GEO-POLITICS

The Cuban Missile Crisis 50th Anniversary

The Cuban Missile Crisis 50th Anniversary

The Cuban Missile Crisis 50th Anniversary

By Andre Eggelletion

October 22, 1962 Kennedy asks Ike for advice on Cuban Missile Crisis

The following is a transcript of a telephone conversation between President Kennedy and former President Eisenhower on October 22, 1962; the sixth day of the Cuban missile crisis. Once again, Kennedy seems to be getting the same kind of advice from Eisenhower that he received from the Joint Chiefs. Their advice was for the United States to undertake some sort of military action in response to the presence of Soviet offensive weapons (nuclear missiles) on the island of Cuba. General Eisenhower in this conversation, and the Joint Chiefs in the situation room, seemed willing to risk the Soviets retaliating against Berlin in carrying out such military operations against Cuba. Kennedy, seeking the advice of Eisenhower was tempered by the knowledge that if Ike was wrong, he could end up not only losing Berlin and along with it the confidence of our allies, but he could raise the chances dangerously of escalating the conflict into all out nuclear war. History has proven Kennedy was right and the hawks were wrong.

AUDIO: JFK 10-22-1962 asks Ike’s advice on cuban missle crisis

IKE: Well thank you for calling me in; well, personally, I think you’re really making the only move you can.

JFK: Well it’s tough to ah, as I say, we will ah; I don’t know we may get into the invasion business before many days are out but ah.

IKE: Well of course from a military standpoint that’s the clean cut thing to do now…

JFK: That’s right; that’s right

IKE: Because you’ve made up your mind; you’ve got to get rid of this thing. The only real way to get rid of it is with the other thing. But having to be concerned with world opinion…

JFK: And Berlin

IKE: And the sentiment of others, why, you got to go a little slower

JFK: Well Berlin is the, ah, I suppose ah, that may be what they may try to trade off.

IKE: Well they might, but I personally I don’t go along with that thinking, cause my idea is this: The damn Soviets will do whatever they want; whatever they think is good for them

JFK: Right

IKE: And I don’t believe they relate one situation with the other; it’s what they find out they can do here, there, and the other place. And we’re already standing as a unit with NATO that if they go into Berlin, that’s all of it.

JFK: Right

IKE: That means they have to look out that they don’t get a terrific blow themselves.

JFK: Right, right.

IKE: And I don’t… I could be all wrong. But my conviction is that you will not find a great deal of relationship with it.

JFK: Well let me ask you

IKE: They’ll try to make it that way

JFK: Yea

IKE: General, what about if the Soviet Union; Khrushchev announces tomorrow, and I think he will, that we attack Cuba it’s going to be nuclear war, ah, and ah, what’s your judgment that ah they will fire these things off if we invade Cuba?

IKE: Oh ah, I don’t think that they will

JFK: You don’t think that they will?

IKE: No

JFK: I other words, you would ah take that risk if the situation seems desirable.

IKE: Well, as a matter of fact, what can you do? You, ah, if this thing is such a serious thing ah here on our flank, that ah we’re going to be uneasy; and we know what seems happening now; alright, you’ve got to use something. Something MAY make these people shoot em’ off; I just don’t believe that’s so

JFK: yea right (chuckle).

IKE: In any event, of course I’ll say this: I would want to keep my own people very alert (chuckle)

JFK: Yea (chuckle) well, hang on tight.

IKE: Yes sir

JFK: Thanks a lot General.

How Many Terrorist Leaders Has President Obama Killed?

 

By Andre Michael Eggelletion

With the killing of Muammar Qaddafi in Libya today, can the GOP continue to say that President Obama is soft on terrorism? I fear that they probably will, and never give this president any credit for anything. Nonetheless, here is a list of some of the terrorist leaders that have threatened America’s security who have been dispatched during President Obama’s first term of office.

 

 

      1. Muammar Qaddafi in Libya today

2. Osama bin Laden, killed in May 2011. 

3. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) leader Anwar al-Awlaki.

4. Al Qaeda’s chief of Pakistan operations, Abu Hafs al-Shahri, was killed in Waziristan, Pakistan.

5. In August, ‘Atiyah ‘Abd al-Rahman, the deputy leader of al Qaeda was killed.

6. In June, one of al Qaeda’s most dangerous commanders, Ilyas Kashmiri, was killed in Pakistan.

7. In Yemen that same month, three AQAP senior operatives Ammar al-Wa’ili, Abu Ali al-Harithi, and Ali Saleh Farhan were killed.

8. In Somalia, Al-Qa’ida in East Africa (AQEA) senior leader Harun Fazul was killed.

9. Administration officials also herald the recent U.S./Pakistani joint arrest of Younis al-Mauritani in Quetta.

10. Going back to August 2009, Tehrik e-Taliban Pakistan leader Baitullah Mahsud was killed in Pakistan.

11. In September 2009, Jemayah Islamiya operational planner Noordin Muhammad Top was killed in Indonesia

12. In September 2009 AQEA planner Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan was killed in Somalia.

13. In December 2009 in Pakistan, al Qaeda operational commanders Saleh al-Somali and ‘Abdallah Sa’id were killed.

14. In February 2010, in Pakistan, Taliban deputy and military commander Abdul Ghani Beradar was captured;

15. In February 2010, Haqqani network commander Muhammad Haqqani was killed

16. In February 2010, Lashkar-e Jhangvi leader Qari Zafar was killed.

17. In March 2010, al Qaeda operative Hussein al-Yemeni was killed in Pakistan

18. In March 2010, senior Jemayah Islamiya operative Dulmatin - accused of being the mastermind behind the 2002 Bali bombings – was killed during a raid in Indonesia.

