Egypt: Which Side Will the Dominoes Fall?

In view of the triumph of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, I’m republishing the following essay that was written in February 2011, that foreshadowed and tried to prevent by a proposal of mine the fall of the country to radical Islam,  for the readers of this blog.

By Con George-Kotzabasis February 08, 2011

Swallowing victory in one gulp may choke one.

Egypt, not unexpectedly for those who have read history and can to a certain extent adumbrate its future course, as one of the offsprings (Tunisia was the first one) of the rudimentary Democratic paradigm that was established in Iraq by the U.S. ‘invasion’, has a great potential of strengthening this paradigm and spreading it to the whole Arab region. The dominoes that started falling in Iraq under a democratic banner backed by the military power of the Coalition forces are now falling all over the Arab territories dominated by authoritarian and autocratic governments. The arc that expands from Tunisia to Iran and contains all other Arab countries has the prospect and promise of becoming the arc of Democracy. But Heisenberg’s principle of uncertainty in physics also and equally applies to politics. For one cannot predict, especially in a revolutionary situation, and more so, when it is combined with fledgling and immature political parties that is the present political configuration in Egypt as well as of the rest of the Arab world due to the suppression of political parties by their authoritarian regimes, whether the dominoes will fall on the side of Democracy or on the side of Sharia radical Islam. This is why the outcome of the current turmoil in Egypt is of so paramount geopolitical importance. And that is why the absolute necessity of having a strong arm at the helm that will navigate the presently battered State of Egypt toward the safe port of Democracy is of the utmost importance. Contrariwise, to leave the course of these momentous events in the hands of the spontaneous and totally inexperienced leaders of the uprising against Mubarak is a recipe of irretrievable disaster. For that can bring the great possibility, if not ensure, that the dominoes in the whole Arab region will be loaded to fall on the side of the extremists of Islam. And this is why in turn for the U.S. and its allies in the war against global terror, it is of the uttermost strategic importance to use all their influence and prowess to veer Egypt toward a Democratic outcome.

One is constrained to build with the materials at hand. If the only available materials one has to build a structure in an emergency situation are bricks and mortar he will not seek and search for materials of a stronger fibre, such as steel, by which he could build a more solid structure. Presently in Egypt, the army is the material substance of ‘bricks and mortar’ by which one could build a future Democratic state. It would be extremely foolish therefore to search for a stronger substance that might just be found in civil society or among the protesters of Tahrir Square. That would be politically a wild goose chase at a time when the tectonic plates of the country are moving rapidly toward a structural change in the body politic. The army therefore is the only qualified, disciplined organization that can bring an orderly transitional change on the political landscape of the country. Moreover, the fact that it has the respect of the majority of the Egyptian people and that it has been bred and nourished on secular and nationalist principles, ensures by its politically ‘synthetic nature’ that it will not go against the wishes of the people for freedom and democracy, that it will be a bulwark against the extremists of the Muslim Brotherhood, and that it will be prepared to back the change from autocracy to democracy, if need be, with military force and thus steer the country away from entering the waters of anarchy and ‘permanent’ political instability that could push Egypt to fall into the lap of the supporters of Allahu Akbar.

The task of the army or rather its political representatives will be to find the right people endowed with political adeptness, experience, imagination, and foresight from a wide pool of political representation that would also include members of the old regime who will serve not only for their knowledge in the affairs of state but also as the strong link to the chain of the anchor that will prevent any possibility that the new political navigation of the country will go adrift. The former head of Egyptian Intelligence Omar Suleiman will play a pivotal role in this assembly of political representation which will not exclude members of the Muslim Brotherhood. What is of vital importance however is that this new political process will not be violently discontinued from the old regime. While room will be made to ensconce the new representatives of the people to government positions, this will not happen at the expense of crowding out old government hands. The only person that will definitely be left out will be Hosni Mubarak and some of his conspicuous cronies. And Mubarak himself has already announced that neither he nor his son will be candidates in the presidential elections in September. The call of the Tahrir Square protesters to resign now has by now become an oxymoron by Mubarak’s announcement not to stand as president in the next election. Further it is fraught with danger as according to the Constitution if he resigns now elections for the presidency must be held after sixty days. That means a pot- pourri of candidates for president will come forward without the people having enough time either to evaluate their competence nor their political bona fide and might elect precipitatingly without critical experience and guidance a ‘dunce’ for president, an Alexander Kerensky in the form of Mohamed Al Baradei, that will open the passage to the Islamic Bolsheviks. To avoid this likely danger I’m proposing the following solution that in my opinion would be acceptable to all parties in this political melee.

