Posted tagged ‘at sunset’

Egypt: Which Side Will the Dominoes Fall?

July 1, 2012

In view of the triumph of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, I’m republishing the following essay that was written in February 2011, that foreshadowed and tried to prevent by a proposal of mine the fall of  the country to radical Islam,  for the readers of this blog.

By Con George-Kotzabasis February 08, 2011

Swallowing victory in one gulp may choke one.

Egypt, not unexpectedly for those who have read history and can to a certain extent adumbrate its future course, as one of the offsprings (Tunisia was the first one) of the rudimentary Democratic paradigm that was established in Iraq by the U.S. ‘invasion’, has a great potential of strengthening this paradigm and spreading it to the whole Arab region. The dominoes that started falling in Iraq under a democratic banner backed by the military power of the Coalition forces are now falling all over the Arab territories dominated by authoritarian and autocratic governments. The arc that expands from Tunisia to Iran and contains all other Arab countries has the prospect and promise of becoming the arc of Democracy. But Heisenberg’s principle of uncertainty in physics also and equally applies to politics. For one cannot predict, especially in a revolutionary situation, and more so, when it is combined with fledgling and immature political parties that is the present political configuration in Egypt as well as of the rest of the Arab world due to the suppression of political parties by their authoritarian regimes, whether the dominoes will fall on the side of Democracy or on the side of Sharia radical Islam. This is why the outcome of the current turmoil in Egypt is of so paramount geopolitical importance. And that is why the absolute necessity of having a strong arm at the helm that will navigate the presently battered State of Egypt toward the safe port of Democracy is of the utmost importance. Contrariwise, to leave the course of these momentous events in the hands of the spontaneous and totally inexperienced leaders of the uprising against Mubarak is a recipe of irretrievable disaster. For that can bring the great possibility, if not ensure, that the dominoes in the whole Arab region will be loaded to fall on the side of the extremists of Islam. And this is why in turn for the U.S. and its allies in the war against global terror, it is of the uttermost strategic importance to use all their influence and prowess to veer Egypt toward a Democratic outcome.

One is constrained to build with the materials at hand. If the only available materials one has to build a structure in an emergency situation are bricks and mortar he will not seek and search for materials of a stronger fibre, such as steel, by which he could build a more solid structure. Presently in Egypt, the army is the material substance of ‘bricks and mortar’ by which one could build a future Democratic state. It would be extremely foolish therefore to search for a stronger substance that might just be found in civil society or among the protesters of Tahrir Square. That would be politically a wild goose chase at a time when the tectonic plates of the country are moving rapidly toward a structural change in the body politic. The army therefore is the only qualified, disciplined organization that can bring an orderly transitional change on the political landscape of the country. Moreover, the fact that it has the respect of the majority of the Egyptian people and that it has been bred and nourished on secular and nationalist principles, ensures by its politically ‘synthetic nature’ that it will not go against the wishes of the people for freedom and democracy, that it will be a bulwark against the extremists of the Muslim Brotherhood, and that it will be prepared to back the change from autocracy to democracy, if need be, with military force and thus steer the country away from entering the waters of anarchy and ‘permanent’ political instability that could push Egypt to fall into the lap of the supporters of Allahu Akbar.

The task of the army or rather its political representatives will be to find the right people endowed with political adeptness, experience, imagination, and foresight from a wide pool of political representation that would also include members of the old regime who will serve not only for their knowledge in the affairs of state but also as the strong link to the chain of the anchor that will prevent any possibility that the new political navigation of the country will go adrift. The former head of Egyptian Intelligence Omar Suleiman will play a pivotal role in this assembly of political representation which will not exclude members of the Muslim Brotherhood. What is of vital importance however is that this new political process will not be violently discontinued from the old regime. While room will be made to ensconce the new representatives of the people to government positions, this will not happen at the expense of crowding out old government hands. The only person that will definitely be left out will be Hosni Mubarak and some of his conspicuous cronies. And Mubarak himself has already announced that neither he nor his son will be candidates in the presidential elections in September. The call of the Tahrir Square protesters to resign now has by now become an oxymoron by Mubarak’s announcement not to stand as president in the next election. Further it is fraught with danger as according to the Constitution if he resigns now elections for the presidency must be held after sixty days. That means a pot- pourri of candidates for president will come forward without the people having enough time either to evaluate their competence nor their political bona fide and might elect precipitatingly without critical experience and guidance a ‘dunce’ for president, an Alexander Kerensky in the form of Mohamed Al Baradei, that will open the passage to the Islamic Bolsheviks. To avoid this likely danger I’m proposing the following solution that in my opinion would be acceptable to all parties in this political melee.

