Why Did Obama Harshly Scold Mubarak, Demanding that He Leave, while Coddling Bashar Assad?
Many have noticed that Obama and Hilary were rough with Mubarak, telling him to leave office just a few days into the mass demonstrations in Egypt, whereas it took them two or three weeks to tell Qaddafi to get out, and whereas Washington --Obama, Hilary, the State Dept-- are still coddling Bashar [Basher] Assad. What explains this differential treatment? Many competent commentators have taken a stab at the question. Lee Smith wrote a fine article on the subject. Just this afternoon [4-22-2011, Israel Channel 1], Eyal Zisser of Tel Aviv University, pointed out that Hilary called Basher a "reformer" just a few weeks ago, albeit to widespread contempt. Zisser, like Smith, discussed the differential treatment for Mubarak who was not exceptionally bad or cruel, as Arab rulers go, and for Bashar, who --Zisser pointed out-- is being protected or coddled or treated leniently by the Washington mob. But Zisser did not claim to have an answer.
Why this differential treatment? In fact, there is one and the same answer for Obama wanting to get rid of Mubarak while keeping Assad in power. Obama and his evil advisors and mentors, like Zbig Brzezinski and Lee Hamilton, want Israel to be encircled by enemies. So Obama encourages Turkey against Israel, scoffing at the Armenian-Americans who naively supported him on account of his promise to acknowledge the Armenian genocide. He encouraged the Code Pink and Free Gaza campaigners who teamed up with the Turkish jihadists on last May's convoy to Gaza. Lee Hamilton's Woodrow Wilson Center even gave Turkish FM Davutoglu the Woodrow Wilson award a few weeks after the Mavi Marmara incident. No doubt as a reward for embarassing Israel in world public opinion.
Syria is a very hostile state on Israel's northeast which supports the equally hostile Hizbullah on Israel's north in Lebanon. Both, by the way, are clearly Judeophobic, not merely "critical" of Israel. The Hizbullah, well-armed by Iran and Syria, could not exist in Lebanon as a state within a state --as the hegemonic body in the state-- without Syrian support. Iran which is farther away threatens Israel with the Bomb and with long-distance rockets. Obama was counting on a strong, stable anti-Israel front on Israel's north and northeast to threaten and pressure Israel, joining with Western diplomatic pressure from the US, UK, EU, etc. The protest movement in Syria threatens that strong, stable anti-Israel front.
Mubarak on the other hand was cooperating with Israel on security matters, especially in regard to Hamas and Iran. To be sure, he was violating the 1979 treaty with Israel in regard to anti-Israel agitation and propaganda in the Egyptian media, schools, etc. But he was cooperating, if only minimally, on security, especially in regard to Hamas. Hamas is an offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, a sworn enemy of Mubarak, and of course a bitter enemy of Israel and the Jews based on medieval Islamic teaching. Obama wanted to much increase MB influence over Egyptian policy towards Israel, if not to bring the MB into the govt. Recall that a US official said --before Mubarak's ouster-- that "non-secular" factors in Egyptian society and politics should be brought into the govt for the sake of "democracy." "Non-secular" factors was a clear reference to the MB. And now, the post-Mubarak regime is giving in to various MB demands, warning of renegotiating the agreement for purchase of Egyptian natural gas. The two serious candidates for president of Egypt, `Amr Musa --head of the Arab League-- and the repulsive Muhammad al-Barada`i who helped along the Iranian Bomb Project, are talking against Israel, warning of intervening against any Israeli attack on the Hamas and demanding reopening of the 1979 treaty besides the gas purchase agreement. Obama's endeavors to encircle Israel with a more hostile power on the south [more hostile, less amenable to peace with Israel than Mubarak was] have borne fruit. That has happened. Note that democracy was never Obama's real concern. Demonstrators have been shot since Mubarak's ouster. Dissidents like Maikel Nabil Sanad are now in jail. Ten or more Copts were killed in clashes with MB thugs. The army damaged Coptic monasteries. Moreover, the people in Egypt are poorer and less secure economically than before the ouster, albeit things were bad then too.
So here Obama succeeded in having a more anti-Israeli front set up on the south. Yet, the northern anti-Israel front is being shaken by pesky demonstrators in Syria who demand freedom for their country and improvement in their situation. The Syrian demonstrations are a blow to Obama's encirclement strategy. So after more than a month of anti-regime protests in Syria, Obama and his Washington gang have not demanded that Assad get out. The criticisms from the State Department are relatively mild. Of course, the Assad regime is immensely more bloodthirsty than Mubarak ever was. Obama's concern is not with decency or democracy but with encircling Israel with very hostile powers. Hence, the answer to the question asked by Lee Smith and Eyal Zisser is one and the same. Obama wants to encircle and besiege Israel. Assad serves that purpose much better than Mubarak.
Also consider why Obama has been soft on Iran, friendly to Erdogan's Turkey and Pakistan [another Muslim fanatic state].
Lastly, consider the role of the so-called "left" and the so-called "human rights" organizations. These bodies, insofar as they focus their hatred on Israel, serve the anti-Israel policy of the EU, UK, and the old hatred for Jews of the US State Department. The self-styled "human rights" outfits like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch hate Israel more than they love or believe or serve the cause of human rights. The anti-Israel "Left" cares much less about exploited, ill-treated workers --in Abu Dhabi or Dubai, let us say-- or about the vast capital concentrated in the hands of the Arab oil billionaires than they do about harming Jews in Israel. They are unwitting tools at best of the UK, EU, & US State Department.
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UPDATING 4-23-2011 Can it be true that goody goody "peace groups", like CodePink for instance, can be considered "tools" of wealthy and powerful Establishment forces? Alana Goodman thinks so. She wondered why "the anti-war movement has pretty much evaporated under President Obama". She concludes that "the anti-war movement was little more than a partisan anti-Bush movement. Obama has continued most of Bush’s counterterrorism tactics, increased AfPak [Afghanistan-Pakistan] drone strikes, kept open Guantanamo Bay, sent the U.S. into a war in Libya and tinkered with Miranda rights for terrorists. And yet no massive anti-war protests greet him in California, nobody burns him in effigy, nobody chants that he’s 'the real terrorist.'" [here]
Simon Tisdall admits that Western govts are soft on Assad the Basher, some --such as the US & UK-- wanting to keep him in office supposedly for the sake of "Israel-Palestine peace efforts." The so-called "peace efforts" & "peace process" are thinly disguised efforts to weaken Israel and thereby give the Arabs a chance to finish Hitler's work. As I say above, the Obama gang wants to maintain a strong, stable anti-Israel front on Israel's northern & northeastern borders. [Tisdall here]
Walter Russell Mead points out that the reasons given for US intervention in Libya are present "in spades" in Syria. Mead also reminds us that, "For decades now, Syria has been a principal state sponsor of terrorism in the Middle East. Hezbollah and Hamas would not exist in their present forms without Syrian protection and support. On its own behalf, and as Iran’s closest strategic ally in the Arab world, Syria has a long record of arming, training and sheltering terrorists." [here]
Washington Times editorial 4-23-2011 [here] supports Alana Goodman's premise that the "anti-war movement" dried up under Obama and her conclusion that the "anti-war movement" under Bush was mainly a partisan movement cynically manipulated by Democrats [here].
4-24-2011 Elliott Abrams notes the disrepancy in Obama's positions toward Mubarak and Assad respectively. Abrams calls for stronger US action.
William Harris says that Bashar the Basher is committing war crimes. Further, Harris does not think very highly of Obama's Syria policy: "It is difficult to think of anything more obstinately counter-intuitive than Barack Obama's reluctance to give up on the Syrian dictatorship and the bankrupt policy of "engagement" [with Assad]. Morality, strategic interest, and simple good sense together demand an end to the nonsense about reforming what cannot be reformed; if it survives, the dictatorship will be so blood-soaked that no decent person could "engage" its leadership. On the other hand, a new Syria will mean a new Middle East, with the Iranian theocracy's capability in the Levant dealt a stunning reverse and new prospects for a real Arab-Israeli peace process. " [see here]
Carlo Panella has written several pieces about Syria: "Assad First Slaughters the Demonstrators, Then He Calls Them Martyrs"[in Italiano qui] e "Nazi Repression in Syria. . ." [qui] e "Assad's Opponents" qui.
