Sunday, October 9, 2011

Libya, Egypt, Syria

You get distracted by issues at work and things are both but much worse after the Arab Spring.

Seven months later, Gaddafi has been run out of town and rebels are have created a Transitional National Council.  NATO has spent "hundreds of millions," according to a state from NATO Supreme Allied Commander Admiral Stavridis back in June.  Despite an intense air campaign, it took rebel forces many months to route Gaddafi forces.  We may see and even more dictatorial regime emerge as opposition forces look to oppress former  Gaddafi sympathizers.

Egyptians threw out Hosni Mubarak during the Arab Spring but again with no real plan as to what to do once he was gone.  A good study might be to ask why the United States stood around while the successor to Anwar Sadat and the leader of the only Arabic country to get along with Israel was ousted.  Well one would have to look a little practice called rendition used by many countries but most recently the United States.  Rendition means moving a suspect (usually a terrorist suspect) to a third country where other means of persuasion can be applied.  Egypt was the preferred destination for those that the US wanted interrogated.  If you think about that for a minute, a country that could interrogate (read, torture) other suspects might have acquired those skills by first using them on their own people.

Oh, Egypt was doing us a favor either.  Most of those that were sent their through rendition were early al-Qaeda operatives (you know, back when we gave Osama bin Laden Stinger missiles to use against the Soviet Union?).  Now the latest is 19 dead in clashes with the government that has taken over in Egypt.  Unlike Libya and Syria, at least 10 percent of Egyptians are Coptic Christians and are quite concerned that an ultra conservative Islamic government could take over.

Syrian leader Assad has been fending off rebels almost as long as in Libya but with different results.  While former Libyan leader Gaddafi is on the run, Assad is still very much in control of Syria.  Syria has warned against recognizing the rebels.  Fighting has been intense but unlike Libya, Syrian rebels don't have the benefit of NATO air cover.  Syria receives support and weapons from Iran which could be another reason the West has treaded much more lightly with this outbreak of the "Arab Spring".

What does the world get for all of the violence?  It is difficult to say.  It looks like France may have secured itself a choice seat at the table to discuss Libya's oil (which is around 2 percent of the world's production).  If Egypt becomes more conservative, it means heightened tensions with Israel (security officers on both sides have been killed).  Turmoil in Syria might mean some type of intervention by Iran (either overtly or covertly).  Syria and Turkey have also been exchanging fire.

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