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
Nonie Darwish, an immigrant, says America has nothing to be ashamed of, and pointing out the shameful conditions in many of the countries of the Middle East is not Islamaphobia. From Darwish at thegatestoneinstitute.org:
- The bias of many Americans against American values has blinded them from seeing the reasons we immigrants went through hell to come to this country. Many Americans believe that those who criticize the culture from which we escaped must be “Islamophobic.” They seem not to understand why we never again want to see what we have gone through so much to escape from.
- Such attacks on the white majority in Americans are, bluntly, racist. It is a shame that so many Americans are unable or refuse to see what many immigrants see: that it was under this white majority that millions of oppressed people — of all colors and creeds — from around the world were rescued from tyranny, Sharia law, slavery, discrimination, Islamism and a miserable existence under corrupt, war-torn and famine-stricken nations. Instead, many seem to want to bring all that here.
- We watched American freedoms as a dream: to be able to smile back at a man who opened the door for you without accusations of being a loose woman for smiling. To be able to wear what you want, go out when you want, work or get an education or not, and venture to hope one day to live under a system that respects monogamy and equal rights for women and minorities. Yes, it is the American culture where whites are the majority, no problem with that, that made our dreams come true. Despite its shortcomings no other country in the world offers its citizens the chance to be whatever they would like. We might never get back what we already have.
Every day we hear on television, “We need an honest discussion about race in this country”.
Many well-meaning Americans, however, may have had enough of this endless, empty and dysfunctional discussion of race. To an outsider, Americans seem obsessed with race; and the discussion always deteriorates to shouting, insulting, blaming, finger-pointing, distorting reality and removing any hope of taking responsibility for oneself. The goal of the discussion always seems to be to try to claim that “I am holier than thou.”
To continue reading: Tyranny of Shaming
Proxy wars are not over in either Syria or Iraq. This article illustrates why the only way the US is ever going to “win” in the Middle East is to get out. The Middle East is centuries-old rivalries that have seen many outsiders have their heads handed to them. The US is not exempt. From James M. Dorsey at almasdarnews.com:
Turkish allegations of Saudi, Emirati and Egyptian support for the outlawed Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) threaten to turn Turkey’s military offensive against Syrian Kurds aligned with the PKK into a regional imbroglio.
The threat is magnified by Iranian assertions that low-intensity warfare is heating up in areas of the Islamic republic populated by ethnic minorities, including the Kurds in the northwest and the Baloch on the border with Pakistan.
Taken together, the two developments raise the spectre of a potentially debilitating escalation of the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran as well as an aggravation of the eight-month-old Gulf crisis that has pitted Saudi Arabia and its allies against Qatar, which has forged close ties to Turkey.
The United Arab Emirates and Egypt rather than Saudi Arabia have taken the lead in criticizing Turkey’s incursion into Syria designed to remove US-backed Kurds from the countries’ border and create a 30-kilometer deep buffer zone.
UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said the incursion by a non-Arab state signalled that Arab states would be marginalized if they failed to develop a national security strategy.
Egypt, for its part, condemned the incursion as a “fresh violation of Syrian sovereignty” that was intended to “undermine the existing efforts for political solutions and counter-terrorism efforts in Syria,”
Despite Saudi silence, Yeni Safak, a newspaper closely aligned with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), charged that a $1 billion Saudi contribution to the reconstruction of Raqqa, the now Syrian Kurdish-controlled former capital of the Islamic State, was evidence of the kingdom’s involvement in what it termed a “dirty game.”
To continue reading: How regional rivalries threaten to fuel the fire in Syria and Iran
Posted in Eurasian Axis, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments
Tagged Egypt, Erdogan, Iran, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates