The four seasons of Egypt and Libya: spring promise, glorious summer, fall reality, winter of discontent


President Obama intervened in 2011 to destabilize the leaders of two confirmed United States allies, Libya in North Africa and Egypt in the Middle East. He achieved his objectives with the brutal assassination of Colonel Gaddafi and the caged trial of Hosni Mubarak. Events have followed precisely predictable paths since the initiation of hostilities against these two pro-Western leaders.

Gaddafi’s Libya could not possibly expect to survive the combined assault of NATO forces, even given the ragtag, undisciplined rebels that rose up against his regime. Mubarak could not outbid the United States in its successful effort to deploy taxpayers’ monies in  bribing a corrupt Egyptian military to shift allegeiance in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood and its anti-Western collaborators. So spring promise inevitably turned into glorious summer for those who seek chaos in the Middle East.

Glorious summer, however, turned out to be brief indeed. Predictably, the fall has brought reality, in the form of internal dissent and rising corruption among those who have replaced the old regimes. All is now far from well in the Maghreb and the Middle East.

In Tripoli rival militia gangs face off against each other deploying weapons and materiel kindly left behind by NATO airlifts. The Libyan police force is non-existent and brigades from a variety of tribes and regions control different parts of the city. Where have all Obama’s beloved secular liberals gone? Surely they are not out there patrolling the streets.

‘I am now less confident that everyone is on the same mission,’ said one Western official who spoke on the condition of anonymity. ‘There are Misuratans, the Tripoli brigades and Zintanis in Tripoli.  The leaders in Tripoli are very forgiving of the Misuratans – they see them as heroes. But they perceive the Zintanis as a problem.’ Alice Fordham, ‘Rivals face off around divided Tripoli’, The Washington Post, November 13, 2011

In Egypt, the corrupt generals who currently rule the country are foot-dragging on the transition to democracy.  They are intent on remaining in office until after presidential elections that could be held as late as 2013.  Why?  Because the generals are intent on protecting their vast commercial holdings purloined under the leadership of Hosni Mubarak. To this end, they are pressing for rules that would forbid civilian oversight of the military budget and that would grant the military council, rather than a new parliament, the most influence in writing the new constitution:

“pro-democracy activists and prominent members of Egypt’s political elite are accusing the generals of trying to maintain a dominant hand in the country’s future, a role the military has played here since Gamal Abdel Nasser and his Free Officers overthrew King Farouk in 1952.” Leila Fadel, ‘Egyptian generals seek to retain powers, critics say’, The Washington Post, November 13, 2011

Enjoy these winters of discontent while you may, President Obama. They are the predictable fruits of your labors. One year hence, with any luck, American will be enjoying your own winter of discontent, and looking forward to the promise of a new spring in America.

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2 Responses to “The four seasons of Egypt and Libya: spring promise, glorious summer, fall reality, winter of discontent”

  1. Aussie Says:

    Still missing the bigger picture here. It is not Libya that is the problem!! For Libya there are other risks, including the risk of another war, not because of those militias but because the Gadhafi family took off with large amounts of cash in the form of gold!! Nigeria and Algeria are protecting them for a sum and they have enough gold to form a new army for an invasion. For Libya this is the real story.

    In Egypt the real risk is that of an Islamist takeover via the Presidential elections. One of the candidates is an “Islamic Mullah”. It is incorrect to call these individuals clerics because they are not priests. The mullah is promising to introduce new laws relating to women and women’s modesty. This is not just Saudi Arabia style disciplines. The true risk will be the possible alignment with Iran.

    We will have to wait and see what happens in Tunisia since the Ennhada Party gained a majority in the new Assembly. They promise a democracy along the same lines as Turkey. We just have to wait and see.

    Actually, I am expecting that when Libya gets its act together that they will also propose a system of government along the same lines as Turkey.

    This is the best that we can expect from both Libya and Tunisia. Both countries are not that keen on full Islamist rules. When the interim President of Libya, Mr. Jalil spoke about Sharia he actually meant nothing more than tightening what already exists. Libya has had Sharia since it was freed from Italian colonial rule. Gadhafi had promised not to interfere with Sharia. The courts in Libya are already based upon Sharia, BUT when it came to commerce they had adopted a French code. Perhaps this might change.

    The somewhat good news is that there is the possibility that Libya will remain pro-West. The people who were responsible for raising that flag in Benghazi are a minority, not the majority. There was evidence in Benghazi when the civil war began that the people were pro-West. Several of their “ministers” were living in the West, e.g. Mr. Tarhouni who had been a university professor in the USA before he returned to Libya. In fact Mr. Tarhouni had a few things to say about those Islamists, so all is not lost… just yet.

    One more thing, one of the people who was a part of the National Transitional Council was indeed a relative of King Idris who was deposed by the Gadhafi coup. This is a connect that few in the West are making with regard to what took place.

    The Libyans have so far not let us down. They have been co-operating in finding the chemical weapons held by Gadhafi. They also found evidence that he had not destroyed the materials he possessed to make nuclear and other weapons. This leaves the issue of those “missiles” that are allegedly missing. Perhaps they crossed the border of Algeria and Nigeria on those trucks that took Gadhafi loyalists out of the country.

  2. Jim Rose Says:

    the new libyan defence minister was a guest of Gitmo not long ago. strange bedfellows indeed.

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