Monday, September 3, 2012

Brother Morsi in Beijing and at NAM Summit in Tehran

Shifting Sands in Greater Middle East
Brother Morsi in Beijing and at NAM Summit in Tehran
Cairo Asserts Sunni Arab Leadership & its Independence 
Indian media remains busy and mired in political black kettles calling pots black and making Indian Parliament dysfunctional .Media writers on foreign affairs keep parroting what their masters and handlers in Washington and Tel Aviv tell them; keep Tehran ,unbowed to USA , down and promotie US interests against India's, led by ex Indian diplomats and frogs in the well former policemen (How during last visit Hillary Clinton missed meeting one former pliable NSA and event went to Kolkata to meet him but was unsuccessful).
The religious forces have been strengthened  since the collapse of the Soviet Union and socialism , a taboo word ( But Neoliberal capitalism is making rich richer in US and India too , with collapsing and declining economies ) the change in the Arab and Islamic world and definite entry of Chinese finance and investment might just be beginning .It suits China and Egypt , the latter can provide cheap labour and is so well located to serve the Middle east and even Europe .
The rise of Asia , China, Russia and so far unwilling India so far tied to Washington apron strings  and later Japan must be welcomed .( An ex Indian diplomat , brainwashed in US asserted that US will remain at the major power for 40 years .But its GDP is less than its debt of $15 trillion and in less than 5 years under Obama its foreign debt has gone over 5 trillion , an increase of 72% . Why should Beijing keep its money in US securities ( 1.2 trillion) .Better invest in Egypt , Iran & elsewhere
 Two interesting articles on Egypt and on NAM and Iran .One Indian perspective . Judge for yourself.
But slowly India is asserting its independence of Washington consensus being sold in Media.
"Strongly pitching for coordinated global actions against international terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today asked the Non-Aligned Movement to take a lead in this and also take a stand based on "universally accepted principles" on Syria. 

Voicing India's opposition to "external intervention" in Syria, Singh, while addressing the leaders and other representatives from over 100 NAM members who are here for a two-day Summit, made a pointed reference to the situation in the West Asian region, particularly Syria, currently afflicted by a civil war between troops loyal to President Bashar Al- Assad and the rebels. 

"The West Asian and North African region is undergoing profound change. As the world's largest democracy, India supports popular aspirations for a democratic and pluralistic order. Nevertheless, such transformations cannot be prompted by external intervention, which exacerbate the suffering of ordinary citizens. 

"The deteriorating situation in Syria is a matter of particular concern. Our movement should take a stand on the issue in keeping with universally accepted principles," he said while urging all parties to recommit themselves to resolving the crisis peacefully through a Syrian-led inclusive political process that can meet the legitimate aspirations of all Syrian citizens .
It was sickening to listen to Indian TV channels debate with US and corporate Whores (Whore: (verb) To debase oneself by doing something for unworthy motives, typically to make money.  -The New Oxford American Dictionary- Hence Media and Corporate whores) frothing at the mouth that MMSingh's views might upset the Americans .What brainwashing and DNA mutation of Indians speaking for Washington's interests as if India is a US indentured slave for ever.
K. Gajendra Singh 30 August 2012. 
Egypt joins China club
By Brendan O'Reilly 
Atimes 31 8 12
President Mohammed Morsi's historic trip to Beijing signifies a new direction for Egyptian foreign policy. The Muslim Brotherhood leader has sent a clear message by selecting China for his first state visit outside the Middle East. By forging closer ties with China, Morsi is warning the US government not to take Egyptian acquiescence for granted. 

He has furthermore offered an important opportunity for China to expand its regional influence. It is essential at this juncture to forecast what China expects from the New Egypt in particular, and the greater Middle East in general. Regional and international powers should take note: China's influence and clout will increasingly become a decisive factor in all Middle Eastern struggles. 

China's growing engagement with the Middle East is structured around a consistent three-pronged focus: opportunity, stability, and sovereignty. China sees post-Mubarak Egypt as a potential partner for promoting these Chinese interests in the region. Beyond this essentially conservative strategy, China is quietly exploring contingency options in the event of open antagonism with the United States. 

The primary thrust of contemporary Chinese foreign policy - be it in Africa, Asia, South America or the Middle East - is economic opportunity. Beijing is well aware that the ever-growing importance of its economy makes China an indispensable trade partner and source of investment for nations throughout the world. 

