By Mike Whitney
The United States and Israel were caught off-guard by the size and ferocity of the demonstrations in Egypt, but they have since regained their balance and caught up to events. The two allies have settled on a strategy to preserve the Mubarak dictatorship (in some form) and assure that US-Israel regional hegemony will not be challenged. Thus, the Obama administration will continue to offer lip-service to democracy and human rights, while coordinating efforts with Mubarak to maintain Washington’s stranglehold on power in Cairo.
The first step in this process, is to quash the rebellion with force.
Yesterday, after promising he would not use violence against the protesters, Mubarak deployed his goons to Tahrir Square where they attacked the the assembly with batons, rocks, and clubs. Men on horseback and camels charged into the crowd sending droves of protesters fleeing in panic. Al Jazeera reported that hundreds of people were injured in the melee. It’s clear that the so-called “Mubarak supporters” were not civilians at all, but members of the feared Egyptian security forces in disguise. The Obama administration is aware of the clashes but has refused to condemn the perpetrators. Obama is now sticking to a script that was written by powerbrokers in Washington and Tel Aviv.
Obama’s speech on Tuesday was aptly summarized by As’ad Abukhalil blogging on The Angry Arab website. Here’s what he said:
“I just read the speech by Obama: it confirmed my suspicion, that basically Mubarak was permitted by the US to do with the Egyptian people as he would like…..Every drop of blood that is spilled in Egypt from this day onwards should be blamed on Obama because he has embraced this new strategy of letting Mubarak defy the popular will of the Egyptian people. I don’t trust the Egyptian army: the top brass is hand picked by the US/Israel and can be easily bought off by a combination of bribes, gadgets, and perks. They could care less about the Egyptian people. This is part of the ruling group of this tyrant.
The speech by Obama was a not-so-coded language that let Mubarak do what he wish: the talk about transition means that he was basically told to stay in power, because Israel really freaked out at the prospect of Egypt without Mubarak. … Make no mistake about it: this could be like the 1953 Operation Ajax in Iran. The US is now arranging for a coup against the will of the Egyptian people.. It requires utmost vigilance and steadfastness and thus far those qualities have been abundant among the Egyptian people. This move by Obama towards Egypt can be described as criminal because it will lead to blood on the streets…..
I say this without any hyperbole, the US is willing to have millions of Arab oppressed, killed, and tortured to preserve the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty. I strongly believe that.” (Angry Arab website)
Israel’s leaders and surrogates in the media are “freaking out” as Abukhalil notes. Commentators across the ideological spectrum–from Thomas Friedman to Alan Dershowitz– have weighed in on how the world will come to an end if democracy breaks out in Egypt. Case in point, here’s a clip from Friedman’s latest essay:
“I’m meeting a retired Israeli general at a Tel Aviv hotel. As I take my seat, he begins the conversation with: “Well, everything we thought for the last 30 years is no longer relevant.”
That pretty much sums up the disorienting sense of shock and awe that the popular uprising in Egypt has inflicted on the psyche of Israel’s establishment. The peace treaty with a stable Egypt was the unspoken foundation for every geopolitical and economic policy in Israel for the last 35 years, and now it’s gone.” (“B.E., Before Egypt. A.E.., After Egypt”, Thomas Friedman, New York Times)
Friedman’s article is a shocking admission that “only Israel counts”. But what about other people’s struggles for freedom and human rights; don’t they matter or are the aspirations of millions of people living under tyranny supposed to be dismissed because they could pose a challenge to Israel’s prized national security? This is cultural narcissism at its worst. The Egyptian people should not have to sacrifice their rights to satisfy the Zionist dream.
Here’s an excerpt from an article by Judith Miller of FOX News, who played a critical roll in propagating the lies which led to the Iraq War. Miller dispels any illusion that one might have about Israel’s commitment to liberty and democracy.
Judith Miller: “As long-standing allies and admirers distance themselves from Egypt’s autocratic regime, President Hosni Mubarak has found himself with only one serious ally left in the Middle East –Israel.
While Washington has publicly chided its stalwart ally of 30 years, urging him to stop repressing his people and speed the transition to democracy, only Israel and two conservative Arab monarchies — the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and Saudi Arabia — have publicly embraced Mubarak. …Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to Mubarak by phone early in the crisis, the Israeli press reported, assuring him of Israel’s continuing support…..
It is Egypt, for instance, that has helped Israel and the United States maintain the embargo around the Gaza Strip…… Cairo, like Israel, has also been critical of Iran’s efforts to flex political muscle in the region and its nuclear policies.” (“Mubarak Finds a Strong Ally in Israel”, Judith Miller, Fox News)
Is there any doubt where Miller stands on the issue of human rights vs. Israeli security?
Predictably, Obama has has cast his lot with Miller, Netanyahu, and old friend, Hosni Mubarak. In fact, Imad Ad-Din Ad-Dib, the chief spokesman for the Mubarak regime, said today on Al-Arabiyah TV that the Egyptian Army was preparing a statement that would ban all future demonstrations. That means that Obama has given Mubarak the green light to crush the revolt while he works on his public relations strategy. We should expect that every act of brutality against unarmed Egyptian civilians will now be accompanied by a stern rebuke from Obama invoking his unwavering commitment to “universal values and human rights.”
Was there ever a bigger champion of the Bush Doctrine than Barack Obama?