Tag Archives: egypt

On Being a Conspiracy Theorist


More often than not, when one has a view point that is diametrically opposed to what is considered the norm, one is quite easily referred to as a conspiracy theorist, and this is quite sincerely a case of playing the man instead of the ball, to throw a football metaphor. Facts are hardly refuted but the purveyor of the facts is attacked.

Egypt is descending from frying pan to the fire, and the role of the US in the military coup is increasingly evident, as shown by these New York Times op-ed’s here and here and a piece on Al Jazeera here.

Of course many are just terming these theories to be conspiracy theories in the hope that such a blanket term would absolve them of the responsibility or the bother of having to refute them. Indeed, the term is a very convenient way of shutting one down. Much to my displeasure many people close to me, and those close to them quite generously dish out the phrase ‘conspiracy theory’ when they hear a viewpoint that is rather different to theirs.

So called ‘conspiracy theorists’ usually are vindicated much later when facts come to the surface. There were many who cried foul in 2006/7 when Gmail was gaining popularity, and many wondered how much of a threat Gmail and Google can be to one’s personal security, they were shunned as conspiracy theorists then, only to be later vindicated that the NSA was monitoring social media sites, Google included. There were many who opined that Yasser Arafat, the former leader of the PLO was actually killed in hospital, and that he didn’t die a natural death, this theory is now held in high esteem and investigations are currently ongoing.

Tariq Ramadan, an Oxford academic and grandson of Hasan AlBanna, the founder of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood says the following on what entails being called a conspiracy theorist –

In our day, it is not unusual for writer who does not accept the official consensus to be dismissed as a “conspiracy theorist,” for his analysis to be rejected before studying the facts upon which it is based. Are we to conclude that in our globalizing age, with its networks of national security policies and structures and its new means of communication, political scheming, malicious stratagems, manipulation of information and of peoples are a thing of the past? “Conspiracy theorist” is a new insult devised for those who think the wrong thoughts, who don’t fit in; paranoids, people who ascribe occult powers to certain states (the United States, the European countries, Israel, the Arab and African dictatorships, etc.) that they really do not possess. We must forget what we learned about the conspiracies that have left their mark on the history of Latin America and Africa (from the assassination of Salvador Allende to the elimination of Thomas Sankara); we must overlook the lies that led to the invasion of Iraq and to the massacres in Gaza (both presented as legitimate defense); we must say nothing about the West’s alliance with and support for the literalist salafis of the Gulf sheikhdoms; close our eyes to the benefit for Israel of regional instability and of the most recent coup d’État in Egypt. We must remain naïve and credulous if we are not to notice that the United States and Europe on the one hand, and Russia and China on the other, have agreed to disagree on Syria, and that the 170 Syrians who die each day count for nothing against the strategic and economic interests of the Great Powers.

Our obligation is to stick to the facts, to avoid oversimplification. The polar opposite of an over-simplified reading of events is not “conspiracy theorizing” but that of intelligence informed by history, by hard facts and by a detailed analysis of conflicting interests. The interpretation presented here may well be wrong or inexact, but substantial and verifiable evidence has repeatedly confirmed it. From those who have criticized or challenged our analysis, we look forward to a fact-based counter-analysis far from denigrations and facile slogans. When people refuse to call a military coup d’État by its real name, and when most media avert their eyes, the hour for critical conscience has struck.

Of course some theories are absolutely hard to fathom, and may well be conspiracy theories, but when facts substantiate a theory, they most certainly should be given a hearing.

Image from here.

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Egypt : To Be Illiberal In Liberalism

Mideast Egypt

Clashes have erupted in many parts of Egypt and many offices of the Muslim Brotherhood has been destroyed. Six have now been reported killed with more than 350 injured. The Egyptian liberals and secular elite are largely accepted to have instigated the violence after President Muhammad Mursi made a decree that places him above the judiciary (albeit temporarily) and the draft constitution has been passed and has been put to a referendum on December 15.

The fact of the matter is this, Mursi was elected by free and fair elections, and the referendum gives the Egyptian people the chance to reject the draft constitution if they feel that it will not be to the benefit of Egyptian society at large. However, the draft constitution does upset the secular Egyptian elite somewhat, as they feel the imminent bursting of their oligarchical bubble where again the law would be more strictly egalitarian. Therefore it is no surprise that the liberals in Egypt would be extremely sceptical and worried of a draft constitution presented by a constituent assembly dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood and ratified by the will of the Egyptian people. They fear that the powers they managed to muster during a corrosive Mubarak era would dilute if there was to be a constitution that would be more egalitarian and makes every Egyptian no greater than the other in the eyes of the law.

If indeed these secularists believe in democracy (which I need not remind is a secular construct), then they must allow for the Egyptian people to vote and respect the will of the Egyptian people.

What’s absolutely disgusting about some of these ‘liberals’ is that if they feel that their idea of ‘liberalism’ hasn’t been achieved, they are willing to indulge in almost any form of illiberal behaviour (violence included) to achieve their idea of liberalism. For most of them at least, the end does justify the means however contradictory to their ideology it may have been. That is why most secular ideologies are and continue to remain fickle, because the wants of a human mind are never a constant, and to act purely upon human whims would result in never having a consistent path.

Image from here.

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Libya on the brink

Tunisia done, Egypt done and now seems Libya is on the brink.

