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Rubin Reports

The Middle East, at the Beginning of 2014

January 5th, 2014 - 1:36 pm

“We are at the beginning of a very long and profound transformation,” says President Barack Obama. True — and nowhere is this truer than in the Middle East.

Egypt, the largest and most populous Arab country, seems to have settled back down into the type of military regime that has existed since 1952, except for 2011 to 2013 when it had an Islamist government. Nevertheless, there have been some important changes in Egypt.

First, in the “Islamist” era, Egypt remains at odds with the Muslim Brotherhood. Second, in international relations, Egypt has been generally disgusted by the U.S. administration’s – as one of my smartest, most democratic Egyptian friends says — “cowboy” behavior. Since the Obama administration backed the Muslim Brotherhood government from 2011 to 2012, Egypt has turned to Russia, just as in 1955, when the United States confronted a radical Egypt.

It should be amusing to Egyptians that while the U.S. aid is a gift, they have to pay for Russian assistance. But then, the Egyptians are more suspicious of the Yankees than of Greeks bearing gifts. In addition, since Hamas and Turkey — which support the Muslim Brotherhood and even anti-Egyptian terrorists — have supported revolutionary Islamists against Egypt, the two are in conflict with Egypt.

Since Hamas is at war with both Egypt and Israel, Egypt and Israel have common interests in this conflict. Thus, it may seem Israel’s current situation in the region is worse, but there are actually many positive aspects.

Turkey’s situation is unstable, too. On the one hand, Turkey has been the main supporter of the rebel, Sunni side in the Syrian civil war. Turkey’s support of the Muslim Brotherhood is considered antagonistic to Saudi Arabia and to the military regime in Egypt. It also potentially damages its hopes for business plans with Iran, since support is equally antagonistic to the Shi’a bloc. This has seriously damaged Turkey’s relations with both the Arab and Iranian blocs. Turkey would like to be a bridge among Islamists, but that is making Iran and the Saudi-Egyptian bloc suspicious.

Sunnis and Shi’as are in conflict, and although people may think that the Arab world is obsessed with the Israel-Palestinian conflict, this is not the case. The Arab world (being divided) is less able to do something about the conflict, and now is far less focused on it than it has been over the past few decades.

Saudi Ambassador to Britain Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, who seems to be the Saudi regime’s spokesman, wrote in the New York Times that Saudi Arabia Will Go It Alone“:

Saudi Arabia has been friends with our Western partners for decades … for almost a century. These are strategic alliances that benefit us both. Recently, these relationships have been tested — principally because of differences over Iran and Syria. We believe that many of the West’s policies on both Iran and Syria risk the stability and security of the Middle East. This is a dangerous gamble, about which we cannot remain silent, and will not stand idly by.

And yet rather than challenging the Syrian and Iranian governments, some of our Western partners have refused to take much-needed action against them.

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All Comments   (16)
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33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
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33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
For whatever reason Writers at PJ media refuse to acknowledge Saudi Arabia's role supporting global terrorism and funding of terrorist groups, attacks, and Sharia law.
Saudi Arabia funded the attack in Mumbai, and is finally being brought under scrutiny for its role in the attack on NYC on 9/11. Saudi Arabia funds Pakistani terrorist groups, MB, Hamas, and Sharia movement worldwide.
Why people refuse to investigate or acknowledge Saudi role is obvious, we made a deal with the devil; Saudi's manage US petro dollar reserves and US government did not understand Saudi strategies when Nixon made that ill fated deal in 1971.
But we can take the hit and survive a divorce of Saudi interests...its just a matter of having the courage to do so..
Then maybe the world can give Saudi Arabia an ultimatum to cease funding Terrorist attacks on the USA, India, Russia and China....or suffer the consequences.
Of course that would take courage.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
a lot of countries around the world will be broken up, we are in a disintegrative phase after an integrative phase. The repeated resolution of disputes by partitioning countries has made turning to that solution the option of choice. Here in the US there is also a growing minority that spans the political spectrum and favors separation into two independent countries.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Why should any of this surprise anyone? Obama's weltanschauung was no secret prior to be elected POTUS. All one had to do was connect the many dots in his past to understand what he would do as President.

