Thursday, December 01, 2011

First results of Egyptian elections: Egyptian military has promised democracy will be limited

There are indications that Islamists have done well in Egypt's first round of elections. Perhaps better than expected.
The party formed by the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s mainstream Islamist group, appeared to have taken about 40 percent of the vote, as expected. But a big surprise was the strong showing of ultraconservative Islamists, called Salafis, many of whom see most popular entertainment as sinful and reject women’s participation in voting or public life.

Analysts in the state-run news media said early returns indicated that Salafi groups could take as much as a quarter of the vote, giving the two groups of Islamists combined control of nearly 65 percent of the parliamentary seats.
Later in the article, the New York Times explains that the Egyptian military dictatorship has given assurances to Westerners that Egypt's voters will not control foreign policy.
The new majority is likely to increase the difficulty of sustaining the United States’ close military and political partnership with post-Mubarak Egypt, though the military has said it plans to maintain a monopoly over many aspects of foreign affairs.
It almost goes without saying that what the New York Times is relieved to report is that for the benefit of Israel, or so that fewer than six million Jewish people can have an enforced political majority state (unlike white South Africans who suffer the indignity of living in a non-white political majority state), more than 80 million people should be denied representative or accountable control over their foreign policy.

Barack Obama lied when he said colonialism is over.
The West was blamed as the source of all ills, a half-century after the end of colonialism.
Many of the states of the Middle East are the exact same states, ruled by the exact same regimes put in place by imperial Great Britain. If colonialism ended in UAE or Jordan, when did that happen? Not only do those regimes not have different relationships with the United States than their acknowledged colonial predecessors had with their global empire, but no event has marked their freedom or independence from imperial control.

Obama is not mistaken. He is lying. He knows his control over the policies of the US empire in the Middle East operates exactly the way Winston Churchill's empire controlled largely the same subordinate political bodies.

It may be instructive to take another look at how Egypt was treated as a colonial subordinate around 100 years ago.
When at last the combined forces of the occupying army and the Interior Ministry were able to quell months of strikes and protests, the British were compelled to reconsider their position towards Egypt. The eventual outcome of that process was the unilateral decision in March 1922 to grant Egypt a qualified independence. Although the country would be governed thereafter as a constitutional monarchy, the British retained the right to intervene in any matters seen to affect the security of imperial communications, the interests and safety of foreigners on Egyptian soil, the threat of foreign invasion, or the status of Egypt's relationship with the Sudan.
But beyond the fact that Obama lied about the colonial status of the Middle East, it is important to understand why he lied.

The United States is not a proudly colonialist country, even as much as Great Britain was in 1922. By the United States' professed values, the concerns of fewer six million Jewish people do not outweigh those of more than 80 million Egyptians. The idea that US policy should be shifted to that degree is racist even by the US' own currently claimed moral standards.

The idea that the rights of over 400 million people in Israel's region, including in this example 80 million Egyptians, should be limited to ensure that fewer than six million Jewish people never have to live in a non-Jewish political majority state has survived as long as it has in the United States people like Juan Cole and organizations like the New York Times closing discussion to prevent the issue from being raised.

This is a topic that is not even, according to US values, subject to debate. Is a majority Jewish state worth harming 400 million non-Jews in Israel's region? No. By US claimed values there is no coherent argument that could be made otherwise.

Instead gatekeepers have prevented the question from being asked on any substantial scale. But as the power and effectiveness of these gatekeepers decrease, Israel's viability as an enforced Jewish political majority state decreases with it.


Arnold Evans said...

Here is another comment that may or may not make it past the censor at informed comment:

The New York Times claims to have received assurances from Egypt's military dictatorship that Egypt's voters will not influence areas of foreign policy of concern to Westerners.

The new majority is likely to increase the difficulty of sustaining the United States’ close military and political partnership with post-Mubarak Egypt, though the military has said it plans to maintain a monopoly over many aspects of foreign affairs.

Can anyone doubt that if Egypt's foreign affairs were not held under the control of a pro-US military, that a democratic Egypt that sets its own foreign policy would be treated no differently by the US than Iran is today?

Fundamentally the hostility would not be Egypt's fault, and it is not currently Iran's fault. What we're seeing in Iran is part of the Western effort to ensure that fewer than six million Jewish people have an enforced political majority state insulated from the opposition of more than 400 million non-Jewish people in its region.

If hostility, tension and violence increase over the last half of Obama's term in office, it is important to remember the ultimate cause of it.