Protests have been continuing for the last few days in Libya and Colonel Muammar Ghaddafi, Libya’s idiosyncratic leader for forty one years is not using inhumane tactics to dispel the protesters in the streets of Tripoli Benghazi and all other places in Libya that protests are taking place.

The latest I’ve heard is that is that two fighter pilots who were sent in their jets to bomb the protesters (yes bomb) have defected and gone to Malta, Reuters has more here.

Seven Libyan diplomats have thus far defected from the Libyan regime, the Libyan ambassador to London among them.

If Libya falls to the protesters and true democracy prevails, the West will have to really buy oil from Libya and not get them so cheaply from a regime that bends to the will of it’s western allies. A whopping 72% of Libyan Oil is purchased by western European countries and Ghaddafi is an asset they can not bear to lose.

The West is in an interesting conundrum, the long bearded, fiery eyed slogan shouting ‘muslim’ is not necessarily the person out in the streets, rather it is the general day to day Libyan who wants a better quality of life and dignity for himself that is on the streets protesting peacefully to enjoy the very same rights we here in the West enjoy. The West is stuck between doing the morally correct thing of taking radical action against a Libyan regime blatantly violating human rights and fighting a very key economic and strategic ally.

The last few weeks have exposed the hypocrisy of the west and the UN very profoundly. Tunisia, Egypt and Insha’allah Libya were people’s revolutions devoid of any assistance from the west. However, the West cracked down on Saddam who is culpable of the same autocracy in Iraq because he was not an ally of the West, he was very conservative about his oil and the related fiscal ramifications and he didn’t give a damn about the   US – but, Ben Ali of Tunisia, Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and Muammar Ghaddafi of Libya were/are well and truly in the pockets of the west and the US and therefore they are immune to US and Western pressure and/or action do what they may, democratic or not.

The last thing a dictator does before he goes is to use violence, Ghaddafi is doing just that. My prediction is that like Ben Ali, like Mubarak Ghaddafi too will be deposed in the coming few weeks if not days, my concern though is that he will create a lot of bloodshed on his way out.


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Mubarak And the Waiting Game


I have been fairly inactive on this blog for sometime now. Work and many other commitments have kept me away! A lot of things happening have been happening these days and to reiterate what I just said, I have been busy. Amongst other things, sl2g, that great second generation Sri Lankan organisation here in London is having a photo exhibition and RD and I and the rest of the team are very excited about it! For those of you in the UK who still would like to get involved do visit the page!

One other thing I have been doing inspite of all those things that need attention is that I have been glued to Al Jazeera for a long time in the last few nights, Mubarak doesn’t seem to budge and the protesters don’t seem to want to move and the hypocrites in the white house are playing their same dirty game of seeing primarily to their interests in approaching this whole issue and its ramifications.

When anti governmental protests took place in Iran in 2009-2010 there was a big hue and cry by the Western leaders amplified by the Western media! Now, Mubarak being their baby, nothing seems to be said with clear conscience – except perhaps for Al Jazeera who are doing a stellar job in balanced reportage and brilliant anchorage! What would have put the Western leaders in a proper quandary would be if the anti-Mubarak demonstrations in Egypt and the anti-Ahmadinejad protests in Iran took place simultaneously, to quote a friend ‘the hypocrites would then be caught by the bollocks’!

The Question remains, WWMD?!

Robert Fisk of The Independent has here a very interesting analysis very artfully put forward!

The sight of Mubarak’s delusory new Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq telling Egyptians yesterday that things were “returning to normal” was enough to prove to the protesters in Tahrir Square – 12 days into their mass demand for the exile of the man who has ruled the country for 30 years – that the regime was made of cardboard. When the head of the army’s central command personally pleaded with the tens of thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators in the square to go home, they simply howled him down.

In his novel The Autumn of the Patriarch, Gabriel Garcia Marquez outlines the behaviour of a dictator under threat and his psychology of total denial. In his glory days, the autocrat believes he is a national hero. Faced with rebellion, he blames “foreign hands” and “hidden agendas” for this inexplicable revolt against his benevolent but absolute rule. Those fomenting the insurrection are “used and manipulated by foreign powers who hate our country”. Then – and here I use a precis of Marquez by the great Egyptian author Alaa Al-Aswany – “the dictator tries to test the limits of the engine, by doing everything except what he should do. He becomes dangerous. After that, he agrees to do anything they want him to do. Then he goes away”.

Hosni Mubarak of Egypt appears to be on the cusp of stage four – the final departure. For 30 years he was the “national hero” – participant in the 1973 war, former head of the Egyptian air force, natural successor to Gamal Abdel Nasser as well as Anwar Sadat – and then, faced with his people’s increasing fury at his dictatorial rule, his police state and his torturers and the corruption of his regime, he blamed the dark shadow of the country’s fictional enemies (al-Qa’ida, the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Jazeera, CNN, America). We may just have passed the dangerous phase.”

As it stands, The US is doing everything possible to keep Mubarak on his chair at least till a pro-US pro-Israeli puppet successor incubates in Mubarak’s government or till the protestors finally leave, or will they ?

The geo-politics of all these is very intersting and has the potential to impact the next generation! As Jonathan Freedland rightly says here, When Egypt shakes, it should be no surprise that Israel trembles!

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