The Vice President Omar Suleiman as representative of the armed forces, to immediately set up a committee under his chairmanship that will comprise members of the variable new and old political organizations of the country, whose task will be to appoint the members of a ‘shadow government’ whose function in turn will be to put an end to the protests that could instigate a military coup d’état , to make the relevant amendments to the constitution that will guide the country toward democracy, and to prepare it for the presidential elections in September. The members of this shadow government will be a medley of current holders of government that would include the most competent of all, Ahmed Nazif, the former prime minister, who was sacked by Mubarak as a scapegoat, and of the old and new political parties that emerged since the bouleversement against Mubarak. The executive officer of this ‘government in the wings’ will be Vice President Suleiman, who, with the delegated powers given to him by the present no more functional president Mubarak will be the real president during this interim period. Finally, the members of this shadow government will have a tacit agreement that their political parties will support candidates for president in the September elections who were selected by consensus among its members.

The ‘establishment’ of such a shadow government might be the political Archimedean point that would move Egypt out of the crisis and push it toward democracy.

Hic Rhodus hic salta

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On the Blast of Trumpet of Jericho Depends U.S. Prestige

June 18, 2012

I’m republishing the following piece that was written on October 2007 for the readers of this blog.

Bush not the only problem
By Owen Harris, On Line Opinion, October 26, 2007

A reply by Con George-Kotzabasis

The respectable Australian commentantor on international affairs Owen Harris writes, “the US and the American people are experiencing a crisis of confidence” and “anti-Americanism is at all times high”. In my opinion the first issues from the US’s involvement in the war of Iraq and due to the initial serious tactical errors committed by it in the aftermath of the fall of the Saddam regime and on the up till now irresolution of the war. This “crisis of confidence” however, is momentary because it’s precisely related to the unresolved war. And the signs are favorable. As Americans have corrected their mistakes and are implementing a new strategy under their capable commander General Petraeus they seem to be winning the war—as I always believed that they would—and according from reports on the ground are “crippling al Qaeda”. Hence, the restoration of “respect and credibility” to the US depends on the defeat of the insurgency in Iraq.

The second issue, anti-Americanism is not new. It was always there although in a milder form—it goes with the trappings of being the sole superpower—and it was exacerbated as a result of the “mishandling” of the war and the bad publicity of the liberal media against the Bush administration.

To be respected and credible a superpower must implement its foreign policy with wisdom and resolve and undeviatingly from the main threat it faces. The US has not lost the capacity to do so. Once the powerful blast of the trumpets of US power flatten the walls of Jericho, the Iraqi insurgency, the benign prestigious hegemony of America will continue to play its historical role as the axis of world order and peace.

I rest on my oars: your turn now…

War Cannot be Won if its Commanders are Hostages to Politics

March 12, 2012

Dear readers of  this new blog,

I’m republishing this proposal sent to President Bush as Washington politicians are presently attempting to micro-manage the war.

Con George-Kotzabasis

The following was written on April 11, 2004 and was sent to President Bush on the same date. It’s republished now, as the Bush administration is forging a new strategy for Iraq that hopefully will be victorious against the murderous insurgents.

Dear Mr. President,

The present armed insurgency, threatening to become a general insurgency against your forces in Iraq, unless its momentum is promptly nipped in the bud, of Shiites and Sunnis against the Coalition, threatens to put off balance your whole strategic project for Iraq and the Middle East in general, which would have tremendously negative effects on the war against global terror. Needless to say therefore, the stakes are infinitely high.

At the present moment these fanatic thugs are fighting your forces under the misperception that they have the “upper hand” in this confrontation. It is for this reason therefore, that any conciliatory move your Authority in Iraq will be making toward the insurgents will be perceived by them to be a sign of weakness by your side. A current example of this is the ceasefire in Fallujah, that Paul Bremer was probably compelled to declare as a result of pressures put upon him by some members of the Interim Governing Council (IGC). This was done to presumably give the opportunity to diplomatic palaver to resolve some of the issues that are contested between, in my judgement, irreconcilable opponents. These talks are bound to fail, as you will confront the hardened positions of these fanatics, which arise from their false belief that they will be bargaining from a strong position, that will be totally incompatible with your military plans against the insurgents, and therefore will be rejected by your side.

