Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Kerry Chronicles: No Excuse For Egyptian Comment

"In his interview with Geo TV in Pakistan, Kerry said, ‘‘The military was asked to intervene by millions and millions of people.... And the military did not take over, to the best of our judgment, so far. To run the country, there’s a civilian government. In effect, they were restoring democracy.’’ 

By removing a legitimately-elected and legally-recognized head of state? Maybe the U.S. military should have went into action for Al Gore.

‘‘By killing people on the roads?’’ the TV correspondent asked Kerry.

‘‘Oh, no. That’s not restoring democracy.’’

I'm so embarrassed that this guy is now the face of U.S. diplomacy.

"Kerry backpedals on Egypt comment; Insists US remains neutral in the crisis" by Deb Riechmann |  Associated Press, August 03, 2013

LONDON — Secretary of State John Kerry backed away Friday from his candid comments that seemed to signal American support for the Egyptian military coup and the ouster of President Mohammed Morsi.

Related: Sunday Globe Special: Morsi the Martyr

They approved the coup, and the best way to tell is Israel is happy. 

I know there are some that think there is something deeper here, but I think Morsi's refusal of the IMF plan was the last straw. 

"Egypt is in dire need of money, but it also needs to be realized it has not been short on willing donors. On two separate occasions it has been bold enough (much to its credit) to refuse IMF loans that tend to almost always come with significant strings attached. Qatar provided Egypt with $5 billion after Morsi was elected in June 2012. It pledged an additional $3 billion in April 2013, which was released in the form of a low-interest loan the following month. Saudi Arabia announced a $4 billion aid package in mid-2011 and, by December 2012 had paid out about $1.75 billion of that, much of it as direct deposits. Turkey, meanwhile, announced a $2 billion loan in September 2012. The United Arab Emirates also pledged $3 billion in aid. Of all the countries, even war-torn Libya paid a $2 billion loan"

No surprise those countries are backing the Brotherhood. They are the Brotherhood, and it explains their unpopularity in some places.

The United States has tried hard not to appear as if it is taking sides in the crisis.

Well, like all their images and illusions of propaganda these days, it's not sticking to the wall.

But when Kerry said Thursday in Pakistan that the Egyptian military was ‘‘restoring democracy’’ in leading the July 3 coup, it left the impression that the United States backed the military action.

Well, IT DID!

Kerry moved quickly to defuse the flap, saying Friday that all parties — the military as well as pro-Morsi demonstrators — needed to work toward a peaceful and ‘‘inclusive’’ political resolution of the crisis.

His backpedaling came after his comments were denounced by Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, which insists the democratically elected Morsi is the legitimate leader of Egypt.

‘‘Does Secretary Kerry accept Defense Secretary [Chuck] Hagel to step in and remove Obama if large protests take place in America?’’ said a Muslim Brotherhood spokesman.

The flap over Kerry’s remarks came at a bad time.

Well, as we have seen from the past, he does that a lot!

Just as Kerry was in London trying to clarify his statement from the day before, Deputy Secretary of State William Burns was landing in Cairo to urge Egyptian leaders to avoid violence and help facilitate a political exit strategy to end the stalemate that has paralyzed Egypt and deeply divided the country.

It is unclear if Burns will meet Morsi, who has been kept out of sight since being overthrown on July 3. The military has established a civilian government and called elections for next year, but pro-Morsi protesters say they won’t break up their massive street demonstrations until he is returned to power. More than 130 Morsi supporters have been killed and hundreds of others have been injured since the military coup. Last Saturday, an estimated 80 protesters, mostly Morsi supporters, were killed in clashes with security forces in one of the worst single crackdowns on a protest in Egypt’s nearly three years of turbulence.

‘‘The last thing that we want is more violence,’’ Kerry said before meeting in London with the foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates. ‘‘The temporary government has a responsibility with respect to demonstrators to give them the space to be able to demonstrate in peace. But at the same time, the demonstrators have a responsibility not to stop everything from proceeding in Egypt.’’


“I am convinced that that path is, in fact, still open,” Secretary of State John Kerry said in a midday appearance at the State Department, although he said the bloodshed of the last 24 hours had made it far more difficult. “This is a pivotal moment for all Egyptians,” he said. Kerry, who was speaking on behalf of a vacationing President Obama, did not disclose any specific American response to the crackdown and left without taking questions from reporters. The top American military commander, General Martin E. Dempsey, told reporters in Jordan he had not yet spoken with his Egyptian counterparts." 

It's been six weeks. 

In his interview with Geo TV in Pakistan, Kerry said, ‘‘The military was asked to intervene by millions and millions of people, all of whom were afraid of a descendance into chaos, into violence,’’ Kerry told the television channel. ‘‘And the military did not take over, to the best of our judgment, so far. To run the country, there’s a civilian government. In effect, they were restoring democracy.’’

‘‘By killing people on the roads?’’ the TV correspondent asked Kerry.

‘‘Oh, no. That’s not restoring democracy, and we’re very, very concerned about, very concerned about that,’’ Kerry said. ‘‘I’ve been in touch with all of the players there. And we have made it clear that that is absolutely unacceptable, it cannot happen.’’

