Thursday, November 29, 2012

Not rooting for Morsi, but rooting for democracy

To be clear again, I don't think of myself as necessarily a fan of Morsi - even though I am impressed that he is doing a good job preventing the SCAF from delivering the "monopoly over many aspects of foreign affairs" that it was until this summer very confident it could give the US.

I'm a fan of the people of Egypt selecting a leader, and selecting representatives in Parliament and that ruler and those representatives serving until the next election, held when the rules say they will be held, then Egypt's voters can choose again. I'm also a fan of the people the Egyptians select being the actual people who make policy in their country, as opposed to unelected groups carving out monopolies to serve foreign interests.

If we saw that in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain and the other US colonies in the region then Zionism would not be viable, Iran would be maybe the fourth or fifth biggest threat to Israel's security, Israel would probably sue for peace the way the White South Africans did and a tremendous amount of misery in the forms of sanctions, stooge dictatorships, captured political officials, annulments of parliaments, drone strikes, blockades, invasions and imposed civil wars in that region would be averted.

I'm much less concerned with the names of the leaders or their parties. I don't root for any party, I just root for voters to decide and for the elected officials to have true policy making authority while being accountable to their own people.

The United States and the West - because of Zionism - oppose that and alongside that cause almost immeasurable amounts of pain and destruction throughout the region of the Middle East. That's why the United States is a horribly evil country measured on the basis of its own proclaimed values.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Egypt's judiciary admitted it does not want voters to control Egypt's policy

Just as background to the current conflict in Egypt, I want to point to an article that results from statements a high Egyptian judicial official made that were accessed by the New York Times:
Judge Gebali said her own direct contacts with the generals began in May last year, after a demonstration by mostly liberal and secular activists demanding a Constitution or at least a bill of rights before elections. “This changed the vision of the military council,” she said. “It had thought that the only popular power in the street was the Muslim Brotherhood.”

It was also around that time, Judge Gebali said, that she began helping the military-led government draft a set of binding constitutional ground rules. The rules protected civil liberties, she said, but also explicitly granted the military autonomy from any oversight, as well as a permanent power to intervene in politics. “The military council accepted it, and agreed to issue a ‘constitutional declaration’ with it,” she said.

... Egyptian jurists now say that the generals effectively planted a booby trap in the parliamentary elections by leaving them vulnerable to judicial negation at any time — if the generals allowed previous precedents to apply.

... The decision “is in the drawers of the constitutional court, and it could be taken out at any time,” Prime Minister Kamal el-Ganzouri told Parliament’s speaker, Saad el-Katatni of the Muslim Brotherhood, as Mr. Katatni recalled in March from the floor of Parliament.
I also want to make sure readers of this blog understand that the Constitutional Court was prepared to rule on December 2 that the Constituent Assembly should be dissolved because it was emplaced by the Parliament that it dissolved earlier:
The Supreme Constitutional Court set 2 December to issue a ruling on the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly tasked with drafting a new constitution.

Two lawsuits filed against the assembly demanded annulling the law issued on 12 July by the dissolved People's Assembly laying out criteria for the selection of the current Constituent Assembly members.

Deputy head of the Supreme Constitutional Court Maher Samy told MENA that two lawsuits filed against the assembly demand its dissolution for being based on a law issued by the dissolved People's Assembly.

Both lawsuits, according to Samy, contend that the Constituent Assembly constitutes an obstacle to the implementation of the ruling of the Supreme Constitutional Court issued in June annulling the parliamentary elections law and dissolving the People's Assembly.
The crisis in Egypt is caused by a judiciary that openly does not believe Egypt's voters should control Egypt's military and therefore Egypt's foreign policy. Many in the United States, ultimately on Israel's behalf, agree with this counter-democratic idea held by Egyptian court officials, people such as Juan Cole, Jimmy Carter, Barack Obama, Thomas Friedman and the entire mainstream US foreign policy community.

It is easily predictable even if outrageous to see Americans project their own hostility against democracy in Egypt onto Morsi. So far, Morsi is innocent.

I'll also point to a statement of support for Morsi from Egypt's Nour Party:
"The president's decisions did not come out of the blue; it is clear to anyone following recent political events that there have been attempts to lead the country into a state of lawlessness," Nour Party spokesman Nader Bakkar stated.

