They just got a different tool to use than we do: They kill innocent lives to achieve objectives. That's what they do. And they're good. They get on the TV screens and they get people to ask questions about, well, you know, this, that or the other. I mean, they're able to kind of say to people: Don't come and bother us, because we will kill you. Bush - Joint News Conference with Blair - 28 July '06

Sunday, July 28, 2013

UK has 'no plans' to arm Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood

Sources close to the prime minister but not that close, speaking anonymously, claim  providing weapons or bullet proof jackets/night vision goggles to  the Muslim Brotherhood ahead of what is expected to be a brutal crackdown by the military is not being considered, and that "nothing is off the table or on it".

Egypt - not knowingly photoshopped

Egypt: Protesters dodge police bullets video

Friday, July 26, 2013

King Abdullah 'brings faiths together' everywhere

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has worked his black (gold) magic on John Kerry.  Kerry remarks upon Abdullah's urgent desire to 'bring faiths together'. Not totally sure what that means, but you wonder if it extends to Shia Islam.  Guess not. Don't expect to see him sitting with Iranians to heal the divisions in Iraq, Syria etc.  And he certainly won't be including apostates, witches and sorcerers  in his outreach program.  On the other hand, we may soon witness - perhaps - the ringing of church bells during the Muslim call to prayer in Cairo. Presumably in support of the Saudi approved military coup.
(It was just a good guess, with minimum sorcery)

 Secretary of State John Kerry – Remarks at the Ramadan Iftar Dinner
U.S. State Department, Washington, DC
July 24, 2013
[...] Before I close, let me share – just share a couple things with you. I was impressed when I first visited Saudi Arabia, and I met King Abdullah, and I listened to him talk about his sense of urgency about bringing faiths together and his own initiative to try to reach out across the divide and bring Muslim and all other religions together. Link

Amnesty Int
Saudi Arabia applies the death penalty for a wide range of crimes, including drug offences, apostasy, sorcery and witchcraft. ....Offences such as apostasy, sorcery and witchcraft have been used to punish people for the legitimate exercise of their human rights, including the rights to freedom of conscience, religion, belief and expression. Link

Egypt's $1.3 billion 'untouchable compensation'

Aid to Egypt Can Keep Flowing, Despite Overthrow, White House Decides

The senior official did not describe the legal reasoning behind the finding, saying only, “The law does not require us to make a formal determination as to whether a coup took place, and it is not in our national interest to make such a determination.”
“We will not say it was a coup, we will not say it was not a coup, we will just not say,” the official said Link

US embassy cables: Egypt's strategic importance to the US

Mil-Mil Cooperation: Ready for Next Level
4. (S/NF) President Mubarak and military leaders view our military assistance program as the cornerstone of our mil-mil relationship and consider the USD 1.3 billion in annual FMF as "untouchable compensation" for making and maintaining peace with Israel. The tangible benefits to our mil-mil relationship are clear: Egypt remains at peace with Israel, and the U.S. military enjoys priority access to the Suez Canal and Egyptian airspace. Link

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Egypt: General machinations


"I urge the people to take to the streets this coming Friday to prove their will and give me, the army and police, a mandate to confront possible violence and terrorism."
"So that in case there was a resort to violence and terrorism, the army would have a mandate to confront this." Link

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Syria no fly-zone - Blair shot down

General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and spokesperson for the 'international community' has thought about no-fly zones:

“You don’t have to send in troops, but the international community should think about installing no-fly zones." Tony Blair, June 2013

Establish a No-Fly Zone. This option uses lethal force to prevent the regime from using its military aircraft to bomb and resupply.  It would extend air superiority over Syria by neutralizing the regime’s advanced, defense integrated air defense system.  It would also shoot down adversary aircraft and strike airfields, aircraft on the ground, and supporting infrastructure. We would require hundreds of ground and sea-based aircraft, intelligence and electronic warfare support, and enablers for refueling and communications.  Estimated costs are $500 million initially, averaging  as much as a billion dollars per month over the course of a year.  Impacts would likely include the near total elimination of the regime’s ability to bomb opposition strongholds and sustain its forces by air. Risks include the loss of U.S. aircraft, which would require us to insert personnel recovery forces.  It may also fail to reduce the violence or shift the momentum because the regime relies overwhelmingly on surface firesmortars, artillery, and missiles. Link

Mugabe frustrates

The FT laments failure of West  to dislodge 89 year old Robert Mugabe so far.

A Mugabe victory would underline the failure of western intervention and the impotence of regional efforts at pressing reform in a country whose economic potential has the power to transform southern Africa make us some money. Link

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Muslim Brotherhood and the Illusion of Power

 Foreign policy, security apparatus, issues of 'national security' -all under the control of the military. No wonder the US was seen to be supportive of the MB -why wouldn't they be?  The MB was a toothless government unlikely to disturb the status quo in relation to Israel.  Economically liberal and relatively democratic, these Islamists are the sort the US can live with. But that was before the military coup......

The Muslim Brotherhood and the Illusion of Power (Op-Med) (Kindle Location 20). German Marshall Fund. .
[...] The MB’s choice of acting alone and of being substantially
compliant with the military instead of helping to build a
democratic front during the roller coaster-like ups and
downs of the transitional period has so far seriously 
undermined the possibility of making the SCAF accountable to
democratic forces.
Looking at the long history of the Brotherhood, one is led to
believe that the MB played the old strategy of searching for
a political compromise with the regime (this time repre-
sented by the SCAF) at the expense of a truly democratic
posture. Will this strategy pay off in the long run? Link

This article was published in 2012

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A new set of international rules

As we all know, a Military Coup did not take place in Egypt. 

Jay Carney - Self interest weighs heavily on coup status determination
[...] On Tuesday, Carney reiterated that the administration was considering the security interests of the United States as it decides how to categorize Morsi's ouster.
"We have not made a determination about what to call or label the events in Egypt that led to the change in government there," Carney said, adding that the White House was undergoing a "deliberative process." Link

Obama 2012 election trail - on creating a set of international rules and rising above self interest
And I think that there is a strong belief that we continue to be a superpower, unique perhaps in the annals of history, that is not only self-interested but is also thinking about how to create a set of international rules and norms that everyone can follow and that everyone can benefit from. Link

Yes big deal I know, presidents lie.