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Two by Chris Floyd on Egypt
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Alternative History: America's Iraq Atrocity and the Arab Awakening [Image: pdf_button.png] [Image: printButton.png] [Image: emailButton.png] [Image: lg-share-en.gif]
Written by Chris Floyd Wednesday, 02 February 2011 14:14 One argument forever touted by apologists for the invasion of Iraq is that the war was worth it despite all the "mistakes" that arose from our excess of good intentions if only because it removed Saddam Hussein from power. This is the chief line taken by Tony Blair, one of the principals in the on-going war crime, which has spawned a million needless deaths already and is producing more with every passing week.
Blair who now cheerfully admits that the WMD casus belli was bullshit from the beginning, and that the blatantly illegal goal of "regime change" was the goal all along continually paints a nightmare scenario of a ruthless dictator still wielding an iron rod over his suffering people. "Can you imagine what would be happening if Saddam were in power today?!"
Well, as it turns out, we can imagine what would be happening: We would very likely be seeing Saddam Hussein announcing his intention to stand down at the next election, and promising that his sons would not take over in his place, while instituting reforms to widen political participation in the government. Heck, we might even be seeing him hastily boarding an airplane to Saudi Arabia, with a mob at his heels. We would, in other words, be seeing him in panic mode at the Arab uprising now sweeping across the Middle East.
This wave of broad-based popular revolution has -- in less than a month! -- already toppled one seemingly-entrenched dictator in Tunisia; forced an even more seemingly-entrenched dictator in Egypt to announce his impending retirement upon elections (and may yet still send him packing posthaste); impelled another entrenched strongman in Yemen to do the same; and forced still another entrenched autocrat to sack his government in Jordan and institute new reforms. In each case, these actions have been compelled by the anger and great courage of hundreds of thousands of ordinary people coming out on the streets, facing down tanks, troops and torturers to demand a new and more just order in their societies. It is one of the most remarkable movements in modern history. And it would have doubtless swept into a Saddam-controlled Iraq as well.
Without the murderous invasion of Iraq by the Anglo-American power structure, more than a million innocent people including hundreds of thousands of children would be alive today. The violent and virulent religious extremists unleashed -- and often armed and empowered by the occupiers -- would not be there. The Iranian influence in Iraq so feared and decried by Washington would be nil. The once-strong Christian population of Iraq would still be there, not fleeing for its life from the hatreds loosed by the war crime launched by two leaders who endlessly paraded their fervent Christianity. And we could now be seeing ordinary Iraqis secular and sectarian, Sunni and Shiite, young and old coming together, as in Egypt, to take charge of their own destiny.
Of course, Iraq may yet be touched by the Arab Awakening although now this would have to take place in a ruined, shattered, fractious, ravaged land ... and with a vast, bristling American military machine still holding ultimate control. In a bitter irony, these "liberators" might be the one thing that stops the wave of genuine liberation from reaching Iraq.
NOTE: Simon Jenkins makes a similar point and many other trenchant observations in an excellent piece in the Guardian. Here's an excerpt:
Had the west not intervened in Iraq and Afghanistan, I bet the Iraqi people would by now have found a way to be rid of Saddam. They or the army would have done what the Tunisians and the Egyptians are doing, and at far less cost in lives, upheaval and chaos. As for the Taliban, as clients of Islamabad they would have come to Pakistani heel. The Afghans would be a threat to nobody but themselves.
What history will call the Wars of 9/11 have killed immeasurably more people than did 9/11 itself. They have cost western taxpayers billions that would have gone far to relieving global disease and famine. American and British governments, for reasons embedded in some imperial paranoia, grotesquely exaggerated the threat posed to them by the Muslim world. They embarked on a campaign of intervention, regime change and nation building far from their shores. The campaign has been inept and counterproductive, as well as in breach of the United Nations charter on self-determination.