He pointed in particular to the dissolution this summer of Egypt's democratically elected parliament based on a ruling by Egypt's High Constitutional Court.

The party spokesman asserted that the recent replacement of Prosecutor-General Abdel-Maguid Mahmoud – who, according to Bakkar, "had stood against the revolution" – with Judge Talaat Abdullah, "has given hope to the families of the revolution's martyrs, after everyone had accused the president of not doing enough to attain martyrs' rights."

Bakkar went on to warn against opposition calls to dissolve the Constituent Assembly (tasked with drafting a new constitution) and Shura Council (the upper, consultative house of parliament) and for President Morsi to step down.

"How can we allow a handful of individuals and political forces – which don't represent the people – to bring an end to all state institutions?" he asked.
I think that's well said, and I suspect a lot more people in Egypt agree with that statement than one might imagine reading twitters aimed at English-speaking audiences.

A note about Egypt: Outsiders who respect democracy will support the Islamists

The most important threat to colonialism - especially in the Middle East where the people of the United States have a vehement disagreement with the people of the region about Israel - is policy-makers who are accountable to voters.

You can bribe either Mubarak or Morsi, as long as there is nobody to compete with them for reelection who has an incentive to investigate and expose the corruption. It is much more expensive, in fact impossible for the US to bribe a majority of Egypt's more than 50 million voters.

So what's important is that there is a competitive process for control of foreign policy, and that the results of that competitive political process are respected.

So once a side wins a contested election, as long as it does not abolish future elections, there is no such thing as being over-supportive of that side. The people of Egypt support Morsi and a large Islamist majority in Parliament. Who I support is irrelevant compared to that.

The US embassy has recently begun tweeting that no one group in Egypt should have too much power. "We want to see the constitutional process in #Egypt move forward in a way that does not overly concentrate power in one set of hands". Somebody in the State Department, rather than Egypt's voters should, according to the US, decide how much power is too much and who should hold it. Not only did this principle never apply to Mubarak, but today this principle does not apply to the pro-US colonial dictatorships of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain, Kuwait, UAE and others. This is just an example of Americans across the political spectrum lying about the Middle East.

In countries close to Israel, the United States structurally cannot get the kind of cooperation it needs for Israel's security from voters. So it needs foreign policy to be outside of the control of the electorate, the way it has been in Turkey, though in Turkey responsibility for foreign policy is, in theory, slowly reverting to effective control by elected officials.

Turkey, when its foreign policy was fully controlled by the military and unaccountable to voters, is the exact model today proposed for Egypt by Juan Cole, and more or less openly by other US officials and commentators. To Cole that's good enough for Arabs and Muslims. If foreign policy is not under control of the voters, that's ok because eventually it may be in the future. For now the US Embassy should determine Egypt's foreign policy.

Cole is a pure anti-Muslim and anti-Arab bigot, so is Barack Obama. They are supposed liberals who represent what is disgusting about the United States. Cole lies and says the reason he wants the army to control foreign policy is to protect minorities. What does the army have to do with women's rights? How many women's rights were there under Mubarak - who Cole described as unproblematic for the US? Disgusting. I've talked about that too long already, but that is the mainstream foreign policy view of the United States.

Back to democracy. Egyptians are in Egypt. They have the close view of all of the details they need to figure out the way to manage all aspects of policy, including foreign policy, most consistent with their own values. I don't know how they will solve the problem of Egypt's seemingly structural external dependency but they'll do a better job of solving it than I could from far away.

All they need are politicians who are accountable to them, not to the US Embassy and a little time.

Qatar is a US colony today. Qatar makes a lot of pledges. Those pledges are actually fulfilled if Qatar gets US permission to fulfill them. One day Qatar will be democratic but until then, pledges of support from Qatar mean no more and no less than the pledges Egypt has already gotten from the US and Europe. They are a problem, but the people of Egypt can and will solve those problems better than I could.

The question, as always, is will Egypt get a constitution that puts foreign policy under the control of voters. Juan Cole opposes that. Jimmy Carter opposes that. Thomas Friedman opposes that. The US state department, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama oppose that. All because the United States is an evil nation. They'll all come up with different rationales, but look at how each of them supported Mubarak yesterday, and how each of them supports Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Jordan today.

