middle East was and is such a source and it does provide multiple parties with various grudges and strategies -- it is not monolithic.

We did tolerate such provocations from a single source, partly trying to be nice and partly assuming that as the provenance of theses acts varied there were different actors, multiple sources, involved. Wrong deduction, same crowd, different players.
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I don't get your "30 years", though.
Not surprising, it's hard to see through bias blinders.
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I can easily identify 33 years of provocations of Arabs by the U.S. (taking the first delivery of F-4 Phantom II in 1968 as marking).
You weren't paying attention -- you weren't even born, in fact. Crowbat is closer but even he's about eight years late (Google ArAmCo and look around). Franklin D. Roosevelt started diddling around in the ME in 1942, met Ibn Saud in the Great Bitter Lake in 1945...
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30 years of provocations of the U.S. from the region seems otherwise a bit stretched, for I don't recall an earlier significant incident than 1979 embassy crisis. That was Iran (Persians, not Arabs!), though.
Allow me to repeat what I wrote:

"in response to 30 years of provocations from the ME; not from Muslims -- though most were that -- from the ME."

Note the ME, for Middle East, which includes Iran. The Iraniha , some of them at any rate, were upset with us for moving in to their country, uninvited and supporting the old Shah in 1943. The fact that the main intent was to force the then present USSR to back off and leave Iran often gets lost in all the ill informed left wing rhetorical flourishes. That long predates Bob's World's Operation Ajax in 1953 which placed that Shah's son on the throne. Regardless of motivation -- and erroneous assumptions, the Persians led the ME -- again, as they had for centuries. They broke the ice, so to speak in attacking the Great Satan -a and getting away with it. The Arabs then piled on -- ME way of warfare...

If you doubt that, you should spend some time there and get out on the street and talk to people. Not Academics, the elites -- the people.
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2001 - 30 = 1971. What exactly did Arabs do to the U.S. around that time?
Just plotted. As a result of the Munich attack, Nixon directed a study (LINK) which got rolling (at the Deputy level, really) and produced a report which was remarkably prescient. So we've been interested since the early 70s (LINK), over 30 years -- and so was the opposition...
Quote:
Why exactly do you believe that the U.S. was not strong enough in its responses? I recall it bombed Libya in the 1980's quite strongly.
Not at all strongly; better than nothing perhaps -- maybe not. Sometimes minor efforts like that do more harm than good and make one look rather ineffectual. All of our ME responses were like that, ineffectual -- until Iraq (and that wasn't as good as it should have been because DoD and the US Armed Forces did not do a good job)

The US is always more concerned with domestic politics than it is with the broader world. Nixon's effort produce some good results which were ignored. Carter totally mishandled the hostage crisis by actually sending the Ayatollah Ruhollah K. a letter saying he would not use force. Khomeini had been about to direct the Students (note that world, ponder Taliban and look at Tunisia and Egypt today...) at the Embassy to release the hostages but upon receipt of Carter's letter, told then to continue the march. Reagan Failed utterly in first sending troops to Lebanon in 1983, second in allowing State to tie their hands and thirdly in doing little to nothing about the Embassy and troop billet bombings and latterly by withdrawing -- that merely encouraged everyone to believe the US had no staying power. In his defense, he learned from that and thus the Libyan attack in 1986, though it was really not much of an effort. Follow him with Bush 41 failing to topple Saddam -- some moderately good reasons not to but in the ME a very different message was received. Then Somalia and Clinton's feeble effort, all of which failed to impress anyone.
Quote:
In short: I don't call this 'They are the aggressors and we powerful and patient people didn't push them back, but appeased them.' view.
We can differ on that.

All of which is off thread. So if you want to continue this, let's do it by PM.

Last edited by Ken White; 02-05-2011 at 11:14 PM.
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Old 02-05-2011   #134
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I took your "ME" as "Arabs" because it makes no sense to discuss 9/11 and Iran together.

The Munich assassinations were about Arabs and Israel, not about the U.S. - this cannot seriously be counted as ME-born provocation against the U.S..

You still did not explain which Arab/ME actions of around '71 pointed the beginning of provocations against the U.S..
This is central to your earlier idea that the U.S. did not respond appropriately to provocations for three decades. No provocations = no lacking response.

Even worse, the whole idea that the U.S. was too soft/dovish towards ME powers/extremists/whatever seems to be clearly unhistorical to me.

------

About Egypt: Foreign agents may play a great role, but considering the possibility that a dictator might use rumours about this for his political survival, I'm for skipping unproven theories and for not adding rumours to the mix.