19. In April 2010, al Qaeda in Iraq leaders Abu Ayyub al-Masri and Abu Omar al-Baghdadi were killed.

20. In May, al Qaeda’s number three commander, Sheik Saeed al-Masri was killed.

21. In June 2010 in Pakistan, al Qaeda commander Hamza al-Jawfi was killed.

The GOP can continue to try to fool the American people about President Obama’s ability to advance America’s national security interests all they want. Nonetheless, the truth speaks louder than their lies.

Qaddafi is dead, what now for Libya’s oil?

By Andre Michael Eggelletion

 

Now that Col. Muammar Qaddafi, is dead, how will Libya’s oil policy change? Indeed, preparations have been underway for months in Washington that will guide post-Qaddafi US/Libya relations during Libya’s political transition.

What will happen to US oil sanctions?

On February 25, 2011, persons and groups in the United States were blocked from petroleum transactions with the Qaddafi regime by President Obama's broad sanctions order "Blocking Property and Prohibiting Certain Transactions Related to Libya," E.O. 13566. By April 26, 2011, anticipating permanence in Qaddafi’s departure, the U.S. Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced how persons and groups in the United States would eventually license petroleum transactions.

What companies may be engaged?

These new licenses would only be granted for transactions with companies operating under the auspices of the anti-Gaddafi interim governing group in eastern Libya; the Transitional National Council of Libya (TNC). Those companies are: Qatar Petroleum, Arab Gulf Oil Company (AGOCO), or the Vitol group of companies related to oil, gas, or petroleum products exported from Libya under the auspices of the (TNC). None of the pro-Qaddafi groups, companies, or governmental components in Libya can receive any benefit from transactions licensed by (OFAC).

Link to OFAC official post-Qaddafi policy statement:

Also on April 26th, OFAC issued a Statement of Licensing Policy establishing a favorable regime through which U.S. persons can request authorization, on a case-by-case basis, to engage in the following dealings:

1)     The purchase from the TNC, the exportation from Libya, and/or the importation into the United States of oil, gas, and petroleum products produced in areas of Libya under the control of the TNC

 

2)     The trading, importation, and exportation of, and other dealing in or related to, oil, gas, and petroleum products produced in areas of Libya under the control of the TNC

 

3)     All transactions, including but not limited to investment, involving the production and transport of oil, gas, and petroleum products produced in areas of Libya under the control of the TNC

All licenses are subject to the provision that the Government of Libya, its agencies, instrumentalities, and controlled entities – with the exception of entities operating in areas controlled by the TNC and under the auspices of the TNC – do not receive any benefit from such activities or transactions.

Pakistan Condemns Bin Laden Killing, Threatens Sanctions

Pakistan has delivered a condemning response against Washington for the killing of Osama bin Laden during a raid on a Pakistani compound. On Saturday, May 14, 2011, Pakistan's parliament threatened to cut off access to a facility used by NATO forces to ferry troops into Afghanistan, and called for a review of its working agreement with the United States. In addition, they called for an independent investigation into the killing, and an immediate end of drone attacks along its border region by the United States.

America’s commitment to help Pakistan
Meanwhile, wide-spread questions about Pakistan’s loyalty as a U.S. ally in the fight against al-Qaeda are growing in the United States. Over the last 10 years the taxpayers of the United States have given $14 billion in aid to Pakistan. This money has been designated for economic as well as military assistance. Yet questions abound on both sides concerning U.S./Pakistani relations.

Pakistan has downplayed U.S. assistance
In the face of the generosity of the American people, Pakistani officials have downplayed the assistance. On February 11, 2008, speaking at an economic performance review seminar in Pakistan, Special Secretary to Finance Dr. Ashfaq Ahmad Khan called any belief that the US provided $10 billion assistance to Pakistan after 9/11 a “myth” which has nothing to do with reality.

Clearly additional financial oversight controls are needed with the Pakistanis. Likewise, with Osama bin Laden being able to hide so close to the Pakistani capital and military facilities, Pakistan’s performance as an effective ally against al-Qaeda is highly questionable as well. The American people are finally and rightly questioning Pakistan about this conspicuous lack of substantive results in all areas of our costly engagement with them. We want to know, after all the money we have given the Pakistani’s, why they have not delivered on their end of the deal to root al-Qaeda from out of their borders.
The track record in this area is long with Pakistan. In 2003 when President Pervez Musharraf met President George W Bush at the Camp David, the US had agreed to offer an assistance of $3 billion over a period of five years by providing $600 million a year. Of that sum, $300 million was for military purposes and $300 million as economic assistance. Musharraf claimed the bulk amount of the economic assistance was being spent by the USAID in which Pakistan government had no control.

Where our money is spent in Pakistan
Given the lack of accounting of American taxpayer funds given to Pakistan, I hope Secretary Kahn wasn’t insinuating that USAID should not be the administrator of the economic assistance. The American people have generously helped his country, and deserve to know how our money is being spent. To name a few of the ways the money has helped Pakistan: USAID administrated funds have greatly improved electricity, created jobs and increased income in rural Pakistani communities, provided wide-ranging assistance to flood victims, and dramatically improved schools in tribal areas.

