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Thread: Egypt's ElBaradei: Liberals 'decimated' in vote

  1. #91
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoccoR View Post
    The US is notoriously poor at picking good foreign leaders. One needs only look at al-Maliki (Iraq) and Karzai (Afghanistan); both of whom attended power under the US watch and are miserable leaders.
    The idea here is that it will be the Egyptians that pick their leader. Don't think the US will say or do anything anything before that.

    Fotouh is a mixed bag, he has a bit of everything that might prove enticing. That is whenever the Egyptians get around to having their elections.

  2. #92
    Contributor RoccoR's Avatar
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    Double Edge, et al,

    My concern is the American endorsement, and it tainting a candidate.

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    The idea here is that it will be the Egyptians that pick their leader. Don't think the US will say or do anything anything before that.

    Fotouh is a mixed bag, he has a bit of everything that might prove enticing. That is whenever the Egyptians get around to having their elections.
    (COMMENT)

    I suspect that the Egyptians, now a bit free of government oversight, will express their true nature, and show their true colors. With that in mind, the US should stay well away, for Egyptians just might inadvertently install a embryonic semi-repressive regime; for which they will later regret.

    Quote Originally Posted by EXCERPT from Al Arabiya, WEDNESDAY, 9 May 2012, Egypt’s election campaigning kicks off; Abul Fotouh buoyed by Salafi, Wasat backing
    The Brotherhood later backtracked on their decision and announced Khairat al-Shater as their candidate – the man who is widely believed to be responsible for Abul Fotouh’s expulsion from the Brotherhood, according to al-Ahram report.

    The Muslim Brotherhood's main candidate, Mohammed Mursi, suffered a blow on Saturday when an influential hardline Salafi movement endorsed his main Islamist rival Abul Fotouh for president.

    The Nour Party of the Salafi movement, which espouses a puritanical version of Islam, on Saturday endorsed Abul Fotouh for the presidency, according to Reuters.

    SOURCE: Egypt
    (COMMENT)

    Abul Fotouh is a version of "The Muslim Brotherhood Lite." He is dragging Sharia (Islamic law) into the mix as a platform principle. Being supported by the Nour Party of the Salafi should tell you something. This could easily drag Egypt into dark times.

    It looks like (to me) that the Egyptians are going to blow their opportunity at creating a new 21st Century government and instead, elect a party to power that will eventually usher in a Salafis Government operating on the Quran and Sunnah; a lesser restrictive version of Iran.

    The US would be wise to put in place a set of travel restrictions and the planning for backdoor evacuations.

    Most Respectfully,
    R

  3. #93
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoccoR View Post
    My concern is the American endorsement, and it tainting a candidate.
    Has the US officially endorsed anybody ?

    Quote Originally Posted by RoccoR View Post
    I suspect that the Egyptians, now a bit free of government oversight, will express their true nature, and show their true colors. With that in mind, the US should stay well away, for Egyptians just might inadvertently install a embryonic semi-repressive regime; for which they will later regret.
    My turn to return the favour, Rocco

    The Transformation of Political Islam in the Arab Awakening | MEPC | Apr 11 2012

    (Transcript)

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Peter Mandaville
    I’m speaking here of what I take to be a need to reconfigure the conversation on political Islam on Capitol Hill and in the broader public discussion at large.

    To my mind, it tends to be kind of be polarized.

    Either you have people saying, oh, groups like the Muslim Brotherhood are pretty much the same as Hamas or just a little bit different. And they have concerns about the Brotherhood that’s really associated with broader regional security issues, terrorism and such.

    And on the other hand you have people saying, oh, no, no, no, they’re fine — they’re democrats, you know? They’ve evolved, they’ve changed, they’re committed to democracy.

    You know, neither of these two poles is that helpful.

    There are issues and questions that need to be raised about these groups, but we need to recalibrate the conversation so that it’s actually focusing on the questions we need to be worried about. And to my mind, these are really questions ultimately, at the end of the day, about commitment to human rights, commitment to political pluralism. That’s kind of where this conversation needs to be going on.
    Quote Originally Posted by RoccoR View Post
    Abul Fotouh is a version of "The Muslim Brotherhood Lite." He is dragging Sharia (Islamic law) into the mix as a platform principle. Being supported by the Nour Party of the Salafi should tell you something. This could easily drag Egypt into dark times.
    DR. MANDAVILLE: I think this Shariah question is crucial, and it’s one where some of these parties have been the most ambiguous in terms of giving full detailed answers to questions that are asked of them. And so you know, we continue to ask them, you know?

    My point is that when Americans hear this term, their minds rush first to the cutting off of the hands’ of thieves and the stoning of adulterers and apostasy-type issues. And those exist, but they’re part of this very narrow penal code, the Hadud, which is not even implemented in most countries whose constitutions claim Islam is a source of legislation. That’s very rare.

    So my point is just that when Muslims hear the term Shariah, that’s not where their mind goes first. Where their mind goes first in terms of practical, specific provisions more has to do with issues of personal status code, whether, you know, issues relating to marriage, family law and inheritance will be governed according to the specific provisions of Shariah.

    So there is this disjuncture in how those issues are viewed here and in the Muslim-majority world.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Peter Mandaville
    Have we entered a post-Islamist age? On the face of it, that’s a counterintuitive point to raise because wait, these Islamist groups are doing phenomenally well politically. They are, you know, sweeping the elections. How can we be in a post-Islamist period?

    Well, what those who are proponents of the post-Islamist thesis would put forward is the idea that yes, fine, these groups are politically prominent. But they’re no longer ideologically distinctive. I.e., in order to render themselves politically palatable to a critical mass, they’ve had to evacuate from their political discourse and from their political praxis much of the Islamic content; i.e., that which has made them ideologically distinctive has had to be shed in order to kind of find mass acceptance.
    Quote Originally Posted by RoccoR View Post
    It looks like (to me) that the Egyptians are going to blow their opportunity at creating a new 21st Century government and instead, elect a party to power that will eventually usher in a Salafis Government operating on the Quran and Sunnah; a lesser restrictive version of Iran.
    Depends on the make up of the next constituent assembly, the previous one was tossed out for being unrepresentative.

    Quote Originally Posted by RoccoR View Post
    The US would be wise to put in place a set of travel restrictions and the planning for backdoor evacuations.
    This sounds a bit extreme.
    Last edited by Double Edge; 09 May 12, at 20:53.

  4. #94
    Contributor RoccoR's Avatar
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    Double Edge, et al,

    This is a much more sophisticated conversation on the parties and their meaning to us. There is the difficulty in trying to use terms and descriptions that are not distinctively different.

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    Has the US officially endorsed anybody ?

    My turn to return the favour, Rocco

    The Transformation of Political Islam in the Arab Awakening | MEPC | Apr 11 2012

    (Transcript)
    (COMMENT)

    Thanks, I always like to listen to these experts who take it a bit more serious than the average American. But I am also reminded that our Policies made by the Gray Haired in the CIA (like Frank Anderson) and the DOS have not been on the bullseye for quite some time.

    We see that Peter Mandaville is a bit skittish and careful on what he says about Egypt. And, I agree.

    Relative to the Muslim Brotherhood, they evolve. But they have components of the old guard, the moderates, and the youngest new Brothers that have splintered-off.

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    Depends on the make up of the next constituent assembly, the previous one was tossed out for being unrepresentative.
    (COMMENT)

    The new political Islam is more scary than I've ever seen.

    And it is very scary that the decisions of government and the basis of legislation should be based on Islam and Shari Law. The fact that the Egyptians are even thinking along that lines leads me to believe that they want religion to play a role on the public.