The Vice President Omar Suleiman as representative of the armed forces, to immediately set up a committee under his chairmanship that will comprise members of the variable new and old political organizations of the country, whose task will be to appoint the members of a ‘shadow government’ whose function in turn will be to put an end to the protests that could instigate a military coup d’état , to make the relevant amendments to the constitution that will guide the country toward democracy, and to prepare it for the presidential elections in September. The members of this shadow government will be a medley of current holders of government that would include the most competent of all, Ahmed Nazif, the former prime minister, who was sacked by Mubarak as a scapegoat, and of the old and new political parties that emerged since the bouleversement against Mubarak. The executive officer of this ‘government in the wings’ will be Vice President Suleiman, who, with the delegated powers given to him by the present no more functional president Mubarak will be the real president during this interim period. Finally, the members of this shadow government will have a tacit agreement that their political parties will support candidates for president in the September elections who were selected by consensus among its members.

The establishment of such a shadow government might be the political Archimedean point that would move Egypt out of the crisis and push it toward democracy.

Hic Rhodus hic salta

Merry Go Round Discussion with Two American Liberals Whether the War is Being Won

Kotzabasis says…

How clever of professor Krugman and New York Times columnist to use his “Four legs good, two legs bad” drill to open a hole to the old debate about the levity of the decision of the Iraq war encapsulated in his “They attacked us, and we are going to strike back.” After failing in all his prognostications about the unwinnable war and showering for years with mockery and disparagement the proponents and supporters of the war, now that the war is being won and Iraq makes its first strides toward democracy –with its corollary that history might after all crown the neocons with the laurels of victory-all he finds to fill the holes of his rotationally fallacious argument is to revive the old squib of the non-connection of Saddam with Osama and hence the conspiratorial origin of the war.

Although there was ample evidence, as provided by the NIE report, of such connection between the intelligent services of Saddam and agents of Osama, the Bush administration after the 9/11 attack was more concerned that this rudimentary connection might take in the near future a gargantuan form that would gravely threaten the strategic interests of the US and indeed, its own land and its people. No astute and responsible government could disregard such a potential threat and not take the defensive-offensive measures to negate it. It was in such a context that the decision to go to war was taken. As well as on the further reason that it’s always more prudent to defeat an irreconcilable and implacable enemy while he is still weak, which is an irreversible canon of war.

Lafaytte says…

Saddam disliked Osama, see
here, a minor fact that seems to escape you.
Saddam could not abide Osama’s Saudi Salafist tendencies which for the larger part of Sunni Muslims outside of Saudi Arabia, was far too fundamental. Which is why, when Osama proffered troops in the war (1980-88) against their supposed common enemy (the Iranian Shiites), Saddam refused. And he was not such a fool as to partner with the man responsible for 9/11 later on.

Of course, such subtleties are beyond people who view the world only through the prism of Judeo-Christian religious history. In fact, these subtleties are at the very heart of the modern Muslim world.

But, subtlety is not the forte of this lead-headed administration, which is why Uncle Sam finds himself in very deep sneakers in the Middle East, embroiled in a war he cannot win and only loose with grace.

