Written by Daniel Greenfield
The Friday Afternoon Roundup by Daniel Greenfield
The Obama administration is demanding an immediate "transition" in Egypt. By transition they mean that Muslim Brotherhood hand puppet Mohammed ElBaradei should take power immediately without the benefit of winning an election first.
Mubarak has agreed not to run for reelection. ElBaradei said that he won't run for office, but then said that he might run "if the Egyptian people want me." (As if the Egyptian people have anything to do with it.) But the foreign backers of the protests, Soros and the Iran, want ElBaradei to take power without winning an election.
They know he can't win an actual election and that the Muslim Brotherhood running directly would upset the West too much. This way ElBaradei gets to play the stalking horse for the Brotherhood. So the calls are not for "open and fair elections", but for an immediate transition. For Mubarak to leave right now.
The fundamental difference between the protests in Iran and those in Egypt, is that Iranians were protesting a stolen election, and in Egypt the protesters want to steal an election before it actually takes place.
Here's the headline and the opening sentence in the Voice of America's reportage
Huge Cairo Rally Renews Calls for Mubarak Ouster
Tens of thousands of Egyptians gathered in Cairo, Friday, at another rally calling for the immediate ouster of President Hosni Mubarak.
The AP headlines it the same way
Mass anti-Mubarak protest celebrates after battles (AP)
AP - Tens of thousands packed central Cairo Friday, waving flags and singing the national anthem
That's tens of thousands in a country of eighty million. A whole 0.01% percent of the country has shown up. Which means that Mubarak must go! Right now! No elections needed.
Now the Tea Party has put a lot more people than that into the streets to rally against Obama. Nationalist rallies in Israel have hit the hundreds of thousands, in a country with only a few million of people. But the media has never called them "huge" or treated them as an absolute mandate for change.
Every idiotic article billing this as a democratic transition is a pathetic joke. This is not a democratic transition. This is a manufactured revolution. Food riots co-opted by a student protest movement funded and organized by Soros' people and then co-opted again by the Islamists.
The media narrative is that ElBaradei is the head of a non-violent protest movement and Mubarak is a repressive dictator. But there a couple of problems with that narrative.
ElBaradei sounds a lot more violent than Mubarak. He keeps screaming about blood. Saying that Mubarak is "A Dead Man Walking" is on the grim side too. Uglier than any public statements Mubarak made.
We're told that the Jan 25 protesters are non-violent and the pro-Mubarak protesters are violent. But there has been violence all along. Looting, prison breaks, rapes and violent clashes. But the narrative has been that all the violence was caused by Mubarak and even the looting of the Egyptian Museum was carried out to be secret agents of the regime. The lawlessness was a cunning plan of the regime. To what extent is this the truth, and to what extent does it typify the irresponsible and conspiratorial mindset of the Muslim world is certainly a good question.
We know what the media wants us to believe. We know the message being put out in selective interviews, particularly with protest leaders, some of whom have gotten training by American and European leftists and backing from Western government officials, making this look uncomfortably like a coup. A coup piggybacking on food protests is an old trick. One of the oldest tricks in the book.
Egypt has been having food riots around this time for a long time. Let's go back to 1977.
The Egyptian 'Bread Riots' of 1977 which rocked most major cities in Egypt from January 18-19 of that year, were a spontaneous uprising by hundreds of thousands of lower class people protesting World Bank and International Monetary Fund-mandated termination of state subsidies on basic foodstuffs. As many as 800 people were wounded, and the protests were only ended with the deployment of the army.
The riots' origin lay in president Anwar Sadat's 'Infitah' policy, which had, since he took power in the beginning of the decade, sought to liberalize the economy. In 1976, he sought loans from the World Bank in an effort to relieve the country's debt burden; the bank criticized the state's policy of subsidizing basic foodstuffs, and Sadat announced in January 1977 that it was ending subsidies on flour, rice, and cooking oil and that it would cancel state employee bonuses and pay increases.