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    This sounds a bit extreme.
    (COMMENT)

    We need to be prepared, especially if we get it all wrong in terms Policy and understanding who the players are.

    The Egyptian tends to like an "Authoritarian Government" - and that may work for them in the beginning, but "Authoritarian Governments" tend to have an entropy that move from benevolent to corrupted. Seldom does it work in reverse. And if what I suspect is true, that the US Foreign Service is contacting members of the various parties that tend to attract the US, we will leave a gradually growing footprint. And that will be held against us if the transition makes matters worse.

    But our Foreign Service has not changed the (less than positive) perceptions that the Egyptians hold (and the Arabs in general) in the last two decades. Any position we take, will be assumed to be the wrong position.

    Most Respectfully,
    R

  5. #95
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoccoR View Post
    The new political Islam is more scary than I've ever seen.

    And it is very scary that the decisions of government and the basis of legislation should be based on Islam and Shari Law. The fact that the Egyptians are even thinking along that lines leads me to believe that they want religion to play a role on the public.
    What if i told you that in India, when it comes to personal matters for muslims, Shariah is already in place, albeit an indianised version of it.

    Its unclear to me how these parties plan to implement Shariah in government. That is yet to be defined and the place it will manifest itself will be in the constutution.The ideas there are evolving and there are a number of factions. Islam in this sense isn't crystallised and ready to be implemented cookie cutter style across the board.

    Mandaville talks about human rights & pluralism as the main factors to note. When it comes to human rights i think the Islamists are going to be pro-active in defining & defending them as they have been on the receiving end for decades from authoritarian secular govts of the past. However maintaining pluralism is going to be a challenge.

    The Egyptian economy is in a weak state and their first priority will be to stabilise it and create an environment that will attract investments from abroad. The Saudis can only give them so much. Egypt needs to attract funds from around the globe and I believe that will have a moderating effect. Egypt does not have rich oil deposits so it needs to be ready to bargain & compromise.

    The army is the defacto president of Egypt. They can intervene whenever they see fit. They may step aside from civilian affairs when the new government comes into being but their power & influence is not to be ignored.

    Quote Originally Posted by RoccoR View Post
    We need to be prepared, especially if we get it all wrong in terms Policy and understanding who the players are.

    The Egyptian tends to like an "Authoritarian Government" - and that may work for them in the beginning, but "Authoritarian Governments" tend to have an entropy that move from benevolent to corrupted. Seldom does it work in reverse. And if what I suspect is true, that the US Foreign Service is contacting members of the various parties that tend to attract the US, we will leave a gradually growing footprint. And that will be held against us if the transition makes matters worse.

    But our Foreign Service has not changed the (less than positive) perceptions that the Egyptians hold (and the Arabs in general) in the last two decades. Any position we take, will be assumed to be the wrong position.
    This is going to be a learning process for everybody. Still I think the US has a few aces in its hand. They have had close links with the military there for over three decades, i don't think that influence is going to vanish overnight. Had read in another article that Egypt is the biggest importer of wheat in the world and a substantial part of that comes from US Aid.

    US gives Egypt guns & food, not exactly the configuration that will allow them to kick the US anytime soon. I think a Republican administration will be better suited to deal with an 'Islamist' govt in Egypt as they are both conservative.
    Last edited by Double Edge; 10 May 12, at 10:51.

  6. #96
    Contributor RoccoR's Avatar
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    Double Edge, et al,

    I apologize for the tardy response.

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    What if i told you that in India, when it comes to personal matters for muslims, Shariah is already in place, albeit an indianised version of it.
    (COMMENT)

    This is not quite the same as being the basis for legislation; which in turn, creates law. It is not at all like it being imbedded in the Constitution of Iraq and Afghanistan; both unproven states and deeply troubled. Both, with leadership that is corrupt. It is certain nothing like Iran, which is a state that is seriously imposing government enforced religious law to the degree that it retards development. India does not cheapen their personal moral code by imposing it as public Law, or enforce it through religious thugs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    Its unclear to me how these parties plan to implement Shariah in government. That is yet to be defined and the place it will manifest itself will be in the constutution.The ideas there are evolving and there are a number of factions. Islam in this sense isn't crystallised and ready to be implemented cookie cutter style across the board.
    (COMMENT)

    Agreed, but in the embryonic state, I think the US should be invisible; not merely less visible. It should gradually reduce its footprint and prepare for the worst. If it doesn't happen, than nothing lost. But if it does happen, that a new Iranian style government emerges, than we should not be caught behind the power curve.

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    Mandaville talks about human rights & pluralism as the main factors to note. When it comes to human rights i think the Islamists are going to be pro-active in defining & defending them as they have been on the receiving end for decades from authoritarian secular govts of the past. However maintaining pluralism is going to be a challenge.
    (COMMENT)

    Agreed. It will be an evolutionary change.

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    The Egyptian economy is in a weak state and their first priority will be to stabilise it and create an environment that will attract investments from abroad. The Saudis can only give them so much. Egypt needs to attract funds from around the globe and I believe that will have a moderating effect. Egypt does not have rich oil deposits so it needs to be ready to bargain & compromise.
    (COMMENT)

    I agree that this is the direction they should pursue; but I don't believe that the current candidates for power and influence in Egypt have the best interest of the people in mind.

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    The army is the defacto president of Egypt. They can intervene whenever they see fit. They may step aside from civilian affairs when the new government comes into being but their power & influence is not to be ignored.
    (COMMENT)

    Yes, but I don't think a shadow military government, where in the political power resides through military oversight of the civilian leadership, is in the best interest of the people either. But then again, the Egyptian will decide.

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    This is going to be a learning process for everybody. Still I think the US has a few aces in its hand. They have had close links with the military there for over three decades, i don't think that influence is going to vanish overnight. Had read in another article that Egypt is the biggest importer of wheat in the world and a substantial part of that comes from US Aid.
    (COMMENT)

    Learning process --- yes.

    The US should not be in the game at all. If it is to be a true Egyptian democracy, of the people and by the people, the US should keep its hands off entirely. Heaven knows that the US couldn't even help a little country like Haiti, and Iraq is a mess, with Karzai and Afghanistan as corrupt as any government can be. No, the US should reduce its diplomatic advise and governmental suggestions to an absolute minimum. Least it create yet another failed state, or a country turning t the dark side; and then be accused of foreign intervention.

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    US gives Egypt guns & food, not exactly the configuration that will allow them to kick the US anytime soon. I think a Republican administration will be better suited to deal with an 'Islamist' govt in Egypt as they are both conservative.
    (COMMENT)

    It should not be a case where the US is even in the position of being an unwanted guest. If we determine that the Egyptians see America in that light, we should exercise good manners and be wise enough to excuse ourselves before if becomes an issue. We shouldn't be trying to be a part of the change, merely and outside observer.

    Most Respectfully,
    R

  7. #97
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoccoR View Post
    This is not quite the same as being the basis for legislation; which in turn, creates law.
    Article 2 of the existing Egyptian constitution already states that Sharia is to be used as one of the sources of legislation. Egypt has a mixed legal system in place right now.

    Going by a recent debate held between the two leading presidential candidates, it would appear the debate is over the degree that sharia is to play in the new system.

    Whose sharia are they going to use here ? there are numerous interpretations depending on where one is to be found in the ideological spectrum.

    Take a glance at the chapter on Egypt from the book Sharia Incorporated to get a background on Egypt's legal system today.

    Chapter 2:Sharia and national law in Egypt , Sharia Incorporated, 2010 | Google Books

    The chapter concludes...

    in Egypt’s legal system a form of compromise has been found between sharia and Western law. This does not mean that a new system of laws has appeared.

