Monday, September 19, 2011

Matt 24 Watch, 135: Col Austin Bay warns about the Egyptian IslamIST militants and their attack on the Israeli embassy

Col Austin Bay of Strategy Page has posted an opinion piece on the recent militant attack on the Israeli Embassy in Egypt that should give us sobering pause:
Mob attack, Israel
Embassy, Cairo
Initial reports of the mob attack on Israel's Cairo embassy suffer from the usual faults of reporting in chaotic conditions: incomplete information mixed with rumor and allegation. We do know Egyptian soldiers eventually rescued Israeli personnel trapped in the building. Israeli media claim that the Egyptian military ignored the Israeli pleas for assistance and only reacted after American diplomatic intervention. We will know more in the coming weeks.

The mob assault and the target, the Israeli embassy, are undisputed facts. Substitute the U.S. for Israel, and the Cairo action mimics Tehran 1979, when Iranian mobs, organized and controlled by the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's Islamic revolutionaries, seized the American embassy. America was the Ayatollah's target of passion, the surface target, but his deep target was Iranian modernizers.

In Egypt 2011, Israel is definitely a target of militant Islamists, but so is the Egyptian revolution. To subvert the Egyptian revolution, militant Islamists must undermine and discredit the generals in the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which is functioning as the interim Egyptian government.

The attack on the Israeli embassy serves this purpose.

The Egyptian generals know this, and so do the Israelis . . . . 

Recent history is a powerful weapon. Here is an outline of the history lesson that should pervade Egyptian media, from twitter to official statements.

Since the first demonstrations began in Cairo this past spring, everyone knew the moment would arrive when militant Islamists would try to subvert modernizing revolutionaries. That moment is now. The Islamist militants recent actions, however, have exposed them and reveal their long term goals.

They are now following Khomeini's Iranian Islamic revolutionary script. Denouncing the U.S. and Israel provided Khomeini with rhetorical cover for intimidating, imprisoning or killing democratic revolutionaries. Now Khomeini's political descendants oppress their own people's political and material aspirations, and assist Syria's Assad regime in its attempt to stay in power.

Subsequent history has rendered a verdict on robed dictatorships -- their social product is poverty, violent oppression, and even more insidious corruption and cronyism than those that existed under Mubarak. These are the shackles Egyptians seek to escape. Must our grandchildren launch an Arab Spring in 2061 against an Egyptian clerical dictatorship?

Abolhassan Bani-Sadr, Iran's first president after the revolution (and living in exile since 1981, when Khomeini toppled him), serves as a first-hand source. In January, Bani-Sadr warned Tunisian revolutionaries that they must protect their revolution from the fate that befell Iran's. Most Iranian political organizations, Bani-Sadr wrote, "did not commit themselves to democracy. Lacking the unity of a democratic front, one by one they became targets of power-seeking clergy in the form of the Islamic Republic Party, and were pushed aside."

The story of a more or less liberal revolution that is then caught up in a coup by extremist elements is an old one, the most infamous cases in recent history being Revolutionary France in the run-up to the Reign of Terror, and the Russian Revolution of February 1917 that fell to the Bolshevik coup of that October led by Lenin.

The onward significance of this is captured in an aphorism of Middle East geostrategy: without Syria, no Arab-Israeli peace; without Egypt, no war.

If the militants succeed, we are looking at major war in the Middle East again, and this time with an iron ring of missiles surrounding Israel and with potential nukes lurking in Iran.

Israel's history is that it responds swiftly and decisively to existential threats.

If the Iranian and Palestinian Arab leadership were prudent, they would back down. 

But, prudence is exactly what they are not noted for.

So, sadly, war clouds again gather in the Middle East, and the decisive issue, clearly, is whether the Muslim Brotherhood Islamist factions seize power in Egypt and Libya. END

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