Popular rejection of the announcement was not long in coming: On January 18 and 19, rioting by lower-class people who would be hardest hit by the cancellation of the subsidies erupted across the country, from Aswan in upper Egypt to Alexandria on the shores of the Mediterranean... Some 79 people were killed and many more injured. The rioting ended when the state abruptly canceled the new policies.
MAHALLA EL-KOBRA, Egypt — Egypt rushed Tuesday to grant bonuses to workers after two days of deadly riots over high food prices and low wages wracked this northern industrial city, fueling government fears that economic angst might boil over across the country.
And guess what was going on in Egypt in 2008-2010. Economic liberalization.
For the technocrats it was the fiscal and economic policy that was their domain and they performed miracles. The Egyptian economy under the Nazif government showed unprecedented growth. The currency was devalued, investment was pouring in, and exports were growing. Even the economic crisis did not dramatically effect Egypt. The real disaster in all of this however is that no one actually rationalized or defended those policies to the Egyptian public. The country was moving towards a full capitalist system but no explained why that was needed or why it was ultimately beneficial. While such restructuring is naturally painful for a population that was dependent on the government for all its needs, the people were fed the same socialist rhetoric nonetheless. It mattered very little that the country was improving economically, people did not see that. It is not that the effects were not trickling down, they were. It is that the people were used to the nanny state for so many years that they could not understand why the government was no longer providing them with those services.
So much for Jan 25. So much for ElBaradei, whose backers knew very well this was coming and got out in front of it.
Even most of the student protesters aren't there for ElBaradei, but his foreign backers have positioned him as the head of the movement. The media keeps photographing him clutching a megaphone. He's the appointed leader, not by Egyptians or even by the protesters, but by the foreign interests behind them.
Their greatest fear is that the riots and protests will peter out, everyone will go home and Jan 25 will be over.
It's time to ask some serious questions about the "National Association for Change" aka Kefaya and who is really behind it. It seems to have a bigger presence in the United States than it does in Egypt via the Egyptian Association For Change (EAC) which is headquartered in Washington D.C.
We already have connections between Ayers, Code Pink and the Muslim Brotherhood. Kefaya, in its various incarnations, was originally tied to anti-American and anti-Israel protests. Its Declaration to the Nation lambasted the "odious assault" on Iraq, and warned that American designs were a peril to the survival of the Arab peoples.
Then there's Kefaya's co-opting by the Islamists
at the end of 2006, a more serious split occurred after an anonymous article was posted on Kefaya’s website apparently supporting an anti-veil stance advocated by Farouk Hosni, the Minister of Culture. Although the article was subsequently removed, seven key figures, all pro-Islamist, announced their intention to quit the movement. One, Magdi Ahmed Hussein, declared that Kefaya had “failed to find the middle ground between the Islamists and liberals…”
The middle ground being surrender to the Islamist agenda.
The movement’s co-ordinator since 2004, George Ishak, stepped down in January 2007 to be replaced by Abdel Wahhab Al-Messiri, a renowned anti-zionist scholar and former member of both the Egyptian Communist Party and Muslim Brotherhood.
Being an Islamist and a Communist is not that much of a contradiction in the Muslim world. Anti-semitism is generally mandatory. Al-Messiri has since died and appears to have been replaced by Ishak again. With his leftist credentials and coptic background, Ishak also makes a better figurehead.
Of course Anti-Semitism is a natural part of Muslim, and particularly Egyptian politics. Opponents accuse Mubarak of working for the Jews. Pro-government media accuse ElBaradei of working for the Jews. The whole thing might seem nauseating to observers, but this is commonplace, and not just in the Muslim world. Remember that the Protocols of the Elders of Zion is treated as a factual history in Egypt, and in much of the Muslim world.
And the accusations being hurled by everyone from George Soros to FP bloggers that Israel is to blame for the situation in Egypt, smacks of a Westernized version of that same kind of thinking
Still the real question is how much of this was organized outside of Egypt. The slow and hesitant response by the Obama Administration, going from zero to condemnations over several days (mirroring his reaction in the Iran protests) suggests that he wasn't in on it. But that doesn't mean elements within the American government may not have played a part beyond just training and funding the so-called grass roots opposition.