And yet there it is, happening.

State Department officials said Kerry’s remarks about violence being ‘‘absolutely unacceptable’’ were an indication that the secretary was not favoring either side in the conflict, which the Obama administration has painstakingly avoided calling a coup. 

So they won't have to cut off aid to the military they backed.

Making a legal determination that the Egyptian army had ousted Morsi in a coup would have triggered a suspension in the annual $1.3 billion in military aid the United States provides. Conversely, a determination that a coup had not occurred would have flown in the face of the uncontested facts that the army removed Morsi from power and has detained him incommunicado in an undisclosed location for weeks.

The U.S government shows a remarkable ability to be not bothered by those.

Kerry also said the United States was working with EU Foreign Minister Catherine Ashton and foreign ministers of other countries to try to find a way to help resolve the Egyptian crisis peacefully.

‘‘The story of Egypt is not finished yet, so we have to see how it unfolds in the next days,’’ Kerry said.

I'll have to get to posting about the situation soon.


Also see: The Kerry Chronicles: Partnering Back Up With Pakistan


"John Kerry prods Egypt on economic reforms; Overhaul is key to secure $4.8b loan from IMF" by Michael R. Gordon and David D. Kirkpatrick  |  New York Times, March 03, 2013

CAIRO — John Kerry made his first trip to an Arab capital as secretary of state on Saturday, hoping to prod Egyptian politicians to forge a political consensus and commit themselves to crucial economic changes.

Egypt needs an economic overhaul to secure a crucial $4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund. The United States and the European Union are prepared to provide hundreds of millions of dollars in additional assistance if Egypt can reach agreement with the IMF.

Speaking to a group of Egyptian business leaders after landing in Cairo, he called the economic reforms ‘‘paramount, essential, urgent.’’ Egypt’s economy has teetered near collapse for months, with soaring unemployment, a gaping budget deficit, dwindling hard-currency reserves, and steep declines in the value of its currency.

The two years of tumult that began with the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak also sharply slowed foreign investment and tourism, and economists say the Egyptian government urgently needs a cash infusion of several billion dollars to fend off the risk of an economic calamity that could lead to more unrest and instability.

They got it -- and more!!

The IMF has held on-again, off-again negotiations with Egypt for more than a year about providing the $4.8 billion. The fund’s loan is critical, economists say, because it would provide a seal of approval that Egypt’s economy is on a path toward self-sufficiency, allowing Cairo to obtain enough other international loans to fill in its deficit. 

As the Europeans under the lash of IMF austerity how happy they are about that seal of approval.

Economists familiar with the loan talks say that the fund’s US and European backers are eager to complete the loan to move Egypt toward stability, but that the fund has imposed two difficult conditions.

It has required the Egyptian government to commit itself to undertaking painful reforms like raising taxes and reducing energy subsidies.

It has also required a demonstration of political support for the reforms and the loan, to ensure that the government will honor its commitments in the future.

That calls for a dependable political process, as well a degree of consensus that Egypt’s political factions have been unable to sustain. There has to be ‘‘a basic political agreement among all of the various players in Egypt,’’ said a senior State Department official who traveled with Kerry.

So not only is Kerry an Israeli lackey, he is also servicing banks on journeys.

Toward that end, Kerry plans to conduct an intensive series of meetings with members of the political opposition, the business community and ranking government officials.

It's called planning a coup.

Parliamentary elections are set to begin in April in Egypt. The major opposition group, the National Salvation Front, has announced it plans to boycott the vote to protest what it says is a push by President Mohammed Morsi and his Islamist allies to dominate politics.

The senior US official said that Kerry would not insist that the opposition participate in the election, but that he planned to make the argument that Morsi’s rivals need to participate in the political process if they want their views to be taken into account. 

Kerry met with Amr Moussa, a former foreign minister under Mubarak and one of the leaders of the National Salvation Front, and spoke by phone with another leader of the group, Mohamed ElBaradei. Kerry is scheduled to meet with Morsi on Sunday.

The protests and street violence that have destabilized Egypt’s transition continued Saturday even as Kerry arrived for his visit.

The Egyptian state news media reported that a demonstrator in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura was killed when he was run over by an armored police vehicle.

Clashes between the police and protesters had broken out in the city several days ago and picked up Saturday after the killing. Dozens were injured, the state news media said.

Violence also flared up again in the Suez Canal city of Port Said, where the state news media reported that protesters had burned down a police station. The Port Said protests began Jan. 26 after 21 local soccer fans were sentenced to death for their role in a deadly riot at a match last year. Two police and more than 40 protesters were killed in the ensuing riots.

Also see: Egyptian Enigma 

It's not that hard to figure out once you know what to look for.

Residents have demanded a new trial for the soccer fans and retribution for those killed by the police.

Over the past month, however, the demonstrations in Port Said have blurred together with sometimes violent protests in several other cities along the Suez Canal or in the Nile Delta. Some protesters are angry at Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, accusing them of failing to deliver quickly enough on the anticipated rewards of the revolution, including economic benefits.

