Tag Archives: Bin Laden

THE BACKDROP TO EGYPT AND THE MIDDLE EAST

The current situation in the Middle East did not appear like a genie popping out of a bottle. The factors that prompted the current turmoil began during the Bush era and were a combination of several elements that came together to create the perfect storm.  Whatever economic and social issues that were churning, the Al-Qaeda attack on 9-11 lit a fuse that eventually blew up in Bin Laden’s face. However, the terrorist attack created a ripple effect that has not stopped. At the same time, from the American side of the table, the Bush era created an Iraq war setting off the bomb that undermined any stability that had been created between Sunni and Shi’ite, Jew and Arab, elite and commoners. Latent unrest blew up like a torment volcano coming to life. The reverberations in Afghanistan and Iran became shock waves that continue to signal instability and hostility. Today, much of that debris is still settling on Egypt.

Another major effect during the Bush administration was the economic disaster that detonated with full force in 2008. The secretary of the treasury thought the world of Wall Street had come to an apocalyptic conclusion. (And it nearly did!) If one can push away the political charges and counter-charges in order to get to the bottom line, I believe we can now see clearly that there were never weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and the gross expenditures to support an unpaid for war in Iraq and Afghanistan set up America for a financial disaster.

Obviously, we rolled over Iraq like boys turning over outhouses on Halloween, but Afghanistan turned out to be a genuine mud hole. Bush’s assurances of victory in Iraq only exacerbated the religious and social forces America could not control and the proclamation of victory turned out to be an ironic proclamation of disaster. We now know that we poured millions of dollars into the pockets of Hamid Karzai and it bought almost nothing except a little time.

While many make the charge that Bush was inept, I believe he was a decent man who wanted the best for the country. Unfortunately, his jokes about not going to the library turned out to be a comment on himself. He lacked the breadth and the depth to handle incredibly important issues that have now come back to haunt the world. Certainly, Rumsfeld and Chaney only threw more logs on the fire.

Another commentator could paint a different picture of how these factors came together, but no one can deny the costly effect these decisions had on world order. In the Middle East, we are faced with issues of serious distrust. The Egyptians need our money, but don’t trust us. When Syria falls, we will once again be on the outside looking in on people who despise us. Bush claimed we were bringing democracy to Iraq. Not only has that not been the chase, the real winner may turn out to be Iran.

And so the kettle boils and the fire burns. The American role in the Middle East has been diminished and the consequences are not good for millions of people. Think about it because we need the best thoughts we can find.

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Filed under Iraq, middle east, Syria, Violence

EGYPT: FIRING THE FIRST SHOT

EGYPT: FIRING THE FIRST SHOT

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi enters office.
His first act? Challenge the military.
Sorry. That’s not the way to kick-off the football game!
The new Egyptian President appears to be dead set on a confrontation with the military. Even thought the Supreme Court had ruled to the contrary, Morsi reconvened the parliament that had been dissolved by the generals. His actions were a direct confrontation with the military establishment which in fact rules the country. So, what is going on in Egypt?
The military has the tanks, guns, ammo, and equipment. The truth is that they control the country and aren’t about to relinquish that role. Morsi only won the election by the slightest margin, but knows that he has the complete backing of the more radical Moslem Brotherhood. The Brotherhood has the ability to fill the streets with protestors screaming and carrying signs. They can pack out Tahrir Square in the snap of a finger. Who do you think is going to win that confrontation? Not Morsi.
Possibly, Mohammed Morsi has chosen a confrontational road in hopes of forcing the military to back down and make way for the rise of an Islamic state. At first blush, it would appear Morsi envisons a state something like Iran. Islamic law rules and everyone is on their knees with their faces on the ground. Will that fly with the military? Obviously not.
There are a number of varieties of Islamic faith. What we hear most about these days is the more extreme right-wing variety. Leaders like Anwar Sadat were not of this stripe, and remained wary of such extreme expressions. Since the Iranian revolution, what has emerged in recent years in that country is an aggressive expression of belief like what the West experienced with Osama Ben Laden. Morsi seems to be heading in this direction of such a fundamentalist government. The recent close vote suggests that at least half of the country are not sympathetic with this confrontational expression of their Moslem faith. However, fundamentalist don’t have a history of paying attention to such factions. Because they believe they are absolutely right, they plow ahead regardless of the struggle and assume their ideas will prevail no matter how formidable the enemy. Some of history’s most tragic battles have resulted from this form of reasoning.
Is Mohammed Morsi going down this rocky road? Let’s hope not. Possibly, he is only trying a political ploy to draw the military out and see if adjustments can be made. On the other hand, with the Moslem Brotherhood’s record, he probably isn’t. If he prevails, get ready for another Iran to emerge. If he fails, the headlines will tell another sad story. Not a good scene no matter which way you throw the dice.

Question: Can the West trust Mohammed Morse? Your opinion.

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Filed under Faith, Forgivness