- US imperial policy includes regime change, affecting
foes as well as no longer useful friends. Past targets included former
Philippines leader Ferdinand Marcos, Iran's Shah (Mohammad Reza Pahlavi),
and Iraq's Saddam Hussein, among others. According to some reports, Mubarak
is next - aging, damaged and expendable.
- George Friedman runs Stratfor, a private global intelligence
service. On January 29, he issued a special Egypt report, saying:
- On January 29, "Egypt's internal security forces
(including Central Security Forces anti-riot paramilitaries) were glaringly
absent" after confronting protesters forcefully for several days.
Army personnel replaced them. Demonstrators welcomed them.
- "There is more (going on) than meets the eye."
While media reports focus on reform, democracy and human rights, "revolutions,
including this one, are made up of many more actors than (Facebook and
Twitter) liberal voices...." Some are, in fact, suspect, using social
network sites for other than purported reasons.
- Like Iran's 1979 revolution, "the ideology and composition
of protesters can wind up having very little to do with the" behind
the scenes political forces gaining power. Egypt's military may be preparing
to seize it. Former air force chief/civil aviation minister Ahmed Shafiq
is new prime minister, tasked with forming a new government, and intelligence
head Omar Suleiman is Egypt's first ever vice president under Mubarak,
effectively second in command.
- Moreover, Defense Minister Field Marshall Mohammed Hussein
Tantawi "returned to Cairo after a week of intense discussions with
senior US officials." He heads the Republican Guard, responsible for
defending major government and strategic institutions, the symbols of entrenched
power. Also back is Lt. General Sami Annan. Both men with others "are
likely managing the political process behind the scenes."
- As a result, expect more political changes, military
commanders apparently willing to give Mubarak time to leave gracefully,
but not much as unrest won't subside until he's gone.
- Egypt's military is key as "guarantor of regime
stability." It's never "relinquished its rights to the state"
no matter who's president, made easier with popular support, unlike the
hated police. But it's not a monolithic force, nor can it shake its history
of mid-level commanders like Gamal Abdel Nasser seizing power. In 1981,
Islamists and junior officers assassinated Anwar Sadat, elevating Mubarak
to the presidency.
- "The history of the modern Egyptian republic haunts
Egypt's generals today. Though long suppressed, an Islamist strand exists
amongst the junior ranks of Egypt's modern military." It could include
"a cabal of colonels," seeing a chance to seize power to address
longstanding grievances, especially regarding US and Israeli policies,
or perhaps promise change but maintain continuity.
- So far, no coup d'etat signs have emerged. While Egypt's
military remains disciplined under a chain of command, "those trying
to manage the crisis from the top cannot forget" their country's history
of successful mid-level commander coups. Given Egypt's growing instability,
another one is possible.
- Washington and Israel are maneuvering for control. Egypt's
fate, believes Friedman, "lies in the ability of the military to not
only manage the streets and the politicians, but also itself."
- He also said plainclothes Egyptian security forces are
destroying public property, media reports blaming it on protesters. It
also bears repeating - an overt police presence is absent, and military
forces aren't stopping demonstrations or enforcing curfews, appearing to
back (or at least not oppose) dissident groups instead.
- Omar Suleiman's Role
- On January 29, New Yorker writer Jane Mayer headlined,
"Who is Omar Suleiman? saying:
- Well-known in Washington, he's poised to become president
after Mubarak. As intelligence chief, he was CIA's "point man in Egypt
for renditions," the agency's snatch and grab policy against "terror
suspects from around the world," sending many to Egypt, perhaps to
disappear as Marjorie Cohn explained in her book "Cowboy Republic:
Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law," quoting a former CIA agent
- "If you want a serious interrogation, you send a
prisoner to Jordan. If you want them to be tortured, you send them to Syria.
If you want someone to disappear (after torture and interrogation) - never
to see them again - you send them to Egypt," a place of no return
for many, Suleiman in charge as impresario.