We now have a bunch of children playing adult games in Washington
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Regardless Obama's wishes, before the end of decade, the ME map will be changed forever. Eventually both Syria and Iraq will be broken up. The question is at what cost. When it happens there is no doubt, Turkey will be next. To top of all In response to Iran The Saudis will not hesitated to pay big bucks to Pakistan for ready to use nuclear bomb., Unless Israel acts alone. No matter what happens The ME will not be same ever.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sunnis and Shiites taking some time of from being at Christian and Jewish throats to spend more time at each others throats. Boo, hoo, hoo.

Saudi Arabia and Iran could even go at it more directly than they are now. Boo, hoo, hoo.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
If the world's choices are down to al Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, Russia, or Obama/Jarrett/Kerry...we are surrounded by enemies.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, the problem is that AQ, MB, and Obama et al. are all batting for the same team.

So it's really Russia or Obama, or (but not really) the GOP.

Since there is no GOP, we're, umm, doomed?
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think the most apt parrallel is Vietnam. The Nixon adminstrated signed a crappy deal to save face, brought the troops home and then abandoned South Vietnam when the North took over shortly thereafter. Let's see, crappy deal in Syria, Iran and Israel: check. stage set for abandonment of allies: check. time to get out of office before blame can be aportioned: pending.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
60,000 American troops had already been killed there and congress cut off the funding for the ARVN.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think we're headed into global conflict vis-a-vis the Muslim Brotherhood and their franchises throughout the world, connections to drug cartels and the Pakistani ISI, etc. I just can't precisely say when Washington D.C. became their global HQ...

As Fallujah Goes, So Goes America
http://nyyrc.com/blog/2014/01/as-fallujah-goes-so-goes-america/

On Christmas, the Egyptian government got around to officially declaring the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group. The Brotherhood, it will be remembered, attempted to assassinate Nasser, did assassinate Sadat, and wanted to condemn Mubarak to death. Once in power, they turned Egypt into a living nightmare, spooking the population through random acts of terror, and systematically targeting Coptic Christians in a way that would make the Nazis proud. The Brotherhood has been a terrorist group since its inception, complete with a “secret apparatus” that functions much like the S.S. and Gestapo, terrorizing the population and conducting surveillance through covert networks. The Egyptian government, who has been jailing and killing the roving/marauding Brotherhood for months, merely gave themselves additional legal justification.

The designation, you would think, would be uncontroversial. Yet in a matter of days, both the State Department and Department of Defense lectured the Egyptian government, telling them that they should be “politically inclusive” of the terrorist group. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel “expressed concern” over the designation, and “stressed the role of political inclusiveness.” Secretary of State John Kerry was also “concerned” that the Egyptian government did something they should have done 60 years ago. According to the State Department, Kerry “underscored the need for an inclusive political process across the political spectrum that respects the fundamental human rights of all Egyptians in order to achieve political stability and democratic change.”
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
"As Fallujah Goes, So Goes America"

Quadruple facepalm.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
What's MB4, pray tell?
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
In my view al Qaeda, the Taliban and their parent organisation the Muslim Brotherhood are so abusive that when they actually get into power they subjects get sick of them very quickly. Petraeus was able to make an alliance with the Anbar province Sunnis because al Qaeda in Iraq was prostituting their daughters and sisters and chopping off young men's hands for smoking while using drugs themselves. Likewise the MB didn't last long in Egypt because the people revolted against them with the backing of the army. I don't think the Christians, Druze or Alawites and so stupid as to not know their fate under a Sunni absolutist regime - al Qaeda or MB. So Obama's policies have allowed these people to make a comeback and spread their control to Libya and down into the African interior. Between Barry and the above comment I can see why I feel more supportive of the Egyptian military than I do of the US government. Like Bush they may not be the most skilful in opposing the enemy, but at least they can name them!
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
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