Wall Street Journal on the Syria lobby in Washington [here].
4-27-2011 Aaron David Miller, ex-State Dept, informs us that "the Assads hold a special place in the schemes and dreams of U.S. policymakers." But, but. They're bloodthirsty bastards, aren't they? How could Washington possibly like them? [here]
Lee Smith asks "Why Is Obama Protecting Assad?" [here]. He quotes Michael Doran who writes that Obama was counting on Assad's Syria to be part of a general, comprehensive "peace" agreement between Israel and the Arab states. Doran writes: “the Obama administration has made the Arab-Israeli peace process the organizing principle of its Middle East policy.” Getting rid of Assad would somehow thwart that purpose. Doran implies that Assad staying in power in Syria is essential to this "peace" strategy. Doran doesn't explain why a Syrian govt without the Assad clan could not also make "peace" or even peace with Israel. Or be just as likely or just as unlikely to do so.
Lee Smith concludes: "the Obama White House’s Syria policy is not pragmatic and cautious. Rather, it is adventurist and ideological. The administration is sheltering Damascus in order to salvage its own bankrupt Middle East policy. If he loses Assad, Obama is lost in the region and the administration will be forced, obviously against its will, to recalibrate. The question is, how much will U.S. interests suffer in the meantime?" [here]. What Lee Smith and Doran say fits in with what Aaron David Miller wrote: "the Assads hold a special place in the schemes and dreams of U.S. policymakers."
Syrian oppositionist Farid Ghadry asks where the West is in Syria's time of travail. He especially wants to know why Erdogan of Turkey wants to send a "freedom flotilla" to Hamas-ruled Gaza but is not interested in sending a similar "freedom flotilla" to the Syrian people [here].
Elliott Abrams on Obama's Syria policy [here]
Julian Borger on British Syria policy since Junior Basher rose to power in 2000 [here]
St Andrews University in Britain said to be embarassed over Syrian funding for a "Syrian Studies" center [here]. A pimp of the pen like Patrick Seale, a toady for the Syrian regime, is an advisor to the center.
Washington Times editorial scolding Obama's policy ["The Nobama Doctrine"] & calling for intervention to save the Syrian people [here]
Lee Smith has more on why Obama & Company are soft on the Assads [here]: ". . . in place of a rational intellect and a moral center, all the White House has is an imaginary peace process, a pipe dream that requires the “reform-minded” Bashar al-Assad to come to his senses and engage with Washington."
4-30-2011 James Traub gives reasons why he thinks that Western powers were so fond of Syria and Bashar the Basher [here]
Elliott Abrams complains about the soft Obama adminstration response to Syrian govt physical abuse of an American diplomat [here]
Jonathan Spyer takes on the Israeli fools [Uri Sagi, Alon Liel, etc] who want a "deal" with Assad's Syria and need the West to prop him up until that will o'the wisp eventuality [here]
Barry Rubin points out that Assad's Syria has never been a real partner for peace for Israel despite what the Obama and previous US administrations have "believed" or pretended to believe. This should have been known and understood in the West as far back as the 1960s. [I believe that it probably was understood in the West]. He goes on to point out the danger of surrendering Israel's natural defense of the Golan Heights to Syria. How can we know in advance that the Assad gang or any succeeding regime in Syria will keep a peace treaty with Israel if it controls the strategic advantage of the Golan Heights? [here]
Barry Rubin points out that everybody --every Western govt, in particular-- should have [& could have] known just how bad the Syrian regime was many years ago. But up till the recent revolt, the Western govts were playing dumb about Junior Assad, Bashar the Basher [here].
Another piece by Barry Rubin, if combined with his two articles linked to above on Syria, supports my argument that Obama and his gang want Israel to be surrounded by hostile powers. Barry might not agree explicitly with my sound inferences from his analyses.
5-7-2011 Barry Rubin despairs over any decent response to the Syria crisis emerging from Washington's Foggy Bottom [and Foggy Top][here]