We have done our part to help them in spite of Pakistan’s incompetence with Osama bin Laden. On March 27, 2009, in remarks by President Obama on a new strategy for Pakistan and Afghanistan, a serious commitment toward non-military counter-terrorism approach was articulated. The president pushed for the United States to provide “$1.5 billion in direct support to the Pakistani people every year over the next five years — resources that will build schools and roads and hospitals, and strengthen Pakistan's democracy.” President Obama when on to say “I'm also calling on Congress to pass a bipartisan bill co-sponsored by Maria Cantwell, Chris Van Hollen and Peter Hoekstra that creates opportunity zones in the border regions to develop the economy and bring hope to places plagued with violence.”

Warning to the Pakistani government from the American people
Pakistan should be careful in its threats of sanctions against the United States. I for one am growing weary with Pakistan. I understand how important a stable Pakistan is to the interests of the United States and world peace, nonetheless, it’s time for Pakistan to be held accountable for the billions in assistance from the United States. There are many in this country who would readily accept a strategic shift from engagement toward confrontation with the Pakistani government if Pakistan follows through with its threats of sanctions against NATO. Osama bin Laden, a ruthless murderer of innocent people, hid in Pakistan for years while President Bush laid back tried to let you find him. Bush even went as far as to dismantle President Clinton’s covert CIA unit tasked with finding bin Laden in 2005. The Pakistani government failed to achieve that goal, and now must be on notice: The United States will protect its interests unilaterally if necessary. Keep in mind: in my book “Where the Right Went Wrong on National Security (and the Left too),” I became one of my countries benevolent critics of the destabilizing effect of its use of arbitrary power in the past. But bringing bin Laden to justice unilaterally wasn’t arbitrary, as former President Bush told President Obama, and the American people agree… it was a good call.

After the Revolutions: What now for the Middle East?

 

By Andre Michael Eggelletion

What will result from the current revolutions sweeping the Middle East? Will democracy flourish, as all free people hope, or will democracy’s aspirants merely see one form of tyranny supplanted by another? Will the people of the Middle East chose to be led by extreme, moderate or no Islamist influences at all? These are questions that the world can only stand by and wait for answers.

One thing that seems certain for sure is that the Middle East is fast being transformed from within. It was the Tunisian people who overthrew their autocratic ruler Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali after 23 years in power. Days later these influences inspired massive protests in Cairo, resulting in the end of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s 30 years rule. No one knows what kind of government will emerge in these countries, but one thing is clear: the people are bringing about historic changes in their governments. The question is what challenges will these changes bring for America? 

Will it work? 

I think we should not fail to understand that you can’t assume newly formed democratic governments will always work. Democratic governance has only had a relative wide-spread existence in the world for less than a century. The sober fact is that historically, democratic regimes have not always been feasible or successful. Certain pre-requisites must be in place for new democracies to overcome problems with majority rule, otherwise, the rank and file becomes easily disillusioned. All they can inductively conclude is that their experiment in democracy has spawned indecisiveness in their government and failed to alleviate poverty. When the pre-requisites for democracy’s success are absent, in the end, the people may turn back to autocracy. As Pakistani author Ali Ashraf Khan said in his article entitled “Why Democracy Failed in Pakistan,” “Democracy is government of the people, for the people and by the people at the same time it should also have confidence of the people and then and only then democracy can thrive. Pakistan never had any democratic blood in its veins.”

Democratic pre-requisites

Meaningful participatory democracy requires approximate equality in wealth, income, and property ownership, since large class and socioeconomic disparities undercut the ability of citizens to act as equals and confer disproportionate political, policy, and cultural influence on those with superior resources. Secondly, a sense of community between individuals must exist. There must be a sense that each individual's well-being is positively connected to the common good. Finally, there must be an effective system of communications that accurately informs and engages the citizenry, encouraging their intelligent participation in political life.

As protests continue to spread into Iran, Yemen, Bahrain, Jordan, Syria, and Algeria, some of the things pro-democracy people should be aware of are the things that poison democracy, such as: political corruption; excessive sovereign debt service; lack of natural resources; lack of a viable trade regime; lack of transportation and communication infrastructure; inadequate health care system; lack of domestic security and a globally respected judicial system; and an inadequate education system. Unfortunately, in the Middle East, these problems have become chronic and persistent. In part, it is our foreign policy that has allowed these impediments to democracy to become so common place in the Middle East and the rest of the developing world. Sustainable democracies demand an alternative to engaging despotic regimes if they accommodate the strategic interests of the U.S. national security state apparatus and/or corporate West, and confronting anyone that does not. The autocrats running these countries cannot be allowed to continue to bleed their people dry as their resources are privatized, markets are liberalized, and draconian austerity is imposed. In short, if democracy does not bring about an improvement in the lives of the masses, to them democracy is a failure.

In the final analysis, all we can do is hope that whatever governments emerge from the current revolution in the Middle East, are friendly to U.S. interests. Let’s hope they truly share an interest in freedom, mutual respect, and international cooperation. Let’s do all we can to help these struggling masses yearning for prosperity to succeed, and not consign them to debt slavery. Not to do so would raise the likelihood of a return to autocracy and breed a new generation of anti-Western ideologues praying for our demise.

