Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The String Wart Revolutions



With the summary firings of virtually the entire general staff of Egypt's armed forces Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi has locked up power for the Muslim Brotherhood. That supposedly benevolent power-sharing, much bruited about on gossamer wings by western pundits, is so much obvious khara. We now have another Islamist state in the Near East. One that controls the Suez Canal, a 165-mile border with Israel in the Sinai, and the tenth largest armed force on the globe. Didn't see that coming when Lara Logan was being repeatedly raped in the street by mob-crazed Egyptian "enthusiasts."

Now all Israel needs is for a similar Islamist coup d'etat in Syria, where our feckless foreign policy has done nothing to influence the outcome of Baby Assad's assured demise. Facebook and Twitter and YouTube don't premise a democratic revolution anytime, or anywhere. They merely make sharing the real-time horrors of mob violence and government bloodletting a more democratically shared experience. What's been happening in the Arab world has not been a Velvet Revolution, or a Green Revolution, or an Orange Revolution, or a Cedar Revolution. It's been a series of String Wart Revolutions, the Libyan, Egyptian, and Syrian strings each more grotesque than the last.

The Suez will be the most interesting short-term issue. Transit of the canal has been notoriously corrupt since its creation, regardless of the reigning authority. Huge cash payments still move one's vessel to the front of the line. Now cash may not be enough. It is relatively easy for the United States Navy to escort tankers through the Strait of Hormuz. How does one ensure the Canal stays open and safe? The British and the French surely won't help us do it after the 1956 debacle.

But hell, what's the big deal with the most vital seaway on the planet? Everyone can just Vasco da fuckin' Gama around the Cape of Good Hope. Probably only adds 12 days transit time. Each way. And oil is cheap, right?

Of long term interest is the perfervid religiosity. The Mubarak regime fell in shockingly short order. Now the street crawlers have their blood up, and a nodding accomplice in the palace. They won't be satisfied thumping some Sudanese or Ethiopians on the noggin. They'll be wanting to thump some Jews. Now, the supposedly well-trained Egyptian army couldn't even protect itself from the street crawlers, and I doubt the street crawlers, armed with some new-found hardware, would pose much of a threat to the Israelis.

But it is a distraction, when Israel must look east. They may not wish to divert conventional resources to the Sinai when Iran is on the menu. If the Sinai gets swarmed by ten thousand hooligans they might just glassinize it. Remember the Six Day War? This would be the Two Hour War.

Most importantly, what can we do to diffuse the instability an Islamist Egypt poses? I suppose the real question is what Obama will do with the situation to further his short term political goals. And the only answer I keep coming up with is start the damned thing.

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