Beyond the Cusp

October 13, 2013

Why Obama Will Continue to Ignore Alarms by Netanyahu

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There are a number of reasons working together, any one of which is sufficient to turn President Obama’s hearing off when Netanyahu gives any warnings about the Middle East or even the greater world. The major impetus behind the wall President Obama has placed to block Netanyahu out derives from the belief in President Obama’s mind that he knows more about what is happening in the Middle East and who can be trusted and which leaders he needs to woo and that his being raised in Indonesia gives him experiences and an innate knowledge which he believes will prove him correct in the end. Part of this insider knowledge that President Obama relies on is his familiarity with Islamic beliefs and society of Indonesia of his youth. No matter how many experts make claims that the form of Islam practiced in Indonesia at the time that President Obama resided there was completely different than the forms of Islam being practiced today in the Middle East and North Africa as well as the Islamist Madrassas around the Western World, President Obama is determined to prove that he knows best. President Obama’s pridefulness and inability to admit to his own mistakes, especially in matters concerning the Middle East and the Islamic World make for a combination where changing his perceptions on such subjects is simply impossible. The best examples of the President’s inability to adapt or incorporate new information if it does not fit his carefully crafted view of how he believes things to be can be found in Egypt and Turkey as well as the obvious, Israel.

 

In Egypt President Obama still holds to the policy which dictates that the Muslim Brotherhood is, as then Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said at a House Intelligence Committee hearing, “The Muslim Brotherhood is a very heterogeneous group, largely secular.” Group that “has eschewed violence and has decried Al Qaeda as a perversion of Islam” and “have pursued social ends, a betterment of the political order in Egypt.” He added that the Muslim Brotherhood, which has branches in many Muslim countries, has “no overarching agenda, particularly in pursuit of violence, at least internationally.” President Obama also believes that the Freedom and Justice Party’s President Morsi won the first elections after the removal of former strong man and American longtime ally President Mubarak in a totally free election in which there were no improprieties despite evidence to the contrary and that the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood was the most organized and the only group in a position to organize and conduct a coherent campaign and thus guaranteed to win the election. President Obama has also chosen to ignore the fact that Egyptian people in the tens of millions protested, signed petitions and carried out the most massive popular revolution calling for the removal of President Morsi. The protests to remove President Morsi were actually larger and more invigorated than those a little over a year earlier which dethroned Mubarak. President Obama prefers to believe and act as if the Egyptian Military acted solely on their own without any mandate from the people and has even gone so far as to blame all of the violence on the Egyptian Military totally absolving the Muslim Brotherhood of any guilt. Any casual observer of the violence being perpetrated against the Egyptian people, especially the Coptic Christians and any non-Sunni Muslims would easily see the evidence that the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaeda are behind much of the violence evidenced by the black flag and the Muslim Brotherhood banner being carried by the gangs violently attacking the people and intentionally attempting to destroy Egypt if they are not returned to power.

 

Then there is Turkey and President Obama’s declared bestest friend in the Middle East, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. As we noted close to a decade ago and has been commented upon by numerous Middle Eastern experts, Prime Minister Erdogan has been slowly but surely moving the Turkish governance from a secular governance into a Sharia governance. Prime Minister Erdogan had warned Egyptian President Morsi very early in his time in office that he should emulate the example that Prime Minister Erdogan had used in Turkey of small increments and taking one’s time and not rushing or pushing the people too quickly so that they did not revolt to the sudden changes and the potentially unpopular proponents of Sharia. Morsi did not listen and if the violent protests which have gripped Turkey of late are any evidence, even taking the slow but steady change from secular to Sharia did not prove successful either. Add to this that the reaction from the Turkish government was just announced by the Justice and Interior ministries that people can now be jailed if they think about protesting against the government. Meanwhile, as the Egyptian Military is backing the temporary government by destroying the majority of smuggling tunnels from the Sinai into the Hamas stronghold of Gaza in order to prevent Hamas, an arm of the Muslim Brotherhood formed to attack Israel, from smuggling terrorists back into the Sinai to attack Egyptian villages and military outposts, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan has invited and met for the third time this past year Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal. Of course this does not appear to cause President Obama any concern as he just announced a $200 million program under which Turkey and Qatar will develop materials aimed at promoting the Muslim Brotherhood’s Islamist agenda while cutting off military aid to Egypt until they reinstate Muslim Brotherhood representative Morsi to the Presidency. Also, do not expect any apology any time in the foreseeable future to come from President Obama to Prime Minister Netanyahu for forcing him to apologize to Prime Minister Erdogan over the actions on the blockade runner Mavi Marmara where nine terrorists died after they posed a fatal threat as they attacked Israeli Special Forces who boarded the ship to enforce the blockade with paintball guns loaded with pepper-balls and were attacked with knives, steel rods, and other small arms. The closest that Turkey has come to making any return gesture to Israel has been complete and rudely given refusals to accept the apology and the obvious warming gestures with Hamas which may soon result with Hamas moving their headquarters from Qatar to Turkey.

