Trump makes no secret of his affinity for foreign dictators of the right persuasion. From Danny Sjursen at antiwar.com:
This article originally appeared at TruthDig.
He was the first duly elected president in the Arab world and the first in Egyptian history. Now Mohammed Morsi is dead, collapsing on June 17 in his glass cage during his show trial in Cairo—a victim, it seems, of criminal negligence during a brutal six-year stint in prison. His death only highlights the distinct malevolence of a military junta that (illegally) overthrew Morsi in a coup. He languished in an Egyptian prison system that’s incarcerated thousands of others—critics of the regime, mostly—in a country that Amnesty International has described as an “open air prison.”
As for President Trump, he could care less. Egypt’s police state, perhaps the most repressive in the country’s modern history, remains a bosom buddy of The Donald’s administration. And most Americans hardly notice. Foreign policy isn’t of great interest for most of the citizenry, despite the fact that it’s the one area in which a U.S. president seems to have nearly unlimited power and influence.
Morsi’s ignominious demise demonstrates just how far the once-bright hopes for democracy in the Arab Spring have truly fallen. Hardly anyone even thinksabout the prospects of democracy in the Mideast. So tight has Washington become with a variety of Arab authoritarians, strongmen and theocrats that veritable tyranny has been normalized in the region. If Americans don’t notice, I assure you that the people of the region absolutely do. Which, to put it bluntly, makes us less safe by empowering Islamist critics of Uncle Sam.
Catchy names like Troika of Tyranny are only applied to the US government’s enemies, but might not that catchy name apply to the US government’s friends in the Middle East? From Danny Sjursen at tomdispatch.com:
Key American Allies in the Middle East Are the Real Tyrants
American foreign policy can be so retro, not to mention absurd. Despite being bogged down in more military interventions than it can reasonably handle, the Trump team recently picked a new fight — in Latin America. That’s right! Uncle Sam kicked off a sequel to the Cold War with some of our southern neighbors, while resuscitating the boogeyman of socialism. In the process, National Security Advisor John Bolton treated us all to a new phrase, no less laughable than Bush the younger’s 2002 “axis of evil” (Iran, Iraq, and North Korea). He labeled Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua a “troika of tyranny.”
Alliteration no less! The only problem is that the phrase ridiculously overestimates both the degree of collaboration among those three states and the dangers they pose to their hegemonic neighbor to the north. Bottom line: in no imaginable fashion do those little tin-pot tyrannies offer either an existential or even a serious threat to the United States. Evidently, however, the phrase was meant to conjure up enough ill will and fear to justify the Trump team’s desire for sweeping regime change in Latin America. Think of it as a micro-version of Cold War 2.0.
Odds are that Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, both unrepentant neocons, are the ones driving this Latin American Cold War reboot, even as, halfway across the planet, they’ve been pushing for war with Iran. Meanwhile, it’s increasingly clear that Donald Trump gets his own kick out of being a “war president” and the unique form of threat production that goes with it.
Slowly but surely, countries in the Middle East are resisting US dictates and drifting away from the US orbit. The latest is Egypt. From Tom Luongo at strategic-culture.org:
Amidst all of the truly terrible things happening geopolitically around the globe I find it’s important to take that big step back and assess what’s really going on. It’s easy to get caught up (and depressed) by the deluge of bad news emanating from the Trump administration on foreign policy matters.
It seems sometimes that it’s pointless to even discuss them because any analysis of today will invariably be invalidated by the end of the week.
But that’s also why the big picture analysis is needed.
Resistance to the US empire’s edicts is rising daily. We see it and we see the counter-reactions to them from the useful idiots who make up Trump’s Triumvirate of Belligerence – John Bolton and Mikes Pompeo and Pence.
It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about sovereigntist movements across Europe threatening the apple cart of the wicked European Union or something as small as Syria granting Iran a port lease in Latakia.
The Trump administration has abandoned diplomacy to such an extent that only raw, naked aggression is evident. And it has finally reached the point where even the world’s most accomplished diplomats have dispensed with the niceties of their profession.
The US is trapped in the Middle East by its own policymakers’ myopia and lack of understanding of the region. From Gregory R. Copley at oilprice.com:
Egyptian President Abdul Fatah al-Sisi’s visit to the White House on April 9, 2019, resulted in one of the worst setbacks for U.S. Middle Eastern policy under the Donald Trump Administration.