    The critical element appears to be that national law and legislation must be authentic, and in the eyes of many Egyptians this means that it must be Islamic. Until now, one finds introduction of nominal authentic Islamic legal principles only in personal status law; all other legislation is considered Islamic by virtue of not contradicting principles of sharia.

    Whether authentic or symbolic, Egypt mostly uses sharia for adapting legislation to current and new situations, in part because of international pressure to adhere to international treaties and conventions.
    If existing laws already conform to sharia then where is the scope for further introduction ?

    KSA is the only country that has a classic sharia system in place. It does not have a parliament or legislature and instead relies on religious scholars to draw up laws. The ruler has limited authority to make changes and this creates a challenge for reform.

    Can you see Egypt tossing out what they have and opting for a Saudi model ? I think inertia will win out

    Right now Egypt cannot even decide on the makeup of the constituent assembly so i think its unlikely they are going to go about tinkering around with existing laws in place. All this talk about sharia rings hollow to me, its just making politics.

    getting an objective take on this subject is a tricky affair, as its highly politicised. Either you find reports of an alarmist nature or muslim sources that are no better than propaganda. Both do an excellent job of playing to the readers ignorance.

    Youtube intro for the above book

    Quote Originally Posted by RoccoR View Post
    I think the US should be invisible; not merely less visible. It should gradually reduce its footprint and prepare for the worst. If it doesn't happen, than nothing lost. But if it does happen, that a new Iranian style government emerges, than we should not be caught behind the power curve.
    Define worst according to you ?

    It would seem to me that you are suggesting that Egypt goes the Saudi way, via Sharia. What else ?

    Quote Originally Posted by RoccoR View Post
    I agree that this is the direction they should pursue; but I don't believe that the current candidates for power and influence in Egypt have the best interest of the people in mind.
    They will act like the politicians we know & hate. Big on talk, short on delivery

    After a few cycles, the Egyptians will come to realise its best to keep religion out of politics and politics out of religion like in other more mature countries. They will start to demand their govt deliver on Turkish like growth.

    Any power games by Egypt in the region will have to wait until they can stand on their feet. They are crawling right now. The chaos that a new system will bring in will delay things even further.

    Quote Originally Posted by RoccoR View Post
    Yes, but I don't think a shadow military government, where in the political power resides through military oversight of the civilian leadership, is in the best interest of the people either. But then again, the Egyptian will decide.
    Sure, its not the classical way things are done in a democracy, but there is a trend here in muslim republics, if one looks at Pakistan & Turkey. The army acts as the defacto guardian.

    Egypt's govt could start to cut the defense budget and weaken their forces gradually. This is something that is yet to be worked out. Whether SCAF will allow it or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by RoccoR View Post
    Learning process --- yes.

    The US should not be in the game at all. If it is to be a true Egyptian democracy, of the people and by the people, the US should keep its hands off entirely. Heaven knows that the US couldn't even help a little country like Haiti, and Iraq is a mess, with Karzai and Afghanistan as corrupt as any government can be. No, the US should reduce its diplomatic advise and governmental suggestions to an absolute minimum. Least it create yet another failed state, or a country turning t the dark side; and then be accused of foreign intervention.


    (COMMENT)

    It should not be a case where the US is even in the position of being an unwanted guest. If we determine that the Egyptians see America in that light, we should exercise good manners and be wise enough to excuse ourselves before if becomes an issue. We shouldn't be trying to be a part of the change, merely and outside observer.

    Most Respectfully,
    R
    You want the US to stop giving military aid to Egypt ?

    Then the US will lose the leverage it presently has with the Egyptian military and might make the Egyptians question the validity of the Camp David accords. This could play right into the hands of your opponents.
    Last edited by Double Edge; 14 May 12, at 22:28.

  8. #98
    Contributor RoccoR's Avatar
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    Double Edge, et al,

    A number of people keep say that we will lose our leverage. In fact, that is completely the wrong angle to play. For better or for worse, right or wrong, good or bad, it is time for the Egyptian People to decide their own fate and choose their own destiny.

    The US should not be looking for "leverage" at all. We should not even suggest that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    Article 2 of the existing Egyptian constitution already states that Sharia is to be used as one of the sources of legislation. Egypt has a mixed legal system in place right now.
    (COMMENT)

    Yes, I am well aware of the introduction of religious law into the Constitution. In fact, both the Iraqi and the Afghan Constitutions have such a clause. You can see how well that is working out.




    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    If existing laws already conform to sharia then where is the scope for further introduction ?
    (COMMENT)

    As Einstein says; doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    Can you see Egypt tossing out what they have and opting for a Saudi model ? I think inertia will win out
    (COMMENT)

    Having been to Kuwait, I'm not impressed. But I actually do agree that Egypt is not going to move forward in society and will adopt a model similar to Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Afghanistan. Turkey is about the only successful country with a secular Constitution.

    It is for that reason that we should stay as far away as we can.

    Right now Egypt cannot even decide on the makeup of the constituent assembly so i think its unlikely they are going to go about tinkering around with existing laws in place. All this talk about sharia rings hollow to me, its just making politics.

    getting an objective take on this subject is a tricky affair, as its highly politicised. Either you find reports of an alarmist nature or muslim sources that are no better than propaganda. Both do an excellent job of playing to the readers ignorance.

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    Define worst according to you ?
    (COMMENT)

    In 1979, I was part of Task Force Waterman and played my (less than) minor role in the evacuation of Iran when Islam-o-mania took root and won the day. It was almost overnight that the temperament towards Americans changed. While I am not saying the sky is falling, and Egypt will turn on us the same as the peaceful people of Iran did; I am saying that if we get involved in the internal politics - we will pay the price.

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    It would seem to me that you are suggesting that Egypt goes the Saudi way, via Sharia. What else ?
    (COMMENT)

    We don't know, and that is the reason we need to be prepared. When you were last in Saudi Arabia, I'm sure you noticed that we are not a beloved people. And if it were not for the strength of the King, Americans would be undoubtedly mistreated. Egypt could turn that way quickly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    After a few cycles, the Egyptians will come to realise its best to keep religion out of politics and politics out of religion like in other more mature countries. They will start to demand their govt deliver on Turkish like growth.
    (COMMENT)

    I'm not sure this is at all true. Turkey is a secular state. But it will be interesting to see what happens.

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    Any power games by Egypt in the region will have to wait until they can stand on their feet. They are crawling right now. The chaos that a new system will bring in will delay things even further.
    (COMMENT)

    I agree.


    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    You want the US to stop giving military aid to Egypt ?

    Then the US will lose the leverage it presently has with the Egyptian military and might make the Egyptians question the validity of the Camp David accords. This could play right into the hands of your opponents.
    (COMMENT)

    The Camp David Accords were about 50% successful. While the accords didn't answer the Palestinian autonomy issue, Egypt recovered it territory and Israel got a peace agreement. But, in terms of the Accords themselves, the US had to pay>

    The agreement also resulted in the United States committing to several billion dollars worth of annual subsidies to the governments of both Israel and Egypt, subsidies which continue to this day.

    AND

    It was agreed that: The site of negotiations would be done under a United Nations flag at a mutually agreed upon location. Again, both parties must adhere to principals and provisions of UN Resolution SC 242. Unless otherwise mutually agreed, terms of peace would be implemented between two and three years of the treaty being signed.

    The entire agreement also included provisions in which the United States would commit to provide several billion dollars of annual subsidies to both governments of Israel and Egypt, subsidies that would continue, and would be given as a mixture of grants and aid packages from 1979 to 1997.