 

Further proof of President Obama’s affections for the Muslim Brotherhood has been obvious in Syria where the only thing preventing full United States support of the Rebel forces has been the warnings and threats from Russia and China. The only times that President Obama has taken steps which may have proven advantageous for Syrian dictator President Bashir al-Assad has been the leaking of information proving the suspicions that Israel had been behind attacks that prevented the transfer of chemical weapons, advanced anti-air and anti-ship missiles presumably supplied by Russia, and other advanced weapons systems or game changing weapons that provided significant upgrades to Hezballah’s abilities. The sole threat of American intervention came in a threat to Syrian President al-Assad primarily when President Obama said, “We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus. That would change my equation.” This brought about the now infamous backpedaling and stalling until Russian President Putin supplied President Obama a get untangled from your tongue alternative which he, of course, took immediately. Of course, many have pointed out that Syria is a no win proposition and what would probably serve the future best would be a prolonged conflict where the civilians who remain were permitted to leave or be provided safe-zones and eventually have, strangely enough, President al-Assad remain in power even if he ruled a small area while the rest of Syria was divided between the Kurds and the other forces. The one result we would like to have from all the turmoil and violence, especially in Syria and Iraq, would be a Kurdish state combining the Kurdish controlled areas in northern Iraq and north-east Syria, but that may simply be a dream as the Kurds have historically been treated poorly and denied their promised homeland simply because J. P. Getty wanted the central Iraqi oil fields which was within the areas promised the Kurds after World War I, and one thing anybody familiar with the broken promises to the Jews after World War I knows is just how unfairly the British were with the Kurds.

 

The final country which President Obama has taken as far back a seat as possible allowing even the Europeans to show definitively more leadership than he, is Iran. Yes, after years of wrestling with the Europeans President Obama has been dragged to a point where the sanctions on Iran are having their intended effect. The Iranians, masters in chess and the art of deception, have played their hand masterly with their choice of Hasan Rouhani as their new President and face before the world. He contrasts with former President Ahmadinejad nearly perfectly and has been hailed by an overanxious West as the revelation of a new and open Iran. He has been hailed as approachable and having shown an honest intention to make changes and reveal the entirety of the Iranian nuclear program with an honesty that will be unquestionable. This is all well and good except that it is a complete and total fabrication. President Hasan Rouhani was formerly the lead negotiator for the Iranians in their nuclear talks and as such he glad-handed and smiled his way adroitly avoiding revealing anything about the Iranian nuclear program as he also oversaw the installation of thousands of centrifuges. He was proven to be a masterful deceiver who was well spoken and had a full understanding of the West and the weaknesses of each person with whom he would need to deal. Adding to this is the fact that absolutely nothing has changed in the actual power structure in Iran. They have the same Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who is the real power and very likely the person most responsible for Hasan Rouhani’s election. The twelve on the Council of Guardians, six of whom are appointed by the Supreme Leader, have not changed and were responsible for choosing who would be permitted on the ballot in the elections. Since virtually all of the real power rests with the Council of Guardians and the Supreme Leader, nothing in Iran has changed except they have a new puppet to place on the world stage and apparently that is sufficient for a Western World who wish to find any reason to avoid having to face the facts that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons and is very likely to either use them or threaten their use in order to have a nuclear umbrella that guards their terrorist attacks across the globe. President Obama sees in Iran his chance to receive another Nobel Peace Prize and honestly believes his oratory abilities will sway the Iranians from their pursuit of nuclear weapons. The only times that President Obama might decide to take any real actions against Iran would be in order to force concessions from Prime Minister Netanyahu to the Palestinian. Even then his promise will more likely be broken and in the end if the negotiations do not produce the result he envisions as equitable and fair final peace treaty, which is the complete capitulation by Israel of all lands and every one of the Palestinian demands even including some form of Right of Return for millions of Palestinian refugees, President Obama is considering forcing a peace of his liking on the Israelis even if it requires a Chapter VII Security Council Resolution granting the Palestinians the entire enchilada with the threat of military enforcement by the nations willing to enforce the United Nation edict. President Obama is going to be the first man in history to win the Nobel Peace Prize before he did anything to earn it and then his efforts to prove he deserved it resulting in starting World War III. What a legacy.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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September 13, 2013