Lidia said...

Your post is through. Congrats. Not always it is such.

Vashti the person(?) who is publishing  propaganda against IRI on Cole's blog -a lot of it - got free pass for multiple posts, not very informative, of course. But I suppose they both could be serving the same master :)

Arnold Evans said...

I sent a reply to Vashti.  Maybe Cole will let Vashti see it:


How do you feel about Hamas, Hezbollah and ensuring that Israel's regional monopoly on nuclear weapons extends to legal nuclear capabilities, so that Iran could not even have the capabilities that Japan, Brazil, Germany and many others have?

What proportion of Iranians support the government on these three issues?  Polls in the West show that all of them have 2 to 1 support.

If the polls are right and most Iranians agree with those policies, do you think the United States or UK would be any less hostile against Iran if you were the ruler, if you pursued these seemingly popular policies that the IRI pursues?

The West would be against you just as much as it is against Ahmadinejad if you pursued policies in line with the world views of most Iranians.

The West is the wrong place for you to look for help unless you want to be ruled by the Shah or to be "partly free" so that your vote matters only on issues that the US does not consider important.

This is a point that too few Green Iranians understand.  I'll write another post about it eventually.

Pirouz_2 said...

"This is a point that too few Green Iranians understand.  I'll write another post about it eventually."
If by "Greens" you are referring to their theoreticians then I think they understand your point very well and indeed that is what they want. To many of their theoreticians, the best way to prosperity for Iran is through becoming a colony to USA and being integrated to the globalized economy and the over all circuit of the western capital (much like Turkey or India).
But if by "Greens" you are referring to the people who particiapted in the protests after the elections, then probably you are right about a lot of them (although I do believe that many pro-green protesters just like green theoreticians, believe that Iranians in general will be better off if Iran becomes a colony).

Lidia said...

he let. But of course Vashti is not one to hear your arguments :( Vashti is just like EZ - copy-pasting imperialist  propaganda.

Anyway, your posts on Cole's blog could do some good, or at least get "answered" by JFL, who is sure that "There are all sorts of countries in the region that are “not held under the control of a pro-US military,” but which aren’t subject to economic sanctions like Iran. Algeria comes to mind. Tunisia. Oman. Lebanon." I guess his argument is ' thus Algeria Tunisia and Oman are free from ANY USA control". Not to mention Lebanon who was ONLY bombed by Israel while USA's installed ruler could do nothing against it, and USA rulers just winked to Israel to go on.

Lidia said...

I agree with you, but Greens could not even hope for Turkey-like dependence in Iran. It would be more like Mubarak' s Egypt. After all, Turkey could at least sometimes pretend that it is against Zionist crimes :(

Pirouz_2 said...

I know what you mean and I agree with you. Knowing the language I have had some limited exposure to the ideas of the Green theoreticians and having talked to many people around me (who all belong to my own socio-economic class, ie. middle/upper-middle class) whose vast majority are "Green", I have had some limited exposure to what some pro-Green people think. So my main point was to just give an idea about these people's mentality. While I am in no position to give a "statistic", I think many pro-Greens see nothing wrong with being a US colony. Some of them call that being a US/Israeli ally, and some of them call it out right being "a colony". As for the Green theoreticians: their main objective is to create a US colony out of Iran. They are not shy about it either (although they dont use the word "colony"). For example some of their economists blame most of Iran's problems on Mosaddegh because they claim that by nationalizing Iran's oil industry, he gave the "state" a source of income and made it powerful and this led to "dictatorship". These people believe that democracy can only be achieved through capitalism and "free market" (in fact they believe that democracy is the inevitable result of free market economy) and the only way for Iran to have a more and more capitalist economy is to become a US colony and become integrated with the global economy (and hence their problem with Mosaddegh). They point to countries such as Chile and Turkey and where those countries were in the late 70's and 80s and where they are now, and say that had we not gone down the road of stupid anti-imperialistic adventures, right now we would have been part of the G20 with a thriving "democracy". They have an ultra-right wing economic (and by an inevitable extension political) mentality. It is truly amazing that Mr. Cole can see himself as a person on the "left" and then be so close with the Iranian Greens. The funniest thing is what I heard from you recently: that he has brought some Greens to advise the OWS people! Bringing Greens to advise people in the OWS movement is like bringing Nazies to advise the Cuban guerillas during the Cuban revolution in the 50's!! :)

lysander1 said...

