Skip to comments.The Pentagon Has Lost Its Leverage with Egypt. Now What?
Posted on 08/16/2013 11:39:51 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has been on the phone with his Egyptian counterpart, Gen. Abdul Fattah al-Sissi, almost every day since the July 3 military ouster of President Mohamed Morsi. And every day he has urged the Egyptian defense minister to find a peaceful resolution to the political turmoil. Hes called al-Sissi at least 15 times since the military booted Morsi from power, a Pentagon official told Defense One.
By all accounts, al-Sissi had agreed. Just last week, Hagel hung up the phone with Cairo and was reassured that the Egyptian military wanted a peaceful transition. "Minister Al-Sisi underscored his commitment to peaceful resolution of the ongoing protests, and thanked Secretary Hagel for U.S. support, the Pentagon said, in a description of the Aug. 5 phone call.
After yesterdays bloody crackdown in the streets of Egypt that left more than 500 dead, including women and children, and scores more injured, its clear that Hagels pleas have gone unheard or ignored. With world leaders, including President Barack Obama, decrying the massacre, and ice bags and desk fans futilely cooling the overflowing bodies in Cairos morgues, Hagel called al-Sissi again on Thursday. According to a Pentagon statement, Hagel reiterated that the United States remains ready to work with all parties to help achieve a peaceful, inclusive way forward. The Department of Defense will continue to maintain a military relationship with Egypt, Hagel said, but I made it clear that the violence and inadequate steps towards reconciliation are putting important elements of our longstanding defense cooperation at risk.
Hagels tepid response falls in line with the commander-in-chiefs own wait-and-see reaction to the deepening Egyptian crisis. President Barack Obama has refused to call the military takedown of Morsis elected government a coup, and will continue to send the $1.3 billion in military aid that the U.S. gives to Egypt each year. And Obama is insisting that this is Egypts problem -- not Americas.
America cannot determine the future of Egypt. That's a task for the Egyptian people, Obama said in a statement from his Marthas Vineyard vacation on Thursday morning. We don't take sides with any particular party or political figure. I know it's tempting inside of Egypt to blame the United States or the West or some other outside actor for what's gone wrong.
[Click here for more of Defense One's coverage of Egypt.]
Obama announced he was canceling Bright Star, a joint military exercise with Egypt and several other nations that dates back to 1980 and the Camp David peace accord. The exercise hasnt been held since 2009, however, and the Egyptian military is clearly too busy to participate anyway.
When asked whether canceling the exercise would even be a motivating factor for al-Sissi to end the bloodshed, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little argued it sent a clear signal, we believe, to Egyptian authorities that we are deeply concerned about recent events in the country.
But deep concern, after more than a dozen phone calls from Hagel and several more from other members of the Obama administration, including Secretary of State John Kerry, doesnt seem to have influenced al-Sissis decision making on the other end of the line.
With the Obama administration clearly still willing to write a $1.3 billion check, the Pentagon seems to have had little influence in prevention the Aug. 14 massacre. And Hagels telephone diplomacy may have even less influence on directing whatever steps al-Sissi may yet take.
Were watching to see what happens next in the country, said Little.
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Stop giving them fighter planes, tanks and logistics materials! You’ll get your leverage back. (By the way, has it occurred that we’re trying to leverage them to do something stupid? Such as releasing Muslim Brotherhood killers who will continue to kill?)Okay, change in advice. Continue sending the stuff and continue ordering to do things they’ll ignore for their own safety. We and they can wait until we have a sane foreign policy again.
650 dead - More than 45,000 virgins needed...
A long time ago, it was suggested that the entire purpose of the Bright Star exercises with Egypt was twofold. First, to convey American-style professionalism to the Egyptian army; and second, to convince them beyond any doubt that they never, ever, wanted to get into a fight with the US Army.
In the first case, military professionalism is a superb way of defeating stupid ideology. It means understanding the rules of war, the value of not throwing away the lives of your personnel, and most importantly, that non-military professionals and political types know nothing about military affairs, and care less. And that they are willing to throw away your lives.
This clarifies things marvelously among military men, to the point where they understand the point of view of those thought to be their military enemy *better* than the point of view of those, who again, are willing to throw their lives away.
The other part, about never wanting to fight the US Army, goes to “threat assessment”, which also leads to pacifism, because if you know what your potential enemy can do, you are far less likely to start a fight with them. Especially if the odds are that they can kick seven bells out of you.
Nothing - I hope. Let the Egyptians settle their own problems.
IT looks like the military is doing a great job of what more Muslims SHOULD be doing - purging maniacs.
Obama should view it as sort of like a Muslim “Waco”. In those terms I’m SURE he will understand it. (Sarcasm)
well, those virgins won’t come from the female radicals living in tents with brotherhood and their weapons
People don't pick up the phone when the United States calls because we're seen as fools...
For all you friggin’ morons here on FR who think that the weakling Buckwheat can pull off martial law here in America, look to Egypt for the result. Imagine 100 million rifles vs fat bureaucrat slobs with glocks who can’t run 50 yards without dropping dead from exhaustion.