Egypt, Tunisia, Iran and Pakistan are all Muslim states wrestling with agonies of self-determination. The west's sole contribution has been to plunge two of their neighbours, Iraq and Afghanistan, into a bloodbath of insecurity and chaos. This is not our continent, these are not our countries and none of this is our business. We should leave them alone.

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Loosing the Goons: The Mubarak-Obama Move to Crush Egypt's Uprising [Image: pdf_button.png] [Image: printButton.png] [Image: emailButton.png] [Image: lg-share-en.gif]
Written by Chris Floyd Wednesday, 02 February 2011 16:47 I must agree with As'ad AbuKhalil: The violence we are seeing in Egypt today (Wednesday) is a direct result of a green-light from Washington to "do what it takes" to preserve the Cairo regime. Today we have suddenly seen hundreds of "pro-Mubarak" goons pouring into the public squares to attack the non-violent demonstrators. The Egyptian Army whom most of the demonstrators had lauded and looked to for protection from the police is now apparently refusing to interfere with the attacks by the goon squads against the unarmed protestors. The UN reports that at least 300 people have already been killed in violence against the demonstrators since the uprising began: this number will now rise, perhaps sharply.
What is happening seems clear: Mubarak, backed by Obama, has decided to foment a storm of bloodshed, chaos and fear in order to provide a justification for "restoring order" i.e., crushing the uprising by force. This course could not have been adopted without the support of the Cairo regime's patrons and paymasters in Washington. None of this should come as a surprise. From the very beginning, the administration of Barack Obama, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate, has been killing people most of them defenseless civilians all over the world to advance a brutal agenda of militarist domination and the enrichment of corrupt elites.
For decades, a pliant regime in Egypt has been a linchpin of this thoroughly bipartisan agenda. Obama's task now is to preserve this arrangement if at all possible. Mubarak himself doesn't matter; he's now become a liability to the operation of business as usual. But the power structures in Washington and Cairo can't afford to have him simply forced from office by popular will; what kind of example would that set? Instead they will seek to use the months until Mubarak's envisaged retirement in September to beat down the uprising by overt means as we are seeing on the streets of Egypt's cities today and covert means, with the piecemeal arrest of various dissident leaders and other crackdowns on activities that might "threaten public order."
Whether they will succeed in this is still an open question; but things have taken a decidedly darker turn in Egypt. And a great deal of that darkness is being cast by the ever-looming shadow of Washington's Domination Machine. *AbuKhalil has provided some of the most insightful and informed observations on the uprising in Egypt. Below are a few excerpts from several of his recent posts that throw light on the current situation.
A Western correspondent in Cairo told me that Mubarak goons targeted many reporters and that they also sexually harassed female protesters. Those goons and criminals are the linchpin of Obama's Middle East policy. ...
There are a lot of similarities already between Iran of 1953 and Egypt of 2011. Don't forget what happened in 1953 in Iran. The CIA then hired armed goons and thugs to defeat the pro-democracy movement. This time around, the armed goons are hired by the regime itself. ...
... I just read the speech by Obama: it confirmed my suspicion, that basically Mubarak was permitted by the US to do with the Egyptian people as he would like. Every drop of blood that is spilled in Egypt from this day onwards should be blamed on Obama because he has embraced this new strategy of letting Mubarak defy the popular will of the Egyptian people.
I don't trust the Egyptian army: the top brass is hand picked by the US/Israel [coalition] and can be easily bought off by a combination of bribes, gadgets, and perks. They could care less about the Egyptian people. This is part of the ruling group of this tyrant. ..
The US is now arranging for a coup against the will of the Egyptian people. ... This move by Obama towards Egypt can be described as criminal because it will lead to blood on the streets. I wonder if Obama during his talk with Mubarak discussed numbers like: just don't kill more than 50 or 60 a day, or something like that. His unprincipled cynicism reminds me of the conspiracies of the 1950s. I am so glad that I resisted all efforts by my liberal and leftist friends who were urging me to vote for this personification of the Bush Doctrine.
"Where is the intersection between the world's deep hunger and your deep gladness?"
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