Egypt in the Calculations of Regional and Global Political Powers

Egypt in the Calculations of Regional and Global Political Powers

The vivid pictures filling the world media of what has been happening recently in Egypt are very reminiscent of the most critical moments of the «revolution» of 2011. At that time the local and world television channels were also filled with reports in a style very similar to today's events: a furious, seething mob, bewildered policemen, Western correspondents broadcasting with tense, focused expressions on their faces...

According to a widespread theory, the events which led to Mubarak's resignation took the form of a flashmob with the active use of the blogoshpere and Americans recruiting Internet bloggers who are oriented toward the Muslim Brotherhood. In fact such an explanation for what is happening in a country where even according to official figures over 30% of the population is illiterate does not stand up to scrutiny. What is happening in Egypt is rooted not in «flashmobs», but in causes of a fundamental character. And usually one must seek these causes outside of Egypt itself.

In Stage 1, the Mubarak regime, whose pro-American and pro-Israel sympathies had been of the utmost advantage to the «Republican» Bush administration, was toppled by the «Democrats», headed by Obama. These people placed their stakes on eliminating secular regimes and promoting radical Islamists: the tactics for keeping the Middle East under U.S. control had changed.

Stage 2 of the multi-step combination was marked by the ouster of the elected president Mohamed Mursi, who paid for having a position on the Gaza Strip which was displeasing to Israel, not complying with the dictates of the IMF, not joining the anti-Iranian axis under the aegis of Turkey, and for trying to place the Egyptian military under his control. After the removal of Mursi, the country's fate depended on the willingness and ability of that same military, which had once again come to power, to stand up for the national interests of Egypt, on the one hand; and the strategic plans of the main powers involved in the affairs of the Middle East (the U.S., Israel, Saudi Arabia and Turkey) on the other.

Stage 3 began symbolically with the August 5 nomination of a man named Robert Ford for the post of U.S. ambassador to Egypt. This testified to the fact that Washington was shifting to the active phase of its plan to create controlled chaos in the Land of the Nile. «The Quiet American» Robert Ford, who played one of the key roles in the nearly complete collapse of Iraq and the continuing destabilization of Syria, represents the continuity of the policies of the Bush and Obama administrations on the Middle East, which are aimed at maintaining U.S. hegemony in the Middle East at any cost.

On the one hand, the U.S. and Israel approve of the steps taken by the new Egyptian military regime for blockading the Gaza Strip, their antagonism toward Hamas, and the reinforcement of the anti-Iranian regional axis which includes Turkey, Qatar and Egypt. On the other hand, this attitude could change abruptly. The «unconstructive» (from the viewpoint of Washington and Tel Aviv) position of the military on the Palestinian question, along with the Egyptian military's undesirable (for the U.S. administration) abstention from intervening in the affairs of Syria (the Muslim Brotherhood takes the opposite position, calling for jihad against the Syrian regime) could completely destroy the illusion of «peaceful regulation of the Middle East» disguising the dictates of the U.S., and at the same time rid the region of obtrusive American intervention by strengthening the role of the oil monarchies of the Gulf. The appearance of clarity in this issue most likely will decide the further fate of the Egyptian military authorities.

The fact is that the Armed Forces of Egypt as they are today are a creation of the U.S., whose military assistance is one of the main conditions for their survival. The entire officer corps of the Egyptian Armed Forces over the course of the past 40 years have been trained in army colleges in Britain and the U.S. That makes it all the more remarkable that after the events of August 14, the Egyptian authorities accused Barack Obama of making statements which encourage extremism. Obama has not so much as hinted about the possibility of cutting the over 1.3 billion dollars per year of American military aid to Egypt. Although what is happening today in that country is a convenient excuse for Washington to take Egypt off of subsidies and place it on the shoulders of, for example, its ally Saudi Arabia, as some newsmakers such as Marc Lynch in his statue in Foreign Policy are urging: «It's time for Washington to stop pretending. Its efforts to maintain its lines of communication with the Egyptian military, quietly mediate the crisis, and help lay the groundwork for some new, democratic political process have utterly failed. Egypt's new military regime, and a sizable and vocal portion of the Egyptian population, have made it very clear that they just want the United States to leave it alone. For once, Washington should give them their wish. As long as Egypt remains on its current path, the Obama administration should suspend all aid, keep the embassy in Cairo closed, and refrain from treating the military regime as a legitimate government».

The government of Turkey, which supports the Islamists politically, is currently the most consistent supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood. Ankara is trying to persuade the UN Security Council and the League of Arab States to intervene in what is happening. The Turkish supporters of Egyptian Islamism have the long-term aim of weakening the role of the Saudi Wahhabis, their longtime competitors in the Near and Middle East (by «Islamism», we mean not traditional Islam, but its radicalized ideological surrogate created by British and American intelligence agencies in order to create schisms in national movements in the Muslim world and place them under control).

Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which support the Egyptian military and do not hide their antipathy toward the Mursi government and the Muslim Brotherhood, have been reinforcing the military regime in Cairo economically. For example, in the words of Israeli commentators, «the Arab oil colossus managed to dwarf Iran’s pretensions to the standing of regional power» literally in one July day by allocating «$8 billion ...into the coffers of Egypt’s army rulers in cash, grants, loans without interest and gifts of gas». The Saudis are mortally afraid that the Egyptian Brotherhood could deprive them of their primacy in the Arab world and bring Cairo to the forefront, restoring, with Ankara's help, the situation to that which preceded the 1973 Arab-Israel War.  After all, Egypt's defeat in that war:

a) «woke up» Riyadh, which organized an oil blockade, provoked a world economic crisis and turned Saudi Arabia into a «strategic partner» of the U.S. in the region. It is from that moment that the phenomenal growth of the Gulf countries began. The growth of the influence of Islam was taking place in parallel to this: the «leading and guiding» role in the Arab world shifted from Cairo to Riyadh, and the export of Wahhabi-type political Islam turned out to be more profitable than the export of Arab socialism in the spirit of early Nasser;

b) was evidence for the Arab world of the collapse of Cairo's efforts at leadership and its revolutionary strategy, which oriented the Islamic world in those years toward Soviet anti-imperialism and offsetting U.S. imperialism.

Today the Saudis are concerned, and with good reason, that replacing the Egyptian military leaders with Islamists at the summit of power could turn back time: it could give the trump cards to the Turks in the Islamic world, and to Egypt in the Arab world. And then Egypt, guided by Washington and led by Islamists pushing for «social justice», will bring the «Arab Spring» to the countries of the Persian Gulf, which have risen too high in the sense of prosperity and independence with respect to the U.S. Having become the spoils of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt will do this regardless of whether the Islamists take power in the country «through democratic procedures» or push the country onto the path of Libya. Both possibilities suit those forces in the United States which are trying to build the global pyramid of the Pax Americana on the shaky ground of supposedly controlled chaos.
 

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