Saudi King Warns Obama to Back off of Mubarak

 

By Andre Michael Eggelletion

King Abdullah has warned President Obama in a heated phone call on January 29th not to humiliate Mr Mubarak. King Abdullah also threatened to step in with funding for Egypt if the US withdrew its $US1.5 billion in aid. Mubarak and King Abdullah are not just allies, they are close friends, and the king is not about to see his friend cast aside and humiliated. King Abdullah told President Obama that Mubarak should be allowed to stay on to oversee the transition towards democracy and then to leave with dignity.

The Saudi Royals are not our friends

The revelation of this conversation exposes how easily U.S. foreign policy can be neutered in today’s geo-political environment. Knowing a thing or two about the Saudi Royal family’s attitude toward the United States, King Abdullah’s remarks also anger the hell out of me. The U.S./Saudi relationship has had its ups and downs, but it has been mostly down for the United States. Bush held hands and danced with Saudi Princes like a high school girl at her first prom dance, and Obama was ripped to shreds for bowing to the Saudi King. Indeed, every U.S. president since 1945 has treated Saudi Arabia as a key ally of the United States in the Middle East, but the latest remarks to my president by the Saudi King makes me ask why? King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia knows full well that without U.S. protection and support, their despotic regime would fall to their enemies. Only the U.S. can protect their strategic interests as Operation Desert Storm revealed. But what thanks has America gotten from Saudi Arabia?

The Saudis support terrorism

They support the most extreme brand of Islam, and have funded acts of terrorism against the interests of the U.S. and our allies all over the world. They have used their dominance of the world's largest oil reserve to enrich themselves without regard for economic stability in or outside their royal family. The Saudis bear a heavy responsibility for the attacks September 11, 2001 that killed thousands of innocent Americans ON U.S. SOIL. Fifteen of the 19 terrorists that attacked the U.S. on 9/11 were Saudis. The Saudis helped finance "foreign fighter’s" suicide bombings in Iraq. The Saudis also covered up Al Qaeda's involvement in the 1996 bombings of the Khobar Towers, wherein more U.S. troops were killed on their soil than any skirmish in the peninsula’s history. Instead of helping the U.S. to bring Al Qaeda to justice for this barbaric and cowardly act, the Saudis swore that Iran was responsible. Never mind the fact that all the evidence pointed to Saudi born and bred al-Qaeda as being responsible. Much of the most incriminating evidence at the crime scene was destroyed by the Saudis before our FBI agents arrived to sift for clues and begin the investigation of who was responsible. U.S. intelligence then intercepted communications from the highest levels of the Saudi government to provincial governors instructing them to only go through the motions of cooperating with US officials. In reality, the Saudis obstructed all US investigations of the bombing, and lied to the Washington about who was truly responsible. They did everything in their power to protect the real culprit, Osama bin Laden.

With friends like the Saudis who needs enemies? The Saudi Royals have American and Israeli blood on their hands. We have saved their hides time and time again. We have made them rich by way of the deal President Roosevelt cut King Abdul Aziz bin Saud aboard the USS Quincy on the Nile in February 1945 making them the world’s leading supplier of oil. In exchange for Saudi Arabia’s oil we promised to protect them from their enemies. We saved their asses when Saddam Hussein was breathing down their necks in his invasion of Kuwait in1991. How has the Saudis shown their appreciation to the American people for us spilling our blood and treasure for them? They have conscripted proxies to kill our troops; their radicalized children have killed our citizens, and they’ve financed the killings of our friends. They’ve shown us that they hate us. If King Abdullah said the things he’s is said to have said to President Obama, then he has shown my president that he has very little respect for him, and I for one resent it.

The Saudi regime has a long history of suppression of liberty and women’s rights. They have spread Wahhabi Islam through Sunni fundamentalist terrorist groups that plague Pakistan, Iraq, and Afghanistan among other countries. They still support the Taliban, Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden. The truth of the matter is that the Saudis have been bankrolling Islamic terrorism against the West for years. They have donated large sums of money and arms to bin Laden, al Qaeda, the Taliban and Hamas.

They have stabbed us in the back more times than you can imagine. When OPEC was formed in 1973 the first thing they did was to participate in an oil embargo against the United States, crippling our economy. They are sworn enemies of our allies in Israel. They would be happy if we attacked their Shiite enemies in Iran, even though it would financially destroy our country in the process. That’s why they were so eager thwart the Iranian revolution in 1979 that they quickly and zealously worked with the Reagan administration to support Iraq in its war against Iran in 1980. In return for Reagan’s help against Iran, they helped fund the American-backed Contra rebels against the Sandinista government in Nicaragua. Then before the ouster of Saddam Hussein, they along with Saddam Hussein, paid the families of Palestinian suicide bombers for killing Jews.

In my final analysis

After hearing that King Abdullah talked to my president in such a disrespectful way, I hope that the American people will understand that the Saudi Royals are NOT our friends and they have never been our friends. Hopefully the American people will learn that fact before it’s too late. The attacks of September 11, 2001 should have been a wake-up call for America, but obviously it wasn’t. The sad truth of the matter is that we have no choice but to continue supporting and protecting Saudi Arabia because the day we stop, the Russians and/or the Chinese would take our place. The nation that controls the resources of the Persian Gulf region (the oil) has primary control over the rate, pace, and sequence of global industrial development. At the least, the East would most certainly use control of these resources for foreign policy leverage against us. Worst case scenario, they would use their control of the oil of the Middle East as an economic weapon against us. The only choice America has outside of continuing to support these bastards is to bomb the hell out of them and take their oil. And the way they’ve acted… 

Who is the Muslim Brotherhood and their role after Mubarak

 

By Andre Michael Eggelletion

After the reign of Egyptian President Mubarak finally ends, how much influence will the Muslim Brotherhood have in Egypt? This is a question being pondered by Washington and leaders in the international community. The American people should be aware of what the Muslim Brotherhood is and how much influence they already have in Egypt and the region.

Questions about the Muslim Brotherhood

By sheer size, popularity, and current political acumen, the Muslim Brotherhood is beyond doubt the most powerful opposition force in Egypt. Most thinkers on the subject see a high probability of the Muslim Brotherhood having increased its sway considerably in the emergence of any successor government in Egypt. The questions about this projected ascendancy to power are many: What will be the result of the Muslim Brotherhood’s influence Egypt’s eventual new government? Can they be successful in advancing the country toward the rule of sharia law? Will they push a toxic anti-American/Israel doctrine? How will the citizens of Egypt react to increased influence from the Brotherhood? Will they remain committed to a non-violent evolution into a more democratic form of government? These are a few questions the American people and world leaders had better try to accurately forecast. Hopefully when concrete answers emerge they will confirm continued progress toward stability, respectability, and democracy in Egypt.

Historical agenda of the Muslim Brotherhood

The Muslim Brotherhood is the oldest Islamist organization in Egypt. It was started by Hasan al-Banna in 1928, and piously began advancing the religion of Islam. It also has used its strong theological beliefs for building opposition against imperialism and Zionism. Gradually the theosophy of the Muslim Brotherhood gave way to a more theocratic approach. In other words, over time, their focus morphed from purely a religious one to a more religious/political one. Nonetheless, the Brotherhood’s influence has remained largely intact.

Outside resistance to Muslim Brotherhood influence in Egypt

As the Brotherhood has evolved, both internal and external schisms and divisions have developed along the way. One notable example of external resistance to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt occurred in 1954 when they tried to assassinate Egypt’s second President, Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser for opposing the Muslim Brotherhood's call for sharia rule. Nasser incarcerated and exiled thousands of the Muslim Brotherhood's members and forced the remnants into hiding.

Reformation within the Brotherhood

The Brotherhood then nearly split apart, with some choosing jihad against the Arab Republic of Egypt, while others wanted to move toward diplomacy. The more radical reformists within the Brotherhood began a failed push for more political unilateralism out of frustration with the old guard’s lack of transparency and feared collusion with corrupt government power brokers from either party. A break finally came for the Brotherhood in 1972 when they gained engagement from President Anwar el-Sadat. The Brotherhood then renounced all domestic violence.

Nonetheless, their brutal suppression by Nasser in 1954, taught the Brotherhood that they had to find a place within the system to be successful as they continued their internal reforms. Through these hard fought internal reforms, the Brotherhood finally gained enough broad legitimacy to start winning elected positions in Egypt during the 1980’s.  

By 2004 the less-radical reformists began to broaden their coalition by adopting a more political pluralistic approach. They moved to the political center and launched the “Movement for Change.” They became less focused on radical parochialism and began working with with secular democracy activists on a new civic charter and a new constitution. This was an attempt to lay the groundwork for a position in a post-Mubarak government. It is this coalition that began in 2004 that has united in the Egyptian people in Tahrir Square in opposition against the Mubarak regime. It is this movement, along with other opposition groups, that now backs former IAEA chief Mohammad El Baradei in his aspirations to lead the post-Mubarak Egypt.

Will the Brotherhood lead a post-Mubarak Egypt?

In the final analysis, the Brotherhood will likely have significant influence in an El Baradei government or a government led by the current Vice President Omar Suleiman. They have always dealt with turmoil and reformation from within. Ideological vs. pragmatic conservatives have fought for a more para-governmental vs. a more diplomatic approach, respectively. Then there are the secular reformist Brotherhood elements that are very quietly supporting El Baradei.

Though the last 30 years have been stormy, the New Muslim Brotherhood has profoundly broadened its political and social reach. Its leaders are now skilled political scientists. They have learned to diplomatically conscript effective activism, and have gained credibility among non-radicalized Islamist journalists and politicians. They have become more introspective and more open to policy debates from the outside, and are emerging as a more diverse political force in Egyptian affairs. Whether Washington likes it or not the Muslim Brotherhood has been able to extend its tentacles into the core of the Mubarak opposition, and will certainly carry heavy influence in post-Mubarak Egyptian politics.  