    SOURCES:
    The US portion of the Camp David Accords ended more than a decade ago (in 1997), with the last of the bribery payments (several billion dollars) to both sides. Nothing lasts forever.

    Plus, were are not counting the variants to the UNSC Res 242 & 338. That is an entirely different discussion. The "Framework for Peace," a section within the Camp David Accords has been manipulated and worked for the more than a decade, and still no real results in the direction of the expected outcome.

    So I doubt that the Camp David Accord is of much value now. We've got about as much as we're ever going to get out of it, unless we can come-up with another briber that was better than the last.

    Most Respectfully,
    R

  9. #99
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoccoR View Post
    Yes, I am well aware of the introduction of religious law into the Constitution. In fact, both the Iraqi and the Afghan Constitutions have such a clause. You can see how well that is working out.
    Elaborate

    Quote Originally Posted by RoccoR View Post
    As Einstein says; doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.
    My point was I think they are using 'introduction of sharia' merely as a slogan.

    Quote Originally Posted by RoccoR View Post
    Having been to Kuwait, I'm not impressed.
    Elaborate

    Quote Originally Posted by RoccoR View Post
    But I actually do agree that Egypt is not going to move forward in society and will adopt a model similar to Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Afghanistan. Turkey is about the only successful country with a secular Constitution.
    KSA is unique. It is not similar to Iraq & Afghanistan.

    Until i see some concrete moves from Egypt in this direction I don't have a comment.

    Quote Originally Posted by RoccoR View Post
    In 1979, I was part of Task Force Waterman and played my (less than) minor role in the evacuation of Iran when Islam-o-mania took root and won the day. It was almost overnight that the temperament towards Americans changed.
    What factors would you say contributed to that overnight change in temperament ?

    Could it have been avoided, in hindsight.

    Quote Originally Posted by RoccoR View Post
    While I am not saying the sky is falling, and Egypt will turn on us the same as the peaceful people of Iran did; I am saying that if we get involved in the internal politics - we will pay the price.
    I get the impression that you continue to allude to american involvement here.

    Has there been any since Mubarak ?

    Quote Originally Posted by RoccoR View Post
    We don't know, and that is the reason we need to be prepared. When you were last in Saudi Arabia, I'm sure you noticed that we are not a beloved people. And if it were not for the strength of the King, Americans would be undoubtedly mistreated. Egypt could turn that way quickly.
    Tom Lippman had a few words to say about this. In a word he puts it down to non-immigrant visas. The US perception of KSA took a nosedive after 9-11. The Saudis felt let down as a result at the collective stigmatisation.

    Its been very difficult to get visas for Saudis to go to the US, then if they succeed, they get the 2hr 'treatment' at JFK. He thinks if things were improved here perceptions might change.

    Quote Originally Posted by RoccoR View Post
    I'm not sure this is at all true. Turkey is a secular state. But it will be interesting to see what happens.
    Whatever they implement will have to have the support of the people, in marked contrast to the days of yore.

    Quote Originally Posted by RoccoR View Post
    The Camp David Accords were about 50% successful. While the accords didn't answer the Palestinian autonomy issue, Egypt recovered it territory and Israel got a peace agreement. But, in terms of the Accords themselves, the US had to pay>

    The US portion of the Camp David Accords ended more than a decade ago (in 1997), with the last of the bribery payments (several billion dollars) to both sides. Nothing lasts forever.
    The cash payments might have stopped but military & other aid still continues to this day.

    Quote Originally Posted by RoccoR View Post
    Plus, were are not counting the variants to the UNSC Res 242 & 338. That is an entirely different discussion. The "Framework for Peace," a section within the Camp David Accords has been manipulated and worked for the more than a decade, and still no real results in the direction of the expected outcome.
    The first framework is still being worked on but the second one is in force and has been successful in maintaining the peace between Israel & Egypt.

    Quote Originally Posted by RoccoR View Post
    So I doubt that the Camp David Accord is of much value now. We've got about as much as we're ever going to get out of it, unless we can come-up with another briber that was better than the last.
    I don' think this means Egypt can walk away from it without a cost.

    Some people view it as a cold peace but that is still better than no peace.

    Quote Originally Posted by RoccoR View Post
    A number of people keep say that we will lose our leverage. In fact, that is completely the wrong angle to play. For better or for worse, right or wrong, good or bad, it is time for the Egyptian People to decide their own fate and choose their own destiny.

    The US should not be looking for "leverage" at all. We should not even suggest that.
    Abruptly cutting off aid to Egypt would be a bad move.

  10. #100
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    A Man for All Seasons | Foreign Policy | May 9 2012

    Egypt's presidential front-runner is a fascinating political chameleon. But does he have enough real support to win the upcoming election?

    BY SHADI HAMID | MAY 9, 2012

    In January, Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh was a long shot to become Egypt's next president. When I walked into the Islamist candidate's basement in a far-flung Cairo suburb -- which was doubling as a "backup" headquarters -- it made me think back to the early, insurgent days of Barack Obama's campaign, when Hillary Clinton was still the presumptive Democratic nominee. The basement, with its large spare rooms, was packed with young volunteers. It had a chaotic, bustling feel. Aboul Fotouh's supporters may have hailed from radically different backgrounds, but they believed, above all, in the candidate. They wanted to transcend the old battle lines of "Islamist" or "liberal" and reimagine Egyptian politics in the process.

    What those grand ambitions mean in practice is, at times, unclear. As Aboul Fotouh has risen to front-runner status in the first ever competitive presidential election in Egypt's history, he has become the Rorschach test of Egyptian politics. Liberals think he's more liberal than he actually is. Conservatives hope he's more conservative.

    It's an understatement to say that the Aboul Fotouh campaign is a big-tent movement. A former leader in the Muslim Brotherhood and, for decades, one of Egypt's most prominent Islamist figures, he has become the standard-bearer of many of the young liberals who led Egypt's revolution -- including Google executive Wael Ghonim. He is also, however, the preferred candidate of the country's hard-line Salafi groups, including the al-Nour Party and its parent organization al-Dawa al-Salafiya, one of Egypt's largest religious movements. This is all the more impressive considering that, unlike the United States or most European countries, the primary political cleavage in Egypt has little to do with economics and much more to do with religion.

    Aboul Fotouh's success stems in part from his ability to neutralize this religious divide. One of his messages -- and one that has appeal for liberals and hard-line Islamists alike -- is this: We are all, in effect, Islamists, so why fight over it? As he explained to a Salafi television channel in February, "Today those who call themselves liberals or leftists, this is just a political name, but most of them understand and respect Islamic values. They support the sharia and are no longer against it." In a creative attempt at redefinition, Aboul Fotouh noted that all Muslims are, by definition, Salafi, in the sense that they are loyal to the Salaf, the earliest, most pious generations of Muslims.

    Aboul Fotouh is able to make this argument, and make it sound convincing, in part because of who he is. He is the rare figure who has been, at various points in his career, a Salafi, a Muslim Brother, and, today, a Turkish-style "liberal Islamist." In the 1970s, he rose to prominence as a leader and founder of al-Gamaa al-Islamiya, the religious movement that wrested control over universities from the once dominant leftists. In his memoirs, Aboul Fotouh recalls the early Salafi influence on his ideas: He and his fellow students aggressively promoted sex segregation on campus. At one point, they tried to "prove" to the Muslim Brotherhood's leader at the time, Umar al-Tilmisani, that music was haram, or forbidden by Islam.

