Egyptian Majority Evicts the Muslim Brotherhood

By Jay Holmes

In Cairo on the morning of August 18, the Egyptian military and police evicted protestors from the al Fath Mosque. In the chaos that has overtaken Egypt, this eviction could be dismissed as an insignificant event, but it can also be seen as an important moment in the decision-making of the current military-backed Egyptian government.

Egyptians Celebrate Morsi's Ouster image from Voice of America, July 7, 2013

Egyptians Celebrate Morsi’s Ouster
image from Voice of America, July 7, 2013

Supporters of the recently-ousted Egyptian President Morsi, who was backed by the Muslim Brotherhood, called for protests last week. Thousands poured out and set up “occupy style” encampments in Cairo. When the Egyptian military and police broke up the encampments, Muslim Brotherhood supporters packed into the al Fath Mosque, which they had been using as a hospital. On August 18, both the Morsi supporters and the police fired shots. Both claim that the other side fired on them first.

On the face of it, the fact that thousands of Egyptians supported the Muslim Brotherhood was a victory for them, but millions of Egyptians turned out to oppose them. The Muslim Brotherhood’s loud past claims of majority rule are now falling on deaf ears in Egypt. The majority of Egyptians have unequivocally denounced both the Brotherhood and Morsi’s attempt to set up a personal kingdom for himself. Morsi had clearly intended to live well in the dictatorship that he was building, but for the average Egyptian, it was rapidly becoming a case of “let them eat Sharia Law.” The majority of people in Egypt don’t want Sharia Law as a substitute for a functioning government.

Depending on who you ask in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood has the support of somewhere between fifteen to twenty percent of Egyptian men. In the confusion of the early post-Mubarak days, they were able to use their well-established organization to win an election with promises of religious freedom, democratic rule, and women’s rights under the label of the “Freedom and Justice Party.” Once in power, Morsi immediately betrayed his campaign promises and began to organize a powerful junta for himself and Muslim Brotherhood leaders under the guise of a Sharia Law theocracy.

On July 3, 2013, the Egyptian military calculated that it had enough popular backing to overthrow Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood. The successful eviction of the Morsi supporters from the al Fath Mosque indicates that its calculation was correct. In essence, the people of Egypt decided that they were not going to tolerate the political con job that Islamic radicals pulled off, and they did something about it. The Egyptian military realized that Morsi had lost any semblance of majority backing and acted to save Egypt from falling back into the Dark Ages.

Reactions in the West are less clear.

Most of the Western media and many in Western governments have feigned shock at the Egyptian military’s “coup-that-wasn’t-a-coup.” Some in the media and government are apparently so clueless or so immersed in irrational dogma that their dismay at the “coup” is genuine.

In the US, the White House and congressmen from both major parties have engaged in poorly-staged hand wringing exercises to show their “deep concern” that the “coup-that-wasn’t-a-coup-and-therefore-can-still-be-funded-by-us” has used violence against the Muslim Brotherhood. The “deep concern” has not been deep enough to stop funding the Egyptian military.

We still want and need Egypt to allow our military aircraft to overfly that country on short notice. We still want to be able to use Egyptian air bases for staging operations in the region. And we still want our Navy to cut to the head of the traffic line at the congested Suez Canal. Obama and other politicians can express all the “deep concern” that they want over events in Egypt, but their words come at a price. Egyptians and others in the region now have their own deep concern that the US and Europe are unwilling to help them overthrow Islamic radicals.

Fortunately Saudi Arabia and the oil-rich Gulf States see themselves at odds with the Muslim Brotherhood and are enthusiastically financing the Egyptian government. The couple of billion a year that we give to Egypt no longer constitutes economic survival for that country. US money helps, but it doesn’t carry the same leverage that it once did.

Israel realizes that the Egyptian military is capable of keeping to a peace treaty with them, and that the Muslim Brotherhood was maneuvering Egypt toward war with Israel. Israel is hoping for the current Egyptian government to succeed.

Iran and its minions in Hamas are cheering for the Muslim Brotherhood to regain control in Egypt. While the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt has no intention of accepting Iranian theocratic leadership, from the Iranian point of view, an Egypt led by the Muslim Brotherhood can at least be counted on to attack Israel and support the most radical elements amongst the Palestinians.

The normal variety of international adventure-tourist terrorists are doing their best to use Iranian funds and weapons to generate as much violence as possible in Egypt. My guess is that although they will cause misery, they will not be able to reinstall the Muslim Brotherhood or Sharia Law in that country.

What the future government in Egypt will look like is not altogether clear. Fortunately for Egyptians and everyone else in the region, it likely won’t include Sharia Law. They may end up with an “all new, more powerful deep cleaning” Mubarak-style junta, but for the sake of the Egyptian people, I hope that they end up with a government that reduces corruption and improves the rights and the quality of life in Egypt.

Intelligence Perspective on the Recent US Embassy Attacks

Perspective on the Recent US Embassy Attacks

By Intelligence Operative Jay Holmes*

American news followers of the USA type have spent the last week watching, reading, and hearing reports of protests and attacks against US diplomatic compounds in Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Pakistan and Tunisia.