Neither Washington, nor the incoming Egyptian governments have a choice

What is unclear is whether or not the Brotherhood will continue to wield its influence pragmatically, and with self-restraint in the new government, or chose radicalism. I believe Washington will continue to engage the new Egyptian government, albeit to a less degree than the Mubarak regime because of the increased influence of the Brotherhood. The U.S. will do so because we have no other choice if we desire to continue our current counter terrorism successes. I also believe the new Egyptian president, no matter who it is, will support current freedoms that now exist under Egyptian law. He will because he has no other choice if he wants to avoid further civilian uprisings. In the area of foreign policy, the Brotherhood will continue its rhetoric against the manipulating American and Israeli influence in Egyptian affairs. They may even try to revise the terms of Sadat’s accord with Israel and the West. But any rhetoric coming forth from a Muslim Brotherhood influenced Egypt will be just that; rhetoric. Why? The new Egyptian government, like the old, does not want to risk losing the billions of dollars in aid coming from the United States.

What the opposition says about the Muslim Brotherhood

Opponents of the Muslim Brotherhood often point to acts of violence in the past. In the book, “The Society of the Muslim Brothers in Egypt: The rise of an Islamic Mass Movement 1928-1942” author Brynjar Lia does confirm the use of bombings by the Muslim Brotherhood to end British colonial rule. There was also the more radical Palestinian wing of the Muslim Brotherhood’s role that created Hamas in 1987, at the beginning of the First Intifada, an uprising against Israeli rule in the Palestinian Territories that featured little deadly violence. Other than these acts, the Muslim Brotherhood has been largely underground since Great Brittan’s ouster in 1952. They remained largely unseen from that time until its slow metamorphosis started in 1984 into what it is today.

Like them or not, you can’t stop them

For Americans and Israelis, the elevated position of the Muslim Brotherhood may likely make Egypt appear less cooperative than it was under Mubarak. But the United States really shouldn’t worry too much. Since winning their first elections in 1984, the Muslim Brotherhood has demonstrated moderately responsible behavior at home. With a track record of 27 years of mostly responsible behavior, and the current weight of thousands of protestors in Tahrir Square behind them, I don’t see how Washington can trivialize or confront the Muslim Brotherhood’s influence in Egypt. Whether Washington wants it or not, they will be heard in the post-Mubarak era. If you support transparent democracy, then you simply cannot deny them. Just as the people in Palestine chose Hamas in elections during the Bush years in office, no matter what the Egyptians chose, the Brotherhood will be heard from; more under El Baradei and less under Suleiman. Whether or not Washington can sell this inevitability to the American people is the only question left.

CIA in Egypt: How Egypt helped Washington and did Mubarak release prisoners on protestors?

 

By Andre Michael Eggelletion

  Why Suleiman as VP

Beginning in 1993, the newly named Vice-President of Egypt, Omar Suleiman has headed one of America’s most indispensible intelligence assets; the Egyptian general intelligence service. Perhaps this is why Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak name Omar Suleiman as the new Egyptian Vice-President; he wants to assure and remind Washington that he can remain a viable asset in U.S. counter-terrorism efforts.

The new VP Suleiman once helped the CIA in arresting and interrogating terror suspects. He was the C.I.A.’s point man in Egypt for renditions; the covert program in which the C.I.A. captured bad guys all over the world and sent them to Egypt and elsewhere for interrogation. In Stephen Grey’s book, “Ghost Plane,” beginning in the 1990’s, Suleiman negotiated directly with top Agency officials. Every rendition was green-lighted at the highest levels of both the U.S. and Egyptian intelligence agencies. Grey also tells us that Edward S. Walker, Jr., a former U.S. Ambassador to Egypt, described Omar Suleiman as “very bright, very realistic,” adding that he was cognizant that there was a downside to “some of the negative things that the Egyptians engaged in, of torture and so on. But he was not squeamish, by the way.” This view of Suleiman’s approach in intelligence gathering was also confirmed in documents released by WikiLeaks, indicating that the United States has been complicit in the Egyptian general intelligence service’s use of torture and even murder under Suleiman.

How did previous administrations try to absolve themselves from the illegal practice of torture?

In her book, the Dark Side, Jane Mayer of the New Yorker describes how under U.S. law, the C.I.A. is required to seek “assurances” from Egypt that rendered suspects wouldn’t face torture. But under Suleiman’s reign at the intelligence service, such assurances were considered close to worthless.

Michael Scheuer, a former C.I.A. officer who helped set up the practice of rendition, later testified before Congress, that the required “assurances” were ever received. He also testified that the way prisoners were treated was not “up to U.S. standards.” However, he also stated that “This is a matter of no concern as the Rendition Program’s goal was to protect America, and the rendered fighters delivered to Middle Eastern governments are now either dead or in places from which they cannot harm America. Mission accomplished, as the saying goes.”

Did Mubarak release Egypt’s prisoners on protestors?

Some protesters believe that Mubarak intentionally released as many as 10,000 prisoners and “thugs” in order to terrorize the neighborhoods so that residents would demand the President to restore order. According to sources in Jakarta, Thousands of convicts broke out of the Wadi Natrun prison north of Cairo overnight after they overwhelmed guards. Eight inmates died in the mass escape. Prisoners also fled several other prisons across Egypt. These facilities held many of the Islamist political prisoners and suspected terrorists brought back to Egypt under the C.I.A. program of “Extraordinary Rendition” and tortured by the Egypgtian General Intelligence service.

I am aware that in celebration of the 1952 revolution, President Mubarak did order the release of 3525 prisoners during July of 2010. But if Mubarak ordered the release of inmates from these prisons into nearby towns, villages, and Cairo’s Tahrir Square during this most recent uprising, he was willing to risk a lot.

