Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Egypt: Social Movements, the CIA and the Mossad


By James Petras
Palestine Chronicle

"The mass movements which forced the removal of Mubarak reveal both the strength and weaknesses of spontaneous uprisings. On the one hand, the social movements demonstrated their capacity to mobilize hundreds of thousands, if not millions, in a successful sustained struggle culminating in the overthrow of the dictator in a way that pre-existent opposition parties and personalities were unable or unwilling to do.

On the other hand, lacking any national political leadership, the movements were not able to take political power and realize their demands, allowing the Mubarak military high command to seize power and define the “post-Mubarak” process, ensuring the continuation of Egypt’s subordination to the US, the protection of the illicit wealth of the Mubarak clan ($70 billion), and the military elite’s numerous corporations and the protection of the upper class. The millions mobilized by the social movements to overthrow the dictatorship were effectively excluded by the new self-styled “revolutionary” military junta in defining the political institutions and policies, let along the socio-economic reforms needed to address their basic needs of the population.....

....In the case of Egypt the main strategic ally of US imperialism was not Mubarak, it is the military, with whom Washington was in constant collaboration before, during and after the ouster of Mubarak, ensuring that the “transition” to democracy (sic) guarantees the continued subordination of Egypt to US and Israeli Middle East policy and interests.

The intelligence failure complicated Washington and Tel Aviv’s efforts to sacrifice the dictatorial regime to save the state: the CIA ad MOSSAD did not develop ties to any of the new emerging leaders. The Israeli’s could not find any ‘new face’ with a popular following willing to serve as a crass collaborator to colonial oppression. The CIA had been entirely engaged in using the Egyptian secret police for torturing terror suspects (“exceptional rendition”) and in policing neighboring Arab countries. As a result both Washington and Israel looked to and promoted the military takeover to preempt further radicalization.

Ultimately the failure of the CIA and MOSSAD to detect and prevent the rise of the popular democratic movement reveals the precarious bases of imperial and colonial power. Over the long-run it is not arms, billions of dollars, secret police and torture chambers that decide history. Democratic revolutions occur when the vast majority of a people arise and say “enough”, take the streets, paralyze the economy, dismantle the authoritarian state and demand freedom and democratic institutions without imperial tutelage and colonial subservience."

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