    Over the course of the decade, Aboul Fotouh developed close relationships with those who would later become the leading lights of Salafi thought. After the 2011 revolution, Aboul Fotouh, then in the process of splitting with the Brotherhood, was one of the few politicians to take Salafists seriously. It helped that he knew them. While the Muslim Brotherhood tended to treat Salafists as immature, younger brothers in the Islamic family, Aboul Fotouh exaggerated their power -- he once claimed that Salafists outnumbered Muslim Brothers 20-to-1 -- and pledged to seek their vote. Respect, it turns out, can go much further than ideological proximity.

    But the ideological tensions within the Islamist camp remain, even if Aboul Fotouh's message tends to paper them over. According to him, all Islamists agree on the usul (the "fundamentals") but differ on the furu (the "specifics") of religious practice. In his February interview on Salafi television, he estimated, implausibly, that Islamists agree on 99 percent of the issues.

    Thus far, his liberal supporters have dismissed such comments or explained them away. Part of it is the lack of alternatives. The other front-runner, former Foreign Minister Amr Moussa, is seen as felool, a derogatory term used to describe "remnants" of the old regime. Part of it, however, is that they really seem to believe Aboul Fotouh is who they want him to be. Although Aboul Fotouh is adamantly an Islamist, he has also broken with his former organization, the Muslim Brotherhood, and other Islamists on key issues. Last year, for instance, Aboul Fotouh asserted that a Muslim has the right to convert to Christianity -- a particularly controversial position for a presidential candidate to take, given that most Sunni scholars hold that the punishment for apostasy is death.

    Aboul Fotouh has often insisted on the dangers of mixing preaching and party politics, a position that appeals to liberals as well as some Islamists. When I met with him in 2010 at the height of the Mubarak regime's repression -- and just months before the most rigged parliamentary elections in Egyptian history -- he spoke at length about the need to separate the two. The Muslim Brotherhood, he said, can deal with political issues but should leave competition over power to political parties.

    "Putting religion and political authority within one hand is very dangerous. That's what happened in Iran," he told me, peppering his measured Arabic with choice English words for added emphasis. "Historically, famous preachers were not part of the power structure. It's these [autocratic] regimes who put the two together -- putting al-Azhar [the preeminent center of Islamic learning] under the control of the state."

    Aboul Fotouh consistently valued the Muslim Brotherhood's social and evangelical work over its accumulation of political power. In July 2008, I asked him what would happen if Hosni Mubarak's regime shut the Brotherhood out of parliament. Faced with the prospect of even more repression, he seemed surprisingly calm. "The Muslim Brotherhood is a social movement in the first place. Its presence in parliament is useful and good, but lack of parliamentary representation does not have an existential effect on the Brotherhood. From 1970 to 1984, we weren't in parliament, and they were 14 of the most active years for the Brotherhood's work of preaching and education."

    In this respect, Aboul Fotouh is an old-school Islamist, seeing himself as a faithful heir to Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna's legacy. According to its bylaws, the group's original aim was "to raise a generation of Muslims who would understand Islam correctly and act according to its teachings." Until 1934, the bylaws forbade direct political action. Decades later, General Guide Tilmisani, fearing party politics would corrupt the Brotherhood's soul, prevented the organization from contesting parliamentary elections for many years.

    There is a tension, however, between Aboul Fotouh's sometimes liberal pronouncements and his essentially majoritarian understanding of democracy. When I sat down with Aboul Fotouh for the first time in the summer of 2006, I wanted to understand his philosophy of government, to the extent that he had one. He repeatedly emphasized that the people, represented by a freely elected parliament, are the source of authority. On the thorny question, however, of what Islamists would do if parliament passed an "un-Islamic" law, he dismissed the concern: "The parliament won't grant rights to gays because that goes against the prevailing culture of society, and if [members of parliament] did that, they'd lose the next election," he explained. "Whether you are a communist, socialist, or whatever, you can't go against the prevailing culture. There is already a built-in respect for sharia."

    This notion has a long pedigree in Islamic thought: Prophet Mohammed is believed to have said, "My ummah [community] will not agree on an error." Likewise, Aboul Fotouh was confident that once Egyptian society was free, the best ideas would rise to the top. There was little need, then, to regulate society from the top down. On their own, without government getting too much in the way, Egyptians would do the right thing. And this would inevitably help Islam. "What happens in a free society?" Aboul Fotouh went on. "I hold conferences and spread my ideas through newspapers and television to try to bring public opinion closer to me.… We have confidence in what we believe."

    If people are looking for a consistent strain in Aboul Fotouh's thought, it is this: that Islam has already won out and will continue to win out. Islam is a source of unity and national strength rather than one of division. Depending on where exactly an Egyptian voter stands, this is either reassuring and somewhat banal, or mildly frightening, particularly for the country's Christian minority.

    Nevertheless, it is an idea with analogues elsewhere in the region, most notably in Turkey and Tunisia, where "moderate" Islamists came to power by tapping into a religious mainstream that had lost faith in the secular project of previous decades. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for example, used democratization to strengthen the place of Islam in public life. He embraced European Union accession talks while knowing full well that the required liberal reforms would weaken the military's influence and empower Islamic currents in a country where the right to openly express religious values had been severely curtailed. In Tunisia, Rached Ghannouchi and his al-Nahda party have backed off from demands that Islamic law be enshrined in the Tunisian Constitution, perhaps knowing that Islamization of Tunisian society is already well under way, regardless of what the Tunisian Constitution says.

    Indeed, the same attacks that follow Aboul Fotouh's counterparts in Turkey and Tunisia will be used against him: that he is a proponent of "stealth Islamization" and that he remains faithful to the project of applying sharia. The critics might be right. If Aboul Fotouh becomes president, there will be a battle -- between his liberal, revolutionary supporters and his Islamist backers -- over the direction his presidency takes. Now that the major Salafi organizations have endorsed him, they are likely to have significant influence in an Aboul Fotouh administration, pushing his presidency to the right on social and moral issues.

    But though Salafists are a critical bloc of support for the Aboul Fotouh campaign, they have little presence in the candidate's inner circle and campaign organization, which is composed mostly of ex-Muslim Brotherhood members, liberals, and revolutionary youth. One of Aboul Fotouh's closest aides is Rabab El-Mahdi, a Marxist political science professor, who says her "biggest project" is ending the Islamist-secularist divide and focusing on the bread-and-butter issues that actually matter in people's lives. Another is the 30-year-old Ali El-Bahnasawy, a self-described liberal who is Aboul Fotouh's media advisor. He told me that the Salafists' endorsement was "amazing" and credited them for realizing that "Egypt needs to end the polarization in the country now." For him, this is the essence of Aboul Fotouh's appeal. "We need someone," Bahnasawy said, "who can talk to the Islamists and speak their language and talk to the liberals and gain their trust as well."

    The popularity of Aboul Fotouh's campaign is partly a reaction to growing polarization in Egypt, where fears abound of an "Algeria scenario" of annulled elections, dissolved parliaments, and military coups. But just as the high hopes of the Obama campaign were dashed by the political compromises inherent in governing, an Aboul Fotouh administration may find it difficult to transcend the basic realities of Egyptian political life. If he wins, his supporters will soon find that the divisions between Egypt's feuding political currents do not dissipate quickly, if at all.

