It’s the U.S. vs. the Egyptian People (Mubarak’s Just Our Dictator)

One protester pointed to the fact that the tear gas canisters being used by the police are made in the U.S.

This is not about Mubarak. The U.S., us, we’re the real boss in Egypt. The people in the Egyptian streets want democracy. The U.S. certainly does NOT want to give them that, because it rejects who the Egyptians would vote for. If you’re uncertain of the preceding truths, simply read more Wikileaks (see below for links).

And then there’s why the U.S. requires an oppressive, anti-democratic Egypt, briefly and from an unlikely source, JTA:

Egypt’s $1.3 billion in annual aid [from the U.S.] — most of it in defense assistance — is rooted in its 1979 peace treaty with Israel.

More on that topic here, in this interview with U.S. state dept spokesman P.J. Crowley on Al-Jazeera (hat tips to Mondoweiss and shergald):

Rattansi: But you have more leverage than that. Surely the secretary of state or the President can speak to President Mubarak and say, “Call off your repressive security forces, now begin a transition to democracy, and stop torturing people.”

Crowley: But again, you’re casting that in zero sum terms and I reject that. We respect what Egypt contributes to the region, it is a stabilizing force, it has made its own peace with Israel, and is pursuing normal relations with Israel, we think that’s important, we think that’s a model that the region should adopt broadly speaking. at the same time, we recognize that Egypt, Tunisia other countries do need to reform, they do need to respond to the needs of their people, and we encourage that reform and are contributing across the region to that reform. …

In any case, if you read and watch the news using my title as your filter, it becomes easy to understand U.S. reaction, and easy to figure out what President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are likely saying to Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak behind the scenes. The second is way more important, by the way. You wouldn’t expect anything different than the following from Ms. Clinton, on ABC:

A number of Egyptians expressed frustration with the U.S. government and President Obama, telling ABC News that for all the talk about freedom, the U.S. is not supporting it in Egypt. One protester pointed to the fact that the tear gas canisters being used by the police are made in the U.S. …

Earlier today, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on the Egyptian government to open cell phone and internet lines, and also urged protesters to march peacefully, saying “violence will not make these grievances go away.” …

“We are deeply concerned about the use of violence by the Egyptian police and security forces against protesters, and we call on the Egyptian government to do everything in its power to restrain the security forces. At the same time, protestors should also refrain from violence and express themselves peacefully,” Clinton said, in the most forceful tone she has employed since protests began this week. …

But Clinton dodged ABC News’ question about the United States condemning the crackdown and wouldn’t respond to questions on Mubarak’s fate.

Or this exchange on PBS, with Vice-President Joe Biden, becomes entirely unsurprising if you ‘know’ that the U.S. and democracy protestors in Egypt are the opposing teams:

JIM LEHRER: The word—the word to describe the leadership of Mubarak and Egypt and also in Tunisia before was dictator. Should Mubarak be seen as a dictator?

JOE BIDEN: Look, Mubarak has been an ally of ours in a number of things and he’s been very responsible on, relative to geopolitical interests in the region: Middle East peace efforts, the actions Egypt has taken relative to normalizing the relationship with Israel.

And I think that it would be—I would not refer to him as a dictator.

The latest news is that the U.S. will review aid to our dictatorship. Yes, review the aid, appoint a commission to review it, issue a long-winded report nine months from now. Uh, is anyone buying the mainstream media’s notion that the U.S. is somehow ‘walking a tightrope between the protestors and Mubarak’? If so, then Wikileaks hasn’t done its job: it hasn’t taught you to distinguish the tinny-sounding folderol for public consumption and what really goes on behind the scenes. Perhaps read Simon Tisdall at the Guardian for some reality shock therapy:

Caught off guard by the escalating unrest in Egypt, the Obama administration is desperate to avoid any public appearance of taking sides. But Washington’s close, longstanding political and military ties to President Hosni Mubarak’s regime, plus annual financial support worth about $1.5bn, undermine its claims to neutrality.

While the US favours Egyptian political reform in theory, in practice it props up an authoritarian system for pragmatic reasons of national self-interest. It behaved in much the same way towards Saddam Hussein’s regime in the 1980s, when Iraq was at war with Iran. A similar tacit bargain governs relations with Saudi Arabia. That’s why, for many Egyptians, the US is part of the problem. …

Clinton also struck a lopsided note. “Our assessment is that the Egyptian government is stable and is looking for ways to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people,” she said. Against a backdrop of street battles, beatings-up, teargas, flying bricks, mass detentions and attempts to shut information networks, her words sounded unreal, even foolish.

Mohamed ElBaradei, the establishment rebel who joined the protests, was flabbergasted. “If you would like to know why the United States does not have credibility in the Middle East, that is precisely the answer,” he said.

Below is the essence of an article on the latest Egypt WIKILEAKS cables. By the way, should Obama and Clinton be embarrassed they made a clear policy decision to be even nicer than Bush to ‘our’ dictator?

WikiLeaks cables: US ambassador in Cairo calls for less confrontation in dealings with Egypt
By Sylvia Hui (CP) – 5 hours ago

The U.S. ambassador in Cairo warned Washington to be less confrontational in its dealings with Egypt, toning down human rights pressure to avoid jeopardizing relations with the Middle East ally, dozens of U.S. diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks Friday showed.

… The cables have the potential to aggravate the situation further because they offer specifics on police brutality and unease about the jailing of dissidents.

Before Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s first visit to the Obama White House in 2009, U.S. Ambassador Margaret Scobey had recommended Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to take a more private and less confrontational approach in pressuring Mubarak. …

She pointed out how former President George W. Bush’s public “name and shame” approach had alienated Egypt from U.S. views.

Here’s another Wikileaks link: US reported ‘routine’ police brutality in Egypt, WikiLeaks cables show. We’ve known for decades what Mubarak is about. Obama and Clinton decided he needed even gentler treatment, along with our yearly bribe of $1.3 or $1.5 billion. Are you angry that we are doing this?

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