The army was actually still far away from deploying in Cairo. Because no one had imagined that the situation would totally be out of control, the level of alert of the army was never raised. Officers were not called from their vacations and the whole top command of the Egyptian army was actually thousands of miles away in Washington for strategic prearranged discussions at the Pentagon.
Interesting timing isn't it. If you wanted to pull off something like this, getting the top commanders out of the country would be key to any plan. And it would give key officials a chance to press them to take a side.
I don't want to go too far into the realm of speculation, but does anyone remember our good friend Samantha Power?
Samantha Power had a special position created for her by her buddy Barack as Senior Director of Multilateral Affairs on the Staff of the National Security Council.
The Office advises and assists the President and the National Security Advisor on all aspects of U.S. foreign policy relating to democracy and human rights promotion, humanitarian affairs (including refugee and migration issues), international broadcasting, United Nations affairs, international peace-keeping and sanctions policy.
And guess who was attending meetings with Egyptian activists a few months ago. Samantha Power.
Flash over to right now and...
The concerted and growing U.S. pressure on Mubarak to step down came as the Obama White House told regional experts with whom it has been consulting that it considers Tuesday “pivotal” in Cairo, said Marc Lynch, a Middle East expert at George Washington University who was among a group of Egypt experts who met with the National Security Council's Dan Shapiro and Samantha Power at the White House Monday.
I guess we now know what Samantha Power's real job is. Power was a director of Soros' International Crisis Group. Now she's moved on to the National Security Council. A lot more resources and power to get the job done.
But Soros may have lost his bet after all. The protests appear to be fizzling. Mubarak is passing on power to the army. The net effect of the protests has been to neuter economic liberalization for Egypt. Not democracy or freedom, but the resumption of the status quo.
Yet who's to say that wasn't Soros' endgame all along. To push out Gamal Mubarak. Soros is a James Bond villain, but he's also an international businessman who's expert at profiting from crisis.
For more sources, take a look at Michael Savage's piece on the subject which charges Obama with extensive complicity. (Via Onward James)
Andrew Bostom has a piece at American Thinker on Egypt, 'Hurriyya' Vs. Freedom, and 'Muslim Moderates'
INN has a report from an Egyptian newspaper that Hamas is behind some of the violence in Egypt
Michael J Totten may have said it simplest and best
All this talk about whether democracy in Egypt will be a good thing or a bad thing just goes to show how misunderstood the word democracy is. Democracy refers not so much to elections but to liberalism in the general sense of the word.
If Egyptians elect the Muslim Brotherhood in a free and fair election, and the Muslim Brotherhood then rigs or even cancels every election that follows, Egypt will not be in any way shape or form a democracy. It will be a dictatorship that happened to have an election.
Mature liberal democracies have checks and balances, the separation of powers, equal rights for minorities, restrictions on the power and reach of the victors, and guarantees that those who lose will not be persecuted.
The Arab world doesn’t need a one-time plebiscite on whom the next tyrant is going to be.
Family Security Matters has a piece on Napolitano's own Muslim Brotherhood affiliate meetings
But there's plenty of stupid on the other side of the board. Lawrence Auster has been covering some of the meltdown by some prominent neo-conservatives (not a term I like to use, as it's mainly employed as an insult these days and has limited self-identification). Auster divides it into Democracy Wars, The Neocons Strike Back, and The Return of the Conservatives.
They see a danger in Mubarak's fall, and they are right: we do not know who will take over now or in a year or two from now. But this is at bottom a crazy reaction. What they are afraid of is the Muslim Brotherhood, right? Mubarak has ruled for THIRTY YEARS and leaves us a Brotherhood that is that powerful? Isn't that all the proof we need that dictatorship is not the way to fight the Brotherhood? He crushed the moderate and centrist groups and left the Brothers with an open field. He is to blame for the Brothers' popularity and strength right now. The sooner he goes the better.
