Hi, I'm Your New Axis of Evil
- I have
argued that what has just happened in Egypt is a bloodbath
that is not a bloodbath, conducted by a military junta
responsible for a coup that is not a coup, under the guise of an
Egyptian "war on terror". Yet this newspeak gambit - which
easily could have been written at the White House - is just part
of the picture.
Amid a thick fog of spin and competing agendas, a startling fact
stands out. A poll only 10 days ago by the
Egyptian Center for Media Studies
and Public Opinion had already shown that 69%
were against the July 3
military coup orchestrated by the Pinochet-esque Abdel Fattah
So the bloodbath that is not a bloodbath cannot possibly be
considered legitimate - unless for a privileged coterie of
Mubarakists (the so-called fulool), a bunch of corrupt
oligarchs and the military-controlled Egyptian "deep state".
The Muslim Brotherhood (MB) government led by Mohamed Morsi may
have been utterly incompetent - trying to rewrite the Egyptian
constitution; inciting hardcore fundamentalists; and bowing in
debasement in front of the International Monetary Fund. But it
should not be forgotten this was coupled with permanent, all-out
sabotage by the "deep state".
It's true that Egypt was - and remains - on the brink of total
economic collapse; the bloodbath that is not a bloodbath only
followed a change in the signature on the checks, from Qatar to
Saudi Arabia (and the United Arab Emirates). As Spengler has
demonstrated on this site (see
Islam's civil war moves to Egypt, Asia Times Online, July 8,
2013), Egypt will remain a banana republic without the bananas
and dependent on foreigners to eat any. The economic disaster
won't go away - not to mention the MB's cosmic resentment.
The winners, as it stands, are the House of Saud/Israel/
Pentagon axis. How did they pull it off?
When in doubt, call Bandar
In theory, Washington had been in (relative) control of both the
MB and Sisi's Army. So on the surface this is a win-win
situation. Essentially, Washington hawks are pro-Sisi's Army,
while "liberal imperialists" are pro-MB; the perfect cover,
because the MB is Islamic, indigenous, populist, economically
neoliberal, it wants to work with the International Monetary
Fund, and has not threatened Israel.
The MB was not exactly a problem for either Washington and Tel
Aviv; after all ambitious ally Qatar was there as a go-between.
Qatar's foreign policy, as everyone knows, boils down to
cheerleading the MB everywhere.
So Morsi must have crossed a pretty serious red line. It could
have been his call for Sunni Egyptians to join a jihad against
the Bashar al-Assad government in Syria (although that's
formally in tune with Barack Obama's "Assad must go" policy).
Arguably, it was his push to install some sort of jihadi
paradise from the Sinai all the way to Gaza. The Sinai, for all
practical purposes, is run by Israel. So that points to a green
light for the coup from both the Pentagon and Tel Aviv.
Tel Aviv is totally at ease with Sisi's Army and the flush Saudi
supporters of the military junta. The only thing that matters to
Israel is that Sisi's Army will uphold the Camp David
agreements. The MB, on the other hand, might entertain other
ideas in the near future.
For the House of Saud, though, this was never a win-win
situation. The MB in power in Egypt was anathema. In this
fateful triangle - Washington, Tel Aviv and Riyadh - what
remains to be established is who was been the most cunning in
the wag the dog department.
That's where the Incredibly Disappearing Qatar act fits in. The
rise and (sudden) fall of Qatar from the foreign policy
limelight is strictly linked to the current leadership vacuum in
the heart of the Pentagon's self-defined "arc of instability".
Qatar was, at best, an extra in a blockbuster - considering the
yo-yo drifts of the Obama administration and that Russia and
China are just playing a waiting game.
Sheikh Hamad al-Thani, the emir who ended up deposing himself,
clearly overreached not only in Syria but also in Iraq; he was
financing not only MB outfits but also hardcore jihadis across
the desert. There's no conclusive proof because no one in either
Doha or Washington is talking, but the emir was certainly
"invited" to depose himself. And not by accident the Syrian
"rebel" racket was entirely taken over by the House of Saud, via
the spectacularly resurfaced Bandar Bush, aka Prince Bandar bin
So the winners once again were the Saudis - as the Obama
administration was calculating that both the MB and the al-Qaeda
nebulae would then fade into oblivion in Syria. That remains to
be seen; it's possible that Egypt from now on may attract a lot
of jihadis from Syria. Still, they would remain in MENA (Middle
As for Sisi, he was clever enough to seize the "terror" theme
and pre-emptively equate MB with al-Qaeda in Egypt, thus setting
the scene for the bloodbath that is not a bloodbath. The bottom
line is that a case can be made that the Obama administration
has in fact subcontracted most of its Middle East policy to the
House of Saud.