By intentionally releasing these inmates Mubarak would have been willing to expose U.S. and Egyptian intelligence assets in the field who helped to set up terrorists for arrest. It would compromise America’s most costly intelligence apparatus since Operation Paperclip at the end of World War II.

Why would President Mubarak risk having the Obama administration extinguish the billions of dollars in military aid to his country, and perhaps his own life, by such a frantic and insane betrayal? President Mubarak is considered a smart man among world leaders. Hopefully he’s smart enough to know his number is up, and he has to step down. Hopefully, for his sake, he’s wasn’t stupid enough to believe he could force the hand of President Obama, and the international community, into resurrecting his presidency from the dead with such a reckless stunt.

Finally, let me repeat again: By naming Omar Suleiman as the new Egyptian Vice-President, Mubarak is signaling a reminder to Washington that he wants to keep its secrets, and remain an indispensible asset, not a liability.





  

Uprisings in the Middle East: The unintended consequences of modern monetary policy

 

By Andre Michael Eggelletion

The real problem

How will the leaders of the world react to the protests in Tunisia, Yemen, Egypt, and now Jordan? For well or ill, these uprisings tell us that we could be witnessing a great change taking place throughout the Middle East. But what force is responsible for the cries for a new order in the Middle East? Unlike the Balfour Declaration, Sykes/Picot Agreement, Treaty of Sèvres, or other European mandates to carve up the Middle East, this transmutation within the region is not being “directly” imposed by foreign powers. This time it is the oppressed masses of the Arab world, reacting to economic asphyxiation, that are demanding change. However, though it may be a rhetorical question in the United States, clarity is still needed on whether or not anti-Americanism is driving these protests, or the denied share of globalism’s prosperity that is the root cause of the ruckus.

The role of monetary policy in this crisis

One central aspect of these uprisings, which is largely unreported by news agencies all over the world, is the role of monetary policy in the deterioration of these societies. Much of the problem is rooted in inflation of food prices due to unprecedented levels of liquidity pumped into the world’s economy by central bankers. The problems associated with adding trillions of dollars into circulation have already reached a tipping point in the Middle East. The truth of the matter is that revolutions in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East will not solve their problems. Democracy alone is not the solution. Many countries have democracy, and all of them have very poor people. The root cause of the poverty is the systematic erosion of the purchasing power of the people. These kinds of revolts are only a blind reactionary response to the undertow of inflationary monetary policy. The truth is that the poverty that so notably exists in these countries is caused by the prolonged loose monetary policy of the world’s privately owned central banks. The Nobel Laureate in economics, Milton Friedman, said “One unsolved economic problem of the day is how to get rid of the Federal Reserve”.

Misdirected focus on authoritarianism

Despots only throw gasoline on the fire by resorting to overt authoritarianism when trying to cling to power against the will of their people. But like their oppressed people, despotic leaders most often chose this kind of reactionary response. Sadly, it is this symptom that the media focuses on, and not the central problem. As a consequence, we are witnessing simultaneous domestic grass roots movements, spontaneously challenging authoritarian regimes all over the Middle East. On January 15, 2011 Tunisian President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali fled into ignominious exile. On January 25, 2011, mass protests in Cairo, Egypt erupted, demanding President Hosni Mubarak step down and leave the country. On February 1, 2011, encouraged over popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, mass demonstrations were launched in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, urging President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down. There are two main questions world leaders on all sides had better seriously consider: First, how contagious is this desire to bring an end to decades-long authoritarian regimes in the region? Secondly, how long will it take until the hyper-inflation at the root of their problems spreads to us?

How Iran is misreading the crisis

Pro-democracy elements around the world are hoping for Iran to be next. But the Iranians are signaling that they believe this situation as vastly different from their own, and these types of protests are not likely to spill over into a renewed push for democratic reform in Iran. Publically, Iran's leaders, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, are far from running scared. Iran’s assessment of these uprisings describes a 1979-style rejection of U.S. supported secularist leaders. Tehran hopes to propagandize its people into seeing these uprisings as an expression of the people's will for an Islamic order. Iranian leaders, and the state-owned press in Iran, are promoting the far-fetched claim that Iran's 2009 post-election violence represented a purely Western-oriented conspiracy. They insist that the demonstrations in the streets of Tehran in the aftermath of their botched election in 2009 were the result of an American plot. They further insist that such Western meddling is what actually emboldened Tunisians to seize their own independence. In short the people of the Middle East are rising up against American-endorsed autocracies throughout the region.

I think the Iranian leaders are making a monumental blunder by pandering to the upper echelons of its own ranks. This only amounts to political masturbation. However, I will admit that those governments that have aligned themselves closely with Washington have become nervous about protesters emulating the actions of those in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, and Jordan. I will also venture as far to say that these protests are contagious, and will spread. But Tehran is mistaken if it really believes that anti-Americanism alone is the major instigating element. In fact, anti-Americanism has very little to do with it. The main problem is the unrelenting oppression and circumscription of globalism’s rising tide of prosperity lifting all boats… except theirs.

