As I've said previously (and as others have said), the right-wing propagandists want to have it both ways on Egypt.
Much of the conservative propaganda machine roots for Mubarak
and warns that his fall will lead to Islamic chaos. But Elliot Abrams, representing the neocons, not only welcomes the fall but portrays it as the fulfillment of George W. Bush's alleged dream of democracy
. That kind of spin requires much rewriting of history.
To his credit, Abrams gets this part right:
Mubarak took the same tack for three decades. Ruling under an endless emergency law, he has crushed the moderate opposition while the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood has thrived underground and in the mosques. Mubarak in effect created a two-party system - his ruling National Democratic Party and the Brotherhood - and then defended the lack of democracy by saying a free election would bring the Islamists to power.
If someone had written those very words during (say) the Clinton administration, neocons of Abrams' stripe would have damned the author as a churlish liberal and a dangerous idealist.
The fact is, Bush II was perfectly willing to toss massive amounts of money and weapons at Egypt, as did Bush I, Clinton, Reagan and Carter. The rest of Africa groans in poverty while Egypt receives more American foreign aid than does any other nation, except Israel. That's why, right now, the Egyptians are in the streets seeking freedom -- freedom from us
Dubya, whom Abrams would portray as the Messiah of democracy, was (and probably still is) in bed with the damnably undemocratic House of Saud. Everyone knows that Prince Bandar earned the nickname "Bandar Bush," and everyone knows that the Bush administration sold the Saudis nearly $20 billion worth of weaponry
. This, despite the abundance of evidence
that some within the Saudi regime have backed Al Qaeda:
Salem bin Laden, Osama’s brother, has conducted all his American affairs through James Bath, a Houston crony of the Bush family. Bath’s former business partner Bill White testified in court that Bath had been a liaison for the C.I.A. In 1979 Bath invested $50,000 in Arbusto, George W. Bush’s first business venture. Rumor had it that Bath was acting as Salem bin Laden’s representative. "In conflicting statements, Bush at first denied ever knowing Bath, then acknowledged his stake in Arbusto and that he was aware Bath represented Saudi interests."
In addition to doing aviation business with Saudi sheiks, Bath was part owner of a Houston bank whose chief stockholder was Ghaith Pharaon, who represented the Bank of Commerce and Credit International (BCCI), a criminal global bank with branches in 73 countries. BCCI proceeded to defraud depositors of $10 billion during the ‘80s, while providing a money laundry conduit for the Medellin drug cartel, Asia’s major heroin cartel, Manuel Noriega, Saddam Hussein, the C.I.A., and Islamist terrorist organizations worldwide.
Pharaon, a notorious Saudi financier, later helped the Bushes pull off a lucrative fraud, or so says investigator Al Martin. Pharaon arranged for a Bush family company, Gulf Oil and Drilling, to obtain oil and gas leases in the Gulf. The leases were worthless and the Bushes knew it. Their value was misrepresented to a major bank in Florida, which gave massive loans to the Bush family's company, using the leases as collateral. The money was never paid back.
Bush was also very close to the corrupt rulers of Dubai. Remember when he tried to give a Dubai government-controlled firm
oversight over the security of our ports? The UAE also gave tons of money to the wretched Neil Bush
as part of his "educational software" scam; Lord knows what that
was really about.
The Bush-friendly Prime Minister of the UAE, and the absolute monarch of Dubai, was and is Sheik Mohammed ibn Rashid al Maktum
-- who has been known to pal around with none other than Osama Bin Laden.
Craig Unger got it right in this 2008 interview:
I think if you look at the neoconservative vision, which talks again about democratization, democratization, it’s really much more about strategic domination of the Middle East, and it’s been a vision to take over Iraq and eventually Iran.
The Iraq war was never about democracy. It was about oil and Israel. The Iraqis know that, even if many Americans do not -- and that's why the Iraqis are not exactly inclined to name streets after George W. Bush.Obama is little better
, of course.
Far from calling the Saudi king on his awful record on human rights and women’s issues, the president is pushing a huge arms deal and heaping praise on the monarch. He’s not only continuing Bush’s soft Saudi policy—he’s surpassing it.Now, about Elliot Abrams:
In the next two months, Congress will be asked to give formal approval to a staggering new arms deal with Saudi Arabia. Valued at $30 billion, the deal includes selling the Saudis state-of-the-art missile technology, jets, ships, and helicopters.
It is infuriating to see this notorious liar present himself as the apostle of democracy. Remember Iran-contra?
Abrams, a Democrat turned Republican who married into the cranky Podhoretz neocon clan, billed himself as a "gladiator" for the Reagan Doctrine in Central America-which entailed assisting thuggish regimes and militaries in order to thwart leftist movements and dismissing the human rights violations of Washington's cold war partners.
One Abrams specialty was massacre denial. During a Nightline appearance in 1985, he was asked about reports that the US-funded Salvadoran military had slaughtered civilians at two sites the previous summer. Abrams maintained that no such events had occurred. And had the US Embassy and the State Department conducted an investigation? "My memory," he said, "is that we did, but I don't want to swear to it, because I'd have to go back and look at the cables." But there had been no State Department inquiry; Abrams, in his lawyerly fashion, was being disingenuous. Three years earlier, when two American journalists reported that an elite, US-trained military unit had massacred hundreds of villagers in El Mozote, Abrams told Congress that the story was commie propaganda, as he fought for more US aid to El Salvador's military. The massacre, as has since been confirmed, was real. And in 1993 after a UN truth commission, which examined 22,000 atrocities that occurred during the twelve-year civil war in El Salvador, attributed 85 percent of the abuses to the Reagan-assisted right-wing military and its death-squad allies, Abrams declared, "The Administration's record on El Salvador is one of fabulous achievement." Tell that to the survivors of El Mozote.
The Salvadoran thugs that Abrams championed made Hosni Mubarak seem like the Easter Bunny. Abrams, in his words, "supervised U.S. policy in Latin America and the Caribbean" throughout much of the Reagan administration.
That policy included backing the contras-a surrogate army dedicated to overthrowing the democratically elected Sandinista government of Nicaragua. It also involved funding the military thugocracy of El Salvador and supervising its war against a popular leftist rebellion. In his role as public servant, Abrams found time to cover up the genocidal policies of the Guatemalan government and embrace the government of Honduras while it perpetrated serial human rights abuses through Battalion 3-16, a U.S.-trained "intelligence unit" turned death squad.
Incidentally: Working under Abrams in Honduras was Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, who later became the number 3 guy at CIA. Foggo was upended in the Wilkes/Cunningham bribery scandal.
The regimes Abrams championed in the 1980s operated according to a playbook similar to the one that Abrams now ascribes to Mubarak. When a dictatorship makes democratic opposition impossible, extremism becomes the only option. Let's have no further lectures on democracy from the likes of Elliot Abrams.
(That said, I am more than a little suspicious of his ability to "call the shot"
on Egypt. What did he know...?)