Pick your axis
Only two days before the bloodbath that is not a bloodbath,
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey
was in Israel getting cozy with General Benny Gantz and Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, discussing the proverbial "threats
that could emanate out of the region - globally and to the
homeland - and how we can continue to work together to make both
of our countries more secure". It's unthinkable they did not
discuss how they would profit from the imminent bloodbath that
is not a bloodbath.
At the same time, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon
bombastically announced a new "axis
of evil"; Iran, Syria and Lebanon. That implies Tehran,
Damascus and, significantly, Beirut as a whole (not only the
predominantly Shi'ite southern suburbs). Ya'alon explicitly told
Dempsey it was "forbidden" for them to win the civil war in
Considering that the Central Intelligence Agency itself has
deemed the civil war in Syria as a "top threat" to US national
security in case al-Qaeda-style outfits and copycats take over
in an eventual post-Assad situation; and at the same time
Washington is extremely reluctant to stop "leading from behind",
a case can be made that Israel may be entertaining another
invasion of Lebanon. An always alert Sheikh Nasrallah,
Hezbollah's secretary-general, has already been talking about
Then Dempsey went to Jordan - which already holds around 1,000
US troops, F-16s with crews, and an array of Patriot missiles.
The spin is that the Pentagon is helping Amman with "border
control techniques" as in one of those favorite Pentagon
acronyms, ISR ("intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance").
That's just spin. Most of all Dempsey went to survey the
progress of the recent batch of anti-tank missiles, bought by -
who else - the Saudis and supplied by the CIA, via Jordan, to
(in theory) selected "good rebels" in southern Syria. Those
"rebels", by the way, were trained by US Special Forces inside
Jordan. Obviously Damascus will be preparing a counterpunch to
this offensive by the American/Saudi/Jordanian axis.
Pick your evil
There's hardly any "American credibility" left in the Middle
East - apart from puppet entities like Jordan and selected
elites in the feudal Gulf, that "democratic" realm of
corruption, mercenaries and imported proletariats treated like
It hardly helps that US Secretary of State John Kerry has
recommended Robert Ford, the former US ambassador to Syria, as
the next US ambassador to Egypt.
Perception is everything. Informed opinion all across the Middle
East immediately identifies Ford as a creepy death squad
facilitator. His CV prior to Syria - where he legitimized the
"rebels" - is matchless; sidekick to sinister John Negroponte
promoting the "Salvador Option" in Iraq in 2004. The "Salvador
Option" is code for US-sponsored death squads, a tactic first
applied in El Salvador (by Negroponte) in the 1980s (causing at
least 75,000 deaths) but with deep origins in Latin America in
the late 1960s throughout the 1970s.
Sisi will keep playing his game according to his own master plan
- bolstering the narrative myth that the Egyptian army defends
the nation and its institutions when in fact defending its
immense socio-economic privileges. Forget about civilian
oversight. And forget about any possible independent political
party - or movement - in Egypt.
As for Washington, MB or "deep state", even a civil war in Egypt
- Arabs killing Arabs, divide and rule ad infinitum - that's
fine, as long as there is no threat to Israel.
With Israel possibly mulling another invasion of Lebanon; the
Kerry "peace process" an excuse for more settlements in
Palestine; Bandar Bush back practicing the dark arts; the
pre-empting of any possible solution to the Iranian nuclear
dossier; Egypt in civil war; Syria and also Iraq bleeding to
death, what's left is the certified proliferation of all kinds
of axes, and all kinds of evil.
Pepe Escobar is
the author of
Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid
War (Nimble Books, 2007),
Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge
(Nimble Books, 2007), and
Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009). - He may be
reached at email@example.com.
Copyright 2013 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd
This article was originally published at
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