Beyond the Cusp

August 22, 2013

President Obama Preserving What Influence in Egypt?

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There has been a repeated story in the news over the weeks since the removal of Egyptian President Morsi by the Egyptian military headed by General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi claiming that United States President Barack Obama and his administration are treading carefully in order to preserve their influence which they may need to wield in the future. There are constant references to the Obama Administration’s wise avoidance of calling the actions by the Egyptian military a coup in order to preserve their ability to provide Egypt with much needed funds. Of course the claim is that these funds are the main influence the United States holds. There are so many problems with this story line that it is difficult to decide where to start. To be fully honest, making any reference to influence with anyone in the world that the United States still possesses outside of the Israelis is laughable; and the only reason the administration can influence the Israelis is that they actually require the American United Nations Security Council veto to hold off the complete isolation that would ensue should they not possess that saving grace or a similar promise from one of the other four members, Britain, France, Russia or China, all of which either have open animosities with Israel or are close allies of nations such as many of the Muslim and Arab states who would sponsor sanctions destructive to Israel. So, maybe we should not call what the United States has to force the Israelis to cooperate even against their better judgment so much as influence as the Obama administration wields the Sword of Damocles above Israel’s neck.


Meanwhile, back to take a quick look around the world for examples of the unbelievable level, or lack of level, of influence President Obama and, by inference, the United States possess almost anywhere across the world. We have all either heard, read, witnessed or some combination the complete lack of regard and respect dished out on both President Obama and his Secretary of State John Kerry by Russian President Putin. When the sole praise the in-the-bag media were able to laud President Obama over regarding Russian President Putin was President Obama cancelling a meeting with Putin before an economic conference that was to be held in Russia recently. Unfortunately the press did not deem it worthy to cover President Putin’s reaction and we missed that as it likely would have been quite amusing. The last time a Russian in high position bothered to even listen to what President Obama had to say was before Putin returned to his office as President and Medvedev held the Presidency as a placeholder and puppet of Vladimir Putin. There may have been a reason that even Medvedev agreed to hear what President Obama wished to communicate as this was the meeting we all heard what was said by President Obama due to an unrealized open microphone which revealed his statements, “On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for him to give me space.” Medvedev promised to inform Putin of Obama’s need after which President Obama continued, “This is my last election. After my election, I have more flexibility.” Medvedev affirmed he understood and would carry the message to Vladimir for Obama. Perhaps the subservience announced in this exchange is partially responsible for Russian President Putin’s disregard and disrespect for the American President.


In a completely different arena the newly anointed new dear leader of North Korea President Kim Jong-un, some have referred to the twenty-eight-year-old ruler and a child due to his extremely youthful appearance, was exercising his boasts as is the usual first act of new leaders in North Korea. They make claims, launch missiles, reopen formerly closed nuclear research and development sites and threaten to launch a massive attack on South Korea and the United States. This is nothing new and their ignoring any pressures from the President of the United States for one or, at most, two missile launches and then they historically have backed off of their nuclear development threats and return to being mostly a non-issue soon after. This usually follows an intervention by China often at the request of the United States President among others. As per usual, the new leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, started making test missile launches, reopened closed nuclear labs, threatened South Korea and the United States, moved troops, missiles and artillery units towards the south and other saber rattling. Kim Jong-un ignored everything President Obama demanded which is to be expected and does not reflect on Obama’s ability to influence events. But when President Obama made requests for the Chinese leaders to restrain the North Korean leader the Chinese simply refused to do anything of the sort. President Obama and a number of his Administration all repeatedly requested the Chinese intervene but to no avail. That was another indication of lack of influence.


More examples could be given from Europe, Asia, South America, but let us return instead to Egypt. President Obama’s being pretty much ignored by the Egyptian military leadership is not entirely due to his lack of gravitas, much of it has to do with the fact that the Egyptian military is actually acting at the insistence of the majority of the Egyptian population and fulfilling their role as protectors of the people. Another reason they are ignoring the entreats and demands from President Obama is that they honestly do not care what he has to say nor do they care much what anybody wants as they are working to salvage their country from being transformed into a Sharia observant Islamist State and retain their secular liberties or at least some hope of realizing such liberties. President Obama and his administration have silently exerted every ounce of influence they have short of a public denouncing the Egyptian military for having executed a military coup. The reason that President Obama is avoiding such a label is by declaring Egypt to be under the rule resulting from a military coup the United States would be forced by act of law to cut all financial aid to Egypt permanently. President Obama has silently scaled back aid to Egypt to a point where virtually if not all military aid to Egypt has been suspended. The administration confirms this while asserting that this is possibly just a temporary measure which could be reversed in the near future. The difficulty for President Obama and his administration is cutting off aid to the Egyptian military is having absolutely no effect as the Royals of Saudi Arabia have already made up the difference and promised to provide the Egyptian military with much if not all the aid they may require in their efforts to provide Egypt with a political scene free of the influences from the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists. The Saudis are in total support of Egypt remaining a mostly secular nation and out of the clutches or influence of Islamists which may position Egypt with those who oppose Saudi Arabia’s loose alliance of Arab states. The Saudi Arabian Royal family took this move as a direct response negating the attempt by President Obama to exercise financial pressure and influence on the Egyptian military leadership. The Saudi Arabian leadership has taken a number of steps recently that have as their source their suspicions that President Obama is not really their friend, is not about to do anything to prevent Iran from attaining nuclear weapons, and to simply show President Obama that they are going to do whatever it takes even if they have to run over President Obama and all of his efforts and designs in the Middle East. The Saudi Royals not only have no respect for President Obama, they have taken up opposition to President Obama and will work to frustrate all of his designs starting with Egypt. This is something that is actually a positive outcome even for what most Americans who have a traditional American outlook on the Middle East which existed before President Obama. The coming showdown over who should rule in Egypt, a military backed government until elections free from Islamist influences or parties can be held and a secular constitution approved or a Muslim Brotherhood government which will institute a Sharia Islamist government and constitution. President Obama very likely has been locked out of having any influence on the outcome in Egypt as Saudi Arabia has preempted President Obama’s singular weapon, cash. The only result should President Obama continue on his insistence for the return to Muslim Brotherhood rule in Egypt will be the loss of every Sunni friend to the United States in the Middle East turning to another source for their military weapons and that will be the termination of any American influence in the Middle East beyond threatening Israel.  


