Available Now! (click cover)

America's Counter-Revolution
The Constitution Revisited

From the back cover:

This book challenges the assumption that the Constitution was a landmark in the struggle for liberty. Instead, Sheldon Richman argues, it was the product of a counter-revolution, a setback for the radicalism represented by America’s break with the British empire. Drawing on careful, credible historical scholarship and contemporary political analysis, Richman suggests that this counter-revolution was the work of conservatives who sought a nation of “power, consequence, and grandeur.” America’s Counter-Revolution makes a persuasive case that the Constitution was a victory not for liberty but for the agendas and interests of a militaristic, aristocratic, privilege-seeking ruling class.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

It's Not Really a Peace Treaty

Throughout the Egyptian uprising, the 1979 American-brokered deal between Israel and Egypt has been called a "peace treaty." This is highly misleading. While Israel attacked Egypt in 1956 and 1967 (not to mention many border incursions), Egypt never sought war with Israel. Egyptian King Farouk's belated and half-hearted action (with ill-trained and poorly equipped forces) when Israel declared independence in 1948 -- after the UN created the state in defiance of the overwhelming majority of the indigenous population -- was aimed partly at protecting Palestinians from violent expulsion from territory coveted by Israel's leaders. (Three quarters of a million Arabs were driven from their homes. Many defenseless villagers were slaughtered. The UN plan included an inferior Palestinian state, but Israel and the king of Transjordan made sure that did not happen. Egypt's entry into the war was also intended to thwart Transjordan's territorial ambitions.)

Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser made several attempts to normalize relations with Israel in the 1950s but was rebuffed. His successor, Anwar Sadat, offered to talk peace in the early 1970s but also was rebuffed. The October 1973 war was Egypt's modest attempt to regain a foothold in the Sinai, which Israel had conquered in 1967. The operation was not aimed at Israel itself. Sadat realized war was too costly for his poor country, and he sought better relations with the United States, having expelled Soviet advisers a few years earlier.

Israel was the recalcitrant party, since it did not intend to give up the Palestinian territories seized in 1967 or recognize the rights of Palestinian people to their own country. But President Jimmy Carter badly needed an accomplishment for his fading presidency and saw an opening: a "peace treaty" between Israel and Egypt. He bribed the two parties, pledging close to $5 billion a year (much of it in military aid) to the two of them, and got his photo-op with Sadat and Israeli PM Menachem Begin shaking hands.

The result was a "peace" that would have most likely existed anyway, since Sadat did not want war. (The deal likely sped up Israel's exit from the Sinai, which Israeli leaders didn't want anyway.) But there were other, not so good results: Egypt's betrayal of the Palestinians and its subordination to the Israel-influenced U.S. Congress, which now held the purse strings to Egypt's annual aid package. The largest country in the Arab world now could be counted on to do America's/Israel's bidding, including torturing people for the CIA and policing the the Gaza Strip border. It also gave Israel assurance that Egypt would not interfere with its periodic onslaughts against Lebanon and the Palestinians, and its land seizures in the West Bank and East Jerusalem..

The deal cost Sadat his life, but Hosni Mubarak picked up where his predecessor left off, toadying to the U.S./Israel. The next president of Egypt will probably not be eager to be a junior member of that alliance. That is American and Israeli officials are in no rush for change, despite what the throngs in the Egyptian streets want.

See more details by Alison Weir. On the nature of the Palestine/Israel dispute see this.

1 comment:

Fooled Once said...

Egyptians have had quite enough of the Zionist-controlled US Congress, thank you very much.

When the American people will advance to the same conclusion remains an open question. Congress is freer to bribe the people who vote for its members, even, that it is to bribe the people of Egypt.