A competitive electoral process in Egypt whose winner will control foreign policy. The US opposes it. The SCAS opposes it. The SCAS-courts oppose it. US non-official commentators oppose it. The Muslim Brothers have no reason to oppose it, especially now, after showing that they represent a majority of Egyptians. I've seen no indication that they or Morsi do in fact oppose it.

But until the people of Egypt stop voting for the Islamists, outsiders who respect democracy will support the Islamists.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

If you want to be disgusted by American colonialism in the Middle East, Tom Friedman is always a good place to go

I thought I had earlier written here about Thomas Friedman as the author of the Middle East peace initiative, presented as coming from Saudi Arabia, but fairly openly dictated by Friedman himself. Looking into the archives, I didn't find it so I'll link to Friedman's earlier columns now.

Friedman's February 6, 2002 letter to the rulers of Arab states:
You need to face up to something: Ehud Barak gave us an Israeli peace plan, however rough. Bill Clinton then followed up with an American peace plan. Now is the time for an Arab peace plan. No more you guys sitting back complaining about everyone else's peace plans. It's time for you to put on the table not only what you want from Israel -- an end to occupation -- but what you collectively are ready to give in return.
Friedman in February 17, 2002 describing the response to his letter in a private audience with Saudi Prince Abdullah:
After I laid out this idea, the crown prince looked at me with mock astonishment and said, ''Have you broken into my desk?''

''No,'' I said, wondering what he was talking about.

''The reason I ask is that this is exactly the idea I had in mind -- full withdrawal from all the occupied territories, in accord with U.N. resolutions, including in Jerusalem, for full normalization of relations,'' he said. ''I have drafted a speech along those lines. ''
It goes without saying that this is not how independent countries make or publicize changes in policy. We'll never see an American journalist make a policy demand of China, then travel to China to be told "that's just what I was thinking". Or even Uruguay. Especially a policy that the people of the country reject about four to one. I consider this the best recent illustration of Saudi Arabia's status as a US colony.

A person like Juan Cole reflects American colonialism - he presents arguments similar to those of other people like who think like him to justify the US' ability to set policy rather than the people of Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, UAE and others for their own countries but he does not implement the policies himself. A person like Barack Obama directly implements American colonialism. Obama openly says the United States will do everything in its power to secure Israel. Some of the things in the US' power have been to support pro-US colonial dictatorships in the countries listed above and probably also to non-publicly orchestrate things such as civil wars in Syria and Libya and the June 2012 dismissal of the Egyptian parliament by vestiges of the Egypt's pro-US dictatorship.

Friedman is somewhere in between Cole and Obama. Probably more influential than Cole, less directly involved in the implementation of colonialism than Obama. All three, when they do speak or write in public, sound essentially the same. Which brings us to Friedman's recent op-ed about Egypt in the context of Israel's attacks on Gaza. In every important way, it could have been written by any of the three or by any American or even western colonialist.

Friedman presents this wrong, bizarre but commonly held by Americans idea that China is an example of rational foreign policy while Iran or Hamas are not.
Hamas, by getting embroiled in a missile duel with Israel and then calling on Arab countries for support, particularly Egypt, was testing Cairo as much as Israel. And the question Hamas was posing to Egyptians was simple: Did Egypt have a democratic revolution last year to become more like Iran or more like China?
Many countries make sacrifices for objectives that are not purely strategic. Not least the United States that describes its support for Israel as sacrosanct - a religious term - and whose commercial oil interests were humiliated when they tried to oppose the American pro-Israel lobby. The US' trillion dollar invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as its maintenance of a string of colonies in the region in direct opposition to the US' own professed founding values are ultimately sacrifices the US makes for Israel, those sacrifices are the US acting like a cause instead of a responsible country. The cause being Zionism and the bigoted proposition that fewer than six million Jews avoiding the fate of White South Africans is worth any cost imposed on hundreds of millions of non-Jews in their region.

China does have good economic relations with the US - as long as and only as long as the US does not cross lines such as to even recognize an independent Taiwan. Mainstream US political leaders claim they are willing to jump into a ditch with rifles and fight and die to defend Israel. Fortunately for the US and China, nothing comparable has ever been the case regarding an issue the people of China feel strongly about. The Chinese opening to the US simply would not have happened if the US political system had been distorted in favor of Taiwan in 1970 as it was distorted in support of Israel then or as it is today.

