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Sunday Morning Link Dump

February 13, 2011

Originally posted over at Taylor Marsh.

Good morning and welcome to Sunday.

On this day in history, February 15,1542, the fifth wife of England’s King Henry VIII, Catherine Howard, was executed for adultery.

I’ve rounded up some links for you to peruse:

~The Palestinian Authority has announced it will hold elections in September. Hamas is saying it won’t take part. In other news, Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat has resigned after an investigation found that the Palestine Papers were leaked by someone in his office.

~Former Israeli negotiator and Mideast expert Daniel Levy has an optimistic take on future of Egyptian-Israeli ties, believing that democracy in Egypt could result in a positive change in the status quo that makes it more likely that Israel and the Palestinians will move forward on a peace deal because it will be in Israel’s interest to do so. The days of Egypt providing a stamp of Arab legitimacy on the never-ending conflict will likely be over, forcing all sides to start to accept that time is not on their side. On the other side of the coin, Helena Cobban thinks Daniel has some good ideas, but it’s too little, too late.

~Boy, the U.S. sure knows how to apply pressure on an ally when it wants to- the operative word being want.

~Rachel Maddow calls out some on the political right for siding with Mubarak, over, you know, the pro-democracy protesters.

~Today, tensions in Egypt are bubbling to the surface as the military clears protesters from Tahrir Square. The military has sent the message, apparently, that there are limits to what kind of change they are willing to enact. And herein lies the rub- this was a coup, albeit a peaceful one, and there are many that are worried that the military is not going to be willing to give up the power and privilege that they have enjoyed for so long.

~I’m kind of getting sick of Arianna Huffington.

~The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has plans to discredit liberal bloggers and union organizers according to leaked documents. Here’s the thing, besides getting next to no media attention, some of the strategies sound out-right illegal. More proof that there are different sets of rules for the elite ruling class- no ethics, no accountability and no punishment. Ever.

~Speaking of corporate shenanigans- Bank of America’s war against WikiLeaks just hit a really big snag, while dragging several prominent intelligence companies and law firms through the mud with them. There’s a lot of MSM radio silence on this story as well.

~The NYT has an interesting article (which looks a lot like a planted article from the White House) about how some of the mixed messaging from the administration was a result of a difference in viewpoints about whether to privilege stability over a quick Mubarak exit. There does seem to be a tension between those that want stability and those that see these dictatorships as anything but stable. Although Clinton herself said in Doha that the Arab states has to reform and listen to their people. The question remains, what does the U.S. mean when it says it wants the Middle East to reform? In this information age, the chasm between our words and our deeds are amplified in a way they never were before and the protesters in Cairo were quick to point out U.S. hypocrisy.

~Speaking of which, Nick Kristoff is again a voice of reason, calling out the U.S. for using lazy, fear-mongering stereotypes of all Arabs as an excuse to prop up dictators under the false flag of stability.

~Fox News insider admits that the “news” network just makes stuff up to undermine democrats.

~Fox News had a “Breaking News” interruption for this Sarah Palin tweet on Egypt:

~Ron Paul wins the CPAC poll for like the millionth time which means he’ll never be Preznit!

~Speaking of CPAC, it’s no surprise that many used the events in Egypt to slam Islam. I think they were watching a different Egyptian revolution than the rest of us were. One thing was very clear at CPAC, other than fear-mongering about Islam, foreign policy is not their strong suit. They’re going to need to brush up on that because they are not ready for prime time.

~While our attention was diverted elsewhere, another U.S. ally, China, has detained and beaten a prominent activist and his wife after he released a video detailing his treatment.

~Democrats are thinking ahead to the Arizona Senate race and floating the idea that Gabrielle Giffords might be the perfect candidate.

~Good riddance Robert Gibbs.

~The GOP is proposing massive cuts to the State Dept. and UN because, you know, who needs all that silly democracy-promoting nonsense? We need more advanced weapons systems!

~Ok, this is the coolest thing ever. Kovas Boguta has done a computational history of how Twitter users in Egypt influenced each other based on their “follows.” If you click on the photo (you may have to do that twice- I did it and it did work) you will be taken to a larger image and you can zoom in to see the influence that certain Arabic and English-speaking Twitter users had related to Egypt (and definitely go check out his site at the above link for more explanation):

The End.

20 Comments leave one →
  1. Tovah permalink
    February 13, 2011 10:47 am

    That twitter map is cool.

    That NYT article about the State dept. is depressing. You would think the State dept would be the one pushing for real democracy rather than aligning with the defense dept. which has such a cushy economic and intelligence relationship with the military dictatorship. I’ve noticed that since she returned from Munich, Secy Clinton hasn’t really been around in any public capacity. You would think that she would be on talk shows this weekend giving she’s the public face of US foreign policy but it’s almost like they don’t want her to say anything because of the perception that State was too invested in Mubarak and Sulieman staying in power.

    I’m glad robert gibbs is going to. I thought he did a terrible job. He was short tempered and thin-skinned.

