World View: U.S. to Cut Off Military Aid to Egypt

This morning's key headlines from

  • Afghan president Karzai slams Nato for fighting the Taliban
  • U.S. to cut off military aid to Egypt in wake of coup
  • North Korea puts its military on high alert

Afghan president Karzai slams Nato for fighting the Taliban

Hamid Karzai on Monday (BBC)
Hamid Karzai on Monday (BBC)

Afghanistan's president Hamid Karzai has indicated that Nato's 12-year-old war was a failure. In an interview, Karzai said:

"On the security front the entire Nato exercise was one that caused Afghanistan a lot of suffering, a lot of loss of life, and no gains because the country is not secure.

They [the Taliban] are Afghans. Where the Afghan president, the Afghan government can appoint the Taliban to a government job they are welcome. But where it's the Afghan people appointing people through elections to state organs then the Taliban should come and participate in elections.

The return of the Taliban will not undermine progress. This country needs to have peace. I am willing to stand for anything that will bring peace to Afghanistan and through that to promote the cause of the Afghan women better."

So, the implication is that the 12-year effort to eject the Taliban after 9/11/2001 was a waste. This isn't a surprising conclusion. As I've been writing for years, when President Obama announced a "surge" into Afghanistan, hoping to duplicate the success of the president George Bush's "surge" into Iraq, there was no chance that the Afghanistan "surge" would succeed, based on generational reasons, and on the relationship of the Afghan Pashtun to the Pakistan Pashtun. (See "29-Sep-13 World View -- Violence in Afghanistan surges in September") And it was just two months ago that Secretary of State John Kerry announced, with great pomp and fanfare, an agreement with the Taliban to hold peace talks, but the talks collapsed in one day after they were announced.

Karzai and Obama have never gotten along very well anyway, and in 2009 Obama described Karzai as an unreliable and ineffective partner. Still, Karzai's remarks come at a crucial time in negotiations over how many troops the U.S. will leave behind for training and such, after the Nato withdrawal in 2014. Karzai's outburst appears to make the "zero option" more likely -- that zero troops will be left behind. BBC and VOA

U.S. to cut off military aid to Egypt in wake of coup

Reports indicate that the U.S. will announced on Wednesday a decision to cut off military aid to Egypt. Egypt currently receives $1.5 billion in US aid annually, $1.3 billion of which is designated for the military. The aid includes military equipment, including F-16s.

Ever since the July 3 army coup ousting Egypt's democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi, the Obama administration has carefully avoided using the word "coup," since the U.S. has a strict law that aid will be terminated to any country where the army stages a coup against a democratically elected leader. (See "4-Jul-13 World View -- Egypt's army deposes Morsi in a non-coup coup") The administration has repeatedly refused to declare whether a "coup" occurred on July 3, but this report seems to indicate that the administration has finally made up its mind.

Whatever the symbolism of cutting off $1.5 billion in annual aid, there will be little practical effect. The reason is that, with Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood out of government, Egypt has been promised $12 billion in aid from Gulf Arab states that don't like or trust the Muslim Brotherhood -- Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Kuwait -- and reports indicate that the money has been pouring in.

The cutoff of aid has the potential of changing the balance of power in the Mideast. Ever since Egypt and Israel signed the Camp David peace agreement in 1979, America has been providing billions in aid to both Israel and Egypt. With the cutoff of aid, Egypt's government may be under pressure to repudiate the treaty.

Relations between the U.S. and Egypt have been deteriorating steadily, every since President Obama's "apology tour" speech in Cairo in 2009, where he raised everyone's hopes, and where he made promises that could never be kept, with the result that America's popularity in Egypt today is at its lowest point in decades. When the Arab Spring began, President Obama called for Hosni Mubarak to step down, humiliating Mubarak and infuriating King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. In recent months, President Obama has repeatedly damaged American credibility with incompetent flip-flops with respect to the conflict in Syria, endorsement of an Afghanistan peace process that collapsed in 24 hours, and endorsement of a new Mideast "peace process" that's considered a joke in the Mideast. Now, the new report that President Obama is going to end aid to Egypt is going to convince anyone who isn't already convinced that President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry don't have the vaguest clue what they're doing, or what they're going to do next. CNN

North Korea puts its military on high alert

North Korea has put its military forces on high alert, after U.S. warships reached South Korea in preparation for scheduled military exercises with South Korea and Japan. According to a statement by North Korea's official news agency, which refers to North Korea as the DPRK and to South Korea as America's puppet:

"That the U.S. and its south Korean puppet trigger-happy forces seek the joint military exercises with a nuclear carrier involved is the revelation of the bellicose attempt to escalate the situation on the Korean Peninsula to the extreme pitch of tension, prevent the dialogue and peace from progressing and attain the ambition for invading the DPRK by openly threatening it with nukes.

The South Korean puppet regime plans to deploy the nuclear carrier in waters off south Korea in collusion with the U.S. in a futile bid to frighten the DPRK.

The DPRK will never be browbeaten by it or any other things more powerful than it.

It has all means and forces to cope with any adventurous nuclear war scenarios of the U.S. and the puppet forces. It is fully ready to show its mettle to the bellicose forces running amuck by counting on the nuclear carrier.

The regime would be well advised to be well aware that it is fated to meet the complete ruin which can never be recovered by the nuclear carrier and anything else more powerful than it if it continues pursuing reckless military provocations against the DPRK, backed by its American master."

Evidence is growing that North Korea is restarting its nuclear reactors. TIME and KCNA (Pyongyang)

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