Classic counter-insurgency strategy involves identifying and neutralizing leadership of insurgent groups. Syria has failed disastrously in this and we’ll have to watch another six months to see how Russia and the Ukraine fare. The United States and Egypt are both engaged in similar exercises and are having some success.
Presaged by the January 13th arrest of girlfriend Diana Durand on election fraud charges, Congressman Michael Grimm was taken into custody April 28th. Not long after Durand’s arrest Dinesh D’Souza was indicted on similar charges.
Removing a best selling author and a sitting Congressman who retired from the FBI sends a high level message that the lawlessness that characterized the initial Tea Party ventures into U.S. politics will not be tolerated. Well connected players such as Jenny Beth Martin and Tea Party Patriots, sensing which way the wind is blowing, are looking more and more like the expensive yet ineffective firms that crowd inside the beltway.
The recent dust up between free range freeloader Cliven Bundy and the U.S. government, which led to a rally of armed ‘patriots’ sharpened the divide in what seems a very final fashion. The corporate friendly core of the GOP has no patience for a fringe that wants to crash the global banking system or engage in gunfights with federal agents.
Things are much more serious in Egypt, per the April 28th NightWatch:
Egypt: A court in Minya, in Upper Egypt, passed death sentences on 683 supporters of former president Mohamed Mursi, including leading members of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Comment: These sentences ensure the decapitation of the Muslim Brotherhood’s leadership for a generation. Their severity will have a chilling effect on future demonstrations by any party.
Arab Spring roiled all of North Africa and the Mideast, but the hopeful days of the crowds in Tahrir chasing away army helicopters with hundreds of laser pointers have given way to Libya pumping out weapons rather than oil and foreign fighters flocking to Syria. Nobody wants to see this happen in Egypt. Nobody.
Ten months ago I wrote about The Sinai Peninsula, noting the closure of the Suez Canal due to the 1973 Yom Kippur war. If this happens again the lower capacity shallow draft crude carriers that travel the Persian Gulf to Mediterranean route will be forced to compete with VLCC/ULCC tankers and round Cape Horn.
Chaos in Egypt would exacerbate an already troubling situation for Israel and Jordan. Eastern Mediterranean Gas Fields & Pipelines provides some detail on the production and transport of natural gas in the region. The cross-Sinai pipelines have been popular bombing targets.
Much like what is happening in the Ukraine, there is an underlying energy stability concern that is a component of Egypt’s move against their radicals. The U.S. moves in this area are curious to observe, because it’s the continuity and stability oriented center moving against radicals that were stirred up by the very largest of the players in the gas and oil industry. A mismatch like this will always lead to a realignment, but it’s difficult to see from where we stand today what form this might take.