Coup in Egypt? Court dissolves parliament, military takes control

June 14, 2012

From Barry Rubin at PJM:

The Egyptian Supreme Constitutional Court has just invalidated the parliamentary election there. The parliament, 75 percent of whose members were Islamists, is being dissolved. The military junta has taken over total authority.  The presidential election is still scheduled for  a few dozen hours from now.

In short, everything is confused and everything is a mess. All calculations are thrown to the wind. What this appears to be is a new military coup.

Yes, it is under legal cover but nobody is going to see it as a group of judges-appointed by former President Husni Mubarak, remember–looking deep into the law books and coming up with a carefully reasoned decision based on precedent. No. This will be seen by every Islamist–whether Salafi or Muslim Brotherhood–and by most of the liberals, who feel closer to the Islamists than to the government, as if the 2011 revolution has just been reversed.

Prediction: massive violence.

This is not good, and, were I an American in Egypt, I’d get the heck out, now.

Rubin’s first thought was of Algeria, which fought a years-long bloody, brutal war against Islamists that killed thousands. Egypt is far more populous; the potential for mayhem and chaos is enormous. And not just from the violence of civil conflict: Egypt imports over half its caloric needs and its cash reserves are dwindling fast. What little revenue (other than foreign aid) it brings in comes mostly from tourism, which has already suffered during the “Arab Spring.” If, as it looks, tourism collapses thanks to civil disorder, the potential for famine and even state collapse is very real.

Rubin, again:

This event poses a huge problem for the Obama Administration and I’ll bet one that has caught it by surprise. Does the U.S. government condemn the military and put sanctions on it, demanding that the Muslim Brotherhood be put into power? There is no easy solution. But we are likely to have the strange situation of an American president fighting to put into power an anti-American, anti-Christian, antisemitic political force that is opposed to all U.S. interests because–after all–they did win the election.

Dear President Obama: It’s 3AM and the phone is ringing. You’re on.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Secrets? We don’t need no steeenking secrets!

June 14, 2012

Oh, what the heck? Why not tell al-Qaeda just what we’re doing in North Africa, where we’re doing it from, and what kinds of planes we’re flying?

And while we’re at it, let’s give them the nuclear launch codes, too:

U.S. expands secret intelligence operations in Africa

Note that word “secret” Shh! You don’t know anything about this… Don’t tell! 

The U.S. military is expanding its secret intelligence operations across Africa, establishing a network of small air bases to spy on terrorist hideouts from the fringes of the Sahara to jungle terrain along the equator, according to documents and people involved in the project.

At the heart of the surveillance operations are small, unarmed turboprop aircraft disguised as private planes. Equipped with hidden sensors that can record full-motion video, track infrared heat patterns, and vacuum up radio and cellphone signals, the planes refuel on isolated airstrips favored by African bush pilots, extending their effective flight range by thousands of miles.

About a dozen air bases have been established in Africa since 2007, according to a former senior U.S. commander involved in setting up the network. Most are small operations run out of secluded hangars at African military bases or civilian airports.

The article insists that much of this report (and, again, it’s fascinating reading) comes from public sources… but much of it doesn’t, also. And while it’s one thing to say the US is ramping up special forces operations in Africa with the cooperation of friendly local governments, it’s a whole other ball of “WTF??” to publicize details of bases, cities, and just which governments are helping us. Just the kind of things Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQAM, the local AQ affiliate) or the Nigerian Boko Haram would love to know so they can have an easier time striking back against our… “secret” operations.

I had to love this little gem from late in the article:

In an interview with The Post, Djibril Bassole, the foreign minister of Burkina Faso, praised security relations between his country and the United States, saying they were crucial to containing al-Qaeda forces in the region.

“We need to fight and protect our borders,” he said. “Once they infiltrate your country, it’s very, very difficult to get them out.”

Bassole declined, however, to answer questions about the activities of U.S. Special Operations forces in his country.

“I cannot provide details, but it has been very, very helpful,” he said. “This cooperation should be very, very discreet. We should not show to al-Qaeda that we are now working with the Americans.”

Umm…. too late?  Hate to break it to you, Djibril, but al-Qaeda has people who can use computers and probably saw the same article I did. Agreeing to drinks with the Post reporter was not the best idea, capiche?

This may be another in the series of leaks designed to make Obama look tough on national security, or it may just be a case of too many people being too willing to talk to the reporter from the big newspaper and wanting to look important. Regardless, I wish to God more people would remember that we are at war and that, sometimes, silence really is a virtue.

As the great Strother Martin once said, “Morons. I’ve got morons on my team.”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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