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Isis has carried out revenge attacks against any state or group which fights against it. When the US started bombing its forces in Iraq and Syria last year, it decapitated American journalists and aid workers. When beheadings became the norm and lost their shock value, it burned to death a Jordanian pilot in a cage.... Read More
Egyptian painting of a Libyan, a Kushi, a Syrian, and an Egyptian.  In the Middle East, the Egyptians were seen as the Dark Other. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Mention the term ‘skin color’ and people usually think of race or ethnicity. Yet this way of thinking became dominant only when Europeans began moving out and colonizing the rest of the world, beginning in the 16th century. Previously, physical features were less useful as ethnic markers. We knew about and quarrelled with those groups... Read More
John Kerry was doing his best "Casablanca" impersonation, pretending to be police Capt. Renault and was just shocked that Egypt is still a brutal military dictatorship despite our newly revived "historic partnership." A day after chatting it up in Cairo on Sunday with now-elected dictator Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, who, Kerry assured the world, "gave me... Read More
Think of Barack Obama's recent return to West Point at graduation time to offer his approach to an increasingly chaotic world as a bookend on an era. George W. Bush went to the Academy in June 2002 -- less than a year after 9/11, seven months after the U.S. had triumphantly invaded Afghanistan, 10 months... Read More
How Egypt's Generals Sidelined Uncle Sam
Since September 11, 2001, Washington’s policies in the Middle East have proven a grim imperial comedy of errors and increasingly a spectacle of how a superpower is sidelined. In this drama, barely noticed by the American media, Uncle Sam’s keystone ally in the Arab world, Egypt, like Saudi Arabia, has largely turned its back on... Read More
An eight-minute trial, with no arguments for the defence, and one judge sentences 683 people to death.
After an eight-minute trial a judge in Egypt has sentenced to death 683 alleged supporters of the former President Mohamed Morsi who was ousted in a military coup last July. Among those condemned to die is the spiritual head of the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been declared a terrorist organisation despite its tradition of non-violence... Read More
What John Kerry did this week in Egypt and Saudi Arabia is nothing short of despicable. He, and the president who appointed him, managed to honor both a vicious military dictatorship and a totalitarian medieval monarchy as examples of progress toward a more democratic Middle East, as if neither stood in contradiction to professed U.S.... Read More
Do you remember the end of history?   I do. You know, when the collapse of Soviet communism signaled the final triumph of American style democratic republican politics and free market economics…the victory that underlies the somewhat more scientific brand of American exceptionalism practiced by President Obama and excuses the often extralegal and violent insertion of... Read More
In the back and forth about Syria, there is surprisingly little discussion about Saudi Arabia’s Prince Bandar. Even though Bandar apparently took over the Saudi covert account last year and has driven the Kingdom’s hard line against the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria. It’s also clear that Saudi Arabia has... Read More
Cairo's counter-intelligence has left U.S. policymakers in the dark.
If it seems as if the United States possesses little to no leverage over the deteriorating situation in Egypt, a contributing factor might be the evident cluelessness of policymakers in Washington. That might reasonably be attributed to the inability on the part of the intelligence community and diplomatic service to obtain the kind of information... Read More
An Interview with Andy Libson
Andy Libson is a member of La Voz, a schoolteacher, and member of United Educators of San Francisco and the reform caucus, Educators for a Democratic Union. He’s been keeping a close eye on Egypt, which he’s written about extensively. Below is an interview Libson did with CounterPuncher Mike Whitney on the recent happenings in... Read More
[This post originally appeared at Asia Times Online on August 22, 2013 as "Denial Is Not Just a River in Egypt".  I've expanded and clarified the original piece considerably, especially in material pertaining to Golden Shield and the Great Firewall, with the additions shown in red.  This piece may be reposted if ATOl is credited... Read More
Recent events in Egypt provide significant food for thought for China policy idealists and realists. The liberal West’s chosen panacea for China—millions of young people taking to the streets and voicing democratic slogans—produced an embarrassing military coup and an appalling massacre in Egypt. If news reports can be trusted, there is a distinct lack of... Read More
Egypt’s US-financed armed forces have gone to war against Egypt’s people. Arab spring has become Arab winter. So far, army and security police have scored brilliant battlefield victories against unarmed men, women and children, killing and wounding thousands who were demanding a return to democratic government. The latest Cairo protests by supporters of the elected... Read More
There are interesting parallels between the liberal disgruntlement with Edward Snowden (typified by  Melissa Harris-Perry’s anti-Snowden screed on MSNBC) and the right’s beatdown of Al Gore’s physique and carbon footprint on the global warming issue. The argument seems to be, unless the bearer of unwelcome tidings can demonstrate 100% plaster sainthood to his or her... Read More
The real story behind the military coup in Cairo led by General al-Sissi is much more complex than the western media is reporting. Far from a spontaneous uprising by Egyptians, – aka “a people’s revolution” – what really happened was a putsch orchestrated by Egypt’s “deep government” and outside powers – the latest phase of... Read More
Is Saudi money undermining Cairo's Morsi government?