Most if not all intelligence services are apparently (see 20th century history) rather ineffective at inciting popular revolts anyway. They have much "better" track records with sponsoring extremists or military coups.
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Old 02-05-2011   #135
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I took your "ME" as "Arabs" because it makes no sense to discuss 9/11 and Iran together.
If one does not realize the linkage and pervasive influence of the Persian Empires (plural) throughout the area on mores and attitudes, I can understand that. OTOH, if one is aware of that, the linkage is obvious. As I said, the Persians have been out in front of the Arabs for centuries...

They had as much if not more influence on the ME and eastern North Africa than did Islam and far more than did the Ottomans.
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The Munich assassinations were about Arabs and Israel, not about the U.S. - this cannot seriously be counted as ME-born provocation against the U.S.
In order; Of course they were, True - I didn't say it was.

However, it was the first big transnational terrorist attack against the West and emanating from the ME. It was a harbinger of things to come and it was extremely important because the west got a wakeup call and except for the formation of GSG 9, mostly ignored it...

That is true of the US, Nixon wisely said let's take a look, we did, saw what was going to happen -- and did nothing. Mostly because of domestic politics (It seems de rigueur in the US for a new Administration to disavow ANYTHING the previous Admin did...). We sat on our hands and let a problem develop when we could have taken diplomatic and economic steps to forestall or defuse the problem. Contrary to what you seem to believe, every comment that inadequate action was taken does not entail attack or a military response -- those are usually, IMO, ill advised. However, I do believe that if they are necessary, as they occasionally are, they should be effective. I'd even go a step further and say that if such measures are employed, necessary or not, they should be effective and not just futile swats. Those can result in doing more harm than good (witness most of the past 30 years...[from today]).
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You still did not explain which Arab/ME actions of around '71 pointed the beginning of provocations against the U.S.
Sorry, thought it would be obvious. Apparently not. This is 2011, just barely. Thirty years ago would make it 1981 and Reagan would have been recently inaugurated and the Hostages released. I should have been more precise and instead of saying 30 years (meaning a not stated 'from today' and as a rough or approximate figure) should have written "since 4 November 1979..."
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This is central to your earlier idea that the U.S. did not respond appropriately to provocations for three decades. No provocations = no lacking response.
Try recomputing with that 1979 start date, see if that works, don't forget to count the Embassy bombings (all of them), attacks on the World Trade Center (all of them), the Barracks bombings (all of them), the aircraft hijackings and bombings (all of them) and I think you'll come up with a fair total over the first 22 of that 30 plus years. Not quite one major attack a year but not far off, either.

Throw in the ship attacks plus Viet Nam and Somalia -- which you may not deem important in this context but of which many in the ME and Asia are well aware and often cite, not least including Bin Laden and Zawahiri, the Egyptian and Abu Yahya al-Libi -- the Libyan AQ strategist. .

As an aside, you seem to accord the 2001 attacks far more importance than I do. While extracting a higher body count and having great symbolic effect, it was just another attack IMO, just one more (or three or four more, depending upon how one counts) atop all the others over the [from 2001] previous 22 years (and that's a figure I've used often on this board...).
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Even worse, the whole idea that the U.S. was too soft/dovish towards ME powers/extremists/whatever seems to be clearly unhistorical to me.
If one paid attention -- and few outside the US had or have any reason to do so -- one might come to a different conclusion. I did, do and have...
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Most if not all intelligence services are apparently (see 20th century history) rather ineffective at inciting popular revolts anyway. They have much "better" track records with sponsoring extremists or military coups.
True. So we can agree on that.

Also on Egypt -- that first comment of mine above -- "linkage and pervasive influence of the Persian Empires (plural) throughout the area on mores and attitudes" -- applies to Egypt as well...

Last edited by Ken White; 10-27-2011 at 01:20 AM.
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Old 02-05-2011   #136
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Come on, if you argue with the Persian empire, I can argue with the Roman Empire, Alexander's successor states (Greek), the Byzantine (effectively Greek again) Empire and - this blows a 2,300 y.o. empire to pieces - the Ottoman Empire, which controlled the region for centuries well into the 20th century (Turks).

You overstate the influence of Persians/Iran in the Arab world badly.
They're a different crowd and the actions of some people in Tehran in '79 had as much to do with later AQ-style terrorism as did the attack on the Embassy in Saigon.


Moreover, you're moving goalposts. You CANNOT have meant 1979 with your 30 years statement without having written nonsense.

Quote:
(...)That lack of decisiveness arguably led to halfhearted measures -- easier to attain or perform -- in response to 30 years of provocations from the ME;(...)
You were clearly writing about 30 years with only halfhearted measures. This could impossibly include the last nine years. It would at most have been 22 years (79-01) of half-hearted measures, not 30.

Furthermore, the bombardment of Libya in 1986 with 60 dead cannot seriously be considered half-hearted. A full war would have been disproportionate and unnecessary.