This economic dynamic is the main focus of Morsi's trip to Beijing. Egypt's economy is hurting badly after the political upheavals that have rocked the country since the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak. China is viewed in Egypt as an indispensable source of emergency funding and investment. Egyptian presidential spokesman Yasser Ali explicitly stated that the main goal of Morsi's trip was to "attract Chinese investment in Egypt". [1] 

Minister of Investment Osama Saleh, along with delegation of 80 Egyptian businesspeople, has accompanied Morsi to Beijing. Saleh specifically called for more Chinese money to stimulate the Egyptian economy, saying: "China's current investment volume in Egypt is very small. It should be among the top three." [2] 

Currently, the dominant foreign investors in Egypt are Saudi Arabia and the United States. Beyond traditional investments, the latter currently bankrolls the Egyptian government to the tune of about US$2 billion a year - $1.4 billion of which goes to the military. This money comes with strings attached - especially regarding Egyptian policy toward Israel and the Palestinians. Chinese investments could counterbalance US influence and help Morsi steer an independent foreign policy more in line with the expectations of the Egyptian electorate. 

Furthermore, China sees the relationship with the new Egyptian government as essential to geopolitical stability - the second focus of Chinese policy in the Middle East and elsewhere. The Chinese government wants to avoid destabilizing conflict while consolidating political, economic and military power. China's economy can only consistently grow in a reasonably stable international environment. War is bad for business. This is especially true in the hydrocarbon-rich Middle East. 

China is extremely wary of the potential for open conflict between the US-backed de facto alliance among Israel, Turkey and the Arab Gulf states on one side and the "Axis of Resistance" consisting of Iran, Syria and Hezbollah on the other. China is particularly keen on preventing a US or Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear program, and the resulting hazards to Middle Eastern oil exports. Meanwhile, the sectarian undertones of the conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon contain the destructive seeds of prolonged instability. A middle force is needed to contain the potential firestorm. 

By providing funds and political support to Cairo, China can help to promote a stability-focused, independent foreign policy for the Egyptian government. Indeed, President Morsi, before his trip to China, specifically promised a balanced foreign policy: "Egypt is now a civilian country ... with a democratic, constitutional and modern society. International relations between all countries are open and they must be based on the concept of balance. We are hostile to no one but we are to defend our interests." [3] 

This message is music to Chinese ears. It should be noted that China maintains close trade and political relations with regional rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia. China would like to see Egypt work the role as an honest broker in the region - maintaining good relations with the US, Saudi Arabia and Israel, while reaching out to Iran, Hezbollah and the Palestinians. It seems that China may have found in Morsi the perfect man for the job. His trip to Iran to attend the Non-Aligned Movement summit after visiting China is yet another symbolic gesture of Egyptian "balance" between the competing camps in the Middle East. 

With the final thrust of Chinese foreign policy - sovereignty - Beijing faces some important regional disagreements with Morsi. The Chinese government is ideologically and strategically opposed to US-led efforts at regime change. It views the Western policy of militarized "democracy promotion" as self-interested meddling in the internal affairs of other countries disguised as humanitarian intervention. These campaigns constitute an indirect threat to the Chinese government itself. Furthermore, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization military campaign in Libya cost China billions of dollars in contracts with Muammar Gaddafi's regime. 

China, along with Russia, has vetoed the possibility of United Nations Security Council-sanctioned military intervention in Syria's civil war. Morsi, on the other hand, has denounced the Syrian government in unambiguous language, saying, "The regime that kills its people must disappear from the scene." [4] He will lobby behind the scenes for a harder line against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during his trips to Beijing and Tehran. 

China's disagreement with Morsi over the Syrian situation could be a political opportunity for both parties. While the Chinese government will continue to be opposed to outside (especially Western) military intervention in the Syrian conflict, it will maintain close ties with the pro-intervention Gulf Cooperation Council. Meanwhile, Morsi's concrete steps to bring about a more balanced Egyptian foreign policy could help alleviate Iran's fears of losing its most important Arab ally. Both the Chinese government and Morsi himself are fairly well positioned to bring relevant regional parties together to try to find a political solution to the crisis while avoiding (or at any rate limiting) outside military intervention. 

Middle Kingdom eyes the Middle East
Beyond the important implications of Morsi's China trip for contemporary Chinese policy in the Middle East, there lies a long-term potential for Beijing to assume a much more assertive regional role. As the US continues to pressure China in East Asia, Chinese leaders are quietly and carefully considering global contingencies. The Middle East, with its vast energy resources, central geopolitical position, and strong anti-American sentiment, could be an ideal location for China to challenge America's pre-eminent global role. 