    It is perhaps telling that Aboul Fotouh's rise comes at a time when religious belief has become an easy substitute for real discussion on economic recovery, security-sector reform, or how to fight income inequality. For the vast majority of Egyptians, the debate over sharia has been utterly beside the point. It is an elite debate and, in some ways, a manufactured one. As Aboul Fotouh will be the first to say, all major political forces support Article 2 of the Egyptian Constitution, which states that the "principles of the Islamic sharia are the primary source of legislation." Even the most "secular" party -- the Free Egyptians -- took to campaigning in rural areas with banners reading "The Quran Is Our Constitution." Meanwhile, it was the Salafists, and not the more moderate Muslim Brotherhood, who entered into serious negotiations over forming a parliamentary coalition with liberal parties. As a senior official in the Salafi al-Nour Party once put it to me, "Here in Egypt, even the liberals are conservatives."

    Sharia has become the "hope and change" of Egyptian politics -- all say they like it, but no one quite knows what it means. As the most powerful man in Egypt and with a bully pulpit to match, Egypt's first revolutionary president will have a fleeting opportunity to redefine the meaning of Islam in public life.

    In the introduction to his electoral program, Aboul Fotouh, the candidate, embraces the application of sharia. But there's a caveat: "The understanding of implementation of Islamic law is not, as some people think, about applying the hudud punishments [such as cutting of the hands of thieves]," the program reads. "In its complete understanding, Islamic law has to do with realizing the essential and urgent needs of humankind." The program then goes on to list combating poverty and fighting corruption as two fundamental components of applying Islamic law. For Aboul Fotouh, sharia is both everything and nothing all at once. For now at least, that seems to be exactly the way he wants it.

    Shadi Hamid is director of research at the Brookings Doha Center and a fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution.

  11. #101
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by troung View Post
    A cold one?
    You's been hoaxed

    Necrophilia law ? | Egypt Independent | May 9 2012

    There was never any bill in the Egyptian Parliament that authorized necrophilia, nor was the question ever raised. Instead the whole story has turned out to be based on a bizarre chain of rumors, with journalists seeing what they want to see and hearing what they want to hear, without any fact checking.


    The story came to life two weeks ago when the controversial columnist Amr Abdel Sami wrote a column addressing necrophilia in the Egyptian state-owned newspaper, Al-Ahram. In the article, he warned of the Islamization of Egyptian society, specifically what he considered an alarming Salafi success in the parliamentary elections. To heighten the acuteness of his argument, he gave some examples of what such a development might lead to. Among several things, he alluded to a statement from the controversial Moroccan Sheikh Zamzami Abdul Bari, in which the sheikh proposed that it would be halal for a man to have intercourse with his wife after death. It should be noted that Zamzami is infamous for his startling fatwas, having earlier embraced consumption of alcohol for pregnant women, for example. 



    Abdel Sami proceeded to state that he was afraid that a proposal like this could be presented in Egypt. He also mentioned that the president of the National Council of Women had sent a letter to the (now dissolved) Constituent Assembly, addressing the importance of protecting women's rights in the new constitution.The day after, Tuesday, the well-known TV host Jaber al-Qarmouty discussed the column in his TV show on the private satellite channel ONTV. After reading the passage concerning necrophilia aloud several times, he also wondered whether the proposal could be introduced as a bill in the Islamist-controlled Egyptian Parliament. Without having any further proof other than the column itself, he asked rhetorically whether Abdel Sami had some access to secret discussions concerning the proposal, as basis for his speculation about the alleged necrophilia bill. Qarmouty’s own assumption on Abdel Sami’s access to “sources” only gave the false story more credibility. 



    The day after, the reputable Saudi-owned news channel Al-Arabiya brought up the matter on their English website. By now, all the little fallacies had been synthesized, and the last twist added to articulate yet another bold headline: “Egyptian women urged parliamentarians to reject the draft laws that allow child marriage and sex after death.”



    What is puzzling about the spread of this hoax story is that it could not have been that difficult for journalists to fact check it. When we contacted Ziad Bahaa Eddin, MP for the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, he replied within an hour, stating that no such “ludicrous” bill had ever been discussed or brought up in Parliament. But Al-Arabiya has a large audience and many took note of the astounding “news,” which consequently spread around the globe. Soon, the same fallacious story was published by news outlets in the West, such as the Daily Mail, the Huffington Post and the influential American feminist e-zine, Jezebel.

    When we got in contact with Sweden’s biggest morning newspaper, Dagens Nyheter, which had also published the necrophilia rumor, they were quick to defend their publication. They argued that they had “trusted the source of the story in earlier occasions” and that they did not see “why they would be dishonest in this case.” Only after being presented with extensive proof that the news was fabricated did they remove the article, and admitted that the whole story was “quite embarrassing.” No such apology has been published by the Daily Mail, the Huffington Post or Jezebel, and none of them has removed their articles to this day. Their adjustments amount to insignificant disclaimers on how the story “provoked widespread skepticism.”

    The fact remains, however, that around the world, people are left with the idea that ​​crazy Egyptian Islamists are advocating necrophilia as characteristic of their faith.

    Helena Hägglund is a freelance journalist based between Cairo and Stockholm. Sam Carlshamre is an Arabic PhD candidate at Lund University.

  12. #102
    Contributor RoccoR's Avatar
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    Double Edge, et al,

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    Elaborate
    (COMMENT)

    In Iraq, Constitutionally, no law can contradict Islam (Section 1, Article 2); just as it is with Afghanistan (Chapter 1, Article 3).

    The US needs to quit daydreaming about the development of an allied democracy that genuinely wants to establish a positive relationship with the US and join the 21st Century.

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    My point was I think they are using 'introduction of sharia' merely as a slogan.
    (COMMENT)

    Maybe I am misunderstanding, but I don't believe that the talk of Sharia Law is merely a slogan. I really believe that Islam with be integrated into the law such that one day, a fanatic will come to power and raise the religion to a level similar to Iran's government. Sharia Law is not a slogan, it is a dangerous outcome; and when it explodes, the US needs to be as far away as it can be.


    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    Elaborate
    (COMMENT)

    I've actually met with Kuwait Nationals in other than an official capacity (still on my best behavior). There is a world of difference. They are as about as friendly as the Saudi's; and not easy to make friends with. You don't want to have even a minor event with them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    What factors would you say contributed to that overnight change in temperament ?
    (COMMENT)

    It really doesn't matter; but in reality, more of the Iranians really didn't care for Americans to start with --- they just exercised good manners. When Islam (via the Ayatollah) took control, it was as if all the pent-up emotions were released all at once.

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    Could it have been avoided, in hindsight.
    (COMMENT)

    Again, this is a case of US Policy and its implementation, and the US association of a harsh and non-benevolent leadership.

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    I get the impression that you continue to allude to american involvement here.

    Has there been any since Mubarak ?
    (COMMENT)

    Oh yes! The State Department and the Administration believes that the events now unfolding in Egypt are as important and critical to the US as they are to the Egyptians. They could characterize this as a foreign-policy crisis. The US government is particularly interested in the NGO's under pressure by the Egyptian Government.

    Already there have been incidents of NGO employees being trapped in Egypt, banded from departure. The complexion can turn ugly, and quick. But we got them out by paying a $4M bribe (officially a voucher as a bond which will be forfeited).

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    Abruptly cutting off aid to Egypt would be a bad move.
    (COMMENT)

    Don't worry, we do the same things over and over again. Military Aid is nothing more than a legal form of a bribe to maintain a quasi-ally. The State Department and Congress will not change its spots over night. It will continue the bribery payments, not because Egypt is such a good ally, but because it is the only way to maintain a dialog conduit.

    Most Respectfully,
    R

  13. #103
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge
    I get the impression that you continue to allude to american involvement here.

    Has there been any since Mubarak ?
    Quote Originally Posted by RoccoR View Post
    Oh yes! The State Department and the Administration believes that the events now unfolding in Egypt are as important and critical to the US as they are to the Egyptians. They could characterize this as a foreign-policy crisis. The US government is particularly interested in the NGO's under pressure by the Egyptian Government.
    The Egyptian regime charges ..