I still don't buy this revisionist view that the U.S. was overly passive and Arabs/ME/Muslims/whatever were the provoking party.
At most, the history of the post-WW2 relationship between the U.S. and the Arab world could be called troublesome and full of minor offenses/skirmishing from both sides (with the biggest offenses being the invasion of Iraq, decades of support for Israel and 9/11 - in this order).
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Old 02-05-2011   #137
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Foreign Affairs Coverage of the Crisis in Egypt and the Middle East - Summary: A collection of continuing Foreign Affairs coverage of the crisis in Egypt and the Middle East (most recent posted this week):

Quote:
The Muslim Brotherhood After Mubarak: What the Brotherhood Is and How it Will Shape the Future
Carrie Rosefsky Wickham
February 3, 2011
Portraying the Muslim Brotherhood as eager and able to seize power and impose its version of sharia on an unwilling citizenry is a caricature that exaggerates certain features of the Brotherhood and underestimates the extent to which the group has changed over time.

The U.S.-Egyptian Breakup: Washington's Options in Cairo
Steven A. Cook
February 2, 2011
With the political era of Hosni Mubarak coming to an end, is the strategic relationship between Cairo and Washington similarly finished? The Obama administration must scale back its ambitions to affect change in Cairo.

Israel's Neighborhood Watch: Egypt's Upheaval Means that Palestine Must Wait
Yossi Klein Halevi
February 1, 2011
With Hezbollah calling the shots in Lebanon and Islamists poised to gain power in Egypt, Israel sees itself as almost completely encircled by Iranian allies or proxies. Where does this leave the future of a sovereign Palestine state?

Letter From Cairo: The People's Military in Egypt?
Eric Trager
January 30, 2011
As protests continue in Egypt, both sides -- the protesters in the streets and the Mubarak regime -- are wondering exactly which side the Egyptian military is supporting. Does the army hold the key to the country's political endgame?

The Psychology of Food Riots: When Do Price Spikes Lead to Unrest?
Evan Fraser and Andrew Rimas
January 30, 2011
The connection among rising prices, hunger, and violent civic unrest seems intuitively logical. But there was more to Tunisia's food protests than the logic of the pocketbook. The psychological element -- a sense of injustice that arises between seeing food prices rise and pouring a Molotov cocktail -- is more important.

Letter From Beirut: Crime and Punishment in the Levant: Lebanon’s False Choice Between Stability and Justice
Michael Young
January 26, 2011
In bringing down its government last week, did Lebanon just witness a coup d’etat or did it narrowly dodge civil war? Either way, Damascus, Tehran, and Washington are all watching.

Morning in Tunisia: The Frustrations of the Arab World Boil Over
Michele Penner Angrist
January 16, 2011
Last week's mass protests in Tunisia were less a symptom of economic malaise than of a society fed up with its broken dictatorship. Should the other autocratic regimes in the Middle East and North Africa be afraid?

Is El Baradei Egypt's Hero? Mohamed El Baradei and the Chance for Reform (broken link)
Steven A. Cook
March 26, 2010
The return of Mohamed El Baradei to Egypt has raised questions about the country's political system and the rule of President Hosni Mubarak. Is reform possible, and if so, is El Baradei the man to lead it?

Back to the Bazaar
Martin Indyk
January/February 2002
The United States has an opportunity to set new terms for its alliances in the Middle East. The bargain struck with Egypt and Saudi Arabia after the Gulf War seemed successful for a decade, but now the United States is facing the consequences: Washington backed Cairo's and Riyadh's authoritarian regimes, and they begat al Qaeda. The Bush administration should heed the lesson.
Cheers

Mike
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Old 02-05-2011   #138
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The Iranian Embassy hostage siege in London in May 1980 happened shortly after the seizure of U.S. embassy personnel in Tehran in 1979.

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Old 02-05-2011   #139
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Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
Come on, if you argue with the Persian empire, I can argue with the Roman Empire, Alexander's successor states (Greek), the Byzantine (effectively Greek again) Empire and - this blows a 2,300 y.o. empire to pieces - the Ottoman Empire, which controlled the region for centuries well into the 20th century (Turks).
All those had an effect, I just think the Persians had more and a more enduring effect. The length of time since the Persian Empires -- there was more than the one shown on that map -- made the total effect more pervasive; they were around far longer than any of the others you cite. (LINK).
Quote:
You overstate the influence of Persians/Iran in the Arab world badly.
My having lived there and seen Ta'arof at work in most of the ME nations and Afghanistan says you're far from correct.
Quote:
Moreover, you're moving goalposts. You CANNOT have meant 1979 with your 30 years statement without having written nonsense.
I beg your pardon?

Go back and read the thread. Note these:

My Post 105: "Some compare current events to 1979. Not a good match. 1986 is a better correlation."