Indeed, Morsi's state visit to China must have been a calculated message to US leadership: if sufficiently pressured by the United States or enticed by China, Egypt could abandon Washington's camp. During the last Cold War, Egypt shifted from the Soviet to the US sphere when the political leaders perceived such a move as being in their self-interest. As an elected leader, President Morsi must be sensitive to the will of the Egyptian people, and the Egyptian people, for the most part, distrust and fear the US government. 

Beyond and above the contemporary Sunni/Shi'ite and Arab/Iranian political divides, there remains a strong anti-American sentiment throughout the greater Middle East. Indeed, while the rulers of Washington's Arab allies publicly bemoan Iranian influence and privately plot against Tehran, a majority of their subjects would welcome Iran's acquisition of nuclear weapons. The 2010 Arab Public Opinion Poll found 57% of respondents to view Iran's achievement of nuclear weaponry as having a positive effect in the region, with only 21% viewing this potential development negatively. [5] 

The countries polled were US allies Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (as well as politically divided Lebanon). Washington suffers from a serious public relations problem when the citizens of US ally states wish for America's arch-regional rival to obtain nuclear weaponry. 

Herein lies an important geopolitical opportunity for China stemming from the Arab revolt. If and when Arab governments become more responsive to their people's wills, they will drift away from the US and search for other allies. There were two telling exceptions to this general trend - Libya and Syria, whose rulers were already politically opposed to US regional dominance, and thus found themselves on the wrong end of advanced Western weaponry (explicit in Libya and clandestine, so far, in Syria). 

Except for these two nations, one can reasonably expect every single Arab government to become less reflexively pro-American the more it democratizes. The Middle East has strong potential for Chinese power projection as long as issues that exacerbate anti-American sentiment - especially the Israeli-Palestinian conflict - remain unresolved. Western media analysts who loudly predicted peril for China's rulers stemming from the example of the Arab revolt ignored two vital trends: the primarily economic nature of the original protests, and the essential peril for US regional dominance that Arab democracy entails. 

President Morsi's visit to China serves as a stunning example of drastic transformations in the international system, both in the Middle East and throughout the world. First, if most Arab states become more democratic, they will adopt a foreign policy that is independent of Washington's dictates. Second, China's enormous, no-strings-attached financial resources are increasingly indispensable for nations in economic turmoil. Finally, as the US economy continues to stagnate, traditional US allies will be compelled to look for alternatives sources economic and political support. 

For the time being, China can take advantage of these trends to promote a conservative foreign policy focused on economic opportunity, geopolitical stability, and protecting the sovereignty of "rogue states" targeted by Washington. However, as the US government strengthens its military position in Asia, China may adopt a more proactive role to counter US pressure. If Sino-American rivalry escalates into a new cold war, China may find the Middle East awash with oil, and allies. 

1. Chinese investment focus of Egypt president visit, Yahoo News Malaysia, Aug 27, 2012.
2. Minister to lure Chinese investors, China Daily, Aug 29, 2012.
3. Morsi calls to oust Assad, Al Bawaba News, Aug 28, 2012.
4. Ibid.
5.Arab majority backs nuclear Iran, The Washington Times, Aug 6, 2010.

Brendan P O'Reilly is a China-based writer and educator from Seattle. He is author of The Transcendent Harmony
Morsi delivers his calling card
By Pepe Escobar 31812 Asia Times

You'd better not mess with Muslim Brother Morsi. 

Straight out of "communist" China - where he secured a red carpet welcome from President Hu Jintao and vice-president Xi Jinping - the Egyptian president lands in "evil" Iran as a true Arab world leader. [1] 

Imagine conducting a poll in Tampa, Florida, among delegates at the Republican convention anointing the dodgy Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan duo as their presidential ticket. Chances are Morsi would be ranked worse than Hitler (oh no; that was Saddam. Or maybe Osama. Or maybe Ahmadinejad ... ) 

Tampa-Tehran. Talk about the ultimate snapshot of the current geopolitical divide. On one side, the 1% crowd yelling for blood - be it from Barack Obama or from assorted Muslims. On the other side, the bulk of the real "international community", practically the whole global South (including observers such as China, Brazil, Argentina and Mexico) refusing to bend over to imperial military/financial diktats. Reaffirming its impeccable journalistic credentials, US corporate media dismisses it all as just "a Third World jamboree". 

Anyway, the big news is that Egypt is back. In other news, the Washington-Tel Aviv axis is apoplectic. 