Washington’s dilemma

Meanwhile, Washington finds itself in a tenuous position, brought on in no small part by its long-standing support of dictatorial regimes in the Middle East, and the rest of the developing world. The White House has no “official” choice but to stand-by and be hopeful that these anti-authoritarian uprisings will lead to a pro-American outcome. “Unofficially,” however, Washington must work to ensure its desired outcome the only way it can; through dark diplomatic measures designed to obscure any public perception of imperial action. Nonetheless, if central banks cannot stop flooding the world with liquidity, driving up the price of food, the problem will persist even after regime change.

The only solution

In the final analysis, Iran can choose to continue practicing political masturbation, and the regions other troubled leaders can continue to lie to themselves as well, and nothing will change. Likewise, the people of the troubled regions can continue their revolts, and nothing will change. The only thing that can bring about a sustainable solution to the plight of the disenfranchised masses in these countries is a resolution to global economic imbalances. Meaningful economic development must take the place of funding the coffers of despots willing to accommodate the interests of powerful outside interests. Central bankers must begin to tap the brakes on the historic amount of liquidity they inject into the global financial system. The policies of privatization, trade and capital market liberalization, and draconian austerity have not and will not work. Likewise, the U.S. has been happy to ignore the abuses Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, as long as he kept the Suez Canal in Western control. The same kinds of agreements have characterized American and European relationships with a long list of brutal dictators. This must change. And that change must become a central pillar of our globally coordinated counter-terrorism efforts.

Again, how will the world’s leaders react to the instability of the Middle East? The answer depends on whether or not they have the will to face reality of the unsustainability of the current system

Baby Doc Arrested in Haiti, What now?

 

By Andre Michael Eggelletion

Former Haitian dictator, Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier, was taken into custody today after a surprise return to Haiti Sunday night from his 25 year-long exile in France. Duvalier was overthrown in a popular uprising in 1986. Why he returned is unknown at this point, but his arrest does demonstrate that the Haitian government is trying to establish order.

Political conditions in Haiti

Baby Doc’s return came at a time when the political system in Haiti is in chaos as a result of its recent unsettling presidential election. The Organization of American States has noted widespread irregularities and fraud in the electoral process. Now, the country is dealing with a delayed runoff election, wherein no one knows who the candidates are. The current President Rene Preval has been harshly criticized for his handling of the earthquake. Nonetheless, because of the flawed election, and the need to demonstrate stability to donor nations, the Haitian Parliament had to approve an extension of Preval’s term, which ends February 7th, until May.

The economic challenges for Haiti

Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere, and now stands on the verge of complete economic, as well as political and social collapse. With civil unrest on the rise, Haiti’s political instability continues to stifle growth. Baby Doc’s arrest should help assuage donor’s concern. Order must be restored very soon or badly needed investment and aid from the rest of the world will continue to be restricted.

The most immediate need is continued humanitarian relief to feed and shelter Haitians still struggling in the aftermath of the earthquake and weather related catastrophes. Jobs, investment, and industrial and agricultural infrastructure are needed to mount long term stability.

Haiti remains isolated from the prosperity boom brought forth through globalism in developing nations. Companies based in east and central Asia have been the primary beneficiaries of globalism. Some businesses in those areas of the world would love to take advantage of the attractive Haitian labor market, but are reluctant to do so because of the instability. As a result, critically needed market based foreign capital inflows now hang in the balance, as well as $10 billion in aid pledges from rich countries.

Was Baby Doc trying to return to power?

On Sunday at the airport in Port-Au-Prince, Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier told local reporters, and the remnant of his old political support, that he came to “help” his country. Duvalier is said to have wanted to run for the presidency four years ago, but Preval threatened to arrest him and make him face charges and trial if he came back.

The Chairman of the Council of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Monday criticized the return of Baby Doc to Haiti, saying that his return could further inflame the already shaky political situation in the French Speaking CARICOM country.

The history of Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier’s rule in Haiti

During Baby Doc’s rule, political opposition was not tolerated and the legislative process was a rubber stamp. He used most of the proceeds from the country’s tobacco, and other resources, as his own personal private slush fund. Human rights abuses under Baby Doc’s regime, particularly toward his opposition, were incommensurable. Nonetheless, aid from the U.S. was restored to Haiti under the new “Baby Doc” government in 1971 by the Nixon administration. Nixon’s policy toward Haiti remained one of engagement, even as he siphoned hundreds of millions in aid from the United States. By 1980, Baby Doc had siphoned $16 out of $22 billion in IMF structural adjustment loans. Many find it had to believe that Baby Doc kept the entire $16 billion in ill-gotten gains all to himself, and believe some of that money went to others.  

The Chairman of the Council of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Monday criticized the return of Baby Doc to Haiti, saying that his return could further inflame the already shaky political situation in the French Speaking CARICOM country.

In conclusion

Whether or not Duvalier was attempting a return to the Presidency or not is unknown at this time, and after his arrest, is a moot point. I just hope that the Obama administration will have a healthier regard for human rights, as well as democracy for the Haitian people, than previous Republican American presidents have had. Nixon effectually rewarded Baby Doc and excused his thuggish behavior. Ignoring a solution from CARICOM, and cries for help from former Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide, former President George W. Bush refused to support the notion of democracy 600 miles away in Haiti. Instead Bush allowed the democratically elected Aristide to be overthrown in a coup, while at the same, going half-way around the world to impose democracy on the people of Iraq. Only time will tell what will happen this time. In the meantime, we hope for the long-delayed justice for Baby Doc’s victims, and a swift end to the current suffering.