Beyond the Cusp


August 17, 2013

Muslim Brotherhoods Day of Rage in Egypt

Just as most of those who study Egypt had predicted, the Muslim Brotherhood fired their initial shot across the bow of the interim government which the Egyptian Military put in place and has pledged to protect. There will be scratch the surface coverage in most media outlets where they may show some pictures and videos of a few of the confrontations which took place either in Cairo or Alexandria. Those who might choose to go somewhat further might include a comment or two and even a picture of one of the confrontations between the Coptic Christians and Muslim Brotherhood supporters. What will receive scant coverage is that by the time Monday morning news hits the airwaves and your ears as you have that first cup of coffee to get going there may be only a few Coptic or other Christian structures remaining standing. The tragedy that the Copts are about to face is probably the most criminal of all the violence which will spill across Egypt as the revolution to place Muslim Brotherhood backed Peace and Justice Party President Morsi back into the seat of power and forcing the resumption of the Islamization of Egyptian society will be hurled hard and wide against the oldest of Egyptian societies, the Coptic Christians as well as any other non-Sunni Muslim populations.


The Coptic Christians are about to face the same form of persecution and violence as was faced by Egyptian Jews under Egyptian persecution starting in 1948 and continuing for the next several years. The Jewish population in Egypt in the decade after Israel was founded in 1948 dropped from over seventy-five-thousand to less than one-hundred mostly very elderly Jews today with no younger generation coming to replace them. It can reasonably be expected that Egypt will be completely free of any Jewish population within the next couple of decades. This allows the Islamists of the Muslim Brotherhood along with the cooperation of the Salafists to now cleans Egypt of their next target, the Christians otherwise called the Sunday People from an old Arab battle cry which goes, “First the Saturday People, then the Sunday People.” Going back to 2011 it has been reported that close to one-hundred-thousand Coptic Christians fled Egypt in that year and has been estimated to have exceeded a quarter of a million per year since and will likely explode well past that in the coming months. One has to remember that the Coptic Christians make up one of the oldest and most purely original Egyptian populations surviving that predated the Islamic conquest of Egypt. These Christians were converted by John Mark, (author of the Gospel of Mark), who became their first bishop sometime between the year 42 AD and 62 AD, making them one of the earliest Christian communities which continues to exist very much as they were in antiquity. Now these early and faithful Christians are facing obliterations and the destruction of their churches, cathedrals and other historic places without anybody lifting a finger to protect them or their historic places and legacy.


This is just another tragedy which is unfolding within Egypt as the nation devolves into civil war. Meanwhile, the Coptic Christian communities are burning starting with their churches and proceeding to their places of business and finally to their homes. Their communities face obliteration by conflagration, a cleansing of their neighborhoods by fire executed by the Muslim Brotherhood and their Sunni followers yet their cries and tears will pass uncommented and blanketed by a silence that drowns their screams. What will happen to young Coptic women is unspeakable in its horrors and the rest of the Coptic population will face persecutions only slightly less horrific and face it alone in the world, friendless. This coming atrocity is what President Obama should have spoken against and made clear that the Coptic Christians are to be protected if Egypt intends to retain any of their billions of dollars of annual aid monies from the United States. Don’t hold your breath waiting for the President to do the honorable thing, it’s the weekend and the golf course is calling. One might ask where are the cries over this injustice which is being perpetrated in plain sight of the world. Yet the world remains silent. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon is in Israel and the Palestinian territories (Palestine as Ban Ki-Moon referred to them) pressuring Prime Minister Netanyahu to make the necessary sacrifices while assuring Chairman Abbas whom he praises with showers of promises and support. Where is the Pope who should be screaming out over the injustice to the Coptic Christians whose society that predated that of the Vatican City now are laid waste in a sea of flames and blood. Where is any leader in the Christian world even murmuring the slightest complaint, let alone coming to these persecuted people’s aid providing them protection or at the very least a place to which to flee? Why is the United States Sixth Fleet not mounting a rescue operation to take these victims of frenzied mobs to a place of safety? Where is the Christian world when their brothers and sisters are being slaughtered and martyred for their faith? Sleep well oh western world while atrocity once again swallows up an ancient and peaceable people, sleep well.


Beyond the Cusp


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