Kerry’s visit to Egypt is the sixth leg of a nine-nation trip through Europe and the Middle East. From Egypt, Kerry will travel to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar before returning to Washington in the middle of the week....

Yeah, thanks for helping out with the global warming problem with all the taxpayer-financed greenhouse gas emissions.


"John Kerry, Egypt link US aid to economic talks" by Michael R. Gordon |  New York Times, March 04, 2013

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday the United States would provide $250 million in assistance to Egypt after its president promised to complete negotiations with the International Monetary Fund over economic reforms.

It's called a BRIBE. And after the refusal, Morsi was soon gone -- and the MILITARY ACCEPTED the IMF OFFER!!

In a statement issued after his two-hour meeting with President Mohammed Morsi, Kerry said the aid decision reflected Egypt’s ‘‘extreme needs’’ and Morsi’s assurance that Egypt would reach an agreement with the IMF after more than a year of talks over a $4.8 billion loan package.

The statement issued by Kerry noted that he and Morsi had discussed the need to ensure the fairness of Egypt’s coming elections, but it did not mention any specific political commitments the Egyptian president had made to receive the funds.

Parliamentary elections are scheduled to begin in April. Some opposition groups have said they will boycott the vote because of what they see as an effort by Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood movement to dominate Egyptian politics.

US officials say Kerry asserted that moving ahead with difficult economic changes in Egypt would require a degree of political consensus.

The aid announced Sunday consists of two parts. One is a $190 million infusion for Egypt’s budget intended to address what Kerry said was the country’s ‘‘extreme needs.’’ That assistance has already been approved by Congress.

Kerry also pledged $60 million for the creation of a fund to support small businesses, which will provide ‘‘direct support to key engines of democratic change in Egypt, including Egypt’s entrepreneurs and its young people.’’

As an incentive for Morsi to conclude an agreement with the IMF, Kerry said he would work with Congress to get additional funds approved for Egypt once a deal was reached.

Anybody tell Kerry we are under austerity here?!!

In May 2011, President Obama pledged $1 billion to support Egypt’s democratic revolution. The $190 million in aid announced on Sunday is the first disbursement of that pledge.

‘‘In all my meetings, I conveyed a simple but serious message: The brave Egyptians who stood vigil in Tahrir Square did not risk their lives to see that opportunity for a brighter future squandered,’’ Kerry said.

‘‘I encouraged President Morsi to implement the homegrown reforms that will help his country secure an IMF agreement, put Egypt on the path to establishing a firm economic foundation and allow it to chart its own course,’’ Kerry said. “He agreed and said that he plans to move quickly to do so.’’

The IMF wants Egypt to enact several economic policy changes, including raising taxes and cutting energy subsidies, and it is seeking assurances that Morsi can rally the political support needed for those changes.

Wow, Morsi was f***ed either way. Agree to the IMF conditions and he loses support, fail to agree and get thrown out of office.

Kerry’s departure from Cairo was briefly delayed, news agencies said, because hundreds of supporters of the soccer club Al Ahly, known as ultras, blocked the road to the airport in a protest related to a court case about a soccer riot in Port Said last year.

Related: The Kerry Chronicles: Kicking Around Afghan Women 

He didn't kick around any Egyptian men?

Kerry, on his first overseas trip as secretary of state, is set to return to Washington on Wednesday.

In a separate development Sunday, the Egyptian military has intervened in clashes between thousands of protesters and police in Port Said.

About 5,000 protesters threw rocks and firebombs at police in Port Said, the scene of a civil strike now in its second week. Riot police responded with tear gas and bird shot.

A health official says more than 300 people were injured in the clashes, most from tear gas inhalation.

Also on Sunday, Egypt’s state news agency said the retrial of ousted President Hosni Mubarak on charges related to the killings of protesters during the uprising against him will begin April 13.

RelatedSunday Globe Specials: Mubarak Makes an Appearance

He might have made more since; however, I am told by my Globe that no one cares anymore.

Also see: Egypt’s ousted leader Hosni Mubarak released from prison

Next up: campaign for the presidency!

Mubarak and his former interior minister were sentenced to life in prison in June for failing to prevent the killing of protesters during the 18-day revolution in 2011 that ended his 29-year rule.

In January, an appeals court overturned the sentences and ordered a retrial.

In a statement recapping his meetings with Egyptian political figures, business leaders, and representatives of outside groups, Kerry said he heard of their ‘‘deep concern about the political course of their country, the need to strengthen human rights protections, justice, and the rule of law, and their fundamental anxiety about the economic future of Egypt.’’

Translation: the coup was MONTHS in the MAKING!

Those issues came up in ‘‘a very candid and constructive manner’’ during talks with Morsi, according to Kerry’s statement, which was reported by the Associated Press.

‘‘It is clear that more hard work and compromise will be required to restore unity, political stability, and economic health to Egypt,’’ he said.

You can forget about that.

No excuse for failing to grab the link. Sorry.