It is neither surprising nor unreasonable, that some members of the IGC have condemned your military actions in Fallujah and have opted for negotiations with the insurgents. What is unreasonable however, about the stand of the IGC – which apparently does not have political and military strategists among its members – is the futility, except as a public relations stunt of doubtful value, of these negotiations on the core issues between the belligerents, and the loss of valuable time that could be expended instead by your military commanders in putting, urgently and immediately, a stop to the momentum of the insurgency that threatens to engulf the whole country.

Paul Bremer therefore, has the responsibility to awaken these members of the IGC from their somnambulistic illusions, and spell out to them the high stakes involved, which can only be resolved by the use of major military force by the Coalition. However, despite these negative aspects of the ceasefire in Fallujah, it can be used positively by enabling women and children to evacuate the town, hence saving them from becoming collateral casualties from a future attack by your forces.

The paradigm of Vietnam has shown conclusively that your brave commanders and troops could not win a war that was politically restrained, as to the appropriate kind of weapons used against their enemies, by the hands of “micro-politicians”. In any major critical military engagement, military considerations should have the upper hand over political considerations. Certainly, the overwhelming military response of your forces against the insurgents will have local and international repercussions and will spark a “wildfire” of protests against your Administration. But despite this, the priority of the military over the political must not be modified and must prevail. It is the price that statesmanship must pay.

Moreover, what is of the utmost importance in this conflict is to inflict such a deadly blow on the insurgents in selected towns of Iraq, from which they will never be able to recover. It is not enough to capture or kill them in small numbers, but to do so in the largest number possible. Their capture or killing en masse, will have a powerful psychological effect upon other insurgents in other towns, and will irreparably breakdown their morale and their fighting spirit. To achieve this goal, you Mr. President, as Commander-in- Chief, must direct your commanders on the ground to use the weapons that would inflict this devastating blow on the insurgents. That means that incendiary bombs, and the “daisies cutter” be used as a last resort against the insurgents, whose total defeat is so pivotal to your historic project in Iraq and to the war against global terror.

Sure enough, as I said above, there will be multiple political repercussions on a world scale. But one has to be reminded that wars are won or lost by military actions not by political repercussions. It is a terrible situation to be in for a Commander-in-Chief, but the question for free, open, and civilized societies, is to be or not to be. It is by such tragic and historic burdens that your leadership and Tony Blair’s are weighed with presently. But the mantle of statesmanship falls on Churchillian shoulders.

Defection of Gaddafi’s Foreign Minister Presages Collapse of Regime

August 23, 2011
The following short piece that was written on April 1, 2011, predicted the present collapse of the Gaddafi regime.
 
 NATO in Libya Fraught with Peril April 01, 2011

By Sean Kay The Washington Note

A short reply by Con George-Kotzabasis

Sean Kay’s NATO in Libya Fraught with Peril, is politically inept and has already been overcome by events. As we had predicted, the end result of a decisive military intervention by Western powers would be to bring the collapse of the Gaddafi regime. Now the degringolade of the regime is imminent. This is clearly foreshadowed by the defection of foreign minister Moussa Koussa, a close collaborator of Gaddafi and a former director of Libyan Intelligence to boot, that sets the example for other high officials of the regime to follow.

 Who would be a better qualified person than a former director of Intelligence to read correctly the vibes and disposition of the Libyan people toward the regime, and more importantly, the latter’s inability to suppress the bouleversement against it, and hence induce Mr. Koussa, for these reasons, to abandon the doomed sinking ship of Gaddafi?

Labor Government’s Abolition of Nuclear Weapons a Decision in Cuckooland

August 7, 2011

 By Con George-Kotzabasis

If the reason for the abolition of nuclear weapons is flawed because the latter are the “poor man’s defense” against the preeminence of the U.S. in conventional weapons of “prompt global strike” by which the U.S. will continue to dominate the world by the threat of their use against its deadly rivals and enemies, such as N. Korea and Iran as Marko Beljak implies, then the other reason is that in the age of millenarian movements the abolition of nuclear weapons is also flawed as rogue states bristling in their apocalyptic beards, like Iran, could produce stealthily nuclear weapons. In such a situation to set up an International Commission for nuclear disarmament, as Prime Minister Rudd proposes to do, is the ultimate stupidity that any one could suggest. And in the aftermath of 9/11, the magnitude of such stupidity takes astronomical dimensions. Just imagine that countries such as America, Britain, France, and especially, Israel, which could be the targets of a nuclear attack by an Islamist state or by proxies of the latter, would even consider their nuclear disarmament in such a dangerous context.

