Monday, March 28, 2011


Now flying over Libya-- U.S. F-15E Strike Eagles {Saudi Arabia is purchasing 84 in a new $60bn arms deal}--GALLO/GETTY pic

Before we charge on into Libya full force, can we take a look in our rearview mirror at Egypt? A recent WSJ article on the situation of democratic challenge in Egypt, focused on the Muslim Brotherhood and its rising influence. I’m more concerned about the role of General Omar Suleiman. He's totally disappeared from media coverage since Feb. 10, 2010, when he’d been appointed temporary Vice President by Mubarak [to depose Mubarak, which he then helped do], with U.S. concurrence. He quickly resigned that position, but remains in the current central power—The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. He's been our man in Cairo for decades, doling out Pentagon’s largesse and being our point man for CIA “war on terror” illegal renditions.

Dilemma—March 25, 2011---Funeral for Civilians [in Libya after U.S. Airwar begins] Channels Anger, But Raises Questions on Identity of Dead --WSJ--European Pressphoto Agency

What is the character of this man Suleiman, and the military class he’s part of? He’d been head of Egypt’s intelligence/security service since 1993, and some idea is revealed in an article by a Boston area professor, “The Torture Career of Egypt's New Vice President: Omar Suleiman and the Rendition to Torture Program.” 1 Did anyone else see the disturbing feature film, “Rendition,” a 2007 Hollywood dramatization of the problem? Never advertised, it depicted the 911-fueled interrogation apparatus, in Egypt.

As to the military culture Suleiman is part of, we read, “Yet with Washington giving Cairo $1.3 billion a year [to counter the $3bn/yr to Israel] in military aid… Egypt’s for-profit military [they invest in private enterprises] has sometimes found ways to use that aid to further its economic interests.” 2

Suleiman meets with Israeli president Shimon Peres in Tel Aviv, November 2010 [Getty]

The headlines on Feb 10th stated, “Egypt's Omar Suleiman emerges from the shadows.” [to become momentarily Vice President] Not a word’s been heard of him since in the media, though apparently he’s still on the Supreme Council. He's back deep in the shadows now, but what is he doing to mold the new Egypt? Come on reporters, do some digging in the Egyptian sands of change. Will anything really change? If Suleiman’s covertly still in charge in Egypt, heralded as the new hope for Middle East democracy, how can there be any hope at all for Qaddafi’s Libya?

[Having sent a short version of this to a NYT reporter, Michael Slackman, who’d written on current politics in Egypt, he courteously wrote back twice to say I’d made a good point, and they might pursue it {a suggested interview with Omar Suleiman} when time permits.]

What should be the U.S. purpose in the Middle East? Enough of this--saving citizens in Libya, devastating them in Iraq. [Not caring about them at all in black Africa!—Ivory Coast only has cocoa.] We must call for a worldwide moratorium on all weapons sales, financing, and delivery to the Middle East {a good place to begin}---to include all countries, and esp. Egypt, Libya, Israel, Iraq, Iran, and Saudi Arabia, the majority our best customers. This was proposed, as a weak trial balloon, by the first President Bush in his speech to the U.N. right after the Gulf War. It is crucial for giving some real space to the difficult negotiations necessary in this oil rich, democracy poor, region of the world. And this step for us, having to quit this part of our weapons habit, may help lead to renouncing our oil addiction as well—even to the point of rejuvenating our own democracy, and moving towards real disarmament! God give us the courage to turn towards a renewed productive, rather than destructive, economy.

< Swords into Plowshares Statue at the UN bldg, NYC

Isaiah II, by David Sharir, Jerusalem >

[Click on any image to make larger.]

2 Egyptian Army’s Business Side Blurs Lines of U.S. Military Aid

More on the complicated situation in Egypt---

Egyptian Voters Approve Constitutional Changes [To a constitution the military has suspended, except for these changes to hold elections—read on]

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