That's Elliot Abrams' curious logic. So if Mubarak wasn't strong enough to completely crush the brotherhood, than somehow an alliance that includes the Brotherhood will do it?
This entire line of argument comes down to the assertion that the only way to beat the Muslim Brotherhood is to allow it to participate in the system. Then it will somehow either lose support or become either a safe and harmless player in the political process.
This is magical thinking. Magical democracy thinking that presumes that when there is democracy, people will not choose to vote for them. Or they will become fuzzy kittens.
The American example is a bad one in this regard. We do have open elections, but we also have a two party system. A third party that was explicitly Nazi or Communist can in theory participate in our system, but in practice would be closed out by the same mechanisms that close out most third parties. And if an explicitly Nazi or Communist party were on the verge of taking power. They would be banned. We would ban them out of sheer necessity.
Any Egyptian political party that forms an alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood is a clear and present danger to everyone, from Egyptian Christians to the country's education women all the way over to America. Trying to make it about Israel is a cynical leftist strategy, not too different from the protesters holding pictures of Mubarak defaced with Stars of David.
Auster views this as proof a split between neo-cons and Israel. The reality is that neo-conservatives have only been interested in Israel as proof of their thesis that democracy leads to a healthy society. Their interest in Israel's security has been minimal, and their contextual reading of Israeli and Arab governments as based on cultural and intellectual differences, rather than accidents of history, have led us part of the way into this quagmire.
Abrams has a new article up at CFR demanding that Mubarak step down.
Americans must wonder why Egypt’s President does not understand what seems obvious to so many of us: that he should step down now and thereby help bring Egypt’s crisis to an end.
A better question would be why Americans like Elliot Abrams don't understand that image is not reality and that insisting he step down because of street protests is a cynical ploy.
He (Mubarak) has never viewed Egypt, not for one day during his three decades of power, as a stable country. I can recall his reaction to small incidents like a demonstration of workers here or there, a strike, or a protest over bread prices. He saw these not as minor annoyances but as dangerous moments, and rushed to provide subsidies for prices and send in police reinforcements. The cork could pop out of the bottle at any time, he seemed to think. He genuinely believes that absolute chaos would result if he stepped aside.
And Mubarak's thesis has been indisputably proven this week. Even without him stepping down, the country has descended into chaos.
The second component is his view that Arabs must be ruled with an iron hand. This
was his practice in Egypt and his repeated recommendation to Americans for Iraq; he thought Iraq could only be governed by a tough-minded general, the same formula he obviously liked and lived for Egypt. The choice for Arab lands was a tough general, a clever king, or chaos.
Which is exactly how it is. But Abrams still insists that he knows better than Mubarak.
But let's now take a look at Iraq after 7 years of American management and democracy training-- and Egypt under Mubarak. Egypt without Mubarak looks like it has more in common with Iraq without Saddam.
None of this nonsense about democracy, not in the Arab world. In this he took the view that President Bush abandoned in his Freedom Agenda– that the Arab world was not and would never be ready for democracy. If there was ever a proponent of “Arab exceptionalism,” it was Hosni Mubarak. To him these were the sole places on earth where freedom had to be kept at bay.
Actually it's not the sole place on earth. Mubarak would have probably said the same thing about parts of Africa and Asia, and some countries like Mexico as well. Democracy can't be applied to every part of the world like candy. It requires readiness.
Abrams restates his version of Mubarak's views, and treats them as if they were understandably absurd. As if any part of the world is ready for democracy. But then let's have a simple test for it. We'll declare that every country who holds open and democratic elections will be given ten nuclear missiles by the United States to do with as they please. Would Abrams think this a safe experiment?
And at 82 nothing will change his mind. Sending a retired diplomat to see him or having the President call him has no impact. Mubarak came to his conclusions about how to rule Egypt based on the experiences of his life, and the only way he’ll go is if he’s pushed. The Egyptian Army must undertake that responsibility, and the sooner the better.