    • February 13, 2011 11:51 am

      Hillary’s silence may not be a personal issue. Maybe the Administration just wants to stay pretty quiet on Egypt. We do after all still actively support militarily, financially, and diplomatically many repressive dictators. So it would be awkward for the Admin to speak of how great it is when a country’s people peacefully overthrow their ruthless dictators…

  2. vymtha permalink
    February 13, 2011 11:27 am

    I don’t believe the NYT article about the rift between the White House and the US State Dept regarding the uprising in Egypt. The White House wish to make Hillary look bad. Read the acknowledgement of fine leadership from Hillary written by Maximilian Forte at the following link:

    • Tovah permalink
      February 13, 2011 11:49 am

      I think Stacy clearly said the NYT story seemed like a it was planted by the WH.

      That article at Zero Anthropology is interesting but the problem is it’s really hard to pick and choose which times the State Dept is acting separately from the administration and when it’s not. As a clinton fan I like to believe all positive things are the result of Hillary’s doing and negative things are a result of the overall admin. but is that realistic? Hillary has put a lot of focus on 21st century statescraft which is excellent and she deserves huge kudos for it. But the State Dept also defunded a lot of Egyptian pro-democracy groups- should we blame Obama for that?

      Also, the author seems to admit that the State Dept. via Jared Cohen put too much weight behind that Google executive and he’s now become the source of frustration among many Egyptian protesters. He’s gotten a lot of limelight- is that because he’s a Google executive? He also seems to think the revolution is over and the military is just FINE to take things over but in fact, Mubarak was a product of the military. Lets face it, what took place the other night was a soft military coup brought about by the protesters but democracy is from assured there.

      I do think that this administration is caught between the false choice of stability vs extremism- that’s something we’ve talked a lot about here. Those who are firmly placed in the foreign policy community in DC seem to want to always back whoever or whatever seems to advance US and Israeli interests even if at the end of the day we violate our own democratic principles. But as we found out with egypt, there really isn’t anything stable about these dictatorships.

      The status quo absolutely has to change and I think the battle will be between those who recognize that and those that don’t.

  3. February 13, 2011 12:04 pm

    I think the reality is that decades of US foreign policy has put this administration in a very awkward situation. It’s easy to be critical of how they handled Egypt with regard to messaging but the fact is, every single President going back to the Egypt-Israeli peace treaty has promoted the idea that dictatorships were stable and were to be supported so long as they advanced US and Israeli interests. Unfortunately for this administration, timing is everything and they just happened to be the ones stuck holding the hypocrisy bag. I don’t envy them.

    Also, it’s not like the US hasn’t played fast and loose with other people’s freedoms before- In Iran when we instilled the corrupt thug the Shah, in various South American countries where we supported and in some cases, took part in right wing military coups and on and on. The thing is, ordinary people are more empowered due to social networking and we may be forced to actually walk the walk instead of just talking the talk when it comes to democracy promotion. And that may not be a bad thing.

    What is going to be very difficult for the foreign policy status quo is that democracy is uncertain and messy- if we truly want to promote democracy that means that we are by definition accepting that we will not be able to have regional puppets to do our bidding because in a democracy, leaders are accountable to their people, not the U.S. Turkey is a very good example of a US ally that sometimes does stuff we don’t like because their people demand more foreign policy independence. We also are going to have to start to admit there is a difference between an Islamic state and a state that has many Muslims who are observant. We simply can’t label all of political Islam the enemy or we are going to find ourselves with very few friends.

    The people who will be most resistant to change, I think, will not just be the status quo think tanks but Congress, who seems incapable of being able to think past their next election and thus they are susceptible to the type of propagandizing and lobbying that makes changing direction in the Middle East impossible. They are resistant to real change- we saw that last week with those silly House foreign relations committee hearings which focused almost exclusively on the Muslim Brotherhood – they want democracy for the Middle East so long as it’s on US terms- they want the US to be able to define WHO is worthy of being a candidate and who is not. That’s not for the US to determine.

    • Steve permalink
      February 13, 2011 12:10 pm

      What she said.

      The admin did the best they could do under difficult circumstances and they were under constant pressure from all sides, including of course Israel and our other dictator friends like Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Yemen etc.

      I agree that this should be a wake up call for the US and Israel. Dictatorships aren’t stable. Hillary said more or less that in Doha.

      I know a lot of people disagree with me but resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will go a long way towards allowing the US and Israel to not be so dependent on a few puppet dictators which make us look totally hypocritical.

      Oh, and as for messaging- probably the worst messaging during this whole Egypt thing was Israel- they look like asses right now. Bibi threw his weight behind Mubarak and it’s not going to endear Israel to the fledgling democracy. This is where Israel is totally self-defeating. Rather than going around pounding their fists they should consider some actual soft-touch diplomacy. I know, novel idea.