If the US was willing to abandon recognition of Israel, it could have relations at least as close with Iran, with Egypt or with theoretical representative and popularly accountable governments in what are now the US colonies of Jordan, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE and others and throughout the Middle East as it has with China. The United States is not willing to do that. The United States, Obama, Cole and Friedman would prefer to see colonialism, sanctions and civil war throughout the region than see Jews in Israel live under non-Jewish rule the way White South Africans do. But that's American irrationality, not Iranian, Egyptian or Palestinian.

Friedman says that Morsi should take up his peace initiative and bring it to Israel. The terms of that peace initiative are not popular in any Arab state, but the Saudi dictatorship still took the hint. Fortunately Egypt, though its parliament was dissolved after decreeing that Israel is its number one enemy, has a leadership emerging that is accountable to the Egyptian people, unlike Saudi Arabia, whose leadership is accountable to Juan Cole, Barack Obama and Thomas Friedman.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Of course Morsi is more legitimate than the pro-US dictatorship's judges

In an absolutely breathtaking move, in June 2012 the Hosni Mubarak-appointed Egyptian Constitutional court voided the parliamentary elections and dismissed Egypt's legislature because, like Juan Cole and most Americans, it was uncomfortable with the amount of Islamists the people of Egypt voted for.

Until last week, the constituent assembly worked to write a new constitution for Egypt under the threat that this body's efforts to write an Egyptian constitution could be, in a sweep, nullified by the remaining remnants of the Mubarak government in Egypt's judicial branch. Egypt's constitutional court is a throwback to the era when Egypt was ruled by Hosni Mubarak on behalf of the United States. When Barack Obama had more influence over Egypt's policy than the people of Egypt.

Israel was probably fortunate that there was no Egyptian legislature during its recent attacks on Gaza. If future attacks happen when an elected legislature is in place, the result will likely be, by parliamentary declaration, the free movement of people and goods into and out of Gaza through Egypt, in other words, the end of the blockade where Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu are conspiring to limit the access Palestinian men, women and children have to food, to calories, to punish them for voting for a political party that does not recognize Israel.

We don't publicly know what role the US embassy played in orchestrating the dissolution of Egypt's parliament. We do know that the US foreign policy community approved of it and defied any semblance of democratic ideals to justify it. Hillary Clinton and the US state department expressed no disapproval but hoped to see Egypt continue on the path to democracy despite the parliament the Egyptian people voted for being dissolved, their votes being thrown away en mass.

Since that time, in a critical counter-move Egypt's president Mohamed Morsi accepted the sudden resignation of interim stooge dictator Mohamed Tantawi, took legislative prerogatives away from the Army and put new leaders into key positions in the armed forces. I wondered at the time why he resigned and I still wonder. It crosses my mind that it is plausible that Morsi has information that would make it impossible for Tantawi to fight to maintain power - information such as details about corruption in his relationship with the United States - and Tantawi resigned with honor rather than try to fight to stay on.

One way or another, if the United States is unable to convince Egypt's military to recapture political power or the military is unable to do so, a constitution will be produced by spring 2013, Egypt's people will vote to approve it in a referendum and the era of US control of Egyptian policy will come to a final end.

The United States is still a filthy nation, a country that would impose hunger and malnutrition on the children of Gaza forever if it could. A nation that funds and promotes civil wars that kill tens of thousands of people in countries in the region that otherwise might theoretically threaten Israel. A nation that still and without an inkling of remorse continues to hold Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, UAE and others under the yoke of colonialism on Israel's behalf today. A country that claims to hold democracy as its founding value but whose supposed liberals out of pure bigotry believe that completely throwing out entire Egyptian elections because the wrong party won is close enough to democracy for Arabs and Muslims.

But the United States' may not succeed in preventing the people of Egypt from regaining control of Egyptian policy. Mohamed Morsi, in decreeing that the constitutional assembly appointed by the elected representatives of the Egyptian people cannot be dissolved by the remnants of Egypt's previous pro-US dictatorship, is saying that the political groups that have won Egyptian elections (all three elections so far, and also every round of each of them, eight rounds in total), not the party that has won elections in the United States, will decide the policies of Egypt.

If Egypt can become free, that will be a great thing. Of course by now the US embassy is furiously working behind the scenes to prevent Egypt from producing political institutions outside of US control. Juan Cole and the US public foreign policy community are, I expect, cheerleading and justifying that effort.