Polygonic

That weren't no DJ, that was hazy cosmic jive

Why we back Mubarak

Two reasons: Israel and the UAE.

Harper and Cannon simply can’t fault Binyamin Netanyahu (even that “coalition of losers” that he leads to govern Israel doesn’t perturb our coalition-phobic PM), and when Bibi says he wants a secular strongman in power in Cairo, democracy be damned, well of course we offer no criticism. Our foreign policy principles in overdrive.

There are no surprises there. But Netanyahu isn’t the only one who wants Mubarak in power: every undemocratic Arab strongman in the neighbourhood will fear that they’re next should Mubarak be the second Arab president in a month to be forced from office through popular revolt.

The bosses in Saudi, in Yemen, in Morocco, in Algeria, in Qatar, will be gasping to see a Western leader come out and say “we prefer stability to democracy. We endorse these big bosses first and foremost, and the people should just be more patient.”

And Harper’s their man. It’s a useful way for the PM to try and wipe away the fallout from our bungling of the UAE file, which became a contagion of anti-Canadian sentiment in the corridors of Middle East power. Canada had all the ingredients to fail in our UN Security Council bid already in place, but offending every Middle Eastern power broker through the UAE spat nailed our coffin shut. Perhaps, it must be thought in Ottawa, backing Mubarak against the Egyptian popular will can help to lead some of those strongmen back into our warm embrace.

A shame it does nothing to bolster our credentials as “tireless advocates of democracy” or somesuch.

UPDATE: And, now Mubarak’s resigned! So it’s Harper on the wrong side of history in a big, big way. Invade Iraq, Support Mubarak…. someone’s skipped all his classes on Middle East power politics. He was the only Western leader to actively shrug and dismiss the scale, and even the legitimacy, of the Egyptian protests, hoping that regional strongmen would thank him for it. But it’s The People 1 – Strongmen 0. Nice work, Egyptian peeps. 🙂

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Filed under: Canada, International, Politics, , , , ,

Regarding the UAE

I’m not quite gone yet 🙂

Thought I’d highlight one of the WikiLeaks cables in particular, concerning the U.S. relationship with the UAE. It’s a glowing assessment largely, and one that might be used in argument against Ottawa’s dismissiveness regarding the recent utter breakdown of our relations with the Gulf State…

(S/NF) The UAE is one of our closest partners in the Middle East and one of our most useful friends worldwide.

— Al-Dhafra Air Force Base is the high altitude ISR hub for the AOR, and supports 50 percent of aerial refueling in the AOR.

— Ports in Dubai and Fujairah are the logistics backbone for the U.S. Fifth. Jebel Ali (Dubai) is the most frequented USN liberty port after Norfolk.

— Minhad Air Base is a critical hub for Coalition/ISAF partners in Afghanistan, including the Australians, Dutch, Canadians, Brits and Kiwis.

— The UAE is a cash customer with FMS sales in excess of $11 billion. Commercial sales have an equivalent value. An additional $12 billion of FMS cases are in development with approximately the same volume of commercial sales in the works.

Afghanistan: UAE SOF has been quietly deployed as part of OEF since 2003, and the UAE surged its contribution in 2009 adding a combined arms task force. The UAE’s UAV capability has been a much appreciated force multiplier. On the economic development side, the UAE has pledged about $300 M in assistance, and quietly supported the Afghan Reintegration Fund at the recent London Conference. You should thank MbZ for his leadership in being the first Arab country to send troops to Afghanistan.

Filed under: Canada, International, Politics, , , , ,

Novel concept

I can’t help but wonder if Peter MacKay is tempted to go off and form his own political party. Something that’s Conservative, but somehow… how to put this… a more kind of “progressive” Conservative?

Filed under: Canada, Politics, , ,

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