    ..the groups of operating illegally, sowing unrest and working to carry out a U.S. plot to destroy Egypt.
    The first applies as these groups are unregistered, the remainder are yet to be substantiated by the Egyptians and remain allegations.

    An additional charge is that these groups received more than their permissible annual budget of $20 million. [instead, they received some $175 million between April & June alone last year, allegedly]

    U.S. government had tripled pro-democracy aid to Egypt, to $65 million. Already, a chunk of it had been assigned: more than $30 million to two veteran U.S. nonprofit organizations that train budding politicians; about $4.5 million to a State Department program for grass-roots groups; millions for election infrastructure.
    The real figure is $65 million in total.

    As to whether these groups (NDI, IRI, Freedom House) are 'interfereing' in Egypt i find this statement by the NDI president convincing.

    “We don’t go in and try to unseat anyone or push opposition to the authorities,” Wollack said. “We teach how elections are run; we teach political parties, without picking sides, how to engage the public. In Egypt, we’ve worked with virtually every party in their new parliament. The programs we’ve run in Egypt since the revolution, ironically, have been to support the very political process the country has defined for itself.”
    After the fall of Hosni Mubarak, the work of pro-democracy groups exploded in Egypt. U.S. funding for the NDI, for example, grew from hundreds of thousands of dollars to $7 million a year. Its modest staff went from a small Cairo office with two international workers to three offices manned by 12 international workers and more than 50 Egyptians.

    In May, new political parties were springing up by the day. Groups such as the NDI were flooded with requests for training and advice as they struggled to make sense of the country’s complicated new electoral system.

    “The biggest challenge was just responding to the needs,” Hughes said. “It seemed like every time you picked up the paper, a new party was born. Things were changing incredibly fast.”
    and by the IRI director

    “People who are isolated fall into apathy; they feel they cannot change anything. But we can say, ‘Let me tell you what happened in Serbia,’ ” said Julija Belej Bakovic, IRI regional director for Asia and a former student activist in Serbia. “There is light at the end of the tunnel.”
    Bakovic said the Egyptian and other governments that have moved against the NDI and the IRI are afraid of their own people, not the intervention of foreigners.

    “They target American organizations to scare their own people into submission,” she said.
    I don't see this as some nefarious CIA plot but rather a very pro-egyptian people move by Obama and i fully agree with it.

    The stakes were high: For 30 years, the U.S. government had relied on President Hosni Mubarak to help maintain peace in the Middle East and fight terrorism. “Our impression is that the Egyptian government is stable,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Jan. 25.

    Within weeks, Mubarak’s reign was over and the U.S. government was repositioning itself. “The United States stands ready to help in every way possible to translate what happened in Tahrir Square into the new reality for Egypt,” Clinton said March 16.
    But that's not how the Egyptian minister Faiza Abou el-Naga sees it, incidentally she is the one who coordinates international aid with Egypt. She is a holdover from the previous regime and is trying to paint this as some sovereignty issue.

    “It touches on the sovereignty of a given country,” the minister said. And why did Egypt need pro-democracy funding anymore, she wondered aloud. “The situation has fundamentally changed,” she said.
    She goes into it in her own WAPO Op-ed here.

    After years of giving the Egyptian government substantial control over the way its share of U.S. aid was spent, Congress in 2004 demanded that some money earmarked for democracy-building activities be dispersed without moving through Abou el-Naga’s ministry. Part of that money went to groups such as NDI and IRI, which trained and advised opposition figures.
    So she lost control of that money, it increased and she created a stink over it. She saw the chance to make a power play as well as a name for herself.

    In February 2008, Abou el-Naga demanded that the United States stop funding four American and six Egyptian NGOs that had received money for democracy and governance work, according to a U.S. diplomatic cable published by WikiLeaks. It included one that had published a children’s book called “Ali the Human Rights Activist.” Thousands of copies were seized by security forces, the cable said.

    When the Obama administration ramped up efforts to support civil society groups and political parties after last year’s revolution, publicizing grants and holding workshops to help applicants apply for money, Abou el-Naga was furious.
    These groups have been operating in Egypt for years unregistered without any issue its only after Mubarak's fall that the state dept figured they needed more funding because there was an obvious need for it.

    U.S. officials who backed democratic reform in Mubarak’s Egypt over the past decade had been hopeful that his fall would spell the end of Abou el-Naga’s career and the rigid restrictions the regime placed on American aid earmarked for pro-democracy programs. U.S. trainers and funding would be sorely needed and welcome in the new Egypt, they reasoned, as nascent political parties and those that had been oppressed by the autocratic government geared up for the country’s first free elections.

    “When the regime changed, we all thought, Faiza will be gone,” said a senior U.S. official who worked in Egypt, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to be interviewed. “Man, were we wrong. She’s more powerful than ever.”
    Senior members of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist group whose political party won the most seats in parliament, have endorsed the crackdown. Egypt’s ruling generals also appear to be backing it.
    Am not sure what the intent of the MB was with endorsing this move by the regime. Whether they want to ride the populist wave that was created over this or something else. The larger point to me here is that this is a move made by the regime and not the MB. Whether the MB will resort to similar tactics remains to be seen whenever they are in office but for now 'guilty by association' does not fly with me.

    Quote Originally Posted by RoccoR View Post
    Already there have been incidents of NGO employees being trapped in Egypt, banded from departure. The complexion can turn ugly, and quick. But we got them out by paying a $4M bribe (officially a voucher as a bond which will be forfeited).
    When the regime starts playing to populists for their own gains anything is possible. This incident seems to be under wraps for now. I'd put it down to the hiccups of a developing democracy. Imagine there will be more. If heads remain cool they will be forgotten. The Saudis appear to have a binary notion for their diplomacy judging by their reaction, its either 'on' or 'off'. They are not used to facing opposition at home let alone from abroad.

    Quote Originally Posted by RoccoR View Post
    Don't worry, we do the same things over and over again. Military Aid is nothing more than a legal form of a bribe to maintain a quasi-ally. The State Department and Congress will not change its spots over night. It will continue the bribery payments, not because Egypt is such a good ally, but because it is the only way to maintain a dialog conduit.
    If they can be bought, that is cheaper than fighting them.

    Hilary has it right

    Clinton has said the situation has been made more difficult by the transition that Egypt is going through after the ouster of Hosni Mubarak as president. “They don’t have an executive that would have such authority to be able to determine what is and is not the policy of the new Egyptian government,” she told the BBC in a weekend interview.

  14. #104
    Contributor RoccoR's Avatar
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    Double Edge, et al,

    This is a tough topic because of all the variables and all the possibilities that arise from these variables.

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by RoccoR
    Oh yes! The State Department and the Administration believes that the events now unfolding in Egypt are as important and critical to the US as they are to the Egyptians. They could characterize this as a foreign-policy crisis. The US government is particularly interested in the NGO's under pressure by the Egyptian Government.
    The Egyptian regime charges ..
    (COMMENT)

    That is a great perspective to promote, given that Congress was annoyed. And I think that the Department of State, DOD, and the CIA wanted to adopt that "Hosni Mubarak Holderover Theory" as a matter of convenience. But the fact is, the regime of Hosni Mubarak was pro-American Aid to begin with. It was only the anti-government elements that were anti-American.

    No, this cover story doesn't pass the smell test. If anything, the Hosni Mubarak Holdovers would have tended to be helpful, not a hindrance.