- America Backing Regime Change?
- On January 28, London Telegraph writers Tim Ross, Matthew
Moore and Steven Swinford headlined, "Egypt protests: America's secret
backing for rebel leaders behind uprising," saying:
- For the past three years, regime change plans have been
ongoing, according to WikiLeaks released documents, accessed through the
- Dated February 2008 from the US Cairo embassy to Washington,
they "disclose the extent of American support for" Mubarak opponents,
saying "Egyptians need to replace the current regime with (the appearance
of) a parliamentary democracy. Under undisclosed US control, of course,
"several opposition forces - including the Wafd, Nasserite, Marama
and Tagammu parties, and the Muslim brotherhood, Kifaya and Revolutionary
Socialist movements - have agreed to support an unwritten plan for a transition
to (a new order), involving a weakened presidency and an empowered prime
minister and parliament, before the scheduled (September) 2011 presidential
- Though previously supporting Mubarak, the documents show
US supporting backing forces while publicly praising him as an important
ally. They also revealed regular contact with opponents throughout 2008
and 2009, planning regime change, but not what protesters have in mind.
- In June 2006, the National Security Network (NSN) was
established "to revitalize America's national security policy (by)
developing innovative national security solutions (to counter) emerging
- Arab populations have long heard variations on Washington's
theme, repeated in a NSN January 27 press release, saying: "The Obama
administration seeks to encourage political reforms without destabilizing
- In other words, democracy is messy and unreliable. Dictatorships
are much easier to control, and when one despots proves unreliable or outlives
his usefulness, replace him with another, perhaps smoothed by transitional
- Mubarak's time has passed. Business as usual is planned.
Democratic rhetoric masks it, the same kind US audiences hear from leaders
flouting it at home and abroad.
- Comments on The Angry Arab News Service
- Edited by Professor As'ad AbuKhalil, it provides daily
commentaries on regional events. On January 29, it cited "Comrade
- "I am very worried that the Americans have taken
over the direction of the Egyptian revolution. Let us remember that all
possible candidates to replace Mubarak (are US) handpicked....including
(ElBaradei) as well as Army chief of staff Anan, or anyone else for that
matter. Obama has proven once more that" America is the Arab world's
strongest anti-democracy ally.
- As a result, Arabs must be vigilant and "very cautious
(about) what happens next. (America) wants to mortgage the freedom of all
Arabs" to secure Western and Israeli interests.
- Responding, AbuKhalil expressed less concern, saying:
"there is (only) so much that the US can do to control the situation."
However, he sees a "US coup at the top" because America and Israel
want regime continuity without Mubarak. What follows depends on "how
hard (Egyptians) press. (He) think(s) that they won't be fooled, even if
the process of change take(s) a while, a year or more."
- However events play out, they face formidable Washington
and Tel Aviv adversaries, waging wars to solidify power, especially in
strategically important places.
- A Final Comment
- Unless America plans war or wants foreign adversaries
vilified, rarely ever do US media report overseas news, especially like
Middle East uprisings. Notably, little about Tunisia, Jordan, Yemen or
Algeria was covered. But Egypt's turmoil is main-featured on television
and in print. Moreover, coverage includes unheard of pro-opposition views,
meaning official Washington supports them.
- In addition, though protesters want Mubarak out, anti-American
signs aren't evident or reports of Washington's longstanding pernicious
influence. Reform, however, requires ending it. Otherwise, new faces will
continue old policies leaving deep-rooted hardships unaddressed.
- In other words, everything will change but stay the same.
Regional turmoil, especially Egypt's, will only reshuffle the deck to look
different when, in fact, neoliberal exploitation will persist, covert forces
well positioned to assure it.
- Moreover, skilled Western and regional media will keep
US and foreign audiences fooled, assuring support for new Washington favorites
thought different from old ones, when, in fact, they're the same.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the
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