Gaza and Sinai Vexing Egyptian Military

Since the overthrow of Mubarak as the President of Egypt there have been increasing difficulties with extreme lawlessness in both the Sinai and the border with Gaza. When President Morsi, who had the backing of the Muslim Brotherhood, made up the government in Egypt these problems grew in scope and severity. Reports told of al-Qaeda camps being established leading to radicalization of the Bedouins who found the offers to assist the weapons smugglers paid far better than their previous occupation of herding. The Egyptian government under Morsi began to try and combat the growing menace in the Sinai and even found it necessary to try and restrict the flow of arms into Gaza to Hamas and other terrorist groups there. After an attack on the Rafah border crossings where a band of terrorists murdered fifteen Egyptian border agents in the process of stealing some armored vehicles with which to cross into and attack Israel the Egyptians ramped up their presence for the first time and have done so as deemed necessary since. Their assault into Israel was met and repelled destroying at least one of the stolen armored vehicles. With the military inserted government which replaced the Morsi government after the coup that shall not be named a coup took over they increased the efforts to reinstate the rule of law in the Sinai and concurrently restrict the smuggling tunnels through which arms and other goods enter Gaza and fund Hamas. Despite the risks which any governance of Egypt would face working with Israel, both the Morsi and the Military backed governments have consulted and kept all agreements with Israel though not actually warming to any great extent. One guess is that the Egyptian governments, no matter who it is aligned with, have more than enough problems that since keeping relations with Israel at least non-confrontational if not warm and mushy were an easy investment that paid dividends when they entered into operations in the Sinai.

 

It is interesting that the Egyptians have had almost the same threats, difficulties and challenges which have plagued the Israelis over the years and they seem to have a similar attitude towards how to address these problems. The Egyptian government escalated their response soon after the military took over governing Egypt. With Israeli understanding and blessings the Egyptians sent armor supported forces in numbers into the Sinai supported by helicopter gunships. These offensives have met with somewhat limited success as the terrorists and smugglers are extremely adept at melting into the natural environment. The most recent escalation was somewhat shocking when the Egyptians stationed a pair of heavy tanks at the Rafah crossing as a response to the recent bombings pulled off by terrorist factions within Gaza. This escalation is a whole new strategy as I do not remember the Israelis stationing tanks within the Philadelphia Corridor when they controlled the Gaza border with Egypt. The Egyptians recently widened the cleared area on the Gaza border which resulted in their demolishing some houses which were revealed to have been used as tunnel entrances. This is the same reaction for which the Israelis were pilloried in the international press and heralded as brutes taking horrific and unnecessary destructive measures against the poor and unfortunate Palestinian civilians. Somehow, the recent actions though identical except having been committed by the Egyptians have passed by silently without even a murmur from the world media or the various NGOs which cursed similar actions by the Israelis. I guess it matters whose troops are exercising precautions taking the needful steps in order to make the environment safer for their troops operating along that border.

 

