Belmont Club

The Age of Ambiguity

They don’t call the news infotainment for nothing. It has more coincidences and subplots than a daytime soap opera.  The Wall Street Journal writes, “allies thwart America in Egypt”. The “allies” listed include the UAE, the KSA and Israel. Wait a minute, aren’t allies supposed to help America?  OK, maybe that’s what enemies are for.

We learn from the Free Beacon’s that the Syrian rebels, who the administration is promising to support are threatening — America — in an article titled, “American, European Jihadists in Syria Raise New Domestic Terror Fears”.

It writes that a” ‘wave of terror could result from training, expertise gained in fighting with al Qaeda rebels’ — Significant numbers of American and European jihadists are traveling to Syria to join Islamist rebels, prompting new fears of a future wave of al Qaeda terror attacks in the United States and Europe, according to U.S. officials.”

The rebels are learning to use, among other things, the Chinese FN-6 MANPAD, which Janes says shot down a Mig-21 over Syria. So maybe it can take down an airliner. Foreign Policy notes the Chinese weapons are seen in company with another MANPAD model, the Russian SA-24. “The heat-seeking SA-24 is designed to hit targets flying at speeds of up to 720 miles per-hour and can fly as high as 20,000 feet and reach a top speed of 890 miles per-hour; a nasty little weapon.”

Foreign Policy asks: ‘how did the MANPADs get to Syria?’ It writes:

Interestingly, there are reports that SA-24s were smuggled out of Libya in during or immediately after the war to oust Muammar al Gaddafi in 2011 and ended up in the hands of militants in Gaza and Syria’s Levantine neighbor, Lebanon.

While it would take “dozens” of SA-24s to do serious damage to Assad’s air force, it would only take a few of these systems ending up in the wrong hands to pose a serious threat to civilian aircraft.

Libya? Libya? Now why does that name sound familiar? Maybe somebody should ask Susan Rice. Maybe somebody should ask the guy in LA who made a video if Libya rings a bell. But never fear: the administration has everything well in hand, as shown by this lead from the Daily Beast. “Senator: Obama Administration Secretly Suspended Military Aid to Egypt”.

The U.S. government has decided privately to act as if the military takeover of Egypt was a coup, temporarily suspending most forms of military aid, despite deciding not to announce publicly a coup determination one way or the other, according to a leading U.S. senator.

Secretly, so nobody who doesn’t read the papers knows about it. It turns out to be more complicated than that. The current status of US aid to Egypt is actually unknown, in a case similar to that of Schrodinger’s cat, which is both alive and dead. The Christian Science Monitor explains in its exact status in an article, “Crisis in Egypt: US seeks to preserve influence. Is there any left?”

The administration’s hesitant approach and its fuzzy answers to questions on current US policy toward Egypt appear to have fostered confusion Tuesday over whether or not the US has in fact halted military assistance.

An aide to Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat who has called for a suspension of military assistance, was quoted Tuesday as saying the administration had informed Senator Leahy’s foreign operations subcommittee that “transfer of military aid was stopped.”

The aide, David Carle, went on to say that the suspension was “not necessarily official policy,” according to the Associated Press, and that “there is no indication how long it will last.”

Administration officials poured cold water on any claims of a halt in aid, however, with Pentagon spokesman George Little saying categorically, “There has been no decision to halt or to suspend assistance to Egypt.”

At the State Department, deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said Tuesday “We have not made a policy decision to halt our aid to Egypt, period.” At the same time, Mr. Obama planned to hold a cabinet-level meeting Tuesday afternoon at which the question of aid to Egypt would be addressed, officials said.

The administration doesn’t know if Egyptian aid is alive or dead. In fact, they don’t even know when they will know if the aid package is dead or alive. But the administration is nothing if not subtle, unlike that stupid cowboy George Bush. Maybe the way it works is that everyone these days pretends: the Obama administration pretends to give Egypt aid while the KSA, UAE, Egypt and Israel pretend they are America’s allies. That way it all evens out.

But this is a world where we learn from the Muslim Brotherhood that Abdel Fattah Saeed Hussein Khalil el-Sisi, the new strongman in Egypt, is actually — and secretly — Jewish, which would explain everything. Secret aid, secret Jew. But this is only temporary. The New York Times reports that Hosni Mubarak, who is at least not Jewish, has been ordered freed by an Egyptian court. Heee’s baack. The former Egyptian President, shown below in a recent photograph, looks little the worse for wear.

Ready for my comback tour

Ready for my comeback tour with Jay-z

Meanwhile in other news, thousands of Syrian refugees have been flooding into Iraqi Kurdistan from Syria, part of nearly 2 million who have left the country. “Up to 10,000 crossed at Peshkhabour on Saturday, bringing the total influx since Thursday to 20,000. The UN says the reasons are not fully clear.” Take a guess. Take a wild guess.

Reversal of fortune

Reversal of fortune

Well nothing much is “fully clear” in the world of infotainment.  Things have to be explained to us by David Gregory or Candy Crowley. Like the next headline, from Outside the Beltway “there’s a hearing at Gitmo so secret that even the people having the hearing aren’t allowed to know what it’s about.” That’s OK. The people holding the hearing probably don’t know what it’s about either.


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