My Post 117: "I have long ( going on 31 years...) contended that Carter's abysmal handling of the Tehran Embassy seizure, Reagan's foolish foray into Lebanon and the mishandling of that whole episode, Bush 41s failure to topple Saddam in 91 and Clinton's tail wagging (that's a celebrity buzz - pop culture reference not a veiled innuendo) led to the attacks in the US in 2001 (and others worldwide before that time)..."

My Post 128: "That lack of decisiveness arguably led to halfhearted measures -- easier to attain or perform -- in response to 30 years of provocations from the ME; not from Muslims -- though most were that -- from the ME."

That last is the one to which you responded.
Quote:
You were clearly writing about 30 years with only halfhearted measures. This could impossibly include the last nine years. It would at most have been 22 years (79-01) of half-hearted measures, not 30.
That is correct and is pretty much what I wrote in My Post 135 just above. So what are we arguing about? More correctly, what are you arguing about?

As for the last nine years, whether there have been provocations or attempted attacks from the ME or not is not fully known, certainly there have been no big or very successful such. That's really academic -- it's the thought that counts...
Quote:
Furthermore, the bombardment of Libya in 1986 with 60 dead cannot seriously be considered half-hearted.
You may not consider it half hearted, I certainly do. I've been in units that lost more people killed in less time.
Quote:
A full war would have been disproportionate and unnecessary.
Agreed, IMO the bombing operation was not necessary but Reagan didn't ask me...
Quote:
I still don't buy this revisionist view that the U.S. was overly passive and Arabs/ME/Muslims/whatever were the provoking party.
Not a problem, I'm not selling.

You can call it revisionist but its a view I've held for almost all that 30 years, certainly for the last 27 years, since the second Beirut Embassy bombing. As I said, I've been paying attention, you had no need to do so.
Quote:
At most, the history of the post-WW2 relationship between the U.S. and the Arab world could be called troublesome and full of minor offenses/skirmishing from both sides...
I agree and nothing I've said implies otherwise.
Quote:
... (with the biggest offenses being the invasion of Iraq, decades of support for Israel and 9/11 - in this order).
I do not agree with either of those but I can understand that you and many in the world would think that. Both IMO have a basis in fact but both are biased -- as is my view, just in a different direction. Iraq was an over reaction to rectify the false impression given by 22 years of placatory response, premature departure, inaction and halfway measures. It worked fairly well even though the execution was flawed.

The real truth is probably somewhere between your view and mine. In any event, this is way off the thread to which I once again suggest we return and take this off thread discussion into PMs if you have more to say. I really do not. We should be able to differ without boring others...

Last edited by Ken White; 02-06-2011 at 04:29 AM. Reason: Typo
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Old 02-06-2011   #140
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmm99 View Post
Foreign Affairs Coverage of the Crisis in Egypt and the Middle East - Summary: A collection of continuing Foreign Affairs coverage of the crisis in Egypt and the Middle East (most recent posted this week):
Interesting reading. The contrast between the piece on the Muslim Brotherhood and the rather hysterical "Israel's neighborhood Watch" piece is particularly interesting. Overall the chorus of panic and recrimination emanating from Israel is getting pretty deafening, example here...

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/...70U53720110131

Quote:
Israel shocked by Obama's "betrayal" of Mubarak

If Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak is toppled, Israel will lose one of its very few friends in a hostile neighborhood and President Barack Obama will bear a large share of the blame, Israeli pundits said on Monday.

Political commentators expressed shock at how the United States as well as its major European allies appeared to be ready to dump a staunch strategic ally of three decades, simply to conform to the current ideology of political correctness...

...To win popular Arab opinion, Obama was risking America's status as a superpower and reliable ally.

"Throughout Asia, Africa and South America, leaders are now looking at what is going on between Washington and Cairo. Everyone grasps the message: "America's word is worthless ... America has lost it."
One has to wonder what exactly they want the US to do to preserve the hollow shell of Mubarak's rule. There seems to be a general reluctance to admit that Mubarak is probably going down no matter what the US does. Rats may leave sinking ships, but who in his right mind stays on a sinking ship?

Seems to me an excellent opportunity for the US to demonstrate that we do not necessarily hold our interests to be identical to those of Israel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
For the US, the story of 1953 Iran is an important one to understand when looking at Egypt today.
It may be even more important to understand that story when looking at Egypt tomorrow, or in the near future, as a new Egyptian government emerges. There will doubtless be all manner of panic over presumed Islamist influence, and all manner of calls for the CIA to do the dirty and bring back a tidy reliable dictatorship. This temptation will, I think, be best avoided.

The message the US needs to deliver, IMO, lies not in what we do to resolve Egypt's current crisis but in how we deal with what emerges after. Time for us to show, not say, that we are able and willing to deal with a government that puts Egypt's interests ahead of ours. Certainly there will be friction, but the way we choose to manage that friction will speak volumes, and have a lasting impact.
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