It will be interesting to watch as the Egyptians continue to meet the ever escalating challenges in the Sinai and along the Gaza border, though finding reports on such can be a bit difficult. It is expected that the Egyptians will resort to similar methods, precautions, demolitions, walls, blockades, vibrations sensors for tunnel detection, and all of the other overt and imposing appearing necessities for which the world’s media, governments, spokespersons, NGOs and United Nations Agencies challenged the necessity for when implemented by the Israelis. It can be expected that whenever there are comments about the similarities between the Egyptian methods and activities with those of the Israelis will be to note how the Egyptians are using good judgment, incremental escalations and only doing those actions which proved absolutely needed and not going to irrational extremes as the Israelis had done. An objective and rational observer would assess the actions of the Egyptians, when compared to the historic methods used by the Israelis, and report that they matched very closely and that the major exceptions would be the Egyptians went further than the Israelis by giving no or less warnings before demolitions, used heavy armor such as tanks, and the violence level implemented generally by the Egyptians was heightened with less regard for those who posed any level of perceived threat. But don’t expect any real coverage of the Egyptian actions nor will there be any apologies coming to the Israelis over their being berated and demeaned for their actions in the past. Where the actions and means employed may be similar, the reactions from the world will be completely different. If pushed for a reason the world is reacting differently to the Egyptian use of force versus the Israeli use of force, the answer will likely be a shrug and their asking what you are talking about, the Israelis use of force was completely different and what the Egyptians are doing is perfectly understandable. Where the Israelis use of force was measured and performed under strict rules and limitations and the Egyptians are allowing a more liberal implementation of force to a lesser threshold of provocation and are placing fewer restrictions on their forces which will be understood with their loss of troops being higher than the Israelis had suffered. I do not really care how the world reacts and simply wish the Egyptians success and hope they are able to end the lawless culture in the Sinai and close the smuggling into and out of Gaza, especially Gaza as the revolving door which potentially could result from failure would pose a huge threat for Israel as well as Egypt.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

July 7, 2013

Who Idea was ElBaradei to be Egyptian Prime Minister?

Former head of the IAEA, United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei may be appointed as the new Egyptian Prime Minister. The newly appointed transitional President of Egypt Adly el-Mansour reportedly summoned ElBaradei to the Presidential Palace appointing him as the new Prime Minister. In order to install Chief Justice el-Mansour as interim President, it was necessary to first be sworn in as head of Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court. One might say that Adly el-Mansour had a very good day being sworn in as not only Chief Justice of the Supreme Constitutional Court, but also as the interim President of the new Military installed government. The appointment of ElBaradei as the new Prime Minister could be seen to possess some intriguing qualities. The first question that will never be asked is exactly who initially suggested ElBaradei for the position of Prime Minister. The reasoning which we will hear in much of the press surrounding his appointment is that he was a key figure in the initial Arab Spring protests which brought down the Mubarak government and that he was a popular figure among the pro-democracy segment of the Egyptian population.

 

One thing for sure is that ElBaradei received a good deal of press coverage during the Egyptian pro-democracy demonstrations that led to Mubarak stepping down and eventually to Morsi being elected in what was touted as Egypt’s first truly free elections. But did ElBaradei receive the favorable press because he was popular within Egypt or because he was the preferred candidate of the Western nations who were familiar with him from his time serving as head of the IAEA. David Kenner, Associate Editor of Foreign Policy magazine, reported that, “In a meeting earlier this year with a visiting scholar, Muslim Brotherhood Deputy Chairman Khairat al-Shater said that U.S. officials had called on Morsi to appoint ElBaradei as prime minister… (T)he thinking, according to Shater, was that ElBaradei’s appointment could repair the rift between the government and opposition, stabilizing the country.” So, was this the second appointment in the militarily established Egyptian government making Mohamed ElBaradei Prime Minister really chosen by the Egyptian military, or by the new President and Chief Supreme Constitutional Court Adly el-Mansour, or was he appointed to mollify the high officials of the United States Department of State? This may even cast at least a small amount of doubt about who was behind the choice for interim President.

 

There should be little doubt that the Military took advantage of the one year anniversary protests against President Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood government as they were a threat to the establishment of the military. After having virtually total control of the governance over Egypt, the military likely looked upon these demonstrations as a personal invitation to act and take back their control. The real test of whether this was a military coup or actually a move towards a new democratically selected government will be whether new elections will be announced in the near future and held as announced on schedule. The announcement should not take very long in being made and should also make preparations for the licensing of political parties and other preliminary necessities. The question that also needs to be addressed is whether the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party will be allowed to present a candidate in the new elections. Should they be allowed to run it is very possible that the elections will simply put another Muslim Brotherhood selected President in office. If this is the outcome of another election, then the people will have definitively chosen their fate and the President should be allowed to serve his entire term without any military interference. Removing a Muslim Brotherhood candidate once might be determined to be a positive act, but twice is simply the imposition of military rule through a back door. Any time the military executes a coup presumably in the name of the people it really needs to be an anomaly which occurs exactly once. Time will tell whether this was an act in service of the people or an act to return control of the Presidency to military control. We all hope that it truly was an act to restore the people’s faith in their government with new elections, for now it has all the appearances of a military coup and will continue to have that stench until a new government is washed in by the cleansing power of truly free and open elections.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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