Morsi may be walking like the proverbial Egyptian in popular imagination; sideways. In fact he's advancing all the time. By now it's clear that Egypt's new foreign policy if focused on restoring Cairo, historically the intellectual hub of the Arab world, to its leadership position - usurped by the oil-rich barbarians from the House of Saud during those decades when Egypt was a mere lowly servant of Washington's geopolitical designs. 

Those were the (long gone) days - over three decades ago - when Tehran broke relations with Cairo over Egypt's signing of the Camp David accords. Morsi's attendance of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in Tehran may not yet signal the return of full diplomatic relations, as Morsi spokesman Yasser Ali has been spinning. But it's an earth-shattering diplomatic coup. 

Enter the new great game 
A quick recap is in order. Morsi's first crucial foreign trip was to Saudi Arabia, for the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) meeting in Mecca. The House of Saud regards the Muslim Brotherhood with extreme suspicion, to say the least. Right after that Morsi got a personal visit from the Emir of Qatar, and a US$2 billion check with no strings attached; then he immediately sacked the old leadership of the Orwellian Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF). 

Meanwhile, Morsi had already launched Egypt's plan to solve the interminable Syrian tragedy; a contact group uniting Egypt, Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. No Syrian solution will be achieved without these key foreign players - with Egypt being careful to position itself as the mediator between Iran and Turkey/Saudi interests (which amount to the same; in 2008 Turkey struck a strategic, political, economic and security accord with the GCC). 

With just one stroke, Morsi cut off the head of a fake snake being sold to Washington for years by the Jordanian King Playstation and the House of Saud; that of an "evil" Shi'ite crescent from Iran to Lebanon via Iraq and Syria undermining the "stability" of the Middle East. 

What Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and Jordan's younger Abdullah II in fact fear is the unrest and rage of their own populations, not to mention the mere idea of democracy; it's easy to blame rampant Shi'ism for everything because Washington is gullible - or expedient - enough to buy it. 

The "Shi'ite crescent" myth can be debunked in a number of ways. Here's just one - that I have witnessed in person, on the spot, for quite a while during the mid-2000s. Tehran knows that the majority of Iraq's powerful clergy are totally adverse to the Khomeinist concept of the Islamic Republic. No wonder Tehran is very much worried about the renaissance of Najaf in Iraq as the premier holy city in Shi'ite Islam, to the detriment of Qom in Iran. 

Washington buys this propaganda because it's right at the heart of the New Great Game. Whatever the administration in place, from Bush to Obama and beyond, a key Washington obsession is to neutralize what is seen as a Shi'ite axis from Lebanon, via Syria and Iraq, across Iran and all the way to Afghanistan. 

A mere look at the map tells us this axis is at center of the humongous US military deployment in Asia - facing China and Russia. Obviously the best intel in Beijing and Moscow has identified it for years. 

The Russians and the Chinese see how the Pentagon "manages" - indirectly - a great deal of the region's oil reserves, including the Shi'ite northeast of Saudi Arabia. And they see how Iran - as the gravity center of the whole region - cannot but be Washington's ultimate obsession. The nuclear row is just a pretext - the only one in the market, actually. Ultimately, it's not a matter of destroying Iran, but of subjugating it to the condition of a docile ally. 

Into this hardcore power play steps in Brother Morsi, reshuffling a deck of cards as lightning quick as a Sheldon Adelson-employed Macau croupier. What might have taken months and perhaps years - the sidelining of the old SCAF leadership, Qatar being privileged to the detriment of Saudi Arabia, a presidential visit to Tehran, Egypt stepping up as a leader of the Arab world - was accomplished in barely two months. 

Of course it will all depend on how the Egypt-Iran relationship develops, and whether Qatar - and even Iran - are able to help the Muslim Brotherhood to keep Egypt from not collapsing (there's no money for anything; a $36 billion annual deficit; nearly half the population is illiterate; and the country imports half of its food). 

Take me back to Camp David
The immediate problem with Egypt's contact group for Syria is that Turkey - in yet another stance of its spectacularly counter-productive foreign policy - decided to boycott NAM. Yet Egypt is undeterred, proposing to add Iraq and Algeria to the contact group. [2] 

And in steps Tehran with yet another diplomatic "sweeping" proposal, according to the Foreign Ministry; a NAM troika of Egypt, Iran and Venezuela, plus Syria's neighbors Iraq and Lebanon. So everybody wants to talk - apart, given the evidence, from Turkey. Tehran's proposal is fully supported by Russia. 