"(although I do believe that many pro-green protesters just like green
theoreticians, believe that Iranians in general will be better off if
Iran becomes a colony)"

I'm no longer sure that belief would be true. I do not think that a return to the Shah would be an option even if the Greens were to come to power and seek it. The US will not allow Iran to be as strong as it was even under the Shah for the following reasons.

1) There is no Soviet Union to worry about. A strong Iran with a powerful military was a needed counterweight back then. Not anymore.

2) Iran is no longer "trustworthy." You have already overthrown the government once. Supposing the US lifts all sanctions on Iran under a neo-Shah and the Iranian economy subsequently grows at an exponential rate and becomes a gigantic source of oil and natural gas with tonnes of foreign investment and trade and academic ties? And then what if another revolution happens and again the government is overthrown and replaced by some sort of nationalist Iranian government?

It is a risk the US will not take. I'm afraid the plan is to keep Iran as weak as possible no matter who is leading it. If they can play ethnic tensions of Persians Vs Azeris Vs Kurd Vs Khusestan Arabs, they would do so in a heartbeat and break up Iran into smaller and more manageable countries.

So I don't think surrender is an option, even if Iran wanted to do it.

Lidia said...

Thank you for info about Greens that I was not aware about (even though it is not really surprising).

Cole is a very curious subject. He wants NATO to bomb some states, but NOT Iran. Why? I suppose he still hopes that Iran could be turned into colony without his Green baddies suffering and even possibly being  killed by NATO bombs. 

"Left" - it is a very ambiguous term,  for ex, there are "left" Zionists, which is not unlike "left" members of UK Raj in India. 

By the way, Cole also argue that torture "is not working". On the other hand, would could he do? To say that USA military use of torture is the inevitable part of any colonial war? Sure he could not admit it. But I guess he is not afraid of sounding ridiculous - he still has enough loyal readers to do his job (and I am not meaning his job as a
, of course)

George Carty said...

Not quite -- although the Nazis and libertarians are both conventionally placed on the right of the political spectrum, they are massively different.

Fascists exact a heavy price (in loss of independence) from the capitalist class, so capitalists will only support them in the face of a very powerful revolutionary socialist threat, out of sheer desperation.

Lidia said...

Capitalists are willing to sell their mother for profit, so fascism is not much different from other kinds of pro-capitalist rule for them. Capitalists are willing to be under any sort of rule (absolute monarchy, military dictator, what not) providing it safeguards their profits well enough. 

There is not any real socialist threat in USA just now, but it is clear that capitalists are happily ditching even the sham of Constitution, because their profits are under threat not from any USA socialists but from world crisis.

Lidia said...

Than Pirouz2 pointed to Pinochet-supporting of the Greens. Not SO different from fascism.

I could add that in Russia exactly so-called "democrats" are no less pro-Pinochet. They just do not see any contradiction here.

In Russia there is a joke now - what does "democracy" means? - The rule of "democrats".

So, if Pinochet is OK for "democrats", his rule is democracy by default :(

George Carty said...

Or maybe Cole just thinks Iran would be too tough a nut to crack.  After all, its regime was not the product of a narrow coup like those of Nasser, Gaddafi or Saddam Hussein, but the product of a genuine popular revolution.

Arnold Evans said...

The point you guys are discussing about some Iranians ultimately wanting Iran to be, in effect whether they say so or not, a US colony is very interesting.  I have to think about my reaction and response to that.  I'll be back on that topic as soon as I can.

George Carty said...

Perhaps the problem with capitalists in Russia is that their knowledge of capitalism came mainly from Communist propaganda, so they behaved as Communist propaganda said capitalists behave. ;)

Lidia said...

While we do have such joke, the reality is exactly opposite - Russian capitalists were fostered by Western "experts" and propagandist telling fairy tales about the magnanimity of capitalism and it's being the best benefactor of humanity. 

Pirouz_2 said...

If you are interested, I may be able to translate some articles or at least some part of articles (and post them here) by some of the green theoreticians about the Arab-Israeli conflict and what they think Iran's position should be in that regard.
Would you be interested?

Arnold Evans said...

Pirouz_2, I really worry that translations of green theories that are, according to every poll I've seen, unpopular and unrepresentative of Iranians, would be as useful or more useful to forces hostile to Iran than to me.

I'd appreciate reading more about them, but I'd hate for this blog to do debka-file or memri's work for them.