Thursday, February 24, 2011

PERMANENT REVOLUTION 2011---Whether the wave of political upheaval in the Middle East is just a case old aging dictators losing their grip or frenzied mob's pent up anger over chronic misrule . exploitation and corruption is the question. One thing for certain there is no single sponsorship by any nation or group overarching all events in different countries; however, the final outcome is yet to be determined.

Bad old Russians are enmeshed in in Chechnya; Chinese Communists, concentrating on Tibet And Taiwan, focus mainly on trade or on buying resources with cheap dollars; Iran has it own bloody domestic opposition; and the USA's CIA could not find its ass much beyond running ineffective drone attacks-its days of wine and roses of forcing regime change are gone; the Israeli seem content stealing Palestine land and killing non-combatant on their borders.

Up until to now the Jewish state has depended on the US to solve most its foreign policy issues.
Pax Americana appears over as this US foreign policy tanks in the Middle East and Asia.

To date America has not found a substitute for playing at the world's policeman; so it bites its nails helplessly as revolutionary events in Arab states unfold beyond its control.

Permanent revolution as a concept usually fizzles as revolutionary regimes become status quo--it failed for Castro Cuba and certainly in the Russian Revolution as its chief advocate, Leon Trotsky was killed by Stalin in Mexico with an ice ax in his head by Soviet secret service. About the only Trotsky legacy is mainly political decedents in NYC who now are known as NEOCONS; and under the Republicans have successfully promoted the ideology of permanent war using the sheep's clothing of imposing democracy by the sword.

The Arabs beliefs center on family, land and Islam--with the US supporting the destruction of the Palestinians in favor of Israeli policies, the US stands in direct opposition to Arabs as well as Shiites. Up until recent revolutionary events, American managed the situation through foreign aid bribes., but it now clear that this aid did not trickle down to the masses ,but enriched the oligarchies. So there is now unfolding a permanent revolution. This will run out of energy when the ruling structure is inverted and new leadership emerges from the lower classes.

There is no indication that the new status quo will be democratic, but more likely evolve into a military junta or as a theocratic state run by non-secular Islamists

Bodies of revolutionaries are starting to pile up--especially in Libya where there are estimates of over 1000 killed. Leftist groups headed by Cuban Castro are getting nervous raising the possibility of a NATO/US invasion of Libya.

Apparently Castro and his pals dispute the demise of Pax Americana--he may be right when the invasion and occupation of Yugoslavia is recalled. The US now occupies Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia just like the old Ottoman Turks.. And there is no oil to be found in those Balkan areas as there is in Libya. So there is even greater imperative for attack by NATO/US. With little imagination, Libya could turn into a replay of Iraq. It would start with sanctions and no-fly zones all in the name of democracy. No-fly zones are expensive to operate--who will pay?

President Obama had a bad week apart from the events in the Middle East. The US Navy failed to rescue four Americans who were killed by Somali pirates. A CIA agent went rouge in Pakistan and is in jail unable to be released despite his diplomatic immunity. Price of oil is bouncing around a 100 dollars a barrel; gasoline is over 3 dollars a gallon; he stock market lost over 200 points in three days ; public trade unions in the Midwest are causing work stoppages with Democratic state legislatures in hiding.

With all this chaos Obama can only take steps not to enforce the law preventing gay marriages. And the prospects for a balanced national budget go a glimmering. Colonel Robert E Bartos USA Ret

Sunday, February 13, 2011

FROZEN REVOLUTION EGYPT 2011? A Russian proverb is NEVER CALL FOR A NEW CZAR... The implication is the new one may be worse than the old. As Egyptians supreme leader Mubarak is involuntarily exchanged for Omar Suleiman as the new strong man, the wisdom in Russian folk philosophy is apparent.

Suleiman has a reputation of being Murbarak's hatchet man. He was up to his elbows historically in bloody suppression of dissidence, torture and corruption. He is now the unelected vice president of Egypt, recently selected by Murbarak as the political noose tightened, forcing him to abdicate his office. Note that I said OFFICE, but not power.

As long as a dictator remains in country alive, power remains with him unless he he held , isolated, incommunicado. Last news from Murbarak is that he sojourning in the sybaritic Egyptian ocean resort Sharam el -Shiekh. He can still issue commands and formulate policy. Doubt Suleiman or the Egyptian Army would hesitate to obey him even now..

Murbarak's legal position internally in the Egyptian government is meaningless when matched against 30 years of loyalty by his followers, many of which a few days ago are promised a 15 percent raise this April.

According to WikiLeaks cables, Suleiman was the favorite of Israeli government that depended on him to keep Hamas bottled up on its western Gaza borders while the Israeli starved and slaughtered Palestinians from the eastern borders of Gaza. So celebrations over the the resignation over Murbarak by the people of Gaza may be premature--the first peep out of the new Egyptian regime was that it will honor the Israeli/Egyptian peace treaty. It was almost if the revolution was all about Israel.

The Egyptian Army remains loyal to Mubarak as it attempts to administer the country through military counsels; it has disbanded parliament, while at the same time it refuses to circumvent the existing government.

