As stated in an earlier blog, the Obama Administration has neither a strategy nor a doctrine for handling the Middle East. Rather, what we constantly see are random responses to particular situations. Yes, Secretary of State John Kerry got Israel and the Palestinians to the bargaining table, but neither wanted to come and in the end the talks may turn out to be symbolic, not substantive. The zigzags from one position to the other have left the world wondering if the USA has any backbone.
Israelis remain skeptical of any change in the actual position that Iran maintains. The Israeli’s will believe something new is afoot when the Iranian public can actually open Facebook or Twitter. About the only change they see is Rouhani’s admission that the Holocaust happened.
Egypt remains a sticking point after the Obama administration vacillated over whether the overthrow of President Morsi was a coup d’etat or just the boys on the street flexing their muscles. The State Department kept wavering over the issue of cancelling funding of the Egyptian military. The Saudis, Kuwait, and the Emirates stepped in and picked up the check. Now it appears the USA is backing away from funding. The USA is currently seen as having no insight into how the Middle East functions and having no hesitation in deserting its closest allies when they are needed the most.
Israel’s message to Washington is fundamental. Keep Egypt from failing!
No one underestimates the problems in Egypt. Their first attempts at democracy have been a failure. Both the election and the overthrow of Morsi was a disaster. How could Washington have wavered on the coup d’etat issues? Of course, the military took over the country. But Israel’s point remains basic. There must be a functioning state in Egypt. Then deal with the more genteel questions of who did what to whom. If Egypt falls into anarchy, they will be exploited by local and global jihad forces. Should that happen, the consequences for Israel and the Middle East will be highly destructive.
Probably, the current smashing of the Muslim Brotherhood signals the end of a political Islam. Instead, all citizens will have the right to freedom and civil rights.
However, some Middle East leaders are calling for a Marshall Plan for Egypt to help stabilize the country and insure a positive future. Tourism is now virtually gone and the country’s industries are in trouble. They definitely need outside help.
Can Washington help? The American capital can’t even keep its parks and monuments open. Veterans are protesting in mass over how they have been treated. The world shakes its head in consternation. It appears Obama and Congress need the Marshall Plan.