And just as US corporate media coverage was reveling in the hate speeches at the millionaires' convention in Tampa, "isolated" Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei meets with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in Tehran and calls for a nuclear-free Middle East. [3] 

Not exactly the stance of a "new Hitler" who wants a nuclear bomb ... yesterday, as the warmongering Bibi-Barak duo in Israel ceaselessly spin. And certainly a very popular global South denunciation of Washington's cosmic hypocrisy of willfully ignoring Israel's nuclear arsenal while squeezing Iran for its nuclear program. 

Needless to say, none of this has been reported by US corporate media. 

Meanwhile, all global South eyes are on Morsi. They way things are moving, it's not far-fetched to imagine the Muslim Brotherhood playing the Camp David card sooner or later. In that case, expect Washington to go ballistic - and even time travel to 1970s Latin America, as in promoting (yet another) military coup. 

The bottom line is, if the Muslim Brotherhood really articulates an independent foreign policy over the next few months, with even a hint that Camp David should be renegotiated (over 90% of Egyptians would support it), the warmongering Bibi-Barak duo had better get real. 

1. See here for China Daily report. 
2. See here
3. See here 

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: 
Message for PM: Avoid cosying up to Iran
B Raman.,Rediff August 28, 2012
Our strategic and national security interests should be the decisive factor in our policy-making towards Israel, the US and Iran, says B Raman.
Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh [ Images ] has gone to Teheran to attend the summit of the Non-Aligned Movement. His participation in the summit will provide him with an opportunity to meet leaders from important countries of the NAM and to have another round of bilateral talks with President Asif Ali Zardari [ Images ] of Pakistan.
Even if nothing substantive and substantial comes out of his meeting with Zardari, it will still be useful to keep the bilateral dialogue process going despite Pakistan's uncooperative attitude in dealing with terrorism and Psyjihad emanating from Pakistani territory.
India [ Images ] no longer plays the kind of leadership role in NAM as it used to in the past. We don't have to shed tears over it. While multilateral relationships are still important in economic matters, bilateral relations need to have greater priority in our national interest.
We have to carefully weigh the relative importance of our bilateral relations with Israel, the US and Iran before deciding whether any new policy initiatives are required in our relations with Iran. I do not think so.
We tend to be emotional in discussing our relations with Iran with deep nostalgic references to the civilisational links with Iran. Iranian leaders and analysts too talk of this civilisational relationship, but without any sign of nostalgia or emotion.
When Iran decided to start a covert war against Israel through acts of terrorism against Israeli nationals and interests in the territories of other countries having an Israeli presence, it chose India as one of its anti-Israeli covert warfare grounds. It tried to orchestrate the killing of an Israeli national working in the Israeli embassy in New Delhi [Images ] last February.
It did not allow any nostalgic or emotional attachment to its relations with India to come in the way of its sponsoring an act of terrorism against an Israeli national in our territory. It would not hesitate to sponsor another act of terrorism against Israel in our territory if a favourable opportunity presented itself without bothering about its impact on its bilateral ties with India.
Our strategic and national security interests should be the decisive factor in our policy-making towards Israel, the US and Iran. Yes, Iran has been an important factor in our energy security. But in other dimensions of national security, its role has been minimal and will continue to be so. It has no security-related modern technology. Its attitude on Pakistan-sponsored terrorism against India has been ambivalent. Its support for Indian interests in Afghanistan is uncertain. If it acquires a Shia A-bomb, we will be faced with Sunni as well as Shia bombs.
Our strategic and national security interests should dictate a careful nursing of our relations with Israel and the US, both of which have been more beneficial to us than Iran. Both have modern security-related technologies. Israel has never hesitated to share its technologies with India -- even sensitive ones. The US is not as willing as Israel, but its attitude should improve as our bilateral relations improve. We have common strong interests with Israel and the US in countering jihadi terrorism. The intelligence agencies of India, Israel and the US have had a long history of co-operation in the exchange of intelligence. India shares a common interest with Israel and the US in monitoring and countering malign nuclear developments in Pakistan and Iran.
We should maintain our present economic relations with Iran so long as international circumstances and Iran's willingness permit it. Where the importance of our economic relations with Iran come into conflict with the requirements of our national security, which demand continued close relations with Israel and the US, strategic and security considerations should prevail over economic.
If one day Iran stops its energy supplies to India, we can find alternate sources. But if we allow emotional considerations relating to Iran affect the strengthening of our strategic and national security related ties with Israel and the US, we cannot find equally beneficial and dependable alternate strategic partners.
B Raman