But why exactly should the army do this? What's in it for the army... besides American aid. And that's the kicker here, isn't it. And making the army into the determiners of Egypt's future would only affirm Mubarak's views. That power in Egypt depends on strength and armed force.
Let's sum up. Mubarak must leave before there are "huge" crowds of tens of thousands protesters. And if he won't leave, we'll use the army to pressure him to leave. And his replacement will be a coalition between Iran and Sweden's favorite Egyptian ElBaradei and the Muslim Brotherhood.
This may be the best plan that the foreign affairs people have ever come up with. Almost as good as the plan to push out the Shah and replace him with a democratic government of protesters in alliance with the Ayatollah Khomeini.
How did that one go? Let's take an ugly walk down the black brick road to Tehran, 1979.
INSKEEP: You mentioned university students who have leftist ideologies. You mentioned people who wanted democracy. They wanted more freedom. They wanted more openness. They wanted things that sound, to our ears, like Western values. And yet this same giant crowd was the crowd that welcomed Ayatollah Khomeini when he returned to Iran to take control.
Mr. NAJI: He played a very clever game. Those days, before he returned to Tehran, all he would talk about was democracy and freedom. He would not talk about a religious revolution. He wouldn't talk about a religious state, and democracy and freedom worked for us too, on the left, in a sense that we wanted to have a say. And freedom and democracy would provide that.
Of course that's exactly how it turned out with freedom and democracy for everyone. And executions.
I remember a few months after the Revolution, they were executing about 100, 150, 160 people a day and they would announce and print their names in the afternoon papers. I used to - I remember, I used to go and get the afternoon papers and just go home and sort of cry because you just, you know, just going through these names of, you know, a lot of people you didn't know, but obviously, you know, the night before 160 people had been executed. And this went on for months on end.
Of course there's no chance at all of history repeating itself. We know that's not what history does. Instead history does exactly what we want it to do. When we're CFR members anyway.
And then a year or two down the line, the extremists are divided into two between the moderate extremists and the other extremists. And then the moderate extremists are eliminated, and so on and so forth. And we've got to this point, that today, the extreme of the Islamic establishment is in power today in the shape of President Ahmadinejad and his supporters. And even amongst them now, we would see this fight between the moderates - if you like - extremists, and the extremists behind President Ahmadinejad.
INSKEEP: Moderate extremists is not a phrase that I've heard used that often.
(Soundbite of laughter)
Mr. NAJI: No
Moderate extremists. Sounds like the Muslim Brotherhood.
Finishing up the roundup, if you're in the Los Angeles area, Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors is having an event in association with the David Horowitz Freedom Center on college campus anti-semitism, featuring Reut Cohen among others.
Two victories in the War on Mosque-based Terror from Atlas Shrugs, a second Imam is out at the Ground Zero Mosque and a victory in Sheepshead Bay against an illegal mosque on a private street. The Bay People have shown what individuals in a neighborhood can do when standing up to bullying and intimidation and they deserve your support.
The blogger at Imperialist Scum has his own commentary on the violence and chaos in Egypt. So does Lemon Lime Moon on the turmoil in Egypt.
Also at American Thinker, Jack Kemp is laughing his head off in liberal land with a little grim musical theater for the age of civility.
In a final personal note, due to some adjustments to the blog, the site became virtually unviewable for Mac users employing the Safari browser. As I'm not a Mac user, it's hard for me to notice such problems. The blog should be back to normal now. Thank you to everyone who wrote me and commented to let me know about the problem.
I have been considering moving up to another template for some time now. Together with Lemon Lime Moon, the co-designer of this blog, we've been working on another template. It's a work in progress, but if you have time please stop by and let me know what you think. Particularly in regards to readability and usability
From NY to Jerusalem , Daniel Greenfield Covers the Stories Behind the News. Daniel Greenfield is a blogger, author and columnists covering international affairs, the rising threat of terrorism and the growing problems of socialism. His daily blog can be viewed at Sultan Knish.