Rudd’s proposal limpidly illustrates that Australia does not have a statesman at the helm of the government but a political dilettante and a populist to boot who is more concerned to ingratiate himself with the celestial wishes of its liberal minded naively pacifist constituency than to deal with the geopolitical realities.

Moreover, what is rather surprising and amusing is to see that Gareth Evans is willing to underwrite such political buffoonery by accepting the chair of the International Commission for nuclear disarmament. It seems that his Tasmanian “Biggles” days are not over.

Also, the “amelioration of security” by diplomatic means and international institutions, such as PALME, in the age of millenarian movements with irrational actors, is also a flawed conception. In such circumstances nuclear or conventional disarmament is a most dangerous illusion. Only a benign superpower or a coalition of states can keep the order of the world by a combination of sticks and carrots. And in our times the United States relatively is the only such benign power.

Patriots who Have Lost their Love for America

July 18, 2011

I’m republishing the following article for the readers of this new website.

By Con George-Kotzabasis

Suffered all the chances and changes of war Thucydides

Frank Rich, the theatre, film, and television critic turned political analyst since the unpopularity of the war in Iraq, in his latest op-ed on August 5, 2007, in the New York Times titled, Patriots who Love the Troops to Death, uses emotive words and language, as the title of his piece indicates, to make his “sober” and cool analysis of the war and its supporters or “credulous enablers”, to quote him, from both sides of the political spectrum. In a stream of lava pouring down from his theatrical volcanic eruptions he repeats the time-worn accusations of “Whitehouse lying and cover-ups have been not just in the service of political thuggery but to gin up a gratuitous war without end”. Rich sombrely states that “both Democrats and Republicans in Congress and both liberals and conservatives in the news media were credulous enablers of the Iraq fiasco”. He quotes with exhilaration, as if one held in view a peacenik four star general performing on the stage his No to War stand, the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs Adm. Michael Mullen, saying that “no amount of troops in no amount of time will make much of a difference” in Iraq if there is no functioning Iraqi government. And he lets fly his flaming arrows on Michael O’ Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack, two political analysts and war experts of the Brookings Institution, accusing them of “blatant careerism” for their optimistic views of Iraq, “on the backs of the additional troops they ask to be sacrificed to the doomed mission of providing security for an Iraqi government that is both on vacation and on the verge of collapse”. Lastly, to clinch the seriousness of his argument he even places the name of the “ogre” Rupert Murdoch on the top of the bill of his vaudevillian performance.

It’s by such “blood-stained” dramatic statements that our former art critic forges his political analysis of the war and by which he impugns the Bush administration and its sundry credulous enablers of all political doctrines and persuasions. But in his rush to cast his thespian thunderbolts upon the administration and the supporters of the war, he is missing the fact that he is casting his bolts in an already dawning blue sky that is emerging over Iraq. Rich misses, or maybe he is dazzled by the shining fact that the surge is working, under the generalship of the able and imaginative David Petraeus, and slowly but methodically is achieving some of its strategic goals. Such as isolating al Qaeda from the mainstream of the Iraqi insurgency and winning over to the American side some Sunni leaders and their militias who are prepared to fight and are fighting al Qaeda.

Also, the new American tactics on the ground, such as operation Phantom Strike under the command of General Rick Lynch, is attacking al Qaeda and other insurgents in the middle of the night killing or capturing them and flashing them out of their safe havens. The insurgents to escape these devastating blows of the Americans are fleeing the towns around Baghdad abandoning their road bombs, rocket launchers and even in some cases their personal armaments, and moving further to the south for safety in an area of the Tigris river known as the Samarrah jungle. Tracked by intel the insurgents are presently highly vulnerable to the operations of Phantom Strike and in some cases are “sitting ducks”. Whereas before the surge they were the attackers and pursuers they are now the defenders and the pursued.