A great deal of reporting on the political unrest in Egypt offers simple explanations fully comprehensible to readers in London, Paris, or New York, couched in the political expressions that those audiences are accustomed to hearing. Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi has been depicted as an Islamist with an Islamist agenda who is also an inept... Read More
A year ago, I was mixing with demonstrators in Cairo’s Tahrir Square calling for an end to Mubarak’s dictatorship and democracy for Egypt’s 84 million people. Being a natural-born firebrand, I find most revolutions intoxicating – if almost inevitably disappointing or even ghastly. What a difference a year makes. Tahrir Square is now packed with... Read More
The recent killing of 16 Egyptian military police by militants in Sinai, part of an unsuccessful attempted penetration of the nearby Israeli border using a captured armored personnel carrier, appears to have been carried out by jihadi groups from the north of the peninsula along with Palestinians infiltrated from Gaza. But is the accepted narrative... Read More
History in Reverse
Remember the euphoria early last year when long-established police states across the Arab world were tumbling down. Facile comparisons were made with the fall of communist states in Eastern Europe in 1989. Commentators spoke glibly of irrepressible political change in the age of the internet, social media and satellite television. Regime change from Tunisia to... Read More
The second, decisive round of Egypt’s presidential election will be held 16 and 17 June. If former general and Mubarak regime stalwart Ahmad Shafiq somehow wins, it’s almost certain the vote was manipulated. A huge popular explosion in Egypt will very likely ensue. Egyptians are already furious their first democratic election of a president was... Read More
"The Biggest Source of Social Injustice"
Rudyard Kipling's caustic verses denouncing the corruption of state officials sound as sharp and relevant today as they did in 1886. He drew examples from ancient Egypt, though his experience was in British-ruled India where things were supposedly better run. But Egyptians today should see nothing much to complain of in his picture of Egypt,... Read More
“The surprise is not that there is so much violence, but that there is so little.”
Cairo It is a gun battle people in the Shubra district in central Cairo still talk about six months after it happened. In a dispute over a piece of land he had seized amid the small shops and densely crowded streets, Mohammed Shaban, who had escaped from prison during the revolution, challenged the police to... Read More
“What benefits were there from this revolution?”