Kotzabasis says…

Of course Saddam was a secular leader. And indeed, he might have “disliked” and not “trusted’ fanatics. But the game of power politics, which Saddam played as a virtuoso in the Arab world, is not propelled by likes and dislikes. And talking of subtleties, Saddam could see the ascendancy of Osama’s fanatics in the Muslim world and wanted to have contact with them not because of a predilection of amity toward them but because he wanted to control them and use them for his own geopolitical goals. It’s this subtlety that escapes you. And it would be wise for someone who lives in a glass house not to throw stones at others, such as “this lead-headed administration”, as it’s obvious that subtlety is not your forte either.

Lafaytte says…

Once again you are showing your ignorance of Muslim mentality and its subtlety. You wouldn’t be the Ultimate Crusader perchance?

You justified the invasion of Iraq based upon a false argument – an improbable relationship between Hussein and bin Laden. We’ve been through this huckstering nonsense before. Why, on earth, bring it up again?

War in Iraq is indeed good for American business. I do hope you’ve invested your son in it.
Saddam could see the ascendancy of Osama’s fanatics in the Muslim world and wanted to have contact with them not because of a predilection of amity toward them but because he wanted to control them and USE them for his own geopolitical goals.

What is this you’re submission for a James Bond film?

It’s hallucinatory nonsense. Saddam simply wanted to maintain Sunni control over a country that was largely populated by Shiites (who outnumber the Sunnis by 3 to 1).

“And it would be wise for someone who lives in a glass house not to throw stones at others … as it’s obvious that subtlety is not your forte either.”

Yeah, right. I live in a glass house. Now you are actually getting funny. In fact hilarious.

Bruce Wilder says…

Kotzabasis: “I’m using the metrics of incontrovertible reality: Reduction of violence, the defeat of al Qaeda in Iraq, the defeat and disarming of the Mahdi militia, and the first strides of Iraq toward democracy . . . “

I think you are confusing the Right-wing Noise Machine’s continuing kabuki play version of the Iraq War with a reality, with which you are too little acquainted.

“Reduction in violence”, I guess, is the new peace, like pink is the new black — hopefully a short-lived fashion. You have scarcely any idea what the Mahdi Militia is, let alone why the U.S. should be the least bit interested in its vicissitudes.
Al Qaeda in Iraq?? “Defeating” Al Qaeda in Iraq is swatting a swarm of specially imported may flies with a $3 trillion sledge hammer, which we financed by borrowing from China — not the kind of pointless, extravagant and unnecessary victory any sane person would celebrate.

Kotzabasis says…

Bruce-Starting from the end of your post, victory over a mortal foe is priceless and only the historically fatuous would not celebrate. The “Mahdi Militia” being the major combative militia against the coalition forces and you say that “the US should be the least bit interested in its vicissitudes.” In what kind of strategic cuckoo land are you domiciled?

But two words of your post provide the key to the secrets of your heart, “hopefully” and “unnecessary.”

By ‘discolouring’ the “reduction of violence” by your intellectually invented colours or rather by ‘defining’ it, “like pink is the new black—hopefully (m.e.) a short-lived fashion,” you show pellucidly that your hope lies in a future increase of violence against the Iraqi people and the coalition forces, so you can justify your original misplaced antiwar stand and gratify as well your fervent anti-Bush emotions. And your unnecessary victory over a deadly irreconcilable enemy reveals your historical blindness and ignorance as well as your bereftness of foresight.

Lastly, ironically by your own ‘unborrowed’ sledge hammer you knock yourself off your pedestal of “institutional ethical injunctions” as an outcome of your ‘secret’ wish to see the US defeated in this war, which as a nation is the foundation of your institutional moral existence, according to your own philosophical standards. This is intellectual, spiritual, and ethical suicide at its best.