What was supposed to be a fence-mending exercise between the two countries essentially ended many of the meaningful strategic aspects of the U.S.-Egyptian relationship, despite the fact that the public appearances between the two presidents appeared to be cordial. There have been significant areas of difference and frustration between Egypt and the US, even since the Trump Administration came to office, but there was at least a concerted effort on both sides to work harmoniously.
The question now is who in the Washington bureaucracy will take the blame for pushing Trump to insist on actions by al-Sisi which any fundamental analysis of the situation points to being infeasible and against Egypt’s view of its own strategic interests.
That is not to say that Egypt wishes to end cordiality and cooperation between Washington and Cairo; it does not. But certain battle lines have been drawn in the greater Middle East, and Cairo and the U.S. are not altogether on the same side. Both sides will need to undertake significant, careful action to put relations back on a positive path before the break becomes calcified.
The failure on this occasion lay at the door of the U.S. for failing to realize that Washington now needs Egypt more than Egypt needs the U.S.
Our so-called friends in the Middle East do the US no favors. From Danny Sjursen at antiwar.com:
Pop quiz: name the two largest (by far) recipients of U.S. foreign military aid and one other country which recently negotiated the biggest American arms sale deal in world history. Let’s call them the Big three (beneficiaries of largesse, that is). Need some hints? One is ruled by a dictatorial general who came to power in a coup and subsequently ordered the slaughter of some one thousand civilian protesters. Another regularly defies international law, has annexed conquered territory, and boasts a military that has shot to death 250 civilian protesters along its border over just the last year. Finally, the last country fatally starved upwards of 85,000 foreign children and still decapitates women for the crimes of “witchcraft” and “sorcery.” By the way, all three are rather tight with old Uncle Sam – regularly described as “partners” in Washington. Which reminds me of the old saying: with friends like these, who needs…well, you get it.
Ready for the (not-so) shocking answers? So, the military dictatorship is Egypt – recipient of $1.3 billion in military aid per annum. The nation that conquered and annexed adjacent territory is Israel – the donee of some $3.1 billion in military aid each year; and, ironically, the state that US leaders regularly (if incorrectly) tout as the “only democracy in the Mideast.” And the charming, child-starving, woman-beheading regime: that’s the theocracy and absolute monarchy of Saudi Arabia – future owner (maybe) of a record $110 billion in US military equipment. Now that’s a proud lot!
Syria’s now the belle of the ball because now that Assad has survived regime change, it could serve as a counterweight to Turkey and Iran in the Middle East. From Middle East Eye at theantimedia.org:
Last week the United Arab Emirates announced it was negotiating the reopening of its embassy in Damascus and restoring full ties with Syria.
After the opening of the Nassib border crossing on the Jordan-Syria border, for the first time since the war began, Syria now has a through road linking Turkey to Jordan.
At the same time the Israelis have also handed over the Quneitra border crossing in the occupied Golan Heights to Damascus after four years of closure.
It is not just that all roads are leading to Damascus but also there is a quiet – but strategic – shift by the most powerful Arab actors in the region towards establishing a working relationship with the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Posted in Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, History, Media, Politics
Tagged Bashar al-Assad, Egypt, Israel, Middle East, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates
Here’s what’s behind the “phenomenal” run in US defense stocks. From Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J.S. Davies at antiwar.com:
Unfortunately, killing and maiming civilians with US weapons is a regular occurrence
As if the horrific Saudi bombing of a Yemeni school bus that killed 44 children on August 9, 2018 wasn’t bad enough, CNN reported that the bomb used in the attack was manufactured by Lockheed Martin, one of the major U.S. defense contractors. Nima Elbagir, reporting for CNN’s Situation Room, showed a map of Yemen pinpointing several other attacks where large numbers of civilians have been killed by bombs from not only Lockheed Martin, but also General Dynamics and Raytheon. It was a rare moment when a mainstream US media outlet made the connection between US weapons and the devastation they wreak.
The footage of the Yemen attack is heartbreaking, showing bloodied and screaming children (the ‘fortunate’ survivors) still wearing their blue backpacks. A global outcry for the Saudis to stop bombing civilians and for the US to stop selling weapons to Saudi Arabia arose immediately. Continue reading
Posted in Business, Cronyism, Economy, Financial markets, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, Military
Tagged Arms Sales, Egypt, Israel, Weapons Manufacturers, Yemen