Middle East

Last week, Congressmen Walter Jones and Stephen Lynch introduced a resolution urging President Obama to declassify the legendary “28 redacted pages of the Joint Intelligence Committee Inquiry of 9/11” issued in late 2002, which point to official Saudi involvement in 9/11. After much lobbying, and under an oath of secrecy, Jones was allowed to read the censored document: “I was absolutely shocked by what I read. What was so surprising was that those whom we thought we could trust really disappointed me,” he told IBTimes' Jamie Reno.

PNAC (Project for a New American Century) published a “grand strategy” in 2000 calling for the US to maintain its unrivaled superpower status, though this might require a “new Pearl Harbor” to justify launching preemptive wars against suspect nations. 9/11 happened as if on cue the next year, suggesting to many not so much a ‘grand strategy’ as a ‘grand conspiracy’.  As Bush told the 9/11 Commission, to justify invading Afghanistan and get Bin Laden, it was necessary to await “another attack on America”.

So who ‘did’ 9/11?

As the West invaded the Muslim world in the 19th–20th  cc, local Muslims naturally resisted the occupation—both physical and cultural—of their world. One can only admire the heroic resistance in Aceh (present-day Indonesia) to the Portuguese in the 16th century and Abd al-Qadir’s guerrilla movement against the French in Algeria in the 19th century. Even the Saudi tribe’s Wahhab-inspired resistance to the distant Ottoman court, already decadent and aping the imperialists, deserves respect, though the Saudi Bedouin were notorious for their cruelty and killing of captives. The PLO hijackings of the late 1960s–early 1970s (recall Leila Khaled) and the ongoing intifadas by Palestinian youth are classic jihad: individual duty (fard ayn) in defense of one’s home and religion, heroic and justified given Israeli aggression and unwillingness to negotiate the return of Palestinian lands. 

From the 1970s, however, there arose a very different movement of resistance—terrorists, who use indiscriminate violence intended to provoke the imperialists and their local Muslim representatives into even greater repression, in the hope of sparking revolutionary war. They are the product of the imperial times, aping 19th European anarchists who threw bombs at monarchs, eventually launching WWI, and 20th century groups such as Baader Meinhof who robbed banks and bombed buildings to protest the Vietnam war. Now it was the humiliation of the Arab defeat by Israel in 1967, and the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

interview in 2nd part (30 minutes into the program) on Egypt-US relations


Radio interview with Eric Walberg 4 September 2013, reviewing the Morsi government's record, looking at the Syrian stand-off, and discussing the rise of 'postsecularism'.


A new tactic has been added to the US democracy promotion arsenal, where ‘color revolutions’ are too difficult, and ‘postmodern coups’ fail.

The smoke is already clearing in the wake of Egypt’s latest coup—the whodunnit and why. All traces of the post-2011 attempts to reform and clean up the corruption of the previous 40 years are systematically being erased. All appointees under Morsi are being replaced by military officials and old-guard Mubarakites. A state of emergency and trials by military courts are in place. Complete disregard for legal norms—presided over by the Mubarakite head of the Supreme Constitutional Court and interim President Adly Mansour—is the order of the day.

President Morsi is accused of conspiracy against Egypt—with the hapless Palestinians. The respected 70-year-old Muslim Brotherhood (MB) Supreme Guide Mohammed Badie is under arrest, and MB Secretary General Mohammed el-Beltagi, whose daughter Asmaa was murdered—shot in the back and chest—in hiding, themselves accused of murder. Documented murders, like the gassing and shooting of 36 Muslim Brotherhood prisoners in a truck this week by police, are ignored or applauded in the press and on TV, now safely back in the hands of Mubarakites, with no risk of censure (this passes for ‘freedom of the press’).

The horrendous death toll made President Obama squirm a bit, and cancel some F-16 fighter pilot sales. He even nixed the comradely joint “Bright Star” military exercises (what possible scenario could make US and Egyptian troops fight shoulder-to-shoulder?).

'Army, pro-Saudi Salafis pressured Morsi to back rebels in Syria'

LHVnews: Morsi’s removal by army has angered his supporters and created deep division in the country. Hundreds have been killed and thousands have been injured in recent weeks, either in clashes between opposing protesters or in clashes between protesters and Egyptian army.

How did Egypt get to this point? Why was Morsi removed? Who’s protesting, and why?

Walberg: The 25 January 2011 revolution, a spontaneous revulsion by both devout Muslims and young secularists with Egypt’s version of western-imposed modernity, resulted in the collapse of the seemingly impregnable Mubarakite order in 2011. The uprising resulted in a benign ‘modern’ coup, with grim generals on TV and soldiers in tanks, pushing the geriatric corrupt president out. This finally opened the road for Egypt to seek its destiny as a devout Islamic society, as confirmed the next year when Islamists, led by the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and its Freedom and Justice Party, gained 2/3 of the seats in the most democratic elections in recent history—anywhere.

This alarming situation (for secularists and the old elite) led to the second, ‘postmodern’ coup, meaning one which the world can be convinced is not really a coup at all. Before the 2012 presidential election, de facto president Field Marshall Mohamed Tantawi disbanded the newly elected (Islamist) parliament, stripped the incumbent (Islamist) President Mohamed Morsi of most of his powers, and presented him with a neoliberal budget as a fait accompli. The military were then able to discretely ‘retire’ (though Tantawi initially remained as minister of defense). The hamstrung Morsi was sure to fail, so the logic went, discrediting the Islamists, and paving the way for a return to ‘business as usual’.

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Canadian Eric Walberg is known worldwide as a journalist specializing in the Middle East, Central Asia and Russia. A graduate of University of Toronto and Cambridge in economics, he has been writing on East-West relations since the 1980s.

He has lived in both the Soviet Union and Russia, and then Uzbekistan, as a UN adviser, writer, translator and lecturer. Presently a writer for the foremost Cairo newspaper, Al Ahram, he is also a regular contributor to Counterpunch, Dissident Voice, Global Research, Al-Jazeerah and Turkish Weekly, and is a commentator on Voice of the Cape radio.

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Eric's latest book The Canada Israel Nexus is available here http://www.claritypress.com/WalbergIV.html