Cairo The death of Pope Shenouda, who led Egypt’s Coptic Christian Church for 40 years, has increased fears among Copts that they will face persecution and discrimination as Islamic parties become more powerful. Hundreds of thousands of mourners, many crying, packed the streets around St Mark’s Cathedral in Cairo Tuesday as they waited to file... Read More
Collusion and Betrayal on the Suez Canal
Here in Moscow I recently received a dark-blue folder dated 1975. It contains one of the most well-buried secrets of Middle Eastern and of US diplomacy. The secret file, written by the Soviet Ambassador in Cairo, Vladimir M. Vinogradov, apparently a draft for a memorandum addressed to the Soviet politbureau, describes the 1973 October War... Read More
The staff of US democracy promotion NGOs, including the son of Transportation Secretary Lahood, are currently experiencing legal travails in Egypt. The Egyptian junta is well aware that democratic agitation abetted by the National Endowment for Democracy, the IRI, and the NDI is often employed to install new regimes when local strongmen running quasi-democracies (featuring... Read More
Last Monday, Egyptians celebrated the first anniversary of the revolution that overthrew the 30-year Mubarak regime. By contrast, America’s reaction this historic event was tellingly muted. Egypt contains a quarter of the Arab world’s people. In Egypt, the US had a golden opportunity to encourage genuine democracy. Instead, it long opposed demands by Egyptians for... Read More
CAIRO – Tahrir Square, epicenter of the earthquake that ousted Egypt’s western-backed dictator, Husni Mubarak, is quiet – for the moment. There are banner-wavers, speakers, and youngsters milling about. But the by now world-famous square has a forlorn, leftover look, with more street people than revolutionaries. Violence crackles like static electricity. Heavily armed riot and... Read More
CAIRO – Standing at Tahrir Square, ground zero of Egypt’s revolution, is exciting and intimidating. The explosive anger, pent-up frustrations, and yearning for revenge of tens of thousands of demonstrators and onlookers breaks like waves across this vast, unsightly plaza. This is the raw material of all revolutions. The whiff of near-toxic riot gas supplied... Read More
Illusions and Reality
Cairo Egypt opened its border with the Gaza Strip last week in a radical move that upends the 30-year-old alliance between the US, Israel and Egypt under the rule of President Hosni Mubarak. The Egyptian foreign minister described the blockade of 1.6 million Palestinians in Gaza as “disgusting”. Soon Egypt will reopen diplomatic links with... Read More
Thousands Idle and Discontented
Egypt has opened to the public the tombs of leading retainers of the Pharaoh Tutankhamun at Saqqara, south of Cairo, in a desperate bid to lure back tourists who have avoided the country since the revolt in February that toppled President Hosni Mubarak. Unemployed guides at Saqqara, one of the great archaeological sites of the... Read More
Crimes Against the People
The former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak is to be tried for conspiring to kill demonstrators whose protests brought an end to his 30-year rule. The move by the military government is seen as an attempt to satisfy growing popular anger in Egypt at its failure, since taking over from 83-year-old Mubarak on February 11, to... Read More
Copts Demand End to Post-Revolution Sectarianism
Cairo "I shouldn't have told them I am a Copt," says Hani Armanius Agib, recalling how his admission, as he tried to join a Coptic demonstration, that he is a Christian to a crowd of Muslims led to him being beaten up and his wallet and mobile phone stolen. Taken to hospital, he was arrested... Read More
The Great Arab Awakening
Cairo Egypt is filled with signs of an unfinished revolution. Politics and everyday life are in a state of flux. Even the skylight high in the ceiling of the Cairo Museum, through which thieves entered at the height of the uprising, has not been mended. The robbers lowered themselves by rope and stole items discovered... Read More
There has been a revolution in Egypt, but we still don't know what kind it is, how far will it go, and who stands to gain. Last week, deposed president Husni Mubarak and his two sons were arrested and are facing judicial interrogation. Egyptians are jubilant. Few Egyptians believed the man they called "Pharaoh" would... Read More
Egyptians on March to Keep Revolutionary Spirit Alive
Cairo Demonstrators fearful that the tide of revolution is on the ebb in Egypt staged a mass protest in Tahrir Square in Cairo last Friday to demand that a less authoritarian form of government be introduced. The protesters appeared to sense that political power is drifting away from them and the old system is reasserting... Read More
Counterpunch has a remarkable wrap-up of the Egyptian Revolution, courtesy of one Esam El-Amin, that goes beyond self-congratulating and self-justifying spin to deliver just-the-facts-ma'am reporting of what happened, combined with trenchant analysis. Here's the link to When Egypt's Revolution Was at the Crossroads. Here's a taste: February 2: Displaying Courage and Steadfastness in The Battle... Read More
Sometimes one has to wonder whether words have lost their meaning when used by neoconservatives. Yesterday’s Washington Post featured an op ed by Robert Kagan of Brookings and Michelle Dunne of the Carnegie Endowment. Together, the two are co chairs to the Working Group on Egypt. The op ed headline in the printed edition was... Read More
Upper-caste Indians. Clark’s model works poorly in State societies where class divisions are rigid and where different classes operate according to very different rules. In my last post, I discussed Ron Unz’s essay on selection for intelligence in East Asian societies. This paper, as its own author points out, makes the same point that Gregory... Read More
One of the least analyzed aspects of the Egyptian pro-democracy movement and US policy toward it, is the role of the influential Zionist power configuration (ZPC) including the leading umbrella organization – the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (CPMAJO) – Congressional Middle East committee members, officials occupying strategic positions in the Obama... Read More
CounterPunch Diary
President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton rushed to contrast the repressive brutality of the Iranian authorities with what they now seek to present as the bloodless, US-managed triumph of pro-democracy forces in Egypt. By any measure this was brazen impudence, starting with the fact that across the past few weeks the 300 dead, slaughtered... Read More
Mohamed Elsayyed / Shutterstock.com
Egyptians revolted against American rule as well as Mubarak’s.
