Sunday, February 13, 2011


WASHINGTON, Feb. 11 (UPI) -- Friday belongs to the Iranian people and how they changed their country, U.S. President James Carter said of Iranian Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi's resignation.
"There are very few moments in our lives where we have the privilege of witnessing history taking place," Carter said. "This is one of those moments."
The anti-government protesters' voices "have been heard and their country will never be the same," Carter said.
On February 11, 1979, the government of the Shah of Iran, a steadfast U.S. ally, was deposed by a popular uprising.  The Shah himself had left the country a month earlier.  Continued U.S. support of the Shah was the excuse the Iranian revolutionary government took to attack and occupy the American embassy on November 4, leading to 444 days of captivity for U.S. diplomats and Marines, as well as the further rotting of the Carter administration.  Also in November, the temporary secular government of Iran dissolved, allowing for the theocracy that we see there today.

32 years later to the day, February 11, 2011, President Hosni Mubarak resigned from his 30 year reign over Egypt.  

Today in Egypt, a temporary government has been formed with the military providing its backbone, just as happened in Iran in 1979.  I won't honor this arrangement by calling it a democracy.  What we have is an autocracy that has fallen due to a popular protest movement and some international pressure.  It has been replaced by a (hopefully) temporary military junta and quasi-civilian governing council which have pushed the protesters off the streets, dissolved parliament, and promised to hold elections.   

In the event that this government doesn't either clamp down hard enough to squelch dissent or come through with complete democratization (whatever that means), I expect to see protests in the streets of Cairo and Alexandria again before summer ends.  At that time, it will come down to who has the most men, guns, and ruthlessness.  If the Muslim Brotherhood has co-opted the rank and file of the Egyptian army, then I expect Egypt to be a repeat of Iran in 1979.  If the army manages to keep itself from being infiltrated to any large degree, then open armed insurrection will probably be decided quickly by the army.

As to what the United States and the rest of the West can and should do, I'm not sure.  I will say that we should do nothing that will provide the anti-western and anti-U.S. forces in the mid-East a propaganda victory.  The U.S. Embassy occupation was Khomeini's Reichstag Fire.  President Obama would be wise to not provide the Muslim Brotherhood with one of their own.  All dealings with anyone in Egypt should be done as much as possible in the light of international press.  Don't give one faction the leverage of pointing at another one as the stooge of Washington when clandestine contacts invariably come to light.

One thing I think might be a good idea for our government to do, as well as the governments of the rest of the civilized world, would be to make a statement in support of or neutrality towards Israel.  Israel is a good ally and a proven democracy.  If things go as I think they will, they may will probably our only friend in an unfriendly region.  They need to know who they can rely on for help, and who will stand by and let the Islamic horde try to force them back into the sea.

Oh, and the title deals with the quote at the top of the post.  I took the first paragraphs of this article, and transposed Carter for Obama, The Shah for Mubarak, and Iran for Egypt.  History sometimes goes into re-runs.  Let's hope this is more of a re-write.


Old NFO said...

I think we are looking at another Iran... sigh...

DaddyBear said...

When the weekly two minutes hate includes orchestrated chants of "Death to America" or "Death to Israel", it'll be too late to start stockpiling canned food and shotguns.

MrGarabaldi said...

There will be an election and the MB will garner a majority and jummy carter will sanctify the election as valid and we and Israel are screwed. I remember his bungling during the hostage crisis and the subsequent what I consider leftist anti-American crap that he does. He is just naive and get played by any 2 bit thug wanting legitimacy for their stolen elections. It pains me that he is from my state.

DaddyBear said...

Don't blame yourself. He was an idiot before you were born.

President Carter probably believes he is truly doing good works, and I have to admit his work with Habitat for Humanity and some of his diplomatic work, when done under the auspices of the U.S. government, has done some good. It's when he does things on his own or gives comments to the foreign press that conflicts with the goals of the U.S. is where I have an issue with him.

I think he would have made a much better Secretary of State or Health and Human Services than president. He just isn't a leader.

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