Expand this discussion by joining in

Obama’s Oxymoronic Proposal to Parley with Sponsors of Terror

Hypocrisy On Hamas By James P. Rubin, former assistant secretary of state during the Clinton administration

Washington Post, May 16, 2008

A brief reply by Con George-Kotzabasis

Two years is a long time in the life of terrorism! Rubin by giving us the answer of McCain to his question of two years ago that the latter was prepared to talk to Hamas and accuse him therefore with hypocrisy can only do so by disregarding this elementary fact. In these two years Hamas has not even shown a propensity to give the Palestinian people “security and a decent life and decent future” nor “democracy”, to quote Rubin (which incidentally was the rider of McCain’s answer.), and continues to engage unappeasably in violence and terror while it’s in government. In such conditions it would be oxymoronic now for any politician, such as Obama suggested and McCain denounced, to open the door of negotiations with a terrorist government while the door of the war on terror has not closed.

Strategically, politically, and morally, it would not only be dull-witted but also close to treachery for any government that has committed its armed forces to fight global terror at the same time to even hint that it is willing to start negotiations with rogue governments that back and continue to be inflexible in their support and sponsorship of terror.

I rest on my oars: Your turn now

IRAQ:LEGACY OF VICTORY OR LEGACY OF DEFEAT?

Forget Legacy-Building:Iraq is NO Japan Mr. President

By David Sanger, Washington Note, January 1, 2006

The following reply is republished here as it clearly shows how wrong all the critics of the war in Iraq and its ‘unraveling’ have been. It’s obvious now, except for those who continue to be in a state of denial, that the new strategy of the Surge implemented by the capable and superb commander General Petraeus is defeating the insurgents and is laying down the rudiments of democracy in Iraq. If these offshoots of freedom grow eventually into the tree of democracy in Iraq, then president Bush’s objective to start democracy rolling in the Middle East will be glowingly achieved. And the pessimists and the naysayers of the neocon strategy to spread and establish democracy in countries that breed terrorism, will have so much egg on their face that will be a full time job for nannies to wipe it off their face.

A brief reply by Con George-Kotzabasis

Legacies do not fall like manna from the sky. Nor are they tailor-made of an original design. They are made by “wearing” for long the hard course of action that will ultimately shape and give birth to the legacy. Moreover, its creator is not one person, but a set of intelligent human beings, who however, are always “escorted” by the jump less shadow of fallibility and serendipity, which inevitably take their toll, but without which no great achievement can be accomplished in human affairs.

The Bush administration, despite some serious mistakes in its strategy (which must creatively and imaginatively be criticized, but not by doomsayer scenarios–which regrettably some readers of The Washington Note are incapable of making a distinction between imaginative critics and doomsayers–is still on the right strategy, both in realizing the prowess and the malice of the enemy and how to confront him. To compare, as Sanger does, this prowess of the religiously fanatic terrorists, whose lethal actions have the great potential of becoming a ceaseless series of successes, with the one off bombings of anarchists, is historically ludicrous. Secondly, to compare the fate of democracy in the Philippines in 1898, with the fate of democracy in Iraq in the age of TV and of the Internet, when most people in oppressed countries can see how other people live in democratic countries and can virtually breath the air of freedom that emanates from these countries, is to compound this incomparable inanity of Sanger.

Also, John Dower’s proposition, “that people know what victory looks like”, as he deems Bush’s victory to be a fabrication, is overtly contradicted by the polls which showed Bush’s ratings for the war jumping from 36% to 46%, after the President’s intense campaign to explain the war to the American people. Lastly, David Donald’s seemingly poignant statement, about Bush’s comparison of the spying intrusions to the “sleeping partners” of the terrorists, with Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus, that there was an uproar against Lincoln and a “lot of people believed it wasn’t necessary”, why is this so surprising, did he expect a unanimous agreement by the American people about such a fundamental, but necessary, reversal of rights even in times of war?

The Administration’s strategy in Iraq was to establish an Archimedean point from which it could turn the terrorist’s world and its sponsors upon their own heads. By defeating Saddam and the current insurgency, it can defeat by proxy, as Libya has shown, all other rogue states, and hence expedite the defeat of global terror. History has not as yet passed its verdict. But the chances are that the Bush administration will accomplish this historic task, and prove wrong all its doomsayers and shallow, unimaginative critics.

 Your turn now…

Posted by: Con George-Kotzabasis on January 2, 2006 03:23 AM