Real News bulletin about the Middle East (ctd)
Published in: Melanie's blog
Springtime for Morsi
Democracy demonstrators have been clashing with police on the streets of Cairo now for three days in protest at the assumption by Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi of dictatorial powers. Of course, when they last took to the streets against President Mubarak and his dictatorial powers, US President Obama and UK Prime Minister Cameron helped get rid of him. So now that Morsi has become a dictator the Egyptian masses can expect them to do the same, yes? Er no, of course not – because Obama and Cameron helped put Morsi into power.
So what have they said now that Springtime for Morsi has become Winter for Egyptian Democracy? Are they embarrassed about what they’ve done? Are they contrite about the mess they’ve made and the danger they’ve so massively increased for the west by helping install the Muslim Brotherhood, which aims to destroy the west, in a country with enormous strategic importance for the west?
On the BBC TV Andrew Marr show this morning, the UK Foreign Secretary Dr Pangloss William Hague showed his massive grasp of these geopolitical implications by breezily waving all this away saying well, there’s bound to be a few setbacks but we must keep faith with the Egyptian movement for democracy and the Arab Spring is still on course. Which is about as brazen as you can get in trying to pretend that black is white. What Hague really wanted to say instead was that what all this showed was that it was even more important than ever before to get the Israel–Palestinian peace process back on track, because that was absolutely fundamental to absolutely everything.
So reassuring that Britain’s Foreign Secretary has such a grip on reality.
As for Obama, all his administration has said about its Egyptian protégé springing into dictator mode is something about the need to resolve differences peacefully and democratically. As the Egyptian masses riot, Obama has not condemned this snuffing out of their freedoms.
So when it’s an Egyptian dictator who is a kind of ally of the west, Obama and Cameron say he’s an obstacle to democracy and human rights and get rid of him. When it’s an Egyptian dictator who supports the Muslim Brotherhood and the extinction of democracy and human rights by a theocratic tyranny, the Arab Spring is still on course to achieve democracy.
Question of the moment, of course, is whether Obama knew Morsi was about to do this before Hillary Clinton anointed Morsi as Keeper of the Hamas Ceasefire. Because it looks awfully as if there was some kind of quid pro quo here – you know, like ‘I’ll keep Hamas quiet for a while, Barack, just so’s you can twist Netanyahu’s arms out of his sockets and call off his invasion provided you turn a blind eye to the fact that I’m now going to become a tyrant, thanks so much’. And if that wasn’t what happened, then you might think Obama would now be pretty sore that Morsi has made him look either a lethally dangerous idiot or else a lethally dangerous Brotherhood sympathiser (perish either thought).
But now Morsi is saying he’s only going to be a dictator for a little while, until Egypt gets its new constitution. So that’s all right them.
- A strategic game-changer?
Various folk have observed that Israel’s Iron Dome missile defence system is a military game-changer, altering the strategic balance between Israel and the countries that want to exterminate it. This piece by Akiva Hamilton in the Jerusalem Post is particularly informative and sharp. He says that Iron Dome defends not just against short range missiles but is already well on the way to achieving what a further medium-range missile defence system aims to achieve, and with a very high and continually improving level of accuracy.
Also, the supposedly prohibitive cost for Israel from Iron Dome is actually far lower than is commonly thought – while the cost of the missiles for those trying to murder Jews with them is ruinously high. Hamilton writes:
‘The strategic implications are that the current rocket-based terror strategy of Hamas and Hezbollah has been rendered both ineffective and economically unsustainable. I estimate it is currently costing Hamas (and thus its patron Iran) around $5m. (500 rockets at $10,000 each) to murder a single Israeli. When Iron Dome reaches 95% interception rate these figures will double and at 97.5% they will double again.
‘Moreover, most rockets miss and Iron Dome ignores them. Indeed, this strategy will bankrupt Iran even more quickly than President Reagan’s “Star Wars” missile defense strategy bankrupted the Soviet Union.’
What a wonderful thought.