If this new counterinsurgency strategy of general Petraeus does not lose its momentum and continues to be successful against the insurgency, it will decisively deprive the insurgents of all initiative in the fields of their operations and lead them inexorably to their defeat. As the continuation and success of any insurgency rests on two tenets: (a) The insurgents are masters in the initiation of their own actions and (b) continue to have some support among the local population. Once their position slips from these two tenets and they are forced to find safety in jungles, as in this case, they will inevitably be prey to the latter’s environment and their strength and viability will be “devoured” both by the conditions of their survival in the jungle and by the “intel preying” of the American tiger.

In other words, the American military locomotive is finally moving forward on the rails of success. It’s precisely this success that critics like Rich are dubbing as a hopeless task and moreover hoping to derail. After investing so much of their grey matter to convince the American people of a pointless, futile, and unjust war, and making their “blatant” careers as celebrity pundits around the orbits of the media stars, now that the war shows the slow rise of a dawning success they are trying to find an escape in their state of denial. But they fully realize that the latter will be a noose around their necks if general Petraeus defeats the insurgency. And whose corollary is that from its ashes will rise the Phoenix of a solid democratic government in Iraq. Such an outcome will fully justify Bush’s invasion of Iraq while simultaneously tearing to pieces the professional reputations of all the pundits, academics and politicians who with such unprecedented intellectual shallowness and lack of moral resolve “cashiered” an American victory in Iraq.

After the brutal and ill-omened attack of 9/11 when “there was no room left for moral hesitation: the choice lay between salvation or destruction”, to quote Alexis de Tocqueville, all the effete nation’s disablers gathered together at the first signs of the difficulties of the war, as if ever war was easy, to passionately and vehemently criticize the Administration’s invasion of Iraq. While such a critique would be totally justifiable if it was focused and highlighted the initial and blatant mistakes of the Administration’s implementation of its strategy in Iraq and make suggestions how to correct them, the critics chose instead to condemn in toto Bush’s strategy against global terror.

But the conundrum for this ill-fated critique of the liberal professional establishment is why when there are visible and tangible improvements in the war against the insurgents and al Qaeda with the new strategy of the surge the critics of the war continue apparently to be unconvinced of the improvements and refuse even to admit the possibility that they might be wrong. Instead, like rolling stones they even crash people of their own liberal strand who assert that this war might be winnable, like they did with Michael O’Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack. To have expressed a modicum of doubt about their position would have been the reasonable thing to do before the rudimentary favourable signs in Iraq. But it’s obvious that the critics of the Bush administration, like Frank Rich, are more concerned about their professional status than their intellectual integrity. That is why their main concern is to convince the American electorate and Congress for an immediate withdrawal from Iraq, and use the vitriol of their tongues and pens for this purpose. It’s by such means that they can save their reputations from being everlastingly tarnished if the war happened to be won. They are patriots who have lost their love for America for the love that dares not speak its name, the love of their careers.

I rest on my oars:your turn now

Clausewitz and Involvement of Military in Politics

July 10, 2011

I’m republishing this piece for the readers of this blog.

In Presidential Sweepstakes McCain Sees Stars

By William M. Arkin

Washington Post December 19, 2007

A response by Con George-Kotzabasis

If Clausewitz’s dictum is correct that ‘war is the continuation of politics by other means’, then Arkin’s “dictum” that ‘the military…stays out of politics,’ is a caricature of reality.

I am using Clausewitz’s dictum to illustrate that one cannot separate war from politics if the military arm which is engaged in hostilities is going to be successful in defeating an enemy. Politicians to make the right decisions about a war must rely for their concrete data on those engaged directly in war, i.e., the military, even if these data could be influenced by the beliefs and values of the latter. Therefore the “rule” that decrees that the military should not be involved in politics, as Arkin argues, is an oxymoron.

It’s a farcical rule and goes against the grain of all experience. A perfect admittance of this reality was the questioning of General Petraeus by Congress, of the former’s military report on Iraq, when its democrat representatives, and indeed, many from the media and the anti-War movement, like MoveOn org, accused Petraeus of being involved in politics, since they all considered his report of being politically biased as it purportedly supported the policy of the Bush administration on Iraq.

Ironically, the critics of Petraeus while upholding the fiction that the military should not be involved in politics were admitting at the same time that the general’s military report was influencing politics. As indeed it should have done. Where else politicians would get their information so they could make their judgment about the policies that are needed for the conduct of war?

It’s absurd! One cannot put the political beliefs and values of the military in general, and of its commanders in particular, that inevitably flow into the political process, in the straitjacket of an unrealistic rule that ordains that the military stays out of politics.