  4. Steve permalink
    February 13, 2011 12:16 pm

    BTW, that story you linked to about Secy of State Clinton/the state dept. threatening to cut off all aid to Pakistan and sever some ties is VERY interesting. You are right, it shows what we are willing to do to an ally that doesn’t do what we want- remember Hillary saying the US couldn’t force Israel to do what it didn’t want to do- but did she apply this kind of pressure? If she had, it sure would have gotten Israel’s attention and I think they most certainly would have done what we wanted them to do. Our economic and military aid to them is their lifeline.

    • February 13, 2011 2:23 pm

      The Pakistan story is very interesting. According to Pakistani reports, it took suspiciously long for the American’s diplomatic credentials to be produced after the fatal incident. So people were ready to think the worst. Also, it appears the guy runs a small security firm and may have been a security contractor there driving around with maps, GPS, and loaded weapons. Many people there believe this was a security contractor who went too far. I have no idea…

      Interesting as State and this Admin are offloading more and more security/military responsibilities to contractors (e.g., Iraq and now Pakistan), are these guys all going to be presumed to have diplomatic immunity?

      • February 13, 2011 2:28 pm

        So he’s not just a diplomat? If he’s a contractor that certainly muddies the water.

        One of the problems with the State Dept (and of course Defense Dept) relying so much on these Blackwater-type firms is that they are in legal limbo- should they get immunity? Hasn’t Congress carved out an exception for the defense contractors so they can’t be sued or be found criminally liable or was that changed after the various Blackwater and Haliburton incidents.

        Some, not all, of these contractors really are very bad PR for the U.S. I totally understand that US embassies need to be protected particularly in war zones but never before has the State Dept. gone so far in militarizing diplomatic/State Dept. security. It’s hard because the men and women serving in war zones deserve protection but when I look at the new US Embassy in Iraq, which is larger than Vatican City, it seems to invite trouble- I can see why many Iraqis would resent such a large US footprint.

      • February 13, 2011 3:56 pm

        Stacy, here is a little info on Raymond Davis. It’s a murky situation…

  5. HillaryFan permalink
    February 13, 2011 12:41 pm

    Great round-up Stacy. That egypt twitter map is so cool- I finally realized that if I could get in and see the actual twitter users who were tweeting the most about the revolution- you are right, you do have to click the photo twice and then you can see each twitter user in each circle. Very neat.

    Photo bomb today? No pressure 😉

  6. Thain permalink
    February 13, 2011 2:16 pm

    Whoa, Palestinian elections! What does the U.S. think about THAT? If Abu Mazen and Fayyed end up being voted out then Israel is SCREWED. All Israel’s whining about not having a partner for peace- you couldn’t ask for two Palestinians who are more pro-Western and willing to work with Israel.

    Careful what you wish for Bibi, you just might get it.

    • February 13, 2011 3:48 pm

      At this point, Hamas is saying they will NOT participate in the September elections. They are stating there needs to be political reconciliation prior to any fair election. I’m not clear just what is meant by political reconciliation.

      • February 13, 2011 3:53 pm

        Apparently, the Palestinians realize that so long as they are divided into two distinct groups and geographic regions, they’ll never get anywhere in terms of a state of their own. Of course, the two are like night and day so reconciliation seems almost impossible. According to the Palestine Papers, Fatah and Hamas were trying to reconcile but the U.S., Israel and Egypt didn’t want that to happen.

        The problem is that while Hamas was democratically elected, they’ve become quite entrenched and corrupt. I don’t know when Gaza is next scheduled for elections but it’s been quite a while. Given all that’s happened since Hamas came to power, I can’t help but wonder what election results would be given how disenfranchised young Palestinians are with both Hamas and Fatah/PA.

  7. February 13, 2011 2:22 pm

    Breaking news: Egyptian military has just dissolved parliament and suspended the Constitution, meeting two key demands of the protesters. Things were heating up earlier today when protesters complained that they were being forced out of the Square while the same corrupt system remained in place. It will be interesting to see what the military does next.

    It’s interesting we haven’t seen or heard Sulieman since his horrible speech the other night. I think he cooked his own goose with that one.

  8. February 13, 2011 2:49 pm

    Mubarak’s big concern during the waning days of his rule- moving his billions to Gulf state bank accounts so his assets can’t be frozen. He should be put on trial:

  9. KingTut permalink
    February 13, 2011 2:51 pm

    Love this site, thank you. I found you via Twitter and loved all your updates on Egypt.

    Did you see John McCain dissing the administration about Egypt this morning on the Sunday talk shows? He’s such a jerk. Like he would have done something different.

  10. Thain permalink
    February 13, 2011 6:40 pm

    That Rachel Maddow clip you linked to where she puts together all the Faux News fear-mongering about Egypt would be funny were it not for the fact that tens of millions of people get their fake news and daily dose of fear at that channel. Do they really think that’s news? Dick Morris, Sarah Palin, Frank Gaffney, Glenn Beck? Jesus, it’s like the flat earth society. I guess they just like to hear how Obama is a socialist, Muslim, terrorist-loving, Jew-hating black guy who wants to eat your children.

  11. July 21, 2013 8:51 pm

    Why visitors still use to read news papers when in this technological globe the whole thing is accessible on web?

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