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by RoccoR
    Already there have been incidents of NGO employees being trapped in Egypt, banded from departure. The complexion can turn ugly, and quick. But we got them out by paying a $4M bribe (officially a voucher as a bond which will be forfeited).
    When the regime starts playing to populists for their own gains anything is possible. This incident seems to be under wraps for now. I'd put it down to the hiccups of a developing democracy. Imagine there will be more. If heads remain cool they will be forgotten. The Saudis appear to have a binary notion for their diplomacy judging by their reaction, its either 'on' or 'off'. They are not used to facing opposition at home let alone from abroad.

    AND


    If they can be bought, that is cheaper than fighting them.

    Hilary has it right
    (COMMENT)

    The entire relationship between the US and Egypt is based on "aid" of one sort or another (AKA: money). And those that are worried that America will lose and ally if US Aid disappears know that it is not a genuine friendship between the states or the people; but monetarily dependent to the highest bidder.

    The US foreign policy that promotes alliances that are totally monetarily dependent is a poor policy - that is both defective and dangerous. Just like a personal friendship, it has to be based on something more than greed; a vice in itself.

    As to combat fear, the US should back away if it believes that, in order to maintain a peaceful relationship, it must continue the "parasitic relationship." If the peace is dependent on monetary gain, than the true nature of the relationship is adversarial, merely masked by money. It's like a 1920's Gangland Protection Racket; if you don't pay the hood, then something bad will happen. And as any street kid will tell you, that's the time to confront the aggressor. You tell them to jump - or - stay at home.

    No, Secretary Clinton has it wrong; completely wrong. This is just bleeding tax dollars away from US domestic infrastructure repairs and jobs. I don't believe that Egypt is a strategic threat or national security interest. If the US slowly backs away, then it is unlikely that they will become a combative aggressor. We will gain by dis-entangling ourselves and create an alternative for domestic spending.

    The bottom line; don't buy your friends. You earn friendship and respect, you don't purchase it like a box of Cracker Jacks.

    Most Respectfully,
    R
    Last edited by RoccoR; 18 May 12, at 14:36.

  15. #105
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoccoR View Post
    That is a great perspective to promote, given that Congress was annoyed. And I think that the Department of State, DOD, and the CIA wanted to adopt that "Hosni Mubarak Holderover Theory" as a matter of convenience. But the fact is, the regime of Hosni Mubarak was pro-American Aid to begin with. It was only the anti-government elements that were anti-American.

    No, this cover story doesn't pass the smell test. If anything, the Hosni Mubarak Holdovers would have tended to be helpful, not a hindrance.
    Consider that this aid in particular was going towards strengthening opposition parties, any and all of them. Could the regime have seen & interpreted this as the US dumping them after years of good relations ?

    Quote Originally Posted by RoccoR View Post
    The entire relationship between the US and Egypt is based on "aid" of one sort or another (AKA: money). And those that are worried that America will lose and ally if US Aid disappears know that it is not a genuine friendship between the states or the people; but monetarily dependent to the highest bidder.

    The US foreign policy that promotes alliances that are totally monetarily dependent is a poor policy - that is both defective and dangerous. Just like a personal friendship, it has to be based on something more than greed; a vice in itself.
    At the time the camp David accords started the cold war was still on. Nasser had played the US off the soviets in the fifties to get the best deal. When Egypt was in the soviet camp they amassed enough arms to cause the 6 day war & yom kippur.

    If the Soviets could buy Egypt off so could the US. Imagine the windfall if Egypt actually agreed to make peace with Israel against the wishes of the entire Arab world. Why should Israel give back the entire Sinai in exchange. That's exactly what happened.

    Quote Originally Posted by RoccoR View Post
    As to combat fear, the US should back away if it believes that, in order to maintain a peaceful relationship, it must continue the "parasitic relationship." If the peace is dependent on monetary gain, than the true nature of the relationship is adversarial, merely masked by money. It's like a 1920's Gangland Protection Racket; if you don't pay the hood, then something bad will happen. And as any street kid will tell you, that's the time to confront the aggressor. You tell them to jump - or - stay at home.
    You are questioning the utility of continuing aid to Egypt here. It has helped in the past but is it still required today. The answer given for this year is that US jobs depended on it.

    MNNA status applies to a number of countries besides Egypt.

    Quote Originally Posted by RoccoR View Post
    No, Secretary Clinton has it wrong; completely wrong. This is just bleeding tax dollars away from US domestic infrastructure repairs and jobs. I don't believe that Egypt is a strategic threat or national security interest. If the US slowly backs away, then it is unlikely that they will become a combative aggressor. We will gain by dis-entangling ourselves and create an alternative for domestic spending.

    The bottom line; don't buy your friends. You earn friendship and respect, you don't purchase it like a box of Cracker Jacks.
    There will always be carrots on offer in IR. They act as tools of persuasion.

    The costs incurred of discontinuing aid to Egypt have to be balanced with the benefits accrued from said aid.

    It was worth it in the past, whether its still worth it today remains to be seen.

    An old essay from '96.

    American Aid to Egypt, 1975-96: Peace Without Development | MEPC | Winter 1996

    Egyptians experience "growth without development," especially in the rural economy. Richard Adams discusses this phenomenon in agriculture and attributes it to the government's determined policy of control of agriculture instead of management of it. While much of this control has diminished since 1987, the policy is maintained over industry, tourism, financial markets, oil production and so on.

    Control, for example, over agriculture is a technique used to maintain law and order and to extract a surplus, ostensibly for national development purposes. This is in fact a political technique designed to thwart opposition to the government as it caters to a potentially disruptive urban population, for example, by insuring low-cost food. This technique of subsidizing urban populations — in food, housing, transportation, energy, health care, education, job security — to ensure political stability (even if at the expense of farmers) takes priority over economic development. (As will be demonstrated below, this priority is espoused by many of Egypt's foreign patrons as well.) the result is not so much a satisfied population as a minimally pacified one.

    To manage, as opposed to control, is to seek to increase the flow of surplus (e.g., out of agriculture) by qualitatively changing the social and economic character of production. Economic growth has occurred in Egypt's agricultural sector (as well as in industry and the service sector). But "development, in the sense of qualitative changes in the units of economic production, has not taken place. As a consequence, rural poverty and inequality have been slowly increasing."
    The White House and the American embassy have often taken up the GOE's position, overriding their own AID mission, that political stability is primary and that Egypt should not be pushed too far, too fast. The White House (under presidents Carter, Reagan, and Bush) has given this same message to the IMF time and again, forcing it to back down on its demands for economic reform.

    Egypt has sufficient political clout in Washington to fend off those who seek to press it too hard on economic reasons alone. This clout is manifested in the increasing competition between the AID mission office and the U.S. embassy in Cairo as these two entities of the State Department pursue often conflicting goals. AID focuses on what is economically rational and the U.S. embassy sees what is politically possible and supposedly best for continued Egyptian stability. As the political consistently wins out over the economic, AID loses.

    Conflicting goals are primary causes of the failure of U.S. aid to Egypt to have more of an impact on development. With massive sums of aid available, far too many objectives are pursued simultaneously — often at odds with one another. AID continues to get caught up in international American conflicts over how foreign aid should be spent. And it lacks the power to resist manipulations of the aid program by Congress, the White House, and the departments of Agriculture and Commerce. Different agencies want to use this program to promote differing goals: economic development, political stability and continued peace with Israel. Still others say the program should be geared toward promoting American business in Egypt and the developing world generally. The USDA, for example, would rather find markets for American farmers' products than help another country compete with them.
    Last edited by Double Edge; 19 May 12, at 02:41.

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