At the US consulate in Benghazi, well-armed attackers murdered US Ambassador Christopher Stevens. We extend our sincere condolences to the family of Ambassador Stevens and to the families of other Americans and Libyans who were also murdered in the attack.

Libyans objecting to embassy attack, image from cnn.com

These attacks naturally have stirred up anger in many Americans and Westerners. What is less visible in the news is that many Libyans are also outraged by the attack. Responses in the USA vary with political persuasion and with individual interpretations.

Violent protests and attacks on embassies have become a common marketing tactic of groups selling various anti-American agendas around the world. To put this current wave of attacks into perspective, let’s review two glaring examples of diplomatic conduct involving US embassies.

On December 8, 1941, the Japanese sneak attack on the US naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii was celebrated in Japan as a great feat of arms and a fantastic victory for the Japanese war machine. In the US, the attack stirred anger and a grim resolve to do all that was necessary to defeat Japan. In fact, when journalists asked US Admiral William Halsey what would happen in response to the Japanese, Halsey said “When we’re through with them, Japanese will be a language spoken only in hell.”

At that time, the Japanese had been at war in Asia for decades and had inflicted a level of brutality on the peoples of China and Korea that the Japanese history book writers are still too ashamed to admit to today. So then, in those violent and brutal times, what happened to the US diplomatic staff and their families at the US embassy and consulates in Japan? What happened to the Japanese embassy staff and their families in the USA?

Nothing. The Japanese temporarily confined all US embassy staff to the embassy grounds, and then shipped them to a neutral port in a Portuguese African colony for repatriation. We did the same thing with their embassy staff. There were no riots or threatening mobs. Even in the midst of a war, both nations respected their diplomatic agreements concerning embassies.

At the opposite extreme is the infamous Iranian attack on the US embassy in Tehran in 1979. By attacking the US embassy and taking the residents hostage, the ignorant mullahs running the Iranian government wanted to humiliate the USA. To a degree they did that, but they also unwittingly exposed themselves as being more barbaric than the Japanese war criminal Tojo had shown himself to be in handling the US embassy in 1941. Iran has yet to recover its credibility in the community of civilized nations since that ill-advised attack.

Students attack US Embassy in Tehran, Iran, 1979

When trying to understand the current wave of protests, it helps to consider them in a broad context across time and space. Personally, in the case of Libya, I will wait for US investigators, including an FBI forensic team, to conclude its investigation before making any general assumptions.

We should note that many Libyans are bluntly condemning the murder of the US ambassador. While thugs posing as “religious leaders” may be at play in Libya, the majority of the Libyan people are too sophisticated to accept a diet of Death to America Soup in lieu of the human rights and freedom that most of them were seeking when they ran down Qaddafi and executed him.

On the other hand, the Egyptian security forces have suffered no great upheaval in recent times. They are a well-funded, large system with plenty of experience handling protesters, and the protesters are well-riddled with police informants. The Egyptian government has chosen to allow the attack on the US embassy in Cairo to occur.

The Egyptian government could have intervened more effectively and much sooner. It didn’t. This begs a question. Why are taxpayers in the USA financing the Egyptian military and security forces?

Now that the US embassy in Cairo has been tidied up, and Egyptian President Morsi has returned to Egypt from his begging tour of Western nations, it might be a great time to ask him that particular question. If he actually is presiding over a government that is incapable of protecting a foreign embassy, then we need to ask ourselves what precisely we are investing in in Egypt.

Just as interesting as the foreign governments’ responses to the attacks on US diplomatic locations on their soil are the responses by the Western media and politicians. The basic party lines are so far playing out in predictable fashion. The Democratic party line is that this was all caused by a nasty little amateur film maker with bad taste and is in no way connected to President Obama’s foreign policies or lack thereof and likely had nothing to do with any terrorist groups. The Republican party line is equally predictable. “Yet another foreign policy debacle by that apologetic fool Obama.”

As for the filmmaker, I have not bothered to view the video. The net is filled with amateur video makers flinging unsophisticated insults across any and every political and religious chasm in the world today. I don’t bother watching them.

The suggestion by some that we should surrender yet more of our fundamental rights and place controls on our free speech to avoid angering the ever-so-sensitive minority of violent protesters in Islamic nations strikes me as a childish response. If anyone sincerely feels that such controls are healthy and proper for a society, then I suggest that they waste no further time suffering in the Land of the Free and quickly make their escape to North Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Zimbabwe, or some other suitable controlled-speech environment where they won’t have to fret about anyone publicizing anything annoying to those governments.

For those of us who enjoy free speech and are honest enough to afford it to others, we will have to settle for less radical responses to the current protests.

The best foreign policy comes from contemplating as many verifiable facts as can be ascertained and then calmly formulating a clear, rational, and effective response in support of our foreign policy goals. Let’s hope that everyone in Washington can take a break from the campaigning long enough to remember their duty to the American people and do just that.

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*‘Jay Holmes’, is an intelligence veteran of the Cold War and remains an anonymous member of the intelligence community. His writing partner, Piper Bayard, is the public face of their partnership.

You may contact them in blog comments, on Twitter at @piperbayard, on Facebook at Piper Bayard, or by email at BH@BayardandHolmes.com.

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