The Mideast house of cards so laboriously constructed by Washington over the past four decades threatens to collapse. One can’t help but be reminded of the revolts across Eastern Europe in 1989 that began the fall of the Soviet Empire. Now it may be the turn of America’s Mideast empire, an empire constructed of Arab... Read More
This Isn't All About Mubarak
The real story about what's going on in Egypt is being suppressed in the US because it doesn't jibe with the "ain't capitalism great" theme that the media loves to reiterate ad nauseam. The truth is that the main economic policies that Washington exports through bribery and coercion have ignited massive labor unrest which has... Read More
"Plus a change,” say the cynical French, “plus c'est la mme chose." Many thoughtful Egyptians will be recalling this "bon mot" as the watch one ruler, the ousted Husni Mubarak, replaced by a military junta led by Field Marshall Mohammed Tantawi. Egyptians are getting more Mubarakism, sans Mubarak, at least for now. This is not... Read More
The Limits of Social Movements :: The mass movements which forced the removal of Mubarak reveal both the strength and weaknesses of spontaneous uprisings. On the one hand, the social movements demonstrated their capacity to mobilize hundreds of thousands, if not millions, in a successful sustained struggle culminating in the overthrow of the dictator in... Read More
“The king is dead!,” as the French say, “long live the king!” Will this be the case in Egypt, where one monarch, the ousted Husni Mubarak, will be replaced by another general or military junta led by Field Marshall Mohammed Tantawi? So far, this is what Egyptians are getting. The new military junta just proclaimed... Read More
CounterPunch Diary
We need good news. When was the last time we had some, here in this country? The Seattle riots against the WTO? That was back in 1999. Around the world? Hard to remember – it’s been a long dry spell. It reminds me of the old Jacobin shivering in the chill night of Bourbon restoration,... Read More
"Get out, now!" President Barack Obama ordered Egypt's embattled dictator, Husni Mubarak, reminding us of Henry Kissinger's famous quip that it's often more dangerous being America's ally than its enemy. But after some confusion and foot-stamping by Israel, a clearly confused Secretary of State Hillary Clinton proclaimed it would be good to keep Mubarak in... Read More
More along the lines of "Reportin’ Like It’s 1989” theme referred to in the previous post is a fine photoessay from Tahrir Square by Xinhua’s Yin Dongxun. For me, the subject matter evokes comparisons to Tian An Men Square in 1989. Here’s a few samples. The rest are here, on Xinhua’s English-language service: Perhaps Al... Read More
Autocrats around the world can thank Hosni Mubarak for showing some counter-revolutionary backbone. The United States, I think, is secretly grateful he's hanging on. Now, anti-government activists won’t believe that all it takes is a Facebook page and an ecstatic pro-democracy dogpile in the main square to chase a dictator out of his palace. On... Read More
Topic Classics
Egyptians revolted against American rule as well as Mubarak’s.