The Army has been involved in Egyptian politics since Nasser in 1952. Except for killing Sadat over the Israeli/Egyptian peace treaty, it has been a source of stability.. Make no mistake this Army military role is subordinate to its political and economic interests. Call Egypt an Army with a country!

It is reported that the army generals control 30-40 percent of the Egyptian GNP- They are involved in most industries and enterprises. many times as partial owners, hidden from public view. Except for street vendors, their presence is everywhere in commercial ventures to include even hotels..Without a general officer's intervention, it is almost impossible to proceed in business ventures.

Realistically as the army now fuctions as the agency to transfer power to civilian democratic institutions, it is preposterous that it will surrender its political and economic power without pressure from the opposition.

Despite the hoopla, the revolution is frozen as the army and Suleiman restore stability with the fewest possible changes. If they have a road to to democracy, it will be the world's longest road.

Egyptian glory lies in its Pharisaic past.; pyramids, the Sphinx and the palaces of the Pharaohs were built with slave labor--It is 7000 years of history that has not provided fertile soil for democracy to develop in the western sense, so keep the expectation low for its eventual growth.

Too bad there is no Cleopatra to restore order. At least she had her charms and a sense of duty. At the same time Barack Obama and Netanyahu are not Mark Anthony or Julius Caesar by a long shot,so even her beauty would be wasted on these two blind men.--Colonel Robert E Bartos USA Ret

Saturday, February 05, 2011

REVOLUTION AND COUNTER REVOLUTION --EGYPT 2011--The revolution in Egypt today is by no means a Velvet Revolution. You have to understand that the Egyptians are not Czechs--Rashid and Vladek live in political and cultural worlds apart; and the actions taken by these distinct people to regime change will be dramatically different..

For over a week ,the media fed the US public western style or European interpretations of the events -lots of glorious hogwash about spontaneity of democratic spirit- it even rhapsodized a so-called facebook revolution. That until the Murbarak regime got itself organized and charged Tahrir Square on camels and horses; swinging whips, it began to draw blood from the revolutionaries. The counter revolution viciously started to roll'

Journalists who apparently believed their own nonsense were swept up by the counter revolution -some beaten and many arrested. Even pretty boy CNN Anderson Cooper got smacked around. Too bad Geraldo Rivera and Dan Rather were not there to cover the storey. Would have been interesting to time how long their confrontational style would have lasted before they were stomped and bitten by a foul tempered camel.

As I watched the journalists deploy to Egypt, it dawned on me that the old days of Patty Hearst style romantic revolutionary had resurfaced. Oh well, each generation must learn. Yes ,there are crocodiles in the Nile and street thugs in Cairo will cut your throat for a shinny watch or your Gucci bag. This is even in the best of times with well fed cops on every street corner.

At this stage the revolution appears without an organized leadership cadre. There is unity in purpose to depose Mubarak immediately, but no focus on a program to replace him. Each day the revolutionaries will be forced to take more personal risks as the Mubarak counter revolutionary forces proceed. World public opinion will count for little as the revolutionaries are crushed or the old regime is remorselessly purged.

If Mubarak has a sustained power base, it is in his conscript army. His internal security apparat has all but collapsed. The pro American army's high command is loyal to Mubarak at this moment, but this loyalty is not among the rank and file. Certain elite units will fire on the revolutionaries, but most units will hesitate or desert. Remember the Egyptian Army has a worse fighting record than Italians. So in the end Mubarak's army will do everything but fight. The pretext will be to stay out of politics, but my opinion is that it lacks guts when it comes to slaughter.

What is unknown is the strength and appeal of the Muslim Brotherhood, a jihad organization. Mubarak had 30 years to bleed it, but it still survives with fanatical zeal. It is the Egyptian ruling class greatest fear as the state security organizations weaken , it will gain strength and try to take control of the opposition and the revolution.

The US fears this as well as it strongly suggests the army negotiate with secular elements of the opposition--but the US sponsorship of anything, drives the Arab street crazy. As long as Israel is tied to US purse and security apron stings, this situation will not change. Mubarak bears the same stigma--pictures of him carried during demonstrations have a star of David super imposed on them.

If the Muslim Brotherhood takes power, Hamas stock goes up and the Jewish state strategic problems turn into a nightmare. A pipeline across the Sinai carrying fuel to Israel and Jordan already blew up mysteriously.

The Suez Canal continued operation is the big casino in this chaos-Israeli security is not despite what the American Israeli lobby asserts. The US will take serious military risks to keep the Canal open. Syria, Yemen, Jordan and Algeria are now forced to take steps against Islamic forces. Watch Iraq.

As of this writing the turmoil and upheaval in Egypt has lasted nearly two weeks-The Obama administration has almost as many different positions on a daily basis on what to do, but no one in Egypt appears to listen. US intelligence appears to be caught flat footed. CIA was up to its ears with rendition in Egypt, so bad news on Egypt was probably pigeoned holed as politically incorrect.--Same old nonsense.

Once thing for certain is that this revolution is not pro democracy.--Colonol Robert E Bartos USA Ret.