This has been puzzling me for some time. I was originally going to wait until after Obama’s speech tomorrow to comment, hoping that the speech will provide some insight, but since that’s not going to happen, why not delve into it today?
The story is curious is that it has pretty much been a “non story” at as far as the MSM, and even the blogoshphere, is concerned. And I freely admit..I’m stumped.
The Middle East, the Arab Spring..whatever you want to call it, has been the BIG STORY for several months. Last week, we were told that Obama would be making a major speech about recent events in the region. It wasn’t that big a deal. Way below the fold. Then shortly after, we hear that George Mitchell, the WH Special Envoy to the Middle East Peace Process, is resigning. Hmmm?
Generally when events like this occur so close together, we can reasonably assume that Mitchell either quit, or was pushed out. It’s not like he suddenly got the urge to retire, spend more time with the family. Coincidences like that don’t happen inside the Beltway.
Quit or pushed, it could mean that Mitchell was in serious disagreement with whatever is going to come out of the WH this week. We may not get the whole story tomorrow, we may only get a few bread crumbs, but I suspect we won’t like the news.
Mitchell’s background offers some possible clues. Obama’s speech will probably ignore Israel, except for a few platitudes, but will probably focus on Egypt, Libya, and Syria. Iran? Don’t hold your breath.
Mitchell’s 2000 report for President Clinton on the Arab-Israeli conflict showed that he was no friend of Israel. Obama has sadly continued the Democrat tradition of selling out our only friend in the region. So there’s no obvious disagreement between the two on our policy towards Israel.
Mitchell’s father was Irish, but after being orphaned at an early age, he was adopted by a family of Lebanese descent. He was raised in the Maronite Catholic Church ( Eastern Catholic, and in full communion with Rome) and by all accounts still attends. The Maronites are one of the predominant religious groups in Lebanon. Though not in explicit full communion, there is much common ground between the Maronites and the Coptic Church. After all, it is not easy being a Christian island surrounded by a sea of Muslims.
Which now brings us to Egypt. About 10% of Egypt’s population,some 8 million, are Coptic Christians. We are already seeing daily reports of religious strife in Egypt between radical Muslims and Copts. What else is happening in Egypt? Well, the “benevolent Muslim brotherhood” is on the verge of gaining political control. We will probably see a repudiation of the peace treaty with Israel. But as Egypt rapidly devolves into an Islamic state, run by radicals, it is inevitable that the religious violence will escalate. After all, will the radical imams suffer millions of infidels in their midst; thousands of churches to corrupt the faithful?
Take everything the imams have ever said about Israel, and just substitute “Copts” for “Jews.: And there you have it. It is likely to get much worse, and far sooner, than anyone can imagine. A nightmare scenario is easy to contemplate. The violence escalates. Churches burned, hundreds, possibly thousands killed. The Copts will fight back, their enclaves offer some defensive perimeters, but it will be bloodly. They will appeal for help, but who will come to their aid. The US? Nope..not on Obama’s watch…..If he did, they’d close the Suez Canal in a heartbeat, and we’re not going to invade. NATO? Heck, they can’t even take out Qadafi. So who’s left? Israel. And that’s the AH HA!!! moment.
Mitchell probably sees this coming. He knows what Obama’s going to do in Egypt. Increase aid, forgive debt, and let the Muslim brotherhood run riot. He will signal a free hand.
I think that Mitchell sees this in the very near future. He attempted to modify US policy, and was rebuffed. So he quit. Well, not quite. He more or less “faded away.” he couldn’t quite bring himself to resign, public, a public, principled act. But he also couldn’t stick around and aquiesce.
Obama’s speech tomorrow will not have an instantaneous effect on the Middle East, like the assassination of the Austrian Archduke. Think more or Neville Chamberlain’s “peace of paper..piece in our time” moment. It’s coming.