Thursday, February 3, 2011

Egypt Endgame and US Options

Very forceful essay from Marc Lynch, saying that US need to play hardball with Mubarak; force him to leave, and tell the Egyptian military that US will cut them off and turn Egypt into  a pariah if they take harsh action against pro-democracy protesters. 

Hard to object to that - although Richard Cohen would rather Obama et al just shut up and let the Egyptians figure it out for themselves. What seems to have set Cohen off was the report that the US is re-appraising its relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood, with an eye to carefully encouraging their participation in any pro-reform dialogue.  Cohen has already made it clear that, as far as he's concerned, Muslim Brotherhood = Hamas = Iran = enemy of Israel = BAD BAD BAD. 

Unfortunately, as things seem to be shaping up, as the Egyptians tend to their affairs, a bloodbath is shaping up: pro-Mubarak thugs beating up protesters (as well as journalists and academics, foreign and domestic), with the powerful Egyptian military positioned to intervene to clear the squares of Cairo, with the anti-Mubarak people likely to take it in the chin.

Why do I sense that, in Cohen's world, as long as some semblance of the current regime hangs on - and the world stays safe for Israel - then, what are a few dead Arabs, especially if they just might be members of the Brotherhood?

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